Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2008 August 15

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August 15[edit]


Are you guys OK? I saw on the news that a tornado hit near Wikimedia HQ, while watching the Bigfoot matter that is still (News conference tomorrow) in the news. I suspect that Bigfoot is either a primate or that someone got a suit and decided to play in the woods. (talk) 01:17, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Can someone do something about the replica message above? It caused a edit conflict. (talk) 01:18, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
"We guys" come from many different countries. No tornadoes down here lately. Was your comment about Bigfoot part of any question you'd like an answer to? -- JackofOz (talk) 01:20, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Yes, and I was concerned about the people at the Wikipedia HQ in Florida who may have got hit by today's tornado. (talk) 01:37, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Wikimedia moved to San Francisco last year. They don't have to worry about tornadoes anymore, just earthquakes. Paragon12321 01:41, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Good news - You'll be in position regarding Bigfoot and/or a UFO conference that will be going on Friday and over the weekend. Bad news - California gets several minor quakes, and the occasional quake that could cause some damage. Should've moved to Sedona, Arizona, Only thing there is (alleged) aliens and bizarre creatures that may interest Wikipedians. (talk) 02:05, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Nintendo 64 Games[edit]

Hi, I recently (on an impulse) bought a Nintendo 64 at a garage sale. It turned out to be a great move! I've been having a lot of fun with it. Unfortunately, I only have two games, Conker's Bad Fur Day, and Super Mario. I want to get Super Smash Bros for it, but I'm also looking for more games that are like Conker's Bad Fur Day (that is M-rated, similar humor, etc.). If anyone has any suggestions for great N64 games, please, suggest! Also, if any games that are similar to Conker's Bad Fur Day come to mind, please let me know what they're called. Thanks for your suggestions! -- (talk) 02:24, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Me and my buddy still own this amazing system and I find it to be the best ever. Anyway, you should try finding Star Fox 64, Mario Kart 64, and Banjo Kazooie the original. Banjo Kazooie is an adventure similar to Super Mario in its scale. Mario Kart is a cartoonish racing game, and Star Fox is a shoot em up arcade style from a jet fighter. All very good. Good Luck finding them! The Reader who Writes (talk) 06:10, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I can't beleiver nobody has suggested Goldeneye which might just be the greatest N64 game of them all and also, potentially, the best single-screen multiplayer game in the history of computing citation needed. Anyhoo your best bet to find games will be on things like ebay, garage sales and game-trading shops which often still have older games available. (talk) 07:28, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Goldeneye hasn't really aged as well as Conker's or Super Mario. A major part of what made Goldeneye so special was that it was the first "modern" FPS game that most console gamers had ever played. You can't really re-create that excitement for a modern first-time player. APL (talk) 13:07, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
IGN has a list of the top N64 games. Their list looks pretty good. Here's the 6-10 list (it isn't found on IGN's servers and I had to use to find a copy).--droptone (talk) 12:15, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I've got to recommend MarioKart 64. Not the best of the MarioKarts, but they're all pretty fun. (I know you asked for games "like Conker's", but I don't know any. I wish I did.) 13:07, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Yeah. MarioKart 64 is the best N64 game I've played, especially the team battle game.  :-)) Astronaut (talk) 13:39, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for your suggestions so far! I'll definitely look into some of those. But yeah, unfortunately I'm beginning to think Conker's was in a league of its own regarding games similar to it. It seems pretty unique! -- (talk) 18:19, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Part of what made Conker's so popular was it was nothing like Rare had ever released before (or ever released again, except for a remake for Xbox). In fact, Rare didn't even conceive of the game until a normal (by means of comparison) Conker game got delayed and they completely recreated it with an adult theme. Don't waste much time looking, because you won't find anything similar for N64. Concentrate on the classics mentioned above.--El aprendelenguas (talk) 20:47, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Cost of NLP Course[edit]

