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T t

[Football icon]
Tackle. An offensive position in American football. The activity (to tackle) is abbreviated ``Tck.''

Absolute Temperature.


Ter-. When long chemical names are abbreviated (do I really need to point out that we're talking organic nomenclature?), the ter- indicating a tertiary carbon is often abbreviated to t-. Cf. s-.

Thymine. A pyrimidine base of DNA that pairs with the purine base Adenine (A).


Latin, Titus. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina.

Tritium symbol. Tritium is the two-neutron isotope of hydrogen (H). It's unstable (it decays radioactively) and occurs naturally only in trace quantities. The main source of tritium is collection from stored nuclear weapons, where it is produced as a decay product of the slowly aging nuclear fuel.

T-shaped place or thing. Shaped like a capital tee. Do I really have to explain a tee intersection? In steel beams with a tee cross section, one straight part called the stem joins the middle of another straight part.

More interesting, especially in close elections, is the demographic structure -- the political geography, in a sense -- of Pennsylvania. The main population concentration in Pennsylvania is the Philadelphia metropolitan area in the southeast. The second-largest is the southwestern region that was originally built up by mining and manufacturing -- main city Pittsburgh. The rest of the state is called the T. This is not really a homogeneous area, including as it does the port of Erie, the state capital Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Dutch country, Allentown, and the Poconos, but it's a convenient term nonetheless.

Tantalum. Atomic number 73.

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

Teaching Assistant. Typically a graduate student. Responsibilities vary by school, discipline, POM. In science and engineering disciplines, TA's tend never to have sole or primary responsibility for an individual course; emphasis tends to be on grading, and on teaching laboratory and recitation sections of large-enrollment courses. TA's may be the only instructors with whom students have contact hours in courses that are all-laboratory, but course material is usually chosen by the supervising faculty. In other disciplines, two-way student-instructor interaction is more highly valued, and many introductory-level courses are taught only in small class groups. TA's assigned to teach such courses in the humanities (A&L) or the social fields often have more creative responsibility than TA's in technical fields. Cf. RA, GA.

Tel Aviv. Israel's largest city. A tel is a mound site formed through long years -- typically centuries -- of human habitation. (The single-el tel is transliterated Hebrew; the Arabic cognate is normally transliterated with two els -- tell -- for the convenience of Scrabble players. Oh wait -- maybe that's not necessary.)

Aviv is the Hebrew word for Spring (the season, not the hydrological feature; you realized this because I wouldn't capitalize just any noun). Putting all this together, we see that Tel Aviv could be Anglicized to Springhill. Actually, aviv has a more technical meaning associated with barley ripening, and gives its name to the corresponding month, starting around the time of the vernal equinox. Aviva is a common Hebrew woman's name.

Terminal Adapter.

Oh, I can't say it! I'm so fastidious!

Traffic Advisory. (Aviation term.)

Transverse Acoustic. Refers to transversely polarized acoustic phonons. TA phonons interact with charge carriers by DA interaction. Cf. LA, TO.

Taiwan Academy of Aesthetic Dentistry.

Texas Assessment of Academic Skills. A battery of tests of reading, writing, and math skills taken by Texas public school students in grades 3-8, and in grade 10. It was hyped wildly by the campaign of Texas Governor George W. Bush to become the education president.

The TAAS was instituted around 1991 by his Democratic predecessor Ann Richards, a woman best remembered for making fun of W's father at the 1988 Democratic Convention (I think that was it). It was sweet revenge for dad when W won that statehouse.

The TAAS is primarily an instrument of state educational policy, since various penalties and a few incentives are associated with schools' pass rates on the test, particularly at tenth grade and with particular attention to separately tabulated scores for blacks and Hispanics.

Steadily increasing scores on the test, and a decreasing gap between white and nonwhite students, have been called the ``Texas Miracle.'' This is not a complete fraud, since schools statewide have been feverishly ``teaching to the test.'' This has come partly at the expense of non-tested subjects (i.e., dumbing-down of curriculum to the level of the minimal-standards test, as well as shift of class time and other resources away from science, history, etc.), but it has also involved increased overall dedication to teaching, prompting the TFT to support the TAAS.

Most of the apparent steady improvement, however, reflects illegitimate factors. Independent authorities have found that the already-easy tests have been getting progressively easier. Strong indirect evidence for this claim is the fact that Texas scores on almost all other standardized tests have shown little or no improvement. In many large school districts, there have been suspiciously large increases in the number of students categorized as learning-disabled or non-English-proficient (and hence exempt from inclusion in test averages). There are indications that marginal students have been pushed into GED programs, where they do not count as drop-outs but also do not take the TAAS. In various cases that have been settled or are being prosecuted, it appears that test forms have been altered, good students' ethnicities reclassified, and scores simply misreported or not reported.

Some inconsistent correlations suggest widespread fraud, but perhaps the clearest sign that the numbers are being cooked is in the official drop-out rate, which the Texas Education Agency reports as having fallen from an annual 6.1 percent in 1989-90 to 1.6 percent in 1998-9. The latter figure is impossible to square with graduation numbers that are about 70% of enrollment numbers for the same cohorts in seventh or ninth grade.

For a bit more, including the article source of some of the opinions above, see the Mandate of Heaven entry.

    No web browser I am aware of includes indentation in its paragraph formatting.  Inserting a tab in your HTML source won't do the trick, because almost any whitespace sequence in the mark-up is equivalent to a single space.  (The exception is ``preformatted'' text between <pre> and </pre> tags, but that can only be used to indent fixed-width lines of mono-spaced characters.)  There are a number of bad solutions to this problem.  One popular approach is to abuse the definition-list tags (with the compact option), but that doesn't always work.  In general, it's better to save list tags for their intended purposes, particularly as browsers often have difficulty with nested lists.

     More effective for graphical browsers, and recommended in some HTML books, is to use a transparent graphic and control the space with the width parameter (define the height also, or some browsers will scale that).  One problem with the transparent-graphic approach is that unless you control the font size (and the client doesn't over-ride), all bets are off.  Another problem is that it doesn't work with nongraphical browsers.

What works:
Nonbreaking spaces (coded as &nbsp; or &#160;). For example:
     &#160; &#160; &#160;
     &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;
       &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;
         &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;

Yeah, it's ugly, but it's fairly reliable. ``El que quiere celeste, que le cueste'' as they say. Also, if you want double-spaces after your periods, you can achieve that by inserting a &nbsp; between the final punctuation and the white-space following it. (The double-spacing is primarily an English-language practice. It began as an attempt to reproduce in typing the slightly larger-than-normal spacing that typesetters use at the end of a sentence. The legibility-enhancing space is nominally one-and-a-half em's, I think. LaTeX has a declaration \frenchspacing to turn off this feature.)

Tape Automated Bonding or occasionally Tape Array Bonding. A microelectronics packaging technology.

Technical Advisory Board.

Büro für Technikfolgen-Abschätzung (beim Deutschen Bundestag). Technology Assessment Bureau (of the German Parliament). Cf. the corresponding US OTA (defunct) and British POST.

Test of Adult Basic Education. Used by some colleges in placing nontraditional students.

In El delito de traducir, published in 1985, J.C. Santoyo mentions that since the earliest translations into Spanish, King Arthur's ``round table'' has been rendered inaccurately by the faux ami ``tabla redonda'': table's Spanish cognate tabla means `board,' usually a rectangular one. (A ``tablero de juego'' is a `game board'; a ``tableta de escribir'' is a `writing tablet.') An accurate translation of ``round table'' into modern Spanish is ``mesa redonda.''

Santoyo wrote then that ``hoy no se habla ... de la Mesa, sino de la Tabla Redonda...'' [`today no one speaks ... of the Table, but of the Round Board...']. Googling in January 2006, I found that ``mesa redonda'' was about 12 times more common than ``tabla redonda'' on pages with ``rey Arturo,'' though in pages that also include the word mort or morte, the frequencies are comparable. I wasn't going to take issue with Santoyo's judgment of common usage in Spanish; I was going to put it down to the passage of time and make the text of these two paragraphs an entry for the word melioration.

But first I had a look in Corominas y Pascual. The `table' sense of tabla cognates is common in Catalan, Gallo-romance, Italian, etc., not to mention French, though Portuguese and Galician usage is parallel to that of modern Spanish (i.e., Castilian). However, it turns out that in Old Castilian tabla at least briefly had the sense of `table' also. So I decided that the semantic movement was a bit too complicated, and this information became a tabla entry. Let no one say that there is no logic to the placement of entries in this glossary.

TAxpayers' Bill Of Rights. A Colorado constitutional amendment passed by referendum in 1992 that limits the growth of government spending.

Tablature: list of notes. Particularly sensible music notation for percussion and string instruments, in which note duration is not well-controlled.

Telus Advanced Communications.

Test Access Control. (Aviation term.)

Thrust Asymmetry Compensation. (Aviation term.)

Toronto Arts Council.

Total Allowable Catch. Of fish, in the only usage I'm aware of.

Total Area Coverage. Image-printing term.

TransArterial Chemo-Embolization. Embolization is (in this context) the introduction of a substance into a blood vessel in order to occlude it. In cases where surgery is not an option, embolization is sometimes used to starve a cancer.


Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command. Mission is to provide the US Army with ground vehicles, armament, and support equipment needs.

Total Access Communications System. A UK analog cellular standard from the 80's.

TAilored Correlation SpectroscopY (COSY). There's also something called Exclusive Tailored ... (ETACSY).

Textual Analysis Computing Tools.

I don't know anything about it, but I do know this:

``A gentleman is never unintentionally rude.''

I think Osbert Sitwell (Edith's brother) said this, but I'm not sure.

Hmm. I guess I better have something to say about TACT after all. Okay: it's an extension of COCOA.

Just a little bit.

Text Adventure Development System.

The American Enterprise. House organ of the American Enterprise Institute.

Tae Kwon Ton
Kung Food Fighting.

The Africanist Foundation. A small press listed in the 2000-2001 R.R. Bowker Publishers, Distributors, & Wholesalers of the United States.

TransAfrica Forum. ``Justice for the African World.''

TAFE, Tafe
Tertiary And Further Education. Australian usage.

Thermally Assisted Flux-Flow. A model of the mixed superconducting state [P. H. Kes, et al., Superconductor Science and Technology, vol. 1, p. 242 (1989)].

Technical Architecture Framework for Information Management.

The Archive Formerly Known As Cathouse. A site that hosts the ``AFU and Urban Legends Archive.'' The expansion of TAFKAC is not prominently (if at all) given on the site. There is, however, a cool logo, not as far as I know pronounceable.

The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. For a while he went by a gumby/ankh symbol displayed here, not as far as I know pronounceable. It seems this all had to do with some sort of dispute with his label, or his former label, poor exploited thing, but for whatever reason, since May 16, 2000, he is officially The Artist Who Wants To Be Known As Prince Again.

This is reminiscent of the problems that the Republic of Macedonia is having: FYROM.

To say nothing of former-republics-of the SU. And the basketball `Team Formerly Known As The Washington Bullets.' Now unknown as the Washington Wizards (!).

See also TAFKAC, TIFKAD, and HLN.

Technical { Assessment | Advisory } Group.

Technology Advocacy Group. A NASA acronym. It's probably important to get straight at the beginning whether one is dealing with a TAG as defined in this or the preceding entry.

Treatment Action Group. An AIDS advocacy organization.

Texas Academy of General Dentistry. A constituent of the AGD.

German: `conference.'

Temps Atomique International. A temporary-personnel agency that specializes in providing nuclear physicists wherever they are needed throughout the third world. See, it says so right here:
Qu'est-ce le Temps Atomique International (TAI)?
Le Temps Atomique International est une échelle pratique de temps destinée à être utilisée dans le monde entier. Le TAI est une échelle uniforme et stable; il ne suit pas par conséquent les légères irrégularités du mouvement de rotation de la Terre.

TAI is a weighted average of times kept by atomic clocks around the world (over 200 as of July 2004), computed by BIPM. It is estimated to be accurate to within a tenth of a microsecond per year. Cf. UTC.

The idiots In Charge. Another variant of TPTB with even more attitude. ``A'' does not stand for Attitude. (Just to be completely explicit: it stands for a compound noun.)

[Football icon]

Halfback. See running back for discussion.


Why is this entry alphabetized by definition instead of by headword?
Because yesterday a disk problem munged A.html -- that's why.


There, happy now?


Man walks in and wordlessly holds up a pair of slacks.

Tailor asks, ``Euripides''?

Man asks, ``Eumenides''?

At one time, a reference to ``Taine's formula'' would be immediately understood as a reference to Hippolyte Taine. His ``formula'' was that all literary productions could be understood in terms of ``race, milieu et moment'' (roughly `ethnicity, environment, and time'). Taine meant race in a cultural rather than biological sense. His milieu and moment referred to those things that distinguish an individual from his group. Apparently milieu referred to formative influences and moment to remembered experiences. I suppose he must have thought it was possible to disentangle these. Taine's formula does not strike everyone as vacuous. The current fashion in tripartite theories seems to be race-class-and-gender.

The Acts of Jesus. A fanciful reconstruction by vote of the Jesus Seminar.

Take your coat off.
You're working up a sweat with all this heavy reading.

taking offense
Frankly, I am outraged by how easily offended you are.

Spanish, `such.'

TAlbot LEichtbau Niederflur Triebzug. Yes, it's a backronym in German as well.

Transatlantic Abort Landing. Space shuttle abort plan; other options: AOA, ATO, and RTLS.

German, `valley.' Earlier spelling -- Thal. Word that gave rise to dollar (explanation at 2 bits entry).

An extremely soft mineral, Mg3Si4O10(OH)2 -- hardness 1 on the Mohs scale of ten. White in its pure form; naturally occurring form may be greenish or gray due to impurities. The stone feels kind of soapy, i.e. slippery without feeling oily or greasy. Bleach on the fingers and other alkalis often have a similar feel.

Name from Persian talk > Arabic talq > Old Castilian talco > Medieval Latin talcum. [Old Castilian evolved into New or Modern Castilian, the language called ``Spanish'' in English, and talc is still talco (q.v.), in Spanish.]

Mmm. Feels good on the skin.

Textile/Apparel Linkage Council.

Mmm. Feels good on the skin.

Spanish word for `talc' (q.v.), and etymon of the English word.

The usual flow of vocables between Latin and Spanish has naturally been from the former (and earlier) to the latter (and later). This word is one of the exceptions. Since Latin continued to be widely used for learned, ecclesiastical, and some official communications for centuries after Spanish and other Romance languages became established, there was a need to coin Latin translations of new terms. Because most of Romance vocabulary was derived from Latin, the natural way to fit new words into the Latin system (where all nouns must have a gender and a declension, and all verbs a conjugation, etc.) was by back-formation: creation of a word that would have evolved into the corresponding Romance form.

This was relatively straightforward for Spanish, because the original derivation from Latin was straightforward. In particular, most Spanish words ending in -o are masculine nouns (see LONERS) derived from Latin nouns of the second declension. Most of the original nouns in turn are masculine or neuter. Spanish, like all major Romance languages other than Romanian, retains only masculine and feminine genders, so neuter nouns were naturally collapsed into the masculine. [The Spanish noun forms represent a kind of consensus regularization of the more complex Latin system: the most common Latin singular form (for dative and ablative cases) ended in -o, and the accusative singular -um of classical Latin had a similar sound, since Vulgar Latin and even Late Latin dropped final m's.]

It is mildly interesting that in back-construction, the Spanish masculine talco became a Latin neuter talcum rather than a Latin masculine talcus. This is slightly surprising. It is true that gender is not always preserved when a word is loaned between languages, but it does tend to be preserved under conditions that apply here: the source language (Spanish) is well understood by the user of the destination language (Latin), which has available the readily identified gender, and preserving gender does not conflict with the morphology of the destination language. I can't think of any precise comparanda, but of some relevance is the word naranja (feminine in Spanish and French), whose ultimate form in English (orange) and French was influenced by a Latin neuter (aurum); see details at the adder entry. Possibly there was a preference for giving chemical substances neuter gender; elements named in the modern era generally end in -ium (neuter second declension in Latin) or -on (neuter second declension in Greek).

One of the main patterns of phonological change that occurred in the transition from Latin to Spanish is lenition, in particular the sonorization (a/k/a voicing) of isolated stops (labial p to b, dental/alveolar t to d, palatal k to g). This sometimes occurs initially (Late Latin cattus > Sp. gato, `cat') but is primarily intervocalic. Hence L. vita > Sp. vida (`life') and acutus > agudo (`sharp' in various senses). Sometimes the loss of an unstressed vowel conceals the fact that there was originally an intervocalic stop. Thus, for example, Latin aliquod gave rise to algo. So talicum could have given rise to talgo.

Tren Articulado Ligero Goicoechea-Oriol. (Spanish: `Goicoechea-Oriol light articulated train.') Talgo is a Spanish manufacturer of railway vehicles founded by Alejandro Goicoechea and Oriol in 1942. [The last link offers Spanish and English; there's also a Talgo Deutschland, Talgo Oy (Finnish), and Talgo America (apparently aimed at the North American market).]

There doesn't seem to be much information on Oriol, but Alejandro Goicoechea was a designer who was willing to try some unusual tactics to reduce weight and friction. I guess Oriol put up the money. Over the years, Talgo has designed trains with variable gauge (since 1968) and the ability to lean into curves (since 1980), but the main constant feature has been light weight (notice the name). I'll fill in more details when I don't have to reorganize them every time I learn something new.

talking about computer music
Like dancing about computer architecture.

The epigram ``talking about music is like dancing about architecture'' has been attributed in a few forms to a few people, among them the avant-garde performance artist Laurie Anderson, her inspiration William S. Burroughs, and the singer Elvis Costello. Costello, at least, has denied paternity. One of the earliest attributions I've found is from April 8, 1987, St. Petersburg Times (Florida), in a review by Peter Smith of books about the history of rock'n'roll. He attributed the epigram (with ``writing'' instead of ``talking'') to Martin Mull. Mull is probably the most obscure person to whom I've seen it attributed, so I'd put my money on his being the neologist.

A river in Lafayette County, MS -- the county William Faulkner lived in. Faulkner made the Tallahatchie river, name unchanged, the northern boundary of his fictional Yoknapatawpha County.

Tallahatchie Bridge was made famous by the early sixties song ``Ode to Billy Joe.'' It was reputedly a hit in Latvia (.lv). To this day, still no inquest into the doings that fateful day up on Chocktaw Ridge.

tall, thin man
An engineer who works at every level of integration from circuits to application software. Defined by Carver Mead.

Temporal Associative Memor[y|ies].

Total Available Market.

Textile/Apparel Manufacturing Communications.

Textile/Apparel Manufacturing Communications Standard.

Japanese: `sigh.' Japanese is such a difficult language, it's a major three-or-four-syllable effort even to sigh.

My friend Marvin used to sigh with an ostentatious ``sigg,'' but this was ahistorical. The ``gh'' used to be pronounced (when this was still a common sound in English) as /x/ (i.e., like the ``ch'' in loch or Bach).

Last time I talked with him, Marvin was studying Sanskrit.

Transitional Assistance Management Program.

Le Tampon is the fourth-largest city on the French island of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean.

Texas A&M University. Nobody uses this acronym. They use A&M. Alumni, students, and football team members are called ``Aggies.'' Alumni are called ``former students,'' in an end run around the alumnus/alumna/alumni/alumnae front four.

``Aggie'' is derived from the Agricultural in A&M. Aggie is itself abbreviated Ag, with plural Ags.

The Texas A&M logo is ATM, with a large tee and kerning to give a printer fits.

Tananarive, Madagascar. An STDN site.

TANgent. Sine divided by cosine.

TAN:, Tan:
TANgential. Used in email subject headings, as for example on the Classics mailing list, to indicate that the topic is tangential to the subject originally discussed under the rubric or not really on-topic for the list. Usually all-caps, which confusingly suggests an acronym. Also used as an adjective (without the colon). Cf. OT. Whether OT, TAN, or some other code is used depends mostly on the accidents of a forum's history and composition. Compare the business form.

Tasman Air Services. An ICAO identifier.

Total Area Networking.

The Hebrew Bible or, in Christian terms, the Old Testament. The word is an acronym of the words

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. A state-administered program of federal (US) cash aid to indigent mothers. In Indiana , this program -- along with Medicaid and Food Stamps -- is administered by the FSSA.

tangent, We're getting off on a
This is what the suit says when his competent subordinates move from his airy generalities to brass tacks that the suit ``manages'' but does not understand.

The pronoun his above is not meant to imply that the suit is male. The suit may be female, or a eunuch of either sex, or both, or ... look, what I'm trying to say is, I don't care which bathroom he uses.

  1. A Japanese word meaning `word.'
  2. An old East Indian weight whose name, more commonly tang or tanga, survived as the name of one or another coin.
  3. A Spanish flamenco dance, of Arabic origin. Tango was originally the Spanish word for a Gypsy (Gitano) or Moorish (Moro) dance festival. (See MILF for comments on Moro.)
  4. A sexy and complicated Argentine dance, and the music that goes with it. (The accordion player should emote like crazy, so the camera has something to go to when the dancers fall over.) It takes two to tango because otherwise the woman would fall on her back and crack her head, and the man would look pretty silly gliding an air dance partner. The dance is punctuated with sudden stops, so it's a bit of a skill to keep time with the syncopated music and look half-way graceful. The dance is generally believed to be of African origin, but I think few people in Africa do ballroom jazz dance.
  5. Latin `I touch.' First principal part of tangere, etymon of tangent.

I wonder under what name they market TANG in Latin America.

There Ain't No Justice. Used as a profanity (both the phrase and the acronym) by characters in Larry Niven's "known space" novels and stories.

Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky. The on-line route map is really hard to read. Generally, it looks like TANK serves the Kentucky part of the Cincinnati metropolitan area, including Covington.

A biKINI in which the top is a TANK (typically haltered, rather than with spaghetti straps). I guess it's technically a 'kini 'cause the midriff is bare. Whatever. ``Slims and shapes the torso.'' Available with padded halter top.

You know, I remember in the early days of feminist social criticism (until about 1973), how the party line was that girdles and bras and iron maidens were all tools of patriarchal oppression. Burn your bra! (Take it off first. Better yet, buy a more flattering size, and burn it.) Happy days are here again, I suppose.

In one of the increasingly loopy interviews hyping the release of the 2003 movie ``Troy,'' Brad Pitt (``Achilles'') predicted that it would soon be common for men to wear skirts. This is nothing. I'm waiting for the articles in men's magazines that explain how certain styles will flatter my figure. You know -- should I go the double-breasted look to appear more imposing? To correct for girlish shoulders, how much padding is too much? I've got a little too much tummy -- what to wear?! what to wear?!

Here's an ironic disconfirmation of Mr. Pitt's prediction: in Summer 2005, ABC aired a six-hour miniseries called ``Empire,'' putatively about the civil war that followed the assassination of Julius Caesar. It was comically anachronistic, and just wrong in places where it wasn't impossible. At one point, Octavius is shown lacing up his pants. What, no zippers?

There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Used as a word by characters in Robert A. Heinlein's 1966 novel ``The Moon is a Harsh Mistress.'' See also TNSTAAFL. Cf. PMYMHMMFSWGAD.

Taiwan Association of Orthodontists. The TAO of orthodonty.

Taxpayer Assets Project. ``Founded by Ralph Nader in 1988 to monitor the management and sale of government property.'' Undoubtedly a laudable concern. But speaking from my own experience at government research labs and a state university, I would say that governments have a crazy-bookkeeper mentality: they don't believe in depreciation and they think real estate is free, so your 1988 IBM AT collects dust in the hallway while the paperwork for its efficient and responsible-to-the-taxpayer disposal languishes in accounting.

Also, every so often the fire inspector comes around and demands that the hallways be cleared of these fire hazards. The obvious solution is to take the garbage back into the overcrowded lab. You'd love to call OSHA and have the accountants, firemen, and environmental experts duke it out, but you know they'd only shut down your project.

Test Access Port (MIPS processor).

The Airline of Portugal. (Transportes Aéreos Portugueses, founded on Einstein's birthday in 1945.

The American Prospect. A journal of political and social opinion.

The American Psychoanalyst.

Training Access Point. Insert student?

Tuition Assistance Plan. A need-based New York State program for college students.

Tennessee Academy of Physician Assistants.


Transactions of the American Philological Association. Also TAPhA. Marilyn B. Skinner was the editor until the end of the last millennium. It only seems like a long time, but classicists take the long view.

Journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Spanish `lid,' and a name for one or another food specialty, depending on country.

Tel Aviv Performing Arts Center.

Spanish `tap dance.'


Transactions of the American PHilological Association. This is the abbreviation preferred by l'Année Philologique, which generally uses Ph as the abbreviation for philological and related words. I only which they had decided to abbreviate their own name as laph instead of APh. Same as TAPA supra.

Abbreviation used in cataloguing by TOCS-IN.

Explained here.

Odd-looking critter.

Technical Association of Pulp & Paper Industries.

Technology & Physical Science History Associates. ``[A] professional consulting group able to bring to life in word and deed the cultural significance of humans' evolving attempts to understand and exploit the world they perceive.'' Publishes ISHTCP.

Hebrew, `orange (fruit).' This is a contraction of tapuakh zahav, coined in the forties. It's no longer written with an abbreviation mark, so many Israelis are unaware that it's a contraction.

Tapuakh, `apple' in Modern Hebrew, has a less certain meaning in Biblical Hebrew. The Hebrew Bible refers at various places to tapuakh for a fruit tree and its sweet fruit, prized for its shade, etc. This unlikely to have been apple, because the apple was rare, not native, and had meager fruit where it did occur in Biblical areas. Various alternatives have been proposed (citron, quince, and apricot) each with its own botanical or historical problems. Fig and pomegranate are presumably ruled out by Joel 1:12, since this lists those along with tapuakh. There's also some ambiguous evidence from an Ugaritic tablet.

The Greek word mêlon, and malum and pomum in Latin, likewise evolved in the direction of increasing specificity, toward apple. Simultaneously, other fruit came to be called pomum de ambr', pomum bosci, etc., with ample apple etymons scattered across the grocery shelves of Europe. Interestingly, in Modern Hebrew potato is tapuakh adamah, reminiscent of the French construction (pomme de terre).

Tape ARchive. Name of Unix command for a program originally designed to manage tape back-ups. Kind of odd, in that it takes some options without a prepended hyphen. Now used for preserving directory (or ``path'') structure in transferring sets of files among different machines or media.

Technology Area Review and Assessment. Term used by some government largess agencies. Or government-largess agencies -- it makes the same amount of sense both ways.

The name of the mansion in GWTW?

The Team America Rocketry Challenge. Co-sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Association of Rocketry (NAR). ``[A] national model rocket competition for U.S. high school and middle school students. A grand prize pool of over $50,000 in cash and savings bonds will be shared by the top ten teams.''

Showing up less than twenty-four hours early for tomorrow's schoolday.

Time And Relative Dimension[s] In Space. (Originally ``Dimension,'' later ``Dimensions.'') The Doctor's time-travel device on the BBC's Dr. Who.

Troubled Assets Relief Program. Legislate in haste, repent at leisure. The program was tossed together by panicked sages [US Treasury Secretary Henry (`Hank') Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke], then passed and signed by a stampeded Congress and President. I think that in the rush, they left out a hyphen. Obviously, they intended it as a relief program for troubled assets: a troubled-assets relief program. Time corrected this error; by November the assets relief program was itself troubled.

Tahoe Area Regional Transit.

Technical Assistance Research Unit. Name for a truck or van operated by the NYPD and staffed by plainclothes officers. It seems to be a general term, as TARU vehicles of different sorts have been used both for surveillance and crime-scene investigation.

TASmania. A mania for Tas! Actually, an island south of eastern Australia, and a state comprising that and some smaller nearby islands.

Thallium Arsenic Selenide. Used as second-harmonic generation (SHG) crystal to 5µm wavelengths.

The American Spectator. ``TAS'' is common in the magazine, but the website seems to prefer the acronym ``AmSpec.'' One wonders if TAS wasn't originally a pun on TASS.

From the first issue (Nov. 1977) through September 1985, it was published in Bloomington, Indiana (by the Saturday Evening Club), where IU's main campus is located. Bob Tyrrell (R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.), who has always or virtually always been the magazine's editor-in-chief, was a right-wing provocateur or gadfly there as a student. (``Conservative provocateur'' sounds oxymoronic.) The editorial offices moved closer to the national political action in 1985 -- Arlington, Va.

David Brock was a prominent contributor with investigative pieces like ``The Real Anita Hill'' (March 1992, p. 18ff) The magazine had one or two splashy scoops in the way of Clinton scandal-mongering. (Didn't everyone? There was enough to go around.) Some time toward the end of the Clinton years, though, it ran into the ground; it was bought and completely remodeled for a different kind of audience that didn't happen to materialize. In the year 2001 a lot of marginal magazines folded (for another example, see the Zn entry). A year or so after that failure, TAS was refloated, again under Tyrrell's editorship. That's from memory; I'll have to check the details.

A political opinion magazine with a similar name but the opposite (left-wing) political, uh, view, is The American Prospect.

The Animated Series. A cartoon version of Star Trek that originally ran in two seasons, 1973 and 1974, airing 22 half-hour episodes.

True Air Speed. Not the same as Indicated (IAS).

A Latin ending used to construct nouns.

Spanish word meaning `rate, evaluate.' In Latin America, it's a homophone of taza, meaning `cup.'

Texas Association of School Administrators.

Tomahawk Anti-Ship Missile. Cruise missile like the TLAM, but with active-radar terminal guidance.

Telegrafnoje Agentstvo Sovietskovo Soiuza. Russian: `Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union.' A defunct news agency and propaganda organization.

French, `cup.'

German, `cup.'

Tasteful Longing
It's a bore, but the raciest scene is in the G-rated trailer.

Thematic Apperception Test. What do you think it means?

Oh, alright: it's a rorschach, but with black-and-white figures that are identifiably human rather than blotches. Created back in 1935 by Henry Murray and colleagues. The science of psychology has advanced so far in half a century that the test is now used in 1999.

There are also a Children's Apperception Test (CAT) and a Senior Apperception Technique (SAT).

To weave lace. At one time, Nottingham was a center of the world lace industry.

TransATlantic (cable). TAT 8, using optical fibers, was laid in 1988 and carries 8000 channels. In fact, it can manage to carry 40 000 channels by time-division multiplexing. The latest cables laid are TAT 12 or 13.

Satellite phone link is higher-tech, but it has a major disadvantage: the speed of light is so slow that there is a noticeable delay in the transmission.


Japanese, `social appropriateness.'

Technical Assessment/Technical Forecasting.

Taurus. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Tau Bate
A member of TAU BETa Pi. Cf. Deke. Five or six Dekes have been president of the US, but no Tau Bates have, not even Herbert Hoover. The reason is evidently that most Tau Bates are too smart to be president.

Tau Beta Pi
National Engineering Honor Society.

Members are informally called ``Tau Bates.'' For the next meeting, wouldn't it be cool if the conference venue were the Bates Motel? No, I guess not.

A glass case across from our Engineering Library entrance displays a number of framed and mounted commendations. A typical one reads

The Secretary's Commendation
for 1998-99 is given to
[Our State's Name] [Greek letter indicating our chapter]
for the perfection of its reports
to the headquarters office.
Presented at the 94th Convention on October 8, 1999.

Okay, it's nice to know that the 2005 Convention is number 100, and I'm glad that we made the secretary happy. It's great to know that we won this commendation four times in the 1990's and all, but we need to find a more appropriate place to display this. Someplace less conspicuous, lest other chapters become envious, God forbid -- stranger things have been known to happen. The deserving people who actually made the perfect reports, especially if they have moved elswewhere, are the ones who deserve to have the commendations as mementos, to display in their own homes.

  1. Brownish gray (brownish grey in the UK), or
  2. grayish brown (greyish brown).

So many possibilities -- what a vague term!

TransAtlantic University Speech Association. Parliamentary debating organization of the late seventies and early eighties.

The Republican then-senator for New York, Alphonse D'Amato, speaking during a Senate budget debate in 1993, used a drawing of ``Taxasaurus'' as a visual aid. As he stabbed the picture with an oversize pencil, he shouted
``Now is the time to kill the `Taxasaurus' monster! Kill the dinosaur, kill him now! If you don't he's going to eat more jobs. So take this lead pencil and give him lead poisoning.

Kill him!''

Until the end of 2000, the other New York senator was a donnish Democrat, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan [Ftnt. 5]. As source of freakishly contrasting senators, if not as a birthplace of presidents, New York still conceded nothing to Virginia. [Ftnt. 7]

Well, okay, Charles Shumer defeated D'Amato in the latter's bid for a fourth term in 1998. When Moynihan retired in 2000, he was replaced by his hand-picked successor, outgoing First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. Although famously thin-skinned, she was scrupulously correct and modest in office. She was widely expected to pull a Cornelia Wallace for 2008, but the voters didn't cooperate. More precisely, the voters in the Democratic primaries cooperated, but she lost the delegate race to Mr. Obama's superior performance in caucus states and with superdelegates.

"The age of chivalry is past," said May Dacre. "Bores have succeeded to dragons."

The Young Duke (1831), bk.ii, ch.5.
-- Benjamin Disraeli

More on the passing of the age of chivalry at the calculator entry.

Transparent Asynchronous TRANSmitter/receiver Interface. You could think of the ex as representing a cross, to stand for crossing or motion in opposite directions, or you could think of, ah, never mind. TAXI is an interface that provides connectivity over multimode fiber links, at a speed of 100 Mbps.

They say the only things that are certain in life are death and taxes.

Frederick W. Taylor. One of the pioneers of ``scientific'' production management. A former-day Deming. (I don't have a Deming entry, but I take a little ill-tempered swipe at him in the TQM entry.)

Die Tageszeitung. German: `the daily newspaper.'

[Football icon]

Tail Back. An offensive position in American football.

[Football icon]

Tampa Bay. In Florida. I have a football team (the Buccaneers), therefore I exist. Kicko, ergo sum.

TeraByte. 240, or approximately 1.0995 × 1012 bytes. As of this writing, that's still rather a lot.

Terbium. One of four different elements named after one puny village. [The others are Erbium (Er), Yttrium (Y), and Ytterbium (Yb). Ytterby is in Sweden.] Atomic number 65. A rare earth (RE) element.

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

Total Body. A productive term and initials meaning aggregated for the whole body. Total body irradiation (TBI) is the total radiation dose received by a body, total body potassium (TBK) is the total mass of potassium in a body, etc.

A total body workout is a set of routines to exercise the whole body, or a complete set of exercises or something. I don't think it can be regarded as an aggregation of workout for the whole body, and it's not very commonly referred to by the initialism TBW either.

Translation Buffer.

Transparent Bridging.

TB, tb
Très bien. French: `very good.'

TuBerculosis. Old, very old name: ``consumption.'' Also ``white plague. This detailed page is served by the Salk Medical Student Pages at the University of Tennessee, Memphis.

A related disease caused by the same bacillus is scrofula.

Infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis is extremely widespread. It is estimated that two billion people (or roughly one third of the world's population) is infected, that new infections occur at a rate of between 8 and 10 million per year, and about 2 million people die of TB each year.

ThioBarbituric Acid.

To Be { Announced | Arranged }.

Thermoanaerobium Brockii Alcohol Dehydrogenase.

Terephtal-Bis-4-n-ButylAniline. It's used as a plasticizer for polystyrene.

Thermal Barrier Coating.

To Be { Chosen | Confirmed }.

Toilet-Bowl Cleaner. A euphemism; cf. BO.

Two-Beam Coupl{e|ing}.

To Be { Determined | Decided }. In fact, we might call the whole thing off. Probably will. We just added this item as a come-on to entice you to buy in. Once you're committed, we'll substitute something inferior. It's classic bait-and-switch.

To Be Done. NASA and maybe some others give it this meaning.

TBE, tbe
Très bien état. French: `very good condition.'

Tape Ball Grid Array. Click on this search for images.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.

Total Body Irradiation.

Traumatic Brain Injury.

Tau Beta Pi is the National Engineering Honor Society. It was founded at Lehigh University in 1885. Their national headquarters at University of Tennessee, Knoxville maintains a homepage.

ToolBooK. Filename extension.

Total Body Potassium. For humans, this is roughly 0.2% of total body mass.

Theater Ballistic Missile. Like the Soviet SS-22, an intra-continental ballistic missile. ``Theater'' is here used in the same sense as in European Theater of Operations (ETO), PTO, etc.

Also expanded Tactical Ballistic Missile. I guess that lobbing one of these babies is mere tactics, while going intercontinental is strategic. I never really understood this terminology. Would that such knowledge were completely obsolete.

Ticket[s] By Mail. Airline fare abbreviation.

Hmmm .. theater tickets ... missive missiles ... it's practically the same acronym.

Tomato, Basil, and Mozarella. As of July 2007, this abbreviation seems to be used only by the Italianish restaurant chain Così. Whether by design, coincidence, or kismet, there's also...

Total Body Mass.

Theater Ballistic Missile Defense.

In March 1996, during the campaign for Taiwan's first direct presidential elections, the PRC test-fired ballistic missiles off the Taiwanese coast. Some of the missiles landed within sixty kilometers of Yonaguni (Japan's westernmost populated island). In a 1996 Joint Declaration of US President Bill Clinton and Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, Japan agreed to provide the US with logistical support during regional ``contingencies.''

In August 1998, North Korea fired a three-stage Taepo-dong 1 missile over the Tohoku region of Honshu (Japan's main island). A Pentagon report leaked in 1999 estimated that since 1996, China had stationed 150 to 200 M-9 and M-11 missiles aimed at Taiwan in its southern regions. In the years since these incidents, Japan has increased its cooperation with the US on TBMD.

Total Body Nitrogen.

TATA-[box-]Binding Protein.

TriButyl Phosphate.

Triple-(quantum) Barrier Resonant Tunneling Structure.

Technetium (Tc) Bone Scan.

Thermal Bus System. NASA acronym.

Tokyo Broadcasting System. As it happens, on April 1, 2009, Tokyo Broadcasting System, Inc., became a certified broadcasting holding company and changed its name to Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings, Inc. (TBS Holdings).

Total Body Sulfur. For humans, this is roughly 0.2% of total body mass, or 140 g (4.4 moles) for a 70 kg man.

Turner Broadcasting System. Oh, okay, Systemzzz. Whatever. Originally the bullhorn of the Mouth of the South. Since 2001, along with the other former Turner properties (TNT, TCM, Cartoon Network, the various CNN's), organizationally a part of the WB network, which in turn is part of Time Warner. Cetera.

Technical Barriers to Trade.

To Be Tested.

TuBerculosis (skin) Test.

The Bald and The Beautiful. Is that two sets or one? Well it's not a TV set. It's not even TV show. It's just a little set-theoretic joke. The TV show, and an expansion of TBTB in current use, is ``The Bold and The Beautiful.'' At least it's not double tuberculosis.

Also abbreviated B&B, the show has been running since 1987, when the lead character, Brooke Logan, was played by Katherine Kelly Lang, born (Katherine Kelly Wegeman) in 1961. As of 2011, she's still playing the same role (now Brooke Logan Forrester). I guess at some point you stop worrying about getting typecast and start worrying about getting wrinkles.

The Powers That Be. This initialism is used when the word Powers is pronounced ``bastards.''

Too Big Too Fail. That is, of an economic enterprise, too big to be allowed to fail, because the collateral damage would be too great, or presumably at least greater than the costs of propping up the TBTF enterprise.

(Domain name extension for) Chad. Once a part of French Equatorial Africa. In French the country name is spelled Tchad. (Hence the t in <.tc>. It's also Tschad in German -- where it may be treated as having either neuter or masculine grammatical gender -- and Txad in Catalan. As Mark Twain noted in connection with da Vinci's name, foreigners pronounce better than they spell.)

According to Chad's Wikipedia entry at the time I checked, ``[i]n the 7th millennium BC, ecological conditions in the northern half of Chadian territory favored human settlement...'' That was probably the last time.

Tank Commander.

Tax Coordinator. Interesting. I guess there'd be little point in using the abbreviated form for tax collector, since according to the standard rules that would be written T$$$!%#&*@!#%%$$$$C!!!.

Teachers College. It's not mispunctuated; it's a proper noun, see? TC is one of the preeminent ed-schools of the US -- faint praise indeed.

TC was founded in 1887 by Grace Hoadley Dodge as the New York School for the Training of Teachers. Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler was appointed its first president, and that same year he created a laboratory for performing experiments on children, called the Horace Mann Lincoln Institute for School Experimentation (see HML). That school became independent of TC in the 1940's.

TC actually got the name Teachers College, already without the apostrophe, along with its permanent charter in 1892. In 1894, it moved to its current digs on West 120th Street, hard by Columbia University, and in 1898 it became affiliated with Columbia University.

The words MENS SANA IN CORPORE SANO are engraved high on the front of Teachers College at Columbia (on West 120th Street, facing south to Pupin Hall, which houses Columbia's Physics Department). You want to know what those words mean? Go to school! I mean, look it up. At the ASICS entry.

John Dewey joined the faculty in 1904. This was regarded as a good thing.

Technical Committee.

One of the girls who hung around with the hoodlum gang a friend mine belonged to (back in the day) used to be called ``TC.'' This name was never in the vocative case, or even within her earshot. I'm not gonna tell you what it meant, but it had nothing to do with technical committees.

TechniColor. A composite-particle scheme for dynamical symmetry breaking. Listen carefully: the underlying Lagrangian for ``strong'' subatomic particle interactions has gauge symmetry. (The symmetry group is the special unitary group SU(2), which has three generators of infinitesimal transformations from which all group elements can be constructed; one thinks of the three generators as colors, ground states are singlets of ``white,'' etc.) Massive exchange bosons require a gauge-symmetry-breaking term. Old-style schemes used an ad hoc scalar field -- the Higgs field. The Higgs field had a nonzero vacuum expectation value and coupled to the intermediate bosons. The coupling term, evaluated with the broken-symmetry vacuum expectation value of the Higgs field, looks like a mass term for the bosons.

This had problems, however. In particular, in the low-energy regime the Higgs field self-coupling approaches zero, so it doesn't minimize energy with nonzero vacuum expectation (remember your basic Landau-Ginzburg theory). This is called the coupling problem, naturally enough. Another problem is the hierarchy problem: the Higgs mass is sensitive to the full spectrum of all particles of any mass, which suggests difficulties when one finally gets to four-force unification.

One bright idea to address these problems is to suppose that the Nambu-Goldstone (symmetry-breaking, mass-generating) bosons are not elementary but composite. A simple way to produce these is from a fermion-antifermion pair, like the pions (u/u-bar, d/d-bar). In TC, the fundamental fields that replace the Higgs scalars are two-component fermions that also give rise to mass.

Extended TechniColor (ETC) is an extension of this scheme, designed to address the problem that t and b quarks are a lot more massive than u, d, s and c.

Don't ask me what that means.

Technetium. Atomic number 43. The lowest-Z element, by far, that does not occur naturally on earth. (Not surprising, since it is also the lightest element with no stable isotopes.) In the group of Mn, one period down.

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

Telemetry And Command. NASA acronym.

Terms And Conditions (of a contract).

Thermal Control.

ThermoCompression (bonding).


Think C.

Thread Count. A 600tc sheet has 600 threads per inch. That is, supposedly, 600 threads per inch lengthwise (600 threads per inch of weft) and 600 threads per inch of width (warp). This is pretty approximate. Typically the counts of threads per inch of warp and of weft differ by a few percent (either direction may have the higher thread count) and the stated count is somewhere approximately half-way between. Thread counts are naturally given under zero tension. (Stretching reduces the thread count. Duh.)

Another source of approximation is that all modern textile mills are made to metric scale, and they typically have round numbers of threads per centimeter. Then 150 threads per cm would be 381 threads per in. Naturally, this number must be rounded, since non-round numbers feel rough and uncomfortable against tender customers' skin. Moreover, somebody is going to round 381tc up to ``390tc'' or ``400tc.'' In the absence of a legal requirement of exacting honesty, one can hardly expect other mills to label their equivalent textiles with the inferior-seeming ``380tc.'' Just hope they don't round to the nearest multiple of 500.

Top dead Center. Usually abbreviated TDC.

Transaction Capabilities.

Transmission Convergence.

TeleCommunication[s] Adapter.

Television Critics Association. A US and Canadian group founded in 1978. Hey -- everybody's a critic. Why only 200-odd members? (As of 2006; hyphen optional.)


Tennessee Classical Association. The association of classicists of Tennessee.


Texas Classical Association. The association of classicists of Texas.


Threshold-Crossing Alert.

Alea iacta esto!

Okay, it seems that comment may be obscure. You may remember how, in the Prior item (not the prior entry; I mean the Arthur Norman Prior item), we talked about Julius Caesar and the Rubicon in a familiar way, as if it were a reference anyone should recognize. It's not that really, it's just a pivotal event in world history. The Latin phrase above is one guess (that of Erasmus) as to what exactly Caesar said as he crossed the Rubicon. (There are slightly differing reports of his precise words. The phrase given means `let the die be cast.' Another version, alea act est, means `the die is cast. Perhaps he said it in Greek.)

Anyway, to make a long story short, Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon was a signal act tantamount to a declaration of war (with the Senate, although that could always be smoothed over and talked away, and his sometime ally Pompey, who raised troops).

Tile Council of America.

Trans-Canada Airlines. Former name of Air Canada.

TriCarboxylic Acid. Vide TCA cycle.

TriChloroAcet{ ate | ic }. Esters and acids of the following TCA.

1,1,1-TriChloroethAne. This doesn't seem like a very sensible acronym, but the A distinguishes this from trichloroethEne, which almost couldn't be anything else. There's another reason, or at least mnemonic, for this acronym, clear in the previous entry.

A degreasing agent and an HCl source for oxidation in IC manufacture, until its use was discontinued for ecological reasons.

TriCyclic Antidepressant.

Truckload Carriers Association. The other large trucking-industry trade association is the ATA.

TCA cycle
TriCarboxylic Acid cycle. The Krebs cycle. Staged oxidation of a pyruvate that leaves some energy in the form of the free energy of attachment of an extra phosphate group to AMP or ADP to produce ADP or ATP. Oxidation goes completely to carbon dioxide, and is accompanied by reduction of NAD+ to NADH.

Technology Computer-Aided {Development|Design}. Not very different in principle from computer-aided engineering (CAE), but different professions tend to settle on different terms. TCAD is the term of choice in the analysis and design of microelectronic circuits, for example. It's ill-formed, of course, since it means computer-aided technology design, but evidently there was a desire to preserve the recognizable C-A-D.

Toronto Comic Arts Festival. (Drawn, not stand-up.) In 2013, it's the weekend of Mother's Day. I don't know if that's a rule.

TriChloroAcetoNitrile. Other haloacetonitriles popular in water treatment are BCAN, CAN, DBAN, and DCAN.

(Air) Traffic Collision Avoidance System.

Taking Care of Business. The initialism has also frequently been used in constructions in which it could be construed to mean business, as in ``Takin' care of tee cee bee.''

A well-known version of this construction occurs in Aretha Franklin's cover of the song ``Respect.'' The song was written by Otis Redding, who recorded it in 1965; it charted #35 in the US. After Aretha Franklin's single ``I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You'' became a hit, Atlantic Records quickly arranged for her to record and put out an album (released under the same name as the hit single). ``Respect'' was one of the songs Aretha wanted to record. A number of changes were made to the lyrics, some necessary to change the perspective to that of a female singer. The lyric ``Take care, TCB'' was suggested by Aretha's sister Carolyn, who sang backup on the album. See the song's listing at the spelling in lyrics entry for more context. See also the entry for Sock it to me.

ThermoCompression Bonding. Press while you heat.

A chain of yogurt shops. I think the expansion was changed from ``This Can't Be Yogurt'' to ``The Country's Best Yogurt.''

Temperature Coefficient of Capacitance.

Transitional Child Care.

The TCC program provides up to twelve months of child care to working AFDC recipients upon loss of eligibility for AFDC due to increase in earnings from employment. The idea is obviously to diminish the economic disincentive to work provided by AFDC. TCC and AFDC-CC were created by Title III of the Family Support Act of 1988, Public Law 100-485.

Trivial Configuration Control System.

``TCCS is a freely-available system to support what we call project control, a simple but powerful form of software configuration management. TCCS is implemented as a front-end to the two most common source control systems in POSIX-compliant environments, RCS and SCCS. TCCS provides a common command-line interface to both systems, and extends them by supporting multi-release, multi-user, multi-platform development.''

Thermal Conductivity Detector.

Ton[ne]s of (sugar) Cane per Day. Small sugar mills have slicing capacity of around 5000 TCD and down. The trend is toward larger mills.

TransCranial Doppler.

Trinity College, (of the University of) Dublin. People really do call it that -- ``tee cee dee.''.

Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers' Association. The official form of the name excludes the apostrophe. Either way, I think the ambiguity is delicious.

