Wikipedia:Reference desk/Miscellaneous

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July 20[edit]

Real-life girl's name used by JK Rowling as Hogwarts student?[edit]

Must have been years ago, I remember reading the Harry Potter Wiki and one of the pages was for a Hogwarts student whose name was mentioned in dialogue. The page explained that the name was of a daughter of a real-life friend of JK Rowling, who inserted it at her friend's request. I think?

Obviously the page could have been lying, but now that I'm re-looking for this information, I can't find anything on the subject at all. Is there any verifiable evidence for anything of this nature having happened? 2605:A000:F9E0:2900:21F3:6562:6370:3CCE (talk) 02:27, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

There's Natalie McDonald, search the web for details. (talk) 13:01, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
In particular, read this. -- (talk) 19:41, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

That's it! Thank you! (On an unrelated note, why is my IP address so weird?) 2605:A000:F9E0:2900:7501:8FFD:3DC0:45E8 (talk) 22:14, 20 July 2014 (UTC)

Your IP address is a new-fangled IPv6 address, welcome to The World Of Tomorrow! SteveBaker (talk) 22:35, 20 July 2014 (UTC)
You mean "Welcome to The World Of Tomorrow!"! -- (talk) 05:50, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
No, welcome to the World of Yesterday's Tomorrow. Clarityfiend (talk) 00:43, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
The answer to your question is...Welcome to Tomorrow. InedibleHulk (talk) 06:26, July 21, 2014 (UTC)
Or is it... Welcome to Yesterday's Tomorrow? - ¡Ouch! (hurt me / more pain) 07:57, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

July 21[edit]

Decimal fractions in Welsh[edit]

Welsh numerals contains information about numbers in Welsh, but doesn't mention anything about fractions (decimal or vulgar). What would be the Welsh for one point two three four (for example)?  — An optimist on the run! (logged on as Pek the Penguin) 12:31, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Until a genuine Welsh speaker answers, Google Translate says that "decimal point" in Welsh is "pwynt degol". Alansplodge (talk) 12:58, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
There's a little bit about fractions here (it's a powerpoint) but only really that "un haner" (one half) is "2 chwarter" (two quarters). Haven't found anything else.--ColinFine (talk) 17:21, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
I am not a genuine Welsh speaker, but if you look here [1] for example, it is clear that 1.234 is un pwynt dau tri pedwar (or possibly the corresponding feminine adjectives for a feminine noun). ----Ehrenkater (talk) 17:31, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
While you are probably right, it is certainly not clear from the evidence there. The page gives us only a single digit after the point, and these are section numbers not decimals. In English 1.11 is read "one point one one" if it is a decimal, but "one point eleven" if it is a section number, so there is no necessary reason why the two uses need read the same way, --ColinFine (talk) 21:32, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
And for non-decimal fractions, for example one eighty-seventh is un rhan o wyth deg saith (from para 4.211 of Gramadeg y Gymraeg by Peter Wynn Thomas, 1996 edition)----Ehrenkater (talk) 17:48, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the info. I realised belatedly there's a separate desk for langauge questions - should have looked first. Sorry :-)  — An optimist on the run! (logged on as Pek the Penguin) 14:17, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

How long does a Bumblebee live?[edit]

It's only July and they seem to be dying everywhere. KägeTorä - () (Chin Wag) 18:28, 21 July 2014 (UTC)

Click me. --Jayron32 19:41, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
It shouldn't be a case of colony collapse disorder, since that affects the European Honey Bee, not the Bumblebee. StuRat (talk) 20:43, 21 July 2014 (UTC)
Bumblebee#Endangered_status discusses plenty of stressors on Bumblebee population that could explain KageTora's observations. But it may be that now that you've "noticed" a problem, finding a dead bee is more significant to you than it would otherwise be - a case of observer bias perhaps. SteveBaker (talk) 03:01, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Another factor not mentioned in your link would be Neonicotinoid use in the area. The article mentions effects on honey bees, but pretty much any pollinator can be affected. SemanticMantis (talk) 17:13, 22 July 2014 (UTC) P.S. Unless you think KageTora's observations are killing bees, that's not observer bias (according to our article). Confirmation bias is closer. I was taught the term salience bias to cover this case, but apparently that is not terribly standard nomenclature.
My apologies, yes - of course I meant "confirmation bias"...a small slip of the brain! 03:17, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

July 22[edit]

Searching across Wikipedias in various languages[edit]

As an experienced editor, and (English language) article creator I am increasingly aware of the the extent to which:

(a) different language Wikipedia articles, driven by cultural differences, present their information and resources in quite different and instructive ways,
(b) different language Wikipedia articles, often written from entirely different perspectives, often direct the reader to new and otherwise un-cited (English and non-English) sources of valuable information, and
(c) it is important to link different language Wikipedia articles to the corresponding English language article.

