Wikipedia:Reference desk/Miscellaneous

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Wikipedia Reference Desk covering the topic of miscellaneous.

Welcome to the miscellaneous reference desk.
Want a faster answer?

Main page: Help searching Wikipedia

How can I get my question answered?

  • Provide a short header that gives the general topic of the question.
  • Type '~~~~' (that is, four tilde characters) at the end – this signs and dates your contribution so we know who wrote what and when.
  • Post your question to only one desk.
  • Don't post personal contact information – it will be removed. All answers will be provided here.
  • Note:
    • We don't answer (and may remove) questions that require medical diagnosis or legal advice.
    • We don't answer requests for opinions, predictions or debate.
    • We don't do your homework for you, though we’ll help you past the stuck point.

How do I answer a question?

Main page: Wikipedia:Reference desk/Guidelines

  • The best answers address the question directly, and back up facts with wikilinks and links to sources. Do not edit others' comments and do not give any medical or legal advice.
Choose a topic:
Miscellaneous desk
See also:
Help desk
Village pump
Help manual

February 19[edit]

How to play 1970s era VCR tape[edit]

I've come across several old VCR tapes that appear to be the Grundig variant mentioned at the end of this article. They look identical to this except they have a yellow "4" instead of a green "2". How would I go about playing these tapes? If I transferred the actual magnetic tape off the original spools and into a VHS housing, would a standard VHS player be able to recognize it? The tape inside looks the same as VHS tape visually.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 16:58, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

A standard VHS player would have no idea what to do, for a slough of different reasons; the formats are very incompatible. Your best bet is to find a commercial conversion service -- I searched for "vcr" conversion service and found several candidates that might have the equipment to read these tapes. --jpgordon𝄢𝄆 𝄐𝄇 19:23, 19 February 2017 (UTC)
I haven't seen the players for sale, but I do see the cameras come up for sale now and then. You can buy a Grundig camera and use it for video playback. It won't be cheap though. I just checked eBay and they are going for around $600. (talk) 13:19, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

February 20[edit]

Exif data - subject distance[edit]

The Exif data on this photo says that the subject distance was 19.95 meters. I figured that it gets this from where it focuses. But looking at this satellite view, I was actually about 120 meters away. Why is it off by a factor of 10? Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 03:49, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

The 19.95 meters is more believable. Why take a pic of a house from 120 m away ? BTW, that's a factor of 6, not 10. StuRat (talk) 03:57, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Whoops, it is a factor of 6 instead of 10. But I know where I was when I took the picture yesterday. I was 120 meters away. I was that far away because I didn't want to go on private property, as you can see in the satellite view. You can also check that the focal length of the lens was 130mm on a crop sensor camera, so you can calculate the approximate distance from the field of view. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 04:54, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Maybe it doesn't calculate that from the focus ? Or it may just be a bug. StuRat (talk) 05:07, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
My suspicion is that it is telling you the distance you would have been at to see the house as it is in the photo without zoom - it is telling you that 120m with your zoom is equal to 20m without zoom. Wymspen (talk) 09:25, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
A quick calculation shows that is at least close to being right. I can experiment and check it. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 16:15, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
I looked at some other photos taken the same day and I think they are all wrong. I first looked at the one at the top because I was wondering how far I was away. When I saw the 20 meters I checked with the map since I knew that was wrong. I looked at some I took from across a street and it said about 10 meters. It had to be at least twice that. Then some others said 2 meters and I think those were about twice as far. And one had no data. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 16:01, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

Academic etiquette - letters of recommendation[edit]

I'm increasingly being asked to write reference letters for students. In this context, I am often asked to include information on how I got to know the student - which is typically before they earned their current degree. Do I use their current title and (and particular honorific) when talking about the person before he or she earned the corresponding degree? E.g. "I first met Dr. Miller when he was an undergraduate student in my algorithms class"? Or is it "Mr. Miller" in that context? I used to work around this by using first names ("I first met Max when he was an undergraduate student..."), but at least one institution suggests to avoid first names altogether. Thanks for any help! --Stephan Schulz (talk) 10:01, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

The former. You're talking about when you met the person he is today, not the person he was then. --Viennese Waltz 10:36, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
I believe academic titles are retroactive, so you can safely address them as "Dr." La Alquimista 15:28, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
"Dr. Smith weighed 6 lbs, 9 ounces at birth ? Was that with or without his baby stethoscope ?" Perhaps "The future" should be prepended to such a statement. StuRat (talk) 16:05, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
I had considered that, but it reads very stilted, and also does not, IMHO, seem to meet the tone for a personal letter of recommendation. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:17, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
(edit conflict)This crops up in the law reports, where judges refer to previously decided cases. The formula is

