Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2007 November 29

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November 29[edit]


I vaguely remember from several years ago some sort of shoe. Now, this shoe wasn't actually a shoe, as you needed to be wearing shoes to wear this "shoe." This "shoe" didn't even look like a shoe; it looked more like platforms for your feet mounted on what looked like "C"s. They were probably a foot tall, and they could drastically increase the speed you could run while wearing them. I even remember the creator of these "shoes" easily doing back flips while wearing them. Anybody have any idea what I'm talking about?--The Ninth Bright Shiner 00:06, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Powerizer? --Milkbreath (talk) 00:21, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Hey, that looks about right! Know where I could purchase one of these curiosities?--The Ninth Bright Shiner 21:33, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Oldest WikiProject[edit]

Does anyone know what the oldest wikiproject is, and whether that project is still active? (talk) 01:12, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

It's probably one of the ones listed at the first ever incarnation of Wikipedia:WikiProject. Note the Wikiprojects have left the mainspace since then, hence the redlinks. Algebraist 02:09, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I can answer this precisely, and I think I can also give you something close to the first date.
I created the original Wikiproject proposal on or around the 24th or the 25th of September, 2001. (The history log says 17 Oct 01 for the first entry, but this is clearly wrong; much of the history log from 2001 is corrupted.) Then after a series of emails with Simon J Kissane (SJK), I created the page entitled Wikiproject Sports. Note that this is dated 26 Sep 01 (which sounds roughly accurate to me). This page links to the Wikiproject Proposal, so I must have written the proposal before then.
Regardless of the fact that I created the first entry, I personally regard SJK as being the true creator of the first Wikiproject, as he took the project on and filled in the details. See the final version as stored at Nostalgia.
Hope this helps - Manning (talk) 03:23, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Environmentally friendly glass cleaners[edit]

What's the best environmentally friendly glass/window cleaners that can be made with household materials like baking soda, lemon juice, etc? (talk) 02:35, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

I can't say what would be the best, but in my experience, plain old soda crystals are very good for cleaning windows (same as baking soda but cheaper). Also, you'll be amazed what you can do with nothing but a microfibre cloth, dry or slightly damp.--Rallette (talk) 08:48, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
  • Vinegar in a spray bottle, buffed with newspaper, works pretty well. -- Kateshortforbob 10:09, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I will second Rallette's comment about microfibre cloths like e-cloth [1] advertising warning! They would be particularly green if made from recycled drinks bottles. They work brilliantly on all household surfaces. SaundersW (talk) 10:49, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I second "Vinegar and Newspaper" - the newspaper is just abrasive enough to get rid of sticky bits and the vinegar cuts the grease from fingerprints or cooking or whatever. Follow up with soapy water if the vinegar stinks too much for you! SteveBaker (talk) 14:35, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Water and soap (etc) for dirt, then wipe and use vinegar in water for grease. BUT then polish with a soft dry cloth. This last stage can be important.Rowmn (talk) 09:47, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

defer admission to volunteer abroad[edit]

Hello, I am a high school senior who really wants to take the year off before starting college to do service work in the developing world. I, unfortunately, do not know how to proceed in finding a group to help. Does anyone have any links to websites/organizations that might need this type of support?

Thanks, Rob —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:53, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

There are tons of organisations set up to help you achieve this. Have you asked your careers advisor at school? In Britain this endeavour is called a gap year -- Amazon may have books with that as a key phrase. Good luck on the great adventure! BrainyBabe (talk) 16:40, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Black ink[edit]

What is the darkest, most opaque Indian/Chinese Ink available in Europe? Keria (talk) 08:49, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Weekly World News:[edit]

What? No more of this quality reporting? <sob> <sniffle> SteveBaker (talk) 14:43, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Why is Wal Mart no longer selling this paper ? They sell the National Enquirer, SUN, Examiner, Star, which are all full of BS about the Rich & Famous, but have very little coverage to no coverage of paranormal matters. Is this part of the CIA's two operations, which are the Robertson Panel and Operation Mockingbird ? Other retailers no longer carry it as well. Try and find this newspaper, and you'll see what I'm referring to. (talk) 09:00, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Um, if you'd read the article you linked to you'd see that this "newspaper" no longer exists. End of conspiracy theory. --Richardrj talk email 09:41, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Ah but why does it no longer exist..Perhaps it was telling the truth and the powers that be had to suppress it,so the truth could not get out! Lemon martini (talk) 12:08, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

