C – Cm


See Common Era.



A cache (pronounced “cash”) stores recently used information in a user’s computer, so that it can be quickly accessed at a later time.  Common types include browser, disk, memory and processor caches.  Most caching is done in the background, and the only type of cache that the user can control is the browser cache.  The user can view the cache settings, alter the size of the browser cache, or if needed, empty the cache.


Cache memory

In a computer, a small area of memory that can be accessed very quickly.



See Uranus.



In Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the dreaded “killer rabbit” that King Arthur and his knights are warned about by Tim the Enchanter.  He tells the king that only in the cave of Caerbannog can he read of the last resting place of the Holy Grail.  The king decides to face the killer rabbit … with dreadful outcomes for many of his knights!



Developed in the latter half of the 17th Century by mathematicians Gottfried Leibniz and Isaac Newton, calculus is the study of rates of change.  There are two main branches of calculus: differential calculus and integral calculus.  Differential calculus determines the rate of change of a known quantity, and integral calculus determines the quantity of a known rate of change.



The infamous ruler of Rome was born Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus on August 31 in 12 AD, in Antium (now Anzio), Italy.  The great-great-grandson of Julius Caesar and great-grandson of the Roman ruler Augustus was the third son of the renowned Roman general Germanicus.  At the time of Gaius’ birth, Augustus’ health was failing, so he appointed his unpopular stepson Tiberius as ruler, compelling him to adopt Gaius as his son, and name him as his heir.

Gaius was close to his adopted father, and at the age of three, began frequently accompanying Germanicus on his military campaigns.  In keeping with tradition, Gaius wore a uniform with a small pair of boots.  This earned him the nickname “Caligula” (Latin for “little boots”) among his father’s troops, and the name stuck with him for the rest of his life.  When Augustus died on August 19, 14 AD, Tiberius quickly assumed power and dispatched Germanicus to Rome’s eastern provinces for a diplomatic mission, where he fell ill and died in 17 AD.  After Germanicus’ death, Caligula’s family fell from Tiberius’ favor, as the ruler saw the elder sons of the popular general as political rivals.  After Caligula’s mother Agrippina the Elder publicly blamed Tiberius for her husband’s death, Tiberius stranded her on a remote island, where she starved to death.  The emperor then imprisoned her two older sons, one of whom killed himself; while the other starved to death.  Because of his young age, Caligula was spared and forced to live with his great-grandmother, Livia, Augustus’ wife.

Caligula’s mother and brothers were accused of treason, and all died in prison or exile.  His grandmother Antonia managed to shield him from harm until 31 AD, when Caligula was summoned by Tiberius, the man presumed to be his father’s killer, to the island of Capri, where he was adopted and treated like a pampered prisoner.  Forced to suppress his anger and show Tiberius respect, many historians believe Caligula was likely mentally traumatized.  He gradually delighted in watching torture and executions, and indulged in orgies of gluttony and passion.  Even the unstable Tiberius could see that Caligula was unhinged.  He once said, “I am nursing a viper for the Roman people.”

In March of 37 AD, Tiberius fell ill and died a month later.  Rumors swirled that Caligula had smothered him, but it didn’t matter to the Roman citizens, who were ecstatic over his death.  The people believed that Caligula would exude the same qualities as his esteemed late father, and the Roman Senate fell right in line, naming 24-year-old Caligula sole emperor of Rome, despite having no experience in government, diplomacy or war.

At first, his succession was welcomed in Rome, as he announced political reforms and recalled all exiled citizens to Rome.  He freed citizens that had been unjustly imprisoned by Tiberius, eliminated an unpopular tax, and staged lavish events: chariot races, boxing matches, plays and gladiator shows.

