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Q FEVER: Caused by rickettsia Coxiella hurmetii with fever, headache and pneumonia. Named as Q fever due to many unanswered questions.(JA)

QABBALA: ("Tradition" in Hebrew). See KABBALA.


QUAILKEN: A chimaera of cell fusion of primitive streak in embryonic development of a chicken and a quail. (JA)


QUALITY ADJUSTED LIFE YEARS: A measurement index derived from a modification of standard life-table procedures and designed to take account of the quality as well as the duration of survival; this index can be used in assessing the outcome of health care procedures or services. (DM)

QUALITY OF HEALTH CARE: The adequacy of patient care or of health services, as measured against social or professional standards. (DM)

QUALITY OF LIFE: In popular language, quality of life refers to the size of one's house and car, how often one goes out to dinner, and where one goes on holiday. In medicine, it is a technical concept measured by questionnaires about pain, depression, independence from nursing care, ambulatory mobility, etc. The degree, to which Quality of Life should be a consideration in decisions about discontinuing life-preserving treatment, is a matter for debate. (See MEANING OF LIFE). (FL)


QUANTUM: (Latin: quantus "how much") A quantum is the smallest indivisible unit, usually of energy. Radiation can only be absorbed in discrete whole quanta, and the energy content of a quantum is proportional to its natural vibration frequency (expressed by E=hv where E=quantum energy, h=Planck’s constant, v=radiation frequency). (See QUANTUM THEORY) (MP & IP)

QUANTUM COMPUTING: The application of quantum physics to computer science, a field of research pioneered by David Deutsch at Oxford University. The goal is to engineer a quantum computer which would be many magnitudes more powerful than electronic microchip technologies. This would be a calculating device utilizing the quantum properties of particles such as atoms, electrons, ions or photons to encode information. Groups of particles may provide exponential increases in calculating power, potentially allowing computations to be performed for any humanly imaginable problem and simulations for modeling or virtual reality to be run with incredible levels of complexity. New extensions to the 0-1 binary code which allow simultaneous parallel calculations are possible using quantum properties such as the superposition of electron spin states into an intermediate multiple state. Information at this scale may be measured in qubits (quantum bits). Nuclear magnetic resonance has achieved several qubits and other techniques are being investigated such as using the energy and vibration of trapped ions. The major obstacle is decoherence - disruption resulting from interaction with the environment. If the problem of decoherence is successfully tackled the next generation of computers will generate unimaginable powers and incredible technologies which would be highly valuable to commerce and the military. We will require global ethical maturity to manage any unknown risks. (See COMPUTER, DNA COMPUTER, QUANTUM THEORY, QUBIT) (MP)

QUANTUM ENTANGLEMENT: A condition in which a pair of quantum particles are intimately associated, or "entangled" with one another such that a measurement of one of the pair instantaneously influences characteristics of the other such as spin, despite any intervening distance between the two particles. Such quantum entanglement has been experimentally demonstrated despite apparently contradicting the view of Einstein, and has implications for philosophy, teleportation research, fiber-optic communications and quantum computing. (See TELEPORTATION, QUANTUM COMPUTING) (MP)

QUANTUM MECHANICS: Classical Newtonian mechanics no longer functions at atomic scales, and is replaced by quantum mechanics which describes the behavior of atoms and their component parts such as quarks, gluons and electrons, and other elementary particles such as photons and leptons. (See CLASSICAL MECHANICS, LEPTON, PHOTON, QUANTUM THEORY, QUARK) (MP)

QUANTUM THEORY: (Latin: quantus "how much" + Greek: theoria "speculation") Quantum theory is the branch of physics dealing with the fundamental particles of matter and their interaction with electromagnetic radiation. The theory was first pioneered by Max Planck in 1900 when his research indicated that for red-hot bodies classical laws failed to account for the expected distribution of energy between wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. Planck suggested that physical systems can only have properties such as energy in discrete whole values; small packets of energy called quanta. Subsequent studies paved the way for the development of the quantum theory of matter, which is the foundation of all modern physics as well as much of chemistry. Einstein quantized light, demonstrating that light radiation behaves like particles as well as waves. Louis de Broglie expanded these insights into the field of wave mechanics, Niels Bohr quantized the angular momentum of electrons, Erwin Schrödinger developed the equation describing wave functions, Paul Dirac postulated antimatter, Richard Feynman investigated quantum electrodynamics, and Werner Heisenberg developed his uncertainty principle. Despite many of its axioms seeming paradoxical and contradictory to preconceived common-sense notions of reality, there is continued scientific evidence providing support for quantum theory. Quantum theory has applications to many technologies including quantum computing, fiber-optics and nuclear research. (See HEISENBERG’S UNCERTAINTY PRINCIPLE, QUANTUM, QUANTUM COMPUTING, QUANTUM MECHANICS, RELATIVITY THEORY) (MP & IP)

