Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2006 November 22

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November 22[edit]

Need a Book Title[edit]

I need some help on a book title. It's from some fat Texas preacher and talks about World War III and how God will defeat the Muslims and shit like that. I know that the title starts with "Countdown". —Preceding unsigned comment added by Blueflashlight07 (talkcontribs)

I'm guessing it's Jerusalem Countdown by John Hagee. Wareh 01:16, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Another televangelist to add to my list of human scum, I see. :-) StuRat 05:46, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Cape Horn[edit]

Am I the only one who sees no galery, but default example "pictures" in Cape Horn? Thanks, I just want to check that it's not just my browser or something like that. --Ibn Battuta 00:30, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Should it have a gallery? Vitriol 00:49, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Looks fine to me in IE6. It has several pics but no "gallery" as such.--Shantavira 09:02, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

untitled question[edit]

Do you have any interest in a set of Gem lessons from 1985, which were printed by a mimeograph machine. I have a full set of lessons, with the tests filled out and returned to me. I am 85 years old, and retired for some time, so I am getting ready to clean house around here. I found these lessons and also a copy of Dictionary of Gems & Gemology by Robert M Shipley, 4th edition; also a copy of the Story of Sterling by The Sterling Silveersmiths Guild of America.

(address removed)

Hi, the refdesk for factual questions, so you're unlikely to get any interest here. If you want to sell your books and lessons, you might try eBay. --Wooty Woot? contribs 01:23, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Wikipedia does not itself maintain any "hard" archives of reference materials used in the articles. What people usually do (I hope) is write the articles from their understanding of the subject and reference them using "hard" and/or internet references. If you have interest you may want to look at some of the Gem and related articles and see if there is anything in those reference materials that would enhance the articles then write the appropriate portion(s) (do not copy verbatum from the references obviously as that would be plagiarism). Then you can sell them on eBay as you do not have to keep them just because you referenced them. Good luck in either case. --Justanother 03:05, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Personally, I LOVED the smell of freshly duplicated Mimeographs in the day,(or Dittos more likely) but alas the fumes have faded. Edison 06:48, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Featured Article[edit]

Sorry if I'm asking this in the wrong place, but how is the daily Wikipedia featured article chosen? Is it chosen at random, or is it the newest addition to the pool of Featured Articles? The Ayatollah 01:32, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

There is a vote, but that's about all I know. 01:42, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

It is done through WP:TFA. Cbrown1023 01:44, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Offtopic alert! You know you spend too much time on Slashdot when you are shocked that someone would use the acronym "TFA" on the ref desk before you realize it means "today's featured article." 01:49, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, you are right, when I said TFA I wasn't saying "The Fucking Article", I was saying "Today's Featured Article." Cbrown1023 01:53, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Not to sound to al-qaeda'ish but...[edit]

would a well placed "standard" (whatever that means)nuclear bomb in the san andreas fault cause southern california to fall in the ocean and create an Arizona Bay?

--maynard james keenan

No. B00P 02:18, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
To elaborate on the No. Faults occur because of tectonic plates, bombs are very unlikely to create a reaction that leaves enough force to change the earth's very tectionic movements. Also, Southern California cannot "fall" into the ocean; at least not the whole thing. You may want to check out Plate tectonics#Types of plate boundaries. Cbrown1023 02:23, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Bill Hicks and Lex Luthor both dreamed of Arizona Bay. Vespine 03:29, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
It is reminiscent of Zorin's scheme.  --LambiamTalk 04:50, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Hell no. Many orders of magnitude too small. Edison 06:48, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
The above user put it well. --Proficient 03:54, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Pencil Sharpener[edit]

What is the best pencil sharpener? By best, I mean in the categories of speed, evenness of the sharpen, pointy-ness of the point, and life span. Manual/electric doesn't matter, neither does cost.- 03:59, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Were you thinking of buying one, or are you just interested?--Light current 04:04, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm on a quest to find the greatest sharpener, I guess I'm a little obsessed with it.- 04:09, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

