Wikipedia:Reference desk/Miscellaneous

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September 26[edit]

Form of address when writing to US officials from overseas.[edit]

Probably an unusual question but is there a standard form used when writing a semi-formal enquiry/comment to the US congress, from overseas by a non- US citizen?

On a related note is there a formal address used when writing to the offices of the President of the United States or to a State Governor, assuming someone that is a non-US national can do so. ShakespeareFan00 (talk) 09:58, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

Are you asking how to send such letters (i.e. the mailing address), or are you asking how to format them? Anyone can write to individual officials at their official addresses. However, a non-US citizen with a foreign address is probably unlikely to get a response. Dragons flight (talk) 11:12, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
I think that by "form of address" the OP means things like "Senator", "Mr. Senator", etc. Loraof (talk) 13:05, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
If you live in a country with its own President or a Congressman/woman would you address them as "US Congressman/woman" or Dear President of the United States"? -- Q Chris (talk) 13:51, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
  • Here is the recommended forms of address for all U.S. government officials as recommended by The Emily Post Institute, considered a foremost authority of etiquette and protocol in the U.S. --Jayron32 17:27, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

Florida Department of Transportation, climate change[edit]

What kind of planning is the department doing if the prevalence of flooding and of sinkholes under roads and bridge pilings increases due to climate change? Actually, do they even think floods and sinkholes are getting worse, and if so, to what do they attribute the cause? (talk) 19:21, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

We cannot speak to what people think. This article speaks a bit to your general question, but our role here is to neither justify nor condemn political leaders for their action or inaction. --Jayron32 20:11, 26 September 2016 (UTC)
I don't know of any linkage of global climate change to sinkholes. One of the main causes of sinkholes is karst topography, which is widespread in Florida. This doesn't mean that nothing can be done, however. Mandatory inspections for sinkholes, using ground-penetrating radar, before a home could be sold, or a road is built, would greatly reduce the problem.
Flooding is not as easy to take on, since restoring the swamps, which act as a buffer, would require abandoning much of the beachfront property there. That's a non-starter. As sea levels go up, much of Florida will be submerged, but they can fight this by continually building up the beaches, until eventually the interior will be below sea level and you will need a system of dykes similar to what they have in the Netherlands. StuRat (talk) 02:12, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

September 27[edit]

una pregunta en español[edit]

Mighty Midget[edit]

hello anyone know anything about the mighty midget door locks that were sold around the 1960s and 70s like specifically if they were a brand made by some sort of company or if i could purchase them somewhere it's extremely important thank you ~Helicopter Llama~ 20:46, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

Here it is listed as PAYNE MIGHTY MIDGET DOOR LOCK in the El Paso Herald-Post, El Paso, Texas, Tuesday, May 24, 1977, Page 30. Perhaps this patent applices: Graeme Bartlett (talk) 21:59, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

Like turning a picture[edit]

In a photo-shop-type program when you change a picture so that the object in it will face right instead of left, what is that called in English? It's not rotating an image but something else. I only have access to programs in Finnish.


--Pxos (talk) 21:08, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

Most image editing programs seem to call this transformation "flip horizontal", but mirror image might be a better term. Hut 8.5 21:16, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
Mathematically speaking, flipping horizontal, or taking the mirror across the horizontal, is rotating the image. Specifically you're rotating it about the horizontal axis. Someguy1221 (talk) 03:03, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Vertical axis?
Sleigh (talk) 03:06, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
That would be the easier way, yes. If you rotated it about the horizontal axis you will still get the mirror image, but it would also be upside down, requiring an additional 180 rotation in the plane (about the z-axis). Of course, this is all viewing it as a 2D object in 3D space. If we view it strictly as a 2D object in 2D space, then we mirror about the vertical axis instead of rotating. StuRat (talk) 03:44, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Googling the subject indicates a distinction in math between rotating and flipping. Rotation occurs around a point in a plane, whereas flipping occurs around a line. But for better insight, see Rotation (mathematics). ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:31, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Semantics. Flipping is a rotation through space of higher dimensionality than the object being flipped, but it is a rotation all the same. Someguy1221 (talk) 05:45, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Be that as it may, when dealing with two-dimensional objects such as pictures, rotating preserves the arrangement of a set of pixels, while flipping produces the mirror image of that set of pixels. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 05:51, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
I wouldn't say it's just semantics. A 2D mirror operation is different from a 3D rotation, and considerable simpler to code. For comparison, all circles are ellipses, but that doesn't mean you need to use ellipse generation code to build a circle, you can use simpler circle generation code (particularly easy in polar coords). StuRat (talk) 14:33, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
By the way, the mathematical term for flipping something to produce a mirror image is reflection. -- (talk) 22:44, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Or an affinity about the line, with a scale of -1. StuRat (talk) 22:59, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
There are many affine transformations, as the article you cited says. Reflection is the name of the specific one. -- (talk) 05:11, 29 September 2016 (UTC)
See Flopped image. The "flopping" terminology is pretty universal in (American) book publishing and advertising, in my experience. Deor (talk) 14:09, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