QUARANTINE: Limitation of the freedom of movement of persons who have been exposed to a communicable disease (and, loosely, of patients and infected persons), for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease. (DM)

QUARK: Subatomic particle. The term "quark" was coined by Murray Gell-Mann, apparently based upon the novel "Finnegan's Wake" by James Joyce. Page 363 of the novel begins "Three quarks for Muster Mark!". Quarks are considered to be a building block for protons and neutrons. Groups of three quarks form a proton or a neutron. Quarks are divided into six types, based on a quality termed "flavor". The flavors of quarks are: up, down, strange, charm, top, and bottom. The quarks constituting a proton or neutron are "held together" by gluons (see GLUON). Another quality of gluons is known as color. An "up" quark, for example, may be red, yellow, or blue. The term color in this context is not based on visual perception. (AG)

QUBIT: The qubit (quantum bit) is the unit of information in quantum computing. Unlike the bits and bytes of ordinary computers, a qubit can simultaneously be 0 and 1 in a superimposed state. Such multiple simultaneous calculations give quantum computing its potential extraordinary power. Two qubits can be superimposed into four states, three qubits into eight states, and several hundred qubits would be able to simultaneously make calculations equivalent to the number of atoms in the known universe. (See QUANTUM COMPUTING) (MP)

QUEER: an offensive slang term for homosexual which ranked number 20 in the "taboos rating" of dirty words but the term is again becoming an acceptable expression among the gay community [German quer athwart/across as in thwart or cross] (see QUEER THEORY). (IP)

QUEER THEORY: argues for a flourishing of the many sexualities; that is, "male" and "female" are not and should not be the two concepts from which all the other definitions of sex and sexuality flow. The theory maintains that the varieties of homosexualism, heterosexualism, transvestism, transsexualism and hermaphroditism are all autonomous, equally valid and normal in their own right; that is, not derived from a false notion of "maleness" or "femaleness" (see HETEROSEXUAL-HOMOSEXUAL BEHAVIOR RATING SCALE). (IP)

QUICKENING: first movements of the fetus felt in utero by the mother, usually occurring between 16 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. In some cases, movement can be felt as early as the 10th week while in other, very unusual instances, not at all. Quickening marks the period when the mother’s love for her infant picks up pace. (See UNCONDITIONAL LOVE). (IP)

QUIT SMOKING: to desist, cease or to pay off by discharging a (drug-related) debt or obligation (dependence) as in "we"re quits" indicating a willingness to give up. The colloquialism can also refer to quitting drugs other than nicotine. Cigarette smoking remains the most important preventable cause of disease and death thus many community-wide health education programs and smoking cessation strategies have been developed with varying degrees of success. Many make use of the mass media to target specific subgroups identified by, for example, sex, age, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. However, the majority of such smoking control efforts concentrate on increasing cessation rather than on preventing initiation. Physicians, nurses and teachers are important role models and educators for appropriate health behavior; thus cigarette smoking by individuals in these occupations undermines both of these roles. (See ADDICTION, QUITTING DRUGS, SMOKING). (IP)

QUOTA: A proportion of the total which is allocated or belongs to a particular individual, organization or district. (See FISHING QUOTA) (MP)

QURAN (from the Arabic root q.r.'., meaning "to read") The sacred book of Islam. According to Islamic tradition, the Quran was revealed to Muhammad by God in a series of prophecies. The book is written in classical Arabic, and contains 114 chapters of varying length. In the Quran, the prophets of both the Old and New Testaments are accorded great respect, and reference is made to many Biblical characters and events. The Quran is the primary source of Islamic laws and traditions, and sections of it are recited at every Islamic prayer. (See RELIGIOUS EDUCATION). (AG)
































RABIES: A bullet-shaped, single-stranded RNA virus of the order Mononegavirales
, family Rhabdoviridae, genus Lyssavirus, that causes an acute, fatal brain disease in mammals. Transmission by bite. The natural reservoir of rabies infection is in wild mammals, but it can infect domestic animals and, incidentally, humans. (RW)

RAC: Recombinant DNA advisory Committee of US NIH.

RACE: Level in the classification of organisms. A species is divided into two or more races if there are consistent observed differences between the races. So, for example, the herring gull (a bird) is divided into several races. The Western European race has a pale silver grey back and pink legs, while the Eastern Scandinavian race has a dark slate grey back and yellow legs. Both races belong to the same species and produce viable offspring when interbred.

