Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2007 December 14

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December 14[edit]


How hard would it be to mount something of my own in lucite without having irregularities, bubbles, etc. or killing myself on fumes? I'm thinking about mounting a rock in lucite, but am not seeing any easy or cost-effective way to do that. I should probably note that am a complete klutz in any sort of laboratory situation and couldn't be expected to do anything complicated. (Also, is it just me, or does lucite's chemical composition look a lot like a praying mantis?) -- (talk) 00:14, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

You might consider looking up information on clear casting resins. For instance, there Castin' Craft resins. I tried to cast an old processor chip into their clear poly resin. It didn't work all that well, but I suspect that was more due to the age of the chemicals. No bubbles, but it didn't harden all the way. Fresh chemicals and a little experience might work better. The fumes are pretty potent, and things work better when it is warm, so doing it outside in the winter might not work so well. Their Easy Cast product might be easier to work with, but I have no experience with it. --Mdwyer (talk) 04:29, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, that's exactly the sort of thing I was looking for, but I didn't know what to search for. -- (talk) 13:30, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I've used the Castin' Craft stuff - you can get it at lots of craft/hobby stores. Getting the exactly correct mixture should solve the not-hardening problem. Make sure you measure out the resin and hardner exactly - don't "eyeball" it. Perhaps the age of the chemicals were a factor for Mdwyer - but the cold conditions would certainly be an issue - it needs to harden in a reasonably warm place. Making sure there are no bubbles can be very tricky - the last time I did this (which was a VERY long time ago), I used a long needle to kind of gently nudge the bubbles to the surface before the resin hardened. Because this is somewhat tricky to do just right, you should practice encasing an object that isn't too important to you before you attempt to preserve something really important - it helps a lot to know what to expect - and there is nothing like actually doing it to teach you! Whilst you're not likely to kill yourself with the fumes, you do need the canonical "well ventilated area" to do the work. SteveBaker (talk) 13:51, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Curved Space[edit]

Do you know of any 3D rendering programs that can do views indide a hyperbolic space? Black Carrot (talk) 00:25, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Here's a tool that handles drawing of node-link graphs in 3d hyperbolic space. ( I'm not sure if this fits your application though. Sancho 05:06, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
It's actually rather difficult to build fast, efficient programs to do this because hyperbolic space is non-linear. That is to say that straight lines translate into curves. This means that modern 3D graphics hardware (which deep-down-inside can only draw simple, straight-edged, triangles) cannot be used directly. Instead, each object would have to be diced up into a really fine grid and drawn with hundreds or perhaps thousands of triangles to approximate the curved space. Worse still, their build-in idea of perspective foreshortening and the representation they use for depth into the screen pretty much assumes a linear coordinate system and that would probably break in interesting and exciting ways!
However, for static images - or for pre-rendering a movie frame-by-frame, I would imagine that you could do this fairly easily with a raytracer that supports plug-ins (which is probably all of them). Sadly, I don't have much expertise in the non-realtime areas of computer graphics - so I can't tell you precisely which package you need or how to do this in detail. As a thought - you might re-ask this question on the Math help desk, it's likely that something like MathCAD or Mathematica could do this kind of thing for you. SteveBaker (talk) 13:42, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't expect a raytracer to do too well either. In Euclidean space, ray-object intersections are easy to compute, but once light no longer travels in straight lines, the math gets ugly in a hurry. --Carnildo (talk) 23:50, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes - that would be painful. Perhaps for simple object shapes it could be done. SteveBaker (talk) 23:54, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Real-Time Rendering in Curved Spaces by Jeff Weeks makes the interesting observation that the homogeneous coordinates used by stock 3D hardware can accommodate elliptical and hyperbolic spaces without any extra work. There's a companion website with free DirectX and OpenGL sample code. Polygon edges are (wrongly) rendered as straight lines, but as long as the edge lengths are small compared to the radius of curvature it isn't really noticeable.
It's possible to render polygons with curved edges in real time on stock hardware by rendering to a cube map and thence to the screen. This works for fisheye distortion and similar effects (see Fisheye Quake), but I don't see any obvious way to use it here. -- BenRG (talk) 01:25, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Hyperbolic orthogonal dodecahedral honeycomb.png
Hyperbolic straight lines are represented as circular arcs in the conformal Poincaré model, but as straight lines in the Beltrami-Klein model. In this picture of H3 tiled with right-angled dodecahedra, note that the edges appear straight. Unfortunately I've yet to find a reference that will stoop to anything so grubby as to tell me the bleeping formulas I'd need to write a simple hyperbolic raytracer. —Tamfang (talk) 09:49, 28 December 2007 (UTC)
Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry: An analytic approach, by Patrick Ryan, appears to give most of what I need, if I ever make the time to work with it. —Tamfang (talk) 07:42, 16 February 2008 (UTC)

movie with the longest title[edit]

Does anyone know which movie has the longest title? Besides the movies that has that borat guy in them. thanx--Dlo2012 (talk) 00:45, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

See The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies and Marat/Sade, Or my favourite, Gas-s-s-s. I'm not sure of the actual answer, though. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:51, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

An Italian film called, Un Fatto di Sangue Nel Commune di Sculiana Fra Due Uomini per Causa di Una Vedova si Sospetano Moventi Politici. Amore-morte-shimmy. Lugano Belle. Tarantelle. Taralucci è Vino. (1978). Known in English as Revenge. Rockpocket 00:54, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