I'm amazed it lasted so long, given it was founded because American Media had a press they weren't using. Algebraist 14:45, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
For those outside the USA who never had the opportunity to enjoy this quality newspaper: The quality of the journalism in this upstanding, publication is exemplified by the cover image shown here. Note that the entire story was paid for by BMW as viral marketting in order to sell their cars. SteveBaker (talk) 14:43, 29 November 2007 (UTC) edited by --Tagishsimon (talk) 15:14, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I have unlinked the image, since it is fair use and should not be used here (copyright reasons). Fram (talk) 15:09, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I respectfully disagree - please examine the 10 criteria for fair use (Per WP:FU):
  1. No free equivalent. -- Check!
  2. Respect for commercial opportunities. -- Check! (They've gone out of business).
  3. (a) Minimal usage. -- Check!
  4. (b) Minimal extent of use. -- Low res, Check!
  5. Previous publication. -- Check!
  6. Content. -- Check!
  7. Media-specific policy. -- Check!
  8. One-article minimum. -- Check (it's in MINI (BMW)
  9. Significance. -- Check! (I was discussing it as an example of the genre)
  10. Restrictions on location. -- Borderline. This isn't a template, portal, user page, categorie, Help, MediaWiki, or Project page, (per Wikipedia:Non-free content criteria exemptions) and the spirit of the rule that we have to be presenting actual content is met.
  11. Image description page. -- Yep. Check!
We met all 10 criteria for fair use - so the image goes back in. SteveBaker (talk) 19:23, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I see you chose an edition with a Mini Cooper, Steve... ;) Hassocks5489 (talk) 12:23, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
I chose it mostly out of familiarity. The MINI (BMW) article used the image to illustrate the quirky approach BMW/MINI takes with advertising. But it also illustrates the fact that the people at WWN were not journalists in any meaningful meaning of the term - they would sell their front page with an entirely faked commercial-interest story to make a buck or two. As for the MINI - what can I say? I'm a fanatic. I've owned three of them, I'm restoring a '62 Mini and I run the Mini Owners of Texas group. The MINI (BMW), Mini and Mini Moke articles were all mostly written by me and I own every single book referenced in them! SteveBaker 16:39, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
This dismissive attitude to the journalistic objectivity of the Weekly World News is unacceptable. I can provide an independent, reliable and objective reference which proves that not only did the Weekly World News contain "facts", but that it had the 8th highest circulation in the world. :) Manning 04:52, 4 December 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I work at ALCO and i was at the register and i saw "Weekly World News Last Issue"...and i died a little inside. its a shame.the juggreserection (talk) 17:33, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

1970-80's comics and vintage star wars figurines[edit]

I recently re-discovered an old comic collection that used to belong to my dad as well as some 1980's vintage Star Wars figures (unboxed :( ).

  • Spider-man comics weekly (1974)
  • Planet of the Apes (1974)
  • The New Mutants (1987)
  • Daredevil (1988)
  • The Uncanny X-Men (1989)
  • Excaliber (1981-1989)
  • Luke Skywalker (jedi knight)
  • C-3PO
  • Hans Solo (Bespin outfit)

Are these likely to be worth anything? Is there a webshop who might take 'em? I really have no idea so if anyone has any information, it would be really appreciated :) Seraphim Whipp 12:19, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

You can check online auctions such as eBay, but sometimes the prices are way out of whack, high or low. --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 12:31, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
What's the quality of the comics? In near mint condition, the Comics Price Guide offers about $5 a comic for most ($10 for those that have been officially graded by CGC). Laïka 14:00, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Some of them are very good condition i.e no visible loss of colour, although slight yellowing at the varies. I don't think they could be called near-mint though... :( Seraphim Whipp 14:37, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Sounds like Fine/Very Fine on the Grading Scale. Very Fine and Fine comics can still fetch a reasonable price, although there's probably no point getting them certified (it'd cost as much as you'd gain); there's probably a comics fan out there who'd be willing to be $3-4 a comic to complete his/her collection (on eBay, a collection of about 10 Spider-Man comics in Fine/Very Fine condition is just about to go for $60 with 19 bids, so there's a market (although they might be slightly older than your copies, and hence slightly more valuable)). Laïka 14:52, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Thank-you very much for all your help :) Seraphim Whipp 15:26, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Of the comics you mentioned, I would bet that your X-Men issues would net you the largest amount. They could get you $20-$30, depending on the issues, the quality, and the market you're trying to sell to. Marc Silvestri is considered a "collectible" artist and he would probably have been the artist on your issues. Rob Liefeld is probably the other guy you might find in that stretch. Less collectible, but he has his fans. The Excalibur would probably be next in line. If they are the earlier issues with Alan Davis doing art, it would probably help the $$$. I'm less familiar with the other titles, but can tell you they're less collectible in general. A New Mutant issue with art by Bill Sienkiewicz might be slightly higher, as would a Daredevil by John Romita Jr. I don't deal with toys, so take this with a grain of salt, but I doubt those figures are worth much. Being central characters they'd get wider distribution and be more common. As always, you can never tell what someone might pay for something on any given day. Matt Deres (talk) 02:26, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Thank-you :). Seraphim Whipp 12:55, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Isolating earphones[edit]

