GRE Words

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When you read a word in a sentence, often you can get some sense of what it means, but if you are not 100% sure, you should look up. Else you may forever live with the wrong sense, and not even know it.


On his hiring from Compaq, Gawker speculated that his “unflappable demeanor may have been what sealed the deal with Jobs. ‘Steve is very focused on people he can connect to emotionally’ a recruiter present at the meeting later said.”
Who is the new Apple CEO Tim Cook? By Matthew Panzarino. At [ ]


… transform him in the eyes of his people from a dithering cad into an unflappable semi-hero.
unflappable = Persistently calm, whether when facing difficulties or experiencing success; not easily upset or excited. (AHD)


It works nearly like clockwork until loose cannon Waingro (Kevin Gage) kills a man. That changes the nature of the crime. The unflappable McCauley still knows exactly what are the right things to do, but it is the beginning of McCauley's problems. Later when police detective Vincent Hanna investigates the crime he finds very few clues and the biggest one is just that whoever did the crime was very, very good. But Hanna is also good.
Heat (1995) movie review By Mark R Leeper. At
Heat (1995 film) Buy at amazon


I spend a part of my time doing science and I know a lot of the leading scientists in a lot of different areas. And in mathematics, for example, I think it's fair to say that the people I know who are the best mathematicians in their various areas use Mathematica, and they use it in many cases extremely enthusiastically. Now there are two sociological phenomena that go on in mathematics. One of them is this idea that computers are anathema to mathematics. This is a mistake. It's a fundamental intellectual mistake. You don't have to take that from me; just look at what's going on in the field, look at the fact that the best mathematicians use them.
Stephen Wolfram: Strong Opinions By Michael Swaine, Dr Dobb's Journal. At


In Germanic paganism, Thor (from Old Norse Þórr) is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, destruction, fertility, healing, and the protection of mankind. The cognate deity in wider Germanic mythology was known in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German Donar (runic þonar ᚦᛟᚾᚨᚱ), stemming from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning “thunder”).
Wikipedia Thor, 2011-05-06
cognate = (1) Related by blood; having a common ancestor. (2) Related in origin, as certain words in genetically related languages descended from the same ancestral root. (AHD)


Once upon a time, riddles were respectable. Their antiquity and function can be guessed at from the word's origin in Old English raedan, “a story or interpretation”, which is cognate with words meaning “counsel, opinion, conjecture” and is also the origin of our modern word “read”. Such poems (for in its original form the riddle was a verse form) were a regular part of entertainment and instruction, an elevated form of guessing game.
World Wide Words: I SPY GRY! By Michael Quinion. At


Jimmy Bulger was arrested in 1943 at the age of 14 and charged with larceny. He by then had joined a juvenile gang known as the “Shamrocks” and would eventually be arrested for assault, battery and armed robbery and was sentenced to a juvenile reformatory.
2011-06-28 Whitey Bulger
larceny = the act of taking something from someone unlawfully.


Dubious Denials. Cornered by the press, the scandal-scarred politician finally deigns to answer the charges against him. Listen to his language carefully, especially for signs of the overly specific denial. “On my word of honor, I never accepted cash or other favors in office” is not a blanket refutation of bribery. Maybe he was handed the money in a hotel room or while he was still a candidate. Denying a “five-year affair” is different from claiming a lifetime of marital fidelity. An advanced gambit is angrily rebutting a charge that was never made. When Richard Nixon claimed in the midst of Watergate, “I am not a crook,” he was telling a literal truth. He was charged with the abuse of power -- not larceny.
Voters' Guide: How to Tell If a Politician Is Lying By Walter Shapiro. At,8816,976662,00.html
larceny = the act of taking something from someone unlawfully.


I propose a moratorium on language changes. This would be a period of several years during which no changes to Python's grammar or language semantics will be accepted. The reason is that frequent changes to the language cause pain for implementors of alternate implementations (Jython, IronPython, PyPy, and others probably already in the wings) at little or no benefit to the average user (who won't see the changes for years to come and might not be in a position to upgrade to the latest version for years after).
Proposal: Moratorium on Python language changes Guido van Rossum. At
moratorium = A suspension of an ongoing activity.


Elizabeth Duncan had been gassed in California in 1962, before the moratorium on executions.
moratorium = a legally authorized postponement before some obligation must be discharged.


London Olympics 2012 logo Design guru Stephen Bayley condemned the London 2012 Olympic Games logo as “a puerile mess, an artistic flop and a commercial scandal”.
Wolff Olins,


messages on computer networks are so sloppy, meandering, puerile, ungrammatical,…


4. In 1979, Robert Jahn, then dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University, established the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) unit to study putative paranormal phenomena such as psychokinesis. Like Schmidt, Jahn was particularly interested in the possibility that people can predict and/or influence purely random subatomic processes. Given his superb academic and scientific credentials, his claims of success drew particular attention within the scientific community. When his laboratory closed in 2007, Jahn concluded that “over the laboratory's 28-year history, thousands of such experiments, involving many millions of trials, were performed by several hundred operators. The observed effects were usually quite small, of the order of a few parts in ten thousand on average, but they compounded to highly significant statistical deviations from chance expectations” (PEAR, n.d.).
Back from the Future: Parapsychology and the Bem Affair By James Alcock. At
putative = Generally believed; supposed.


Cold Warriors [TV show title]: [Woody] Allen as the putative spy, with Dom Deluise, Michael J. Fox.


It was a great big house that had a horse fence around it and sat on a little promontory. It had once, during my grandmother's tenure, been featured in a lush Better Homes and Gardens photo spread. At the time, its garage sheltered the splashiest car in all of Des Moines, a yellow four-door Lincoln Continental convertible. Yellow! What a rich, grand life they had led, and it was only compounded when my grandfather rose to the position of assistant secretary of defense under Eisenhower. My parents had married by then, but they soon divorced, my father moving back home to Denmark -- where he married the Danish prime minister's daughter, had three beautiful kids, and made a ton of dough in the reinsurance racket -- while my mother (with whom I stayed) briefly dated a Rhode Island Mafia-type racketeer, then settled down with a spineless, bearded, love-bead-wearing music teacher, which so infuriated my grandmother that she would often haul her skinny Cadillac-driven bones onto our front porch and start shrieking at the top of her lungs.
This Is Your Brain On eBay By Erik Hedegaard. At


…while my mother briefly dated a Rhode Island Mafia-type racketeer.


[on Google's self-driving car] I was briefly nervous when Urmson first took his hands off the wheel and a synthy woman's voice announced coolly, “Autodrive.” But after a few minutes, the idea of a computer-driven car seemed much less terrifying than the panorama of indecision, BlackBerry-fumbling, rule-flouting, and other vagaries of the humans around us -- including the weaving driver who struggles to film us as he passes.
Let the Robot Drive: The Autonomous Car of the Future Is Here By Tom Vanderbilt. At


Today most people love their PCs, but it is clear that people's attitudes and expectations are changing for just about any device they carry around with them. People really want a product that just works. They want to sit on the couch and enjoy their favorite apps and games and websites and not worry about the vagaries of the registry or a million control panels or power profiles. They want to pick it up, enjoy using it, and then set it down.
Creating the Windows 8 user experience By Steven Sinofsky. At


Disemboweling is evidently the theme du jour. As the political wars rage in this amazingly acrimonious primary season, the skin has been ripped off the establishment in both parties, and their guts have been exposed. We're seeing the pulsing inner workings of partisan ideology as never before.
Blood-and-guts politics By Camille Paglia.


The plot concerns Justine, a twelve-year-old maiden who sets off, impecunious, to make her way in France.


Prior to winning the Nobel Prize, her work was largely unknown outside the German-speaking world and was said to resemble that of acclaimed Austrian playwright Thomas Bernhard, with its pathology of destruction and its concomitant comedic abrogation.
Elfriede Jelinek. (author of The Piano Teacher)


The highlighting faces are my own choices, because I felt it was important for me to foist my personal style choices on the general public.
[js2-mode: a new JavaScript mode for Emacs By Stevey Yegge. At ]
foist = to force onto another; insert surreptitiously or without warrant.


In the bet Winer asserts, “In a Google search of five keywords or phrases representing the top five news stories of 02007, weblogs will rank higher than the New York Times's Web site”. The premise of this bet is excellent, but unfortunately the arguments were quite vague on how to adjudicate the bet. Long Bets encourages bettors to construct arguments that involve the least amount of interpretation possible. Once this bet came up for adjudication we urged both parties to come to their own decision, but they asked Long Bets to be the final arbiter. We have done our best with the information and resources available to us, but this process should be a good instructor both to future bettors and ourselves…
Decision: Blogs vs. New York Times by Alexander Rose. At


SG: What was your favorite scripting environment/language before you decided to create Monad? Why?

JS: Like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with the existing tools. I love the interactivity and composability of KSH/utilities but I hate their inconsistency and the need to do text parsing. I love the power and programmability of PERL and TCL but I hate their idiosyncrasies and their lack of a good interactive experience. I love the consistency and production-orientation of VMS DCL and AS400's CL but I hate their composability model. I love the UNIX model of surfacing everything through the filesystem but I hate the anemic semantics of the filesystem.

Script Center: Interview with a Scripter (Jeffrey Snover - Monad Software Architect)
anemic = Lacking vitality; listless and weak. (AHD)


Xah, I can't think of anyone who can bandy such terms as "pussy flood" and sundry over-the-top rants and still keep a mien of erudition and venerability. Yet, YOU pull it off with aplomb.
Compliment from a friend Paul on facebook. 2009-12-09


The number of recalcitrant donkeys online are amazing. Even after showing them proof, they insist to the contrary.


Again, the revelations “should create a comforting feeling … that officials are not asleep at the switch” (Heilbrunn's words) – while Washington marches stalwartly toward disaster.
It's not radical Islam that worries the US – it's independence By Noam Chomsky. At
stalwartly = In a stalwart manner; in a firm and resolute way.


this is a testament to extremely penurious friends. keep-inacentaurdump-public
a Skype personal info box, asking for donation, in a funny way. From Ina Centaur.


