Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2008 August 18

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August 18[edit]

Olympic Medals in multiple sports[edit]

I would like to know who has won (Summer) Olympic medals in different sports. So far I have Paulo Radmilovic (Swimming and waterpolo) and Carl Schuhmann (gymnastics and wrestling). All the others I am aware of have won multiple Winter titles or one Summer and one Winter title. Are there any more (different events in the same sport doesn't count)? Dostioffski (talk) 03:21, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

List of multiple Olympic medalists would be a good place to start, though many of them are multiple medal winners in the same sport. - EronTalk 03:25, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
What about someone like Carl Lewis who won both running events and long jump, rather different events both classed under athletics? Rmhermen (talk) 03:32, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

On Sunday Rebecca Romero won a cycling gold to add to her rowing silver. Making her only the second woman to win Olympic medals at different sports the other is Roswitha Krause - X201 (talk) 11:31, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Excellent. That is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks. Dostioffski (talk) 16:52, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Only if you just count summer sports. Both Clara Hughes and Christa Luding have won Olympic medals in both cycling and speed skating. - EronTalk 12:32, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I know, but the OP stated that they were only interested in the Summer Games. - X201 (talk) 12:39, 18 August 2008 (UTC)


1 I have heard it said that the word time is the most common word in the english language. surely it is more likely to be, a or the or and? 2 Do we cont years for the birth of Jesus or his death? 3 what was the years before Jesus was born? how did they count it and what was thier starting point? Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:25, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

1. Regarding your first question, I remember from reading the Guinness Book years ago that "the" is the most common in written English, and "I" is the most common in spoken English. 2. As AD stands for Anno Domini or After Death, it is the years after his death. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sandman30s (talkcontribs)
First, I would want to see a reliable source; this source says that 'the' is the most commonly used word in both spoken and written English. Second, years are counted from the birth of Jesus, though Bible scholars now think that the birth date was miscalculated by earlier scholars and that he was more probably born between 6 and 4 BC; see our Anno Domini article for more information about this system of dating. "Anno Domini" means, in Latin, "the year of the Lord," and does not mean "after death" or refer to the death of Jesus.Third, there were several different systems of counting dates, including counting from the founding of Rome, counting that refers to specific rulers, and others. I found an interesting discussion of the subject in our Calendar era article. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 11:33, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
According to Lists of words sorted by frequency over on Wiktionary, "time" is one of the top 100 most-used words in found in TV show scripts, in "contemporary fiction" and in Project Gutenberg. Since the text of TV show scripts is mostly colloquial speech and Project Gutenberg represents written English (although they have a lot of very old books there - so it's not entirely representative of MODERN English), certainly it's pretty common.
In the TV show data, "time" is the 75th most common word and "You" is the most common with "I" coming in a close second, followed by "to" and then "the". I think "time" is probably the most common non-personal noun though. In the Guthenberg data for written English, "time" is the 70th most common word and "The" is the most common with "of", "and", "to", "in" and then "I" coming in order after that. In the "contemporary fiction" list, "time" is at 63rd position and "the", "I", "to", "and", "a" and "of" are the most common.
SteveBaker (talk) 12:08, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Re: "time", I recall seeing on a game show that "time" is currently the most frequently used noun in the English language...I believe that the source cited was the OED, but my memory's failing me. I think the game show might have been Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, but there also I'm unsure. Still, that may be where your question arose from, and certainly restricting it to nouns is the only way I can envision a word like "time" ever beating a word like "the" in a "most-often used" contest. Jwrosenzweig (talk) 19:15, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Jwrosenzweig is right. According to Most_common_words_in_English#Nouns, time is the most commonly used noun. The article also mentions the most commonly used words of other parts of speech.--El aprendelenguas (talk) 20:15, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

About counting years after jesus. This didn't start until at least 500 years after he died. And it was not popular until probably the crusades got underway. Years were counted from usually the starting reign or death of famous local political leaders/emperorers/kings etc. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:19, 22 August 2008 (UTC)

