En – Ez


The process of using hardware devices or software programs to scramble sensitive data, in order to make it unreadable by any human or computer other than the intended recipients.  Encryptions are generated by a series of mathematical operations, or encryption algorithms.  Intended recipients must have an “electronic key” to decrypt the data, using a similar device to convert cypher text back to its original readable form, called clear text.  See Algorithm; Hardware.


Ender’s Game (novel)

A science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card, which spawned sequels and a major motion picture.  Child genius Ender Wiggin is selected by international military forces to save the world from destruction.  He is also forced to protect himself against jealous bullies.  He is then transported to Battle School, where he excels and gets noticed by the military commanders.  After a series of tests and challenges, Ender is taken to Eros, the planet that holds the International Fleet command, and there Ender undergoes more testing, at higher and higher difficulty levels.  Ender wins, and in the end, it is revealed that it was a real battle, as were all of his supposedly simulated battles.  He completely destroyed the alien enemy.  On a new planet, Ender decides to make it his mission to find a place for the aliens to live.



  1. Used mainly in chess, the final stage of a game, typically after a major reduction in pieces from both sides
  2. the late or final stages of an activity or process



In the Star Wars universe, a forested moon peopled by the Ewoks.  A decisive battle took place on Endor, which overthrew the Galactic Empire and ended the life and reign of terror of Darth Vader.  See Darth; Darth Vader.



Short for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, ENIAC was the world’s first all-electronic calculating machine.  Proposed by physicist John Mauchly in 1942 and built between 1943 and 1945, it was the first large-scale computer to run at electronic speed, without being slowed by any mechanical parts.  Until a 1955 lightning strike halted it, ENIAC may have run more calculations than all mankind had done up to that point.

Compared to today’s calculators and computers, the miracle that was ENIAC may be hard to comprehend, since designing the correct configuration, and then connecting the wires and setting the switches, took many days.  That was for each new problem!

After World War II, ENIAC was declassified and widely publicized.  Twenty single-number accumulators were its primary functional units, but ENIAC also had special units for multiplication, division and square roots.  The gigantic computer (which filled an entire room) burned out one vacuum tube roughly every day or two.  With almost 18,000 tubes inside it, locating and replacing the failed one was challenging. Over time, however, the maintenance team developed the skill to fix a problem in just 15 minutes.

In 1995, to celebrate ENIAC’s 50th anniversary, the machine was re-implemented using modern integrated circuit technology.  What was once a room-sized computer could now fit in the palm of your hand!  See Computer.



Known as “Shepherds of the Trees” in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the ents are a race of sentient treelike beings created to protect trees from dwarves, orcs and other creatures.  See Tolkien, J.R.R.



Launched in 2245 (modern calendar date), Star Trek’s original starship U.S.S. Enterprise was built in the San Francisco Yards, and while orbiting Earth.  The Constitution-class starship was originally captained by Robert April, who was succeeded by Christopher Pike, and then the command was given to Captain James T. Kirk for a five-year mission from 2264-2269.  During this mission, the Enterprise encountered the Romulans for the first time since the Romulan-Earth conflict, engaged the robotic “Planet Killer” vessel, traveled back in time to 20th Century Earth, and played host to Khan Noonien Singh, a product of late 20th Century genetic engineering, who once fought in the Eugenics Wars.

The original Enterprise was designed to house a crew of 430, and included 14 science labs, an observation deck, a massive lower deck which includes main engineering, and a shuttle bay. The ship’s armaments included forward phaser banks and photon torpedoes.  The ship underwent several refits, most notably in 2270, which involved an upgrade of most systems and the replacement of the bridge and warp-drive nacelles. This refit Enterprise was first commanded by Captain Williard Decker until the V’Ger incident forced a then-Admiral Kirk to assume command.