Again, behind the mask, behind the insanity and mayhem, we truly believe in the AntiSec movement. We believe in it so strongly that we brought it back, much to the dismay of those looking for more anarchic lulz. We hope, wish, even beg, that the movement manifests itself into a revolution that can continue on without us. The support we've gathered for it in such a short space of time is truly overwhelming, and not to mention humbling. Please don't stop. Together, united, we can stomp down our common oppressors and imbue ourselves with the power and freedom we deserve.
imbue = (1) To tinge deeply; to dye. (2) spread or diffuse through.


While we are responsible for everything that The Lulz Boat is, we are not tied to this identity permanently. Behind this jolly visage of rainbows and top hats, we are people. People with a preference for music, a preference for food; we have varying taste in clothes and television, we are just like you. Even Hitler and Osama Bin Laden had these unique variations and style, and isn't that interesting to know? The mediocre painter turned supervillain liked cats more than we did.
visage = The face, countenance, or look of a person.


“… the fawning, greased, obsequious leer …”
dialogue from film A Clockwork Orange (film).


Colbert then segued into a segment poking fun at Bush's sinking approval ratings: «Now, I know there are some polls out there saying this man has a 32 percent approval rating. But guys like us, we don't pay attention to the polls. We know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in “reality”. And reality has a well-known liberal bias … Sir, pay no attention to the people who say the glass is half empty,[…] because 32 percent means it's two-thirds empty. There's still some liquid in that glass, is my point. But I wouldn't drink it. The last third is usually backwash
segued = To move smoothly and unhesitatingly from one state, condition, situation, or element to another. (AHD)
backwash = (1) The flow of water propelled backward by the propeller, paddle wheel, or oars of a boat. (2) result of a event. (3) The saliva, spit or food particles that have flowed back into a drink.


The twisted appeal, of course, was the incongruity of seeing a racist, anti-Semitic polemic -- complete with smiley-face Hitler T-shirts and onstage Sieg Heil-ing -- articulated by these cherubic little girls.

Now, the Gaede twins say they have changed their views and attribute their earlier political pronouncements to youthful naivete. “My sister and I were home-schooled,” Lynx pointed out. “We were these country bumpkins. We spent most of our days up on the hill playing with our goats.”

Change of heart: Former Nazi teeny boppers are singing a new tune By Aaron Gell Sunday. At
Sieg Heil = Nazi salute. For one of their song, see: Prussian Blue - Victory Day


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, the chief U.S. prosecutor at Nuremberg, alleged, “Speer joined in planning and executing the program to dragoon prisoners of war and foreign workers into German war industries, which waxed in output while the workers waned in starvation.
Albert Speer,


In many historical societies, the position of kingship carries a sacral meaning, that is, it is identical with that of a high priest and of judge. The concept of theocracy is related, although a sacred king need not necessarily rule through his religious authority; rather, the temporal position itself has a religious significance.

HISTORY: The notion has prehistoric roots and is found worldwide, on Java as in sub-Saharan Africa, with shaman-kings credited with rain-making and assuring fertility and good fortune. On the other hand, the king might also be designated to suffer and atone for his people, meaning that the sacral king could be the pre-ordained victim of a human sacrifice, either regularly killed at the end of his term in the position, or sacrificed in times of crisis (e.g. Domalde). …

Sacred king,
See also: God king


In fiction and folklore, a doppelgänger (German “double walker”) (pronounced [ˈdɔpəlˌɡɛŋɐ]) is a paranormal double of a living person, typically representing evil or misfortune. In modern vernacular it is simply any double or look-alike of a person. It also describes the sensation of having glimpsed oneself in peripheral vision, in a position where there is no chance that it could have been a reflection. Doppelgängers often are perceived as a sinister form of bilocation and are regarded by some to be harbingers of bad luck. In some traditions, a doppelgänger seen by a person's friends or relatives portends illness or danger, while seeing one's own doppelgänger is an omen of death.


On Thursday, May 10, 2007, Lawrence Wilkerson, speaking on National Public Radio, proposed impeaching President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Here's the audio.

… After an interruption, Wilkerson continued: “The language in that article, the language in those two or three lines about impeachment is nice and precise – it's high crimes and misdemeanors. You compare Bill Clinton's peccadilloes for which he was impeached to George Bush's high crimes and misdemeanors or Dick Cheney's high crimes and misdemeanors, and I think they pale in significance.”

Powell's Chief of Staff Proposes Impeachment By David Swanson. At


Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 full details leaked, 720p camera and new flight modes?

It was hard to miss the “2.0” branding over at Parrot's little aerodrome here at CES [Consumer Electronics Show], but with nary a detail we were left speculation what the new major version number means. Now, though, we have some more details. A lot more details, actually. Over at AR Drone Flyers we've spotted what looks to be an official press release detailing everything about the new UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle], most notable being an improved 720p camera. You can apparently use this to record footage from the drone and even program it to fly in any direction automatically. In other words, this could be the low-cost aerial camera DIY extreme sports filmmakers have waited for. And, at $299 when it ships in Q2, it'll be quite close to affordable. You can check out a picture of the new drone above and read the full details in the seemingly official press release below.

Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 full details leaked, 720p camera and new flight modes? By Tim Stevens. At


Perfume (English: /ˈpɝː.fjuːm/, French parfum pronounced: [paʁ.fœ̃]) is a mixture of fragrant essential oils and/or aroma compounds, fixatives [A liquid mixed with perfume to prevent rapid evaporation.], and solvents [Chemistry. A substance in which another substance is dissolved, forming a solution.] used to give the human body, animals, objects, and living spaces “a pleasant scent”. The odoriferous compounds that make up a perfume can be manufactured synthetically or extracted from plant or animal sources.


Piquance (pronounced /ˈpɪkəns/) is a sensation associated with the sense of taste. (colloquially called “hot” or “spicy”.).

The English word piquant comes from the Old French present participle of the verb piquer, meaning to prick; it is Cognate with the Spanish and Portuguese word “picante”, which carries the same meaning, and also with the English word pique. Common synonyms for piquance include hotness, pungence, raciness, spiciness, or the condition of something being spicy hot.

pique = To cause to feel resentment or indignation. (AHD)


Ship grounding is a type of marine accident that involves the impact of a ship on the seabed, resulting in damage of the submerged part of her hull and particularly the bottom structure, potentially leading to water ingress and compromise of the ship's structural integrity and stability.
Ship grounding,
the opposite of ingress is egress.


Sebastopol is a bucolic little hamlet seated in the western portion of Sonoma County, California. Formerly known for its Gravenstein apples, most orchards have long been planted with vineyards, or converted into the corporate grounds of the tech publishing firm O'Reilly Media. But several years ago a heated battle served to overturn the relative serenity of this community. The conflict erupted over the town's implementation of a contract for a public Wi-Fi network in its main plaza.
Not On My WaveLength: Risk Perception and The Sebastopol Wi-Fi Debate By Aigeanta. At
Orchard = area of food plant, e.g. apple trees. vineyard = area of grape plant. plaza = an open area used for gathering in a city, often having small trees and sitting benches.


Industrial music is a style of experimental music that draws on transgressive and provocative themes. …

While the term was initially self-applied by a small coterie of groups and individuals associated with Industrial Records in the 1970s, it broadened to include artists influenced by the original movement or using an “industrial” aesthetic. These artists expanded the genre by pushing it into noisier and more electronic directions.

Industrial music,
a synonym for coterie is “clique”.


The domestic goat (Capra aegagrus hircus) is a subspecies of goat domesticated from the wild goat of southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the family Bovidae and is closely related to the sheep as both are in the goat-antelope subfamily Caprinae. There are over three hundred distinct breeds of goat.

Goats are one of the oldest domesticated species. Goats have been used for their milk, meat, hair, and skins over much of the world. In the twentieth century they also gained in popularity as pets.

Female goats are referred to as does or nannies, intact males as bucks or billies; their offspring are kids. Castrated males are wethers. Goat meat from younger animals is called kid or cabrito, and from older animals is simply known as goat or sometimes called chevon, or in some areas mutton (which more often refers to adult sheep meat).



“If it's the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.”
How the U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work By Charles Duhigg, Keith Bradsher. At [ ]


Japanese dragons are diverse legendary creatures in Japanese mythology and folklore. Japanese dragon myths amalgamate native legends with imported stories about dragons from China, Korea and India. The style of the dragon was heavily influenced by the Chinese dragon. Like these other Asian dragons, most Japanese ones are water deities associated with rainfall and bodies of water, and are typically depicted as large, wingless, serpentine creatures with clawed feet.
Japanese dragon,


Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and folklore …. In Chinese art, dragons are typically portrayed as long, scaled, serpentine creatures with four legs. In yin and yang terminology, a dragon is yang and complements a yin fenghuang (“Chinese phoenix”).

In contrast to European dragons, which are considered evil, Chinese dragons traditionally symbolize potent and auspicious powers, particularly control over water, rainfall, hurricane, and floods. The dragon is also a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. With this, the Emperor of China usually uses the dragon as a symbol of his imperial power.

In Chinese daily language, excellent and outstanding people are compared to the dragon while incapable people with no achievements are compared with other, disesteemed creatures, such as the worm. A number of Chinese proverbs and idioms feature references to the dragon, for example: “Hoping one's son will become a dragon” (望子成龍, i.e. be as a dragon).

Chinese dragon,


giraffe ossicones

Ossicones are horn-like protuberances on the heads of giraffes, male okapi, and their extinct relatives, etc. Ossicones are similar to the horns of antelopes and cattle, except that they are derived from ossified cartilage [connective tissue], and that the ossicones remain covered in skin and fur…. Antlers (such as on deer) are derived from bone tissue: when mature, the skin and fur covering of the antlers, termed “velvet,” is sloughed and scraped off to expose the bone of the antlers.

slough = The dead outer skin shed by a reptile or amphibian.