The absolute best is a good quality little manual about an inch long, usually milled from aluminum alloy and available at art supply stores. They allow you to control exactly the point without breaking the lead. The blades can be changed. See image or the article pencil sharpener that shows a double model to allow for different angles. -THB 04:32, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I prefer something like the above, but with a cup added to collect the filings, which can be quite messy, as the graphite powder smears on clothing, paper, etc. StuRat 05:39, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Assuming you really want a pencil sharpener and don't want to use a knife or kraftknife to sharpen/sculpt your pencil/lead which allows for different surfaces on the point, the simplest and longest lasting will be the metal one described above especially as you can switch old blades. You can however find one than will give you an even sharper pencil, it basically sharpens it so the point is much longer and forms a smaller angle, it also makes it more fragile. I know these are available in Japan an South Korea for comic book authors and animators so you might want to try and check their supply stores or get a native to do it for you. They might be available closer to you if you live close to/in a big arty city. There also exist very small sharpeners designed to sharpen the leads of grip pencils. these usually work from 0.5 to 3mm diameter and can be used to a certain extent on pencills to. These ara also available from big online art supply stores. The best way to get a perfect finish on your sharpening is to use very fine sandpaper or more practicaly the red spatula of sandpaper used for filing nails. These can also be found in artshops and the latter will be in beauty stores. The quality of your sharpened point will greatly depend on the quality and the hardness of your pencil. Keria 08:21, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Coin collecting terms[edit]

What does the RD, Type 1, Type 2 and other designators mean to coin collectors? I have found these listed in coin collector books but I can't find any reference to what they mean or how one would know by looking at the coin. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

See this coin glossary. All your questions answered, and more! -THB 04:30, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Might Type Set be about that? If the info is missing, please add it. DirkvdM 06:56, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Is it just my browser or does it look like someone randomly tossed a handful of coins on that article? -THB 09:35, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
It wasn't just your browser. I tried to clean it up a bit. Seems like the table could do some repair, too, and perhaps the correct capitalization would be type set. –mysid 13:16, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

French and English accounts[edit]

I am not sure this is the place for this question, but it is the only place I could think of. In any case, it is short.

I have signed up for an account on Wikipedia's English site. I tried singing in on the French site later with the same account, but was unable to do so. Does this mean that I need to create a second account for the French site? I am bilingual and would like to work on both, but I just want to make sure before creating a second account for nothing.

I am very new (signed up today), so please be patient with me. Atsinganoi 05:13, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

The different language Wikipedias indeed have different users, so you will have to create an account in the French Wikipedia, too. –mysid 05:23, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Although this may change at some point in the future, accounts between various language wikipedias are currently independent so (for now) you'll need two separate accounts. -- Rick Block (talk) 05:22, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Hi Atisnganoi, Welcome to Wikipedia! I'm still pretty new, too, so please be just as patient with my answer! :o) ... But I've already found out this much: Yes, you do have to create a new account for each and every wikipedia into which you want to sign in. The different Wikipedias are on different servers, so it's unfortunately not possible to sign into the French Wikipedia with your English account. (I read somewhere that there may be plans to change this... on the other hand, I imagine that it's not very easy because--apart from all the technical problems--many user names probably exist in several Wikipedias...) Good luck, --Ibn Battuta 05:24, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Thanks a lot for the info everyone.Atsinganoi 05:29, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Copyright of stamps from [X][edit]

I've read somewhere on this (or a different???) Wikipedia that one country/territory generally publishes stamps under a licence that would probably allow to use the stamps on Wikipedia (I think it was public domain). Now I'm looking for 1) the page where it said that, so that I can verify whether it was in fact public domain; 2) the name of the country/territory--I think it was an island/ archipelago that belongs to Britain (could have been the Falklands? Or much closer to Britain??). Sorry, I didn't think I'd ever need information about stamps, so I didn't pay much attention then... and I've been trying to find this information, but to no avail. Generally I would appreciate any information about opportunities to browse Wikipedia's help section or whatever (is there any search option or so??)--I've always a hard time finding what I'm looking for... Thanks for your help. --Ibn Battuta 05:18, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

The article for the United States Postal Service goes into this very topic. It seems that stamps printed before 1978 are in the public domain. After that, you have to get written permission from the USPS for their use. Dismas|(talk) 06:36, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Um, I'm afraid the US don't really qualify as an island/ archipelago that belongs to Great-Britain... :o) ... so I'm afraid I'm looking for a different page. --Ibn Battuta 08:15, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
What about the Channel Islands? A smallish archipelago, and a Crown dependency, much closer to mainland Britain than the Falklands, though they are, in large measure, politically and financially self-governing. I'm not sure how this affects the issue-and usage-of postage stamps. Clio the Muse 08:45, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
If you want to search Wikipedia, use Google and search "site:" plus your search terms. Or your favourite search engine with whatever coding works for them :-) Skittle 21:35, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

What is the safest way to remove hair from your balls?[edit]

