N – Nm


A streamlined enclosure on an airplane, dirigible, or other aircraft, which is not part of the fuselage, and in which the engine is housed or in which cargo or passengers are carried.  Possibly the most recognizable nacelles were the two parallel nacelles featured on the starship Enterprise in the Star Trek universe.



Fictional language created by Anthony Burgess for his 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange.



An aquatic nymph, believed to reside in and preside over rivers, springs and waterfalls.



On an expedition to Antarctica in 1920, Namor’s father, American seaman Leonard McKenzie, caused an avalanche.  Making his way to safety, McKenzie set explosive charges to break up ice floes in his ship’s path, unaware that Atlantis lay beneath the waters.  The submerged city sustained heavy damage, and Atlantean Emperor Thakorr commanded his daughter Fen to investigate the cause of the explosions.  Startling McKenzie’s crew, the blue-skinned princess wound up staying aboard the ship for several weeks.  Fen and McKenzie fell in love and were married.  Thakorr, fearing his daughter had been kidnapped or killed, sent an Atlantean war party to search for her.  Thinking her a captive, the Atlanteans slaughtered McKenzie’s crew, and apparently McKenzie himself.  Afterwards, Fen returned with the war party to Atlantis.  Nine months later, Namor was born, the first known Homo sapien/Homo mermanus hybrid.

The young prince maintained a hostile attitude toward surface-dwellers, whom he blamed for the near-destruction of Atlantis; however, when Nazi troops attacked Atlantis, however, Namor joined the Allied cause alongside Captain America and his fellow Invaders.  Although most often opposed by The Fantastic Four, Namor developed an attraction to Susan Storm, the Invisible Girl (later Invisble Woman).  Against the surface dwellers, Namor has teamed up with both Doctor Doom and Magneto, though both turned against him once they felt they had the upper hand. With the help of the Fantastic Four, Namor soon defeated both one-time partners.  Namor was created in 1939 during the Golden Age of Comics by writer/artist Bill Everett for Marvel Comics #1.


NAND flash memory

One of two types of non-volatile storage technologies (the other being “NOR”) used in memory cards that does not require power to retain data.  An important goal of NAND (or “Not and”) flash development has been to reduce the cost per bit and increase maximum chip capacity to the extent that flash memory can compete with magnetic storage devices like hard disks.  Introduced by Toshiba in 1989, NAND flash has found a market in devices to which large files are frequently uploaded and replaced: MP3 players, digital cameras and USB drives.



The science of building microscopic devices (such as robots) by manipulating materials on an atomic or molecular level.


Napoleon Dynamite


An awkward small-town teen’s life is made even more uncomfortable when his strangely nostalgic uncle shows up to keep an eye on him.  With no comfort zone at home or at school, he befriends a morose newcomer, and the two launch a campaign to elect the new kid in town class president.  The 2004 cult classic starred Jon Heder, Efren Ramirez and Jon Gries.



In Greek mythology, the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope was distinguished for his beauty.  According to Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Book III, Narcissus’ mother was told by a blind seer that her son would have a long life, provided he was never made aware of his great beauty; however, upon seeing his own reflection in the waters of a spring, Narcissus fell in love and pined away (or killed himself).  According to the tale, the flower that bears his name first sprang up on the spot where he died.  Another viewpoint states that it is more likely that Narcissus had fallen in love with his identical twin sister, who had perished, and to console himself, sat gazing into the spring to recall her features until he himself perished.  The tale of Narcissus may have been meant as a cautionary tale, derived from the ancient Greek superstition that it was unlucky or even fatal to see one’s own reflection.  Narcissus was a very popular subject in Roman art.  In Freudian psychiatry and psychoanalysis, the term narcissism denotes an excessive degree of self-esteem or self-involvement, a condition that is usually a form of emotional immaturity.



In a fantasy world of ninjas and supernatural creatures, a boy who has a wicked demon fox’s soul sealed inside him is shunned by almost everyone.  Putting his life on the line to help another was the act that proved Naruto worthy of entering ninja school.  He believes that becoming a great ninja may be the only way to get the people of the village to accept him and acknowledge the fact that he is a human being worthy of love and attention.  In spite of the pain, hardships and losses that Naruto and the others face, their determination to become strong helps them learn more about themselves and each other, and prepares them for the many more difficult battles that lie ahead on the road to becoming the strongest ninja!


