Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2007 January 12

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January 12[edit]

Yellow School Buses[edit]

The question above reminded me that I've always wondered why, in U.S. movies/TV, school buses always seem to be coloured yellow. Is this really the way it is, or is it just a filmic stereotype? If they are indeed usually yellow, is the colour in any way regulated or is it just a voluntary tradition? If it is regulated, is this on a state-by-state basis, or is it a federal matter? What is there to prevent some school from having, say, a purple bus? JackofOz 00:09, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Check our article on school bus yellow. — Kieff 00:25, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Hats off to Wikipedia yet again! Thanks, Kieff. JackofOz 00:29, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
From the Ohio Revised Code, Chapter 4511.77:
"(A) No person shall operate, nor shall any person being the owner thereof or having supervisory responsibility therefor permit the operation of, a school bus within this state unless it is painted national school bus yellow and is marked on both front and rear with the words "school bus" in black lettering not less than eight inches in height and on the rear of the bus with the word "stop" in black lettering not less than ten inches in height."
I assume other states have similar legislation. Note that there are laws governing conduct of drivers near school buses (you have to stop a given distance away when the school bus stops to pick up or drop off students). If the school bus doesn't look like a school bus, the other drivers wouldn't know to stop, and the laws would be unenforceable. And, of course, kids could get run over by those non-stopping drivers. City buses in the U.S., though, come in all kinds of colors. -- Mwalcoff 03:57, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Yellow is also used in Canada (not surprising as many Canadian driving laws and practices follow the US). Here's an excerpt from the Highway Traffic Act of Ontario: "school bus" means a bus that, (a) is painted chrome yellow, and (b) displays on the front and rear thereof the words "school bus" and on the rear thereof the words "do not pass when signals flashing". (In other words, if a bus doesn't look like that, other drivers don't have to give it the special treatment they do to a school bus.) --Anonymous, January 12, 2007, 06:04 (UTC).

So, to call the roll, what color are school buses in other countries, if not yellow? Edison 23:32, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

They don't have school buses in Europe, as far as I know. The kids walk, take public transportation or have Mom or Dad drop them off. -- Mwalcoff 23:52, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Mexican school buses are white, I believe, or at least the couple that I've seen. They look like American ones painted white. --Wirbelwindヴィルヴェルヴィント (talk) 00:15, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
New Zealand school buses are just standard public transport buses with a "school bus" sign. 203.109.174.164 06:21, 18 January 2007 (UTC)

All women Communial living in Africa[edit]

Hi! I am interested in which African country this ancient practice occurs(ed) in. There is a specific name for these compounds which I am interested in knowing. I apologize that I do not have more information to support my question(s). This style of living is done in mud compound style and the compounds can be quite large and women are only allowed. Thanks71.17.102.1 00:36, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Do you perhaps mean compounds for different wives in a polygynous system?--Pharos 00:48, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

spelling[edit]

quick question;: i have noticed that when researching lethicin, i am also seeing it spelled 'lecithin'. are they one and the same? thanks chomer01:28, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

"Lethicin" has about 16 thousand Google hits. "Lecithin" has over 4 million. They are one and the same thing, but "lethicin" is not the correct spelling. -- JackofOz 01:35, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
If you look up the word in one of the online dictionaries (e.g. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/ ), then you will see that the word comes from the Greek word for "egg yolk", which is "lekithos" (in "ordinary" letters). This shows that it was probably first discovered in the yellow of eggs. You will often find that the origin of a word is described in Wikipedia, so you can look out for it in the article (in the case of Lecithin is is hidden away a bit). It is a good habit to look up the exact meaning and etymology (where it comes from) of a name when you are researching the topic. --Seejyb 21:55, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

How do I find all zip codes within 3 miles of US coastline[edit]

I'm interested in sending out a mailing to people who live near the coastline (i.e. people who live near the water). Any suggestions on where to find a compiled list of zip codes near the water?