Tax Counseling for Elderly. Ask yourself this: where you're going, do you expect to meet many bean-counter types? okay, okay: the TCE is a program of the IRS ``designed to assist taxpayers age 60 or older with their tax returns.''

Thermal Coefficient of Expansion. BKA CTE.

TriChloroEthylene. Modern, IUPAC-approved name: Trichloroethene. Once a common cleaning solvent, it was found to be a potent carcinogen and replaced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), which subsequently was found to be a potent carcinogen.

The Century Foundation.

Touring-Club de France.

TCF, Tcf
Trillion Cubic Feet. A convenient unit for estimated natural gas reserves. ``Trillion'' in the American sense: million million (explanation at billion). One Tcf of natural gas generates about one Quad of energy.

Traffic CHannel. That should be most of them. Non-traffic channels are for control and such.

Tele-Communications Inc.

Test Cell Input.

Touring-Club Italiano.

Tissue Culture Infectious Dose.

The Center for Industrial Effectiveness at UB.

TeleCommunications Industry Forum.

TCL, Tcl
Tool Control Language. Pronounced ``tickle.'' Originally written by John Ousterhout when he was at UC Berkeley.

This is the WWWVL site for Tcl and Tk.

An interpreted script language. From the comments at whatis.com, I guess Sun supports it.

Texas Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism.

Tandem Connection Maintenance.

Thermal Conduction Module.

Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Oh! It's got an acronym, has it? Well, then -- it's legitimate.

Trajectory Correction Maneuver. NASAnese.

Trellis-Coded Modulation. A channel coding scheme. Generalizes serial coding by splitting bit stream into parallel channels and creating an extra channel of error-correction words corresponding to the parallel words in the other channels. Interestingly, though it has been shown that serial codes have a rigid upper limit bit rate (a rate above which decoding time diverges), it is assumed but it has not been shown that TCM is similarly constrained (though with a higher bit rate limit).

Okay, maybe it's not that interesting.

TriChloroMethane. CHCl3. Note that carbon tetrachloride, whose standard IUPAC name is tetrachloromethane, might be abbreviated in the same way; that usage does not appear to occur, however.

Turner Classic Movies. Since 2001, along with the other former Turner properties (TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, the various CNN's), organizationally a part of the WB network, which in turn is part of AOL Time Warner Et Cetera. Oh wait -- now it's just ``Time Warner.''

Third-Country National.

Tube Council of North America. ``...represents 12 manufacturers of metal, plastic and laminate tubes, as well as 22 suppliers to the industry.... the only trade association for the tube industry in North America.... established in 1957 as the Collapsible Tube Manufacturers Council and reorganized in 1966 as the Metal Tube Packaging Council of North America. It assumed its present name in 1983.'' For condoms try Condom Country instead.

TetraCyaNoEthylene. You could think of the CN as representing the cyanide radical CN (carbon nitrogen) rather than the cee and en of Cyano. Whatever makes you happy.

TetraCyaNoQuinodimethane. A conducting polymer.

Test Cell Output.

Total Cost of Ownership.

Whaddaya mean, `and my first-born son'!?

Transnational Crime Organization.

Transparent Conductive Oxide. Comes in pretty handy for photovoltaic (``solar'') cells.

Test Coordination Procedure.

Transmission Control Protocol.

Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol.

T-Cell Receptor. The structure of one has been determined by XRD

Technical and Cost Review.

Temperature Coefficient of Resistance. Wires often have such a small heat capacity that any temperature-measuring device in (conductive) thermal contact with a wire makes a large perturbation in its temperature. Wires also generally emit too little radiation for their temperature to be measured by a pyrometer (an IR radiation thermometer) against background. Instead, a convenient way to determine the temperature of a conducting wire is to measure its resistance at two or more known substrate temperatures (using low current to minimize Joule heating) to determine the TCR. Then under test conditions the wire can be its own thermometer: its resistance can be converted to a temperature.

Thyristor-Controlled Reactor.

Tech Central Station. ``Where free markets meet technology.''

Test Control Supervisor.

Thermal Control S[ubs]ystem[s].

Touring-Club Suisse/ Touring-Club der Schweiz. `Suisse' and `der Schweiz' are French and German, resp., for Switzerland.

Transmission Convergence Sublayer.

The Texas Center for Superconductivity at the University of Houston.

[Phone icon]

Tandem Connecting Trunk. Telephone line connecting end office (EO, q.v.) to a tandem office. Calls involving a tandem office are generally toll calls. The shortest toll calls involve a subscriber on one loop of an EO, connected via one TCT to a tandem office, through another TCT from that tandem office to a second EO, via another loop to the other subscriber. (Pre-divestiture, ``tandem'' was ``toll.'')

tct., Tct.
TinCTure. Prescription abbreviation that really stands for Latin tinctura.

TransCatheter Transplantation of Stem cells for Treatment of Acute Myocardial Infarction.

Texas Christian University.

Tokamak à Configuration Variable. An experimental reactor at CRPP Lausanne, Switzerland.

Toxic Custard Workshop Files.

Temperature-Compensated Crystal Oscillator.

Tardive Dyskinesia. Tardive Dystonia.

Teacher Development. Look, why don't you just give me the money that you would have spent on that? I can put it to better use.

Technology-Dominated. See MD for explanation of one use of the term.

Thermal Desorption. Perkin-Elmer will sell you a device to do it (ATD = Automatic TD).

Threading Dislocation[s].

Time-Dependent. As in TDSE (Schrödinger Equation), TDHF (Hartree-Fock), and TDDB (Dielectric Breakdown). (DB).

Toronto-Dominion (Bank). A perusal of web pages suggests that the legal name under which the bank continues to be incorporated (as a Canadian-chartered commercial bank) is ``Toronto-Dominion Bank,'' but that its various subsidiaries have official names that use only the sealed acronym ``TD,'' and not ``Toronto-Dominion.'' Among the TD institution names is the somewhat twisted linguistic construct ``TD Banknorth,'' which provides a full range of retail and commercial banking products and services for customers not in Norway or the Northwest Territories, but in New England and the mid-Atlantic states of the US. The bank is referred to as the ``TD Bank'' and also as TD Bank Financial Group, which only sounds like a holding company for the TD Bank.

Bill Hatanaka, ``Group Head Wealth Management, and Chairman & Chief Executive Officer TD Waterhouse'' at least as of May 2006, played four years of professional football with the old Ottawa Rough Riders and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL, and was a member of the 1976 Ottawa team that won the Grey Cup Championship.

Joe Moglia, the CEO of TD Ameritrade. Before going into the financial services industry, he capped a 16-year coaching career as the defensive coordinator for Dartmouth College's football team. They say that this capped his coaching career, but in 2005 he published Coach Yourself to Success: Winning the Investment Game ``in which he explains the essential principles of investing.''

I think TD has really fumbled in not sponsoring any football team.

[Football icon]

TouchDown. Six points. I haven't a lot to say about touchdowns, and so far this season (two games in fall 2007), the Notre Dame offense doesn't either. Why don't you read the entry for Touchdown Jesus?

Drop-kick me Jesus through the goal-posts of life!

Oh wait, I think that's Australian football.

Training & Development. Monthly publication of the American Society for same (ASTD). As a general rule, learning journals are not learned. At least this one doesn't make a pretence.

Travaux dirigés. Literally `directed work'; may be translated `supervised work.' A specialized term used in education, but I'm not sure what part of ``assignments'' it might exclude. (Note that the French expression is plural; the abbreviation is treated that way too.)

Trastorno de Déficit de Atención. Spanish for `Attention Deficit Disorder' (ADD). Just as English-speakers have been hyperactive in the invention of alternative and related acronyms, so in Spanish one has

Terrestrial Digital Audio Broadcasting.

Tetrakis (DiethylAmino) Ethylene.

Trastorno de Déficit de Atención con Hiperactividad. More at the TDA entry.

Tracking and Data Acquisition Satellite. NASA acronym.

Tracking and Data Acquisition Satellite System. NASA acronym.

TD Bank Financial Group. This is a corporate brand under which the TD Bank does business. The expansion of ``TD Bank'' can be found at this TD entry, but the TD in TDBFG is apparently a sealed acronym.

Technical Development Capital. The high-tech investment arm of the UK's FFI. As part of a general rebranding in 1983, it became 3i Ventures Division, or informally 3i Ventures.

Texas Department of Corrections. They make some money for the state by taking in other states' prisoners in their excess capacity. Like most states' systems, however, they save the state money mostly by serving bad food and paying their guards poorly.

TDC, tdc, t.d.c.
Top Dead Center. The moment or position of a reciprocating engine piston when the piston is furthest into its cylinder (i.e., when the gas volume is smallest). This serves as the standard reference position for describing the phase of an individual cycle of a reciprocating engine. Phases are described by angles before or after top dead center -- bTDC or aTDC.

Back in the day, you'd mark an exposed rotating part (a fan-belt sheave mounted on the crankshaft, say) with chalk and adjust ignition timing with a strobe light that was in sync with the spark. Nowadays, with electronic ignition systems, the internal microprocessor adjusts timing, and when the timing is off you replace the computer. My 1990 Honda didn't even have a timing chain either: it had a toothed belt. And, of course, instead of a fan belt you've got an electric-powered fan that's activated according to engine temperature. The older engines were more mechanical and more interesting.

Transportation Data Coordinating Committee.

Time-Division Duplexing.

Telephonic Device for the Deaf.

Time-Dependent (TD) Dielectric Breakdown (DB).

Time-Dependent (TD) Density Functional Theory.

Tetrakis (DiEthylAmino) Titanium: Ti(N(C2H5)2)4. A precursor for TiN CVD.

Two-Dimensional Electron Gas. Rare. Submit your paper with ``2DEG'' and just check that the copyeditors don't bounce it.

Télévision de France. The French broadcasting authority.

Tour de France. A grueling bike race. Over a month racers compete over a course that tours France, ending in Paris. Each biker is timed for each segment. The biker with the shortest total time wins.

Cf. Latour-de-France, Le Tour de France, and Lance Armstrong.

The 1998 race came to be known as the ``Tour de Farce,'' after the Festina team car was found packed with drugs and needles.

TenoFovir. I don't know what name the initialism is based on (though I'm pretty sure it's not this next TDF). TDF is an NRTI used in the treatment of AIDS.

Testis Determining Factor.

Time-Dependent (TD) Hartree-Fock (HF). Used for atomic scattering.

Telecommunications for the Deaf, Inc.

Time-Delay[ed] Integration.

This Day In Ancient History. Another resource from the indefatigable coffee-powered David Meadows.

Transfer Delay Jitter. This could almost describe stage-fright, but it's an ATM term.

Technology Development Laboratory. NASA acronym.

Time-Dependent (TD) Local Density Approximation (LDA). Introduced by W. Ekardt [Phys. Rev. Lett. 52, 1925 (1984); Phys. Rev. B 31 (1931)] for calculations in jellium. Calculations usually performed in the frequency domain.

Technology Development Mission[s]. NASA acronym.

Therapeutic Drug Monitoring. This is an interesting case: the drug is therapeutic, and the monitoring may be too.

Time-Division Multiplexing. Same as TDMA.

Time-Division Multiple Access. Same as TDM.

Tetrakis (DiMethylAmino) Titanium: Ti(N(CH3)2)4. A precursor for TiN CVD.

Technology Development Mission[s] (TDM) Polar. NASA acronym.

Thermal-Desorption Mass Spectroscopy.

The Detroit News.

Time Difference Of Arrival. One method to determine direction of origin for a signal picked up by an extended antenna.

Technology Development Program. NASA acronym.

Time-Domain Reflectometry. (Occasionally Time-Division Reflectometry.) Time-of-flight measurement of pulse reflection gives distance-to-fault (DTF) information for cables, etc. Cf. FDR.

Time-Domain Response.

Test Data collection and Reduction System.

Tracking Data Relay Satellite. NASA acronym.

Tracking Data Relay Satellite System. NASA acronym.

Time-Dependent (TD) Schrödinger Equation.

Transmitter Data Service Request.

Time-Domain Transmittance. Cf. TDR.

Triply Distilled Water.

Taxonomic Databases Working Group.

The Data Warehousing Institute.

Terminal Doppler Weather Radar. A ground-based radar system for detecting and identifying microbursts and other weather (gust fronts, precip) near airports. First US installations in 1992. (Microbursts are small but intense downdrafts below thunderstorms. A kind of windshear.)

Chemical symbol for tellurium, named after the earth. This element was discovered on earth. Telluride is a mining town in Colorado. They used to mine the earth, now they mine the tourists. The tourists go there to ski, giving rise to the variant ``T'hell u ride.''

Although the English word exploit and the Spanish word explotar are cognates that appear to have experienced similar semantic drift in recent years, their meanings do not quite coincide. Explotar does not refer to just any kind of profitable utilization. The kinds of mining done at Telluride qualify. For more on explotar, see the miga entry.

That was fun, let's do it again!

Tellurium. Atomic number 52. The heaviest chalcogen, unless you want to count elements with no stable isotopes. Now there are two such elements: polonium (Po), in the same group but nominally metallic (the pure stuff is a p-type semiconductor) and the element provisionally known as ununhexium (barf).

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

Termina{ l | ting } Equipment.

T & E
Testing and Evaluation.

Thermionic Emission. The ``Edison Effect.''

ThermoElectric (effect). The ``Peltier Effect.''

[Football icon]

Tight End. An offensive position in American football. An offensive term in American slang.

Transferred Electron.

Transverse Electric. (Typically refers to nature of waveguide-confined microwave mode.) Cf. TEM, TM.

Technical Exchange Agreement. How do you compute tax on these things?

Tennessee Education Association.

Testing, Evaluation, and Assessment.

Torque Equilibrium Attitude. NASA acronym.

Total Exposure Assessment.

Back when I used to work at Fermilab and other places where the wearing of radiation-monitoring badges was standard, I always heard stories about the guy who left his lab coat in the beam tunnel overnight, and how, after tag monitors were developed at the end of the month, an ambulance was sent to pick him up at home. Good story, anyway.

Totally Egregious Acronym.

TriEthyl Aluminum -- metalorganic source for Aluminum in MOCVD.

Take a guess. Come on, guess. Here's a hint: ``TEA CO2 lasers.'' Give up?

Teacher Education Accreditation Council.

Teach the children!
They're the only ones who might be naïve enough to believe you!

tea-cup fingers
A Bob Fosse trademark: dancer's thumb and forefinger holding the brim of his or her derby, other fingers spread splayed out inelegantly. This was used in ``Bye-Bye Blackbird,'' a number from Liza With a Z (1972). In 1973, Fosse won an Emmy for Liza With a Z, an Oscar for Cabaret and a Tony for Pippin.

Fosse was balding and self-conscious about it, and derby hats were about as common on his dancers' heads as on Bolivian Indians'. He thought his hands were ugly, and white gloves were a frequent part of his and his dancers' costumes. He was slightly pigeon-toed, and sure enow, an exaggerated knees-together stance is part of Fosse's gestural vocabulary. Fosse also liked to use a splayed fingers. What personal deformity explained that?

See also the drip.

Bis(2,2,2-TrichloroEthyl)AzoDicarboxylate. A DEAD derivative.

team effort, This was a
Credit will be allocated without regard to merit.

The Consortium for the Teaching of the Middle Ages, Inc. If you figure out exactly how the letter assignments go, good for you. Oh -- ``TEAching of the Middle ageS'' -- of course! It's natural. But maybe ``Texts, tEchniques, And on-line resources for teachers of Medieval Studies.''

Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science. It's competition, but it's more fun than competition for grades. It's sponsored by JETS.

Someone who drives a team of draft animals; hence a trucker. Until we come up with something to say about, oh, Jimmy Hoffa for instance, you'll just have to go and read the coach entry.

The WORKing together of an entire TEAM of selfless individuals, focused on the goal of getting the ball to the star scorer.

Thermal model for electromigration. For crying out loud -- this acronym is so contrived that no one who remembers the original expansion is willing to reveal it! I don't even know whether the acronym is supposed to be pronounced like ``tears'' or like ``tears.'' A related acronym is SWEAT (q.v.).

Traffic Engineering for Automated Route Selection.

Tears of a Komsomol Girl
One of the favorite home-made cocktails of Soviet-era author Venedikt Yerofeyev, described in his samizdat classic ``Moscow Stations'' as consisting of mouthwash, nail polish, lemon soda, lavender toilet water, verbena, and herbal lotion. I suppose that if you didn't want to get drunk, it doubled as an excellent all-purpose personal hygiene product. The Komsomol girl is crying because she knows that the wreckers and saboteurs and counter-revolutionaries are laughing, nefariously happy that all this great patriotic production of health manufactures -- exceeding five-year-plan quotas! -- is going to waste. Cf. Spirit of Geneva.

Venedikt died young. Too bad he could not take advantage of SARG.

Notice that the first Tears ingredient listed is mouthwash. According to a news item reported by CourtTV.com, mouthwash was the reason a woman in Michigan was charged with DUI after an automobile accident on January 9, 2005. She rear-ended a car at an intersection, and an officer at the scene observed that she appeared intoxicated. According to the officer, she failed a breathalyzer test but denied consuming any alcoholic drinks. She did say, however, that she had drunk three large glasses of Listerine. Spit it out! You're not supposed to swallow it! The arresting officer also found an open Listerine bottle in the car. According to the news item, Listerine brand mouthwash ``contains between 21.6 percent and 26.9 percent alcohol.'' (Is that by volume or weight? At room temperature, 22 wt.% is equivalent to 27 vol.% alcohol in water.)

The problem of widespread alcoholism did not end with the collapse of the Soviet Union. In a study published in The Lancet on June 15, 2007, it was estimated that the drinking of alcohol not meant for internal consumption (``surrogate alcohols'' like cologne and antiseptics) may account for nearly half of all deaths among working-age men in Russia. This simply extrapolates the 43% rate found in a thorough study of death among working-age men in Izhevsk, a city in the Urals. Dr. David Leon, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, led a study that examined all deaths of men aged 25-54 in that city from 2003 to 2005. They also interviewed the men's closest relatives for information on the men's drinking and smoking habits, socio-economic class, etc. The study showed that the consumption of surrogate alcohol was the strongest predictor of mortality. Men who consumed it had an approximately six-fold greater mortality rate than men who didn't.

¿Te atreves a través otra vez?
I just thought that was a cute pun. Richer than that hackneyed como como ... , though it's not indefinitely extensible. It means something like `do you dare [to go] through again?'

Transportation Equity Act for the 21st century (enacted June 1998).

TEA-21 is the principal US transportation law at the federal level, superseding the similar ISTEA (1991). A notable feature of ISTEA continued in TEA-21 is the use of MPO's to provide local official input to funding decisions.

Thermal Elongation Coefficient.

ThermoElectric Coolers. Typically, these work by means of the Peltier effect.

Transistor Electrical Characterization and Analysis Program.

tech neck
A malady invented to drum up business for masseurs and masseuses. Neck pain caused by excessive or awkward laptop use. Cf. Blackberry thumb.

technical documentation
The technical documentation entry of this glossary was written by Alfred M. Kriman.

What, you wanted to know About technical documentation, as such?

technical misnomenclature
This entry isn't about every conceivable kind of technical misnomenclature. It's not about contronyms like inflammable or badly chosen acronyms like LCC. It's not even about casual boilerplate lies like ``for your convenience,'' let alone vacuities like ``Basically'' or ``leverage the world-class synergies.'' (The last pair of quotation marks just delimit a construct coined for illustrative purposes -- it's not a direct quote yet, afaik.)

What we mean by ``technical misnomenclature'' is technical terminology whose construction betrays what turned out to be a misunderstanding of the thing termed. So ``technical mis(by-reason-of-initial-error)nomenclature'' might be regarded as a better and more precise term. However, considerations of awkwardness or unwieldiness must be taken into account when one is not writing German. Without further ado, here's the complete and unabridged list of technical misnomenclature that I can think of offhand:

  1. abscisic acid

    This is a chemical that regulates growth in plants. It is primarily involved in seed maturation (promoting storage-protein synthesis and preventing premature germination) and in leaves' water budgets (causing the closure of stomata). It was named for its supposed role in abscission (separation of a leaf, fruit, or other part from the body of a plant). It is no longer believed to play a role in that process.
  2. leopard

    A contraction of words for lion and panther (from the Greek léôn and párdos). The leopard was thought to be a hybrid of the two; presumably the spotted appearance was supposed to arise from the different colors of the lion and panther. You wonder why it didn't occur to the Romans or Greeks whether this inhomogeneous mixture of hide colors did not occur in other crosses. [The giraffe was once known as a cameleopard. At least in this case the (double) compound did not reflect speculative genealogy but merely a descriptive reference -- the general shape of a camel and the spots of a leopard.]
  3. malaria

    This disease name is an Italian compound meaning `bad air.' It was originally applied to the air of marshy districts of Italy. That air was thought responsible for various febrile diseases (including those to which the term is now restricted, which are known to be caused by protozoans of the genus Plasmodium). Perhaps the term isn't too far off, if you admit the mosquitoes that air holds to be one of its properties.
  4. oxygen

    Lavoisier introduced the word oxygine in 1778 to designate the element we call, not so coincidentally, oxygen. Recognizing that there was such an element represented a major advance, since the dominant theory of what we call oxidation had been based on a complementary substance called phlogiston. (Phlogiston was a hypothetical component in what we now regard as unoxidized substances. For example, the calcination of metals, in which metals are heated and combine with atmospheric oxygen to form metal oxides, was regarded in the phlogiston theory as the heat-induced release of phlogiston from the metal. As Lavoisier was not the first to point out, the increase in weight of the solid is somewhat telling against this theory.)

    Lavoisier made a great advance by reinterpreting Priestley's isolation of ``dephlogisticated air,'' though he discovered less than he thought he had. He believed that the newly isolated element was the essential ingredient in all acids. Hence the name, from oxy (`sharp,' as in oxymoron, from `sharp' + `dull') and -gen. The term introduced in 1778 was principe oxygine, which Lavoisier used interchangeably with principe acidifiant, `acidifying principle.' The first term was nudged toward the more etymologically faithful principe oxygène by 1786, and the noun use of oxygène is attested by 1787.

    Oxygen is indeed an element in most of the compounds regarded as acids in Lavoisier's time, but there were exceptions. The main exceptions were the hydrogen halide solutions -- hydrochloric acid [HCl(aq)] and such. This acid was known as muriatic acid, and Lavoisier supposed that the muriatic ion was itself a compound of oxygen with some other as-yet-undiscovered element. (Chlorine gas had in fact already been isolated by Scheele, whose name for it corresponds to `dephlogisticated marine acid' in English. The corresponding term in Lavoisier's nomenclature corresponded to oxygenated muriatic acid.) Davy isolated chlorine by his own methods in 1810 and recognized it as an element, giving it the name chlorine. Nevertheless, Lavoisier's idea that the muriate radical was a compound was influential for a long time.

technical problem
Generally speaking, a technical problem is one that requires specialized competence -- technical knowledge -- to understand adequately. (If the vagueness of ``adequately'' bothers you, you can understand it to mean ``at least well enough to solve.'') In many cases, however, the term ``technical problem'' is used to suggest an aspect of the problem that is either implied or probable. For example, it may imply that the speaker will not attempt to explain the problem. Often, to call something a technical problem is to imply that it is only a slight inconvenience or possibly not a problem at all. This interesting sense of the term will be the main focus of this entry when it is in a more finished state. Also, there will be a small treat for Bandy fans.

A little lesson, please pay attention: data processing and display equipment are part of technology, but not all technology is necessarily an application of computers.

Thus, when the university web-page has a link labeled simply ``Technology,'' rather than something a little more specific, like ``Information Technology'' or ``the limited information-technology resources provided by the university for student use but wholly inadequate for research,'' that is arrogation and buffoonery. Similarly, when I receive instructions for requesting classroom space for next semester, and the instructions contain the statement ``[n]ot all classrooms have technology in them,'' that is a flatfooted error, about as bad as the misspellings in announcements for the too aptly named self-improvement courses. Thank you. Please save this information somewhere, preferably in your brain.

It seems others have noticed the problem. The preface of Edward Tenner's Our Own Devices (Knopf, 2003) begins ``Technology appears to have become a synonym for electronic systems. It should not be so. Just because microprocessors are all machines does not mean that all machines, even all important machines, are built around chips and circuits.'' [The book is subtitled ``The Past and Future of Body Technology.'' It's about clothing, shoes, helmets, ergonomic chairs, and the like.]

TECHnology for WAter REsources.

TECHnical WRiter mailing List.

Text Editor and COrrector. Of sainted memory.

Spread for drying. You can find a nice sunny flat surface for this on the Scrabble tablelands. It conjugates as a regular verb, but tad and tod are playable too.

Trailing-Edge Detector.

Transient Enhanced Diffusion. Name applied to enhanced dopant diffusion caused by point defects generated by ion implantation. Enhancement factors of 20 000 X occur.

Transmission Electron Diffract{ ion | ometry }. It's what you'd imagine. I've also seen ``Transmission Electron Detection.''

Trade Electronic Data Interchange Systems.

Trans-Europ Express. Old name for international trains in Europe, using a dedicated fleet of cars. Replaced by EuroCity (EC) trains using cars from the national railways involved. Cf. TEN.

ThermoElectric Effect Spectroscopy.

tee shirt
There used to be at least one search engine specifically devoted to tee shirts (teefinder.com), but it now (October 2007) is simply an alternate URL for <t-shirts.com>, which has a rather meagre selection. There's also a newsgroup.

In October 2007, it was reported that a 28-year-old Virginia man had broken the US record for most tee shirts word at one time: 183, in sizes from S to 10XL. The world record remained at 224. The report said he ``donned them.'' I want to know how many he was able to put on by himself before he needed help, and if he took them off with a box cutter.

You might still remember the incident on a Southwest Airlines flight from Columbus, Ohio, to Tampa, Florida, which took place on Sunday, September 30, 2007. A man sitting in the last aisle was told by a cabin attendant that he had to change his tee shirt. It was a novelty item that described the wearer as ``Master Baiter.'' He bought it in the Virgin Islands. The airline later apologized. (The man was from Largo, Florida, where five days later a man used his clothes to steal a puppy.)

Technical Engineering and Electrical Union. From the homepage, in 2008:

The TEEU is the largest engineering union in Ireland & the second largest in manufacturing representing up to 45,000 workers. The TEEU represent a broad range of workers throughout industry and public service. The TEEU in its membership includes:
  • Craftworkers
  • Technicians
  • Specialists
  • Skilled operatives
  • General workers
  • Technical, administration, supervisory & managerial staff

Totally Enclosed, Fan-Cooled (motor). Cf. TENV.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language. That is, teaching English to people for whom it is a foreign language. Not teaching it as if it were a foreign language to the teacher, even though often it is. Synonym: TESL.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language to Adults. It sounds like the Greek plural of TEFLON (the products in both cases are normally artificial). Either that or the brand name for a new psoriasis drug. Too bad TESLA is such a rare term.

TEFLON, teflon
Originally Poly-(TEtraFLuOrethyleNe) (PTFE, q.v.). Also called plain ol' TFE, although that is perhaps best reserved for the monomer. Term eventually applied to other fluorinated hydrocarbon polymers with similar properties.

Pat Schroeder, then a witty US congresswoman (D-CO) is known for coining the phrase that led to the epithet of ``the teflon president'' for Ronald Reagan. Here is its genesis, as reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on April 6, 1988.

She was frying eggs on the morning of August 2, 1983, and as she slid the eggs out of the frying pan,

she reflected on the way political accountability, in her view, slid off of President Reagan.

``I said, `He's just like this pan','' she recalled last week. ``Nothing sticks.''

Members of Congress may start the day's session with one-minute speeches, and this is how Rep. Schroeder started hers that day: ``Mr. Speaker, after carefully watching Ronald Reagan, he is attempting a great breakthrough in political technology--he has been perfecting the Teflon-coated presidency.''

So in origin the phrase did not slip smoothly but dangled, yet the teflon epithet did stick. (Actually, a fundamental difficulty with teflon coating is that it is intrinsically difficult to get teflon to stick. In that connection, see the razor's edge entry.)

You remember how Monsieur Jourdain felt, when he discovered he'd been speaking prose all his life and hadn't even known it? (If not, read the 40 entry and come back.) Well, now you can have a freebie like that too. It turns out that you've always known that teflon is an abhesive, and you never even knew that you knew it!

TriEthyl Gallium A common metalorganic source for gallium in MOMBE and MOCVD.

TriEthyl GAllium. I just discovered that in 1994, when I had a friend over as seminar speaker, the abstract he submitted used this abbreviation instead of TEG.

In the announcement, I included the following apt ``quote'':

Quasi Caesar: Gallium est omne partitum, inter radicis tres.
              (The Chemical Beam Wars, Book I)

Two-dimensional Electron Gas FET. Now-obsolete name for HEMT, once popular among some French author-researchers.

Typo for the.

Terminal Endpoint Identifier.

Text-Encoding Initiative.

There was some discussion of this (and some more, but poster John Price-Wilkin is now elsewhere) on the CAAL mailing list.

Here's an old posting on TEI.

Trans-Earth Injection. Firing of spacecraft engines to put vehicle into a trajectory bound for Earth. So far, that's been a return to earth from the Moon. I don't know if any stage in the travel of robot particle collectors or their return capsules has been tagged as a TEI. Cf. LOI, TMI.


Visit their extensive and informative, but mostly sales-focused, web site.

Tax and Expenditure Limit.

A Hebrew word (written tav-lamed, with the tseyrey vowel -- the one that looks like a colon fallen over on its side). In modern Hebrew, the word has three meanings: (1) a mound, heap, or hill, (2) a ruin or ruin heap, and (3) a curl or lock of hair. The third meaning does not occur in Biblical Hebrew. I suppose it is based on the second sense, used as a metaphor of remembrance. In fact, the meaning of tel in Biblical Hebrew is narrower, referring to a ruin-heap as in the English (loan from Arabic) tell. That restricted sense also seems to be the sense of the Assyrian cognate tilu.

The Modern Hebrew words t'lulit (`hillock'), talul, (`hilly'), and the word talil, `lofty' that appears in the Targumim (as you can imagine, here I'm cribbing here from Brown-Driver-Briggs) suggest that the original root was tav-lamed-lamed. Arabic and Syriac cognates are biconsonantal, although an apparent Old Aramaic cognate is triconsonantal (tav-lamed-yod). The evidence suggests that the Proto-Semitic root was triconsonantal, but that the two final ells converged, or assimilated if you can call it that, in a case where the vowel between them was a shwa. (This is what it suggests to me. In the compressed style of Brown-Driver-Briggs, perhaps it was considered too obvious for comment.) The question is where and when, and possibly how, that change took place.

It's been suggested that the two-consonant word was borrowed from Assyrian. Assyrian is an East Semitic language that was heavily influenced by Sumerian (a non-Semitic language). The loss of aleph, ayin, and back fricatives (excellent consonants to lose, if you ask my throat), and their replacement by vowels, severely compromised the integrity of the triconsonantal structure of the language. Assyrian was written using Sumerian script, though among the scribes there some knowledge of the alphabetic script used by the Phoenicians, and apparently some awareness of the originally triconsonantal basis of Assyrian. But if tel was borrowed from the Assyrian tilu, it was presumably borrowed from Assyrian speech.

Telescopium. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

TetraEthyl Lead.

Spanish for `fabric, textile.' From the Latin tela meaning `web, woven fabric.' (In Spanish, Tela araña is `spider web.') The Latin word tela is used in medicine for various thin, web-like layers or membranes.

The Electronically Linked Academy. The WWW site of Scholars Press, which was shut down abruptly at the end of 1999.

T. E. Lawrence
Thomas Edward Lawrence (1888-1935).

TELecom COmpany. At some prehistoric time, I imagine telco might have abbreviated ``telephone company.''

French for `download.'

Long-distance surgery. The surgeon views the operation on closed-circuit high-definition TV, and performs the operation by manipulating one or more robotic arms. Well, that's what it ought to mean, but that's usually called remote surgery or telesurgery. Instead, the word telecision is used to describe the long-distance effects caused by a sharp spear. No?!? What then? A typo? Just a typo for television? What a disappointment.


Fax machine.

A message sent by a simple pulse-code modulation (PCM) scheme, like Morse code, over wires.

I was born the day before my grandfather's birthday; my father sent a telegram: ``HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDPA I WAS BORN YESTERDAY STOP''

One should be alert for those rare opportunities that allow one to realize a figure of speech.

There's a stretch of road near the Princeton University campus that is closed for a day or so each year. The story (I have not confirmed) goes that this action is legally required to demonstrate continued interest in and ownership of the road by the university. If it's true, maybe they could just delegate someone to drive slowly in a wide vehicle, answering everyone with ``Yes, as a matter of fact I do own the road!''

It's been quite a few years since I was born. Does anybody really still use telegrams? ``Marge'' has also gone somewhat out of fashion (which is probably why Homer Simpson's radical-beehive-coiffed wife is named Marge). In any case, any Margaret can always call herself by the etymologically mysterious ``Peggy.'' In the circumstance, there's no point in holding back for a more opportune moment to release the following palindromes:

Marge, let's send a madness telegram!

Marge lets Norah see Sharon's telegram.

Telenovela is a Spanish and Portuguese word for `soap opera.' The word has been borrowed in English to refer to Spanish and Portuguese soap operas, and to other soap operas in the same style.

Telenovelas are rarely open-ended, as American soap operas typically are. The earliest telenovelas aired once or twice a week and ran for a year or less. Today they typically last 120 or 150 episodes, airing 5 or 6 times a week for half a year. This difference is probably the main reason for not treating `soap opera' or `prime-time soap opera' as the English translation of telenovela, and for instead simply borrowing the Spanish term. I've also seen the loan translation ``ópera de jabón'' used in Spanish.

For someone like me, who has watched a total of perhaps 3 or 4 hours of telenovelas on Univision and Telemundo in his entire life, the duration of a series is not noticeable or usually even knowable. If you want a broad survey representing, for all I know, millions of hours of viewing, see the Wikipedia entry. Following are just the salient features from my own perspective.

Most of the actresses and many of the actors are, as in American soap operas, very attractive. The hair tends to be more luxuriant. I was surprised to see waist-length, smooth, bottle-blond hair, on a man, in a historical (Colonial-era) show, but I think he was supposed to be an Anglo. Some of the characters (particularly the less gorgeous older men, I guess) are conveniently rich and powerful. Big surprise there, too. Personal servants of various sorts -- chauffeurs, valets, etc. -- figure in the stories as they do not, I think, in US soaps.

A frequently-used sound effect is the thunderclap. When I first noticed it in El Diablo de los Guapos, I thought it was a distant gunshot or explosion. It's used as punctuation when someone receives shocking news or a revelation. If they're not careful with the timing, some actress is bound to seem as if her jaw fell open because she was shot in the back. As in American soaps, the background noise is either feeble or unnaturally absent. It's particularly noticeable, of course, during the breaks between atmospheric music and scripted speech.

A feature I was pleased to see much in absence was the common daytime-soap practice of people speaking to the backs of others in the foreground, so both can face the camera. Maybe this reflects the fact that showing someone your back is a greater social provocation among Latins. Then again, it might be a diachronic thing. Screens are getting wider; I haven't seen an English-language daytime soap in a while, and maybe the trend is now to spread actors' heads further apart (sounds surgical, no?) so they can speak while facing forward or almost forward beside each other.

Cleverly or perhaps just sensibly, on at least some telenovelas, the episodes (Spanish translation: los episodios) are called capítulos, `chapters.' A major subgenre of telenovelas is set in the colonial era. These shows are striking because they are like and unlike US westerns. On one hand, horseback and coaches are the main forms of transportation apart from feet. Along with the clothing and scenery, they immediately remind one of westerns, the main US genre featuring horses. On the other hand, westerns are set in the US West during a relatively brief period of rapid expansion and proverbial lawlessness. The Mexican genre represents a more settled civilization. One immediately wonders why so few movies, never mind TV programs, are set in the American East during the long era before the introduction of the automobile.

Superior to email because it saves on disk space.

[Phone icon]

Also known menacingly as ``the instrument.'' Early telephones were not direct-dial. (Cf. DDD.) Here's a family of horn-nosed wooden robot heads with metallic eyes.

This evening an attractive young woman asked if she could have my home phone number. With flat affect, I just said ``no.'' She doesn't usually get no for an answer, but she saw the humor in the situation and her smile broadened. I was paying with cash anyway, but I'm sure she realized that I'm the kind of guy who doesn't follow the crowd; I'm classy, even if I do dress like a homeless person. I've got to shop more often at K's Merchandise; they make me feel like a rock star.

[Phone icon]

telephone ringing
When you make a call, the ringing you hear (called ringback) is generated electronically; you're not hearing any phone at the destination of your call, any more than you hear anything from the destination when you get a busy signal. You hear a single phone ringing whether there be zero, one, or multiple phones connected at your destination.

In the US, the busy signal should be 480 and 620 Hz interrupted at 1 Hz. Normal ringing should be 350 and 440 Hz, 2 seconds on, 4 off. Ten rings is a minute. Hang up already! [Unless you have automatic camp-on.] Cf. RG.

A self-telemarketer.

An English noun for an artificial mound that covers, or is assumed to cover, ancient ruins. It's a loan word from Arabic. It's a funny term, ``loan word.'' Like we plan to give it back. Arabic can have as many English words as it likes, but I don't think they'd have much use for a tell, especially since it's been fitted with the double ell. I suppose it was transliterated with two ells to make the pronunciation evident. The Hebrew cognate when transliterated usually comes across as tel. In Hebrew, Arabic, and various other Semitic languages, it's spelled with a single lamed (or lam, etc.); i.e., it is written with just two consonants. Ironically, the three-consonant spelling in English apparently restores the original three-consonant form of the Proto-Semitic root. See the tel entry for details.

The Electronic Library Of Science. An imprint of Springer-Verlag New York. You'd kind of expect them to have a web presence, and as of 2005 they do, but it's all indirect, so I judge that the imprint has been discontinued. With publishing facilities on a ``Pruneridge Avenue'' (in Santa Clara, CA), I'm not surprised. According to the blurb on one of their books (from 1997): ``All TELOS publications [had] a computational orientation to them, as TELOS' primary publishing strategy [was] to wed the traditional print medium with the emerging new electronic media in order to provide the reader with a truly interactive [etc.].''

Transmission Electron Microscop{e|y}. The original ``electron microscope'' was invented by Ruska in 1935. Essentially arranged like an optical microscope, but using electrons. Samples are usually thinned in a multistep process down to no more than a micron thickness, and typically 0.2µm and less.

Lookee here. And this site too.

Transverse Electro-Magnetic. (Typically refers to nature of waveguide-confined microwave mode.) Cf. TE, TM.

TExas Medieval Association.

I know what you're thinking, but no, it's not a political party.

Trace Elements in Man and Animals.

Towing Equipment Manufacturers Association. TEMA became an NTEA affiliate organization in 1984.

N,N,N',N'-TEtraMethylEthyleneDiamine. Catalyst for polymerization.

Pronounced tem-PEA. If you followed football you would know this.

Once a woman in a library paused and needed help pronouncing Chaminade. ("Shah-m'NOD," secondary stress on the first syllable, of course.) I didn't want to embarrass her, so I didn't add that -- as everyone else recalls -- the biggest upset in college basketball history took place when the No. 1-ranked Virginia Cavaliers, with the No. 1-ranked college player Ralph Sampson, were shocked in Honolulu by little Chaminade, an 800-student NAIA school. Chaminade player Richard Haenisch recalled

Nobody knew how to say our name. They thought it rhymed with ``lemonade.'' Then you heard people say, ``Yes, Virginia, there is a Chaminade.''

The historic game took place on December 23, 1982. What many regard as the pivotal play was an alley-oop to Tim Dunham. Haenisch, now a broker in Los Angeles, recalled ``Dunham said he was 6-1 or 6-2. He was 5-10.'' (For more on lying about heights, see the recent photograph entry.) Twenty years later, Dunham is the pastor of the Greater Faith Missionary Baptist Church in Pittsburg, California, and I'm tempted to list that church in the nomen est omen entry. He doesn't discuss his height, but he does say this:

Every once in a while you meet people who ask me what I did, and I make mention of that victory. And it's ``Oh yeah, I remember that.''

temporal logic
A philosophers' plaything. More commonly called a tense logic.

temporarily out of order
Out of order, and we don't plan to replace it.

Trans-Europ N{ight|acht|uit|otte|...}. Old name for international sleeping-car trains in Europe. It's hard to believe, but the ``continent'' of Europe is actually large enough that you could once catch some shut-eye going across it. Cf. TEE.

Try Red Feather Institute. This spot (T. R. Young's own private universe) has some wonderful examples of tedious and completely specious invocations of Science. Stay with it, self-parody is the best kind. You'll warm to the unintended humor. Entertainment value, and not mere justice, is the real reason political censorship should be strenuously opposed.

Texas Educational NETwork.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation. A kind of E-STIM, q.v.

tense logic
It's not that the logic is particularly on edge, and it's not the logic of being edge (that would be tenseness logic, I suppose). That's two things it's not, and perhaps that still leaves open a few possibilities. But why should I explain it here when I already explained it before?

Totally Enclosed, NonVentilated (motor). Since it's totally enclosed, you might ask: ``ventilate what''? The outside of the housing, for cooling purposes.

ThermoElectric Power.

Turbulent EquiPartition. A useful concept in plasma physics.

Tepco, TEPCO
Tokyo Electric Power CO. They got a little bit of unwanted free publicity after the tsunami that hit Japan in 2011.

TetraEthyl PyroPhosphate.

Transient-Evoked OtoAcoustic Emission[s] (OAE).

TetraEthOxySilane or tetraethosiloxane or tetraethyl orthosilicate. All equivalent names for Si(OC2H5)4. Liquid source used for pyrolytic deposition of SiO2.

TERrence. P. Terentius Afer (d. 159 BCE). Wrote Roman comedies. Roman comedy is a rare taste. Roman holidays, on the other hand, are not just rare but downright bloody.

Train Express Régional. French for `regional express train.'

You know, there really isn't any such thing as a French language. What they do is, they sprinkle some accents on English words, scramble the word order a bit, and pronounce it funny. Basically, it's just bad English.

Cf. franglais.

Editions Trans-Europ-Repress. A French publisher of scholarly reprint editions.

The Education Resources Institute.

Temperature and Emissivity measurements by Reflection Method.


terminate with extreme prejudice
A technical TERM that we finish off at the kill -9 entry.

termite flatulence
It contributes to global warming.

A nonce word compounded of terrarium and -ology, with an epenthetic t. The word seems to exist in English primarily to translate the German word Terrarienkunde, which means something like, say, ``the study of the care of terrarium animals.'' More at the DGHT entry.

tertiary education
The kind of education that is called post-secondary in the US. Since the term ``secondary education'' appears to be widespread, this usage is natural, but among the larger English-speaking countries, it seems to be standard only in Australia and common in Britain, but unusual in North America. I've seen the term ``third-level education'' in Irish documents.

Teaching English as a Second Language. This seems to assume knowledge of a first language. Since the second language (L2) is, not to examine the point too closely, a foreign language, TESL and TEFL are the same thing.

Teaching English as a Second Language to Adults. TEFLA is a far more common term.

Tesla, Nikola
Brilliant; wildly successful and tragic; practical problem-solver and visionary idealist; self-promoting and underappreciated; a Serb (deal with it). (Pretending that he was a Croat because he was born in Croatia is not ``dealing'' with it.) His cult status should come as no surprise. Here's a sober site. He also has autobiography on line.

An explanation of his revolutionary brushless AC motor is given in Jack Foran's ``The Day They Turned The Falls On: The Invention Of The Universal Electrical Power System.''

SI unit of magnetic induction (B). One tesla `equals' 10,000 gauss. The tesla unit, like the majority of SI name units (and most of the ones used by physicists), is abbreviated as a single capital letter (`T').

[E]quals is in quotes above because different electromagnetic units correspond to different systems of equations. In general, one does not directly measure a quantity like magnetic field or even mass, but measures, say, the motion of a charged or massive particle and derives the field or mass from an appropriate equation. Although any given set of equations is equivalent to any other, the relations between various quantities differ by multiplicative factors (typically factors of four pi between rationalized and unrationalized systems, and dimensional factors like c as well). In other words, the statement the ``one tesla equals 10,000 gauss'' should be interpreted in the following way: if the magnetic induction (BrMKS) in a rationalized-MKSA description has a magnitude of 1 tesla, then the magnetic induction (Bcgs) in cgs-Gaussian units has a magnitude of 104.

There are no excellent descriptions of the situation that I am aware of, but a good explanation, covering the most popular systems to a greater or lesser extent, is given in Jackson

Teaching English as a Second or foreign language -- an Electronic Journal (outlink here). This link is served from Japan. It stands to reason. The subways of Tokyo are filled with advertisements showing beautiful girls in bikinis and wedding dresses, encouraging Japanese strap-hangers to learn this important language of commerce and social intercourse.

Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. Founded in 1966, headquarted in Alexandria, Virginia. As they explain, ``TESOL -- teachers of English to speakers of other languages -- is an acronym that refers to both the field itself and the professional association.'' Indeed, I've seen TESOL expanded as the name of the activity engaged in by the profession: ``Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.''

TESOL is one of those few organizations that is not a US college or university but that has an .edu domain name. After launching a new site at the their .org domain, they stopped updating the .edu site.

TEmporary Sleep Station. A temporary station for sleeping aboard the ISS. A guest bed for visitors from Earth. It is used as a bed when it's not otherwise occupied as a purple duck, or a mountainside, or a quarter after three. Whoops, got my functions mixed up there. When it's not a sleep station, it's a hygiene station. When the TeSS is converted from a hygiene station into a sleep station, its hygiene liner is removed, its filters stowed in Ziploc bags, and the blanket reinstalled. If this is the International space station, why can't they bring in someone for a low-wage country to do this stuff? Anyway, visitors also need, um, hygienic facilities, so a part of the lab is converted to that purpose for the duration. I suppose there's some good reason why they don't just have visitors sleep in the lab. I've slept in labs. I'm sure it beats the sidewalk grating across the street from the White House. You can read more about visitor accommodations at this ISS status log for May 25, 2009.

TESS, Tess
Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. A satellite to survey nearby stars in search of planets. Specifically, it is meant to search for systematic dimming that indicates the transit of an exoplanet across the face of its sun. The project is under development by a collaboration led by G.R. Richter of MIT, and as of this writing (June 15, 2009) is one of six finalists for a slot on NASA's launch manifest as a ``small explorer'' (SMEX) mission.

Tess of the d'Urbervilles
An 1891 novel by Thomas Hardy, subtitled ``A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented.'' This is not a happy story. I don't even want to think about it. I wish people would stop giving girls, satellites and ISS facilities names like Teresa or Tess.

Latin, `according to.' Used to indicate oral testimony, as opposed to fide -- written testimony.

A steroid. An endochrine hormone present in much larger concentrations in men than in women.

Transcutaneous Energy Transmission. Any scheme for wireless power supply of implanted medical devices. A typical TET scheme is essentially a distributed transformer. The primary of the transformer lies outside the skin, and an AC current put through the primary coil generates a time-varying AC voltage across the terminals of a secondary coil, located subcutaneously and electrically attached to whatever it is you want to power. A full-wave rectifier (four diodes in a bridge, with a little capacitance in parallel to smooth the output) will produce a serviceable DC, but sometimes it's more convenient simply to use AC.

Transient Energy Transfer.

No definition. I'm just practicing accents today.

TransEuropean Trunked RAdio.


tetrahedral, tetrahedron
A regular tetrahedron is the surface formed when four equal equilateral triangles are joined at the edges or the solid enclosed by that surface. This triangular pyramid is the Platonic solid having the smallest number of faces. [``Tetra hedron'' means ``four face'' in Greek.]

If four atoms (``nearest neighbors'') are at a constant distance from some other (``central'') atom, while the sum of the distances (or squared distances) among themselves is maximal, then the four neighbors are arranged at the corners of a tetrahedron, at equal distances sqrt(8/3) a from each other, where a is the distance from the central atom to any of the nearest neighbors. The angle between any two neighbors, measured from the center, is the ``tetrahedral angle'' Arccos(-1/3) ~= 109.47° ~= 1.910633 radians from each other.

Maximization problems like this (sometimes called ``dictators on a planet'' problems) are quite difficult to treat analytically or generally in cases where the number of points whose separation sum is to be maximized does not equal the number of vertices in a regular solid.

tetrahedral bonds
The tetrahedral structure defined in the previous paragraph is assumed by the silicate and ammonium ions, by methane and silane, and by very many other simple chemical species. The reason is that the valence electrons in many cases bond in ``hybridized sp³ orbitals.'' This is apparent for carbon and silicon bonding, but occurs in hidden form in many other species. The angle defined by H--O--H would be tetrahedral, for example, but for the difference in electrostatic repulsion between unbonded electron pairs and bonded hydrogen atoms.