My question is this: instead of the time consuming process of having to choose a specific language Wikipedia and, then, searching for articles with the title sought within that particular Wikipedia, and repeating the process again and again -- with the additional risk that there might be an important subject-relevant article in some other Wikipedia written in a language that the searcher has not predicted might exist (and, therefore, has missed it altogether) -- is there some way to search for an article on a specific topic -- say, "autosuggestion" -- (or, even better, to search for some reference to that term within some other article) in a language other than English language right throughout the entire Wikipedia domain? Dr Lindsay B Yeates (talk) 05:47, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

It's better to do this using advanced Google search rather than trying to do it from within Wikipedia. [2] returns references to autosuggestion in all Wikipedias. [3] is the same search but with the letters "en" (for English Wikipedia) excluded. I'm not sure that second search is 100% effective though, as it might exclude references in, say, the German Wikipedia that include the word "englisch". --Viennese Waltz 09:19, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be better to use [4] [5] if you want to exclude the English wikipedia in particular? May be add the simple English one as well if need be. Nil Einne (talk) 14:46, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Also if you want to try excluding English results that occur in other wikipedias, you will likely have to rely on the search engines language detection capabilities which are a bit hit and miss (they can get confused if there's too much of one language in a page). Google only seems to let you search in a certain language, may be you can full around with the url to include all languages but one (but I'm not sure whether Google will interpret them all or only the first or last one). But Bing does seem to let you select multiple languages so you'd just need to select each language but English [6]. Bing seems to only use cookies for the search results language so I can't provide a sample URL. Nil Einne (talk) 14:57, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

Who is this guy?[edit]

Let's say that somebody posts a profile on a social-networking site. How can one find out if the photo was copied from somewhere else? More generally, if you have a picture that you got from the Internet, is there any way to find out whom it belongs to? (talk) 21:20, 22 July 2014 (UTC)

See Reverse image search. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:23, 22 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, exactly. You might start with a trip to Google. Find the "Image" search tool and click on the camera icon. It'll ask you for the URL where your photo is posted - then it'll produce a list of exactly (and nearly, and not so nearly) similar images. You can visit those to see if the person's name is revealed. There are other similar tools ( is another good one)...but I generally find Google does the best job.
However, while that may help you discover who this is a photo of - it's not generally possible to discover who owns the copyright on photograph. If you see the image uploaded in a bunch of places, then it's quite likely that the one that's the highest resolution and least-cropped is the most original...but that's always going to be nothing more than a good guess! SteveBaker (talk) 03:16, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Cool, I wasn't aware of that feature of Google! (talk) 03:44, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
You can also just open Image Search in a separate tab, then click and drag the image onto the search bar. Beats typing or copying the URL. InedibleHulk (talk) 06:13, July 24, 2014 (UTC)
You can also check to see if there is any copyright (or other relevant info) in the image's Exif or other metadata. I just found an online metadata and Exif viewer (metapicz) that might be useful —and also has a drag/drop feature.   ~E: (talk) 06:40, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

July 23[edit]

Same location - Different cell phone experience[edit]

At my home here in Vermont, I can use my cell phone to make fairly clear calls. My plan is with Verizon. Meanwhile, if anyone with AT&T visits, they cannot make phone calls and only occasionally get text messages through. Is this simply a matter of the different technologies used by the two carriers, e.g. LTE for Verizon and whatever AT&T uses? Dismas|(talk) 03:25, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

It also depends on the coverage of each network, including the cell towers and signal strength each company controls. Depending on where you live in Vermont, the nearest AT&T cell tower may be too far away or not have enough signal strength to reach you. Verizon likes to advertise it has "America's most reliable network", and posts comparison coverage maps in the middle of this page on their web site. Other comparison maps can be found on such independent sites as . Zzyzx11 (talk) 04:48, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I guess I hadn't really considered where the towers are. Thanks. I'm not sure about the accuracy of that Open Signal link you provide though. It shows hardly any coverage anywhere around me and yet I can get a decent 3/4G signal in most places around my house. Dismas|(talk) 05:48, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
The quality of signal you get depends on more than just the distance to the nearest cell tower belonging to your provider though. The topography of the landscape matters too. I once owned a home that was halfway down a hillside which had a massive cell tower on the top - not 200 yards from the house. But most since most of those 200 yards were straight through solid rock, we got almost zero reception. We ended up switching carriers a couple of times before we found one that had usable signal strength. SteveBaker (talk) 16:37, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Camera extension tubes[edit]

I recently got a set of extension tubes for my FX-format DSLR. This is the first time I've had extension tubes. The set consists of 12, 20, and 36mm tubes. I have three lenses: 18-55mm, 18-105mm, and 55-300mm. That makes a lot of combinations.