Thanks,

BrianBbutler100 02:32, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

It's a GIS problem, but not a particularly hard one. You need software such as ESRI's ArcGIS or ArcView, and you can download the zip code polygon shape file(s) (public domain) from a number of sources, as well as the files for the water boundaries (IIRC, they come canned with purchase of ESRI software). Then you create a 3-mile buffer on the water boundary and query for all zip code polygons that intersect the buffer. It gets slightly more complicated depending on whether you want to include the Great Lakes, the Great Salt Lake, any other lakes, major rivers, and so forth.
There might be a website running ArcIMS that will let you do this on-the-fly in a web browser, but I've never seen one. Yet. It's a service waiting to be built. Antandrus (talk) 04:36, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Vintage[edit]

Was 1983 a good year for potatoes? NeonMerlin 02:38, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

In any particular country, or worldwide? --Tagishsimon (talk)
I hope you don't mean the same way it was a good year for wine. 1983 is when Clemson developed a disease-resistant sweet potato, as a Google search dug up. Nothing very relevant came up when I searched "1983 potato famine," though... V-Man737 02:47, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it certainly was. See 1983 in root vegetables. -THB 18:27, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah tell him to look at a page that doesn't exist, IDIOT! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 86.145.216.224 (talk) 17:02, 18 January 2007 (UTC).
How rude! User: THB was just being ironic... Abyss42 22:30, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Cure for homosexuality[edit]

Is there a cure for homosexuality? If not, is one likely to be made in the near future?--216.164.200.253 02:40, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Some bigots live in hope of such a thing. Some 'religions' anticipate a cure. Many of the rest of us don't think there is anything to be cured. I would not live in hope of any development from this position if I were you. --Tagishsimon (talk)
A more relevant question is, is there a cure for bigotry and discrimination? — Kieff 02:47, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Homosexuality is no longer considered a disorder per the 1994 release of the DSM-IV; however, there are some licensed practitioners that offer treatments for those who are homosexual but do not wish to be. V-Man737 02:50, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Do the treatments work? (By the way, many thanks to V-Man, and, <personal attack removed - User:Zoe|(talk) 17:36, 12 January 2007 (UTC)>.)--216.164.200.253 02:52, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

(Let's be civil.) I've not looked into such treatments, being heterosexual and all; I've mostly heard about them. this Google search at a quick glance seems pretty pertinent to your question. V-Man737 02:56, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. I'm sorry for the rude language; I shouldn't "feed the troll".--216.164.200.253 02:59, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Surely you can see why asking for a "cure" to something which many people do not consider to be a "disease" is controversial in the first place (for many it is along the same lines as asking if there is a "cure" for being Black or Asian). If you are not looking to be seen as a troll yourself you should think about how to be more neutral in your wording. Or else don't feign offense. --24.147.86.187 03:10, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Don't force your bigoted open-mindedness on me. ;) --frothT C 03:24, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
If you are interested in a very good discussion of all of the different issues at stake in things like "cures" for homosexuality, Francis Fukuyama's Our Posthuman Future contains a remarkably thoughtful discussion of it from a neoconservative. --24.147.86.187 03:08, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I always thought of X-Men as having that controversy embedded in metaphor; i.e., X-Men: The Last Stand makes a clear point that, although there is a method for reversing mutations, the mutation of itself isn't necessarily a disease. A very recommended movie. V-Man737 03:21, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
IMO the mutants should have just taken the cure. I mean come on, they were freaks... --frothT C 03:31, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, good point, although their real motive to fight it was probably because otherwise there wouldn't be a movie. V-Man737 03:41, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

There doesn't seem to be any conclusive evidence that the treatments work; although there are some claim that they do work, or that they work to some degree. The problem with asking if there is a "cure" is that it assumes that the cause is genetic or otherwise biological; it is highly possible that socialization plays a role. I think the OP may also have misinterpreted Kieff's comments as intentionally offensive. BenC7 09:33, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me that any success seen under such treatments will be due in a very large part to whether the person wants change. Will is a big part of that kind of thing (hence my inclusion above, not of homosexuals in general, but those who do not wish to be so). V-Man737 09:55, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
"Will" alone may be insufficient to make homosexuals want to go straight, it may require Will and Grace. StuRat 21:09, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
That is possibly going too far in the other direction; assuming that it is totally environmental. I'm sure that if people could change their sexual orientation just by trying really hard to do so, that there would be virtually no homosexuals in the world. BenC7 10:44, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I assume you mean, of course, excepting those who want to be homosexual? (Now we're getting philosophical...) V-Man737 12:10, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Probably the techniques for changing any behavior, desired or otherwise would be effective here. The Catholic church has been moderately effective at enforcing celibacy (curing heterosexuality), and the same techniques are probably equally effective for curing homosexuality. (There is that unfortunate side effect with both of priests abusing children and sleeping with their parishioners -- but that is incidental, and has only occured in small numbers) I guess no method of trying to make people be what they are not can be completely effective. 16:41, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