P.A.R.T.why? because we can[edit]

Lets say I became a millionaire overnight via inheritance or the lottery. I now have the abbility to go to university, but also have no need to now, as I dont need to get a good job or work atall ever again. However, I would like to experience the University experience, ie drinking 7 nights a week, parties, drugs women etc. Which would be the best university in the world to go to? Not for accademics, but just for the wild parties? Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:56, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Do a Google search for Playboy's best party schools. --Endless Dan 12:05, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

These days, being a millionaire doesn't allow you to give up on work. If you invested your $1,000,000 capital - you might maybe get a reliable/safe return of around 5% - which is $50,000 a year. That's enough to give up on work - but not to live a really great lifestyle at the same time. You can't even afford to go to most US Universities on that - ;et alone have a nice sports car and other stuff you'd need! Worse still, gradually, inflation will eat away at that and in 20 years time, you'd be living close to the poverty line. If you just decided to live a good life on (say) $100,000 a year - you're going to run out of money and be back to work in 10 years. You really need at leat ten millions to really be safe from work for the rest of your life.
But to answer the question directly - why would a university be the place for that kind of lifestyle? Sure there are parties - but people actually do work there too! If you really have money to burn then you need to set up a nice house with a pool and other party accessories somewhere in the south of France - and wait for the hangers-on to start appearing!
SteveBaker (talk) 12:27, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Even with inflation running at 5% it would take around 45 years to reduce 1 million down to the equivilent of around 100,000 (in today's terms) which would still be a very sizeable lump-sum to have in the bank. That is unless my brain isn't work (it could be - holiday mode you see!) - My basis for the calculation is...1m less 5% equals 950k, less 5% = 902,500, less 5% = 857,375 (etc. etc. - down to 104,673.95 in year 45). I'm potentially compounding incorrectly though, but either way 1m is easily enough to use as a nest-egg to secure a reasonably comfortable life for you - though realistically you'd expect to need to maintain a job - even if it didn't require you to earn much, just enough to offset losses in your nest-egg (keeping £1m rising inline with inflation is worthless if you never do anything with the money itself in my eyes). (talk) 12:57, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
You seem to have forgotten to take into account actually spending any money... Having the money in the bank isn't enough, you need to be able to spend it, which will reduce it's value. The usual way of living off a lump sum is by spending the interest, which is what SteveBaker was talking about. You can't spend all the interest, though, since you need to leave enough in the bank to account for inflation so that real value of the interest each year is constant. --Tango (talk) 17:29, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I agree with SteveBaker (as usual). If you want a crazy party lifestyle, just move to a big city with a big night club scene. You'll find universities pretty disappointing on the whole for that, even the "party schools" are still "schools". If all you want is a party, just do that—you don't have to pay tuition, and you don't actually have to go to class and get grades and all of the other things that universities make you do (if you really part 7 nights a week at university, you will not be there very long). -- (talk) 13:08, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

What grades to you have? Cause that may aphect how to get in there - I think Oxford and Cambridge are pretty happening, but I don't think you can bribe your way in there any more... Bradley10 (talk) 16:42, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