In 2285, Admiral Kirk assumed command again, this time from Captain Spock, when a training mission aboard the Enterprise was diverted to investigate Regula 1. Ultimately, this would result in Kirk’s second encounter with Khan, and a brutal combat between Enterprise and the ship Khan hijacked, the Reliant. Captain Spock died on this mission, and shortly before its decommissioning in 2285, Kirk took the Enterprise – against orders – to the Genesis Planet to rescue a reborn Spock.  It was also here that the vessel was set to self-destruct when threatened by Klingon capture.

The starship was soon rebuilt as Enterprise-A, which would initially be captained again by James Kirk (demoted to Captain following the hijacking of the ship), and eventually as Enterprise-D, captained by Jean-Luc Picard.


Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB)

The non-profit organization that assigns ratings for video games and apps on the basis of age-appropriateness, content, and interactive elements, so parents can be aware what their children are seeing and experiencing.  Established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), the ESRB also enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines.

The rating system (as seen on video game packages, for example) is as follows:-

eC – Early childhood.  Content is intended for young children

E – Everyone.  Content is generally suitable for everyone.  May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.

E10+ – Everyone 10+.  Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up.  May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.

T – Teen.  Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.

M – Mature.  Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

AO – Adults Only.  Content suitable only for adults ages 18 and up. May include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content and/or gambling with real currency.

RP – Rating Pending.  Not yet assigned a final ESRB rating. Appears only in advertising, marketing and promotional materials related to a game that is expected to carry an ESRB rating, and should be replaced by a game’s rating once it has been assigned.



The concept of entropy, introduced by German physicist Rudolf Clausius in 1850, provides a mathematical method to encode the concept that processes will become impossible.  Specific types of entropy include:

  1. A process of degradation, or a trend to disorder;
  2. The general trend of the universe toward death and disorder;
  3. The degradation of the matter and energy in the universe toward an ultimate state of inert uniformity;
  4. A measure of the energy (per unit temperature) in a closed thermodynamic system, which is no longer available for doing mechanical work; usually considered to be a measure of the system’s disorder. In general terms,the degree of disorder or uncertainty in a system, in reference to the concept that everything in the universe eventually moves from order to disorder (e.g., temperature, pressure, composition);
  5. (In communication theory) A numerical measure of the uncertainty of an outcome;
  6. (In statistical mechanics) A measure of the randomness of the microscopic constituents of a thermodynamic system (represented by the symbol s);
  7. (In data transmission and information theory) A measure of the loss of information in a transmitted signal or message; and
  8. (In cosmology) A hypothetical tendency for the universe to attain a state of maximum homogeneity in which all matter is at a uniform temperature. Known as “heat death,” this state of uniform distribution of energy, which is a corollary of the second law of thermodynamics, is viewed as a possible fate of the universe.


Ergonomic keyboard

A typing keyboard that separates the traditional key pattern into sections that are angled to feel more natural and comfortable for the user.  Designed to allow a user’s hands to rest, as well as remain straight in conjunction with the forearm and wrist, ergonomic keyboards are touted as being able to provide minimal muscle strain and diminish possible health problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.



The science of designing and arranging tools, components, furniture, and other daily implements so they are safely, easily and comfortably functional to human users.  Also known as “human engineering.”



Developed by Xerox from an earlier specification called Alohanet, and then developed further by Xerox, DEC and Intel, ethernet is the most widely-installed local area network (LAN) technology today.  It is specified in standard IEEE 802.3.  See Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); Local area network (LAN).


Ethical hacker

See White hat hacker.



Greek mathematician who wrote Elements, a thirteen-volume set of textbooks of geometry (the study of points, lines, angles, and surfaces), and the oldest major mathematical work existing in the Western world.  It is unknown whether Euclid himself was a creative mathematician, or if he was simply good at collecting and editing the work of others.  His mathematical education may have been obtained from students of Plato in Athens, Greece, since most of the earlier mathematicians upon whose work the Elements is based had studied and taught there, but no earlier writings similar to the Elements have survived.

Each of Elements’ thirteen volumes contains a number of theorems, from about ten to one hundred, which follow a series of definitions.  The usual elementary course in Euclidean geometry is based on Book I.  Book VII contains the definition of a prime number as that which is measured by a unit alone (a prime number can be evenly divided only by itself and the number 1), and Book IX contains Euclid’s proof that prime numbers are infinite.