I'm considering buying through the Internet a pair of isolating earphones because when I'm at the gym or walking down the street I can barely hear anything due to external noise (turning up the volume even more would kill my ears). My questions are: do you know any model that you are particularly satisfied with? And the other one is (assuming the risk of sounding "e-illiterate"): I'm a little fearful of the product being lost during its trip. If that happened, what should I do? --Taraborn (talk) 12:44, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

(edit conflict) :It all depends on how much you want to spend. The Shure and Etymotic series of headphones will do what you want and have damn good sound quality too, but they are expensive. Some of the Sony Fontopia range are quite good too. --WebHamster 13:14, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I suspect the answer to your second question will depend on where you live, and probably on the company you are going to order from. (talk) 13:12, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

I'd be REALLY nervous about wearing a set of headphones on the street that blocks out all noise, that sounds like a good way to get hurt.

As to the device getting lost in shipping don't worry about it, that is between the vendor and the shipper. The only thing you would need to be concerned about is if the shipper drops it off at your place and someone steals it then. If you think that's a real concern make sure the shipper is required to get a signature. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:52, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Thank you very much, guys. --Taraborn (talk) 08:49, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
I got myself a pair of JVC marshmallow headphones, and they're the best headphones I've ever had. I assume other companies make similar products. They were pretty cheap, but do the job. The ends are replaceable foam earplug material, so you can hear your music at a lower volume (as it cancels out a lot, but not all of, the outside world) and less of your music leaks than would at the same volume with normal earphones. In addition, they're much more comfortable than normal earphones (I found the iPod ones particularly bad) because they're squidgy and form to your ear. (have a good earplug insertion technique helps) Skittle 22:01, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Paypal and Visa[edit]

Perhaps this is ridiculous, but is it possible to pay with Paypal in an online store that only accepts Visa and Mastercard? I've heard somewhere that Paypal is preparing something to allow this. --Taraborn (talk) 13:50, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

I think they've had that for a long time. You can get a PayPal credit card it's called "PayPal Plus" and you can find all about it by going to and clicking on the "Products and Services" tab - then on "PayPal Plus". I see they also have a debit card that lets you get cash out of an ATM from your PayPal account. SteveBaker (talk) 14:30, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
There is (or was) a system where you could get a "virtual debit card" from Paypal. You choose how much the product/service cost and Paypal issued a temporary mastercard number for that purchase that you could give the online store, the same as a real card. It was mentioned here in 2005, and Paypal has a FAQ for it, but I'm blowed if I can find out whether it's still in operation. According to this, "PayPal has been providing one off Mastercard numbers for quite some time"; this Techcrunch post, however, says they launched a service about 10 days ago. It looks like it requires a toolbar, but I can't see any way to get it (I'm on the UK site, though). Searching Paypal for "secure card" brings up lots of relevant Help Center results,. If you're in North America, maybe a nosey round the dark corners of your "My Account" page would find it? -- Kateshortforbob 17:06, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

riddle help[edit]

any help wud be much appreciated.i travel the longest every year.what am i?am only to use google to get the answer —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:34, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

If you are only to use Google to get the answer, then asking the question here on Wikipedia is not following the rules, or have I missed something? Bielle (talk) 15:56, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
We may assume our OP used Google to get here?! :-)
This is a kinda silly riddle - if "longest" means "longest distance" then technically, the longest distance that anything can travel in a year is a light-year (because that's the cosmic speed limit) - so the answer ought to be "A ray of light" or "A photon"...but I bet it's something much more annoying than that. If "longest" means "for the longest amount of time" then something that doesn't stop moving ever (and again, a photon would do just fine). If "The Longest" turns out to be (say) the name of a railway line in outer mongolia - then the train that runs on it travels "The Longest" every'll be something that's supposed to make us smack our foreheads and exclaim "What a clever chap that riddle writer is!"...but that's not gonna happen. SteveBaker (talk) 19:06, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Does it annoy you when people ask you questions which are answered easily by googling?[edit]

I enjoy reading the diversity of questions on all the references desk, however a lot of questions appear to be answered simply by you running the question through a series of search engines. Does is annoy you that people appear to be unable to do this themselves? If so have you ever told someone to stop being a lazy a*se and do it themselves? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gertie100 (talkcontribs) 15:35, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Sometimes it takes a bit of skill to get useful information from a search. If I really got annoyed. . . [2] --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 15:38, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Tends to be that if a google search can answer the question, we'll link to the google search in the hope that the questioner sees how it was done & thereby learns. --Tagishsimon (talk) 15:48, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

