E – Em

E = mc2

See Relativity.



A common abbreviation for the Latin phrase exempli gratia, or “for example.”  The abbreviation, which can appear in italics (as is the traditional method of writing out Latin phrases) or in standard font, typically appears in a parenthetical list of examples, such as: “There are many math classes available at this school (e.g., algebra, geometry, trigonometry and calculus).”


E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

The 1982 classic sci fi adventure tells the story of a stranded alien and the young Earthlings he befriends on his quest to return home.  Written by Melissa Mathison and directed/co-produced by Steven Spielberg, E.T. earned $1.2 billion worldwide (adjusted for inflation).  The film starred Drew Barrymore (who was six during the film’s production) as Gertie and 10-year-old Henry Thomas as Elliott.



Combining the internet prefix “e-” (for “electronic”) with the word “retail,” e-tail is the business of using the internet to sell products directly to the internet consumers.  See Internet.


The name of the universe in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, which describes the creation of the universe and all the places and races within it.  See Silmarillion, The; Tolkien, J.R.R.


Earth Federation

The military force in the anime series Mobile Suit Gundam (or simply Gundam), sometimes referred to as “the Star Trek of Japan.”



In the DC Comics multiverse, an alternate version of our own Earth (or Earth-0), on which the morals of the citizens are the opposite of ours, and the heroes of the Justice League of America are represented by the Crime Syndicate.  See DC Comics; Justice League of America; Multiverse.


Easter egg

An undocumented (or “hidden”) bonus feature in a software program or DVD.  See Digital video disc (DVD).


Eavesdown Docks

A shipping and docking facility on the planet Persephone in the Firefly universe.  It was at Eavesdown Docks that Simon Tam (with his sister River Tam in tow) and Shepherd Book first came aboard the Serenity.



A subgenre of Japanese manga, which is characterized by adult themes and sexual imagery. See Manga.



The mathematical science of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services.


Eddings, David

Regarded as one of the most influential fantasy authors of his time, David Eddings (1931-2009) was an American born author best known for his epic fantasy novels, including The Belgariad and The Mallorean.  Born in Spokane, Washington, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Reed College in Portland in 1954 and a Master of Arts from the University of Washington in 1961.  He served in the Army from 1954-1956.  Before embarking on a writing career, Eddings was a purchaser for the Boeing Company, an English teacher and a grocery clerk.  He married Judith Leigh Schall in 1962, and they remained together until her death in 2007.

Eddings’ first published novel was a contemporary adventure novel called High Hunt, which came out in 1973.  Leigh Eddings first appeared as a co-author on the Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress publications, but her participation went back to the very beginning of his writing.  Publisher Lester Del Rey believed that multi-authorships were a problem, and it was his idea that David Edding’s name alone appeared on the book covers.  Meanwhile, Leigh Eddings’ largest contribution was with the behavior of their female characters.  By the 1990s, their books were credited with both of their names.

The Belgariad consisted of five novels: Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician’s Gambit, Castle of Wizardry and Enchanter’s End Game.  Written between 1982 and 1984, the series tells of the journey of an orphaned farm boy, his Aunt Pol, and the mysterious Mister Wolf.  The follow-up series The Mallorean contained Guardian of the West, King of the Murgos, Demon Lord of Karanda, Sorceress of Darshiva and The Seeress of Kell, all published between 1988 and 1992.  Eddings went on to write another series of books, set in an entirely different world than The Belgariad.  The first series, called The Elenium, was comprised of The Diamond Throne, The Ruby Knight and The Sapphire Rose.  His next series was The Tamuli: Domes Of Fire, The Shining Ones and The Hidden City.  After the release of The Tamuli, Eddings released a stand-alone book, The Redemption of Athalus.

During his career, Eddings conceived of a 10-point guide to a fantasy novel:

  • A theological arena
  • A quest
  • A magical element
  • A hero
  • A resident wizard
  • A heroine
  • A villain
  • A group of companions
  • A group of ladies attached to the companions
  • Kings, queens and emperors to rule

Surviving his wife by only two years, Eddings passed away in 2009.


