Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2008 January 26

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January 26[edit]

irish citizen[edit]

Im a British citizen, however I qualify for Irish citizenship, through my gradparents. Would it be worth applying for it, other than for the reason of not losing it? I suppose what I mean is can anyone think if there is any benefits to it (monetary, socially, travelling-wise (as in easier visa's for places) etc etc) that i'm not already entitled to through the whole EU stuff. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:14, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

It is, apparently, significantly less expensive to get a visa for some countries as an Irish citizen than as a British one - Russia, for example. I have also heard that, in the current international climate, Irish citizens receive a friendlier welcome and have a generally easier time travelling in some countries (all original research, I'm afraid and I'm too tired to look for reliable sources at the moment). I've experienced situations where people aren't quite sure where Ireland is (I'm Northern Irish), which I suppose could be good or bad... Kateshortforbob 01:28, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, if you want to travel to China, for instance, a single-entry visa from the embassy in London costs £65 for US citizens, £30 for British citizens, and £20 for everybody else. -- Arwel (talk) 16:43, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

world chess records?[edit]

Who holds the FIDE records for wins, losses, winning percentage, and games played? (talk) 01:57, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

accupational health and environmental safety traineej jobs[edit]

≈how do i get a trainee job in this field in he subject line? I am working on my master degree in occupational health and environmental study in grad school now.

I have been working in the safety and environmentao field for my californida state job for over 10 years . P

Thanks for your time in reading this question. Please direct me to somone who will take the time to work with me in finding a job in this field in which i love to do. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bobcatjim (talkcontribs) 04:31, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

question moved from the Help Desk. --The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 04:40, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Overseas Filipino Workers[edit]

My Question is: 1. Why do you think that OFW's are considered as the present heroes of today? 2. What is the importance of the OFW's today? 05:52, 26 January 2008 (UTC) (talk)

We, the respondents here, don't think those things. The question, I'm guessing, was why do you think these things? To help you answer these questions, you could start by reading Overseas Filipino and the links from that article (e.g. [1]). Good luck. Rockpocket 08:32, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Aircraft company advertising[edit]

Why do I keep seeing commercials for Boeing and Lockheed Martin? What sort of audience would they be attempting to reach when their primary customers are airlines and militaries? Bellum et Pax (talk) 06:37, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, you're not going to buy one of their planes, but you're probably going to fly in one at some point. I suppose they want their passengers to know how great a job they are doing, and that their products are safe. Adam Bishop (talk) 09:04, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Business to business advertising is relatively common. Rather than simply advertising in trade-magazines and business-newspapers it make sense for businesses to also use mainstream tv to raise the profile of their company. It can reach a bigger audience, it can be more inventive/have more appeal through tv than simply photographs. Businesses are run by people and people watch tv. One of the most important roles of advertising is making your name 'known' so that it has the potential to be considered. Now it would seem insane that a company like Boeing might not feature in the mind of a business when they are considering aviation companies, but the advertising will keep it fresh in their mind, 'sells' them the idea of safety or of quality, maybe even of them being 'bigger' than other firms (even if perhaps they are not). See ny156uk (talk) 09:23, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Another thought-provoking case is Intel's "Intel inside" campaign. And then there's mass-market advertising of prescription drugs... —Steve Summit (talk) 15:15, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
You might also want to check out the excellent documentary The Corporation, which touches upon this phenomenon. A section of the film is devoted to what is referred to as "Perception Management". While business-to-business advertising may be a small part of it, ny156uk, its purpose is primarily for the public's... well, I won't go so far as to say indoctrination but there is definitely a goal of softening the image of the corporation in the eyes of a public it may not be directly benefitting (and in some cases is actually harming). Poechalkdust (talk) 19:58, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
In the case of airliners, note that some members of the public may choose airlines according to which airlines (or which flights) use Boeing planes, which ones use Airbus, and so on. If Boeing's advertisements induce more people to fly on the airlines that mostly use their planes, then they'll tend to order more of them and Boeing will benefit. --Anonymous, 22:30 UTC, January 26, 2008.
Another role for this sort of advertising is to make you interested in buying stock in a given company. --Sean 16:50, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Why did my Windows share my HDD to the entire world?[edit]

A long time ago, runnin Windows 98, somebody on IRC or ICQ chatted me up and asked me what "very-specific-filename.jpg" was. I had taken this picture with my Web camera of a meal of noodles. Somehow, he had got access to my HDD. I instantly got chills on my back and instantly wondered what else he had seen and if he had write/delete access as well...