However, six months into his rule, Caligula fell severely ill.  For nearly a month, he hovered between life and death, and though he recovered, the remainder of his reign was marked by bizarre behavior.  Tortured by headaches, Caligula wandered the palace at night. He abandoned the customary toga for silken gowns and often dressed as a woman.  In addition, Caligula flaunted his power, eliminating his political rivals and forcing parents to watch the executions of their sons.  Most egregious, however, was Caligula’s declaration that he was a living god, ordering a bridge to be built between his palace and the temple of the Roman god Jupiter (equivalent to the Greek god Zeus), so that he could have consultations with the deity.  Not even marriage and the birth of a daughter seemed to change him.  He restored treason trials and displayed great acts of cruelty.  In 38 AD, he executed Naevius Sutorius Macro (prefect of the Praetorian Guard, to whose support he owed his accession) and Tiberius Gemellus (grandson of Tiberius, whom he had succeeded).  He made pretensions to divinity and showed extravagant affection for his sisters, especially for Drusilla, who on her death (in 38 AD) was consecrated Diva Drusilla, the first woman in Rome to be so honored.  Some scholars believe that he intended to establish a Hellenistic-type monarchy after the brother-sister marriages of the Ptolemys of Egypt.  Others believe that during his illness, he went mad; however, evidence of this is suspect and some oft-told stories (e.g., that he made his horse consul) are untrue.  He may have suffered from epilepsy, from which his great-great-grandfather Julius Caesar is believed to have suffered.

After his ascension, Caligula quickly squandered the vast sums Tiberius had accumulated in the state treasury.  To procure the revenues needed to finance his extravagances, he resorted to the extortion of prominent Roman citizens and the confiscation of their estates.  Caligula lavished money on building projects, from the practical (aqueducts and harbors) and the cultural (theaters and temples) to the bizarre (constructing a two-mile floating bridge across the Bay of Bauli so he could spend two days galloping back and forth across it).  Early in 40 AD, Caligula marched with an army into Gaul, the inhabitants of which he plundered thoroughly.  He marched his troops to the northern shoreline of Gaul as a prelude to the invasion of Britain, but then inexplicably ordered his soldiers to collect seashells on the shore, which he called “the spoils of the conquered ocean.”

Caligula pursued his pretensions to divinity further.  In the summer of 40 AD, he ordered his statue to be erected in the Temple at Jerusalem, but, under the suave persuasion of Herod Agrippa, Caligula countermanded this potentially disastrous order.  The Roman populace had by now grown weary of this mad and unpredictable tyrant, and several conspiracies were formed against him. On January 24, 41 AD, four months after his return to Rome from Gaul, Caligula was murdered at the Palatine Games, stabbed 30 times by Cassius Chaerea (tribune of the Praetorian guard), Cornelius Sabinus and others, then dumped into a shallow grave.  Of his murder, Cassius Dio would later note that Caligula “learned by actual experience that he was not a god.”  Caligula’s wife and daughter were also put to death.  He was succeeded as emperor by his uncle Claudius.

Caligula’s death pushed the Senate to immediately order the destruction of his statues in hopes of eradicating him from Rome’s history.  Still, more than two millennia since his rule, Caligula’s legacy is deemed a fascinating piece of Roman history.  The Senate attempted to use the disastrous end of Caligula’s reign as a pretext to reestablish the Roman Republic, but Claudius, the heir designate, took the throne after gaining the support of the Praetorian Guard.

Perhaps just as infamous as the emperor himself, the 1979 film Caligula, which starred Malcolm McDowell in the title role, was co-produced and co-directed by Penthouse magazine publisher Bob Guccione, and was originally rated X (the precursor to the modern NC-17 rating).  It featured an all-star cast (some of whom were not told they were filming a pornographic film), as well as several former Penthouse centerfold models.



Camelot is the legendary castle and home of King Arthur.  It was the seat of power in Britain, where Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table presided, and the image of Camelot symbolized the Golden Age of Chivalry.  Historically, there is no record of a castle called Camelot, but one of the earliest references, by the French poet Chretien de Troyes in his romance Le Chevalier de la Charrette (“Knight of the Cart” or “Lancelot”), mentions that Arthur held court at Camelot, situated in the region of Caerlon.  While an early 13th Century work entitled Perlesvaus (Le Haut Livre du Graal) tells that Camelot belonged to Alain le Gros, the father of Perceval, early Arthurian authors relate that Arthur’s castle was, indeed, in Caerlon, or Caerlon-on-Usk.