Suppose you want to fill the frame horizontally with something that is X cm wide. How can you tell which combinations of tubes and which lens (or lenses) will allow that? Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 07:24, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

All of them might because you haven't said how far away the object is. (talk) 12:41, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Generally I can get any distance from the object. But I've experimented around with the combinations, and some combinations will focus on the object and some will not. I'd like to know in advance which combinations can focus. There are seven combinations of the extension tubes and three zoom lenses. So with all of the tube combinations, lens choices, the zooming in and out, the focusing ring, and changing the distance, that is a large number of combinations to try to find one that will work. How can I tell in advance a combination that will work? Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 23:36, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
"Try it and find out", until you get an intuitive sense, is often not a bad approach. (Surely the first thing that you did when you got the tubes was start trying to take pictures of tiny things!) If you want a direct readout, take a few pictures of some graph paper or a ruler. "Start with the shortest or second-shortest tube" is also often a good rule of thumb. Focus at 'infinity', and approach the subject until it's in focus. Get closer while adjusting the focus until you find the closest focusing distance, or the object fills the frame the way you want it to. (Fire off a few shots before you switch to a longer extension; you can always crop if you have to.) Honestly, if you're photographing a subject that requires you to stack multiple tubes, you're probably shooting something that isn't moving very quickly, and you have time to fiddle and swap.
Bear in mind that extension tubes have proportionally less effect on longer-focal length lenses; you'll get more bang for the buck (magnification) with shorter, wider lenses. Physically long, heavy lenses can also be harder to support and manipulate around tiny subjects. Mind you, for very wide lenses the working distance may be less than zero (that is, the focal plane will be inside the lens even when the lens is focused at 'infinity'—too close!) I've done some satisfying hand-held nature work with a cheap-and-cheerful 50mm prime lens and a 20mm tube as a 'walking-around' combo.
All that said, there are online calculators that you can use. A Google search for "extension tube calculator" or similar turns up a number of them, here's one to get you started. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:02, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Yes, I did take some shots when I first got the tubes. But then when I tried to take photos of something specific, I saw how hard it is to get it the right size (or even in focus). Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 21:08, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

Google searching use of plus sign[edit]

If I was to perform the following search "word1 +word2" (ignoring the quotation marks), what function is the plus sign performing? Hack (talk) 07:58, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

It means that the result must contain word2. It's described here [7], which was linked from [8], which was the result of searching for "search help" (sans quotes). CS Miller (talk) 08:29, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
This page doesn't say that it must contain a word. Dismas|(talk) 08:31, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
My mistake, I'm sure it used to do that. Perhaps it biases the results to contain word2. CS Miller (talk) 08:44, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

The article Google Search notes that the '+' was removed from Google on October 19, 2011 [9]. It presently does not seem to work as either a Boolean operator "OR" nor as a literal quotation mark so it may be treated now like a text character. A search for A+ student confirms this. (talk) 08:46, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

It seems to be filtering results somehow. For example "barack +obama" (minus quotes) returns 4.6m results while "barack obama" (with quotes) returns 201m results. The numbers themselves are unimportant but it's significant that an apparently more precise search is returning more results than a plus search. Could it have something to do with adwords which are formatted with a leading plus sign? Hack (talk) 08:59, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
It is filtering results, probably just as the page we linked points out. It's finding instances of people using the term "+obama" for whatever reason. And it's finding Google+ pages which contain the word "obama". Whereas your "barack obama" (with quotes) example is finding every page with those exact words in that order. Which is naturally quite a few million more than the other results. Dismas|(talk) 09:29, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

His / Her Majesty's Ship[edit]