Hi,I am currently looking for a NLP course.I have no idea how much I need to spend,in order to take this course. Can anybody tell me where to get the information of the cost? Or anybody knows the cost? Thanks!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:31, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia has users in almost every country on Earth. Where do you live, and where are you planning to take the course? Prices will vary wildly not just from country to country but from city to city. --NellieBly (talk) 07:06, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

If I take the course in US or UK,how much will I need to spend?Thanks alot!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:24, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

What, in your context, is NLP? -- SGBailey (talk) 11:24, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Note that if you plan to take the course in the UK it may depend on whether you are British citizen, an EU citizen who's lived in the UK for a while (I think 5 years) or a foreign student. Nil Einne (talk) 19:19, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
What is NLP? Natural language processing, Neuro-linguistic programming, Nonlinear programming are the only ones that seem possible from the dab page. Is there something we missed on that page? Rmhermen (talk) 19:29, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Why a different page?[edit]

Whenever I type Fungi on wikipedia I see a strange page. Why is it doing that? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:59, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

What do you see? I see the article on Fungus (permalink). — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 05:13, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Maybe you are looking for Fungi (music)? Plasticup T/C 14:09, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
There is also an article on Fungus the Bogeyman. Whoever said "it is not easy to be green" was apparantly mistaken. But typing in "Fungi" goes straight to fungus, the stuff on mushrooms. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 21:55, 15 August 2008 (UTC)


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Relay Medals[edit]

OK - I know that all the team members in a relay race (swimming etc.)compete as a unit so that if the team wins they each collect a medal (I am thinking here of Michael Phelps in his Gold Medal Relay Race the other day). What I don't understand is how any member who fails to win in his bit of the race, despite his later team-member/s catching up in their section/s, can honourably lay claim to a winner's medal. Seems unfair to me. (talk) 11:35, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
What do you mean by 'win in his bit of a race'? It's a single race, competed in by a single team. If the team wins, then the team members share the victory. By your reasoning, if a relay team won a race without any of the four runners being the fastest for their stage (which is perfectly possible), then no-one could honourably claim victory. Algebraist 11:42, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
It's a team event, so you win as a team and lose as a team. The difficulty with your idea is that with the exception of the first-leg each of the other swimmers are going to start their leg at different times. Whilst you could look at the speed of their leg in isolation it will only tell half the story. If by the time it comes to your leg you are already 3 body-lengths behind it will alter how you swim, similarly if you are 3 lengths ahead you will swim differently - or if you are close then you will be pushed harder by the feeling of other swimmers being near. In short the leg-time in isolation isn't really evidence of whether a person is able to 'honourably' lay claim to a winner's medal. There is no I in team - people who seek to place the victory on one individual unfairly discount the importance of the other team-member's performance (even if it is less than the 'star player') (talk) 12:33, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Does the argument hold for football ? Anyone not directly scoring a goal or touchdown be not entitled to a medal ? (talk) 13:50, 15 August 2008 (UTC)DT