Natural selection

The process by which forms of life better able to adapt to a specific environment tend to survive in greater numbers than those less able to adapt.


Navicular bone

A boat-shaped bone located in the top inner side of the foot, positioned between the distal and proximal rows on the medial side, the navicular bone helps to connect the talus (anklebone) to the cuneiform bones of the foot.



Derived from Black Speech nazg, meaning “ring,” and gûl, meaning “wraith or spirit” (presumably related to the word gul, meaning “sorcery”), the Nazgûl are characters in J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.  Also called Ring-wraiths, Black Riders, Dark Riders, Sauron’s “most terrible servants,” the Nine Riders, or simply the Nine, the members of the Nazgûl were nine men who succumbed to Sauron’s power and attained near-immortality as wraiths and servants bound to the power of the One Ring.



Also known as “The Book of The Black Earth” and “The Book of the Dead,” it is a history of the customs of the dead, and a central piece of horror/sci-fi writer H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos.

Brilliantly laid out to the point that it is still believed by some to be a real publication, The Necronomicon is said to be full of arcane and forbidden knowledge that could drive a person who reads it mad.  In the Evil Dead films and Ash vs. Evil Dead series, the book is known as the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis.


Nelson, Mike

The second host of television’s Mystery Science Theater 3000, the cult-­stoking comedy series that provided awful films with hilarious, sharp, high-speed “heckling” commentary.  “MST3K,” as its fans know it, is the story of a sarcastic Earth dweller—played initially by series creator Joel Hodgson, but later portrayed by Nelson, the show’s head writer—who’s exiled to a ramshackle spaceship called the “Satellite of Love,” where he’s forced to watch an endless supply of some of the world’s most ridiculously bad movies.  While the movie plays on screen, our hero is seen with his two robot companions as shadows in the “front row,” as they watch, point at and unleash a torrent of one-­liners, or “riffs,” at the laughably bad action before them.  Hodgson left the show in the midst of the fifth season, and Nelson took over as the central host with the October 30, 1992 screening of the 1962 “horror” movie The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, and he stayed with the show until its final airing, heckling Diabolik before the Satellite of Love crash-landed back on Earth.  The cancellation of MST3K didn’t end the fun, though.  Along with the voices of the robot hosts, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy, Nelson heckles more classic schlock films, as well as much more current blockbusters, on Digital video disc (DVD) and synced MP3 tracks, under the name RiffTrax.


Nelson, Ted

Believed by some to be a computer and networking visionary while receiving widespread criticism for his concepts as being impractical, Theodor Holm Nelson is an American philosopher, scientist and internet pioneer, famous for having coined the terms “hypertext” and “hypermedia.”  He got his B.A. in Philosophy from Swarthmore College in 1960.  Afterward, he enrolled at Harvard for his graduate studies in Sociology.  In the 1960s, Nelson presented a paper at the annual conference of the Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) and coined the terms “hypertext,” “hypermedia,” “virtuality” and “populitism” for the text displayed on a computer screen or electronic device with references to other text documents that the user can access immediately.  The concept is one of the basic ideas that evolved website hyperlinks.  Nelson was also one of the cofounders of the itty bitty machine company (ibm), a small retail computer store operating between 1977 and 1980 that was one of the first companies to sell Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak’s Apple computers.  He has been presented with a Yuri Rubinsky Memorial Award and a knighthood by the French government called “Officier des Arts et Lettres” (The Order of Arts and Letters).



See Poseidon.



A colloquialism for an unstylish or socially inept person, or a person devoted to or single-minded about particular technical, intellectual or academic pursuits, as well as specific hobbies that certain social circles might find odd.



A visitor to the nerDictionary website; one who learns more about a nerDy topic by referring to the nerDictionary.



