Tn – Tz

Todd, Jason

The second youth (after Dick Grayson) to take on the persona of Robin under the guidance of Bruce Wayne/Batman, Jason Peter Todd is a DC Comics antihero/antivillain who first appeared in Batman #357 (March 1983).  Though initially popular, the character written by Jim Starlin was not well received by fans following a revamping of his origin by Max Allan Collins.  For 1988’s “A Death in the Family” storyline, DC held a call-in poll to determine whether or not the character would die at the hands of The Joker.  By a margin of 72 votes (5,343 to 5,271), Todd was killed off.  Subsequent Batman stories dealt with Batman’s guilt over his failure to prevent Jason Todd’s death, but in the “Under the Hood” story arc (2005-06), the character was resurrected, following the revelation in Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-86) that Superboy-Prime’s attempts to punch his way out of the extra-dimensional space triggered “ripples” in the fabric of reality, causing events in the present to become undone and replaced by different versions of events.  Todd would eventually become the second character to take up The Joker’s former Red Hood alias, then go on to assemble a team of anti-heroes known as the Outlaws.


Tolkien, J.R.R.

John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892-1973) published The Hobbit in 1937, The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955), and the posthumously published The Silmarillion (1977), all set in and around the mythical land of Middle-earth, a well-mapped territory populated with Men, Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, Orcs (also known as Goblins) and Hobbits.  He also collaborated with E.V. Gordon on the famous edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  While simultaneously being regularly condemned by the English Literature establishment, Tolkien was and is loved by millions of readers worldwide.



  1. The study of a specific geographical location, and specifically the history of the region.
  2. A branch of mathematics that concentrates on the properties of geometric configurations that are not altered by elastic deformations such as stretching or twisting.
  3. The arrangement of various elements of a computer network, either physically or logically.



A built-in pointing device on all laptop and netbook computers, the touchpad is a small, flat surface with which a user can control the activity on the computer screen by sliding and tapping his finger.



See Touchpad.


Transmission control protocol

See Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP).


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)

A two-layer program that controls the sending and receiving of information over the internet.  The higher layer, Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), manages the assembling of a message or file into smaller packets, which are then transmitted over the internet and received by a TCP layer that reassembles the packets into the original message.  The attached lower layer, Internet Protocol (IP), is a numerical code that identifies a particular computer connected to the internet, so that the information gets to the right destination.  Every computer, whether it be a web server or a home computer, requires an IP address, which consists of four sets of numbers from 0 to 255, separated by three dots (e.g., “” or “”).  There are two types: static IP addresses, which are always the same, and dynamic IP addresses, which change every time a certain party logs onto the internet.  Dynamic IP addresses are typically assigned to dial-up users each time they sign on, because it reduces the number of IP addresses they must register.  Each gateway computer on the network path of a message checks this address to see where to forward the message.  Some packets from one message may be routed differently than other packets in the same message, but all packets in that message will be reassembled at the same correct destination.



Literally meaning something that can change or modify another item’s appearance, the Transmogrifier was an “invention” of six-year-old Calvin in Bill Watterson’s popular 1980s Calvin and Hobbes comic strip.  Though it looked like only an ordinary cardboard box with the word “Transmogrifier” written on it, when Calvin put the “device” over himself or over himself and his stuffed tiger Hobbes, and they would become all sorts of creatures.



In the Star Trek universe, a transportation device that converts physical objects or beings into energy, transfers that energy to a set destination, and reconstitutes the objects/beings back into matter.


Trap door

See Back door.


Tri-dimensional chess

See Three-dimensional chess.




  1. In geography, pinpointing a particular location by taking bearings to it from two (and sometimes three) remote points.
  2. In data, gathering facts or evidence from different types of data sources (such as documents, photographs, interviews, public records, and primary/secondary research) to verify information.