People at top universities generally work very hard - that doesn't leave much time for parties. If you want to party, you need to be at a pretty poor university academically. --Tango (talk) 17:30, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Seriously if you wanted to waste a million on just good times, there is a simple solution to all of this: hookers & blow. --Endless Dan 17:43, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Before the US News rankings stopped ranking the "best party schools", University of Florida was atop the list. But watch out, there is more to college than drinking. Some people even claim to have learned some things there... and enjoyed it. Plasticup T/C 18:15, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
By the way, how does Uni work in the states where the drinking age is older than most students? In the UK, many students go to bars and clubs most Friday and Saturday nights (and the rest of the week in some cases!), do US students just stay in and drink? --Tango (talk) 21:17, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
In my college experience in the US—yes, you stay in and drink, or, more specifically, you have parties where someone over 21 buys the liquor. You don't go to bars, generally speaking, though there are usually some places that are known for not checking IDs (though the penalty for that can be quite high for the establishment). You can still go to clubs and bars, of course, though you might not always have an easy time getting alcohol there (some places, if you order, say, three drinks, require you to produce three 21+ IDs, which is somewhat of a logistical nightmare even if you are all of age!). Unsurprisingly, binge drinking and other alcohol abuse is quite common in such situations—in my opinion it's pretty counterproductive to have a drinking age so much higher than standard university admission age. It doesn't produce a safer environment for anyone—on the contrary, it has been clearly demonstrated again and again that it promotes a totally irresponsible attitude toward alcohol. -- (talk) 22:19, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Plenty of UK students are irresponsible with alcohol as well, we just do it public! I think those that are going to be irresponsible are going to do it regardless of the drinking age, so having a high drinking age is just a nuisance for those of us that are responsible. --Tango (talk) 01:47, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Crown Land in Canada[edit]

I was very interested by the map in the article on American Federal lands. Does anyone know if similar map data is freely available for Canada that could be incorporated in the article on crown land? The article says 89% of Canada's land is crown land, where does this data come from and is there further data on type of use of this land (military, park etc)? On a related note, I've heard that a lot of Canadian government data is copyrighted, unlike works of the American government. Is that true? How does that impact Wikipedia on issues like this? I take it charts or maps from statscan or other agencies can't just be ripped off and inserted? TastyCakes (talk) 12:22, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Canadian government work is copyrighted for 50 ears from its creation(I think) Anonymous101 (talk) 14:22, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
That is true - in Canada: [1]. However since the Wikipedia servers are located in the US, I believe a more restrictive set of rules apply: [2]. This stuff is pretty hard to follow :( Franamax (talk) 21:38, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
But surely mapping information (GIS data or whatever) doesn't fall under this copyright? TastyCakes (talk) 17:10, 20 August 2008 (UTC)


Could anyone give me instructions on how to bend formica over a 11/2" bullnose, MDF countertop?```` —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:37, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

There's a forum discussion here about bending Formica over countertops, and some contributors to it claim a certain expertise in the field, but I'm afraid it's rather discouraging to the amateur bender. Karenjc 20:15, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Formica is made with melamine resin - that is a "thermosetting plastic" - which means that you heat it, form it into some kind of shape and let it cool - BUT once you've done that, you can't heat it up and do it again because it'll burn before it reaches a high enough temperature to melt. The melamine in a sheet of formica has already taken on it's permenant (flat) form. So you can't just heat the stuff and bend it around. I think the answer is "You can't do that". SteveBaker (talk) 00:08, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

What size of object can a tapir pick up with his nose?[edit]

This is also to bear in mind that there are four species and they have different noses. Bradley10 (talk) 16:40, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Are you looking for a maximum size or a minimum size? By weight or volume? Plasticup T/C 18:09, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Moer specifically: - can a tapir pick things up with his nose? - if so, what sort of things? Bradley10 (talk) 09:50, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Their noses are flexible; but are they prehensile? You might check through the animals on this list of pages, as there are pages on prehensile tails and prehensile feet, but not noses. (And this might better be asked on the Science reference desk; would you like to relocate it from here? — simultaneous postings on multiple RDs is otherwise discouraged.) -- Deborahjay (talk) 13:47, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Effects on humans[edit]

What is /are the effects on humans breathing castor oil fumes. How long can you do it for before becoming ill-- (talk) 16:44, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