It is not so much people asking questions without at least trying to find out for themselves... it is more those who answer from guesswork (even those who say so!). What help is that ? (talk) 15:54, 29 November 2007 (UTC)DT

I agree. Guesswork is even worse. --Taraborn (talk) 18:17, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

No, it rarely bothers me. When someone asks "What about X?"...and the answer is [[X]] - then that IS a bit annoying. But for anything more complex than that, I don't get annoyed at all. The problem is that using a search engine is a skill - you have to know what kinds of words will produce the results you want and what are doomed to produce a lot of junk. It helps IMMENSELY if you have just a little knowledge surrounding the question to enable you to add words that you know will get the three pages with the right answers onto the top of the search results rather than on page 947! A while back someone asked about a career as a "Nursing Aid" - well, I know that if you type that into Google, you'll get a bunch of articles about the care of AIDS victims. So you type in "Nursing Assistant" and voila! So I don't generally get annoyed. I figure that it can't be that the person is merely lazy because it takes more effort to ask the question here than it does to run a Google search - so a genuinely lazy person would have done the latter. With Wikipedia, there is an even more subtle technique: It's often better to look for an article that you know MUST exist and follow likely links from it that lead closer to your goal. It's a lot like solving crossword puzzles. SteveBaker (talk) 18:56, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

We desk volunteers (read "know-it-alls") are supposed to find our answers in Wikipedia and provide links to the articles within it. If we have to google, so be it, but that lets us provide external links, which is far better than shooting our unsubstantiated mouths off even if we know what we are talking about. I'm happy to google, but I'll admit to feeling a twinge of guilty satisfaction upon finding the answer in hit one page one and flinging the bare link up on the board. --Milkbreath (talk) 19:15, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

We also have those people who ask Question X without stopping to look and see that an identical Question X was asked just two days ago... Lemon martini 14:07, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

I do get annoyed when the question is answerable by simply typing in the key words into Google and clicking "I'm feeling lucky!" I get annoyed not because it shows a lack of effort being made—the typing out of the question took more effort than finding the answer—but because it shows that people haven't really been thinking about how to get answers to their own questions. This is a phenomena I see all the time in the world; people don't even try to find out the answers themselves, they just think you have to go ask an expert or otherwise you have to give up. To me it represents a very bad trend in critical thinking and exploratory skills, both of which I consider quite necessary to navigate our new information age. -- 16:12, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Guns in UK[edit]

I understand that handguns are illegal in the UK, and a good thing it is too, but, what about farmers who need guns for euthanasia purposes, and what about pheasant hunting and the like, do these people have shotguns and rifles? Is it just the prolitariate that is not allowed guns? While the Borguios continue to hunt pheasant and other bird game interspersed with cucumber sandwiches and tea.

You'll probably be interested in our Gun politics in the United Kingdom article. The short answer is that guns *are* allowed in the UK, but you have to have a license, and to get a license you need to have a "good reason". Presumably euthanasia for farmers and hunting count as "good reasons". Note that there is probably also a distinction between types of guns which are permitted. Long guns such as rifles and shotguns are normally viewed a less of an issue, gun control wise, than handguns and automatic weapons. -- 16:18, 29 November 2007 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)
As the previous editor noted, guns are more strictly licensed in the UK than in, say, the US, but they aren't illegal. Guns also aren't restricted to the the pheasant-shooting upper-classes. There has been a significant rise in gun crime in the last few years, particularly among young people in cities. See Gangs in the United Kingdom for more information. Just today, police arrested more than 100 people, and seized more than 1300 weapons during a crackdown on gun culture in 4 British cities. (However, many of the arrests weren't for firearms offenses, but for other crimes, and many of the weapons seized were replicas, which are banned because they can be modified into working weapons.) BBC News story-- Kateshortforbob 16:32, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I understand it is not the point of your question but I would remark that farmers don't as a habit and are not allowed to use guns to kill their animals. The killing of animals for human consumption is heavily regulated and most European countries make it compulsary for large animals to be killed in a slaughterhouse under the supervision of a veterinarian. Sick animals are usually put down by a vet or the farmer himself by injecting a combination of paralysing drugs and are often autopsied afterwards. Exceptions of course happen. Keria (talk) 21:14, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Around my neck of the UK woods, farmers delight in killing crows, rabbit & hares with their guns, by day & by night - notably by lamping. And they & the well heeled kill game. There doesn't seem to be much of a class divide in enthusiasm for guns, nor in the ability to get hold of them. --Tagishsimon (talk) 22:37, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
You forgot the most relished of farmer's kills... teenage burglars :P --WebHamster 22:40, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Unarmed teenage burglars who are running away, that would be. DuncanHill (talk) 23:37, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I thought the ultimate prize game for farmers was men trying to sleep with the the farmer's daughters. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 23:52, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Anyone confused should see Tony Martin (farmer). Algebraist 02:47, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
It is amazing to Americans that so few UK policemen carry a firearm. A clear victory for moral suasion and appealing to the better nature of the criminal. Edison (talk) 04:44, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
In a lot of coutries in Europe, burglars "choose" not to carry a gun or a knife on a job because if they get caught the penalty is extremely more severe. The idea behind it is that stealing is not nice but there's only material damage done whereas if someone willingly puts himself in a situation where he/she might have to use their weapon against another person that is considered (by a bit of stretching) as endangering the life of others or as some sort of statement of intent from the person that he/she would willingly harm someone else and it carries much heavier penalties. Also to note it is not ok (in most European countries) to shoot at someone who breaks into your house. Self-defense is considered acceptable when the response is proportionate to the danger. Of course any act of self defense that concludes in the death of the original attacker will be seen as having strong extenuating circumstances. And of course again there are exceptions. Keria (talk) 10:54, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
A key statistic for me is that in the USA, more people are killed by their own guns than by other peoples. SteveBaker 21:54, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