Camelot 3000

Written by Mike Barr, with art by Bruce Patterson, Terry Austin and Brian Bolland, this popular limited-run comic book series told the tale of the awakening of the legendary King Arthur, following an attack on Earth by an alien armada.  Arthur then “revives” his reincarnated Knights of the Round Table by calling them out from several strangers’ psyches.  (Spoiler: One knight was reborn a woman!)  Together once again in this timeless tale of valor, the knights battle the aliens, who are led by the reincarnated Morgan Le Fay.



Official or recognized, as used in the area of fanfic(tion) and stories from various sources involving well-known characters and settings.


Caped Crusader, The

See Batman.


Captain America

Debuting in Captain America Comics #1 in 1941, this World War II era symbol of the United States’ strength was created by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon for Timely Comics, which would eventually become Marvel Comics.  As their storyline, main character Steve Rogers attempted to enlist in the U.S. Army following Nazi Germany’s horrific wartime atrocities.  Failing to pass the physical requirements, the underweight Rogers was invited to volunteer to be the first test subject for Operation: Rebirth, a project headed by Prof. Abraham Erskine, with the goal of enhancing U.S. soldiers to the peak of physical perfection.  Rogers was injected with Super Soldier Serum, then exposed to a controlled burst of Vita-Rays, which activated and stabilized the chemicals in his system.  The procedures granted Rogers greatly enhanced muscular system and reflexes.  Erskine was assassinated before he could further the project, which left only Rogers as sole recipient of the formula, which enhanced all of his bodily functions to the peak of human efficiency: very high intelligence, agility, strength, speed and reaction time.  Most notably, his body eliminated the excessive build-up of fatigue-producing poisons in his muscles, granting him phenomenal endurance.  Captain America mastered American-style boxing and judo, combining these with his own unique hand-to-hand style of combat, and he also displayed skills in a number of other martial arts.

As Captain America, or “Cap” as his close allies call him, Rogers was assigned to serve as both a counterintelligence agent and a symbolic U.S. hero as a reaction to Nazi Germany’s propaganda successes headed by the Red Skull (also known as Johann Shmidt).  Wearing a costume based on his own design modeled after the American flag, Steve was given a triangular bulletproof shield and a personal sidearm.  He was also provided a cover identity as a clumsy infantry private at Camp Lehigh in Virginia. His first opponents included the Red Skull himself and Nazi attempts to duplicate Erskine’s serum with their own super soldiers.  During a mission to the African nation of Wakanda, “Cap” befriended the nation’s ruler T’Chaka and obtained a sample of the rare metal Vibranium.  Subsequent experiments with this metal produced a uniquely indestructible Vibranium-steel alloy disc, which proved impossible to duplicate. The disc was given to Cap as his new shield.

Barely out of his teens himself, Rogers made friends teenager James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes, who accidentally learned of Rogers’ dual identity, and soon thereafter, became Captain America’s sidekick.  When the U.S. entered World War II, Cap and Bucky teamed with the android Human Torch, his mutant sidekick Toro, and Namor, the ocean-dwelling Sub-Mariner.  Together, they were known as the Invaders.  In the closing days of World War II, Cap broke through Nazi troops for his final wartime confrontation with the Red Skull, who was seemingly slain by bombing debris (though he lived on in suspended animation).  Days later, after a bomb went off aboard an airplane, Rogers was hurled into the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. The US government presumed Cap was dead, but due to the Super-Soldier serum, Captain America survived, entering a state of suspended animation and eventually freezing in solid ice.

Years later, the Avengers discovered Rogers’ frozen body in the North Atlantic, where he had been preserved since 1945.  After being revived, Captain America was invited to join the original roster of the superhero team as their first recruit.

Chris Evans has portrayed Captain America on the big screen in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), The Avengers (2012), Thor: The Dark World (2013, uncredited cameo), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man (2015, uncredited cameo), Captain America: Civil War (2016), and will appear in 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War.




