Reference desk archive/May 2005 II

From formulasearchengine
Jump to navigation Jump to search


U.S. Dollar Coins

Why does it seems like the United States government is so reluctant to put dollar coins into circulation? 10qwerty | (Talk) 07:45, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Dollar coins tend to cost more than a dollar to make. Plus American cash registers don't have any place to put them. RickK 08:14, May 14, 2005 (UTC)

Duh. So how much does it cost to make a quarter? Jooler 13:33, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
The above doesn't seem to me to be a viable reason. A change from note to coin on higher denominations would be necessary due to inflationary pressures. Other countries have already ditched low denomination copper coins and at the same time higher value coins have been introduced (Australia and New Zealand both killed one and two-cent copper coins at the same time as introducing gold coloured one and two dollar coins - which replaced one and two dollar notes).
Notes are actually more expensive to maintain than coins as thier life is so much shorter that they therefore need replacing more often than coins. Coins can be passed around for decades. I suspect there are few countries around nowadays using coins which are made of metals corresponding in value to the value of the coin (excluding commemorative or specially minted coins).
I suspect the reasons for not changing US currency are because of the costs in changing vending machines (do they still have machines that take copper coins in the US?) and philosophical reasons such as the public acknowledgment of the devaluation of the currency through inflationary pressures. The US Treasury may be mindful of the impact on the public psyche of such an indication.
L-Bit 13:31, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
The questioner seems to have gotten the question backwards. The U.S. Treasury produced a large number of $1 Susan B. Anthony and now the Sacagewea coins. Despite a television ad campaign, coordination with vending machine designers and a distribution agreement with the largest retailer, Walmart, the public never wanted to use them -once they had a couple to put in their coin collection. About the only place that regularly passes them out now are vending machines at the Post Office. Rmhermen 13:55, May 14, 2005 (UTC)
So if the U.S. Treasury is minting them but they disappear from circulation, where do they disappear to? Are they being hoarded in jars in people's houses? Do they lie in bank vaults? Or what? Gdr 23:39, 2005 May 14 (UTC)
A proportion get hoarded, since people may not like using the damn things but they like having one. The rest get spent. They wind up in a) a shop's cash drawer or b) a bank. They get deposited at a bank. They don't get issued by the bank, because no-one asks for them; they don't get circulated by shops, because people preferentially want notes not coins. Basically, they go out and come back, whereas most money goes out and comes back and goes out again... Shimgray 01:22, 15 May 2005 (UTC)
I see. So they won't catch on until the dollar bill is discontinued and people have to accept change in dollar coins. Gdr 07:17, 2005 May 15 (UTC)
The US seems very sentimentally attached to its currency. Whereas other countries have changed notes into coins, and given their banknotes a complete overhaul with hard-to-copy colour and anti-copying devices, not to mention making different denominations different colours, the US seems to like keeping its dolllar bills exactly the same. On the bright side, it forced them to invent a vending machine that took notes. DJ Clayworth 05:32, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

Metric system in the United States

Why do the American people seem so reluctant to use the metric system? 10qwerty | (Talk) 07:37, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Inertia? Cost of conversion? RickK 08:16, May 14, 2005 (UTC)

Americans being passionate about things that are uniqely American; i.e. US Imperial measurements (vs Imperial); Baseball Basketball and Grid-Iron (games which until recently few other nations played). Perhaps it is these traditional values, perhaps it's "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", perhaps it's a pig-headed burning desire to maintain a uniqueness in the world.
L-Bit 13:39, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
Pig-headed is good. It is not that we don't use it. We just use it selectively - er, randomly. We will buy a 2 liter of soft drink but insist on buying milk in gallons. Rmhermen 14:00, May 14, 2005 (UTC)
I would suggest that cost of conversion is one major thing. This task would probably be comparable to the massive overhaul of computer systems required in EU to support the new currency - the Euro. To change all the computer programs that compute with imperial units to compute in metric units would just be a nightmare, at least from a coding perspective. HappyCamper 20:08, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Well, also, the English system has its own advantages. The temperature scale, for example, is easier to deal with; Fahrenheit and Celsius are equally arbitrary, but Fahrenheit has finer resolution (180 increments between freezing and boiling), which means that one more often has to use decimals when describing conditions in Celsius, whereas about the only time we mention fractions of a degree in Fahrenheit is in the form 98.6 for the alleged "normal" body temperature -- and that's only because 98.6F happens to be 37C. I personally think having inches, feet, yards, and miles is more flexible, more human than meters and multiples of meters; this is hardly surprising, since all of those were defined in human terms, as opposed to the quite deliberately "pure reason" definition of the meter. What human has any personal relationship with some miniscule fraction of the earth's size? And of course, any Briton worth his salt will tell you that a liter of beer is too large, a demiliter of beer is too small, but a pint is exactly right. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 00:38, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
The Imperial system seems more human and natural if you are used to it. The metric system seems more human and natural if you are used to it. — Gulliver 00:52, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
This is very true. It was quite a long and stepped process when New Zealand converted in the early seventies with most complaints coming from the older generation. Oddly, the most complaints came from decimalising our currency which was the first step taken (although not directly associated with the metric system) in 1967 and emasurements in 1972. Time was given for both measures to be displayed before metric became solely mandatory. (I remember little triangular stickers gas stations gave out for people to stick onto thier speedometers). Excluding the very old, New Zealanders now are well metrified although some things have never quite been adopted, e.g. many still think in pounds per square inch rather than kilopascals when topping up tyres. But now an inch is 25mm, the foot length has pretty much disappeared, yards are metres and miles are kilometres. Oh, and 500ml (1/2 litre) of beer is a bit under an Imperial Pint (68ml) and a shade more than an US pint (27ml), and regardless its size, it's especially welcome when someone else has paid for it. Albeit, Jpgordon's Briton worth his salt would probably be miffed by a US pint given that it is 95ml less than one from his home. L-Bit 01:03, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
  • I thought the answer is obvious: The metric system was mostly devised in France. --Alexs letterbox 06:01, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
  • The US is more than capable of using the metric system when it has to. Try asking for a round of armor piercing ammunition to fit a pistol of calibre 3/8". -- GWO 13:46, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
  • I read that one reason was surveying, that American land titles refer to chains and rods and sections and whatnot and that it would be a big headache to change the whole country, which is built on the public land survey system. Personally, I like Alexis's theory. Napoleon himself said the metric system would fill people's heads with trivia. But Abraham J. Simpson said it best: "My car gets forty rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it!" 18:10, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

Association football in the United States

While Association football is probably one of the most popular sports in the world, how come it does not seem that much popular to the people in the United States? 10qwerty | (Talk) 08:01, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

We don't have Association football, we have soccer. :) Because, to the American psyche, it's too slow. Men in shorts run up and down a field for an hour and a half for a 1-0 score. This even though we'll sit to watch a 3 1/2 hour baseball game for a 1-0 score. :) RickK 08:13, May 14, 2005 (UTC)

My understanding is that the key strike against soccer is that it yields a high proportion of tied games and there is a strong desire for win/lose results in the US. Even if it takes all night, says the man who loves baseball --Theo (Talk) 15:42, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
I heard that US-People only like games where you can touch the ball with your hand. -guety is talking english bad 02:55, 15 May 2005 (UTC)
We like golf and tennis and hockey fairly well. Hackey-sack is pretty popular here, too. I think that in manstream sports, we just don't like to participate with the rest of the world unless we're overwhelmingly likely to win. You might say the same thing about diplomacy...--Joel 18:00, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

Association football is actually extremely popular in the US as a participation sport—many people play it, but for some reason few like to watch it. JeremyA 18:20, 29 May 2005 (UTC)


Could anyone elucidate me into the proper usage of when to use the words revenir, rentrer, retourner and whatever the other one is, with all their past participles in French language? I've never gotten it right, and I can't grasp my teacher's explanation too well. Merci --Wonderfool t(c)e) 14:17, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

At the very simplest level, these can exactly replace "come back" (revenir), "re-enter" (rentrer), and "return" (retourner), respectively. --Theo (Talk) 15:05, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, that is a pure morphological description of the words, but isn't very helpful as a guide to usage.
Retourner is a general verb expressing a return. It doesn't give any further info about direction, so it corresponds fairly well to the English "return" in that it covers both going back and coming back. Like "return", it is not the most common way of expressing the concept in everyday language, however.
To express the idea of coming back or coming again, revenir is ideal. For instance, use it if you have friends around for dinner, to say that they can come again any time. Note that French is missing a verb meaning specifically to go back or go again (i.e. there is no raller). You are forced to make do with some other re- word.
To express the idea of setting off again, going out again, going back out, going off again or leaving again, repartir is ideal.
To express the idea of entering again, going back in, coming back in, going in again, coming in again, etc., rentrer is ideal. Rentrer is also used to express a) going or coming home b) going back / coming back / returning to a country.
When none of revenir, repartir or rentrer fit the bill, you can use the general retourner, but try not to overuse it. Also remember that all of these form their passé composé with être.
  • Revenez chez nous quand vous voulez. (come back)
  • Il est venu me saluer mais il est tout de suite reparti. (went off again)
  • Je suis fatiguée ; il faut que je rentre [chez moi / à la maison]. (go home)
  • Hans est rentré en Allemagne. (went back)
  • On veut retourner aux anciens tarifs. (go back)
— Gulliver 15:53, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
It looks like the verbs are from a partial list of verbs which require "être" as a helping verb as opposed to "avoir" when conjugating for the past tense - le passé composé. I vaguely remember something about "Mrs. Vandertramp" - each letter standing for a verb...mourir, rentrer, sortir, venir, ... Don't remember the whole list though. --HappyCamper 20:00, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
Other mrs vandertramps are Here. And cheers Gulliver Wonderfool t(c)e)

Left side v. right side of the road

Why do people in some countries drive on the left side of the road while people in other countries drive on the right side of the road? 10qwerty 16:53, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

See Rules of the road--Fangz 17:07, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

i think cause the toilet goes in the other direction

Who are these celebrities?

(I know I posted something similar here yesterday but it must have gotten deleted.)

Anyway, who are the celebrities in those pictures? ( I know #3 is Britney Spears.. But the others I just can't figure out.

Maybe you can get some inspiration from 1972#Births and 1979#Births. moink 00:38, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

Economy of Nevada

What would have Nevada's economy been like if they never, ever legalized gambling? 10qwerty 17:10, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Probably rather similar to Utah or Arizona. -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 20:22, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

editors of wikipedia

I was wondering who the executive editor of wikipedia was, because I am doing a reseach paper and I need to site my sources and I used one of the sites, so if you could tell me that would be great. Thanks.

There isn't an executive editor. Wikipedia is, fairly uniquely, edited by its own users and contributors collectively. The big boss guy (for want of a better phrase) is Jimmy Wales, but he is by no means an editor. Citing Wikipedia is actually very difficult. Perhaps the best way is to call us "Wikipedia contributors". Smoddy (Rabbit and pork) 19:51, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
Check out Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia - maybe this is what you need? --HappyCamper 20:03, 14 May 2005 (UTC)
Didn't we used to have an executive editor? Old, whats his name? Leonardo 01:58, 22 May 2005 (UTC)
user:Larry Sanger used to be the executive editor, but since he left the project, he's become, umm... persona non grata. →Raul654 02:02, May 22, 2005 (UTC)
(after edit conflict) That would be Larry Sanger, editor-in-chief. A long time ago now, and Wikipedia is about ten or twenty times the size it was when he left, and a very different place. — Trilobite (Talk) 02:04, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

How to request an article?

It wasn't very clear to me how to do request an article. I would like to see something on the philosopher Mary B. Hesse.

Wikipedia:Requested articles. Smoddy (Rabbit and pork) 19:40, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Another approach is to write the stub by bracketing the name of the article and writing enough of a sentence to make the subject clear. For example Mary Hesse. Then add a stub marker and with luck someone else will start fleshing it out. alteripse 18:20, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

Bluetooth and Serial Port Profile

In one hand, I'm holding a Tungsten T palm pilot. In the other, I've got a Bluetooth device that communicates via a Serial Port Profile. The question is: "Where can I find software that can allow me to communicate with the device via the palm?" Ideally, what I'd like to do is use a little program that can communicate with the device, read and save all the data that's coming back, and graph it. Any ideas? --HappyCamper 20:24, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Class of 2009 Profile

One of the universities publishes every year a profile of students in their class of rising freshmen... with statments such as Members of the class of 2009 have never been without personal computers and similar such statements. Anybody remember/know which institution publishes this list? I can't even remember the title... Thanks! --Chiacomo 20:51, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Turned out to be Beloit College --Chiacomo 08:30, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Total Request Live and The Lawrence Welk Show

I vaguely remember seeing a comment once on a TV forum on the Internet where a user wrote that The Lawrence Welk Show was that generation's Total Request Live. I have seen both shows and I fail to see any resemblance. Any thoughts? 10qwerty 21:33, 14 May 2005 (UTC)

Both include a wide variety of music that's of little interest to anyone outside the target demographic. See also absolute metaphor.--Joel 17:27, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

mashburn mauseleom cemetary

where can I find the burial site for a Mashburn family member in the Hattiesburg, Mississippi, cemetary?

  • Have you tried contacting someone in Hattiesburg? I doubt that the information would be in print anywhere. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:00, May 16, 2005 (UTC)

Black circles about the eyes due to lack of sleep

What causes them? Do they have a name? critically, do they have an article? :-)Datepalm17 21:07, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

Well that would go in sleep deprivation, but that is a horribly short article and it's not there. Sleep debt is longer, but still doesn't cover that issue. I don't believe they have a name of their own in English at least. All I could find from searching was this, a beauty site, saying "Nicholas Perricone, MD, dermatologist and author of The Perricone Prescription, says lack of sleep results in an increase in stress hormones such as cortisol, which can lead not only to health problems, but also to the swelling that creates dreaded dark circles." That seems plausible, but not to tell the whole story. Why doesn't all edema (swelling) cause dark circles under the eyes? Why does sleep deprivation cause edema under the eyes? I didn't find answers for any of that. I did find this "Acute sleep loss has been associated with decreased glucose tolerance, lower thyrotropin concentrations, elevated evening cortisol levels, and increased activity of sympathetic nervous system activity." from Goetz: Textbook of Clinical Neurology, 2nd ed., but I don't know if that adds much or not. And finally another from Journal of Investigative Dermatology 2001 Aug Vol 117(no 2) pp 309-17 Stress-induced changes in skin barrier function in healthy women. Altemus M, Rao B, Dhabhar FS, Ding W, Granstein RD, found "sleep deprivation stress disrupts skin barrier function omeostasis in women, and that this disruption may be related to stress-induced changes in cytokine secretion." - Taxman 21:24, May 16, 2005 (UTC)

Wow, thats excellent. I don't understand most of it (it's hormones. I can live with that :-)), but thank to figure out how to add this to an article. Datepalm17 10:24, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Man, just mention a few hormones and some people will buy anything. So why does't glucocorticoid treatment cause the mother of all black circles? Why don't people with Cushing's disease look like racoons? Whattabunchahooie! alteripse 22:24, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

I for one would put my money on fatigue of the eye muscles, esp. the ones in the orbitals. Every waking minute, you're constantly blinking, focusing, and looking around. While some phases of sleep feature eye movement, some of it doesn't. Maybe the dark circles are a result of muscle weakening due to fatigue. Cortisol or something could play a role too, but I've never heard of any connection between cortisol and sleep. Jeeves 23:20, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Richard Nixon cronies

Why should only a small amount if indicator be used on a Acid-base titration?

Well, that. In the lab, we're always told to use 3-4 drops of indicator, no more or the apocalypse may occur. I'm sure there are some chemists around here, an answer would be greatly appreciated.--Fito 03:59, May 16, 2005 (UTC)

Our Chem class recently started Acid-base titrations, on my third titration I used an eyedropper full of indicator, and I got a result accurate to %1.
Well, it's difficult to get precise results if you use too much indicator. When the colour change occurs, you might end up getting an excessively intense colour. Also, depending on the chemical you are titrating against, too much indicator can slightly alter the chemistry of the solution. Indicators also tend to be rather complicated organic compounds, so they might not dissolve well in your solvent (typically it's water). Indicator can be somewhat expensive, so it's best not to waste it needlessly. With more practice, your 1% result can be improved to about 0.01% with typical laboratory glassware! Good job! :) Although I'd advise against using the whole eyedropper full of indicator! --HappyCamper 12:12, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
Thanks :) --Fito 22:16, May 16, 2005 (UTC)
I study chemistry and I can confirm HappyCamper's answer. He's correct. Schools usually care most about the expensive bit of the explanation, though. :) 10:46, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
To reduce error, most indicators are weak acids where H+ + A- --> HA In this equation, One of the chemicals is highly colored while its congugate is a different color. If the Ph is lower than the Pka of the indicator, the equation is driven toward HA, if the Ph is higher, to it's dissociated state. If only A- is colored (like phenolthalein Pka~7) then the solution turns that color when the Pka of the indicatior is reached (red for phenolthalein). When you use an insignificant ammount of indicator in your test, the acid of the indicator woln't significantly affect the Ph of the solution.Dusty78 22:58, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

Circular sections


I've been trying to find out how to calculate the area of the shaded portion in this circle. I know the answer is 1/2, but I don't know how to solve for it. Any help would be appreciated, as I've had no progress over the last two months. Thanks. JMBell° 15:47, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

(The line running through the middle is a scanning error)

Maybe analytically: Start with the symmetric figure where one of your lines is the diameter and the area is obviously 1/2. Then look at the derivative as you shift the zigzag. — Sebastian (talk) 16:19, 2005 May 16 (UTC)

  • How are the interneal angles characterized, if at all? --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 21:30, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
    Looks like all of them are equal... HappyCamper 22:11, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
  • It should be independent of the exact value. But if we take e.g. 89° then it clearly doesn't cut the area by half. (Leave e.g. the longest line as in the picture.) So I doubt that it always is 1/2. — Sebastian (talk) 22:22, 2005 May 16 (UTC)

I forgot to mention - the defined angles are all 45° and, yes, the lines are parallel. Aside from that, I do not know how to solve the problem. JMBell° 11:33, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Did you try the approach i suggested? It should be quite simple, albeit a bit tedious. (Hint: The derivative has a wonderfully elegant geometric meaning.) — Sebastian (talk) 20:08, 2005 May 19 (UTC)

Birth year of Lascelles Abercrombie.

Our article says that Lascelles Abercrombie was born in 1881. The Project Gutenberg authors list (usually rather authoritative) says he was born in 1889. Who's right? grendel|khan 16:30, 2005 May 16 (UTC)

The Library of Congress authority file gives him as "Abercrombie, Lascelles, 1881-1938"; the Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia agrees, as does the Literary Encyclopedia. If I get a chance, I'll check the DNB (but that won't be an option for a few days at least). I suspect Gutenberg's wrong; cataloguing isn't usually a priority for them. Shimgray 17:03, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
Gale Dictionary of Literary Biography gives 1881 as well. amysayrawr 17:10, May 16, 2005 (UTC)
I've emailed to let them know, --Tagishsimon (talk)

Hi, I am a catalog editor for Project Gutenberg.

A little more research shows that a birth date of 1881 does appear to be correct.

I've changed it in the database, and that will show up when the catalog pages are regenerated next (which ought to be just a couple hours from now).

Usually, when I edit the PG catalog, I cut and past from some reliable source, attempting to avoid the inevitable human error in re-typing material.

Also, please remember that, although Project Gutenberg has made great accomplishments in the sheer volume and variety of material that it makes freely available, we still are very much a volunteer organization, and cataloging standards are not what you would find at a traditional library.