While the behavior can be stopped, the homosexuality cannot be eradicated. Homosexuality involves a desire for romantic and physical interaction with others of the same sex. There have been interviews with people who have undergone the "cures" advertised on the web and elsewhere. Those who considered themselves "cured" admitted that it is a constant struggle for them not to act on their desires and that they live with a degree of frustration. Many who undergo the "cures" end up reverting to the behavior because of their strong and arguably innate desire. A strong case can be made that it would be better for the happiness of individuals desiring a "cure" for their homosexuality to instead recognize that homosexuality is part of who they are (god's gift to them, in spiritual terms), and to accept that it cannot and need not be "cured". Marco polo 18:59, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Before.

I would guess that homosexuality could be "cured", in most cases, with a combination of behavioral therapy, hormone treatment, brain surgery, and genetic modification (the last two parts aren't yet available). However, this in no way means that such a thing is desirable. Consider Michael Jackson, who has largely "cured" himself of being black by extensive plastic surgery. Is this really a good thing ? I don't think so. StuRat 21:18, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

All these questions relate to cures for homosexuality - but to put a slight slant on the question, are there any examples of a heterosexual man wanting to be "cured" so that he can become a gay man?
I've not been able to find any examples, but I'm sure if a heterosexual wanted to be homosexual, he certainly could. [edit] I, however, am happy to be a lesbian trapped in a man's body ;-) V-Man737 00:07, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

I would disagree with those here who seem to suggest if it's learned behaviour it's likely you can change it. I personally believe it's part learned, part inborn (whether genetic per se or as a result of conditions in the womb or even after birth) as with IMHO all behaviour. We don't really know how much of it is learned. But even if it were a high percentage learned, it appears to be fixed fairly early on and in quite a number of cases very firmly fixed so it will be very difficult to change this behaviour and IMHO any treatment which may be able to change it probably wouldn't be ethical even with consent Nil Einne 16:03, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

The cure for homosexuality is the same as the cure for heterosexuality. -THB 18:17, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
It's my personal belief that very few things are actually inborn traits, and sexuality is not one of them. However, homosexuality is just as acceptable (at least, to me) as heterosexuality. I wouldn't say there's a "cure" because there's no disease. Anything can change, though, if approached the right way. Heterosexuals become homosexuals all the time, and the it's common the other way around as well. .V. (talk) 01:55, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

WP article link by id[edit]

Is there a way to link to the current version of an article without using the proper text of the article title? Ideally, the goal is to link by alphanumeric id, such as:

en.wikipedia.org/foobar.php?id=00928312345345

As an alternative to linking by the usual method. The rationale for this is related to unicode limitations on some text editors, and also as an alternate way of creating links on an external website that mangles URLS. NoClutter 03:15, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Since I'm not sure how to tackle this question, I highly recommend the Village Pump, under Technical or Miscellaneous. V-Man737 03:32, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Actually the Wikipedia:Help Desk is probably a better place. Anchoress 04:10, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Also IIRC the mediawiki wiki has a reference desk --frothT C 04:05, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I remember it to be possible, but can't remember the syntax. Agathoclea 12:05, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it is possible. To get the ID of, say, Chuck Norris, see http://en.wikipedia.org/w/query.php?titles=Chuck%20Norris – it's inside the <id> </id> tags. Now you can link to Chuck Norris by using http://en.wikipedia.org/w/wiki.phtml?title=x&curid=162617. –mysid 13:38, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Contacting other users[edit]