September 28[edit]

Greek mythology[edit]

In Greek mythology, did any human besides Orpheus go among the dead? If so, for what purpose, and did they return to the world of the living? 2601:646:8E01:7E0B:F88D:DE34:7772:8E5B (talk) 02:55, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

See Category:Heroes who ventured to Hades. --Jayron32 03:13, 28 September 2016 (UTC)
Thanks! 2601:646:8E01:7E0B:F88D:DE34:7772:8E5B (talk) 06:37, 28 September 2016 (UTC)

September 29[edit]

Bowling record[edit]

Hello!!! I am curious to know if my bowling record is now or should be considered for the bowling Hall of Fame? On March 17, 1960 in the Texas State Bowling Tournament I bowled games of 233, 218, and 266 for a scratch series of 717. That record was maintained for 20 years. Please let me know if it is mentioned any where. Thank you!!! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:04, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

Here [1] are some records of top scores for three-game series. It looks like as of 2010, your score would not have been a record, as it lists 17 men who have bowled 900 point three game series, with the first occurring in 1997. I may be misunderstanding something about the scoring or how they are reported though. SemanticMantis (talk) 20:40, 29 September 2016 (UTC)
Not even close. Allie Brandt (appropriate first name, no?), for example, bowled 886 back in 1939.[2][3] Clarityfiend (talk) 00:12, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
In OP's defense, their 717 score may have been a Texas record at the time. Now that I live in TX, I've found that the stereotypical self-obsession with Texas qua Texas is largely accurate :) SemanticMantis (talk) 15:46, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
That's still rather doubtful. 717 is just not that high a score, especially in Texas, where everything's bigger. Maybe a record for that particular tournament, but that's not something worthy of inclusion in Wikipedia. Clarityfiend (talk) 02:46, 1 October 2016 (UTC)

Max Walker (cricketer)[edit]

I was just curious why there's no picture of the sportsman attached to his Wikipedia page? Many thanks for that information, didn't realise the limitations. Cheers. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:57, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

Firstly, because no-one has added one. And secondly, because it's not as simple as just adding any old photo. The vast majority of photos are copyrighted, and we can't use them. We need to find a free image (see WP:IUP), and it's entirely possible that there are no free images of Max Walker out there. --Viennese Waltz 12:06, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

Anyone interested in the life of Max Walker, aka "Tangles", might like to click the wikilink. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 13:04, 29 September 2016 (UTC)

September 30[edit]


hi,In your description of barcodes you wrote that the barcode starting with 678 is reserved for future use. I recently bought a product with the barcode 6788814939. I am wondering what country is now using this barcode. Please update your information. Thank you. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:569:FA43:D600:745E:385E:EFD4:98D8 (talk) 00:06, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

Please link the page you refer to. I can find no mention of this in barcode or elsewhere in Wikipedia. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:19, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
GS1 seems to think 678 is still not assigned, and they'd be the ones to know. If you know the full barcode, you can look it up here and see if it's actually registered. Someguy1221 (talk) 01:40, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
Maybe your product barcode was for internal use in an organisation that uses the 678 code unofficially. Dbfirs 17:59, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

How can I use directory assistance for England and Australia since I live in Canada[edit]

I want to call a friend in London and find out her number. (talk) 05:21, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

This page lists a Canadian international directory assistance number: Rojomoke (talk) 06:06, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
Why don't you just use web-based look-up services? There is this one for the UK [4]. However, many people are unlisted these days. --Viennese Waltz 07:17, 30 September 2016 (UTC) for Australia. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 15:25, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
This woman in Barnstaple, Devon, UK had her call to the police routed to the Barnstable, MA, USA police department, she may have a few tips. μηδείς (talk) 22:09, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

Yards and miles[edit]

Spoiler warning: While the question I'm asking right now does not reveal the plot of The Shawshank Redemption, the following link does.