Andrew Sly 05:35, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

My apologies if I sounded snippy, wasn't intentional... it truly is amazing who you find on wikipedia, though. ;-) Shimgray 11:44, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

x^y = y^x

What's the solution to this equation? thanks, Warofdreams 16:36, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

In integers it's (2,4) or (4,2). And, of course, x=y. Daniel 16:42, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
Indeed, yes. But what about a general solution? Warofdreams 16:59, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
Do you mean x equals the yth root of y^x? That works, but it seems a little too circular to be what you're actually seeking... amysayrawr, who is very bad at math
The general shape of the curve is similar to an xy=c hyperbola. I'm not sure an explcit expression for x is possible.
More generally - what are the non-trivial solutions (if any) to ? Daniel 17:51, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, the general solution to xy = yx is (x,y)=(a1/(a-1),aa/(a-1)) for any real number a. I have not considered imaginary quantities here as that would be an entirely different beehive.
Thanks for that. Warofdreams 11:24, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
As for the second question, well, there are indeed plenty of nontrivial solutions, but I'll leave that for you to try and find them for yourself :) --HappyCamper 19:45, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

Why is "I" capitalized?

There’s no great mystery why I is capitalised, it is because you are talking about a person, yourself and when we refer to people we think there important enough to have a capital litter.

Why is the English pronoun "I" spelled in majuscule? Am i holier than Thou? — Sebastian (talk) 18:20, 2005 May 16 (UTC)

According to [1]: "Reduced to i by 1137 in northern England, it began to be capitalized c.1250 to mark it as a distinct word and avoid misreading in handwritten manuscripts." JRM · Talk 20:29, 2005 May 16 (UTC)
You also have to realize that at that time capital letters were thrown around quite liberally in texts. Capitalization of personal pronouns also occurs in other languages, e.g. Du, Vuestra Merced, Lei. — Gulliver 20:47, 16 May 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for your replies. Amazing how this idiosyncracy remained though the immense changes English experienced since. As to Du, Vuestra Merced, Lei: That's quite the opposite case: These all honour the addressee, as does the capitalized Thou.
What happens now? Should i copy this to the article I or to its talk page? — Sebastian (talk) 22:18, 2005 May 16 (UTC)
Article, with cite. How else are people going to improve on it if they don't like it? And just in case it is right, we'll have taught others. :-) JRM · Talk 00:22, 2005 May 17 (UTC)
I had always assumed that this was because "I" is a proper noun...there's only one person you can mean by it, right? But avoiding misreading is probably more plausible.
You might find it interesting to know that the Germans spell their "I" in lowercase - "ich." No exceptions (except at the beginning of a sentence, of course). JMBell° 11:38, 17 May 2005 (UTC)


Is there some kind of pub game called Thains? Someone's claiming that it's a game played with four coins and has its origins in Ireland where it was very popular in the 70s and 80s. Thanks for your help.

Carnot's variables and historical anachronism

My question concerns the article on Sadi Carnot's heat engine. Specifically: where do the variables used in the given formulae (for work and efficiency) come from?

I am interested in the complex and messy history of thermodynamics and not in its refined and polished contemporary state. I want to know who originally picked the variables commonly used today and when.

Today, whenever anyone explains Carnot, they demonstrate how the work of his cyclical engine (labeled "W") is equal to a difference in heat (labeled "Q"). Further, this can be used to calculate the engine's efficiency (lableled "ēta," seventh letter of the Greek alphabet). But I have just looked over a copy of Carnot's famous 1925 pamplet on the "motive force of heat" and the variables W, Q and ēta appear nowhere in it.

I realize this is a difficult topic, as the history of thermodynamics was very turbulent. But I think it is important to point out that Wikipedia is fudging history when it assigns those formulae in its article to Carnot himself. 1925, for example, was far too early for a proper understanding of the "work" concept of thermodynamics (possible only later in the century), making the very formula itself (no matter how valid) historically anachronous. Someone else reading the article would get the impression that those formulae were written by Carnot himself, which is patently untrue.

Personally, I am most interested in the variables Q (for energy or heat) and ēta (for efficiency). If Carnot did not choose these himself, who did? And when?

Perhaps this would suffice? [2] --HappyCamper 03:35, 17 May 2005 (UTC)


Hello - looking for quarterly data for.... The last 50 years, for: CPI (Inflation), Nominal Interest Rate, Real Interest Rate, and Capacity Utilization; all at national level. I've been to, bea.go v and, and haven't been able to find there (It may be that I'm looking in the wrong places.) Any help would be appreciated - thanks!

~ skreebius at hotmail dot com

CPI - [3] --CVaneg 07:32, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

The 3, 5, 7 triangle

In antiquity, having a device which could measure right angles was very important. For example, the Egyptians used a 3-4-5 triangle to do this. Clay tablets also record various Pythagorean triples.

Has the 3-5-7 triangle ever played a similar role? Undoubtedly, its role would be (very) minor or even completely absent, as the angle that this triangle is designed to measure is 120 degrees. What about other triangles which measure 120 degrees? Can someone come up with a general formula for the lengths of a triangle which make 120 degrees? --HappyCamper 12:46, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Label the sides A,B,and C. Every labelled side is opposite the angle labelled with the same letter. Angle a can be 120 degrees. Thus A/sin(120 degrees)=B/sin(b)=C/sin(c) by law of sines. Then, c = 180-120-b, because there are 180 degrees in a triangle. So, c=60-b. Therefore, we substitute in A/sin(120 degrees)=B/sin(b)=C/sin(60-b). sin(120 degrees)=sqrt(3)/2. A/(sqrt(3)/2)=B/sin(b)=C/sin(60)-b. 2A/sqrt(3)=B/sin(b)=C/sin(60-b). Thus, B=2A*sin(b)/sqrt(3). C=2A/sqrt(3)*sin(60-b). You can generate valid side lengths with any side A and any angle b < 60 Superm401 03:37, May 20, 2005 (UTC)
I should have been more specific; I was looking for solutions which were strictly positive integers, hence the allusion to Pythagorean triples... HappyCamper 17:12, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

How would you build a 10 TFLOP calculator?

How would you build a 10 TFLOP calculator?

Did you mean something like this?
If not, you may want to see: Beowulf (computing), computer cluster and if you have the money and expertise. Currently, a 10 TFLOP (peak performance) computer can easily enter the world's top 25 list ( If you have neither, wait a few years, you may buy a "Made in China" 10 TFLOP video game console for $120 as your cousin's Xmas gift. -- Toytoy 13:59, May 17, 2005 (UTC)

I just want to know a real life example of TFLOP machine.Thank you.-- 19:29, 17 May 2005 (UTC)JIAO

On the official Xbox 360 site ( it says:
Overall System Floating-Point Performance * 1 teraflop
OK, I don't believe it. It says the Xbox 360's PowerPC-based processor has 3 cores; 3 VMX-128 vector unit per core and "128 VMX-128 registers per hardware thread" (emphasis mine, I guess it means 128-bit registers or four 32-bit floating point variables, see SIMD and AltiVec). That PR material goes into our Xbox 360 article. A 1 TFLOP machine can possibly enter the world's top 500 list (
Anyway, if it has 3 cores and 3 SIMD floating point number crunchers on each core, it can possibly eat up 3.2 GHz x 3 (cores) x 3 (vector units) x 4 (FP units) = 115.2 GFLOPs if each cycle per thread gets one FP calculation done. I don't know how fast is the GPU. The Xbox 360, I guess, is much faster than all of today's desktop PCs. But it is still not that fast. -- Toytoy 20:11, May 17, 2005 (UTC)

Get a BlueGene supercomputer to do it :)

Seriously though, since no sequential processor comes anywhere near to 10 Tflops, the only way to get there (or even comes close) is to take a large job, figure out some way of breaking into smaller parts (called 'parallelization'), and farm it out to multiple processors. This is called parallel programming, and for most non-trivial problems, it's genuinly hard (just for the record, this is what I'm doing my PhD in). →Raul654 02:06, May 22, 2005 (UTC)

4. how many MFLOP (Million Floating-point Operation) is Intel’s new Itanium II?

how many MFLOP (Million Floating-point Operation) is Intel’s new Itanium II?Thank you.--JIAO 13:42, 17 May 2005 (UTC)jiao I just want to know a real life example of TFLOP machine. -- 19:26, 17 May 2005 (UTC)JIAO

Go to Google and try searching on the following keywords: "mflops" "itanium" "2". If you do so, like I just tried, you'll get an answer in about 3 seconds flat. -- 11:46, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

Comparing the new 64 bit processor

Comparing the new 64 bit processor from Intel and AMD, why is that generally one can run 32 bit programs (current generation software like Windows, Office) and the other can not?Thank you.--JIAO 13:43, 17 May 2005 (UTC)JIAO

Quite simply because one was designed to, and the other wasn't. The one that wasn't doesn't partially because Intel wanted to draw a firmer distinction between its fancy server chips and it's cheapo desktop ones. So really it's a commercial issue (marketing, sales, and finance) rather than a technical (hardware, software, systems, deployment) one. -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 15:46, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
The "new" 64 bit processor from Intel is the "Xeon with EM64T", and it can run 32 bit software just fine. It's the Itanium, and its current variant the Itanium-2, that run 32-bit software very poorly or not at all.
I sympathize with Intel a little. For ages analysts have been complaining of how their chip architecture is hobbled by compatibility with the oldest chips. So finally Intel starts fresh with a new design, and they get thoroughly trounced for it. However, it has to be said that the poor market acceptance of the Itanium had less to do with its lack of compatability than with its intrinsic poor performance. Had it performed better and cost less—and had the excellent AMD Opteron not been invented—you would probably have seen Windows ported to it.
Sharkford 20:44, 2005 May 24 (UTC)

Difference between RISC and CISC

CPU design based on RISC or CISC , one use Micro Code, the other use Hard Code , please explain their advantage and disadvantage.Thank you.--JIAO 13:47, 17 May 2005 (UTC)JIAO

Well, you should obviously read the articles on RISC and CISC (although the distinction between the two, particularly internally, is today far more blurred than your professor's question implies). -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 13:53, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

How to solve these problems?

How to generate proposal and hardware price quote for your customer (instructor) on following requirements: 1.Workstation: High performance computer as desktop with multiple high speed processors 512 MB memory, 120 GB hard disk space, DVD record able, high performance video card (with both video input and output) and high resolution monitor. (must build from parts) Server: computer with 1 GB memory, one single logical disk of 1 TB, tape backup system.( must get it from brand name vendor as a whole unit)

2. Workstation: High performance computer as desktop with multiple high speed processors 1 GB memory, 250 GB hard disk space, DVD record able, high performance video card (with both video input and output) and high resolution display. (must build from parts) Server: computer with 2 GB memory, one single logical disk of 4 TB, adequate tape backup system. OK to use complete system from brand name computer manufacturer.

Please provide a real life solution: vendor’s specification, advertisement, etc.Thank you.--JIAO 16:13, 17 May 2005 (UTC)JIAO

Well, the Wikipedia reference desk isn't really intended for these sorts of questions. However, what you might find helpful is a thought process that helps you organize your information gathering so an informed choice can be made. Consider Bloom's taxonomy and its (very) rough interpretation in the context of your project:
  1. Knowledge --> Finding out exactly what those components are
  2. Comprehension --> Understanding them
  3. Application --> Understanding how to use them
  4. Analysis --> Understanding how they contribute to the overall system that's being asked for
  5. Synthesis --> Making a new system by combining all the parts you think are needed together
  6. Evaluation --> Being able to critically determine whether your implementation is sucessful or not
Consider your goal to get from 1) to 6) by demonstrating to your instructor that you thoroughly understand requirements and needs of the project or question at hand. Hope this helps! :) --HappyCamper 21:02, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

videogame employment statistics?

Where can I find statistics of salary/wages for different videogame jobs (averaged over-all, regardless of company) such as artist/modeler/programmer/etc nowadays as well as for what they were 10 and 20 years ago?

Well, according to this 5 year old reference from the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average salary for video game designers is between $35k and $75k, for artists around $25k to $75k, and programmers between $60k and $80k. There are a couple other of professions listed there, but I'll let you read up on them yourself. As for statistics from 20 years ago, I think you will have to work very hard indeed to dig up anything of use. Since there are no government data, you'd have to rely on data collected by trade associations like the ESA (which wasn't founded till 1994) or some other private interest. Also most video games back then were the work of a very small group of people, so the job duties were probably not as well defined as they are today. The programmer was most likely also the designer, and tester, and for games like Battlezone or Star Wars, the modeler. --CVaneg 15:58, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

Private Idaho?

I remember the phrase 'Your (or My) Own Private Idaho' from both the B-52's song and from the title of the River Phoenix film. My questions 1) Was this phrase in use before the B-52's song? 2) What does it mean? ike9898 19:11, May 17, 2005 (UTC)

On 2: "living in your own private Idaho" means "living in your own (dream) world". Here are the lyrics of the B52's song, and here are some theories about the word origin. (Note the connection of "Private Idaho" to Catch-22 (Sgt. Wintergreen).) And here's another theory, and an explanation of the movie's title. If we can find a corroborating source for that last piece of information, the article on the movie My Own Private Idaho should be amended accordingly. Lupo 07:26, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

Missing Information!

To Whom it May Conern: I am doing a project on the history of the Roman Catholic Church for my AP World History class, and I was basing my outline on the time periods you had it divided up into. By the time i got to the bottom of the timeline, it said the article was not written yet, but i was wondering if you could help me out with important information! Thanks! -emily

Presumably you are referring to the "History of the Roman Catholic Church" article? As much as I respect all the fastidious contributors here at the reference desk, I don't know that I would trust them to fill in approximately 1500 years of Catholic history in short order. You might be better off using some other references, in particular those referenced by our Roman Catholic Church. Using the following google search turns up some potentially useful links, but I don't know that I'd consider any of them necessarily reliable. Incidentally, once you have that information (in some sort of non-copyrighted format) we would appreciate it very much if you would please come back to Wikipedia and contribute it into the article. --CVaneg 00:25, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

Of Lundles and Quirts

Someone just created the Lundle article; Can someone verify the correctness of the description given? Google isn't returning any hits on lundle quirt, and I've never heard of a lundle, but then again I've never heard of a quirt either so what do I know? Thanks. --W(t) 21:47, 2005 May 17 (UTC)

Quirt is definately correct - my analogue dictionary recognises it. Interesting how it has moved though from my dictionary stating it as a US word yet now it has a Kangaroo hide handle. L-Bit 22:54, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
Yup, Quirt is google-verifiable; However, Lundle (the new article) isn't, and assuming good faith notwithstanding I sort of suspect someone thought Quirt was a funny word (can't blame 'em for that) and created a hoax article from another funny word. --W(t) 23:07, 2005 May 17 (UTC)
After reviewing the edits from that IP [4], I'd be inclined to just put it on WP:VFD and be done with it. --CVaneg 23:45, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
Yeah, probably, I just thought I'd check in case there's a big Lundling community I happened to have missed. Listed on VfD. --W(t) 01:23, 2005 May 18 (UTC)

iPod mini

Does the iPod mini operate on flash memory, or is it hard-drive based? I've looked at the article, and I still can't tell for sure. Hermione1980 23:51, 17 May 2005 (UTC)

Hmmm. That article is a bit confusing, but according to Hitachi Microdrive (which are apparently the drives used in iPod Minis), it is a hard disk that fits into a compact flash slot. --CVaneg 23:56, 17 May 2005 (UTC)
  • iPod: Most iPod models store media on a built-in hard drive, while a lower-end model, iPod shuffle, relies on flash memory. ... iPod mini uses Microdrive devices for storage.
  • iPod shuffle: Unlike the rest of the iPod family, it stores files on flash memory instead of a hard drive.
  • iPod mini: The iPod mini uses ultra-thin Compact Flash Microdrive hard drives made by Hitachi. ... The "broken" iPod mini will keep playing until it tries to load more music into its memory from the hard drive.
I don't listen to any music. I haven't seen an iPod before. But based on the iPod mini article, I guess it has a microdrive and a reasonably-sized DRAM memory. The Compact Flash link seems to mean the PCMCIA Type II form factor. Can anyone in the know rewrite that section? -- Toytoy 01:12, May 18, 2005 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure the mini uses a hard-drive and that only the shuffle uses a flash memory based system. --Fastfission 20:28, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

UK Law Agencies

What is the difference between the Treasury Solicitors, the Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers (The Attourney General), the Parliamentary Counsel and the Law Commissioin in the UK?--J.B.

They are and do different things! It doesn't help that we only have Attorney General and Solicitor General, and Legal Secretariat to the Law Officers [5], Treasury Solicitor [6], Parliamentary Counsel [7] and the Law Commission [8] are all red links, but their own websites should help to explain what each one does. -- ALoan (Talk) 09:54, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
We do have Law Officers of the Crown, Treasury Solicitor's Department (a stub, though), Crown Prosecution Service, and Office of the Parliamentary Counsel to Government (Ireland, though). Lupo 10:05, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, I've added some stubs and redirects so no redlinks now. -- ALoan (Talk) 11:11, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

Hi, erm...I've looked at their websites, but I don't see the difference. Could you explain please?--J.B.

With the exception of the Law Commission, they're all legal departments attached to various parts of government. The work on behalf of those parts, and have expertise in what that part of government does. The Law Commission examines existing laws and writes reports about whether (often for technical reasons) the law should be changed. -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 12:43, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

research methodology

how can i assess linearity when there are multiple independent variables?

Multiple regression is exactly that case, when there are multiple independent variables. Its basically a simple extension of regression to multiple variables. I'd say go look at the Regression analysis article, but that article is very short on content. Linear regression has a bit more.
First, you'll have to decide what sense of linear you are referring to. Most likely you want to know if a variable has a relationship that can be plotted on a straight line vs the others. That's saying there is a linear relationship between variables. In the method of linear regression, the term linear can also have a broader meaning, essentially that the variables enter the model linearly. That would be the case for a quadratic (), cubic (), etc. and others. What's not linear in that sense is something like y=x*z where x and z are the independent variables. But I'll assume you mean linear in the simpler sense, and basically that means you are trying to see if the quadratic, cubic, etc. terms are not significant, but that the linear is.
Basically fit a regression against the independent variables and start looking at the diagnostics for each variable. Some of your variables may not be significant and you can remove them from the model. Some variables may require transformations or logs to get into a form you can use. If you have some variables that have a high significance (i.e. it is very unlikely just out of pure chance that the data would show a relationship as linear as what occured) then you may have a linear relationship. Then plot the residuals for each variable. They may show you a clear indication of nonlinearity, or they may not. If any show a clear nonlinearity such as the residuals take a curved path, try adding a quadratic term and see if that is significant. Try continuing to add and remove variables and quadratic terms from the model until you have one that seems to fit the best. Be cognizant of the fact that you may just be trying enough combinations that you see a relationship that is not really there. The only way to rule that out is to get some more data. It takes some experience and a significant background in statistics to do some of this right, but you can get an idea by digging in yourself. I'd recommend getting a statistics package and trying it out. Personally I'm most familiar with R which is free software that you can download and use. An excellent book using R that does a great job of discussing practical data analysis, (which is what you need) is Julian Faraway's book Linear Models with R. You can also get an older online version here. Once you get the regression going, specifically chapters 6 and 10 will cover what you need. It is certainly not an easy language or book to tackle, but also you certainly could do it. Hope that helps - Taxman 21:32, May 18, 2005 (UTC)
And one more thing, sorry. I made the assumption you already have the data and want to analyze it, because that is where I have more experience. If you are designing your study, pay careful attention to what variables may have an effect on the variable you are studying and collect as much data in as reliable a manner as possible. The more data, and the more accurately measured it is, the better your conclusions can be supported. 30 observations per variable is often considered a minimum to have any usefullness, and you may want well over a 100 depending on the accuracy of the data measurement. For highly accurate measurements 30 may not even be required, but if you could measure that accurately, you may not need regression to determine if there is a linear relationship. Finally, be aware (as discussed in Linear regression) that a linear relationship does not necessairly imply that one variable causes the other. There may be an unmeasured variable that is actually driving the others. Seems surprising we don't have a research methodology article that summarizes this stuff though the research article itself dicsusses some, and maybe this should be covered in empirical research instead. I'm open to suggestions. - Taxman 23:18, May 18, 2005 (UTC)

Reaching for dry land

"Dry" in this case meaning "devoid of alcohol". I know of various stories of whole suburbs which don't have pubs because of some stipulation made by soeone selling the land a very long time ago. I know for certain of two instances, becasue I've been there. One is Ely, Cardiff, where I'm told that the sale of alcohol is not permitted, and apparently teh council will not grant a licence in that area. The other was my home area of Manselton in Swansea, where Lord Mansel insisted that there be no free houses on his land (though off-licence premises and priavte clubs are apparently allowed).

