Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2007 June 24

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June 24[edit]

Al Capone[edit]

Why did Al Capone decide to become a gangster? Were there any conditions during his childhood that led to this decision? 02:39, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

I recommend reading the article Al Capone. --Tλε Rαnδom Eδιτor (ταlκ) 02:43, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
I did, and the only information it gives is about his expulsion from school. I was looking more for something like his family environment or economic status. 03:06, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
What about the other people treating him like shit - because he was a Jew. SEEN THAT in one of the Al Capone movies and documentaries. Just being truthful, no more, no less. 04:03, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Care to point out a reference for him being Jewish? The article seems to say that he was Catholic. Dismas|(talk) 05:17, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
With a name like 'Capone' and being a Mafia-style mobster, we'd expect him to be of Italian or Sicilian descent - and that would make it overwhelmingly likely that he was a Catholic. It's not impossible that he was Jewish - but I kinda doubt it. SteveBaker 12:41, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
He was married in a Catholic church by a priest; in 1924 that would have been impossible had he and his wife not been baptized and confirmed Catholics. Our article on Al Capone states that his father was from the Naples area and his mother from the Salerno area. --Charlene 17:22, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Visiting Ellis Island[edit]

I'm going to be in New York next week and would like to visit Ellis Island. I've got a few questions for people who live in NYC or are familiar with the trip:

  • The Circle Line website encourages people to go by way of Liberty State Park in Jersey City if possible. Is that really smarter than boarding at Battery Park?
  • Is there a faster way to get to the Liberty State Park ferry terminal from Manhattan than taking the PATH train to Pavonia or Exchange Place, then the light rail to Liberty State Park, then the shuttle bus to the ferry?
  • Does the ferry from New York usually sell out ahead of time? What about the one from New Jersey?

Thanks -- Mwalcoff 03:58, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

I grew up in the area and am familiar with the geography. It is no doubt quicker to take the ferry from Liberty State Park if you are arriving by car from the suburbs or from outside the New York area. However, if you are already in Manhattan, I think that it would take much, much longer to travel by PATH and the connecting light rail and bus to the ferry terminal in Liberty State Park than it would to take the ferry directly from Manhattan. As for whether either ferry sells out, I don't know. I can't think of a reason to expect that the Manhattan ferry would be more likely to sell out than the New Jersey ferry. Marco polo 02:07, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Probably a lot more tourists in Manhattan than in Jersey. The other thing to keep in mind is that the Battery Park ferry goes to Liberty Island first, stops there for 10 minutes, then goes to Ellis Island -- it's 40 minutes from Manhattan to Ellis Island. The Liberty Park ferry stops at Ellis Island first, so it's only a 10 minute ride. So although it might take an hour or more to get to the Jersey ferry terminal, it's a shorter ride to the island. -- Mwalcoff 04:36, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
When I went there in 2004 or so, there were boats going in each direction around the triangle. I went from Battery Park directly to Ellis Island and from Ellis Island directly back to Battery Park. --Anon, June 26, 07:42 (UTC).

An update: I did go the long way, via New Jersey, and it turned out to be a better idea. The line from Battery Park wound halfway around Castle Clinton! -- Mwalcoff 04:32, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Indian temple question[edit]

A long time ago, when I was a young boy, I read an illustrated story about the building of a certain temple in India. This temple was to be built so that it would cast no shadow on the ground, I believe. I have tried to find the name of this place, but have failed to do so. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Rishi

I think it might be this-the Brihadeeswara Temple.

That would be the Brihadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur, India. It's not that it never casts a shadow onto the ground - that would be impossible (unless it were buried underground or something silly). No, it's that the main tower of the temple doesn't cast a shadow at noon on any day of the year. Our article does not explain how this remarkable feat is managed - and there is an 'attribution required' tag on that statement. This web page seems to suggest that it is only the dome and finial that do not cast shadows (or rather that they don't cast them onto the ground). That's more plausible - if the sides of the tower slope outwards at greater than the largest angle the sun makes with the centerline of the tower - that would work. Since the tower is built only 10 degrees from the equator - this is quite plausible - and actually rather unremarkable. SteveBaker 12:39, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
I suppose you could make a temple that never casts a shadow, but it would need to be in a deep valley and the temple would need to move to track the Sun. I'd name it the Sunflower Temple. StuRat 02:52, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

homemade wine[edit]

I have made some red wine from grapes grown in my garden but it has turned out far too sweet for my liking. Is there any way I can reduce the sweetness, or should I wait for this years crop and then add to a drier variety ? Any suggestions ? I am not sure of the grape variety but it was planted about 9 years ago and last year was the first real major crop produced of any significance.

What kind of yeast did you use? Do you know what the percentage of alcohol is or the percentage of sugar that was in the original must? Did you take a specific gravity reading before fermentation, and if so what is the reading now? I ask because oversweetness of wine can be caused by not using the right type of yeast. If you have enough sugar in the wine to produce, say, a 14% alcohol wine, but you use a yeast that conks out at 9% or 10%, you will get a sweet wine. In those circumstances you probably want to use a yeast that can handle a higher alcohol content, such as Lalvin's EC 1118.
To fix this now will take more than adding another yeast (unless you used bread yeast, in which case your alcohol level's likely so low that you could just add a proper wine yeast and go on - never use bread yeast to make wine, it conks out too early). Basically you have to give the yeast a head start by beginning a fermentation with some grape juice (either must from the next crop of grapes or just a gallon of store-bought grape juice that doesn't contain sorbates), then once that fermentation is going strong you add your wine bit by bit (say, half a gallon at a time) to the culture. --Charlene 18:27, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Let's explain why - it always helps to understand! The sugar that starts off in your grape juice (or whatever) is gradually turned into alcohol by the yeast - but alcohol is poisonous to yeast - so at some certain alcohol level, the yeast dies and 'conks out'. If you want to get rid of the sugar to make a wine with a dry taste then you need yeast that can tolerate the alcohol at greater concentrations. In this case (perhaps) there was so much sugar in the initial mix that the yeast killed themselves off before they could turn it all into alcohol. However there might have been other causes - if the wine was allowed to get too cold for example. SteveBaker 03:21, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Good point! --Charlene 15:11, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Toronto middle schools[edit]

How many Toronto middle schools are there that have students graduate at grade 9?

