User talk:Gandalf61/Archive4

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Ref Desk Barnstar[edit]

Moved to User Page. --Jones2 03:56, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Thank you. Gandalf61 13:35, 31 December 2006 (UTC)
Suggestion - if you move it to your userpage it will look good. :) --Jones2 10:54, 2 January 2007 (UTC)

ICMI article[edit]

Hi, and thanks a lot for cleaning up my (well, I started it at least, but I guess it's not really "mine" anymore :-) article on ICMI. When I write in other languages than my native languag (Norwegian), I happen to make some more or less embarrassing mistakes. So thanks for cleaning some of them up! I see now, from some of the links you added, that the articles of other similar organisations have been named with the complete name of the organisation rather than the abbreviation. Perhaps this should have been done in the case of ICMI also? --Mosvold 10:54, 8 January 2007 (UTC)


  • A three man team, using only skis and kites, completes a 1,093 mile (1,750 km) trek to reach the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility for the first time since 1958 and for the first time ever without mechanical assistance. (BBC) Gandalf61 16:21, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
I'd really love to put this up, it's quite cool, but the article needs some organization before the main page links to it. -- Zanimum 19:22, 22 January 2007 (UTC)

Big Bang[edit]

Hi. Judging from your edit, I trust that you've looked at this edit? I'm not knowledgeable enough to make a call on the first part, except I did remove the new paragraph and posted about it on the article's talk page. Xiner (talk, email) 00:10, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I've looked at that edit. My edit was intended to fix three particular errors in the paragraphs giving an overview of the early part of the Big Bang:
  1. Terminology - baryogenesis does not refer to the confinement of quarks into baryons (despite its name). It in fact refers to the as yet unknown process that violates conservation of baryon number, producing an excess of matter over antimatter in the early universe. All of the current contenders for this hypothetical process occur at higher energies than the quark confinement threshold, so baryogenesis must have taken place before baryons and mesons were formed, while the universe was still a plasma of quarks and antiquarks, producing an excess of quarks over antiquarks, which then led to an excess of baryons over antibaryons.
  2. Sequence - mass annhilation between matter and antimatter took place after baryons were formed, not before. This is because the average energy of particle collisions at this point was still sufficient to create quark-antiquark pairs.
  3. Another sequence error - all symmetry breaking transitions took place before baryons and mesons were formed, not after. By the time baryons and mesons were formed the four fundamental forces were already in their present form.
A reference for all of this is Quarks, Leptons and the Big Bang by Jonatahn Allday. Hope this helps. Gandalf61 10:39, 5 February 2007 (UTC)


Go ahead and fix it; I left it partly out of laziness, and partly because leaving variable spelling is a subtle hint that the word may not exist. If I were Jimbo, the article would redirect to Polygon. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 16:41, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Tolerably certain. Tricosagon and Icosagon contain the same element. Eric Weisstein is a fallible guide to mathematics; he is an abominable guide to Greek. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 17:56, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Since the only reason I didn't make the article a redirect was the Michelob factoid, I will put it out of your misery by merging to Polygon or Regular polygon, wherever it fits better Prism (geometry). Septentrionalis PMAnderson 14:26, 6 February 2007 (UTC)

Happy Birthday[edit]

Usage of songs in movies and video games is notable in many articles. Certainly the inclusion of this song into a widely adopted mathematics textbook is notable, especially because of the novel approach taken to addition instruction by TERC?? What note do you think would be appropriate in this article if we take out the cat? --Merceris 17:57, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

The words and/or music to "Happy Birthday to You" must be included in many many publications. Using it in a school textbook seems very mundane to me. However, if you can show that its use in the textbook that you have in mind is unusual in some way, you could include that fact in the Happy Birthday to You article. Ideally you should provide a link to the textbook itself, or to a reliable secondary source that describes the song's use in that textbook. However, the paragraph that I removed contained additional information on the textbook and syllabus that is totally irrelevant to the article where it was placed, which is about a song. And the article certainly does not belong in the Mathematics education reform category - any more than it belongs in the Presidents of the United States category just because the song was once famously sung to President Kennedy. A reader looking for articles on Mathematics education reform would not expect to be directed to an article about a popular song. Gandalf61 10:12, 22 February 2007 (UTC)


Thank you for your improvements to my somewhat loose English. I have been planning to write a new version of this page with more details. Anyway I don't know exactly when I will release it. -- fl —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 11:54, 3 March 2007 (UTC).


