Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2008 January 12

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January 12[edit]


Can you smell all of the smell out of a smell? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:44, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

When you smell an odor, you are inhaling molecules that have already volatilized. They're "gone" whether there's someone there to smell them or not. So no: smells fade, but it's not because they've been smelled too much. You may be thinking of the process of adaptation: once you've been smelling an aroma for a while, your smell receptors get "tired" and the aroma seems to lessen or disappear; in actuality, it's as strong, you're just not sensing it as well; someone else entering the scene will sense the smell immediately. - Nunh-huh 03:48, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

cupcake with a bit taken from each one[edit]

I dont remember this one too much, but back in the early 90's there was a brand of cupcake that was shaped as though someone took a bite out of them. In particular I'm looking for the commercial, on youtube probably, where a cartoon dragon is talking about how much he likes them, so he takes a bite out each one before putting it in the box. What was the brand name? Iownatv (talk) 03:38, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Not sure about a commercial with dragons, but Hostess came out with Grizzly Chomps in the early 90s, which was a cupcake with a built-in bite out of it. That had a bear mascot though. (talk) 08:50, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Alternative search engine[edit]

I attend a religious school that widely censors content on the internet officially deemed inappropriate for viewing by college students. This includes everything from sex education to "gruesome content".. anyway, as part of it they censor google results. Of course it still works mostly fine, but I object to it, and I don't like only getting half the results, no matter what results are lost. So I want to find a different search engine.. in my experience everything except google is just terrible, but the internet is a big place.. does anyone know of a non-Yahoo non-Live non-AltaVista search engine that's really good? --f f r o t h 04:56, 12 January 2008 (UTC), also known as Ask Jeeves. SpinningSpark 08:21, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

How about this Google scraper, from Scroogle? It Runs your Google searches from its own machine, and displays the results on its own page.-- (talk) 14:41, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
You may also want to try a Metasearch engine. Depending on the software the school is using, though, you may find that any search engine you use will return censored results. (talk) 03:57, 14 January 2008 (UTC)


Why are quotation marks used in headlines like "Someone was 'planning to blow up a store'"? Hyano czespony (talk) 05:09, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

This is confusing to answer because you used the word "someone". Let me change the example: "Moriarty was 'planning to blow up a store'".
Okay, what this means is: "Someone says that Moriarty was planning to blow up a store. We're not saying that ourselves, but we thought you'd like to know that someone said it. And they used the actual words 'planning to blow up a store'". If only the words "blow up" were a direct quotation from this person, then only those words would be in quotation marks. (At least, that's usually how it works. In some papers the headline writer might make small alterations that did not affect the sense.) In other words, the story is about someone saying something. On the other hand, if the paper had been able to confirm that it was true, then they wouldn't use the quotation marks.
See? --Anonymous, 05:55:55 UTC, January 12, 2008.
The rule of thumb is that a good way of judging whether news stories have actual solid evidence in them, and should be taken seriously, is to look at the number of quotation marks. Quotes in the headlines are bad; quotes in the article are good. Quotes in the headlines mean that the newspaper will not stand by the story. Quotes in the article mean that individuals have agreed to talk. BrainyBabe (talk) 10:44, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Also, sometimes [...] is used to indicate bits left out of the quote. For example, if Moriarty said "I am planning to go to the pub and then blow up a store", the newspaper would say "Moriarty said he was 'planning to [...] blow up a store'". JIP | Talk 12:40, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, but the OP was about headlines, and ellipsis is usually not made explicit there. BrainyBabe (talk) 12:57, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
"scare quotes" -- (talk) 14:20, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Where can I find this commercial...?[edit]

Back in 2003, on TV, I saw a Wonder Bread commercial where some announcers are heard and some soccer player is closing on the soccer ball and the player kicks it and then it cuts out to see a little girl in soccer attire playing in the backyard. That was a nice commercial. Now, where can I watch this commercial here on the Internet? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sirdrink13309622 (talkcontribs) 06:56, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

youtube?-- (talk) 19:47, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Acting principal (school)[edit]

What does this phrase "acting principal" (or should it be "Acting Principal"?) mean? From what I read around, it roughly means that a... temporary(?) or vice(?) principal assisting the actual principal in a school. :S — Yurei-eggtart 09:59, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