In Britain, when a ship is given the "HMS" prefix, does the designation change when a King's reign changes to a Queen's (or visa-versa). For examle, would the Victorian "Her Majesty's Ship Hornblower" be referred to "His Majesty's Ship" during the Edwardian era, or would it always be referred to with its original "title"? (I need a WP:RS for this)  ~Thanks in advance, E: (talk) 17:00, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Yes it does change for ships in commission but historic vessels keep the original name, looking for a reliable source. Victory for example is still in commission so currently is Her Majesty's Ship Victory despite her age. MilborneOne (talk) 17:12, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
I think it's a moot point. Technically, the ship's title hasn't been "His/Her Majesty's Ship" since 1789 when the abbreviation "H.M.S" became simple "HMS" (ie, no longer an abbreviation). So these days, the title of the ship is just HMS - and what that stands for is unimportant to the naming of the ship. (See: Victory isn't "Her Majesty's ship, Victory", it's "HMS Victory" the name of the ship doesn't change at all. SteveBaker (talk) 17:27, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Minor point User:SteveBaker but thats not what the page you linked to says have you a reliable reference?. MilborneOne (talk) 17:41, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
If the full title can no longer be used, nobody has seen fit to tell the folks who sit in Parliament - see HIS MAJESTY'S SHIPS "HOOD" AND "RE NOWN" (COLLISION) - House of Commons debate 20 February 1935 or indeed, their Lordships at the Admiralty, who no doubt arranged The Commissioning of Her Majesty's Ship Sheffield at Portsmouth on Friday, 28th February , 1975 (two examples plucked from the internet at random). I read the National Museum of the Royal Navy's note to mean that the abbreviation was first used at that date, rather than the use of the full title being prohibited thereafter. Alansplodge (talk) 18:26, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
It would obviously be going too far to say it was "prohibited" - but then what terminology ever is?! But they made a clear decision to switch from the long form to just HMS - and that's what the ship is intended to be called. Anyway, if you have a better idea of how to tackle this question, let's hear it. SteveBaker (talk) 19:24, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
The answer was given by MilborneOne above. It all changes on the day of accession. Also, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, Her Majesty's Young Offender Institution and everything else. Alansplodge (talk) 20:02, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
Nope...our OP went to the trouble to say "(I need a WP:RS for this)" - and so far, nobody has a reference for the assertions we're making. I can show that the naming of ships HAS changed - but that's only tangential to the question. I agree with pretty much everyone here that it would be crazy to keep calling a ship that was named during the reign of a king "His Majesties Ship XXX" when there is a queen on the throne...but where is the reliable source that says that? I don't see one. The best I can offer is that the NAME of the ship isn't "His/Her Majesties Ship XXX" it's "HMS XXX" - so the NAME of the ship doesn't change. What does change is what "HMS" expands out to - but that's not the name of the ship - nor has it been since 1798 or so. I have a reference for that change in the naming of ships...but you still have a layer of unreferenced interpretation going on.
So, nobody disagrees that the name (or the meaning of the name) changes with the gender of the's only logical because "His Majesties' Ship" implies that the ship is the property of the monarch - and when one monarch dies and another takes over, the new monarch inherits the navy along with all of the ships - so the name must logically change or be meaningless. But CRUCIALLY: we can't find a reference for that - and that's what we're being asked for. In most reference desk discussions, I'd say we'd answered the question - but this time, we're not done without reliable sources.
Let's stop discussing what we all pretty much agree to be true - because it's WP:OR - and try to dig out some kind of formal proof in a WP:RS. SteveBaker (talk) 03:46, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks for the re-focus, Steve. My apologies for this turning out to be more difficult to pin down than expected (I won't cry for too long if it turns out to be unanswerable).   —OP (Eric): (talk) 06:08, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

relating to images[edit]

I am a frequent user of Wiki and I noticed something about the viewing of your images. Since you have switched to the new image viewer I have noticed that your images are now smaller. I currently run Windows 7 and found that with the new viewer I can right click to view the image. Now your images no longer have the enlargement they used to have. Have you restricted the size of all your images now?

Thanks — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:07, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

I think the solution is to go into preferences | appearance and de-select the use of the image viewer. This is one of those "fast ones" that the developers pull from time to time and don't bother telling the average reader about. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:47, 23 July 2014 (UTC)
There is an enormous ruckus going on about that as we speak. There are inflammatory debates in half a dozen places. You'd think that the developers would have learned their lesson after the WYSIWYG text editor debacle...but evidently not. Fortunately, you DO have the ability to disable it. SteveBaker (talk) 03:54, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Well, at least it's being talked about. As far as learning their lesson, remember that even the smartest mule may have to be whacked over the head in order to get its attention. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:49, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

Court Order[edit]

My university are really bad at grading, and so far they have changed my grades four times as a result of me investigating and questioning them. So, if I hadn't investigated, then I would have got a worse degree.

I want copies of my examination scripts, so that I may rigorously check the marking of them, but the University doesn't want to give them to me. The Data Protection Act 1998 doesn't let me request them, as examination scripts are an exemption (Sch. 7 para. 9).

Because of this, I want to court order them. Whilst the Data Protection Act doesn't help me, I believe that a court will appreciate my distrust in their marking, resulting from the multiple mistakes in the grading of my degree, and let me analyse them. How do I court order them?