So, can waxing do it or what? Or is it just careful use of an electric razor? .V. 05:52, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Just don't use depilatory cream. Probably it's best to trim it with rounded-nose scissors. -THB 06:27, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Depends on how much of it you want gone. I've tried shaving once or twice (itchy as hell while it's growing back), and generally go for scissors to get the bulk, followed by a Bic disposable razor for the rest (do we really not have an article on disposable razors?). Can't say I've had much experience of waxing, but if you do go for it, cut the hair to a minimal length first. GeeJo (t)(c) • 08:11, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Waxing and shaving both work well - just ensure you ask for 'hot wax' and not 'strip wax' as it is much less painful. And don't trim too much! The waxist will trim your hair to the correct length for you if it's too long. My boyfriend's electric razor specifically says it's not to be used anywhere but the face, but a wet razor works well. Waxing results in finer regrowth and you don't have to do it as often, but it's more expensive than shaving. Natgoo 08:40, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Jeez, a razor? That sounds dangerous. Scissors might be fine, but I'd say raking your package up and down with a sharp metal blade should be a last resort. I guess the waxing might be fine. Does plucking work? .V. 10:59, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Heh, you just need to be careful, and after the first few times you'll know the way your hairs grow and you'll be an old pro. You could maybe try having someone else do it for you? Whipped cream is just as effective as shaving cream (and far tastier) :) Plucking would work fine, but it would take forever - the result would be the same as for waxing, I'd imagine. Natgoo 16:19, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm amazed we have so many experts on this topic. StuRat 16:51, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

We need a nurse who has actually done this in preparation for an operation.--Light current 17:40, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Umm, unfortunately, that would be me. He asked for the safest method and I gave it. If he needs it baby-ass smooth, and insists on shaving the scrotom and perianal area, it would be best to have someone else do it. It's very easy to nick the skin down there--lots of loose skin, little bumps, folds, etc. Also there are lots of small blood vessels so if there is a nick, it bleeds a lot.
I would guess that there are two primary reasons that so many people seem to know about it: supposedly it increases sensation and some people don't like to perform oral sex on hairy genitalia.
Pre-op shaving is much less rarely done these days, the theory being that shaving the skin and removing the hair creates avenues for infection. -THB 21:39, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Oh, and I'm willing to bet that the people recommending waxing the scrotum haven't actually tried it. -THB 21:40, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
That may be due to the fact that I don't have one - my boyfriend does, though, and gets waxed regularly, and recommends it. Natgoo 22:29, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I have had my back waxed and can't imagine a. the hot wax on my scrotum and b. the ripping out of the hair. However, some people enjoy this sort of thing. -THB 00:30, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
And some people just like the result. The 'back, sack and crack' wax is quite popular among men. Natgoo 09:54, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
And I am absolutely positive that the person recommending PLUCKING the hairs one at a time from the scrotum has never done it. -THB 21:58, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
THank you for that insight THB! You hae put into words what I could not. The small blood vessels, loose skin etc. Thats why I would have thought: waxing was the best alternative. BTW are you a male or female nurse? (Just interseted) BTW would you think it possible that you could merge all your above posts into one Thanks!--Light current 22:29, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Last time I checked, male. *checks* Yep, still am. -THB 00:30, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

I have no personal experience (wink) but er, I'm told that the Gillette Mach 3 razor (with shaving cream or gel, I prefer gel) is very effective and nick-free. Do it in the shower, and apply a little aloe-based gel lotion when you're done and out of the shower. It's only itchy when you haven't done it for two or three days and the hair starts to grow back out. 5:16pm, 22 November 2006 (PST)

I'm sorry I just have to have to ask, Is it really worth the effort and possible or should I say probable pain?AMX 19:49, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Studio Ghibli[edit]

Hi. I am currently doing a school project on the production of animation. I am finding it a little bit difficult to find myself the right information. So I was wondering if you would be able to help me out. I am mainly looking for the proccess' that Studio Ghibli goes through in making there animation movies. Your help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Studio Ghibli uses traditional animation techniques. There is plenty of information in the article.--Shantavira 09:13, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
They recently switched to a digital colouring system for their animation replacing the traditionnal cell painting. They also use computers to composite the finished animation onto the final background, although the linetest animation (sketched, not yet inked animation) is tested over the original layout drawing for the background. They use computer animation, both 2d and 3d, to enhance certain shots. You might rember the "spirit's bath" shot from Chihiro/Spirited Away where a lot of 2d vector animation was used to create the ripples of mud on the main character. These are all recent additions to their otherwise traditional animation technique. If you can get their DVDs a lot of their techniques are explained in the bonuses User:Keria20:22, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
There are also "the art of" books for some of their films, like Spirited Away, that contain a lot of lovely pictures and good information. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 20:41, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Symbol identification needed[edit]

What, exactly, does this symbol mean? Harwoof 09:45, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't know, but may I ask you to provide some more background on it? (where did you see it or what was the context)... It really helps because symbols can have a number of meanings. ☢ Ҡiff 09:52, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I saw it spraypainted over town while I was out and it piqued my curiosity, so I don't think context especially helps. Harwoof 10:05, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Could be hobo code, or maybe just a gang signature. ☢ Ҡiff 11:13, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Could also be a Chinese character imposed on a circle. 中 means "middle" in Chinese. --Kjoonlee 17:00, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Looks like a symbol for a component of an electronic circuit diagram. Readro 00:00, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Husband and wife serial killer.[edit]

I recall reading on Wikipedia an article about a husband and wife serial killer. I can't recall their names, but I believe they were in Canada (or maybe North America). Does anyone have any idea who I'm talking about?