Anyone know more about tehse traditions? Why and how they came about, and why more than a century later I still don't have a local ;-) ? Chris talk back 12:35, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

Presumably these are restrictive covenants imposed when the land was sold in the past. These covenants "run with the land" - that is, they bind any future purchaser. Common ones include not selling alcohol, not burning lime or bricks, not running a house of ill repute (i.e. a brothel), not building houses worth less than a specified sum (usually pointless due to inflation) or of a specified size or area. In certain circumstances (where one of the grounds set out in section 84 of the Law of Property Act 1925 is made out), a freeholder or holder of certain long leases can apply to the Lands Tribunal [9] can discharge or modify a restrictive covenant. -- ALoan (Talk) 13:33, 18 May 2005 (UTC)
Bournville in Brum is another famous example, due to its establishment by a Quaker. The article has a brief mention of this. IIRC there were moves to grant a licence there not too long ago, but this was rejected in the end. There are a number of other prohibitions there, mainly related to planning permission. For example, you can't put up a satellite dish without approval. — Trilobite (Talk) 03:06, 21 May 2005 (UTC)


I have several thousand songs in my library on my computer. My ipod broke and I sent it back to apple and it has been returned to me - now it has no songs on it its all erased and clean. If I were to plug the ipod back into my computer would it delete all the songs in my library? Or would it just upload the songs onto the ipod immediately? If it just uploads the song that will make it much easier, as I won't ahve ot redo my playlists and put all my songs on an external hard-drive.

It will upload the songs back to your iPod. Hermione1980 23:16, 18 May 2005 (UTC)

How does a car battery work?

How does a car battery work? How come I can drive and drive and it doesn't wear down even if the lights, wipers, stero, and heater are all on but when I park it and forget to turn the lights off it runs down in a few hours? Neutralitytalk 02:08, May 19, 2005 (UTC)

There's a generator hooked up to the engine that recharges it, so as long as the engine is running it won't run down. --W(t) 02:10, 2005 May 19 (UTC)
That generator is called the alternator in US english at least. Its a fairly detailed article as well. And the Battery (electricity) article details the answer on your more literal question of how the battery itself works. - Taxman 03:48, May 19, 2005 (UTC)
In UK & NZ English (at least) Generators and Altenators are somewhat different. A generator (usually a pre mid 70's installation) generates electricity and pumps it out in DC form while an alternator usually has a rectifier built in which allows it to produce AC. A driver would likely not notice the difference. L-Bit 23:59, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

Most car batteries are lead-acid cells, which are rechargeable. -- ALoan (Talk) 11:19, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

Also note that the "heater" isn't an electrical heater (I think it may be in some arctic version of vehicles, but not otherwise). It's just a fan that blows air past a heat exchanger which picks up warmth from the engine. So it doesn't use that much power (much less than an electrical heating element would do). -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 18:23, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
Similar question: Is there a word that means something like "two things that are dependant on each other" like with the battery and the engine or with the ship and its pilot in Farscape, when one dies the other one dies too. "Mutually something" springs to mind --Wonderfool t(c)e) 16:03, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
Co-dependency? Symbiosis? -- ALoan (Talk) 19:27, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
I'd go for Symbiosis although the engine/battery example is not as good a one as the Farscape example. Another example could be the bacteria in our guts where without them, we cannot digest food, and without us, they cannot get food. The battery can be removed from a running car and the engine will continue to run while the generator/altenator is spinning fast enough to maintain a spark for the engine. Indeed, you can roll start (US jump start?) a car with a dead battery if you can get the drivetrain (from the wheels all the way back through the gearbox and crankshaft to the generator) running fast enough to allow a spark to start the cycle. Also, a battery will last many months disconnected from the engine provided it is not discharged. The battery is not a machine, it has no moving parts. It is a storage device. L-Bit 23:59, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

recent advancement of hard disk

Can you tell me the recent advancement of hard disk technology? Thanks.--JIAO 04:14, 19 May 2005 (UTC)JIAN

Well, they've gotten bigger. Aside from that, slashdot's Data Storage section has articles such as Samsung HDD Merges Flash, Conventional Storage or Nokia Announces Hard-Drive Phone. Is that the sort of thing you were asking about? grendel|khan 15:13, 2005 May 26 (UTC)
The big advances have been magnetoresistance-based read heads, especially GMR, and media based on paramagnetic coupling to overcome the superparamagnetic_effect at small bit sizes...I think the latter technology was codenamed "pixie dust". These articles should go a long way toward answering your question.--Joel 20:10, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

political spam from Germany?

I got an unusual spam today with the subject "Augen Auf" (Babelfish says, "Eyes Up"), that just had links to about a dozen different websites all located in Germany, I believe. Babelfish isn't very good at translating German, but there were some references to Islam, Israel, and a couple of those sites had pictures of what I think was Tyr's rune; some also donned with that German-gothic font. I'm not going to post the links, since, if they are Nazi propaganda, I'd rather not be accomplice to advertising them, but IS IT safe to assume they're Nazi propaganda just because they're heavily Germanic-styled sites with heavy political overtones critical of the Middle East? Or am I, myself, being somewhat of an ironic stereotype-pushing bigot by suggestively associating anything "heavily Germanic + radically political" as being Nazis? Again, I won't post any of the sites or the e-mail, but maybe someone else got this "Augen Auf" junk mail who knows German. It sort of creeps me out. Apologies to all decent Germans out there in case I indeed am engaging in unfair generalizing :) -- 08:49, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

Sent by the "Sober.Q" e-mail worm. Just ignore and delete it. Lupo 09:35, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
Don't worry about the ironic bigotry. You are being open-minded by considering that it might not be Nazi. Many people would label it Nazi/anti-Semitic just for dealing critically with the issue of occupied Palestine. You're doing quite well. And don't be creeped out: there are more dangerous ideologies out there than these neo-Nazis who are too heavily demonised to be an immediate threat to freedom. Just delete it as with all spam. — Chameleon 12:46, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
You are probably a victim of the spam wave described in this and other news reports, which is supposed to be an neonazi attempt to influence voters in the upcoming elections in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
As an amusing sidenote, the German wikipedia has been in the news yesterday because of an incident relating to the same elections: An anonymous user changed the articles about the two leading candidates, removing sections critical of the conservative contestant and adding stuff which made his social democratic opponent look a bit worse. Everyday routine, except that the IP adress belonged to the German parliament...
regards, High on a tree 04:41, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Somewhere along the way the worm in question got hold of a bunch of email addresses at non-profits in Seattle (including one I'm involved with) and has been busily spamming out this neo-Nazi crap (and believe me, Chameleon, there are several different emails, and they seem to cover the spectrum of Nazi interests, it's not at all specific to Israel/Palestine), forging email addresses from things like the Fremont Public Association. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:05, May 20, 2005 (UTC)
Oh I don't doubt there are a variety of nasty e-mails. This is malicious spam after all. I expect the intention is simply to offend as much as possible, using material copied and pasted from Nazi sites. The spammers might not even understand the issues. — Gulliver 12:42, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
Took the words out of my mouth. I bet they don't even understand German. — Chameleon 12:45, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Most a domain name has sold for

I remember before the dot-com bubble burst, the domain name sold for $1,000,000 US, and it was hyped as the most expensive domain name purchase in history. My question is, has that record every been broken? I remember when the fellow who is now at used to be at He stated that he would not sell the domain name for more than $10,000,000 US. Did someone pay that much for it? Taco Deposit | Talk-o to Taco 16:38, May 19, 2005 (UTC)

I very, very vaguely remember my dad explaining the idea of domain name squatting, which I guess he'd seen mentioned in a trade magazine, to me in the late eighties or early nineties; pity he never decided to try doing it...
Anyway, to the point: MSNBC quotes $2.75 million for, with $7.5m for, $5.1m for, $3.3m for, $2.9 for and $2.2 for CNN quotes $1.3m for and $3m for
However, note that a lot of the old deals were on spec, people buying a domain and then trying to figure out a market. Now, a lot of the dealing involves the fact that domain names intrinsically have a market - simply putting an advertising backend to that domain will get you the market. The dispute ([10]) is a good example of this - the case to get the domain name reallocated was portrayed as a simple issue of the ownership of the domain name alone, but in effect the name brought several tens of thousands of business a year. Shimgray 17:00, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

European Commission

Hi, could someone please provide a list of "departments" of the Commission? Please do not link to this page, as I don't understand it. Feel free to explain it though. Thanks,--E.M.

[11] "The European Commission is divided into 26 directorates-general (DGs) and nine services, which are in turn divided into directorates and directorates into units." European Commission says that each directorate general is meant to be under the supervision of one Commissioner, but as there are 25 Commissioners in the Barroso Commission presumably someone is doubling up. -- ALoan (Talk) 18:26, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

GFDL compliance

If I were to write a Live action roleplaying game, and, as part of the material I distribute to the players, include full or partial Wikipedia biographies of Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover, as well as information on Project Bluebook and the Watergate scandal, for example, what would my requirements be under the GFDL? Do I have to include the GFDL in every character packet? And the full page histories too? Or would it be acceptable just to put at the bottom of the page with the biography: from Wikipedia. Available at Thanks, moink 17:28, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

I'm fairly sure the answer is: Yes, you'd have to distribute the GFDL (or at least something saying "this is licensed under the GFDL, go to such and such website to see what those terms are") indicating that the biographies are licensed under it (the rest of the materials do not have to be), and under Wikipedia's policy you must say they are from Wikipedia. I'm pretty sure you don't have to include the page histories. See this section of the Wikipedia Copyrights page for specific information on this (the most relevant page might be Wikipedia:Verbatim copying). --Fastfission 20:10, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
One possible solution around this would be to use Wikipedia as a resource and rewrite the material in such a way that it would no longer be covered by the copyright. --CVaneg 20:39, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

Kentucky Derby

How are the horses chosen to run in the Derby?User:PedanticallySpeaking

  • They're nominated by their owners, and selected by the Triple Crown committee, whoever they are. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 17:38, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Relativity question

I have a theoretical question relating to the theory of relativity. I don't know if it relates to the special theory or the general theory, but here goes. If you could run at 3/4 the speed of light on a treadmill on the Earth's surface, would time "slow down" for you in relation to a relatively "stationary" observer standing next to the treadmill (assuming almost instantaneous acceleration for the person on the treadmill)? It's kind of a variation on the twin paradox, I think. Hermione1980 20:17, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

No. If you are running on a treadmill, your speed would be 3/4's the speed of light, and your velocity (displacement/time) would be 0. →Raul654 20:26, May 19, 2005 (UTC)
Okay, I see what you're saying. Thanks! Hermione1980 21:49, 19 May 2005 (UTC)
What a pity — i would have started working out right now! :-)
(But at least your legs will age slower.) — Sebastian (talk) 22:20, 2005 May 19 (UTC)

Recording cordless telephone conversations

Is it possible to record conversations I have on a cordless telephone? I'm in a situation where a company is frequently denying things it has previously assured me on the phone. I know there are legal issues surrounding this. However, I shall tackle the technical ones first. --bodnotbod 21:23, May 19, 2005 (UTC)

Assuming we're talking about the conventional meaning of cordless phone, that is, a phone attached to a land line via a wireless, it's a simple matter technically. You just have to hook a recorder into the line between the base and the wall. Such devices are readily available on the internet, and I'd imagine adapting a conventional recorder for the job wouldn't be difficult.
Recording off a mobile phone would be considerably more difficult and would depend on the features of the phone in question. -- Cyrius| 02:24, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
Even forgetting about the legal issues, you'd probably want to consider how this would impact your relationship with this company. If you are dealing with a contractor, they will most likely resent you when you throw their words back in their face. This will probably result in some short term benefits regarding whatever immediate issue you brought to their attention but long term problems as they start requiring all communication be in triplicate and sent through certified mail. On the other hand if you are dealing with the cable company, a plumber, or a delivery person, who is assuring you that they will make their 8 hour appointment window, only to call you in the 7th hour to tell you that they're cat is deathly ill and needs to be taken to the vet, then knock yourself out. --CVaneg 02:47, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
I think he's already established that the relationship with the company isn't going well. -- Cyrius| 02:57, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
If you intend to pose a legal threat to someone who has a proud history of eating her own words, phone recording is generally OK ("You promised a refund. If I don't see my money back, I'll sue you."). If you want to use the tape in a court, it is also generally OK regardless of any privacy concern. Gathering evidence is usually difficult, a judge would not foolishly dismiss your evidence just because you have done something wrong. I don't know where you live, but this is applicable in many countries.
Unless you're a legal enforcement personnel, evidence gathered illegally are not by itself unusable. If the judge allows a cop to wiretap someone illegally in one case, you'd bet she would do it again again and again. However, a civilian who are not visiting courtrooms daily, shall be allowed to present some defective evidence if it helps to solve a dispute. You just cannot kidnap your opponent and point a gun at his forehead and force him to confess. You could be prosecuted for your wrong doing but that will be a different case.
Don't you watch any TV? In the good ol US of A, all improperly gathered evidence is always thrown out, or so says the TV writers. Ok seriously I think that if legal proceedings may be in the future, then it is best to gather the evidence in a manner that its admissability would not be in question. One way to do this is to inform the other party you are recording conversations. In writing, with proof of service is your strongest way to prove you did that. An oral disclosure at the beginning of a conversation is technically ok, but hard to prove. If there were a company policy or it was your standard practice to record all conversations, not just this one, that could potentially give you a tiny bit of leeway with a judge. User:Cvaneg|CVaneg]] comments on the relationship issue are probably the most pertinent in the long run. Remember people on the whole do what is in their best interest only. Figure out a way to make it apparent to your adversary that what you need is in their (short term ideally) best interest (in a positive way, not an avoiding repercussions way). Now you didn't ask for this kind of advice, so ignore it heartily if you like. More on the topic, you may also find that the particular phone in question does not encrypt the radio transmission from the phone handset to the base station, so recording it may be as simple as tuning into the right radio frequency with the appropriate equipment. Or you may want to just go buy a cordless phone that is not encrypted. - Taxman 17:28, May 20, 2005 (UTC)
Evidence is not proof. You can always see conflict evidence presented by both parties. Therefore, it is the judge or the jury who has to make the decision. You may present your evidence. They have the discretion to believe or disbelieve. That's why evidence gathered illegally may still be used, alfter all, you are not supposed to be a legal professional, so you are allowed to make a little mistakes.
Some cellphones are capable of recording. However, due to the limited size of memory, they may not record a long message. Your opponent may attack your evidence as being out of context. Anyway, you have to make sure you're acting on good will. -- Toytoy 03:02, May 20, 2005 (UTC)

Depending on what jurisdiction you are in, one-party consent for recording a phone conversation may or may not be legal, and such tapes may or may not be admissible in court. "One-party consent" would be the key phrase to search for. -- Jmabel | Talk 05:10, May 20, 2005 (UTC)

If you are in India, recording of such a conversation (once verified) is admissible in court.  =Template:User-multi= 09:15, May 22, 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the replies and the interesting debate. I've found a device that will do the job. With regard to the wider points, essentially I had tried other ways to engage with the company, not least suggesting they put everything in writing rather than tell me on the phone. This they refused to do. However, they could only get what they wanted from me either by doing as I asked or taking me to court. For the moment, at least, they appear to have accepted they don't have the will for the first nor the stomach for latter. --bodnotbod 03:12, May 31, 2005 (UTC)

A question about hobos.

Alright, for some reason, I was thinking about hobos and here's what I came up with:

Why the Hell do bums always drink out of bottles with brown paper bags around them? I mean, is it just part of the bum culture, or does it serve some sort of purpose?

Swarthily, 23:50, 19 May 2005 (UTC)

The brown paper bag ritual is not practiced everywhere in the world. It can only be seen in places where you have to cover alcoholic beverage bottles with a brown paper bag. -- Toytoy 23:57, May 19, 2005 (UTC)
  • A little more clearly -- in some places, public consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited; the brown bag is an attempt to conceal the nature of the drinking. I doubt many cops are convinced. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 01:52, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
    • I believe the theory is that cops really don't want to deal with stuff like drinking on the street if they can help it. In particular, they don't want to deal with homeless people unless they have to. So they'd like to turn a blind eye, but it's difficult when someone is so openly holding a container of alcohol. And a "concerned citizen" can complain to their boss that they walked right past some people drinking and did nothing. So if the drinker hides his drink in the bag, the cop can more easily avert his gaze. -- John Fader (talk | contribs) 20:05, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
  • In a related matter, in some places where keggers are common and drinking cups are scarce, people use clear plastic cups, or carry around their cups upside down so as to avoid getting harrassed by the local police about open container laws while they are walking from house to house.--CVaneg 20:31, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Ah, thank you very much, it makes much more sense now. From now on, everything I drink, be it coffee, water, or soda, will be wrapped in a brown paper bag, just for the sake of being edgy. 04:54, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
You know certain foods are marinated or cooked in wine. Next time when you eat a hot dog or hamburger in public, get yourself a brown paper bag. :) -- Toytoy 13:34, May 20, 2005 (UTC)

Fritz Fischer (medical doctor)

Is Fritz Fischer, the Nazi doctor still alive ? He was sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes, but was released in 1954. What happened after that ? Jay 12:04, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

According to this Word document (see School of History at the University of Kent):
...fing eine zweite Karriere bei dem Chemiekonzern Böhringer in Ingelheim an.43 Im Jahre 1998 lebte er schwerhörig und 85 Jahre alt, in Ockenheim.
"...began a second career [after his release from prison in 1954] at the chemical company Böhringer in Ingelheim. In 1998 he lived in Ockenheim, 85 years old and hard of hearing."
According to [12]:
Er [Fritz Fischer] gibt nach der Haftentlassung seine Approbation (staatliche Zulassung als Arzt) zurück, nimmt eine Arbeitsstelle an, die ihm von amerikanischen Behörden vermittelt wird, die weit unter seiner Qualifikation liegt und verläßt sie nicht bis zum Ende seines Arbeitslebens.
"He returns his license to practice medicine after his release from prison and accepts a new job (found with the help of the U.S. authorities) far below his qualifications, which he won't leave until his retirement."
Source given for this statement: Freya Klier: Die Kaninchen von Ravensbrück. Medizinische Versuche an Frauen in der NS-Zeit. Droemer Verlag, München 1994, ISBN 3426771624.
Whatever happened to him after 1998, I do not know. Lupo 09:03, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
The German Online Phonebook still lists one Dr. F. Fischer living in Ockenheim, but I have absolutely no idea whether this is the person discussed here or somebody else. It is possible, though: he'd be now 92 years old. Lupo 14:59, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

US police ranks

Can someone please provide a list of US police ranks in descending order of importance. Thanks, -- Anonymity

Ranks vary by police organization, both because larger groups need more ranks and because of political and historical organizational factors. A one-person department might have a patrolman or a marshall or a sheriff while a 40,000 member department has a large number of ranks. Investigators or detectives may be ranked separately and the highest ranking officers may be political appointments or elected officials. Common ranks are patrolman or equivalent, sergeant, lieutenant, captain, police chief/sheriff. See New York City Police Department for the elaborate structure of a large organization. Rmhermen 13:10, May 20, 2005 (UTC)

Well, UK police ranks has a generic list. Could you provide one? Also, is there a rank of Police Chief?--anon

That article also states that there are only 56 UK police forces, for which there are still two exceptions that do not follow by the given list. There are already 50 state police forces in the US, if you then take in county police and city police the number of exceptions is sure to skyrocket. As for the second part of your question, typically most police departments will have a police chief, however their title, specific function, and appointment to their position may vary with locality. A couple of examples:
--CVaneg 17:13, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Bomb calorimetry

I'd like to perform some bomb calorimetry measurements, but I don't have a bomb calorimeter. What I do have is some nice high pressure reactors. I was wondering, could I use one of these reactors to make a decent bomb calorimeter (along with an insulated bucket of water, thermocouple and data recorder)? Is this too cheesy for a scienfic publication? One thing I don't know how to would I ignite the material in the bomb? I know usually an electical charge is used. How do you make sure combustion is complete? My material isn't food, but it is like food....I could see that it might not necessarily completely combust when ignited. ike9898 16:41, May 20, 2005 (UTC)

Is this for a scientific experiment, or something that you just want to try out? HappyCamper 17:09, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
The key to getting complete combustion is to pressurize the bomb with oxygen. Like 20-30 atm of O2. Rangek 18:19, 2005 May 20 (UTC)
When I used one, we used platinum wire (it burns consistantly). Failing that, estes rocket igniters, light bulb filaments, etc. can be used. Just add voltage. Be sure to do a baseline test (only the igniter and O2) so that you know how many calories they add to the mix.