Here, the narrator, portrayed by Morgan Freeman, says:

[...] 500 yards [...] just shy of half a mile

So, knowing that half a mile comprises 1,760 ÷ 2 = 880 yards, or half a mile equals to 804.67 meters while 500 yards equals to 457.20 meters, then how is 500 yards "just shy of half a mile"? --Theurgist (talk) 17:13, 30 September 2016 (UTC)

It's one of many mistakes in the movie. -- BenRG (talk) 19:24, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
"just shy of..." is not a precise term. Even if it were, this is a work of fiction, and not a peer-reviewed journal. You didn't need us to fact check the math, you did that yourself. So what, exactly, is the research we're supposed to help you do, exactly? Can you tell us what references you want us to provide for you? --Jayron32 21:21, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
Who knows? I realized it could have been a mistake, but then it's an American movie and Americans deal with miles and yards just as often as we deal with meters and kilometers, so I found it very unlikely that no one in an entire film crew should have known how many yards there are in half a mile, or that they shouldn't have noticed such a simple and blatant mistake if they did know that. It was quite some time after I learned about the miles that I became aware of the existence a different unit of length called "nautical mile", so I wondered if still other units of length exist that are, or were as of the time the plot is set, known as "miles" or "yards". Then I wondered if it was something with the expression "just shy of" – could it mean or imply something different than I think it means or implies? Indeed some terms are less precise than others, but one wouldn't wish to use terms misconveying the idea meant, even if they're technically not wrong.
Whether it's a question touching on a vast topic and requiring research to be done and references to be provided, or it's a straightforward question that just requires a simple factual answer, it can be asked here, right? That's what the Refdesks are for. --Theurgist (talk) 00:23, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
It certainly appears that King's original (factual) line was changed. It could have been the screenwriter, or it could be that the actor forgot the exact line and improvised it. Have you tried contacting the screenwriter? And if everyone in the crew was focused on their particular job, they might not have been paying attention to the exact words. One glaring mistake (glaring to science geeks, anyway) was made in the original Star Wars, where Han Solo said something about getting from point A to point B in some number of "parsecs", as if it were a time measurement, which it ain't. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:06, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
That's not necessarily a mistake in Star Wars. It could have been some slang usage of "parsec" among people familiar with hyperspace travel, just like the way people speak of "pounds" of pressure when they mean pounds per square inch. -- (talk) 05:29, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
Critics at the time it came out said it was an error. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 08:08, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
We don't know whether it was an error. If it was then George Lucas hasn't admitted it. See Kessel Run and Wookieepedia:Kessel Run for explanations offered in official media. They are not part of the post-2014 Star Wars canon so if it comes up in the Star Wars#Untitled Han Solo Anthology film then we don't know how it will be treated there. Star Wars: The Force Awakens repeated the 12 parsecs claim without saying what it means, but the mention indicates Lucasfilm/Disney stand by the original film. PrimeHunter (talk) 14:34, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
By the way, King's original novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption has: "Five hundred yards. The length of five football fields. Just shy of a mile". ---Sluzzelin talk 22:02, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
So then it's wrong in the original story and wrong differently in the movie. I suggest that the real explanation is that a lot of people in North America simply aren't aware of the correct conversion factor between yards and miles. It's not as simple as the factors of 10 or 1,000 that you get in the metric system and we don't commonly mix the two units as in "10 miles and 100 yards", so people who aren't technically inclined are likely to be unfamiliar with the conversion factor. -- (talk) 05:29, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
Stephen King is an American, and would certainly understand the American measurement system. Which, by the way, is superior to metrics for everyday usage. That's why Brits still talk about miles per gallon rather than kilometers per liter. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 08:08, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
Although, annoyingly, all UK petrol pumps are calibrated in litres and my car's tacho is in miles, so I have to do some mental arithmetic to work out my consumption – about 9 miles per litre or 40 per gallon if I drive economically (it's a 13-y-o car). {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 09:15, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
Please don't start this argument again. I point you to global usage of both measurement systems and leave you to draw your own conclusions. Suffice to say, the vast majority of the worlds population disagrees with you. (talk) 11:14, 1 October 2016 (UTC)
That's for sure. So much frustration each time they would find a reason to convert yards into miles, or the reverse. --Askedonty (talk) 15:17, 1 October 2016 (UTC)

October 1[edit]