Technical Escort Unit. The US Army's hazmat folks, part of SBCCOM. Their mission is to ``conduct no-notice deployment to provide chemical and biological advice, verification, sampling, detection, mitigation, render safe, decontamination, packaging, escort and remediation of chemical and biological devices or hazards worldwide in support of crisis or consequence management and chemical and biological defense equipment, technical intelligence and doctrine development.''

Twenty-foot (container) Equivalent Unit. A measure of cargo volume. The twenty-foot container referred to is a box standardized for convenient multi-modal transfer -- by crane between truck or train or a stack on a ship.

TeraElectronVolt. (When the unit is spelled out in ordinary text, it should be in lower case -- teraelectronvolt. Then again, the SI people frown on electron volts as a unit, so frown right back. Anyway, no one writes it out.) A teravolt is 1012 volts; 1 TeV = 1000 GeV

Today's English Version (of the Bible). Much better known as the golden paperback entitled The Good News Bible. Published in 1976.

Bible purchases go up in bad times. I suppose you could put them in your portfolio as an anticyclical hedge. To judge from this CNN article, Bible sales rise ten to twenty percent during recessions.

Typesetting language developed by Donald Knuth. DK, a very bright fellow, insists that the X is pronounced like kh -- that is, like ch in Loch or Bach, written /x/ in the IPA. This is supposed to conform to the identification of ``X'' as a Greek letter chi. In fact, however, it is fairly clear that the Greek chi was a hard k sound, the aitch being used in transliteration (as in the root for chiral and Christ, to say nothing of chiastic) to indicate aspiration.

TeX is a bit inconvenient to learn, but equivalent functionality is available nowhere else. Also, unlike the equation editor in Framemaker, it won't leave you raving in anger, usually.

Present participle of the verb to text, meaning to send a cell-phone text message. ``For Texting Teens, an OMG Moment When the Phone Bill Arrives'' was the title of a front-page article in the Washington Post (by Margaret Webb Pressler; Sunday, May 20, 2007). Sophia Rubenstein, 17, was interviewed for the article. She's in the demographic (``those between the ages of 13 and 24'') that is ``most likely to send and receive text messages'' (see also sexting). In April, she racked up 6,807 (outgoing) text messages. Supposing that she sleeps eight hours a day and does not text in her sleep, that means she texted at a rate of one message every 4 minutes and 14 seconds while awake (see Blackberry thumb). ``For a teenager to send thousands of text messages a month is not unusual,'' said John Johnson, a spokesman for Verizon Wireless. Last month the company introduced an unlimited texting plan because even its highest bundle of free text messages -- 5,000 a month -- wasn't enough.

text critic
Text critics are practitioners of text criticism. This is a scholarly discipline -- a branch of philology -- that tries to recover the original text of a work. Text critics produce scholarly editions, and are thus also known as editors. The coolest thing about them is their cute viciousness. They are quintessential demonstrations of the saw that academic quarrels are vicious because the stakes are small. (It's an old observation, dating back at least to Woodrow Wilson, but it is currently widely attributed to Henry Kissinger. Of course, in their own eyes the stakes seem enormous.)

The most vicious swordsman of text-critical combat was A. E. Housman, and it's surprising I don't have a good example of his rapier wit eviscerating some inferior prior editor of Manilius, say. I'll have to find some later. (For an example of his general cattiness, see Housman, A. E.) I only came here to give an example from Samuel Johnson...

In 1744, Sir Thomas Hanmer published an Oxford edition of Shakespeare's works. It came out in time for Samuel Johnson, who was writing Observations on Macbeth (1745), to add a section to it of Remarks on Sir T.H.'s Edition of Shakespeare, which included this nice bit, which I can only think to call an extended paralipsis:

Surely the weapons of criticism ought not to be blunted against an editor who can imagine that he is restoring poetry while he is amusing himself with alterations like these....

A distributor of books in Spanish. The word texto has about the same semantic range in Spanish as text does in English.

A Macintosh implementation of the language REXX, written by Jose Aguirre. The name does not reflect the fact that he was living in Texas at the time. It does reflect the fear that ``Rexx'' might be a copyright infringement and that ``Sexx'' might offend.

The above is based on J.A.'s communication with Antreas P. Hatzipolakis, quoted in Anopolis.

Total Electron Yield (a synchrotron X-ray source technique).

Teaching English to Young Learners.

(Domain name extension for) French Southern Territories.

Task Force. In Spanish: ``grupo de tareas'' (GT).

Technical Feasibility.

Thomas-Fermi. Refers to the first kind of statistical approximation to the energy of many-electron systems, proposed independently by E. Fermi and by Thomas: The calculation essentially uses the classical energy in the 6-dimensional phase space for independent particles, a self-consistent potential energy in the classical energy, and a phase space density of 1/(aitch-bar)^3 per spin below the Fermi energy (and zero above). In other words, the energy is a functional of the (spatial) electron density, and the Fermi energy and the total system energy (as well as the electron density and its functionals) are found by minimizing the energy subject to the constraint on particle number (or average density, for infinite systems).

Numerous improvements have been suggested over the years, principally to incorporate exchange effects. [Or exchange and correlation effects, since TF has traditionally been compared to Hartree-Fock (HF) theory.] For a thorough review of Thomas-Fermi theories, see Elliott H. Lieb: ``Thomas-Fermi and Related Theories of Atoms and Molecules,'' Reviews of Modern Physics, 53, 603-641 (Oct. 1981).

In 1960 or 61, Edward Teller proved a surprising theorem, that under naïve TF theory there was no binding of neutral molecules. Despite the nonbinding theorem, TF theory eventually turned out to play a rôle in proving the stability of matter (not that the stability of matter was ever much in doubt, but one wanted to know that it is guaranteed within the quantum formalism we use).

The logical continuation of Thomas-Fermi theory is in electron density functional theory (DFT).

{Time|Trade} For. Originally short for TFP and/or TFCD: Time (in exchange) For Prints and/or image files on a CD. Now, of course, the digital image files might be transferred in some other way than on a CD. TF, TFCD, or TFP is an arrangement between a photographer and a model in which the model's compensation doesn't include money.

Toroidal Field.

True or False. Often, that's the fallacy right there.

Texas Faculty Association. Affiliated with the Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA, q.v.).

TriFluoroAcet{ ate | ic [acid] }.

Total Fault Coverage.

{Time|Trade} in exchange For image files on CD. See this TF entry.

Thin Film Diffractomet{ er | ry }.

TetraFluoroEthylene. See TEFLON.

Thermionic Field Emission. You know: the Edison effect.

Tunneling Field-Effect Transistor.

The Five Gospels. Also T5G. A publication of the Jesus Seminar. The fifth gospel, in addition to the four canonical ones, is the Gospel of Thomas, q.v..

Gee, the number of gospels is proliferating. In the Summer of 2002 the Bible Review has an article by Charlie Hedrick on ``the 34 gospels.''

Transport For London.

Texas Foreign Language Association. Founded in 1953. Member of ACTFL, SWCOLT, and JNCL/NCLIS.

Tennessee Foreign Language Institute. (They have a logo in which the fourth initial is in lower case, and the dot on that i is a globe.) They have an address on French Landing Drive.

TriFluoroMethane Sulfonic Acid.

Tandem-Free Operation.

{Time|Trade} in exchange For Prints. See this TF entry.

Thermal Flashblindness Protection Device.

Temporary Flight Restriction.

Thomas-Fermi-Scott. A form of Thomas-Fermi (TF) theory incorporating a correction that accounts for the bounded density of electrons in the vicinity of a nucleus. First proposed by J. M. S. Scott in Phil. Mag. 43, 859 (1952) as a kind of surface correction at the origin, it takes the form of excluding from the integration of the Thomas-Fermi functional a region of radius 1/Z around a nucleus with Z protons, and replacing it with a contribution Z² /2 to the energy (all in atomic units: radius in bohrs (a0), energy in hartrees (H).

Much later, a more `rigorous' derivation was given by Julian Schwinger in Phys. Rev. A 22, 1827 (1980), obtaining the same coefficient of Z² in the correction.

Thin-Film SOI.

Thin Film Transistor.

Texas Federation of Teachers.

Texas teachers do not have collective bargaining.


Thesaurus formarum totius Latinitatis a Plauto usque ad saeculum XXum There may be some information on it on this page. Also known as Cetedoc Index of Latin Forms. (CILF).

Trivial File Transfer Protocol.

Tokomak Fusion Test Reactor. At Princeton University Forrestal Plasma Lab. Decomissioned already.

The Film Whose Name Shall Not Be Uttered. Medievalists' name for the movie Braveheart, a movie whose poster could illustrate the fraud, anachronism, and bad history entries in any medievalist's dictionary. See the sword-and-sorcery entry.

Toxic eFfeCtS. The order of the letters is correct. F/X is a near homonym used to stand for effects.

Task Group. A productive affix. E.g., ASC X12 has a DLTG (Delegate Liaison Task Group) and an O & P TG.

Tax Guide.

ThermoGravimetry. This is like DLTS, except that one measures mass (rather than capacitance as in DLTS) as a function of changing temperature. You might object that mass is conserved, but so is charge. The idea is Zen: you gotta let go. In this case, you gotta let go gases that escape from the decomposition of carbonates, the evaporation of water, and the evaporation or sublimation or combustion of other impurities (like organics, because critters get into ever'thang).

(Domain name extension for) Togo.

Tongue and Groove.

Transformational Grammar.


Thermal Gas Analysis or Thermal Gravimetric Analysis. Not, as far as I know, the same thing. I suggest using ``TG'' for the latter.

Twisted Grain Boundary. Nematic liquid crystals (maybe with some cholesteric mixed in) forced into a cholesteric phase by boundary conditions (patterned ITO, for example). The basis of TN, STN, DSTN, MSTN, etc. displays.

Traffic Guidance Computer.

That's Good Enough. Sometimes used disparagingly, but better is the worst enemy of good.

Thank God It's Friday. For all I know, this may have influenced some people to become Seventh-Day Adventists.

Thermally Grown Oxide.

[Phone icon]

Tinfoil Gaucho Pants. Mnemonic for a new (in 1996) area code (847) in suburban Chicago. In the old days, area codes were three-digit sequences distinguished by the fact that their second digits were zero or one. Since these numbers are not associated with mnemonic letters on the dialing disc or button pad, there were no area code mnemonics. With the inexorable increase in phone lines, heavily abetted by the unexpectedly rapid proliferation of cellular phones, as well as fax machines and pagers, there has been a need for more US area codes (45 new ones since 1994). As a result, area codes are now distinguished by the fact that they are preceded by an access code. From within the US, the access code is ``1.'' From outside the US, that's the country code, which happens to be ``1'' for the US (and Canada).

In many other countries, the area codes (or ``city codes'') are distinguished by the fact that they begin in zero (wait long enough after the zero without entering another digit and you get an operator). You omit the zero if you're dialing in from out-of-country.

TRU is one company mentioned here with the TGP area code.

TriGlyceride Sulfate.

Train[s] à grande vitesse. French, `high speed train[s].'

This page has some pictures and speed records. The Washington University of Saint Louis electronic picture archive has a number of jpegs of French high speed trains:

Train[s] à grande vitesse (TGV) Atlantique. A particular model of TGV, named after LGV (Ligne pour trains à Grande Vitesse Atlantique), the line on which it first appeared.

Train[s] à grande vitesse (TGV) Paris-Sud-Est. A particular model of TGV. The first model on LGV-PSE (Ligne pour trains à Grande Vitesse Paris-Sud-Est), the first line of the LGV. They're painted orange. On dedicated high-speed track, they move at 270 kph (that's km/h), although there may have been an upgrade to the 300 kph standard for the other trains.

Train[s] à grande vitesse (TGV) Réseau. A particular French line. A part of LGV (Ligne pour trains à Grande Vitesse).

Transport and General Workers Union. British.

Technische Hochschule.

T. H.
Terence Hanbury (White) (1906-1964).

(Domain name extension for) Thailand (Siam).

Thorium. Atomic number 90.

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

Postal code for Thuringia (Thüringen 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.]

Its area is 16,171 sq. km. The population in 1997 was about 2.5 million. The capital is Weimar. Thuringia is in the part of Germany that used to be East Germany, but it went out of existence as a separate state in 1934 and was only reconstituted following reunification in 1990.


Tyrosine Hydroxylase.

Theater High-Altitude Area Defense. Designation of a particular Army interceptor-missile program.

Trajectory prediction Handling Airspace and Aircraft models Linked to Evaluation Software. Presumably the extinguishing system on this highly flammable system is called Anaaximander.

Thanks for the free lecture.

Three garbage-bin covers at McDonald's.

At Eats 'n' Sweets, an ice-cream-and-pizza place on PA-611 in Scotrun, the garbage bins say

           _________  ________ 
          |  TRASH  ||  FEED  |
          | MONSTER ||   ME   |

               THANK  YOU

That's how it is: with the big chains you get consistency. With the independents you get personality.

Thank you, we'll take care of it.
We'll begin ignoring it immediately.

Textes pour l'histoire de l'Antiquité tardive. `Texts for the history of late antiquity.' A GdR within the SHS department of CNRS.

That sort of performance issue is really a matter of judgement.
We just run the software installation packages. We can't fix stuff that doesn't work. If you want things to work as well as they used to, you'll have to wait for the patches to the upgrade.

That's weird!
That's pretty ordinary, but I have all the sophistication of a medium-size houseplant.

Tasmanian Home Brewing Supplies.

Tetra-Hydro Cannabinol. Psychoactive element in pot.

The History Channel. Widely known as the WWII channel. Broadcasting only programs on historical events (like a program on the making of ``Band of Brothers,'' a WWII miniseries) isn't much of a constraint, since pretty much all nonfiction will count as history, while fiction is part of the atmosphere relevant to a proper contextualization of history, or at least ``illustrative.'' It's hard to think of anything THC couldn't find some excuse to broadcast, given the proper framing-narrative fig leaf.

I suppose that there's a lot more material, particularly moving-image material, available for WWII than for earlier historical events, but the prevalence of WWII programs must reflect some editorial decision-making as well. THC could probably put together a pretty substantial retrospective on how the war went in Vietnam -- wouldn't that be fun?

As you can tell from the wussy punches I'm landing, my heart isn't really in the task of lampoo--er, I mean writing a glossary entry for THC. The truth is that THC is my favorite TV channel, and in recent years I probably haven't gone more than a semester without watching at least a half hour of it. It's a shame I didn't watch any TV during the week that Nielsen had me fill out a diary; I'd've been happy to contribute to their statistics.

As long as I'm here and I'm not contributing anything useful, I might as well unload my burden of opinions about the popular presentation of nonfiction in general. I'm not going to discuss news, since I'm still getting over a cold and I don't think my stomach could handle that.

(This bit is under construction, see?)

Let's take a moment here to recall Lyndon Johnson's alleged comment about Gerald Ford -- that he was so stupid he couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time. This was widely reported when Gerald Ford was appointed US Veep, replacing ``disgraced former Vice President'' Spiro Agnew, and again when he assumed the presidency, replacing disgraced former president Richard Nixon (and again any time news cameras caught the athletic president stumbling). You could claim that Ford advanced because of his personal virtues, but that wouldn't be the complete story. Later it was revealed that the chew-gum version was a bowdlerization, and what LBJ had really said was that Ford couldn't fart at the same time. (Later yet it turned out that the retailer of the revised version was unable to provide a source for his claim. But what does evidence matter? Details at the Veep entry.) People seemed to think that the earthier version was more demeaning to one or both of the former presidents, but they're wrong. Was it walk-and-fart or chew-gum-and-fart? I forget. Either way, it may require careful sphincter control with simultaneous control of nearby (walking) or other GI-tract-related (gum) muscles. Now look, if you're not interested in the larger point I'm trying to make, you could read something else about reporter language competence or something else about the accidental president.

(To be continued.)

Total HydroCarbon[s]. When semiconductor people use this phrase, they're including proteins and fats and oils -- really any unwanted organic contamination from the filthy humans in their inadequate clean-room bunny suits. If only they wouldn't breathe, that would help too. ``Carbohydrates'' in this case are only part of ``hydrocarbons.''

Tetra-Hydro CannabiVarin. Psychoactive element in pot.

Doctor of THinkology. The degree which the Wizard of Oz, by the power vested in him by common Latin proverbs, conferred upon the scarecrow, honoris causa.

The sum of the square roots of the sides equals the square root of the hypotenuse, according to the scarecrow's acceptance address.

Total Harmonic Distortion. Sounds like a great heavy metal concept.

Square root of the ratio of power in all harmonics (or very commonly for audio, all harmonics up to 20 kHz) to power in signal.

Trastorno de Hiperactivad con Déficit de Atención. Spanish, `Hyperactivity Disorder with Attention Deficit,' used as a translation of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The US NIMH uses a similar-seeming term, Trastorno Hiperactivo de Déficit de Atención. There are two indications here that the good folks at NIMH are thinking in English: (1) the expression they use means `Hyperactive Disorder of Attention Deficit,' as if the disorder rather than the person exhibited hyperactivity, and (2) they abbreviate it ADHD.

More at the TDA entry.

Texas Higher Education Assessment.

the Academy
You're doubtless curious why this is alphabetized under the article. Is it to stress that the article, even though uncapitalized, functions as a part of the name, making ``the Academy'' a kind of compound noun and allowing everyone to understand exactly which Academy is meant? No. It's alphabetized this way for other people, people less intelligent than you, who are apt to look here for their ``Academy.'' Those people very reasonably use ``the Academy'' in-house as a short version of their Academy's name. Less reasonably, they suppose that out of the thousands of academies in existence, theirs is the one that will leap to the mind of a stranger when they say ``the Academy.'' Particularly despicable are those human ruminants who refuse to recognize an alternative acronym form of their organization's name. (Check out CUS also.)

Thirty centuries ago, as history emerged from the mists of ancient legend, an Athenian hero named Hekademos owned some land about a mile northwest of Athens. He donated the land to the city for a park, and over the years it was developed into a center for religion, sports, and education. In 388 or 387 BCE, a former playwright and politician named Aristocles established his own school in that park. Aristocles was better known by a nickname meaning `broad' or `wide,' which may have referred to his being broad-shouldered or to his having a wide forehead. The Greek root for `flat' and `broad' is related to the English word ``flat'': plat-. Aristocles was called Plato.

The park where Plato taught was named Hekademeia, and eventually Akademeia (these names seem more similar in Greek than English). Plato's school became so famous that eventually, Akademeia (our word Academy) came to refer to his school and his followers.

the acronyms
That is, acronyms that include an initial T representing the word the. Here is a list of those I could find in this glossary -- mostly ones that begin with the T of the. Apart from the phrases compressed for email, major sources of such acronyms are Christian liturgy and television channels, and SBF.

  1. AOTBTY (All Of The Best To You)
  2. ATB (All The Best)
  3. ATG (Albert The Great -- no, not Einstein)
  4. ATG (Alexander The Great)
  5. ATM (At The Moment)
  6. ATWT (As The World Turns)
  7. BTW (By The Way)
  8. COTF (Classroom Of The Future)
  9. DSOTM (``Dark Side Of The Moon'')
  10. DtB (Down The Back)
  11. DtF (Down The Front)
  12. DWTC (Down With The Clown)
  13. FITL (Fiber In The Loop)
  14. FLOTUS (First Lady Of The United States)
  15. FOTA (Future Of The Alliance)
  16. FTAOD (For The Avoidance Of Doubt)
  17. FTHOI (For The Hell Of It)
  18. FTL (Fruit of The Loom)
  19. FTN (Face The Nation)
  20. GOTV (Get Out The Vote)
  21. GWTW (Gone With The Wind)
  22. HotS (Harvard Of The South)
  23. ITC (In The City -- the inclusion of this initialism probably proves that I have no shame)
  24. JTS (Jump The Shark)
  25. LotR (Lord Of The Rings)
  26. LOTS (Logistics Over The Shore)
  27. MOTAS (Member Of The Appropriate Sex)
  28. MOTOS (Member Of The Opposite Sex)
  29. MOTSS (Member Of The Same Sex)
  30. MTP (Meet The Press)
  31. nitle (Not In The Latest Explorator)
  32. OTH (Over The Horizon)
  33. OTOH (On The Other Hand)
  34. OTR (Over The Road)
  35. OTT (Over The Top)
  36. OTTOMH (Off The Top Of My Head)
  37. PLUTO (PipeLine[s] Under The Ocean)
  38. POTM (Phase Of The Moon)
  39. POTM (Programmer Of The Month)
  40. POTPOTUS (Part, nudge-nudge, Of The POTUS)
  41. POTUS (President Of The United States)
  42. PTL (Praise The Lord)
  43. RITL (Radio In The Loop)
  44. ROTFL (Rolling On The Floor Laughing)
  45. ROTFLMAO (Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off)
  46. ROTFLMFO (Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Face Off)
  47. ROTFLMGO (Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Guts Out)
  48. ROTFLMHO (Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Head Off)
  49. ROTFLYAO (Rolling On The Floor Laughing Your Ass Off)
  50. ROTK (Return Of The King)
  51. ROTM (Run Of The Mill)
  52. ROTTI (Rights Of The Terminally Ill)
  53. RTFM (Read The Manual)
  54. SCOTUS (Supreme Court Of The United States)
  55. SftP (Science For The People)
  56. SOTM (Satellite communications On-The-Move)
  57. SotRT (Society Of The Rusting TARDIS)
  58. SOTU (State Of The Union)
  59. STB (Shit The Bed)
  60. ST:TAS (Star Trek: The Animated Series)
  61. ST:TNG (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
  62. ST:TOS (Star Trek: The Original Series)
  63. STTSP (Save The Trafalgar Square Pigeons)
  64. TAE (American Enterprise)
  65. TAF (Africanist Foundation)
  66. TAFKAC (Archive Formerly Known As Cathouse)
  67. TAFKAP (Artist Formerly Known As Prince)
  68. TAIC (A______s In Charge)
  69. TAJ (Acts of Jesus)
  70. TAP (Airline of Portugal -- false etymology)
  71. TAP (American Prospect)
  72. TAP (American Psychoanalyst)
  73. TAS (American Spectator)
  74. TAS (Animated [Star Trek] Series)
  75. TBTB (Bastards That Be)
  76. TCF (Century Fund)
  77. TCIE (Center for Industrial Effectiveness)
  78. TDN (Detroit News)
  79. TDWI (Data Warehousing Institute)
  80. TELA (Electronically Linked Academy)
  81. TELOS (Electronic Library Of Science)
  82. TERI (Education Resources Institute)
  83. TFG (Five Gospels)
  84. TFWNSNBU (Film Whose Name Shall Not Be Uttered)
  85. THC (History Channel)
  86. THOG (House of God [title of a novel])
  87. THOMAS (House of Representatives Open Multimedia Access System)
  88. TIA (Internet Adaptor)
  89. TIAC (Internet Access Company)
  90. TIACA (International Air Cargo Association)
  91. TIFKAD (Instrument Formerly Known As Dobro)
  92. TIGHAR (International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery)
  93. TIGR (Institute for Genomic Research)
  94. TIIC (Idiots In Charge)
  95. TINCAN (Inland Northwest Community Access Network)
  96. TIP (Industrial Physicist [magazine])
  97. TIPTOP (Internet Pilot To Physics)
  98. TITWB (Trapped In The Wrong Body)
  99. TIWTGLGG (This Is Where The Goofy Little Grin Goes)
  100. TJB (Jerusalem Bible)
  101. TLC (Learning Channel)
  102. tLotF&tHotB (Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave)
  103. TLSC (Llama Steering Committee)
  104. TMC (Movie Channel)
  105. TMMW (Man-Made World)
  106. TMN (Movie Network)
  107. TMR (Medieval Review)
  108. TMS (Metallurgical Society)
  109. TMV (Mars Volta)
  110. TNC (Nature Conservancy)
  111. TNC (New Criterion)
  112. TNG (Next Generation)
  113. TNN (Nashville Network)
  114. TNO (Network Observer)
  115. TNR (New Republic)
  116. TOBY (Office Building of the Year)
  117. TOS (Operating System)
  118. TOS (Original [Star Trek] Series)
  119. TPI (PANSS Institute)
  120. TPM (Philosophy Magazine)
  121. TPTB (Powers That Be)
  122. TRIP (Road Information Program)
  123. TSCG (Surrealist Compliment Generator)
  124. TSL (Svedberg Laboratory)
  125. TSN (Sporting News)
  126. TSN (Sports Network)
  127. TSR (Software Resource)
  128. TSSAA [a missed opportunity]
  129. TST (Shakespeare Theatre)
  130. TTBOMKAB (To The Best Of My Knowledge And Belief)
  131. TTBOMKAU (To The Best Of My Knowledge And Understanding)
  132. TTBOMM (To The Best Of My Memory)
  133. TTG (Tarrance Group)
  134. TTP (TTP Project)
  135. TUC (Utility Connection)
  136. TUCOWS (Ultimate Collection Of Winsock Software)
  137. TWC (Weather Channel)
  138. TWIAVBP (World Is A Very Big Place)
  139. TWUC (Writers' Union of Canada)
  140. TW3 (That Was The Week That Was)
  141. T.Y.W.L.S. (With Punctuation, Even)
  142. T5G (Five Gospels)
  143. WOTD (Word Of The Day)
  144. WTF (What?)
  145. WTH (What The Hell)
  146. wwftd (Worthless Word For The Day)

The phenomenon occurs in other languages, of course, but the only one that occurs to me is DKW, which received an alternate expansion of ``das kleine Wunder.'' One English acronym based on transliterated Arabic words is AQI, in which the A stands for al, the Arabic definite article. The same word is usually el when transliterated from the Egyptian variety of Arabic, and ul when transliterated from Punjabi, but mostly it has entered European languages as al or the syncopated form a-.

Spanish has a number of nouns borrowed from Arabic which still have the definite article al attached. For example, cotton is algodón. It's such a common phenomenon that it gives rise to overcorrection, as in almirante (`admiral'). [As explained at the VADM entry, the word was borrowed with an al on the end. The final l was lost, but the initial a was converted to an al.]

Sometimes, typically through French, this overcorrection enters English. For example, almond, immediately from French, is ultimately from the ancient Greek amygdálê (whence also amygdala, of course), by way of Spanish almendra. See also aceite.

In Commonwealth English spelling, there are a number of words of French origin that end in -re, such as centre, fibre, litre, and nitre. [Few or none of these are instances of the agentive ending -er, which is typically -eur in the French (male) form.] In French, the order of the letters reflects the order of pronunciation. In Received Pronunciation and similar ``non-rhotic'' British accents, the arr in this normally unstressed syllable is hard to detect. In American pronunciations, which are mostly rhotic, the ee is pronounced (as a shwa) before the arr. One of the spelling reforms promulgated by Noah Webster and generally adopted by the new republic was rationalized order of this ending. Theatre was among the words reordered (to theater). Since the advent of movies, however, there has been a tendency, now almost completely dominant, to use theatre for traditional live drama on a stage. No doubt this was partly influenced by the prestige of French culture in general and the English stage in particular.

Interestingly, where German has borrowed French words ending in -re, it has also inverted the final order. The German pronunciation of the final -er is similiar to the British, so the final consonant arr is present practically only in the imagination. The difference (from British) in German spelling reflects the fact that German is substantially phonetic. French borrowings in English normally preserve their original spelling, but that does not normally conflict with their pronunciation. Maintaining the final -re in Theatre would conflict with the German pronunciation, which uses the sound conventionally written -er (and pronounced virtually identically with -e) in native German words.

The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, uses the -er spelling in its name, of course (rather than centre). The KC is one of the few organizations involved in theatre in the US that persists in the theater spelling. They sponsor an ``American College Theater Festival'' that everyone else spells ``American College Theatre Festival.''

In our discussion of Fred Stone, there's a review from the first decade of the 20th century which uses the -re spelling. However, the origin of the quote is uncertain, and it's been through a couple of secondary sourcings (and possible spelling modifications).

The English proper noun Thebes looks like a plural. This is sort of appropriate, since there were two cities named Thebes, and the Greek name they bore is formally plural and is construed plural (viz. Thêbai; it was also sometimes referred to in the singular, as Thêbês).

One Thebes was an ancient Greek city, and now is ancient Greek ruin. It was one of the major settlements of Greece at least as far back as the early bronze age. One day back when I worked at ASU, I gave a ride home to a French colleague. As we were southbound on Rural Road, approaching her apartment, she asked me where I lived, and I said, ``two miles south'' or something close to that. She remarked that that was a very American way to answer. I suppose it's also very American to think that there wasn't any more sensible way to answer, and anyway the local landmarks were unknown to her. It's not like Tempe has named ``neighborhoods.'' (There are also studies that suggest that men find their way more by distances and directions, and women tend to go more by landmarks.) Anyway, it might explain my frustration with descriptions like ``on the south edge of the eastern plain of Boetia.'' Greek Thebes is about 50 km NNW of Athens.

Thebes is also the name of an ancient Egyptian city, about 200 km downriver from Swenet (modern Aswan), or 400 km north of the Sudan border. The ancient Egyptian name of the city was Waset.

the drip
A signature gesture of Bob Fosse (1927-1987): hands limp at the wrist and fingers pointed down, as in ``Cool Hand Luke.'' See also tea-cup fingers.

The House of God
A novel nominally by Samuel Shem, M.D., first published in 1978 and subtitled (in at least some editions) ``The Classic Novel of Life and Death in an American Hospital.'' I think ``Solomon'' would have worked better than ``Samuel.'' Samuel was the last judge before the era of Kings, but Solomon built the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem -- a more literal house of God. Shem is a Hebrew word meaning `name.' Then again, Samuel makes a more precise aliteration in Hebrew: Shmuel vs. Solomon.) Samuel Shem is, of course, a pen name. It is used by the psychiatrist Stephen Joseph Bergman, currently a professor at Harvard, best known for this book and Mount Misery. Both of these are fictionalized accounts of medical training in the US. Despite its satiric tone, THOG is widely attested to be realistic by people who've been through the mill. (Realistic, that is, except for certain burlesques like the orgy in the resuscitation room.)

Bergman received some of his early medical training at Oxford, but his internship was at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Beth Israel is a popular name for synagogues and for hospitals that were originally or are Jewish-affiliated. Beth is the common Hebrew word meaning `house.' The th in this word is generally pronounced like the th in Elizabeth (no, not a coincidence). The th transliterates a tav without a dot inside. Oh no! Not another phonology tangent! Let's just leave it as is.

Tactical High Energy Laser. Not just a general term, but also a particular testbed system built by Northrop Grumman Corp., first successfully tested in 2000. More at the MTHEL entry.

THermal EMission Imaging System. An infrared camera.

Now this is a bit tricky, so pay close attention:
  1. The Odyssey: An ancient Greek epic by Homer. Involves gods and bad things happening to good people. (Well, as good as they come, anyway.)
  2. theodicy: Why bad things happen to good people.
  3. the idiocy: Why bad things happen to stupid people and those who must depend on them. idiot is derived from the ancient Greek word for `layman.'

theory of the campaign
An election or nomination campaign's scenario for how things must go for the campaign to triumph. Distinct from strategy (which ought to be based on the theory of the campaign), and tactics.

There's no ``I'' in ``team''
  1. But there's an ``m'' and an ``e.''
  2. And there's no ``we'' either.
  3. There's one in the IPA spelling: /ti:m/.

There are
The beginning of a flat-footed sentence that will not convey information about the exalted educational attainments of the speaker. Never say ``there are <quantifier> <adjective> <plural noun>.'' Say ``in terms of the <adjective> <plural noun>, our research shows that there are <quantifier> <adjective>.


There is no ham in the pea soup.
Waiterese for ``There's ham in the pea soup and I don't know it.''

There is no ham in the pea soup, I'm sure.
Waiterese for ``I asked the cook, and he also believes incorrectly that the pea soup has no jamón in it.''

There's ham in the pea soup.
Waiterese for ``You know, someone came in earlier wanting to know if there was ham in the pea soup.''

thermic rays
Mostly a nineteenth-century term for infrared rays. Called calorific rays by Sir William Herschel, who discovered them in 1800. The initial discoveries consisted in the observation that when sunlight was refracted through a prism, a surface in the dark region near the red part of the spectrum was warmed. It was similarly discovered that some chemical reactions were promoted in the dark region beyond violet. For a while, it was generally assumed that these other rays were in some essential qualitative way different from visible light. It took a while to understand that the differences were essentially quantitative only (wavelength or frequency or some equivalent), and that the fact that some kinds of light-like radiation were visible and some not was better regarded as a feature of individuals' eyes than of the light.

THERMal INvestigations of ICs and microstructures. An annual summer workshop sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society.

Having to do with thermionic emission. I know that sounds circular, but it's accurate and compact. Look, don't give me a hard time. Just keep your hot electrons to yourself and follow the link.

A note about the pronunciation: four syllables, mostly obvious. Despite the etymology, and despite models like anionic and cationic (which have the same accentual stress pattern), the first letter i is pronounced like a long e rather than a long i. When I write ``is pronounced'' I mean that since I first heard the term in school in the 1970's, in the half-a-dozen years I did research in hot-electron systems, and in all the other years that I have regularly heard the term from other physicists and electrical engineers across the US (and probably from time to time at international conferences elsewhere), I never heard it pronounced any other way until I clicked on the hear-it link at the Merriam-Webster entry for thermionic and heard some nasal North American voice model mispronounce it with the long i that M-W claims is in the pronunciation. The American Heritage Dictionary makes the same error. These dictionaries claim to give the American pronunciation. I suppose the long i might be in a British pronunciation, or not be phonemically distinguished from the vowel in an Australian pronunciation.

A similar bit of dictionary pronunciation nescience concerns the word gigawatt. In the movie Back to the Future, Doc pronounces this word with a soft initial gee. That pronunciation is sanctioned by the same two dictionaries cited above for botching the thermionic pronunciation. The ignorant use of dictionaries' fanciful pronunciations of technical vocabulary is a reliable indication that no technically competent person had any influence in the concoction of the story. I remember a bunch of years ago when a local news team visited the Engineering Research Center (ERC) at ASU to report on an expensive piece of prestigious equipment that I have sound reason to suspect they understood not at all. It was fun to watch the handsome newsface repeat ``mo-LE-cyoo-ler beam EP-i-TAX-ee,'' rolling the phrase around in his mouth so it would come out real smart-like. I'm glad he took the effort; he was doing his job conscientiously. (It reminds me of learning the German word ausgezeichnet in seventh grade, when that seemed like a long word to us.)

The anonymous content provider of bigwaste.com (gives the game away, huh?) writes:

In fact, many individuals who have worked with computers and electronics for the last several decades will confirm that they used to pronounce gigabyte as "jigabyte."
Setting aside the question of how practical a unit the gigabyte was even as recently as 1990, and refraining from claiming that these are probably the same many individuals who thought that the vi editor was called ``six,'' I note only that parallels, as in the case of anionic and thermionic, do not rule usage.

thermionic emission
When you heat metal, it emits electrons. This is the effect called thermionic emission or ``the Edison effect.''

If the metal is at a negative voltage relative to some nearby electrode (or more generally if there is an electric field in the direction of the metal), some of those electrons will fail to be reabsorbed, and will instead flow toward a more positive electrode, giving rise to a current. This current flow or discharge was the effect reported by Guthrie in 1873. Edison rediscovered the effect independently in 1880, and patented it, while perfecting incandescent light bulbs. This current effect, as opposed to the emission effect, also has fair claim to be called ``the Edison effect.''

thermoosmosis, thermo-osmosis, thermoösmosis
What -- I've already given three different spellings, now you want to know what it means too? There's no satisfying you! Alright, I'll do another definition, but you shouldn't expect me always to be there for you.

Thermoosmosis is osmosis under conditions of a temperature differential. To review: osmosis is material transport across (i.e. through) a membrane in response to a concentration difference between the two sides. The situation as normally envisioned involves a solid, permeable membrane separating regions filled with fluid (gas or liquid). Osmosis is a general transport phenomenon, and as such may occur near to or far from equilibrium conditions. Umm, more words coming here. Basically, in thermoosmosis, the concentration difference is balanced not only by transport and osmotic pressure difference, but also by temperature difference across the membrane.

    Some papers:
  1. H. J. M. Hanley and W. A. Steele, Trans. Faraday Soc., vol. 61, pp. 2661ff (1965).
  2. R. J. Bearman and M. Y. Bearman, J. Phys. Chem., vol. 70, pp. 3010ff (1966).
  3. R. Rastogi and K. Singh, Trans. Faraday Soc., vol. 62, pp. 1754ff (1966).
  4. R. Rastogi, K. Singh, and H. P. Singh, J. Phys. Chem., vol. 73, pp. 2798ff (1969).

(London) Times Higher Education Supplement.

Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum. Produced by the J. Paul Getty Museum and available from Eisenbrauns (described at the AASOR entry), which describes this as ``a major multi-volume reference on all known aspects of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman cults and rituals. Providing both a sweeping overview and in-depth investigation, ThesCRA covers the period from Homeric times (1000 B.C.) to late Roman times (A.D. 400). A definitive work on the topic, ThesCRA is the culmination of many years of research by scholars from across the United States and Europe and throughout the Mediterranean world. Each of their texts-either in English, French, German, or Italian-is followed by a catalogue entry listing the epigraphical and literary sources cited and referencing ancient iconographical documents related to the topic. Many of these iconographical items are depicted either in line drawings in the texts or in the plate sections of each volume. On completion, ThesCRA will comprise five volumes, a book of abbreviations, and an index volume. The volumes are arranged thematically. The first three deal with dynamic elements of ancient cults, such as cultic ritual and practice, while the last two are devoted to static elements, such as cult places and their personnel.'' The abbreviations volume lists for $15, the rest are (vols. 1 and 2, as of 2005) or will be available for $250.

This word originally referred to a proposition, a claim in argument. The sense stretched to include the formal arguments in support of the thesis, and thus eventually thesis had a sense similar to dissertation, even when referring to academic work that was not primarily in the form of an argument. Some students in engineering and science try to extend the sense of the term beyond what is acceptable English usage: it is not correct to write ``in the present thesis I fabricate test structures...'' or a similar expression. One should say ``the present thesis describes the fabrication....''

Notice also the shift to a less personal voice. The conventional and preferred style of scientific and technical writing minimizes reference to the author and to personal agents. It is understood that the author or authors performed the necessary work, and that otherwise assistance will be explicitly acknowledged and credited. It is considered a bit unprofessional to draw attention to oneself, even though this may require extensive use of the passive voice and too much reliance on mushy abstract nouns instead of punchy verbs. With the exception of slumming, baby-talking introductory texts, the textbooks for college courses generally conform to this dry pattern. That may be contrasted with the better class of computer language books, which are bought voluntarily rather than for classes. The personal voice (and more extensive use of the second person) is more frequently found in textbooks for some of the social sciences.

The impersonality and affectlessness of scientific discourse is a pose, to some extent, but it is also an earnest of scientists' commitment to disinterestedness and thus to scrupulous honesty. To a great degree, science succeeds not just because it is intellectually serious -- as philosophy with its formal ``theses'' has been for 25 centuries -- but because it recognizes human limitations. The practice of testing, experiment, and confirmation of various sorts recognizes the limits of human reason in the face of natural variety: understanding is always approximate and imperfect, and logic applied to approximate concepts is not reliable. Similarly, scientific detachment is a recognition of the limits of human reason in the face of human emotion. When a researcher has a strong preference for a particular research conclusion, confirmation bias and simple obtuseness can overwhelm the researcher's sincere desire to be truthful and furnish the heart's desire, no matter the reality. As a defense against this weakness, one introduces a focus on process, on playing the game well rather than ``winning.''

In the nineteenth century, the success of science led people like Auguste Comte to consider how that success could be reproduced in other fields. There were some admirable efforts, like those of Émile Durkheim, to put the study of society on some kind of objective, quantitative, almost experimental basis, and thus arose the ``human sciences'' as distinguished from the older disciplines (the ``humanities,'' originally humaniora) examining the same general subject using a different scholarly approach. The work of early sociologists like Durkheim and Weber has been combed over, thoroughly criticized, and superseded. But a fair assessment must recognize, on the one hand, the muddled, detail- and exception-rich nature of human society. This continues to limit the generality and accuracy of ``facts'' and ``results'' in sociology to such an extent that I use scare quotes around the words. Notice the shift to an informal register? One little pronoun can do all that. Anyway, that recognition is necessary to compare early sociology fairly with its contemporary science. On the other hand, to compare that sociological research with recent work, it is worth remembering that statistical methods only began to be developed starting in the eighteenth century (to understand games of chance, and later to make best use of limited astronomical data). The most elementary statistical measures and tools now taken for granted in sociology are indeed mostly trivial in mathematical terms (though they don't seem that way to the sort of person who typically goes into sociology), but their development nevertheless represented a conceptual challenge.

You know, I've really veered away here from what I wanted to say. All this in-fairness-to-Durkheim stuff was incidental to the observation that scientific method, as such, has tended to be misunderstood. As described by high-school teachers, it seems like a recipe or formula that magically turns out fact, and that is somehow disconnected from human nature. One can understand that the how-you-play-the-game party line of scientists might engender this subtly flawed view. Students should be made to understand that there is not a single scientific method, and that scientific method is not an arbitrarily constructed well into the aquifers of knowledge, but instead is intimately related to human reality. In every science, the general form of scientific method is adapted to the particularities of the subject matter. (Astronomy was a successful science when all that could be called ``experiments'' were alternative measurement methods. Behavioral science leans on ``control groups'' which hard sciences can safely eschew.) What is constant, or should be, is humility: the understanding that scientific method is the best we can do given the failure of unassisted reason. Science aggressively seeks to discover its own failures. Logically, excluding whatever we can demonstrate to be false does not guarantee that we will discover what is true. We only discover what is contingently not-known-to-be-false. Such are the limitations of inductive reasoning. Yet it works.

Hmm. We keep going off course. What I had intended to do, getting back to the initial tangent to the thesis definition, was not to define or describe scientific method, or to preface that by an apology for the limitations of science in sticky disciplines, but to observe something about language use and the personal voice. Just as schoolteachers give a rigid, somewhat unfaithful rendering of scientific method, it was probably inevitable that social scientists would fetishize, make a cargo cult of method. Today, much of social science research (particularly ed research and criminology) is garbage, and this cannot be taken out by improved scientific method. Rather, it requires a renewed commitment to the scientific attitude that is parallel to scientific method. Simply put, a researcher who cannot accept a possible research result is not qualified to perform the research. If you are confident that your cherished views won't be a problem because your views will be borne out by your research, you are probably right on the latter point; however, your research is not science but theology. And your language will betray you, if you cannot bear to allow undesired results their place in the gallery of the possible. So too, to that extent, your thesis presents not your results but your preconceptions: you. Suppressing the personal voice in scientific writing is not necessary or sufficient for scientific detachment. It is rather an expression of intent, a deference to hard fact, a reverence for the sacred that's-just-how-it-is. Amen.

(Of course, a skilled glossarist can use the personal voice. Don't try this at home.)

Thesis has nothing to do with tmesis, you can take my word. Honest, you don't have to check!

The situation in this case is such that...
This deeply insightful expression is nevertheless (and notwithstanding) not unequivocal. It may mean:
  1. ``Ummm...''
  2. ``Well, ...''

Tunneling Hot Electron Transfer Amplifier. See M. Heiblum, M. I. Nathan, D. C. Thomas, and C. M. Knoedler, PRL, vol. 55 (1985), pp. 2200ff.

The Ugly Euclidean
``How much is that in radians?''

The Woman In
At the beginning of February 1983, Donna Summer's ``The Woman In Me'' broke into the Top 40 (that is, one of the top 40 positions of the Billboard Hot 100, based on sales and radio airplay of pop singles). It stayed in the Top 40 for 6 weeks, peaking at #33. Towards the end of May the same year, the Bee-Gees' ``The Woman In You'' (from the movie Staying Alive, starring John Travolta) broke into the Top 40 and also stayed for 6 weeks, peaking at #24. Oooooooooooooooooooh. Oooooooooooooooooh. Ooooo-ooooooooh.

There is no ``They.'' And if you keep insisting there is, They will make you very sorry you did.


Third-Harmonic Generation.

Transverse-Heated Graphite Atomizer. Used in Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS).

A THICK layer of silicon diOXide. Thick compared to thinox. Thickox is used as field oxide (q.v.), and the names are interchangeable in practice.

You know -- it sorta goes like that? More commonly spelled thingy.

This is described as completely as possible at the thingie entry, but what I can tell you briefly right here is that the word is a noun, or, in an older terminology, a ``noun substantive,'' though it may not be very substantive at that.

think piece
A thumbsucker, a white paper.

Ethernet on a thinner-than-normal coax cable. Also called cheapernet.

A THIN layer of silicon diOXide. The thinness is relative to field oxide. Thinox is principally used for vertical insulation: to separate an active (doped semiconductor) layer from conductor (metal) above it. Frequently, the overlying conductor is intended to interact controllably with the semiconductor -- as one plate of a capacitor, as the gate of MOSFET, or as one conductor of a T-line. In these situations, the oxide thickness must be controlled carefully. Hence, a thinox fabrication step usually is grown by dry oxidation or by physical vapor deposition (PVD). (In contrast, wet oxidation -- oxidation with steam instead of dry air -- has the advantage of speed.)

third way
Generally speaking, a political ``third way'' is a repackaging of one of two large established minorities, in order to broaden its appeal, forming a governing majority with enough of the skeptical center. The third way of the 1990's was conservative policies implemented, promoted, or at least used as protective coloration by liberal politicians. The first very successful example was Bill Clinton in the US. Sometimes the selling point was ``conservatism with a human face.'' (I swear I came up with this expression before I ever heard of George W. Bush's ``compassionate conservatism''!) Tony Blair painfully repositioned the UK Labour Party for victory shortly afterwards. Until then, US President Clinton and the Tory UK PM made cooing noises about how well they got on. The French call it cohabitation.

The ``third way'' is usually intellectually incoherent, and that is its greatest virtue. Reality is messy, and a complaisant ideological attitude is usefully flexible. To see just how incoherent, see ``Writers Try To Describe the Radical Middle, a page served with a pretty straight face by Radical Middle Political Newsletter: Thoughtful Idealism, Informed Hope.

In the aftermath of John Kerry's defeat in the 2004 US presidential election, one of the groups trying to direct how the Democratic party regroups has called itself ``Third Way.''

This game isn't over yet.
We've still got at least a couple of TV timeouts left to go.

This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you.
Here's something from the famous diary of Pepys, February 28, 1662 (really the end of 1661, O.S.):
The boy failing to call us up as I commanded, I was angry, and resolved to whip him for that and many other faults, to-day. Early with Sir W. Pen by coach to Whitehall, to the Duke of York's chamber, and staid a great while with the Duke. Home, and to be as good as my word, I bade Will get me a rod, and he and I called the boy up to one of the upper rooms of the Comptroller's house towards the garden, and there I reckoned all his faults, and whipped him soundly, but the rods were so small that I fear they did not much hurt to him, but only to my arm, which I am already, within a quarter of an hour, not able to stir almost. After supper to bed.

(Incidentally, the Duke of York was the future King James II, even more than his father Charles II a good friend to Pepys. Sir W. Pen, as Pepys mostly or always wrote the name, was the father of the Quaker William Penn, and it is in fact Sir William who is the eponym of Pennsylvania.)

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The person who built this site browses with

``Optimization''? Are you kidding?

Describes a material that gels when stationary and liquifies when agitated. Note: any gel will break up under sufficiently vigorous shaking, but it will break up into chunks, not liquid. Thixotropic gels are physical gels. That is, their gelation represents a phase transition (H. Eugene Stanley at Boston, and others, studied this extensively starting in the 70's and 80's) rather than a chemical bonding transformation.

Trans-Hybrid Loss.

Thm.: His jokes are funny.
Pf.: He's your boyfriend.

This theorem can be understood in two very different ways, depending on whether his jokes really are funny or not.

It is very common for personals ads to claim that she's looking for someone with a sense of humor, someone who can make her laugh [she means this in a nice way], etc. Back in the 1990's, someone ran a reality check on this and found cognitive dissonance: when personals ads were divided into three categories -- straightforward, hard-to-get, and funny -- the funny ads were found to be the least effective at generating replies (even playing hard-to-get worked better).

Dang -- now I find out!

Somewhat common acronym (probably oftentimes an independent or nonce construction) for The House of God (a novel).

The (U.S.) House (of Representatives) Open Multimedia Access System. Served by the Library of Congress. Although the Library of Congress was created in George Washington's first term, it was burned along with much of Washington, D.C., by British troops in the War of 1812. Jefferson (THOMAS Jefferson) donated his personal library as the nucleus of a reconstructed library, and was the major influence in the subsequent development of the library. They recommend inserting html text like
<a href="http://thomas.loc.gov">
<img src="http://thomas.loc.gov/images/link.gif" 
alt="[Link to THOMAS Home Page]"></a">
to produce a flush-looking button like

[Link to THOMAS Home Page]

Thorndike and Lorge, Thorndike-Lorge
Edward L. Thorndike and Irving Lorge, professional word counters and co-authors of The Teacher's Word Book of 30,000 Words (New York: Bureau of Publications of Teachers College, Columbia University, 1944). The book is a wholly updated edition of Thorndike's original Teacher's Word Book, published in 1921 and extended to include 20,000 words in the 1931 edition. The latter was based on a corpus of about ten million words, and three other studies (the Lorge magazine count, the Thorndike count of 120 juvenile books, and the Lorge-Thorndike semantic count).

