Monday, August 9, 2010


A "tier" is, originally, a group of rows within a larger group.In theaters, such as for plays (like Shakespearian plays) or for viewing motion pictures (movies), a "tier" of seats is a group of rows of seats. 

The meaning of "tier" has been expanded to mean any large group within an even larger group.

As one example, American banks are required by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which insures individual investor accounts up to $250,000 in the event of a complete bank collapse, to have a minimum of 3% or 4% of "Tier 1 Capital" depending on the classification of bank.

In this case, Tier 1 Capital is composed of different types of capital, all of which fulfill an FDIC-created definition to be classified together as "Tier 1" capital. Therefore, even though the types of capital are different, they are classified as a single group within a larger group (that is, capital of all types).

Tiers are usually assigned numbers in the order of priority. In banking, Tier 1 Capital is the most important kind for measuring the health of a bank (its ability to survive). Thus, this capital is Tier 1, rather than some other number. In other fields, Tier 1 of anything should be assumed to be the most critical of the tiers composing the entirety of the group.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Recently, I read an article debating President Obama's declaration that he would rather have a successful one-term presidency than be re-elected for a second term. (Of course, the maximum is two terms under the current U.S. Constitution.)

As the article pointed out, this cannot define "success" as popularity, since popularity would result, in and of itself, in being elected for a second term. Instead, the sentence defines a successful presidency as a consequential presidency; that is, a presidency in which many laws are passed and much progress is made towards the America that President Obama idealizes.

Success, therefore, can be defined in many different ways. Success is the accomplishment of a task. Success has a positive connotation and is seen as synonymous with victory; therefore, the task - whatever it is - must be something good, as defined by the speaker.

In business, the primary measurement of success is making a large profit. However, in these environmentally conscious times, many businesses do not view their operations as successful unless they are having a positive impact on the environment, or, failing this, are minimizing their negative impact and offsetting that impact with other benefits to society.

However a task is defined, success means finishing a task in a positive way. Thus, while success means different things to different people, success itself is always meant to be a good thing, or we would call it failure, not success.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Welcome to American Vocabulary! (Again.)

Needed this so I could put up the image. I'll have cooler images in the future.


To be literally afloat is to be floating above the water. To be figuratively afloat is to be financially afloat; that is, to be making money rather than losing it.

Friday, July 2, 2010


Spam is an acronym for spiced ham. This has become a metaphor for anything cheap, mass produced, and inflicted upon the wider universe. Thus, spamming is the sending out of cheap, mass produced electronic messages. "Spamming e-mails" means sending out a large amount of identical e-mails to different people. Ex.: "Someone's spamming Viagra advertisements again. Ugh!"

Thursday, July 1, 2010


An "overhaul" is a major action to fix something that is viewed by the speaker as flawed or broken. Ex.: "That truck needs a complete overhaul or it will be completely useless." Ex. #2: "President Barack Obama laid out his case Thursday for an overhaul of immigration laws...." This refers to widespread change to fix immigration laws (from President Obama's personal and political point of view).


Short for "chemotherapy," the use of chemicals to fight cancer in the human body. Often reduced to "chemo" in ordinary American speech, news headlines, and so forth.