I've written and read a few rec. letters in the sciences. I've on occasion just used last names when I thought it smoothed phrasing. E.g. "Schulz is a fine researcher, though he does sometimes get a bit too focused on small-scale wording changes to his manuscripts". When you say "I first met Dr. Schulz when he was an undergraduate...", that means you're talking about a guy called Dr. Shulz now. Even "Dr. Shulz weighed X at birth" is completely fine. There's a guy we call Dr. Shulz, and he weighed X when he was born -- no problem whatsoever.
You can of course attempt to clarify via "I met the future Dr. Schulz when he was..." but IMO that sounds very awkward, and if anything would indicate you had been using some sort of time travel. "I met the man who is now known as Dr. Shulz..." avoids that particular problem, but sounds even worse. Recall that readers of rec letters value concise and clear writing - not unnecessary gymnastics that use up a lot of words to clarify something that nobody was confused about in the first place.
Just call them Dr. if they've earned the title, or Shulz if that seems better in specific sentence. That's the advice I've received and followed, your mileage may vary. SemanticMantis (talk) 17:09, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
(Also searching "[title] was born" is a great way to find tons of examples of this usage, from blogs to books to newspapers. Almost nobody was a priest or doctor or king or president when they were born, but that's ok. E.g. here's a selection of scholarly articles that use "president was born" [1].) SemanticMantis (talk) 17:16, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Thanks (all), that's really helpful. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:33, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
And there is nothing wrong with attention to detail in writing! If you expect people to read it, put in the effort. If not, there is no point in writing it in the first place! --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:35, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Of course not! Sorry, didn't mean to insult you, just having a little light-hearted fun with my example sentence:) SemanticMantis (talk) 17:52, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Me too, as I hope is clear ;-). --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:58, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
As Posthumous birth, it is actually possible to be born a king (or queen regnant for that matter), albeit very rare. Nil Einne (talk) 10:07, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Re "at least one institution suggests to avoid first names altogether", how preposterously arrogant. It's your reference. If they don't like the way you write, they can edit it themselves. The use or non use of someone's first name by the referee bears no relevance to someone's suitability for a position. --Dweller (talk) Become old fashioned! 11:22, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

The suggestion was made in the context of writing gender-neutral letters of recommendation. I don't know if the mere fact that the first name usually encodes the gender is the problem, or if the institution has seen a pattern of "Dr. Miller" for men vs. "Veronika" for women. Or, always a possibility, that some admindrones were task with writing recommendations, and just wrote something without deeper thoughts. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:41, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Article on slavery[edit]

Why is there no mention of Democratic lead segregation in the South and the KKK in the article on slavery?Petitechatterousse (talk) 18:45, 20 February 2017 (UTC)petitechatterousse

The usual answer to questions of the form "Why is X not mentioned in article Y", Petitechatterousse is "Because nobody has added it. If you have reliable published sources for the information, you are welcome to add it to the article; or if you are not confident in doing that, or if it is likely to be controversial, please start a discussion on the article's talk page". --ColinFine (talk) 19:00, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Which article do you seek more information about? The Wikipedia article titled Slavery is a very general overview and does not deal with Slavery in the United States extensively. The article Slavery in the United States specifically mentions the Democratic Party's position on slavery in the section on the 1850s. The Ku Klux Klan did not exist until after abolition. --Jayron32 19:05, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
See Solid South for the era when segregationist white Democrats controlled the Southern US. StuRat (talk) 20:05, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

Luggage bag[edit]

What kind of luggage bag is currently used by many (human beings) that could take weight of up to 23 Kg or more for migration purposes from country to country? (talk) 18:59, 20 February 2017 (UTC)