I am not asking for legal advice, i.e. what I should do; I know the reference desk is not for that. I am asking for a reference on how to do something. I am going to get a lawyer soon regarding the whole situation, but any research and work I can do myself is a great deal of money saved.

The problem is that our court order article is US-centric, and I'm in the UK [edit: I forget the UK doesn't have the same laws; I should have said England]. I would be more than happy if anyone could assist with a link. The only help I can find from the government regarding court orders is getting a court order regarding children: . Hopefully you might be able to find a more relevant link.

Many thanks in advance for any help you can provide. (talk) 22:09, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

Sorry - as you are evidently fully aware, the Reference desk has a policy of never offering legal advice - and that most certainly is what you're asking for. By recommending an article that might be relevant to your case, we're implying that this is appropriate advice for you - and we're not allowed to do that. Talk to that lawyer - we can't help you. SteveBaker (talk) 03:51, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Sigh, here we go again. No, it is not a request for legal advice. The OP is asking a strictly factual question – in (presumably) England, how does one go about getting a court order? That is a plain & simple request for information. If the OP had just asked that, without explaining why he wants to get a court order, would the question have been acceptable to you? --Viennese Waltz 08:14, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks, Viennese Waltz, yes, that is exactly what I am asking. Apologies if in what I wrote some think I gave too much information, but I did not want to waste your time and mine in receiving responses on how to get a court order for custody over children or whatever.
SteveBaker and others like you, if you do not like the question, you are more than welcome not to respond. I did try to make it clear that I am *NOT* asking for legal advice. I am not asking for recommendations or advice on a legal case; I am asking for information on how to do something. (talk) 11:42, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
And how do you propose we give it to you without making a recommendation regarding a decision or course of conduct of or relating to law? InedibleHulk (talk) 13:13, July 24, 2014 (UTC)
Well, if he was after a court order relating to the custody of children, we could have pointed him to this page. Since he said that he wants a court order relating to obtaining information, we could point him to a page relating to that. If you can't find such a page, you can go and do something else. --Viennese Waltz 13:17, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
I can recommend getting legal advice. No matter what, he'll need a lawyer eventually, so may as well start with one. InedibleHulk (talk) 13:55, July 24, 2014 (UTC)
Why do you assume he'll need a lawyer? There's nothing to stop someone from applying for a court order on their own. --Viennese Waltz 14:10, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Aside from the inconveniences, costs, and possible penalties associated with doing it in the wrong way, of course. Note that many universities have legal aid clinics which are open to students, which can provide pro bono advice or connect you with appropriate experts. These clinics often have a fair bit of experience in dealing with the most common legal and quasi-judicial disputes affecting students, and may be able to counsel you on what the most likely outcomes of your case will be. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:36, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
"Need" was probably too strong a word. But they certainly help. InedibleHulk (talk) 14:47, July 24, 2014 (UTC)
The best advice we can give is to go and see a solicitor, preferably one that specialises in education law. Yes it may be expensive - but some solicitors offer 30 minutes free legal advice, and you will get better advice in that one session than you can get from a bunch of guys (and gals) on the Internet. --TammyMoet (talk) 12:47, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Thanks to everyone for their input. Particularly Viennese Waltz who got that what I was hoping for was a page relating to making a court order. I didn't want advice on whether I should make a court order, or what options I should take, I just wanted to know how to do it. I think my Union has a pro bono advice clinic, so I'll ask them how I could do it. I am aware that I can get a solicitor to do it for me, but at this stage I simply want to know how to do it.
Also, for those that can't understand the difference between factual information and advice, factual information would be: "One court orders something by writing a letter to their local court with the subject 'Court Order'." or "Court Orders are made by filling in the form available here..."; and advice would be: "I think you shouldn't court order the information, but instead informally talk to your university." or "You can court order the information by writing a letter to a court. And, I think it would be best to include a lot of detail, and word it formally. Maybe even get a friend or relative to proof-read it or you before sending it." There is a *big* difference. (talk) 15:18, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, you're not asking for advice on a decision, you've made up your own mind. Now you want us to recommend a course of conduct. Not "Should I do this?", but "How do I do this?" "How", like "in what manner or way?" Way, like "the course traveled from one place to another" or "a method or system that can be used to do something". If you truly can't grasp that sort of English, your odds of understanding (and using) highly precise legal writing aren't good. That's a fact. Why do you think law school takes so long, and why lawyers charge so much? It's not even easy suing an idiot, let alone an institution of knowledge. InedibleHulk (talk) 21:58, July 24, 2014 (UTC)
Staying with the purely factual, then, the relevant legal term is "disclosure" (on which we do not have an article - see Discovery#Discovery in the United Kingdom for the placeholder), and the form of order required is a subpoena duces tecum. So, to answer the unambiguously answerable bit of the question, you don't want to "court order" the documents, you want to "subpoena" the university to "disclose" the documents. In order to obtain such an order, you'll need to issue legal proceedings (see claim form) against the university, and establish a cause of action for your claim. Moving away from the purely factual, you would be _very_ ill-advised to attempt to do so without taking professional advice, as mentioned repeatedly above. Tevildo (talk) 17:10, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Disclosure happens when a legal case has already been started, which underlines the impossibility of giving advice about this online. The OP may be advised to request a judicial review but this will be up to his advisers. He should contact his Students' Union immediately. They will indeed be able to get him legal support if necessary but also may be able to get the issue sorted internally without recourse to the courts. Itsmejudith (talk) 05:35, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Judicial review relates to challenging decisions of the government (or a government department), so it doesn't seem to be relevant in this case, unless universities have som special status I'm unaware of. Disclosure is generally used to obtain evidence for a specific case (e.g. to obtain sales records for a potential patent infringer), I'm not sure if it's possible to bring a case purely to get disclosure without seeking other remedies (i.e. disclosure is evidence collection, not a remedy in itself). Disclosure would happen as part of the process of most cases you could bring against the university. Make sure to talk to a lawyer, who will be able to guide you through the process, and outline the possible remedies at the end, as well as working out which actions to bring against the university. MChesterMC (talk) 08:29, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Thanks to everyone for their responses. The answer from the above appears to be that it is not possible to court order the documents. Avenues such as a subpoena for disclosure might be the correct course of action. However, whether it is or not, given that the disclosure would not be for any current litigation, is unknown, and hence the process to produce such a subpoena is unknown. To discover this I will have to read some law books and consult a solicitor. Thanks for the information! (talk) 17:41, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