Euclid’s writings were used by all major mathematicians, including Isaac Newton (1642–1727).  The growing importance of the sciences and mathematics in the 18th and 19th centuries helped Euclid’s ideas keep their influence in schools and universities throughout the Western world.

Some of Euclid’s other works are known only because other writers have mentioned them. The book Data discusses plane geometry and contains propositions, or problems to be demonstrated, in which certain data are given about a figure, and from which other data can be figured out.  Euclid’s On Division, also dealing with plane geometry, is concerned with more general problems of division.  Phaenomena is a Euclid work that today would be called “applied mathematics,” concerning the geometry of spheres for use in astronomy.  Optics corrects the belief held at the time that the sun and other heavenly bodies are actually the size they appear to be to the eye, and Porisms presents us with something between a theorem and a problem.  Rather than something to be proven or something to be constructed, a porism is concerned with bringing out another feature of something that is already there.  For example, finding the center of a circle or the greatest common divisor of two numbers are examples of porisms.  This work appears to have been more advanced than the Elements.


Eugenics Wars

First mentioned in the February 16, 1967 Star Trek episode “Space Seed,” with details later elaborated upon in Trek novels and fan sites, the Eugenics Wars were a series of violent coups and international wars fought on Earth between 1992 and 1996.

The roots of the Eugenics Wars lay in scientists’ ambitious attempts to improve the human race through selective breeding and genetic engineering, which was seen as a means to end common diseases, imperfections in human physiology, and to rush the human race to its next stage in evolution.  As a result, a race of “supermen,” popularly known as the Augments, were created by the scientists in the 1950s Cold War era in the hopes that they would lead Humanity into an era of peace in a world that had only known war.  These men were estimated to be five times stronger than the average person, with 50% better lung efficiency than normal, and an IQ range double that of average humans.  They also had enhanced senses.  Inevitably, they grew bolder with their enhancements (As Spock reported, “Superior ability breeds superior ambition”), and the resulting wars between them devastated parts of Earth, causing by some estimates 30 million deaths.

The supermen, also known as the “Augments,” eventually held dominance over a large portion of the Earth, beginning in the early 1990s. Among the most notorious was Khan Noonien Singh, who became the absolute ruler of more than 25% of the planet in 1992, with territory stretching from Asia through the Middle East. Khan considered himself a prince “with power over millions,” and unlike some other nations ruled by Augments, there were no massacres and no wars of  aggression under his rule of “The Great Khanate” (shown on the map in red) until he was attacked; he was thus among the most admired of the so-called “tyrants.”

One aspect these scientists overlooked was the personality of the Augments. Along with their superior abilities, the Augments were aggressive and arrogant, flaws which the scientists were unable to correct at the time, due to the infancy of the science.  Gradually, as the Augments took over more and more territory, they began to see their own kind as inferior.  The fighting among the Augments escalated until they were so distracted by their petty bickering that the humans were able to rise up in revolt.  Unfortunately, the only weapons powerful enough to stop them were nuclear, and thus the high casualty rates, with an estimated death toll of 600 million.  Once the Augments had been defeated and eliminated, societies began to put themselves back together again.  The outcome of this conflict was a global law denying any further manipulation of the human genome.



See Evangelion.



Humanoid fighting war machine from the anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion.  Debuting in October 1995 the series tells of the Angels: huge, powerful alien war machines that appear in Tokyo for the second time in the year 2015.  The only hope for Mankind’s survival lies in the Evangelion, the war machine developed by NERV, a special United Nations agency.  Capable of withstanding anything the Angels can dish out, the Evangelion’s one drawback lies in the limited number of people able to pilot them.  Only a handful of teenagers, all born fourteen years prior, and nine months after the Angels first appeared, are able to interface with the Evangelion.  One such teenager is Shinji Ikari, whose father heads the NERV team that developed and maintains the Evangelion.  Thrust into a maelstrom of battle, Shinji is forced to find the courage and the strength to not only fight, but to survive … or risk losing everything.  Also known as Eva or EVA. See Anime.