Wikipedia's article on this subject is at Baggage. You can peruse that article to find information about many types of luggage. You can even follow links to more articles about individual kinds of luggage, and come to your own conclusions about a bag appropriate for your needs. --Jayron32 19:13, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
A trunk (luggage) ? Note that if you will have to carry it yourself over a distance, you will need wheels. See luggage cart and wheeled luggage. You will want to avoid any soft-sided containers for such weight. StuRat (talk) 20:02, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Military backpacks/rucksacks can take up to twice that weight - and soldiers going into combat may well carry such a load. Wymspen (talk) 20:55, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
The problem with using soft-sided luggage with that kind of weight is that if anything with a hard edge, like a jewelry box, finds it's way to the bottom, that could cause a tear. Also, the risk of theft is higher if anyone with a knife can cut into the bag. StuRat (talk) 21:57, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Jesus. Tough luggage like "hardside" or "hard shell" is available from many manufacturers, such as Samsonite. Otherwise just pack a normal bag, like 99% of the rest of the world. I regularly travel with normal, non-hard luggage across the globe without fear of a "jewellery box" destroying it from within, or rogue thieves slicing my bag open to steal my underwear. The Rambling Man (talk) 22:09, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
23 kg is more than the usual amount of weight for one bag, and that weight implies more than just underwear. I use soft-sided carry-ons, but I can keep an eye on them, and the flexibility makes it easier to jam them into tight compartments. But for that kind of weight, in checked baggage, nope. StuRat (talk) 22:30, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
Nonsense. Common airlines such as British Airways allow 23kg in each carry-on bag. Please, get some facts and stop using anecdotes. The Rambling Man (talk)
I didn't claim they won't allow it. I said it's a bad idea. StuRat (talk) 22:57, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
This site[2] lists the fees for baggage. Most or all of them have a 50 pound limit on checked baggage. (Translated to approximately 23 KG.) This appears to be checked baggage. Presumably your carryon could be heavier, unless they are now weighing carryons as well. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:40, 20 February 2017 (UTC)
It would have to be something rather dense to get the that weight in the size of a carry-on bag, and imagine a person trying to lift such a bag into an overhead compartment, especially your average woman (God help the person sitting there if the bag falls on their head). StuRat (talk) 00:06, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
It's to be hoped that someone carrying a more-than-50-pounds bag would already have tested hefting it to eye level. What I'm unclear on is whether they test the weight of carryons. It's been a while since I've flown, and the rules keep changing. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:29, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Most airlines theoretically restrict carry-ons to 7 or 8 kg, and also to rather small dimensions. They have tape measures and scales (and more and more often size boxes that your luggage is supposed to fit). However, checking luggage is expensive and takes time (for the airline), so in practice you can get away with basically any weight or remotely plausible size. It's a win-win-lose situation, and the loser is the guy who has to share your overhead compartment, so nobody with influence. The one time I flew business class from Jakarta to Frankfurt I took my main suitcase (plus my normal carry-on back-pack) as cabin luggage - 20 kg, complete with shower gel, tooth paste, deodorant, nail scissors, and other assorted toiletries, with no problem. I may have been lucky, but experienced business travellers tell me this is reasonably normal. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 15:02, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
They usually have scales and measuring devices in the terminals, but they don't seem to be used often. I've flown a moderate amount, but only once have I had my carry-on weighed. ApLundell (talk) 18:01, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
What I've seen most often is a box that your carryon is expected to be no larger than. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:37, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
So, going back to the OP's question (What kind of luggage bag is currently used by many (human beings) that could take weight of up to 23 Kg or more for migration purposes from country to country? ) most luggage bags will take 23kg. The rest of this discussion is navel-gazing and just about people who think they might have travelled a bit telling other people who probably haven't travelled at all about luggage. That's not the purpose of the Ref Desk. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:01, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
What's your specific reference for "most luggage bags will take 23kg"? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:24, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • This depends on how you intend to travel, but from the sounds of it, this for a flight, right? I have been in this exact situation, and just used a Tripp Superlite case, which will take 23 kilograms (say, a week of work and home clothes, essential homeware, toiletries and a few books) no problem, plus a backpack for electronics and valuables that I didn't want to check in. Vacuum bags (also called space bags or compression bags) will help you compress the clothes and fit more in. Although it's a soft case, has a hard protective lining so it can't be cut through easily, and it has the advantage of being expandable to fit awkwardly shaped objects. In my case, moving from country to country meant a flight and two train journeys - if you can do the journey by car, I'd recommend cardboard moving boxes, while if this migration is on foot you'd want a backpack or at least a heavy-duty waterproof large-wheeled case (if you are certain of always following a paved road). And of course if you can, bring only what you need immediately and can't find in your destination country - the heavy stuff can be sent by surface mail. Smurrayinchester
    Good answer to the OP's original question. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:01, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

February 21[edit]

What is the rate of depletion of minefields from animals blowing themselves up?[edit]