I don't quite remember, but I MIGHT have had been to my first "LAN party" at that time (those were the days) and the rule there was to "share your entire C:". So, I might not have turned that off. However, this person was not on the LAN, and didn't appear Swedish either, since he could not understand the filename (which was in Swedish), and the filename kind of sounded in English like it would be a nude picture (but was not, luckily). I don't know if he thought it was perfectly OK to snoop around on my (apparently) free-to-the-Internet system, or if he just wanted to scare me by asking the question out of the blue.

In either case, I have not trusted Windows ever since. How could this possibly happen? Why was my entire system shared to the Internet? And how did he find it? And how do you connect remotely with a Microsoft network anyway? So many strange things associated with that OS... I'm really scared to this day. Ideas? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:14, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm not sure how it happened -- I don't use Windows, for various reasons -- but this tale rather nicely illustrates one of the fundamental issues in computer security.
Sometimes, of course, having your files shared with other users is useful, and is precisely what you want to do. If you wanted to share files, and if file sharing was turned off, and if the technique for turning on file sharing was arcane, you might find it difficult or impossible to achieve your desired result.
Historically, Microsoft's philosophy has been to make it as easy as possible for you to get arcane things done. They've made it as easy as possible for you to install any and all new software on your computer. They've made it as easy as possible to have extensions installed in your browser. They've made it as easy as possible for active content in emails you receive to be automatically activated. They've made it as easy as possible for the "right thing" to happen when you insert a removeable disk. I haven't heard of file sharing being globally enabled by default, but (in a Windows environment) the possibility doesn't surprise me too much.
Critics and naysayers will suggest that by making all of these things so easy, Microsoft has also made it easy for miscreants and ne'er-do-wells to install and run various kinds of malware on your computer, against your will. But what's so wrong with making it easy for you to do what you want to do? What's so wrong with Microsoft's strategy, if it has turned them into one of the most phenomenally successful corporations on the planet? (Don't answer that.) —Steve Summit (talk) 15:10, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, "what's wrong with making it easy for you to do what you want to do" comes down to the "what you want to do" part. If what you want to do is to open a permanent security hole—sure, why not let you do it? But if what you want to do is to share some mp3s with people and NOT open up a permanent security hole, but doing the former easily leads to the latter, then Microsoft is making it easy to do a lot of things you don't want to do without realizing it in the process of doing things you want to do. I'm of the belief that anything should be optional in an OS but that things that expose your to bigger problems should require higher tech knowledge to even do—want to open up your computer to malware? Fine—but you'll have to muck around in RegEdit a little to do it. Sound a bit too scary for you? Then you probably shouldn't be opening up your computer to malware. -- (talk) 18:15, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Windows file/printer sharing is a NetBIOS service, and these days NetBIOS normally runs over TCP/IP. This is what you want if you're on a firewalled managed LAN, but it's very bad if you have a public IP address. Windows Firewall (which was introduced with XP SP2) blocks NetBIOS ports by default. In earlier version of Windows you had to explicitly unbind the file sharing service from the network interface (in TCP/IP properties) to get it to go away.
It's also possible that this had nothing to do with Windows file sharing and it was your chat program that was at fault. Many IM-type programs have file-sharing features built in, and it might be that through a bug or misconfiguration this person had access to your whole C: drive that way. -- BenRG (talk) 18:37, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Electrocuting electric breakfast toasters?[edit]

My dad is convinced that if you use a metal knife to take out the toasts from the toaster (AFTER it has "popped up"/finished), you will get electrocuted. He constantly tells me I must use a wooden. I always use the metallic one anyway (since it's less work). I'm convinced he's living in the early 1900s or something when this might have been the case in toasters. These days, surely they are not sending out electricity like that? I highly doubt I will get an electric shock even if I put my fingers on it or indeed use a metallic tool while it's "running" (toasting).