There is probably more than one of these combinations. However, the only example that springs to mind is Rosemary West and her husband Fred West. British, though, rather than North American. Clio the Muse 10:03, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Don't know about North America, but in England there were Fred and Rosemary West. --Richardrj talk email 10:04, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I beat you to it, Richard, though by a whisker, I admit! Clio the Muse 10:06, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Next time, Clio, I shall prevail! Mwa-ha-ha-ha! --Richardrj talk email 10:07, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Doods, it's Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Anchoress 10:16, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Copyright status of the Red Cross symbol[edit]

Red Cross

thumb|200px|World heritage

What do you say, is the Red Cross symbol considered to be eligible for copyright? I'm thinking mainly of the cross itself, but as a bonus, its sister symbols could be considered as well. —Bromskloss 10:25, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Symbols and logos are generally trademarked, rather than copyrighted. Regardless, as Emblems of the Red Cross outlines, the use of the Red Cross is governed by the Geneva conventions rather than strictly by copyright law. GeeJo (t)(c) • 10:28, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
OK. So, the Geneva convention aside, what am I not allowed to do with a trademarked symbol? And as for the Geneva convention, while I'm not a signatory of it, I am a citizen of a nation that is. Is it reasonable to believe that I am prohibited by the law (of the country I live in) to use it? Perhaps the same goes for the world heritage symbol? Actually UNESCO says that it's protected by the "World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) act" [1]. Is that something only members of the UN must adhere to? (As if almost every country wasn't a member.) —Bromskloss 10:54, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
That's not strictly correct. Logos are copyrighted, just like any other two dimensional works of art. That's why on Wikipedia, we use logos under fair use provisions. Trademarking logos is a separate issue; that's to stop competitors or someone else from using a really similar logo for their own product or organisation. enochlau (talk) 12:37, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
An image of a circle – probably ineligible for copyright
Not everything gets copyright. If it's too simple or just just common knowledge, it's not protected. A recording of a sine wave and an image of a circle would be examples, if you'd ask me. There is even a category for this kind of things. —Bromskloss 13:36, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, of course. But the others that we've been discussing don't really fall into that category, although a red cross is arguable. enochlau (talk) 13:49, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I was of the impression that it might. That's why I thought I'd ask the reference desk. :-) —Bromskloss 14:07, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
The Red Cross image is in the PD-ineligible category on the commons.  --LambiamTalk 14:46, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
As I side note I remember the red cross organisation complaining about the use of the cross in computer games see Red Cross wants logo out of violent video games 15:28, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I remember reading that about the red-cross, you would think that anything that improves people's knowledge of them being a 'help' (particularly health wise) would be good. Still I seem to remember a time many moons ago when computer game developers used to PAY firms to add their name into the game (to add to the realism), i'm guessing now that has mostly changed to be the other way around!! ny156uk 18:33, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Perpetual calendar in the head[edit]

I have heard of people who, when told a date, can say what day of the week it was. For example, being given the random day of October 1, 1995, and determining that it is a Sunday. What should one do to start learning this technique? Thanks! Reywas92Talk 15:28, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

I don't think it's a perpetual calendar, but rather simple mathematics learned. (There's other people who could memorize large maps of cities and long lists from the Yellow Pages, though, I think it's largely genetical...) 惑乱 分からん 16:11, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Please see Calculating the day of the week. -- Rick Block (talk) 16:46, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I think the original poster is looking for autistic savant. In short, these people who have perpetual caldendars in their heads are usually autistic. They are either born with it or experiences seizures in their childhood that changes some chemicals in their brain. The Ayatollah 20:00, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Sensible ghost removal[edit]