Janice Rogers Brown

Does anybody know how Janice Rogers Brown, the daughter of sharecroppers from Alabama, was able to afford to attend Cal State Sacramento? As an out-of-state resident, her tuition would have been pretty high, even back then. RickK 21:10, May 20, 2005 (UTC)

I believe the requirements for establishing California residency are not overly strict. According to CSUS's current site you only have to have been living in state for one full year. Assuming that there haven't been any drastic changes to policy, it's entirely possible that she moved prior to entering college. --CVaneg 21:42, 20 May 2005 (UTC)
According to this article she moved to Sacramento as a teenager, so as long as she wasn't 17, she would have most likely met the residency requirements. --CVaneg 21:54, 20 May 2005 (UTC)

Writing vertically in different languages

Sometimes words are written downward vertically, such as on signs outside stores that are mounted perpendicular to the building, and the titles on the spines of some books, thus:


This is done in English, and probably other languages with Roman alphabets. It is also done in Chinese, which can be written horizontally or vertically.

Is there a pattern for which languages have characters that must be turned sideways? Languages such as Arabic or Hindi, in which the letters are connected, obviously cannot, so the letters have to be turned sideways in order for them to be connected. Do letters derived from Hindi, such as Gujarati, also have to written sideways, or can they be placed vertically under each other? I assume that for syllabic writing such as Gujarati and Korean, each syllable, not each letter, would either be kept vertical or rotated.

As I searched the Internet for examples, it seems not all alphabetic languages can be written downward -- I couldn't find any in Thai, only horizontal shop signs, some several feet long and attached to a wall at one end.

I am making vertical signs to mark the foreign language collections in a library, so I want to write the names of the following languages in English and in their own language: German, French, Italian, Spanish, Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, Chinese (Mandarin), Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese and Tagalog.

GUllman 00:25, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

I think Japanese can be written vertically in the same way as Chinese, but I don't know if that holds for Korean - [13] is a photo of a Seoul street with neon signs, though, which suggests vertical would work OK.
Random thought - have you considered collaring users of the sections in question and asking them? Shimgray 08:23, 21 May 2005 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't have time today. If you need a quick explaination, see:
Akira Nakanishi, Writing Systems of the World, Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1980, pp. 112-114.
I looked at this book and it only compares the various directions in which languages are written in "normal" text. Thanks. GUllman 03:24, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)
Chinese, Japanese, Korean (CJK) are vertical only (in the good old days). However, it is easy to switch to left to right or even right to left with these scripts. In fact, no more than a few years ago, many newspapers published in Taiwan or Hong Kong still ran their headlines from right to left. Some scripts such as traditional Mongolian, Uighur and Manchu's, could only be written vertically. However, these scripts are more or less obsolete by now. Traditional Vietnamese characters such as Chu Nom, was also very similar to Chinese. That's why we call them CJKV.
Most, if not all, Indian and Arabian scripts are horizontal-only. Thai, Khmer and Burmese are also horizontal. You may check some Inside Macintosh volumes (World Script, True Type GX ...) for more detailed information. The Unicode Consortium also had published some reference materials. I cannot give you exact titles because these books are in my parents' home. -- Toytoy 16:58, May 21, 2005 (UTC)
There's no problem if you use Indic scripts sideways. There are crosswords in Hindi, Marathi and Gujarati newspapers which make use of the vertical rendering. The main problem in the Indic languages is the use of the half characters and vowels, but that too can be solved by clubbing the half character and vowel with the main character. eg नि instead of न+ि  =Template:User-multi= 08:53, May 22, 2005 (UTC)
After considering the examples I've seen, I'll probably write them the same way they are written on the spines of books, since the signs will be placed right next to those books. Languages that are written from right to left like Arabic turn the text 90 degrees counter-clockwise, while those written from left to right like Hindi turn the text 90 degrees clockwise, so that the text is read from top to bottom. Thanks. GUllman 03:24, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

European Rapid Reaction Force

Does anyone have a list of ranks in the RRF?

At the moment, each proposed unit is drawn from a single nation. Therefore, they will use the same ranks as they would on national duty. There is a possibility that some of the member states with smaller militaries may form multinational units to submit to EURRF duty, but I don't think there have been many solid proposals for this. Many member states are vary wary of what pooling military resources might mean to them and to the EU as a whole. I believe that there is a long-standing system of rank equivalence that is used by NATO. --Gareth Hughes 09:37, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

longest serving head of state, currently in office

Is it Fidel Castro (~46 years)? If so, who is the 2nd longest serving, that is still currently in office? ike9898 11:48, May 21, 2005 (UTC)

No. The longest-serving is King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand, followed by Queen Elizabeth II of the UK and a number of other countries. Kind regards, jguk 12:03, 21 May 2005 (UTC)


What Fraction of the square is shaded? The shaded part is 3/4 by 2/3. the rest is 1/4 and 1/3. It can be solved using area, length x width.

If this problem did not come with a figure, I recommend you draw one right now. If it did come with a figure, then it should be relatively easy to come up with the area of the shaded square and then put it over the area of the entire square. You can do this two different ways (or really the same way but stated differently). Either OR --CVaneg 21:44, 21 May 2005 (UTC)

Linux newbie question

I've just installed Ubuntu Linux, which comes with GNOME, but I was wondering what exactly were the relative merits of this and KDE. I understand this is probably a question of personal preference for most people, but what are some of the main reasons I might have for choosing one over the other. My choice of Ubuntu for a distribution waa fairly arbitrary: it seemed fairly user-friendly, easy to install, and adhered to free software principles, so I went for it, not really knowing if other distros might have been more appropriate. Our articles on GNOME and KDE tell me a fair bit about version history etc, but not so much about why devotees of each think their choice is better than the other. If someone was to ask me whether they should use IE or Firefox I would be able to reel off a long list of reasons why they ought to go for Firefox, so I wonder if anyone can do the same for GNOME and KDE. I'm new to Linux and finding it all interesting so far, and I know Wikipedia is full of Linux users and enthusiasts, so I'm hoping someone can give me a few tips on how to progress beyond installation and my basic setup. — Trilobite (Talk) 00:46, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

You could try a google search for "GNOME vs KDE", but just make sure the comparisons you find are up to date. While I use KDE on most of my machines, I think it's largely a matter of personal preference. I don't know whether it's possible to run KDE on Ubuntu (I'm not sure whether Kubuntu allows you to also run Gnome; on most full-featured distros you can choose at login time which desktop environment to run), but I suggest you try that and decide which you prefer. So long as you have the core libraries installed for both, you can run all applications under either (eg. GIMP under KDE, or KDevelop under GNOME). Also, you should be aware that there are more Desktop environments than just these two.-gadfium 05:00, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Commercial-permissive-license freeware level editor?

If I wish to make a videogame and utilize the file formats common to id Software titles (none of which rely upon anything patented, and has been confirmed as perfectly legal to do without id's permission), I do have to get a commercial-use license from id Software if I wish to use their "Radiant" editors to build levels in it for the sole purpose of a separate commercial game, even if the engine for the actual game is 100% mine. Is there another suite of level editor(s) out there which allow for free-use-for-any-purpose? I'll even use another popular level format if I have to, although that's probably unnecessary. I'd hate to have to write my own editor entirely from scratch -- I want to complete at least a crude demo of what I'm working on before this summer vacation is over. --I am not good at running 03:48, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Doctor Who plot guides

Does anyone know where I can find a plot guide to The Empty Child? The article hasn't been updated, despite the episode being played last night. Interestingly, no other episode guides have either.--

Great Britain -- United Kingdom (a different query)

After reading the infoboxes on the India and United States pages, both countries achieved independence from Great Britain. I want to know whether this is correct, shouldn't it be reading United Kingdom? I also read that GB was the term used before 1801. Based on the dates, I assume that GB should be correct for US, but not for India. Am I correct?  =Template:User-multi=

For the USA, the country in question is the Kingdom of Great Britain, so that's correct. For India, however, I think it ought to say United Kingdom, because post-1927 the name of the country was the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland", as is the case today. This is complicated slightly because "Great Britain" was used in the past to refer to the UK more frequently than it is now (except by Americans), so "Great Britain" would have been more acceptable at the time. However, this is a minor point and the name of the country at that time was definitely the UKoGBaNI, so I think you're right and the India infobox should say "United Kingdom". — Trilobite (Talk) 09:22, 22 May 2005 (UTC)
Ok, I'll change it to UK. Thanks  =Template:User-multi= 09:28, May 22, 2005 (UTC)

Acronyms -- CSA ASC?

What is the full form and meaning of the acronyms: CSA and ASC seen in the credits of a film?  =Template:User-multi= 09:49, May 22, 2005 (UTC)

From lookoing at the ASC and CSA disambigs I guess that ASC is American Society of Cinematographers and CSA is Casting Society of America (CSA webpage). Jeltz talk 12:14, 22 May 2005 (UTC)
Thanks. I guess we'll need a page for CSA.  =Nichalp (Talk)= 18:41, May 22, 2005 (UTC)

Largest Shelter for Pregnant Women?

What is the most well-known or nationally recognized center/shelter that houses, clothes, and cares for pregnant women with basically no money and nowhere to go, in the United States?


NOW is the largest women's organization in the United States, although there are others. NAACP is the largest organization advocating equal rights for people of all races (etc.)...

Does a large organization to help clothe and care for pregnant women exist in the United States?

"The Army is far larger than most people realize, claiming more than 5 million members in 99 countries. Last year, it raised $ 726 million from privatedonations in the United States, more than any other non-profit organization. (The Christmas kettles alone brought in $ 61 million.) All money raised locally is used locally. In the United States last year the Army served at least 69 million free meals and provided shelter for 9.5 million homeless people.

These are, and should be, dazzling numbers, easily outstripping the income and services provided by other charities struggling directly with poverty. Certainly the Army is one of the most efficient, spending 87CENTS of every donated dollar on its service programs. In the name of bringing the poor and hungry up from the gutter to independence, the Salvation Army offers food and shelter, employment services, drug and alcohol recovery programs, a nationwide missing persons service, homes for pregnant women, shelter for battered women and their children, nursing care for people with AIDS, day-care centers, toy giveaways at Christmas, clothing, prison programs, hospitals, legal aid, various forms of counseling and, always, as much religion as anyone wants." — Rocky Mountain News, January 23, 1994 Salvation Army perhaps? - of course the mission is much more broad than pregnant women but nonetheless perhaps they reach the most.

lots of issues | leave me a message 13:55, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

unclear picture

I am trying to find a clear picture or proper writting for the text in the picture located at the following web address

According to our Athena article, the Greek name is Αθηνα or Αθηνη

Words for sexual orientation in terms of attraction to X

Is there a generic term for anyone who is attracted to a given gender? To be precise: is there one term encompassing straight men, lesbians, and all bisexuals, and another for straight women, gay men, and (again) all bisexuals? Nickptar 19:51, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Mulierosity is the "fondness/love for women" [Lat: mulierositas] can revive a dead language and tell people they have a severe case of mulierosity, just for kicks of course... =)

Perhaps the terms you want are androphilic and gynephilic. I suppose ambiphilic would be the expected third category but I haven't seen that one used. alteripse 03:21, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

I can't believe I never thought of that. Google gives mostly gay and botanical hits for "androphile", and mostly heterosexual hits for "gynophile", but I think I'll use them anyway. Nickptar 00:31, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Citing wikipedia

In school I am required to give credit to the person who wrote the Giant Panda article, so who did?

See Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia. Smoddy (Rabbit and pork) 22:13, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

terrible article, not sure what to do

The article on John Landis is so full of factual errors and overly subjective statements that I don't know where to begin editing it. I know there is supposed to be a list somewhere of pages that need major overhaul, but I can't find the list itself, just pages ABOUT the list.

I've reverted the page to a previous edit that seemed to be a bit more NPOV and factual. In future, you can check the article's history and click on the date/time of the edit you want to revert to and click "Edit this page" at the top. Put "revert vandalism" or something like that in the edit summary, and you're good to go. You can also mark the article as needing cleanup by putting {{cleanup}} at the top of the article. Hermione1980 23:29, 22 May 2005 (UTC)

Oscar Wilde

I wish to know what year Oscar Wilde published the short story " the Star Child" and if it was part of a collection what was it called.

Published 1891. Rmhermen 14:05, May 23, 2005 (UTC)

I can't find anything published by Oscar Wilde. The closest hit: Arnold, Edwin, Sir, 1832-1904: The Light of the World [from The Light of the World (1891)] "520 'Tis the HitStar-HitChild, who was to rise and wear 521 A crown than Suleiman's more royal and rare, 522 'King of the Jews.' Grant an approach to us 523 Who crave to worship Him." "

lots of issues | leave me a message 13:43, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

As Rmhermen said, Oscar Wilde's short story The Star-Child was published 1891. It appeared in the collection entitled A House of Pomegranates. Lupo 13:58, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Qualifications in the UK

Can someone provide a link (internal or external) to a page explaining qualifications in the UK. Thanks, /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ 16:00, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Qualifications for what? PedanticallySpeaking 16:23, May 23, 2005 (UTC)

Generally, like GCSEs, A levels, NVQs and so on. /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ 16:32, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

I guess what you really want is a UK version of Australian Qualifications Framework. However I've checked the 'WhatLinksHere' for A Level and it looks like we don't have an overview summary like this. It is a good enough idea to request it on the UK Wikipedian's notice board.
Education in England might get you started, but also note that qualifications in Scotland are different, so you should check Education in Scotland too. And for all regional variations work through the links at Education in the United Kingdom. -- Solipsist 17:08, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
Try this Government's Department for Education and Skills page --bodnotbod 03:40, May 31, 2005 (UTC)

There are three different exam systems in the UK. GCSE/A-Levels in England (several award bodies), SQA in Scotland, and another in Northen Ireland. CS Miller 16:42, May 31, 2005 (UTC)


I have two questions, under UK copyright law:

  • A photo is copyright to the person taking it. What about the people in it? Is it illegal to take a photo with people in it without their permission?
  • Actors in a play or film - do they have any rights under copyright?


IIRC you own the copyright, but to use the photograph you'll need to have the subjects sign a release form allowing you to show them (I earlier pixelated out the faces of some people in a Wikinews photo I took which had faces in it, even though I'd asked them first, just in case). Joe D (t) 18:31, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
I don't know about that. I'll fully admit to not knowing a thing about UK copyright and publishing law, but I imagine if you needed a subject's permission before publishing a photograph of them, that there are a few choice photographs of Prince Harry that would have probably not seen the light of day. Of course, there are still probably restrictions on how you use the photograph. You probably can't use it in an advertisement or in a libelous manner without their permission. --CVaneg 19:25, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
IANAL, but I beleive the key thing is where the photo was taken. If the people are in a public place (e.g the street, or a pub) where a reasonable person could expect to be seen then its generally fine to use the photo. If they are in a private place, or where it would be reasonable to expect privacy (e.g. in their garden, or a hotel room), then I don' think you'd be able to use it. If you used a photo of them in a private place or libeled them, etc then I think that they'd be able to sue under privacy laws or libel laws, etc rather than copyright laws. From reading the 2DTV article earlier today I learned that you cannot imply that someone endorses your product without their consent, but none of these things, AFAIU, infringe on your copyright of the image. Thryduulf 20:40, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

U.S. Diplomatic Relations

The U.S. has diplomatic relations with most of the countries of the world. Are there any besides Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Libya, and Taiwan that the U.S. does not have relations with? 17:27, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Foreign_relations_of_the_United_States contains your answer. There are two other places, Sudan and Somalia without diplomatic relations. -- Joolz 20:21, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Presidential Inaugurals

Have any American presidents besides the two Adamses and Nixon skipped their successors' inaugurals? 17:27, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Depending how pedantic you want to be, those presidents that were assasinated or died in office for other reasons (I know there has been at least one, but can't remember who) were not present at their successors' inaugurals. Thryduulf 20:43, 23 May 2005 (UTC)
And Nixon's successor didn't have an inaugural! --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 02:22, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Bills in Congress

If the chief sponsor of a bill in the U.S. Congress resigns or dies (as Rob Portman did last month), what happens to the bills he is the primary sponsor of? Does a co-sponsor become the lead sponsor? What about a bill that had no co-sponsors? PedanticallySpeaking 20:20, May 23, 2005 (UTC)

I'm just guessing, but according to [14] a sponsor is simply the person to introduce the bill to congress and the co-sponsors are just the members of congress who sign on to support the bill once it has been submitted. Theoretically, this means once the bill is in the system it will go through the standard process for passing laws, regardless of the condition of the original submitter. Admittedly, the odds of passing a bill that no one is advocating are fairly low, but not impossible.--CVaneg 21:56, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

Presentment of Bills

The Constitution requires bills passed by Congress be presented to the President. Who does the presenting by Congress? Do they personally deliver them to the President? PedanticallySpeaking 20:20, May 23, 2005 (UTC)

  • This link gets you to the middle of a real good and specific discussion of the mechanics of turning a bill into a law (or preventing it from being turned into a law.) Thanks for the question; it sent me on some fun detours. The phrase "enrolling clerk" was the critical point. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 02:20, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Veto of Bills

How exactly does the President veto a bill passed by Congress? In the film Dave, there's a rubber stamp Frank Langella uses, but what is the actual procedure? PedanticallySpeaking 20:26, May 23, 2005 (UTC)

Another fictional datapoint, but ISTR that Martin Sheen used a rubber stamp when exercising the Presidential veto in an episode of The West Wing, if that helps ;) There is also a pocket veto which does require any presidential action other than simply not signing the bill into law while Congress is not in session (usually, while Congress is in session, a bill becomes law if the president has not approved or vetoed within 10 days.) [15] -- ALoan (Talk) 12:29, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

The History of Bosnia and Herzegovina author

Who wrote the article "The History of Bosnia and Herzegovina"? -anon

the history page of the History of Bosnia and Herzegovina article [16] shows all the users who have contributed to the article.
If you are asking the question because you need it for a citation please see Wikipedia:Citing Wikipedia. Thryduulf 22:21, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

SD Card Maximum size?

What's the maximum theoretical size of an SD card? I've read that it can only address 4gb of address space directly, but I've also read that it could potentially support upto 32gb. Jooler 21:54, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

The Secure Digital Card article says the "Capacity limit in all SD/MMC formats appears to be 128GB in LBA mode (28 bit sector address)." Thryduulf 22:24, 23 May 2005 (UTC)

background info on c3po and r2d2, the drids from star wars

Try C-3PO and R2-D2 first, and if that doesn't answer your specific question come back here and ask that more specific question. --Robert Merkel 00:15, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

What is the average tempeture range and rainfall in Australia?

Australia is a continent, far bigger than Western Europe and comparable in size to the Lower_48. While the vast interior is mostly arid, it also contains areas with seasonal monsoon climates, wet tropics, wet subtropics, alpine climates, and so on, all of which have radically different temperature ranges and rainfall averages. Could you narrow down your question a little?--Robert Merkel 00:23, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

mining in quebec

I am being paid to research a report for someone, and i'm having a difficult time. I need material for a 3-page paper on canadian mining, specifically minning in quebec, specifically the value of stuff mined in quebec. I can barely find a half-page worth of useful information. Can someone help me?