Any one of a class of various neutral organic compounds of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen (such as sugars, starches, and celluloses), or compounds that change to these substances during simple chemical transformations such as hydrolysis, oxidation, or reduction.  Carbohydrates form the supporting tissues of plants, and are important food for animals and humans.


Castiglione, Francis

See Punisher.


Castle, Frank

See Punisher.



See Compact disc.



A Twittertweet” posted by a well-known public figure.



A noted celebrity who posts on Twitter.


Cell phone

See Cellular telephone.


Cellular modem

See Aircard.


Cellular telephone

A portable wireless telephone that utilizes radio wave transmitters over a specific geographical area (or “cell”) within a network in order to make calls.  Also known as a cell phone or mobile phone.


Cenozoic era

This third major era of Earth’s history and third subdivision of the Phanerozoic eon, which extends to the present day, began approximately 65 million years ago.  The term Cenozoic (originally “Kainozoic”) was introduced by English geologist John Phillips in an 1840 Penny Cyclopaedia article.  It is derived from the Greek for “recent life,” as it followed the Mesozoic (“middle life”) and Paleozoic (“ancient life”) eras.  The Cenozoic era, also called the “age of animals,” is divided into three periods: the Paleogene (65.5 to 23.03 million years ago), Neogene (23.03 to 2.6 million years ago) and Quaternary (2.6 million years ago to present).  This era is significant, in that the Earth’s flora and fauna evolved more toward our recognizable present-day plants and animals, and our modern-day continents assumed their modern configurations and geographic positions.

Several of the world’s great mountain ranges built up during this era.  The main Alpine orogeny, which produced the Alps and Carpathians in southern Europe and the Atlas Mountains in northwestern Africa, began roughly between 37 million and 24 million years ago, and the Himalayas were formed sometime after the Indian Plate collided with the Eurasian Plate.  The western part of the Tethys Sea evolved into the Mediterranean Sea not long after it had been cut off from the global ocean system about 6 million to 5 million years ago.  Antarctica remained centered on the South Pole throughout the Cenozoic, but the northern continents converged in a northward direction.

The end of the Cretaceous period, which brought about the dawn of the Cenozoic era, saw the eradication of dinosaurs on land and of large swimming reptiles throughout the seas. Mammals, which had existed for more than 100 million years before the advent of the Cenozoic Era, experienced substantial evolutionary radiation.  Marsupials developed a diverse array of adaptive types in Australia and South America.  Ungulates (or hoofed mammals) with clawed feet evolved during the Paleocene (66 million to about 55.8 million years ago). This epoch saw the development and proliferation of the earliest perissodactyls (odd-toed ungulates, such as horses, tapirs, rhinoceroses) and artiodactyls (even-toed ungulates, including pigs, hippopotamuses, camels, llamas, deer, giraffes, sheep, goats, antelopes and cattle).  During the later Cenozoic, elephants, which evolved in the late Eocene about 40 million years ago, spread throughout much of the world and underwent tremendous diversification.  Many placental forms of giant size, such as the sabre-toothed cat, giant ground sloths, and woolly mammoths, inhabited the forests and the plains in the Pliocene (5.3 million to 1.8 million years ago).  It was also about this time that the first hominids appeared. Early modern humans, however, did not emerge until the Pleistocene epoch.

Cenozoic life came to a significant end due to a major extinction event that occurred between 10,000 and 8,000 years ago.  This event, which involved the sudden disappearance of many mammals after the most recent Ice Age, has been attributed to either of two factors: climactic change following the melting of the most recent Pleistocene glaciers, or overkill by Paleolithic hunters.  The latter is regarded by many as the more likely cause, as the rapidly improved technology of Paleolithic humans permitted more efficient hunting.


Central processing unit (CPU)
The main inner part and “brain” of a computer, where calculations are performed.