Edlund, Ben

Born September 20, 1968 in Pembroke, Massachusetts, Edlund created the comic book and hero The Tick (which would eventually spawn two TV series: one cartoon and one live-action).  Published by New England Comics, he wrote and illustrated the first twelve issues before moving on to other projects.  The series continued without his input.  Edlund’s television writing and producing credits include The Tick, Firefly, Angel, Supernatural and Gotham.


Ee’d Plebnista

A main plot device in the 1968 Star Trek episode “The Omega Glory,” that which the alien faction The Yangs call the “Ee’d Plebnista” turns out to be a copy of the U.S. Constitution, the meaning of which has been distorted over the centuries, along with the words.


Egbert of Wessex

Recognized as the first historical monarch to establish a stable and extensive rule over all of Anglo-Saxon England, Egbert (770-839), also spelled Ecgberht or Ecgbryht, was king of the West Saxons from 802 until his death in 839.  He formed a kingdom around Wessex so powerful, it would eventually achieve the political unification of England in the mid-10th Century.

The son of Ealhmund, king of Kent in 784 and 786, Egbert was a member of a family that had formerly held the West Saxon kingship.  In 789, Egbert was exiled to the European continent by the West Saxon king, Beorhtric, only to return and succeed Beorhtric in 802.  He immediately removed Wessex from the Mercian confederation and consolidated his power as an independent ruler.  In 825, he decisively defeated Beornwulf, king of Mercia, at the Battle of Ellendune (now Wroughton, Wiltshire). The victory was a turning point in English history because it destroyed Mercian ascendancy and left Wessex the strongest of the English kingdoms.  Following his conquest of Mercia in 827, he controlled all of England south of the Humber.  After further victories in Northumberland and North Wales, he was recognized by the title Bretwalda (“ruler of the British”).  By virtue of long-dormant hereditary claims, Egbert was accepted as king in Kent, Sussex, Surrey, and Essex.  In 829, he conquered Mercia itself, but he lost it the following year to the Mercian king Wiglaf.  A year before his death, Egbert won a stunning victory over Danish and Cornish Briton invaders at Hingston Down (now in Cornwall).



The use of search engines to find internet references to one’s own website, or one’s own name or company name.  See Internet; Search engine.


Einstein, Albert

Considered by many to be one of the most brilliant and influential minds of the 20th Century, Albert Einstein won the 1921 Nobel Prize in physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect, and his work also had a major impact on the development of atomic energy.

Born on March 14, 1879 to a secular Jewish family in Ulm, Württemberg, Germany, Einstein felt alienated in elementary school, and had what were considered to be speech challenges, but his youth was marked by deep inquisitiveness and inquiry.   Drawn toward science, Einstein penned what would be seen as his first major paper, “The Investigation of the State of Aether in Magnetic Fields,” while still in his teens.  When he came of age, Einstein renounced his German citizenship and became a Swiss citizen.

After graduating from Swiss Federal Polytechnic School in Zurich, Einstein eventually found steady work in 1902 as a clerk in a Swiss patent office.  While working there, Einstein had the time to further ideas that had taken hold during his studies at Polytechnic, and thus cemented his theorems on what would be known as the principle of relativity.

In 1905, Einstein had four papers published in the Annalen der Physik, one of the best known physics journals of the era.  In his fourth paper, Einstein came up with the equation E=mc2, suggesting that tiny particles of matter could be converted into huge amounts of energy, foreshadowing the development of atomic power.

In November 1915, Einstein completed the general theory of relativity, which he considered the culmination of his life’s research.  He was convinced of the merits of general relativity because it allowed for a more accurate prediction of planetary orbits around the sun than was offered in Isaac Newton’s theory, and for a more expansive, nuanced explanation of how gravitational forces worked.  Einstein’s assertions were affirmed via observations and measurements by British astronomers Sir Frank Dyson and Sir Arthur Eddington during a 1919 solar eclipse, and thus a global science icon was born.  In 1921, Einstein won the Nobel Prize for Physics, but due to a bureaucratic ruling, he wasn’t actually given the award until the following year.  Because his ideas on relativity were still considered questionable, he received the prize for his explanation of the photoelectric effect, but Einstein opted to speak about relativity during his acceptance speech.

