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n. Informal generic term for `floating-head' magnetic-disk drives in which the read-write head planes over the disk surface on an air cushion. The...
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[scientific computation] n. An extra option added to a routine without changing the calling sequence. For example, instead of adding an explicit input variable to instruct a routine to give extra diagnostic output, the programmer might just add a test for some otherwise meaningless feature of the existing inputs, such as a negative mass. Liberal use of hidden flags can make a program very hard to debug and understand.