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Ernesto Puts the Kibosh on Atlantis Launch

08/28/2006 10:38 AM

NASA is playing it safe with Tropical Storm Ernesto tracking towards Cape Canaveral. The scheduled launch of space shuttle Atlantis for August 29th (tomorrow) has been scrubbed. NASA is now targeting Sept, 3rd as the launch date.

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#1

Kibosh?

08/28/2006 10:56 AM

Does anyone know the etymology of the word 'kibosh'? I've heard it's Yiddish, English and/or Turkish. Any thoughts?

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#2
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Re:Kibosh?

08/29/2006 2:16 AM

I have always wondered about the exact connection between the rocket launch and the weather conditions. Has it something to do with cross winds at high altitude that would disturb the trajectory or it has something to do with the telemetry? Can someone explain some details. Thanks

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#3
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Re:Kibosh?

08/29/2006 4:03 AM

Way back in the Apollo days they found that the ionized gas of the exhaust plume along with the craft itself act as an enormous lightning rod that is a couple of thousand feet long. What happened is that during a launch through cloud the vehicle was struck by lightning and the entire guidance system was knocked out. They were just about to abort the mission by firing the escape rockets and then blowing up the launch vehicle when some quick thinking engineer remembered that there was an obscure switch that nobody knew about that could restart all the guidance computers. So you can imagine that if there is the slightest possibility of lightning they won't launch. I would also expect that things like cross winds, wind shear and just about anything else you can think of are concerns.

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#4

Kibosh

08/29/2006 5:00 AM

WorlWide Words have this to say about Kibosh…. Many words in English have obscure origins, particularly those which may be said to have risen in the world from lowly origins in argot, cant or slang. None is more mysterious than kibosh, which is most commonly encountered in the standard phrase to put the kibosh on something. This was a common enough expression in the London of my youth, sometimes in the impersonal form That's put the kibosh on that!, meaning "that's disposed of it", "that's finished it off"; it was also used as a direct form to rebuke someone: You've really put the kibosh on that, haven't you! meaning that the person being rebuked has terminally fouled something up, rendering it incapable of completion or execution. But what is the origin of this strange word, which looks so very un-English? If I am to be boring about it, the most likely answer is that nobody knows for sure: certainly that's the careful response of most dictionaries. But other people down the years have discarded caution to come up with a wide variety of explanations: • It derives from Yiddish. This is the most popular explanation, though the details differ. One supposition is that it comes from the Yiddish word Kabas or Kabbasten, "to suppress". Another view is much stranger, saying that it is an acronym formed from the initial letters of three Yiddish words meaning 18 British coins: the Hebrew chai for 18 and shekel, meaning coin, with British in the middle. But, as Leo Rosten argues, that ought to make kibrosh rather than kibosh. He does say that there was special significance in the number 18, since in gematria (an important method of divination among Jews at one time), this was the number equivalent of the word life. • It is said by some (notably Julian Franklyn) to have an heraldic origin, being derived from caboshed which is the heraldic description of the emblem of an animal which is shown full-face, but cut off close to the ears so that no neck shows. • The Irish poet, Padraic Colum, has argued that the word originates in the Gaelic phrase cie báis meaning "cap of death". The word báis is apparently pronounced "bawsh" and cie is presumably pronounced with a hard initial consonant, rather like "kai". • Webster's New World Dictionary apparently derives it from Middle High German kiebe, meaning "carrion". Whatever its origin, most authorities seem to agree that the word originated in Britain in the early part of last century (the OED cites Dickens' Sketches by Boz of 1836 as the first use in print) but that it was soon taken to America and became naturalised there. Early written references varied a lot in spelling. Dickens spelled it kye-bosk (presumably a literal spelling of the then Cockney pronunciation); the London humorous magazine Punch used cibosh in an article in 1856; the modern form appeared first in The Slang Dictionary in 1869. Someday perhaps, some earnest researcher will find an earlier citation for the word that ties down its origin to one of these explanations, or one nobody has yet thought of, which will really put the kibosh on all this speculation.

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