  • Among IMDB titles, Another Demonstration of the Cliff-Guibert Fire Horse Reel, Showing a Young Girl Coming from an Office, Detaching Hose, Running with It 60 Feet, and Playing a Stream, All Inside of 30 Seconds (1900). --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 00:58, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
If sequels count, then Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Alien, Flesh Eating, Hellbound, Zombified Living Dead Part 2: In Shocking 2-D (1991) might sneak it. Rockpocket 01:01, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
In English, we have:
  • Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Alien, Flesh Eating, Hellbound, Zombified Living Dead Part 2: In Shocking 2-D [1]
  • Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Hellbound, Flesh-Eating Subhumanoid Zombified Living Dead, Part 3 [2]
But, these are not original movies. They are classic movies with redubbed audio.
  • The Fable of the Kid Who Shifted His Ideals to Golf and Finally Became a Baseball Fan and Took the Only Known Cure [3]
--— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 01:03, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Honorable mention, for a Hollywood production by Stanley Kubrick released by Paramount in 1967: "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feeling So Sad" [4]. Edison (talk) 05:50, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Worth a mention is the film Don't_Be_a_Menace_to_South_Central_While_Drinking_Your_Juice_in_the_Hood, commonly known as Don't Be A Menace Rfwoolf (talk) 09:46, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

The longest title of a well known film is Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines or How I Flew from London to Paris in 25 hours 11 minutes. Some of the Carry On films have alternative long titles, although I've only ever seen then mentioned in books about the Carry On films. An example is Carry on at Your Convenience or Down the Spout or Ladies Please Be Seated or Up the Workers or Labour Relations Are the People Who Come to You When You're Having a Baby-- (talk) 19:54, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade was at one time listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest movie title. I don't know whether it's still the record-holder. Does "longest" mean by number of words or number of letters? And does the fact that movie titles are usually translated into other languages for foreign release, or re-titled entirely differently, and some of them have longer titles than the original, matter? -- JackofOz (talk) 21:45, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

making juice[edit]

say I had a household juicer. Could I make juice from something like a potato or a banana? If not, why wouldnt they juice? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:14, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Banana: not really Not much juice. Just mushes up. Beter off blending it & adding to to whatever you are making. Potato: yes as far as Google can see, although I suspect yields might be relatively small. --Tagishsimon (talk) 02:12, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Without having any knowledge on the subject, I imagine that the problem with a banana is that it doesn't have enough water in it and/or its internal cell structure is such that it will deform more than it will break and be liquified. Raw potatoes are crispy enough and full of enough water that it isn't too surprising that they could be juiced. (Note that if this were some sort of children's cartoon I'd probably break out into song about all of the fruits that can be juiced... You can juice a blueberry / As long as its washed / But don't juice a cherry / If the pit isn't tossed! / Oh, there are so many wonderful fruits / That taste really lovely / if they are juiced!) -- (talk) 03:13, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Of course we should note that raw potatoes are quite indigestible - so whatever you do with the resulting mess, you'd need to heat it up enough to rupture the cell walls before you could consider drinking it. That would probably result in some kind of potato soup. Bananas are useful to add to other fruit for making 'smoothies' because their texture adds a lot of 'body' to the resulting liquid...but by themselves, there isn't enough liquid to turn them into 'banana juice'. SteveBaker (talk) 13:27, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
bananajuice is (at least in stores in germany) a mix of bananapuree and applejuice. potatojuice i have seen a few times made by healthfanatics (they are cured from it as far as i know ;) but never did try it, looked not very appetizing. Elvis (talk) 15:47, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Distribution of books across Dewey or LOC categories[edit]

I recently had an idea that it would be neat to read a statistically reasonable sample of books across all the different subject areas. One basic way would be to read a book in each major Dewey or LOC category. This is far from perfect, however, because these categories have wildly different number of books in them, and so it would make more sense to do a true (or nearly true) statistical sample. But for this I need to know what percentage of the total is in each category. I wasn't able to find any numbers of this sort. Any thoughts? (Please note: I'd really like fine-grained statistics, like for each of the 1000 Dewey categories or even more, and not just for the 10 major groups).

One idea I had was to download a catalog of a small/medium library that has call numbers using one of these systems, and then compute the statistics off of that, but I can't find any catalog that's in a list form rather than a search interface. --Ornil (talk) 04:48, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