Until the 1960s most biologists were happy to classify humans into a number of distinct races. Since then, though, the term has increasingly fallen into disfavour. This is partly because of the realisation that the genetic diversity within each so-called human race is considerably greater than the genetic distance between them, and partly because of the abuse of the term for political ends, as, for example, in apartheid. (MR)

RACISM: the anti-social and erroneous belief that discriminatory treatment of a particular group of human beings is (a) acceptable and (b) that such discrimination can be justified on biological grounds. Modern DNA sequencing data has established that within the human gene pool there can be more variability within one population than between different populations or "races", demonstrating significantly that the human species belongs to one biological race divided into many adaptively evolved local forms or varieties (see CHRONOCENTRISM, MISOXENIA). (IP+AG)

RADIATION: (Latin: radiare "emit rays") 1. Physics: Particles such as alpha, beta or gamma rays emitted from radioactive nuclear decay, or any transmission of radiant energy such as solar power or electromagnetic waves (See RADIATION SICKNESS).

2. Biology: The divergence of an evolutionary lineage of organisms into different niches by ecological radiation, or into different phenotypes by adaptive radiation. (See ADAPTATION, NATURAL SELECTION) (MP)


RADIOLOGY: The branch of medicine concerned with the use of x-rays, radioactive substances, and other types of ionizing radiation in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. (DM)

RADAR: (Abbreviation for ‘RAdio Detection And Ranging’) Radar is the utilization of echo-location using atmospheric radio waves, such as airplane detection and car speed radars. (See SONAR) (MP)

RADIOACTIVITY: The chemical property of emission of radiation, and its measurement. Radiation such as alpha rays (helium nucleus), beta rays (electrons) and gamma rays (a form of electromagnetic radiation) are emitted by unstable radioactive isotopes (radioisotopes) of uranium, thorium, radium and most of the higher elements of the periodic table such as the actinides. Radioactivity was discovered and developed by scientists such as Roentgen, Rutherford, Becquerel and the Curies, and is measured by a Geiger counter. (See CURIE, ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION, RADIATION) (MP)

Radiocarbon Dating: the determination of the age of carbon samples embedded in objects of plant or animal origin by means of their content of radioactive C14 carbon (see OPTICAL DATING, THERMOLUMINESCENCE DATING). (IP)

RAINBOW SERPENT: The giant snake is one of the more common forms utilized by the Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime Spirit Ancestors (see Dreamtime and Dreaming). In the North and Center of Australia, it was at the time of creation that the serpent began to move through the landscape marking its unique features; for example, the black rock snake called Kurrichalpongo from the Roper River country in the Northern Territory first carved out the rivers, rock formations, mountains and bush, then ascended into the sky turning into the rainbow serpent to guide down thunder and lightning to flood the land. The Rainbow Serpent’s journey through the country finished when he disappeared into the ground in many places marking rivers and water holes; thus, adapting the land for life. East coast people have a different ancestor creator called "Biamee" (see SACRED SITE). (IP)

RAINBOWS are produced by refraction and reflection of the sun’s rays by millions of falling raindrops. Rainbows are a symbol of hope so many people attempt to find the symbolic pot of gold that lies at the end of their rainbow of dreams (see CORONAS, GREEN FLASH, HALOES, MIRAGES). (IP) There is an international group called the Rainbows, who believe in peace, equality, nudism and free love. They hold gatherings regularly in different countries, perhaps as often as once a month. (FL)

RAPE: Forcing another person to have sex. While legal and other methods should be used to protect women from rape, it is worth trying to see whether the incidence of rape can be reduced if more women were to learn martial arts on a serious level. (FL)



RANDOM: Random means an uncertain or equally probable choice or outcome, without pattern and dictated by chaos or chance. Randomization is experimental selection or sampling using chance. Random factor implies an independent variable with random treatment level. Random error is noise. (See RANDOM SAMPLING) (MP)

RANDOM SAMPLING: The use of samples with equal probability of selection from the statistical population. This is the most common method for approximating a representative sample to allow accurate inferences. (See REPRESENTATIVE SAMPLE, STATISTIC) (MP)

RANDOM SELECTION: The use of chance in allocating research subjects to treatment groups. (DM)


RANGE: 1. Ecology: Species distribution, often excluding vagrant individuals and some proportion of territory within the outer range. 2. Statistics: The range of a data set is the difference between the highest and the lowest values in the set. It depends on the extremity of the end values. The interquartile range is anther measure of dispersion; the difference between the third and first quartiles. (See MEASURES OF DISPERSION, OUTLIER, PERCENTILE, POPULATION DISTRIBUTION) (JA & MP)