I quick line, just to say thank you for your response on the reference desks, reading the articles you gave me, i think this is exactly what i saw during the lunar eclipse. I did not have a clue about how to find out about it 'red moon during lunar eclipse' on google didn't seem to help me, so thanks again

Kind regards, Dave 13:30, 4 March 2007 (UTC)

Your question[edit]

Replying to this here since it's not about the ref desk. There's nothing at all automatically problematic about new editors- where would we be without them? Everyone was new at some time. That said, editors who don't understand what Wikipedia is about are sometimes disruptive- I suspect most editors have seen this from time to time. Certainly we're forgiving and willing to tolerate a learning curve. Really, I think the problem editors tend to be only a very small percentage of the total editors. If it were otherwise, the encyclopedia would be in much poorer shape. Friday (talk) 20:34, 30 March 2007 (UTC)

Friday, you are avoiding my question. Who are these "probem editors" that you keep complaining about ? Who exactly did you have in mind when you said "the people who are the problem either don't understand or don't accept our standards and policies to begin with" ? Gandalf61 20:53, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, but I see no useful purpose in continuing this conversation. I explained myself as best I could above. Friday (talk) 21:03, 30 March 2007 (UTC)
I've been part of the above discussions and as I believe I share Friday's view, you're welcome to read and respond to what I wrote below. -- Cheers, Deborahjay 00:21, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Naming names, S.V.P.[edit]

...(s'il vous plaît) regarding the current discussion about the nature of RD responses. You're welcome to follow the link I provided to one [ab]user; "Find" my User name to locate the discussion of recent RD responses to which I objected. As for another: I've found this user so truculent, solipsistic, and apparently resistant (regardless of occasional syncophantic, formulaic, and evidently empty self-deprecations) to considerations of reasoned discourse, I've opted to refrain from any attempt at dialogue. May I also take this opportunity to thank you for the helpful clarifications you've provided on the RD discussion page, which I consider a source of guidance. -- Cheers, Deborahjay 00:12, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

Deborah - thank you for that clarification. One of my pet peeves is when someone uses a generic (and usually perjorative) label without making clear who they are referring to. Friday is not the only person who does this, but he does do it more than most, frequently using terms such as "those who don't get it", "some people", "the people who are the problem", "problem editors" and (see above) "editors who don't understand what Wikipedia is about". One of my problems with Friday's use of these phrases is that they are unnecessarily personal, focussing on the (un-named) editor rather than their behaviour. Every so often I choose to call him on these weasel words, just to show that his rhetorical devices do not pass unnoticed. Gandalf61 13:11, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

I wasn't intending to focus on contributors, except insofar as certain contributors may regularly exhibit the same problematic behavior, thus making this a user conduct issue. Certainly, it's the behavior itself that's the problem. I don't see that statements like "some people are making bad edits" is unnecessarily personal, but your mileage may vary. Friday (talk) 14:26, 3 April 2007 (UTC)

Is there a better way?[edit]