Sagittarian Milky Way (talk) 05:48, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Search for wildlife landmine; you'll find some good information in the first few sources. --jpgordon𝄢𝄆 𝄐𝄇 06:41, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
It will obviously very enormously depending on the location. Landmines are designed to only explode if a certain amount of pressure is applied - specifically so they do not get detonated by small animals but only by the people they are intended to kill. Therefore only larger animals are going to detonate mines, and the number of them will depend on the local environment. Wymspen (talk) 09:03, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
People too.
Sleigh (talk) 16:42, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I'd hardly describe it "blowing themselves up". -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 20:26, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Why do most glass jars have constricted openings?[edit]

In my experience most glass jars usually have a constriction at the top which makes it difficult to remove the last of the contents using a knife. Is it easier to manufacture them this way or is it just a tradition or something else? -- (talk) 10:50, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

I don't know the answer. I think it is a good question. The best answer I could guess is that screw-on metal caps function better in smaller dimensions. Bus stop (talk) 10:55, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
For secure packing and transport, the sides of the bottles need to be in firm contact with each other - which could not happen if the sides were vertical and the lid then overlapped, which is necessary in order to get a good seal. If the lids prevented the glass jars from touching each other, they would be hard to pack, and would rattle about in transit with am increased risk of breakage. The narrowing at the neck allows the lid to seal properly, without extending beyond the sides of the jar. Of course, a lot of the more ornate and complex shapes are purely about branding and recognition: Marmite could just as easily be in a simple cylindrical jar, and there is no other reason for a square jar with a round top. Wymspen (talk) 12:00, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Not entirely sure I've understood you correctly but if you are talking about jars with big shoulders like the Marmite shape mentioned, then these type are normally used when one wants to fully submerge something in a liquid, such as a pickle. With a narrow opening there is no need to fill the jar to the brim and so the liquid doesn't flow out when the lid is screwed on. Of course this isn't necessary with Marmite and the shape of the jar is just marketing. If you mean that a more or less cylindrical jar has a very slightly narrower opening, as opposed to having the thread on the outer limits of the jar, then I'm not sure, it may be something to do with structural integrity or it could be ease of manufacture. I have tried to find some videos of how jars are manufactured but as yet, drawn a blank. Best guess is that the jar is blown as a cylinder and then the thread is cut into it so the opening must always be smaller than the jar.--Ykraps (talk) 12:52, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • One (common sense) reason is to have one size of lid fit several different sizes of jars.--TMCk (talk) 13:31, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
    Then one would expect the lid from a small Marmite jar to fit a larger Marmite jar and I'm not sure it does.--Ykraps (talk) 13:45, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
There are probably multiple design considerations, but I think TracyMcClark has at least one of them here. There are probably standardized lid sizes, that the bottles are designed to match ones of them. Looking at difference sizes of Mason Jars is instructive. the smaller jars have straight sides, and the lid fits over them. The larger jars use the same lids, and therefore the top has to be highly curved. That's not a complete answer though, since the smaller mason jars surely prove that it's possible to have a jar with straight sides. (I'll point out that mason jars never need to be shipped with their lids on, though.) ApLundell (talk) 16:14, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
You could read about the bottle (which is what I think you're actually asking about) and the jar. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:19, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
This page[3] indicates that ketchup and other sauces were made with narrow necks so that they could be sealed with a cork, as with wine bottles (and as per the bottle) article. As for getting the last bit of ketchup out of the bottle, you can sometimes find tools to do that at your local kitchenwares specialty store. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:24, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Sure, but those are bottles. Why do peanut butter jars come in at the top? It would be much so more convenient to the user if the sides of the jar were perfectly straight all the way up to the top.
I suspect Wymspen has the largest part of the answer. If the sides were perfectly straight, the lid (Which must go around the outside of the bottle) would be wider than the rest of the bottle, causing wasted space when they were packed in a box. To avoid that they shrink the top of the jar, so that the outer diameter of the lid can be the same diameter as the jar itself. ApLundell (talk) 19:50, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Here's a picture of a Skippy jar.[4] In comes in at the top just far enough to allow for a lid which is in line with the sides. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:42, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
FYI, many mason jars have no "neck" or "shoulder", they have straight sides, so as to allow freezing the contents without expansion potentially breaking the glass. See e.g. here [5] for more info. SemanticMantis (talk) 20:18, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I can't find a source that directly references Wymspen's idea. But the idea that all packaging should pay close attention to "cube utilization" (That is, how much stuff can be packed in a cubic unit of space.) appears a LOT in the literature. So I think it's safe to say it's at least part of the explanation for tapered necks even on small jars. ApLundell (talk) 20:49, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Time to rename this the "I suspect Desk". Are you actually answering the question or just talking about stuff you think you know something about? The Rambling Man (talk) 19:56, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