The 1931 Thorndike count was based on a corpus of about 10 million words The other three studies each used a corpus of at least, but apparently not much more than, 4.5 million words. Frequencies, stated as number of occurrences per 4.5 million words, are given for each of the four base studies. (Frequencies are listed precisely only up to 1000 per 4.5 million.)

In order to come up with an overall estimate of frequency, the frequencies of the four studies are averaged. This is a bit tricky (``exercises of judgment have been necessary,'' p. v), because lemmatization and the treatment of contractions, abbreviations, proper nouns, and the most common words differed among the studies. Some of these average frequencies are marked by an asterisk (indicating an estimate) or a question mark (when frequency determination depends in large part on the extremely frequent use of a word in one of the counts). [Question marks in data from base studies indicate other problems.] The averaged frequencies are given in occurences per million up to 49, and then as either ``A'' (50-99 per million) or ``AA'' (100 or more per million). The Thorndike-Lorge data I mention in this glossary are the averaged frequencies.

Material towards a future co-author entry:
On the title page, ``By Edward L. Thorndike and Irving Lorge'' appears below the title, and the copyright is held by Teachers College. The 1944 word book was apparently compiled by Thorndike. The preface, however, was written by Thorndike in the first person singular. He thanked Dr. Irving Lorge for his work on their ``Lorge-Thorndike semantic count and the Lorge magazine count, and for his generosity in permitting me to use the results.'' Below the preface, an unsigned ``[w]e acknowledge'' help from the Rockefeller Foundation and the W.P.A. for help on the same two word counts. The date on that page is February 1943.

``Thorndike'' -- what a wonderful old-fashioned surname. Whatever happened to the Thorndikes? Did they stop having sons? (As it happens, R.L. Thorndike, Edward Lee's son, was the father's student and followed him into the field of educational psychology.)


Teaching for Higher-Order Thinking. This is basically a ploy. The way that scholarship and research are supported tends to result in colleges and universities having large numbers of faculty qualified to teach material that is not obviously of direct use to students. That's perfectly okay, because large numbers of students are not qualified to learn material that might obviously be of direct use to them. It is still felt to be necessary, however, for some kind of argument to be made for why students should learn about Hittite history say, or Joyce's allusions. One class of arguments is content-based: that, say, knowing why the Hittite culture fell (or went away or whatever it did) is helpful analogically in understanding why, say, the Yankees dynasty ain't what it used to be. The second common kind of argument is sort of form-based -- that questioning the evidence and thinking about how or if the Hittite Empire fell is a kind of weight training for the brain muscle, and that even though the life cycle of Hittite civilization is not a very useful analogy to the product marketing cycle for toaster ovens west of the Mississippi, nevertheless the brain wrinkles crinkle in similar ways whether one wants to understand ancient Anatolians or Ashtabulans. Anyway, the second kind of argument is all about THOT. ``Critical thinking'' is scattered across the same bloody semantic field.

I suppose this deserves credit for homonymy.

This used to be the familiar second-person singular personal pronoun in nominative case in Middle English and Early Modern English, but it was replaced by you, which was originally the formal pronoun. Also, the th in this word was once voiced (like them).

thoughtless remark
Inadvertent candor.

Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Total Hip Replacement.

I remember when Cher's nose used to sing

Charleston was once the rage, uh huh...
History has turned the page! Uh-hu-uh.

Well the beat goes on.

Don't know a thing. But you could visit FMRC.

three-finger salute
CTRL-ALT-DELETE buttons held down simultaneously to reboot PC. (Or, under MS Windows, to brink up a dialog box to kill an unresponsive process.)

ERROR: Ctrl and Alt keys stuck: Press Delete to Continue

three on the tree
Manual (three-speed) gear shift mounted on the steering column.

Thrifts are banks (in a loose sense) that issue home mortgages. In other words, they are mortgagees. Traditionally, they raise capital by accepting personal savings deposits. They also generally make smaller personal loans. The kinds of financial institution that historically have constituted thrifts are those called savings and loans (i.e. savings-and-loan institutions) and savings banks. Credit unions are sometimes included in the definition and sometimes not. In historical discussions, credit unions may be omitted because they were far fewer in number than the savings banks and S&L's. More recently, they may be excluded out of ignorance, forgetfulness, or to maintain a useful distinction, although the kind of business credit unions do is essentially the same as that of the other thrifts.

Credit unions are distinguished from other thrifts in being ``cooperative organizations'' owned by their depositors, who are ``members.'' Typically, membership is restricted in some way -- to workers in a particular company or profession, say, or people living in a particular region. (I have the impression that the criteria have tended to become looser over time.) Once you're a member, however, you can stay a member even if you cease to satisfy the criteria for joining. When the term ``bank'' is used strictly, credit unions are the most likely of thrifts to be excluded.

The difference between a ``savings and loan'' and a ``savings bank'' is mostly historical. I've encountered two or three different kinds of explanations of the difference, and they're probably consistent. One is that they originally developed in different parts of the US, and another that they functioned somewhat differently, in one case focusing on home mortgages and in the other doing a fair amount of business in commercial real-estate mortgages, but without becoming commercial banks. When I get it sorted out I'll fix the entry.

The federal deposit-insurance organization for credit unions is NCUA. The corresponding entity for savings banks and S&L's was the FSLIC until 1989...

Until about the 1970's, thrifts could not have checking accounts (or ``share draft'' accounts, as the credit unions call them), and in return for this and for limiting their loan business (as described above), they were allowed to pay a slightly higher interest rate on deposits. These and various other fetters were removed for very good reasons, but a consequence was a meltdown of the thrifts in the 1980's.

In 1989, the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) was passed into law. It dissolved the FSLIC, putting the accounts previously insured by the FSLIC under the FDIC, which had previously insured deposits only in commercial banks. FIRREA also created the Resolution Trust Corporation, a US-government-owned company set up to liquidate the assets, manage the bankruptcy, or steward the sale of the large number of insolvent thrifts. More about that at the RTC entry.

See toss.

Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity. The bad guys' organization in ``The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'' Every week they gave the men from UNCLE something improbable to do for an hour.

A TV show that was primarily a send-up of ``The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'' was Get Smart. Its bad guys' organization was KAOS.

Through-Hole Technology. Electronic components mounted on a circuit board by passing their leads through holes in the board and usually soldering them in place.



Wrote a history of the Peloponnesian War, something that happened before you were born. There's a short bibliography online, compiled by Lowell Edmunds at Rutgers.

A verb, meaning do what thurbers do. Well, that would make sense, anyway. The question came up in philology.

The closest I've come to finding an etymology or meaning of the surname Thurber is in Reaney and Wilson, which lists Thurban, Thurbon, Thurburn, Thorborn, Thoubboron, Thoburn, Turbin, Tarbun, and various less common forms, though not Thurber.

Like most ``English'' names, it is of Norman origin. In particular, it stems from Old Danish and Old Swedish Thorbiorn, and similar Old Norse, meaning `Thor-bear.' That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, and apparently it didn't make much more sense to the English, who Anglicized it to Þurbeorn, `Thor-warrior.' We'll call it an improvement.


Texas Instruments. See Germanium (Ge) entry for some early history.


Latin, Tiberius. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Tib. was also used.

Titanium. A popular sort of flypaper or sponge for ultrahigh vacuum systems. TiN, titanium nitride, is a popular sleeve for semiconductor interconnects. Ti is also added to iron to make steels strong or something or expensive.

Atomic number 22. In the first period of transition metals.

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

Translation and Interpretation. Like libel and slander. Don't care what they say, so long as they spell the name right.

Transparency International. ``[A] non-governmental organisation dedicated to increasing government accountability and curbing both international and national corruption.''

Travel Industry.

Tribuna Israelita. `Jewish Tribune.' According to the American Jewish Committee, which established formal ties with it in 1997, TI was ``[f]ounded in 1944,'' and ``is the analysis and opinion agency of the Jewish community of Mexico. It promotes an ongoing dialogue with influential leaders in Mexico and cooperates with diverse national organizations. In combating intolerance, and anti-Semitism in particular, TI generates a series of publications on the religious, ethical and philosophical facets of Judaism, and the Jewish presence in Mexico, as well as on racism.''

Telecommunications Industry Association. Affiliated with the EIA.

Thanks In Advance. Also written ``AdvThanksance'' by those who don't know any better or simply can't help themselves. Professional help is available. MTIA (Many TIA) is also used. TYIA and YWIA have been seen too.

The Internet Adaptor.

Total Information Awareness. What's that?!

A project for data-mining that combines government and commercial records of people in the US, proposed and beginning (2005) to be implemented as a component of the war on terror. It's not immediately clear whether this is constitutional or legal. Cf. TIPS.

Transient Ischemic Attack. A kind of stroke. We're not talking putts here. Cf. CVA.

The Internet Access Company, Inc.

Tourism Industry Association of Canada. See also Tourism entry below.

The International Air Cargo Association. Both this organization and TIAC above seem to be running away from yack-yak homophony. All honor to IACAC!


Latin, Tiberius. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Ti was also used.

TriIsoButylAluminum. Most common aluminum alkyl (AlR3) precursor for MOCVD.

Colorless. Pyrophoric, of course.

DiverTICulum. As Nietzsche wrote in his autobiography of a sick man [Ecce Homo (1888)]: All prejudices may be traced back to the intestines. A sedentary life is the real sin against the Holy Spirit.

Tenant In Common.


TID, t.i.d.
Medical prescription Latin: Ter In Die -- `thrice in a day.' According to an experienced nurse at one US hospital, TID there typically means at 9AM, 1PM, and 5PM. Disappointingly for sadistic nurses (not all), this minimizes the opportunity of waking patients at least once. On the other hand, in one hospital stay my father was woken up each night and asked if he wanted sleeping pills.

Note that in this abbreviation, the letter dee does not stand for dose, as in the next TID entry.

Total Ionizing Dose.

Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment. A US government list of suspected potential suspected potential terrorists. A list so long (550,000 names or so) as of December 2009 that it's almost worthless. The failed Christmas Day underpants bomber in 2009, Umar Farouk Mutallab, was on the list. I suppose ``TIDE'' suggests ocean; adding a name to TIDE is like adding a drop of water into the ocean.

A style of clothing characterized by cottons that have been immersed in dye after being tied in knots, so the fabric is dyed in a cheap pattern that spells out ``sixties atavism'' for those who can read the writing on the subway walls, and tenement halls, and whispered in the sounds ... of silence.

No. No punchline.

Walking through ASU campus one day, I saw a couple ambling along in faded jeans, tie-dyes, loose hair, little pink wire-frame glasses and love beads. It was early afternoon, 1989. I asked: ``What are you doing in this decade?'' I got an unloving stare for an answer. That, or they were still coming down from a bad high. Guys, if you're reading this now, I apologize.

An alternative expansion of SBF is Scenes From a life. The B is silent.

Tax Increment Financing. Not, as you might guess, financing by an increase in tax rates. Instead, TIF is mostly a bookkeeping procedure for a municipality, become popular in the 1990's in the US. The idea is that one or more districts will be designated as blighted and targeted for redevelopment, with increased municipal expenditures in the area being viewed as investments. The return on investment for the municipality comes from increased tax revenues (the ``increment'') if and when redevelopment succeeds.

In detail, the city computes a base rate of tax revenues from the TIF district, essentially the pre-TIF rates plus expected changes without TIF investment. The various taxation districts are at least partly funded by property taxes. [Which ones and how much varies by state, but school districts, townships or boroughs (in the sense of parts of cities), cities and counties are typically included.] Under a TIF plan, those districts continue to receive their respective shares of the base revenue. Any increment above that is diverted to a special fund to pay for improvements. Typically, these repay development bonds, but some increment monies may be used for further pay-as-you-go improvements. (Obviously, if it is possible to fund pay-as-you-go improvements from the beginning of the program, before any improvements have been made to increase revenue, then either there's an error in the base-revenue calculation, or else there's something more complicated going on, like a major private-public partnership.)

TIF is typically used to fund clearing of abandoned and derelict properties, land acquisition and infrastructure development. The scheme seems to be very popular with Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley. As of mid-August 1999, there were 72 (up three from July 1), covering 13,000 acres and 8% of assessed real-estate valuation. (Update April 8, 2002: 117 in Chicago, out of 600 for Illinois as a whole.) More than half of the TIF districts are within the southlands. Chicago Southland Development, Inc. (CSDI) has a good page.

The prediction of revenues spanning a range of years is a tricky computation that can lead to creative disagreements about how and even whether the system is working. NCBG believes they're over-used and out of control.

Tagged Image File Format.

Toronto International Film Festival. Held annually in September.

The Instrument Formerly Known As Dobro.

Terahertz Imaging Focal Plane Array Technology. A DARPA-funded research program.

TIG, Tig, tig
Tungsten Inert-Gas (welding). Another name for GTAW, q.v. TIG is pronounced to rhyme with ``pig.'' The inert gases are usually argon or helium, though the addition of nitrogen and hydrogen is helpful in some situations.

Texas Instruments Graphics Architecture.

Trench-isolated IGBT.

Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing file. A digital format for maps, developed by the U.S. Census Bureau to support the 1990 population census. (Succeeded the earlier DIME format.)

TIGER files are available for every county in the United States and for the millions of census blocks in urban areas. (In Louisiana, counties are called parishes.)

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.

Offspring of a TIGer and a LiONess. Term is less common than...

Offspring of a TIGer and a liONess. Cf. liger.

This is a good place to mention that the Spanish g and b sounds are similar. The b is a soft bilabial represented by a beta in the IPA, and the g is a soft glottal represented by a gamma in the IPA. A similar pair of sounds were represented by w and g in northern Europe a millenium ago, and gave rise to pairs of words entering English separately from Norman and non-Norman French (guarantee and warranty, guard and ward, etc.). Typically, these words had Germanic roots, part of the Frankish heritage of Vulgar Latin and its descendants. For example, the words war and guerrilla, with etymons that entered English via Norman French and from Spanish, are ultimately related to the same Germanic root that gives us the word worse -- part of the English language in some form since Old English was spoken.

[As you realize, the w never caught on in Romance orthography, and g ruled. Hence the Germanic name William is rendered Guillermo in Spanish, Guillem in Catalan, Guilherme in Portuguese, and Guillaume in French. All have something of the palatalization of the lli in English William.]

The g was presumably used in the Spanish cognates because most of the Germanic words entered via French. I'm not sure if Spanish b had its current soft sound in those days (I know there's scholarly work on the question; I just haven't checked it yet). In any case, some words evolved in a direction that indicate a softening of b. In particular, if you read Cervantes in the original spelling you'll notice that grandmother is aguela -- now it's abuela. The reason I'm boring you silly with all this amateur linguist stuff is that as I was growing up, hearing and speaking Spanish but not reading it much, I thought that the word for shark was tigurón, a sort of augmentative form of tigre (`tiger'). But it turns out that the word is tiburón, with no known relation to tigers.

There were sharks in the waters off Spain long before the tiburón entered the language. In fact, in one of the earliest attestations, Fz. de Oviedo in 1535 commented that they were more common in the Caribbean than around Spain. Since the word appeared in Spanish only shortly after the discovery of America, and the cognates in Portuguese (tubarão) and Catalan (tauró) are not clearly much earlier, an American origin seems likely. One hypothesis is that it comes via Portuguese from the Tupí word uperú (or iperú), with a t- that functions as an article in the Tupí language. (At the time of the Portuguese took possession of Brazil, Tupí tribes occupied most of the coastal territory from the Rio de la Plata to Amazon. The two main tribes were the Tupí properly speaking, who lived at the mouth of the Amazon, and the Guaraní, who lived in the eastern part of present-day Paraguay, between the Paraguay and Paraná rivers. The Guaraní language has something of a semi-official status in Paraguay. Although most of my South American family lives in Chile, everyone who lives for very long in Paraguay learns Guaraní.) Well, okay, enough about tigon and all.

The Institute for Genomic Research. In Rockville, Maryland.

Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program. [Of the US Department of Commerce (DoC).]

The Idiots In Charge. A variant of TPTB with attitude.

Truth-In-Lending Act.

Telecom Italia Learning Services.

Technical Information Management.

Technical, Interactional and Managerial.

Two Intensity Measurements. A technique for the reconstruction of complicated amplitude distributions. Proposed by U. Mahlab, J. Rosen, and J. Shamir, ``Iterative generation of holograms on spatial light modulators,'' Optics Letters 15, pp. 556-558 (1990).

A very short burka worn by Malian ballerinas?

time banking
``For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one Time Dollar. Then you have a Time Dollar to spend on having someone do something for you.'' If Gresham's Law can be confirmed in any sort of moentary system, this is probably it. The accounting is done by TimeBanks.

Common alternative name for TimesSelect, a collection of New York Times content of a sort that used to be available free online and that is now available by paid subscription online.

Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (MS).

Third International Mathematics and Science Study. Results released in 1995, tending to demonstrate that Sweden will bury us. Cf. NAEP.

Tim Toady
Sounds like TMTOWTDI, acronym for the Perl slogan ``There's More Than One Way To Do It.'' That's usually pronounced ``Tim Toady,'' but TMTOWTDI.

Taxpayer Identification Number. The IRS requires a TIN for every person filing an income tax form, as well as for those claimed as dependents. For anyone who has one, it is the SSN. See also ATIN and ITIN.

The IRS did not always require a TIN for dependents (mostly children). The requirement was instituted in 1987 (for tax-return filings on FY 1986 income). Tax forms that year showed seven million fewer dependents than the previous year.

Titanium Nitride. Typically pronounced ``tie nitride.'' [The ``tie'' spelling is just eye dialect. No one writes it that way in the technical literature.]

TiN is an excellent barrier to diffusion, widely used in microelectronic device fabrication. Sputter-deposited material has very variable properties; resistivities in the range 20 to 2000 microohm cm, densities 3.2 to 5.0 g/cc. For more, see references cited in Ki-Chul Park and Ki-Bum Kim: ``The effect of density and microstructure on the performance of TiN barrier films in Cu metallization,'' Journal of Applied Physics, vol 80, #10, pp. 5674-5681 (15 Nov. 1996).

More and less dense TiN has different appearance: gold (G-TiN) and brown (B-TiN).

The Inland Northwest Community Access Network. As near as I can tell, ``the inland northwest'' here means Spokane, Washington.

Very thin shiny or glittery material, typically used in strips and bad taste, though sheets and threads are also used. Cheaply decorative. Gaudy.

I should stress that the negative associations are conventional connotation, not my own prejudice.

Tin is not very shiny. The Modern English word tinsel < Middle English tineseile <  Old French estincelle, `spangle, spark.' It's cognate with the word stencil.

Clive James has written (in one of the essays in As of This Writing)

Flaubert liked tinsel better than silver because tinsel possessed all silver's attributes plus one in addition -- pathos. For whatever reason, [Raymond] Chandler was fascinated by the cheapness of L.A. When he said that it had as much personality as a paper cup, he was saying what he liked about it. When he said that he could leave it without a pang, he was saying why he felt at home there.

Tiny Tim
Nickname for a 10-foot-long air-to-ground missile carrying a 500-pound bomb, used by the US military in the 1960's.

Tiny Tim
Pet name of the youngest child of Bob Cratchit. Don't ask me who the Dickens is Bob Cratchit.

Tiny Tim
Stage name of Herbert Khaury. As Tiny Tim, the six-foot-one actor performed in a ridiculous falsetto with a ukelele. His big break came on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, where he became a regular. He also was a frequent guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where he married his first wife, Miss Vickie, on December 17, 1969. Do you realize that this glossary started out as a resource for students studying microelectronics? How embarrassing!

Anyway, Tiny Tim used other stage names (among them Larry Love and Darry Dover) and gave variable answers for his year of birth (usually between 1922 and 1933). At least his first and last names are reasonably certain. At some point he gave himself the middle name Buckingham for the royal associations. His Lebanese father was named Butros Khaury. The son's full name is given on a number of webpages as Herbert Butros Khaury, and for all I know that might be accurate.

The Industrial Physicist. Volume 1, number one appeared as a supplement to the July 1995 issue of Physics Today. Subsequent issues appeared separately. (Another trial issue was sent with the December 1995 PT.) The magazine ceased publication with the December 2004/January 2005 issue (vol. 10, no. 6). According to the description meta tag of the website, ``[t]he Industrial Physicist is a magazine about leading-edge physical science that has commercial potential; the magazine for applied research and product development, serving scientists, engineers, and their managers in industry.''

Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron. A civilian observer mission in the West Bank city of Hebron, staffed by personnel from Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.

tipout, tip-out
An amount turned over by waiters and waitresses to restaurant support staff (cooks, etc.) as ``motivation.'' It's typically computed as 3.5 to 4.5% of server sales. Paying over the tipout is also called ``tipping out'' -- i.e., tipout is verbed.

Technometrica Institute of Policy and Politics. The (not necessarily political) polling arm of TechnoMetrica. We have a list of firms that do political polling at the pollsters entry (oddly enow).

On a scale of one to ten, with one being not at all and ten being completely, how confused were you by the use of the archaic form ``enow'' of enough?


One the same scale, how confused were you by the phrase ``one to ten,'' which might have been 9:59? How about the sparse punctuation, was that a problem? We really want to know, but we can't be bothered to write the cgi polling interface. You know, TechnoMetrica -- or TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, Inc., as it is also known -- has an internet polling arm called Netpollster. But HotOrNot gathers more important information.

Recent studies (``recent'' in March 2002) indicate that TIPP is teaming with IBD.

Texas Independent PROducers and Royalty Association.

Tax Information (automated) Phone Service (of the CCRA). If you're not going to check out the CCRA entry, you at least want to know that the first C stands for Canada. (The same service in French is SERT.) There's another Canadian-Content TIPS entry below. Tax tips by telephone, sex tips by telnet.

Terrorism Information and Prevention System. An early post-9/11 proposal by the Bush Jr. administration to trample civil rights in order to protect them. The Justice Department would ask mail carriers, meter-readers, and others who have privileged access to ordinary peoples' homes to act as spies. Oh, it wouldn't be spying really -- they'd just be encouraged to notice things, you know? An official spokesman speaking on condition of anonymity said ``No wait, that's not what we had in mind at all!'' This leak is not being investigated. Cf. TIA.

Thermally Induced Phase Separation. A method for PDLC fabrication.

Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt. A therapy for variceal bleeding. Cf. EST. Excuse me, I need to sit down now.

(US) Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.

Maybe: Technical Information Processing System. In any case: a natural-language query language that you can check out via telnet to this machine [in response to the prompt ``Select an Information File or Quit:'' type ``Sex''], where there is TIPS information on SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX. SEX. Sex. Sexsexsexsex. XXX Sex. Beast with two backs! Humping even with front-wheel drive!

The nasty.
French postcards.
Knowing in the Biblical sense.

Please excuse the outburst. This was purely for the benefit of the Yahoo and Lycos search engines. I just felt like making this my most-visited file next month. [It didn't work. Others had similar ideas.]

Back on-topic. Here is a typical exchange with the TIPS ``Ask the Sexpert'' (by T. E. Whalen, Ph.D., ©1994, Gov't of Canada), which won the 1994 Loebner Prize for ``the most human-like natural language program.'' [In the following, prompts and output printed by the program are in italics; typical human reponses and commentary are not italicized, or at least within square brackets.]

You say: What is my name?
I can not answer that.

You say: Good. What does `TIPS' stand for?
I can not answer that.

You say: What is sex?
"Sex" is a noun, adjective, and verb. Generally it refers to the differences between male and female and the activities arising from those differences. Thus we can talk about having sex, sex acts, and even sexing chicks.

You say: This is not exactly what I wanted to know.
The single most common complaint that sex therapists treat is a claim that one or both partners are uninterested in sex. Low sexual desire may vary from a simple discrepancy [... blah, blah, blah ...] negotiations do not look like demands for sex, that you [... blah, blah, blah ...] needs and feelings are given equal consideration with your own, even if they are very different than yours.

You say: We're not getting anywhere here, are we?
I can not answer that.

You say: What's your sign?
I can not answer that.

You say: Are you a virgin?
How do I appear to you?

You say: I'm asking the questions.
As Popeye says, "I yam what I yam."

You say: Aren't you programmed with Asimov's three laws of robotics?
Surely you don't find that as interesting as human sexuality. What would you like to know about sex?

You say: Are yoou a virgin?
You should have sex when you are ready. You should have sex when you have found a suitable partner and when you both feel comfortable being intimate with each other. [Tell me about logorrhea, really.] You should not have sex with someone if you [... mercy excision ...] have any doubts about the sincerity of their consent. [ ! ] ... It is normal to be nervous the first time you have sex because ...

You say: What would you know from normal?
I think sex is one of the most interesting things people do. What would you like to know about sex? How to do it? What can go wrong? Who is doing what? How much they do?

You say: Length
Penises of all sizes and shapes are equally able to satisfy most women and to impregnate them. It is true that some women like men with large penises, but it is equally true that some do not. A woman's
%cat political.correctness >/dev/null

You say: Width
I can not answer that. (I am doing the best I can with your keywords, but I can often give you better information if you ask a question that is a complete sentence.)

You say: How wide?
If you have never tried sexual intercourse before, but only know about it from books and movies, it can sound rather intimidating. Fiction pretends that ...
[Man this sure ain't Playboy.]

You say: Are you a Virginian?
How do I appear to you?

You say: Virginia is for lovers.
There are few intellectual persuits [sic] as unrewarding as trying to determine the maximum sexual experience that a person can have and still claim to be a virgin. The true issue is ...
[Scholasticist evasion >/dev/null.]

You say: What about this Whalen guy?
I can not answer that.

You say: Pretty tight-lipped, huh.
I can not answer that.

You say: Use your imagination.
People think about sex a lot. Especially, they think about sex during sexual activity, though more than two out of three people may not be thinking about [... telnet yourself for the scintillating lowdown ...] For example, many women fantasize about being raped, but no woman actually wants to be raped.

You say: My name is Attila the Hun.
I can not answer that.

You say: Pretty intimidating, I know. Okay, now I am Casanova.
I can not answer that.

You say: You know: Casanova -- the famous librarian.
I can not answer that.

You say: I like you.
I can not answer that.

You say: Your place or mine?
A bedroom is undoubtedly the most comfortable place to ...

You say: Exit

End of Conversation

(US) Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.

The Internet Pilot TO Physics.

Total Internal Reflection. What happens when you try to violate Snell's Law, by trying to transmit light from a higher-index into a lower-index medium, in a beam too far from normal to the surface.

In fact, you can violate Snell's Law, and transmit under conditions that nominally correspond to total internal reflection, by having the light transmitted into the low-refractive-index medium immediately (a few wavelengths distant at most) reenter a higher-index medium. This is the classical analogue of quantum tunneling, and can be easily understood: whereas in ray optics, the reflected beam does not penetrate the low-index medium, in a wave theory one finds a spatially evanescent wave (a wave with imaginary wave vector in the direction normal to the interface), magnitude decreasing exponentially into the `forbidden' medium. Placing a high-index material nearby changes the electromagnetic wave problem in a way similar to that of transforming a semi-infinite quantum barrier into a finite one.

tired of the bar scene
Personalsese expression meaning `not getting any on the bar scene.'

tired vehicle
Like mine. I'm not a train conductor.

Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy.

Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscope. A fluorescence microscope that uses evanescent waves of TIR to selectively illuminate and excite fluorophores near a glass-water interface.

TIRF microscopy
Use of a TIRFM.

Trunk Integrated Record-Keeping System.

Spanish, `throws,' `pulls,' and [gun] `shots.'

Television InfraRed Observation Satellite.

Total Induced Shift.

Total Integrated Scattering. Obeys a sum rule called the optical theorem.

Treponema-pallidum Immobilisation Test. One test for syphilis.

Title IX
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. US law forbidding sex-based descrimination by educational institutions that receive federal funds. Mostly mentioned in connection with post-secondary school spending on athletics. Has been interpreted as imposing a requirement on such institutions to prevent sexual harrassment of employees.

titles of books
Various entries in this glossary contain some information about the titles of books (besides the titles themselves). The interesting ones that I can find now are linked below.

  1. Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
    (Yeah, it's a play, but the script has been published as a book. See the 40 entry.)
  2. Catch-22
    (See the 22 and TV entries, as well as the book Now all we need is a Title.)
  3. Everything You Always Wanted to Know... titles
    (See the TTBOMKAB entry.)
  4. Hundert Autoren gegen Einstein
    (See the 100 entry.)
  5. Nineteen Eighty-four
    (See 1984 and entries linked there.)
  6. Now all we need is a Title: Famous Book Titles and How They Got That Way
    [It's by André Bernard (New York and London: W.W. Norton and Co., 1994).] On the title page (bearing the entire title) and on the cover, the only words of the short title (the part before the colon) that are capitalized are now and title. Normally I wouldn't mention it, but in this entry (titles of books) I figured you'd want to know.]

An insectivorous bird, of course. The thing I want to call attention to is the etymology. The first syllable, tit, is believed to come from the Old Norse word tittr, meaning `titmouse.' The second syllable is from Middle English mose, which meant `titmouse' also. (Something like this happens frequently in spoken Chinese: people will often give synonyms, or words with related meanings, to disambiguate among the large number of homophones that occur in the Chinese language(s).)

The spelling has evidently been influenced by mouse, and the plural in Modern English is titmice. Time to renew efforts to make mongeese the official plural of mongoose. After that, meese as plural of moose will be as easy as tipping a cow.

Just for the record, titmice (love to write that) are passerine birds of the family Paridae, especially species of the genus Parus, such as the chickadee. Titmice (yeah!) are found in woodland areas around the world.

Okay, okay -- it's possible the first syllable meant `small.' That would imply that titmouse means small titmouse. ``Small'' compared to what -- a titmouse? If we apply this recursively, pretty soon the insects are going to be eating the titmice.

Trapped In The Wrong Body. Transsexual.

Trusted Interface Unit. But don't forget what happened to Miles Standish!

This Is Where The Goofy Little Grin Goes. I did a search at dejanews.com, and it turned out that someone used this only one month ago in a newsgroup. Also, over the past year, the acronym has appeared three times in lists of abbreviations. For comparison, the word usufruct appeared in 581 postings in the same database. I would conclude, therefore, that TIWTGLGG is a rare acronym, though not as rare as PMYMHMMFSWGAD.

(Domain name extension for) Tajikistan.

Transfer and Join. The T&J approach is one method of making vertical electrical interconnections between wafers.

The Jerusalem Bible. Published in 1966. This was succeeded by the NJB. The NJB's main improvement over TJB is that its name has three words and yields an unproblematic TLA. An initialism like TJB inevitably gives rise to AAP pleonasm. For information that you couldn't have guessed on your own, about both TJB and the NJB, see the NJB entry.

Tandem Junction (solar) Cell.

This Just In. Precedes announcement of something completely precedented, totally expected, heretofore known, or in of the ordinary. Facetious use of common news-announcer's introduction to putative up-to-the-minute flash.

Thank Jesus It's Friday. I've never seen or heard this acronym, except here. I've also never seen it used for Thank Jehovah It's Friday, Tell Jeremiah It's fubar.

Tk, TK
Tool Kit. Graphics resources for Tcl. Here's a bit from whatis.com.

Thymidine Kinase.

(Domain name extension for) Tokelau.

To Kum. Facetious misspelling of to come. The initialism is used in manuscripts to indicate where material is expected for future insertion. In writing newspaper articles before full facts were available, it used to be common for reporters to write 000 (q.v.) for numbers expected to become available before the story was filed. Occasionally, the numbers didn't come in on time and the reporter failed to repair the relevant passage. In that case, 000 would appear in print (as the number of confirmed casualties, say). (Of course, 000 confirmed casualties would be correct in that case, though likely not what the reporter had in mind to convey.)

Also used: XX and KOMING.

It happens that Kum is part of the transliteration of some East Asian names. ``Kum & Go'' is a chain of (about 300) convenience stores. There's one in Alliance NE. There's a Teekay Shipping Corp. headquartered in Nassau (in the Bahamas) that provides international crude oil and petroleum product transportation services through a fleet of medium-sized oil tankers. There's an alleged artist who calls himself or herself TK TK TK and who has exhibited a work entitled ``TK TK TK.'' You can't win.

In the October 6, 2000, New York Times (Friday, late Edition), in Section E (Movies, Performing Arts/Weekend Desk), pg. 24, the movie guide states ``[a]n index of reviews of films opening today appears on Page TK.'' I think that's an error.

The previous September 10, in Section 3 (Money and Business/Financial Desk), pg. 8, the Times reported that ``In a sharp reversal, the Standard & Poor's 500 communications services index, which rose 18.2 percent last year, has dropped 26 percent from a mid-December high, to TKK.TK.'' At the time, apparently, SBC was trading at ``$ TK.TK, 23 percent off its 52-week high of $55.50'' and Verizon, ``which traded at $66 in April, [was by then] at $ TK.TK.'' 2000 was a bad year for tech stocks. It looks like a space or period may immediately precede this kind of TK, but not a dollar sign. ``WorldCom hit a 52-week low of $32.56 in August'' but was then trading ``at $ TK.TK,''

In the July 9, 2000, Los Angeles Times, the page-one book review (they read books there?) was of The Boomer, a novel by Marty Asher; ``Alfred A. Knopf: TK pp., $15.'' [In April 2010 a book fair in LA boasted that it was the world's largest. Some news reports mentioned that something like ``they read books there?'' was a common reaction.]

TK Theaters and theater tk is a common venue for reviewed movies. Somebody should start a chain.

Total Knee Arthroplasty.

I can only enter a few of these medical abbreviations at a time, or I get nightmares.

Turbulent Kinetic Energy. That is, the energy in fluid turbulence.

T. Kirk, James
James Tiberius Kirk. I'm not sure how official this is, but it's the consensus so far this century and the end of the last.

Here's some actual, factful informational data [from the July/August 1996 Lingua Franca, reported by R. J. Lambrose on p. 9]: William Shatner attended McGill University in Montreal, graduating in 1952 with a degree in Commerce. He was third-string quarterback. [If he'd been a real football player, he would have majored in Sociology.] The building at 3840 McTavish Street, on the Montreal campus, has been unofficially named the ``William Shatner University Centre.'' (Canadians have to use British spelling to prove that they're not yahoos like us southerners.) A sign out front proves this, but the university doesn't recognize this as official until Shatner satisfies one of two requirements:

  1. Donates half or more of the cost of the building.
  2. Dies.
Some would argue that he acted like a stiff, and that should be close enough. And consider this: in the Halloween series, the mask originally worn by the Michael Myers character was created by taking a William Shatner mask, painting it white and removing the eyebrows. Doesn't that count? I mean, if white mascara and shaved eyebrows were all that mattered, they could have saved trouble by starting with a David Bowie mask.

McGill should be careful, considering the fiasco at Stevens.

You can visit the First Church of Shatnerology (FCOS) to learn nothing else useful, but have a good laugh. For a while (around 2004) there was a Second National Church of Shatnerology. They communed at a geocities site, but it seems now that group has dissolved. Perhaps they were absorbed by Priceline.

Interestingly, Shatner played the title role in an 80's cop show called ``T.J. Hooker.'' Unfortunately, the tee stood not for Tiberius but Thomas. I don't know what the jay stood for. The show also featured Heather Locklear. I guess she was always set to ``stun.''

Teknillinen Korkeakoulu. Helsinki University of Technology (HUT).

A variant of TK used to represent a number expected to be three digits long. See the TKK.TK example in the TK entry.

Tonne-KiloMetre. Unit of freight traffic, I've seen it in EU statistics (usually Mio tkm).

Technical Knock-Out. Boxing match outcome when referee decides that one fighter, while not knocked out, is unable to continue the fight without sustaining injury. Usually based on referee's decision, assisted by attending physician and boxer's seconds. Traditionally, a boxer's seconds express their opinion in favor of ending the match by throwing a towel into the ring. This gave rise to ``throw in the towel'' as an expression for giving up before circumstances absolutely prevent continuing. If it were based on the epidemiological evidence, both boxers would be declared losers by TKO before the beginning of the bout.

An instance of TKO is described at the ion entry.

TicKeT. Airline fare abbreviation.

TicKeTinG. Issuing an airline ticket. An abbreviation used in describing ticket fare terms.

Target Language. The language into which a text is to be translated (from its SL).

Thallium. Atomic number 81. Heaviest naturally occurring metal in the group III [IIIA or IIIB depending on your nationality; the one with boron (B), aluminum (Al), gallium (Ga) and indium (In)].

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

Thermal Lensing.



Truck Load. A sealed container or trailer. Cf. LTL.

Telemetry Link Adapter.

[Phone icon]

Telephone Line Adapter.

Theater Library Association.

t.l.a., t/l/a
Three-Letter Abbreviation. This isn't a very common abbreviation, in the lower-case and punctuated forms given; it's an SBF recommendation. See TLA.

Three-Letter { Abbreviation | Acronym }.

When the word acronym first appeared in the 1940's, it usually referred to a pronounceable sort of initialism like Nabisco that is ``pronounced as read,'' and unlike NRA in which the word is pronounced as the sequence of names of its letters (here ``en arr ay''). (Granted that in the case of vowels, the distinction not sharp.) Sometimes this condition of pronounceability was noted explicitly, more often implicitly in the choice of examples or by uncertain reference ``pronounced like a normal word.'' It may be objected that English is not very phonetic, so the pronunciation of a new ``normal word'' is not obvious. Even so, English words normally have at least as many vowel letters, counting wye, as syllables, and this is not true of initialisms pronounced as letter-name sequences (if they contain a consonant).

Eventually, the pronunciation stipulation came to define the ``strict sense'' of the word acronym, while the majority of people came to ignore the distinction between acronyms sensu strictu and other initialisms somehow pronounced as words.

TLA in particular, unless you pronounce it something like 't lah, is not, strictly, an acronym. Hence, if you understood TLA to be a three-letter acronym, then TLA was not itself a TLA. That's too bad (zu schade), because much of the appeal of TLA is in the fact that it is supposed to describe itself. Indeed, most three-letter initialisms are not acronyms in the strict sense, making the acronym TLA a not-very-widely applicable term.

This doesn't bother most people, but for those who prefer precision, SBF recommends t.l.a., in which a. obviously stands for abbreviation.

You know, this used to be a more fun entry before we got all precise. Here's what the entry used to look like:

Three-Letter Acronym. Not denotatively equivalent to TEA.

Nowadays art is about nothing but itself, so this acronym must be art.

Yet Another Acronym Server (YAAS), which had the goal of finding a meaning for every possible combination of three letters, has gone to URL heaven. The Great Three-Letter Acronym Hunt is online.

The story is told of President Calvin (``Silent Cal'') Coolidge, that a woman approached the taciturn president at a reception, saying she had made a bet that she could get three words out of him, and he replied ``You lose.''

Cal Coolidge's wife has been quoted as saying that Cal often first learned of his cleverest lines when he read them attributed to him in the morning papers.


Thrust Lever Angle. (Aviation term.)

Tomahawk Land-Attack Missile. Land-attack cruise missile, with a range of over 1000 miles. Pre-programmed flight path, so used against fixed targets. Cf. TASM.

Translation Lookaside Buffer. A part of the MMU that provides physical address translation and page access permissions.

T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chilli. The three members of a 90's girl group. (An ``R&B hip-hop'' group. I'm out of it, so I won't attempt an explanation. At least I know better than to pronounce boogie-woogie as ``boodgie-woodgie'' in a court. I understand that people listened to the music and enjoyed watching the shows. It's pretty hard to make it in the music industry, so I suppose that whatever the gimmicks, they were accomplished musicians too.)

TLC formed in 1991. The group was developed and first managed by Perri ``Pebbles'' Reid, an R&B star (known for her hits ``Girlfriend'' and ``Mercedes Boy'') then married to L.A. Reid. Lisa ``Left Eye'' Lopes was the group's rapper; Tionne ``T-Boz'' Watkin and Rozonda ``Chilli'' Thomas handled the vocals. So I'm told.

TLC's name was possibly the only word associating them with tenderness.

The ``Left Eye'' nickname referred to Lopes's trademark glasses, featuring a condom in the left-eye lens (but publicity photographs didn't often show them, you know?). You can see the condom in the video for ``Ain't 2 Proud 2 Beg,'' mostly in the last half minute or so. The condom is in the standard square packet, propped in place.

On April 25, 2002, shortly before 6 pm, Left-Eye died after a roll-over accident -- she drove her SUV off the edge of a two-lane country road outside La Ceiba, a town on the Atlantic coast of Honduras. None of her many passengers was killed. (First reports described the accident as a head-on collision; possibly it was -- head on into a tree.)

Tender Loving Care.

The Learning Channel. A cable TV channel. Learn about psychic witnesses twice during prime time.

Thin-Layer Chromatography. Get a tutorial from Virginia Tech.

Tratado de Libre Comercio. Spanish, `Free Trade Treaty.' This used to be a general term, referring to no particular treaty. As of 2005, however, the FTAA was being referred to in Spanish-speaking parts of Latin America (i.e., excluding Brazil) without regional qualifier as ``el TLC.'' But movement towards an FTAA also came to a stop around that time.

Tratado de Libre Comercio de América del Norte. Spanish for `North American Free Trade Treaty,' which is referred to in English by its acronym NAFTA.

It's amusing to (me to) note that nafta, in Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay, means `gasoline.' (In Chile it's bencina, and from Bolivia northward, it seems all other Spanish-speaking countries use gasolina. Of course, neighbors tend to understand each other, even if they prefer different words.)

TLCAN es un convenio [`agreement'] entre Méjico, Canadá, y los EEUU. (You don't need me to translate all of that.)

Thailand-Laos-Cambodia Brotherhood. A group for those who served in Southeast Asia; offers reunion news, a photo gallery, chat room, etc. ``Vietnam veterans, Allies, and CIA/NSA are welcome.''

ThermoLuminescent Detector.

Treaty-Limited Equipment. International arms `treaty.'

Transitional Low-Emissions Vehicle (LEV).

Trésor de la Langue Française. A dictionary that is the closest French counterpart of the Oxford English Dictionary. The TLF is not directly descended from Jean Nicot's Thresor de la langue françoyse, tant ancienne que moderne (1606), though that work was an important landmark in French lexicography.

Since everyone can read French -- even people like me who don't actually know the language -- the TLF is a very useful reference work. The 1992 edition is copyrighted by the C.N.R.S. (published by Gallimard). It troubles me that they keep the subtitle Dictionnaire de la langue du XIXe et du XXe siècle (1789-1960), but usage examples and citations date to at least as late as 1989. I relied on this 16-volume paper version until June 14, 2007, when I realized that I could access the electronic edition (TLFi) through my university connection. From now on I'll do my weight-lifting at the gym. (After just one more year, I also realized that the TLFi was available free to everyone, and not just through my university connection.)

Two-Level Fluctuations (usually measured in a conductance property).

See, for example, K. R. Farmer and R. A. Buhrman, ``Defect dynamics and wear-out in thin silicon oxides,'' Semiconductor Science and Technology, 4, #12, pp. 1084-1105 (December 1989).

Trésor de la Langue Française informatisé. The electronic version of the TLF. As electronic dictionaries go, one of its more unusual features is a customization option that lets users color-code up to six categories of text (Auteur d'exemple, Code grammatical, etc.). During the preparation of the electronic edition in the 1980's, the editors took the opportunity to digitize a great deal of the supporting corpus, and some of the ARTFL databases piggybacked on the dictionary project. See the article ``L'Informatique et la mise en oeuvre du Trésor de la Langue Française: Dictionnaire de la langue du 19e et du 20e siècle (1789-1960)'' by G. Gorcy, in The Possibilities and Limits of the Computer in Producing and Publishing Dictionaries, Linguistica Computazionale III, eds. A. Zampolli and A. Cappelli (Pisa: Giardini, 1984), pp. 119-44.

Note before you click on the Entrez button, that it is optimized for a slow connection by default; if you don't select the fast-connection radio button, you will see only short versions of some of the longer entries.


Thesaurus Linguae Graecae.

The TLG's CD-ROM #D (ancient Greek texts) contains 838 authors and collections from the 8th century BC to the 6th century AD.

Official name of what was the Thorn Lighting Group.

Thin-Layer Imaging.

TransLunar Injection. Injection into an orbit headed toward the moon. Cf. TEI, TMI.

Transmission LINE. Pronounced ``Tee line.''


Thesaurus Linguae Latinae.

Tape-Laying Machine. For Tape Automated Bonding (TAB).

Transmission Line Method. Of determining contact resistance. A transmission line is fabricated with multiple contacts. In a plot of resistance between contact pairs as a function of distance between contacts, the slope is a T-line characteristic, and the intercept is twice the contact resistance.

Transmission Line Model. Cross-bridge Kelvin Resistor (CBKR) and Contact End Resistor (CER) are examples.

Transmission Length Model.

The Land of The Free And The Home Of The Brave.

I didn't just not make up the lyric. I also didn't make up the abbreviation. A shorter one, though with a different inflection, would be US. That might explain the rarity of this one.

Thread-Level Parallelism.

Transient Lunar Phenomen{ a | on }. Isolated flashes, colored glows or obscurations of small areas of the Moon's surface. Reported.

Transmission Level Point.

Times Literary Supplement.

Transport-Layer Security.

The Llama Steering Committee. How hard could this be? They're not mules, for crying out loud.

(UK) Teaching and Learning Technology Programme.

Table Look-Up.

Threshold Limit Value. The concentration of a substance (in air) to which a normal person may be exposed 8 hours a day, 5 days a week without needing to retire early as a result. The ACGIH establishes some TLV's. They don't have the force of law, but they might carry some weight as evidence in a civil suit...

Threshold Limit Value/Time-Weighted Average.

Transaction Language 1.

Thalium Barium Calcium Copper Oxide. TlBa2Ca2Cu3O9, a high-Tc superconductor (HTSC).

Test Mode (designation on chip pins).

Thulium. Atomic number 69. A rare earth (RE) element.

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

Too Much. Productive abbreviation prefix in Chatese. E.g., tmd.

TM, tm
TradeMark. You can't copyright the title of a work, but you can register it as a trademark. (Please don't ask me to explain this; my imagination is too limited.)

A trademark identifies a good or service. Intellectual property people always distinguish this from a trade name (or business name), which identifies a particular company or corporation. A trade name may or may not be trademarked. The latter is the case if all you do is register the trade name with the state's registration office for corporate names or fictitious business names. You can't always do this at your local county courthouse. At least, I think that in most states you can register an individual enterprise ``doing business as'' (DBA) with the county, but once we had to trek through Amish country clear to Harrisburg just to register a corporation in Pennsylvania. As long as we were there, we visited Gettysburg. What the hell.

A lot of big corporations are registered in Delaware, because they like the laws there. Sort of like ships flagged by Liberia.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) offers a Trademarks FAQ.

There's an online Trademark Directory, but during the preview period the database is about empty. On the other hand ``No charges will be made during this preview period.'' Also, it looks like they've been in the preview stage for over two years. Oh boy! It pretty much takes the laurel for well-designed useless site.

If you want something considerably more useful, visit the Trademark Database of the US PTO.

Traffic Management.

Transcendental Meditation. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and other transcendentalists did not practice this, but someone gave Mohandas Gandhi a copy of Walden to read and it influenced his concept of Satyagraha. Maybe this is the hidden meaning of ``My karma just ran over your dogma.'' Supporting this violent interpretation is the fact that nineteenth-century transcendentalists, like political assassins and ladies who endow poetry awards, are known by three names.

Transition Metal.

Transmission Mode. This term is used frequently by scientists who study the transport of energetic electrons in semiconductors, to indicate whether their conference abstracts will be arriving by FedEx or DHL. Cf. RM.

Transverse Magnetic. (Typically refers to nature of waveguide-confined microwave mode.) Cf. TE, TEM.

Transverse Myelitis. It is a neurologic syndrome, the main symptoms being loss of feeling and strength (including bladder and bowel control) in parts of the body below some height. Feet and legs are usually involved. Symptoms vary, and there are often various kinds of pain, but for many patients, pain is a welcome sign of progress, an indication that feeling and strength may return. TM is caused by inflammation of the myelin layer of nerves in the spinal cord.

Onset is rapid (hours to weeks), with about half of all patients suffering the worst severity of symptoms within the first day. Most begin to recover within one to three months, but those who don't have a poor prognosis for recovery. As of 2004, there are treatments that benefit some TM patients, but no cures. Suffice it to say that new experimental treatments are being pursued. The incidence of TM is estimated to be roughly a few cases per year per million of population.

Travaux et Mémoires. Sounds a bit like Transcendental Meditation (TM), at that. At least karma yoga (partly explained here). The head-term expansion is French for `works and recollections.' The Sanskrit word karma (also karman) can be translated as `action' or `fate.' The way of action is karma yoga (or karmayoga, if they're charging you by the word). Someone who follows the path of action is a karma yogi. Someone who has followed the path of action for a very great distance and is in need of spiritual refreshment should have a karma yogurt.