What do you say? Please enlighten me. I admit I somehow fear that he might be right. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:08, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

You can buy wooded tweezers for this job, why take the risk and prove your father right!?--Johnluckie (talk) 10:14, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

(ec) My brother once knocked out the house's electricity doing this (with a wooden-handled knife) </OR>. I'd advise turning off the toaster at the socket before you start poking metal things into it. Algebraist 10:16, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
The response so far seems to be "better safe than sorry." But I still feel the OP's question is not really great is the actual risk of sticking a fork in a modern toaster? Is it possible that the electrocution danger is an urban legend?--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back (talk) 14:20, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Once the toast has popped up, the heating elements (the orange / red glowing wires) no longer carry an electrical current, and in theory it should be safe to stick a fork, knife or you fingers in there without risk of shock. HOWEVER! Never stick anything into a running toaster! You will get a nasty shock, and if you're electrical supply isn't fused, it could kill you. Even modern toasters use electrical currents to work. Think outside the box 14:26, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
  • Important correction: for "isn't fused" (which is never true in the modern world) read "doesn't have a GFCI" (which is often true). A fuse protects against currents big enough to start a fire; a GFCI (called by various terms in various countries) protects against currents big enough to kill you, which are much smaller. --Anonymous, 22:37 UTC, January 26, 2008.
IF the toaster has a polarized plug and IF no one has defeated the polarization and IF the wiring to the polarized receptacle is all correct and IF the toaster internals are all working correctly, it MIGHT be safe to stick a conductive object in a toaster that is not toasting; USUALLY you'll only connect yourself to the neutral wire of the mains power and that's USUALLY safe. You wanna count on all those ifs, mights, and usuallys or would you rather just unplug the toaster before messing about with it? I know which choice I would make.
Atlant (talk) 14:33, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Atlant's right. The OP's father is exaggerating somewhat -- it's not guaranteed that if you stick a metal object into a toaster you'll get electrocuted -- but it's unquestionably quite dangerous.
Here's the issue: those glowing wires that create the heat that toast the toast are, rather obviously, electrically live when they're on and heating. There's no practical way to insulate them -- any electrical insulation would also tend to serve as heat insulation. So sticking a metal object into a toaster when it's on is right out.
What about when the toaster is off and not toasting? How likely is it that the toasting wires are not live? Well, as Atlant suggests, the issue is whether the hot or the neutral side of the circuit is switched. It's supposed to be the hot side that's switched, and if the plug is polarized that's supposed to guarantee that the hot side is really the hot side, but as we've seen, there are a lot of "if"s involved. It's quite possible for those wires to be (thermally) cold, with no electricity flowing through them, but for them nevertheless to be sitting at a high potential voltage, just waiting for an alternative circuit to be completed through a metal knife or fork and a careless toast lover's body.
If I were a safety regulator, I'd insist that both sides of the circuit be switched (that is, both ends of the nichrome wire be disconnected from the wall when the toaster isn't heating), for precisely this reason. But I've never heard of that actually being a requirement.
I have heard that toasters are deliberately not grounded. The thinking is that if you do go and stick a metal object into a toaster (which, of course, some people are going to do), you're actually more likely to get shocked if the metal body of the toaster that your wrist is resting against is grounded, than if it's not. —Steve Summit (talk) 14:57, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I've always figured that toasters are one of those appliances that give regulators nightmares. I mean, the thing, given its function, almost has to be designed in such a way as to render it inherently dangerous, both from the points of view of the risk of electrocution and the risk of fire. The one change I suppose I'd make if I were the Chief Regulator would be to require a GFCI-style plug on the toaster, much as hair dryers are now required to have in the U.S.. But that would probably increase the cost of the toaster by 50% while halving its reliability. Toaster ovens at least use CalRod-styled heaters where the exteriors of the heating elements are (at least theoretically) insulated from the mains connections. But as Steve Summit observed, that electrical insulation makes the Calrod heaters much slower to begin working than the bare nichrome wires in a toaster.
Atlant (talk) 17:49, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I have a Philips toaster. Its outer body is all plastic, although there is a metal frame inside, which is accessible around the toast slots. I just tested it by unplugging it and holding one probe of an ohmmeter across both prongs of the plug. I pressed the other probe against the metal frame, then against the resistance wires, then against other metal parts in the heating area. No current flowed. Conclusion: this toaster does indeed use a double-pole switch to ensure that no parts are electrically live when it isn't operating. The plug is unpolarized, which makes sense in view of that design.
Perhaps Philips has tighter standards than some companies, or the Canadian standards that it has to meet are tighter than US ones, as I've sometimes heard. (British standards are reputedly tighter yet.) It was, by the way, made in China, something that didn't even occur to me until I looked just now — such is the power of brand names. --Anonymous, 22:54 UTC, January 26, 2008.
That's all quite fascinating. Perhaps you guys can answer a question for me. If a domestic appliance (specifically, a fax machine) is plugged in and turned on, and a child decides it is a fun idea to use a pair of metal scissors to cut the dangling cord, what sort of shock (if any) would they get? (nb. The child I have in mind did not do this; he elected to cut up the neighbouring telephone cord instead). Gwinva (talk) 19:01, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
The last time I cut through a power cord (apologies for the OR here), the only shock I got was one of surprise, at the loud noise, shower of sparks, and sudden cessation of the lights. Typically, whatever metal implement you use to do the cutting will short across either the hot and the neutral wire, or the hot and the ground wire, resulting in a quick, hard short circuit which blows the fuse or trips the breaker just like it's supposed to.
With that said, however, if you were unlucky, and well grounded, and in good contact with the metal tool you were cutting the cord with, and the cut happened to go through the hot wire first, without impinging on the neutral or the ground wire, you could get a nasty shock.
Moral: don't cut through live wires. :-) —Steve Summit (talk) 20:27, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, well, the scissors were kept locked up for some time afterwards... Thanks. Gwinva (talk) 20:30, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