UK Foreign Aid to Sudan??[edit]

Does anyone here know if, and by how much, the UK gives aid to Sudan annually - or alternatively, can anyone advise me on how I can find out the answers to those questions?


Wikipedia has a brief article on Foreign aid to Sudan but it doesn't have much information at all. There was a parliamentary written answer just last week from the Department for International Development that says the "UK is the second largest bilateral humanitarian donor to Sudan" giving more than £145 million, but that figure seems to relate to relief in Darfur only. In 2005 the UK pledged £317 million over 3 years, and as of 6/11/07 £290 million has been spent. -- Kateshortforbob 16:20, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for that. So if Gillian Gibbons, the 54 year old voluntary British Teacher is found guilty of insulting the Islamic Faith by allowing her infant pupils in a school in Sudan to name the class Teddy Bear 'Mohammed', and is sentenced to 40 lashes on her back as punishment - might that mean that the British Taxpayer will have paid £3.5 million per stroke?? The sooner we stop funding such repressive and aggressive backward states the better. And while we are at it, we should send back all their illegal nationals and make them available for teaching their children in the absence of UK and other enlightened nations' teachers.
I'm not sure I would agree with that. Undoubtedly the situation is incredibly unfortunate, but it isn't as though the UK government (or NGOs) said, "please take this money and use it for corporal punishment of foreigners." According to the answer in Hansard, the money is being used for humanitarian aid, specifically to provide food and other forms of aid to people caught up in or displaced by the Darfur conflict. You may or may not agree with the Sudanese government's stance on what has been going on in Darfur over the past couple of years, but it would be dreadfully unfair to ignore the people suffering because of that. Undoubtedly, people will call on the UK government to sanction Sudan, possibly by withdrawing aid, if this situation goes on, and they may or may not do so, but I don't think it's correct to say that "the British Taxpayer will have paid £3.5 million per stroke". I'm not going to get into the immigration argument, because I think I'm already getting an ulcer from all the vandalism patrol. However, I hope that none of this speculation is relevant, and Ms. Gibbons is released as soon as possible. -- Kateshortforbob 17:26, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
When you move to another country - you place yourself under their laws. If you don't agree with those laws or are unwilling to take the time to find out about them - don't go! If you are a teacher in Sudan, you need to be aware that it's a Muslim country and taking the name of Mohammed in vain is not likely to go down well. Naming an animal after him...not good! We White/Anglo-Saxon/Protestant Brits don't see the punishment as befitting the crime - but then Sudanese Muslims don't think that unleashing small-arms fire in the street to celebrate a wedding is a crime. But if you do it outside of a church on Croyden high-street - you'll definitely wind up in jail. So this poor lady (for whom I actually feel a lot of sympathy - her heart was in the right place) did screw up in a major way. If you plan to teach their children - you'd better understand their culture before you start. Similarly, the British spent that money in Sudan in an effort to do some good - to change things for the better - to show them that we care. In the long term, that's going to produce results. The alternative is do nothing (which would produce a great deal more human misery than the beating this school teacher will get) or to go in with guns blazing - and we're currently getting a very good object lesson in how well that works out. SteveBaker (talk) 18:41, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Maybe we should bomb them back into the Stone Age, as that seems to be how advanced their system of law and justice are. Now we've got mobs calling for her death - that's how "civilized" this country is.
It is not as simple as saying that it is a Muslim country. Their two recent civil wars should make that clear. And she was teaching at a private school set up by local Coptic and Anglican Christians which has always allowed Muslims students[3]. Rmhermen 20:24, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
As the original OP, I am working really hard against becoming anti-muslim - and boy, do I mean really hard. Unlike the respondent in the last-but-one response, I cannot agree that we should "bomb" them back into the stone age. That would be a waste of bombs. They are there already - and they clearly don't want us there - I mean us as non-muslims - and probably teddy-bears too. I still feel notwithstanding the liberal views espoused by Steve Baker and KateShortforBob above that the time has come for a show down - and by that I do not mean some outward and extremist response against Islam. I mean quite simply that we in the West should now begin to say quite emphatically - stay away, if you don't like our liberal culture, stay away, and stay in your own, muslim peace loving countries. And at the same time we should draw up laws prohibiting our citizens from going there in any capacity and becoming pawns in their anti-west philosophy that exposes us to international embarrassment with no legitimate recourse. And as for the foreign aid that we throw wastefully at them, we should direct that at more needful, desirous, and grateful causes. By the way, some of my best friends are Muslims, and they agree with me.