Scuse my ignorance Algebraist - but if NONE of the relay team wins in their section of the race - how can it be possible for the team to win the race? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:53, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
To win, the sum of the times of each of the team members needs to be lower than the sums for the other teams. So it is possible to win none of the segments but still win overall if there are more than two teams. Zain Ebrahim (talk) 14:03, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Think of it like this: Lane 1 does 4 x legs averaging 30 seconds (120 seconds). Lane 2 does 1 leg at 25 seconds and the rest at 35 (35x3 + 25 = 130 seconds). Lane 3, 4 and 5 do the same as Lane 2 - between them they each win a leg of the race but overall they are slower than lane 1. (talk) 14:07, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
So - is that the way it worked when Michael Phelps and his team-mates won their Gold Medal for their relay event? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:13, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
In the case of the US team's relay, they fell behind, meaning that the first 3 Frenchmen swam combined faster than the first three Americans. But the fourth American swam fast enough to not only be faster than the fourth Frenchman, but fast enough to make the four total American times faster than the four Frenchmen's combined times. Useight (talk) 15:23, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Sorry for belabouring the point BUT, in the race in question, if the last swimming American had touched the wall after the last swimming Frenchman - BUT - the USA team had still achieved an overall faster race-time than the French team - would the USA have still taken Gold? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:16, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
It would be impossible for the American team to have an overall faster race time if last swimming American touched the wall after the last swimming Frenchman. The race is timed from the when the first swimmer starts to when the last swimmer finishes. What you are asking is, in effect "If I came in second in the race but I had a faster time than the winner, would I win?" - EronTalk 17:25, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Eron - but unless I have completely lost my marbles - and trusting you have read the whole thread since I posed the OP here - isn't your point exactly what I have been pursuing all along ie., is a relay race won by the last person in the team to cross the line (touch the wall), or on a complex addition of all the component competitors' times for their individual segment of the race as per Algebraist and Zain and Useight above? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:35, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I have read the whole thread. There is no complex addition required; a team's time in a relay race is simply the sum of the times of all the members of the team. But these times are not recorded separately; a team is given a single time for the race. This time begins at the start of the race, when the first team member starts, and it ends when the last team member finishes his or her leg. All team members contribute to the win. In the case of the American relay team that started this topic off, your positions seems to be "the first three members of the team were really slow and only the last member actually won the race for them." Another way to look at it would be that the first three members of the team were all fast enough for the whole team to win. If a single one of them had been one-tenth of a second slower, they would have lost the race. - EronTalk 17:41, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
OK, ok - my head is hurting - but I have gone back to the Algebraist response above - copied here "if a relay team won a race without any of the four runners being the fastest for their stage (which is perfectly possible)," - and I simply can't square that with what you have just written - with which by the way, I entirely agree (your response - not his). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:57, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Okay, imagine four teams in a four-man relay race. Teams are designated A, B, C, and D; runners on each team are numbered 1, 2, 3, and 4:
  • Leg 1 - A1 1:00 / B1 0:55 / C1 1:05 / D1 1:05 - B1 is the fastest on this leg
  • Leg 2 - A2 1:00 / B2 1:10 / C2 0:55 / D2 1:05 - C2 is the fastest on this leg
  • Leg 3 - A3 1:00 / B3 1:10 / C3 1:05 / D3 0:55 - D3 is the fastest on this leg
  • Leg 4 - A4 1:00 / B4 0:55 / C4 1:05 / D4 1:05 - B4 is the fastest on this leg
  • Overall time: A 4:00 / B 4:10 / C 4:10 / D 4:10 / A wins the race without winning a leg.
Put another way:
  • Team A - Leg 1 1:00 / Leg 2 1:00 / Leg 3 1:00 / Leg 4 1:00 - Total 4:00 - Legs won 0
  • Team B - Leg 1 0:55 / Leg 2 1:10 / Leg 3 1:10 / Leg 4 0:55 - Total 4:10 - Legs won 2
  • Team C - Leg 1 1:05 / Leg 2 0:55 / Leg 3 1:05 / Leg 4 1:05 - Total 4:10 - Legs won 1
  • Team D - Leg 1 1:05 / Leg 2 1:05 / Leg 3 0:55 / Leg 4 1:05 - Total 4:10 - Legs won 1
Does this help? - EronTalk 18:10, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Not sure if this will help or not...but...
Team A has times of 30, 30, 30, and 30. - Total of 2 minutes.
Team B has times of 16, 35, 35, and 35. - Total of 2 minutes, 1 second.
Team C has times of 35, 16, 35, and 35. - Total of 2 minutes, 1 second.
Team D has times of 35, 35, 16, and 35. - Total of 2 minutes, 1 second.
Team E has times of 35, 35, 35, and 16. - Total of 2 minutes, 1 second.
Team A lost every individual stage, but they still have the fastest total time. --OnoremDil 18:06, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Wow !!! You folks are amazing - BUT - it would be easier finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Please ---- Yes or No ---- Is the result of a swimming relay at the Beijing Olympics based on which team's last swimmer touches the wall first - OR - on the overall team-members' leg-times????
It's based on which swimmer touchers the wall first, but that is a direct result of the overal team-member's leg times. It is impossible, based on our current understanding of physics and without someone violating the rules for a team's last swimmer to touch the wall first without his/her team also having the lowest overall leg times. This is no different to the way an individual runner/swimmer will have the lowest race time if he/she crosses the line/touches the wall first. Nil Einne (talk) 19:01, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
(EC) Maybe this much simpler even if almost definitely never to occur in real world example would help. We are talking about a 2 person relay here. Team A's 1st competitor finishes his/her leg in 1 second. The 2nd team A competitor takes 1 hour for his/her leg. Team B's 2nd finishes his/her leg in 1 second. But team B 1st competitors takes 1 hour for his/her leg of the race. Team C's 2 competitors each take 1 minute. It should be obvious without needing to do the sums that team C will finish first, but that neither of team C's competitors won their leg of the race. Nil Einne (talk) 19:01, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
In table form:
  • Team A; 1 second, 1 hour
  • Team B; 1 hour, 1 second
  • Team C; 1 minute, 1 minute (finishes first)
Nil Einne (talk) 19:04, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Nil Einne - you get Gold