OR: One possible reason is that larger lids can be harder to open, especially if food has been spilled on the threads and dried there. I've found this to be the case often. Another more sinister motive is that they don't want you to get all the contents out, they'd rather have you go buy another. StuRat (talk) 20:25, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I was just going to link to this textbook on the subject that references a study that lids larger than 85mm are hard to open for some people. [6] Which explains why giant pickle jars have a next that goes down to that size.
Still Doesn't explain the why smaller jars like peanut butter jars don't add a few millimeters. That's probably the packing issue discussed above, but I can't find a source that discusses packagine and shipping issues. ApLundell (talk) 20:29, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

It's down to ease of production, reduction in material costs, particularly when using glass, and strength. And these days some of it is tradition, people like the way glass bottles look. Packing is absolutely irrelevant, such items aren't packed so closely that a few millimetres saved here and there. To assert otherwise is patently wrong. The Rambling Man (talk) 20:53, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

First you criticize others for giving opinions without refs to back them up, then you do the exact same thing ? StuRat (talk) 20:59, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
No, I'm just acclimatising to the sort of thing you and the others here do. I can happily spend hours giving my uninformed opinion and will do so whenever I like, just like you do. What's the problem all of a sudden? You don't like me joining in with you doing that? The Rambling Man (talk) 21:01, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Welcome to The Collective. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:12, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
The difference is I don't criticize others for that, unless they are being a hypocrite, like you. StuRat (talk) 21:17, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
No, the difference is that you offer nothing other than your opinion, and when I start doing the same, you get upset about it, like you own this kind of approach. Once you start adding references or links to your responses, we can take you seriously. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:21, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I often give refs, as I proved when you said the same thing on the talk page. You just boxed up the discussion and ignored my response. You just do cherry picking to try to support your absurd opinions. StuRat (talk) 21:26, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Saying "Don't do X" and then immediately doing "X" will upset anyone involved regardless of whether or not they are personally doing X. Odd that you're not aware of this perfectly normal aspect of human behavior. ApLundell (talk) 21:28, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I assumed you were all dogs? My bad. As for absurd opinions, StuRat, you don't just own the t-shirt, you own the pan-galactic manufacturing plants which churn them out hither and thither! [citation needed] The Rambling Man (talk) 21:37, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Just more baseless opinion from you with no facts to back it up. StuRat (talk) 22:54, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
In my opinion the response containing the greatest logic concerns preservation of space as concerns packing jars for shipping. I think the most interesting approach to answering this question concerns not design concerns but practical concerns, and not instances in which the production run is relatively small and/or the product is relatively expensive, but rather those instances in which the product is relatively inexpensive and produced in relatively large production runs. Therefore I tend to think of mayonnaise and peanut butter. Larger rather than smaller quantities I think should interest us more as concerns responding to this question. Mayonnaise fits that bill. Here are some images for consideration. Bus stop (talk) 21:10, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
No, slightly tapered bottles does not save at all on packing space. It would make the packages lighter, but not smaller in volume due to the size of the base. As for getting stuff out of these bad boys, see Bottle scraper. Awesome! I always find it easier to push a cat or a shrew into the bottle to get the last bits out. Problem comes when they eat so much they can't then escape. Hence the phrase "Shrew in a Bottle". The Rambling Man (talk) 21:14, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
We're talking about jars not bottles. A jar without a neck will have a greater outer diameter.
Grabbing a jar I happen to have handy. (17 oz Chocolate-Peanut Butter Jar) I find that the diameter is 75mm. The neck saves about 10mm of diameter.
If the sides of the jar were straight all the way, there would be a 28% increase in shelf-space required.
More relvantly, in a 40in box your could pack 196[7] with 75mm lids, and only 151[8] with 85mm lids. ApLundell (talk) 21:28, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Well if it's a slight taper, like a honey jar, then there's no issue with getting the residue out. Yes, it would make the packaging marginally smaller, but who uses "40in boxes"?! The example given is very "interesting" but can be tailored according to the argument. It's most likely that a 5% saving would be possible. Of course, that's clearly not always the case, see this for instance. A modern jam jar, which gets larger towards the top. Like an upside Mount Everest! Mind you, I've seen that mountain on Google, it's not that big, it's quite small actually, about 200px wide. Yawn. The Rambling Man (talk) 21:35, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
After eight edit conflicts I just want to say that there is a somewhat unsolvable problem here, given standard technology of jars and caps. You either create an overhang inside or outside the outer limits of the circular jar. The questions involve tradeoffs. Bus stop (talk) 21:43, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm not sure "slight taper" describes it. The neck (Of my chocolate peanut butter jar I measured earlier) is more of a lip, as it comes in at a slope that is almost horizontal. ApLundell (talk) 21:50, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Also note that you can boil/sterilize more volume, using square jars, in home canning, because they pack together more closely, but that the downside is that it would take longer to sterilize them. StuRat (talk) 22:50, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
I find the Talenti packaging unusual in the degree to which it fulfills what I see as the ideals that we are discussing, namely that the interior is straight all the way from the bottom up to the top. It is made out of plastic, both body and lid. Here are some images. Bus stop (talk) 04:30, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Yes, and note that the larger lids do prevent the sides of the containers from contacting each other, which may be an advantage on the store shelf, allowing customers to get a finger hold on each. StuRat (talk) 14:56, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
How important is it that the design allows "customers to get a finger hold on each"? Bus stop (talk) 15:02, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
That would depend on the clearance on top, and if customers can reach the top. If not, it could be quite difficult to grab one off the shelf and the customer might well pick the next brand. StuRat (talk) 15:23, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
There also might be a wild lion guarding the competitor's brand of ice cream. Bus stop (talk) 03:41, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
If you'd like a stronger statement, here it is: If your product is more difficult to remove from the shelf than your competition, then some portion of your customer base will choose the easier containers to grasp. StuRat (talk) 05:50, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