Originally, Einstein had held on to the belief that the universe was a fixed, static entity, also known as a “cosmological constant,” in the development of his general theory, but he later directly contradicted this idea and asserted that the universe could be in a state of flux.  He met with astronomer Edwin Hubble, who deduced that the universe was expanding, at the Mount Wilson Observatory near Los Angeles in 1930.

Meanwhile, the Nazi party influenced other scientists to label Einstein’s work “Jewish physics.”  Jewish citizens were barred from university work and other official jobs, and Einstein himself was targeted to be killed, leading to his immigration to the U.S.  In 1933, Einstein took on a position at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, New Jersey and spent the rest of his life there, working on a unified field theory that would unify the varied laws of physics.  In 1939, Einstein and fellow physicist Leo Szilard wrote to President Franklin D. Roosevelt to alert him of the possibility of an atomic bomb being developed by the Nazis, and to galvanize the United States to create its own nuclear weapons.  The U.S. would eventually initiate the Manhattan Project, though Einstein would not take direct part in its implementation, due to his pacifist and socialist affiliations.  Though he was the recipient of much scrutiny and distrust from FBI eeedirector J. Edgar Hoover, Einstein was granted permanent residency in his adopted country in 1935, and became an American citizen a few years later.  During WWII, he worked on Navy-based weapons systems and made big monetary donations to the military by auctioning off manuscripts worth millions.  After learning of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, Einstein became a major player in efforts to curtail usage of the atomic bomb.  The following year, he co-founded the Emergency Committee of Atomic Scientists, and in 1947, via an essay for The Atlantic Monthly, Einstein espoused working with the United Nations to maintain nuclear weapons as a deterrent to conflict.  Around this time, Einstein also became a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), seeing the parallels between the treatment of Jews in Germany and blacks in the United States.  He corresponded with scholar/activist W.E.B. Du Bois and performing artist Paul Robeson, and campaigned for civil rights, calling racism a “disease” in a 1946 Lincoln University speech.

After the war, Einstein continued to work on his unified field theory and key aspects of the theory of general relativity, such as wormholes, the possibility of time travel, the existence of black holes and the creation of the universe.  On April 17, 1955, while working on a speech to honor Israel’s seventh anniversary, Einstein suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm.  During the autopsy, Einstein’s brain was removed for preservation and future study by doctors of neuroscience.  It is now located at the Princeton University Medical Center.  See Relativity.


Eisner, Michael

The man behind many entertainment giants, Michael Eisner was born March 7, 1942 in New York.  He graduated from Lawrenceville School in 1960 and Denison University in 1964 with a B.A. in English Literature and Theater.  He began his career at ABC, where he helped take the network from number three to number one in primetime, daytime and children’s television with such landmark shows as Happy Days, Barney Miller, and Rich Man, Poor Man.  In 1976, he became president of Paramount Pictures, turning out hit films like Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Terms of Endearment.  This string of critically acclaimed and blockbuster films led the studio to become number one in ticket sales and profit.  Michael assumed the position of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company in 1984 and, in the ensuing 21 years, transformed it from a film and theme park company with $1.8 billion in enterprise value into a global media empire valued at $80 billion.

Michael is the author of Work in Progress, about his involvement in the entertainment industry, as well as Camp, about the life lessons learned during his formative years at Keewaydin summer camp in Vermont.  Michael’s third book, WORKING TOGETHER: Why Great Partnerships Succeed, profiles several successful partnerships in the business world and beyond, including Bill and Melinda Gates, and Ron Howard and Brian Grazer.

A leading force in the fields of investing and philanthropy, Michael serves on the boards of the California Institute of the Arts, Denison University, American Hospital of Paris Foundation, the Aspen Institute, the Yale School of Architecture Dean’s Council, the Michael D. Eisner School of Education, the Eisner Pediatric and Family Medical Center, and The Eisner Foundation.


