Moonshot Terms

This past Wednesday was the 36th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, what is likely to be considered, in centuries to come, the most historic event of the latter half of the 20th century. On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin landed their lunar module, Eagle, in the Sea of Tranquility, while the third member of the team, Michael Collins, orbited the moon in the command module Columbia. The next day, Greenwich Mean Time, Neil Armstrong became the first human to set foot on our planet’s closest neighbor.

Historic events are usually accompanied by historic words, if not at the moment in question, then sometime afterwards. In the case of the first lunar landing, many of the most famous words were scripted in advance. The most famous of these the famous sentence of Neil Armstrong’s spoken when he first stepped onto the lunar surface:

That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.

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Tour de France Terms

The Tour de France, or Le Tour, is without a doubt the most famous, and the most grueling, bicycle race in the world. Held each July since 1902 (with breaks during the world wars), this is the 92nd riding of the Tour. This year’s tour is 2,237 miles (3,600 km), broken up into 21 stages or daily rides. The tour’s route changes from year-to-year, running through different regions of France and with some stages in neighboring countries (this year it’s Germany). Of course, this year’s Tour is eagerly watched by many because it is Lance Armstrong’s last year riding the race. Armstrong has won the last six Tours, the only man to have won that many.

Traditionally, the race starts with short time trial of less than five miles called the prologue. A time trial is a stage where the cyclists ride individually, against the clock alone, without the assistance of teammates. Some time trials are team time trials, where each team rides as a group, but not alongside the other teams. This year, the prologue has been replaced with a longer, 12 mi (19 km) time trial. The final stage of the race is always along the Champs Elysees (literally the Elysian Fields), the famed Parisian avenue. Riders do three circuits of the street, each one about 15 kilometers long at very fast speeds. Winning this final stage is considered quite an honor.

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Interesting, But Ultimately Useless

Then there is this website, devoted to Old English terms for information technology concepts:

Circolwyrde Wordhord

Trojan War Terms

Most of us are familiar with at least some military slang. We hear it on the news, or in movies, we served in the military at some point. But this week we present a look at some terms associated with a war from very long ago.

These terms are English words and phrases that are associated with the Trojan War, a mythic conflict immortalized in Homer’s two epics The Iliad and The Odyssey and in Virgil’s Aeneid.

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Newspaper Jargon

This week we present a short glossary of newspaper jargon terms:

above the fold, adj., used to describe an article placed on the top half of the front page, so it is visible when the paper is folded. Also below the fold.

agate, n., a small type used in newspapers primarily for statistics (sports, stocks), approximately 5.5 points (1/14 inch) high. An American term (the English equivalent is ruby type) dating to 1838, the name comes from a series of typefaces named after precious stones.

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