Parker Brothers originally developed the 4” soft-foam ball in 1969.  Millions were sold by the end of 1970.  In 1972, NERF got sports-minded with a basketball game called NERFoop and the NERF Football, followed in 1983 by NERF Baseball, and in 1989 by the Blast-A-Ball, an early single-shot precursor to later toys like the Ballzooka.  NERF introduced its iconic Bow ‘n’ Arrow in 1991, with The Master Blaster and the Slingshot following close behind in 1992.  The Ballzooka came out in 1994, and NERF started the NERF Dart World Championship in 2009, traveling to five cities across the U.S. setting up competitions.  In 2013, NERF debuted its Rebelle line, a series of toys designed to appeal specifically to girls.  In 2014, Zombie Strike line, which offers children and children-at-heart everywhere the opportunity to engage in some post-zombie apocalypse play, and the terrifying remote-controlled Attacknid walking spider-bots emerged as part of the NERF Combat Creatures line.



A set of etiquette rules specifically geared toward electronic and online communications.  Since the internet changes rapidly, its netiquette does, too, but in general, the rules are always based on the Golden Rule.


Network administrator

A manager of an organization’s communications local area network (LAN) or wide area network (WAN).  A network administrator’s typical responsibilities include the maintenance of network security, hardware and applications, software upgrades, daily activity, licensing agreements, storage management programs, and routine backups.


Neuman, Alfred E.

In 1954, MAD magazine artist Harvey Kurtzman plucked a postcard from a bulletin board in a colleauge’s office that featured a young boy with a goofy, gap-toothed grin and the two-part rhetorical question, “What?  Me Worry?”  After several minor appearances in the magazine, Norman Mingo’s full-color re-imagining of the postcard image appeared on the cover of MAD #30 in December 1956, replete with the catchphrase, and Alfred’s career as trademark and cover boy for MAD was launched.

For years, legions of books, websites and online forums have debated and analyzed the origins of the image.  The upshot of all the discussion was that Alfred E. Neuman is a copy of a copy of a copy of an image that bounced around for decades in various guises, including political buttons, silly postcards, ads for painless dentistry, and even Nazi propaganda posters.  No one could identify a specific image that started it all, although some have suggested that the image evolved from a tradition of cartoonish and racist depictions of Irish immigrants from the mid- to late-19th Century America.  For some time, the earliest known, fully Neuman-esque image has been of “The Kid,” a member of “A Pie Family,” who appeared in a print advertisement for Atmore’s Mince Meat and Genuine English Plum Pudding.  The advertisement appeared in the New York edition of the Illustrated London News and McClure’s magazine in 1895.  Then, an image emerged from the previous year.  Long before he advertised pies and eventually became Alfred E. Neuman, the trademark face of MAD magazine, he was the face of The New Boy, a comic farce stage play and blockbuster hit of 1894.


Neural neutralizer

Invented by Dr. Simon Van Gelder in 2266, the device was designed to make a subject susceptible to suggestion, to aid in the rehabilitation of criminals.  Unfortunately, the device was discovered to have severe detrimental effects if used without proper supervision and care.  The neural neutralizer was featured in the original Star Trek series episode “Dagger of the Mind.”  The episode originally aired during the show’s first season, on November 3, 1966.



A subatomic particle contained in the nucleus of an atom (except for a hydrogen atom, which contains only one proton). It has no net electric charge, and a mass slightly greater than that of a proton.  The first hint of neutrons’ existence came in 1930, when Walther Bothe and H. Becker found that applying alpha radiation to elements like lithium and boron caused a new form of radiation to be emitted.  In 1932, James Chadwick proved that these results couldn’t be explained by gamma rays, and proposed, then verified, an alternate explanation: uncharged particles in the nucleus, approximately the same size as protons.


NeverEnding Story, The

In this 1984 Wolfgang Petersen-directed film, 10-year-old Bastian ducks into a bookstore to avoid bullies.  The store owner shows him a book (which he “borrows” without consent) that features magical creatures and a fantasy land … but also describes himself as the savior of this world!  As he reads, Bastian is pulled into the adventure as a central character.  Starring Barret Oliver, Gerald McRaney and Noah Hathaway, the film’s screenplay by Wolfgang Petersen and Herman Weigel was based on Michael Ende’s novel.  The popular film spawned one sequel, 1990’s The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter.