Now boasting a thriving player community, hundreds of unique zones, thousands of creatures to engage, and exciting quests to embark upon, the original version of this massively multiplayer online (MMO) game was an immediate hit when it was released in March 1999.  Since its inception, the game has spawned over 20 expansions, various offshoot games, and even novels and graphic novels set in the EverQuest universe.



  1. any process of formation or growth; development, or the product of such development;
  2. a process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change or development, as in social or economic structure or institutions;
  3. a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler or worse to a higher, more complex or better state;
  4. the historical development of a biological group (as a race or species); phylogenesis;
  5. a process in which the whole universe is a progression of interrelated phenomena;
  6. in the game of Pokémon, the process by which a Pokémonchanges into different species of Pokémon.


Evolution (organic)

A change in a population’s gene pool between generations, as through mutation, natural selection or genetic drift; the process by which changes in plants and animals occur over time; the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth.

The idea of organic evolution was originally proposed by some ancient Greek thinkers, but was long rejected in Europe as contrary to the literal interpretation of the Bible.  Lamarck proposed a theory that organisms eventually transformed by their environments and their efforts to respond to the demands of those environments.  However, he was unable to describe a mechanism for this.  Lyell demonstrated that geological deposits were the cumulative product of slow processes over vast ages.  This helped Darwin develop a theory of gradual evolution over a long period of time, via the natural selection of those varieties of organisms slightly better adapted to the environment, and therefore more likely to produce progeny.  Combined with the subsequent discoveries of the cellular and molecular basis of genetics, Darwin’s theory of evolution has, with some modification, become the dominant unifying concept of modern biology.



King Arthur’s legendary sword.  According to one legend, as a boy, Arthur alone was able to draw the sword out of a stone, and as prophecy had dictated, was seen as the next king of England.  In another story, the powerful sword was given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake.  Both of these stories are related in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur.  Decades later, in keeping with the Lady of the Lake legend, when the king lay mortally wounded after his last battle, he ordered the faithful Sir Bedivere to go to the water and throw the sword into it. An arm rose to catch it, brandished Excalibur three times, and then disappeared.  According to Malory, Excalibur means “cut-steel.”  Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae refers to Arthur’s sword as Caliburn, evidently derived Caladbolg, a famous sword in Irish legend.  See Malory, Sir Thomas; Pendragon, King Arthur.



Literally defined as “superior quality,” Stan Lee, the mind behind Marvel Comics, has used this enigmatic phrase as his signature sign-off line for decades.  When asked, Lee will usually define the word as “onward and upward to greater glory.”  See Lee, Stan; Marvel Comics.


Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, The
In 1979, iconic science fiction writer Philip K. Dick revealed in an interview that there was a singular experience dominating his life: Beginning in 1974, Dick claimed, he had been receiving messages from a spiritual entity.  “It invaded my mind and assumed control of my motor centers,” he said.  “It set about healing me physically and my 4-year-old boy, who had an undiagnosed life-threatening birth defect that no one had been aware of.  It had memories dating back over 2,000 years. . . . There wasn’t anything that it didn’t seem to know.”  Dick had already written more than a million words of personal notes on this topic, which he referred to as his “exegesis,” a word that traditionally means “an explanation or interpretation of Scripture.”

Shortly after Dick’s death in 1982, his novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? became the sci fi blockbuster Blade Runner.  Since then, no fewer than ten other motion pictures have been based on his work, including Total Recall and Minority Report.  He is widely regarded as one of the most conceptually innovative writers of the 20th Century, whose influence has been acknowledged by novelists from William Gibson to Ursula K. Le Guin.

