Pn – Pz

Podarces

See Priam.

 

Pokémon

Originally called “Capsule Monsters,” Nintendo and Satoshi Tajiri, a childhood insect collector, created the Pokémon card-collecting game in 1996.  That same year, Japan released Pocket Monsters Red and Green for Game Boy.  On October 15, Nintendo introduced Pokémon Blue, a Japan-exclusive, less glitchy merging of the original Red and GreenPokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition for Game Boy came out three years later, and in 2004, U.S. fans saw the release of Pokémon FireRed and Pokémon LeafGreen for the Game Boy Advance.  The first Pokémon trading cards – 102 of them – were published in Japan by Media Factory in October 1996.  They became wildly popular for both collectability and competitive card game playing.  The cards become available in the U.S. three years later, and Nintendo took over publishing the cards in 2003.  Nearly 15 billion cards have been produced to date, featuring all Pokémon species.  On April 1, 1997, the Pokémon TV cartoon debuted in the U.S., and a second, third and fourth anime series – Advanced GenerationDiamond and Pearl and Best Wishes, respectively – begin airing in the U.S. in 2003, 2007 and 2011.  The anime is now broadcasted to more than 70 countries.  November 12, 1999 saw the U.S. release of the first-ever Pokémon film, Pokémon: The First Movie – Mewtwo Strikes Back, which debuted at No. 1 at the box office on opening day.  Pokémon has released a new movie – sometimes two – every year thereafter, excluding 2010.

 

Pole Position

Premiering in 1982, this popular one-player Namco arcade game started the trend for photo-realism in video game graphics, and became a worldwide phenomenon.  Unique in that the player sat inside the game rather than standing in front of it, the Formula-1 racing game was set at the Fuji Speedway in Japan.  A player’s first objective was to beat the clock in a qualifying lap, and the second objective was to race against the clock and other cars to achieve the highest score possible.  Facing hazards such as other racing cars, sharp turns and water puddles, points could be earned for passing cars, staying on the track, and finishing the race with time remaining.  If a player’s car hit another car or a road sign, it was destroyed in an explosion, only to reappear a few seconds later.  If the first lap was completed within a certain amount of time, the player was rewarded with extended play.  Unique game controls included a steering wheel, accelerator and a gear shifter.

 

Polymath

From the Greek word polymathēs (“poly-” meaning “many” + “manthanein” meaning “to learn”), as an adjective, it means very learned, and as a noun, it means a very learned person.

 

Pong

Developed by Allan Alcorn and released in 1972 by Atari, Pong was one of the first computer games ever created, as well as the first commercially successful game.  The simple tennis-like game featured two paddles and a ball, and could be played against another player or against the computer.  In 1975, Atari released a home edition of the arcade game, which sold 150,000 units.

 

Poseidon

Poseidon (known as Neptune in Roman mythology) was the god of the sea, earthquakes and horses.  Although he was officially one of the supreme gods of Mount Olympus, he spent most of his time in his watery domain.  Poseidon was brother to Zeus and Hades. These three gods divided up Creation, and by drawing lots, Zeus became ruler of the sky, Hades got dominion of the underworld, and Poseidon was given the seas and all waterways as his realm.  In dividing heaven, the watery realm and the subterranean land of the dead, the Olympians agreed that the earth itself would be ruled jointly, with Zeus as king.  Poseidon married the sea-nymph Amphitrite, daughter of “The Old Man of the Sea” Nereus.  The sea god fathered the hero Theseus, although the mortal Aegeus also claimed his paternity.  As related in Homer’s The Odyssey, because Odysseus blinded the cyclops Polyphemus, who was Poseidon’s son, the god not only delayed the hero’s homeward return from the Trojan War, but he also caused Odysseus to face enormous perils.  Poseidon similarly cursed the wife of King Minos.  Minos had proved his divine right to rule Crete by calling on Poseidon to send a bull from the sea, which the king promised to sacrifice.  Poseidon sent the bull, but Minos liked it too much to sacrifice it. So Poseidon asked Aphrodite, the goddess of love, to make Minos’ queen, Pasiphae, fall in love with the bull. The result was the monstrous Minotaur, who was half-man, half-bull.  As god of horses, Poseidon often adopted the shape of a steed.  It is not certain that he was in this form when he wooed Medusa, but when Perseus later killed the Gorgon, the winged horse Pegasus sprang from her severed neck.

