Wednesday, June 30, 2010

sapper


A sapper is an individual engineer soldier usually in British Army or Commonwealth military service.

Considered the most elite combat engineer soldiers in the United States Army, a Pionier in the German Army and a sapeur in the French Army, a sapper/combat engineer may perform any of a variety of combat engineering duties. Such tasks typically include bridge-building, laying or clearing minefields, demolitions, field defences as well as building, road and airfield construction and repair.

In other words, a modern sapper's tasks involve facilitating movement and logistics of allied forces and impeding that of enemies.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Confit

Confit (French) is a generic term for various kinds of food that have been immersed in a substance for both flavor and preservation. Sealed and stored in a cool place, confit can last for several months. Confit is one of the oldest ways to preserve food, and is a speciality of southwestern France.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Afrobarometer


The Afrobarometer is a research project that measures public attitudes on economic, political, and social matters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is carried out through a partnership of the Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA), the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), and the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

shelved


In the film industry, a film is considered shelved if it is not released for public viewing after filming has started, or even completed.

A film can be shelved for a number of reasons:

  • A film may receive poor reaction from test audiences and other critics, prompting film producers to choose to never release the film, instead of spending additional money to print and promote it.
  • A film may also go over budget and not find funders, causing the film's producer to abandon the film instead of completing it.
  • In other cases, a film may be considered too controversial for a release, and is unable to find a distributor.
  • One of the main actors died or resigned while the film was in production.
  • A film may be become embroiled in legal battles, such as illegal funding means.
  • A film may have been produced only to fulfil a legal obligation, such as to fulfil a contract or keep an intellectual property alive.

The term "shelved" may refer to other entertainment media, such as music albums (e.g. Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine) and novels.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Krautrock

Krautrock is a generic name for the experimental music scene that appeared in Germany in the late 1960s and gained popularity throughout the 1970s, especially in Britain. BBC DJ John Peel in particular is largely credited with spreading the reputation of krautrock outside of the German-speaking world.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Markup

Markup refers to the process by which a U.S. Congressional committee or state legislative session debates, amends, and rewrites proposed legislation.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

caltrop


A caltrop is an antipersonnel weapon made up of two (or more) sharp nails or spines arranged in such a manner that one of them always points upward from a stable base (for example, a tetrahedron). They may be thought of as the landmines of antiquity useful to shape the battlefield and force the enemy into certain paths and approaches, or to provide a passive defense as part of a defensive works system. Caltrops serve to slow down the advance of horses, war elephants, and human troops. It was said to be particularly effective against the soft feet of camels. In more modern times, caltrops are used against wheeled vehicles with pneumatic tires.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Scholasticism

Scholasticism is derived from the Latin word scholasticus (Greek: σχολαστικός), which means "that [which] belongs to the school", and was a method of learning taught by the academics (or school people) of medieval universities circa 1100–1500. Scholasticism originally started to reconcile the philosophy of the ancient classical philosophers with medieval Christian theology. Scholasticism is not a philosophy or theology in itself but a tool and method for learning which places emphasis on dialectical reasoning. The primary purpose of scholasticism is to find the answer to a question or to resolve a contradiction. It is most well-known for its application in medieval theology, but was eventually applied to classical philosophy and many other fields of study.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Nomic

Nomic is a game created in 1982 by philosopher Peter Suber in which the rules of the game include mechanisms for the players to change those rules, usually beginning through a system of democratic voting.

Nomic actually refers to a large number of games based on the initial ruleset laid out by Peter Suber in his book The Paradox of Self-Amendment. (The ruleset was actually first published in Douglas Hofstadter's column Metamagical Themas in Scientific American in June 1982.

Monday, June 21, 2010

keep


A keep is a strong central tower which is used as a dungeon or a fortress. Often, the keep is the most defended area of a castle, and as such may form the main habitation area, or contain important stores such as the armoury, food, and the main water well, which would ensure survival during a siege.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Haptics

Haptics refers to the sense of touch.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

heteroskedastic

In statistics, a sequence or a vector of random variables is heteroskedastic, or heteroscedastic, if the random variables have different variances. The complementary concept is called homoskedasticity. The term means "differing variance" and comes from the Greek "hetero" ('different') and "skedasis" ('dispersion').

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Frikadeller


Frikadeller (pronounced frek-ka-delluh) are flat, fried dumplings of minced meat, often likened to the Danish version of meatballs. They are a popular dish in both Denmark and Germany. In Sweden, poached quenelles are called frikadeller and are usually served in soup.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

erythrocytes

Red blood cells are also known as RBCs, red blood corpuscles (an archaic term), haematids or erythrocytes.Link

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

holesaw


A hole saw (also styled as holesaw) is a saw that is in the shape of a circle. It is used in a drill to cut large holes in reasonably thin material.

Holesaws have the same general mechanical construction as the diamond core drill bit, but, instead of the abrasive effect of diamonds, the holesaw uses the cutting effect of saw teeth. The open end of the saw's cylinder is milled with saw teeth. Instead of masonry, the holesaw is suitable for cutting wood, plastic, soft plaster or soft metal.