RAPE: Forcing another person to have sex. While legal and other methods should be used to protect women from rape, it is worth trying to see whether the incidence of rape can be reduced if more women were to learn martial arts on a serious level. (FL)



RAW DATA: Measurement values taken directly from the measuring instrument. (See DATA, MEASUREMENT) (MP)

READING: There is more to reading than meets the eye, just as there is more information than can absorbed in one lifetime. The essential concept in ‘speed reading’ is not to ‘read aloud’ words in your mind, a natural limit to your reading rate. Instead take in chunks of text at once – a concept at a time – absorbing the information without ‘hearing’ it in words. Useful related attributes are ‘scanning’ (reading ‘past’ the text to identify certain keywords), ‘skimming’ (quickly reading headlines and first paragraphs to ‘get the gist’), and ‘referencing’ (using the all-important index, contents, references etc.). Comprehension can also be improved, and retention is made easier with periodic revision. Reading is an all-around life skill, stimulating the imagination, allowing pause for reflection, developing thought and emotion, and of course providing pleasure. (See INTERNET, TELEVISION) (MP)

REAFFORESTATION: Establishment of forest on deforested land. Chiefly British and Australian word; the American form is Reforestation. (See RESTORATION ECOLOGY, TREE PLANTING). (RW)

REC: Research Ethics Committee, United Kingdom, which includes both the Local and Multi-centre Research Ethics Committees. (JA)

RECALL: Remembrance by a patient or research subject of information given orally or in writing. (DM)

RECESSIVE: A trait or condition which is only expressed in individuals who have two identical versions of a particular gene, one inherited from their mother, and one from their father. (Contrast to DOMINANT) (DM)

RECIPROCITY: A reciprocal, or mutually beneficial two-way relationship between individuals or nations. Reciprocity is close to a universal ethical principle, with versions of the ‘Golden Rule’ common to most religions. The golden rule takes reciprocity a step further, treating others well irrespective of any past relationship. (See GOLDEN RULE) (MP)

RECLAIM THE STREETS: A large self-organizing community campaign which promotes road access for pedestrians, night-time safety and reduced automobile dependence. ‘Reclaim the Streets’ is a large rally and social gathering in which pedestrians simply block off roads at their allocated time and take over the streets of a certain area. (See ACTIVISM, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, CRITICAL MASS) (MP)

RECOMBINANT DNA: Hybrid DNA sequences assembled in vitro from different sources; or hybrid DNA sequences from the same source assembled in vitro in a novel configuration. Research using biologically active DNA which has been formed in the laboratory by the joining of segments of DNA from different sources. (DM)

RECOMBINANT DNA ADVISORY COMMITTEE (RDAC): A Competent authority/committee of the Department of Biotechnology to review developments in biotechnology at national and international levels and to recommend suitable and appropriate safety regulations for a country (India) in recombinant research, use and applications from time to time. (JA)

RECOMBINANT DNA TECHNOLOGIES: Procedures used to join together DNA segments in a cell-free system (an environment outside of a cell or organism). A recombinant DNA molecule can enter a cell and replicate there, either autonomously or after it has become integrated into a cellular chromosome. (See DNA HYBRIDIZATION TECHNOLOGY). (DM)


RECOMBINATION: The formation of a new association of genetic material. It is usually applied to the process of meiosis, during a stage of which the genetic material packaged into gametes is mixed and reconstituted in any of an enormous number of possible combinations. It is also applied to genetic engineering. (DM)

RECONCILIATION: To re-establish friendship between differing parties; to resolve, settle or bring to agreement 2. in Australia a community response stemming from past practices of segregating and marginalizing its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by systematically dispossessing them of their land, separating them from their children and disconnecting them from their culture and language. In this instance, reconciliation requires a sense of history with the most common theme being for white Australia to learn and understand the truth, and to apologize for the shameful legacy of Australia's history prior to the abolition of Terra Nullius. (IP)

RECREATION OPPORTUNITY SPECTRUM (ROS): A regional classification tool which compares recreational opportunity at different sites according to environmental modification, human induced controls, human usage and motorization. The objectives of the ROS are to associate activity preferences and user profiles to appropriate recreational settings. Classes used range from primitive/remote, semi-primitive, roaded-natural, rural, through to urban/developed. (See SUSTAINABLE TOURISM, TOURISM) (MP)


RECYCLING: Remanufacturing of waste by-products to once again produce useful materials. It is now possible for industry to close the loop of waste by recycling resources numerous times. Efficient recycling practices minimise the destructive removal of new raw materials from the environment and reduce the need to dispose of contaminated wastes. (See REDUCE, RE-USE) (MP)

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