TriMethyl. Common prefix in organometallic sources for MOCVD: TMAl, TMGa and TMIn.

(Domain name extension for) Turkmenistan.

Technology Modeling Associates. Puts out Pisces and Suprem simulation codes.

Terminal Maneuvering Area or TerMinal Area. Aviation acronym.

Thermal Mechanical Analyzer.

Toy Manufacturers of America.

Transverse Myelitis Association. (See TM entry.)

TriMethyl Aluminum. TMAl.


TriMethylAmine Alane. [(CH3)3N]AlH3. Common precursor for aluminum (Al) MOCVD.

TetraMethylAmmonium Hydroxide. N(CH3)4OH.

TriMethyl ALuminum. Common metalorganic source for aluminum (Al) in MOMBE and MOCVD. Also ``TMA.''

Treasury (Department) MAN. The T-men entry is longer, but it doesn't have much useful information either.

TriMethylAmine Nitrogen.


They Might Be Giants. A rock group. Discography and karaoke clip here.

Technology and Maintenance Council (of the ATA). When it was known as ``The Maintenance Council,'' the tee of the was presciently included in the acronym.

The Movie Channel. By subscription only.

Time-slot Management Channel.

Theater Missile Defense. Short for TBMD.

Too Much Detail. Chatese.

Transition Metal DiChalcogenide[s].

Transmissible Mink Encephalopathy. A spongiform encephalopathy of mink (surprise!), suspected of being caused or transmitted by prions, q.v.

Treasury-MEN. Not men like Mr. T, necessarily. Law officers from the US Department of the Treasury (DOT) -- Secret Servicemen. Or maybe that should be Secret-Service men. Whatever. T-men is easier. It's probably also obsolete. Cf. G-men.

If the Department of Commerce (DOC) had its own law officers, would they be ``C-men.'' Would that bother the Navy? Anyone else?

Singular form is T-man.

Separation of a compound word by interposition of another word. Rare in English, and nonstandard. AdvThanksance is not an example, if only because advance is not a compound word. I'm not sure if the present-tense instances of the V2 structure of German (separable prefix exiled to the end of the predicate) count. Most common examples in English involve the interposition of a profane intensifier. Some nonprofane examples:

ThermoMechanical Fatigue.

Trimethyl Gallium. Common metalorganic source for gallium (Ga) in MOMBE and MOCVD.

Three Mile Island. Name and location of a Pennsylvania nuclear reactor that gave folks a scare some years ago. TMI is used metonymically to refer to that 1979 event.

TMI, tmi
Too Much Information. Chatese expression. To be honest, I've only ever seen it used by a couple of chatters, but maybe that's tmi. But then, as the National Enquirer ads used to go, more or less,
Nosy minds want to know.

I should probably let you in on a little secret about chat rooms, which may help you understand better the context of ``TMI.'' To be blunt, chat rooms are not seminar rooms. They're more like bathrooms, or the walls of toilet stalls. ``TMI' does not just encapsulate three little words. It doesn't even encapsulate two little words and one long word. It encapsulates an entire philosophy. How's that for compression? The philosophy is sometimes expressed ``how bout a topic we cn ALL talk about?''

Okay, I just saw ``TMI'' used as the name of a TV feature. Of course, Newton Minow was right when he said that it is a vast wasteland, but he had the consolation of believing that this was the fault of TV executives, rather than a reflection of what people would watch when given a choice.

Trans-Mars Injection. Transfer from Earth Orbit into a trajectory that will send a spacecraft to Mars. Cf. TEI, MOI.

TRMM Microwave Imager.

TriMethyl Indium. Metalorganic source for indium (In) in MOMBE and MOCVD.

TemporoMandibular Joint. The one connecting the skull to the jaw. ``TMJ'' also refers to pain in the TMJ muscles, and associated headaches, often caused by stress. (Living with your teeth clenched.)

Thermoset Microwave Material.

Total Materials Management. (There's a TCIE TMM page.)

Transfer Matrix Method.

The Man-Made World. A curriculum project and textbooks developed by the ECCP, which see.

Telecommunication Management Network. A framework for achieving interconnectivity and communication across heterogeneous operating systems and telecommunications networks. Developed by the ITU.

The Movie Network. A group of Canadian cable channels (TMN1, TMN2, TMN3, TMN4, and Moviepix).


Test Management Protocol.

Texts and Monographs in Physics. A series from Springer-Verlag.

Triple Modular Redundancy. Belt, suspenders, and duct tape.

The Medieval Review. Formerly the Bryn Mawr Medieval Review (BMMR). You can still subscribe to TMR and the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR) together as the Bryn Mawr Reviews (BMR).

The Metallurgical Society. Founded in 1957; a Member Society of AIME. Now ``The Minerals, Metals, & Materials Society.''

Time-Multiplexed Switch[ing].

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. An experimental (as of 2002) treatment for the tremors of Parkinson's disease.

Cf. DBS.

Tape Mass Storage Control. DEC acronym.

There's More Than One Way To Do It. The Perl slogan. Typically pronounced, but not written ``Tim Toady.'' OTOH, Tim Toady.

TetraMethylTetraSelenaFulvalene. The basis of a family of quasi-one-dimensional conductors.

The Mars Volta. A rock group mentioned at the Volta entry.

Thermostatic Mixing Valve.

TriMethyl Zinc. There's also a dimethyl zinc (DMZ).

Telephone Number.

Tennessee. USPS abbreviation. A topological octagon, I guess: Tennessee and Missouri (MO) each border eight states (including each other), more than any other state of the US.

Pennsylvania and Massachusetts both have many towns named for places in the Jewish and Christian holy land. Tennessee has Memphis, a religious center of Pharaonic and Ptolemaic Egypt, and Nashville is known as the country music Mecca.

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

Terminal Node.

Trigeminal Neuralgia.

(Domain name extension for) Tunisia. A good site for it is Tunisia Online, ``your digital gateway to news and information on Tunisia.'' The capital, Tunis, is near the site of Carthage.

Back in the 1980's, a graduate school friend of mine wanted to do research in North African communities. She would have gone to Libya, but she couldn't travel there alone -- she'd have had to have been chaperoned by a near male relative. So she ended up doing her research in Tunisia. Of course, first she had to have a new passport issued her; the stamps from Israeli customs would have disqualified her from entry into either country.

Twisted Nematic (LCD).


TriNitroBenzene. TNT minus the methyl group.

TriNitroBenzene (TNB) Sulfonic acid.

The Nature Conservancy.

The New Criterion.

Threaded Navy Connector. A common connector for coaxial microwave cable. Cf. BNC. VSWR below 1.3 for frequencies below 11 GHz.

One inch long, 0.571 inches at the mouth. Crimps 1/8 inch cable at the neck (50 ohm cable; 75 ohm cable is 0.15 inches in diameter).

Transient Nematic Effect.

Transportation-Neutral Encapsulation Format. Most frequently encountered as the MIME type line

Content-Type: application/ms-tnef

It's a characteristic bit of Microsoft arrogance. It contains font style and size, color and other format information (some version of RTF, Rich Text Format) processed by MS Exchange and MS Mail, and it was already present in Windows 95. If you send it to an email list, or send mail to yourself (in Cc: or Bc: -- ``Carbon copy'' or ``Blind copy'') it, you don't notice anything amiss when you read your own mail because you're reading through your own mail user agent (MUA), which is TNEF-savvy. Evidently it's supposed to, or used to, create a file called WINMAIL.DAT. An old file at URL http://www.annoyances.org/win95/win95ann5.html#13 explains how to fix it (if the ``#13'' isn't heeded, scroll down or search for WINMAIL.DAT; they don't mention ``TNEF''). I think that addresses the problem.

If the online Win95 annoyances guide doesn't enable you to fix the problem, you can buy the O'Reilly & Assoc. Office97 Annoyances_ book (seems to have some kind of turkey or dodo on the cover). According to Annoyances.org, the corresponding web version isn't up yet -- hey, they're not a charity. Alternatively, switch to Eudora Pro or Eudora Lite or something else. I know switching software is a big pain, and it really shouldn't be necessary if you can find a Win95 guru around. My experience with Eudora on Mac and Windows95 is pretty good, although it's too easy to send mail that's too wide. Using Netscape as a mailreader has problems similar to those with MS products: arrogant proprietary choices. In particular, it tends to attach an html version of your message, and angle-bracketed text like ``<grin>'' can disappear.

Theater Nuclear Forces. Hey, brinksmanship is showmanship.

Tumor Necrosis Factor. Also called Cachectin. A cytokine normally produced by activated macrophages to destroy tumors.

The Next Generation (of Star Trek). Also ST:TNG and STTNG and STNG.

The Nashville Network. A cable network begun by the National Life and Accident Insurance Company in 1983, parent company of AM, FM and TV stations with the call letters WSM, and owner of the Grand Old Opry and Opryland theme park. When National Life was absorbed by a larger insurer, the entertainment properties started to be spun off, first as a group to Gaylord Broadcasting, then piecemeal. Bob Lochte serves a page of unofficial information and opinion that brings the story up to early 2000. He commented, i.a., that ``TNN probably draws a bigger crowd [more eyeballs] in Canada.''

TNN was purchased in 1999 by Viacom, which has scrambled to get it away from its unprofitable roots in Country. A Canadian informant reports that by autumn 2001 the station was expanding TNN as ``The National Network.'' At least they preserved the stressed ``nash'' phonemes. And national has a nice international ambiguity. Come to think of it, if they ever want to come home, they can claim that National actually meant Country. (It appears that, for a little while at least, they avoided expanding TNN altogether, possibly in hopes that people might forget the original expansion and hence not be jarred by the new one.)

Okay, now it's Summer 2003, Viacom is a division of MTV, and ``The New TNN'' bills itself as ``the first network for men.'' They've apparently either given up trying to come up with an appropriate expansion for the T - N - N , or -- I see: it's in the fine print (see this page). Still ``National.'' They need a new expansion; the tee should stand for Trashy.

Specifically what happened is that they wanted to leave the TNN expansions behind and call it ``Spike TV,'' but that was spiked at the last minute. On the last day before the launch of the new programming, they had to change all the logos because Spike Lee sued over the name. They settled out of court in July 2003, and since August 11 of that year TNN has been called ``Spike TV.''

Spike was already a common nickname when Shelton J. Lee's mother gave it to him, and like Biff or Candy it carries certain connotations owing little to anyone currently bearing the name. This is so obvious as to invite suspicion of cynical opportunism in Mr. Lee's pretense that an entertainment product with the name Spike infringes his own rights. But it's perfectly possible to believe that he is genuinely convinced of his own talent, importance, and general entitlement. What's his is his and what's yours is his too. This gives him an authentic empathy with the solipsism and possessiveness of a child, so it's very appropriate that he's done a children's book.

The TNN flap wasn't the first instance of Spike Lee's entertainment-product avariciousness. In 1989, it became known that Norman Jewison, who had directed a number of films that dealt with racism in America, was planning to do a film biography of Malcolm X. Lee protested that the biography of such an important figure in American history should not be done by a Canadian like Jewison. Wait-- I think I got that wrong. It had to do with the color of his skin. Jewison worked a year on the project and had hired Denzel Washington to play the lead, but he was eventually forced out (the film rights to ''The Autobiography of Malcolm X'' were owned by producer Marvin Worth). When he bowed out at the end of January 1991, Jewison denied he was stepping down because of pressure to have a black director handle the picture. (His autobiography, This Terrible Business Has Been Good To Me, published late in 2004, does not maintain this fiction.) At the time he also said that he didn't know how to make the movie (it would have been his 27th directorial project). Spike Lee, who was eight when Malcolm X was murdered, ``inherited'' the project; he made the movie with Denzel Washington, and he shared screenwriting credit with Arnold Perl, who had made a Malcolm X documentary that was released in 1972. Now mind: I'm not arguing whether Jewison would have made a better or worse film than Lee, I'm only observing that Lee's general objections to a white director had as a specific beneficiary himself.

The Network Observer.

Trans-Neptunian Object.

Traité de non-prolifération. French for `Nonproliferation Treaty' (NPT).

w-TriNitroPhenylAminoLauric acid.

The New Republic magazine. A Weekly Journal of Opinion, founded 1914. Not quite communist at the time. Its political trajectory since has been generally rightward, and it reached a point in the 1990's when for a while its antipathy to the GOP seemed almost a matter of sentimentality. People who call themselves progressive would say things like ``I don't get the New Republic.'' It has pulled left since Andrew Sullivan left, and while it's still clearly to the right of The Nation, it is also, since about 2005, clearly on the left.

It's also worth noting, quite apart from its politics, that this rag has been for a number of years an illiterate assault on the English language. For example, in a January 16, 2006, back page article, a threnody for the late Senator Eugene McCarthy, Editor-in-Chief Martin Peretz wrote this: ``We knew we were working with folk whom you knew might defect the moment the assassinated president's brother decided that his time had come.'' Never mind whether ``his time had come'' is not unfortunate wording; most people are either smart enough to know how to use ``whom'' or smart enough not to use it. TNR is stupid enough to not know and use it, as here, rather consistently incorrectly. Some of the less trite errors are more amusing. For example, elsewhere in the issue Alan Wolfe writes ``As benefits a work of apologetics....'')

Here's the beginning of an article that appeared in June 1917 in the short-lived publication The Seven Arts (pp. 133-146). Entitled ``The War and the Intellectuals,'' it was contributed by Randolph S. Bourne:

To those of us who still retain an irreconcilable animus against war, it has been a bitter experience to see the unanimity with which the American intellectuals have thrown their support to the use of war-technique in the crisis in which America found herself. Socialists, college professors, publicists, new-republicans, practitioners of literature, have vied with each other in confirming with their intellectual faith the collapse of neutrality and the riveting of the war-mind on a hundred million more of the world's people. ...

I'm pretty sure ``new-republicans'' refers to those associated with TNR. Bourne was a regular contributor to TNR on a variety of subjects, though particularly on education; he was a popular advocate of John Dewey's educational theories. (John Dewey, incidentally, supported US entry into the war.) If you haven't heard of Randolph Bourne, one reason may be that he died at age 32, during the flu pandemic of 1918. Regarding Bourne's ``publicists'' and ``practitioners of literature,'' don't fret it much: Bourne was usually vague on what he meant by ``intellectual.'' For that matter, even in his own day few college professors could burnish the matte luster of that word.

There's a monthly that was launched around 1960 and published by the American Jewish Committee (AJC) called Commentary. (More at the link; it's now independent of the AJC.) Commentary also drifted (but much further) to the right. (I mean, every few years they publish an article arguing against evolution!) Frank Manciewicz is usually credited with the observation that The New Republic is like a Jewish Commentary. (The point presumably being that the subject matter and authors of Commentary are not particularly Jewish, and that the politics of TNR is much closer to that of American Jews. I think what this must all mean is that Commentary is the Canadian TNR.) Somewhere to the right of Commentary, politically, is JWR.

Frankly, the TNR-Commentary comparison has aged poorly, especially since TNR seems to have dispensed with copy-editors. A better comparison is provided by newish (since 1992?) First Things and Commonweal, each of which is something like a Catholic Commentary. There doesn't seem to be a Protestant version yet, or I'm not aware of it. There are, of course, generally Protestant journals that are more focused on religion. Approximations of FT/Commentary/Commonweal: Christianity Today (a monthly of Protestant evangelicals, founded in 1955) and the Christian Century (not very denominational, as the name implies; so leftist it holds out hope of salvation for Democrats).

I think that 2002 was the big shake-out year for journals, though many of the survivors have been shaky. TNR's circulation shrank from about 101,000 in 2000 to about 60,000 at the beginning of 2007. TNR's specific problem, however, may be political polarization. Between 2004 and 2007, the circulations of such liberal magazines as The Nation and The Progressive have increased. I think the conservative journals have just held their own -- Commentary, at least, has held steady at about 25 thousand. More centrist TNR has lost readership, consistent with the political-polarization storyline. In late February 2007, TNR announced a major overhaul, selling controlling interest to CanWest Global Communications and switching to fortnightly publication. (There, see? TNR is the Canadian TNR!)

Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.

There's No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Acronym of a saying attributed to Milton Friedman. But that ain't the 'proved form of the acronym, which be tanstaafl (q.v.), popularized by Robert Heinlein.

My grandfather resided in the US for a while in the days after Prohibition was lifted. At the time, local jurisdictions had more stringent laws restricting the sale of alcohol. One such law in New York City allowed on-site consumption of alcohol only to accompany food. One way around this was simply to offer a ``free lunch'' to anyone buying a drink. My father says that this is the origin of the phrase -- lunch wasn't really free, you had to pay for the drink.

Still, market mechanisms intrude. My grandfather wasn't much of a drinker; he would resell his drink to someone who wasn't hungry, so lunch came out pretty cheap.

Hmm. It says here in You Might As Well Live (John Keats's book about Dorothy Parker) that in the gay nineties (that's the 1890's, son), a man could have a free lunch with a five-cent beer. Page 16.

Télévision numérique terrestre.

     H C         NO
      3 \       /  ²
         / ___ \
O N_____/ /   \ \
 ²      \ \___/ /

Created in 1863 by J. Wilbrand. (At the time, in Germany, the name ended in the now no-longer-standard toluol, q.v.)

The 2,4,6- (for the positions of the nitro groups) is usually implicit, since a straightforward synthesis puts the groups preferentially at para and ortho positions.

Turner Network Television. ``[They] Know Drama.'' Sure. Bring back Shannen Doherty. I don't care if she was a director's nightmare -- that's someone else's problem. I was charmed. One day I'll have to watch. Oops, too late -- missed it! Doherty lasted from 1998 (first season) to 2001 on TNT's Charmed (executive producer Aaron Spelling). She played the spectacularly misnamed Prudence. (See the BMW entry for another thought on the casting, however.) The twisted good sisters are named Halliwell.

In May 1998, Geri Halliwell achieved solo fame by leaving the phenomenally successful Spice Girls in mid-tour. That year, Aaron Spelling was casting for a new Charlie's Angels series and considered her for a part. She was rejected as too chunky, although in July it was reported that actor Randy Spelling, Aaron's son, had pleaded with dad to reconsider. In a few of the many stories about the Spice break, it was even rumored that the possibility of a role in the show contributed to Geri's decision to leave. In any event, an Angels remake didn't materialize that year. A big-screen version was filmed in 1999 (released 2000).

Since 2001, along with the other former Turner properties (TCM, TBS, Cartoon Network, the various CNN's), TNT has organizationally been a part of the WB network, which in turn is part of Time Warner.

TeNnessee Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

An extension of the Telnet protocol that allows communication with IBM host machines; a code implementing that protocol. Basically, it emulates a 3278 Model 2 terminal instead of a VT100.

Thin-Outline (electronics package).

Domain name code for Tonga. For reasons unknown to me, the .to top-level domain is very popular in Japan. Later on this same page, we feature a Tonga entry with a little snippet of intriguing information about that island nation.

Topology Optimization.

T.O., TO
Toronto, Ontario.

There's a help page for the search engine on the Canadian Parliament website. One of the searching hints (``Be Accurate'') explains:

For example, if you wanted to look for information about Toronto, you would type Toronto, not the common abbreviation T.O. The Search Engine does not know that T.O [sic, I think it was] means Toronto and it will be unable to provide you with any results even though there are several documents that contain the word Toronto.

It may seem superfluous to point out that one should search on actual placenames rather than their abbreviations, but Torontonians use TO frequently without a second thought, about as New Yorkers use NYC. I seem to recall more than once being in a chatroom with mostly American chatters, where people from Toronto or thereabouts used TO in the apparent expection that it would be generally understood.

FWIW, a search on T.O. at the Canadian Parliament website (May 2004) did turn up five documents (in addition to the search help page itself): lists of members for eighth through twelfth parliaments (June 23, 1896 to October 6, 1917), when T.O. Davis served as a member of the House of Commons (8th and 9th; the 9th was dissolved Sept. 29, 1904) and then as a senator (10th-12th). Wilfred Laurier was prime minister during the 8th to the 11th parliaments. He's mentioned at the WLU entry. T.O. Davis is not.

As of 2009, all those interesting search tips are gone, and you only learn that the search is case- and accent-insensitive and similar boring stuff. It reminds me of a Dave Barry column (``Sweating Out Taxes'') that included this: ``The IRS spends God knows how much of your tax money on these toll-free information hot lines staffed by IRS employees, whose idea of a dynamite tax tip is that you should print neatly. If you ask them a real tax question, such as how you can cheat, they're useless.''

The comments about T.O. above occurred in the English help page, and the dead link above is to that. The corresponding French page with search help (dead link here) used the example of Mtl. in place of T.O. (Le moteur de recherche ne sait pas, lui, que Mtl désigne Montréal....) Searching on MTL yields three pages that mention Radio-Canada MTL.

Transverse Optic[al]. Refers to transversely polarized optical phonons. TO phonons interact with charge carriers by DO interaction. Cf. LO, TA.

[Football icon]

TurnOver. In football, a change in possession resulting from an interception or a fumble picked up by the opposing team.

Transfer Of Authority.

An instrument for browning bread.

The Office Building of the Year. A competition and award sponsored by AOBA.

TOC, ToC, t.o.c.
Table Of Contents. By analogy, then,TOM must be Table of Malcontents and TOD must be Table of Discontents. And the BEAT goes on here.

La-da da-da dee, la-da da-da dah.


It was the Summer of my contents. Garage-sale time.

Top Of Climb. An aviation acronym, but for all I know the Sherpas may use the same acronym. Cf. TOD.

Total Organic Carbon.


Tables Of ContentS of journals of INterest to classicists. Hey, I didn't make up the name. Search the Toronto site or the Belgian mirror at Louvain (UCL). The resource depends on the efforts of volunteers who receive essentially no recognition or thanks, or help from me.

There's a European mirror for TOCS-IN in Louvain.

When it was begun, the journals to be covered were divided into 16 files: 6 files of general classics journals (CLA), 5 of archaeology (ARCH), 3 for religion and Near Eastern studies (RLNE), and 2 for miscellaneous journals of interest (MISC).

TOtal Correlation SpectroscopY. NMRtian. They could as easily have named this T-COSY, to rhyme with tea cosy. I don't know if this omission represents restraint, remorse, or contrition.

Top Of Descent. An aviation acronym which I guess means altitude at top of descent. This is typically achieved at the beginning. Cf. TOC.

Total Oxygen Demand.

Two stone, approximately. An English unit of weight used in the wool trade well into the nineteenth century, and in Scrabble (accepted by all three major Scrabble dictionaries) to this day. Although the plural of stone is stone, the plural of tod is tods. Three or four fleeces used to make a tod, but who knows what GM sheep will make. After you've fulled a tod, you might want to ted it.

A tod is really just a wool-specific alternate name for a quatern -- one quarter of a hundredweight (long). To be precise about ``approximately'': I mean that a tod was precisely 28 pounds, but the term was also used loosely, and in a weak market for wool, buyers might demand a half pound over. Sounds like price controls.

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
Wrong. Yesterday was the first day of the rest of your life, remember? So today is the second day.

A pedal digit.

Theory Of Everything.

Truncated driven nuclear Overhauser Enhancement (NOE). NMRtian term.

Test Of English For Aviation.

Test Of English as a Foreign Language. Pronounced like `toeful,' a word that, if it existed, would presumably mean replete with toe or toes. It would be an apt term to describe a mouth that had a foot stuck in it. TOEFL, as well the score a test-taker obtains on it, is much less informative. Administered by ETS. What did you expect?

Overall score, originally in the range 200 to 677, was 10 × average of three section scores (20 to 68). They couldn't pick a system that didn't require roundoffs? No, they had to make it complicated. 660 is at the top percentile, top quartile is about 570, median is about 520. The graduate admissions office at Notre Dame interprets the range 535-600 as ``questionable ability.''

But wait! It gets worse. A computer-based test was introduced, with scores in the range 0 to 300. (Lowest score zero: what a clever innovation!) In order ``to avoid confusion'' (no thanks, really -- you've done enough), the scores on the paper-based test have been adjusted: scores between 200 and 310 on the old scale have been collaped up to 310 (fewer fine gradations between horrible and terrible). Since scores above 310 are not scaled, those higher scales still represent the same level of English incompetence they represented previously.

Some conversions:

Paper-based score    Computer-based score
       677                    300
       650                    280
       600                    250
       550                    213
       533                    200
       500                    173

You could get a better idea of a student's English competence in a one-minute conversation, but that wouldn't be standardized. (Then again, see the FMSS entry.)

Y'know, the toeful/toefl thing reminds me: a way to distinguish many Austrian surnames from German ones is that if they end in a consonant followed by el where you would expect a consonant followed by ee followed by el in ordinary German spelling, then it's Austrian (z.B.: Vogl in Österreich; Vogel in Deutschland). This rule is a lot more accurate than the TOEFL's.

Technical Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM).

Time Of Flight. It has been a pleasure to serve you. We hope that the next time you measure carrier mobility, you will choose our thin crystal again.

Time-On Factor. Relevant in lifetime (MTF) studies.

Trailer On Flat Car. A pretty common form of intermodal transportation.

Time-Of-Flight (TOF) Mass Spectrometry (MS). An explanation is linked from a general introduction to mass spectrometry served by Virginia Tech.

Time-Of-Flight (TOF) Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). Explained here (link is to specific anchor in page).

Take-Off/Go-Around. Abort landing.


Tropical Ocean Global Atmosphere. Part of the WCRP.

Transmission OverHead. Sum of LOH and SOH.

Time Off In Lieu. That is, in lieu of extra tender (T.O.I.L.E.T.). A British term equivalent to the North American ``comp time.''

A Russian acronym formed from toroidalnaya kamera and magnitnaya katushka, meaning `toroidal chamber' and `magnetic coil.' A device invented in the Soviet Union (duh) in the 1950's. Its purpose is to confine a plasma magnetically, and the purpose of that is to produce a combination of density and temperature sufficient to produce thermonuclear fusion. On through the 1970's, other wilder confinement geometries were tried, such as stellarators, bumpy tori, magnetic mirror coils in the shape of a baseball's seams, etc. Since the 1970's, almost all the big money for plasma-confinement fusion has been in tokomaks. Inertial confinement is the main serious alternative that has received money. Because the prize is so rich, however, money is also occasionally thrown at schemes with success probability indistinguishable from zero, like aneutronic (migma) schemes and Pons-Fleischmann cold fusion.

[Football icon]

Time-Outs Left. A football scoreboard abbreviation.

Transparent Organic Light-Emitting Device. You're probably thinking that something's gotta be transparent -- how else could it emit light. Not really: red-hot iron emits light but is just about as opaque as cold iron. Anyway, your typical OLED is transparent on one side. A TOLED is made on a transparent substrate, with obvious applications for fiber-optic communication or optical computing, say. A TOLED requires good transparent conductors like CuPc (metal-free: MF-TOLED) or the semitransparent Mg:Ag (silver-doped magnesium) thin films.

Who's that? Never heard of him.

You want the JRRT entry.

Toll View
A road not far from here. Not a very romantic name, but descriptive: the road overlooks the Indiana Toll Road (I-90).

You can keep your ``Dale Crest'' and ``Republic Manor.'' ``Toll View'' suggests the idea that there's a price to be paid for everything -- even a mere view. Here's a thought. According to Peter De Vries, suburbs are named after what the developers destroyed to build them -- Rolling Acres, Forest Glen, and so forth.

I'd like to point out that ``Dale Crest'' was just an off-hand invention to suggest the oxymorons that result from the use of obscure (to the name coiners) words to make place names that sound antique, and hence established or upscale. (For a related phenomenon, see Mission Viejo entry.) It turns out that there's a Dale Crest in Texas, and many a Dalecrest elsewhere. I suppose some crest may be associated with a dale, or vice versa, but I'm inclined to doubt that the coinage is usually meant literally. ``Republic Manor'' occurs as an accidental collocation, but the name as such has apparently not been inflicted, yet, into the annals of um, um, Atlastry, or whatever the word is that I'm trying to recall. Gazetteer! The annals of gazetteering, or gazetteers, for short.

I should also note that I only have the De Vries quotation at second hand -- from a review by George Will of a book not by De Vries. De Vries was a novelist of the mid-twentieth century; it may be a while before I can track down the precise quotation.]

If you mention Tolstoy to a Russian, you're likely to be rebuked with the curt question, ``Which one?'' Say Leo. It's always Leo. A comparable thing does not happen with music-lovers and Bach, even though you might mean Johann Sebastian or Peter Shickele (PDQBach) or conceivably someone else.

Oh, alright, let's get serious. Tolstoy, also transliterated Tolstoi, is the name of a noble Russian family. In addition to Count Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910), the other famous ones were named Aleksey. Count Aleksey Nikolayevich (1882-1945, some novels) and Count Aleksey Konstantinovich (1817-1875, light and heavy verse). On the evidence of the patronymics, there must have been an awful lot of Nicholases in the family (sure, I could find out, but I'm busy now, working on the glossary). It might go back to Count Peter Alexandrovich (1761-1844), who headed a government department under Czar Nicholas I. In addition to the fathers of Leo and one of the Alekseys, there was Leo's older brother Nicholay (when people aren't famous, they don't get domesticated names like Nicholas). Leo was a college drop-out living on family money, and his life was going nowhere. In 1851 he accompanied Nikolay (transliterated spellings are a lot like Middle English spellings -- whatever works, and even what doesn't) to the Caucasus, where he joined an artillery regiment and began writing. I should probably have made one of those Alekseys an Alexei or Alexey or Alexay. Variety is the spice of life.

Benzene with a methyl group substituted for one of the hydrogens (composition formula C7H8). MW reports a first use in 1871 in French (Toluène). For more on the name see the next (toluol) entry.

Old name for toluene. MW reports an earliest use circa 1848. The name refers to the tolu balsam from which it was first obtained (from the tropical American tree Myroxylon balsamum), tolú in Spanish, from Santiago de Tolú, Colombia.

Under the IUPAC rationalization of chemical nomenclature, use of the -ol ending (q.v.) was restricted to phenols and alcohols, and simple aromatic compounds got names ending in -ene. Since academic chemists adopted the new nomenclature with alacrity, while manufacturers and others not engaged primarily in chemical research were laggard or reluctant to switch names, there is a natural tendency for toluol (in current continued use) to refer to commercial-grade (i.e., not very high grade) purity of toluene.

Temperature Oscillating Method.

Around 1988, I was standing in line at the hamburger place in the basement of the Memorial Union at ASU. The guy behind me looked familiar, a bit like an older student who'd gotten his MA the previous year. I asked, ``were you in the EE department here some time back?'' A taller, lawyerish-looking person behind him snorted in contemptious amusement. He looked like a smart-ass lawyer. The fellow I questioned said no, but maybe he looked familiar because years before, he had had a part in a TV show. ``Tom,'' I said. I think he was flattered.

Years ago there was a soap opera that was a spoof of soap operas, called ``Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.'' Mary's mate, never seen without the baseball cap that symbolized his arrested emotional development, was called Tom.

The guy who played Tom was at ASU filming with Disney.

[Football icon] In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, Tom Buchanan is defined by what he did in college years before (play football).

Technologically Optimistic Mobile Professional.

Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks
The title of two books (a good one and a bad one) by Donald Bogle, and the five stereotypes into which those books categorize all blacks in American movies. The first book was published in 1973, as the era it described was coming to an end. The next decade saw enormous change, with blacks cast against earlier stereotypes. The second book (the revised edition of the first book) was published in 1989. It responded to the changes by shoehorning the new roles into the old categories. Bogle performed a similar service for TV in Primetime Blues: African Americans on Network Television (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2001).

Some languages distinguish not only ``sound'' of the sort indicated by European phonetic or alphabetic characters, but other sound qualities. The most prominent example of this is Chinese, which distinguishes ``tones.'' In this context, tones are pitch patterns. These are similar to the intonational patterns of European sentences (e.g., rising pitch at the end commonly indicates a question, though there are many exceptions), but the tones of Chinese languages apply to individual words.

Although there is essentially one ideographic character system in use throughout China, different regions use local languages or dialects so different as to make communication difficult. Some of the difference is in the use of different words indicated by different characters, but most of the difference amounts to a different pronunciation of the same characters. Part of the difference in pronunciation arises from the use of different tones, so to discuss particular tones one must specify which ``Chinese'' one means. The ``official'' Chinese, what one is assumed to mean when one uses the word in another language, is Mandarin. In Mandarin there are four tones:

	|		|		|		|
	|__		| /		|  /		|\
	|		|/		|\/		| \
	|		|		|		|

	 1		 2		  3		 4

There is also a little-used fifth tone, which is no tone at all. This is not equivalent to a flat tone (tone 1), though God knows I can't hear much difference. (Now you know too. You and God have something in common. Isn't that awesome?) Anyway, if you want to be careful, you can write ``0'' for this tone. Not so many words use tone 0, but one that does is very common: the ma placed at the end of a sentence to indicate that it's a question (see SVO).

This is about normal for Chinese languages: four tones or so. An outlier among Chinese languages is Cantonese, the language of a large southern province (traditionally called Canton in English, or Guangdong [approx. recollection] in one or another Romanization) around Hong Kong. To speakers of other Chinese languages, Cantonese-speakers often seem to be arguing, because of the large number of different tones they use. The precise number of tones used is a matter of some dispute. This is not so surprising: though most Anglophones know that the English alphabet has 26 distinct letters (a full deck, counting upper and lower cases separately), few know the number of different sounds distinguished in their pronunciation (for most dialects, it is over forty). Part of the confusion also is due to the fact that different sounds may or may not be considered equivalent. (This also has an analogue in English, in the situation of vowels. For example, the dialects of some English-speaking regions don't distinguish the pronunciation of two or all of ``merry,'' ``marry'' and ``Mary.'' If these all seem clearly different, then next Christmas turn on the TV and listen as Jimmy Stewart, playing George Bailey in `` It's A Wonderful Life'' (IAWL) goes shouting for ``Mary,'' played by Donna Reed. [Links are to the US mirror of The Internet Movie Database.]

Donna Reed was the homemaker icon of the 1950's, based especially on the strength of her performance in The Donna Reed Show from 1958 to 1966. In the eighties, we got Roseanne, Domestic Goddess (tm). In 1991, Amy Tan published The Kitchen God's Wife, and never once in that book does she acknowledge Roseanne.


One point of view is that Cantonese essentially has only one tone additional to those of Mandarin, but that it sounds like more because of the different initial attacks (in the musical sense) that are used. Also, somewhat different, um, versions of the tones are used for shorter than for longer words.

Here's an interesting statistical fact about Tonga that is revealed by the CIA's 1994 Worldbook: The literacy rate overall is 57%, but among males it is 60% and among females it is 60% too. Round-off error seems to be a problem there. The King has lost a lot of weight, but he still uses crutches for his graver moments. Domain name code is <.to>. For some reason, .to top-level domain is popular with Japanese businesses.

tongue depressor
Something to hold down your tongue. Traditionally a flat piece of wood resembling a double-width ice-cream stick, minus the ice cream.

tongue troopers
Enforcers of Quebec's laws censoring expression in languages other than French. The term is mostly applied to officials of the Commission de protection de la langue francaise (plus diacritics), charged with enforcing provisions of Bill 101 (1977) and related laws. The tongue troopers usually arrive in response to a citizen complaint -- some snitch with a camera takes a picture of an outdoor sign in English. Under the original terms of Bill 101, all outdoor signs must be in French, and French only. Bill 86, adopted under a Liberal government in June 1993, allows bilingual outdoor and indoor signs so long as French is predominant (lettering three times larger). I guess now you can tell the Anglophones in Quebec cities by the fieldglasses they carry around.

Short for Anthony and related names, including Antoinette. Antoinette Perry was an actress and director, and a cofounder and chair of the American Theatre Wing. What the heck kind of name is that? If I find out that American Theatre Wing is known as ATW, I'll add an entry for it, but right now I'm afraid to look, because I'm swamped. Perry was born on June 27, 1888, and died the day after her 58th birthday. The next year the ATW established the annual Antoinette Perry Awards, better known as the Tony Awards. Considering the competition, they might be the tony awards as well. The year 2004 marks the 58th birthday of the Tonys. (Curtain rises at 8PM Eastern time on June 6. Second show at 8PM Pacific time, apparently. Doesn't that kill the suspense?)

tooth numbering
There are at least three systems of tooth numbering in common use among dentists. DrBunn.com has a nice explanation.

A movie starring Dustin Hoffman. That's the 1982 movie, not the 1917, one, 'kay? I only put this entry here to avoid bloat in yet another entry (Door Slam Method, Car). You know -- first you add an innocent little adjective, then the sentence sprouts a relative clause, the relative clause buds off a parenthetical, and pretty soon you're wishing you had an entry on malignant neoplasia of the glossarius.

So about ``Tootsie'' (1982): Dustin Hoffman plays an unemployed actor (Michael Dorsey) who poses as a woman (Dorothy Michaels) to get acting work. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of acting, this is a bit like double-escaping to pull a literal out through two levels of interpretation.

A movie that takes this to the next level was actually released earlier in 1982: in Victor/Victoria, Julie Andrews plays a soprano who finds work posing as a female impersonator. You wonder just how much of a challenge this would be.

Stay with me, now; this paragraph and the last are just as connected as any two consecutive paragraphs typically are, in this glossary. East Germany (when that existed) had a program of giving their competitive female athletes a little competitive edge: male hormones. It was a public relations campaign, you know? They wanted to show the world that even if their subjects couldn't sprint from East Berlin to West Berlin in thirty years, nevertheless the communist country had the best doping program in the world. Except that they were so modest that they denied having any such program. And you know that males and females both have ``male'' and ``female'' hormones -- the difference is quantitative, not qualitative, so it was hard to prove doping (especially with the technology then available). Instead, suspicious people pointed to suspicious signs, like the fact that the female East German swimmers had deep voices. To this, one East German coach gave the memorable answer: ``We came to swim, not to sing!'' (It works about as well in the German -- schwimmen, singen). I'm glad that I forgot to mention that at the 14.25 entry.

That Dustin Hoffman vehicle, BTW, costarred Jessica Lange, and Geena Davis had her first film role in it. It seems they didn't deploy the Doris Day contrast enhancement maneuver (casting an unattractive best friend to make the star look good). You have to figure that looking too good in a female impersonator role could be risky to an actor's career, unless he aspires to a Divine career. Then again, when it's been a couple of years since you co-starred in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and you haven't had any movie work, maybe risk is good.

TableTOP. In restaurant jargon, it can refer to either a table or a set of tables put together to form a (preferably fairly) continuous tabletop surface. The word is most commonly heard in compounds with numbers. For example, a five-top is a table of or for five -- that is, either a table with five customers or five places for customers. A two-top is a deuce (and the latter term is more common).

Technical Office Protocol. An OSI-based architecture developed for office communications by Boeing.

Temporarily Out of Print. An important technology-driven shift during the early 1990's was a move toward smaller print runs. As it became possible to do second printings more quickly, a smaller initial print run did not carry the same risk of lost sales in an unexpectedly successful title. Bigger runs, of course, carried the usual risk of unsold manufactured units. In addition, partly prompted by changes in tax policy on depreciation, publishers took a harder-nosed attitude to warehousing -- they've been quicker to pulp paperbacks and remainder hardcovers. With some titles that see strong cyclical demand (like academic texts for alternate-year courses, for example) this occasionally has led to insane behaviors -- repeatedly warehousing a title for not quite long enough, pulping the lot and having to reprint it the next month.

A common clause in book contracts (the contracts between publishers and authors) stipulates that if the house leaves the book out of print (OOP), the author gets the rights back.

Time Of Possession. Nowadays a basketball term, but Kepler's mother was accused of something similar. Come think of it, this might be a good explanation of the eristic and nonproductive nature of the labor ``negotiations'' that have cancelled this year's (1998-9) roundball season. I suppose greed is another possibility.

IMDB will calmly tell you about Linda Blair.

[Football icon] TOP is also used in football, where it's actually easier to measure accurately.

First get the big picture, then sweat the details.

top down
First get in the convertible, then sweat.

Temperature- and Overload-Protected FET.


TOPS, Tops
Tera-Operations Per Second. [See MIPS for usage note.]

Total Operations Processing System. A realtime computer that logs the departure and arrival of trains at various locations. British usage, though you never know.

Along about now, if not earlier, you have probably been wondering at the amazing ability of the Stammtisch to bring you exquisitely recondite information, at the very reasonable price (nothing) that we charge (all major credit cards accepted, and excepted). Even though you have read about our practical yet utopian administrative structure, you yet wonder how we do it. Very well, because you've asked politely, we'll give one small example.

The particular entry you are reading now (TOPS) was developed with information from the ground transportation division of our international directorate for excellence in glossary entries (ISO 9000 mission statement available free on request; include $3000 for freight and handling). I should mention that the ground transportation research staff, as well as the editing staff and the staff of a number of our other divisions, is based in nearby Canada (.ca), because that's where he, er, I mean the volunteer staff, resides. The use of highly skilled and mysteriously motivated volunteer staff is one of the important ways we keep costs down. Another way is, I shell out for the web presence to feed my ego.

Now that you understand the broad outlines of our organizational structure, we can move on to the intelligence operation that retrieved this datum. It all began as the ground transportation research staff was perusing the hearings transcripts of the ongoing inquiry into a Southall crash on September 19, 1997 (seven dead and about 150 injured when a Swansea-to-Paddington passenger train collided with a freight train in west London).

Our alert researcher noticed that the capitalized character string TOPS, tagged in preliminary work as a probable acronym, occurred at least nine times in scattered places in transcripts of the hearings. The first time it came up, one of the line's controllers was being questioned:

|   A. ...
|      We also had what is known as a TOPS computer.  I can't tell
|      you what the T-O-P-S stands for but it's a realtime computer
|      which logs the departure and arrival of trains at various
|      locations...

Next, another controller was being questioned:

|   Q. You say in your statement that one thing you did do that
|      morning was to send out a message on the TOPS computer?
|      Can you help us with what TOPS stands for?
|   A. No.
|   Q. You are not alone.

A few days later, someone had apparently found out:

|   Q. You printed off the TOPS information, that's the Total
|      Operations Processing System information, to identify the
|      precise trains?
|   A. I did.

So now we, and you, know.

The transcript from which the text above is quoted amounted to well over 2.5 megabytes in plain text form. It was online at this now-dead link for awhile. It doesn't seem to be available online any more, but the final inquiry report, published in 2000, is available online as of early 2009 (312 pdf pages). [This document (full title The Southall Rail Accident Inquiry Report) has a glossary (pdf pp. 10-11) that expands TOPS incorrectly as ``Total Operating Processing System.''] Other rail informatics scholars, building on the foundation of our pioneering research, have raised TOPS research to the next level. Some of that research is summarized at its own Wikipedia page.

A Hebrew word that may be literally translated as `to teach.' It occurs as a verb in that sense in the Bible, at Lev. 10:11, for example. In Modern Hebrew, various other verbs are available, and so far as I know (which isn't very far), to use torah in this sense now is archaic.

In both Biblical and Modern Hebrew, however, the most common use of torah is as a noun. To a speaker of almost any European language other than English, it is natural to use the infinitive as a noun, just as it is in Hebrew. In English, infinitives can function as nouns in sentences, and are sometimes recognized as nouns in isolation, but more usually the present participle (-ing) form is used. For example, in a letter to her niece Anna Austen in September 1814, Jane Austen wrote:

Walter Scott has no business to write novels, especially good ones. It is not fair-- He has fame and Profit enough as a Poet, and should not be taking the bread out of people's mouths-- I do not like him & do not mean to like Waverley if I can help it-- but I fear I must....
(As you can see, I've only quoted what is essential for the current discussion. For the rest, see letter 108 in the LeFaye edition of JA's correspondence.)

In this example, ``to write novels'' is a noun phrase in the SAE style, and the infinitive ``to write'' alone can also function as a noun. More common, certainly today, would be the noun phrase ``writing novels,'' using the present participle writing.

(This use of the present participle is an accident of etymology: the present participle, which typically ends in -nd in West Germanic languages, and the nominal form constructed on the verb, which typically ends in -nk or -ng, became conflated in English, so the nominal forms ending in -ing came to be used for the present participle. In Scotland, it took a hundred years after the unification of the Scottish and English crowns for the native -and present participle to disappear.)

Anyway, torah is an infinitive. (Strictly, it's a hifil-form infinitive. Other forms of the verb, with their own infinitives, correspond to related meanings expressed with modal auxiliaries in English. The Hebrew system is actually very similar to Russian verb conjugation.) So in English, this infinitive torah functioning as a noun has the natural translation `teaching.' Latinate nouns constructed on similar verbs include doctrine and instruction. It is in the sense of `teaching' that the word is understood as the name for various Jewish holy books. (In this use, it is capitalized in English; Hebrew has no majuscule-minuscule distinction.)

The word torah is now used in two kinds of conventional ways: as the designation of certain holy books, and for related sets of laws. Let's do the books first.

In the narrowest sense, torah refers to the ``Five Books of Moses'' or, from the Greek, Pentateuch: the first five books of the Jewish Bible or the Christian Old Testament. This meaning already occurs in other books of the Bible (Joshua 1:7, Ezra 3:2, 7:6, 8:1,8; Mal. 3:22), in a phrase translated `the Torah of Moses.' (I capitalize Torah as seems appropriate in English; Hebrew does not have a majuscule-miniscule distinction.)

In rabbinic literature, the word torah refers to successively larger sets of books: the Jewish Bible (``written Torah'') or the Jewish Bible and a certain interpretive literature that was developed on its basis by rabbis of about the 2nd c. BCE to the 6th c. CE. (The latter is called ``oral Torah'' because it was first transmitted orally for a number of years. In fact, the writing down of this oral law was originally forbidden, but after the Romans defeated and destroyed the Jewish state, and much of the Jewish people was dispersed around the Mediterranean, it was judged preferable, and therefore permitted, to write the law than to risk having Jews in the diaspora live in ignorance of it.)

Often the word torah is glossed as `law.' This is considered incorrect as regards the name of the Bible, but there are two ways in which it is correct. First, the word torah occurs well over 150 times in the Pentateuch with the sense of `law' or `regulation,' although it generally occurs as part of a construction referring to a particular law. For example, Lev. 7:1 describes ``the torah on guilt offerings,'' and the Septuagint translates torah there as nómos.

Also, it may be noted that even the parts of the Torah that do not contain explicit laws are relevant to and used for law. (That is, Bible content that is historical, biographical, or obscure -- for the last think Song of Songs, to say nothing of the Book of Daniel.) Various kinds of close textual analysis are traditionally applied by rabbinic scholars to infer answers to questions about Jewish law. You could call it tea-leaf reading, but then what would you say about emanations and penumbras of constitutional law that lead to the conclusion that states can make no law limiting abortion until the third trimester, eh?

A company that describes itself as ``Toilet of Korea.'' Unless some celestial convergence occurred behind my ocultation, the name Torea is a blend, a portmanteau. I have to say, if a toilet manufacturer is going to get all patriotic, I prefer the dignified vagueness of something like ``American Standard.''

Toronto girls can flirt and only quit to chase dwarves.
Mnemonic for remembering the minerals that define F. Mohs's hardness scale:
  1. Talc
  2. Gypsum
  3. Calcite
  4. Fluorite
  5. Apatite
  6. Orthoclase [Feldpar]
  7. Quartz
  8. Topaz
  9. Corundum
  10. Diamond

Pressure unit named after Torricelli. Equal to the sea-level acceleration of gravity, times mercury mass density, times one millimeter. In other words, a pressure of x torr is exerted by a column of mercury x mm high. One atmosphere is 760 torr.

torso isolation
A fundamental and fundament aspect of belly dancing. For books about belly dancing, try FIG.

Turtle. In British or commonwealth usage, tortoise is more common; in the US turtle is conventional except in certain traditional expressions. (Chelys isn't a very traditional expression in English, but visit the entry anyway.) Also, the fable of The Tortoise and the Hare goes by that name. Or so it went. At a toy store in New Jersey in January 2009, I saw a children's book with the title ``The Turtle and the Rabbit.'' I suppose it was inevitable.

Partisans of the teams of the University of Maryland call turtles ``terps,'' which is short for terrapins, the common team name. Must have a lot of resonance for the track team.

And in related news...
In most of the US, the term ladybug is preferred to ladybird (the prohibitive favorite in all Commonwealth countries). At least bug is more accurate than bird, but actual ladybugs are of both sexes. The nursery rhyme is adjusted too.

torture music
The British group Reprieve has said that the following are ``among the songs'' most frequently used by U.S. military interrogators to try to crack detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at Guantanamo:

The list was in a press release issued in December 2008. Reprieve is not a rock group, so it's not a matter of professional rivalry. Reprieve is a ``law group.'' Of course, a reprieve can also be a respite or a release.