As we drive the Google car -- or are driven by it [a autonomous (self-driving) car] -- I watch the action unfold on the computer monitor mounted on the passenger side of the dashboard. It shows how the car is interpreting the world: lanes, signs, cars, speeds, distances, vectors. The rendering is nothing special -- a lot of blocky wireframe that puts me in mind of Atari's classic Battlezone. (The display is just one of a host of geeky details -- to change lanes, for instance, the driver presses buttons marked Shift and Left on a keyboard near the monitor.) Yet it is absolutely fascinating, almost illicitly thrilling, to watch as the car not only plots and calculates the myriad movements of neighboring vehicles in the moment but also predicts where they will be in the future, like high-speed, mobile chess. Onscreen, the car is constantly “acquiring” targets, surrounding them in red boxes, tracing raster lines to and fro, a freeway version of John Madden's Telestrator. “We're analyzing and predicting the world 20 times a second,” Levandowski says.
Let the Robot Drive: The Autonomous Car of the Future Is Here By Tom Vanderbilt. At [ ]


After measuring each subject using the Narcissism Personality Inventory and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Meh­dizadeh, who graduated from York this past spring, discovered narcissists and people with lower self-esteem were more likely to spend more than an hour a day on Facebook and were more prone to post self-promotional photos (striking a pose or using Photoshop, for example). Narcissists were also more likely to showcase themselves through status updates (using phrases like “I'm so glamorous I bleed glitter”) and wall activity (posting self-serving links like “My Celebrity Look-alikes”).
Study of Facebook Users Connects Narcissism and Low Self-Esteem By John H Tucker. At


… then her diarrhea turned bloody. Her kidneys shut down. Seizures knocked her unconscious. The convulsions grew so relentless that doctors had to put her in a coma for nine weeks. When she emerged, she could no longer walk. The affliction had ravaged her nervous system and left her paralyzed.
The Burger That Shattered Her Life By Michael Moss. At [ ]


It has long been believed that New Yorkers could thank God for their unusual agglomeration of buildings (or, for those on the Upper West Side not believing in His good work, eons of geological development). It turns out that Manhattan has a bedrock unusually suited to the construction of very tall buildings, in many cases just a few meters below the surface. But that solid land drops away in the gooey middle of the island, long limiting the heights of buildings in the city.

Or so the aphocraphists [aphoristists; Aphorism] have been passing down for decades, at least since noted geologist Christopher J. Schuberth released his seminal The Geology of New York City and Environs Buy at amazon in 1968. Therein, he posited his belief in a correlation between bedrock and big buildings, and like the Empire State Building, it has stood the test of time. But like a bad retaining wall, it all came tumbling down last month.

Uncanny Valley: The Real Reason There Are No Skyscrapers in the Middle of Manhattan By Matt Chaban. At
gooey = covered with goo; goo = A sticky wet viscous substance. (informal)


Once, literary criticism was an elite vocation. Now, writes Martin Amis, we are all critics and in this new democracy, talent and integrity are the losers.

… That time now seems unrecognisably remote. I had a day job at the Times Literary Supplement. Even then I sensed discrepancy, as I joined an editorial conference (to help prepare, perhaps, a special number on Literature and Society), wearing shoulder-length hair, a flowered shirt, and knee-high tricoloured boots (well concealed, it is true, by the twin tepees of my flared trousers). My private life was middle-bohemian -- hippyish and hedonistic, if not candidly debauched; but I was very moral when it came to literary criticism. I read it all the time, in the tub, on the tube; I always had about me my Edmund Wilson -- or my William Empson. I took it seriously.


At the time of Moberly and Jourdain's excursion to Versailles, Montesquiou lived nearby, and reportedly gave parties in the grounds where his friends dressed in period costume and performed tableaux vivants as part of the party entertainments. Moberly and Jourdain may have inadvertently stumbled into a rehearsal for one of these performances. The Marie-Antoinette figure could have been a society lady or a cross-dresser, the pockmarked man Montesquiou himself. It was suggested that a gathering of the French decadent avant-garde of the time could have made a sinister impression on the two middle-class Edwardian spinsters who would have been little used to such company.


Avant-garde (French pronunciation: [avɑ̃ɡaʁd]) means “advance guard” or “vanguard”. The term is used in English as a noun or adjective to refer to people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics.

Avant-garde represents a pushing of the boundaries of what is accepted as the norm or the status quo, primarily in the cultural realm. The notion of the existence of the avant-garde is considered by some to be a hallmark of modernism, as distinct from postmodernism. Many artists have aligned themselves with the avant-garde movement and still continue to do so, tracing a history from Dada through the Situationists to postmodern artists such as the Language poets around 1981.



Unfortunately, RMS made an early decision to frame his advocacy as a moral crusade rather than a pragmatic argument about engineering practices and outcomes. … There are some advantages to this strategy. It taps into old, powerful emotional responses in human beings – the same responses that give messianic religions their power. As a way of recruiting a small hard core of dedicated followers it's tough to beat, and sometimes – if you're, say, the Gautama Buddha or Jesus or Mahavira – you can make it scale up. But I described it as a trap for a reason – most such attempts do not scale, remaining tiny marginal cults.

By the late 1990s, after having observed RMS's behavior for more than a decade, I had long since concluded that the Free Software Foundation's moralistic rhetoric was serving us badly. The problem with it is the same problem with messianic religions in general; for people who are not flipped into true-believer mode by any given one, it will come off as at best creepy and insular, at worst nutty and potentially dangerous (and this remains true even for people attached to a different messianic religion).

Why I think RMS is a fanatic, and why that matters By Eric S Raymond. At
Mahavira = (599 BC to 527 BC) Indian ascetic and religious teacher, regarded as the founder of Jainism.


For many years, Penthouse fell between Playboy and Hustler in its explicitness and general attitude toward sexual depictions, with Playboy being visually softer and less focused on female genitals and with Hustler going for a raunchier look and content often consisting of toilet humor. Almost from the start, Penthouse pictorials showed female genitalia and pubic hair when this was considered by many to be obscene.

Up until 1973, the depiction of female genitalia offered fuzzy portrayals of the pudenda, without the inner labia parted, after which sharper views of the vulva were shown.

Simulated sex, but not penetration or male genitalia, followed; then, several years later, male genitalia, including erections, could be seen. In addition, Penthouse attempted to maintain some level of reading content, although usually of a more sexually oriented nature than Playboy.

Penthouse Magazine,


Magna Carta, also called Magna Carta Libertatum or The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, is an English charter, originally issued in Latin in the year 1215, and translated into vernacular-French as early as 1219, and reissued later in the 13th century in modified versions. The later versions excluded the most direct challenges to the monarch's authority that had been present in the 1215 charter. The charter first passed into law in 1225; the 1297 version, with the long title (originally in Latin) “The Great Charter of the Liberties of England, and of the Liberties of the Forest,” still remains on the statute books of England and Wales.
Magna Carta,


Ruth Handler believed that it was important for Barbie to have an adult appearance, and early market research showed that some parents were unhappy about the doll's chest, which had distinct breasts. Barbie's appearance has been changed many times, most notably in 1971 when the doll's eyes were adjusted to look forwards rather than having the demure sideways glance of the original model.


The Mattel Barbie doll -- more familiar to us as Barbie -- has, in the last four decades, taken on a life and persona of her own. In 1994, an unofficial biography revealed that Barbie was modeled on a German cartoon character, an ambitious hooker named Lilli. At a 1995 exhibit, “Art, Design and Barbie: The Evolution of a Cultural Icon” at New York's Liberty Street Gallery, Lilli's role in Barbie's evolution was heavily underplayed. This subterfuge was part of a larger controversy, in which columnists and curators accused Mattel Inc., the sponsor, of being excessively meddlesome. While Mattel purged the exhibit of certain works of art inspired by Barbie, the company also did its best to camouflage the doll who had inspired the creators of Barbie. To understand why this was inevitable, we must put ourselves in Barbie's shoes, and follow the progress of a very hard-working plaything.


The Maya civilization shares many features with other Mesoamerican civilizations due to the high degree of interaction and cultural diffusion that characterized the region. Advances such as writing, epigraphy, and the calendar did not originate with the Maya; however, their civilization fully developed them. Maya influence can be detected from Honduras, Guatemala, and western El Salvador to as far away as central Mexico, more than 1,000 km (620 mi) from the Maya area. Many outside influences are found in Maya art and architecture, which are thought to result from trade and cultural exchange rather than direct external conquest.
Maya civilization,


Nonsectarian, in its most literal sense, refers to a lack of sectarianism. The term is also more narrowly used to describe secular private educational institutions or other organizations either not affiliated with or not restricted to a particular religious group.


A charter is the grant of authority or rights, stating that the granter formally recognizes the prerogative of the recipient to exercise the rights specified. It is implicit that the granter retains superiority (or sovereignty), and that the recipient admits a limited (or inferior) status within the relationship, and it is within that sense that charters were historically granted, and that sense is retained in modern usage of the term. Also, charter can simply be a document giving royal permission to start a colony.


In an article to mark the 100th anniversary of Turing's birth, the BBC aired the contrary views of Professor of Philosophy Jack Copeland. While questioning various aspects of the coroner's historical verdict, Copeland identified accidental inhalation of cyanide fumes from an apparatus for gold electroplating spoons, which Turing had set up in his tiny spare room (using potassium cyanide to dissolve the gold), as a plausible alternative explanation, noting that the autopsy findings were more consistent with inhalation than with ingestion of the poison. In addition, Turing had reportedly borne his legal setbacks and hormone treatment (which had been discontinued a year previously) “with good humour” and had shown no sign of despondency prior to his death, in fact, setting down a list of tasks he intended to complete upon return to his office after the holiday weekend.
Alan Turing,


The social contract or political contract is an intellectual construct that typically addresses two questions, first, that of the origin of society, and second, the question of the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual. Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the ruler or magistrate (or to the decision of a majority), in exchange for protection of their natural rights. The question of the relation between natural and legal rights, therefore, is often an aspect of social contract theory.
Social contract,


Obscurantism (French: obscurantisme, from the Latin obscurans, “darkening”) is the practice of deliberately preventing the facts or the full details of some matter from becoming known. There are two, common, historical and intellectual, denotations: 1) restricting knowledge -- opposition to the spread of knowledge, a policy of withholding knowledge from the public, and, 2) deliberate obscurity -- an abstruse style (as in literature and art) characterized by deliberate vagueness.


Millenarianism (also millenarism) is the belief by a religious, social, or political group or movement in a coming major transformation of society, after which all things will be changed, based on a one-thousand-year cycle. The term is more generically used to refer to any belief centered around 1000-year intervals. Millenarianism is a concept or theme that exists in many cultures and religions.


Similar to outrigger canoe (va'a) racing but unlike competitive rowing and canoe racing, dragon boating has a rich fabric of ancient ceremonial, ritualistic and religious traditions.