Trump on Uranium[edit]

Recently, Trump spoke on Uranium. He's what he had to say : "You know what uranium is, right? It’s this thing called nuclear weapons. And other things. Like lots of things are done with uranium. Including some bad things." Is this a broadly truthful description of Uranium. Or else, what is he trying to express? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:21, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Trump often speaks in a kind of shorthand. Obviously, Uranium by itself is not a nuclear weapon, it's merely a radioactive element, of which some type(s) can be fashioned into a nuclear weapon. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:26, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
  • In context, he was referring to the rumour that Hillary Clinton sold 20% of the US's uranium to Russia (by allowing the company Uranium One to be bought by a Russian company). You can read a detailed analysis of this claim at Snopes, who consider it false (there's no evidence that Clinton had the power to make or break the sale, and the person who allegedly bribed her had already left the company during the Bush era). Uranium can be used directly in nuclear weapons, or converted into plutonium-239 for more powerful bombs. It's also used in nuclear power, and less radioactive forms are used to make heavy bullets, radiation shields, weights, and other things. I wouldn't say you can do "lots of things" with uranium (in its highly active form, weapons, power, and plutonium manufacturing are about the limit), but it's broadly truthful insofar as it's how I might describe uranium to a child. (That said, nuclear weapons manufacturing currently uses very little of the world's uranium supply - civilian nuclear power is the main market. In fact, there was a glut of uranium recently, because nuclear weapons are being disarmed) Smurrayinchester 16:44, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
    Thanks for a great answer, unlike the preceding "thoughts" which don't belong at a Ref Desk. The Rambling Man (talk) 19:57, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Just FYI, Snopes is not a reliable source, having been caught in several flat-out lies in recent years -- if you really want a reliable fact-check site, go with 2601:646:8E01:7E0B:5449:B142:2C91:DC0A (talk) 05:48, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
News to me. Can you cite any cases where Snopes was caught in a lie? Someguy1221 (talk) 05:50, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Just off the top of my head, that rape case in Idaho which Snopes claims never happened! 2601:646:8E01:7E0B:A09B:C22:D57D:D076 (talk) 08:03, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
I'm sure every state in the union has seen at least one rape case, so you'll have to be more specific. Also, this sounds vaguely familiar. Did you get into an edit war about it? This one maybe? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:28, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
  • See Independent fact checkers tend to consider Snopes accurate, and it forms the basis for automatic fact checking systems including those used by Facebook. It seems like a reliable source for our purposes. (And if you don't believe them in this case, you can follow the links they provide to their evidence and make up your own mind. Everything in that article is supported by the facts.) Smurrayinchester 13:20, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Note that the rare uranium-235 isotope is needed for a sustained nuclear reaction, while the more common uranium-238, which can't be directly used for that, can be converted into U-235 or other fissile isotopes and elements, using a breeder reactor. StuRat (talk) 20:30, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
    • No, breeder reactors do not convert U-238 into U-235. There are two commonly proposed fuel cycles for breeder reactors. One converts U-238 into Pu-239 (neutron capture to make U-239, which decays by beta emission to Np-239, and again by beta emission to Pu-239). The other converts Thorium-232 to U-233. I don't know of any practical way to make U-235 in quantity. I think it's a primordial nuclide. --Trovatore (talk) 08:42, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
      Ah, looking at the Plutonium-239 article, it seems I have to issue a small erratum. You can make U-235 with a breeder reactor — if you're really patient. That's because you can make Pu-239, and Pu-239 decays to U-235. With a half-life of 24,110 years. --Trovatore (talk) 09:02, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Thanks for the info, but note that we don't have to wait for half of it to become U-235. After all, less than 1% of uranium is U-235 in nature, so anything in that range would be as good as a natural source, and even lower amounts might still be usable, if mined uranium was in short supply. StuRat (talk) 15:00, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