The placement of the saw teeth makes the cut annulus slightly wider than the cylinder wall thickness, so the cylinder doesn't rub in the cut. Just as in the diamond core drill bit, the cylinder is mounted on a mandrel — an arbor with a centre pilot drill — and has sloping slots to clear sawdust.

Monday, June 14, 2010

significand

The significand (also coefficient or mantissa) is the part of a floating-point number that contains its significant digits. Depending on the interpretation of the exponent, the significand may be considered to be an integer or a fraction.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bungler

Bungler: Someone who makes mistakes because of incompetence

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Infomercials


Infomercials are long-format television commercials, typically five minutes or longer. Infomercials are also known as paid programming (or teleshopping in Europe). Originally, they were a phenomenon that started in the United States where they were typically shown overnight (usually 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.). Some television stations chose to air such programming as an alternative to the former practice of sign-off. By 2009, most US infomercial spending is during early morning, daytime, and evening hours. Stations in most countries around the world have instituted similar media structures.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Georgism

Georgism, named after Henry George (1839-1897) is a philosophy and economic ideology that holds that everyone owns what they create, but that everything found in nature, most importantly land, belongs equally to all of humanity. Georgism is also referred to as geoism, by those who feel a more generic term is desirable. The Georgist philosophy is usually associated with the idea of a single tax on land.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

kharaj

In Islamic law, kharaj is a tax on agricultural land. Kharaj has no basis in the Qur'an or hadith, being rather the product of ijma, consensus of Islamic scholars, and urf, Islamic tradition.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

chrysargyron

In the Eastern Roman Empire, chrysargyron, also called chrysargyrum or collatio lustralis, was an unpopular tax levied every four years, on people of all stations, rich and poor, slaves and freemen; even on animals and pets. It was collected during the first hundred and seventy years of the Eastern Roman Empire. The term originated from the Greek words for gold (χρυσος) and silver (αργυρος), which initially were the required forms of payment.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Handicapping

Handicapping, in sport and games, is the practice of assigning advantage through scoring compensation or other advantage given to different contestants to equalize the chances of winning.

Monday, June 7, 2010

tout

In British English, a tout is any person who solicits business or employment in an importune manner (generally equivalent to a solicitor in American English, or a spruiker in Australian English).

A ticket tout is someone who engages in ticket resale for more than the face value of the ticket (though a ticket reseller is known colloquially as a scalper rather than a solicitor in North American and Australian parlance). In recent years some British ticket touts have moved into Internet ticket fraud.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Americana


Americana refers to artifacts of the culture of the United States, the history and folklore resultant from its westward expansion. Examples of this culture include muscle cars, AMC, Route 66, baseball, apple pie, Superman, the diner, wagon trains, jazz, the music of Stephen Foster, George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Richard Rodgers' Slaughter On 10th Avenue, the music of Aaron Copland (notably his Fanfare for the Common Man), and rockabilly; and American art, such as that of Frederic Remington, Grant Wood, and Norman Rockwell, all based on American folk art and fictional characters such as Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, The Muppets and The Simpsons.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Baetylus

Baetylus or Bethel is a Semitic word denoting a sacred stone, which was supposedly endowed with life. These objects of worship were meteorites, which were dedicated to the gods or revered as symbols of the gods themselves The best known such object is the Black Stone in Mecca, and another one is mentioned as Bethel in Genesis 28:11-19.

Friday, June 4, 2010

spoonerism

A spoonerism is an error in speech or deliberate play on words in which corresponding consonants, vowels, or morphemes are switched (see metathesis). It is named after the Reverend William Archibald Spooner (1844–1930), Warden of New College, Oxford, who was notoriously prone to this tendency. It is also known as a marrowsky, after a Polish count who suffered from the same impediment. While spoonerisms are commonly heard as slips of the tongue resulting from unintentionally getting one's words in a tangle, they can also be used intentionally as a play on words.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

pictogram


A pictogram is a pictorial representation of an object. Earliest examples of pictographs include ancient or prehistoric drawings or paintings found on rock walls. Pictographs are also used in writing and graphic systems in which the characters are to considerable extent pictorial in appearance.

Pictography is a form of writing which uses representational, pictorial drawings. It is a basis of cuneiform and, to some extent, hieroglyphic writing, which uses drawings also as phonetic letters or determinative rhymes.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

fealty


An oath of fealty, from the Latin fidelitas (faithfulness), is a pledge of allegiance of one person to another. Typically the oath is made upon a religious object such as a Bible or saint's relic, thus binding the oath-taker before God.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Omphaloskepsis


Omphaloskepsis is the contemplation of one's navel as an aid to meditation. It is well known in the usually jocular phrase directed towards self-absorbed pursuits: "contemplating one's navel" or "navel-gazers". This criticism is also often leveled at professions which are interested in themselves: movies about Hollywood, for example, or television shows about television writers.