“Trick at Mecone”

A traditional tale of Greek mythology in which, at a sacrificial meal marking the “settling of accounts” between mortals and immortals, the Titan Prometheus played a trick on Zeus.  He placed two sacrificial offerings before the Olympian: a selection of beef hidden inside an ox’s stomach (nourishment hidden inside a displeasing exterior), and the bull’s bones wrapped completely in “glistening fat” (something inedible hidden inside a pleasing exterior). Zeus chose the latter, setting a precedent for future sacrifices: humans would keep meat for themselves and burn the bones wrapped in fat as an offering to the gods.  This angered Zeus, and as retribution, the god took fire away from humans, so they would have to eat their meat raw.  Prometheus, however, stole fire back and, hiding it in a giant fennel-stalk, returned it to Mankind.  This further enraged Zeus, who sentenced the Titan to eternal torment for his transgression.  The immortal Prometheus was bound to a rock, where each day an eagle, the emblem of Zeus, was sent to feed on his liver, only to have the organ grow back each night, only to be pecked out and eaten again the next day.  In some stories, Prometheus is freed at last by the hero Heracles (known in Roman mythology as Hercules).  Among the ancient Greeks, Prometheus was revered as a divinity.  The Prometheus myth first appeared in the late 8th Century BC, in Greek epic poet Hesiod’s Theogony.  He was a son of the Titan Iapetus by Clymene, one of the Oceanids.  He was brother to Menoetius, Atlas, and Epimetheus. In the Theogony, Hesiod introduces Prometheus as a lowly challenger to Zeus’s omniscience and omnipotence.



Featured in the 1951 John Wyndham novel and 1962 Hollywood film Day of the Triffids, a triffid is a plant that gains the ability of mobility – as well as a hunger for animals and humans – as a result of a meteor shower.


Tripping the Rift

The computer-animated … and adult-oriented … comedy, which aired on the SciFi Channel from 2004-05 with a few new episodes airing in 2007, told the story of a spaceship crew, some humanoid and some not, under the command of Chode, the captain of the Jupiter 42 who had a penchant for petty theft, cheating and pornography.  Chode’s nemesis was Darph Bobo, the manic, dim and hateful spoof of Darth Vader, with the same homicidal tendencies as his better-known counterpart.  The video release Tripping the Rift: The Movie came out in 2008.


 “Truffle Shuffle, The”

The dance that Lawrence “Chunk” Cohen was instructed to do by his friend Clarke “Mouth” Devereaux, in order to gain access to his friend’s house in the popular 1985 film The Goonies.



A short status post on Twitter.



A microblogging social networking service created by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Christopher “Biz” Stone and Evan Williams in 2006, in which users post “tweets,” or short status posts (originally limited to 140 characters and spaces) via a computer or smartphone internet connection.



Frequent users of the social media website Twitter.



Originally called “Harvey Kent” in DC Comics, Harvey Dent was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.  His original story was a trilogy, during which his face was marred and he suffered a mental breakdown.  At the end of his story, Harvey’s sanity and facial features were both restored, and he married his fiancee Gilda.  Not wanting to ruin the happy ending for Harvey Kent (who was renamed Dent in his next appearance), writer Bill Finger introduced a number of impostor Two-Faces, most notably Paul Sloane and George Blake.  Finally, in 1954, writer David V. Reed re-scarred Dent’s face in an explosion, thus bringing Two-Face back; however, this would be his final appearance in the Golden Age of Comics, after which he vanished from comics for sixteen years.

When Dent returned during the Bronze Age of Comics, mobster defendant Sal Maroni threw acid at Dent during his own trial.  The acid horribly scarred half of Dent’s face, causing him to lose his mind.  Taking on the name “Two-Face,” the former defender of justice descended into criminality and an obsession with duality.  In the current continuity, after another backstory rewrite, before becoming Gotham City’s District Attorney, Dent was a defense attorney, struggling between his desire to do justice and the attorney/client privilege.  While working as the DA with Batman and Police Commissioner James Gordon, he was targeted by former client Erin McKillen, a mob boss he sent to Blackgate after taking his new position.  Considering this betrayal, McKillen vowed revenge; upon escaping prison, she murdered Gilda Dent and permanently scarred Harvey Dent with acid, leading to his descent into madness.