See Acting (law) and Acting (rank). BrainyBabe (talk) 10:39, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
As for "acting principal" vs. "Acting Principal", it is only capitalized if it is used as part of the person's name: "Acting Principal Percy Pettibone", but "Percy Pettibone, acting principal". --Milkbreath (talk) 18:58, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
The title of "acting" principal (or for any job, really) usually means ... the job of principal is vacant at the moment ... if, for example, the former principal died or quit or was fired or is very sick or whatever. They need to ultimately get an official replacement --- but, that takes time. So, in the meanwhile, while they are waiting to fill the job with a permanent replacement, they need a temporary person to fill in and "act" as the principal for the moment. (The day-to-day matters still need to get done.) Thus, that person is acting in the capacity of the principal only temporarily until a permanent replacement principal is hired. (Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 06:36, 18 January 2008 (UTC))


about cappuccino diet coffee brazilian under name cacique —Preceding unsigned comment added by Navchaa (talkcontribs) 14:21, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

What is your question?-- (talk) 14:36, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Cacique is a Brazilian coffee roaster producing primarily instant coffee. They seem to be the largest producer of soluble coffee. Unfortunately, I can´t understand your question, Navchaa. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 21:16, 12 January 2008 (UTC)


When I was in Germany they had a nice thing at a spa which was sort of like a cold sauna. Basically, it looked like a sauna (but white) and felt like a fridge. Has anyone seen these before? What are they called? --Bearbear (talk) 19:53, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

This isn´t going to be of any help: The German term is "Kaltsauna", literally the compound noun for "cold sauna". As Kaltsauna was also a red linked deity of the Amerindian Yana tribe (around Sacramento, extinct since 1916), this is unlikely to be adopted in the USA. Googling does not give any hints on a possible English name, either. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 20:42, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
The Romans (trust them!) had a frigidarium as part of their multi-room baths. BrainyBabe (talk) 23:31, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, however the frigidaria were not cold saunas, but were unheated pools of water - swimming pools, if you will... -- Saukkomies 08:55, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
What the heck is a cold sauna? To me, a sauna is a room with increased air temperature and moisture, which induces excessive sweating. How is this done if the air temperature is at, or below, normal room temperature? And how are people dressed in a cold sauna? I would imagine not either fully nude or wearing only a towel or swimwear. JIP | Talk 03:03, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
You obviously don't sweat, so it's more like the opposite of a sauna. Thanks for the help everyone! --Bearbear (talk) 10:18, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
So it's a place to get rid of the sweat? Myself, I use a shower. JIP | Talk 11:26, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
The explanation for this lies with the health practice that is common throughout parts of Europe in which the patron of the spa is introduced repeatedly to alternating hot and then cold environments. Sometimes this will take the form of baths, and sometimes open air bathing (such as hot and cold saunas). There actually is a fair amount of scientific data that supports the healthy aspects of this practice. When the body is exposed to cold for longer than five minutes or so it begins to produce a lot of antibodies in order to beef up the immune system. If you then follow this up with a nice warm/hot environment, it protects the body from the ill effects of exposure to the cold. The overall result of this is to envelope the cold exposure with exposure to heat, making sure that the end result will be a nice warm glow AND a blood stream full of antibodies that help fight off disease.
I do not know for sure, but I believe that the reason this practice is popular in parts of Europe is due to the fact that in the Jewish religion there are requirements for adherants to perform ritual baths as part of the Biblical Laws of Purity. Both women and men were supposed to take baths at various times and under certain conditions. This bath is known as a Mikvah. I have myself had the opportunity to frequent a couple of Mikvahs in the US, although I am not Jewish, and there are indeed both hot and cold baths and saunas present. I think that every community in Europe that had a Jewish population of any size would have had Mikvahs, and that my theory is that these baths eventually began to be used by non-Jews, leading to the modern practice of what you experienced in Germany today. -- Saukkomies 09:13, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Wizards of Oz[edit]

How many relatively well-known people are nicknamed "The Wizard of Oz"? Seems like it'd be quite a large number... Vitriol (talk) 20:56, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