July 24[edit]

Has Ronald McDonald ever been played by a black actor?[edit]

Has Ronald McDonald ever been played by a black actor? Thank you . YŶwechen (talk) 10:59, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

Almost certainly - but it's hard to tell because of all the white paint. McDonalds is not without humor - for example, HERE is an advert from McDonald's Japanese division that features a female "Ronald" - without all of the paint. So it's perfectly possible that they used a obviously black Ronald in some market or other. Also, bear in mind that this character probably shows up many thousands of times a day across the world - often at individual branches of McD's. So there must be at least a few hundreds of clown suits and hundreds - if not thousands - of "actors" (and minimum-wage fry-cooks given the job for the day!) who've donned the big red shoes. It would be pretty surprising if not one of them was a black person because that level of discrimination would probably be illegal. But finding actual evidence of that happening might be hard to find because the restaurants want to maintain the fiction that the guy interacting with your kids right now is THE Ronald McDonald. SteveBaker (talk) 13:31, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Beyond the US, according to List of countries with McDonald's restaurants, McDonalds is in South Africa. (Two or so other African countries but they don't seem to be ones with a high "black" population.) McDonalds unsurprisingly only appeared in South Africa after apartheid. I don't however know how common Ronald Mcdonald is in South Africa (AFAIK he isn't particularly common here in NZ). Nil Einne (talk) 15:05, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
This one seems black. InedibleHulk (talk) 13:32, July 24, 2014 (UTC)
This site provides a list of actors who "played Ronald McDonald" with dates and such - from doing a Google Image search on their names, not one of those is black...but that list can only refer to the Ronald McDonald who appears in major events and TV adverts because the character shows up at FAR too many minor, local events for just one actor to do them this list certainly isn't definitive. SteveBaker (talk) 13:53, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
We have a similar list in our article Ronald McDonald which has a few different names but confirms it's just referring to national US TV actors. Nil Einne (talk) 15:01, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
The role of Krusty the Clown was once filled by Mr. Black. He didn't care enough to dress up, though, and was strictly yellow. InedibleHulk (talk) 14:02, July 24, 2014 (UTC)
I did find a comment attached to a YouTube video (sorry, hardly a great reference!) that says that McDonalds trains people to wear the Ronald costume at a special school in NewYork. The same person remarked that African Americans are actually preferred for the role because their bone structure is a closer fit for the idealized Ronald character. Sadly, it's really hard to find information about this place online because every web search turns up a bazillion references to the the Ronald McDonald charity schools - or the "Hamburger University" where managers and franchise owners are trained. But I bet that if we could find that institution, we'd be able to confirm that black actors do indeed take the role on occasions. SteveBaker (talk) 19:05, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Would it be safe to assume "bone structure" meant something like this and "idealized Ronald" meant something like this? An offline black clown in Montreal said something of the sort to me, years ago. He wasn't Ronald, though. I have no idea what his clown or real name was, or whatever became of him. So at least your reference is better than that. InedibleHulk (talk) 22:31, July 24, 2014 (UTC)