A metal object could damage inside the toaster though making it dangerous in future.hotclaws 23:52, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

No one has mentioned the conduction of heat yet. Because metal conducts heat well, if you are holding a metal implement in the toaster and the heat travels up the implement and onto your hand I imagine you could be burnt. Less serious than death by electrocution, but still painfull. RobertsZ (talk) 16:08, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
If its dangerous to use metal in a toaster, why isn't it dangerous to use metal pots on an electric stove? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Diletante (talkcontribs) 04:02, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
Good question. There's a clue in one of Atlant's postings above: electric stoves generally use "Calrod elements" (a term I hadn't heard before -- thanks, Atlant), where the resistive heating elements are encased in an electrically insulating but thermally conductive way. —Steve Summit (talk) 05:55, 28 January 2008 (UTC)
And now the thing I want to know is "How the heck do they make CalRods?" Manufacturing them (whilst securely, repeatably) maintaining the electrical resistance seems like a pretty good trick, especially if the nichrome element has to have a high-ish resistance. Maybe I'll have to cut a few apart and see if any design tricks are obvious.
In my imagination, one creates the nichrome helix, packs the magnesium oxide powder around the helix in a nice uniform way, closes some sort of "transfer tube" around the helix+powder assembly, and then uses a piston to drive the powder+helix assembly into the final stainless steel (or whatever) CalRod tube and finishes the ends. But that seems hoaky and faiilure prone to me so I'll bet it's done some much different and more-clever way that I'm not thinking of. Maybe the MgO binder is sintered into a sort of a solid around the nichrome so that the assembly holds together better during "packing" into the final container tube. 'Guess I'll have to Google around...
Atlant (talk) 13:13, 30 January 2008 (UTC)

Laying brick[edit]

I am putting in a brick hearth but cant find any instructions.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:39, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

(E-mail removed to prevent spam.)
Atlant (talk) 20:33, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I googled "laying a brick hearth" - results include this[2] and there are FAQs. Julia Rossi (talk) 22:29, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

How to cults begin?[edit]

Anyone have a step to step guide to cults. Something that really lays out how they begin, how people are lured in, how finances and housing works It always amazed me how seemingly talentless cult leaders are able to get loyal followings. So if you know of any books that lay the really nitty gritty of how a cult actually grows and functions that be great. Case studies work too. --Alxcgn7 (talk) 22:27, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, our article cult is pretty solid, and provides a very long list of books and articles at the end which you could consult if you want more information on the subject. -Elmer Clark (talk) 03:36, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
The book Join Me is quite an entertaining look at how cults can start - indeed, the tag line is "The true story of a man who started a cult by accident". Laïka 10:13, 27 January 2008 (UTC)

What kind of skull is this?[edit]

Does anyone have any idea what animal this could be? I suspect it's a boar, but I'm not 100% on it. Odd skull (imageshack). Froglars the frog (talk) 23:19, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

According to this[3] it looks like a bear skull. Maybe that's what you meant to say? Richard Avery (talk) 08:19, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, looks to me like a bear, but the lower jaw is not aligned correctly, giving it an underbite look. Google Image search "bear skull" and you'll see a lot of very similar looking skulls. The nose and the teeth are in particular indicative. If you Google Image search for "boar skull" you'll see it looks nothing like it—boar are prey animals and have sideways facing eyes (to avoid predators); bears are predators and have binocular vision and thus forward facing eyes (just a quick way to tell the difference in terms of skulls). -- (talk) 15:00, 28 January 2008 (UTC)