You would definitely get different results from each sampling. The Library of Congress System has 21 broad subject areas, while Dewey only has 10. Why does the Dewey Decimal System only have 10, you might ask? Because Melville Dewey was a nutcase, that's why. He had a mystical belief that all human knowledge could be neatly compartmentalized into ten broad categories. And when reality didn't fit his theory, he forced subjects together that really don't belong, and also divided subjects that should have been together. The result is the creation of a madman. In 1905 Dewey was forced to resign as the State Librarian of New York due to his racist policies against hiring Jews. He was very sexist in addition to being racist - and not just your average run-of-the-mill Victorian, but enough so that even in his own day he was ridiculed for his behavior. A year after his resignation from the State Librarian position, he was scorned by his profession when he returned from an Alaskan cruise that he and a bunch of female librarians had taken after a library conference. During the cruise Dewey reportedly had his way sexually with multiple members of the passengers - one of whom ended up having a nervous breakdown as a result of it. You can read more about that in A "Private" Grievance against Dewey. by Clare Beck. in "American Libraries" 27.1 (Jan 1996): p62. After this scandal Dewey gave up being a librarian, and ended up his life selling real estate in Florida.
Of course, the Library of Congress system is not much better. It is the product of committees. When I was in Library School (I'm a professional librarian, btw), we were told by one of our instructors about how the Library of Congress system was developed. This may be apocryphal, but I doubt it. What the Library of Congress did was they started out organizing their collection they had inherited from Thomas Jefferson' personal library by the color of the book and then by size. This of course was unsatisfactory, and they went through a series of other systems before getting serious about it - due in large part to the fact that their collection had grown so huge. So they invited Melville Dewey to come appraise their collection and hopefully organize it. The meeting between Dewey and the man who was the director of the Library of Congress went horribly, though. This was in large part due to the fact that Dewey was a complete and total ass of the highest caliber. After the meeting, the director of the Library of Congress vowed he would never use Dewey's system because he could not invision ever wanting to speak to or see the man again. So instead they hired a couple of chaps named Herbert Putnam and Charles Ammi Cutter to organize the collection.
How they proceeded was that they closed the library down and then divided the collection up into 21 categories. Each category was given a separate room, and the books that belonged to each room's subject were carted in and piled up on the tables and floor. Then the library appointed a committee for each room to organize its collection - this meant that there were 21 committees working separately from each other. The committees were made up of library staff members and experts in whatever field of knowledge that subject area was concerned with. Each room was given a somewhat random letter in the alphabet, and there were certain general guidelines given to all the committees on how to organize their collections. But there was also a lot of leeway for each committee to come up with its own system. So, for example, the room that contained books on Literature (which was in the room labeled "P") were being organized by a committee made up of a few librarians and a lot of Victorian professors of literature. If you can imagine what a roomfull of Victorian literature professors was like, you would not be too surprised to find out that they reportedly got into fistfights and broke furniture over each other in their battles over which prestigious Ivy Leagued professor would have his method of organizing the subject area used. As a result of this, the "P"s in the Library of Congress system are a mess - they're the most difficult to understand, and it's almost as if they were organized by a pack of orangutans instead of "rational" human beings!
Other committees and rooms fared better, since the Literature Room was the most notorious. However, other than the fact that at the beginning of each section in the Library of Congress system is where reference and text materials are located, each of the different 21 categories is organized completely different from each other. You can't learn how one subject area is organized and expect it to be applicable for the rest of the subject areas. So we have these two major classification systems - one being the rantings of a madman, and the other the confusing product of committees. There are other aspects of these two systems I won't go into right now, but I thought I'd just share this little history with you to help enliven your journey through this project you've undertaken! Saukkomies 05:26, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Here's one orangutan who would do a better job of it! DuncanHill (talk) 14:04, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for that! I grew up in a DDS library (my mother was a librarian, and as a little boy I was pretty much stuck there after school, long enough to seriously warp my worldview) and the only theory that I couldn't poke holes in was "Mr. Dewey invented his system when he only had 10 randomly chosen books. If he'd had 20 or more books, the system would have been much better." -SandyJax (talk) 16:49, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for providing some fun background:) I think that as long as I have a goal to read a large enough number of books (and count the ones I've already read) it almost doesn't matter which system I use, as long as the books within each category are related. So, if Dewey has 100000 books in category 123.45 and LOC has them split in two categories X23 and Y45, I'd still eventually read some books closely related to each book in the library. The only thing that changes is the order and which specific books I would chose. --Ornil (talk) 05:37, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm. I would still be hesitant to believe that you'd end up with the same list of books regardless of the system you're using. Saukkomies 05:26, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Obviously not the same list of books, but probably similar list of topics. My goal is to sample, and if I read, say, 1 out of each 100000 books in LOC, I think I'll get decent coverage however they may be disrtibuted through categories. --Ornil (talk) 06:14, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Yikes! I had no idea it was all such a total mess. It's interesting to see how other, more modern things such as the Internet and Wikipedia are organised. In the beginning of Internet search engines, when Yahoo was king, they had a lot of people who organised things in a heirarchical fashion - so you had science and inside that was physics and chemistry and biology...and inside physics there were a whole bunch of other categories. When the Internet was small - that made sense and the system wasn't too terrible (certainly better than the way libraries are set up). When I created my first web site, you could got to Yahoo's site and add your page into the search engine manually - and after some period of time, one of their experts would look at your page and pidgeon-hole it for you. But when the Internet went through it's first great growth spurt, it was evident that there was no way for Yahoo to employ enough people to maintain that system - and it fell into disrepair.
Google's scheme of essentially keeping a majorly cross-indexed copy of almost all of the Internet and using the connections between pages to determine which were the most important ones and which didn't matter so much for each set of search words was a technological nightmare to create (SO many computers and SO much storage) - but it works amazingly well - and you can pretty much find what you want if you have the skills to pick search terms wisely. It's interesting because the material "self-organizes".