May I suggest that the equally famous "Jack of Oz", a distant relative of the OP´s fictional wiz, is ideally suited for an exhaustive answer... --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 21:29, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
And don't forget the Lizard of Oz (explanation here for those not familiar with the nickname). AndrewWTaylor (talk) 21:44, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Noblesse oblige. I suppose it all depends, as C. E. M. Joad would have said, on what you mean by "relatively well-known". Seventeen of my 682 nephews have been given this appellation at one time or another by their no doubt well-meaning parents; a few of them have got their names in the sports pages of their local papers, so they were "relatively well-known" amongst a relatively small number of people for a relatively short time - about 24 hours - but they sank to their richly deserved oblivion after that. But then, all 682 nephews and even about 250 of my nieces were informed by their fathers as soon as they (the children) were old enough to talk, that they were going to grow up to become Prime Minister of Australia. (None of them were ever sure whether this was just a paternal promise or some formal requirement they had to satisfy in order to remain accepted members of the family. Our family is not big on letting people know exactly where they stand in matters such as this.) In not one single case did this occur - although a very distant relative, the Lizard of Oz, did crack the big time for 5 years (that's big, relatively speaking, of course). So, it appears that the promises of parents are patently pathetic. The sad part is that 103 of the nephews and 14 of the nieces shot themselves, hung themselves or swallowed battery acid, for failing to become Prime Minister. I would have said, "Wait, there's still time", but they were all pretty convinced it was beyond them, particularly as none of them had ever got around to joining a political party, had no knowledge or interest in the workings of government, knew nothing about social issues, and couldn't relate to other human beings. They all thought it was an open-and-shut case - and on reflection I'm inclined to agree with them. Not with the suicides themselves, of course; just the reasons for them. So, to come back to the question, if we're talking about people to whom I'm not actually related, ah well that's a different story. I do believe The Don was occasionally referred to as "The Wizard of Oz". I'm sure it's been applied to various people - headline writers couldn't possibly have resisted using it on all and sundry, e.g. here’s a selection of some recent ones [1], [2], [3], [4] - but whether any of the names have stuck in the social memory ... none come to mind, I have to say. There’s also a body called The International Wizard of Oz Club, but on closer inspection it’s obviously a front for the CIA. I make this claim because there are no Australians associated with it – none. They say it exists to honour the work of some obviously fictitious person, and they talk about some obscure movie of the same name, apparently made in the 1930s, but I’ve never heard of it, I must say, and neither have any of my friends, so it obviously wasn’t very well-known or popular, not even relatively speaking – that’s if it exists at all, which I very much doubt. -- JackofOz (talk) 22:36, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
And football player Ozzie Newsome. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 02:24, 13 January 2008 (UTC)


How do you hold a catfish without touching the posioinus spikes in its gills?-- (talk) 21:26, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe
Catch a catfish by the toe
--Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 22:34, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
To not serve as catfish food,
Put some sturdy gloves on, dude. --Ouro (blah blah) 07:27, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
My dad used to catch catfish when he was younger. I asked the same question as above to my dad a few days ago, he said always grab the catfosh by the tail and when you first make contact with it, the fish will always extend it's spikes underneath the gills, but do not worry about that since your hand is grabbing the tail (hopefully).--Hey mrs tee (talk) 08:01, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
And just hope there aren't any snapping turtles or snakes when you're noodling. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 18:34, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Why are poor people fat?[edit]

Just wondering. Bellum et Pax (talk) 22:08, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Cheap agricultural produce is almost always fatty and / or full of carbohydrates.
Compare the prices of a lean cut of beef to something more "generously marbled".
Compare the prices of an average soft drink to some orange juice of reasonable quality.
Poor people also don´t spend money to visit the fitness centre and infrequently play golf or tennis.
That´s why. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 23:15, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
Start with poverty and obesity. BrainyBabe (talk) 23:35, 12 January 2008 (UTC)
This person is to blame[5] SpinningSpark 00:00, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

The standard answer is that healthier food costs more, although that's certainly not always the case (apples are cheap, for example). I think Maslow's hierarchy of needs might have something to do with it -- people struggling to get by aren't going to be as concerned about their body-mass index. In addition, people with less education are both less likely to understand the danger of obesity and more likely to be poor. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 00:23, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