According to the MSDS, inhalation is deemed "slightly hazardous" though the effects of chronic exposure is not known. Inhalation of castor oil droplets can result in a form of pneumonia. [3] If you intend to be in a position where you are inhaling fumes for a significant amount of time, you should check with a doctor, as we are unable to give medical advice here. Dostioffski (talk) 17:22, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I remember reading that fumes from castor oil, used to lubricate early aircraft engines, gave the pilots diarrhea. (talk) 00:59, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I have a difficult time imagining that enough could find it's way into your digestive tract that way to have a significant effect. Perhaps the stress caused by the fear of the vaporized castor oil exploding caused the diarrhea. StuRat (talk) 13:41, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Ages ago, when I visited the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome, I'm pretty sure the story about the effects of castor oil lubrication on pilots was a standard part of the announcer's "patter".
Atlant (talk) 18:14, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Name of the characters having oversized heads[edit]

I'm trying to add a link to the Gigantes y cabezudos article to give some perspective. What is the name of the characters having oversized heads, such as those that walk in the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade? Also, what articles does Wikipedia have that relate to humans wearing costumes that have oversized heads. Mascot sort of is on the right track. Thanks. Suntag (talk) 19:01, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

I know the celebrations of San Fermín have something like what you're talking about, called caravinagres. If you can read Spanish, I found this article on Spanish Wikipedia that has a lot of what you're looking for.--El aprendelenguas (talk) 21:15, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Suntag (talk) 21:14, 20 August 2008 (UTC)

emergency situation[edit]

If you are on a major highway such as the M25 London and you are in a traffic jam, bumper to bumper and are not moving atall. You have diarea. What is the solution? you cant get out of your car, there is no exit for another mile or two and it could take hours to get there any way. i am sure someone has been in this situation. what do you do? shit yourself?

If you're really not moving at all, then you could get out and go down the other side of the bank at the edge (of course, sod's law dictates traffic will immeadiately start moving again). If there's minimal movement, then you could move over to the hard shoulder and get out (people might not be too inclined to let you change lines if you're not in the inside line, but you could wind down your window and explain your trying to get to the hard shoulder, or you could put your hazard lights on and people should get the picture). --Tango (talk) 21:50, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I have never been in that situation but, If you are truly stuck, then you will, ipso facto, have to shit yourself. I think the best thing you could do is: grab some piece of clothing; rip it into strips if possible; look for some type of plastic bag (most people have some bag in their car); shift your body sideways so one cheek is just on the edge of the seat and the rest of you is over the footwell, place the bag underneath with as tight a seal as you can (this is a rather repulsive conversation) do what you need to do; then clean up as best you can with the cloth; put the soiled cloth in the bag, hold your nose and deal until you can find a place of safety.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 21:57, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Are there bushes near the M25? If so go there and take a shit. Otherwise, open the car door on the shoulder side and squat there in the partial shelter of the door and take a shit.(added) Of course, you would be likely subject to arrest, if caught, for public indecency, so this course of action is to be avoided if possible. Under common law there is the "defense of necessity," but we never give legal advice on Wikipedia. If this is a serious concern, you might purchase some "astronaut diapers." [4]. Will you find them useful? Depends. Edison (talk) 05:38, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I would be kind of shocked (if not necessarily surprised) to hear someone getting prosecuted for having to take an emergency dump. I mean, if you got to go, you got to go, unpleasant as it might be. Of course, you would probably be expected to still take as many necessary precautions as possible, like pulling over, putting your hazard lights on, etc. -- Captain Disdain (talk) 05:49, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
If someone had the same "emergency" every day on the way to work, or if he had to relieve himself every evening after downing some ale at the pub, the authorities would probably not be understanding. "Public nuisance, indecent exposure," etc. Edison (talk) 05:56, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the opportunity to mention one of my favourite links.--Shantavira|feed me 08:34, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I have to say - that site has some of the worst "photoshopped" images I've EVER seen! So VERY badly done. Wow. SteveBaker (talk) 03:09, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
The next version needs to include a seat belt, so you can crap as the truck is being driven. Just don't forget the bag, or the road will end up with more than just white and yellow lines. :-) StuRat (talk) 13:29, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I wonder if one of those Japanese automobile manufacturers will include one of their Japanese toilets in one of their cars in the future. Apparently, they've already developed an in-car toilet according to this Reuters article. And the British too accordinng to this BBC link. (talk) 18:12, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