Wikipedia is another 'self-organising' system where cross-links between articles lead you around a subject. But we also have 'Categories' and 'Projects' that add more layers of organisation that are human-driven, and also (within small subject areas) 'Navigational Templates'. This is a scheme in which the author of an article pretty much gets to decide which sections of the encyclopedia it belongs in. These seemingly anarchical systems actually work quite well if you come to the system wanting information. And of course we have the equivelent of the card catalog because we can search by title or (using the 'Contributions' link) by Author.
But these schemes (both Google and Wikipedia) rely entirely on having the entire source of all of the subject matter in computer-readable form in a bloody great database. This is why allowing some organisation to scan and OCR the entire body of human writings would be a very good thing - Google started doing that - and have done so too - but this needs to be a publically accessible database - owned by someone like the Library of Congress - so that everyone can have fair access to it without commercial entanglements. If we had that then we could start to apply the same kinds of techniques to organising this material - and the ISBN is all we need as an 'address' to find the book on a physical shelf. What we have now is a slightly messy scheme where the 'card index' (or at least, hopefully, the computer database equivelent of that) leads you to a LOC or Dewey number that tells you where the book resides physically on the shelves...however, that number could just be a consecutively assigned number for all that it matters.
Really, the only remaining benefit of these physical organisational systems would be that I could go to a 'bricks and mortar' library or book store - where the books are physically stored - and look up a book in the card catalog that I know relates to a specific subject - then I can walk over to the shelves and find a whole bunch of other books on the exact same subject on the shelves next to it - which occasionally turns up material I'd never have thought of reading on that topic. However, a seriously kick-ass computer system could do that too.
The OP's goal is a laudable one. Personally, I get the same kind of experience from my 3 year-long habit of clicking Wikipedias' 'Random Article' button three times before I go to bed - reading from beginning to end no matter what the three articles's really quite amazing what shows up.
SteveBaker (talk) 12:40, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Wow, Steve, I'm quite impressed by that entry you wrote. It's fascinating as a librarian to see things through an IT person's eyes now and then. Good luck on finding a library in this day and age that has a card catalog anymore! But I was also impressed about your nighttime habit of reading random wiki articles. That WOULD be a good way to get an education. I got basically the same education by working as a book shelver in a university library back when I was getting my undergraduate degree. Each day I'd pick up two or three books from the book carts I was shelving to take home and read. I would necessarily read the whole book, but I would absorb the important parts and then return them. I devoured books for about four years, after which I felt like I'd really got my college education in the library and the classes I took at the college were ancillary!
The whole issue of examining how to organize knowledge is what my degree is in. I have a Masters in Library and Information Science, which means: how do we organize knowledge in such a way as to make it optimally retrievable for the end user. Some of my favorite key concepts that are basic to this are:
  • Relevance, which is a term to describe whether something you've retrieved from a search is what you're looking for or not. Sometimes something may be partially relevant, which actually can help in looking for more stuff. Even with the greatest software out there now using the most powerful computers around, there's still no way to even come close to approaching what the human brain can do in determining whether something is relevant or not. Along with the relevant material, Google (and all the other automated searches) provide huge amounts of un-relevant material, too. This is not only wasteful, but it impedes the process of trying to find important information in a timely fashion.
  • The User Need, which is a term to describe what the person who is searching for something wants. This is not always apparent at first, even to the searcher. One of the important qualities that a good reference librarian can posess is the ability to figure out what a person really wants, and not what he or she says he or she wants. This requires a high level of intuitiveness and almost psychic ability at times. It also requires a fairly good broad general education that covers many areas of knowledge. This usually involves a little mini-interview (called a Reference interview of course) in which there's a two-way exchange of information between the librarian and the patron.
  • Informatics is the study of how information is stored and retrieved in both biological and machine formats (biological including us humans).
It would be interesting sometime to put on a race between man and machine like the old legend of John Henry and the Steam Drill - to see who could find the most relevant hits for a list of various subject within a specific time limit. My money would be on the human, not the computer... Saukkomies 20:53, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Are you saying that WITHOUT USING A SEARCH ENGINE a trained human researcher could find an arbitary piece of information on the Internet? I think that would be an impressive trick! A reference librarian WITH a search engine will obviously do better than a search engine alone (ie operated by a non-skilled person) - but the search engine is the key to the puzzle I think. SteveBaker (talk) 22:07, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, you're right, Steve. Looking back on this, I honestly can't remember *what* I was proposing exactly, which really bugs me since I'm too young to start having "senior moments"... Saukkomies 13:32, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
Rather than relying on dull indexing lists, why not try something crazier? Pick an initial and a common last name and read all the books that match that criteria. An author search for "Smith, K" on Amazon gave me books on book making, microelectric circuits, kinesiology, "economic theology", postmodernism, marketing, sports-based law, and a handbook of veterinary drugs. Among many others. Not a bad sampling, eh? I got 995 hits; I'm sure that gives you a broad coverage. Try something similar with your local library's online database and see. Matt Deres (talk) 16:34, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Rather like reading one volume of an encyclopædia (anyone else remember The Red-Headed League)? DuncanHill (talk) 16:39, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
More recently, there was The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World. It's an amusing read – and a true story – about a fellow who decided to read the entire Britannica from beginning to end. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 22:32, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, I was thinking that I'd pick a small group at random (e.g. one small subcategory), but I would have the freedom to pick a book from it that I might be more likely to like. Otherwise it will be too much like work:) So the "Smith" method while interesting, is a bit suboptimal. Still, it's better than anything I'd thought of so far. -- (talk) 17:09, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Why do money transfers take so long?[edit]