Does anyone have some rational reasonable advice for removing a ghost from a house? And I don't mean "get over it" from skeptics, or elaborate exorcisms from fanatics. I'm looking for some fairly simple way of communicating that it has better places to be, and encouraging it to go there. Mothperson cocoon 16:13, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Have you tried simply telling the spirit exactly that in a calm, rational, friendly manner. You might not know exactly where it is; assuming that you do not perceive the spirit directly but have some feeling or indications of its existence; so you might try repeating the communication in different areas of the house or at different times. You may be interested that at a Scientology funeral service the minister speaks directly to the spirit and urges the dead person to "end cycle" on their now-past life and begin a new one. Here is a reference that includes a few key lines from the ceremony, I wish I could give you a link to the full text. "We do not contest your right to go away. Your debts are paid. This chapter of thy life is shut. Go now, dear [deceased first name], and live once more in happier time and place. Thank you, [deceased]." --Justanother 16:22, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Cool. Thanks. It's actually in a friend's house, and we kind of know where it hangs out, but the idea of repeating the message in various areas seems like a good one. And I like the message. Mothperson cocoon 17:04, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
You are very welcome. And I did find a bit more of the full text; look at page 14 here. The language is somewhat flowery as it is designed for a service but you can change it as you see fit; the idea is there. Good luck! --Justanother 17:19, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Shouldn't there be some kind of rule against proselytising on the Reference Desk? I realise that on topics like this it may be unavoidable. By the way, I'm not bigoted against Scientologists, I'm bigoted against all religions ;P Vitriol 19:06, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Congratulations, you're proud of being a bigot! Have fun embracing your ignorance. -- Abnerian 11:19, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Sorry, did I somewhere say "Go become a Scientologist"? The OP asked a question that Scientology directly addresses (and specifically implied that skeptics need not reply). I gave the answer and the source of the answer. I am a Scientologist and when questions call for an answer that Scientology provides I do not hide where the answer comes from. You can take it or leave it. Would you like a string theorist to refrain from answering questions about string theory because you think it is hokum? I am not really interested in your bigotries nor do I expect you to be interested in mine. --Justanother 19:32, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

On a more scientific level, you can have a big party, redecorate, and check for mould. I find that you enter a certain atmosphere, and you can sense a ghost. This does not mean there actually is one, but you are having a deep, fundamental human reaction. --Zeizmic 18:21, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Why do you need the party and the redecorate? BTW, all due respect, but when you insist on trying to fit "science" to something that it does not address you are practicing Scientism. Just in case you did not already know. --Justanother 19:41, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I totally wasn't trying to be offensive. I guess what I was trying to say was that anybody can say "do this rite or prayer or whatever" or say their religion's viewpoint on most any question and then we can all argue about it. This question was probably a daft question to bring it up on because there are no hard answers. You could say that trying to impose a scientific viewpoint on something totally disconnected to science is the same thing, and that'd be right; I was just trying to make a general point, but I did it poorly. Sorry. Vitriol 19:55, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

I am not a fan of any organized religion. Scientology actually gives me the creeps. As do all other religions. But I did not think Justanother was proselytizing at all. It was an interesting take on my question. I was asking for a practical answer, and really, having a big party and checking for mould is not going to work. If you don't choose to be aware of stuff that may be uncomfortable for you, that's fine, but - uh - you don't need to proselytize about your point of view. Mothperson cocoon 19:56, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Oh, lordy. Never mind. I thought if I could get some sensible answers anywhere it would be Wikipedia, but I certainly did not mean to start an unpleasantness. I'll figure it out myself. Now where's that damn piñon incense? Mothperson cocoon 20:01, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
No bother. Wikipedia can be a lively forum. While, after seeing some of the questions asked here, I might not say there no such thing as a stupid question; this is certainly not a stupid question. Many people believe in spirits and the OP wondered what one might say to one to urge it to go away. I had a decent answer for him/her. Science only addresses the measurable and there is much more in Heaven and Earth, Horatio. Some questions are best answered by physics and others are best answered by religion. Let's not limit ourselves here, please. --Justanother 21:23, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I think the problem is that "sensible ghost removal" is a bit of an oxymoron. -THB 21:32, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Only to people that think ghosts make no sense; which is probably the minority on planet Earth. THB, all love but you are confusing science with reason and scientific with rational. Science is this very specific activity having to do with that which is measurable with scientific instruments. I, for one, do not limit my experience nor my reason to that. --Justanother 21:40, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, THB if it's your agreement with your world that the removal of ghosts, sensibly or otherwise, is an oxymoron, so be it. Good luck with that. I'm obviously somewhere else. Mothperson cocoon 21:52, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm just saying there's no scientific way of getting rid of a ghost. Best to light a candle and say some mumble-jumble. -THB 21:57, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I wasn't asking for a scientific method. I was just asking for some advice. Yes, we will light a candle and say some mumble-jumble, but it would be nice if it were sort of meaningful mumble-jumble. OXYMORON, I know! Mothperson cocoon 22:01, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, I would agree with the person above who said to be direct and forthright and just tell it that there are better places for it to be and you would appreciate it if it went somewhere else. Most people don't hang around where they're not wanted and if ghosts are the spirits of the dead I see no reason they should be any different. I would be extremely polite about it, however. Like breaking up with someone that you care about. -THB 00:27, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Talking about reason: Would not researching the history of the house and occupants and trying to figure out what the poor soul's possible problem is be reasonable? That sounds reasonable in everyday life. It also sounds reasonable to ask the fellow what the problem is directly. From the above it seems as if you can use any language you wish, since no one mentioned which one to use. Seejyb 00:48, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Ah. Well. Other problems emerge here. We may know who it is, and I think - taking your language suggestion more literally than you meant - we are going to have to speak Italian. I don't suppose there is anyone around who would be willing to give me a sensible address to a ghost in Italian. I'll go crack the books. Thank you all for your suggestions. Mothperson cocoon 15:02, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