islamic party[edit]

if alcahol is illegal in islamic countries, what do they do on a saturday night? do they go to the pub and drink water or juice? do they have pubs? do they have night clubs? in these night clubs, if they have em, what do they sell at the bar? what is thier form of release if not booze. I have heard that in these countries one can go to the american embassy or british embassy and drink, how does this coincide with thier prohibition laws, can local people go and drink there too? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:47, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Contrary to popular opinion, it is possible to have a good time without drinking. I don't know what Islamic entertainment is like, but I don't think it involves bars and clubs. At least some Islamic countries do allow the sale of alcohol, but only to non-Muslims, you have to show your passport when you purchase it. --Tango (talk) 21:53, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
It's even possible to get through a weekend in the United States as a student without drinking. Though other students might find that incredible, antisocial, or frightening. OtherDave (talk) 22:27, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

There are such things as non-alcoholic beers...I assume they would be perfectly permissible to drink? Lemon martini (talk) —Preceding undated comment was added at 00:15, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Common things include playing music and dancing, gossiping, drinking lots of sugary beverages, smoking (tobacco and more, cigarrettes, hookahs, etc.). There are still night clubs in the Islamic world, depending on where you go, but there is also a lot of night shopping, stores and restaurants open late, and so on. These are as popular or more. Movies are also very popular. Steewi (talk) 01:21, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
A lot of good answer already. I used to live in Malaysia where alcohol is legal for non-Muslims are resonably easy to purchase (albeit heavily taxed). While night clubs exist and are resonably popular among the youth, pubs & bars aren't so common and definitely are not a significant social phenomenon (not sure what sort of licensing restrictings they face but I don't think thats the primary reason). Movies are of course popular but meeting friends at the local mamak store is probably one of the most significant aspects of night life (well at least in urban areas). Eating in general can probably also be said to be a significant part of social life (and alcohol may be a part of that). Window-shopping/hanging out in shopping complexes is popular obviously (unlike in NZ, they don't close at 6pm on most nights!) and also in night markets (pasar malam). Karaoke has also caught on (and for non-Muslims will generally involve a significant amout of alcohol). There is also stuff like snooker & pool halls (which are virtual lung cancer dens) and recently bowling, archery and other activities cropping up (well this is in the Klang Valley anyway). I personally find the night-life in Malaysia much better then in New Zealand/Auckland. Not that we have a great night-life scene but we do have the pub/bar thing and it's basically one of the only things we have for night-life other then night clubs (well movies but they're insanely expensive) that we do have, all of which I find rather boring particularly since I've never liked the taste of alcohol and consider it pointless wasting money on alcopops to get drunk. Note that even in places like Japan or China or South Korea where alcohol isn't usually in short supply and there are no significant prohibitions, the pub/bar thing isn't exactly a major part of their social scene as far as I know. In other words, there is actually a lot you can do beyond pubs and bars, involving alcohol or not and the pub/bar thing isn't a universal social phenomenon. Nil Einne (talk) 13:10, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

double standard[edit]

Russia invaded Georgia because of thier repression of the south ossetian people. Georgia quote unquote repressed South Ossetians because they want indepenance. But Russia are/were repressing the Chechnians in the same way, and for the same reasons, they want indepenance. so can someone please explain how the governments involved explain this double standard. Secondly, if a group of people living in thier native lands wish to govern themselves, why are they not allowed to do so, surely if, when South ossetia or Chechnya first said, we want govern ourselves, or there may be war, would it not be more advantagious foe every one involved to give them autonomy, and then have happy neighbours whom one can trade with and thereby boost the economies of both areas? I dont want to start a debate, i just dont understand so if you can please explain this to me i would be greatful thanks a load. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:01, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

