May 3, 2021

Synaptic Transistor

Field-effect transistor

synaptic transistor is an electrical device that can learn in ways similar to a neural synapse (the site of transmission of electric nerve impulses between two nerve cells). It optimizes its own properties for the functions it has carried out in the past.

The device mimics the behavior of the property of neurons called spike-timing-dependent plasticity, or STDP. The process adjusts the connection strengths based on the relative timing of a particular neuron’s output and input action potentials (or spikes). Continue reading

April 28, 2021

Jobsworth

Computer says no

jobsworth is a person who uses the (typically minor) authority of their job in a deliberately uncooperative way, or who seemingly delights in acting in an obstructive or unhelpful manner. It characterizes one who upholds petty rules even at the expense of effectiveness, efficiency, or common sense.

It is a British colloquial word derived from the phrase ‘I can’t do that, it’s more than my job’s worth,’ meaning that failing to do what is requested of them would be against what their job requires and would be likely to cause them to lose their job. English lexicographer Jonathon Green similarly it as ‘a minor factotum whose only status comes from enforcing otherwise petty regulations.’ Continue reading

April 26, 2021

Network Telescope

Honeypot

network telescope (also known as a ‘packet telescope,’ ‘darknet,’ ‘Internet motion sensor,’ or ‘black hole’) is an Internet system that allows one to observe different large-scale events taking place on the Internet. The basic idea is to observe traffic targeting the dark (unused) address-space of the network.

Since all traffic to these addresses is suspicious, one can gain information about possible network attacks (random scanning worms, and DDoS backscatter) as well as other misconfigurations by observing it. Continue reading

April 20, 2021

Bristol Stool Scale

Human feces

The Bristol stool scale is a diagnostic medical tool designed to classify the form of human feces into seven categories. It is used in both clinical and experimental fields. It was developed at the Bristol Royal Infirmary as a clinical assessment tool in 1997.

It is widely used as a research tool to evaluate the effectiveness of treatments for various diseases of the bowel, as well as a clinical communication aid; including being part of the diagnostic triad for irritable bowel syndrome. Continue reading

April 13, 2021

Andrew Callaghan

All Gas No Brakes

Andrew Callaghan is an American journalist who is best known for his work on the YouTube series ‘All Gas No Brakes.’ In 2021, he announced his departure from the show, along with his crew consisting of Nic Mosher and Evan Gilbert-Katz., and Callaghan launched a new show via Patreon titled ‘Channel 5.’

Callaghan suffers from hallucinogen persisting perception disorder due to excessive psilocybin use early in his life, around age 13. Continue reading

April 11, 2021

Sideman

david lindley

sideman is a professional musician hired to perform live with a featured act. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best acted as sidemen to Tony Sheridan before becoming famous as The Beatles.

Sidemen and sidewomen are often well-versed in multiple styles of music, and can be hired at any level of the music industry, from playing in a cover band to backing up established artists on major tours. Continue reading

April 1, 2021

Jefferson

Partition and secession in California

The State of Jefferson is a proposed U.S. state that would span the contiguous, mostly rural area of southern Oregon and northern California, where several attempts to separate from Oregon and California, respectively, have taken place.

The field of the flag is green, and the charge is the Seal of the State of Jefferson: a gold mining pan with the words ‘The Great Seal Of State Of Jefferson’ engraved into the lip, and two Xs askew of each other. The two Xs are known as the ‘Double Cross’ and signify the two regions’ ‘sense of abandonment’ by the central state governments. Continue reading

March 31, 2021

Dirtbag Left

Chapo Trap House

The dirtbag left is a style of left-wing politics that eschews civility in order to convey a left-wing populist message using subversive vulgarity.

It is most closely associated with American left-wing media that emerged in the mid-2010s, most notably the podcast ‘Chapo Trap House.’ Despite the term’s connotations, its use is not typically considered derogatory. Continue reading

March 23, 2021

Gated Reverb

Townhouse Studios

Gated reverb or gated ambience is an audio processing technique that combines strong reverb (echo) and a noise gate (attenuating signals that register below a threshold). The effect is often associated with the sound of 1980s popular music.

It was developed in 1979 by engineer Hugh Padgham and producer Steve Lillywhite while working with the artists XTC, Peter Gabriel, and Phil Collins at Townhouse Studios in London, and is most famously demonstrated in Collins’s 1981 single ‘In the Air Tonight.’ Continue reading

March 18, 2021

Garden Hermit

Hermit

Garden hermits or ornamental hermits were hermits encouraged to live in purpose-built hermitages, follies, grottoes, or rockeries on the estates of wealthy landowners, primarily during the 18th century.

Such hermits would be encouraged to dress like druids and remain permanently on site, where they could be fed, cared for, and consulted for advice, or viewed for entertainment. Continue reading

March 16, 2021

Smoke-filled Room

1920 United States presidential election

In U.S. political jargon, a smoke-filled room (sometimes called a ‘smoke-filled back room’) is a secret political gathering or round-table-style decision-making process. The phrase is generally used to suggest an inner circle of power brokers, as at a convention. It suggests a cabal of powerful or well-connected, cigar-smoking men meeting privately to nominate a dark horse political candidate or otherwise make decisions without regard for the will of the larger group.

The origin of the term was in a report by Raymond Clapper of United Press, describing rumors of the process by which Warren G. Harding was nominated at the 1920 Republican National Convention as the party’s candidate for the presidential election. After many indecisive votes, Harding, a relatively minor candidate who was the junior senator from Ohio was, legend has it, chosen as a compromise candidate by Republican power-brokers in a private meeting at the Blackstone Hotel in Chicago after the convention had deadlocked.

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March 9, 2021

Bog-wood

Bog

Bog-wood, also known as ‘abonos’ and, especially amongst pipe smokers, as ‘morta,’ is a material from trees that have been buried in peat bogs and preserved from decay by the acidic and anaerobic bog conditions, sometimes for hundreds or even thousands of years. The wood is usually stained brown by tannins dissolved in the acidic water.

Bog-wood represents the early stages in the fossilization of wood, with further stages ultimately forming jet, lignite and coal over a period of many millions of years. Bog-wood may come from any tree species naturally growing near or in bogs, including oak (‘Quercus’ – ‘bog oak’), pine (‘Pinus’), yew (‘Taxus’), swamp cypress (‘Taxodium’), and kauri (‘Agathis’). Bog-wood is often removed from fields and placed in clearance cairns. It is a rare form of timber that is claimed to be ‘comparable to some of the world’s most expensive tropical hardwoods.’ Continue reading