finding out sex of a kitten[edit]

how old does a cat have to be before the sex can be determined?

Some weeks in the womb, likely. 惑乱 分からん 17:17, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I think the question was about kittens, not feline foetuses. --Kjoonlee 17:30, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Oh, were you saying that it's possible to find out even with newborn kittens? --Kjoonlee 17:37, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
The sex can be determined at birth. Dismas|(talk) 17:58, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Exactly as I believed, couldn't see any reason than why cats should be any different than human (where however, it generally is quite obvious) or most other mammals. It could possibly be difficult to find out by laymen, however, I'm no "ailurologist"... 惑乱 分からん 18:05, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I think most mammals can withdraw their penises, a talent humans don't have. Could be (read: probably) wrong though. Vitriol 18:56, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't think they can retract their testicles tho. Anchoress 20:11, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Funny people making guesses! The way to tell is simply to lift up the tail. No, on the kittens, there won't be visible testes or penises. But there will always be two holes. The one on top is the same for both sexes. (Kinda like humans.) The one on the bottom is either a dot or an exclamation point. The dot's the boy, the ! is a girl. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 20:19, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Someone with experience can determine the sex at birth. See comparative photos at eight weeks that describe the dot vs. slit. -THB 20:28, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Those pics aren't nearly as interesting as what I got when I went to Google images and typed "sex kitten", however. :-) StuRat 10:16, 24 November 2006 (UTC)
Good pics. Bad information there about color, though. Yes, almost all (99%+, I think) calico/tortie cats are female -- it's due to a disagreement between the two X chromosomes regarding suppressing the color and coming out with orange instead. Males can't have the conflict. But females can have two sets of the color suppressors too, so though there are more orange males than females, there aren't enough for it to be even a remotely reliable sex indicator. Check out [2] for a good writeup on cat genetics, if you're interested. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 20:40, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
There are a very small mumber of male calicos, but they're almost all deaf. User:Zoe|(talk) 02:59, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
More to the point, they're almost all sterile -- XXY and other such unusual chromosomal patterns. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 03:04, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Getting back to the original question, at birth the shape of the genital opening in males and females is fairly similar, but in males you will see a slight protuberance above the opening. This is the scrotum. --Joelmills 04:22, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
  • It's easier to tell in the first few days than any other time until they become sexually mature but Everyone else has the gist of how to do it,holes next to each othe ,female. a little apart,male.hotclaws**== 13:46, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

I always thought you just show them The Three Stooges, and the ones that laugh are male. -GTBacchus(talk) 10:39, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Mysterious official vehicle[edit]

The other day I saw an unmarked black 4x4 vehicle with tinted windows and flashing purple-blue lights, flanked by several police cars and fire engines. Any idea what this sort of vehicle might be? (the only thought that springs to mind for me is men in black!) Laïka 17:26, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Just to clarify, this was in the United Kingdom, on a normal city road (not restricted access or anything). Laïka 17:36, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Fire/police chief?--Light current 17:36, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
No; where I live, the fire chief drives a red Smart Fortwo; silly but effective. Laïka 17:42, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Sounds like the vehicle driven by the Torchwood team. Were you near Cardiff when you saw it ? Gandalf61 20:07, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
That's what I thought, too (for those that haven't seen Torchwood)! But no, it wasn't the same one. Laïka 22:11, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
It's the partyvan! Seriously, though, it's probably a police van. --Wooty Woot? contribs 20:16, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Anaesthesia-induced nocturnal erections?[edit]

I am going in for major abdominal surgery shortly and as an otherwise healthy male, I am curious to know whether during the operation, whilst under the general anaesthetic, I might experience the same involuntary nocturnal erections I have when sleeping normally (so my wife tells me). If so, what do the medical team do - laugh out loud, ignore it, or hit it with a handy piece of surgical equipment? White Squirrel 17:39, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