 

Power ring

  1. Long ago in the DC Comics universe, the Guardians of the Universe sought out sentient beings throughout the universe to become members of an intergalactic “police force,” the Green Lantern Corps. The Guardians forged rings, which channeled pure willpower from their users into solid constructs.  The Guardians gathered all random magic and fused it into the Starheart, which gained sentience.  A piece of the Starheart, fashioned into the shape of a railroad lantern, fell to Earth.  During a train disaster, the ring saved the Earthling Alan Scott.  Creating a ring from part of the lantern, Scott fought crime as the “Green Lantern.”  Each power ring has many capabilities: it creates anything the wearer can imagine and it gives the wearer the ability to fly.  It must be recharged every 24 hours by touching the Green Lantern for ten seconds.

After Green Lantern Hal Jordan went rogue – destroying the Corps, the Guardians, and the Main Battery – the sole remaining Guardian, Ganthet, gathered the fragments of Hal’s shattered ring.  He created from them the last Power Ring and conferred it upon a young Earth man, Kyle Rayner.  Just as the rings before him, Kyle Rayner’s ring creates anything the wearer can imagine and allows the wearer to fly. This special ring is keyed to Kyle Rayner’s DNA, and can only be used by him, those related to him, and Hal Jordan.  The power supply is expended according to what the ring creates rather than the length of time since its last recharge.  The ring must be recharged by touching to the battery for a period proportionately equal to how “empty” it is. It gives the wearer a sense of “full” or “empty.”  Each ring can duplicate itself, creating a second ring which may be given to another as a backup, for protection, or to help the lantern in times of great need.

One of the main weaknesses of the Power Rings that greatly disturbed Sinestro was the fact that the bearers of the power rings were unable to kill.  Recently, however, this restriction on the rings has been lifted, but murder is still against the law of the GL Corps.

 

2. The name of Green Lantern’s evil Earth-Three counterpart, who is constantly tortured by the ring he wears.  Power Ring, a member of the Crime Syndicate of America, wielded a ring that utilized mystic energy, enabling him to fight and sometimes overcome even Ultraman, the Crime Syndicate of America’s counterpart to Superman.  Its powers were the same as Hal Jordan’s, but without the yellow weakness.

 

“Precious”

Gollum’s word for The One Ring in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

 

Priam

According to Greek mythology, the last king of Troy was originally named Podarces.  The youngest son and successor of his father Laomedon, Priam extended Trojan control over the Hellespont.  He married first Arisbe (a daughter of Merops the seer) and then Hecuba, and he had other wives and concubines.  According to Homer’s Iliad, he had 50 sons and many daughters.  Hecuba bore 19 sons, including Priam’s favorites Hector and Paris.  Homer described Priam as an old man at the time of the Trojan War, powerless but kindly, not even blaming Helen, the wife of Paris, for all his personal losses resulting from the war.  In the final year of the conflict, Priam saw 13 sons die: the Greek warrior Achilles killed Polydorus, Lycaon, and Hector all in one day.  The death of Hector, which signified the end of Troy’s hopes, also broke the spirit of the king. Priam’s paternal love impelled him to brave the savage anger of Achilles and to beg for the return of Hector’s corpse.  Achilles, respecting the old man’s feelings and foreseeing his own father’s sorrows, returned the corpse.  When Troy fell, Neoptolemus, son of Achilles, butchered the old king on an altar.  Both Priam’s death and his ransoming of Hector were favorite themes of ancient art.  In the 2004 film Troy, Priam was portrayed by Peter O’Toole.