Where can I find places to find stuff? E.g. websites, books, music[edit]

Having just offered my first brief attempt at an answer above, I thought I might venture a question as well. Are there other sorts of "reference desks" on the internet where I can ask about a half-remembered creation, either informative or entertaining, (e.g. book, article, artwork, website, song, film, whatever) and well-informed erudite people can advise me? An acquaintance is obsessed by a book he read in childhood and wants to track down a copy, but can't remember the title or author, though he knows the story backwards. I was reminded of this idea the other day when I looked on YouTube for a song I had seen months ago, but I couldn't remember enough to find the clip.

Of course, it is already possible to search for and find creations that are currently in the world's attention span, or those invented or developed within the last few years. Let's say I've heard about a new-ish funny TV show about Muslim life in a Western country; I can google "sitcom Islam" and easily find Little Mosque on the Prairie. Not so easy for things created long ago, or not watched by millions. Sample queries (all real) might run:

Q: Does anyone know a famous English painting of a woman floating with lots of flowers?

A: You are probably thinking of Ophelia by Millais.

Q: I seem to remember a children's book about princes from Ceylon, who came bearing strange fruit. Any ideas?

A: Could it be Elizabeth Jamison Hodges's The Three Princes of Serendip (New York, 1964), with drawings by Joan Berg. Now out of print, sadly! She based her book on ancient legends of the same name.

Q: I once saw a documentary about female infanticide in India. It was a small low-budget video, by a non-Indian, and the amazing thing was, it wasn't depressing. Made in the 1990s, I think. Can anyone help me find it again?

A: ...

Q: There is a series of detective novels set in medieval Scotland - Edinburgh, I believe. In the first one, the protagonist, a young man destined for the Church, decides to marry instead. What is the series called?


So, dear reference junkies, are there websites specifically for this purpose, to help the forgetful find something they once came across or heard of and now cannot put a name to? Many thanks. BrainyBabe (talk) 17:24, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

There are others like this one - I believe Yahoo runs one at . But they operate just like this one - with the same sort of problems and benefits. Some of your questions (above) would be better asked on our "Entertainment" reference desk where people with interests in books, movies, etc hang out. In general, you get the best answers by finding places that are highly specialised to your needs. I needed to ask a lot of questions about the Bond Bug a while ago - the best answers were (not surprisingly) to be found in the Bond Bug owners club. When I needed to know about Rapid prototyping, I found a mailing list and subscribed to it. Hence, for movie questions, runs a forum where you can ask movie-related questions. You'll get better answers about movies there than you will here - but for books...forget it! I'm sure there are similar kinds of places to ask about books, paintings and other media. SteveBaker (talk) 18:17, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

As a professional reference librarian, I must give my profession a plug here. I would suggest that the best way to find answers for where to find stuff would be to GASP! pay a visit in person to your local library and have a chat with the reference librarian on duty. Although there are an incredible (and growing) number of fantastic "stuff" sites online, there still are lots of reference tools that are still to be found only in print. The cool thing about reference librarians (forgive the self praise here) is that they are constantly trying to learn as much about where to find stuff both in print and online as they can. So, the best person to find stuff for you is your local friendly reference librarian - and he or she will do it for free! --Saukkomies 04:22, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, both! But Saukkomies, I thought reference librarians were for serious stuff. I am heartened that you think they would welcome my well-meant trivialities about kidslit etc.BrainyBabe (talk) 07:25, 5 December 2007 (UTC)
LOL! Reference Librarians are the ultimate info-sluts! The only chance that you might bore a Reference Librarian with a question would be to ask where the bathroom is located, but even that is an appropriate question for them. The motto of Reference Librarians ought to be: Use us! --Saukkomies 18:03, 5 December 2007 (UTC)