Eron - you get Silver

Useight - you get Bronze, and

Algebraist, you get to swim in the Straits of Hormuz.

But thanks to everyone. Wish I could buy you all a drink. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:26, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

I have another question in this area. Some participants only swim in the qualifying heats, and not in the finals. Do those participants get medals? Corvus cornixtalk 19:32, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes. They do not stand on the podium at the medal ceremony, but are given the appropriate medal later (I can't recall if it's later on but during the Games, or only after they're home....I think my memory is that their NOC gives them the medals after returning home). User:Jwrosenzweig editing as (talk) 19:36, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
How many members of a relay them can there be then? 8? 12? Nil Einne (talk) 19:47, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Looks like 6 for track (athletics). I think it is more for swimming. Rmhermen (talk) 20:27, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Sorry to be a wet blanket, particularly after the prizes have been given out, but some of the above reasoning is flawed. Particularly the bit about it being possible to win none of the stages but still be the winner. Zain made the point that there have to be more than 2 teams for this to work, and I can see what he's getting at; but it doesn't work even then. The issue is the definition of "win". A race always starts from zero velocity. That works for the first stage, and it also works for the overall race; so it's quite possible to measure who won the first stage and who won the overall race. But for each of the stages after the first, they're not only moving when they start the stage, but moving at different speeds, so there's no basis for comparison. Unless, of course, you have one definition of "win" for the first stage and the overall race, but a very different definition of "win" for all the individual stages after the first. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:14, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

That's why I said 'being the fastest for their stage' rather than winning a stage, which, as I said to begin with, doesn't make much sense. Algebraist 23:19, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, if we define "winning a stage" as "being the fastest for that stage" or "completing that stage in the least time" then it works for each stage, including the first. Then extend "stage" to include the whole race and the same definition of "win" would still work, right? Zain Ebrahim (talk) 23:26, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
"Completing that stage in the least time" is a lot better - it's certainly more meaningful than "win"; except that a competitor who's already running at, say, 15 kph when he starts a stage, has more momentum than a competitor of equal mass who's only running at 14 kph, and thus has a greater advantage. So comparisons of the time taken to complete a non-initial stage are still flawed. One could assume for the purposes of this exercise that they're all running at the same speed at the instant they commence a stage; but that would be a rather unhelpful assumption given that this is a race, in which, by definition, each competitor is trying to run faster than all the others. -- JackofOz (talk) 12:14, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
But doesn't the starting speed depend on the type of race? The initial question here was inspired by a swimming relay race, where every competitor in every leg does start from zero. You make a good point about running races though. One way to look at it is that every runer still has to start from zero, although (except for the first leg) they are not timed until they get up to speed. However, the need to match speed with the previous runner to achieve a baton pass must have an effect as well - it doesn't matter how fast a runner is at the start of the leg if the person passing the baton cannot keep up with him.
(I also had a minor digression into thinking about triathlon, which can be looked at as a relay race run by a single person. The initial question was about three out of four members of a relay term not deserving the medal because none of them won their legs; in triathlon it can and does happen that the overall race is won by someone who doesn't win any legs.) - EronTalk 12:43, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I see what happened here. I was thinking about swimming where, according to my admittedly poor understanding, each team member starts from rest. Is this necessarily not the case for track-based relay? I would imagine that the non-initial player should be given credit for starting at a higher speed than his/her corresponding opponent while still being able to grab the baton. Does the person who hands over the baton not slow down a bit before handing over? And does the receiver have to be moving at the same speed as the giver or, at least, does the giver's speed necessarily affect the receiver's starting speed in practice? If so, you're right - it would be an "unfair" advantage. Or, am I totally missing something?
Also note that I replied to the OP who used "win in their section" which (since he/she was responding to Algebraist) I assumed to mean what Algebraist said. Zain Ebrahim (talk) 12:42, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Source for Quote: "Your Lack of Planning..."[edit]