-YM Wit

A google search for "mining quebec" gave this Canadian government page as the third link. According to the page, $3.7 billion Canadian dollars worth of production occurred in 2002, employing 11,000 people directly. That would likely be a considerable underestimate of the 2005 situation, given the current Chinese-driven mining boom. There seems to be more useful material on that site, and there would likely be more information amongst the other google hits.
By the way, given that you're asking this question to help you make money, remember that you can donate to Wikipedia through the Wikimedia foundation fundraising site. --Robert Merkel 02:06, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Naming of Counties

I am researching my father's family history. My grandfather was a ships Pilot at Liverpool. I have his death cert. and marriage cert. Details on the MARRIAGE cert show "1877 - Marriage solemnized St Peters Chapel Peel St - District of Liverpool - County of Lancaster." The DEATH cert shows "1928 - death in sub-district Walton - County of Liverpool."

I cannot find a County of Lancaster. Would there have been a change of County name after his marriage in 1877?

I need this info to try to obtain my father's birth cert.

Thanks for any help. Regards, Bob Hannell.

Lancashire is the one you're after. — Trilobite (Talk) 01:58, 24 May 2005 (UTC)
True. But what intrigues me: what the heck is the County of Liverpool"? DJ Clayworth 19:48, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Name of show on PBS

OK, we all remember Square One, but I'm trying to think of the name of another show that was on PBS in the mid-to-late 80's. A few years ago I was really trying hard to track this show down but gave up. Google was/is of no help, and neither were several forums (I recall asking at jump the shark).

Anyway, the premise of this show was that there was a boy and girl, siblings, both maybe 8-10 years old or so. They had this stationary bike in their garage, and it was covered with a tarp. Some wizard would show up and tell them that assistance was needed, so they'd go out, get on the bike, pedal and warp to this other world. In the other world they'd have to help someone do something. The one episode I recall there was a painter who was going to get in trouble unless he painted a bird. The bird was described with words that were unfamiliar to him, so the kids had to use context clues to figure it out.

There were two bad guys in this show, and they'd always roll up on a motorbike and sidecar at the end of the show to find out that their plans had been foiled because the kids had helped whoever do whatever they needed to do.

I also seem to recall that the final episode of the series took place in a classroom, and the kids poured milk on the bad guys to make them melt or something.

BTW, I am not on drugs. CryptoDerk 02:53, May 24, 2005 (UTC)

I have no idea what you are talking about, but you might want to try looking at Category:PBS television network although I didn't see anything in there that I didn't already know about or Category:Children's television series which has commercial and public shows. There's also a Category:1980s TV shows in the United States but I don't know how useful it will be. Hope that helps. --CVaneg 15:57, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

American discovery

Was Christopher Columbus really the first person to reach america or was it someone else?

See Native American#Early history, Vinland and Pre-Columbian trans-oceanic contact. Christopher Columbus really was the first person that opened the hell's gate to Native Americans. -- Toytoy 07:14, May 24, 2005 (UTC)

Sleeping Limbs

What exactly happens when your arm or leg "falls asleep"? I imagine that there's probably an article on this, but I have no idea what it would be called. --CVaneg 15:41, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

  1. Your arm or leg is too numb to move.
  2. You wake up and find your arms and legs are still aspleep.
Which symptom? -- Toytoy 16:41, May 24, 2005 (UTC)

The cause is transient ischemia, temporary interference with the blood supply to the limb, resulting in malfunction of sensory neurons which serve as a signal to change position and allow reperfusion. The name for the "pins and needles" feeling is paresthesia. Does that cover it? alteripse 16:57, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Mrs Green of London

Does anybody know a Mrs Green? She lives in London.-- 16:06, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

You will need to be a lot more specific as to who you are looking for. Greater London alone has a population of nearly 7½ million people, and she might not even be one of those depending how specific the definition of London is. 'Green' is also a very common surname in England, and I would be suprised if there were not a thousand or more people named Mrs Green in that area. Thryduulf 16:50, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Well, I can't be much more specific, but if it helps, she's got blond hair.-- 17:20, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

The odds of a Wikipedian knowing *a* Mrs Green who lives in Greater London are probably fairly good, but the odds of them being the particular Mrs Green you seek are not. There is an online British telephone directory here. Searching it for all people with surname "Green" in London reveals that there are too many people with surname "Green" to display, but some indication of the number may be deduced from the fact that there are over 100 A. Greens in London alone. As Trhyduulf suggests, you will need some more specific information to narrow down your search .
Googling also reveals the existence of a Sarah Green], who wrote a number of novels in the 19th Century, some of which were published in London, and a Mrs. Green who was a London spiritualist active in the period 1887-89; all of which is quite fascinating but quite useless for your purposes, I believe.--Robert Merkel 04:11, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
If you know her (or know of her) through someone else, maybe you should try to look that person up first.--Joel 02:18, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

Blue lights in the UK

What law in the UK says what vehicles can and can't use blue lights? I have a book saying it's the Road Vehicle Liscensing Regulations, but what year?--a.n.o.n.

I suspect it might be The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 [17], which would be Statutory Instrument 1989 No. 1796. However the regulation there says, in essence "No person shall use, or cause or permit to be used, on a road any vehicle on which a Warning beacon emitting blue light and special warning lamp is Used so as to be lit except- (i) at the scene of an emergency; or (ii) when it is necessary or desirable either to indicate to persons using the road the urgency of the purpose for which the vehicle is being used, or to warn persons of the presence of the vehicle or a hazard on the road." Which suggests one might just get away with displaying such a light at an emergency even if the vehicle is not a policecar. I suspect case law may govern "urgency of the purpose for which the vehicle is being used". Additionally there may somewhere else be a prohibition on imitating a police car, though that's speculation; and in any event the police would be well within their powers to ask you to desist from flashing your blue light, should you choose to do so. --Tagishsimon (talk)

Tagishsimon is correct re Lighting Regs for answers. Being a very sad ex Traffic Cop I still have my own copy. Reg 16 states that only Emergency Vehicles can be Fitted with Blue Lamps etc or anything that resembles one whether they work or not. To give twwo examples of cases I dealt with. 1. Old ambulance converted into mobile home, Blue Lights still fitted but not working. Offence, fitted. 2. Motor Car with blue uv type lamp fitted under vehicle [ for street cred!] Offence Blue light capable of being seen at sides , front and rear. Also switchable so could simulate a flashing light! At the start of the regs is a section called Interpretation, this defines most expressions including emergency vehicle.It is a sad fact that modern police do not do the extensive Traffic Law courses we used to do. There are Fixed Penalty options for most of these offences as well as summons or warnings.Hope this helps. veryex132

Air force?

Here's an excerpt from the infamous radio drama The War of the Worlds (1938) by Orson Welles:

No more defenses. Our army is ... wiped out ... artillery, air force, everything wiped out.

The United States Air Force was established in 1947, nearly a decade after this show. Why did they use that term at that time? -- Toytoy 17:30, May 24, 2005 (UTC)

I suspect that Welles was not seeking to describe administrative or organisational units, so much as he was trying to say that aeroplanes had failed; in much the same way as had the artillary - also not a seperate force. Good question, though. H.G.Wells book was published in 1898, and the RAF was formed in 1918, so H.G. Wells was unlikely to have referred to it - a search for "air force" and "airforce" in Gutenberg's copy of the book brings nothing. --Tagishsimon (talk)
Modern airplane was invented in 1903 (disputed). One thing is for sure, if people in 1898 wanted to attack the invading Martians from above, they would had to use a balloon. -- Toytoy 23:57, May 24, 2005 (UTC)

Here are some selected pre-1938 Oxford English Dictionary (OED) examples:

  • 1908 H. G. WELLS War in Air iv. §3 The German airfleet.
  • 1911 Times 25 Feb. 7/3 The Balloon School is being reorganized and will be transformed into an Air Battalion.
  • 1914 Times 24 June 4/1 The Royal Naval Air Service ... will form part of the Military Branch of the Royal Navy.
  • 1917 Flying 19 Sept. 129/2 Why not remove the air arm at once from "the naval and military control"
  • 1917 Flying 31 Oct. 225/2 The disaster which befell the German air armada.
  • 1917 "CONTACT" Airman's Outings 203 We shall see a great extension of ground attacks by air cavalry.
  • 1917 Act 7 & 8 Geo. V c. 51 An Act to make provision for the establishment, administration, and discipline of an Air Force, the establishment of an Air Council, and for purposes connected therewith.
  • 1919 Flight XI. 1044 His Majesty ... has approved of new titles for the commissioned ranks of the Royal Air Force.
  • 1918 Flight 6 June 605/1 "The Air Force Cross", to be awarded to officers and warrant officers for acts of courage.

Guess the term "air force" had been spread to the U.S. from U.K. before the W.W. II. -- Toytoy 10:49, May 25, 2005 (UTC)


A while back someone told me that gravel aggregate was a limited natural resources that was running out. I found that a little hard to believe. Anyone ever heard of this issue? Can you point me to more information? ike9898 18:40, May 24, 2005 (UTC)

The limit afaik is in terms of the reluctance of communities to see the resources taken from their locality, rather than anything like an absence of things from which to make aggregate. By way of example: World Wildlife Fund in the dock over island quarry deal with French firm. --Tagishsimon (talk)
I wouldn't be surprised if part of the problem was related to the big construction boom in China, which has already made steel prices rather high -- CVaneg 22:42, 24 May 2005 (UTC)

Thermodynamics Question

I've got a question about the Second Law of Thermodynamics. It states heat does not spontaneously flow from cold to hot bodies . What about, say, magnifying solar power here on Earth with lenses/mirrors/whatever -- would the maximum temperature that one could achieve on Earth merely by focusing solar power into a small area be at most the surface temperature of the Sun (5800K, which is what the blackbody radiation curve of the Sun corresponds to)? I've heard, unreliably, on a few sites that this is the case, though no one indicates why.

(For example, this site claims that a large solar magnifier should attain "the surface temperature of the Sun").

This all makes sense from the POV of the 2nd law, but it seems like if you could concentrate, say, 100m^2 of solar energy (at 1kW/m^2) into a tiny area, you'd have an enormous amount of energy in a small area, and I don't understand why it would be limited by the temp. of the Sun. Also, it's obvious that you could convert the same sunlight into electricity, and use that electricity to make temperatures pretty much as high as you want.

Could anyone shed some light onto this puzzle?

(I asked this a while ago on the talk page for the 2nd law, but no answer so I figured I'd try here too)

It is quite simple to prove that temperatures higher than the surface of the sun can be reached using heat from the sun. This does not violate the second law. For a mathematical treatment look here (Forgive the pdf. I typed this up a few weeks ago because we were having this argument in our lab. I may convert it to html if people are interested.)
The second way to look at it is this. I can create temperatures higher than the surface of the sun in the lab by aiming a powerful laser at something. The laser is powered by electricity. The electricty is generated by burning coal, oil, or gas, or by falling water, or by the wind. All of those energy sources are derived from solar radiation. Since temperature is a state function I should (theoretically) be able to do the same via a more direct path (i.e., a solar collector). Rangek 03:37, 2005 May 25 (UTC)
Just to elaborate the previous post...The importance of XYZ being a state function is that it is path independent. That is, if it's possible for you to start from a state A and end at state B, there are many paths to do so. There's the most "direct" way, and then, there's everything else. However, temperature is not usually thought of as a state function in thermodynamics (although it can be and it is perfectly valid). Enthalpy, entropy, Gibb's free energy, and Helmholtz's free energy are. The Second Law should really be expressed in terms of entropy, because the statement about heat is more of a consequence of ever non-decreasing entropy in our assumed-closed-system-universe...--HappyCamper 11:45, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
The thing about lasers, electric arcs etc. is that they are not heat, they are a more ordered form of energy, and much of the original solar energy is lost in transforming it to such a high-quality source; all such methods rely on the Earth being colder than the Sun.
By contrast, if you tried to use some big lenses or mirrors to heat something hotter than sun-surface temperature, you would still be using heat from the sun to do so. The limiting mechanism is as follows: as the target approached the limiting temperature, it would begin to glow in all the frequencies it was capable of absorbing; this radiation would flow back through the mirrors/lenses toward the sun, establishing equilibrium.

If you wanted to be less efficient about it, you could set up some PV panels etc. and build a really big laser, and the heat given off from that system would satisfy the second law. Is that clear?--Joel 02:31, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

Microsoft Word question

In Word, is there a way to do this? Instead of text looking like this:

Como todos los roles, el profesional se desempeña en instituciones, 
la mayor parte de ellas de carácter económi- co, pues se orientan 
hacia la producción de bienes y servicios. La organización productiva 
es una expresión de estas instituciones, lo cual favorece el desarrollo 
de dos de sus características básicas: la eficiencia, al aprovechar al 
máximo los recursos, y la efectividad en el logro de sus finalidades.

I want it to look like this

Como todos los roles, el profesional se desempeña en instituciones, la-
mayor parte de ellas de carácter económi- co, pues se orientan hacia
la producción de bienes y servicios. La organización productiva es una expre-
sión de estas instituciones, lo cual favorece el desarrollo de dos de sus caracte-
rísticas básicas: la eficiencia, al aprovechar al máximo los recursos, y la efe-
ctividad en el logro de sus finalidades.

Like the way text appears on newspapers and magazzines.

You want Word to auto-hyphenate your Spanish text? Have you installed Spanish components? -- Toytoy 04:22, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

Warcraft III

I would like to get better at Warcraft III. Any suggestions? Tips? Good online resources? I have played inconsistently since 4 months ago, and at the very least, would like to beat the computer :) --HappyCamper 03:09, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Roman Influence In United States

How has the ancient Roman civilization influence United States, not only in government but in other things such as inventions, customs, parks and other things? Please give me as much information as possible.

"Latin is dead as dead as it can be. First it killed the Romans; then it killed me." You want people to do your home work? Sorry to let you down but welcome to Wikipedia, anyway. -- Toytoy 04:16, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

Like Toytoy said, we don't do you homework for you. That said, aside from starting with Roman Empire and Roman Republic, which along with links like Roman technology should give you some excellent starting points, you might want to consider the insight of the Monty Python crew in the movie Life of Brian, in reference to what the Romans brought to Judea:
"All right, but apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?
--Robert Merkel 04:26, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
If you are looking for Roman influence on the United States specifically, look to government. Look for the ways in which the Founding Fathers modeled their new system of government along Roman lines. Consider the very Roman pseudonym under which the Federalist Papers were published. Consider Thomas Jefferson's admiration of Tacitus. Consider the architecture of many government buildings, especially the United States Capitol (whose name is also Roman in origin). Start there, and the influences become obvious. —Charles P. (Mirv) 06:32, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

The information I type about how the Romans influence United States, was not because of schoolwork but because I'm really curious about the significants of Roman influence in United States. I searched for this information in books and other websites, and the information that these sources had were not significant information for me. That is why I came to the Wikipedia website for to learn about this.

We're glad you chose the reference desk as a starting point for your research! However, the original question was rather broad, and it would be difficult to answer properly without writing an essay. What you could do, is start from one of the suggestions given above and focus on a particular aspect that you like. Then, feel free to come back with another question! --HappyCamper 12:07, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

I cannot think of a U.S.-only example of Roman influence. I think serif is an itsy-bitsy Roman invention that you may see everyday. The Wikipedia article on serif is not very complete. If you do want to know more about it, you may consult: The Origin of the Serif (ISBN 0-9629740-1-3) (out of print; hard to find), Ancient Writing and Its influence (ISBN 0-8020-6435-3) and Counterpunch (ISBN 0-907259-06-5). -- Toytoy 01:30, May 26, 2005 (UTC)

Current US foreign policy?

Can someone transliterate and translate the Chinese text?

Can someone transliterate the following Chinese text into roman alphabet and also translate to English?


-- Template:User-multi 05:30, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

Babelfish suggests "Bright kernel", which means nothing to me out of context. However a human translator may do a better job. Thryduulf 07:48, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
Ya. I wanted to confirm the machine translation and also know whether the word reads as "Akihito". -- Template:User-multi 08:06, May 25, 2005 (UTC)
The Japanese Emperor Akihito (明仁), if you do want to know the meaning of the two Kanji characters, shall be roughly translated as "emptiness" (?) and "humanity". The character "仁" (あき; aki) does not mean "kernel" here. That is a Chinese only meaning (仁; ren). -- Toytoy 08:31, May 25, 2005 (UTC)
Thanks a lot, Toytoy. Whereas altavista babelfish translates Akihito into "Ming Ren", Google translation service appears perplexed. However, when sufficient context is given, G thinks that it is a proper noun, which is incidentally correct. -- Sundar 08:40, May 25, 2005 (UTC)
  • Chinese
    • 明亮: ming2 liang4; brightness (noun), bright (adj.)
    • 的: de; of, 's, -ly
    • 仁: ren; humanity, kernel

In Chinese, no one says "明亮的仁". You may say "明亮的星星" (bright starts) or "明亮的燈火" (bright city lights). The character "仁" generally means humanity. It only means "kernel" in a few specific instances such as "綠豆仁" (mung bean kernels).

By the way, in some languages, to repeat a noun means plurality. Chinese is generally not such a language. The character "星" (xing1) means star. Two of them is the colloquial form of it. -- Toytoy 08:51, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for further updates, Toytoy. -- Sundar 09:16, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

Six Flags Magic Mountain Song

Where can I find a midi or wmp version of the song that is used on the commercials for Six Flagas Magic Mountain, with the old man dancing? Thanks. --elpenmaster

It's "Up and Down" by the Vengaboys, I think - try this link. CryptoDerk 06:27, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

Signs in the UK

Does anyone know of a webpage where I can find about signs in the UK, eg. health and safety signs, road signs, signs with the "no symbol" and so on?-- 09:51, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

For road signs you could take a look at --Gareth Hughes 10:16, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
the official regulations for UK road signs are the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (TSRGD), which is available at Thryduulf 11:12, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Translation problems

Does anyone know how the German "Quersaal" translates into English? I've checked my dictionaries but in vain. JMBell° 13:42, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

It's some kind of hall (saal = hall), mostly in religious buildings I think. My German is really bad, but it's often mentioned when talking about Egyptian temples. This site calls it an "oblong-shaped hall." Hope this helps a little. Jeltz talk 17:15, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
  • I've seen it as "Transverse Hall" in Egyptology contexts; it could also just be "transept", I think. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 20:40, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Here and in general, it's wise to expect multi-syllable German words that aren't in your dictionaries to be compounds. Unlike English, German requires no formality nor repetitive use before jamming two words together into what looks like a single word. The adjective "quer" (cross-wise or diagonal) and the noun Saal are clearly being invoked in both of the suggestions above.
Notice, BTW, that in Quersaal, quer and Saal have been submerged into the compound: all words that are nouns are capitalized, and words that are adjectives are lower-cased except when the first word of a sentence. Both Saal and Quersaal are nouns and capitalized; querSaal would be doubly wrong because Quersaal is one word, and a noun: think of quer as a former adjective and Saal as a former noun. Similarly, Amerika and Amerikaner {America and American) are nouns, but amerikanisch (American, the adjective) is not. It is probably acceptable to make an adjective out of Quersaal, for the pertaining to or resembling a Quersaal, and that word, quersaalisch, would be lower case because it's not a noun. All of this underlines the need to be on the lookout for the compounds: in contrast to English, the capitalization is stacked against you.
--Jerzy·t 06:37, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
Yes, yes, but "quer" means "a)horizontally,b)diagonally,c)at right angles to." Where does that leave me? In the German article, the complete word is "Quersaalkirche" which means "Quersaal" church, and the red link there leads to "Quersaal." Obviously, no one knows what "Quersaal" means. Transept hall church? I doubt it. How quer. JMBell° 11:44, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
All right, now we're talking! You want to translate de:Zossen... [18] should make it immediately clear what a "Quersaalkirche" is: a church in which the main hall is oriented not along the long but the short axis. Often the church tower also is on the short axis. Also called "Querkirche". A Ph.D. thesis in German, and a list of 35 Querkirchen with images. But I have no idea what the architectural scientific term for this is. Lupo 11:02, 30 May 2005 (UTC)


Is there a real town Beesworth or is it just an example?