Chapman, Graham

British comedian and writer, best known as a founding member of the Monty Python comedy troupe, which made a name for itself in the 1970s for its quirky parodies and unique humor on television and in films.  After graduating from Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical School, Chapman practiced medicine briefly before turning to the entertainment industry.  He wrote for The [David] Frost Report and other television shows, and performed in the 1967 series At Last the 1948 Show.  First airing on Oct. 5, 1969, Monty Python’s Flying Circus startled viewers with its send-ups of standard television fare such as celebrity interviews.  Chapman, often shown wearing a tweed jacket and smoking a pipe, perfected absurd characters, notably the Army Colonel and Raymond Luxury-Yacht.  Along with Python member John Cleese, he was the co-author of most of the troupe’s works, including 1975’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which he played King Arthur, and 1979’s Monty Python’s Life of Brian, in which he portrayed the mistaken Messiah (an ironic role for Chapman, as he was an atheist).  Chapman died in 1989 after a bout with cancer.


Chat room

Website or computer program that allows people to send instant messages to each other, thus “chatting” in real-time.


Cheat code

A character combination that is entered in order to change a video game’s status or behavior.  For example, a cheat code may move the game to the next level, grant a player additional abilities, or cause some other beneficial action to take place.



The familiar strategy game has been around for so long, there is no clear origin.  One legend relates that an Indian queen was distraught over the enmity between her two sons, who each claimed the throne. When she heard that one of her sons had died in battle, she assumed his brother had killed him. The sages of the kingdom developed a rudimentary chessboard to recreate the battle, in order to show the queen that the prince had died of battle fatigue, rather than at his brother’s hand.  In point of fact, one of the earliest forms of chess did originate in India during the Gupta Empire (320-550 AD), where it was known in the 6th Century AD as chaturaṅga.  The term translates as “four divisions (of the military),” and the recognized military divisions of that era (infantry, cavalry, elephantry and chariotry) inspired pieces that would evolve respectively into the modern pawn, knight, bishop and rook.  Other game pieces (speculatively called “chess pieces”) uncovered in archaeological findings are considered as coming from other distantly related board games, which may have had boards of 100 squares or more.  Findings in the Mohenjo-daro and Harappa (2600–1500 BC) sites of the Indus Valley Civilization show the prevalence of a board game that resembles chess.  There is an unproven theory that chess started out as a game involving dice, and that the gambling and dice aspects of the game were removed due to Hindu religious objections.

Scholars note the Indian use of chess as a tool not only for military strategy, but for mathematics, gambling and even its vague association with astronomy. The more familiar form of chess was introduced into Persia (modern day Iran) from India and would eventually become a part of the courtly education for Persian nobility.  During the Sassanid Empire (around 600 AD), the name became chatrang, which subsequently evolved to shatranj, and the rules were developed further.  Players started calling “Shāh!” (Persian for “King!”) when attacking the opponent’s king, and “Shāh Māt!” (Persian for “The king is helpless!”) when the king could not escape or be saved from an attack.  These exclamations would evolve into “Check!” (to let your opponent know that his king is threatened by one of your pieces) and “Checkmate!” (to announce that your opponent has no means of attack or escape when you move your piece into a threatening position, and thus the game has ended).

The game was taken up by the Muslim world after the Islamic conquest of Persia, with the pieces largely keeping their Persian names.  From the Middle East, the game’s influence spread to Russia.  Chess reached Western Europe and Russia by at least three routes, the earliest being in the 9th Century.  By 1000 AD, it had spread throughout Europe and had been introduced into the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors.  Buddhist pilgrims, Silk Road traders and others carried it to the Far East, where it was transformed and assimilated into a game often played on the intersection of the lines of the board rather than within the squares.  Chaturanga reached Europe through Persia, the Byzantine empire and the expanding Arabian empire.  By the 10th Century, Muslims carried chess into North Africa, Sicily and Iberia.

The game was developed extensively in Europe, and by the late 15th Century, it had survived a series of prohibitions and Christian Church sanctions to become very nearly what we know of as the modern game of chess.