When I was in Eastern Europe, I got an emergency wire transfer from home in less than 24 hours. Yet when I call my bank to transfer money to an account with a different bank, they tell me it will take up to 4 working days (and it's never been less than that). Is there any technical reason why it takes so long, or is the thing about banks holding the money in order to profit from 4 days of interest true? If it is true, has anyone/organisation/government kicked up a fuss? --Kateshortforbob 10:43, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

A cynic would say: During those four days, the money is in neither account - so neither account accrues interest. However, the money is still at the bank, being invested in something no doubt, so they are earning interest from all of these bank transfer operations. Cheque payments are a similar thing. In this age of computers and inter-bank networking, none of these operations should take more than a few milliseconds...not days. It clearly DOESN'T take that long because I can transfer money from my bank into PayPal (which is essentially just another bank) and from PayPal to someone who sold me something on eBay - and it all happens in a matter of seconds. So when they WANT to do it quickly - they can. SteveBaker (talk) 12:10, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
That's certainly my impression of why certain wire transfers take so long. E-Trade almost admits as much in their literature.
Atlant (talk) 16:40, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm guessing that the emergency wire transfer had a hefty fee attached to it. If you want to pay your first bank to do a wire transfer and your second bank to accept it, then I'd imagine it can be done quickly. Banks love fees. In the US, a "regular" transfer will most likely go through the Automated Clearing House system. Back in the 1980's when I still worked at a bank, ACH processing was done by passing big reels of computer magnetic tape around by truck. While it's become more electronic, there are many relics of the old days that introduce those "up to 4 day" delays. --LarryMac | Talk 14:22, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
When you do an instant transfer into PayPal, what shows up in your PayPal account isn't money, it's the promise of money. The actual transfer may take longer, and if the money doesn't show up, you could be left with a negative balance and a whole lot of trouble. --Carnildo (talk) 00:02, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the informative answers. In school, I was taught that it was all done with batch processing, which could account for the delays, but I didn't think that would still be an issue these days. Good point about the fee, LarryMac; I don't think I ever found out exactly how much it cost - probably something horrendous. I'm definitely cynical enough to believe my bank's profiting off the delay - time to start keeping it under the bed, perhaps...--Kateshortforbob 23:07, 14 December 2007 (UTC)


I have read Meinj Kampf, and between chapters, had to throw it across the room, before eventually just tossing it in the rubbish bin. I felt I had to do this out of anger, as throughout, interspersed with blatant lies, he keeps telling the reader over and over agian about how he is going to kill everyone, starting with retarded people, disabled people, Jews, etc. Why then, do so many puplications, inclueding wiki's article Hitler, state that he never accually said he wanted to kill every one, or to quote wiki: "Hitler never visited the concentration camps and did not speak publicly about the killing in precise terms." But he blatently did, one just needs to read his pice of... oh, sorry his book 2. If he wrote Mein Kampf, then assumed power, by being voted in, as Chancellor, before he began killing. Why are we taugh to not blame the German people for what he did? He told them, Im gonna kill 'em all then they voted him in. Are they not to balme, the previous generation that is. Thanks Zionist12.191.136.2 (talk) 15:07, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't know, for the same reason we don't blame the American people for Bush's idiocy perhaps? JIP | Talk 15:21, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
But we should, they voted him in. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
i did not vote for him. neither did my father or mother. (both too young.) Elvis (talk) 15:49, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
So if you feel a need to hate, hate the portion that voted for him; and note that in both the case of Hitler and Bush, neither got the majority of the vote when they were put in office. Unlike Hitler, Bush didn't even get a plurality in his first Presidential election. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 15:51, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
So you're, what, 12 years old max even if your parents were horrifyingly young when they had you? --ffroth 22:01, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
my parents were born 1950 and i was born 1974. so, no to both. Elvis (talk) 23:26, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
So how were they too young to vote? --ffroth 04:52, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
hitler killed himself in 1945. so how COULD they have voted for him? Elvis (talk) 09:56, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
I read Mein Kampf for the first time a couple of years ago, and I don't remember anything about killing anybody. I just now searched the book here for "kill", and found nothing. What I remember from reading it was mostly interesting and insightful political thinking (if a tad hyper-nationalistic and racist) alternating with spasms of inexplicable, bizarre anti-Jewish rhetoric. If he did mention killing the people you name, I'd sure like to know about it. Can you go to the site I linked to and cite the passages you're asking about? --Milkbreath (talk) 15:47, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
So, hands up all you American voters: Who read "George W. Bush, A Charge to Keep, (1999) ISBN 0-688-17441-8" before you did (or didn't) vote for him? If not - please explain why you would expect German voters to have read Mein Kampf before voting for Hitler (or not)? SteveBaker (talk) 17:40, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
George Bush can write? Rockpocket 18:14, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Most political autobiographies are ghostwritten; very few are written by the people who are listed as the author, although those people do provide the writers with information. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 18:17, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Well of course he can rite. I heard he got Dan Quayle to proofread it. Clarityfiend (talk) 10:42, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Er...Milkbreath makes a good point that everyone seems to be ignoring. Mein Kampf doesn't say any of that. Are we being trolled? Adam Bishop (talk) 18:36, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Given that the OP is using the name "Zionist" in the sig - and yet still posting anon/IP, it's very possible, yes. SteveBaker (talk) 19:39, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Well how many people had read mein kampf before voting? It is easy to decide what was the right course of action long after the event, but it would be much harder to 'predict' the events that occurred. I suspect that a large portion of the German public voted based on many things - a leader promoting a 'stronger' Germany, they may even routinely have voted for that party regardless of leader (after all many people vote Republican regardless of who leads them, just because historically that's who they support). Additionally you are reading mein kampf fully aware of what DID happen, that means your 'take' on the book (no matter how direct the statements) is tarnished by that knowledge and makes it almost impossible for you to read it from an unbiased viewpoint. 18:45, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