    Hmm, well, if you're willing to wait as long as some producers wait for Scotch whisky, in about 30 years, 0.1% of the Pu-239 will have become U-235. It's chemically different from the plutonium, so presumably easier to separate than U-235 from natural uranium. So if for some reason you need U-235 for something that Pu-239 won't work for, I suppose it's not completely impossible that this could be a competitive process — one would have to look at the numbers. But in any case this is not the process used in breeder reactors, to any noticeable extent. --Trovatore (talk) 21:20, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • To understand Trump, see word salad. Many have called his idiosyncratic use of English just that: [9], [10]. I would only look to his speeches as "reliable" for those subjects for which he is a recognized expert. --Jayron32 20:45, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
    • Which subjects are those?--WaltCip (talk) 14:02, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
      • Real estate and sloganeering come to mind. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:21, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
        • If by real estate and sloganeering you mean flipping bankrupted properties and charlatanry, then yes.--WaltCip (talk) 14:47, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • One skill that might serve him well on the Presidency is the ability to delegate and then take credit for the work of others. For example, when asked about some of the accounting tricks that apparently allow him to not pay any taxes, he didn't seem to know any of the details. I heard an interview with one of his accountants who confirmed that it wasn't Trump coming up with such specific ideas, just giving general direction. StuRat (talk) 14:53, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Reagan also was good at delegating, but, unlike Trump, he filled his cabinet with people who were experts. If the person in charge doesn't know what they're doing, they really need their staff to be competent. StuRat (talk) 17:41, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
  • Indeed. Reagan believed in meritocracy; and filled his cabinet with people who either a) were experts in their fields or b) were experienced bureaucrats who knew how to run a complex system, or c) both. I.E. John Rusling Block, with experience in Agriculture policy was Secretary of Agriculture. Raymond J. Donovan, his Secretary of Labor worked in labor relations for several corporations before moving to his cabinet. Trump follows in the pattern of Andrew Jackson as his model for appointing cabinet members. See here and here. Jackson followed what is called the spoils system, "to the victor goes the spoils". Like Jackson, Trump has based his cabinet appointments not on knowledge or experience, but on who has helped him; i.e. Rick Perry as nominee for Secretary of Energy, a position which he has publicly admitted to having little expertise in.[11]. --Jayron32 18:17, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

How can I ask a question to administrator at imdb[edit]

The message boards are gone now. (talk) 20:25, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

They have a "contact us" link in the footer of their main page. Jahoe (talk) 20:30, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Which gemstones symbolize friendship?[edit]

I love gemstones. (talk) 20:26, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Here are some suggestions: [12]. But, if you send me any gems, I will be your friend. :-)StuRat (talk) 20:32, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Including Gem blades? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:40, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Diamonds are a girls best friend. :) Jahoe (talk) 20:43, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
And they are Forever. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:45, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
They certainly aren't indestructible, so won't really last forever. StuRat (talk) 21:01, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Just like the friendship they symbolize... Jahoe (talk) 21:09, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
...forever marked with blood. Blood diamonds, De_Beers#Diamond_prices, price fixing, etc. SemanticMantis (talk) 22:01, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Harrumph! Girls get diamonds, but what do men get? Dogs! -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 21:23, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
If you google "friendship gemstones" you'll find plenty of options. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:47, 21 February 2017 (UTC)
Here's [13] an explanation of several nice stones symbolizing friendship in different ways. Here's [14] some discussions [15] of Victorian use of gems as symbols. SemanticMantis (talk) 22:01, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

February 23[edit]

Your reference to Paczki Day[edit]

It is not Fat Thursday, it's "Fat Tuesday"..please correct.