Hey, i was just wodnering if i could talk to anybody on usertalk, not just people i know. If so, how do i find out they're usernames to contact them, i would like to make some new friends... but i'm not sure how to. Can anybody help me out here????? *~~LoVe~~LiFe~~LiVe~~* 07:17, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Probably not. Try chatrooms or ICQ. BenC7 09:34, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, Wikipedia is probably not the best place to approach new people. Too formal, if you ask me. Try internet forums, chatrooms or even social networking websites instead. — Kieff 10:18, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
The primary purpose of Wikipedia is not for social interaction, so one should only really communicate with other editors on their talkpages in reference to Wikipedia related content. However, there is a social element to being a Wikipedian. For example, there is Wikipedia:Reach out where people get involved in helping others deal with stressful issues, Wikipedia:Birthday Committee where people offer birthday wishes and Wikipedia:Village pump, where people discuss WP related issues. You may meet people at these and other projects (see Category:Wikipedia community) and build relationships with them if you share similar interests within the project. But be aware the primary purpose everyone is here is to write an encyclopaedia, and if that isn't your primary interest, you should probably make new friends elsewhere. Good luck. Rockpocket 10:03, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
There's also the annual Wikimania conference, where you can meet other Wikipedians. The 2007 event will take place in Taiwan. --Richardrj talk email 10:45, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
You may also find meetups may be organised in your... Just noticed the above user has been indefinitely banned, probably because she's supposedly a 11 year old girl. Sorry but I recommend you look at other channels. But do take great care in what you tell other people and remember to ask your parents before meeting anyone in person. Nil Einne 15:55, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
If you come across someone that you would like to get to know better then see if they have e-mail enabled and send them an e-mail. If they do not then ask them if they would like to enable it. If not then "no means no", I guess. There is nothing wrong with meeting people here provided that you keep the off-topic socializing off the wikipedia site. --Justanother 20:24, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Flashing lights in old sci-fi movies[edit]

I've just watched another old sci-fi movie on TCM and once again saw these old mainframe computers that fill entire rooms, with whirling tape spindles, monochrome monitors, giant printers, and these odd panels with flashing lights. Like grids of random flashing lights creating non-stop patterns. Anyone know if these lights ever had any use on mainframes, or did they just look authentic to the viewing consumer of the period? Sandman30s 10:33, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Indeed they did; the famous Blinkenlights sign refers to to these lights, which dates back to at least 1955. Laïka 11:18, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Thanks very much for the term. Researching Blinkenlights further did answer my question. The original usage was to actually monitor machine/CPU register states but grew out of usage as signals became faster than the time it took to blink a LED! Answers.com says that 'recent computer designs of note have featured programmable blinkenlights that were added just because they looked cool' - this is quite interesting. In darkened rooms it apparently leads to a hypnotic state :) Sandman30s 11:43, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
The light panels of FROSTBURG, a CM-5, on display at the National Cryptologic Museum
Blinkenlights were originally an essential diagnostic tool used both to debug and to repair computers. But they lost popularity for a variety of reasons:
  • Computers became much more reliable
  • Programming techniques evolved and with the rise of canned operating systems, not everyone needed to program computer input/output operations; done correctly once, it need not be done again and you didn't need to debug the I/O code.
  • Computers became smaller so that the light panels were bigger than the involved circuitry.
  • With the vast increases in the density of integrated circuits, it became harder and harder to access the internal circuit nodes to which the lights would have been connected.
  • With the rise of government regulations controlling the amount of electronic noise that computers could emit, it became impractical to bring high-speed signals out to a light panel (where they could each emit electronic noise).
But as Sandman30s points out, some machines have still deliberately included lights just for the "coolness" effect. The best example I can think of was The Connection Machine with a potential 64,000 LEDs in a fully-populated machine.
Atlant 13:51, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
i could not readily find online references to support my recollection, but I think that the PDP 8 and IBM 1800 had priminent flashing light panels which reflected the ongoing internal processes. Edison 14:42, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
The "Straight-8", 8/I, and 8/L had lots of lights. The PDP-8/E, /F, and /M had some lights. The PDP-8/A and the LSI machines had none to speak of. The programs I wrote for PDP-8s all had light patterns.
Atlant 22:38, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
Supposedly they go back to ENIAC to make a press conference more informative. See the last paragraph of this page http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/v42/n18/eniac.html meltBanana 16:35, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Another reason why blinking lights, especially red blinking lights, are avoided these days is that they can cause an photosensitive epilepsy attack in susceptible individuals. There are still some flashing lights around, but not nearly as many as in previous decades. StuRat 20:47, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