You're probably wondering about the glaring omission of ``The Piña Colada Song'' (as it's known, give or take a tilde) of Rupert Holmes from the list above. The reason is simple. The detainees at Guantanamo and elsewhere do not qualify for protection under the terms of the Geneva convention because they are not ``enemy combatants'' in the traditional sense but more like ``terrorists'' or ``suspicious innocent bystanders'' as the case may be. Furthermore, because they are not in US territory they are afforded only limited protection by US law. That's why it's legal to play the songs listed above, so long as royalties are paid. It would also be legal to use the PC song, but interrogators feel that it would violate their personal ethics.

Other bands and artists whose music has been played frequently at U.S. detention sites: Aerosmith, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Don McLean (probably for when the interrogators need to take a long bathroom break), Lil' Kim, Limp Bizkit, Meat Loaf, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Tupac Shakur. For local flavor, they might consider ``Guantanamera,'' written by José Fernández Díaz, as performed by the Sandpipers.

Terms Of { Sale | Service }. Could be interpreted as ``Type of Service.''

The Operating System. Reputed acronym expansion of Atari computer OS. The story [as related by Loren <cooldog, at, inreach.com>, according to Anopolis, and consistent with stories I've heard elsewhere] goes that

When the Atari ST was still being developed, the operating system had not been decided yet (CP/M68K was a strong contender). The folks developing the system interface (AES/VDI: Application Environment System/Video Display Interface) that would eventually run a version of Digital Research's GEM (Graphic Environment Manager) were working on MS-DOS machines until the actual hardware was locked down. Since they didn't know specifically what operating system they were coding for, their system diagrams and documentations just referred to it as ``The Operating System'' or ``TOS.'' Once it was decided that Atari would be writing their own OS (a Unix-like interface on an MS-DOS filesystem), it became known officially as TOS.

Later, revisionist forces within Atari decreed that TOS actually stood for ``Tramiel Operating System,'' after ``Mad'' Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore and the guy who brought us the C64.

Jack Tramiel, after being driven out of Commodore by the board of directors, bought Atari from Warner (who couldn't manage a high-tech company to save their lives) and immediately announced his Mac-killer, the ST. The Atari ST became known in the press as the ``Jackintosh.'' The GEM interface was indeed so Mac-like that Apple successfully sued Digital Research on grounds of ``look and feel" and forced DR to modify (read: severely cripple) their DOS version of GEM. Since Atari had bought their version of GEM from DR, they were not affected by Apple's suit, and Apple never considered the Atari market enough of a threat to pursue Atari directly.

The Original Series (ST:TOS) of Star Trek. Also: ``The Old Stuff.'' Occasionally, ``The Original S-word.''

Type Of Service.

US homepage and elsewhere.

In television, a toss or throw is an on-air hand-off from one program host to another. Television networks and stations care greatly about such throws from popular programs to less popular programs that follow them.


A breakfast cereal.

Turn on, Tune In, Drop out.

Terms Of Use.

Name (of native origin) applied to a family of brightly colored fruit-eating birds native to South America. The application of the name was also extended to hornbills, Old-World omnivorous birds.

Remember, you can't spell touch without ouch. Touché!

[Football icon]

Touchdown Jesus
An icon on the main library at the University of Notre Dame du Lac. ND is one of the few private universities with a I-A football team. The only other ones I am aware of are Baylor (Big 12 Conference), Boston College (Atlantic Coast Conference), BYU (Mountain West Conference), Duke (Atlantic Coast Conference), SMU (Conference USA), Rice (Conference USA), Stanford (Pac-10 Conference), Syracuse (Big East), TCU (Mountain West Conference), USC (Pac-10 Conference; nowadays ND considers USC its ``traditional rival''), Vanderbilt (Southeastern Conference) and Wake Forest (Atlantic Coast Conference). (Temple hasn't been private since 1965; where have you been? Hiding under a rock since the Owls stopped winning or keeping it respectable in football games?) The eight-team Ivy League was technically I-A until 1981, when the NCAA took the opportunity of a dispute over TV revenues to demote it to I-AA, and everyone walked away happy. Notre Dame has the most storied program in all of US collegiate football, though its glory days are receding into the past.

The long axis of Notre Dame's football stadium is aligned north-south, and a quarter mile or so directly north of it is the university's main library, Hesburgh Library. That thirteen-story structure has a mosaic covering most of the front wall, which faces south (i.e., in the direction of the stadium), dominated by an icon (in the usual sense) of Jesus. This image has its arms raised to indicate a touchdown, and the icon is informally but universally known as Touchdown Jesus. See the discussion at the entry for The Insider's Guide to the Colleges. See also First-Down Moses.

I don't care if it rains or freezes,
'Long as I got my plastic Jesus
Sittin' on the dashboard of my car.

A stone used to test the purity of gold, AFAIK. The idea is that because of the stone's hardness and (microscopically) rough surface, stroking a piece of metal across it leaves a streak, and because of its dark color the contrasting gold color (if that's what it is) is clearly visible. The idea is that one could judge the impurity of a gold alloy from the imperfection of the gold color. The uncountable noun touchstone refers to the material that a touchstone is normally made of -- basanite or a similar material.

The countable noun has the widely transferred sense of any object used as a test of quality. Its use in this sense for literary criticism today usually alludes to Matthew Arnold.

In 1880, Arnold wrote a preface to The English Poets, an important selection of verse edited by his niece's husband Thomas Humphry Ward. Arnold had his ``Preface to Ward's Poets'' reprinted as the first item in Essays in Criticism, Second Series (1888) under the title by which it is generally known today -- ``The Study of Poetry.'' In that essay, he proposed that a few short but distinctive passages of great poetry could serve as touchstones. Actually, he meant that they could be used as Munsell color chips, for comparison with some other work to be evaluated, but Munsell color chips hadn't been developed yet, and Arnold had a sure ear for the inappropriate but catchy name. He wrote

There can be no more useful help for discovering what poetry belongs to the class of the truly excellent, and can therefore do us the most good, than to have always in one's mind lines and expressions of the great masters, and to apply them as a touchstone to other poetry. Of course we are not to require this other poetry to resemble them; it may be very dissimilar. But if we have any tact we shall find them, when we have lodged them well in our minds, an infallible touchstone for detecting the presence or absence of high poetic quality, and also the degree of this quality, in all other poetry which we may place beside them.

The particular touchstones he proposed are eleven passages, one to four lines long, selected from Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, and Milton. Some of them are pretty good, though one can find far better than many of them elsewhere in the same authors, and better than most of them in Goethe. The restriction to short passages in principle seems to exclude the majesty of a truly ambitious metrical scheme such as one finds in, say, Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. But these are minor quibbles. There are really only two problems with Arnold's scheme, and they are

  1. It can't work.
  2. It doesn't work.

It can't work because it ignores the topology of quality. That topology is discrete and multidimensional; greatness in poetry is a matter of individual reception. It is true that mediocre poetry can be improved or worsened, generally speaking. There can often be broad agreement on the relative ranking of two similar ungreat works because compromise is unnecessary: one can substantially improve the poetry along one dimension of merit without substantially degrading it along other dimensions. However, it is a mistake to suppose that this defines a single scale of merit that can be extended out to the vicinity of greatness. When one reaches the realm of very good poetry, there are few choices (discreteness). Considering the few changes that might be deemed improvements, one finds that there are gains and losses. It must be so: if it were always possible to improve in all ways, the writing of great poetry would be as easy as bad poets suppose.

Arnold acknowledges that multidimensionality. (``Of course we are not to require this other poetry to resemble them; it may be very dissimilar.'') But he supposes that one can profitably compare extremely dissimilar beauties. Does keeping a few chords of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony on endless loop in my mind help me to appreciate a glorious sunrise? No. At best, it helps me enjoy the solar beauty by supplementing it with a wholly different one.

Many will find this criticism captious, supposing that there is some truth in Arnold's idea, even if there is some justice in my objection, some imperfection in his formulation. But the fact is that people's minds are clogged almost shut with ideas that might be true, that sound good, and that are so tenuously supported that there is nothing to kick out from under them. Isaiah Berlin's fox-and-hedgehog idea is similar: a baldly false general assertion that it is perfectly possible, by the complete suspension of one's critical faculties, to believe and enjoy.

Now I want to address the second assertion briefly. It may seem mystical to consider whether a method does work after arguing that it cannot, but it is not mystical. It is scientific. The scientific worldview recognizes that deductive proofs are no stronger, and often weaker, than their imprecise and uncertain premises. Hence, one tests the conclusions anyway. Matthew Arnold himself provides an excellent test. We will not dwell on the low opinion he had, say, of Robert Burns. We give a pass also to his conflation of moral and aesthetic qualities (``the truly excellent ... do[es] us the most good''), and his bias for dripping sentiment. Suffice only to say that all the touchstones in the world can never help a blind man tell white from yellow. Arnold had a tin ear, and his own wretched poetry proves it (read the maximum tolerable dose here). Even the inventor of the method couldn't use it to see that it would be aesthetically (and morally) wrong to inflict his scribbles on posterity.

Oh yes, you will encounter Matthew Arnold partisans -- people who do not realize just how awful he was as a poet. A relatively mild example of the hagiographic tendency is The Touchstones of Matthew Arnold, by John Shepard Eells, Jr. (NYC: Bookman Associates, Inc., 1955). On page 14, Eells wrote

One rarely finds a poet who is articulate about the secrets of his craft; and when the poet is a great one, and an eminent critic as well, his utterances dealing with that craft cannot but command the deepest interest and attention. Such an utterance is The Study of Poetry...
You might be amazed to discover that in fact, most of the recent literature on Arnold holds him in very high esteem, but you should not be amazed. This is an instance of what is known in statistics as sampling bias. Simply put, those who choose to write about him are the unrepresentative misguided minority. The majority, who can see at a glance that Arnold does not attain even to mediocrity, justly ignore him. For the same reason, most of the literature on bad ideas (the politics you oppose, the other fellow's heretical religion, your kids' music) takes those bad ideas far more seriously than they deserve.

Tour de France
Over the course of a month, racers bike over the course in France. I always wanted to write that... AND NOW I HAVE! This proves that you can achieve your dream no matter what it is, if you work hard and concentrate! Of course, it helps if you have an unusual dream, like ``I Will Put A Really Wacko Entry In An Online Glossary.'' If you have a more ordinary dream, like winning the TdF (that link is to our main entry for this subject, by the way), then you're going to have to get in line. I mean, of course, each and every one of the hundreds of competitors can achieve his dream of winning the TdF next year, if only he works hard and concentrates. On the other hand, only one of them actually will win the TdF next year. Logically, this proves that none of the others will have worked hard and concentrated, so like, too bad.

One of the better gags in ``Kentucky Fried Movie'' involved the martial-arts instructor's ``we must have totow concentwayshun'' boilerplate. It worked out better with the dog.

Can mean:
  1. The religion of Tours, France.
  2. Having Tourette's syndrome (TS).
  3. The opposite of defensive driving.

Here are some very old resource links, shamelessly copied from the Crimean Travel Server Homepage, English version:

Paul Fussell edited a collection of travel writing called The Norton Book of Travel (1987). From his introduction to Part IV, ``Touristic Tendencies,'' here is the second paragraph, representative of his attitude regarding a certain distinction:

    Tourism simulates travel, sometimes quite closely. You do pack a suitcase or two and proceed abroad with passport and travelers checks. But it is different in crucial ways. It is not self-directed but externally directed. You go not where you want to go but where the industry has decreed you shall go. Tourism soothes you by comfort and familiarity and shields you from the shocks of novelty and oddity. It confirms your prior view of the world instead of shaking it up. Tourism requires that you see conventional things, and that you see them in a conventional way.

tout suite
An English phrase pronounced ``toot sweet.'' It is a very common mispronunciation or misspelling or quick pronunciation of the French phrase ``tout de suite,'' which means `at once' or `right away.'

TOW missile
Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided Missile.

TakeOut Double. A contract bridge abbreviation. The SBF bridge specialist observes philologically that X often represents double, but that takeout is only rarely abbreviated.

Total Organic Halogens. X is a standard generic symbol for halogens. Organic halogens are halogens more-or-less covalently bonded in carbon compounds.

TOXOplasmosis. Disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite that can live within human cells. Although perhaps half the population of the US has been exposed to T. gondii, the parasite rarely causes discernible disease except in immunologically compromised individuals. Toxo is the most common HIV-related opportunistic infection of the brain. [Note, however, that AIDS dementia (q.v.) is more common.]

Toxo causes a number of neurologically based muscle weakness, incoördination, seizures, transient mental status changes and sustained cognitive impairment.

Domain name code for East Timor. An independent country since 2002. Here's a link to its CIA Factbook page.

Toilet Paper. Ever since Seth Wheeler introduced the toilet paper roll in 1871 (the year of the Great Fire in Chicago), the great debate about toilet paper has always been: Down the Front (DtF) or Down the Back (DtB). As a public service, the basic considerations are summarized here. (Also for your convenience, since this entry is long and unfocused, we put the only really interesting datum at the DtB entry.)

Gravitational/Zoological: If even one cat has access to TP DtF, then from time to time (about as often as the roll is replaced), the TP will be found lying in a scratched heap on the floor. This has less to do with gravity in general than with the way cats scratch (with a pulling motion), so it really would not be appropriate to call this the Newton's Cat argument. Also, Sir Isaac Newton had a dog. Few English-speaking people kept cats as pets in those days. [Newton's dog was named Diamond. There's a story that once the dog knocked over a lamp (Domestic animals always get blamed -- cf. Mrs. O'Leary, and consider the scape goat), and he (Newton, not the dog) exclaimed: ``O Diamond! Diamond! thou little knowest the mischief done!'' as years of work went up in flames. However, what probably happened was that the fire broke out while Newton was at church. This is interesting, because after his secret conversion, Newton attended the Trinitarian (state-sanctioned) church only the bare minimum number of times per year required by law. (Which was not zero.) Newton was a very deeply religious man compared to, say, William Godwin or Bertrand Russell, but that wasn't unusual in those days and probably still isn't, and maybe the TP entry is not the best place to get into it.] Now there are more cats than dogs in the US, but the dogs are mostly bigger, so there's still more dog than cat in the US.

Aesthetic: DtF tends to display the tear-edge at the end of the roll, hanging down. In DtB configuration, the roll may appear seamless.

Athletic: One-handed operation of a standard-issue TP dispenser requires a rapid jerk on an unrolled portion of the TP, with the opposed force arising inertially from the remaining rolled portion. This maneuver is harder to execute with DtB than with DtF, because DtB requires the roll to be jerked upward or, if jerked downward, starting from a lower position.

Etiquette: Oh, excuse ME! Of course I meant to use the words bathroom tissue. One would not want to be coarse in this department.

Microelectronic: When TP dispensers have embedded microprocessors, this will no longer be a problem. For the next few months, however, people with cats or who for some irrational cause insist on DtB will simply have to install centrifugal governors on their dispensers, like the one on Watt's steam engine.

Here's your opportunity to weigh in on this weighty matter.

First, a little bit about yourself. You are or have been (check at least one):

    Transcended all that

Okay, that's quite enough about yourself. Now the big question:

    Down the Front
    Down the Back
    Up the Front
    Up the Back

Your principal reason is:

Then, of course, there's always the Toilet Seat Position Controversy Here's a calculation.

For some serious historical information, try this page. If you have a nonvirtual existence, you might consider visiting Wisconsin's Madison Museum of Bathroom Tissue, which in 1997, after four years of existence, had already collected three thousand rolls, including a roll from Graceland. It's still not listed at <MuseumSpot.com>.

UPDATE: Tragic news -- The Madison Museum of Bathroom Tissue went down the drain. Visit this virtual tribute instead. (Consolation: there's a toilet-seat museum in San Antonio, Texas.)

I knew a woman who spent a year as a student in Leningrad in the seventies. When she visited any neighboring Baltic republic, she would befriend the hotel personnel by badmouthing the Russians, and she would be rewarded with TP. In an emergency, of course, there was always Pravda.

I seem to recall that this glossary set out once to be a scientific resource. Very well: the 500X magnification picture of (unused, I think) toilet paper below is an SEM image mirrored from <http://www.mos.org/sln/sem/tpaper.html>

[Unearthly landscape of destruction]

In her stepfather's tailor shop many years ago, among the seamstresses my mother worked with was an elderly German lady, once wealthy but now in embarrassed circumstances. She had been so genteel that she could not bring herself to be seen buying toilet paper (my mother bought it for her). Lord, the past is a foreign country. Argentina, in this case. (It amuses speakers of other Romance tongues that in Spanish embarazo is `pregnancy.') Then again, perhaps the relevant nationality is German. In that case, it would make sense (trust me on this) to visit the turd de force entry.

Gombrowicz's Ferdydurke is one of the great world novels, according to Milan Kundera. In it, Mrs. Youthful displays as one of the marks of modernity ``her casual way of heading for the toilet, where till then people had gone in secret.''

On your next virtual vacation, you really should visit the Virtual Toilet Paper Museum. After all, when you gotta go, you really gotta go.

Transaction Processing.

Transport Protocol. There are a whole bunch of them, because transporting data is what communication is about. E.g., TP0, TP4.

Twisted Pair. An incomplete coven. Also, if an ac signal is sent down a waveguide or transmission line that consists of two wires, power is lost by radiation (making the local environment noisy), and noise accumulates as the wires function as an antenna. By twisting the pair of wires around a common axis, one reduces the radiative losses and absorption, by making the wire pair a much less effective antenna.

This reasoning is rather different from the motivation for the braiding found in Litz wire.

Tennessee Pharmacists Association.

Texas Pharmacy Association.

Therapeutic Pharmaceutical Agent. A TPA is an optometrist who is authorized to prescribe certain medications for the treatment of specific eye diseases. The first TPA law in the US (allowing qualified optometrists to act as TPA's) was enacted by West Virginia in 1976. Cf. DPA.

Tissue Plasminogen Activator. Despite the generic name, a particular drug. One of those clot-dissolving drugs that, if given soon enough (up to a few hours) after the beginning of a heart attack or an ischemic stroke (one due to clot, rather than one of the 20% of strokes caused by hemorrhage) can significantly decrease mortality and morbidity.

Trading Partner Agreement. Then doh-see-dohing.

Two-Phonon Absorption.

For examples in various bulk compound semiconductors:

Tritium-Producing Burnable Absorber Rod.

Transaction Processing and Performance Council. They developed and run software benchmarks.

TPC-A simulates a lot of users connected to a system all doing the same job.
TPC-B tries to stimulate one power-mad user. Probably a quantum chemist or a band theorist.
TPC-C simulates a lot of users connected to a system doing a variety of jobs. This is pretty stupid, because most users most of the time are running a browser.

Temperature-Programmed Desorption. Sort of like DLTS, but for adsorbed species rather than trapped charge carriers.

Transport Protocol Data Unit (PDU).

ThermoPlastic Elastomer.

TransPlutonium Element. An element whose atomic number is greater than 94.

Two-Photon Fluorescence.

Trans PerFluoroDecalin.

Test-Pattern Generation.

Thermo-Pyrolytic Graphite.

Hydrogenated TetraPropylene. An industrial diluent.

The PANSS Institute. It ``was founded by the clinicians, scientists, and developers of the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale and other premier psychometric instruments.'' They're right that PANSS is a premier instrument of psychometry. Visit the PANSS entry; read about it and weep. Psychiatry is still in the Stone Age.

Third-Party Indexing.

TPI, tpi
Tracks Per Inch.

Third-Party Liability.

The Philosophy Magazine on the internet.

ThermoPower under Magnetic field.

Total Productive Maintenance. Or total productive manufacturing. What does it matter? It's all words. Use the acronym and the fact that this means as little to you as it does to anyone else will cause you no pain.

The ``Total'' here refers to the idea that one should optimize globally rather than locally. That is, using performance measurements that focus on individual departments may lead to suboptimization: good local performance at the expense of the overall system. The trouble is, everyone knows that being a team player and trading-off performance for the greater good of the team is just going to land you in trouble.

Transparent Prolog Machine.

Technical Point Of Contact.

Texas Performance Review[s]. See TSPR.

Third Party Recovery.

Total Physical Response. A primary-school teaching practice unwisely urged on secondary-school teachers, but I remember being offended by it at age eleven.

When I became an assistant professor and attended my first reeducation camp, err, sorry, teaching effectiveness training, I underwent a despicable demonstration of this technique by a biology professor who is a darling of the teaching-effectiveness imbeciles.

Total Physical Response Storytelling. This ought to mean ``telling stories that claim that using TPR is a forgivable or even an acceptable use of the time of a teacher who is probably good for nothing anyway.'' Unfortunately, it is supposed to mean something else.

Transactions Per Second.

The Powers That Be. Variant forms: TAIC, TBTB, TIIC.

ThermoPhotoVoltaic (solar energy system). Basically, you use a parabolic concentrator to heat a radiator to a temperature high enough that its blackbody spectrum has a significant amount of light with photon energies above the bandgap of the semiconductor material from which the solar cell is made. It's a neat trick, with possibly very high efficiency. Here's why:

A normal solar cell is basically a thin semiconductor diode, and is prevented in principle from making use of the full energy carried by the solar spectrum because of two factors:

  1. The photons whose energy is smaller than the semiconductor bandgap are wasted: they can't excite electrons across the gap.
  2. The photons with energy exceeding the gap have some of their energy wasted as well. All of the photon energy in excess of the bandgap energy goes into kinetic energy of electrons and holes, and most of that goes quickly into heating the lattice (``nonradiative relaxation'').

One solution to these problems is to stack different photovoltaics. The light is incident on the wide-gap photovoltaic cell, which makes better use of the high-energy photons and lets the lower-energy photons pass through. The narrow-gap PV makes use of the lower-energy photons. In practice, this scheme has not been very popular. In addition to the greater costs and fabrication complexity of stacking different semiconductors, there are also greater losses due to partial reflection of incident light.

Okay, this entry is back under construction.

Transport Protocol Class 0 (zero). OSI connectionless transport protocol for use over reliable subnetworks defined by ISO 8073.

Transport Protocol Class 4. OSI connection-based transport protocol defined by ISO 8073.

Tons Per Year. An abbreviation that comes up in steel manufacturing news.

TESOL Quarterly.

Totalitaria..., er, Total Quality. ``New, Improved!!!'' for the management product. A significant difference between management product and consumer products is that through changes in the latter one wants to maintain consumer loyalty to an existing brand. New management, on the other hand, has no stake in higher management's continued loyalty to its predecessors. Thus, in constructing the illusion of progress from the reality of change and the blessing of ignorance, self-advertising can take full advantage of the metaphor of revolution. The ``Total Quality'' slogan evokes revolution, while ``improved'' evokes evolution.

Denotatively, of course, ``total quality'' and ``new improved'' both mean nothing.

Another aspect of the ``total quality'' slogan that is quite effective is its big-lie magnitude. If one claims to have a single new idea of limited significance, then there is the danger that someone might ask for an explanation of the idea in terms that can be understood and laughed at. More wisely, if one claims to have a brilliant revolutionary idea, like ``Total Quality'' or ol' Kim Il Sung's ``Jutche Idea,'' then the target of propaganda is likelier to be cowed into silence, and the few requests for explanation can be more easily parried with perorations on the multifarious benefits of applying the unexplained brilliant idea. You know, deconstruction is a lot like that.

Teaching Quality Assessment[s]. In Britain, this is a periodic official activity for universities. In 1996 there was also a Research Assessment Exercise.

Total Quality Control. Might have something to do with Total Quality Management, but this stuff is rocket science, so you never know.

Catbert offers a Mission Statement Generator. Hey -- leverage the synergy, you never know.

Total Quality Dog. Also: Total Quality Doggy.

Total Quality Doggy Doo. This acronym has now been reengineered. The new improved acronym, with a quality that is 53% more total, is TQDS.

Total Quality Dog Shit.

Total Quality Flea Collar.

Thin Quad Flat-Pack.

Total Quality Leadership.

Total Quality Management. Literacy optional. ``Total Quality Management'' presumably differs from partial quality management. Partial quality management might mean or Yes... now I understand.

There have been other ideals of leadership.

If you would like to observe the banality of insipidness, one place to start is this.

Okay, okay, here's something more to the point: TQM is a management philosophy (right there you know you're in trouble; each of those words can be pretty bad news alone). It was developed in the 1950's by geniuses like W. Edwards Deming, J. M. Juran, and Phillip B. Crosby. Its basic premise is that improvements in quality automatically lead to improvements in productivity. It's big on incremental quality improvements and teamwork. Japanese industry was an early adopter. Japan has been stagnating economically, nominally in and out of recession, since the real estate bubble burst around 1990, writing as of 2001. LDP remains in power.

(Domain name extension for) Turkey.

The soc.culture.turkish newsgroup has an online FAQ.

In 2004, Turkey finally began accession talks with the EU. The joke goes that ``Turkey is an Occident waiting to happen.''

Technology Readiness.

Technology Review. From MIT. Just conceivably, there might be other publications with the same name.

Text Retrieval. Possibly only wasei eigo.

Teddy Roosevelt. Led the charge up San Juan Hill (or maybe nearby Kettle Hill, as he used to tell the story in the beginning) and singlehandedly threw a presidential election to the challenger of his hand-picked successor Taft (the spherical president), but he is best remembered for a picture taken with a cute bear cub, which led to the coining of the term ``Teddy Bear'' for children's stuffed bears.

It was quite unusual for the famous conservationist president to be photographed with wildlife that he had not first killed. For that matter, James J. Audubon, after whom a road near the UB North campus is named, used to shoot his birds first. This made them much easier to study at close hand. Since his time, the gun clubs he began have changed their name to ``The Audubon Society.''

Terminal Ready. A standard light on external modems.

Thomas Register of American Manufacturers.

Time-Resolved. A productive prefix, as in TRPL.

Todd Rundgren.

Token Ring. A network architecture.

Tokyo Round. A round of international trade negotiations sponsored by GATT. Everything you could conceivably need to know about it is explained at the Uruguay Round entry.

Don't say ``this one's on me'' in Tokyo until you convert the prices. It only looks like everything is priced in Italian lire, but the yen is dearer by an order of magnitude.

Triangulum Australe. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

A word with a nice assortment of meanings. It's the best translation of a word Goethe uses in a poem that'll go here as soon as I find it. In electronics it refers to conducting leads left behind after etching of a copper-clad circuit board, and similar leads. In chemistry it refers to small, barely measurable concentrations. For decades, the Delaney Clause forbade the presence in foods of any carcinogen at any measurable concentration. That clause is about to become history, in pesticides-in-food legislation that appears headed toward passage in the 108th congress.

See R. W. Pasco and J. A. Schwartz: ``Temperature-ramp Resistance Analysis to Characterize Electromigration,'' Solid State Electronics, vol. 26 (#5), pp. 445-452 (1983). A technique for accelerated testing of semiconductor device interconnects, whose lifetime is limited by electromigration.

Terminal Radar (Airport) Approach CONtrol.

trade discount
The standard discount given to booksellers and distributors, off the list price of a book, say 40% (on nonremaindered books). Larger distributors like Barnes and Noble and Borders can negotiate a larger discount. University presses tend to give small discounts, say 15%. Note that a 40% trade discount amounts to a 1.0/0.6 - 1 = 67% mark-up.

traditional family
Two arguably adult persons of different sexes, one or more dependent minors. Reputed to be an unusual social arrangement.

TRansistorized Airborne DIgital Computer (The first completely transistorized computer.)

(US Army) TRAining and DOctrine Command.

The wildlife trade monitoring program established in 1976 by the WWF and IUCN. The name is capitalized, but if it's an acronym the expansion is a closely guarded secret.

There's information on James A. Traficant, Jr., at the orbit entry.

In the essay ``Biogenesis and Abiogenesis'' (1870), Thomas Henry Huxley (1825-1895) wrote memorably:
The great tragedy of Science -- the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact.

In act 4 of ``Man and Superman'' (1903), Shaw wrote:

There are two tragedies in life. One is not to get your heart's desire. The other is to get it.

A pheasant of the genus Ceriornis (formerly called Tragopan). Tragopans have a pair of erectile fleshy horns on the head. Tragopan species are native to Asia, but they have also colonized the Scrabble tablelands.

TRAI, Trai
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.


Marcus Ulpius Traianus.

Just that he was a pagan is really a pretty low-down, pettifogging excuse not to make him the patron saint of facial hair.

TRanslocon-Associated Membrane (protein). Name given by Thomas Rapoport's group to a component of the ribosome receptors on rough endoplasmic reticulum (ER). As plentiful as Sec61 proteins, but purpose is not yet clear. Should really be called TRAMP (q.v.).

TRanslocon-Associated Membrane Protein. Name originally given by Thomas Rapoport's group to a component of the ribosome receptors, but vetoed by bowdler reviewers. Now TRAM, alas.

Testing, Reporting, And Maintenance Program. A not-very-sexy acronym for a not-very-sexy program of the US military. Still, you have to keep the body fit if you want to enjoy the fireworks.

An obsolete English verb meaning to carve a fish (typically sturgeon) or an erroneous spelling of the modern noun tranche. Both words are derived from the Old French verb trenchier and noun trenche. (This and related Romance vocables are ultimately presumed to derive from a Vulgar Latin form *trincare < Classical Latin truncare ( > English truncate, trunk). The Old French forms [recorded in Godefroy (1288)] yielded the English noun and verb now spelled trench. The earliest attestation was in Chaucer's Squire's Tale (ca. 1386). I think the verb is pretty moribund now aside from nonce verbings of the noun.

The Old French verb evolved into the French trancher, which was borrowed by 1513 to produce the English verb tranch (also originally spelled traunche). Tranch had the narrow sense of carve applied to a fish (somehow usually a sturgeon). The word is attested as recently as 1840, but is obsolete today. A noun tranche (same spelling as the French noun) also occurred in the same period and is attested as recently as 1894 in the general sense of slice or cut piece (usually of food, it seems). Then, beginning in 1930, the noun tranche reappears primarily in financial contexts, with senses described in the next entry. My guess is that the word was reborrowed from the French rather than resurrected and repurposed entirely within English, but it's hard to know.

A reaction in which one alkoxy group, bonded to hydrogen in an alcohol, and another alkoxy group, bonded to a fatty acid in an ester, exchange partners. A windier explanation can be found at the biodiesel entry.

Transformed Man, The
William Shatner's abortive attempt to cross over into music, or audio, in 1968. In 1979, he developed tinnitus. I mean, he came down with it himself. According to a useful page from the American Tinnitus Association,
While not every case of tinnitus has an apparent source, there are a variety of causes. Exposure to loud noise, either over an extended period of time or one extreme incident, is probably the most common. Other possible causes of tinnitus include: certain medical conditions; certain medications; allergies.
Never discount the possibility of divine retribution.


Translation in Context
A three-year colloquium (1998-2000) on translations of Greek and/or Roman epic into any language from any epoch, organized by Elizabeth Vandiver and Richard H. Armstrong, held at annual meetings of the American Philological Association (APA).

This ``three-year colloquium'' business is a standard format for the APA. Strictly speaking, however, it runs from 1998 to 2001: APA annual meetings have traditionally been held just before New Year's (since classicists are traditionally such heavy drinkers that if it were held shortly after New Year's, too many talks would have to be canceled due to hang-overs and missed flights). The meeting that would normally year 2000, however, has been shifted to early 2001. This was done to avoid the pedants' version of the Y2K problem: in the year 2000, any classicist who absentmindedly implies that he thinks 2000 was part of the twenty-first century is humiliated. If this happened in public it would be unbearable. In the future, meetings will have to continue at the beginning of the year, since otherwise there'd be a year with two meetings. People would throw out announcements for the second ``APA Annual Meeting 2001,'' thinking they were late-arriving announcements for the previous meeting (that happens too).

For links on transparency in the HTML/GIF89A context, see this (which also has links to interlacing stuff). There's some step-by-step with explanation at this page.

Cf. opacity.

A software action is described as ``transparent'' if the underlying work (handshaking, selecting parameters, etc.) is done without need for participation or awareness of the user.

transparent nail polish
They say it's got nylon fiber and spider-web protein in it, but it still smells like good ol' duco cement.

TRApped Plasma Avalanche Triggered Transit (cycle, or diode).

Currently, the meanings of trapezoid and trapezium are inverted in the usage of the US (and this glossary) from the meanings they have in the UK:

trapezoid -
(US) a quadrilateral with exactly one pair of parallel sides;
(UK) a quadrilateral with no parallel sides.

trapezium -
(UK) a quadrilateral with exactly one pair of parallel sides;
(US) a quadrilateral with no parallel sides.

Euclid used _trapezium_ (i.e., trapezion) for both figures, but Proclus's 5th century commentaries on Euclid distinguished them, using the current UK sense. This sense was maintained in various languages until 1795, when Hutton's Mathematical Dictionary was published (in Britain) and stated that the reversed (current US) meanings were ``sometimes'' used.

Hutton's dictionary was so influential that the reversed meanings became prevalent (!), though not universal, for the next 80 years. After that time the old meanings seemed to reassert themselves -- in the UK but not in the US.

TRAnsfer or SHape. Also called suction. A relatively obscure contract bridge bidding convention.

Limestone deposited by a spring.

A regular feature of The New Republic. Originally created to supply a Washington, D.C., viewpoint when the magazine was based in New York, the initials are derived from the initials BRT (Brooklyn Rapid Transit) in inverted order. Go figure.

At least it's no longer a coyly anonymous feature, as it was until the eighties.

In 1923 the BRT was renamed Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit (BMT) company, q.v.

Transportation Research Board. ``Encouraging Research and Innovation in Transportation for More than 75 Years.''

Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Theologische Realenzyklopädie.

TREe Associative Temporally redundant algorithm. I don't know if this code does anything useful. It was apparently written to demonstrate the superiority of the DADO computer.

``Treated'' lumber is for outside use. It's treated with poisons that delay attacks by outdoor critters.

Software distributed on a tree-based recording medium, intended for scanning by eyes.

treif, treyf
Yiddish: `unkosher.' From the Hebrew teref, `torn to pieces.' (The reasoning behind this is that any animal killed by a wild animal is unkosher, even if it would have been kosher if ritually slaughtered.) The word is now in fairly widespread use among Jews. At least in America it's in general use, and not just among Ashkenazim. (Yiddish was the common language of the Ashkenazi Jews -- those of Northern Europe.) The word taref now occurs in Hebrew, but it seems to be a loan back from Yiddish.

Tropical Rainfall Explorer Mission. Joint Japan/US space project. Renamed from TRMM (explorer sounds sexier than measuring).

trench isolation
Interdevice isolation created by etching into the semiconductor substrate.

Columnist George F. Will, writing in Newsweek's ``Last Word'' feature for the issue of February 27, 2006, concluded thus:
This trend will continue until, like every trend, it stops.

French, `very.' In the absence of liaison, the ess is silent and this word is pronounced exactly like trey.

Well, not quite exactly, I guess, since the vowel sounds are slightly different. But other than that -- oh, yeah, the r sound is very different, but it's still an r sound. Of course, the t in French is articulated a bit more softly than in English, but apart from the fact that French initial t is never aspirated and English initial t always is, pretty much, it's the same sound. And even if it isn't, it doesn't really matter, since the t in ``tr'' represents a ``ch'' sound in English (though not in French).

Spanish, `three.' That's very many! Three's a rule.


T. Rex
Tyrannosaurus REX. This name has survived only because it caught the popular imagination. Who can resist the charm of an animal, especially a dead one, named (in Latin) `tyrannical lizard king'? After the name was established, it became clear that it was the same as an earlier-named species to which some other fossils had been assigned. In such cases, convention holds that the earlier name is kept for the species. Of course, convention only counts for so much. (In the video version of this glossary, there is a space between my thumb and forefinger at this point in the explanation.) I don't even remember the earlier name.

I should probably mention the rock group here too. T. Rex fossils are mostly found in certain rock strata corresponding to its era, but that's not what I mean.

A three card or the three face on a die. This word is cognate with the Spanish word tres and other Romance words for `three,' but particularly the Old French and Anglo-French treis, trei. The modern French is trois. The native English (i.e. Germanic) word three is cognate with German drei. (The original th sound has disappeared in all surviving Germanic languages -- at least in all those that are the national language somewhere -- other than English and Icelandic.) The general similarity of the Romance and Germanic words is, of course, attributed to a common Indo-European root.

Teacher Rating Forms. Play the rôle of the will in an inverted modern form of will-rattling.

Thyrotropin-Releasing Factor. Same as Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone, TRH entry below.

Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone. (Also TRF, for ... Factor.) A hypothalamic hormone that stimulates the pituitary to produce thyrotropin, which latter is also called Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone and abbreviated TSH.

Time, Responsibilities, and Incentives. In Washington State, and possibly elsewhere, TRI contracts are supplemental contracts between a local school district and its teachers. According to EFF (a Washington NGO), these were introduced in 1987 and can be used to provide ``additional pay for duties completed outside regularly contracted basic instruction hours (i.e. grading papers, developing curriculum, etc.).'' (The gloss is evidently EFF's own wording, and may reflect at least some school districts' interpretation of the law. On the same page, EFF quotes some of the pertinent law, which appears to be unclear on precisely what is allowed to be paid for.) ``In granting such contracts, school districts cannot obligate the state in any way for any present or future expenses.'' The original law (RCW 28A.400.200) states and a second law (RCW 28A.400.275) reiterates that TRI contracts are limited to one year. They may be renewed.

Toxic Release Inventory (of the EPA). Searchable here.

Treatment Research Institute. A ``not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing the devastating effects of alcohol and other drug abuse on individuals, families and communities by employing scientific methods and disseminating evidence-based information.'' Based at the University of Pennsylvania.

Triangulum. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

TRIAC, triac
TRIode AC (switch).


tria nomina
Latin, `three names.' Romans were known by a praenomen (given name), gens (family/clan name), and cognomen (described below), given in that order.

There were not very many praenomina in use. Given the high rates of infant mortality, if every newborn child had been given a name, many Roman families would quickly have run out of names. For whatever reason, Roman parents named their children on the ninth day after birth.

George Davis Chase, ``The Origin of the Roman Praenomina'' vol. 8 HSCP (1897), pp. 103-184 suggested (p. 135) that the first volume of the CIL (in the edition available to him) might give a fairly correct idea of the frequency of their use. He counted 2489 praenomina. The top ten, and their frequencies of occurrence, can be computed to be Lucius and Gaius (q.v.), each 21%; Marcus, 16%; Quintus, 10%; Publius, 9% (difference from previous not statistically significant); Gnaeus and Aulus, each 4%; Titus, 3%; Sextus, 2%; Manius, Numerius, Decimus, Servius, Tiberius, Spurius (q.v.), each 1%. Spurius means `illegitimate'; its 0.7% frequency of occurrence likely underestimated the actual frequency of bastards in the subject population, however that was defined, if only because two children of one woman would probably not get the same name.

Strictly speaking, gens is the (father's) clan and gentilicium is its name, but you save four syllables by using the first word for both. (Or compromise with the correct equivalent `gentile name.') A handy rule of thumb is that if (the nominative singular form of) a name ends in -ius it is the name of a gens; if it does not, it is not. Obviously this is a terrible rule unless you ignore praenomina, but this is natural since praenomina aren't usually spelled out.

The gentilicium functioned as a sort of surname. Ordinary alphabetization by name, in indices of various kinds, orders by gens first, next by cognomen, and last by praenomen.

The cognomen is best described as any other name tacked on at the end. At the least, a child would be born with one or more cognomina inherited from the father. Any such patrilineal cognomen obviously functioned like a surname, indicating a subdivision of a gens. In later life, a person often picked up an additional or replacement cognomen, which a man would then pass on to his children. The vast majority of cognomina have easily deciphered meanings, and it seems clear that in origin, they were all nicknames. Perhaps a third of the names described physical peculiarities. (E.g., Naso, cognomen of Ovid, implied a large nose; Strabo meant squint-eyed.) Cognomina were a Roman innovation -- other peoples of the Italian peninsula, until well-integrated in the Roman Empire, tended to use just a praenomen and gentilicium.

The Roman senate sometimes passed a decree banning a family from the continued use of a particular element of a name, usually a praenomen. The earliest recorded instances of this date back to the fourth c. BCE, but the practice tailed off in the principate and was apparently completely discontinued afterwards. Considering the small number of popular praenomina available, this might be regarded as a hardship imposed on a family, but it was specifically aimed to punish the bearer of a name by forbidding the continuation of his name, in effect erasing his memory. (Names were also occasionally erased from public documents. That practice has continued.) For details, see History and Silence: Purge and Rehabilitation of Memory in Late Antiquity, by Charles W. Hedrick, Jr. (Austin: Univ. of Texas Pr., 2000), ch. 4.

In 59 BCE, C. Julius Caesar and Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus were elected consuls. Bibulus had sufficient support in the Roman senate to stymie Caesar's first proposal there. Caesar made an end run around the senate by putting his proposal to a vote of a citizen assembly (comitia tributa, literally `assembly of the tribes'). There Caesar's popularity and mob rule won the day. Bibulus attempted what we might call a parliamentary maneuver, a technical move, to block a vote or prevent the vote being valid, but he was assaulted and humiliated. Thereafter he did not feel physically secure in public, and his powers as consul were virtually a dead letter. People joked that the consuls that year were not Bibulus and Caesar but Julius and Caesar.

On one occasion early in 44 BCE, when Caesar was king in all but name, some members of a crowd hailed him as king (rex). This was equivocal praise, since Rome had for centuries taken some pride precisely in the fact that it was a republic and not a kingdom (see the Brute entry). JC deflected the praise with a pun, saying he was Caesar, not Rex. (Both Rex and Caesar are cognomina.) The irony of this, of course, is that at the time he spoke it the phrase expressed humility, but later it would express pride: Caesar came to be the title of Roman emperors (etymon of César, Kaiser and Tsar in Spanish, German, and Russian, resp.).

TRIangle BElow CAnal Street. Section of NYC extending from Broadway and Greenwich Village down to the tip of Manhattan.

Building up static charge by friction. Technical term for playing with balloons. This page, and this con brio has more information.

Amber was the first material discovered to be triboelectric. Thales of Miletus is traditionally regarded as the first to mention amber's ability to attract light dry objects, but the evidence is a bit thin: Diogenes Laertius cites Aristotle and Hippias as reporting that, on the basis of the examples of lodestone and amber, Thales attributed souls to lifeless things. However, in surviving works Aristotle doesn't mention the amber, and Hippias is all lost. It's been suggested that "kai tou hlectrou" at the end of the critical sentence in Diog. Laert. is a late interpolation, but I have no information about the current status of that question. Anyway, Plato in Timaeus 80c claims that amber and lodestone don't really have the power of attraction, it's all done with metaphysical mirrors (I paraphrase), so evidently the phenomenon was well known by that time. Theophrastus mentions the attractive properties of amber and ``lyngourion'' [lynx urine] at 29 and 28 of Peri Lithôn (`On Stone'). The identity of lyngourion is the subject of much dispute, but from the name (and associated stories about the modest or secretive habits of the micturating lynx) its appearance is perhaps more certain than if it had been described by one of those pesky color words, leading at least a large minority to believe it's just a variety of amber. Pliny quotes or misquotes some authors on amber, and awareness of its general properties (again) seems to have been widespread. On the other hand, it seems to have been too dear for many authors, for they display rather second-hand knowledge, often failing to mention the need for rubbing.

Incidentally, the effect is somewhat misnamed. High pressure has the same effect; charging also arises from friction, but only because rubbing also produces close contact between the surfaces. It's the intimate contact that causes charge transfer between the bodies. Humans seem to have an intuitive understanding of this fact. Sammy Hagar's ``Heavy Metal'' is about the phenomenon. It begins ``Head bangers in [the excellent triboelectric material] leather / Sparks flyin' in the dead of the night [best time to observe them]'' and goes on to introduce the topics of lighting, power, and overload -- all standard topics in a sound electrical engineering curriculum. Later: ``Tight [high-pressure] pants [probably leather or plastic; friction may be implied here] and [insulating] lipstick / She's riding on a razor's edge.'' The latter is a reference to the discovery of Benjamin Franklin that charge separation is enhanced by a sharp contact under certain circumstances.'' Hence ``Ohh, can you feel the static / So many contacts being made.'' It's basically a Circuits 101 lab manual set to music.

tribute performance
Meretricious exploitation. About the same as a special commemorative edition.

CCC. In particular, Cuyahoga Community College. See Cuyahoga.

trick question
  1. A question with an easy correct answer, and difficult wrong ones.
  2. A question that takes care and effort to misunderstand, as opposed to the ordinary sort of question, which can be misunderstood immediately.


trigamy defense
Perhaps this is better described as serial- or train-marriage defense against the charge of bigamy. Here's an explanation from Arthur Train's My Day In Court, p. 61:
   The old ``trigamy'' defense was always bobbing up in bigamy cases, to wit, that the defendant charged with bigamously marrying some lady (A) in New York County while he had a legal wife (B)) living elsewhere, had in fact no such legal wife (B) as alleged, since there was still another wife (C) whom he had married even earlier, thus rendering the marriage upon which the bigamy was predicated a nullity.
   It might seem that this defect could have been overcome by re-indicting the defendant and setting forth as the legal wife the newly discovered C (instead of B), but it sometimes happened that, this having been done and the defendant again brought to trial, he introduced proof of a still more remote marriage to D, invalidating all his subsequent marriages, without the recital of which the indictment continued to be defective. It sounds monstrously absurd, but it is quite true and perhaps goes to show that there is ``safety in numbers.''

Train's prosecutorial experience was mostly in the first decade of the twentieth century, but this book came out in 1939. Bigamy is still prosecuted, but I don't know if the trigamy defense is the prosecutorial stumbling block that it once was.

A triglyceride is a triester of glycerine with three fatty acids. Fats and oils are triglycerides.

The new name for triglyceride is ``triacylglycerol.'' No one uses the new term. Possibly no one even knows how to pronounce it.

A set of three novels that form a unified whole, but which can be read independently.

Three books that are not three works that can stand independently. One example is LotR, which is divided into six parts and usually sold in three volumes with different book titles. The other best-known ``trilogy'' in f&sf is Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy. When first published in book form, its three volumes contained a total of nine stories, eight of which had been previously published as independent stories.

TRajectories of Ions in Matter. A widely available code that does Monte Carlo simulation of Ion TRajectories In Matter. Vide SCHLEICH.

Tr. Img. Proc.
IEEE TRansactions in IMaGe PROCessing.

Three. Usually three people, often three singers or other performers. Some domainer bought <trio.org> years ago on speculation.

Transplant Recipients International Organization.

The Road Information Program.

triple tradition
Material found in (approximately similar form in) all three synoptic gospels. Cf. double tradition, Sondergut. See Mahlon H. Smith's Synoptic Gospel Primer.

Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. The name of an international convention called Agreement on Trade-Related ....

A trivial name for 2,2,3-TRImethylbuTANE used by internal-combustion-engine engineers. I can't account directly for the p in the name, but one motivation for its inclusion might be that this is a heptane (i.e., a structural isomer of n-heptane). Triptane is the only widely used trivial name for any gasoline alkane. I can imagine why. Triptane happens to have a very high octane: RON 112 and MON 100. All other heptanes, hexanes, pentanes, and butanes (including the simple cycloalkanes) all have RON's of 102 or less, and MON's of 98 or less.

Fear of thirteen. More at the entry for the number.

Logic circuitry and devices designed to have three possible outputs -- 0, 1, and hi-Z. The hi-Z (high impedance) state effectively pulls the output out of its circuit, and can be used to simplify bus communication by wire-ANDing tri-state inputs. Tri-state can also be used for device surge protection (vide PU3S).

tristate area
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut
Karaoke/DJ service
Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia
Does anyone besides the EPA recognize this area?
Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky, and Southeast Indiana
some Cincy event
Eastern Ohio, Northern West Virginia, Eastern Pennsylvania
N.O.V.A. Online Resource Directory
Western Maryland, southwestern Pennsylvania (where you can find the villages of Indiana, I think, and California)
Congressional debate
Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee
Environmental quality (noise abatement) document

Look at it this way: every state except Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine has at least one border which meets the border of two other states (and Maine comes within miles of Massachusetts). Maybe Alaska, Hawaii, and Maine should be the tri-state nontri-state area.

The only point where more than three state borders meet in a point is the four-corners area of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah.

For more dyspepsia, visit the locale entry.

TRI-Service TActical Communications. The three services are the three main branches of the US military -- army, navy, air force.

A term applied by the ancient Greeks for the perfect sacrifice, comprising a pig, a ram, and a goat. Everyone likes variety. The Romans had a similar sacrifice, called the suovetaurilia (also suovitaurilia) after its three victims: a pig, a goat, and a bull.

triumph of hope over experience, The
A clever circumlocution meaning ``stupidity.''

A (politically significant) group of three. (Etymologically, a group of three men, and not three people.) There have been three famous triumvirates in history. The first triumvirate was an unofficial and uneasy alliance among Julius Caesar, Marcus Licinius Crassus (a moneybags, as you can guess from the last name, and the fellow who finally crushed the slave rebellion led by Spartacus), and Pompey (Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, who happened along and crucified 6000 of the slaves fleeing the legions commanded by Crassus; you wonder where they found the lumber). The first triumvirate was a log-rolling arrangement, since the three had disparate goals. Interestingly, the Now wait! Don't go yet!