This hot season is also associated with pestilence and disease, so is considered as a period of evil due to the high summer temperatures which can lead to rot and putrification in primitive societies lacking modern refrigeration and sanitation facilities. One custom involves cutting shapes of the five poisonous or venomous animals out of red paper, so as to ward off these evils. The paper snakes, centipedes, scorpions, lizards and toads - those that supposedly lured “evil spirits” - where sometimes placed in the mouths of the carved wooden dragons.

Dragon boat,


His performance commenced with Händel's Fugue in E minor, which was played by Liszt with an avoidance of everything approaching to meretricious ornament, and indeed scarcely any additions, except a multitude of ingeniously contrived and appropriate harmonies, casting a glow of colour over the beauties of the composition, and infusing into it a spirit which from no other hand it ever received.
Franz Liszt,


the mob were sold by the politician's specious arguments.


hostility, antagonism, animosity, rancor, antipathy, animus.


pledge, vow, bond, convention, pact, compact, bargain.


flagrant, glaring, gross, rank.


nautical, marine, naval


…experiments done at the behest of IBM.


a performance routine


renounced smoking


The Chicago scientists admit to another possible defect: “There is no way to get around the fact some people might conceal information,” says Stuart Michaels of the Chicago team, whose expertise is designing questions to get at those subjects people are most reluctant to discuss. The biggest hot button, he says, is homosexuality. “This is a stigmatized group. There is probably a lot more homosexual activity going on than we could get people to talk about.”
Now for the Truth About Americans and Sex By Philip Elmer-Dewitt. At,9171,981624-3,00.html
stigma = A mark made with a burning iron; a brand; symbol of disgrace.


“How far have you gone?”; “I'm at the penultimate level”. (of a video game.)


Armed with a software product that combined search-and-retrieval with automatic hypertext linking, subject-grouping and automatic abstracting (the Excite Search we all know and love today), Phone Boy began calling all up and down Sand Hill Road, the mecca for West Coast venture capital firms. Response was initially ice cold -- Architext even received a letter of rejection from a company they had never sent a proposal to. It was not until more than a year and a half after the landmark evening in Rosita~s that the guys would hit paydirt. But in December of 1994, paydirt came in the form of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield and Byers, and Institutional Venture Partners. Chief supporter Vinod Khosla of KPCB even wooed them right off the bat with a badly needed $4,000 hard drive. “We just met the man and he bought us a hard drive. That went a long way,” explained Kraus.
Excite Background On history of Excite (a popular search engine in late 1990s).


“Look,” I said, sensing her lack of interest. “Why don't you get more involved in this. You could be selling, too. You aren't working. You don't have a job. You don't do anything. Why, you could make us an extra $1,000 a month with hardly any effort!”

That's when my wife started shouting, about how she drove the kid hither and yon and made breakfast, lunch, and dinner and tended to the garden and mopped the floors and did the laundry and did I happen to notice the falling-down ceiling in the living room and who was I to say she didn't work, didn't do anything, when all I did was spend all day every day on eBay, and no longer lived in the real world, and wasn't in bed at night when she needed me to be in bed, and wasn't making the money I used to make as someone who could make $200 an hour with his real job, which was now seeming more like his former job, and yes, she had been poking around my office and had seen what was going on, and did I think I could fool her, like I'm always trying to fool her with some moneymaking scheme, like using that stupid FastTrack mutual-fund software I once so loved to make money trading mutual funds, how much did I gamble away using that, and she's about had it, I'm too selfish, a selfish bastard, really, and if I don't take care of some things around here, she's going to find a handyman who can.

It was a blistering screed that rocked me back on my heels.
This Is Your Brain On eBay By Erik Hedegaard. At


Surely a person who pours forth vitriolic contempt as you do can stand to be teased lightly?
friend Robby Villegas
vitriolic = Biting, bitter or caustic.


There is nothing accidental about this difference between a church and its founder. As soon as absolute truth is supposed to be contained in the sayings of a certain man, there is a body of experts to interpret his sayings, and these experts infallibly acquire power, since they hold the key to truth. Like any other privileged caste, they use their power for their own advantage. They are, however, in one respect worse than any other privileged caste, since it is their business to expound an unchanging truth, revealed once for all in utter perfection, so that they become necessarily opponents of all intellectual and moral progress.
See also: caste


Before the rise of Christianity this persecuting attitude was unknown to the ancient world except among the Jews. If you read, for example, Herodotus, you find a bland and tolerant account of the habits of the foreign nations he visited. Sometimes, it is true, a peculiarly barbarous custom may shock him, but in general he is hospitable to foreign gods and foreign customs. He is not anxious to prove that people who call Zeus by some other name will suffer eternal punishment and ought to be put to death in order that their punishment may begin as soon as possible.


After all, such individuals aggrandize themselves by pushing hard on young people who don't understand how they are being taken advantage of.
aggrandize = To make great or greater in power, rank, honor, or wealth; To make appear great or greater; to exalt.


In mid-2004, Jobs announced to his employees that he had been diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his pancreas. The prognosis for pancreatic cancer is usually very grim; Jobs, however, stated that he had a rare, far less aggressive type known as islet cell neuroendocrine tumor.
Steve jobs 2011-01-27
prognosis = a prediction about how something (as the weather) will develop.


RSS co-author and former Reddit co-owner Aaron Swartz has been arrested for surreptitiously downloading 4.8 million documents from JSTOR via the MIT network.
Webfeed summary. Actual article is at: Former Reddit co-owner arrested for excessive JSTOR downloads By Timothy B Lee. At


Like a Cold War spy case made public, the PR fiasco reveals—and ratchets up—the growing rivalry between Google and Facebook. Google, the search giant, views Facebook as a threat, and has been determined to fight back by launching a social-networking system of its own. So far, however, Google has not had much luck, but Facebook nonetheless felt it necessary to return fire—clandestinely.
Facebook Busted in Clumsy Smear on Google By Dan Lyons. At


We saw also a couple of Zorrillos, or skunks—odious animals, which are far from uncommon. In general appearance the Zorrillo resembles a polecat, but it is rather larger, and much thicker in proportion. Conscious of its power, it roams by day about the open plain, and fears neither dog nor man. If a dog is urged to the attack, its courage is instantly checked by a few drops of the fetid oil, which brings on violent sickness and running at the nose. Whatever is once polluted by it, is for ever useless. Azara says the smell can be perceived at a league distant; more than once, when entering the harbour of Monte Video, the wind being off shore, we have perceived the odour on board the Beagle. Certain it is, that every animal most willingly makes room for the Zorrillo. [from Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle]
Skunk, 2011-08-11


So what, exactly, is the Web 2.0 movement? As an ideology, it is based upon a series of ethical assumptions about media, culture, and technology. It worships the creative amateur: the self-taught filmmaker, the dorm-room musician, the unpublished writer. It suggests that everyone -- even the most poorly educated and inarticulate amongst us -- can and should use digital media to express and realize themselves. Web 2.0 “empowers” our creativity, it “democratizes” media, it “levels the playing field” between experts and amateurs. The enemy of Web 2.0 is “elitist” traditional media.
Web 2.0 Is Reminiscent Of Marx By Andrew Keen. At


This latter brings us to the second factor: the existence of some sort of overarching institutions, larger than states, usually religious in nature, that ensured that credit systems didn't fly completely out of hand. For much of human history, the great social evil -- the thing that everyone feared would lead to the utter breakdown of society -- was the debt crisis. The masses of the poor would become indebted to the rich, they would lose their flocks and fields, begin selling family members into peonage and slavery, leading either to mass flight, uprisings, or a society so polarized that the majority were effectively (sometimes literally) reduced to slaves. In periods where economic transactions were conducted largely through cash, there are many parts of the world where this actually began happen. Periods dominated by credit money, where everyone recognized that money was just a promise, a social arrangement, almost invariably involve some kind of mechanism to protect debtors. Mesopotamian kings used to rely on their cosmic ability to recreate society to declare clean slates, erase all debts, and simply start over. In ancient Judea this was institutionalized in the seventh-year Jubilee. In the Middle Ages, Christian and Islamic bans on usury and debt peonage, far from being impediments to trade, were actually what made most trade possible, since they ensured ordinary people were not entirely impoverished, and had the means to purchase the merchants' wares, and because those religious systems became the foundation for networks of honor and trust.
How Debt Has Defined Human History By David Graeber. At
overarching = Forming an arch overhead or above. (AHD)
peonage = An unskilled laborer or farm worker bound in servitude to a landlord creditor. (AHD)
cosmic = Infinitely or inconceivably extended; vast. (AHD)
usury = An excessive or illegally high rate of interest charged on borrowed money. (AHD)


While the precise structure of these higher infinities remained nebulous, a more immediate question frustrated Cantor. Was there an intermediate level between the countable infinity and the continuum? He suspected not, but was unable to prove it. His hunch about the non-existence of this mathematical mezzanine became known as the continuum hypothesis.
Ultimate logic: To infinity and beyond By Richard Elwes. At


compunction follows my concscience like a remora.
Xah Lee


Universities Snub Napster Ban Request
news headline Universities Snub Napster Ban Request At


The comforting ethos of the [Star Trek] series was expressed not merely in the amity of the crew…
Trekking Onward By Richard Zoglin. At,9171,981909,00.html


Swearing can have even more salubrious effects. Researchers at Keele University in Staffordshire, England reported in July 2009 that cursing can reduce physical pain. In their experiment, volunteers held their hands in ice water, first while cursing and then while using less objectionable phrases. Those who cursed were able to keep their hands submerged longer, an effect that was especially strong among volunteers who said they didn't typically curse.
Does Swearing At Work Get The Job Done? By Sean Stonefield. At
salubrious = Favorable to health.


In 2004, the FCC imposed a record $550,000 fine on CBS for its broadcast of a Super Bowl half-time show (produced by then sister-unit MTV) in which singer Janet Jackson's breast was briefly exposed. It was the largest fine ever for a violation of federal decency laws. Following the incident CBS apologized to its viewers and denied foreknowledge of the event, which was broadcast live on TV. In 2008, a Philadelphia federal court annulled the fine imposed on CBS, labelling it “arbitrary and capricious”.
CBS, 2011-06-30
capricious = characterized by or subject to whim; impulsive and unpredictable.


Much has been made of the negative light in which Julian Assange appears in the article. Wired's Kim Zetter published a digest piece, in which the more absurd claims of the piece are given particular attention but little critical treatment. The more colourful parts of the article were, predictably, grist to the celebrity gossip mill.
Bill Keller and Wikileaks At
grist = grain intended to be or that has been ground.