At Digital Equipment Corporation, blinkenlights were eliminated for the reasons I cited. Photosensitive epilepsy played no part whatsoever in our decision(s) to eliminate lights; it was all a question of costs/benefits.
Atlant 22:43, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
  • OK, lets talk blinkenlights. The first computer I spent a lot of time in personal communion with was an IMSAI 8080. I made extensive use of the blinkenlights, out of necessity. I could recognize the pattern my programs made when they were running right. I could use the blinkenlights to examine memory -- stop the computer, examine data at various addresses, and so on. I think the main reason they went away is that computers got too fast for the patterns on the lights to be useful. (Damn, I just found out I can still remember the bootstrap code from 30 years ago...21 00 00 DB FE E6 7F C2 03 00 DB FF 77 23 C3 03 00...) --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 03:33, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
    • I have to argue strongly against the claim that the light display was just a public relations gimmick. Any part of the circuitry on early computer might stop working at any time. On the relay (GE Mark IV) and vacuum tube (EENIAC) computers, a bad contact or burned out tube could stop a portion of the computer from working. On the next generation, a flip-flop was a plug in card made up of discrete transistors, and a poor connection could interfere with functioning. The light display showed that the machine had all registers and processors functioning. This was a useful diagnostic tool when it sat chugging for a while and did not start printing the solution. There was no easy way then to tell whether you had created an endless loop or whether a portion of the circuitry had stopped working. The reliability per flip-flop increased markedly with large scal integration on integrated circuits. One of my professors related what it was like to use a 1952 computer: you wrote a program in machine language, went to a building and punched paper tape with your code. You submitted it at another building, where a technician fed it into the computer. Nothing whatsoever ever came out. Edison 23:39, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
All of this talk sounds authentic to me, perhaps someone could volunteer to update the blinkenlights article and categorise it under a mainframe category? If not, would an admin let me know if it's appropriate for me to update the article with points from this thread? Sandman30s 07:43, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Currency rates question[edit]

How do currency rates work? What causes a currency rate to increase or decrease? Who, or what, is in the end responsible for the official daily value of a currency rate? Is there an officially appointed person or board, or is it a somehow automatic process? JIP | Talk 11:20, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Have a look at Exchange rate. --Richardrj talk email 12:36, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Our article Exchange rate is rather intimidating, and the questioner wouldn't be able to get the answer to his/her questions without following several of the links. The short answer is that there are two main types of currencies: floating and fixed or managed. Floating currencies (such as the U.S., Canadian, Australian, and New Zealand dollars, the pound sterling, the euro, and the yen) "float" on currency markets. That is, their value is determined by the bids and offers made by buyers and sellers on the market. If there are more buyers than sellers at a given price, they will bid up the price until enough buyers drop out that the number of buyers matches the number of sellers. This raises the currency's price relative to the currency of the buyer. Conversely, if there are more sellers than buyers at a given price, the price will drop. It is not exactly an "automatic" process, but it occurs rapidly and without much intervention. There is no one managing it, no one is really "responsible", and buyers and sellers collectively determine the end price with their bids and offers. Fixed or managed currencies come in two main varieties: There are pegged currencies, which are legally set at a given value in relation to another (typically floating) currency, such as the euro or the U.S. dollar. These currencies retain this value relative to the reference currency for days, weeks, or even years, until they are allowed to float or legally pegged at a different value by the authorities (national government or central bank) in charge of the pegged currency. Then there are currencies with a managed float, such as the Chinese yuan or renminbi. These currencies are allowed to float on the market, but only within limits set by the authority (national government or central bank) in charge of the currency. Marco polo 16:31, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Also note that having fixed currency rates, just like any fixed price, doesn't really work in the long term, unless the fixed rate happens to be close to the natural floating rate. Let's say, for example, that the Chinese gov wants to take over the US car market by making their cars far less expensive. So, they lower the value of the yuan relative to the US dollar so that each car costs only US$1000. The result is that they have to subsidize the cost of the car for thousands of dollars. Let's say the car actually costs US$10,000 to make, then they end up subsidizing the cost of each car by US$9000. At such a ridiculously low price, they would sell cars not only in the US market but around the world (even if they only exported to the US market, they would be re-exported from the US). They might very well sell a billion cars a year at such a price, which requires a US$9 trillion subsidy per year. They currently have currency and gold reserves of less than US$1 trillion. Also, not only cars, but everything else they make would have similar 90% plus price subsidies and would sell globally. The Chinese gov would be hard pressed to keep up such a subsidy rate for even a few weeks. A lower subsidy rate could be maintained for longer, and you eventually get a subsidy rate low enough that they can collect the amount needed in taxes from non-export activities. However, this subsidy rate is only a few percentage points, so they can't maintain a currency rate much lower than that permanently. StuRat 20:39, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
The way in which the Chinese government is able to control the price of the renminbi is not through subsidies as such, but in the following way: Because China has a large trade surplus, much of it with the United States, its currency would probably rise versus the U.S. dollar if it were allowed to float. This is because it receives many more dollars for its exports than it needs for its imports. Without government intervention, Chinese businesses would be selling many more dollars for renminbi (to pay their workers and other expenses) than they would be buying. However, they sell their dollars to the local bank, which in turn sells them to the Chinese central bank. Selling those dollars on the market would drive the dollar down relative to renminbi, which would raise the dollar price of Chinese goods and make them less competitive. So the Chinese central bank holds onto those dollars instead of selling them, and invests those dollars in U.S. securities (typically Treasury bills). This keeps the renminbi from rising relative to the dollar, keeps the price of Chinese exports low in dollar terms, and also supports U.S. consumption (for example, of Chinese exports) by keeping U.S. interest rates low and making it easy for Americans to borrow money. However, this leaves China with a constantly growing supply of dollars, now approaching US$1 trillion and growing by more than $100 billion per year. The problem is that they can't do much with these dollars. They don't want U.S. exports, and there is some question about the long-term value of U.S. government debt when the U.S. government runs huge deficits every year. At some point the game will have to stop, and the renminbi will probably rise agains the dollar. Marco polo 21:26, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
  1. Supply and demand
  2. The market
  3. Sometimes, see currency board, and sometimes, see #2 -THB 18:19, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Laptops/Mice[edit]