We couldn't possibly have an arti.....BAM! Territorial integrity. And yes, this has resulted in eye-watering hypocrisy over the years. Ossetia vs. Kosovo vs. Chechnya vs. Northern Ireland vs. Biafra vs. Afghanistan vs. Afghanistan. For more info read self determination and nation state. Fribbler (talk) 22:15, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Well it's fairly obvious—the governments in question don't see it as a double-standard. They see them as apples and oranges. I know less about the Ossetia issue than the Chechnya one, but it's clear in that case that the reason Russia doesn't recognize Chechnya's "right to self governance" is the same reason the Union did not let the South secede during the US Civil War—they see Chechnya as part of their territory. For all of the talk of the importance of self-determination, the question of what a legitimate unit of self-determination has never been clear. Should it be defined by territory? By culture? By race? By religion? By values? By laws? By what? I'm not saying I agree with Russia but it's clearly not a clear-cut issue. Questions of sovereignty are always complicated, conflicted, and there is never an unequivocal solution. (Even in the case of self-governance most beloved by Americans, that of their own split from England, is considerably more complicated from a philosophical point of view than is taught in US history books, where it is presented as something both obvious and unblemished.) If New York City said tomorrow that it wanted to be its own country, do you think the US federal government would let it? Not in a million years. (Or, to make the Chechnya comparison more apt, consider the fate of the Hawaiian independence movement). -- (talk) 22:11, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Russia's invasion of Georgia to stop them repressing South Ossetia does not of itself say anything about whether or not Russia does or would support South Ossetian independence, which is a separate question. They almost certainly wouldn't support it, if the Chechnya experience is anything to go by. -- JackofOz (talk) 22:54, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
They have already stated that they see no way for Georgia's territorial integrity to continue - which means that they either support South Ossetia's independence or that they intend to absorb it (or keep it permanently occupied.) Rmhermen (talk) 00:58, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia has an article titled Hypocrisy which discusses this philosophy of "Do as we say, not as we do." If part of the U.S tries to leave the U.S., the U.S. invades it and kills people until they abandon the notion. If part of the USSR Russia ties to leave, they attack them and kill people until they think better of it. If part of Georgia tries to leave Georgia, then the USSR Russia sends in troops to assist the effort. Edison (talk) 05:34, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
The US has granted independence to areas it controlled, including Cuba and the Philippines, conquered during the Spanish-American War, and Japan, conquered during World War 2. StuRat (talk) 06:02, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Yet somehow the U.S. always winds up with the right to keep military and air bases there with thousands of soldiers[5] , [6] . Perhaps Japan and Germany really like having U.S. bases on their territory. The U.S did not grant Cuba its indendence until they signed a perpetual lease for Gitmo. Cuba certainly does not want a U.S. base on its territory. The U.S. really wants the right to have U.S. bases in Iraq in perpetuity. You can be independent, but occupied. Maybe Russia will let Georgia be independent, but with Russian military bases around the country, with a Gitmo =like agreement that they will stop bombing and leave the elected government in power if the base agreement is signed. Edison (talk) 19:16, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
The similarities with Chechnia are quite good I think except for a change of scale. Chechnia got de facto independence from Russia just like South Ossetia did from Georgia. Russia later invaded Chechnia giving as a reason the terrorism and criminal acts it supported across its borders. Georgia gave similar sorts of reasons for attacking South Ossetia. The difference then comes in that no-one defended Chechnia from Russia but Russia defended South Ossetia from Georgia. Unfortunately they seem to be pushing rather too far with their own agenda and that is definitely something to worry about. Overall I agree with the poster - but if a place really is supporting terrorism shouldn't one do something about it like in Afghanistan? You have to make up you own mind about how peace loving the lot of them are involved in all these countries. Dmcq (talk) 16:45, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Scale may be involved. South Ossetia had a population of 70,000 while Chechnia has 1,100,000. Rmhermen (talk) 17:32, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

TV news archives?[edit]

Let's say I was looking for TV news footage of an event from, say, 1979 or so, for a documentary. Where would I look for such a thing? -- (talk) 22:06, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