In the 1970s, after a long series of experiments, White performed a transplant of one monkey head onto the body of another monkey, although it lasted just a few days. These operations were continued and perfected to the point where the transplanted head could have survived indefinitely on its new body, though the animals were in fact euthanized. The problem with this operation is that since no one currently knows how to repair nerve damage which would arise when the spinal cord is severed during the head transplant process, the recipient would become paralyzed from the neck down.
Robert J. White 2011-01-27


…[some companies] are teaming up with local partners to build plants in China and circumvent the country's nettlesome trade barriers.


One edict for Star Trek [script]: The crew of the Enterprise always gets along.
Time Mag ~1990s


A jeremiad is a long literary work, usually in prose, but sometimes in verse, in which the author bitterly laments the state of society and its morals in a serious tone of sustained invective, and always contains a prophecy of society's imminent downfall.
Jeremiad, 2012-12-08
Also of interest: obloquy, philippic.
jeremiad = A tale of sorrow, disappointment, or complaint; a doleful story; a dolorous tirade. Synonyms includes: tirade, diatribes, fulmination, harangue.


Plenty of maladroit decisions were made.


Catherine Fitzpatrick: “I hate this kind of vacuous sectarian twaddle.”
Catherine A. Fitzpatrick's blog At


The unique culinary art of Dim Sum originated with the Cantonese in southern China, who over the centuries transformed Yum Cha from a relaxing respite to a loud and happy dining experience.
respite = a pause for relaxation; relief from harm or discomfort.


as long as you wish to fuss about minutiae, at least get them right.
Erik Naggum, 1996-11-09, in comp.emacs.
minutiae = A small or trivial detail; minutus small, minute.


“How many engineers does Microsoft have?” Page asked.

About 25,000, he was told.

“We should have a million,” Page said, in all seriousness.

At that point, Schmidt put an avuncular hand on Page's shoulder and brought him back to the real world. Now, with Page as CEO, that hand is less likely to be there.

Larry Page Wants to Return Google to Its Startup Roots By Steven Levy. At
avuncular = Of or pertaining to an uncle.


The fact that I had to market the book myself, and that onus was solely on me, was actually a blessing in disguise. It forced me to get expert help. In the past, I've tried on many occasions to promote my products myself. I've called up journalists, built up a mailing list of media contacts, blogged, Facebooked, twittered and done everything the marketing experts recommend you do, but it's never quite worked for me. And over the years, I reached a key epiphany. I've come to realise that there's something fundamentally different about you yourself telling a journalist that your product is great compared with someone else telling a journalist that your product is great.
How I got a blank book to the top of the Amazon charts By Shed Simove. At
epiphany = A comprehension or perception of reality by means of a sudden intuitive realization.


Mostly consisting of dialogues between the titular Sophie and a mysterious man named Alberto Knox, interwoven with an increasingly bizarre and mysterious plot, it acts as both a novel and a basic guide to philosophy.


… and I frankly do not quite understand the depressingly defeatist attitude of those who think there is no use -- a long journey starts with the first step …
Erik Naggum on comp.lang.lisp
defeatist = Acceptance of or resignation to the prospect of defeat. (AHD)


The estimable James Gleick takes on four books -- with emphasis on In The Plex -- in this New York Review of Books article on Google. I especially appreciate his calling my book the most authoritative to date and also entertaining! As always, Gleick has interesting things to say about Google, particularly on its role in our efforts to deal with privacy in the Internet Age.
Steven Levy's online blog. At


The Lexx is a bio-engineered, Manhattan-sized, planet-destroying bioship in the shape of a giant wingless dragonfly and also reminiscent of male genitalia. It was grown by ingesting organ collections from the protein bank on the Cluster, the seat of the Divine Order, for use by His Divine Shadow. The Lexx was originally intended as the ultimate deterrent: the threat of a weapon that could instantly obliterate any planet would keep the remaining “Heretic” worlds of the Light Universe in line, and those that refused to capitulate would be summarily destroyed to reinforce the point. This plan was foiled when the crew commandeered it to escape from the Cluster.
Lexx, 2011-06-30
capitulate = To surrender on terms agreed upon.


Time heals emotional wounds, but apparently so do burly chauffeurs. Right after in the midst of her tiringly raucous breakup with husband Tom, Roseanne Arnold hired a 240-lb. driver and bodyguard.
Time Mag


He [John Dewey] is a man of the highest character, liberal in outlook, generous and kind in personal relations, indefatigable in work.
The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell: 1903–1959 Buy at amazon


But then, the same day, PaidContent's founder Rafat Ali tweeted this: “Hearing unverified about 5 or so edit people at AOL resigned yesterday. Any specific reason besides general malaise?”

Back in July, Arianna Huffington's site caught flak for its aggregation practices. It suspended young reporter Amy Lee for exhibiting shoddy ethics, angering most critics who felt that the aggregation problem was endemic to the organization.

At the time, business editor Peter Goodman, himself a respected former Times staffer, defended his new outlet. Goodman said that a specific problem was being addressed, that such aggregation practices were not widespread or tolerated at HuffPost and that the site would “redouble efforts to make sure our reporters and editors understand that this sort of thing is unambiguously unacceptable.”

When Egan was pressed about her departure, she declined to go into detail. One can't read too much into that, but it is safe to assume that if it were entirely cordial she would have said as much -- or stayed more than five months.

Huffington Post editor's exit could signal trouble By Lucas Shaw. At,0,5277461.story


From a title: «Emacs Lisp vs Perl: Redux. Which Do You Prefer?»
Blog post Emacs Lisp vs Perl: Redux By Xah Lee. At
Wikipedia Redux (literary term) defines it as: «Redux is a post-positive adjective meaning “brought back, restored” (from Latin reducere, “to bring back”) used in literature and film titles.». Also note, the film titled Apocalypse Now Redux.
Redux = Brought back; returned. Used postpositively. (AHD)


The axiom of choice states that if you have a collection of sets, you can always form a new set by choosing one object from each of them. That sounds anodyne, but it comes with a sting: you can dream up some twisted initial sets that produce even stranger sets when you choose one element from each. The Polish mathematicians Stefan Banach and Alfred Tarski soon showed how the axiom could be used to divide the set of points defining a spherical ball into six subsets which could then be slid around to produce two balls of the same size as the original. That was a symptom of a fundamental problem: the axiom allowed peculiarly perverse sets of real numbers to exist whose properties could never be determined. If so, this was a grim portent for ever proving the continuum hypothesis.
Ultimate logic: To infinity and beyond By Richard Elwes. At
anodyne = Serving to assuage pain; soothing. [1913 Webster]


Every once in a while, however, the mood would get “very ugly” and she would try to calm things down and remonstrate with people. “I would occasionally email them – they had to give their email addresses when registering for the site – to say, ‘Even though you are not writing under your real name, people can hear you.’” In those instances, strangely, she suggests, most people were incredibly contrite when contacted. It was like they had forgotten who they were. “They would send messages back saying, ‘Oh, I'm so sorry’, not even using the excuse of having a bad day or anything like that. It is so much to do with anonymity…”
How the internet created an age of rage By Tim Adams. At


Historians such as Herbert Bix, Akira Fujiwara, Peter Wetzler, and Akira Yamada assert that the post-war view focusing on imperial conferences misses the importance of numerous “behind the chrysanthemum curtain” meetings where the real decisions were made between the Emperor, his chiefs of staff, and the cabinet. Historians such as Fujiwara and Wetzler, based on the primary sources and the monumental work of Shirō Hara, have produced evidence suggesting that the Emperor worked through intermediaries to exercise a great deal of control over the military and was neither bellicose nor a pacifist, but an opportunist who governed in a pluralistic decision-making process. American historian Herbert Bix argues that Emperor Shōwa might have been the prime mover of most of the events of the two wars.

The view promoted by both the Japanese Imperial Palace and the American occupation forces immediately after World War II had Emperor Shōwa as a powerless figurehead behaving strictly according to protocol, while remaining at a distance from the decision-making processes. This view was endorsed by Prime Minister Noboru Takeshita in a speech on the day of Hirohito's death, in which Takeshita asserted that the war had broken out against [Hirohito's] wishes. Takeshita's statement provoked outrage in nations in East Asia and Commonwealth nations such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. For Fujiwara, however, “the thesis that the Emperor, as an organ of responsibility, could not reverse cabinet decision, is a myth fabricated after the war.”

In Japan, debate over the Emperor's responsibility was taboo while he was still alive. After his death, however, debate began to surface over the extent of his involvement and thus his culpability.



Derrick Henry “Dick” Lehmer (1905 to 1991) was an American mathematician who refined Édouard Lucas' work in the 1930s and devised the Lucas–Lehmer test for Mersenne primes. Lehmer's peripatetic career as a number theorist, with he and his wife taking numerous types of work in the United States and abroad to support themselves during the Great Depression, fortuitously brought him into the center of research into early electronic computing.
D. H. Lehmer,


Historic sources present disparate accounts of Ivan's complex personality: he was described as intelligent and devout, yet given to rages and prone to episodic outbreaks of mental illness. One notable outburst may have resulted in the death of his groomed and chosen heir Ivan Ivanovich, which led to the passing of the Tsardom to the younger son: the weak and possibly intellectually disabled Feodor I of Russia. His contemporaries called him “Ivan Groznyi” the name, which, although usually translated as “Terrible”, actually means something closer to “Redoubtable” or “Severe” and carries connotations of might, power and strictness rather than horror or cruelty.
Ivan the Terrible,


Yes, I know -- everyone's been rushing to proclaim Silverlight dead for more than a year now. In fact, I'm frequently cited as the source of that prognostication, in spite of the fact that all I've actually reported is that Microsoft's strategy with Silverlight shifted and that Silverlight is no longer Microsoft's cross-platform runtime solution. Instead, Microsoft currently positions Silverlight as a tool for creating rich media, line-of-business and smartphone apps.
Will there be a Silverlight 6 (and does it matter)? By Mary Jo Foley. At


The film begins with an introductory sequence shot in extreme slow motion, involving the main characters and images from space which introduce many visual leitmotifs of the film. A shot from the vantage point of space shows a giant planet approaching Earth; the two planets collide. The film continues, in two parts, each named for one of the two sisters.


