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adjective: Fourth from the last.
From Latin pre- (before) + ante- (before) + pen- (almost) + ultimus (last). Earliest documented use: 1746. For another example of prefixes gone wild, see hemidemisemiquaver.
Here’s a program that you’ve likely never known: Megatons to Megawatts. Under this program, currently 10 percent of total electricity in the United States is generated using fuel from Russian nuclear warheads. Who knew! The program, which was signed in 1993 by George H.W. Bush, has resulted in the equivalent of 17,500 nuclear warheads (and counting) being down-blended into low-enriched uranium for American use.
Russia has received $8 billion for its uranium, and both countries have also agreed to eliminate 38 metric tons of plutonium through encasement or reprocessing. When the program ends in 2013, a total of 500 metric tons of HEU (high enriched uranium from Soviet era warheads) will have been converted into LEU (low enriched uranium).
Something cool I learned in class this week: Did you know that the Concorde is the only civil airliner with a ‘military style’ afterburner system? It was installed to produce more power, providing 6,000 lb of thrust per engine at take off (creating a lot of extra noise as well).