Who is the source for the quote: "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."?

Thank you for any help,

--Grey1618 (talk) 13:31, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Google "Lack of planning on your part" and you will be offered a page of references. Why not do this before asking here? (talk) 13:48, 15 August 2008 (UTC)DT

to the OQ from the ref desk, lack of searching on your part does not require a response on ours. LOL!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:24, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I see nothing resembling an answer to the question in the first two pages of Google results. -- BenRG (talk) 15:57, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I did perform a google search and, as the above commenter noted, found nothing useful in the first several pages. Mostly companies selling mugs with that quote, unattributed, painted on. --Grey1618 (talk) 16:03, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Some sources attribute it to David Brent of The Office. Whether the show really invented the line or it's simply one of potentially many shows which used an existing line I don't know. Proof of it existing before 2001 will be enough to disprove The Office as a source. BTW, I found this from Google. '"Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part"' found nothing useful (mostly attributed to unknown), as others have noted. '"Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part" source' also didn't find anything useful but '"Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part" quotation' came across one with David Brent as the source. A search for '"Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part" David Brent' shows several sources linking it do there. I did briefly look for sources predating 2001 but didn't find anything useful and it doesn't appear at all on usenet that I found Nil Einne (talk) 21:36, 15 August 2008 (UTC) Scratch that, it does exist on usenet before 2001. I think I accidentally searched on Google News instead of Groups the first time around... Nil Einne (talk) 21:40, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Good paper sorting method?[edit]

Okay, kind of a boring question, but hopefully someone out there will have some insight ...

I'm a co-librarian of a choir. After each performance, the choir members (the co-librarian and me included among them, since we also sing) turn in their sheet music, which is numbered (1 through 50, for example), and the other librarian and I sort it into numerical order and return it to our music library. The choir members turn in the music so that each song is in its own pile, but, of course, each pile is not in numerical order to start with.

So here's my question: what's the fastest way to sort 50 pieces of paper into numerical order? We usually have something like 12-15 separate "sets" (i.e., piles) of music to sort. In the past, we've recruited friends and family members, but it still ends up taking a fairly long time, about a half hour or more depending on how much help we get. We've also tried doing this thing where one of us would sort numbers 1-25 of each pile and set aside numbers 26-50 to be sorted by the other. That worked a little better, but I'm hoping there's some super-fast method I haven't thought of.