Elements of Two-Face’s history were rewritten for the Modern Age of Comics by Andrew Helfer.  Two-Face made no appearances during this era, bypassing the Silver Age of Comics entirely save for a single issue of World’s Finest, in which Batman was brainwashed into thinking that he himself was Two-Face.  He did, however, make an appearance in the Batman newspaper comic strips published during this era.

After a sixteen-year-absence from comics, Two-Face was brought back in 1971 by Dennis O’Neil, who reestablished Dent’s status as one of Batman’s greatest enemies.  In addition, he was given a new origin by Jack C. Harris, in which it was revealed that Harvey Dent wasn’t meant to be scarred by acid by Maroni (reverting to the original character who scarred him).  The mobster’s real target had been the officer who arrested him, Dave “Pretty Boy” Davis.  This fact was further evidence to Dent that what happened to him truly was nothing more than a matter of chance.  While these events were never referenced in any other story, they were included in Two-Face’s official Who’s Who in the DC Universe entry.  It was also revealed that Harvey had an estranged daughter, Duela Dent, but as with the Dave Davis origin retcon, this revelation similarly went ignored by virtually all subsequent stories.

Dent’s/Two-Face’s origin was rewritten yet again following Crisis on Infinite Earths.  He was given a more tragic backstory to make his character more sympathetic, and his early connection to Batman was added.  His character also took on the typical symptoms of Dissociative Identity Disorder; that is, his two identities lost their awareness of what the other was doing.  In motion pictures, Two-Face has been portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones in 1995’s Batman Forever and by Aaron Eckhart in 2008’s The Dark Knight.



The central antagonist in William Shakespeare’s drama Romeo and Juliet, Tybalt is Juliet’s cousin and a violent, aggressive opposer of the Montague family.  In a street scuffle, Tybalt, known as the “Prince of Cats,” inadvertently kills Romeo’s best friend Mercutio, which starts an escalating cycle of revenge that ultimately leads to the death of the two main characters.  Tybalt has been portrayed on screen several times, including Michael York (1968) and John Leguizamo (1996).


Tyson, Neil deGrasse

One of America’s best-known scientists, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson was born October 5, 1958 and raised in New York City.  A trip to the Hayden Planetarium at the Museum of Natural History when he was nine gave Tyson his first taste of stargazing; he would later take classes at the Planetarium and get his own telescope.  As a teenager, he would watch the skies from the roof of his apartment building.  An excellent student, Tyson graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1976.  After earning a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Harvard University, Tyson received a Doctorate in Astrophysics from Columbia University in 1991.  After spending a few years doing post-doctorate work at Princeton University, Tyson landed a job at the Hayden Planetarium, the very spot that inspired his course of study.  He eventually became the director of the Planetarium and worked on an extensive renovation of the facility.  One of Tyson’s most controversial decisions at the time was the removal of Pluto from the display of planets.  He classified Pluto as a dwarf planet, which invoked a strong response from some visitors.  While some asked for the planet Pluto back, the International Astronomical Union followed Tyson’s lead in 2006, officially labeling Pluto as a dwarf planet.

Tyson has written several books, including Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries and The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet.  He has served as the host of PBS’s NOVA ScienceNow documentary series from 2006 to 2011.  He has also served as a presidential advisor.  In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed him to a commission on the future of the aerospace industry.  He also served on another commission three years later to examine U.S. policy on space exploration.  These days, Tyson is one of the most in-demand science experts, with appearances on such shows as Real Time with Bill MaherThe Colbert Report and The Daily Show.  He also hosts his own science-based talk show that features comedic co-hosts.  In 2014, Tyson hosted a 13-episode television series entitled COSMOS: A Space-Time Odyssey.  The series reboots Carl Sagan’s classic science series Cosmos.



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