The Impossible Missions Force (IMF) extracts Ethan from Moscow, the Russians have called the attack an undeclared act of war, and the U.S. president activates “Ghost Protocol”, a black operation contingency that disavows the IMF.
Ghost Protocol,


In most cases, the CIA's role involved various forms of complicity, tolerance or studied ignorance about the trade, not any direct culpability in the actual trafficking … the CIA did not handle heroin, but it did provide its drug lord allies with transport, arms, and political protection. In sum, the CIA's role in the Southeast Asian heroin trade involved indirect complicity rather than direct culpability.


Modern man has had great impact on the zebra population. Zebras were, and still are, hunted for their skins, and for meat. They also compete with livestock for forage, and sometimes culled.


Confused and torn over his loyalty to both Palpatine and the Jedi, Anakin informs Jedi Master Mace Windu (Samuel L. Jackson) that Palpatine is the Sith Lord Darth Sidious. Windu and three other Jedi Masters go to arrest Palpatine, but the Chancellor surprises them with a lightsaber and quickly dispatches all but Windu. In the ensuing duel, Windu disarms his opponent. Palpatine unleashes Force lightning at Windu, who deflects it back with his lightsaber at Palpatine, deforming Palpatine's face into the wizened, yellow-eyed visage seen in the original films. Anakin appears and intercedes on Palpatine's behalf and cuts off Windu's hand, allowing Palpatine to shoot Windu with another blast of lightning, hurtling him through the window to his death. Palpatine then accepts Anakin as his new apprentice, Darth Vader.


In 2006 Perry stated that he believes in the inerrancy of the Bible and that those who don't accept Jesus as their savior will go to hell and clarified that belief by saying. “I don't know that there's any human being that has the ability to interpret what God and his final decision-making is going to be,” Mr. Perry said. “That's what the faith says. I understand, and my caveat there is that an all-knowing God certainly transcends my personal ability to make that judgment black and white.” In May 2011, at a meeting in East Texas with business leaders, Perry stated that at age 27, he felt “called to the ministry”.
Rick Perry,


She was more than South Korea's Julia Roberts or Angelina Jolie. For nearly 20 years, Choi Jin Sil was the country's cinematic sweetheart and as close to being a “national” actress as possible. But since her body was found on Oct. 2, an apparent suicide, she has become a symbol of the difficulties women face in this deeply conservative yet technologically savvy society. Incessant online gossip appears to have been largely to blame for her death. But it's also clear that public life as a single, working, divorced mom -- still a pariah status in South Korea -- was one role she had a lot of trouble with.
South Koreans Are Shaken by a Celebrity Suicide By Jennifer Veale. At,8599,1847437,00.html
pariah means a social outcast. The word came from Paraiyar. Though, i wasn't able to clearly see it in the article Caste system in India, perhaps because Indian Caste System is a diverse and complex system such that “paraiyar” is regional.


However, Hedges' latest attack is so vicious and gratuitous that some reply seemed necessary. To minimize the amount of time I would need to spend today cleaning this man's vomit, I decided to adapt a few pieces I had already written. But then I just got angry…

After my first book was published, the journalist Chris Hedges seemed to make a career out of misrepresenting its contents -- asserting, among other calumnies, that somewhere in its pages I call for an immediate, nuclear first strike on the entire Muslim world. Hedges spread this lie so sedulously that I could have spent years writing letters to the editor. Even if I had been willing to squander my time in this way, such letters are generally pointless, as few people read them. In the end, I decided to create a page on my website addressing such controversies, so that I can then forget all about them. The result has been less than satisfying. Several years have passed, and I still meet people at public talks and in comment threads who believe that I support the outright murder of hundreds of millions of innocent people.

In an apparent attempt to become the most tedious person on Earth, Hedges has attacked me again on this point, and the editors at Truthdig have invited me to respond. I suppose it is worth a try. To begin, I'd like to simply cite the text that has been on my website for years, so that readers can appreciate just how unscrupulous and incorrigible Hedges is:

Dear Angry Lunatic: A Response to Chris Hedges By Sam Harris. At


He leans toward his interlocutor conspiratorially. [to whisper]


Mr. Morde's father founded the family fruit business in 1920, when Mumbai was known as Bombay and the British controlled India. Today Mr. Morde handles sales while his brother, Ram, oversees procurement. Mr. Morde said the family would sell about 10 million rupees' worth (roughly $200,000) of mangoes this year, many bought by corporate clients, so selecting the right mangoes is paramount.
100 Days of Madness as the ‘King of Fruits' Is Celebrated Again By Jim Yardley. At [ ]


In the meantime, the quite alive Lily is found by seven rough, combative miners -- outcast by civil or ecclesiastical authority -- who grudgingly give her shelter. When one of them threatens her with rape, their unofficial leader, Will, stops him. Meanwhile Claudia discovers that Lily is still alive and uses her black magic to kill her, but instead killing two of the miners, all the while keeping an injured Fredric infirm and afflicting the estate's staff with the Black Death. Claudia then convinces Lily's fiancé, Dr. Peter Gutenberg, to continue searching for Lily.


On the night of a ball, Claudia gives Lily a dress that belonged to her mother and tells Lily that is now her turn to wear it as her step-daughter. Lily rebels by wearing one of her own mother's gowns to the ball. Her father is startled, then pleased at Lily's evocation of her mother; as the two dance. Claudia, in a paroxysm of jealousy, goes into an early labor and delivers a stillborn boy. The doctor informs Fredric that Claudia can never have another child. Claudia, looking haggard from her ordeal, stares into her wardrobe-like mirror, where an ideally beautiful reflection replaces her real one and demands revenge against Lily for doing this to her.


Lilliana Hoffman dies in a carriage accident in the woods, caused by wolves that attack both the horses and the coachman. Her husband Fredric, at his dying wife's urging, reluctantly performs a caesarean section to save their unborn daughter. Years later, the young Lily Hoffman -- the Snow White of the title, although she is never addressed or referred to as such in the film -- plays mischievously on the grounds of the Hoffman estate. Lily reluctantly meets her new stepmother, Lady Claudia who gives the reticent Lily a Rottweiler puppy. Lily is pleased, but runs off with the puppy without thanking her.


In a quiet meadow, Charlie, a unicorn, is resting peacefully, before he is awakened by two other unicorns. One unicorn is pink and the other blue, and both speak in high-pitched, breathy voices. As Charlie awakes from his slumber, the other two unicorns inform him that they have found a map to the mythical Candy Mountain, and that he must come with them on their journey. Charlie initially refuses, and goes back to sleep. The blue unicorn begins to bounce on Charlie, insistent that he should come, and both begin to pester him with details of the mountain, causing him to begrudgingly give in to their demands. The trio begin their journey in a forest, where the two lead Charlie to a Liopleurodon; the two unicorns converse with the Liopleuridon, who supposedly guides them on their quest with a simple roar. The trio then crosses a bridge, much to the delight of the pink and blue unicorns. When Charlie finally gets to Candy Mountain, the letter Y of CANDY sings a song imploring Charlie the unicorn to go into the cave. When the letters explode, Charlie reluctantly goes into the cave. The other unicorns say goodbye as Charlie is locked inside and knocked out. When he awakes in his original spot, he realizes that they have taken one of his kidneys, followed by the end and credits.
Charlie the Unicorn,


At this point they claimed that a feeling of oppression and dreariness came over them. They then saw some men who looked like palace gardeners, who told them to go straight on. Moberly later described the men as “very dignified officials, dressed in long greyish green coats with small three-cornered hats.”


In the 1950s, having the Encyclopaedia Britannica on the bookshelf was akin to a station wagon in the garage or a black-and-white Zenith [a brand of TV] in the den, a possession coveted for its usefulness and as a goalpost for an aspirational middle class. Buying a set was often a financial stretch, and many families had to pay for it in monthly installments.
After 244 Years, Encyclopaedia Britannica Stops the Presses By Julie Bosman. At [ ]


Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares “the people” against “the elite”, and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social movements (a form of mobilization that is essentially devoid of theory). It is defined by the Cambridge dictionary as “political ideas and activities that are intended to represent ordinary people's needs and wishes”. It can be understood as any political discourse that appeals to the general mass of the population, to the “people” as such, regardless of class distinctions and political partisanship: “a folksy appeal to the ‘average guy’ or some allegedly general will.”
compare Demagogy


The cashier does not recall seeing a handicap permit, but he wasn't bothered by the ritual. In the Hamptons, plenty of people drive luxury cars and flout the rules. As Lizzie Grubman learned last week, it's only when they do something so outrageously emblematic of their type that the simmering cauldron of animosity they've brewed boils over.
Rage Of The Hamptons By Amanda Ripley. At,9171,167589,00.html


You can flout convention and you can flout authority, but you cannot use flaunt for flout.
〈Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage〉 Buy at amazon


For the next eight years Liszt continued to tour Europe, spending holidays with the countess and their children on the island of Nonnenwerth on the Rhine in summers 1841 and 1843. In spring 1844 the couple finally separated. This was Liszt's most brilliant period as a concert pianist. Honours were showered on him and he was adulated everywhere he went. Since Liszt often appeared three or four times a week in concert, it could be safe to assume that he appeared in public well over a thousand times during this eight-year period. Moreover, his great fame as a pianist, which he would continue to enjoy long after he had officially retired from the concert stage, was based mainly on his accomplishments during this time.
Franz Liszt,


in lousy programing languages, there are usually obfuscation contests.


air; surrounding; ambience


to inquire. to get info. Inquisition is a tribunal formerly held in the Roman Catholic Church and directed at the suppression of heresy. Usally by torture.


my life's rife with pleasure


pundits has lot of opinions, afterall, by definition they are learned man.


the exigency of mating astonished me, for i perceived the dire consequence that is extinction, of my kind.
Xah Lee


the knack of soldiers


murky water


an invocation of invoking


i don't know the innards of my brain, but surely i can think.