My point (from above) entirely. According to Barnes & Nobel, George W Bush's pre-presidency book has a 'Sales Rank' of 597,854 - which I think means that there are over half a million books that are more popular. There is simply no way that any significant number of voters read "A Charge to Keep" before just under half of them voted for him. So if, in 50 or 60 years time, people were to pick up this book and say "How on earth did all of those Americans vote for this guy after he wrote all this stuff?"...well, now you know. (Of course I've never read it either - but then I'm not an American voter!) So we shouldn't be at all surprised if virtually nobody read Hitlers' writings before they voted for him. I doubt that most of the people who vote for most of the candidates could tell you 5 things their candidate believes in. So if Hitler said he could fix the economy and boost the military and maybe get the trains running on time - then, yeah - people would vote for him without ever reading his book. Bear in mind, this was in an era before television - when even radio didn't have a huge market presence - and you wouldn't have a huge battery of information about the minutia of the candidate's past life as we do these days. If some journalist had read Mein Kampf and found it horrifying, it's not at all clear that the general public would have heard much about it. Not only that - but Hitler published his book AFTER he became party chairman. So if you were swayed by the party and not by the individual, it's possible you could have been swept into the enthusiasm of the thing and Hitler's undoubted personal charisma before ever reading the book. Since first impressions count - the book might not have swayed the minds of those who did actually read it. SteveBaker (talk) 19:39, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

If I remember what I heard correctly, the German citizens had no other choice. Hitler eliminated political competition unitl he was the only option. The German system was flawed and Hitler took advantage. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:23, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Well, it's rather complicated - I just re-read Hitler and I'm still a little confused. As far as I can tell, the Nazi party - with Hitler leading it were the largest party (without a majority of the votes) three times running. After the last vote, they formed a coalition to get control of government - then used emergency wartime measures to keep running without further elections. So it's certainly not true that they eliminated all competition...had they done that, they'd have gotten 100% of the vote and no coalition would have been needed. Hitler himself did stand for election just once, early on - and lost - but he got second place with a fairly respectable 35% of the vote. If the German people knew what was likely to happen - they did have the opportunity to prevent it at the polls but didn't take it. I strongly recommend that you read Hitler to understand the details. SteveBaker (talk) 23:49, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
It's more complicated than even that, Steve. I'm sure if we got Clio over from the humanities desk she'd be able to go into it in more details, but part of it has to do with how the Weimar Reichstag functioned (allowing minority coalitions to gain extreme amounts of power), another part electioneering (von Papen's multiple calls for elections), another part the role of Hindenberg, etc. It's not as simple as saying, "Oh, the people voted him in," nor is it as simple as saying "Oh, they just took power." And most people did not assume that Hitler was going to create a dictatorship—there was the belief then, as there is now, that what a candidate says to get into power does not always reflect what they will do in power; most people seemed to have believed that Hitler would not be halfway as extreme as he came off in his speeches and writings. Anyway, my big point is that its a big, complicated question, with a lot of other things to consider than just "what people knew" and "what they voted for." And as we know from the US experience, the causality between people voting and a leader doing things is not straightforward at all; hell, people in the US can elect a new Congress with the express intent on them ending or reorganizing a war and not get it. -- (talk) 00:07, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

This all sounds like the OP Zionist is attempting to justify his or her own prejudice against Germans. Saukkomies 13:29, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Answering the question, I did a report on Hitler and not many people at all read Mein Kampf before he became Chancellor. I am fairly certain it was not even widely read in Germany until 1939-1940 when he had invaded Poland. Also, Hitler was a very charismatic leader who promised to get them out of their economic failings stemming from the depression and WWI debts. The people needed someone to turn to. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sports+historyguy333 (talkcontribs) 20:02, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
I can't imagine many people having read it, either, but I do believe that Intelligence people in Allied countries should have, and should have been able to give their president/PM/whatever a "heads up," saying, "You might want to watch out for him, he's more racist than most in the world of 1938, and he's got some horribly anti-Jewish rhetoric that makes me question his sanity." It's the job of the Intelligence community to know if the world's leaders in major nations have written anything and figure it out.
Of course, given traditional human nature problems - inefficiency, bureaucracy, etc. - I can see how even the leaders missed that.
How many of us answering have read Mein Kampf or would? Julia Rossi (talk) 04:04, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Not as an ordinary citizen, I'd never want to read it then. But, as I say, if I were a member of the Intelligence community (CIA), and, say, Chavez had a book out, I'd sure want to know what was in it. It would be my job.
Not only Bush but almost every American president stood for world domination(read idiocy).But Hitler was not a sensible sounding guy (I wonder whether he was atleast mentally sound) and couldnt foresee the disaster his own plans brought upon him.He was a fool to kick out all those brainy jews.Common sense is needed to achieve anything, whether it is good or bad.Bush is just a sensible Hitler over there but Hitler is Hitler.

