[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next] - [Date Index][Thread Index][Author Index]

The right word for the lowtech AO-40 Doppler Frequency corrector

This might amuse, referring to the device shown at

------- Start of forwarded message -------
<text deleted>

4. Weird Words: Volvelle
- -------------------------------------------------------------------
A calculation device consisting of concentric moveable circles.

The earliest types of volvelles were typically made of parchment or
paper, with one or more moveable circles attached to a backboard,
often the inside cover of a book. The range of information on them
was large. Some were like early slide rules, used to calculate the
results of mathematical equations. Others worked out the phases of
the moon or times of high and low tide. The volvelles that solved
astronomical problems could have as many as six rotatable dials.

Strictly, the term is applied only to such historical calculation
devices. In more recent times, related ones (usually now called
"wheel charts" or "wheel calculators" since "volvelle" is obsolete)
have been used to display or calculate the details of everything
from the date when a baby was due, through aircraft recognition and
dieting data, to geography facts for school children. These were
often given away as advertisements at trade shows or supplied with
products. Americans of a certain age might recall the BAC (Blood
Alcohol Content) calculators that were distributed in school so you
could work out the safe limits for drinking. Even in the age of the
computer, they're by no means obsolete, being handy pocket-sized
compendia of useful data for some specialist purposes.

The word is from the medieval Latin verb "volvere", to turn.
<text deleted>
- -------------------------------------------------------------------
World Wide Words is copyright (c) Michael Quinion 2003.  All rights
reserved. The Words Web site is at <http://www.worldwidewords.org>.
- -------------------------------------------------------------------
You may reproduce this newsletter in whole or part in free online
newsletters, newsgroups or mailing lists provided that you include
this note and the copyright notice above. Reproduction in printed
publications or on Web sites requires prior permission, for which
you should contact TheEditor@worldwidewords.org .
- -------------------------------------------------------------------
------- End of forwarded message -------
Sent via amsat-bb@amsat.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Not an AMSAT member? Join now to support the amateur satellite program!
To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe amsat-bb" to Majordomo@amsat.org