Thanks in advance! Dgcopter (talk) 15:35, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Get the quiristers to line up in order of the numbers on their sheet music, and to place their copy face down on top of the previously placed piece. DuncanHill (talk) 15:39, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm tempted to suggest some sort of Sorting algorithm like Quicksort, but I don't think that would actually help for humans sorting physical pieces of paper. Probably DuncanHill's solution is better, if that's not feasable, then perhaps some sort of compromise. Set up a bunch of piles for "Pages 1-5","Pages 6-10". It seems like that would speed things up considerably. APL (talk) 15:44, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Whistle while you work Plasticup T/C 15:49, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Heh, it's funny, but I had thought about using something like a bubble sort, but yeah, like you say, humans sorting physical things don't work as well as computers sorting data. Regarding DuncanHill's suggestion: the problem is that the choristers ... well ... aren't very helpful. Notice I say we recruited family and friends? That's because nobody else sticks around. And we were thinking about doing separate piles for different ranges, like APL suggests, but sometimes we don't have the space, especially when there are 15 separate sets of sheet music to be turned in. Dgcopter (talk) 16:01, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I think you were on the right track when you separated them into smaller piles, what if you did that again on each pile? I'd think that splitting the piles would go fairly quickly and each time you did it it should greatly increase the ease of sorting each pile especially with more than one person (or you could keep doing it until you had 50 one sheet piles in the correct order). I believe this would be a quicksort the only sorting algorithm that seems to be able to improve human performance. Just a thought, no idea how efficient it would be in practice. -- Mad031683 (talk) 16:52, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
You could perhaps assign the music by musical section and then have them return it by section. This would be easier than lining up the entire choir and would automatically presort each song into (assuming SATB music) four piles. (Since choirs are so used to following their director's orders, I wouldn't think would be a problem to make them line up in number order. Certainly more reasonable than the "sing a red laser-like A-flat while giving a backrub to your left-hand neighbor" orders I used to get in choir.) Rmhermen (talk) 17:30, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm curious why you re-sort the music into numerical order. I'm guessing you don't know who had which number, and so if copy 7 is missing, you can't go to Carl and ask where it went. Do they get handed out in numerical order for any reason? Maybe you could save time just counting them... if one were missing, you'd be no worse off than you are now. Just wondering... —OtherDave (talk) 20:13, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
This is not a quicksort but a bucket sort, and it is a good way of sorting numbered pieces of paper in my experience. Ideally the bucket size should be close to an nth root of the number of items. The square root of 50 is about 7, but unless you're good at dividing by 7 in your head you're probably better off with a size of 5 or 10. If you go with 10 then you're doing a radix sort. -- BenRG (talk) 20:43, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
(ec) Bucket sort and merge sort seem to be two general sorting algorithms that are reasonably suitable for human implementation. Of those, the bucket sort is often simpler, but it really depends on what you're sorting and how familiar you are with each. With either algorithm, one would usually revert to something like insertion sort when the number of sorted items gets small enough. For example, using a bucket sort, you might want to first sort the 50 sheets into piles of 5 or 10 sheets each, and then sort each pile.
However, in this particular case, a pigeonhole sort could also be applied to good effect. It would be most convenient to have some sort of tray with numbered slots you could slip the sheets into, but if you have the space, you could just, say, lay out the sheets into an ordered 5 × 10 grid and then gather them up. —Ilmari Karonen (talk) 20:55, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
This method requires the person who's sorting to handle each piece of paper once. Assuming the numbering is on the right:
(1) Lay a sheet down.
(2) If the second sheet's number is lower than that of the first, lay it on the first sheet while keeping a large portion of the first sheet's right side exposed. If the second sheet's number is higher, insert it beneath the first sheet while keeping the second sheet's right side showing. This is so that every page's number can be seen at a glance.