As my thought wanders, i think we can say that different key-actions suite different types of music. There's pure elegance era a la Couperin and Bach, then there's Romantic a la maudlin Chopin and painful Liszt, or the monkey-bangs in-betweens like soporific Mozart and deaf Beethoven, and those impressionists like Debussy, then there's modern synth music a la Prince or nameless musicians.


cry for alms


morose, glum, gloomy, dour


fusillade of potshots from the crowd


Thanks to Apple [computer company], whose thoughts run diametrically opposite of the unix culture: innovation, not regression.


conjoined twins are twins with physically connected bodies at birth.


more or less new


Macintosh : sensational ; Microsoft Windows : vapidity


Your usage of “PROPER isomorphism” to endeavor a sense of mathematical mapping between two totally ill-defined and disparate things seems to me stultifying.
Xah Lee, 2000-07-24. farcical criticism on Kent Pitman's writings in comp.lang.lisp.


there's this stupid TV drama called The Sentinel, basically a cop with supernatural senses trying to do pop justice, assinine drama of American sensationalism type.


not opportune, bad time


a roster of FBI wanted


newsgroups are full of officious advertisers and advisers


The aristocrat has to persuade himself that the slave or proletarian or colored man is of inferior clay, and that his suffering do not matter.
Bertrand Russell in What I Believe


Although an attempt has been made to ensure the veracity of the following material, no responsibility is assumed for any use, or for any consequences resulting from any use, of the information contained herein.
from a tech documentation.


This book is being published in a tumuluous time…
from the preface of Applied Cryptography by Bruce Schneier.


…except the dearth of people who understand mathematics.


It is amusing to hear the modern Christian telling you how mild and rationalistic Christianity really is and ignoring the fact that all its mildness and rationalism is due to the teaching of men who in their own day were persecuted by all orthodox Christians. Nobody nowadays believes that the world was created in 4004 b.c.; but not so very long ago skepticism on this point was thought an abominable crime. My great-great-grandfather, after observing the depth of the lava on the slopes of Etna, came to the conclusion that the world must be older than the orthodox supposed and published this opinion in a book. For this offense he was cut by the county and ostracized from society.


Despite its techno-talk, Star Trek and The Next Generation were, at bottom, shows about the nature and meaning of being human. The endless parade of evil aliens and perverted civilizations -- from the bellicose Klingons to the pernicious Borg, with their hivelike collective consciousness -- was always contrasted to the civilized humans on board the Enterprise. The most popular characters were the nonhuman ones -- Spock, the “logical” Vulcan, and Data, the soulless android -- precisely because they were constantly being confronted with the human qualities they lacked: the emotions they either scorned (in Spock's case) or craved (in Data's).
Trekking Onward By Richard Zoglin. At,9171,981909-4,00.html
pernicious = exceedingly harmful; working or spreading in a hidden and usually injurious way.


beset, harass, plague, harry, pester, bedevil; besiege, beleaguer, blockade, invest, siege


peppery, waspish, petulant, querulous, snappy, irascible, peevish, testy


…Then I stopped by the house where my grandmother spent most of her time assiduously trying to spend those millions [dollars].


That's why I read this book three times. I learned something new on every page and unlearned at least one misunderstanding in every chapter. I saw the gestalt between seemingly dissimilar things like modems and radio stations. The breadth and depth of the book yielded fresh fruit on every reading. (a book review)


Definition for ‘Echo’ (Greek Mythology): A nymph whose unrequited love for Narcissus caused her to pine away until nothing but her voice remained.


The WTR's Carlo was among the most vocal public health advocates at the colloquium. (on health effects of using cell phone)


Some years ago, following a debilitating illness, I started to fill the seemingly limitless days of convalescence by expanding my programming skills.


…after his compositions were adjudged underwhelming,…


acquiescent, docile, amenable


Soon after arriving there he meets Sera (Elisabeth Shue), a masochist who is perhaps not quite as smart and tough as she thinks she is, and thus obviously in line for a painful comeuppance.
the movie Leaving Las Vegas 1996


imperious, overbearing; insubordinate, rebellious, mutinous, factious, seditious


malleable, plastic, pliable, pliant


gangling youth


With two gonzo epics, action star Jackie Chan and director John Woo take on Hollywood.


takes place amid loved ones, in the familiar comfort of home or hospice.


difficulties and imponderables…


enjoin, proscribe


[this play is] outlandish and entirely plausible…


a puckish sense of humor…


In nearly all INTJs [a personality type], others are viewed and classified into two distinct groups. The vast majority of acquaintances are lumped into the category of the helpless rabble, the masses who live out their entire lives in quiet desperation. These are looked upon with quaint fondness at best, with contempt more often.


The clever donkey quickly learned to roll over while fording a particular stream, thereby dissolving much of the salt and making his burden far lighter.


…the 41-year-old polymath, master of eight languages including Sanskrit as well as the new arcana of atomic physics…
Along the way he found himself drawn to the spiritual arcana of the Knights Templar.


specious declamation


…the detritus of past civilizations.


The point I am concerned with is that, if you are quite sure there is a difference between right and wrong, then you are in this situation: Is that difference due to God's fiat or is it not? If it is due to God's fiat, then for God himself there is no difference between right and wrong, and it is no longer a significant statement to say that God is good. If you are going to say, as theologians do, that God is good, you must then say that right and wrong have some meaning which is independent of God's fiat, because God's fiats are good and not bad independently of the mere fact that he made them. If you are going to say that, you will then have to say that it is not only through God that right and wrong came into being, but that they are in their essence logically anterior to God.


throw a baby's diet off kilter.


AS AN ARTIST, YOKO ONO IS BEST known for marrying well. Although she has explored at least a dozen art forms and won plaudits in several -- in 1981, for example, she shared a Grammy with John Lennon for their album Double Fantasy, and in 1989 the Whitney Museum mounted a retrospective of her conceptual art -- her creative endeavors are overshadowed by her status as Lennon's widow. Ono seems reconciled to that reality. Indeed, she embraces it in New York Rock, an off-Broadway musical about coming to terms with the death of a loved one.
THEATER: Mourning John in Song By William A Henry III. At,9171,980507,00.html


if a plebiscite were held today, …


…But the truth is that the vast majority of people who troll the Internet's byways are there in search of social interaction, not just sterile information.


…But if it's only existence of the 1-1 mapping that is supposed to be the ‘paradox,’ you could get that without all the rigamarole just by drawing radii.
CompuServe poster Bill Snyder


I did not come here, as you are assured, to gloat.
Marj Simpson, from Simpsons cartoon


…but the second set of directions has a hortatory tone about it.


…So it behooves us to be aware of the difference -- sometimes a subtle difference -- between cause-and-effect reasoning and antecedent-consequence reasoning.


…to create a more equitable policy of taxation…


All [political] candidates lie -- in a technical sense -- every time they read a speech they paid someone else to write…. But the voters have become inured to such petty fabrications.


unflagging pursue of excellence.


Answering the why question often involves us in trying to persuade others that our hypothesis about why something happened is a plausible, if not an incontrovertible, one.


Immodesty; shamelessness


The cosmic interloper was completely vaporized…[pointing to the comic that extinguished Dinas]


Allegations of gunrunning in Australia and money laundering in Canada and Europe.


Rather than the crude, lumbering gesticulations of the stage-trained actors who were the staples of early films, Griffith began using youthful newcomers untrammeled by years of barnstorming and emphasized Representation.


…when he claimed that his computer was “extremely easy to manufacture and to service,” a baldly disingenuous statement we know now…


Steve Jobs and his minions had succeeded masterfully in stoking outside expectations by keeping details [of NeXT computer] secret…


…In haste and stammering he performed his part,/ And looked the rage that rankled in his heart.
The Parish Register by George Crabbe


Three stories that begin as clichés but soon go wild and wily.


America's pandemic obesity -- 33% of U.S. adults …[are] overweight.


…A poet could not but be gay, in such a jocund company…
William Wordsworth


“… he is a fairly jovial fellow.”


Some industry observers suggested that IBM may have had ulterior motives for knocking Intel's quality, since Big Blue will begin selling the competing PowerPC microprocessor next spring.


“that's shit” was his favorite laconic expression.


I, like an usurped town to another due (from a poem by John Donne)


“Put Fidelity's Renowned Investment Management Expertise to Work For You,” blares the brochure.


The silver-tongued Ross always extricated himself from dicey situations and …


…venture forth to expunge the hydra-headed “gry” riddle once and for all.


this is a seminal finding.


two kids tussles over the cake.


The federal courts may have temporarily put a halt to enforcement of Proposition 187, but many Californians -- who passed the Nov. 8 initiative 59% to 41% -- appear to be ignoring the legal injunction and taking enforcement into their own hands. In the past two weeks special Prop 187 hot lines in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fresno and Sacramento have received thousands of calls from distraught victims reporting impromptu acts of discrimination that recalled the vigilante spirit of the old Wild West.
Hot Lines and Hot Tempers by Margot Hornblower/Los Angeles. At,9171,981882,00.html


…appear to be ignoring the legal injunction and taking enforcement into their own hands.


For all that, Star Trek has never won much respect. In the realm of long-running entertainment phenoms, Sherlock Holmes has more history; James Bond, more class Star Wars; and Indiana Jones, more cinematic cachet.


The ultimate goal of Scriabin's experiments, the Misterium, which was to have resulted in the ecstatic cataclysm of the human race, was left incomplete at his death.


The story of the deaf in America is intimately bound up with ASL and its travails.


These connivers didn't just feed a few answers to favored contestants to boost ratings. They destroyed a nation's innocence.
about the movie Quiz Show


What's to stop publishers from striking out on their own, using the new improved Internet as their online kiosk?


Is nicotine a drug or not? Both Congress and the FDA need to know before they fire the next volley in the tobacco wars, and they are looking to science for guidance.


Nowadays colleges have to hustle for students by truckling trendily.


The harder and more meaningful questions is whether the mediocrities who have also flooded into colleges in the past couple of generations do better than they otherwise would have.


…these other countries tend to separate the college-bound from the quotidian masses in early adolescence,…
…The virtue of the book is that it captures the quotidian misunderstandings between men and women in the work place.
Are Women Too Nice At the Office? By Ginia Bellafante. Time mag. At,9171,981522,00.html
The book mentioned is one of Deborah Tannen's.


as the death and postmortem of Comet Shoemaker-Levy unfold, that…
Jupiter's Inferno By Michael D Lemonick/Baltimore. At,9171,981147-2,00.html


Why the preponderance of animals over human images? [ancient cave painting]
[Behold the Stone Age By Robert Hughes. At,9171,133686,00.html , accessed on 2014-09-29 ]
preponderance = a superiority in numbers or amount.