Even in his earliest stories, Dick wrestled with the nature of perception.  As he described it, “I began to get an idea of a mysterious quality in the universe . . . a kind of metaphysical world, an invisible realm of things half-seen.”  He could not accept the notion of a single, objective reality, and favored Jung’s concept that what we perceive as external may be an unconscious projection.  When he tried to embed these ideas in serious contemporary novels, he found no market for them, and thus used science fiction as the unlikely vehicle for his philosophical questions.  An example is his disturbing novel The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch, in which colonists on Mars escape the deprivations of their environment by using a drug that opens a gateway to a shared, artificial reality.  But Dick takes the concept a step further, suggesting this reality could be molded by the drug manufacturer, and then a step further still, as another entity competes to take over and manipulate the reality, along with the people in it.  This reflects the other principal obsession throughout Dick’s work: his fear that a powerful person or group can change the perceptions and beliefs of others.  He saw this process inflicted by politicians, religions and “authority figures in general.”

After his death, the overlap between his hallucinatory experiences and the concerns in his fiction made him a tempting subject for academic study.  So it is that his “exegesis” was exhumed and parts were edited together and published as The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick, edited by Pamela Jackson, Jonathan ­Lethem and Erik Davis, with assistance from several academics, including three theologians.

The collection of notes has been reviewed by many as mere rambling, which often rejects its own earlier notions.  It is also noted that Dick does not succeed in explaining the source of his visions.  Jackson and Lethem acknowledge that it could have been merely a stroke, residual brain damage from drug use, or temporal lobe epilepsy, but they seem unimpressed.

The reader receives no help from the editors in mapping this tangle, so he is left alone to ponder sentences like “So irreality and perturbation are the two perplexities which confront us” and “I dreamed: I am the fish whose flesh is eaten, and because I am fat, it is good.  (Bob Silverberg ate me.)”

People who knew Dick claim these ramblings were probably written while he stayed up all night, sometimes in an alcoholic haze, while perusing his favorite source, Macmillan’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy (edited by Paul Edwards).  The editors do note that Dick’s children weren’t happy about its being published, in case it “attracted unwelcome attention and threatened to undermine their father’s growing academic and literary reputation with its disreputable aura of high weirdness.”  See Blade RunnerDo Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?



exempli gratia

See e.g.


Expansion/adapter card
Also referred to as an add-on card, expansion board, internal card, interface adapter, adapter card, daughterboard or card, an expansion card is a printed circuit board (PCB) that fits into an expansion slot in the computer, and contains circuitry designed to provide expanded capability to a computer, such as enhanced video performance via a graphics card.  A card can actually contain the capability within its circuitry (as a video card does) or it can control (through an extended connection) a device (such as an external hard drive).


See File extension.


External hard drive
A portable storage device that can be attached to a computer through a USB or FireWire connection, or wirelessly.  External hard drives typically have high storage capacities and are often used to back up computers or to serve as a network drive.  Commonly used for audio and video editing, users also find external drives useful for backing up their main hard drive, because they can store an exact copy of another hard drive and can be stored in a safe location.  Using the drive to restore data or perform another backup is as simple as connecting it to the computer and dragging the necessary files from one drive to another via desktop icons, using a mouse or touchpad.  See Back up; Back-up/backup; Computer.


Extrasensory perception (ESP)

The ability to perceive information from a sense outside the normal five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch and taste), therefore known as a “sixth sense.”  Persons with ESP seem to know typically unknown things, such as what another person is thinking or what will happen in the future.  Some researchers protest that the phenomena may not be “perception” at all, as the receiver of this information does not know if the knowledge is right or wrong when he or she first perceives it.  Some parapsychologists prefer to say “paranormal (or, beyond the scope of normal scientific understanding) cognition,” but this term is subject to the same sort of criticism if the receiver is not instantly certain of the validity of the information.  Also known as telepathy, clairvoyance or precognition.


Eye of the Beholder, The

Released in 1990 and set in the Dungeons & Dragons world of Forgotten Realms, this game features customizable adventures using several D&D races and character classes.  The game spawned two sequels.  See Dungeons and Dragons.



A still scene, illustration or title screen in an anime episode that signifies an exit to or return from a commercial.



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