This is getting off-topic for the ref desk talk page, since you see it as a problem with my conduct. Is there some way to tell someone they're hurting discussion with their approach that you would consider adequately polite? When the message is "You're being disruptive, please stop" there's only so much sugar-coating that can be applied, right? I notice you're objecting to my efforts, but I haven't noticed you helping out in trying to get through to him. If you see a better way to do this, please try. Friday (talk) 16:14, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Maybe it's not accurate that you haven't tried to help getting through to him- but I have to be honest, your suggestion that he lay low is actively unhelpful in my opinion. He's been engaging in the same disruptive behavior for months, but he generally stops before he crosses the line into doing something that'd get him blocked. I read your message as suggestion he just keep doing that- not that he stops the disruption, but that he keep it low-level enough to "stay out of trouble". I can think of another editor who had a similar pattern of behavior - he made sure he was irritating and disruptive but would frequently try to skirt the boundaries just enough to (sometimes) avoid being blocked. This editor has since been permanently blocked. Is this what you're looking for with StuRat? If it's not, you'd be doing him a favor to get him to stop being disruptive permanently, rather than just cutting down on it temporarily in an effort to avoid sanctions. Friday (talk) 16:21, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Interesting. Friday, you comment on the posts and behaviour of others on the RD talk page, sometimes with rude and abusive language, yet if I take you to task on your own behaviour, you declare it is off-topic. That would seem to be another inconsistency between the standards you apply to others and the standards you apply to yourself.
With regard to your point about politeness, I believe there is always a polite way to put a message, not matter how unwelcome that message might be. It takes a bit more effort to find the polite way, but I think that effort is worthwhile. But you are avoiding my point. When you said "Come back when you're willing to discuss this like an adult", that wasn't just a bit terse or accidentally impolite - it was positively rude and abusive. And this was not an isolated incident. I do feel you should think more carefully about the tone that you take in some of your posts.
With regard to "trying to get through" to StuRat, you are assuming that I think this is necessary. I don't. As far as I can see, most of the time his behaviour is fine - except when he is provoked, when he can over-react. I don't really understand your own behaviour on this - you seem to delight in poking editors such as StuRat and AZ, and then you complain loudly when they bite. I really don't understand why you spend so much time arguing with people - I would find it terribly boring. Gandalf61 19:45, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree that "come back when you're willing to discuss this like an adult" is harsh. But, in my view, it needed to be said in this case. I thought I pretty rarely said things like this, but you make it sound like it happens all the time. You thought the RFC was uncivilized too, but I never did quite get where you were coming from with that. I saw a lot of emotional language in your objections, but not a lot of specific suggestions on what to improve. I am trying to focus squarely on solving this problem, and leave personal conflict out of it. You're certainly right- it is quite boring. Friday (talk) 21:07, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Wrong answers[edit]

I've added a section to the Ref Desk guidelines

Wrong Answers
Everyone should attempt to give correct answers, but a few wrong answers are inevitable. If you believe your own answer is wrong, please strike it out and add a comment as to why you no longer think the first answer was correct. If you think somebody else's answer is wrong, add a comment saying so, why you think it is wrong, and providing evidence, if you have any. However, do not remove the incorrect answer, as it may actually be you who is wrong.

This section has been removed by others, however. If you agree with adding this section, either as is, or with different wording, or if you don't, I'd value your input on the Guidelines talk page, here: [1] and here: [2]. I'm contacting you because I know you are interested in this issue due to this recent Ref Desk talk page discussion: [3]. StuRat 16:44, 23 April 2007 (UTC)

Alfred Russel Wallace[edit]

I am considering putting Alfred Russel Wallace up for FA again. You made a number of valuable contributions to the article a while back and I was hoping you would take a look at it and see if you have any comments/edits you want to make before I nominate it. Thanks. Rusty Cashman 19:23, 26 April 2007 (UTC)

I have gone ahead and nominated it. If you want to participate in the process your comments would be very welcom.Rusty Cashman 02:25, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

Ref Desk guidelines[edit]

Care to continue to help us develop the Ref Desk guidelines ? If so, they are here: [4]. StuRat 23:26, 30 April 2007 (UTC)

I am keeping an eye on the the "guideline" page and its talk page. If I see something I have a strong view on then I will contribute to the discussion - but it will have to be a really strong view to overcome my reluctance to get involved in that particular bun-fight again ! Gandalf61 09:28, 1 May 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for helping us develop the guidelines! A.Z. 22:22, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