Modern history saw the game’s popularity enhanced by the emergence of chess reference and instruction guides, exciting new variations of the game (which were further bolstered by reliable timing mechanisms, first introduced in 1861), effective rules, charismatic players, and competitive chess tournaments.  The recognized World Chess Champions are listed below:

World Chess Champions

1866-1894 Wilhelm Steinitz (Austria-Hungary)
1894-1921 Emanuel Lasker (Germany)
1921-1927 José Capablanca (Cuba)
1927-1935 Alexander Alekhine (France/Russia)
1935-1937 Max Euwe (Netherlands)
1937-1946 Alexander Alekhine (Russia)
1948-1957 Mikhail Botvinnik (USSR/Russia)
1957-1958 Vasily Smyslov (USSR/Russia)
1958-1960 Mikhail Botvinnik (USSR/Russia)
1960-1961 Mikhail Tal (USSR/Latvia)
1961-1963 Mikhail Botvinnik (USSR/Russia)
1963-1969 Tigran Petrosyan (USSR/Armenia)
1969-1972 Boris Spassky (USSR/Russia)
1972-1975 Bobby Fischer (USA)
1975-1985 Anatoly Karpov (USSR/Russia)
1985-2000 Garry Kasparov (USSR/Russia)
2000-2007 Vladimir Karmnik (Russia)
2007-2013 Vishwanathan Anand (India)
2013- Magnus Carlsen (Norway)


Chip music

See Chiptune.



A style of music created by the playing of tones and sounds from classic video games.  Also known as 8-bit music and chip music.



The substance that gives plants and leaves their green pigment, it is also essential to the production of carbohydrates, as it absorbs light energy through the process of photosynthesis.


Chump block

In collectible card games such as Magic: The Gathering, to block an attack from a powerful attacker with a weak defender that will neither survive the attack nor destroy the attacker.


Clarke, Sir Arthur C.

With work ranging from scientific discovery to science fiction, Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008) was an engineer and author who influenced numerous artists, scientists, and engineers working today through his broad body of work.  Through organizations like the Clarke Foundation, he continues to inspire future generations around the world.

As a child, Clarke enjoyed stargazing and reading American science fiction magazines, which sparked his lifelong enthusiasm for space sciences. After moving to London in 1936, Clarke was able to pursue his interest further by joining the British Interplanetary Society (BIS).  He soon began writing science fiction.  After serving in World War II, Clarke published his landmark scholarly paper “Extra-Terrestrial Relays – Can Rocket Stations Give World-wide Radio Coverage?” in 1945 in the British magazine Wireless World.  Clarke was awarded a Fellowship at King’s College, London, where he obtained a first class honors degree in Physics and Mathematics in 1948.  He also served as the British Interplanetary Society’s president in 1946-47 and 1951-1953.

Clarke set out the first principles of global communication via satellites placed in geostationary orbits (above the equator so that the period of the orbit, or the time it takes the satellite to complete one orbit around the Earth, is the same as the Earth’s rotational period, or the time it takes the Earth to rotate once around its axis).  This idea was originally proposed in 1928, but Clarke was the first to suggest that geostationary orbits would be ideal for establishing worldwide telecommunication relays.  Over the next decades, Clarke worked with scientists and engineers in the United States in the development of spacecraft and launch systems.  After the launch of the Sputnik satellite by the Soviet Union in 1957, the discussion of the use of outer space by different nations of the Earth become an important global issue.  Clarke was involved in these discussions, addressing the United Nations during their deliberations on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.  Clarke saw his vision of global telecommunications via satellites start to become reality in 1964 with the launch of the first geostationary communication satellite Syncom 3, which was used to broadcast the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo to the United States.

Author of over 70 books of fiction and non-fiction, and recipient of numerous awards for his writing, Clarke strived to engage audiences in different media.  In 1964, he started working with the noted film producer Stanley Kubrick on a science fiction movie script.  The result of the collaboration was the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Not only were Clarke and Kubrick nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, but Clarke simultaneously wrote the screenplay and the novel.  Clarke worked for decades in television, bringing scientific and engineering achievements to people’s homes around the world.  He worked alongside Walter Cronkite and Wally Schirra for the CBS coverage of the Apollo 12 and 15 space missions in the United States.  Clarke released 2010: Odyssey Two, sequel to 2001, in 1982, and worked with director Peter Hyams on the movie version, which was released two years later.