 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Published in April 2009, Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel was the first of the current trend of literary mashups.  Grahame-Smith took Jane Austen’s original text of Pride and Prejudice and added zombie attacks and martial arts defenses.  The story remains essentially the same: Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy immediately dislike one another, but eventually fall in love.  The side plots of Jane Bennet’s romance with Charles Bingley and Lydia Bennet’s misadventures with Wickham are also kept intact.  All of the Bennet sisters and many of the gentlemen they encounter are well-versed in martial arts, and are able to defend themselves from the “unmentionables” (as zombies are commonly referred to, due to their social undesirability) who wander the English countryside.  Much of the social criticism of Austen’s novel applies in Grahame-Smith’s “re-vision.”  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is due to be released as a 2016 theatrical film, starring Lily James and Sam Riley.

 

Prime Directive, The

A central philosophy behind Star Trek’s Starfleet military force, which states: “As the right of each sentient species to live in accordance with its normal cultural evolution is considered sacred, no Starfleet personnel may interfere with the healthy development of alien life and culture.  Such interference includes the introduction of superior knowledge, strength or technology to a world whose society is incapable of handling such advantages wisely.  Starfleet personnel may not violate this Prime Directive, even to save their lives and/or their ship, unless they are acting to right an earlier violation or an accidental contamination of said culture.  This directive takes precedence over any and all other considerations, and carries with it the highest moral obligation.”

 

Primordial

  1. Constituting a beginning or origin
  2. Existing at or from the beginning of Time

 

Princess Bride, The (film)

Based on the 1973 romantic fantasy novel by William Goldman, Rob Reiner’s 1987 film featured Cary Elwes as Wesley/Dread Pirate Roberts, Robin Wright as Buttercup, Chris Sarandon as Prince Humperdinck, and Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya.  The story features pirates, bandits, villains, heroes, Rodents of Unusual Size, a six-fingered man and a giant.  Though revenge and mayhem are large parts of the story, in the end, The Princess Bride is a love story with a “realistic” happy ending.

 

Princess Bride, The (novel)

William Goldman’s 1973 romantic fantasy centers around Buttercup who lives on a farm bossing around a poor boy named Westley.  While he’s away on a voyage, word gets back to Buttercup that Westley has been killed by the Dread Pirate Roberts, a mythical pirate who never leaves any survivors. Buttercup cries and vows never to love again.

Meanwhile, Prince Humperdinck of Florin hears about Buttercup’s beauty and decides to marry her. Since her heart is dead, Buttercup figures that Humperdinck will make as good a husband as anyone else, so the two get engaged.  However, Westley returns and enlists the help of a swordsman and a giant to recapture Buttercup before it’s too late. They eventually succeed and, according to Goldman, rather than a storybook happy ending, the truth is that Westley and Buttercup will continue to fight all the time about petty little stuff that married couples always fight about.

The novel inspired a 1987 feature film directed by Rob Reiner, and starred Robin Wright, Cary Elwes and Mandy Patinkin.

 

Prisoner, The

A high-ranking but unnamed agent for the British Government abruptly resigns from the service.  While packing to leave for a vacation, he is gassed and taken to a beautiful but deadly prison known only as “The Village,” where people are taken, assigned a number with all other identity taken from them, and kept there until they tell Number Two (the deputy head of The Village) the information he wishes to know.  Escape is nearly impossible as The Village has a host of weapons to use if any prisoner tries to escape.  The Agent is assigned the simple identity “Number Six,” and the series follows his attempts to resist the plots of each Number Two (who is replaced with another if an attempt on Number Six fails) to get the desired information, which is to learn why the agent resigned.  As time goes on, two questions plague The Prisoner: How can he escape, and who is the mysterious Number One?  The 1967-68 BBC series was produced by and starred Patrick McGoohan.

 

Progeny

In terms of plants and animals, the descendants of a particular generation or specimen.