I think it's a fictional example. It probably deserves a mention somewhere on WP though, dunno if it is worth its own article though? Thryduulf 16:24, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I also think it's fictional - a Google search gives only names and one other roadsign-related reference for it. Maybe it could be added to fictional towns?-- 16:36, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

The Gazetteer of British Place Names, which I usually find to be very comprehensive, and is my resource of choice when trying to find out what local authority a place is in etc., has nothing for Beesworth. — Trilobite (Talk) 10:52, 26 May 2005 (UTC)


What means Kites,bags and polypigs

A polypig is a solid plastic cylinder that is used to clear a sewer pipe. It is pushed through the pipe by air or water pressure (I don't know which). The devices are commonly called pigs, so perhaps polypig is a brand name. --Heron 19:00, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Why do people tolerate winter?

I live in Connecticut, where the winters last about 5 months.

What I want to know is, why do millions of people tolerate these climates? Why don't people just get sick of the cold, the ice, and the snow, and move south? You can't very well take walks, at least not without wearing heavy clothing.

Today (25 May), it was 42 deg F (about 6 deg C) at about 11:30.


Lol, I hate winter in the UK where it only last half as long... I just keep reminding myself that in 14 odd months I finish my degree and so can move southwards, somewhere along the mediterranean coast would be great! -Neo 16:37, May 25, 2005 (UTC)
Well, you live in Connecticut, so why don't you ask yourself? I'm from a place that gets something like 75 inches of snow a year, and people ask me how I can take it. I say there's nothing more invigorating then going out into the crisp, still air on the day after a snowstorm, when the snow has muffled all the sounds and covered everything in a blanket of gleaming white. And if it's cold, you can always put more clothes on. When it's 90 degrees, there are only so many clothes you can take off and not be arrested! What I wonder is how people can stand living in places like Yuma, Arizona, where it gets up to 120 degrees in summer. Mwalcoff 22:34, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
William Z. Ripley, a noted sociologist of his day, noted in his 1899 tome The Races of Europe:
It would seem as if the relation of geological and social conditions here discovered might be formulated into a general law, through which the course of settlement in a new country might be predicted. But the United States promptly sets such laws at defiance. For here it is on the primitive rock formations, in teh area of plentiful rains, that the New England village is at home. It is in the drier areas of the West, and even on their clayley soils, that population is most widely scattered. Thus the force of custom and tradition proves itself fully able to withstand for a time the limitations of physical conditions.
Personally, I've always thought it was a shame that Columbus arrived at the East Coast before anyone arrived at the West Coast. --Fastfission 04:25, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

You wouldn't be happy if you came to here to India in summers. Personally I prefer ~18°C, but sub zero temps are terrible and makes my nose run non-stop. On the other hand above 30C is also *hot* and if you couple that with high humidity, your home town would seem pleasant.  =Nichalp (Talk)= 18:21, May 31, 2005 (UTC)

editing Prostate Specific Antigen article

Yesterday I submitted an elaboration of this article, but I think I may not have followed the correct procedure. I seem to have heard you might want to contact authors. If you do, what is the procedure?

I'm not entirely sure what you mean when you say that you submitted an elaboration, but if you want to edit an article, you can do so without having to go through a formal submission process. Just click on the edit this page tab at the top of your screen, and have at it. --CVaneg 20:31, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Michael Jackson's trial

I watched the BBC World news on my PBS station this week and was surprised to see in its report on the Jackson trial video of the teen who says Jackson molested him along with stating his name. The American television networks and press have not done this, blurring his face and (in the case of the E! channel's renactments) bleeping his name. I quickly did a Google search and found a British newspaper article (here) that gives the full name. Are any foreign media following the American press's lead on the teen's identity or are they all acting like the Brits? PedanticallySpeaking 18:28, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

The government-run Australian Broadcasting Corporation don't seem to be using the boy's name. see [19] for example. Neither did the New Zealand Herald in its report. One way to survey it is to do a Google News search on the boy's name. --Robert Merkel 01:56, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Congressional districts

I know where to find maps of today's congressional districts, but does anyone know of a site that has maps of Ohio's districts in the 70's, 80's, and 90's? PedanticallySpeaking 18:31, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

There's a book, Historical Atlas of United States Congressional Districts: Seventeen Hundred and Eighty-Nine Thru Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Three, by Kenneth C. Martis, ISBN 0029201500, but I can't find any sites that have this information. RickK 23:34, May 29, 2005 (UTC)

Who controls the mailbox

In the United States, it is illegal for anyone but a mailman to put anything in a mailbox, even if the householder gives consent and even though the Postal Service does not own the mailbox. Does any other country have a similar rule? PedanticallySpeaking 18:41, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

  • If it's not toxic or explosive or otherwise dangerous, I don't see the problem. But I don't know about the rules. Sorry. Mgm|(talk) 19:18, May 25, 2005 (UTC)
No such rule exists in Canada; it is routine for junk mail, hand delivered stuff etc to be left in one's mailbox. But the U.S. rule is real. Likewise there is no big "Approved by the postmaster general" certification on mailboxes here, but I'm sure somewhere there's a rule that permits the letter carriers to skip your house if the mailbox is too weird. Sharkford 20:09, 2005 May 25 (UTC)
  • In the US, it is common to leave hand-delivered mail in the householder's box, but technically this requires payment of postage: if you stick an appropriate stamp on it but speed it up by delivering yourself, the USPS is happy. If you are delivering junk mail in this fashion, in theory the USPS would send you a bill for the total. Perhaps they are more likely to do so if the householder complains. Householder mailboxes say "U.S. Mail" on them, and have to meet USPS specifications; in the case of the so called "rural mailbox" (a roughly Quonset-hut-shaped box, with a door that hinges down so mail can be inserted through the open end), two of the specifications are 6 inches behind the curb, and 40 to 48 inches above the ground.
There was a slim volume called Holding Up the Mail. (I suspect there still is, if the publisher has survived; i want to call them Stephen Green Press, but i've been known to err in such feats of memory.) Note the pun: "Keeping the mail off the ground", but with a whiff of "Robbing the mail carrier of the mail they are supposed to deliver"; this hint of outlawry is suitable to the subject, namely clever and/or attractive ways of barely complying with the rural mailbox specifications. The publisher's catalog used to mention a specific USPS regulation number as the one whose limits they are pushing.
BTW, the "rural" box usually is close enough to the pavement that it is either on local government property or inside an additional right-of-way adjacent to the pavement that is subject to various restrictions despite your owning it. E.g., in some places the utility companies are being generous if ask you for permission to trim the trees that are threatening their wires.
--Jerzy·t 07:22, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
Definately not the case in New Zealand. When milkme still reigned supreme here we would have allsorts of objects delivered to our mail boxes aside from posted articles, i.e. newspapers, milk, bread L-Bit 00:39, 29 May 2005 (UTC)
Here in England our letterboxes are unprotected by legislation and our welcome mats lay buried beneath Pizza delivery menus and, in the run up to a general election, highly misleading campaign literature. --bodnotbod 03:51, May 31, 2005 (UTC)

I don't suppose its illegal in India. AFAIK, letterboxes here are only meant for incoming mail. But I distinctly remember putting pebbles and stones in the public mailbox when I was five (and I wasn't apprehended by the police). :D  =Nichalp (Talk)= 18:15, May 31, 2005 (UTC)

The accused in London

Where are those being held on charges who have not been convicted held in London while they await trial? Wormwood Scrubs? PedanticallySpeaking 18:41, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

From the National Probation Service [20], "London has seven prisons and one young offender institution: Belmarsh, Brixton, Holloway, Latchmere House, Pentonville, Wandsworth, Wormwood Scrubs and Feltham Young Offender Institution." As far as I know, they all take prisoners on remand, but remand prisoners being tried in London could also be held at prisons outside London; the HM Prison Service [21] may also be able to assist. -- ALoan (Talk) 19:39, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Videos and albums

Why is it Tuesday is the day most videos, DVDs, and albums are released in America? Is it Tuesday abroad as well? PedanticallySpeaking 18:41, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

Maybe, at least in part, to avoid conflicting with movie premieres on Wednesday and Friday --CVaneg 19:59, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
Here are some better answers from Google [22] --CVaneg 20:24, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
In the UK, music (at least) is released on Mondays because the chart comes out on Sundays, so they have the longest selling period. Dunc| 21:11, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

Native-born Americans

The U.S. Constitution requires the President to be a natural born citizen. Do any state governments bar immigrants from becoming governors or holding other public office? PedanticallySpeaking 18:41, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

  • I couldn't find any such restriction (of course, absence of proof is not proof of absence), but it seems to me that an such state requirement would explicitly violate section one of the 14th Amendment. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 20:26, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
Since your name is PedanticallySpeaking I feel comfortable in pointing out that the term immigrant applies to both permanent residents as well as naturalized citizens. So while the technical answer to your question is "Yes, pretty much all of them disallow permanent residents from holding office." I imagine this doesn't actually answer your question :) --CVaneg 21:32, 25 May 2005 (UTC)

John McCain

Since John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, why is he not disqualified from running for President?

Because both parents were citizens. See [23]. hydnjo talk 19:44, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
Our Natural-born citizen article discusses this topic in general, and references McCain specifically, but doesn't resolve anything. --CVaneg 19:53, 25 May 2005 (UTC)
Even before the McCain case, there was the case of George Romney, who was born in Mexico of US citizen parents. It was never resolved if there would have been an impediment to his being elected President, because he never made it out of the primaries. RickK 23:38, May 29, 2005 (UTC)

Before Barry

Barry Goldwater was the last major party candidate to not have been born in one of the states (he was born in the Arizona Territory). Who would have been second-to-last? PedanticallySpeaking 18:41, May 25, 2005 (UTC)

I didn't check all of the minor party candidates, but it looks to have been Winfield Scott, who was born in Virginia in 1786. Virginia did not become a state of the United States until 1788. Scott was the United States Whig Party candidate in 1852. RickK 04:28, May 30, 2005 (UTC)

05-06 American tv season

Anyone know where I can find a nice grid showing the upcoming primetime season? Anyone know of a list of the shows cancelled by the networks this year? PedanticallySpeaking

Edison-pole question

Does anyone know the amount of Kinetic energy needed to sever a Edison pole at its base?

When you say "Edison pole" I presume you mean a standard electricity pole for local supply.
Here's the source for the Australian and New zealand standard for such poles, which, I would imagine, contains the information you're looking for. You can purchase it for the low, low price of 200 Australian dollars - but as an extra bonus, by the sound of it you're American so you wouldn't have to pay the 10% sales tax... --Robert Merkel 13:30, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
This link suggests that there are 10 grades of wooden utility poles, and that they are graded on how much weight they can support hung two feet off the pole. That doesn't help you much, though. --Robert Merkel 13:40, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
Oh, is that what an Edison pole is? Just one of those wooden poles which support wires and stuff? In that case, to calculate the kinetic energy required to sever the pole, you would need at minimum the shear and tensile strength of the wood which was used to make it. You could make a few assumptions that the wood is uniform. Then, you could find the force required to break the wood. From there, you can assume you have an axe of mass M with which you hit the pole at velocity v. Et cetera, et cetera....HappyCamper 14:09, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
From details in the local paper of an accident in my local area (Southwest England) about 2 years ago, I can tell you that an M-reg Vauxhall Astra (1994 or 1995) hatchback traveling up a 4% gradient at approximately 25-30mph can sever such a pole approximately 2 feet from its base after swerving to avoid an oncomming HGV. Whether this gives you enough information about forces involved I don't know. I am also unaware whether the car was a write-off or not. Thryduulf 15:15, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
I'd advise that some simple harmonic motion is the most fun way to put sufficient energy into a pole to topple it. :) --Tagishsimon (talk)

Comparing wages of Russians with other nations during Stalin's five-year plan

Hey I am doing an investigation on Stalin's five-year plans to conclude whether it was a success or not. I would like to point out the low quality of life of those living under his rule. One of the ways I intend to do this is to compare the wages of the average Russian worker to those in other nations (mainly the United States). I already know that the average wage in Moscow was 149 rubles, 30 kopecks per month. At that time, 1 ruble was approximately 20 cents, and 1 kopech was 1/5 of 1 cent. Could someone please offer me some advice? I have done searches on Google, as well as Wikipedia, and I have not found anything useful. Thanks.

Have you read our article on Joseph Stalin yet, which has some fairly extensive discussion on life under his rule?
Generally, when trying to compare living standards between countries based on money, official exchange rates can be misleading. Instead, economists use a concept called Purchasing power parity. However, such concepts are rather difficult to apply in a centrally planned economy because most prices are determined by the government, not the market; goods may also be nominally available at a low price but in practice are rationed or are completely unavailable.
If you've access to a good academic research library, there are almost certainly historical studies examining this very question.
You might also consider factors that UN standard of living analyses look at, like infant mortality and life expectancy, if a direct answer is too hard to find.
Another point to consider was that the Soviet Union started off a lot more backward than the US was at the beginning of Stalin's rule, so merely comparing the two nations is unrealistic. On that basis, you'd conclude that, say Deng Xiaoping was an inferior ruler to Yuri Andropov, on the basis that, at the time, the average Russian was materially better-off than the average Chinese (and probably still is). --Robert Merkel 11:30, 26 May 2005 (UTC)

Translation of 'Wakizashi'?

I was told by a martial arts instructor that wakizashi means "side companion", or more colloquially, "little brother". ('Cause it's the katana's little brother, I suppose.) Is there a Japanese speaker here who can speak to this? grendel|khan 14:38, 2005 May 26 (UTC)

Well, I'm not a Japanese speaker (I took one term of it in college ... and watched a lot of anime) but I can use WWWJDIC. The kanji given on our article Wakizashi are respectively given the meanings:
  • armpit; the other way; another place; flank; supporting role
  • distinction; difference; variation; discrepancy; margin; balance
So either you've got a different armpit there next to your katana, or else you have a supporting balance -- something like your "side companion", I believe. --FOo 00:14, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

São Tomé and Príncipe - autonomy of Príncipe

I'm trying to find online resources that give details on the autonomy arrangement between São Tomé and Príncipe. Specifically what are the basic documents or laws that define Príncipe's autonomy, describe the competencies it has, and/or designate exactly how the self government there works. Thanks if you can help. Anon -

I'm hoping you've read the two articles I linked in your question, but apparently its a good question since São Tomé and Príncipe says they are one country but that "Príncipe has had self-government since April 29, 1995" which is actually a direct quote from the CIA World Factbook [24]. But it does not elaborate more either. According to this link and this link it was simply an action by the National Assembly authorized under the 1990 constitution. Those links and this one give a tiny bit more info on how it works, but I couldn't find much more. Here is Príncipe's homepage in Portuguese, but it doesn't seem to have too much either. It has their contact info, so perhaps you could email them. That wasn't all you wanted, but hopefully enough. - Taxman 17:27, May 26, 2005 (UTC)

income taxes

You're going to have to be slightly more specific with your question, but see if this article answers your question. See also. --W(t) 18:46, 2005 May 26 (UTC)

Piano music

In Alicia Keys' Piano and I, what is the name of the classical piano piece with which the number starts? Mgm|(talk) 18:44, May 26, 2005 (UTC)

Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. --W(t) 18:51, 2005 May 26 (UTC)


Over here. --W(t) 18:56, 2005 May 26 (UTC)


I was at a job interview today for a job at a Film and Video Archive. I was asked the question 'what does Y/C stand for in reference to SVHS?'. Anybody know? A quick google has yielded very little. I think it was a trick question? Any ideas?

Luminance, oddly enough (Luminance is often indicated with Y in video stuff). The C stands for chrominance, which is slightly more intuitive. --W(t) 19:04, 2005 May 26 (UTC)

What does it mean if you talk to yourself?

I mean what is it indicative of, be it psychologically or otherwise. When alone, I talk to myself almost non-stop. I usually dont even notice it until I'm 15 minutes into it and remember theres a book in my hand to read or that my hair still has shampoo in it or whatever. It's almost always as if I'm talking to someone else or defending myself, not as if I'm talking to myself to clarify something or what have you. I unconsciously imagine a circumstance and then start talking. What does this mean? I assume it's not very healthy to do this to the extent that I am and it worries me how much of it is argumentative; as if I'm defending myself. The page on Intrapersonal communication didn't really answer all of my questions. And, just to get this out of the way, I'm aware Wikipedia's disclaimer and I'm not asking for a serious diagnosis or whatever, it's just idle curiosity. --Clngre 20:08, May 26, 2005 (UTC)

Well, the reference desk can't really elaborate on such matters. If it is an idle curiousity, perhaps an online search of some kind would suffice? --HappyCamper 22:42, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
  • I wouldn't worry about it. Everyone has an internal monologue, it's just that's some people monologues are louder than others. Also, different people have different ways of figuring out problems. For some people it's visual, for others it's kinaesthetic and for you it sounds like it's oral and aural. We have a brief article on learning styles if you're interested. Now if you find yourself talking to someone else for 15 minutes before realizing that this person is no longer there or never even existed, then I would start to worry. --CVaneg 01:11, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
    • Also be worried if your internal debates focus around whether or not you should hit people in the head with sledgehammers. -- Cyrius| 02:04, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
  • Next time you realise you've just been talking to yourself for 15 minutes, take some time and write all of it down. You say you are defending yourself, so write down what you are defending yourself against, and how you are defending yourself. After you have at least three such documents about your monologues, seek out a professional psychologist and have them read through it. My guess is they will tell you to continue doing the writing, and discussing matters with them until you discover the root cause of everything. But, whatever you do, get the shampoo out of your hair first. — Timwi 15:16, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
  • I don't talk aloud but I have very similar dialogues internally a great deal, picturing someone I really know as taking the other part of the conversation. Like you, the conversations usually put me on the defensive as they are very critical. The issues addressed are seldom ones that are ever raised by those I transfer them to and serve only to depress me.
I have a serious history of depression and feel such monologues are definitely an important part of the problem. I have had therapy but never really thought to talk about this specifically because, I guess, it would have been akin to pointing out that there was air in the therapist's room. That is to say, I am so accustomed to the mono/dialogues that I wouldn't think to mention them unless somebody else made me think of them. --bodnotbod 04:01, May 31, 2005 (UTC)

Usage of Thomas Munzer jpeg picture

I was wondering if it would be permissable to use the jpeg of Thomas Munzer in an account profile (a personal information/biographical summary) on another site, if I included a reference to this site. I wanted to use the picture to talk about the man being I consider him an inspirational figure. Thank you.

All images on Wikipedia have an image description page, that tells you about the image and should include what its liscence is. You can get to the image description page by clicking on an image. In this specific instance, the image description page is Image:Munzer.jpg which, unfortunately doens't have information on its copyright status. Without this I can't give you a definate answer I'm afraid.
A quick google search however shows that this image is also in use at, a Dutch language site - so if you speak Dutch you could contact them to ask.
Alternatively, there is another picture of him at, which is an English language site, but I've not been able to find a copyright statement or contact in my brief search.
Thirdly, the German wikipedia uses a public domain image from an East German mark banknote - de:Bild:ThomasMüntzerDDR5Mark.jpg. Thryduulf 23:28, 26 May 2005 (UTC)
Hi, I've updated the image description page to indicate that the picture is in the public domain in the US and most of the rest of the world, as being a two-dimensional copy of a very old painting. Please see Image:Munzer.jpg and this link, if you'd like more detail on the copyright situation. The image is absolutely free to use, no acknowledgement to Wikipedia is needed. Good luck with your bio! Bishonen | talk 00:56, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Little brown flying bugs in southwest US

What are these insects called (that is, what species are they)? They're peanut-sized dull brown beetles which appear in large numbers in the summer and crowd around bright lights (such as porch lights). Around here everyone calls them "june bugs", but June bug redirects to [AEA June Bug]], a type of aircraft. There's most likely an article for this kind of insect, so maybe june bug should go to a disambiguation page? Or is the term "june bug" more local than I think it is? Thanks! Jeeves 00:35, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Well, according to this reference the term june bug is a generic term for both june beetles and mayflies. So I imagine a disamiguation page would be in order. --CVaneg 00:55, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
june beetle is probably the one, then, but it would be nice if the article had a picture of the adult. I've never seen the larvae but the grubs pictured look a bit large for the size of the adult — the largest I've seen are no bigger than the end of your pinky finger. Once I'm sure it's the right bug I'll remove that redirect (I was very surprised to find an aircraft after typing in june bug. Thanks! Jeeves 01:16, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
Well in Alabama, as a child I went to visit my step grandfather's family, they used to catch June bugs, tie thread around them for us and we'd have a flying toy for a while. Yes, yes, stereotype all you like :). In any case, those were quite large, at least the size of what the Figeater beetle article mentions. I recall them much more often being of a dull brown color though. We also get what looks like the same thing, but smaller in Michigan in the summer. I suppose Beetles are the most common species out there, so it's likely the term June bug has a wide range. I agree June bug should be a disambig so I did that, but June beetle appears to need some fleshing out. - Taxman Talk 20:22, May 28, 2005 (UTC)
You might also want to check out Cockchafer, a related European bug. See in particular the section on taxonomy and the last extlk given. Lupo 10:45, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

Evolution through natural selection for future homo-sapien-sapiens

It seems like our species is doing everything it can to do an end run-around on natural selection, taking out the corrective pressures and attempting to make everyone equal by making up for their natural disadvantages.