Native Americans getting food[edit]

How do Native Americans get food these days? Heegoop, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

  • In the US, mostly they go to the supermarket. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 15:43, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
  • There's probably not too many Native Americans in Australia, but I'm pretty sure they mostly get their food from the supermarket here too. Of course, they could be eating out in restaurants and cafes. --David Broadfoot (talk) 15:53, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Tesco. Lanfear's Bane | t 16:46, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
It depends on which Native Americans, too. Some of them, at least in Canada (although naturally we do not call them "Native Americans" here), still hunt and fish, without the seasonal restrictions or quotas that non-natives have. Adam Bishop (talk) 17:06, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
That's right. In Canada, we call them First Peoples, which I guess means they don't have to stand in line or wait for Wiis. Clarityfiend (talk) 10:39, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
  • I'm a native that relies on a grocery store. I especially enjoy mini-pizzas, orange juice and sandwiches. Bellum et Pax (talk) 18:45, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
I think this question is pretty funny. It's like some kind of anti-joke. "Where do Native Americans get food?" "I don't know, where do Native Americans get food?" "At the grocery store, where else?" —Keenan Pepper 22:15, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
  • You mean you don't hunt your mini-pizzas with a bow, on horseback, as your ancestors did? I for one am shocked. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 14:41, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
FisherQueen: you for one should know that mini-pizzas are traditionally hunted by Esquimaux with harpoons through holes in the ice. That is why they are frozen! SaundersW (talk) 15:00, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Sandwiches, however, are hunted by stampeding them over a cliff face. DuncanHill (talk) 15:01, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately you cannot hunt buffalo wings that way. Adam Bishop (talk) 15:07, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
You may be interested in Tanka Bar. (buffalo meat and cranberries) [5] Neutralitytalk 02:58, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Websites run by non-profit organizations[edit]

Besides Wikipedia and related sites, what are the most popular websites run by non-profit organizations?--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 18:07, 14 December 2007 (UTC) (talk) 18:39, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
", LLC" does not sound nonprofit to me. Besides, I doubt that website is particularly popular.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 18:52, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, just because it is incorporated doesn't mean it is not non-profit (depends on the state). But in this case, according to our page on The Hunger Site, it is not a registered non-profit organization anymore, though it originally was. -- (talk) 02:08, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

How do you define non-profit? Is craigslist a non-profit? How about Corvus cornixtalk 19:15, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Take a look at Non-profit organization, Category:Non-profit organizations and Alexa Top 500 sites (talk) 19:28, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Non-profit is, at least in the United States, a specific tax category. -- (talk) 02:08, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
Of those 3 links, only the Alexa Top 500 sites is really helpful, but I'm not sure which of the sites on that list are owned by non-profits. I suppose I'm trying to find out if there are more popular websites run by entities analogous to the Wikimedia Foundation. --The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 19:40, 14 December 2007 (UTC) would the one that occurs to me. --Tagishsimon (talk) 13:41, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
Most universities in the United States are non-profit organizations (example), so you have *.edu to consider as well. -- Coneslayer (talk) 02:09, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
The only one that even looked non-profit other than Wikipedia on that Alexa list was Craigslist but it turns out even that is technically for-profit. At #274 is At 301 is comes in at 345. Those are all the ones I recognized (and all of the .orgs that were legit nonprofits rather than torrent/warez sites)—not that many! -- (talk) 02:17, 20 December 2007 (UTC)


Can anyone recognise any of the people in these pictures? Pictures.

Thanks a lot. (talk) 21:53, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

A soviet, a president, a murderer who smokes, and a composer. Am I good or what? --ffroth 21:58, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Number one is Grace Kelly. -Yamanbaiia (talk) 22:00, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Grace Kelly was my first guess, but I couldn't find the exact picture on google (the rest of the pictures, another 12 that have been identified were on google images). Couldn't even find one from the same persective.
Any idea what movie it was from? (talk) 22:07, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Movie? Franz Liszt (the guy on the right) died in 1886. -- JackofOz (talk) 22:29, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
... i think he was referring to Grace Kelly. I don't think that's a screenshot it looks a bit casual. -Yamanbaiia (talk) 22:31, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
.... ah, I see. Ta. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:34, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Number two (from left) looks like a bad picture Richard Dawkins. -- (talk) 23:29, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Princess Grace of Monaco - Paul Newman - Zac Goldsmith - Cardinal Newman (no relation to Paul). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:11, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
lookalikes DOUGH —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:20, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
There's no way No. 2 is Paul Newman. No. 4 is definitely Franz Liszt. It's one of the most famous photos of him, and is the basis of the standard bust of his head (a large example of which I have). I also have six boxed sets of LPs of his complete piano works with that exact photo on the front (although, curiously, in one case the photo is reversed) -- JackofOz (talk) 00:20, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

legal status of mod chips[edit]

If I want to play unsigned games on my PSP, or run custom code on it or something for fun, how can Sony legally prevent me from doing that to my own device? I don't understand the law on this. So what if piracy is an obvious possibility- I still have legitimate use for it, right? Surely the business model of "if you don't pay us big bucks for the digital signature, nobody can play your game" isn't legally enforcable, right? --ffroth 21:57, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

And just to silence any murmurs of mumblemumblelegaladvicequestionremoveputintreadmillofendlessdiscussion, I don't even own a PSP, or any modern console, so this is just theoretical --ffroth 22:19, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