“New 52, The”

Launched in September 2011 as a sales boost strategy, DC Comics rebooted 52 titles, starting each back at Issue #1, with newly designed looks.  The initiative was an effort to get people excited about comics, attracting new, current and old readers with easy jumping-on points in the new storylines.  DC first released Justice League #1, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Jim Lee.  Both the Vertigo and Wildstorm universes were merged into the DC Universe, starting the whole universe anew.  Many of DC’s properties were re-imagined or refreshed.  Changes to current characters ranged from minor tweaks, to complete reboots. Due to sales being generally high on both the Batman and Green Lantern franchises prior to the initiative, much of those family of characters’ continuity remained the same; meanwhile, the new Teen Titans explores the first meeting of the team, effectively erasing the history of the previous modern day Teen Titans.  Following the Convergence event, which saw different universes from DC’s multiverse brought together by Brainiac for a devastating experiment, the DC Comics line was narrowed down to 24 brand-new series and 25 existing ongoing titles beginning in June 2015.


New Gods

Long ago, before time was even measured, there existed a race of Old Gods, whose world was split apart in a fiery holocaust, unleashing a bright “godwave” of energy that swept across the universe.  This godwave empowered the Olympian Gods and gave rise to latter-day human superheroes, as it seeded inhabitants of various worlds with the potential for near-omnipotent power.  The winner of a Will Eisner Award, this DC Comics series by Jack Kirby debuted in 1971 and introduced a universe in which gods of epic proportions fight a never-ending war for power and control.  Centered on the battle between the evil Darkseid and his rebellious anti-hero son Orion, this black-and-white book relates the story of a war between the Fourth World inhabitants of New Genesis and Apokolips (which mirror Heaven and Hell, respectively).  The series was discontinued in 1978, during the infamous “DC Implosion,” which saw the end of many series.



An internet-based discussion group that is focused on a particular topic.  Newsgroup topics range from sports and investing to cars and teen problems.  Users post messages to a news server, which sends the messages to a bunch of other participating servers.  Then other users can access the newsgroup and read the postings. The groups can be either moderated, where a person or group decides which postings will become part of the discussion, or unmoderated, where everything posted is included in the discussion.  To participate in a newsgroup, a user must subscribe to it.  Nearly all newsgroups are found on Usenet, which is a collection of servers around the world.



The official language of the totalitarian state of Oceania in George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.  The language had been “cleansed” of such concepts that were potentially threatening to the government, such as Freedom, Liberty, Love, Privacy and Democracy.  Other words had been redefined to be misleading to the people: The Ministry of Truth was the state’s propaganda department, and The Ministry of Plenty controlled the sparse rationing of food and supplies.


NeXT, Inc.

After leaving Apple in 1985, Steve Jobs founded his second company, and its first product, the NeXT Computer, was unveiled in 1988.  The NeXT combined powerful hardware and software based on the Motorola 68030 processor, and ran at an impressive 25 MHz.  It was then coupled with the first built-in digital signal processor (DSP).  NeXT’s system software was designed to rival the best offerings of both the Macintosh and the IBM PC: NeXT used the UNIX operating system and added its own graphical user interface (GUI), and was marketed as an alternative to Sun Microsystems.  NeXT was also the first computer company to ship a built-in 256 MB magneto-optical storage medium.  Boasting a high-resolution display, built-in Ethernet, CD-quality sound, and multimedia e-mail, the NeXT Computer was packaged in a stunning one-foot-by-one-foot black magnesium cube.  In 1990, NeXT unveiled faster workstations that ran at 25 MHz on the Motorola 68040.  Affectionately called “The Slab,” the NeXTstation had a black-and-white display, while the NeXTstation Color displayed 4,096 colors.  An updated version of the NeXTcube offered a 32-bit true-color display.

In the spring of 1992, NeXT discontinued its optical disk, but introduced upgraded workstations, the NeXTstation Turbo and Turbo Color, which operated at 33 MHz.  NeXT also began offering a color printer and a standard CD-ROM drive.  Foreshadowing its exit from the hardware business, the company announced it had begun working on NeXTSTEP for Intel.  NeXT stopped manufacturing hardware in 1993 to become a software-only vendor, selling NeXTSTEP as a combination operating system and object-oriented development environment. NeXTSTEP for Intel boasted rapidly developed and deployed custom software, and became a popular product among large companies, particularly financial institutions.