My question is, are there any good books or articles on this subject, on the theoretical future of our spieces in regards to natural selection. Have we effectively circumvented it's pressure on our species, or are we missing the big picture to think that?


I did read/hear something recently about someone's theory that humans are evolving to become symbiotic with their own technology. Unfortunately I can't provide a reference at the moment, but I'll try and find something online about it. Thryduulf 11:48, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
Transhumanism ? --Fangz 11:52, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
I guess it will become a problem in years to come. Complex organs such as the eye, IMO, will be the first to suffer due to the accumulation of bad genes. Human are nothing but animals. If we don't weed out some faulty DNA, our children will suffer. -- Toytoy 11:58, May 27, 2005 (UTC)
Nah. The reason those genes are not getting 'weeded out' through natural selection is that our technology, our society, and so on have made them irrelevant. The moment our children actually do start to suffer, then natural selection will kick in again. There's a lot of slack in the system. Natural selection not happening is a good thing.--Fangz 17:50, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Two theories, the bad news and the good news. Selection pressures on humans are changing more as a result of what we do than of changing "natural" circumstances. But what we do that affects selection is not medical support or social support for those with conditions that once caused early death, because those still represent an extremely tiny global social burden and an even smaller genetic burden. I suspect much larger effects are the differential reproduction rates in different parts of the world, and human changes in the environment that affect fertility. The extent to which those who are reproducing fastest carry different genes will determine whether there is much change in the average homo sapiens. There are many human changes that affect fertility, including environmental chemicals, delayed childbearing in affluent societies, increasing obesity rates, and changing opportunities for women. Any one of these has an enormously bigger influence on whose DNA shows up in 10,000 years. Another obvious change may be reduction of the small polymorphism associations we call race differences. It is highly unlikely that the human population of a future Star Wars or Star Trek era will look they all got recruited from the smaller villages of 20th century Vermont or Ireland. Not even the bigger US and European cities of today are so white. Finally, the biggest evolutionary change would come from a "bottleneck" caused by a 99% population collapse such as global warming catastrophes, nuclear war, or the disease of your choice. So be very careful when you talk about accumulation of bad genes. alteripse 12:55, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Further to Alteripse's point, the eugenics article hints at some of the reasons why scientists are not particularly keen to discuss these kind of issues in public; having your earlier thoughts along these lines taken as an excuse for mass racially-motivated murder tends to make you think twice about doing so...--Robert Merkel 13:18, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
I am badly nearsighted. I am also not good at sports. If I were born 10,000 years ago, chances are I could be eaten by a rabbit before I could pass on my gene.
I really don't think people would evolve very quickly. I guess it will be a zillion years before we could evolve a bigger brain or 10 fingers optimized to operate the QWERTY keyboard. But the accumulation of bad genes could be much faster than anything else.
More and more kids are allergic to something these years. Most of them would grow up and have their children. More and more kids are born with some minor defects. In today's society, rich parents can buy the best medical cure for their children. Even poor parents would have a fairly high chance to keep their children alive. However, they may not have the money to keep their children reasonably free from the pain.
Like it or not, we are all believers of eugenics. We choose the woman or man that we're going to marry at least partially based on the looks. And that decision usually is our own sexual selection. Few people would pick an ugly, stupid, deformed and sick person as the sexual companion for life. Sorry for my politically incorrect words, but that's the universal truth. That does not make us little Hitlers.
However, the growth of population during the past 100 years was directly caused by the decline of death rates. That means some glitches in the DNA caused by duplication errors would just pass on to the next generation. This is probably not a good thing. -- Toytoy 15:57, May 27, 2005 (UTC)
The death rates were mainly reduced by reducing death from infectious disease by various public health measures (sanitation, immunization, contact tracking, etc). The loss of selection pressure might reduce the propagation of resistance genes to the specific infections (e.g., measles, polio, cholera, diphtheria, malaria, E. coli, tuberculosis, but mainly viral gastroenteritis in infancy) but there is no reason to think this has selectively increased the propagation of "DNA glitches." I suspect we are causing far more infectious disease hazard to ourselves by current antibiotic practices than by public sanitation and immunization measures. alteripse 20:14, 28 May 2005 (UTC)
Belief in heredity is not the same thing as belief in eugenics. Choosing people who we are attracted to (for whatever reason) is not eugenics. Eugenics are programs for "improving" the human species as a whole through modifying heredity (which is not the same thing as an individual choosing traits that they are attracted to for other reasons) -- something that most geneticists think is unlikely to work in the near future except for the most simple genetic traits -- and even then, it is only a single-generation screen. For example, we know that beta thalassemia is a single gene Mendelian recessive, and we can test embryos of target populations who express it and have them aborted. Any non-thalassemic children born to these parents will, however, be carriers of the recessive mutation still. So unless you can reach back into all recessive traits (which would be a pretty big hunk of the population) you're never actually going to weed all that out permanently. You can only keep a given generation born from having certain easy-to-detect traits and even then at some considerable ethical debate.
As for natural selection, it has been debated since the 19th century whether or not there have been detrimental genetic effects caused by the act of civilization. A lot of this seems to depend on the sort of effects in question, and whether they are actually genetic (often a very difficult thing to answer, even for the "easy" traits).
Two good popular books on future genetic modification -- one in favor of it, one against -- is Remaking Eden by Lee Silver (see reprogenetics) and Our Posthuman Future by Francis Fukuyama.--Fastfission 20:08, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

What section of "Requested articles" does this belong to

I was going to add payslip to the list of requested articles, but I have absolutely no idea what section this would fit under. Any ideas? — Timwi 15:05, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

How about here?--CVaneg 20:07, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
In the US at least the most common term is a pay stub or a paycheck stub. The first is where a very short (and not entirely correct--I'll try to fix that in a minute--done) article happens to be. A quick and dirty google test shows "pay stub" and "payslip" to have very close number of results, and "paycheck stub" to have a bit more than a third of what those two have. I guess that means we should leave the article where it got created first and create redirects. I've done that, so if anyone has a good reason to reverse it, let me know, I'll do that. - Taxman Talk 19:27, May 28, 2005 (UTC)

Oldest Dendrochronology?

How far back have tree rings been linked for dendrochronology? In other words, how old is the oldest piece of wood that can currently be dated using dendrochronology? I know it would be a regional thing; I just want to know how far back the longest chain, for any region, goes back.

The tree ring record goes back about 10,000 years. Also interesting is that there are ice cores that show an annual record of climate through their stable isotopes that go back 420,000 years or so. I'd advise popping down to the library or trying to explore the dendrochronology#External links. Dunc| 13:07, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

NBC News and Voyager

The NBC Nightly News had a report on May 25 on the Voyager 1 spacecraft exiting the solar system. One scientist was shown questioning the wisdom of the map to our solar system on the probe. I've looked around on MSNBC's site (which includes the NBC News operation) and on Google News but can't find this story or the man's name. Anyone help? PedanticallySpeaking 15:40, May 27, 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure about the NBC broadcast, but this NASA FAQ on the Voyager mission indicates that one of the vocal critics of revealing our location on the Voyager plaque was Sir Martin Ryle, who was Astronomer Royal from 1972-1982 and shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1974. Lukethelibrarian 17:19, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
I know there were critics--I've read Sagan's book on the Voyager record--but this was somebody I thought they said worked for NASA today.

Perfect pitch

Just many Wikipedians out there have perfect pitch? --HappyCamper 16:24, 27 May 2005 (UTC)

Perfect pitch is the ultrahuman miracle to distinguish musical notes perfectly by ear.
Boy, I don't even know how to sing. Why don't you ask a less difficult question? -- Toytoy 16:56, May 27, 2005 (UTC)
Perfect pitch doesn't automatically make people a good singer. Imperfect pitch also doesn't automatically make people a bad singer. Besides, the whole fuss about it being "ultrahuman" as stated above is extremely exaggerated; while it's a rare ability, it is not really particularly amazing, nor does it automatically enable any exceptional musical talent or skill. For this reason, people with this ability tend to prefer to refer to it as absolute pitch and the other one as relative pitch so as to reduce the impression of it being something amazing to show off. — Myself, I have relative pitch and I personally prefer it that way. When I figure out melodies I hear, I find it very useful to "hear" in terms of intervals as opposed to individual notes: it enables me to play the song in any key, so I can adapt to the voice range of anyone who would like to sing along. — Timwi 20:04, 27 May 2005 (UTC)
I think I have relative pitch... Alphax τεχ 08:54, 28 May 2005 (UTC)
I'm tone deaf. Thryduulf 09:28, 28 May 2005 (UTC)
Indeed, "absolute" pitch can be problematic when trying to sing in an a capella group, because if the group gradually becomes slightly sharp or flat during a piece, then the absolute-pitch singer can have trouble adapting to it or tolerating the sound (since the overall key is now somewhere between two normal keys). Second, there's something between absolute pitch and relative pitch, I think. Some people (I am one) can identify any (spontaneous) musical note by comparing it with a memorized reference pitch. I don't think that's all that uncommon. You could test yourself by downloading a speech-analysis program (I used one called Praat), singing what you think is an A-natural into your computer mic, and looking at the pitch track to see how close you are (A = 440 Hz, several pitch calculators and tables of common pitches are available on the web). I still ran into frustration problems occasionally in choral singing because I could tell instantly if the group was going sharp or flat and it would grate on my ears, and the transposed pitches conflicted with my memorized ones.
Finally, I've heard someone with absolute pitch describe it as having each pitch heard fit into one of 12 imaginary "buckets". I'm a little skeptical of that idea because not all music is in the 12-tone scale. Barbershop music is actually sung in just temperament (certain notes end up being tuned a little higher or lower for added resonance), and of course non-western styles of music like Indian ragas are played using a microtonal system. I'm not sure what an absolute pitch person would think about Ben Johnston's studies in microtuned piano either = ).
Interesting stuff! I didn't know there were so many different classifications for this skill. Well, in the course of asking this question, we've discovered at least 1 Wikipedian who might have relative pitch, and that "perfect pitch" is sort of a misleading term. Is there anyone with absolute pitch on Wikipedia? --HappyCamper 17:58, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

I, too, have relative pitch, but have a good friend with absolute pitch. Her singing tutor once asked her sing a piece with more feeling, and proceeded to demonstrate how this could be done. Rather bluntly she asked her tutor if she really wanted her to sing some of the note slightly flat! As my friend is synaesthetic, I understand her ability as one of seeing pitch as a colour. I would imagine that if the mind was trained to associate different senses to pitches, it would be possible to reproduce absolute pitch by sensing it. --Gareth Hughes 18:27, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

How many people have perfect pitch? One in a thousand? One in a million? -- Toytoy 18:32, May 28, 2005 (UTC)
I have perfect pitch (or "absolute pitch" if you prefer). On occasion it can be annoying, at least to me; an example is when I hear a recording which is exactly a quarter-step flat, so my ear can't "lock on" to a pitch level I have come to know, and my brain "fights" over whether a piece is in, say, A or Bb. I've read that one person in 10,000 has perfect pitch but this seems like an awfully small number of people; I probably knew a dozen people in graduate school with it. Curiously, they were usually either string players or singers. Antandrus (talk) 02:34, 29 May 2005 (UTC)
Yay! :) --HappyCamper 15:18, 29 May 2005 (UTC)
I have it very weakly: I can sing or identify a note, but it takes me a few seconds to think of, and I probably can't tell you how sharp or flat it is. It ends up being less useful than relative pitch most of the time. Incidentally, I knew about 10 people with absolute pitch, all better than mine, in a music school of 200 people; probably a few more I didn't know. Wonder how many non-musicians would find out they had it if they'd taken up music? Mindspillage (spill yours?) 16:11, 29 May 2005 (UTC)
Would it be considered POV if someone with perfect pitch came along and started editing the perfect pitch article? --HappyCamper 02:20, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
I don't see why it would be; someone with perfect pitch would have to maintain NPOV, cite sources, and avoid original research same as anyone else. (Alas, no good music-school anecdotes qualify.) Mindspillage (spill yours?) 02:57, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
Should only the blind be allowed to edit the vision article? I'd use the same logic.

British orders of chivalry

Several questions:

  1. Would a Dame be addressed in the same way as a Knight (eg Sir Joe or Sir Joe Bloggs but not Sir Bloggs) as in Dame Jane or Dame Jane Bloggs but not Dame Bloggs?
  2. Would a Knight/Dame put their order after their name, eg Sir Joe Bloggs KBE, or would they put just Sir Joe Bloggs or Joe Bloggs KBE?
  3. Would a Knight/Dame Grand Cross have that in their title, eg Dame Grand Cross Jane Bloggs?

Thankyou very much,-- 07:32, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

  1. This is the way the UK media refer to people like Judi Dench - Dame Judi Dench or Dame Judi, not Dame Dench (althogh the fact that this sounds horible may be part of it!).
  2. This depends on the formality of the situation - unless they are being very formal, very precise or pretentious, they would most likely just write Sir Joe Bloggs. Its ultimately a question of personal choice in most situations.
  3. Yes, but except in the most formal situations they wouldn't use it in speach, using just Sir/Dame Joe/Jane Bloggs. Similar to above, depending on the formality of the document will depend on how they style themselves (e.g. Sir Joe Bloggs / Sir Joe Blogs KBG / Sir Joe Blogs, Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath / etc).

See also British honours system. Thryduulf 10:44, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

Just to confuse matters a little, "Sir Bloggs" would previously have been an accepted form of address - it was used to distinguish holders of bachelors degrees (usually clergymen), rather than knights. Fell out of use in the seventeenth century, although it persisted among some Americans up until the early nineteenth IIRC. Shimgray 12:28, 29 May 2005 (UTC)
Huh? "Sir" was not ever used in the United States. Titles were not given out locally as the Constitution prohibits granting them. Who would have been using it? Rmhermen 02:15, May 30, 2005 (UTC)
I should have been clearer - it wasn't a title in the sense of a knighthood, so much as a prefix related to an achievement (like "Doctor"). A note on it, which I have kicking around -
Before [~1690], American clergymen were simply Mr, an abbreviation of Master. This was an indication that they were masters of arts. [...] During the Middle Ages, bachelors of arts were addressed as Dominus, which was Englished as Sir. That is why clergymen in Shakespeare's time were often called Sir - always with their surnames, not their given names, which form distinguished knights. The usage crossed the Atlantic, and persisted at Harvard and Yale down to about 1800 or thereabout. It explains the belief of many Americans today that their colonial ancestors were knights.
H.L. Mencken, The American Language (1945, footnote pp.281). Hope that clarifies it. Shimgray 23:20, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

contraction of the universe - effect on time

assume for the purposes of an answer to my question that, at some point in time, the universe will stop expanding and then reverses itself, or contract. would it contract back to the singularity? would time go backwards, or would it continue to go forward? would it be an exact reversal of events that occurred as time went forward or would events be totally different?

roy owenby

You can measure the length of a room, but can you measure length? Can you measure time or is time part of the measurement system?--JimWae 16:46, 2005 May 28 (UTC)
If you are referring to the Arrow of time, then we don't know. Where the arrow of time comes from is one of many unsolved problems in physics. Probably, though, no, a contraction of the universe will probably not lead to a reversal in our perception of time.--Fangz 17:03, 28 May 2005 (UTC)
The question is complex, and is still debated by cosmologists. I believe that the original idea that the arrow of time could reverse was proposed by Thomas Gold, though he is a proponent of the Steady state theory, so I don't know if that squares.
Check out several articles on the web: [25], [26] (abstract, pay for article), [27] (pdf), [28], [29], and articles found at this Google Scholar search. Also check out the Big Crunch, Entropy and Second law of thermodynamics articles, the latter two of which are relevant to discussions as to the meaning of the "arrow of time". — Asbestos | Talk 17:20, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

Eskimo Nebula question

Eskimo nebula

Is there an explanation for the outer orange filaments (apparently, they are a light year in length) in this image of the Eskimo Nebula?
--Fangz 17:28, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

  • If I remember correctly User:Worldtraveller did a number of featured articles on nebulae. Maybe it's worth asking him... - Mgm|(talk) 17:30, May 28, 2005 (UTC)
Sometimes, the pictures from space are artistically touched up in a manner which does not reflect the real appearance of them in visible light. The orange filaments might not be orange at all in real life! Would be interesting to look at the emission spectra from that nebula. --HappyCamper 18:02, 28 May 2005 (UTC)
They look like gas to me, in terms of their visual texture. But according to NASA: ::"Scientists are still puzzled about the origin of the comet-shaped features in the "parka." One possible explanation is that these objects formed from a collision of slow- and fast-moving gases."
So apparently there isn't any easy answer at this point. --Fastfission 20:01, 28 May 2005 (UTC)
This image of the Eskimo Nebula (NGC 2392) was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in January 2000. A much higher resolution image and a fairly good description/explanation can be found at 1 . Features of this type in planetary nebulae are known as "knots" and "tails", and their origin is apparently an unsolved problem in astronomy. Several technical articles about knots and related structures can be found at 2, 3, and 4. --DannyZ 01:53, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

"Zaoran" slavic word?

Is there a word in the Slavic language like "Zaoran"? There are only but a very few hits doing a search for this word, and they mostly are from .cz and .yu sites. If it is a word, what does it mean? --I am not good at running 18:32, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

I'm not sure about "Zaoran", but "Zoran" is a Slavic name --HappyCamper 20:31, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

Luminescent jellyfish question

I saw a luminescent jellyfish film made by the National Geographics hours ago. They dived to hundreds meters deep and took some amazing blue-green light emitting jellyfish (see green fluorescent protein; GFP). This image is similar to the NG film, but not as good as it.

OK, how did they do that? If you use a light, it will surely overpower the jellyfish light. If you don't use a light, you can't see the outline of it. When you're doing bluescreen spaceship photography the old-fashioned way, you use motion control to do a beauty pass (the features of your space ship), a travelling matte pass by using a UV light and several light passes (to properly expose the lights on the spaceship). And then you combine all these elements to create the spaceship. If you're shooting jellyfish, you can only take one pass.

Did they use a very large lens (something like Barry Lyndon) and very dim lights? Did they enhance the shots on a computer? -- Toytoy 18:46, May 28, 2005 (UTC)

My guess is that they use low levels of UV light or something like that. A lot of those lumiescent only in frequencies that we can't see very well, if I recall from some NG article I read a long time ago. But I really have no idea. If you had a very long exposure time... the thing would probably move. I found a page on photographing jellyfish specifically but I don't see anything there about luminescent ones. I also found this posting of people talking about the difficulties of photographing biolumiscence, with various hints at things photographers do. --Fastfission 19:55, 28 May 2005 (UTC)
I would be leaning to support this hypothesis too. Based on the content of the green fluorescent protein article, if you had low levels of light which matched the absorption peak of the protein in the jellyfish, it would spontaneously glow. Then, you'd just take the picture in visible light. In other words, the trick is to illuminate the background with (likely UV) light, and then take the picture in visible light. --HappyCamper 15:14, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

what do you call the dot above the letter i?