Look, i don't give a rat's ass about this stuff, okay? I'm just like you -- it bores me right down to my aching gums. Everybody feels the same way. That's why it's called ``ancient history,'' a term meaning nobody cares any more, get me some Novocaine. The only reason I put this entry in at all was to make a pointless comment about an inconsequential little town. It's ENTERTAINMENT, so I'm sure you can see that it's worth watching... but you probably have a concern -- and it's a reasonable one. You're thinking: ``okay, entertainment is fine, but am I going to be intelligently informed?'' On this I can more than assure you. You have my solemn vow: you will not be improved. Believe me, I know plenty of people who know this Roman history stuff backwards and forwards, and are complete idiots, so don't worry. How could this stuff even be educational? It's about dead people. Very dead people. It happened so long ago that, well -- anyway, even if it happened to be relevant somehow, it could be wrong! Heck, we often put in howling errors, just to keep things lively, and then, uh, forget to correct them for years at a time. There's really no danger, so read on.

Now Caesar and Crassus were tight, but Crassus and Pompey, who had been allies some years before, had grown suspicious of each other. (Proper apportionment of glory for victory over the Spartacus rebellion was one cause of friction.) Also, Caesar and Pompey were both very successful generals in foreign adventures; there was a rivalry there that became more important later (as we don't explain in any very great detail at the TCA entry). To cement the alliance, Caesar married off his daughter Julia to Pompey. You ought to remember this bit. Yeah, it's weird, but in some ways less weird than the Greeks. The triumvirate came to an end because Crassus wanted some foreign-wars glory for himself, but wasn't quite up to the task. He tried to conquer Parthia, but was captured by the Parthian general Surenas, who had Crassus killed in a wonderfully appropriate way: molten gold was poured down his throat. (No eighth amendment yet.) Okay, TMI. Pick up the pace.

Julia died in childbirth, Pompey married the daughter of one of Julius Caesar's bitterest enemies, Caesar crossed the Rubicon, there was a civil war, Pompey was killed, Julius Caesar became emperor in all but name. Julius Caesar was assassinated, and the Senate appointed a second, somewhat less famous triumvirate, an official one with a standard abbreviation: III Vir RPC.

The third famous triumvirate involved Napoleon and two guys I have justly forgotten. Napoleon said something clever about what was required for a triumvirate to function properly, which I'm trying to track down.

In Rebecca Goldsmith's The Mind-Body Problem: A Novel (Random House, 1983), the brilliant mathematician character Noam Himmel insists heatedly on the distinction between ``trivial'' and ``obvious'':
A theorem is obvious if it's easy to see, to grasp. A theorem is trivial if the logical relations leading to it are relatively direct. Generally, theorems that are trivial are obvious. If the logical relations leading to it are straight, it's easy to get to. And conversely. Thus the sloppy conflation of terms.

With possible apologies to Goldsmith, the above distinction is true, and obvious, and not to the point. The truth is that the triviality of a proposition is not an absolute statement about its proof, but a subjective statement about how difficult it was for the user of the word to come up with the proof. The judging of theorems as trivial to a greater or lesser degree could, in principle, be used to compare the difficulty of different theorems. In practice, however, it is never used for this comparison. Instead, the declaration that a theorem is trivial is used in the machismo of mathematics, to deride another mathematician for difficulty in coming up with a proof the speaker has already thought of.

Mathematics is viciously competitive. It epitomizes the impossible-to-attribute mot that ``academic battles are so vicious because so little is at stake.''

One way this viciousness comes out is in tricks. To take a trivial example, one might write

	a =/= b =/= c =/= a.
(Here I have used =/= to represent the not-equals sign, often written != in modern computer languages and not available in ISO Latin-1.)

It is an extremely common careless practice of many mathematicians to write only the first two inequalities --

	a =/= b =/= c
-- when what they really mean is that the three numbers are all different. The shorter expression leaves open the possibility that a = c, though their common value differs from b. A ``trick'' then would be to write the triple inequality as a trap for the unwary to criticize as superfluous.

In the preceding example, the trick is to write more than is usual, but precisely what is necessary. In the following, one writes less than is usual, but still as much as is necessary.

Consider an operator L acting on some space, x and y any elements of that space. It is a space over some field, and a and b will be elements of that field. To be concrete, L could be a transformation on three-dimensional Euclidean space, x and y vectors in the space, a and b real numbers. (For another example, L could be a differential operator, x and y functions, a and b complex numbers). To indicate that L is a linear operator, it is widespread, though not universal practice, to write

	L(ax+by) = aLx + bLy .
However, it is trivial to show that
	L(ax+y) = aLx + Ly
is equivalent. I'm told this is a multiple trap. First, in the right circumstances, it is conceivable that someone might fail to realize that it is a statement of linearity. Second, someone who did recognize it might still incorrectly suppose that it is deficient and criticize it. The way I discovered that this qualifies as a trick was by inadvertently tricking someone, or rather, having him trick himself. The safest thing to do, if you are puzzled, is to make no comment. You won't learn any math that way, but it's probably worth it.

trivial name
A non-systematic chemical name. In the early days of systematic nomenclature, a lot of trivial names were assigned because it took a while to determine the structure of a newly isolated chemical. At the time, new chemicals were typically obtained by separations from plants, and the trivial names were then typically based on the names of the source plants.

Nowadays, the organic chemicals that remain to be ``new'' mostly have complex structures and correspondingly inconvenient systematic names. Hence, trivial names are assigned for convenience of discussion. (The situation with drug names, however, is more complicated by design.) One modern trivial name that was assigned a name on the old scheme (i.e., based loosely on its plant source) was megaphone, a ketone (hence the -one suffix) isolated from the roots of Aniba megaphylla.

Sometimes on the basis of the quickly-determined structure. We have (or will soon have) three entries for such graphic trivial names. All the chemicals named have four- or eight-membered rings or both, but not all have four-fold symmetry.

Some names are coined to honor a respected mentor. For example, an article in Tetrahedron Letters (vol. 19, #5, pp. 429-432) is entitled ``Louisfieserone, an unusual flavanone derivative from Indigofera suffruticosa, Mill.'' The systematic name of the compound is [2S,4bS,5R,7aR,9S]-5,6,7a,9-tetrahydro-4b-hydroxy-7a,9,10,10-tetramethyl-2-phenyl-5,9-methano-2H-furo[2,3-f][1]benzopyran-4,8(3H)-dione, which you may agree is more likely to trip your tongue than to fall trippingly off of it. The author list for the letter is longer, though less liable to transcription error. Nevertheless, I will just give it as Xorge A. Dominguez, et al., and you will be grateful. The last sentence of the Acknowledgements reads ``[t]he compound was named in honor of Professor Louis Feiser with whom X.A.D. had the [privilege] of working.'' Dominguez continued using this term [Planta Med. vol. 34, p. 172 (1978); Phytochemistry vol. 19, p. 1262 (1980)] along with isolouisfieserone, but the name -- or perhaps the compound -- doesn't seem to have caught on. The better-motivated buckminsterfullerene (with fullerene and fullerenes) has been much more successful.

Transistor-Resistor Logic. An early solid-state (but not integrated) electronic logic based on discrete resistors and other components. For cost reasons, circuit designs used transistors sparingly in these gates.

Turbulence Research Laboratory at UB.

Technical Reference Model.

ThermoRemanent Magnetization.

Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission. Joint Japan/US space project. Eventually renamed TREM (explorer sounds sexier than measuring).

Transfer RNA. A segment of RNA that carries an amino acid to a complementary segment of mRNA on a ribosome.

TRansferred Nuclear Overhauser Enhancement ( NOE). NMRtian.

Temporary Restraining Order.

Transverse Rotating-frame (nuclear) Overhauser Enhancement SpectroscopY (ROESY).

Typesetter ROFF. Unix code. I've usually heard it pronounced ``TEE-rahf'' (the o like that in hot, or the a in father), but pronouncing the o like ``awe,'' (the vowel indicated by an inverted cee in the IPA) is probably used also, and it makes sense etymologically (see below).

Troff is a modification of nroff; nroff was a New program that replaced roff. (Just as GNU Nvi replaces vi/vim. Typically the old names are aliased to the new programs, and users may not notice the changes.)

Roff, in turn, had been inspired by the ancestral formatter runoff (one version was DSR). The term runoff reflected the idea that these programs would be used to ``run off'' a good copy of a document (as opposed to running off a sloppy unformatted copy, hmm). Runoff, roff, and nroff all worked with monospaced text (printing ASCII terminals, line printers, etc.); troff used proportional fonts and produced ``typeset'' output, hence the name.

Troff then begat ditroff, which produced ``typeset'' output on any of several devices (hence the DI); ditroff begat a number of competing derivatives. A very good one of these was sqtroff.

Full disclosure: the source for the preceding content of this entry (except for this typist's intrusive emendations) was for several years responsible for maintaining and enhancing sqtroff. As far as pronunciation is concerned, this looks like an Arabic dialect of Polish to me. You're on your own on this one. Oh wait -- this just in: ``In general, when a Unix command is named by prefixing a letter to an existing command, the convention is to pronounce the letter separately.'' FWIW.

Full disclosure of relevant data that readers need to make informed judgments is a wonderful thing. If Geraldo Rivera, or whatever his name is, reported his involvement in coding, say, every time he presented one of his famously and sometimes literally hard-hitting reports on computer software, say -- well, it would be a different world, now wouldn't it?

A British slang term. I've encountered somewhat inconsistent definitions.
    As a noun (with trogs):
  1. An ugly, uncouth person.
    [According to A Dictionary of Slang (distinctive title, that).]

  2. A hooligan; lout.
    [Acc. to <Dictionary.com>.]

  3. Grammar-school boy.
    [Acc. to <Dictionary.com>.]

    [W. Stephen Gilbert's Fight and Kick and Bite: The Life and Work of Dennis Potter quotes Lewis Rudd thusly on p. 81: ``his working-class background was not as unique as he liked to make out. Even the middle-class trogs like myself who'd been to a day school in London weren't used to drinking sherry and being waited on by manservants, oddly enough. I should think about one per cent of undergraduates got that at home and Dennis made rather a lot of capital out of not being used to that. He was always The Only Person With a Humble Background at Oxford. But that didn't stop him being extremely likeable.'' (Capitalization and italics as in original.) Gilbert glosses trogs in a footnote as ``Oxford parlance for grammar-school boys.'' Rudd and Potter were classmates at Oxford and were both on the staff of The Isis. They both ended up in the television business. According to the book-jacket copy, Potter ``was one of the first significant writers [would ``not insignificant'' be better here?] to write specifically for the medium of television, which he regarded as the `true national theatre.' His work introduced new techniques to television drama, such as lip-synching to songs [how novel!] and adults taking children's roles [oh joy], and has spawned a [de]generation of [hacks].''
  4. As a verb (with trogs, trogged, trogging):
  5. Walk heavily or laboriously; trudge.
    [Acc. to the Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English. The Encarta World English Dictionary seems to echo this definition.]

  6. To perform armed patrol duties.
    [This is RAF jargon, according to the Wikipedia Trog (disambiguation) page (from September 2007 to at least August 2008), but the Royal Air Force page linked to did not mention it when I visited in April and August 2008. This might be an extension of the `walk heavily' sense, like the use of ``flatfoot'' for a cop, or a cop on the beat.]

  7. To explore a cave -- to go spelunking.
    [This definition is also from the Wikipedia Trog (disambiguation) page.]

Interestingly, the English language Wiktionary for some reason has a Trog entry that identifies Trog as a German masculine noun meaning `[feeding] trough,' but there's no mention of the fact that trog is a form of the verb trügen (`to deceive'). (It's the third-person singular preterite form: er trog, `he deceived.') Dutch and Icelandic have parallel nouns spelled trog, but I'm not going to look into the verb situation.

NASDAQ symbol for Triumph Oil and Gas.

A word-for-word translation. A text written with words and grammatical structures of English (or whatever is the target language) which shows in the target language how the syntax and vocabulary of the original work. These are used for three major purposes: 1) when a text is used as documentary evidence by someone who does not read the original language, 2) when the trot is printed on the page opposite the original, with the intention of aiding those whose knowledge of the original language is imperfect to work out the original more easily, and 3) in testing students of a language, so the instructor will be able to judge just how well the student understands the text.

Also called a pony or word-for-word.

Technology Reinvestment Program. US gov't program.


Time-Resolved PhotoLuminescence (spectroscopy).

Tariff Rate Import Quota[s].

Telephone Relay Service. (For deaf phoners.)

Terminal Radar Service Area.

T. Robert S. Broughton a classicist with an interesting approach to nominal initials.

Teenage Research Unlimited. A nonprofit that organizes science fairs? No. ``TRU is the nation's foremost market researcher specializing in the youth market. TRU boasts the most subscribed-to study on teens and is the only full-service marketing-research firm dedicated to understanding teens.''

In an interview with Chicago Tribune reporter Susan Chandler, TRU president Peter Zollo said that ``The key to marketing to teenagers is understanding that they are not a homogeneous group.'' [Page one of the business section, 1999.08.12.]

What he means, as he makes clear, is that ``teenage society'' (his term) is stratified into three (oh, big number) groups. The first group is the ``edge'' teens:

  1. skate-boarders
  2. goths
  3. ravers
[Pop quiz: select the item above that doesn't seem to match.]

The second group is the ``influencers'':

  1. jocks
  2. cheerleaders
  3. beautiful people
``The `influencers' edit the trends of the edgy teens and adopt some of them. Whatever they adopt, the vast majority of teens will aspire to.''

The third and largest group consists of the mainstream ``conformers.''

By targeting the influencers, marketers can reach almost 80% of teens with their message. You could say that the influencers are a bellwether of teen trends. A bellwether is a sheep leading sheep.

TRU also does some pro bono work (anti-tobacco, etc.).

Although he doesn't come right out and say it, Zollo evidently identifies a systematic lifecycle for brand popularity. Each group reverses its preferences as soon as they are adopted by a group perceived as less cool than itself. Thus, the (bleeding) edge teens (the freakazoids, if you will excuse an obsolete term from my own youth) will drop anything adopted by the smug (group two). Those anointed will in turn reject a fashion once their adoption of it has been influential with the nobodies (or proles, if you will excuse a term from George Orwell's 1984). Notice that from this point of view, it may make economic sense for the influencers to adopt the most expensive fashions, since this will delay the moment when general adoption forces them to switch to a new fashion. The designated conformists (i.e., the third and bottom echelon of ``teen society,'' in contradistinction to the other two, also conformist echelons) also have a contemned uncool group, whose adoption of a trend signals the time when a new fashion must be taken up. That group is their mothers.

Texas Rosicrucian University. It doesn't exist yet, and it doesn't even have a homepage either.

Texas Rugby Union.

Toys-R-Us. Another big company with a small sense of humor, and too much money to spend on lawyers.

TRansUranics. Elements with atomic number greater than uranium's 92. Not naturally occurring in anything even approaching measureable quantities.

TRU, Tru
Eye dialect for true, as in Tru-Value Hardware and TRU-VU transparent mouthpieces

trucker semiotics
When a truck passes you on the highway and has a ways to go before passing another vehicle, the driver probably wants to get back into the slower (right) lane. If the truck is long, it's hard for the driver to tell when the truck has passed your vehicle and it's safe to return to the lane you occupy. As a courtesy, when it's safe for the truck to return to your lane, you can flash your lights (momentarily switch to parking-lights only; there's no call for high beams). If you were driving a truck, maybe you could flash your cab profile lights, but if you were driving a truck, you'd already understand trucker semiotics anyway.

[I would generalize the ``slower (right)'' comment, but I don't know how it works in any drive-on-the-left countries, or really anywhere outside North America.]

``Trust but verify.''
Famous phrase of a former US president.

Even though no one ever knowingly steals anything from the faculty lounge refrigerator, I tag my diet Coke cans.

You know all about the noun truth. This entry is about the verb, or the verb it should be, in truth. The word truth has occasionally been used as a verb; the OED2 cites examples up to the seventeenth century with a variety of meanings, and some of these, particularly in the fourteenth century (i.e., in Middle English) come close to being antonyms of `lie.'

Nancy Sinatra had her solitary hit in 1966 with Lee Hazelwood's ``These Boots Were Made For Walking.'' Singing ability is not guaranteed heritable, but it was a catchy-enough ditty and she looked good in boots. Poor little rich girl. Many years later she tried to relaunch her singing career with a Playboy pictorial. She was paid for the pictorial up front, so to speak, but I don't know if she lost it all on the subsequent tour (which flopped quickly). The perils of having a famous dad. ``Boots'' has since been covered by Boy George and KMFDM. I'd hesitate to use the term ``tribute performance'' here without further research. Anyway, one line in that song went ``You keep lying, when you oughta be truthin'.'' But it seemed forced and artificial like, well, um, let's just leave it at that.

The question arises, is there a naturally-occurring single-word antonym for the verb `lie'? There are certainly synonyms -- dissemble, dissimulate (as well, amusingly, as certain uses of transitive simulate). The words mendaciloquent and mendation suggest a regularly formed verb mendate meaning `lie,' but this is apparently not attested.

Sooth, long a synonym of truth and true, has seldom been verbed. The most fitting word seems to be level. Normally, one doesn't baldly ``level'' but instead levels with s.o. Still, it's intransitive.

One is reminded of the Houyhnhnms (in part IV of Gulliver's Travels), to whom lying was so foreign that they needed a circumlocution to express the idea -- ``say the Thing which is not.'' As Dr. Gulliver explains parenthetically: ``For they have no Word in their Language to express Lying or Falsehood.'' They must have a hell of a time with proofs by contradiction.

TRaVeL. Airline fare abbreviation.

Thompson, Ramo, and Woolridge. TRW's military contracting operations were absorbed into what became Northrop-Grumman, leaving behind TRW Automotive.

Try our world famous ...
We now sell ...

Top Secret.

You don't have access to the rest of this entry.

Tourette's Syndrome. I'm not gonna tell ya about it, you *#!%&&^!

Tropical Storm.

Tryptic Soy. A liquid culture medium. Cryptic soy, for all I know of it.

Tuberous Sclerosis. According to the NTSA:
Tuberous Sclerosis is a genetic disorder that causes benign tumors to form in any of the vital organs - including the brain, eyes, heart, kidneys and skin. It is often first recognized because of epileptic seizures and/or varying degrees of development delay. TS occurs in both sexes and in all races and/or ethnic groups. There are approximately 25,000 to 40,000 individuals with TS in the U.S. and approximately 1,000,000 worldwide

``Benign'' is a technical term meaning that a neoplasm doesn't grow like a cancer. The above demonstrates that benign tumors may not be.

Twisted Sister. A rock group and a term approximately synonymous with witch. Not to be confused with twisted pair (TP).

(US) Transportation Security Administration.

Tryptic Soy Agar. A culture medium.

Time Slot Assigner Circuit.

Transport Service Access Point. A ``bus'' stop or a phone booth, say.

Technical Service Bulletin.

Technical Support Center. The US NRC requires every nuclear plant to maintain an on-site TSC separate from and in close proximity to the control room, which has ``the capability to display and transmit plant status to those individuals who are knowledgeable of and responsibile for engineering and management support of reactor operations in the event of an accident. The center shall be habitable to the same degree as the control room for postulated accident conditions. The licensee shall revise his emergency plans as necessary to incorporate the role and location of the TSC. Records that pertain to the as-built conditions and layout of structures, systems, and components shall be readily available to personnel in the TSC.''

Test-System Controller.

Thermally Stimulated Current.

Thyristor-Switched Capacitor.

Toxic Substance Control Act. About all I have to say about the TSCA so far is at the CHEMEST entry.

Traditional Siamese Cat Association.

Thermally Stimulated CAPacitance.

The Surrealist Compliment Generator.

Transport Service Data Unit.

Test of Spoken English. Administered by ETS.

{ Tokyo | Toronto } Stock Exchange.

Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy.

Transmission Secondary electron Emission.

Taiwan Stock Exchange Corporation. If you don't (and don't plan to) own any stocks listed there, then possibly the most interesting thing about TSEC is that its stocks are listed by four-decimal-digit stock codes. As of late 2006, about 700 stocks are listed (up a factor of about two in the last decade). The Korean Stock Exchange does the same thing. I used to think that it was very sensible for the NYSE to absolutely forbid the use of numbers in its stock symbols, since that avoided any danger of confusing the stock codes with any prices, etc. Okay, I still think it's very sensible.

TSEC's numbers don't seem to follow any business-sector pattern, so it should be possible to have some kind of check-sum or error digit. It doesn't look like they do: Namchow Chemical Industrial is 1702, Cheng Hong Chemical 1705, Grape King 1707, Formosan Union Chemical 1709... Hmmm. Okay, maybe there is a business-sector pattern here. Grape King turns out to be a chemical and pharmaceutical company. But they also specialize in manufacturing ``functional drinks.'' I hope that doesn't include any sort of Kool-Aid.

Oh, here's something more detailed:

Grape King Inc. The Group's principal activities are manufacturing dairy products and preparation of pharmaceuticals, medicine, wine and softdrinks. Products distributed by the Group include probiotics ``come Sweat 7 strains granule,'' ``come Pei Erh 10 strains granule", immunomodulatory tonics ``995 super nutrition liquid and capsule,'' mushroom mycelia from submerged culture such as Gano-derma lucidum, Cordyceps sinensis, Agaricus blazei, Antrodia camphorata, Hericium erinaceus and Morchella esculenta. Other activities include trading of raw materials, fermentation, wine starter and feed additives.

Gee, you know, I think I'll just have a glass of water, if you don't mind.

TSEC seems to be the initialism preferred by TSEC itself, but TSE seems to be more common (and TAI is also used). As it happens, TSEC is not listed on TSEC, (if it's publicly traded at all), so it doesn't have a number. The Taiwan OTC Exchange, however, is TWO.

T. S. Eliot
Thomas Stearns Eliot.

Thyroid-Stimulating Factor. Same as Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone, TSH entry below.

Terrestrial Solar Grade (Si). Semiconductor good enough to make earth-bound solar cells out of.

Transport Service Generic Requirements.

Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone. Thyrotropin. Produced by the pituitary gland. Also TSF, for ... Factor

Named for the shape, like vee-neck undershirts. Latin tee shirts available here. (Uh--that's tee shirts with Latin written on 'em.)

Time-Slot Interchange[r].

Toothfriendly Sweets International. Based in Binningen, Switzerland. The national organizations in Germany and Switzerland are called Aktion Zahnfreundlich. The Swiss claim to have the sweetest collective tooth of any nation in the world, but that may be because Scotland is counted with the rest of Britain. Although the Spanish introduced the New-World food chocolate [from the Nahuatl (i.e., Aztec) word chocolatl] to Europe, it was Switzerland that gave us milk chocolate.

TSI does some research on cariogenicity, and scientific product testing and endorsement (indicated by a trademark of happy-tooth logo). They also promote awareness of toothfriendly sweets, and there are some interesting semitechnical pages at the TSI website.

There's a Japanese organization JATS (Japanese Association for Toothfriendly Sweets) and a Korean organization TSK (Toothfriendly Sweets Korea).

To judge from the newsletters on line, it seems like they had a brief burst of activity in 1995-7, with new activity in Korea and Argentina (Acción Diente Feliz) in particular, but that now they are resting on their dental floss.

Top-Surface Imaging. An approach to photoresist developing intended to solve the problem of diminishing depth of focus for lithography of single-layer photoresists for microelectronics.

Total Solar Irradiance.

Taiwan Semiconductor Industry Association.

Thermally Simulated Ionic Current.

Trimble Standard Interface Protocol.

Tainan Science-based Industrial Park. See STSP.


The Texas State Junior Classical League. See also the entry for the national JCL.

Toothfriendly Sweets Korea. TSK claimed (1996 or so) to have achieved very high awareness levels for toothfriendly products and logo -- 90% among children and young adults, 70% among older adults. It is claimed that Korea is second only to Switzerland in per capita consumption of sweets, but I have my doubts. I can't find a website; you could visit the international parent organization, TSI, or the Korean Dental Association (KDA).

The Svedberg Laboratory. A facility in Uppsala based around a cyclotron that produces protons with energies up to 180 MeV, and various other ions at energies up to about 45-50 MeV per nucleon.

Traveling Solvent Method.

The Sporting News.

The Sports Network. ``Canada's Sports Leader.'' A cable channel like ESPN.

Time-Sharing Option. This is not a deal on a resort condo. This is a host-centric operating system for the IBM 3081.

Thin Small-Outline Package. National Semiconductor publishes specs on the web.

Temperature-Sensitive Parameter. Like my comfort level, f'rinstance.

Traveling Salesman Problem. A classic problem of finding a minimum-length path connecting all points in a set, where the distances between all pairs of points are specified.

Farmers' daughters.

Twisted Shielded Pair.

Texas School Performance Review[s].

[Phone icon]

Telephone Service Representative. Vide Help Desk.

[Phone icon]

Telephone Service Request.

You want it WHEN??!!

Terabit Switch Router.

Terminate and Stay Resident. If this were not a machine instruction mnemonic, it would be written haunt.

Texas Sports Ranch. A big gymnastics training facility.

The Software Resource, a technical writing firm in Madison, Wisconsin that writes English-language documentation for other people's software.

TSR Wireless
Sells and serves pagers and related devices. I don't know what T, S, or R stands for.

TimeSharing System. An SBF informant reports having used Honeywell's GCOS (formerly GE's GECOS) TSS. There was also an IBM TSS, not to be confused with its TSO.

Times Square Stores.

Total Suspended Solids.

Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association. I know you agree with me that not basing the initialism on ``The Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association'' (TTSSAA) was iinneexxccuussaabbllee.

Thin Shrink Small-outline Package. National Semiconductor publishes specs on the web.

Here's some more from Dallas Semiconductor.

The Shakespeare Theatre. The one in Washington, D.C.

Time-Sensitive Target. US military jargon.

Transition State Theory. Same name given to more than one theory of chemical reactions. Related to Fermi Golden Rule #1 transitions, Zener tunneling, rate processes...

Just a guess.

Tennessee Science Teachers Assocation. (Spelling is outside their bailiwick.) TSTA is the Tennessee chapter of the NSTA.

Tennessee -- isn't that where the Scopes ``Monkey trial'' was held? Yeah -- Dayton, Tennessee, 1925. Oh, that Clarence Darrow -- he was impressive. Sure made a fool outta that Bible-thumper Bill Bryan. Too bad he lost the case. Actually not too bad. The ACLU strategy was to lose the case locally and win on appeal, so that a decision striking down the state law (which forbade the teaching of evolution in school) would be effective over the area of jurisdiction of a higher court. It didn't work out. On January 17, 1927 the Supreme Court of Tennessee reversed the conviction on technical grounds.

Here's how they decided the case: they found that the clear intent of the statute was to forbid the teaching the theory of evolution in public schools, and that this was fine because the state could tell its employees what to do. It was not in violation of the constitutional protections against an establishment of religion because, as the court chose to see it, the statute did not include a positive requirement to teach a doctrine that corresponded to the beliefs of any religion. The court noticed, however, that the (minimum) fine of $100 had been assessed by the judge in the case.

According to the Tennessee State constitution, however, any fine in excess of $50 had to be assessed by a jury. Even the Supreme Court was bound by this, so the judgement was reversed. It apparently would not have constituted double jeopardy to retry the case for the purpose of assessing a fine, but Chief Justice Green wrote for the majority:

The Court is informed that the plaintiff in error [Scopes: plaintiff in a writ-of-error appeal, convicted defendant in the original case] is no longer in the service of the State. We see nothing to be gained by prolonging the life of this bizarre case. On the contrary, we think the peace and dignity of the State, which all criminal prosecutions are brought to redress, will be better conserved by the entry of a nolle prosequi herein. Such a course is suggested to the Attorney-General.

Chapter 27 of the Acts of 1925, known as the Tennessee Anti-Evolution Act (and also as the Butler Act, after the fellow who introduces it) remained in effect until 1967 (repealed in May, repeal effective September 1). In 1968 the US Supreme Court found unconstitutional the prohibition of the teaching of evolution. TSTA was first established (as the Science Association of Tennessee) in 1975.

A subscription to a newsletter called ``Silencing Quarterly'' is included with TSTA membership. Oh wait, that was ``Sciencing Quarterly.''

Texas State Teachers Association. No apostrophe -- apostrophe's are probably not on the school-leaving exam (TAAS).

TSTA is affiliated with the NEA.

Standard transliteration of one of the basic characters of the Japanese kana. In the hiragana script, it looks somewhat like a U that fell onto the left side. Basic kana, representing simple syllables, are organized in a ``fifty sound table,'' a 10×5 chart with one row for each of the five vowels. The first column is for pure vowels, and nine other columns are for different initial consonants. (The order -- down each column and then over to the top of the next column -- matters because it defines the collation order in Japanese dictionaries.) There are a variety of complications, the most important of which are or will eventually be explained at the kana entry.

If you have at least a nodding acquaintance with the sound values of the fifty-sound table, you can skip ahead to the paragraph captioned Nonintuitive Use. If not, then the next few paragraphs will provide a sufficient orientation. (And if you know the fifty-sound table very well, I doubt you'll learn anything new from this entry anyway.)

In some columns of the fifty-sound table, all the kana have exactly the same consonant. E.g., second column ka, ki, ku, ke, ko; fifth column na, ni, nu, ne, no, etc. In some columns, however, the consonant sound is modified by assimilation to the following vowel. This happens mostly in the second (i) and third (u) rows. The third column, for example, is sa, shi, su, se, so. (In some native Japanese accents I have heard, the si is incompletely assimilated and sounds half-lisped, like ss-shi. It's worth noting also that while final vowels tend to be weakly articulated in Japanese, the effect is especially strong with word-final su. Some pronounce it simply as a final s and some with a lax but palatalized u that would be written ssü in German. Pronunciation is context-dependent, of course, but I'm thinking mostly of the common verb ending, as in desu, the copula.)

Similarly, the sixth column is ha, hi, fu, he, ho. You know Japanese words like Hitachi and hibachi, and Fujitsu and futon, but you don't know any Japanese words with fi or hu. (Actually, fu is sometimes transliterated hu, but it's not common.) Note that here the f is a bilabial sound, represented by phi in the IPA, so the articulation is similar to h. (It also takes more effort to say than the labiodental f of English. One native Japanese-speaker told me he started out using the Japanese eff in English, but found it tiring and realized he had to switch.) Incidentally, ha is a common particle (one of the two main subject markers, in particular) and in that application is pronounced wa.

The fourth column exhibits the greatest assimilation: ta, chi, tsu, te, to. It's possible to represent a ti sound by the kana pair te-i, but this seems to occur mostly or only with non-Chinese loan words (and so to be written only in the katakana script). I've read that the tsu kana is sometimes transliterated tu, but I've never seen it that I can recall, and I don't think I've heard ``tu'' in Japanese. I wouldn't know how to represent the sound /tu/ using kana.

Nonintuitive Use

The reason for this entry was not to rehearse all the introductory orientational stuff above, but to point out one nonintuitive use of tsu. When written small (smaller than surrounding kana) it indicates a pause within a word, a sort of mini-caesura. In European languages, this has sometimes been represented by geminate consonants, and the same approach is sometimes taken in transliterating Japanese. For example kippu (`ticket' [for admission, a train, etc.]) is written ki-(tsu)-pu (I'm using parentheses around tsu to represent the fact that it's written smaller). Similarly, with counting numbers that use the tsu categorizer or unit, tsu is written not as the single kana tsu but as (tsu)-tsu. This occurs in Mitsubishi, name of the manufacturer of the WWII-era Zero and more recently of various automobiles and small planes. The name, as you might guess from the company logo, means `three diamonds.' In kana, this is written mi-(tsu)-tsu-bi-shi (with unnecessary literalness: `three [units of] diamond').

The kana ya, yu, and yo are also used small. Where the hi-ya kana pair in the same size is simply pronounced hiya (git along, little doge of Venice), with a small ya it's pronounced hya. The same pattern holds with most second-row (-i) consonant-vowel pairs. So, for example, chi-(ya), chi-(yu), and chi-(yo) are pronounced cha, chu, and cho.

Terminal Service Unit. A high-speed modem for DS0 lines.

tsuh cay
It's okay. Cf. nimporta.

`Troubles.' A general term for the misfortunes attendant on being a living person. A Yiddish word. It resembles a Hindu word that I can't remember now that's used in Buddhism with a similar meaning.

Texas State University System. Founded in 1911. (That's the Texas system of State Universities. There's a separate UT system.)

Through-Silicon Via. Normally, a via is a vertical connection above the silicon. A TSV is used to contact a microcircuit through the bottom of the chip.

Test Site West Sweden; primary test-bed for SOCRATES. ``It provides a systems environment for testing RTI products and systems in a realistic traffic context.'' West Sweden? ``Testing has included in-vehicle signing systems and automated toll debiting.''

(Domain name extension for) Trinidad and Tobago.

Technical Term[s].

TT, tt, t-t

Text Telephone. (For deaf phoners.)

t = t
Tonne for Tonne. Seen (and defined) in EU statistical literature.

True-Type. Scalable font like Adobe Type-5 font. Developed because Adobe's licensing was considered too onerous.

(U.S.) Trust Territories. USPS abbreviation.

Training/Technical Assistance.

To The Best Of My Knowledge And Belief. Pronounced ``titty bomb cab.''

In Woody Allen's ``Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask,'' an experrrriment at the castle goes terribly wrong, and a woman's breast the size of a Cape Cod bungalow goes on dangerous rampage. (TTBOMM, it squirts venomous skim milk. AAMOF, milk from early in lactation always is a bit watery.) A cop on the scene speaks coolly into his squad-car radio:

``Be on the lookout -- they usually travel in pairs.''

It seems the large-breast idea was in the air at the time. In the same year (1972) Philip Roth (who else?) published The Breast. In Roth's novella, a junior academic named David Kepesh awakes one day to find himself transformed into a 155-pound (that's about eleven-stone) female bosom. (The surname Kepesh can be glossed as `hatter,' and perhaps Roth had that in mind.) Roth gave a substantial and not entirely comprehensible explanation of the genesis of the story in Shop Talk, in the chapter on the artist Philip Guston. The chapter is illustrated with three of the eight sketches by Guston that were inspired by episodes of the story. Roth wrote that he

turned his back on New York to hide out in a small furnished house in Woodstock, across town from Philip, whom I didn't know at the time. I was fleeing the publication of Portnoy's Complaint. My overnight notoriety as a sexual freak had become difficult to evade in Manhattan, and so I decided to clear out ... [eventually to a] small rented house tucked out of sight midway up a hillside meadow a couple of miles from Woodstock's main street. I lived there with a young woman who was finishing a Ph.D. [q.v.] ... During the day I wrote on a table in the upstairs spare bedroom while she went off to [a cabin she rented] to work on her dissertation.

He moved there in the Spring of 1969. The famous Woodstock festival/happening/ecological disaster took place in August that year. He doesn't mention it or Woody Allen.

    Life in the country with a postgraduate student [why the British terminology?] was anything but freakish, and it provided a combination of social seclusion and physical pleasure that, given the illogic of creation, led me to write, over a four-year period, a cluster of uncharacteristically freakish books. My new reputation as a crazed penis was what instigated the fantasy at the heart of The Breast, a book about a college professor who turns into a female breast.

I don't know if there's a castle in that story, but the obvious allusion to Kafka's Metamorphosis might remind one that Kafka also wrote a story called The Castle [Das Schloß]. The reason I don't know whether there's a castle in Roth's story is that I didn't read it. I only learned about it in a book review of The Dying Animal, in which Roth describes Kepesh as an old man -- he apparently recovered his original form, eventually, like Teiresias. The book review was by Zoë Heller, the author of Everything You Know. Woody Allen's movie mentioned above takes its title (and little else) from Dr. David R. Reuben's book of 1969 -- Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask). Reuben's original title did not have the ``But Were Afraid'' clause in parentheses as it is often written, but as an asterisked footnote to the title (that was part of the title). It must be a nightmare to catalogue books like that.

Reuben must often have regretted not trademarking that title. Following is an incomplete list of books with titles that ``sample'' his. At least two (1981 and 2006 items by McCawley and Marinker, respectively) followed his scheme to the asterisk.

Jerald G. Schutte:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Elementary Statistics (But Were Afraid to Ask).

Jim Everhart:
Everything You Didn't Want to Know About Sex (But We're Going to Tell You Anyway).

If my name were Everhart, I'd think twice before writing a book with unwelcome sexual information. (Especially so when its cover price is only going to be $2.50.) It reminds me of an epigram of Martial, which I'll insert here, or rather type in, as soon as I have a chance to track it down.

Jack Noble White:
Everything You Need for Children's Worship (Except Children)

They're worshipping children now? This is ridiculous.

Andrew Greeley:
Everything You Wanted to Know About the Catholic Church, But Were Too Pious to Ask.

Cf. 1989 item.

Michael Savage:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Taxes But Didn't Know How to Ask.

Oh, brave title, Michael. Sure, the IRS doesn't scare anyone.

Russell Burkett:
Everything You Wanted to Know About Gold and Other Precious Metals Including Silver, Platinum and Palladium.

J. R. Zuboy and A. C. Jones:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About MSY and OY (But Were Afraid to Ask).

In case you're having trouble finding this work, it's NOAA technical memorandum NMFS F/SEC; 17. It's about fisheries management.

James D. McCawley:
Everything that Linguists have Always Wanted to Know about Logic*
* but were ashamed to ask

Peter Kreeft:
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Heaven-- But Never Dreamed of Asking.

What I always wanted to know was-- Is there a legal way to get evangelists to head for it sooner?

Charles L. Winek:
Everything You Wanted to Know About Drug Abuse but Were Afraid to Ask.

George Rosenkranz:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Trump Leads And Were Not Afraid to Ask.

Paul L. Williams:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Catholic Church But Were Afraid to Ask for Fear of Excommunication.
Ah, you see -- there's no such thing as a stupid question, but...

Compiled by NTT Mediascope, translated and edited by James V. Reilly:
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Business Otsukiai: A Guide to Japanese Business Protocol.

From Take-off To Landing: Everything You Wanted to Know About Airplanes But Had No One to Ask.

Betty Kamen:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Potassium but Were to Tired to Ask.

Someone at Amazon.com could probably use a dose of potassium in the part of the brain that deals with spelling. According to that venerable virtual institution, people who purchased this book also roused themselves sufficiently to purchase one of the Harry Potter books. Given that ten percent of books sold in the US in the year 1990 were in the Potter series (an estimated quarter of unit sales were bought for the reading pleasure of adults fifty and older), this is perhaps not as significant a datum as might appear, but that's between you and your pharmacist. We just put the facts out there and let you decide.

Slavoj Zizek, ed.:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Lacan: (But Were Afraid to Ask Hitchcock).

Cf. 2007 item.

Nancy Van Horn:
Everything You Wanted to Know About Dollhouses But Didn't Know Who to Ask.

Marian Appelhof:
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Watercolor.

United States EPA:
Everything You Wanted to Know About Environmental Regulations--But Were Afraid to Ask: A Guide for Small Communities.

Marian Appelhof:
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Oil Painting.

Liz Harvey:
Shoot!: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About 35mm Photography.

John Bryant:
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About INTERPERSONAL RELATIONS But Were Afraid to Ask Because You Thought You'd Lose All Your Friends

If you were afraid of that, there's a lot you wanted to know.

John Bryant:
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS But Were Afraid to Ask Because You Thought It Was Treasonous

I'm afraid of John Bryant.

Elizabeth Moran:
Bradymania!: Everything You Always Wanted to Know - And a Few Things You Probably Didn't (25th Anniversary Edition)

It's the twenty-fifth anniversary of the show, not a reprinting of a twenty-five-year-old book.

United States EPA, Office of Air and Radiation:
I/M Briefing Book: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Inspection and Maintenance.

Really, that might be a pretty small book.

Judy Monroe:
Issues in Focus: Phobias: Everything You Wanted to Know, but Were Afraid to Ask.

Phobiologyphobia -- the classic double bind! (This books was canned as a public service by Kirkus Reviews.)

Catholics for a Free Choice:
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About the Catholic Vote: Election '96..

A pamphlet?

Tom Dongo:
Everything You Wanted to Know About Sedona in a Nutshell: Mystery, History, Vortexes, and Much More.

Thomas Wiloch:
Everything You Need to Know About Protecting Yourself and Others From Abduction.

This is part of a series called the ``Need to Know Library.'' Scholastic Press has a ``Homework Reference Series'' with titles in the form Everything You Need to Know About Foobar Homework, as if information useful for Foobar homework is something you wouldn't find in a book that was merely about foobar ipse. Scholastic has a book called Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Kindergarten-But Didn't Know Whom to Ask, by Ellen Booth Church. It's part of the Scholastic Parent Bookshelf.

Martha Sears, R.N. and William Sears, M.D. (I believe they may be related) have a series with titles in the pattern The Foo Book: Everything You Need to Know to Bar, where foo is a single word like breastfeeding or discipline. Reminds me of the reproduction joke about Freud and one of his disciples. Bar is a multiple-word predicate including child or baby, appropriately enough.

White's book, a need variant listed above (1978), at least had a parenthetical; it is not part of any series. Wiloch's is the only one I've included from any of the series, because of its implicit sexual content.

As everyone knows, aliens travel hundreds of light years to abduct humans for sexual experimentation. You've seen aliens on the cover of the supermarket tabloids -- let's face it, they're not very cute. It's pretty obvious that we earthlings are the hotties of the galaxy. And you know what they say -- ``Earth Girls Are Easy'' (1989, starring Geena Davis and David Goldblum). There's a Mrs. Merkin character in this movie. Jim Carrey is in it, but he wasn't a star at the time.

I don't know if Wiloch mentions alien abduction, but Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht discuss how to handle the problem in a paperback that was released on April 1, 2001 -- The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel. We summarize their most useful advice at the EBE entry.

Jerome Rabow, Tiffani Chin, Nima Fahimian:
Tutoring Matters: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About How to Tutor.

Truth to tell, I didn't want to know thing one about how to tutor. I won't buy a book just to put another pun on my bookcase. Sorry.

Jonathan Malcolm Lampley, Ken Beck, Jim Clark, Forrest J. Ackerman:
The Amazing, Colossal Book of Horror Trivia: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Scary Movies but Were Afraid to Ask.

When we add sound effects, chattering teeth will be installed here.

M.L. Shannon:
Bug Book: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Electronic Eavesdropping ... But Were Afraid to Ask.

Ranjit Thomas:
The Ultimate Trivia Book: Quizzing: Everything You Always Wanted to Know but Didn't Know Where to Look.

Dr. Rebecca S. Harrison:
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Bible But Were Too Afraid of Eternal Damnation To Ask: MOSAIC LAW

Spiral bound, like all her books. I have a hard time figuring out who among those involved in the production and consumption of these books is serious.

Dr. Rebecca S. Harrison:
Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Bible But Were Too Afraid of Eternal Damnation To Ask: ACTS of the Anti-Christ in the New Testament

This is the second of two books that have a common title and different subtitles. The author is the John the Beloved: the reincarnation of Edgar Cayce, writing as Dr. Harrison, or something like that. Don't ask me what to believe.

Ian Sidaway:
Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Art Materials.

Mary T. Johnson, R.N.:
Get Rid of the Blues: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Varicose & ``Spider'' Veins but Didn't Know Who to Ask

She means ``whom to ask.'' Another R.N./M.D. collaboration; Dr. Alan H. Kanter contributed a foreword.

Dr. Margaret Stearn:
Embarrassing Medical Problems: Everything You Always Wanted to Know But Were Afraid to Ask Your Doctor

Advice about B.O. and impotence.

Simon Read:
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Anarchism, But Were Afraid To Ask....

Anonymous, afaik:
God's Answers to Tough Questions: Everything You Wanted to Know but Were Afraid to Ask.

Donna Henes:
The Moon Watcher's Companion: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Moon, and More.

Ken Perlman:
Mel Bay Presents Everything You Wanted to Know About Clawhammer Banjo: A Complete Tutor for the Intermediate and Advanced Player: A Clawhammer Encyclopedia for Players of All Levels.

Renee D. Crenshaw and Anthony B. Miles:
Everything You Wanted To Know About Credit But Were Too Ashamed To Ask: Tools, Tips and Hidden Secrets to Fixing Bad Credit, Building and Maintaining AAA Credit.

Lois May:
Transgenders and Intersexuals: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know But Couldn't Think of the Question: A Resource Book for the General Community.

The Unknown Attorney Ms. Cellaneous:
Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Your Nonprofit Corporation.

Simon Marinker, M.D.:
Informed Consent to Surgery*
* Or, Everything You Wanted to Know About Your Operation But Were Afraid to Ask

Susan Kutna:
Everything You Wanted to Know About Fusing...But Had No One to Ask: A Beginners Manual.

It seems to have something to do with fusing colored glass rods into decorative stuff.

Laurenc Simmons:
Everything You Wanted to Know About Slavoj Zizek: But were Afraid to Ask Alfred Hitchcock.

Cf. 1992 item.

Karen Dawn:
Everything You Wanted to Know About Animal Rights: But Were Afraid to Get into a Fight About.

During the 1988 US Presidential campaign, there was a single formal debate between the vice-presidential candidates, on October 5. (Dan Rather insisted on pointing out that it was merely a ``joint appearance'' and not a formal debate in the traditional sense of the word. Thank you, Dan.) The veep candidates were Senator J. Danforth Quayle, Republican of Indiana, 41, and Senator Lloyd Bentsen, Democrat of Texas, 67. Quayle was widely regarded as an intellectual lightweight because he was an intellectual lightweight. The charge of ignorance or stupidity isn't very damaging in US politics, but the charge against which he had to defend himself was lack of experience. We wouldn't want an inexperienced idiot to take over the reins at a critical moment if, heaven forfend, anything should happen to the experienced one we elected president. Danny had an answer to this which he liked. He was warned by his advisors or baby-sitters or whatever that his preferred answer was dangerous to use, and that Bentsen would pounce on it. An hour into the ninety-minute debate, confronted for the third time with the ``experience'' question, Danny used it. He claimed that he had experience comparable to that which JFK brought to the presidency, office he had campaigned for in 1960 at age 43. Bentsen pounced:

``Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. ... Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy.''
(The ellipsis above represents exquisite dramatic timing, not elision.)

Bentsen's riposte was a direct rhetorical hit, a hit with his partisans, and the only memorable line in the otherwise sleepy ordeal. The line's easily recognized formula was widely adapted. Bentsen eventually lamented publicly that he hadn't copyrighted it. On reflection, though, perhaps it's not quite so original. There is a common expression that begins ``You don't know Jack....''

We're also planning an entry on ``The Joy of'' titles. I mean besides this one.

Cf. AFAIK (considerably more common than TTBOMKAB).

To The Best Of My Knowledge And Understanding. Pronounced ``titty bomb cow.'' I told you to visit the AFAIK entry.

To The Best Of My Memory.

Also, exquisitely rare but not utterly unattested: Truly Troubled Bladder Or Monthly Madness.

Threshold Test Ban Treaty.

Toronto (ON, Canada) Transit Commission. Operates city buses, streetcars, and subways. Cf. GO. Until 1954 the second T stood for Transportation.

The word ``streetcar'' evolved from the compound noun ``street car,'' and the TTC didn't switch to the one-word form until the 1980's. As of 2003 there were still some signs around Toronto with the old two-word form. For a related instance of unupdated terminology, see HSR.

Teacher Trainers and Educators. Of course, someone has to train and educate the TTEd. Ooooh, recursion!

Texas Tech Ex-Students Association. The alumni of TTU have evidently found an original solution to the Alumnus/Alumna/Alumni/Alumnae problem.

Time-To-Fail[ure]. No, Rutger Hauer did not utter this as the replicant Roy Batty in ``Blade Runner.''

Ta-Ta For Now. Used with other phrase abbreviations in email, but antedates email.

``Ta-Ta'' is an affected, or mock-affected, way of saying Bye. Cf. BFN.

The Tarrance Group. A public-opinion polling organization that works for Republican clients. It's listed here with a carefully compiled bunch of pollsters list we serve. For 2004 they teamed with Lake Snell Perry and Associates on the Democratic side for joint data collection and separate analysis.

TTG conducts something it calls the Battleground Poll. ``Initiated in June 1991, the Battleground Polls have gained widespread media recognition as reliable bellwethers of national opinion and voters' intentions. The Battleground data projected the outcome of the 1992 presidential race more precisely than any other similar effort in the country, including those of the major TV networks and national newspapers.'' I harvested this text in July 2008. Why no mention of 1996, 2000, or 2004? ``In addition, Battleground Polls have consistently been major predictors of what is going to happen in approaching Congressional elections.'' I'd be interested in a more quantitative metric (if there's any other kind) than ``consistently been major predictors.''