Question about Congress[edit]

header added --LarryMac | Talk 21:20, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

what can't congress do? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:23, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Emigrate? Give birth? Smoke indoors? I don't know. Recury (talk) 21:43, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Strike a match on a jelly?! Richard Avery (talk) 21:46, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Exercise powers reserved under the U.S. Constitution to the Judicial and Executive Branches? See Separation of powers under the United States Constitution for exciting details as well as the individual articles for the three branches, if this is what you're looking for. Also, they seem woefully unable to <angry political diatribe removed>. Azi Like a Fox (talk) 23:58, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
I’m sorry; we can’t help you with home work questions here. --S.dedalus (talk) 08:36, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Keep the President from military adventurism? Corvus cornixtalk 00:32, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Agree--Omnipotence407 17:08, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Medical term[edit]

? What is the medical term for the fatty deposits, mainly on the the buttock and hips, seen in African women, especially of the San peoples?

  • ... love handles? Deltopia (talk) 19:45, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Are you looking for the Khoikhoi people of southern Africa? Also there's an article, Steatopygia. Julia Rossi (talk) 09:13, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

AT&T Cingular Corporate store[edit]

Do you know how I can find the locations of AT&T "Corporate store"s as opposed to authorized dealers and retailers? The location is somewhere in North Texas. Thank you. --Kushalt 19:42, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Find a Store. I'd assume that the results that don't specifically state "Authorized Retailer" or "Authorized Dealer" would be corporate. --LarryMac | Talk 21:22, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Thanks. --Kushalt 22:17, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Land ownership[edit]

I want to buy an airsoft gun but my dad said that if I want one i have to find a place that we can use them my back yard is to small to have airsoft fites. But there is a block just a little ways away from my house that is like 3 times as big as a normal block that is surounder by houses but there is like a miniture forest in the middle. Is there any way I can find out if some one owns the forest because I dont want to tres pass? thank you.-- (talk) 19:59, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

It is probably safe to assume it is private property, unless it is a recognized park. You might have to check with your local city about it. In any case, make SURE you retain the orange markings on the gun, and if someone tells you to drop it, do it. You do NOT want to be shot by a police officer because it looks like you're toting a gun through the woods. In fact, I'd strongly recommend not using it outside except in places that are intended for airsoft battles. Consider using it indoors. A relatively powerful airsoft gun will put little dents in drywall, but they are a lot of fun in garages and basements. Wear eye protection. Nothing screams fun like poking your eye out from a riccochet. --Mdwyer (talk) 22:19, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Mdwyer has hit the nails on the head. Just to answer your literal question though, yes, your city has a place where you can look up (or have looked up for you) the owners of any parcel of land. It will be called something like "Municipal Hall of Records" or "County Hall of Records", etc. If it doesn't have it's own building, it may be part of your central library or city hall. You can look up the names of everyone who ever owned your house - way back to when the land was first settled in many cases. You may have to pay some kind of nominal fee, but many librarians (if that's where it is) are so delighted to see a young person inside the library they'll be too happy to show you around to ask for the $2 or whatever. I'm basing my answer on experiences in Canada, but know for a fact that similar stuff exists in the US as well. Matt Deres (talk) 02:42, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
Sounds like you need to consult a cadastral map, I have been waiting to use that one for a while.--ChesterMarcol (talk) 05:56, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
I would strongly discourage using these things in a public place. If you can legally (or even illegally but without risk of problems) go into that place - then so can other people. For airsoft safety, you MUST wear goggles - but someone innocently walking their dog through the woods won't be doing that (and neither will their dog or their 3yr old kid) and if a stray round or a ricochet hits them, you could do serious damage. So public places are right out of the question - forget it - no! If I saw you shooting one of these things anyplace where I might be, I would certainly call the police - you can expect other rational people who value their eyesight to do the same! If you can do it in your back yard (or that of a friend) - and if your yard is fenced solidly and high enough to prevent stray rounds from escaping into your neighbours yards - then that's a reasonable possibility. But if not (and it seems not) then your dad is 100% right in telling you that you shouldn't have one. I'm right with him on that one. If you are hell-bent on getting one, you need to find a local club - they will have safe places to play and people who know what works and what isn't safe. Personally - I'd go with paintball instead - it's just as much fun and there is none of the interminable arguments about whether someone was hit or not...but the same things apply - you need a place to go do it safely. If you don't have somewhere safe and appropriate to take these things - then don't get one. SteveBaker 16:27, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Aside from the morality behind using guns, here's what you are looking for (assuming you live in the United States, since I'm not sure what it's called in other countries): You need a Plat Map. Plat Maps may be found at most libraries - public or academic - at the Reference Desk. They are updated annually (most of the time), and provide maps that are at small enough scale to show in detail who owns what land. This is good not only for what you are intending, but useful knowledge for many people, including (it being the season) hunters who wish to get permission to hunt on someone's land. --Saukkomies 04:27, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

airsoft neck shot[edit]

I was going to have a airsoft fite with a friend and they said that if you get hit in the neck with even a plastic airsoft bb you can die. Is this true because i dont want to die =(?