There are apparently no Toronto public "middle" schools. There are primary schools that go 1-8 and secondary schools that go 9-12. I don't see any Catholic schools either that go to 9 either, although some have unusual ranges (6-12 or 3-12).
The common term in much of the rest of Canada for such schools, by the way, is "junior high", not "middle". --Charlene 18:30, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I went to a middle school in Toronto. A middle school is one that offers grades 6-8; a junior high offers grades 6-9. Many elementary schools (including the one I went to) only go up to grade 5 or 7. But a given grade has the same format and curriculum no matter what school you take it at: from K-8, you have fixed timetables with the homeroom (core) teacher delivering math, English and social sciences. You get credit for the year as a whole. (IIRC, you can't be held back without your parents' consent until Grade 6, and even then only if you're failing every single subject.) From 9-12, you have modular timetables and get credit for individual courses. NeonMerlin 05:30, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Essay about policies[edit]

Hi! I once read an essay about NPOV, verifiability and notability, I guess. I did try to find it, but I couldn't. I don't quite remember how it was, but it had an image, or maybe two images, something like that:


The image was about the way that the author interpreted the criteria for an article to exist, I think. Does anyone here know what essay is that? Here is the category with all the essays. A.Z. 17:00, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

wii game copying[edit]

I was wondering how to copy a wii game. I know the wii optical discs aren't sold to the public, but out of curiousity I was wondering how someone would do it. I don't plan to actually copy a wii game but I just want to know how for the sake of knowing.

Anyone planning to answer that query, could you please also tell me how to rob banks without getting caught? I don't plan to actually rob any bank, I just want to know how for the sake of knowing.
Well, you'd hack your wii so the image of the game could be copied onto a CD, then you'd get a wii-cd writer and copy it back. And "smart ass editor who forgot to sign", you get a gun, walk up to the tellers and say "give me 100,000 in 10s, NOW" and see what happens. JoshHolloway 22:39, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
The best way to rob a bank is probably to dig a tunnel. You will also need an explosives expert to blow the safe. A fast car for getaway is optional. 23:31, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
And ask for non-consecutive bills too, of course! --Wirbelwindヴィルヴェルヴィント (talk) 23:35, 24 June 2007 (UTC)
It probably makes more sense to own the bank, and rob the customers. DuncanHill 00:07, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
How does a fast car help your getaway if you're a dozen feet underground? --frotht 13:49, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Park the car in the underground tunnel you dug. Duh. Better yet, park an airplane there so you can just fly out.--GTPoompt(talk) 14:17, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Oh, yeah, the plane is a perfect idea. I mean, everybody parks their planes in parking lots, so it wont be suspicious at all. Polarwolf 18:00, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
The plane is underground though, not in the parking lot. Now, you'd have to maintain the structural integrity of the land the bank is on if you're going to have enough room to park a plane in the tunnel below it. Also, if you have the funds for this, the bank is probably chump change. This is turning into a fabulous plan :) Leebo T/C 18:14, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Don't forget to stock some stolen Wii games in the plane so you can toss them out and avoid people from trying to copy them! --Wirbelwindヴィルヴェルヴィント (talk) 18:54, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Just lay down some concrete on the floor of the tunnel.. a few inches should do --frotht 14:17, 26 June 2007 (UTC)
Seriously though, (Both copy protection cracking, and bank robbing are interesting topics, worthy of discussion), I think a "Wii Optical Disk" is just a DVD with a special barcode-type encoding near the spindle where standard drives can't read. With a proper Wii mod-chip you could probably skip the copy-protection barcode use a standard DVD. The exact method for burning the disk may be a bit tricky though. A More interesting question is when will we start seeing Wii_homebrew? 20:57, 25 June 2007 (UTC)

Military Brat Template[edit]

Can a "Military Brat" template be placed on the USAF, US Army, USMC, US Navy articles, so that Military Brats who are now Wikipedians could use them ? After all, soldiers do have kids. 23:51, 24 June 2007 (UTC)

Are you talking about an existing template, or a new one to be devised? What does/would it do? What does "use them" mean?
Anybody (military brat or no) can read and edit any article (military-related or no). But I'm sure you know that, so I must be missing something... —Steve Summit (talk) 00:50, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Afterthought: are you talking about userbox templates? —scs
YES - For Wikipedians who are military brats. 04:31, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
Can't help you there, sorry; I don't know much about userboxes. (You didn't ask, but my opinion is that it's much cooler to not have a bunch of them on your user page...) —Steve Summit (talk) 12:37, 25 June 2007 (UTC)
You can certainly do this for yourself. The simplest way is to find another template that you like and copy it into a sub-file under your own user account - then edit the text, change the picture and perhaps the colour. SteveBaker 02:36, 26 June 2007 (UTC)