I think that the DMCA is the grounds for outlawing these things. The DMCA prohibits devices designed to circumvent encryption. Since there is a decoding mechanism within the PSP (and most other game machines) that checks the code on Sony-sanctioned games and decrypts game content if and only if it's a code they recognise. So - if the Mod chip permits you to circumvent that mechanism - and thereby run unencrypted games - then (so the argument goes) you are violating the DMCA.
Personally, I find this to be a little dubious. If you are running pirated (or at least decrypted) commercial games - then, yes, you are violating the DMCA. But if you are using the Mod Chip only to play "unsigned" games that were legally obtained WITHOUT decryption - then I don't see that there should be a legal problem. The difficulty is that the DMCA is (arguably) overly broad - and it bans these devices regardless of how they are used.
It is something of a grey area though. I have a "mod chip" for my Nintendo DS (Games'N'Music - actually it's just a cartridge - you don't actually have to open the case to use it). It doesn't have a means to copy encrypted games - it just lets you use your DS as an MP3 player, a photo viewer and to play unsigned games. (I've written some games for it - it works really nicely). I don't believe the gadget I have is illegal under the DMCA - but I Am Not A I could be wrong about that.
Clearly (as you say) the console manufacturers are not keen on these gadgets - they have a vested interest in you only playing signed games (because they take a cut of the profits from every game sold) - and games manufacturers don't mind it too much because while it makes their games a little more costly, it's a level playing field for all manufacturers and it keeps out the cheap/free games - which means they sell more product. The Mod chip makers claim that console manufacturers should be happy because this business sells more consoles - but that's a specious argument because consoles are almost always sold at a net loss, with the plan being to make up the difference (plus some profit) from the proceeds from the sale of signed games. If someone buys a console and never buys any signed games for it - then that's a total lossage for the console manufacturer.
One word of warning - some console manufacturers have created ways to detect that you are using a mod chip - and they'll kick you off their online services if they find out that you have one installed. (The gadget I have for the DS doesn't suffer that problem because you have to unplug it's little cartridge whenever you play a signed game.) There are rumors that they have means to remotely 'brick' your console if you use a mod chip - although I'm not aware of any of them invoking this power - so maybe it's apochryphal.
SteveBaker (talk) 23:26, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
But of course the DMCA doesn't prohibit decryption specifically; it prohibits the disabling or circumvention of "copy protection devices". So it prohibits both much more and much less than mere decryption.
Ethically (and I suppose I should insert, IMHO), there's nothing whatsoever wrong with using a console you've legitimately purchased to play a game you've legitimately purchased.
Practically, as Steve Baker has already described, the console makers can't afford to let you run games which they haven't licensed, because otherwise they can't recoup the loss they sold you the console at.
Me, I believe that if they're foolish enough to sell consoles at a loss, that's their problem, not mine. But of course, they don't care if they look foolish, they care about only one thing: whether they can make a profit. Profit is the end, and the business model is the means to the end, and if the business model is deliciously attractive but fundamentally flawed, that isn't necessarily a fatal flaw, especially if we can rewrite the rules.
There's not (yet) a law on the books which prevents circumventing a business model -- though there are plenty of companies who clearly, dearly wish there were. And they've almost gotten their wish, because the DMCA is easy to interpret pretty broadly, and plenty of companies are playing it like a fine old fiddle. Since it prohibits much more than decryption -- namely, anything which can be defined as a circumvention device, and where you also have pretty wide latitude in defining what's a "copy protection" device that an allegedly-illegal device circumvents -- it's often the case that a company can do pretty much whatever it wants here, as long as it's got more money to spend on lawyers than the do the few stubborn misfits who believe they ought to be able to do whatever they want with this new device they just bought.
Printer manufacturers who sell printers at a loss and intend to recoup the loss through sale of ink cartridges face precisely the same problem, and they've used precisely the same law with precisely the same results -- i.e., partial but pretty significant success, in utter defiance of logic or conventional ethics.
Me, I circumvent the whole sordid can of worms by not playing console games and not using inkjet printers. But I pity the people who have to, because it is indeed a sordid, logic-defying utter mess. —Steve Summit (talk) 16:46, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Antique Candy Box[edit]

We have a round, cardboard box about 4 inches in diameter and 4 inches high. It has a metal lid with a glass covering a lithographed scene showing French flags, crowd of men holding numbered sticks and a spinner wheel with numbers. A plunger on the side of the cover will cause the spinner to rotate. Obviously a gaming device of some sort. Decals on side of box indicate French or Portugese connection. Did any one ever hear of such? If so we would like to hear from you. Thanks for you time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:41, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

It would probably be useful if you'd post photos of this object somewhere online and link them to here. --Ouro (blah blah) 18:56, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Proper fit of leather gloves[edit]

How tightly should a pair of thin leather gloves, like those used for driving and by murderers in movies, fit one's hands? Should one be able to comfortably form a tight fist? Or should the gloves stretch to near its maximum when a fist is formed? Thanks. Acceptable (talk) 22:51, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

It's a question of your personal preference, isn't it? Continuing with your hypothetical role in a movie, you might want a different fit for doing the safe-cracking than you'll want for just strolling around town afterwards spending your loot; a tight fit first, a looser fit later.
Atlant (talk) 23:07, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Wearing gloves that are too tight might cause burns, discomfort or inability to operate swiftly with the hand, as can of course wearing gloves that are too loose. --Ouro (blah blah) 18:55, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
A little loosely. You should, indeed, be able to do almost anything with your hand that you can do without the glove, and that being so you will be able to get the gloves on and off without any trouble. If you have your gloves made to measure, they will fit like a glove. Xn4 04:13, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
You might want to consider buying gloves that don't fit if you're planning a murder - it might help you out during your trial... -Elmer Clark (talk) 08:23, 19 December 2007 (UTC)