Eisner, Will

Dubbed the “Orson Welles of comics” and the “father of the graphic novel,” William Erwin Eisner was born on March 6, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York.  At DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, Eisner’s budding interest in art was fostered, and it was in the school newspaper that his first work was published.  Eisner’s first comic work appeared in 1936, kicking off a unique and groundbreaking career spanning almost seven decades — from the dawn of the comic book to the advent of digital comics.  He broke new ground in the development of visual narrative and the language of comics, and was the creator of The Spirit, John Law, Lady Luck, Mr. Mystic, Uncle Sam, Blackhawk, Sheena and countless others.

Eisner was influenced by early pulp novels and magazines, and Saturday afternoons at the movies.  All the characters he encountered influenced his own writing later in life.  When Eisner entered DeWitt Clinton High School, both his artistic and writing skills flourished under the tutelage of the top-notch staff the school employed. Bob Kane, who would later gain renown as the creator of Batman, was a fellow student.  Here, Eisner created comic strips, art-directed magazines, created stage designs, illustrated various magazines published at his high school, and in general honed the skills that he would rely on so profoundly in a few short years.

After graduating from Clinton, Eisner never perceived any of his professional stumbles as setbacks, but as learning experiences.  Much of what he learned would play a crucial role when he had his first meeting with Samuel Maxwell “Jerry” Iger.  Eisner met the man who would later become his first business partner at the offices of a magazine called Wow!  (The publication’s full title was Wow, What A Magazine!)  Being an effective problem-solver, Eisner was soon offered an assistant editor position, but turned it down, explaining that what he really wanted to do was comics.  Eventually, several of his strips hit print, including a strip called The Flame, which he would later reprise as his remarkable Hawks of the Seas.  Eisner had art in every issue published, and did the covers for two, one of which was his first fully painted effort.

Recognized as “the Oscars of the American comic book business” and one of the comic industry’s most prestigious awards, The Eisner Award is named for him.  Wizard magazine named Eisner “the most influential comic artist of all time” and in 2002, Eisner received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Federation for Jewish Culture.  Only the second such honor in the organization’s history, it was presented to Eisner by Pulitzer-prize winning cartoonist Art Spiegelman.  By the time of his death on January 3, 2005, Eisner was recognized internationally as one of the giants in the field of “sequential art,” a term he had coined for comics.  See Batman; Wow, What A Magazine!


El Seed

A central antagonist in the first season of Ben Edlund’s cartoon series The Tick, El Seed debuted on October 15, 1994.  This episode of the Fox animated show introduced the new supervillain, as well as the well-meaning hero team called The Civic-Minded Five.  See Edlund, Ben.



Also known as Elven or Elvish, Eldarin is a language created by J.R.R. Tolkien for the race of Elves in fantasy fiction, and was the initial inspiration for Lord of the Rings and the rest of Tolkien’s works.  In fact, Tolkien often said that the Eldarin tongues were created first; the world of Middle-earth developed as a place where those languages could exist.

There are a multitude of elvish languages and each in turn possesses their own unique rules.  At the time that Lord of the Rings was published, there were only two dominant branches of Eldarin: Sindarin and Quenya.  Tolkien created many further languages, but these two remained the most dominant.  While Sindarin and Quenya are the most well-known, there are other Eldarin languages Tolkien created, such as Noldorin.  However, Noldorin eventually evolved into Sindarin.  See Tolkien, J.R.R.


Elder Scrolls, The

Released April 4, 2014 and available in both “pen-and-paper” role-playing and online interactive game forms, The Elder Scrolls is a popular social game, set roughly 1,000 years before the events in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  Just before the rise of Tiber Septim, the first Emperor of Tamriel, three Alliances have emerged across the continent, each struggling for supremacy over the land.  As these great powers battle one another for control of the Imperial City – and with it, all of Tamriel – darker forces are moving to destroy the world.

The award-winning RPG’s online version features a combat system which allows a player to focus on action and tactics, not the user interface.  Players can use any weapon or armor at any time, and customize their abilities to play however they wish as they uncover the mysteries of Tamriel, and seek heroic quests on their own terms.  Choices that players make, from the alliances they join to the battles they fight, shape their destiny … and the destiny of the world of Tamriel!  See Skyrim.