Apple Computer bought NeXT in 1996 after its own efforts to upgrade the Macintosh operating system failed.  After the sale, Steve Jobs began working as an advisor, but was later appointed acting CEO, and then finally CEO of the company.  The NeXT Cube workstation was used by Tim Berners-Lee at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, or CERN) to create the first version of the internet, and the NeXT operating system, called NeXTSTEP, eventually became the Mac OS X.


Nietzsche, Friedrich

The philosopher was born on October 15, 1844 in Röcken bei Lützen, Prussia (present-day Germany).  He attended a private preparatory school in Naumburg, then received a classical education at the prestigious Schulpforta school.  After graduating in 1864, he attended the University of Bonn for two semesters.  He transferred to the University of Leipzig, where he studied philology (a combination of literature, linguistics and history).  He was strongly influenced by the writings of philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.  In 1869, Nietzsche took a position as professor of Classical Philology at the University of Basel in Switzerland.  During his professorship, he published his first books: The Birth of Tragedy (1872) and Human, All Too Human (1878).  He also began to distance himself from classical scholarship, as well as the teachings of Schopenhauer, and to take more interest in the values underlying modern-day civilization.  Suffering from a nervous disorder, he resigned from his post at Basel in 1879.

For much of the following decade, Nietzsche lived in seclusion, moving from Switzerland to France to Italy when he was not staying at his mother’s house in Naumburg.  However, this was also a highly productive period for him as a thinker and writer.  One of his most significant works, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, was published in four volumes between 1883 and 1885.  He also wrote Beyond Good and Evil (published in 1886), The Genealogy of Morals (1887) and Twilight of the Idols (1889).  In these works of the 1880s, Nietzsche developed the central points of his philosophy: “God is dead,” a rejection of Christianity as a meaningful force in contemporary life; his endorsement of self-perfection through creative drive and a “will to power”; and his concept of a “super-man” (Übermensch), an individual who strives to exist beyond conventional categories of good and evil, master and slave.  Nietzsche suffered a collapse in 1889 while living in Turin, Italy.  The last decade of his life was spent in a state of mental incapacitation.  The reason for his insanity is still unknown, although historians have attributed it to causes as varied as syphilis, an inherited brain disease, a tumor and overuse of sedatives.  After a stay in an asylum, Nietzsche was cared for by his mother in Naumburg and his sister in Weimar, Germany.  He died in Weimar on August 25, 1900.

Nietzsche is regarded as a major influence on 20th Century philosophy, theology and art. His ideas on individuality, morality and the meaning of existence contributed to the thinking of philosophers Martin Heidegger, Jacques Derrida and Michel Foucault; Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, two of the founding figures of psychiatry; and writers such as Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse.  Less beneficially, certain aspects of Nietzsche’s work were used by the Nazi Party during the 1930s and ‘40s as justification for its activities; this selective and misleading use of his work darkened his reputation somewhat for later audiences.



Kurt Wagner, also known as Nightcrawler, is the product of a love affair between two mutants: the terrorist Mystique and the Neyaphem warlord Azazel.  When Kurt was born, the townsfolk were horrified by his demonic appearance and so she threw him into a river, shape-shifted into another form, then claimed she had killed the son and the mother.  Azazel would not allow his son to die, so he saved him and gave him to one of his other lovers to raise.  Kurt grew to display amazing agility, out of which his mutant abilities manifested.  Making use of these gifts, he did acrobatics for circus audiences.  When a millionaire circus owner from Texas approached them join his circus, he planned to move the circus to America and demanded that Kurt be in the freak show.

Nightcrawler was created by writer Len Wein and artist Dave Cockrum.  At the time of Nightcrawler’s conception, he was originally supposed to be a demon that failed a mission and was banished from hell.  He made his debut in Giant Size X-Men #1 in 1975.  When he was first introduced, Nightcrawler struggled to be accepted by society at large, as well as by other mutants.  Even so, he was usually a light-hearted character, quick to make jest or pull pranks on his fellow X-Men.  He was also quite the ladies’ man.  As time went on, more focus was placed on Nightcrawler’s Catholic faith and how he deals with the tragic experiences of his life.  He became more of a sullen, introspective character, especially during his time with the team Excalibur.  After returning to the United States, the Marvel Comics character planned to join the priesthood, but was forced back into the life of costumed adventuring before being officially ordained.  In the 2003 film X-Men 2 (also known as X2), Nightcrawler was portrayed by Alan Cumming.