Who invented the finger mouse pad on finger laptops? How do the laser mice work on computers?216.253.128.27 16:39, 12 January 2007 (UTC)nicholassayshi

See here for some info on "laser" mice. Also Optical mouse#Optical mice and Touchpad. No info on the inventor of the touchpad yet, though. --Justanother 16:45, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

The first touch pad was invented by George E. Gerpheide [1] in 1988. Apple Computer was the first to license and use the touch pad in its Powerbook laptops in 1994.[2]

--Justanother 16:47, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
See also Multi-touch for a (rather stubby right now) article on some newer directions in fingerpads. Friday (talk) 16:51, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
And of course everybody loves the TrackPoint! --frothT 18:31, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Actually I hate the TrackPoint. .V. (talk) 01:57, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

What are the flakes in butter flakes made of?[edit]

Hi all. I was wondering what the flakes in "butter flavored flakes" are made out of. This product bothers me, as it looks to have the exact consistency of sawdust. Much help appreciated ! 69.164.192.120 18:20, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Then enjoy some disturbed reading of the patent for butter flavored flakes! 50-95% cotton seed oil and soybean oil. Yum. Taste enhancing agent is monosodium glutamate, salt or spices. Flavor is butter flavor, garlic flavor or butter and garlic flavor. Flow enhancing agent is tricalcium phosphate or maltodextrin or both. Excellent. Dinner's sorted, then. --Tagishsimon (talk)

What is John Browning holding?[edit]

What model of rifle is John Browning holding in this photo? — Zaui (talk) 18:41, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

I hope you don't take our silence as ignoring you; I've just spent the last half hour scouring Google for glimmers of information. ;_; I am totally stumped! I remember holding a similar gun before, only the one I held was a revolver. Other than that, it was practically identical to what Johnny is holding. I think the revolver was called the "Law Man" or something similar, having been used mainly by law enforcement around the turn of the century. V-Man737 00:37, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
I tried the Google route also with similar results. I was just hoping some gun historian my happen across this and have an answer. — Zaui (talk) 07:03, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
That looks like the Browning semi-auto .22 rimfire rifle; loads from a magazine in the buttstock, ejects from the bottom. You can see the slot in the buttstock where the rounds are loaded when you slide the tube back out the buttplate. My memory is hazy on this part, the cocking handle may be that bump on the bottom a couple of inches in front of the trigger guard, or it may be a plunger on the front of the forend--Remington had a similar design, and I get them confused. I think the Chinese are making a copy of the Browning design these days, maybe I can track down a link for you. I just moved, so my Blue Book is packed away (somewhere in >25 cubic feet of boxed up books in the garage) and I can't get you a model number right now. scot 18:24, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
The bump on the bottom is the cocking handle; Browning makes a model BL-22 that is similar, but that's not it, since it was introduced in 1969 and Browning died in 1925. My guess is that the BL-22 is an updated version of the one he's holding. Numrich Gun Parts just calls it the "Browning Semiauto .22" http://www.e-gunparts.com/productschem.asp?chrMasterModel=0630zSEMI-AUTO%2022 and lists old and new model parts, but doesn't have a date. Looks like it was made in both .22 Short and .22 LR. Also, the loading port is on the righthand side, so it looks like the picture is mirrored... scot 18:42, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Looks like a Browning Semi-auto 22 to me, which was based on patents Browning filed in the 1920's. See: Browning Semi-auto .22 Rifle. Yaf 03:50, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks to all for the replies. I'll update the photo caption appropriately, and flip the photo when I have the chance. — Zaui (talk) 15:50, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