They have started a new phase of !votes to support or oppose 3 different changes. Your opinion is very much welcomed there: Wikipedia_talk:Reference_desk/guidelines#PfC:_guesswork_.26_speculation StuRat 21:18, 11 May 2007 (UTC)

StuRat - sorry, but I have decided to step away from the RD guidelines discussion. I admire your persistence in those discussions, but I feel I would be wasting my time there. Friday and Hipocrite put forward illogical and extreme positions and are frequently uncivil. They seem to enjoy creating arguments and dramas just to provoke a reaction and draw attention to themselves, so I have decided not to interact with them any more. The RD guidelines have become very distant from real life on the RDs anyway, so I see no benefit in contributing to them. I may make an occassional observation, but I really don't want to squander my Wiki-time on more endless debates. Gandalf61 10:40, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

Question From Science Desk[edit]

How does it gain energy?100110100 01:28, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Answered on Science Desk. Gandalf61 09:50, 4 May 2007 (UTC)

Why assume intentional misrepresentation when misunderstanding will do?[edit]

Replying to this here so as not to get off topic on the ref desk talk page. The statement of yours that I translated into "whatever people do with wikipedia is legitimate" was "Well, I don't think most of the everyday users of the RDs can agree with you, Friday, because they put forward their personal opinions all the time." Can you see why I got this idea? Also, could you tone it down a bit? You're outright accusing me of intentional misrepresentation as some debating technique? Perhaps you've not noticed, but I'm actually against people distracting from useful discussion with pointless inflammatory rhetoric. If you look you will see that there's quite a lot of that going on over at the talk page. Your message comes off sounding to me like you're looking for an argument rather than looking for understanding. I have no patience for people looking for an argument, so I will not respond further to what I see as baiting from you. Friday (talk) 14:25, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Friday, you took a very specific statement that I made about how editors (including experienced editors such as Clio) actually behave in reality on the RDs, and you generalised it out of all proportion to make it look as if I was suggesting that any behaviour at all is acceptable. So, yes, I do think you were using intentional misrepresentation as a debating technique. The fact that you expect other people to adhere to standards that you do not meet yourself simply shows that you are inconsistent. Gandalf61 20:04, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

Popcorn function[edit]

the popcorn function is *not* an example of a nowhere continuous function

I know, it is a related topic. Why did you delete the link?--Patrick 14:37, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Because I thought it was confusing to include an uncommented "See also" link to a function that is not nowhere continuous in an article about functions that are nowhere continuous. If you put some context around the link, explaining just how it is related to, but different from, the topic of the article, then I wouldn't have a problem with that. Gandalf61 14:50, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Done.--Patrick 23:16, 25 May 2007 (UTC)

Stuyaert's result on odd perfect numbers[edit]

Hello. I was wondering whether you read Talk:Perfect_number#About Stuyvaert's proof before your last edit on perfect number. It seems most agreed that the result should not be in the article. -- Jitse Niesen (talk) 03:38, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, no, I didn't realise there was a discussion in the talk page. I just saw that an anon contributor with a history of making unsourced changes to various mathematics articles had removed a statement that (a) had been in the article since at least Jan 2007; (b) was suported by MathWorld; and (c) that other editors had reinstated when he previously tried to remove it (e.g. [5]) - so I too reinstated the statement, with the addition of the MathWorld link. Seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do at the time, but looks like I walked into a minefield, so I will stay away from perfect number in future ! Gandalf61 10:29, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Please don't restore trolling[edit]

Light current is a banned editor and a number of different editors revert further trolling from him when they see it. In the edit you made here, you restored his trolling remarks. Please don't do that- they were reverted for a reason. Trolls should be reverted, blocked, and ignored. Paying attention to them only increases their childish attention-seeking behavior. Thank you for you cooperation. Friday (talk) 17:27, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

Ah yes. At the time I thought I was just fixing a clumsy edit by an anon editor. Only realised afterwards what I had stepped into. Next time you and LC decide to chase each other round the RDs I will do my best to stay out of your way. Gandalf61 05:08, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Thank you. Friday (talk) 20:41, 6 June 2007 (UTC)