If you know the particular station you should try contacting the organization. Some allow you to purchase segments from their archive. Plasticup T/C 22:13, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, but surely there is more systematic approach to this other than calling up every possible TV station that was around back then. -- (talk) 22:24, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
I don't see why there would be. TV stations handle their own archives, I don't know of any central ones. You don't need to call all of them, anyway, just call a couple of the biggest. --Tango (talk) 22:46, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

There is an archive of TV news at the University of Maryland and no doubt others elsewhere. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 00:36, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, that's the sort of thing I'm looking for. -- (talk) 03:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
If it's a something that would have been covered by national news, you might try contacting the Newseum. They have a substantial archive. — Michael J 02:27, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Mmm, they don't really seem set up for researchers. (Which isn't that surprising, since they appear to be primarily a for-profit gig.) -- (talk) 03:20, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Just as a note—with Mwalcoff's tip I found the Vanderbilt Television News Archive which looks like it is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks. What a wonderful site—they've even got video clips! -- (talk) 03:40, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

You might also try the extensive archives at The Paley Center for Media. From their website: "You can contact one of our reference librarians to inquire about specific programs: Tuesdays to Fridays, from 4:00 to 5:45 p.m. (EST) only, call 212.621.6600, press "0" to speak to an operator, and ask for the library; OR e-mail" —D. Monack talk 08:08, 23 August 2008 (UTC)

New Nation[edit]

What is the name of the British bloke who set up his own nation in his flat, and had around 20000 people join his country? It was only a few years ago. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:00, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Kingdom of Lovely. --Tango (talk) 23:11, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

Weird Telephone Number[edit]

When I dialed 1-800-987-0768 all I got was a man saying random numbers that were different every time I called. After he said the numbers, I heard a series of short tones, each with a different pitch. Can anyone tell me what the purpose of that is?

Americanfreedom (talk) 23:33, 18 August 2008 (UTC)