Arthur Clarke’s remarkable lifetime of work was recognized by both the country of his birth and his adopted home country of Sri Lanka.  In 1988, Queen Elizabeth II honored Clarke with a knighthood, formally conferred by Prince Charles in Sri Lanka two years later.  In 2005, Clarke was awarded Sri Lanka’s highest civilian honor, Sri Lankabhimanya (The Pride of Sri Lanka).


Clarke’s Laws

A series of three rules attributed to science fiction legend Sir Arthur C. Clarke, intended to help define ways to consider claims about the future of scientific developments. These laws do not contain much in the way of predictive power, so scientists rarely have any reason to explicitly include them in their scientific work.  Despite this, the sentiments that they express generally resonate with scientists, which is understandable, since Clarke held degrees in physics and mathematics.


Clarke’s First Law

In 1962, Clarke published a collection of essays, Profiles of the Future, which included an essay called “Hazards of Prophecy: The Failure of Imagination.”  The first law was mentioned in the essay, although since it was the only law mentioned at the time, it was called just “Clarke’s Law.”  It states: When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right.  When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong. 

In the February 1977 issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, fellow science fiction author Isaac Asimov wrote an essay entitled “Asimov’s Corollary,” which offered this corollary to Clarke’s First Law: When, however, the lay public rallies round an idea that is denounced by distinguished but elderly scientists and supports that idea with great fervor and emotion, the distinguished but elderly scientists are then, after all, probably right.


Clarke’s Second Law

In the 1962 essay, Clarke made an observation which fans began calling his Second Law. When he published a revised edition of Profiles of the Future in 1973, he made the designation official.

Clarke’s Second Law states: The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.  Though not as popular as his subsequent Third Law, this statement really defines the relationship between science and science fiction, and how each field helps to inform the other.


Clarke’s Third Law

When Clarke acknowledged the Second Law in 1973, he decided that there should be a third law to help round things out.  After all, Newton had three laws, and there were also three laws of thermodynamics.  Clarke’s Third Law: Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  This is by far the most popular of the three laws. It is invoked frequently in popular culture and is often just referred to as “Clarke’s Law.”  Some authors have modified Clarke’s Law, even going so far as to create an inverse corollary, though the precise origin of this corollary isn’t exactly clear.  The Third Law Corollary states: Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced, or, as expressed in the novel Foundation’s Fear:
If technology is distinguishable from magic, it is insufficiently advanced.



An expert in ancient Greek and Roman language, literature, art, architecture or culture.


Cleese, John

John Marwood Cleese was born in Weston-super-Mare, England on October 27, 1939. A talented comedian, he is most famous for his work with a comedy troupe known as Monty Python, and for such solo projects as the popular British television series Fawlty Towers.

After completing his studies at Clifton in 1958, Cleese returned to his alma mater St. Peter’s as a teacher for two years before heading off to Cambridge University, planning to study law.  There, he displayed his comedic talents as a member of the famed Footlights Dramatic Club, which previously had featured the likes of Peter Cook and David Frost.  With the Footlights, he performed at the Beyond the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1962, where he befriended Graham Chapman, with whom he would eventually become collaborators.  After he earned his degree in 1963, Cleese decided to follow his interest in comedy. He had been in a Footlights show that year which later went to London.  Cleese even traveled with the show when it ran on Broadway for several weeks in October 1964.

Cleese soon landed a job writing jokes for BBC Radio.  He later made the move to television, becoming a writer and performer on The Frost Report featuring David Frost.  Other members of the writing staff included his friend Graham Chapman, as well as future Pythons Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones.  He also starred in At Last the 1948 Show with Chapman and Marty Feldman in 1967.

Together with Chapman, Idle, Palin, Jones, and American cartoonist Terry Gilliam, Cleese developed Monty Python’s Flying Circus, an outlandish comedy series featuring off-the-wall sketches and odd animation segments.  During the run of the show, Cleese took on such memorable roles as the stuffy representative of the Ministry of Silly Walks and the consumer who attempts to return a dead parrot to a pet shop.  Michael Palin was quoted by People magazine as saying, “John’s performances were the linchpin of Python.”  In 1972, Cleese left Monty Python’s Flying Circus before its fourth season.