A one-time foe of Spider-Man in Marvel Comics, Electro was recruited by Dr. Octopus to join what would become the Sinister Six.  Along with other Spidey nemeses ElectroKraven the HunterMysterioSandman and the Vulture, Electro was involved in Octopus’ plan to kidnap Betty Brant and, incidentally, May Parker.  This enraged the web-slinger into defeating the Six one at at time.  Replacing the deceased Kraven with Hobgoblin, Octopus reunited the group to steal a soon-to-be-launched satellite in order to spray poison into the atmosphere.  When Octopus turned on his partners, the betrayed five teamed up to gain revenge, but ended up joining him in a scheme to steal weapons.  Defeated again, and frightened by the Spider-Man clone Kaine’s murders of Spidey’s other foes, Electro, Hobgoblin, Mysterio and Vulture joined with BeetleShocker and Scorpia to form the Sinister Seven.  They hoped to stop Kaine by attacking him first, but were all nearly killed in the encounter. The Six, including a resurrected Dr. Octopus, were later regathered for an elaborate, yet ultimately futile, plot to destroy Spider-Man and gain immeasurable wealth by destroying the world’s monetary system.  See Dr. Octopus; Kraven the Hunter; Marvel Comics.



Electrons are negatively-charged ions.  Together, all of the electrons of an atom create a negative charge that balances the positive charge of the protons in the atomic nucleus.  Electrons are extremely small compared to all of the other parts of the atom.  In fact, the mass of an electron is almost 1,000 times smaller than the mass of a proton.  These tiny electrons are found in clouds that surround the nucleus.  Those clouds are specific distances away from the nucleus and are usually organized into groups called “shells.”  Because electrons move so quickly, it is impossible to see where they are at any specific moment in time, but after years of experimentation, scientists discovered specific areas where electrons are likely to be found.  The overall shapes of the shells may change, depending on how many electrons are in an element.  The higher the atomic number, the more shells and electrons an atom will have.  The overall shell shape will also be more complex as more electrons are involved.

Electrons play a major role in all chemical bonds, and electrons are also very important in the world of electronics.  The very small particles can stream through wires and circuits, creating currents of electricity . The electrons move from negatively charged parts to positively charged parts.  The negatively charged pieces of any circuit have extra electrons, while the positively charged pieces want more electrons.  The electrons then jump from one area to another.  When the electrons move, the current can flow through the system.



See Aragorn.



A mythical creature with origins in pagan, Germanic and Norse mythologies, elves have been portrayed in different shapes and sizes, and with many different character traits over the years.  One of the most commonly known sorts of elves are those that live with Santa Claus in the North Pole, making toys for Santa to deliver to the children of the world on Christmas Eve.  J.R.R. Tolkien wrote about High Elves, describing them as having pretty faces and living underground, but elves were originally believed to be minor gods of nature and fertility.  Elves are often pictured as youthful-seeming men and women of great beauty, living in forests and other natural places, underground or in wells and springs.  Legends say elves live very long lives, or are immortal, and they have had magical powers attributed to them.  Following the success of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic work The Lord of the Rings, wherein a wise, angelic people named Elves play a significant role—they have become staple characters of modern fantasy.

In Old Norse mythology, there are three kinds of elves: the Æsir, the álfar and the vanir.  Men could be elevated to the rank of elves after death, such as King Olaf Geirstad-Elf.  Whereas Norse elves are portrayed as beautiful, Old English elves are harmful creatures, aligned with demons.  Some legends say that if a human man saw Elven girls dance, he would be hypnotized by the dancing and join them.  Often, they would dance him to death, as time slowed when dancing with them.  For the man, only a few hours would seem to go by, while actually a decade had passed.

In Norway, the Huldras are seen as beautiful women who lure human men into marrying them.  If successful, the Huldra would lose her hollowed back and tail, but if her fiancée saw her back before the wedding, he would see her thereafter as ugly.  If a human actually married a Huldra, she would turn human … but whether he went through with the wedding or not, she would kill him.

In Icelandic folklore, elves, known as huldufólk or “hidden folk,” dwell in rock formations.  A 2006 and 2007 study on superstition by the University of Iceland’s Faculty of Social Sciences supervised by Terry Gunnell revealed that natives would not rule out the existence of elves and ghosts.