 

Project Blue Book

A series of now-declassified military investigations of unidentified flying objects.  Between its inception in 1947 and its official closing on December 17, 1969, the project consisted of 12,618 sighting investigations.  Of these, only 701 remained “unidentified”; these included cases in which there was insufficient information to assign the event a known cause.

Though reports of mysterious flying objects had existed for centuries, World War II and the accompanying development of rocket science marked a new level of interest in what would officially become known as “unidentified flying objects,” or UFOs. The first well-known UFO sighting occurred in June 1947, when civilian pilot and businessman Kenneth Arnold reported seeing nine bright blue-white objects flying in a “V” formation over Washington’s Mount Rainier at speeds of up to 1,700 mph in the skies. (Arnold compared the movement of the nine mysterious objects over Mount Rainier to that of “a saucer if you skip it across water.” This statement later led to the misconception that the objects were shaped like saucers, and to the widespread use of “flying saucer” as a synonym for UFO.)  Widely publicized reports of Arnold’s experience, followed by an increasing number of reported UFO sightings, led the U.S. Air Force to begin an investigation into the sightings, called Operation Sign, in 1948. The initial investigation resulted in the formation of Project Blue Book in 1952; that project became the longest running of the U.S. government’s official inquiries into UFO sightings, compiling reports on more than 12,000 sightings or related events from 1952 to its dismantling in 1969.

In 1966, the Air Force had requested the formation of another committee to look into the details of 59 UFO sightings investigated by Project Blue Book. The committee, headed by Dr. Edward Condon and based at the University of Colorado, released its “Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects”–better known as the Condon Report–in 1968. According to the Condon Report, the sightings they examined showed no evidence of any unusual activity, and recommended that the Air Force stop investigations into UFO-related incidents. In 1969, in response to the Condon Report as well as a declining number of UFO sightings, Project Blue Book was officially brought to an end; among its conclusions were that of the sightings categorized as “unidentified,” there was no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that they were the result of technology beyond the range of modern scientific knowledge or that they were extraterrestrial vehicles.

Headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (east of Dayton, Ohio), the conclusions of Project Blue Book were: (1) no UFO reported, investigated, and evaluated by the Air Force has ever given any indication of threat to our national security; (2) there has been no evidence submitted to or discovered by the Air Force that sightings categorized as “unidentified” represent technological developments or principles beyond the range of present-day scientific knowledge; and (3) there has been no evidence indicating that sightings categorized as “unidentified” are extraterrestrial vehicles.

The Air Force research did not locate or develop any information that the infamous “Roswell Incident” was a UFO event, nor was there any indication of a cover-up by the government.

 

“Project Spartan”

Currently codenamed “Project Spartan,” Microsoft has announced several new features for its next browser evolution: integration with Cortana, the speech-recognition tool available on Windows Phone; the ability to annotate web pages within the browser and share those notes with other people; and new tools for reading text on a webpage.  The browser is based on a new rendering engine and is designed for interoperability across all types of devices, from smartphones to desktop personal computers (PCs).

 

Prometheus

  1. Son of the Titan Iapetus and the Oceanid Clymene, Prometheus (also called Promitheas) was a Titan and brother to Epimetheus, Atlas and Menoetius in Greek mythology.  His name derives from the Greek word promeléti, meaning “forethought.”  During the war between the Titans and the Olympian gods called the Titanomachy, Prometheus sided with Zeus, helping to overthrow the old gods.  Siding with the winning side, Prometheus avoided being sent to the Underworld Tartarus with the rest of the Titans.  By all accounts, Prometheus was a protector and benefactor of Mankind.  As a result of the “Trick at Mecone,” Zeus was infuriated and decided to hide fire from mortals as punishment.  Prometheus, in an effort to help humanity, managed to steal fire from Zeus and give it to Man.  Further enraged, Zeus asked Hephaestus to create Pandora, the first woman, who, according to Hesiod, would bring trouble with her to Mankind.  He also punished Prometheus by having him chained to a rock, where an eagle would eat the immortal’s liver out every day, and the liver was regenerated every night.  He was later unchained by the demigod Hercules, but Zeus wanted Prometheus to carry a reminder of his punishment forever, so he ordered Prometheus to make and wear a steel ring forged from his own chains.