(3) Insert the next sheet where appropriate. If there are pages with consequtive numbers, move them so ones hide the other; their page numbers are no longer needed, and cluster should be reduced as much as possible.
(4) Repeat. --Bowlhover (talk) 05:40, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
It can be proven that there is no single 'best' algorithm for sorting. You have to know something about the nature of disorder in the things you are sorting. If (for example) your music sheets are mostly in the right order with just one or two that are in the wrong place then you can simply looking through the sheets and every time you find one in the wrong place - putting it into the right place - then continuing the search from where you left off. But if the sheets are truly in utterly random order then something like quicksort will be faster. If you have sheets that all have utterly unique numbers - then a different sort is needed than if you have a lot with the same number - or if you have a lot of numbers for which there are no sheets.
Sadly, most sorting algorithms are designed for computers to perform - and there are a lot of differences when a human is sorting paper. The computer can maintain very complex data structures and never make a mistake - but humans aren't good at that. Trying to do a 'quicksort' in your brain is REALLY difficult! Physically moving a sheet of paper from one place in the stack to another is more "expensive" than moving a number from one memory location to another inside a computer - doing a physical bubblesort seems a ridiculous way to do it because you move the data around far more than you strictly need to. We need a sort that takes advantage of what humans are good at and avoids things we're useless at.
Our eyes can scan a lot of data in parallel - and we have pattern recognisers that operate more efficiently than conscious thought. With special hardware like that, computer algorithms would change significantly.
I would expect (without proof) that a "bucket sort" would be the best for totally random ordering with a human doing the sorting. If your sheets are numbered from 1 to 50, make (say) five piles ("buckets") by looking through all of the sheets, placing those numbered 1 through 9 in the first pile, 10 though 19 in the next, 20 through 29 in the next and so on. Now it's a lot easier to sort each pile by simply looking for all of the sheets whose last digit is 1 and putting them at the bottom of the pile, then all the sheets ending in 2, then 3...and so on until the pile is sorted. Then you just have to stack the pile in the right order and you're done. In computer bucket sorting, the choice of the number of buckets to use is an important criteria. So if sorting each of your five piles is still too hard - then perhaps you need to start with more piles - so place 1 through 4 in the first pile, 5 though 9 into the second pile, 10 through 14 in the next and so on - this makes sorting the piles easier - but leaves you with more piles to sort. Taken to a ridiculous degree, you could have 50 piles - one for each number. Now sorting the piles takes no time - but placing the pages into their piles and stacking the resulting piles is inconvenient for our human "hardware" because dealing with 50 piles of paper means you can't conveniently reach all of them. Thus, the algorithm for sorting piles of sheet music might be different from the algortithm for sorting a deck of cards simply because cards are physically smaller than sheets of music.
If more than one person can help - then you can still use a bucket sort - but you might want to split the pile of music in two - have each person sort their pile - then merge the two piles together at the end by repeatedly picking up a sheet from whichever pile as the lowest numbered sheet on the top.
SteveBaker (talk) 15:42, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't think this would be helpful for such a small number of thin sheets, but in computer punch card days, it was common to draw a diagonal stripe along the edge so that if they got out of order you could sort them simply by making the line straight rather than ordering the card numbers. Example at right. --Sean 18:55, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Note sorting stripes
Back in the late 1970's when I used punched cards in college, we had an automatic card sorter. It was a gigantic machine that implemented a bucket sort in hardware. So we never really used the stripes. But it was very common to write things on the edges of the cards - so even without the stripes, it was usually pretty easy to tell when a card was out of order. SteveBaker (talk) 19:50, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Most people I've met seem to find Insertion Sort and sometimes Selection Sort to be the most intuitive to do by hand. Mergesort works too. (talk)