My guess is, people being people, a discrete snicker or rolled eye and then carry on. You'll never know. --Justanother 18:02, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Or being professional, hardly notice it... =S Don't know whether anaestasia affects erection, however if it does, I don't think the surgeons would care much about it. Maybe slightly lifting it upwards if it interfers with the operation area. @_@ 惑乱 分からん 18:10, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I've heard of this happening, though I don't know how common it is. A nurse I know told me the standard procedure is to put cold water on it.--Shantavira 18:52, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Oh, I am sure that they would be professional. I don't know what the etiquette is in an OR; probably my "discrete snicker or rolled eye" would be considered bad manners; maybe a lifted eyebrow? I just think that if the OR staff is a tight group with a sense of humor that it would not go totally unmarked. --Justanother 19:07, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I can't speak about the OR in particular, but generally speaking, if there is a situation in a hospital where erections occur, the staff has seen them a thousand times and couldn't care less about it, so there is no reason for you to worry. The only situation I can recall where it was ever even mentioned was a 90 something year old man in diapers, late stage Alzheimers, when the nurse went in to change the diapers twice, waiting for the (rather large) erection to go away. It never became flaccid because it was a permanently rigid prosthesis, but she didn't know about those until she asked another nurse why it wouldn't "go away". Better to worry about the outcome of the surgery. -THB 21:30, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Since it came up on a question above, I was the nurse she asked. Yes, it took a good ten minutes for us to stop laughing about it enough to function. It was in the middle of the night and the patient wasn't aware of what was going on. -THB 21:44, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Umm, anaesthesia generally involves not only a pain and consciousness suppressant but also a paralysis/ muscle relaxant, so that the patient doesn't involuntarily move during the procedure. I doubt you get erections during general, but even if you do, to put it into perspective, surgeons dissect corpses at med school, by the time they work on their 1st patient they have seen much much more then an erect penis, they've seen one carved into components! It's what they get the big bucks for.Vespine 22:27, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
  • yeah smackheads rarely have erections so I think the anesthetic would take care of it. hotclaws**== 13:48, 23 November 2006 (UTC)
Come, come THB, as a professional nurse, you shoulsd be acting professionally, and surely not making fun of patients' (who are unconcious) uncontrollable bodily functions. 8-(--Light current 22:40, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Hmm. The way I read that comment, the laughter wasn't for the erection itself (which, remember, THB apparently already knew about), but for the mental image of the new nurse just standing there staring at a permanent erection, waiting for it to go away, which it of course never will. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 23:10, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes well. Women should not laugh at erections whatever the cause. They are natural and mostly involuntary. It is discrimination against the male sex to make fun. Its like men making fun of a womans moistness or periods (or their Chapel hat pegs when its cold). 8-(--Light current 23:32, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Chapel hat pegs! I've never heard that one, it took me a second to figure it out. ;) Dina 23:46, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes you could say its a bit nippy in here!--Light current 23:49, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

As you are going to be have a general anaesthetic I really don't think you have anything to worry about. Its not as though the surgical team are going to be taking pictures. Speaking as somebody who has had surgery in that area I can tell you that (in the UK atleast) not only are you injected with a general anaethetic but also a gel is applied to your body which covers about a foot radius from the main incision, it has been 7 years since I had the operation and I STILL can't feel parts of my upper left leg properly. AMX 19:39, 23 November 2006 (UTC)AMX

In the course of their work, doctors and nurses get to see and hear just about everything, a lot of it much, much weirder than an erect penis on an unconscious person. Consider this tale from an American doctor, for instance. --Robert Merkel 20:40, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

Abbreviation conventions[edit]

I was directed here by Mr. Jim Redmond from another one of your web sites. My question to him was, is there a convention to abbreviations. A specific eaxample that will fill my need for a client is, (horsepower) Hp, hp, H.p., h.p., HP or H.P. Also (kilowatt) Kw, K.w., kw, k.w. etc. I checked Hyperdictionary and they do not really address it. They hust say for example HP (for horsepower). Again, is there a convention?

Thank you in advance if anyone can shed some light on this subject.