2. As a child of criminal parents, the boy who would become Prometheus in the DC Comics universe was raised believing that the police were evil. When they are eventually ambushed by the police and gunned down before his very eyes, his hair turned white from the shock, and he swore an oath on their graves, dedicating his life to destroying the system of the law.  He found several large stashes of money that his parents had acquired over the years, and upon his sixteenth birthday, he blackmailed the local crime boss into giving him even more money.  He used these funds to finance his training all over the world; he learned to maim, assassinate, fight, and speak a dozen different languages.  He would eventually exact revenge on the policeman who gunned his parents down.  Inheriting his father’s knack with technology, which became very useful to him. He returned to the U.S. and began inventing many miraculous pieces of technology, including hardware which could interface directly with the human nervous system, and a nightstick that could shatter an iron anvil despite its light weight.  Though he possesses no superpowers, Prometheus has proven to be a deadly opponent without them.  He has created more than 1,000 master plans to escape any situation and/or defeat any metahuman.  He is one of the smartest men on the planet, rivaling Lex Luthor and Batman in planning, having Master’s degrees in Physics, Biology, Algebra, Technology, English, History and Religion.  He is a brilliant strategist who claims to have developed plans to defeat every (DC) superhero/supervillain.

 

Protocol

A set of specifications governing the format of packets (also called datagrams) and the addressing scheme.  Most networks combine Internet Protocol (IP) with a higher-level protocol called Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) to create Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP), which establishes a virtual connection between a destination and a source.  IP by itself is something like the postal system.  It allows you to address a package and drop it in the system, but there’s no direct link between you and the recipient.  TCP/IP, on the other hand, establishes a connection between two hosts so that they can send messages back and forth for a period of time.  Every desktop and laptop computer, server, scanner, printer, modem, router, smartphone and tablet is assigned an IP address, and every IP packet traversing an IP network contains a source IP address and a destination IP address.  Network infrastructure devices such as servers, routers and firewalls are typically assigned permanent “static” IP addresses.  The client machines can also be assigned static IPs by a network administrator, but most often are automatically assigned “dynamic” IP addresses via software (see DHCP).  Cable and DSL modems are typically assigned dynamic IPs for home users and static IPs for business users.  IP addresses are written in “dotted decimal” notation, which is four sets of numbers separated by decimal points; for example, 204.171.64.2.  Instead of the domain name of a website, the actual IP address can be entered into the browser.  However, the Domain Name System (DNS) exists so users can enter computerlanguage.com instead of an IP address, and the domain (the URL) computerlanguage.com is converted to the numeric IP address.

 

Psyche

  1. The mental or psychological structure of a person, especially as a motive force. Can also be used to refer to the human soul, spirit or mind.