wikipedia[edit]

is wikipedia falling apart. it seems to be over—Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.23.77.75 (talkcontribs)

Is there something going on that led you to this conclusion? From where I'm standing, Wikipedia seems quite healthy. If there is a specific issue that concerns you, you might consider taking it to the Village pump, or the help desk, despending on the concern. V-Man737 22:25, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure this really is the sort of question this area is designed for, but irregardless the website seems to be well maintained by its users and unless there is some funding-issue (there is currently a drive for donations showing above all pages (I think you can dismiss it if you don't like it being there) preventing the site continuing it will survive as long as the users update and maintain it. ny156uk 22:24, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
*grumble grumble* irregardless *grumble grumble* GeeJo (t)(c) • 13:27, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I'm not sure this is a question. .V. (talk) 01:59, 15 January 2007 (UTC)
I also hear, the Sky is Falling. Better watch out! —Mitaphane talk 05:09, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
And it can't get up! V-Man737 09:46, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
In many ways, it sure seems to be. There are administrators (and their sycophants) advocating for unilateral control over content on the reference desk. -THB 18:21, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Jumping on moving car[edit]

If i have a very large car and I was to paint a box on the floor around my feet and assuming the car is traveling at 100km/h, and I jump up in the air and land back down, will I still land inside the box i drew or will I be out of the box. I think that I will still be in the box, because I was moving with the car, but someone said that something in your ears will disorientate you or something. Hustle 21:52, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Hmm, if you jump in a strange way, your cochlea might give you some troubles, but really the only thing I can see keeping you from landing in that box would be if you jumped out of the car and back into it, exposing yourself to the air that you and the car are traveling through. The air resistance would drag you back in relation to the car a bit. Oh, and also if the car changes velocity while the jump is in progress, the relation would be compromised. But really, I can't think of anything your inner ear would significantly affect in this scenario. V-Man737 22:17, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps Inertial frame of reference will help. Friday (talk) 22:20, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
If the car is moving in a straight line at constant speed, and assuming you jump straight up, yes, you will land back on the same place. You can try the experiment yourself by riding a vehicle where there's room to stand up -- a train, a bus, maybe a plane -- although I won't be responsible if you get in trouble for annoying the other passengers or painting boxes on the floor!
If the vehicle is begins braking, accelerating, or turning while you are in the air, then you will land ahead, behind, or to one side of the box. If it is already braking, accelerating, or turning when you start jumping, you will have noticed that you were unable to stand upright -- that's why city buses have poles for you to grab onto -- so now the answer depends on whether you jump straight up or in the direction that feels like straight up.
--Anon, January 13, edited 01:31 (UTC).

melbourne winners[edit]

dear sir. I have a list of all the melbourne cup winners from 1861 to 2006. i am tyeing to put togeather a history of the melbourne cup as i said i have a list of winners and dates from 1861--2006 i would like to-be able to purchase or down load a photo of each horse to go with this list is this possible to down load or purchase,hope you can help me

regards

barry doorey

Barry,
List of Melbourne Cup winners is an excellent place to start; although Wikipedia is rather deficient on pictures of them at the moment, several of the blue links to the individual horses in that list do have pictures. Another good place to search would be in the Wikimedia commons. And for future reference, anything you download from the Wikimedia foundation is free, and the content is licensed under the GFDL.
Sincerely,
V-Man737 22:47, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
You might want to specify that images come with their own licenses and might not be GFDL. They might not even be 'free'. For something like the Melbourne Cup, older images probably would fulfill the first criterion so they could be fair use Nil Einne 15:49, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Times obituary[edit]