This is a phenomenon not universally true. The "poor" in India, those in refugee camps around the world (of whom there are none much poorer)and the poor in China, Japan and Korea, for example, are anything but fat, or so it appears from television documentaries. Are there any real numbers on this? Bielle (talk) 00:30, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Um, have you been to India? My observation has been that in the countryside, poor people are usually lean, but in the large cities, they're just as fat as in any American ghetto, especially the women. It's also important that we make the distinction between the merely poor and the starving.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 06:46, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
It is not true that refugees are the poorest people in the world. Internally displaced persons have fewer rights and far less international recognition, so they get a rawer deal. That includes less in the way of food handouts. BrainyBabe (talk) 01:12, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Perhaps it's more a matter of developed vs. undeveloped countries. Wildly generalizing, developed countries tend to have much more developed tertiary (service) industries-including unhealthy fast food restaurants. On the other hand, in undeveloped countries, these luxuries are less common and the citizens are "forced" to adopt a healthier diet and lifestyle. Acceptable (talk) 00:38, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Could be more a case of fat people being poor as they spend too much money on food and drink--TreeSmiler (talk) 02:11, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Do not speak of things of which you do not know. Corvus cornixtalk 06:05, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
And you know? (talk) 18:30, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I know that TreeSmiler's comment is offensive. Corvus cornixtalk 20:52, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
How is it offensive? -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 21:35, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
Fat people have so little self control that they will eat and eat and eat until they not only get fat, but become poor? That's not offensive? Corvus cornixtalk 04:31, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
The truth hurts sometimes. —Nricardo (talk) 06:38, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Wow. Just, wow. I will not continue this discussion due to my complete and utter fury at the way this has turned. Corvus cornixtalk 19:44, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Saying that this could happen to some (implied word) people is not offensive. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 09:00, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
PS. Fat people, by definition, eat more than they should, for whatever reason - be that hormone imbalance, lack of self control, indifference to the effects of obesity, or any other. It doesn't take a huge leap to suggest that this excessive consumption could also have financial implications. -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 09:07, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
Ignorance is not bliss. Just bigotry. Such bigoted comments about black people, gay people, Muslim people, Jewish people, would be met with a lot of rancor, but these comments go unchallenged.Corvus cornixtalk 19:44, 14 January 2008 (UTC)
<sarcasm>Right... If someone asked "Why are muslims less involved in car accidents?" (assuming this is true), and I would answer "maybe it's because they are forbidden from drinking alcohol", everyone would give me a beating. </sarcasm>
Now, would you be so kind as to get off your high horse and tell me which part of my last comment is ignorant or not patently factual? -- Meni Rosenfeld (talk) 09:24, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I think the original question assumes we're talking about a country like the U.S. where poverty is associated with obesity. Most of the poor people in the U.S. are not so poor that they are undernourished (although there are, of course, hungry people in the U.S.). -- Mwalcoff (talk) 02:23, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Aren't the poorest people in the world also the thinnest? I've seen many pictures of African children with arms and legs thinner than an empty toilet paper roll. I'm unusually thin myself but these pictures shock me every time. So in light of this, the original question is very dependent on the country being investigated. JIP | Talk 02:55, 13 January 2008 (UTC)
I'd agree with the notion that poor people tend to be undernourished, going for what is cheap and looks attractive but isn't necessarily healthy, but filled with excess fats and additives to add to the weight. In Africa, however, they do not really have much of a choice - if there is nothing to eat, that means there is no food, and they - well, that's a good thing - can't go to that place. --Ouro (blah blah) 14:46, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

As far as I know, poor people have big round bellies (not "fat", but instead pregnant-like bellies, like this image, one of the Commons Picture of the Year candidates showing a naked woman) because of parasites infesting their stomachs. Of course, also Kwashiorkor. -- ReyBrujo (talk) 20:54, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

(In the West) poor nutrition and/or poor nutrition education? In some countries the size of a person is related to economics, ie, if you're thin it's because you can't afford to eat much; if you're roly poly, it somehow shows you're wealthy.Julia Rossi (talk) 07:21, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

US Commercial mail-receiving agencies[edit]

According to this article people wishing to make use of a private mailbox service must divulge their personal information to te CMRAs and the USPS. This sort of defeats the purpose of private mail boxes, in my opinion. Did these laws ever come into effect? If so, I think we should make some changes to the corresponding Wiki article. -- Ishikawa Minoru (talk) 22:32, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Lots of nasty, illegal activities can be done if there was no such rule. If a person was able to set up a mail drop without any possibility of a trace being done to determine who was the responsible party, it would allow the person to have illegal correspondence sent to the mailbox without being caught or arrested. Additionally, the US Postal Service guarantees delivery to any business's or citizen's address - but not to an anonymous person. -- Saukkomies 09:19, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

LazyTown advanced studio?[edit]

I read that LazyTown uses some sort of cutting-edge, high-budget studio on Iceland. But the show is really cheesy SFX-wise and even has an annoyingly low framerate (you can tell it "lags"). So what's the deal here? What am I missing? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:39, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

It's a blend of live action, CGI and puppetry that means it costs over $1million an episode to make - more here including the quote "The show’s computer graphics are so advanced that Scheving had to commission a unique, 70-terabyte processing unit, which is kept in an air-conditioned bunker lest it burst into flame. This is more processing power than exists in the rest of Iceland." (talk) 16:49, 12 January 2008 (UTC)

Well... what is this CGI you speak of? I never have seen anything of the likes on the show. Are you kidding? Is this a big joke or something that I don't get?

Yes, it's a joke.. --f f r o t h 04:45, 13 January 2008 (UTC)