According to German and Danish folklore, the Erlkönig appears as an omen of death, much like the banshee in Irish mythology. Unlike the banshee, however, the Erlkönig will appear only to the person about to die.  His form and expression also tell the person what sort of death they will have: a pained expression means a painful death, a peaceful expression means a peaceful death.

The elf makes many appearances in ballads of English and Scottish origin, as well as folk tales, many involving trips to Elphame or Elfland, a mystical realm which is sometimes an eerie and unpleasant place.  The elf is occasionally portrayed in a positive light, but most stories involve elves of sinister character, frequently bent on rape and murder. In none of the cases is the elf a spritely character with pixie-like qualities.
On the other hand, English folk tales of the early modern period commonly portray elves as not so much evil, but more annoying to humans, as they commonly interfere in their affairs. They are sometimes said to be invisible. In this tradition, elves became similar to the concept of fairies.  This is the probable source of tales of the North Pole elves: as people from the English countryside immigrated to America, they brought elements of English folklore with them.
Successively, the word elf, as well as literary term fairy, evolved spirits like Shakespeare’s Puck, hobgoblins, the English and Scot brownie, the Northumbrian English hob, and so forth.

The fantasy genre in the 20th century grew out of 19th Century Romanticism. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, published in 1937, is seminal.  In his 1939 lecture “On Fairy-Stories,” Tolkien introduced the term “fantasy” in a sense of “higher form of Art, indeed the most nearly pure form, and so (when achieved) the most potent.”  Tolkien’s writing has such popularity that in the 1960s and afterwards, elves speaking an elvish language similar to those in Tolkien’s novels became staple non-human characters in high fantasy works and in fantasy role-playing games.  A hallmark of many fantasy elves is their pointed ears.  Post-Tolkien fantasy elves (popularized by the game Dungeons & Dragons) tend to be more beautiful and wiser than humans, with sharper senses and perceptions. Whether they make cookies (as the Keebler elves do) or cereal (like Rice Krispies’ Snap, Crackle and Pop), they are said to be gifted with arcane powers, mentally sharp and lovers of nature, art and song.  See Dungeons and Dragons; Hobbit; Tolkien, J.R.R.



Long-running independent fantasy series, with over 15 million comics, graphic novels and other publications, the series follows Cutter, chief of the Wolfriders, and his quest to find others of his own kind.  First published in 1978 by Wendy and Richard Pini.  See Elf.


Ellis, Warren

Award-winning writer of graphic novels Transmetropolitan, Fell, Ministry of Space and Planetary, and author of the “underground classic” novel Crooked Little Vein.  His graphic novel RED was turned into a major motion picture, and that film spawned a sequel.  The motion picture Iron Man 3 was based on his Marvel Comics graphic novel Iron Man: Extremis.  He’s also written extensively for Vice, Wired UK and Reuters on technological and cultural matters, and is co-writing a video project called Wastelanders with Joss Whedon.  He is serializing a new graphic novel Trees with artist Jason Howard, and writing the digital short-story single “Dead Pig Collector.”  A documentary about his work, Captured Ghosts, was released in 2012.

Recognitions include the NUIG Literary and Debating Society’s President’s Medal for service to freedom of speech, the Eagle Awards Roll Of Honour for lifetime achievement in the field of comics and graphic novels, the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire 2010, the Sidewise Award for Alternate History, and the International Horror Guild Award for illustrated narrative.  He is a Patron of the British Humanist Association, an Associate of the Institute of Atemporal Studies, and literary editor of Edict magazine.



See Eldarin.



See Eldarin.


Embedded computer

A special-purpose computer system is a completely encapsulated part of a larger system which it controls.  An embedded system performs only pre-defined peripheral functions (such as guidance or security) but no data processing function.


A short series of keyboard characters, typed in such an order that they appear to form an image, typically of a human facial expression.



A hardware device or software application that can accurately imitate another particular device or program, with which other components (such as a mobile phone, arcade machine, or another computer) expect to interact.



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