The Battleground Poll is one of those that asks a ``direction of country'' question. Personally, I think the US is an east-west country geographically, but a north-south country politically and a northeast-by-east-southwest-by-west country entertainmentwise, with small corrections for deviations from the reference ellipsoid or larger corrections if a spherical earth model is used. Apparently, however, none of these directions is an acceptable answer to those direction poll questions. This page at <pollingreport.com> lists results from various polls.

The LAT/Bloomberg poll asks this version of the question: ``Do you think things in this country are generally going in the right direction or are they seriously off on the wrong track?'' The asymmetry in the formulation (``generally'' vs. ``seriously'') probably doesn't reflect any intention to shade the results. Around 1981, George Gallup gave a lecture to a small group of us at the Graduate College in Princeton. Afterwards, I suggested that the formulation of one of his questions might skew the answers, and his reaction was essentially that gee, he hadn't thought of that. You wonder if there are any professionals in this field, or if they're all just tantamount to journalists.

In any case, the various forms of the subject question are regarded as equivalent for talking-head purposes. For example, the Newsweek poll, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, asks this: ``Are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the way things are going in the United States at this time?'' The results from the different forms of question seem comparable, perhaps in part because the people polled are so inured to the generic question that they don't listen carefully to the particular question they are asked. That happened to me.

During 2008, ninety per cent of the US population was employed by call centers to poll the population of the country. This caused a temporary upward tick in employment statistics, and consequently almost no one was home to be polled. One day I was home sick and got polled. The first question was one of those right-direction/wrong-track questions. I gave the wrong answer (something along the lines of ``I don't answer stupid questions'') and the interviewer terminated our conversation. I think this polling practice skews polls toward people who are so lonely they'll participate in any nonsense for the sake of human contact. Those people probably tend to think the country is going to hell in a handbasket, but then so do I. I can't help it--it's true. It's not a polling question; it's an intelligence test.

Tampereen Teknillinen Korkeakoulu, in Tampere, Finland. TUT in English.


Title. As in legal (en)title(ment).

Transistor-Transistor Logic. ``TTL logic'' for short. ``Transistor'' here means BJT. Dominated the microelectronics industry through the sixties and into the seventies, when it was largely displaced by CMOS logic in large-scale integration.

In terms of the simplest circuits one can design: TTL logic is fast, CMOS is low power.

Truck Trailer Manufacturers' Association.

Tactical Technology Office. Part of DARPA.

Technology Transfer Program. Often, as here, called a ``TTP program'' for short. Just another AAP pleonasm.

The TTP Project. A recursive acronym (XARA) devised by Dilbert, as reported by Scott Adams on May 18, 1994. Recursive acronyms have hidden AAP-ness.

Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands.

Text-To-Speech (synthesis by machine). Approximately the inverse of Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR).

Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Proof that not all medical facilities in Singapore are named Raffles. Anyway, TTSH is a ``step-down'' facility -- they provide convalescent-care services.

Traditional Teacher Training Program[s]. Sometimes presumptively pejorative term for the straw man that brand-spanking-new Competency-Based Teacher Education (CBTE) is going to knock over.

Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

Texas Tech University. Tech as a word seems to be part of the official name. At least it's in the seal. TTU is in Lubbock, Texas.

ttu.edu seems to be the domain for their campus-wide information system (CWIS).

Total Thickness Variation.


ttyl, TTYL
[I'll] Talk To You Later.

Don't wanna hear it again tonight!

Technische Universität. German, `technical university.' Productive -- e.g., TUB.

``Does this mean it's not, like, really what you'd think of as a `university,' but in fact it turns out that technically it counts as one?''

No. Two more guesses. Cf. UP.

Therapeutic Use.

Total Utility. For a discussion of how consumption demand is determined by marginal utility rather than total utility, see this sequence of postings: (1) (2) (3) as well as this offlist comment

Transceiver Unit.

TUpolev. Prefix for some Soviet aircraft (-134, -154, -204).

tu, t u
Variant of ty. It's k, u cn thank us l8r.

Technische Universität Berlin. `Berlin Technical University [TU].' In the part of Berlin that was West Berlin.

Float down the river on (normally sunk into) the middle of an inner tube. Usually intransitive, though ``tube the Salt River'' would certainly be understood. Most commonly a gerund (``go tubing''). I first encountered this usage in Phoenix in 1981 or so, but it's presumably much older.

Phoenix was originally built at the confluence of the Salt River and a couple of others. Eventually, all three were dammed upstream of the city, leaving the riverbeds dry. There's a story that German POW's escaped from a local internment camp during WWII with the plan of stealing a rowboat and making for Mexico; their plan was foiled by the fact that the river, still indicated as water on maps, was dry. In the Southwest, though, many or most smaller creeks indicated on maps are dry in the Summer. The Salt, however, is allowed to flow for about a week each year in August. (Since the mid-1980's at least, there's been a charity fund-raiser associated with this: a duck race. It's essentially a lottery in which each lottery number corresponds to a particular rubber duck. The ducks are poured out of the back of a dump truck into the river, and the first one across the finish line downstream wins for its purchaser.)

A nonlinear electronic device invented in the late nineteenth century.

Tubes, or electron tubes, or vacuum tubes, are called valves in England. (Visit the the National Valve Museum.) Tube and valve are one of the couple of hundred or so instances of things with completely different names in British English and American English. Other examples: elevator--lift; windshield--windscreen; hood--bonnet; trunk--boot; caboose--guard's van (roughly approximate); second floor--first storey. There's a certain amount of interdiffusion, and changes in vocable fashion can eliminate such differences. A good example perhaps fifty years ago might have been truck--lorry. Now, though lorry is still rare in US-age, truck is more common than lorry in the UK, so the most common word is the same in both countries.

Tubes are still made in countries that have recently become or will soon be ex-Communist. Also, One Electron specializes in vacuum-tube circuits.

You might want a look at a very typical five-tube radio. There was a time in the 1950's when just everyone used this circuit. When I was starting to play with electronic circuits and wanted to build a radio, my father wrote out essentially this circuit from memory. Like, here, try this. The tubes you need are in that box.

Tubes were still used in (musical) instrument amplifiers into the late 1990's because of their ``warm'' mellifluous saturation [ftnt. 8]. We're talkin' 'lectric guitars here -- strats an other axes, okay? You want saturation. You WANT saturation. You WANT SATURATION. YOU want to drive to distortion for that heavy-metal timbre; you want to blow your eardrums in.

A typical tube has a smoother voltage-transfer characteristic (VTC) than a BJT, so it stands to reason that tube amps introduce fewer high harmonics in saturation than BJT amps do. The effect cannot simply be filtered out with a linear filter, because high pitches must also be amplified. On the other hand, it is possible to use more transistor stages and achieve the same amplification factor without driving the transistors in any stage so far into saturation. That is, one can soften the saturation. MOSFETs have smoother VTC's than BJT's do, so MOSFET's began to be used for instrument amps, but they were too expensive for high-power applications. (Have a look at a schematic of a simple one.)

These transistor (``solid-state'') approaches were tried for a long time, but those more expensive transistor amps never seemed to achieve that nice warm distortion. All they did was reduce the harshness of the distortion by reducing the distortion. What was wanted was lots of distortion, but distortion that sounded good. Finally it came to be understood that the problem had to do with odd versus even harmonics. Tube amps used circuits that tend to introduce even harmonics -- overtones with frequencies that are even multiples of the fundamental frequency. (They're numbered as the ``odd overtones.'' Just think even frequency ratios and you'll be okay.) By switching to certain kinds of symmetric circuits that saturate the low end of a signal's voltage swing symmetrically with the high end, cheap transistor amplifiers began to be made that had distortion characteristics as good as cheap tube amplifiers. (Note that this symmetry is not enough. For example, a triangular wave has only odd harmonics.)

Totally Unnecessary Breast Examination. This appeared without further explanation in a collection of medical slang compiled by Adam Fox that was published in the British Medical Journal in 2002, and then excerpted (as ``Hippocratic Oafs'') in the November 2002 issue of Harper's. Electronic archives of BMJ do not include the article, and the online archives of Harper's have the following: ``This database normally includes full text of articles available from this publication. However, this particular article is not included at the request of the rights holder.'' But check here.

The usual assumption is that while medically unnecessary, the examination was pruriently advisable. It might be that, if the examinee is stupid or unconscious; any halfway competent examination for lumps is bound to be more informative than exciting. People joke about male gynecologists, but I suspect it's a couple of notches less pleasant than dentistry.

The Utility Connection. No, not the one on the street side of your house. The hyperlink connection to over 4000 ``electric, gas, water and wastewater utilities, utility associations, organizations, news, magazines, utility financial resources, and related state & federal regulatory and information sites.''

Trades Union Congress. In a BBC interview, I definitely heard the leader call it American style, with a singular attributive noun: Trade Union Congress. Of the UK. Pays only 75% of the Labour Party's budget, now that ``New Labour'' has so publicly got the socialist monkey off its back, right. So chastened since middle class disgust with trade unions helped put Thatcher in office in 1979, and keep the Tories in office from 1979 to 1997, that they're sounding as tame as the old (pre-Sweeney) AFL-CIO.

Tucana. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

The Ultimate Collection Of Winsock Software (http://www.tucows.com/). Windows 95/97/NT, Windows 3.x, Macintosh and OS/2 Internet Software, performance-rated and checked for viruses. There's an official mirror site at IGS.

tuechtig, tüchtig
A German word that is typically translated as `efficient,' but which essentially means `thorough.' The translation practice reflects something fundamental about German culture vis-a-vis American. Tüchtigkeit is thoroughness (mistranslated `efficiency').

Teachers' Union of Ireland. (Chumann Múinteoirí Éireann.) It describes itself as a ``progressive, professional teachers' union, representing teachers and lecturers in Vocational Schools, Community Colleges, Community & Comprehensive Schools, Institutes of Technology, Further Education and other specialist areas.'' TUI is a member union of the ICTU. Cf.. INTO, ASTI, and IFUT.

The round kind? Forget it: permanently out of stock.


The common way of referring to Cicero (that's Marcus Tullius Cicero to you, bub) in English, back in the days when he was read.

Available online at Perseus in both English and Latin.

More on Cicero at the chitlins entry.

TransUrethral Needle Ablation. A flexible catheter destroys enlarged-prostate material by local heating with RF field.

tunnel diode
The Esaki tunnel diode is a pn junction with both p and n regions so highly doped that the Fermi energy is outside or nearly outside the gap. Thus, under zero applied voltage the p-material valence band and n-material conduction band nearly overlap. At low bias, then, current can flow by carrier tunneling between those two regions. With increasing bias, these two DOS regions separate, decreasing the current, until the exponentially growing ''normal'' drift current kicks in. The sequence of current mechanisms typically gives rise to an N-type NDR.

Because of difficulties in fabricating devices with controllably large doping densities, tunnel diodes have not been commercially common.

Leo Esaki first described these in ``New Phenomena in Narrow Germanium p-n Junctions'' Phys. Rev. 109, p. 63 (1957). Tunnel diodes were made for a long time before Esaki described them, but they were typically discarded as ``unexplained data.''

Esaki also invented the Resonant Tunneling Diode. There is actually some question whether the tunneling is resonant in the original sense predicted (``coherent'' tunneling) or not (``sequential'' tunneling, which some distinguish as not ''resonant''). Generally speaking, ``tunnel diode'' refers to the older device and ``tunneling diode'' to the later (RTD structure) device.

[Football icon]

turf toe
A hazard of playing football on artificial grass.

turn on, tune in, drop out
Timothy Leary's mantra of the 60's, in its canonical order. He died May 31, 1996. Here's his site, but this interview might persist longer on the net. (He decided not to be frozen, by the way.) His last words are reported to have been ``why not?'' and ``yeah.''


Aristotle observed that no animal has both tusks and horns, and concluded that tusks are horns turned downward. In contrast, there is really no evidence that Freud ever said that ``Depression is anger turned inward.'' Perhaps now we understand why bald aliens all have large skulls.

For a dream insight, here is a link.

TUebingen System of TExt processing Programs. Tübingen is the usual spelling, but....

Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment). Pronounced ``tyoo-pea.'' The name of UK legislation under which the undertakings (commitments) of a business to its employees are required to be honored by any employer to which they are involuntarily transferred. (This commonly occurs in mergers and acquisitions, but on a smaller scale it also occurs when employees are involuntarily transferred between, say, a contractor and another contractor or the contracting company.)

TUPE has been verbed; the verb essentially means to transfer an employee, usually without essentially changing the employee's work. I think the E must be silent in the verb TUPE. Sample usage:

Existing staff need to be TUPEd (or ``TUPEd across'' or ``TUPEd out'' or ``TUPEd over'') to the new supplier.

TURBine-driven superCHARGING.

turd de force
Alan Dundes (1934-2005) delivered the presidential address at the annual meeting of the American Folklore Society (AFS) in October 1980, held that year in Pittsburgh. The AFS declined to publish it, as did various other institutions. The Journal of Psychoanalytical Anthropology made a one-article issue of it in 1981, and the final version of Dundes's monograph was published by Columbia University Press in 1984 as Life Is Like a Chicken Coop Ladder: A Portrait of German Culture Through Folklore. As the title hints, the study is scatological. Information for this growing entry comes from the preface of the Columbia U.P. book and from ``Best of All Possible Friends'': Three Decades of Correspondence Between the Folklorists Alan Dundes and Wolfgang Mieder, ed. W. Mieder (Burlington: U. of Vt. Pr., 2006). I was surprised to read this second paragraph of the Chicken Coop preface:
Immediately before the address was given, a group of German-born members of the Society, sitting together in the very front row and knowing the nature of the subject matter, rose and draped [the speaker's] shoulders in toilet paper. During the beginning of the lecture, the German group was in high spirits and good humor, and seemed to thoroughly enjoy the paper, laughing loudly and often at the various examples of folklore presented. As the argument developed and such matters as Auschwitz were discussed, there was less laughter. By the end, several of the Germans were so violently angry that they were unable to speak.

His very good friend Wolfgang Mieder was the only one to approach him following the talk, and he said ``I'm afraid it's true!'' It has to be said, however, that Mieder heard Dundes speak from the advantage of a choir seat. Here's a paragraph from a letter Mieder had written to Dundes the previous May:

    Included please find some variations of the word "shit" and a copy of my short article on the word "shit" ["Das Wort `Shit' und seine lexikographische Erfassung"]. Remember, it takes a German to write on something like that!

Other reactions were mostly either more negative or much more negative. The apt and equivocal description of Dundes's work as a ``turd de force'' came from one of the ``colleagues sympathetic to [his] research.''

Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland. In Finnish it's TTKK (Tampereen Teknillinen Korkeakoulu). See this page for other Tampere educational institutions.

Nickname for TUTankhamen. Stuff recovered from his tomb made a big tour of the US in 1977. I caught the show in Chicago. I thought the most interesting thing was how some leather seemed to have run -- flowed -- over the course of a few thousand years.

Steve Martin performed a comedic musical number based on King Tut. It may be hard to believe, but some further related thoughts on this topic are contained in the Hfuhruhurr entry.

Mimetic representation of disapproval sounds, like tsk-tsk.

German Technischer Überwachungs-Verein. `Technical Supervision Organization.' Tests the safety of technical instalations, machinery and motor vehicles. All motor vehicles three years old and over must undergo a TÜV test every two years. I'm sure you can figure out how that works. As a motor vehicle inspection agency, similar to the British MOT.

You know, in the US state of Indiana, there are no motor vehicle inspections, ever. Pretty amazing, I know. You pays your taxes and you drives your car. I find that the prevalence of misaligned headlights and smoking exhaust pipes is lower here than in New York State, which has inspections performed by private garages. (Motor vehicle inspection has been privatized this way in a number of states.)

An association of 9 Technical Universities (technische Universitäte) in Germany. The abbreviation doesn't appear to leave room for graceful expansion. They should have consulted with the Big Ten and the Big Twelve before they went this route.


Tele-vision. Misbegotten word: tele is from Greek; vision is from Latin. Of course, automobile is no better.

The Average [US] Home Now Has 2.3 TV Sets and 2.7 People. Oops. That was 1996. In 1997 it was 2.4 TV Sets and 2.6 People. It seems to me the trend lines must have crossed in 1998, but the company (or at least the domain) that was source for those numbers was gone when I went back to check in 2004. Apparently the market is saturated, however, and current estimates for the US cluster around 2.5, with high estimates approaching 3.

According to http://mouth.pathfinder.com/living/daily/062597.html,

The White Dot, a newsletter for a TV-free lifestyle, hopes to help families wean themselves from the ``sewer pipe into the soul'' that sits in all of our living rooms. First published last year by mother-of-two Jean Lotus, the White Dot takes its name from the little circle that was left on early television screens after the tube was turned off. Americans now tune in for an average of four hours a day, says Lotus, time that she spends talking, reading or playing with her family. And while Lotus doesn't proselytize, a recent issue included several little yellow stick-on notes to paste on friends' TV with the message, ``Stop staring at a piece of furniture.'' The White Dot costs $8 for four issues (write P.O. Box 577257, Chicago, Ill. 60657 for more information).

Here, see the TV Turnoff Network. (I'll move all this along when I create a Don Quixote entry.) Okay, here's an opposing view.

You know, I never used to think of a TV as a piece of furniture, exactly (more like part of the family, really), but when I rented a furnished apartment (I had to go to work as soon as I moved in), part of the package deal was a TV. This was for a package that didn't even include curtains.

Here are the faq's for television newsgroups that have them.

What, no more on TV? Try the Uncle Miltie entry. (The first sentence would be funnier if English had phonetic spelling, but it would highlight the wrong pun.)

Bill McKibben's book The Age of Missing Information was published in 1992. His big discovery is that TV programming could be better.

Joseph Heller has the reputation of being a slow writer. His first novel, Catch-22, is supposed to illustrate that. He claimed he spent seven or eight years writing it, writing during weekends and in the evenings after work. ``I gave up once and started watching television with my wife. Television drove me back to Catch-22. I couldn't imagine what Americans did at night when they weren't writing novels.'' He should have asked me.

[Incidentally, I misdoubt that 7-8 year estimate. Heller wrote the first chapter in 1955 and the book was published in 1961, but maybe he'd been working on parts of it before. All my information in this paragraph is from Judith Ruderman's Joseph Heller (NY: Continuum Pr., 1991), p. 21. Ruderman lists a number of primary sources in a footnote. You could only believe my comments here if I tracked down those sources, but if I did so, you'd have to conclude I was crazy and could not believe my comments here. You can believe that the working title of Catch-22 for most of the time that it was being written was Catch-18, because I mention that elsewhere.]

TransVestite. Cross-dresser. Try the Uncle Miltie entry.

German, Turnverein. `Gymnastics Club.'

Domain name code for Tuvalu.

Tuvalu, like many countries, is a bunch of tiny islands in the Pacific Ocean. Tuvalu's total area is about one-third that of the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, in nine atolls scattered across 600 miles. ``Tuvalu'' means `group of eight.' (Niulakita has a swamp rather than a lagoon at its center, and no permanent residents.)

In early 2000, a California internet company called Idealab agreed to pay the government of Tuvalu 50 million dollars in royalties over 10 years for the rights to the .tv top-level domain. Their idea is to auction off .tv domain names, particularly to the television industry. kino1.tv bought in. Back in 2000 and maybe 2001 I heard radio ads touting the proposition that dot tv domains are hot. If they say so, I guess. Many years ago, there was a TV ad campaign claiming that ``radio is hot.'' It seems to be hot all over. Cf. .fm.

Tennessee Valley Authority. The Federal Authority that built a bunch of dams in Tennessee from the FDR administration on.

TeleVision Bureau of Canada/Bureau de la Télévision du Canada.

Total Volatile Basic Nitrogen.

Thrust Vector Control. Term used by NASA and hip-hop artists in reference to navigation. Okay, I might be wrong about NASA.

TV channels
Allocated in the VHF (channels 2-13 in North America) and UHF (was 14-83, now restricted to 14-69, with the returned spectrum reallocated to, umm, digital TV? I have to check). For some more thoughts on channels of various sorts, see the open channel entry.

TeleVision show content rating code indicating ``suggestive Dialogue.''

Township-and-Village Enterprise. No one seems to be too worried about whether this may include nontownship-village enterprises, so I'll try not to worry either. It's the translation of an official PRC term.

TeleVision show age rating code indicating that the show is suitable for ``General'' audiences, unless they happen to be sentient.

TeleVision show content rating code indicating ``coarse Language.''

Track Via Missile.

TeleVision show age rating code indicating that the show is intended for ``Mature Audiences'' only. This is ``mature'' in a specialized technical sense meaning ``physically, but not emotionally or intellectually.''

Texas Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

Thai Veterinary Medical Association. (The link is here for sentimental reasons only. Apparently the website had to be put down. It's been ``server not found'' since at least October 2008.)

ThermoViscoPlastic Nonlinear Constitutive Relations.

TIROS Operational Vertical Sounder. Yes, we deign to tell you what TIROS stands for.

TV Ontario. Public station.

TeleVision show age rating code indicating that minors should watch the show only with ``Parental Guidance.'' What kind of parental guidance? Well, the parent (or designee) should sit and watch the show with the minor and explain the dirty words. It's a vocabulary exercise.

TV Receive-Only ``terminal'' or system. A satellite dish and some associated hardware and decoding software. Acronym distinguishes these customer or downlink sites from uplink sites. The satellite is in geostationary orbit.

Transient Voltage Suppressor. Usually back-to-back zeners (okay, `anode-to-anode') in parallel with the load, called transorb or ZNR.

It's easy enough to adjust the voltage: trivial circuit analysis says the peak voltage is clipped at the Zener breakdown voltage (plus the smaller forward voltage). The main difference between different suppressors is how fast they react -- how fast their zeners break down.

MOV's are also used.

Triangular Voltage Sweep. A method of measuring mobile charge in oxides. The mobile charge is most often the evil sodium (Na) or its dangerous fellow alkali potassium (K), secreted in by unclean methods such as contaminated photoresist (PR).

TeleVision show content rating code indicating ``Sex.''

TeleVision show content rating code indicating ``Violence.''

TeleVision show age rating code indicating that the show is intended for audiences over the age of 14. Fourteen is a kind of age of consent for television. Just as sex with someone under the age of consent is forbidden, so is voyeurism with someone under the age of TV consent.

(Domain name extension for) TaiWan.

Here's the Taiwan page of an X.500 directory.

TaxiWay. It has to do with airports, and it doesn't refer to a section of the curb where taxis pull up.

Teletypewriter. A typewriter that hammers out what someone elsewhere (hence the ``tele'') presses the keys for. Isn't that way cool? ``What's a typewriter,'' you ask?

Thrust to Weight. This is a term in aviation and not, um, ``sex work.''

Here's a classic line from Cherry, the poet Mary Karr's memoir of her teens. It's the conclusion of a lecturing-to on the subject of Algebra I that she received from her junior-high principal:

I assure you. Without math you'll wind up being no more than a common prostitute.

Time-Weighted Analysis. In practice, this epitomizes the anti-Confucian attitude of the West: older data count less. How soon they forget!

Trans World Airlines, originally called Transcontinental and Western Air (regarding which, see WAE). For a while there in around 1995, they only had a homepage thanks to Pablo Lewin, who had the longest string of moved, go to... pages I have experienced (3-level runaround; four pages and three different servers in 18 months).

It was sort of a sign that maybe this airline was not entirely on top of things. In early 2001, TWA was absorbed by American Airlines (AA).

Traveling-Wave Amplifier.

  1. toward with a typo.
  2. t-word with a typo.
  3. Ward of t.

T. Washington, Booker
That's Booker Taliaferro Washington, (1856-1915). A lot of important ironsmiths in history: Ike, Booker, and the first man ashore in Prince William's invasion. Booker T. founded the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) in 1881.

The Weather Channel.

NPR has Nina Totenberg, one of the commercial networks has Barbara Walters, and TWC has Paul Kocin (mentioned at the NESIS entry). All of these people have certifiably irritating speaking voices. If what they have to say ever really needs to be said, then it should be said by stunt doubles, or pinch talkers or something.

Test of Written English. Administered by ETS. Scores in the set {1.0, 1.5, 2.0, ... 5.5, 6.0}. If your score was 2.0 or less, you're not really reading this.

A twelve-string guitar (or a ``twelve-string,'' pronominally) does have twelve strings, but they're really six pairs played together. A twelve-string is basically a six-string with each string duplicated. The string pairs are close enough together so that you pick them together, unless you're trying to get picky.

Something you're less likely to have heard of is the ArchguitarTM. That's a narrow guitar with a wide neck and a lot of separate strings -- between nine and thirteen. ``The archguitar originated in 1982 when 22 year old guitarist [also described as a ``professional street musician in Europe''] Peter Blanchette asked luthier Walter Stanul to build him an instrument that `played like a guitar but could sound like a lute.' As a classical guitarist, Blanchette was frustrated by the lack of bass strings lower than the sixth string of the guitar.''

The Renaissance lute had six to eight ``courses'' (the highest course was a single string, the rest were pairs). In most lutes, the (multi-string) courses were tuned in unison.

As other instruments got louder, the lute began to lose its ``niche'' in the ecology of instruments, and when it was given a competitive range of pitches, it became a chore to tune all the strings. Eventually, as in other Darwinian situations, it was relegated to extreme environments and survival modes. One extreme was the theorbo, a sort of hypertrophic bass. That's a couple of meters long and has one course of three strings. These are tuned with one string an octave higher than the other two. This is called reentrant tuning, persumably because the higher string is only in resonance with the first overtone of the lower strings. This means that coupling between the strings occurs through nonlinear terms, which are usually weaker. This can result in a slow feedback of energy into the string with the fastest (isolated) decay, and I suppose this slow re-entry of energy is what is referred to, but that's just a guess and I really don't know.

The twelve-string guitar also uses reentrant tuning on the four bottom courses. (One string is tuned to the usual pitch used for a six-string guitar, the other string in the course is tuned an octave higher. Obviously this gives a richer timbre.) The two top courses are tuned in unison.

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea
A science fiction novel by Jules Verne (1828-1905), titled Vingt mille lieues sous les mers in the original French (1869-1870).

What you need to know is that a league is a distance of like three miles, so 20,000 leagues is a distance traveled under water, not a depth.

There are apparently two different kinds of mensuration league: a league on land is about three miles, but was never standardized; a nautical league is about 3.45 miles (5.56 km). In the National Football League, another mensuration regime is in place.

The World Is A Very Big Place. Email abbreviation.

  1. The time when the sun is not far below the horizon, and its scattered light still significantly illuminates the sky.
  2. The atmospheric light or light intensity during twilight.

Civil twilight corresponds to the time and light of the sun six degrees below the horizon and higher. Nautical twilight is defined using twelve degrees instead. That is, morning nautical twilight (MNT) begins (BMNT) when the sun is twelve degrees below the horizon and ends at dawn. (During the winter half of the year inside the Arctic and Antarctic circles, dawn and dusk don't occur for some part of the year -- an increasing fraction of the year as one approaches the pole. I suppose then morning twilight ends at noon. At the pole, presumably, morning twilight lasts from the vernal equinox to the winter solstice, if you really want to go to the trouble of defining ``morning.'') Near and within the arctic regions, there is also some difficulty defining the beginning and end of twilight. On this see EENT.

At any point on earth, the sun rises due East and sets due West on the equinox. (Okay, there's a fraction of a degree inaccuracy in that statement because the equinox is a moment rather than a day, and because the earth nutates a little. Give it a rest.) At the equator on the day of an equinox, the sun's apparent motion in the sky is a great circle through the zenith, with a constant speed of one degree every four minutes (or fifteen minutes of arc per minute of time, if you prefer), so civil twilight lasts twenty-four minutes and nautical twilight forty-eight. At every other time of the year, and at every other latitude, twilight lasts longer if given a chance.

To Whom It May Concern. Email abbreviation of a old standard legal formula that entered common usage.

Tests With Inorganic Noxious Kakes In Extreme Situations. Hostess actually hosts the site, demonstrating a keen sense of humor and an extreme instance of the just-make-sure-they-spell-the-name-right theory.

Siblings born from the same pregnancy. The incidence of twins is low among humans, but has been increasing of late. Drugs taken to increase fertility are most often cited as cause, but the trend is not entirely understood.

There are various kinds of twins. Among humans, fraternal twins are the most common. As everyone knows, fraternal twins develop from two independent ova that are fertilized by two spermatozoa. As the term is traditionally applied, it is assumed that both the eggs and the sperm each come from the same parents. Fraternal twins have about half their genes in common with each parent and with each other. This is the same level of genetic similarity that there is between any two non-twin siblings with both parents in common.

I should point out that when people speak or write of two individuals having some fraction of their genes or DNA in common, this is a shorthand that is technically incorrect. Any two humans have more than 99% of their genes in common. When one says that two fraternal twins have half their genes in common, what one means is that half of their genes are required, by the mechanics of the fertilization and development process, to be identical, or at least transcriptions from a single original. The other half of the genetic information is also mostly identical, but in a less direct way. The other genes are similar simply because there is a common genome that most individuals of a given species share. One could say, a little more accurately, that fraternal twins have only half the genetic variation of two randomly selected individuals, but that is not entirely precise either. Fraternal twins born of parents from a homogeneous community will be more similar than those born of parents from very different communities. The extreme of different communities, of course, is different species, and that indicates a bound on variation. Individuals of different species, by definition, do not produce fertile offspring. In many cases, of course, fertile offspring do not occur because of purely mechanical or even strong psychological barriers to mating. In general, however, when members of two sufficiently different species mate, no zygote results, or a zygote results but eventually cannot thrive. Genes have to work together and past some point, different genes don't yield a viable individual. Jeff Goldblum (and David Hedison), forget it.

Another issue, which compels us to qualify each ``half'' or similar dyadic fraction with an ``approximately,'' has to do with the granularity of the genome. Each normal (yes, ``normal''; no offense intended) human individual has 46 chromosomes. That's 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes, plus two sex chromosomes (two X's for females and an XY pair for males). Genes can be exchanged between chromosomes of an autosomal pair, and occasionally genes move to different chromosomes, but a Y chromosome doesn't play that game with its X, at least not very often. The Y is a very reduced package of genes, so a male expresses most of the corresponding genes from whichever X chromosome he got from his mother. Moreover, a male has the same Y chromosome as his father, so fraternal twin brothers have about half their genes in common (in the usual sense) on the 47 large chromosomes, and all their genes in common on the small chromosome for cojones. And males constitute about 53% of babies born (absent sex-choice interventions). You can put that all together however you want, but the chances of it coming out exactly 50% DNA variation are nil. See also mDNA.

In vitro fertilization offers some other possibilities, but one possibility that has always existed, and which is indeed common in the animal kingdom, is heteropaternal superfecundation. Not ``heteromaternal'': the way this has to go, the heteroparentage is on the fathers' side: two (or more!) different fathers' sperm fertilizing different eggs of the mother. Twins by different fathers are genetically as similar as half-siblings. Let's not even mention sperm competition in the animal kingdom. Heteroparental superfecundation is normally described as rare. I imagine it was and mostly still is, but its incidence is usually not suspected unless the twins are of different races. (Yeah, yeah, ``race'' is socially constructed, sure.)

Augustus Caesar's daughter Julia was well known to be quite promiscuous. When asked why her children all resembled her husband, she explained that she never took on a passenger until the boat was loaded.

Identical twins occur when the developing zygote splits into separate individuals. This can occur multiple times, leading to identical triplets, etc. Traditionally, identical twins occur in less than one in four hundred pregnancies, and identical triplets and quadruplets are considerably rarer. Armadillos are born in litters of four: identical quadruplets.

Identical twins are genetically identical. Sure, there are occasional transcription errors. To be more precise we can say that two cells chosen at random from two identical twins probably have exactly identical genes, and that the frequency of differences is comparable to the frequency of differences between two cells chosen at random from a single individual. Differences between identical twins are said to arise from environmental differences. That does not mean that they are not genetic differences: environment can affect gene expression. Environmental differences begin in the placenta, with slight, possibly random or fluctuational chemical gradients. Eventually, position differences in the womb can have an effect. Late in pregnancy, especially with twins, the placenta gets crowded and a fetus doesn't move around very much until it's about to be born.

One kind of difference between identical twins arises from what one might not think of as an environmental difference: development at time of splitting. A minority of zygotes that split do so immediately after the first cell division following fertilization (a couple of hours after fertilization, say), and this apparently leads to the most closely identical twins. Usually, however, splitting occurs when the zygote consists of more than two cells. When separation occurs in this case the resulting individuals are less similar. I don't know if this is known to be due to incipient differentiation of cells in the blastula, or to uneven splitting, or what. I guess I ought to look it up off-line. Later-than-usual separation, 9-12 days after fertilization, can lead to ``mirror-image identical twins.'' In some cases, even the internal organs may exhibit mirror images, with one heart on the right, etc. If separation occurs much later, there is a risk that the twins will be conjoined (``Siamese twins'').

The egg can split before fertilization also. If both eggs are fertilized and attach, half-identical twins arise. Half-identical twins share three-quarters of their DNA, in the same loose sense that fraternal twins share half their DNA.

The existence of half-identical twins is significant for the interpretation of identical twin studies. Some half-identical twins are mistaken for fraternal twins, and some for identical twins. The former are bound to be a small fraction of twins regarded as fraternal, so regardless of methodology they have little effect on any control group of fraternal twins. If half-identical twins are included in the group of ``identical twins,'' then they will introduce genetic variation into a group where variations are supposed to arise from environment only, and thus decrease the apparent fraction of variation attributable to genetics (not that that is a really well-defined thing either).

Tournament Word List. Also called OWL; short for OTaCWL (Official Tournament and Club Word List). A list defined by the NSA (no, not that NSA). The OSPD (q.v.) used to be the authority, but after that was published in an expurgated form (starting with the third edition), the NSA had to create an alternative. Tournaments sponsored by the NSA use TWL, but some clubs in North America prefer a larger list called the SOWPODS. The first edition of the TWL was TWL98, which was distributed starting in 1997 and became official on March 2, 1998. The second edition, coming close on the heels of OSPD4, became available in mid-January 2006.

The edition of TWL that was promulgated in 2006 and that is still the officially sanctioned version as of early 2013. It is referred to by a variety of other acronyms, including OWL2 and TWL2006.

The edition of TWL that was promulgated in 2006. If there's any news, I'll be more likely to mention it in the entry for the much more common TWL06 acronym.

Two ...
Maybe the entry you're looking for is in 0-9.html, even if the head term is a phrase, like

Then again, maybe not. See two excimer below.

TaiWan OTC Exchange. Officially it seems to be the GTSM (GreTai Securities Market), formerly it was called ROSE (R.O.C. Over-The-Counter Securities Exchange). It's hard to be certain whether TWO is more common than GTSM, but I'm going to put my money on TWO.

two excimer
According to the Barnhart science dictionary (1986), ``two excimer'' was a term once introduced for what are now often called exciplexes. In other words, ``two excimer'' was one of several attempts to distinguish what are still loosely called excimers from excimers in the original and narrow sense. Science News (no page or year) was cited in support, but I haven't been able to track down any specifically relevant article. This is certainly an awkward usage. Either it was a lexicographer's error, or the usage was really proposed but did not catch on at all:

In January 2006 I searched the Science Citation Index (1975-2006) and found 24 instances of ``two excimer.'' In all cases, the term occurred in title or abstract as part of a phrase in which excimer was attributive and two modified a separate plural noun (``two excimer lasers'' was the typical phrase). For normalization, you may want to know that the same kind of general search (``topic search'') found 15,793 articles for ``excimer'' and 1,946 for ``exciplex.'' This does not exclude the possibility that ``two excimer'' in the sense given by Barnhart occurred in the text of one or more articles, was used in conferences, or had some currency before 1975. (It's very much harder to do any kind of subject or keyword search using the paper SCI that dates back to the early 1960's). For comparison, I did a similar search for ``mixed excimer,'' a term that was introduced in 1962 and withdrawn in favor of exciplex in 1967. This turned up two articles, and in one of them (from 1997) the term is clearly used as a synonym for exciplex. (I also checked Chemical Abstracts, though less thoroughly. There were 34 ``two excimer'' hits, all of the usual sort; of 18 ``mixed excimer'' hits, about half the instances were in the exciplex sense.)

two-letter words
Two-letter words, as such, are very useful in Scrabble® because they allow one to lay down longer words parallel to words already on the board, and (toward the end of the game) because they allow one to get rid of a few remaining letters. One of the first preparations that a dedicated Scrabble nut makes, and one of the few preparations that an occasional player eventually makes, is memorizing all the two-letter words. You can easily google various lists of them. The OSPD3 and TWL98 have 96 of them (the same 96). Three of those (ab, ed, and yo) were new in the OSPD3 (i.e., not in the OSPD2), and five more were added in the OSPD4 (fe, ki, oi, qi, and za). (I imagine these have also been added into the second edition of the TWL.) The SOWPODS dictionary has 121 two-letter words.

Let me pass along a little trick I picked up when I was a student: don't study the stuff you already know. If you're not too ignorant to follow this advice, it can be a great time-saver. For this reason, I don't have entries for the well-known two-letter words like an, as, at, ax, by, do, fa, go, he, id, if, in, is, it, la, lo, ma, me, mi, mu, my, nu, of, oh, on, or, ox, pa, pi, up, us, and we, and others like them, for the most part. Now all you have to do is comb through the glossary for the unusual ones.

Oh alright: this page served by Mike Wolfberg lists all two-letter words in the OSPD4; this page served by Bob Jackman lists all two-letter words in SOWPODS.

Instead of playing a selection of single songs from different artists, the radio station plays pairs of songs (back-2-back!). Twice as much music! How do they do that?

In the 1990's, loosened FCC regulations in the US allowed individual companies to own many different radio stations, even within a single market or broadcasting area. As a result, the same promotions and stale gimmicks (like Two-for-Tuesday, ``basement tapes,'' and cookie-cutter drive-time personalities) appear simultaneously around the country. You call the DJ of your ``local'' station on an 800 number. It's just that much harder for a small local band to break into the big time by playing local clubs, building a local following, and getting local airplay, because there's very little local anything.

Two Paws
A jocular reference to the Village of Paw Paw, Michigan.

A game of betting on the outcome of flipping two coins, with the betting on whether there will be one head and one tail, or not (two heads or two tails). Since two-up is ``fair'' so long as at least one of the coins is fair, if each player contributes one coin to the game, any honest player can be certain the game is fair. (By ``fair'' I mean that the two betting outcomes are equally likely.)

Suppose you have two coins, neither necessarily fair. Let coin i (i=1,2) have a probability 0.5 + ei of turning up heads (ei=0 for a fair coin; |ei| > 0.5 for a coin not of this universe). The probability that the coins turn up different is

	(0.5 + e ) × (0.5 - e )  +  (0.5 - e ) × (0.5 + e )
                1            2              1            2

	coin #1 heads, #2 tails  or  #1 tails, #2 heads
or 0.5 - 2e1e2.

Now the previous statement -- that one fair coin makes a fair game -- is clear from the fact that the different-faces result has probability 0.5 so long as at least one ei is zero. Furthermore, two-up is ``second-order fair'' in the following sense: If ei is regarded as a small quantity, which it usually is, then betting on a single coin is first-order fair in the sense that the deviation from fairness is first-order in e. Two-up is considerably fairer -- second-order fair, in the sense that the deviation from fairness is second order in e. To take an extreme case, suppose two-up is played with two rather unfair coins, weighted to turn up heads 60% of the time and tails 40% of the time. This 3:2 bias would be pretty obvious: any three consecutive flips of such a coin turn up all heads almost twice as often (21.6% of the time) as would occur by chance with a fair coin (12.5%). On the other hand, two such unfair coins (described by e=0.1) produce outcomes in two-up that have probabilities 0.52 (same faces) and 0.48 (different faces).

I think that when people think of unfair coins they imagine one face weighted more heavily than the other, but maybe it's easier to make an unfair coin by beveling the edge.

This glossary has more on games of chance.

The idea of alternating errors in such a way as to cancel the first-order error and have only second-order errors remain is a very fruitful concept in computer methods of numerical integration. One elementary realization of the idea is in Crank-Nicholson numerical integration algorithms for differential equations.

The idea of multiple coin flips is also used in a polling technique developed to preserve anonymity. It was used by the student newspaper at Princeton University, in a survey of academic honesty around 1980. I forget the details, but it would have gone something like this: each survey respondent is asked to recall whether he or she has ever violated the honor code, but not asked to answer directly. Instead, the student is to flip a coin twice, and if it comes up heads both times, to answer the question incorrectly (``lie'') and otherwise to answer truthfully. This preserves anonymity because in any particular case, unknowable chance plays a role in determining the student's response. A student answering ``yes'' may be admitting a violation or else may be a non-cheater who has turned up two heads. In a Bayesian approach, if one guesses to begin that honor-code violation is rare, then one can easily conclude in any individual ``yes'' answer, that the individual flipped two heads.

Overall, however, it is possible to extract a statistic from the polling data: if a fraction p of (surveyed) students have cheated, and if all students follow the instructions correctly, then the fraction of ``yes'' answers will be 0.25 + 0.5p [so p = 2 × ( yes-fraction - 0.25)]. If the survey finds a yes-fraction less than 0.25 or greater than 0.75, then there's a problem. That's what often happens. The point of the procedure is to remove the stigma of a yes answer, but this doesn't succeed so well; too many people fail to follow instructions. Maybe they don't understand, or they use all-tail coins (sure, happens all the time), or are reluctant to give a ``yes'' answer when they get two heads.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Transonic Wind Tunnel.

Traveling Wave Tube. Here's a one-page tutorial from NEC.

Traveling Wave Tube (TWT) Amplifier.

Texas Woman's University. I suppose it might have been worse (``Womans' University''). The Spanish version of the homepage translates it as plural (La Universidad de las Mujeres de Tejas) instead of accurately (La Universidad de la Mujer Tejana).

The school has had the following names

  1. (est'd.) Girls' Industrial College (classes began 1903)
  2. College of Industrial Arts
  3. Texas State College for Women
  4. Texas Woman's University

It's interesting that the ``college'' did not become a ``university'' until 1957, despite having enrolled graduate students since 1930 and having awarded doctoral degrees starting in 1953.

A small fraction of the graduate students and almost none of the undergraduates are male, for an overall 10% of enrollment. Is this great or what? And everyone is trapped at Denton, Texas! (Thirty-five miles north of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, and zero miles from nowhere. Don't get stuck in one of the branch campuses -- Dallas and Houston; the fish probably don't bite there.)

Transport Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO. It's also affiliated with the ITF. The TWU membership is in three main divisions: the Air Transport Division (ATD, the Railroad Division, and the Transit, Utility, University and Services Division (because, like, nobody wants to belong to a ``Miscellaneous Division'').

Uhhh... iz dis duh singoowuh foam of twux? Uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huhuhuhuhuh. Naaahhh -- it's The Writers' Union of Canada. Ooooh -- dat skwewwy wabbit!! ``Founded in 1973, The Writers' Union of Canada is a national organization of professional writers of books for the general public.''

Incidentally, you can set a language preference in Google, and one of the language options is Elmer Fudd. (You can't search only on pages written in Elmer Fudd, though. It's what they call a feature.)

TeletypeWriter eXchange. Invented in 1931.

That Was The Week That Was. A BBC program that began airing in 1962, hosted by David Frost. It squeezed out a meager sort of humor by ridiculing religion, politics, royalty, and sex. See? It really is possible to explain the show without using the word ``irreverent.''

The show had 12 million viewers (in Britain; I don't know how much that is in dollars) and David Frost became somewhat well-known. Contrary to the claim of this page, this did not make him a celebrity. A celebrity is someone famous for being famous. Frost only became a celebrity later, particularly in the US. He is familiar to readers of this glossary because he interviewed disgraced former US President Nixon -- see the ED (for erectile dysfunction) entry. Frost didn't interview John Profumo, but his show did ridicule him.

TW3 hired Tom Lehrer to write some songs for the show, which they generally misused or abused, and which he recorded and sold as a number of albums (live, in studio, live in Australia... -- all the same songs).

Every successful show begets a less successful sequel. TW3 begot NSMAPMAWOL.

TX, Tx.
Texas. USPS uses all-caps abbreviation.

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

Texas is a community property state.

Many people are aware that Texas was an independent country before it became a part of the US. (The same is true of California -- hence the flags you've seen, of the short-lived ``California Republic.'') Many people continue to regard Texas as an independent country unto itself, with independently variable degrees of levity and animosity. Some Texan cousins of mine reported that back in the sixties or so, visiting the Blarney Stone, their tour group was warmed up by some comedian who asked people to raise their hands when he called their countries' names. He called the US and Texas separately. I mention this by way of transition. In the MBH entry, I refer to West Texas after writing ``I would mention country where....'' I want you to understand that I'm not treating Texas as a country and forgetting to insert an article before the count noun country. Instead, I am treating West Texas as a region -- country in the mass-noun sense, like ``cattle country.'' Make no misteak -- we never do.

Tx, TX
Treatment. Medical abbreviation. Other common abbreviations of the same form: DX (diagnosis), Fx (fracture), Hx ([patient] history) Rx (prescription), SX (symptoms).

Explanation of abbreviation at Rx.

[Phone icon]

Telephone eXchange, Crossbar.

[Phone icon]

Telephone eXchange, Digital.

[Phone icon]

Telephone eXchange, Electronic.

Total X-ray Reflection Fluorescence.

Thank You. Chatroom abbreviation. As you are aware, all entries in this glossary are thoroughly researched. Some of the research is dangerous, some of the research is completely imaginary, and some -- like that for the current entry -- is arduous. You cannot imagine the hours of hot-air-blown chaff -- the sexual innuendo, the lame jokes, the sexual single entendres, the limp jokes, do you see where I'm going with this, the crippled sex humor, the unasked-for candor -- that we endured so you could have this grain of abbreviated information

u r wc

Well, okay, a highlight from the chaff: in reply to a male chatter's suggestion, one woman I don't know replied, ``my ass is one-way.'' When that was original, it was clever. I suppose now we'll need a cloaca entry. The task is endless!

TYped Communicating Objects in Open eNvironments.

Thank You In Advance. Email abbreviation. The close equivalent TIA is more common.

A euphemism for strongly typed (computer language). I don't really care if it's strongly typed or not; I just want to be able to cast at will, implicitly, and not have to make any declarations.

Characteristic of what introductory statistics textbooks call ``central tendency.'' The median, various averages, and even the mode (if there is one) are all measures of central tendency for a univariate statistical distribution.

Sound research does not always require mathematical methods or impersonal objective procedures, but they can help. One reason is that-- oh never mind, I just wanted to quote this:

   Ten students from each grade, 2nd, 4th, and 6th, from each group were chosen, but not through statistical sampling. At each school, teachers were asked to choose the ``most average'' readers from their classes, that is, the students they considered the most average for their class in that school. It became apparent immediately that the teachers were selecting their best readers, and so the instructions to the teachers were changed. They were asked to list their ten best readers and their ten worst readers; ten subjects were then drawn from those not listed in either group. ...

[This is from ``The Miscue-ESL Project,'' chapter 14 of Interactive Approaches to Second Language Reading, ed. Patricia L. Carrell, Joanne Devine, and David E. Eskey (Cambridge Un. Pr., 1988). The word miscue in the chapter title does not refer to events described in the quote above; the chapter is a report by Pat Rigg of ongoing research into the reading errors made by children who are learning English, rather than the woebegone teachers they are learning it from.]

Be typical [of]. On this pattern, classify might mean ``be classical,'' electrify ``be electrical,'' identify ``be identical'' (almost so, with with), and mystify ``be mystical'' (your call). Granted, typify is generally transitive. It's hard enough finding -fy verbs with associated -cal adjective forms; one can hardly expect the possible objects of those other verbs to fit the putative pattern when the subjects don't fit it.

TYPOgraphical error. An alibi for bad spelling. In extremis, an alibi for bad grammar.


You were probably starting to realize this, but here to put you at ease we will spell it out: the word tyrannos in Ancient Greek, ordinarily translated as ``tyrant,'' is really closer in meaning to `usurper.' Any usurper of political power -- popular or unpopular, brutal or civil; in brief: tyrannical or not -- was originally designated by that catch-all term, although eventually the term took a more pejorative connotation.

tyvm, TYVM
Thank You Very Much.

The Young Women's Leadership School of East Harlem. This initialism (with T for the) seems to be much more common than YWLS. Anyway, our main entry for this school is YWLS -- not as a protest against this initialism, but because that was the initialism I first encountered for this school.

(Domain name code for) Tanzania. Commercial web presence at <http://www.africaonline.co.tz/>.

1.536-Mbit/s, loosely speaking.

One business day after Trade.

ITU-T's draft standard of transmission protocols for multimedia data.

Technology Transfer.

Table-Top Terawatt (laser). See M. D. Perry and G. Mourou, ``Terawatt to Petawatt Subpicosecond Pulses,'' Science 264, 917 (1994).

[Phone icon]

Title III (of the 1968 Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act). Lays out the conditions under which a phone tap for a criminal investigation may be allowed, authorized, and conducted.

Aww, you figure it out!

The Five Gospels. See TFG.

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