To professional athletes -- when they are not on strike or locked out -- and their adoring fans, there is nothing so exultant, as the chant of “We're No. 1!” American business executives are getting somewhat the same feeling. Finally, they are beating their Japanese, German, South Korean, Taiwanese, name-the-country rivals -- and in products like autos, machine tools and computer chips, where a few years ago they were being trounced. The U.S. firms are not only turning back an import invasion of American markets but also triumphing in so-called third-country export markets and even swiping some sales in Japan and other tormentor countries.
We're No. 1, and It Hurts By George J Church. At,9171,163135,00.html


A new book raises a ruckus by linking intelligence to genetics and race.
Caption for the article For Whom the Bell Curves By Richard Lacayo. Time mag. At,9171,981658,00.html
The book in question is The Bell Curve.


Today most heart disease is treated as though it were primarily a mechanical malfunction. Clogged arteries are either reopened with the equivalent of a plumber's snake or bypassed by vessels borrowed from other parts of the body. But while such heroic measures can relieve pain and reduce debilitating fatigue, they generally forestall death for only a few years.
Hope for Unhealthy Hearts By J Madeleine Nash/Dallas. At,9171,981881,00.html


…we would have to argue that these are tenable norms for…


specious declamation


If you're an inveterate coder, Debian will keep you fiddling happily for eons.
online posting from programing community


…the epitome of suburban domesticity.


Tarantino's and Bender's company is called A Band Apart, after Bande a Part (Band of Outsiders), the 1964 film about two hoods and a femme fatale that Jean-Luc Godard based on an American paperback novel. But where Godard used pulp fiction as an excuse to discuss the philosophy of the boulevards and the boudoir, Tarantino is true to the genre's moral muscularity; he's interested in the philosophy of the abattoir. His tough guys chat about life's iniquities and inequities, about hamburgers, the Bible, the ethics of foot massage, the perfidy of women. Sometimes they sound like catty old fishwives. But this is a very male form of gossip -- verbal machismo. With their edgy patter, the guys test themselves, their friends, their victims …
A Blast to the Heart By Richard Corliss. At,9171,981560-2,00.html. Review on the movie Pulp Fiction (1994)
boudoir = a lady's bedroom or private sitting room.
abattoir = A public slaughterhouse for cattle, sheep, etc.
perfidy = Deliberate breach of faith; calculated violation of trust.
patter = A quick succession of slight sounds; as, the patter of To mutter; as prayers. The language or oratory of a street peddler, conjurer, or the like, hence, glib talk; a voluble harangue.
iniquity = lack of rectitude or uprightness; gross injustice;


…or sundry other multilateral constructions.


…while “charm” and “strange” quarks conspire to make more exotic particles…


they [boxers] brought a desperately needed shot of Ali-style panache to the ring.


…his most vaunted exploits were exposed as largely fictitious.


She recalls her early life and her quixotic campaign for the presidency of Sex Club 101.




praised him for his sang-froid.


resigned under duress.


Charles Barkley, the rambunctious Phoenix Suns basketball superstar, is planning to run for Governor of his home state of Alabama in 1996.


Brad Pitt expertly portrays trailer-park renegades who …


spurned the offer


… and seemed unfazed by reports of public displays of marital discord between …
faze = To disturb the composure of; to disconcert; to nonplus.


Moreover, Aladdin has earned “$1 billion from box-offices income, video sales and such ancillary baubles as Princess Jasmine dresses and Genie cookie jars.” Moreover, produced as a video interactive game, Aladdin has sold over 3 million copies in 1993. Similar sales are expected for the video and interactive game version of the film, “The Lion King,” …
Animating Youth: the Disnification of Children's Culture by Henry A Giroux. At
bauble = A small, showy ornament of little value; a trinket.
ancillary = relating to something that is added but is not essential.


Meanwhile, male parental investment also makes the man's naturally polygynous bent inimical to his wife's reproductive interests. His quest for a new wife could lead him to withdraw, or at least dilute, investment in his first wife's children. This reallocation of resources may on balance help his genes -- but certainly not hers.
“The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday life by ROBERT WRIGHT” Buy at amazon
inimical = unfriendly, hostile.


So here is problem No. 1 with the pair-bond thesis: women are not by nature paragons of fidelity. Wanderlust is an innate part of their minds, ready to surface under propitious circumstances. Here's problem No. 2: if you think women are bad, you should see men.
Infidelity -- It may be in our genes. Our Cheating Hearts By Robert Wright. At
wanderlust = very strong or irresistible impulse to travel.
propitious = presenting favorable circumstances


Jim had material for more scabrous satire.
World's Only Living Toon By Richard Corliss. At,9171,981238-1,00.html
scabrous = rough to the touch; covered with scales or scurf; dealing with salacious or indecent material.


It was a week of visual superlatives, of images both awesome and horrifying. Astronomers said they had never seen anything like the fireworks produced when comet chunks, one of them roughly as big as an alp, crashed into the planet Jupiter. … Now such explosions have become spectator events. In theory, this rush of instantaneous sightings should be a boon to human understanding; the more we notice, the wiser we become. In practice, such cascades of images can prove deracinating. The mind is cut adrift by what the eyes provide.
Looking At Cataclysms By Paul Gray. At,9171,981183,00.html
deracinate = 1. To pull out by the roots; uproot. 2. To displace from one's native or accustomed environment.


Runaways. They are the refugees from a million private wars being waged across America -- a ragtag army of the abused and the ignored drifting aimlessly like flotsam out of sundered families. Each year as many as 1.3 million teenagers flee home, according to the National Network of Runaway and Youth Services.
Running Scared By Jon D Hull/Hollywood. Time Mag.,8816,981850,00.html
ragtag = Shaggy or unkempt; ragged. Diverse and disorderly in appearance or composition.
flotsam = the floating wreckage of a ship.


Diana's image as the innocent wronged woman in a bad marriage was tarnished. Now it has been splattered.
splatter = covered patchily.


The quickening pace and mounting numbers have reduced what often used to be, a spectacle into an almost humdrum event. Today few people in town other than Jack King, the local mortician, even know that an execution has occurred until they read about it the next day, buried on an inside page of the Huntsville Item. When a chubby killer named Richard Beavers got his lethal injection of sodium thiopental last week, the only noteworthy aspect of the event was its timing: late on the night of Easter Sunday. That might have provoked an outcry a few years ago, but a vigil for Beavers outside the penitentiary's tall brick walls drew only four candle-carrying participants. At the local Dairy Queen one block away, oblivious teenagers slurped sodas as the hour approached. “People don't give executions a second thought anymore,” said manager Irene Cassidy. “They've become the norm.”
Dispatches By Richard Woodbury. At,9171,164220,00.html
mortician = one whose business is the management of funerals.
humdrum = Lacking variety or excitement; dull.


Potential tantrum defused. Gilbert went quietly to his demise thereafter, although he did drop-kick his racket into the net after the final point and mutter a few Gallic epithets. But Gangji, 41, one of the top professional umpires in tennis, chose to ignore this final frisson of petulance.

Graf, Courier, Stich and Edberg may be gone, but as Wimbledon moves through its final week, Gangji and the other 359 umpires employed by the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club for the tournament stoically march through the draw. Underpaid and often abused by the churlish multimillionaires they judge, umpires must display the probity of a Supreme Court Justice, the acuity of a marksman and the patience of a marriage counselor.
Hot Seat at Wimbledon: Judge, Jury and Shrink By Paul A Witteman/Wimbledon. At,9171,981023,00.html
tantrum = a display of bad temper.
defuse = To disorder; to make shapeless. [Obs.] -- Shak.
Gallic = Pertaining to, or derived from, galls, nutgalls…;
frisson = A French word intended to convey the shiver or thrill of fright that can be strangely pleasurable.; A experience of intense excitement.
petulant = Unreasonably irritable or ill-tempered; peevish.


And indeed The Blue Kite is by far the most excoriating depiction in Chinese film of Mao's ravages. But at its heart it is about domestic dreams, about a hope for better days that flies above the characters as brightly and vulnerably as Tietou's favorite blue kite. The rhythms of this family -- the ; meals and arguments, the worries about money and the sweet moments when a put-upon mom finds bliss playing with her bright child -- are handsomely observed and beautifully played. In Lu, Tian found one of those perfect faces from which emotion rises spontaneously, acutely and eloquently.
A Masterwork Suppressed By Richard Corliss. At,9171,980617,00.html?promoid=googlep
put-upon = of persons; taken advantage of.


maunder and mope
maunder = To mutter; to mumble; to grumble; to speak indistinctly or disconnectedly; to talk incoherently.
Alternative rockers are notoriously mopey, but Love's husband Kurt Cobain took the attitude to a tragic extreme and killed himself with a shotgun. Months later, Love revealed the couple's horrifying original plan: to commit a double suicide following the birth of their daughter.
The Best and Worst People of 1994 At,9171,982055,00.html
mope = To be dull and spiritless; to spend time doing little.


When France's stiff antismoking laws took effect in late 1992, people girded for some of the nastiest civil unrest since the storming of the Bastille. Smokers, who represent more than one-third of all Frenchmen over age 12, cried “Egalite! Liberte!” and vowed to puff on. They should have saved their breath for the next cigarette. Despite laws that severely restrict the number of public places where French smokers are allowed to puff their Gauloises, they continue to light up with impunity virtually everywhere. Designated nonsmoking areas in offices and restaurants are routinely ignored, as are curbs in public transport stations: butts account for three of the 20 tons of garbage collected daily in the Paris Metro. To date, only one citizen has been prosecuted for smoking -- and he was hauled before a judge only after he ignored requests to leave a cafeteria's nonsmoking area, then threw a pitcher of water, injuring a five-year-old.
The disjuncture between law and practice may be extreme in France, but it is not unique. Around the world, legislators have followed the U.S. lead in trying to stub out tobacco by restricting smoking areas, banning or limiting cigarette ads, imposing steep taxes and issuing ominous health warnings. But with a few notable exceptions, such as in Singapore and Australia, cultural attitudes and habits have largely quashed such efforts.
Need a Place to Puff? Hint: Grab Your Passport By Jill Smolowe. At,9171,980561,00.html
gird = To encircle or bind with any flexible band. Prepare oneself for a military confrontation.
disjuncture = state of being disconnected.


scientists unveiled a trove of fossil remains …
trove = treasure of unknown ownership found hidden