Buying shares[edit]

Is it better to buy shares at a high price and wait for the dividend or buy at a low price and sell when the shares increase in price ? Thank you . YŶwechen (talk) 10:59, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

I don't think we're equipped to give that kind of financial advice here. It's going to depend DRAMATICALLY on the business you're investing in. Some companies (Google, Yahoo, eBay, Amazon) don't pay dividends at clearly you wouldn't want to buy those and "wait for the dividend"! Which you should do depends on what you know about the company, what level of risk you want to take, how long you anticipate holding the shares...far too many variables. You should consult a financial expert who can assess your situation and give the advice you need. We can't do that. SteveBaker (talk) 13:42, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
If you never intend to sell the shares, then it doesn't really matter at what price you buy them. But if you want to sell the shares eventually, it is obviously better not to buy them when their price is high. For an individual share, it is impossible to know whether its dividend yield will be greater than its net change in value from the time of purchase to a given future date. It is also impossible to know whether a given stock with a high price (measured, say, by its price-to-earnings ratio) with a high dividend yield will outperform a stock with a low price and a low dividend yield. For actual advice, you need to consult a professional financial advisor rather than random editors on the Reference Desk, though even the best financial advisor cannot predict the future. He or she, though, can suggest strategies to minimize the risk of loss and improve the potential for gain. Marco polo (talk) 15:53, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Dividend income is much less risky than income from an increase in the stock price (a capital gain), but it is also much less profitable: dividend yields on the S&P500 are typically 1-3%. Returns from capital gains can be much greater; of course, you need to pick the right stock, which is either largely a crap shoot, or entirely a crap shoot, depending on how much you believe the Efficient_Market_Hypothesis is correct. Having said that, you will be lucky to beat inflation by investing for dividend yield, and as the saying goes ". . .taxes takes the rest." OldTimeNESter (talk) 16:50, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

Life in 1991 in the UK[edit]

What was life like in 1991 for people in the U.K? Thank you . YŶwechen (talk) 10:59, 24 July 2014 (UTC)