Nigma, Edward

See Nygma, Edward.



The goddess of victory (both in battle and sport) in Greek mythology is depicted as having wings, and is sometimes referred to as “Winged Goddess” or “Winged Victory.”  She is the daughter of the Titan Pallas and the Naiad Styx, sister of Kratos, Bia and Zelus, who represented Strength, Force and Rivalry, respectively.  The four siblings were companions of Zeus, and Nike had the role of the divine charioteer, flying above battlefields and giving glory to the victors.  Known in Roman mythology as Victory or Victoria, Nike is today most often associated with the athletic footwear company of the same name.  Phil Knight, the founder of Nike, chose the name purposely for its association with victory in sport.


Nimoy, Leonard

Born Leonard Simon Nimoy on March 26, 1931 (just four days after his frequent co-star William Shatner) in Boston, Massachusetts. Nimoy was the youngest child of Yiddish-speaking Jewish immigrants who had escaped Stalinist Russia.  The family settled in the West End of Boston, where the acting bug bit Nimoy early on.  He performed throughout his teen years at Boston’s English High School, and after his graduation in 1949, he attended Boston College.  He made his way out to the West Coast, and by the early 1950s, Nimoy was appearing in bit parts in feature films.  His first title role came with 1952’s boxing-themed Kid Monk Baroni.  After a two-year stretch in the U.S. Army Reserve beginning in 1953, and marrying Sandra Zober in 1954, Nimoy resumed his acting career in 1955.  He began studying with Jeff Corey, a highly respected acting coach, and continued to land bit parts on television series and B-movies.  During this time, he became a father of two; daughter Julie was born in 1955 and son Adam in 1956.

After carving out a niche with day-player TV roles, it was Nimoy’s featured role on a 1965 episode of The Lieutenant that caught the attention of producer/writer Gene Roddenberry.  At the time, Roddenberry was casting for the upcoming sci-fi series Star Trek, and thought Nimoy would be ideal for the role of the stoic and logical science officer Mr. Spock.  Roddenberry even allowed Nimoy to contribute his own elements to the character.  It was Nimoy who suggested the pacifist Vulcan neck pinch and the Vulcan salute; the latter was based on a Jewish hand symbol Nimoy had seen during a synagogue ritual.  Star Trek premiered in 1966 and turned Nimoy into a legitimate star.  The groundbreaking show garnered a steady following (and earned Nimoy three Emmy nominations), but due mainly to bad broadcast scheduling, was taken off the air in 1969 after three seasons.  Immediately after the series ended, Nimoy was snapped up as a series regular on the show Mission: Impossible.  He spent the next two years playing the role of the Great Paris, a master of disguise and illusion.  He left the show in 1971.  Throughout the 1970s, Nimoy not only took several roles on television and the stage (featuring appearances as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof), he also published several volumes of poetry, and his 1975 autobiography I Am Not Spock, which featured a series of imagined discussions between himself and his most famous character.

With the blockbuster success of George LucasStar Wars in 1977, America confirmed its love of big-budget sci-fi.  At the same time, audiences had shown a renewed interested in Star Trek as a result of re-run syndication throughout the 1970s.  Paramount Pictures, determined to stay competitive with Lucas’ high-grossing creation, approved a big-screen version of Star Trek.  The film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, was released in December of 1979. It was a box-office smash and was nominated for three Oscars (although critics nearly universally panned it).  Nimoy returned for 1982’s sequel, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, and even directed the third and fourth installments in the series—1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.  Outside of the franchise, Nimoy co-starred in the 1982 TV film A Woman Called Golda, about Israeli prime minister Golda Meir (played by Ingrid Bergman), and he earned another Emmy nod for his efforts.  The following year, Nimoy used his brief time away from the franchise to focus on directing, and in 1987, he helmed the enormously successful Three Men and a Baby, starring Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg and Tom Selleck.  As the Star Trek film series continued on, Nimoy and Shatner began to feel the strain.  The two had put their contentiousness aside for the sake of the movies, but by the time 1989’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country hit movie theaters, Nimoy was ready to say his goodbyes to the franchise.  The following year, he showcased his first screenwriting effort with Vincent, an adaptation of a former work that he directed and starred in based on Vincent Van Gogh.