No idea, but you may enjoy our article on numbers stations. -- BenRG (talk) 23:50, 18 August 2008 (UTC)
Where did you find the phone number? --Tango (talk) 00:02, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I tried it and it works. I reminds me of when I was a kid, guys would call a Mrs. Nanny and ask if she had any goats for sale, and she'd teach them swear words they had never heard. Edison (talk) 05:26, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Ring ring, hi i am calling from the phone company, if your phone rings in about 2 minutes time do not answer as we are working on the lines and it could be dangerous to our workers. then call back and when they answer scream LOL good fun as a kid —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:22, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Maybe someone doing some sort of experiment to see how many people call it, how often, and what if anything, they say? Nil Einne (talk) 12:42, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Didn't anyone bother doing a Google search!?! This page says it's "800-987-0768 sc phone directory" - and lists lots and lots of other similar numbers. That web page has since been deleted (my link is to the Google cache). When I called the 1-800 number, I got 10080015 711 409 3944 - then tones that are the same as you get if you dial (711)409-3944 on your phone - if you wait, I think it connects you to that line. So for sure, the last ten digits are a phone number. Dialling (711)409-3944 got me to a computer modem line of some kind. The 10080015 number seems to increment each time you call 800-987-0768 - although sometimes it skips a number - suggesting that other people are also calling this line.
If I had to guess - I'd say that this is a number your computer dials to get you through to some ISP's dialup service. You'd call the 1-800 number - and it will redirect you to the next free modem line. Why it would speak the number first is unclear - but maybe there is some reason they do that.
SteveBaker (talk) 13:39, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
OK - I think I've cracked it.
Area code 711 (the area code of the phone number I get from calling this weird 1-800 service) isn't a real area code at all, it's reserved for "Telecommunications Relay Services". Those are numbers that allow people with hearing or speech disabilities to place and receive telephone calls using either "TTY" boxes (essentially modems) or by having human operators transcribe voice to TTY and TTY to voice.
So - I think someone with a TTY device calls the 1-800 number, it in turn dials the next available TTY modem on the 711 area code. I suspect the 711 number I got is connected up to a human operator who would call the phone number you want to contact (by sending TTY commands) and read your message to the hearing person on the far end of the line.
SteveBaker (talk) 13:53, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Why bother with something like that though? Isn't it easier just to run a trunk line with a single number to the call centre which has some sort of PABX system and connects you to the next available operator (similar to the way nearly all other call centres work or most ISPs now use only one number for their dialup service and you're automatically connected to a free line)? (I don't know about TTY devices but surely a modem as with you earlier example would never rely on spoken numbers, they'd simply use tones, and there's no reason to say the number for the benefit of humans) Nil Einne (talk) 19:19, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Well, I'm sorry we havn't stumbled on some kind of Black-Ops code station - that would be so much more exciting than my very mundane answer - but look at the facts:
  1. The 1-800 number speaks an incrementing number followed by a phone number which is always in the 711 area code and which only changes once in a while. Then it dials that exact same number and redirects you to it.
  2. The 711 area code is reserved for services for the deaf and uses the TTY interface.
  3. Calling one of the numbers that the 1-800 number gives out connects you to something that produces modem tones.
(2) and (3) tell you that this is indeed some kind of a service for the deaf. (1) tells us that it's very likely to be allocating lines from some kind of pool as they are demanded and keeping a count of the number of calls made over some period of time. The only thing we don't know is why it does that.
One reason might be that 711 area code services get charged as long-distance or something. Calling the 1-800 number and then being redirected would avoid users having to pay for the service (which is provided for free to deaf people in the US). Another reason might be that the TTY machines are hard-wired to connect to the 1-800 number.
Why the machine speaks the consecutive incrementing number and then speaks the phone number before it redirects you is the only remaining mystery. To be honest, it's not much of a mystery...perhaps it makes it easier for a human to dial the 1-800 number and verify that it's working OK? Perhaps the machine was not designed for the deaf and originally had some other purpose? The TTY services are really old and are probably horribly under-funded - so I'd bet that this is some elderly system that's been cobbled together rather than being properly engineered.
The TDD/TTY devices are AMAZINGLY crude - they typicaly used acoustically-coupled 50 baud (yes, that's 50...not 56K!) - they use ancient Baudot code (so only uppercase, hardly any punctuation characters and complete and utter incompatibility with any modern ASCII-based equipment!) - and the format is so incompatible with PC modem cards that you can't connect to TDD with an unmodified computer! There is no computerised text-to-speech or speech-to-text system - an actual human operator reads what the deaf person types, listens to the other person's answer and types it into a TTY to send back to the deaf person. The caller has no privacy - and there is tremendous scope for error and misunderstanding. When you consider how amazingly clunky that is - would it really come as any surprise that this 1-800 number wastes all that time speaking the number?
SteveBaker (talk) 20:39, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
I did Google search and only came across one result, Yahoo answers. Don't blame me for forgetting the US has the country code 1 :-P Nil Einne (talk) 19:10, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually, in this case, the '1' isn't the country code - from most US phones you have to dial a '1' before you call long-distance. To get international, you need to dial 011- then the country code, then the number. But, no - I don't blame you. Actually, the Google hit wasn't what finally cracked the puzzle - it was when I phoned the 1-800 service a few times and listened carefully to what it did - then phoned the 711 number - then did a search on "area code" 711 - then looked up Telecommunications Relay Services here on WP and found that this is how Telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) is handled here in the USA.
SteveBaker (talk) 20:39, 19 August 2008 (UTC)
The TTY problems are why all the deaf people I've ever met just have mobile phones and communicate using SMSs or use online chat services at home. Steewi (talk) 01:31, 20 August 2008 (UTC)
That's OK to a point - but try cancelling your AOL account using SMS! Getting them to answer the phone normally is just about impossible! SteveBaker (talk) 03:04, 20 August 2008 (UTC)