Not much of a question there, but if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say a "dot". Note that we have an article on dotless I. CryptoDerk 19:19, May 28, 2005 (UTC)
according to the I article: "The dot over the lowercase 'i' is called a tittle.". Thryduulf 19:20, 28 May 2005 (UTC)
Hehehehehehehe. --I am not good at running 19:34, 28 May 2005 (UTC)
I'm off to tell my girlfriend that she'll always be the tittle of my i. --Fastfission 19:47, 28 May 2005 (UTC)
Is that correct? I thought the dot over the "i" is a jot, and the tittle is the line through a "t". RickK 04:38, May 30, 2005 (UTC)
According to my dictionaries, tittle is correct. Whether or not there is any other name for the dot, I don't know. --05:24, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

dickens quote

Charles Dickens stated this in a speech at a Liverpool Banquet - what does he mean?

"I made a compact with myself that in my person literature should stand, by itself, of itself, and for itself; and there is no consideration on earth which would induce me to break that bargain."

He was taking a brave and prescient stand against structuralism. Dickens couldn't get an interview for a university English Dept job with an opinion like that today. alteripse 01:01, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

I don't understand. So he made a compact with himself that according to him you should not look at structure over content? I mean what is so brave about that? It would be brave if he was saying he would not compromise his views that he wished to express through literature or his literature in general under any circumstances. Or something along those lines - that's what I thought he was getting it. Why could he not get a job if he was against structuralism? I feel liek that downplays what he is saying. Please further explain.

I apologize: I will "unpack" it for you. My flippant wit referred to an intellectual fashion of the last 40 years called structuralism. An oversimplified version of structuralism holds that the text in isolation is of no interest, nor are the author's conscious intentions. The only aspect of literary criticism of value is how a work reveals the power relationships in society. Of course the only power relationships of interest are those of white males over the rest of the world, and of course the only proper view is to deplore and abhor them, understanding that all literature considered "great" before the late 20th century is really "power pornography" and should not be studied in school as anything else. In many people's opinions it has been impossible to get a job in the English departments of most American universities if one publicly holds other political views or holds other critical perspectives of value. So Dickens' statement about the text standing by itself, apart from other social perspectives, is Victorian and would be considered rubbish by today's intellectural fashionmakers in the English departments that used to emphasize the study of literature as literature. I'm sure I will have offended someone with this caricature, but in my opinion there is more than a little truth in it. Does that make any more sense? alteripse 15:57, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

I see. Thank you for further explaining. Sorry - but I do have another question, just so I can fully understand. When you say the only proper view is to deplore and abhor (the power relationships of white males over the rest of the world) are you (and Dickens) saying that you agree with that sentiment - that these power relationships should be deplored because the literature should stand by itself (and that is why you (and he) dislike structuralism) OR are you saying that the whole world seems to think it is proper to abhor them, but that (these power relationships) is the reality and we shouldn't be so politically correct?

I thought you were saying the former - (that they should be deplored) but then that didn't make sense because you stated the "structuralists" would think that the only aspect of literary criticism of value is how a work reveals the power relationships in society..but then you said they deplore those relationships at the same time?

I guess I just couldn't tell in your response which sentences were showing your (and Dickens') views and which were showing that of the structuralists. I apologize that you must "spoon feed" all this to me.

OK, without irony. Dickens preceded structuralism by more than a century, and could not have expressed an opinion about it. His quote is however representative of a view of literature that was held from a structuralist perspective to have little value. In that quote I think he was saying that a work of literature should be evaluated mainly as a work of literature and not as a political statement or a force for social reform or moral betterment (as some of his contemporaries considered his novels). I suspect he would have evaluated a work of literature by the interest of its plot, the richness or convincing reality of its characters, allusive play, and perhaps the feelings evoked in the reader. Structuralism abandoned this type of literary criticism and focused mainly on literature as a political statement, and valued it by whether the political values were politically correct, that is, very liberal and anti-Western (never mind that these are largely contradictory sets of values). There has been controversy in the US in recent years as to whether these political views are so dominant that no other opinion is even allowed on American college campuses, especially in the humanities departments like English. I think whatever was of positive value in the original ideas of the structuralists has been largely perverted or lost in the academic culture of the last couple of decades but I am a contrarian curmugeon. Is that clearer? Here, wipe your chin. alteripse 16:54, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

My, oh my - you are quite the pompous, little brute, aren't you? Nevertheless, thank you.

Sorry, I didn't mean it to sound unfriendly. Tone was clumsy. You're welcome. alteripse 18:36, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

Reactionless rotational drive?

Having just read Dean drive, I just had an idea for a similar device that violates the law of conservation of angular momentum, and I'm interested in why it wouldn't work. (The original idea was for a similar reactionless linear drive, but I realized that if I cut it in half, it would be a simpler-to-describe angular-momentum creating device.) Basically, it consists of a long bar, with a gyroscope at one end. The gyroscope's axis of rotation is along, say, the X-axis. The gyroscope can also be rotated around its Y-axis by motors. The gyroscope is spun up, and the motor tries to rotate it. It resists the rotation with a force F1, causing the bar to rotate around the Y-axis, and the gyro to rotate the other direction around the same axis. So far, so good. Now the gyro is stopped, and a brake is applied along the Y-axis. The gyro is rotating at the same rate (I assume), but no longer spinning, so it resists stopping with a force F2 < F1. The whole setup is now rotating around the gyroscope's Y-axis at the same rate.

I'm sure the problem is that I don't understand precession, but in what way don't I?

Nickptar 23:59, 28 May 2005 (UTC)

I don't really have a clear picture of your device, but it sounds as if the description does not take into account the angular momentum of the rod. If this is taken into account, you should find out that total angular momentum of the system is conserved. You might be interested to read up on Burkhard Heim and his Heim theory. Look at the paper published by the AIAA for a description of a device which sort of behaves like the Dean drive. But the article is in need of a lot of work, so take what you read with an open mind. --HappyCamper 03:40, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

What is it?

Been there, done that recently. See Wikipedia:Reference_desk#What_is_it?

Can anyone identify this? We don't know what it's for.

Description: A metal item about 15" long with two 'arms' that open to about 5". They are joined approximately 1/3 from one end (like scissors) with a spring at the pivot point. There is a ring on one end, and the other is bent with a ball on the end so that it will pass through the ring. The opposite end (handle) has a threaded bolt with a nut to hold the item closed when not in use.

We have had many suggestions, including 'forceps', but some more logical choices are: for removing stones from fruit, for pushing a cork into a bottle, or capping a bottle, but???

Can I post a .jpeg image of it? How?

sounds like part of a set of fire tools (mine has a broom for sweeping the ashes, with tongs and a spike/hook to manage burning or hot coals Dusty78 03:42, 29 May 2005 (UTC)
It sounds like a tool that's used to stretch shoes in one spot. Usually it's used to stretch the leather where the ball of the foot fits in order to accomodate a bunion and is therefore often called a "bunion stretcher". It's also called a "spot stretcher". The ball goes inside the shoe and, when the tool is closed, the ball pushes the leather through the ring. The threaded bolt is used to hold the tool closed in order to maintain pressure on the leather for an extended period. You can see a picture of this tool here. --DannyZ 05:38, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

Thank you, DannyZ.

That's exactly what it is. Ours looks identical to the image you directed us to. It was with my Mom's belongings, still in it's own box, appeared unused, and had no directions or documention with it.

The mystery is solved.

Thanks again.

You're welcome. Glad I could help. --DannyZ 11:49, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

Breaks within chapters in printing

In many books, especially in fiction, "breaks" in the text (by which I mean one or two completely blank lines separating groups of paragraphs) are seen at irregular intervals within chapters. Typically these breaks are found every few pages or so (although the spacing varies considerably), and they usually occur at the end of a "scene" or some other transition point. They break up a chapter into several sections, they provide logical stopping points for readers who want to quit before the end of a chapter, and they make it easier to find your starting place when you begin reading again at a later time. Somewhere I have read a specific name (a printer's term) to describe these "breaks". I believe I also read that if one of these breaks occurs at the end (or beginning) of a page, where it would not ordinarily be apparent, the printer should insert an ellipsis or similar indicator. My question is: what is the correct term for a break of this type in printing, and what are the proper rules for dealing with them? --DannyZ 03:21, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

I guess these breaks are called "blank lines":
Blank lines. If blank lines are used to indicate a lapse of time or a break in the continuity, a page should not break at this blank, for then the blank line is completely lost. The blank should be within the page with at least two lines of type between it and the top or the bottom of a page, If asterisks are used for this purpose, they may stand at the bottom of a page, but not at the top. (Words into Type, 1948, p. 154).
If you need more updated information, please check the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. I don't have that book at hand right now. -- Toytoy 08:13, May 29, 2005 (UTC)
Errr... I'm pretty sure I've seen an article somewhere on Wikipedia on that topic, and they had a more technical name. Kieff | Talk 10:00, May 29, 2005 (UTC)

I'll definitely check out The Chicago Manual of Style - thanks. And, yes, the name I'm trying to remember is a more technical one. So far, I haven't been able to find it on Wikipedia though. So, I still need some help with that. --DannyZ 11:57, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

I tried "What links here" of typesetting and dingbat and did not find that article. -- Toytoy 12:12, May 29, 2005 (UTC)
I don't think CMS will help you. In the 15th edition, under 1.79 "Other ways to break text" it says "Whenre a break stronger than a paragraph but not as strong as a subhead is required, a set of asterisks or a type ornament, or simply a blank line, may be inserted between paragraphs. Using a blank line has the disadvantage that it may be missed if the break falls at the bottom of a page". So they don't give a word for what you're thinking of. - Nunh-huh 19:45, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

General a.D. Guenther Rall

During world war 2 I was a neighbor of General Rall and wonder if he is still living and if so where? Trude Heiland-Hart

I turned up this newspaper interview from about six months ago, so he's probably still alive - I didn't see an obituary. It seems to indicate he currently lives in Bad Reichenhall (in Bavaria?). Shimgray 19:34, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

Actress Leslie Caron

I am a classic movie buff who watches Turner Classic Movies channel almost exclusively. I have seen Leslie Caron in "Gigi" and "An American In Paris." She was delightfully lovely and did magic thins with her ballet and dancing expertise. But, all of a sudden, she disappeared from the old great classics and I have heard no more about her-where she went; is she still acting?, what is she doind today?, do you have any recent photos of her? I heard from a reliable source that indeed she was still acting and had also acted with her daughter. Who was she married to? I would very much appreciate any news and photos you can find for me. I'm really curious to find out what happened to her. Thank you.

A good place to look for this sort of info is the Internet Movie Database. You'll find Leslie Caron's biography (with four husbands) here, and a list of her movies here. Her resumé at her agent's website is here. - Nunh-huh 19:15, 29 May 2005 (UTC)

what is the estimated number of christians worldwide?

I am looking for an estimate of the number of christians, muslims,and jews worldwide. So far I have found the following two estimates for 2004. Do these look correct? And can you provide an estimate for the number of christians worldwide.

Muslims 1.5 billion Jews 12.5 million


Have you checked for their stats yet? Estimating the number of members of a religion is notoriously difficult, and I recommend you read their pages on how they gather their statistics and what the problems are. Some countries such as Sweden have Christianity as a state religion, so they report 90%+ of their population as being members of the church, yet a significant proportion of those people only go to church for funerals and weddings, and may or may not actually believe in any of the tenets. Likewise, certain groups like the Mormons report as a member anyone who's ever been registered in their records, including people who have left the church permanently and haven't been there for decades, so that's two forms of over-reporting. Some groups also under-report.

Here's an example to give you an idea of the problems involved in estimating numbers of Christians. in the UK, the 2001 census came out with a 71% figure for the proportion of the population that was Christian. Most of these are only nominally or culturally Christian however, and those to be found in a church on the average Sunday certainly make up less than 10%, and probably more like 5% if not less than that. Similarly, if you showed people a list of core Christian beliefs (Jesus was the Son of God and actually rose from the dead etc.) as opposed to asking them questions like "Do you believe in the Christian God?", not many people would appear to be Christians. It's a similar story across Europe. This kind of thing makes it very difficult to produce an accurate figure. I always think of the total number of Christians in the world as being around 2 billion, but I don't know how accurate that is. Certainly there are many more people in the world who might identify themselves as Christian in certain circumstances than there are people who actually accept the literal truth of the statements in the Nicene Creed, for example. Those other two figures you've got look roughly correct - certainly the number of Jews in the world is tiny compared the numbers of Muslims and Christians. — Trilobite (Talk) 15:50, 30 May 2005 (UTC)


So my wife and i were eating fried calamari earlier tonight...we want to know... the ring shaped pieces, are they cross-sections of the squid's body, or cross-sections of a tentacle? ike9898 04:07, May 30, 2005 (UTC)

Did you mean the calamari "onion rings"? The body. In many Eastern Asian countries, people love to eat squids and octopus. You can cut the body into rings. You can also stuff rice and other ingredients in their bodies and then cook them. By the way, "calamari" is Greek. Greece, China (coastal provinces), Japan and Korea are several countries were people frequently eat octopus. -- Toytoy 06:05, May 30, 2005 (UTC)
Ahem... "calamari" is an Italian plural, not Greek. And add all mediterranean countries to your list. Also note that it is a not uncommon dish in many more countries. Lupo 10:36, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

Why do US colleges run professional sports teams?

While universities around the world have sporting teams, and many elite athletes at some stage compete for them, no other country in the world has a college sports system like the US. From what I read about it, a lot of amateur student athletes are neither students nor amateurs and the crowds are bigger than many professional sports. Why is this so? --Robert Merkel 07:44, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

They're not professionals, they don't get paid. The NCAA would ban them from competition if they took money. There are always scandals about college atheltes taking money illegally. All of the students have to go to class and though not all graduate and don't take particularly difficult classes, they do have to participate like all of the other students. Many schools, however, maintain special dormitories and tutors for athletes, in particular football and basketball. The reason is that the games are very lucrative, not only the attendance money but the television rights. RickK 08:05, May 30, 2005 (UTC)

Leaving aside whether they're professionals or not for the moment, the point I was really trying to ask is what historical factors have led to college sports being such a big deal in the United States but not elsewhere. In Europe, junior soccer players develop their games in lower-division soccer clubs (as paid professionals) or in the junior development squads of big clubs. In Australia, the Australian Football League teams are all affiliated with second-tier professional clubs where their younger players can develop. While university sporting teams typically play in top-level amateur competitions, they don't attract big crowds and the teams are run on a largely volunteer basis - the university might provide a ground, but that's about it. Why is American sport so closely tied in with its educational institutions? It's obviously lucrative, but why are these second-tier competitions so popular, and why do top-tier athletes whose market value runs into the millions of dollars bother with it? --Robert Merkel 08:31, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
Well, really we're just talking about two sports here, basketball and american football. Other college sports like baseball and hockey are run similar to football in the UK and elsewhere. With basketball and football, though, I think it's in part due to the fact that college level players can compete closer to a professional level than other college athletes. There are plenty examples of high performing Division I athletes who drop out of college and go straight into the professional leagues and then there's LeBron James who skipped the college route altogether. Another theory to consider is that college athletics are slightly less commercially driven than professional, so you don't have to worry your team moving out of town, or about a superstar holding out for more money. As a result, it's easier to become emotionally invested in a local collegiate team. --CVaneg 22:45, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

In the UK there is a little "professional" university-level sport, where an athlete will get just enough to cover living expenses from a scholarship. Mostly from Oxbridge (particularly rowing), and to a lesser extent at Bath and Loughborough universities too, particularly swimming and athletics. In the UK there also has been a tradition of middle class amateurism (rugby union only became open in 1995) reflecting on sport in universities, whereas football is more of a working class game. Dunc| 10:42, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

Old sci-fi short story about voyage to moon's far side

I'm trying to remember the title of a short science fiction story (at least 20 years old, probably much older) about a manned space probe that visits the far side of the moon. When it gets there, the astronauts discover that the moon is just a piece of stage scenery propped up behind by scaffolding. When they return to Earth, they are either raving mad or dead (I forget the details). Has anybody out there read this story? I'd like to know so that I can mention it in far side (Moon). --Heron 15:26, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I've read it. Now, if you like, you can mention that Lupo has read the story. :-) Sorry, the title eludes me; I'll check my library later... Lupo 15:52, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

term for coincidences

I'm looking for a term similar to Déjà vu. It relates to coincidence or telepathy, I looked into all the articles mentioned in the "See also" of coincidence but did not find what I wanted. These phenomena happen to me often.

Here are some scenarios :

  1. Two people are talking on a subject, and at the exact time any of them speaks a word or a person's name, either of the following happens :
    1. they hear the exact word being repeated on TV, or they see the object of their talk on TV.
    2. the exact word happens to be in a song playing on the radio at that time
  2. Two groups in hearing distance of each other are talking separately on different topics, and suddenly during a lull in the talk, both groups end up saying the same word/term
  3. I'm thinking of something and idly going over a magazine or newspaper, and my eyes rest on the exact word/topic in the magazine.
  4. Two people who have not interacted with each other for a good part of the day, call up or send SMSes to each other at exactly the same time.

Jay 16:41, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

Serendipity? Shimgray 16:54, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
Synchronicity. RickK 19:14, May 30, 2005 (UTC)
The cynic in me prefers to stay with "coincidence". --CVaneg 21:58, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
Fluke? Well, perhaps macroscopic quantum entanglement --HappyCamper 22:04, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
"Plate o' shrimp." For those insufficiently familiar with Repo Man:
A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconciousness.
--jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 02:16, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
To the questioner - coincidentally these things happen to me all the time too. And, I suspect, to most other people that tend to spend a great deal of time within the range of a radio or television. Just a few hours ago I clicked on a link to download a Firefox theme just as a man on the television began to talk about movie theme music. I've had at least 4 similar instances in the last two weeks. I watch and listen to too much TV and radio --bodnotbod 04:10, May 31, 2005 (UTC)
Coincidences are statistically more probable than we normally expect. See birthday paradox. However, I must admit that I was thinking about it (coincidentally?) only recently and was planning to ask here if others feel the same! One explanation I can think of is that we have thoughts relating to things that we experience in the spacio-temporal context we live in and hence the odds are in favour of finding them in your vicinity in space-time. Also, we notice the hits much more than the misses. -- Template:User-multi 05:03, May 31, 2005 (UTC)
I'm inclined to think that we are more likely to remember a strange coincidence such as thinking about something and having it pop up on the television, than we are to remember a time when we thought about something, and absolutely nothing remarkable happened. Considering how many different random thoughts flit through our heads at any given time, it's no surprise that occasionally we'll get a match to something in the outside world, especially given the ubiquity of modern media as bodnotbod points out. --CVaneg 14:35, 31 May 2005 (UTC)
I once heard about someone showing how a 'miracle' is something that happens about once a month... the logic goes something like a miraculous event being one that has about a one in a million chance of occuring; assuming when one is awake one observes about 1 event per second, then by simple mathematics, one will observe about 1 miracle per month. --Neo 15:19, May 31, 2005 (UTC)

a quotation

I've heard of a quotation similiar to this: What you know is tiny, what you don't know is immense. Is it correct? and by whom this quotation was quoted? Thank you. Roscoe x 17:11, 30 May 2005 (UTC)

finding contiguous sublists of a list

From main page talk BrokenSegue

does anyone have an algorithm in miranda to find the contiguous sublists of a given list?

i.e. [1,2,-5] = [[1],[1,2],[1,-5],[2],[2,-5],[-5]]

thanks alot...

Hmm...not sure if the Reference Desk can give an implementation in Miranda, but should be just a bunch of nested loops. What programming language is Miranda? --HappyCamper 21:54, 30 May 2005 (UTC)
Miranda is kind of a proprietary predecessor to the Haskell; it's a lazy-evaluated, pure functional language (so that means recursion rather than loops).
As to your problem, here's a rather big hint: those sublists can be divided into two groups; those sublists containing 1, and those that don't... --Robert Merkel 02:05, 31 May 2005 (UTC)

Could someone ID this plane

I'd really appreciate it if someone could identify what type of plane is in this picture
Thanks, Noodhoog 05:16, 31 May 2005 (UTC)

A-10 Thunderbolt