Working with his wife, Connie Booth, Cleese created a new television series, Fawlty Towers. The popular sitcom first aired in 1975 and featured Cleese as the high-strung Basil Fawlty who runs an inn with his wife (Prunella Scales).  He worked on Fawlty Towers until 1979.  While he had been tired of the Monty Python television series, Cleese did participate in the group’s film projects. He appeared in, and helped write, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979), and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983).

Cleese had another career breakthrough in 1988 with A Fish Called Wanda, in which he appeared and also co-wrote.  The screenplay earned Cleese and Charles Crichton an Academy Award nomination.  Cleese branched out into legitimate action films as an assistant gadget expert in the James Bond adventure The World Is Not Enough (1999).  In 2002’s Die Another Day, he returned as Q, the chief gadget expert.  He also appeared in the first two Harry Potter films as a ghost named Nearly Headless Nick.  His distinctive English accent was put to good use in the animated projects Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Ever After (2010), in which Cleese voiced King Harold.

Cleese has also enjoyed some success on American television. He won an Emmy Award in 1987 for a guest appearance on the sitcom Cheers, and had a recurring role on the hit comedy Will & Grace from 2003 to 2004.

An author of several books, Cleese contributed to 2005’s The Pythons: Autobiography.  He also reunited with the surviving members of Monty Python for several events in 2009 to celebrate the group’s fortieth anniversary, then performed at O2 Arena in 2014, in what the Pythons called their last reunion.  Referring cheekily to the loss of Graham Chapman, the shows were called Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five To Go.



An eye-catching, often sensationalized, internet headline that encourages people to read on by clicking a hyperlink.  Such links are often paid for by an advertiser or generate income based on the number of clicks.



An individual computer that accesses the information and programs stored on a server as part of a network environment.


Client/server network

A computer network which connects one powerful central computer, called a server, to a group of less powerful personal computers or workstations, called clients.


Cloaking device

A science fiction term coined by writer D. C. Fontana for the 1968 Star Trek episode “The Enterprise Incident” meaning a device that renders a person or thing (such as a spaceship) invisible.


Clockwork Orange, A (film)

Stanley Kubrick’s 1971 film adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novel, starring Malcom McDowell as Alex DeLarge, the leader of a violent gang of teens, who is put through anti-violent conditioning.  A film with one of the strongest anti-violent messages of its time, it was ironically also one of the most violent films of its time.  The film became one of the only X-rated (in its original release, due to violent content) films ever nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.


Clockwork Orange, A (novel)

Anthony Burgess’ controversial futuristic 1962 novel about violence, conditioning, and the effects of both.  Creating its own slang language called Nadsat (complete with glossary), the book follows the exploits of Alex, a violent youth who is put through anti-violent conditioning.  It was later adapted into an equally controversial film directed by Stanley Kubrick.



As a noun, an exact copy of something.  In science fiction, most often used to refer to a genetic copy of a human being.  As a verb, to produce an exact copy of something.  In science fiction, most often used to refer to the cloning of a human being.


Club 33

Named for its address at 33 Royal Street, this private club on the grounds of Disneyland was designed by Walt Disney to be a place where he could entertain visiting dignitaries and others.  At the 1964 World’s Fair, Walt Disney visited the private VIP lounges of the large corporate sponsors, and this visit allegedly inspired him to begin forming the concept of Disneyland’s own VIP lounge.  Not long afterward, the initial development for Club 33 began, headed by artist Dorothea Redmond and renowned decorator Emil Kuri.  After years of planning, Club 33 became a reality in May of 1967.  Club 33 is comprised of two dining rooms and several adjoining areas, all of which hold a wide array of magnificent antiques and original works of art.  Sadly, it was never seen by its creator, due to Walt Disney’s untimely death in December 1966.  Today, Club 33 functions as an exclusive private club where members or their guests may enjoy a gourmet meal complemented by the finest wines.



©2015-2018 nerDictionary.com.  All rights reserved.