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Zaffre

Zaffre is a crude oxide of cobalt obtained by heating cobalt ore in a current

of air. It was used to prepare smalt and to stain glass blue during Victorian

times.


Zetran

Zetran is a tradename for Chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride.


Zheng Fen

Zheng Fen ("competing for points") is an interesting hybrid card game between a

climbing game and a point-trick game. The mechanics are like those of Zheng

Shangyou or Big Two but the primary aim is to win points rather than

necessarily to get rid of cards as quickly as possible. The point values of

cards are the same as in the popular Chinese point-trick game Da Bai Fen

(Hundred). From three to six people can play and a 54 card pack is used,

consisting of the standard 52 cards plus two distinguishable jokers, big and

small. Generally the red or colourful joker is agreed to be the big one. The

object is to win valuable cards in tricks. The fives are worth 5 points each,

and the tens and kings are worth 10 points each. All the other cards are

worthless. There are therefore 100 points in total to be won on each hand. A

target score for the game is agreed - generally 500 or (for a longer game)

1000. The winner is the first player whose score reaches or exceeds the target.


Zheng Shangyou

Zheng Shangyou is a Chinese card game whose name can be roughly translated as

Struggling Upstream. The game exists in several variations, and has various

alternative names. According to Zhang Shutai, the most interesting version is

the partnership game for six players, also known as San jia xi (family of

three) or Huojian (rocket). This is a skilful and light-hearted card game for

four or more players, probably best with 5 or 6. Zheng Shangyou was brought to

the UK by John McLeod, who learned it during a visit to China by some British

Go players in 1979 from an interpreter Zhang Chuansheng. In Britain it was

given the name Pits, which is easier to pronounce, and refers to the

predicament of the losing players, who find themselves in a pit which is hard

to escape from. A couple to whom Jonathan Norris taught it reported that they

call it "Unto him...". It is closely related to several other games - the

Japanese Dai Hin Min (or Dai Fugo), Vietnamese Tieng Len, Chinese Big Two and

the Western derivative usually called Asshole or President. In fact you could

argue that these are really all versions of the same game. Zheng Shangyou uses

a 54-card pack consisting of the standard 52 cards with the addition of two

distinguishable jokers, referred to as Red and Black. The object of each hand

is to be the first to play out all one's cards and thereby gain 2 points, or

second and gain 1, towards a rubber-winning total of (usually) 11.


Zinc

Zinc is a metal element with the symbol Zn.


Zirconium

Zirconium is a lustrous, greyish-white, strong, ductile, metallic element, with

the symbol Zr. It occurs in nature as the mineral zircon (zirconium silicate),

from which it is obtained commercially. It is used in some ceramics, alloys for

wire and filaments, steel manufacture, and nuclear reactors, where its low

neutron absorption is advantageous.


Zither

The zither is an Austrian musical instrument.


Zodiac

The zodiac is the name given by the Greeks to the heavens.


Zoology

Zoology is the science which deals with the structure, life-history, habits and

activities of animals.


Zwitterion

Zwitterion is an ion that has both a positive and a negative charge, such as an

amino acid in neutral solution.


ZX80

The ZX80 was a revolutionary computer invented by Clive Sinclair and released

in 1980. It was based upon the Z80 microprocessor, and used few other chips. It

had a built in BASIC interpreter and introduced computing for the first time to

the masses by being affordable by any household. Video display was produced by

a domestic television set which was connected by an aerial fly-lead to the

computer. A year later the ZX80 was replaced by the improved ZX81 which in turn

was replaced in 1982 by the far superior ZX Spectrum.


ZX81

The ZX81 was a revolutionary computer invented by Clive Sinclair and released

in 1981. It was based upon the Z80 microprocessor, and used only three other

chips in the basic model which had just 1K of RAM (enough to hold a functional

player v computer chess game). It had a built in BASIC interpreter and

introduced mass computing for the first time to the masses by being affordable

by any household. Video display was produced by a domestic television set which

was connected by an aerial fly-lead to the computer. Peripherals could be

fitter to an exposed slot of the PCB, the most popular being a 16K RAM

extension (RAM pack). Most remarkable was the award winning manual which

accompanied the ZX81 which taught computing basics and the BASIC programming

language in a clear and popular language for the first time. It replaced the

ZX80 and was replaced itself in 1982 by the far superior ZX Spectrum.


Zyklon-B

Zyklon-B was a poison gas used in Nazi extermination camps. It was a cyanide

compound originally developed for fumigation purposes in the 1920s. It was

actually a crystalline compound which gave off hydrogen cyanide gas when

exposed to the air. It was first used against humans in a euthanasia programme

in 1939, aimed at ridding Germany of lunatics, incurable invalids, and other

'undesirables'. The victims were induced to enter a 'shower bath', Zyklon-B was

released, and the gas killed them in a few minutes. When the extermination

camps were set up, this method was adopted as standard and was responsible for

several million deaths. The inventor, Dr Bruno Tesch, was convicted of war

crimes and executed for his manufacture and supply of the substance to the

camps.


Zymase

Zymase is an enzyme formed in yeast cells which converts sugar into alcohol and

carbonic acid gas.

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