Look at Airsoft for a bit of input on the relative safety of these things. ny156uk (talk) 21:58, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Ratings for MyNetworkTV telenovelas[edit]

How did ratings for MyNetworkTV telenovelas get unexpectedly low? Ericthebrainiac (talk) 22:41, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Because nobody watched them? -Wooty [Woot?] [Spam! Spam! Wonderful spam!] 22:43, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
Fox failed to expect the unexpected? Let me ask in return, what do you think we could add that's missing from the article? Critics panned the dramas. Audiences started low & dwindled. Fox admitted that getting people to watch the serials was asking the impossible. Is some more explanation required? --Tagishsimon (talk) 23:31, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
what makes you think the ratings were "unexpected"? Corvus cornixtalk 00:33, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Hot dogs[edit]

Why do hot dogs come in packs of eight, and hot dog buns come in packs of six? (talk) 23:42, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

So often is this question asked, that there's an entire corner of the internet dedicated to it. --Tagishsimon (talk) 23:53, 29 November 2007 (UTC)
From one of the better links ...
Your mistake is in assuming that businesspeople always have some rational basis for their actions. On the contrary, my experience is that many corporate decisions are arrived at by a process not far removed from consulting sheep entrails. Things are further complicated in this instance by the fact that the principal players are suffering from a case of collective amnesia. Nobody at any of the major hot dog companies can offer a convincing rationale for why things are packaged the way they are. Nonetheless, by a system of anthropological inquiry not unlike Margaret Mead's researches among the Samoans, I have been able to construct the following hypothesis: you get ten hot dogs and eight buns per package because meat packers like things that come in pounds and bakers hate things that come in tens.
The meat-packing side of this is easiest to understand. Your standard-issue hot dog, a product that generations of consumers have found to be convenient, comes ten to the pound. Jumbo hot dogs come eight to the pound, and occasionally you'll see some symptom of wretched excess that comes four to the pound. If you've got 10,000 pounds of hot dogs, therefore, you know you've got 10,000 packages. A few packers deviate from this rule and give you, say, eight standard dogs per 12-ounce package, but they're in the minority.
The situation with bakers is a bit murkier. Here are some of the "explanations" you'll hear: (1) We do it that way because everybody else does. If we started doing ten to the package we'd have to charge more, consumers wouldn't notice they were getting more, and we'd lose business. Fine, but why did the first guy start packing eight? (2) There is something inherent in baking tray or oven design that makes ten impractical to produce. Not true. Continental Baking, maker of the Wonder brand and one of the largest companies in the industry, sells both eight-packs and ten-packs, depending on "consumer preferences and local market conditions." What this means is that if enough people want ten-packs and everybody else is selling them, Continental will too. St. Louis, for one, is said to be a big ten-pack town. (3) Ten-packs are a clumsy shape and tend to get broken up when they're tossed around on supermarket shelves. This is close to the truth, I think (see below), but obviously not that close, since Continental somehow manages to cope.
The true explanation, in my opinion, is that bakers just don't like tens. They prefer dozens, or more generally, multiples of three and four, notably four, six, eight, and twelve. These quantities lend themselves to compact packaging--three rows of four, two rows of three, two slabs of two by two (e.g., hamburger buns), and so on. Ten lends itself only to one row of ten or two rows of five, which are seldom compact shapes. Therefore, the baking mind-set--and here's where we start getting into anthropology--is such that you instinctively regard ten as an unwieldy number. When the pioneers of bun baking were trying to figure out how to package their product, they probably figured what the hey, eight makes a squarish package, so that's what we'll go with, without even considering the unique circumstances that made ten more appropriate. The situation has been allowed to continue because the Teeming Millions meekly submit to it. Oscar Mayer says that of the 50,000 or so consumer letters they get each year, only 10 or 15 complain about the hot dog/bun mismatch.
Amazing what you can find! Neil  13:08, 30 November 2007 (UTC)
See Baker's dozen. Nuff-said. Anyone who calls himself a Baker is a SteveBaker 16:08, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Lil Droppa[edit]

What is Lil Droppa's full name and where was he born and raised? Ericthebrainiac (talk) 23:47, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

West Philadelphia, on the playground is where he spent most of his days..err, forgive me. According to his MySpace, his name is Antavious Chapple and he was born somewhere in Palm Beach County. -Wooty [Woot?] [Spam! Spam! Wonderful spam!] 00:17, 30 November 2007 (UTC)