2. The myth of Psyche and Eros has been retold in several different versions and it has inspired artists all over the world. Psyche was a woman gifted with extreme beauty and grace.  Growing jealous of Psyche due to men’s admiration, the goddess Aphrodite asked her son, the powerful master of love Eros, to poison men’s souls in order to kill off their desire for Psyche.  But Eros also fell in love with Psyche, and was completely mesmerized by her beauty.  Despite all the men coming her way, Psyche stayed unmarried.  Her parents became so desperate, they wanted to try to solve the mystery of the Oracle, in order to get a husband to their daughter.  Eros guided Apollo to get the Oracle to say that Psyche would marry an ugly beast whose face she would never be able to see, and that he would be waiting for her at the top of the mountain.  Psyche’s parents were completely devastated, but they arranged the wedding of their beloved daughter with the beast.  After the wedding, Psyche was able to be with her husband only at night.  His tenderness and the enormous love he showed Psyche made her happy and fulfilled beyond her expectations and dreams.  She talked about her happiness with her sisters and confided in them how sad she was that she couldn’t see his face.  Her jealous sisters persuaded Psyche that her lover was a monster who would eventually kill her, so she should kill him first to save herself.  One night, with an oil lamp and a knife in her hands, Psyche was prepared to kill her husband, but when she enlightened his face, she saw the beautiful god Eros.  Caught by surprise, she spilled the lamp’s oil on his face.  Eros woke up and flew away, telling Psyche that she had betrayed him and ruined their relationship, so they could never be together.  Searching for her lost love, Psyche finally begged Aphrodite, who had imprisoned Eros in the Palace, to see him.  Aphrodite gave her three impossible tasks to accomplish in order to prove her love.  Driven by her desire to reunite with Eros, she was fearless.  After accomplishing the first two tasks, Psyche had to go to the Hades (Underworld) and bring the box with the elixir of beauty to Aphrodite, who ordered her not to open the box.  Instead of the elixir, there was Morpheus (the god of sleep and dreams) hiding in the box and since the curious Psyche opened it, she fell asleep.  Eros found out what happened, ran away from the Palace, and begged Zeus to save his Psyche.  Amazed by their love, Zeus went even further: he made Psyche immortal, so that two lovers could be together forever.

 

Pull-down menu

See Drop-down menu.

 

Pulling, Patricia

Author of a digest-sized booklet entitled Dungeons and Dragons and a vocal spokesperson for Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons (BADD), Pulling is the mother of “Bink” Pulling, who committed suicide in 1982.  She believed that her son was obsessed with the game, and blamed it and its creators for her son’s death.  She actively sought a boycott of the popular role-playing game, even appearing on a 1985 segment of 60 Minutes.  Pulling died of natural causes on September 18, 1997.

 

Punisher, The

Before Francis Castiglione (later known as “Frank Castle”) joined the Marines, he was studying to become a Catholic priest, but changed his mind because he was unable to forgive those who did evil.  Becoming a Navy SEAL, he served in the Vietnam War in a special forces unit as a point man.  For heroism in the line of duty, he was decorated with numerous medals, including the Purple Heart.  Returning home, while on a picnic with his family in New York’s Central Park, they witnessed a Mafia gangland execution. Seeking to eliminate all witnesses, the powerful crime family massacred Frank’s family on the spot … but Frank survived.  With justice on his mind, he waged a one-man war on crime, donning body armor emblazoned with a death’s-head symbol and taking on the name The Punisher.

The lone antihero first appeared in Marvel Comics’ Amazing Spider-Man #129 in 1974 as the vigilante assassin hired by Jackal to kill Spider-Man for the apparent murder of Norman Osborn, until Castle realized that he was being tricked into killing Spider-Man.  The Punisher was given his own comic title in 1986, after Mike Zeck and Steven Grant suggested it. Since then, he has been written and illustrated by Jason Aaron, Mike BaronChuck DixonGarth Ennis, Jim LeeBill ReinholdJohn Romita Sr., and John Romita Jr.  Subsequent origin stories for The Punisher appeared in Marvel Preview #2 (1975); Marvel Super Action #1 (1976); Punisher: Nam #52 (1991); and Year One #1-4 (1994-1995).

Frank Castle/The Punisher has been portrayed on film by Dolph Lundgren in 1989’s The Punisher and by Thomas Jane in The Punisher (2004).  On television, Jon Bernthal has appeared as the character in two Netflix series: Daredevil and The Punisher.

 

Pwned

  1. A corruption of the word “owned.” While some sources claim that the term originated in the “World of Warcraft” online game, others claim it is quite a bit older.  Regardless of place of origin, it is believed that a designer misspelled “owned” and players received the message “<player’s name> has been pwned” when they were defeated by the computer, the term is now commonly used in gaming communities and forums, and has come to mean “owned” or dominated by opponent or situation, especially a godlike or computerlike entity.  Because it is based on the intended word “owned,” the oddly spelled term is pronounced “poned.”
  2. A term in gaming and online communities meaning “easily defeated.”
  3. Humiliated in public by committing embarrassing actions.