Ken Clark Clark Design (email address redacted)

Under the SI system, kilowatts are written as "kW"; the "W" in watt is uppercase as it is someone's name, "k" is lowercase as it is less than 1×106. Horsepower in general is normally "hp" (all lowercase), but since there are about dozen different types of horsepower, you have to be more clear; say "metric horsepower" or "mechanical horsepower", or simply use watts for everything. Laïka 18:01, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
(edit conflict)To clarify: the basic rules are
  • No dots
  • Scientific documents should use index notation for "per"; metres per second is "ms-1", not "m/s" or "mps". Less scientific ones can use "/".
  • Any unit named after a person is uppercase (W - watt, N - newton, K - kelvin). Those named after a person with more than one letter have the first letter only in uppercase (Pa - pascal, Gy - Gray). All others are lower case (m -metre, g - gram), including those with more than one letter (rad - radian, kat - katal).
  • All SI prefixes less than or equal to "kilo" are lower case (m - milli, μ - micro, d - deci, da - deca), all others are uppercase (M - mega, P - peta, G - giga). This is very important, as the difference between a zm and a Zm is 1×1042!
That should be all you need for most purposes, but for a more in-depth version, read The SI brochure Laïka 18:14, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
Cool, that is something I have trouble with too. Any ideas about MMBTU or mmBTU for 106 BTU? I have seen it both ways and it is not exactly an SI unit in either format, is it? --Justanother 18:06, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
For British Thermal Units (which are oddly hardly ever found in Britain), use Therms, equal to 105 BTU each. So 1000000 BTU is 10 Therm. Laïka 18:14, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I am "locked into" mmBTU (my favorite) so it has to be MMBTU (MMBtu) or mmBTU (mmBtu). The BTU page actually mentions this but they have MM Btu vs. mm Btu (but not any more - laff), neither of which I have ever seen. --Justanother 18:17, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

I'll just sum up the rules for SI abbreviations:

  • Never use dots. Write everything together.
  • For all units named after common words, not people: write everything in lower case. For units named after people: write the first letter in upper case, all others in lower case.
  • For prefixes: all prefixes less than mega (one million times) must be written in lower case. All prefixes from mega and onwards (greater) must be written in upper case. This is important. The difference between m (milli) and M (mega) is one billion (in American). The difference between y (yocto) and Y (yotta) is... how do I write this in American... one quinquedecillion.
  • It is "scientific style" to write divisor units with "-1", but it is not required. The layman form "/" will work just as well. As they are completely equivalent, I can think of no reason to prefer the former other than snobbery.

Hope this helps. JIP | Talk 19:50, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Rather than snobbery, how about clarity? Each unit is clearly marked with its power. Skittle 21:08, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
It's true; when trying to find the Equilibrium constant for an equation for instance, which doesn't have fixed units, it's just a little easier to calculate (mol dm-3)(mol2 dm-6)/(mol4 dm-12) than (mol/dm3)(mol2/dm6)/(mol4/dm12). Incidently, one point we forgot is that when using a unit with two or more units multiplied together, like the newton metre, you put either a space or a "middle dot"; ie N s or N·s, so that...say... "Tesla second" (units T·s) doesn't get confused with "Terrasecond" (units Ts). Laïka 22:23, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

Historical Information[edit]

1943 - World War II: War in the Pacific - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek meet in Cairo, Egypt, have sex to defeat Japan (see Cairo Conference)

Dear Sirs:

This comment above needs to be fixed on the Today in History section. There is no way that could be correct.


Jim Leach

(email removed)

Jim, that is called vandalism and has already been repaired, see here. You can repair that sort of stuff yourself, see wp:vandalism. --Justanother 19:02, 22 November 2006 (UTC)


If someone has stolen 34 iPods and 10 laptops and they are 17, how much time in jail will they get? 21:26, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

What country? --Justanother 21:29, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
United States
Depends on the state, the value of the property, what penalties are prescribed by law, whether you're convicted, whether your'e charged as a juvenile or adult, what the jury or judge thinks appropriate, what your lawyer can arrange. Best to consult a lawyer if this has occurred, or not to do it if it hasn't. -THB 21:49, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
I also understand that if something is 'stolen to order' then this is frowned upon more by the law than basic theft. Organised-crime can be as little as 2 people and a system, and can, if combined with prior offences, lead to some serious jail time. In short THB is right, if it has occured consult a lawyer, if it hasn't don't do it. Theft is more than just potential punishment, it can perpetuate the illegal industries, increases prices on consumer goods, cause strife and heartache for people not to mention the ethical position it leaves the individual/s doing the stealing in. ny156uk 23:29, 22 November 2006 (UTC)
There's a whole industry in the U.S. of people stealing radios, wheels, and whole cars for parts. The insurance company pays to have the stolen items replaced. Ironically, in order to save money, some insurance companies require that used parts must be utilized for replacements. Where do the used parts come from? People who steal them. Viscious cycle. -THB 00:21, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

kings oddfellows[edit]

what were the flavours of kings oddfellows there was a yellow, orange, and a pink oneEn.reptile 21:54, 22 November 2006 (UTC)

According to [3] "Oddfellows: A lozenge specially made by a Wishaw Firm for over 100 years. The flavours remain the same- Cinnamon, Clove and Rose." That's all I can find. Skittle 22:36, 22 November 2006 (UTC)