Nimoy spent the rest of the 1990s honing his directing chops, voicing animated projects and appearing in the occasional acting role.  In 1995, he released his second biography, I Am Spock.  Largely retired from acting, Nimoy embraced a new career as a photographer, while he and his wife supported the arts with generous financial gifts from the Nimoy Foundation.  The actor returned to acting to reprise his most famous role in J.J. Abrams’ reimagining of Star Trek in 2009 and Star Trek Into Darkness in 2013

In February 2014, Leonard Nimoy revealed he was suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).  In February 2015, the actor was treated at the UCLA Medical Center for intense chest pains and was released.  Later that same week, Nimoy died at his home in Los Angeles on February 27 at the age of 83.




See Lady of the Lake.


Nineteen Eighty-Four (film)

Written and directed by Michael Radford, and based on the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell,this dour science fiction film tellslls of a dystopic society where the government, led by the  enigmatic Big Brother, can see and hear everything its citizens do.  The cast includes John Hurt as Winston Smith, Suzanna Hamilton as Julia, and Richard Burton as O’Brien.


Nineteen Eighty-Four (novel)

Written by George Orwell and published in 1948, this classic cautionary tale tells of a dystopic society where the government, led by the enigmatic Big Brother, can see and hear everything its citizens do.


Ninety-ninety rule

A rule for tracking computer programming development time, the full wording of which is: “The first 90% of the code accounts for the first 90% of the development time.  The remaining 10% of the code accounts for the other 90% of the development time.”  Often mistaken for a typo, the rule simultaneously emphasizes two important points: 1) For almost any product, most of the development time will be used on relatively small but difficult sections of the code, and 2) The first point often leads to extremely optimistic project schedules.  The ultimate lesson of this rule is that the amount of the project that is completed is not tied to the amount of code completed, and that substituting one for the other can be disastrous.



See Lady of the Lake.



See Lady of the Lake.


Nintendo Entertainment System

The NES, originally called the Famicom (or Family Computer), was released in Japan in 1983. There, it sold over 2.5 million units during its first year on the market.  Nintendo, a former collectible card company, decided to expand its interests globally.  Executives knew Western markets would be difficult to utilize.  The video games industry was in shambles, so stores would be hesitant to stock a new console that likely no one would buy.  Nintendo planned properly.  First, Nintendo agreed to buy back unsold consoles so that stores would not be liable.  Second, they developed a peripheral known as R.O.B. the Robot that could be used with two of its games (Stack Up and Gyromite).  With R.O.B, the NES was disguised as an electronic toy, not a video game system.  Finally, they redesigned the Famicom and renamed it the Nintendo Entertainment System.  The console was released in the United States on October 18, 1985, and was an instant success in no small way due to one of its launch titles: Super Mario Bros.

The Nintendo Entertainment System was the home of the debut titles for many future franchises, including Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Final FantasyCastlevania and Megaman.  To date, Super Mario Bros. has sold over forty million copies, making it the second-best selling video game of all time (behind Nintendo’s Wii Sports).  Other top sellers for the NES included Duck Hunt and Super Mario Bros 3.

The NES’s main competitors were two other 8-bit consoles: the Sega Master System and Atari’s 7800 system.  Released in the U.S. in 1986, the Sega system allowed for better graphics and sound, but its only real success was in European markets.  Initially, Nintendo had reached out to Atari with the interest of reviving the video game industry together, but Atari did not comply and released its own console to compete with Nintendo.  Originally released during the video game crash, Atari’s upgraded 5200 console was re-released in 1986, but by that point, the NES, launched in 1985, was so popular that it stole all of Atari’s sales.  As the console became obsolete with the release of the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System in the early 1990s, the price of the NES diminished.


Ninth metal

See Nth metal.


Niska, Adelai

Feared gangland boss who hires Malcolm Reynolds and his crew to do a simple theft in the Firefly episode “The Train Job.”  When the crew reconsiders, however, Niska is not amused.  Portrayed by actor Michael Fairman, Niska would reappear in the episode “War Stories” to exact his revenge.



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