I'd like to get hold of a 1995 Times obituary to use as a source. What's the cheapest way to do this? Cheers. — Matt Crypto 22:14, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

There are sites that sell newspapers from 'your day of birth' so you could find the day you want and purchase a copy that way. Alternatively I think the British Library have a copy of every major publication produced in the Uk, i've not really looked but I would expect their site could help you track down a copy. Alternatively have you contacted The Times directly and asked? They may be quit happy to provide you with a computer-based copy and it doesn't hurt to try. ny156uk 22:21, 12 January 2007 (UTC)
If direct contact isn't the right answer, then where I live, it would be "go to the central reference library"; they'll have the paper on microfilm and anyone can print off a selected part of a page from the microfilm for about the price of a regular photocopy. So ask at a public library near where you live; they'll know where to send you if you can't do it right there. --Anonymous, January 13, 2007, 01:20 (UTC).
Their website, like most major newspapers, has an archive. Goes back to 1985. Seems pretty cheap — at max it is £1 per article with a minimum of £10 total. So figure out 10 things you might like first (you probably don't have to use them all at once, though). They are also among the papers archived in Lexis Nexis, which many libraries and universities have access to. --24.147.86.187 01:31, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

And for articles up to 1985 there's the Times Digital Archive, which has scanned copies of every issue back to 1785 and is a fantastic resource. Unfortunately it's a subscription only website, but most libraries should have it. -- Necrothesp 01:54, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

You'd actually be surprised at how efficient libraries are at this sort of thing. .V. (talk) 05:26, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for your answers. I've discovered that my local library has access to it, and I was also pointed to Wikipedia:Newspapers and magazines request service. — Matt Crypto 12:26, 15 January 2007 (UTC)

Hawaiian Language Textbook[edit]

I'm trying to teach myself Hawaiian, but I only have two dictionaries that I purchased in Hawaiʻi and some references online. I would really like a textbook and possibly a workbook, but I don't know where I could buy them outside of Hawaiʻi (I live in western New York and likely won't be visiting Hawaiʻi again for a year and a half, when I'll be looking to move there to get my Masters degree). Does anybody know where, online or otherwise, I could buy Hawaiian language textbooks/references? Thank you. --Miriam The Bat(Talk) (Contribs) (Sign Me!) 22:50, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

this looks promising, as this eBay search manifested (also finding audio guides to learning). If you want a larger selection, this Google search looks like an awesome starting point. V-Man737 01:44, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

What bass is featured in this picture?[edit]

Can anyone tell me? Link: http://img126.imageshack.us/img126/5830/screenshot136cb9.png (snapshot of Tina Weymouth taken at a Talking Heads/Tom Tom Club concert in 1986). Thanks. 202.10.86.63

Weymouth owns a custom-made Veillette-Citron, and if you compare it to the bass in this picture they seem to match; the body and headstock look very similar. She plays a Fender Mustang, a Gibson Triumph and a Hofner, but my guess is that the Veillette is pictured. Wolfgangus 01:07, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Hotels in Savannah[edit]

Is there an age requirement to rent a hotel room for a night in Savannah Ga, (US)? I thought you had to be 21, but recently I've been hearing that that's not completly true. I'm going to be heading down there from NC, and being able to stay the night instead of making the 4 hour drive back that same day would definitly be nice. If anyone has any idea of that, or if it is different per hotel, then perhaps some suggestions of places to stay? Thank you very much. Chris M. 23:08, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

In my experience, age limit seems to be a function of individual company policies. Most hotels I have stayed in were paid for with a credit card, no questions asked of age. So if you have a credit card, I don't think age will be a hindrance. Keep in mind that with this answer I am severely violating WP:NOR. V-Man737 00:18, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
Understandable, I was kind of requesting that. Thank you very much for your response. 65.185.199.79 01:34, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
You should call ahead first. Some places won't rent rooms or cars to people who are younger than 25, even if they have credit cards and honor students. It is usually for insurance purposes. But yeah, it's usually an individual company policy, not any sort of legal mandate. --24.147.86.187 01:43, 13 January 2007 (UTC)