50 is too small a number for it to make any difference which sorting method you use. You only start to see a difference if it gets up over 100 - for example if you had to sort 500 pieces of paper. For any large number like that, you would only want to use a quicksort method. Apteva (talk) 00:12, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

What is the Question?[edit]

OK - silly I know - but what question would I ask in Wkipedia that would be impossible to answer? No prizes for "How long is a piece of string>") —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:09, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
You could ask any number of questions, but most would be hypothetical, paradoxical, or nonsensical (which means they'd fit right in).
  • If George Washington had played the oboe, would he have been a better musician than Ieyasu Tokugawa?
  • What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object?
  • If upsidaisium existed, what would be its atomic number?
  • How much of it would you need to travel to Mars?
  • Would that include your supply of Doritos?
  • If you were outside the spaceship, could you hear George Washington playing Mozart's Oboe Quintet?
  • What are seven irrefutable proofs for the existence of God as He is understood by the Wee Frees?
  • What is wrong with those people? (Any those you care to think of, not necessarily the Wee Frees.)
OtherDave (talk) 20:25, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
This statement is false. Is the previous statement true or false? Angus Lepper (not logged in) 20:50, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
That one's easy: no. Algebraist 20:57, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Or indeed, Yes. Dostioffski (talk) 05:05, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
No, the correct answer to "Is the previous statement true or false?" is definitely "No". If the statement were true then it would be false, therefore it cannot be true; if it were false then it would not be false, therefore it cannot be false either. A statement that is neither true nor false is perfectly acceptable in logics that do not include the axiom of the excluded middle. Gandalf61 (talk) 09:48, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
And a sequence of words that is neither true nor false is even more acceptable – some philosophers deal with liar-style sentences by declaring them to not be proper statements at all. Algebraist 11:45, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
According to the annoying (but correct) Kurt Godel: For any computable axiomatic system that is powerful enough to describe the arithmetic of the natural numbers then if the system is consistent, it cannot be complete. In other words if English is powerful enough to express useful concepts such as arithmetic, there are bound to be things like "This statement is false" that are impossible to either prove or disprove. (The atomic number of usidaisium is pi.) SteveBaker (talk) 15:12, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Hi Steve; welcome back (although I assume you were that certain recognizable Anonymous poster for a while). I don't think this application of Gödel is really exactly on point. First, English is not an axiomatic system; perhaps even more importantly, the question is not whether this statement is false is provable or refutable, but only whether it's true or false. One of the most important take-away messages from Gödel's incompleteness theorems (link provided for those interested) is precisely that truth and provability are not the same thing.
As Algebraist and you both seem to be saying, one way out of the liar paradox is to take the view that that particular sequence of English words does not express a proposition. Whether this is entirely satisfactory I'm not quite sure; I think it's a complicated question. In any case the GIT does not seem to be directly relevant, though it could be useful as an analogy. --Trovatore (talk) 23:46, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I suspect you'll get responses ("answers") to every question you ask, so your question is almost impossible to answer in a sense! You could choose a question from one of the many lists in the great list of lists --Bowlhover (talk) 09:52, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
No question can't be answered because questions exist to have answers. Now whether or not the answer is sensical, logical, and/or non-subjective that's a different barrel of monkeys. Omahapubliclibrary (talk) 21:35, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
How many monkeys in a barrel? Lemon martini (talk) 15:28, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

Shotguns with more than 2 barrels[edit]

I heard that there were shotguns made that had more than 2 barrels. Anyone know anything about this that can provide more info? ScienceApe (talk) 21:20, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

According to our article Insurgency weapon, the Winchester Liberator was a 4-barreled shotgun. DuncanHill (talk) 21:24, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
And these people [1] will sell you a 4-barreled shotgun. DuncanHill (talk) 21:27, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Related follow-up question, is it possible for a double barreled shotgun to use magazines or carry multiple shells that can be cycled like a pump action or semi automatic? ScienceApe (talk) 00:17, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

Don't know about double-barreled shotguns, but here is a single barreled-shotgun with a magazine [2]. DuncanHill (talk) 00:21, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
It seems possible, but what would be the point? The reason for a double-barreled gun is to give you two shots without reloading; a single-barreled gun with magazine gives you that already (and more), so why add the extra barrel? (talk) 10:14, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Double-barrelled shotguns generally allow you to fire with both barrels at once when you need more "stopping power". Ading more barrels makes the thing heavy and unbalanced. Pump-action shotguns are able to fire multiple round in quick succession - but not THAT quick! SteveBaker (talk) 15:57, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Like SteveBaker said, firing both barrels at once is the point. ScienceApe (talk) 20:53, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
There certainly appear to be semi-automatic shotguns that chamber the next round on each shot. Maybe one of them is double-barreled. Done right, you could double the firing rate too (fire the second round before the first has chambered). Franamax (talk) 01:01, 17 August 2008 (UTC)