It varied. --Viennese Waltz 13:20, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
1991 in the United Kingdom gives a general idea, though. InedibleHulk (talk) 13:23, July 24, 2014 (UTC)
I lived in the UK in 1991 - I don't recall it being in any way special. Does our OP have some specific aspect of UK life in mind? Given the huge range of people living there with wildly different life-styles - without more direction it's an incredibly vague question! SteveBaker (talk) 13:34, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Apart from the fact that people were watching television, using land lines to make phone calls, reading books, or spending time in pubs instead of using computers and mobile devices to access the internet and communicate, life wasn't really much different than it is today. (The internet existed at the time, in a more primitive form without the web, but few people had access to it other than scientists, computer geeks, and a subset of university students. Personal computers existed, but they were used mainly at work or for writing texts to send to a printer, and most were not connected to the internet. Primitive mobile devices existed as an expensive niche product, but they were not widely used.) The UK was in a fairly bad recession in 1991, and there were riots in some cities that summer connected to discrimination against ethnic minorities. But most people got up each morning, went to school or work, came home, watched television, and went to bed each night, much like today. Marco polo (talk) 15:42, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Another big social change in the past 23 years has been the demise of VHS and the home video rental market. I assume the concept of "getting a video and a pizza" is as archaic to today's generation as a trip to the music-hall is to ours. (I wouldn't say mobile phones were that exotic in 1991, compared to (say) 1985 - they were heavy, expensive, and inadequate of battery, but were to be commonly found attached to the ears of yuppies in the financial districts of our cities and, most notably, in our trains...) Tevildo (talk) 18:29, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
Quite a recent change, though. My small and unremarkable town had a Video Sales & Rental Shop operating until about 3 years ago, though it was transitioning to DVDs. (I didn't have a VCR Player myself, but occasionally bought them as presents for relatives.) It's now a Pet Shop, but the numerous Charity Shops (AmE: Thrift Stores) still have a good turnover of 2nd-hand videos (as well as DVDs, of course.) However, I digress. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 19:04, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
@Marco: You're way off about the computer thing!
The UK had the ZX80 home computer in 1980, the ZX81 in 1981 and the Sinclair Spectrum in '82. The Spectrum in particular was huge as a games machine - they sold 5 million of them (which, for a country with a population of around 50 million people is a LOT!) and lots of families had them - about 20,000 games were published for that computer alone. Just about nobody used them at work because they were just awful for text entry...and the only printer that worked with it was a piece of junk, so they weren't being used for writing text. That was a games machine - pure and simple - and they were EVERYWHERE - not just with us geeks. Computer games in the form of machines like the Atari 2600 have been around in the early 1980's and were not just commonplace - but rapidly being obsoleted by "real" computers. By 1991, I had been using the Commadore Amiga for 4 or 5 years and the Atari ST for some years also. My Commodore PET, Apple ][ and Tandy TRS-80 were *way* obsolete and collecting dust! I had an IBM PC clone too - the IBM PC was already 10 years old in 1991. Games were big on all of those machines and there were *MANY* mainstream games magazines in every high street store that sold this was not just a niche thing. I didn't quite have have Internet access from home - I think that came a year or so later...but you could use a cheap modem to access "bulletin boards" and services like that did enable you to "get online", play online games, chat with people in realtime, etc. At work, we had (and used) email both within the building and to and from people in Europe and the USA via "Usenet" and the fledgeling Internet - and we could exchange documents and other files using services like Gopher (protocol) (which allows for primitive hypertext links). We also had forums and such via Usenet "news". For people who had that access, the arrival of the Internet over the next few years was more evolutionary than revolutionary. SteveBaker (talk) 18:55, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
I would agree with Marco on this issue, to be honest. The important words are "For people who had that access". You and I may have been among them, but being "on-line" was a very rare hobby to have back then. Computers were ubiquitous, true, but not the Internet or its equivalent. There was a question a few months ago on RD/H (about Russian nobility, as I recall) which lead to a link indicating there were only 200-odd UK internet users in 1992. I didn't believe this at first, but, on thinking about it, it doesn't sound unreasonable. But this is personal reminiscence unbacked by data. Tevildo (talk) 19:19, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
True the internet was uncommon, but gaming wasn't. I was 11 in '91, and was pretending to be characters from Space Quest, already on it's 3rd iteration with my pals. If an 11 year old was savvy enough for, that, I can't imagine what older kids were playing. SimCity was another favourite. Mingmingla (talk) 00:25, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
No-one has mentioned so far the Sony Walkman, as popular among teenagers back then as mobile phones are now. Definitely a difference one would notice if one were to go back. Tevildo (talk) 19:37, 24 July 2014 (UTC)
I remember pagers being pretty popular, and watches almost universal. Also, far fewer coffee shops, fewer food outlets in general, and less out-of-town shopping. Newspapers were much more widely read, and there was a great deal of interest in the top 40. There were many more payphones, and they were used more heavily. TV and monitor screens were generally smaller, although the CRT devices were huge. Offices were more heavily paper-based, and typewriters - including electronic typewriters - were still widespread. Rail was still nationalised, with services remarkably similar to now, but cheaper, and bus networks tended to be more extensive. In terms of society, there was slightly less ethnic diversity, and homophobia was much more prevalent. Warofdreams talk 01:30, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
For those of us who lived and worked in London, there was always the slight worry that we could be blown to pieces by Irish terrorists (see "The Troubles"). A friend in our office overslept and missed his usual train, thereby avoiding the Clapham Junction bombing in December 1991. The following April, I left a drink-up early at a pub near the office, and avoided being showered with glass when the Baltic Exchange bombing happened later that evening. A teenaged girl and two other innocent bystanders were killed. 91 people were injured. Alansplodge (talk) 07:47, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
Correction, it was more likely to have been the London Bridge Station bombing of February 1992. Alansplodge (talk) 12:55, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
On the subject of technology before email, the fax machine was the popular for business use. Some people I knew had one at home too. People used to send each other jokes by fax. A non-too-bright colleague received a hoax call-up paper for the Gulf War on an official looking fax, asking him to report to the nearest barracks. He was quite taken-in until he read the details. One point was that recruits were expected to bring their own map of the Iraqi desert; "if you can't obtain one, a sheet of sandpaper will do instead". Alansplodge (talk) 08:47, 25 July 2014 (UTC)
And another thing... before the Sunday Trading Act 1994 we were subject to the bizarre laws which meant that generally, only small newsagents and corner shops were open on a Sunday. It was legal to buy a Chinese take-away but not fish and chips. It was legal to buy a pornographic magazine but not a Bible. This meant that everybody had to do their shopping on a Saturday. Before the Licensing Act 2003, pubs (if I remember rightly) could only open on Sunday between 12 noon and 3 pm and then from 7 to 10:30 pm. There were some counties in Wales where the pubs couldn't open at all on a Sunday. Alansplodge (talk) 12:47, 25 July 2014 (UTC)

July 25[edit]

Search engine question. Ignore vs. exclude[edit]