2601:406:8002:C670:B576:CC26:5C51:91D7 (talk) 06:29, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

Fat Tuesday is next week.
Fat Thursday is today. (Depending on your timezone.)
The mainpage holiday list is correct. ApLundell (talk) 06:39, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Curiously, as this is the English Wikipedia, our article isn't called Shrove Tuesday which is the English name for it. Alansplodge (talk) 13:09, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
I believe you mean an English name for it. There are multiple varieties of English, and the particular one you learned as a child is not the only one there is. --Jayron32 13:11, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Our article on Shrove Tuesday is alive and well. (talk) 15:59, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
As is Mardi Gras. --Jayron32 17:27, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Apologies all, I missed the wikilink in the lead paragraph. Morning isn't my best time (but Mardi Gras is still French and not English). Alansplodge (talk) 17:46, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
EO considers "Mardi Gras" to be English, "from French".[16]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:46, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
In some of the varieties of English spoken in some places in the world, Mardi Gras is as English as the words croissant, bouquet, aubergine, dossier, etc. Again, Alansplodge, merely because a word is used in a dialect of English that is not spoken where you happen to have lived, doesn't make it invalid. The world is a bigger place than your personal experiences. --Jayron32 19:06, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Where I come from, everyone knows what Mardi Gras is, and if you said Shrove Tuesday the odds are good you'd have to translate. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:15, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
Paczki Day refers to Fat Tuesday aka Shrove Tuesday. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:48, 23 February 2017 (UTC)
And that name comes from Pączki, a Polish pastry typically prepared on Fat Tuesday. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:18, 23 February 2017 (UTC)

February 24[edit]


So here I was talking to my karate instructor after class (or, rather, he was telling the whole class about Japanese history), and he said something along the lines that Japan under the shogunate was completely at peace for several hundred years -- and when I asked him if the samurai didn't sometimes fight among themselves (over money, over land, over women, etc.), he answered that they never did. I have trouble believing this -- I know that at the time Japan had essentially a feudal system of governance, and under such a system there's definitely bound to be at least some internecine warfare at least once in a blue moon. Can anyone verify his incredible claim? 2601:646:8E01:7E0B:A09B:C22:D57D:D076 (talk) 08:13, 24 February 2017 (UTC)

Describing the entire span of time under the Shoguns (1185 to 1868) as peaceful is completely ridiculous, just looking at List_of_conflicts_in_Asia#Japan. Your teacher may have been thinking specifically of the Edo period (about the last 250 years of Shogun rule), which was indeed free of major military conflicts. Our articles don't discuss smaller scale spats between individual Samurai, but to say that they never fought sounds similarly ridiculous. Someguy1221 (talk) 08:36, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
Let's just say I generally don't go to karate instructors for my history lessons. As noted above they probably meant the Edo period. The actual meaning of "completely at peace" is completely up to whoever's saying it, since there's always some cutoff where you decide that crime, unrest, etc. below that level doesn't qualify as "not being at peace". For instance, it's often stated that Europe had a "century of peace" between the Napoleonic Wars and World War I, it being decided that all the European wars and uprisings that did happen during that time, like the Revolutions of 1848, Crimean War, and wars of unification of Italy and Germany, don't count since they weren't big enough. See also the recent question on the Miscellaneous Ref Desk that centered around debating the definition of "war". -- (talk) 10:31, 24 February 2017 (UTC)
Agreed. Excepting the disturbances linked by Smurrayinchester above, the Tokugawa shogunate (1603 to 1867) is widely regarded as "a time of internal peace, political stability, and economic growth". [17] "Life in Tokugawa Japan was peaceful but heavily controlled by the Shogunal government". [18] Certainly it was peaceful in comparison to the preceding century which is known as the Sengoku period "the age of civil war". As to samurai fighting amongst themselves, it was discouraged but not eradicated. Samurai were encouraged to study art and literature as well as the traditional martial arts, which themselves tended to evolve from purely practical fighting techniques into more philosophical systems, for example the move away from kenjutsu to kendo. The Samurai Warrior: The Golden Age of Japan's Elite Warriors 1560–1615 by Ben Hubbard has more details. Alansplodge (talk) 11:45, 24 February 2017 (UTC)