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

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November 15[edit]

It's snow much harder to shovel[edit]

I find myself with a gravel driveway for the first time this winter, and don't quite know how to clear the snow off it. A snow blower would send gravel flying at high speeds, and shoveling seems likely to result in large quantities of gravel tossed on the lawn, as well. So, what do other people with gravel driveways do when it snows ? Don't worry, there's snow wrong answer. StuRat (talk) 04:26, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

There's really nothing you can do, other than attempting to get as much off as possible with a shovel. Usually just driving over it enough will help by compacting it, and since it's gravel anyway, you won't have to worry too much about traction. This came up from a quick Google search. -- (talk) 05:38, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Forget the snow blower for now. If the winter where you live is long then the best thing is to drive over it now until it gets packed down. It will then resemble and feel like a regular cement roadway. Then with the next snowfall you can use the snowblower. Of course you should have treated it like a runway and put down a binding agent combined with regular packing and watering during the summer month. This would then have allowed you to grade and use the snowblower during the winter. CambridgeBayWeather Have a gorilla 09:35, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Scatter Rock Salt over the drive, especially where the wheels will drive so as to create traction - and drive it into the snow - literally, by driving over it several times. And repeat the exercise until the snow stops falling. But scrape your shoes clean on a doormat, or better still, remove them, before trudging the salt through the house. (talk) 13:39, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Except that Halite your car, the reinforced concrete in the garage and other steel don't mix too well. Plus there is a limited temperature range and it's not good for plants and lawns. Save your garden from salt damage seems to say that it works to -9C but I have seen other sites (commercial) that indicate it works to -30C. CambridgeBayWeather Have a gorilla 14:02, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I think the diff may be that dry salt only works to -9C, but, if you "get it started" by adding some water, it can work down to -30C. However, I don't want to destroy my lawn, car, and the concrete portion of my driveway, though, and salting the driveway seems to do just that, as you've noted. StuRat (talk) 15:04, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Well Stu - it seems you're stuck between a Rock(salt) and a hard place, which might just mean you're going to have to park your car out on the street, which will probably be gritted and salted by your local Traffic dept., anyway. And as a regular "salter" for 30+ years living in the icy wastes of central Scotland, and given the quantities and relatively short periods of use, in my experience, I can only say that the resilience of my verdant lawn and the concrete base of my garage must be infinitely superior to yours. Only saying.............. (talk) 16:11, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Driving over snow repeatedly will turn it into ice, or at least that's what it does here. It's much more difficult to shovel after that and much worse for anyone trying to walk on it. Maybe it doesn't do that on gravel though? Adam Bishop (talk) 21:16, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

If it partially melts and then refreezes, it will turn to ice (that's why skiing during sunny weather is horrible - the sun melts the snow then it freezes overnight and you end up skiing on a steeply tilted ice rink...). I think you would have to compact it a lot for it to turn to ice without having been melted first, though. --Tango (talk) 01:21, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Move somewhere warmer.-- (talk) 09:44, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Maybe global warming will solve the problem in another 50 years or so. StuRat (talk) 16:43, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

I've concluded that I'll shovel when I get enough snow so I can shovel the top layers off without getting to the gravel. When I get down to the gravel I'll leave it alone. If it forms into ice, I'll salt it. StuRat (talk) 16:43, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

You should have been a politician - you have just demonstrated that you CAN please all the people all of the time. (talk) 16:47, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
...but only if you're bisexual. StuRat (talk) 20:08, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Oh no, you don't have to be bisexual to be a politician, Stu. You just need to be prepared to fuck anyone, regardless of their sex or age. -- JackofOz (talk) 20:25, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Bisexual to shovel snow?? Reminds me of an old joke - What's the difference between a snowman and a snow-woman? S'no balls. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:07, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
...where you place the carrot ? StuRat (talk) 03:03, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Ahh - but - that's getting to the root of the issue !!!! (talk) 20:31, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Was that an Australian joke or a carrot joke? DJ Clayworth (talk) 22:14, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
Well, I was talking about placing the carrot on the snow man "down under". :-) StuRat (talk) 15:24, 19 November 2008 (UTC)

Watching porn before an exam[edit]

I have heard that having sex before an important game helps sportsmen perform better. Does watching porn before the day of a VERY important exam have a similar effect? Thanks. This is very important. (talk) 09:28, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

I thought that the axiom was the other way round? Anyway it appears that either way it makes no difference, Sex Before Sport?, Sex Before Competition, The myths of sex before sport and Sex before the big game?. CambridgeBayWeather Have a gorilla 09:41, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Aw what a bummer :-/ (talk) 09:51, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Could be worse, you might think these are (work safe) porn links. CambridgeBayWeather Have a gorilla 10:03, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
They did this on braniac and found that that people (specifically men) perform better in sport after sex. This is because there will be more testosterone in the bloodstream and it will increase muscle protein synthesis. However, the effects of that would not been seen immediately, so it is probably more psychological than anything else, ie increased confidence. I would guess that watching p0rn before an exam would just distract you and make you less able to concentrate on the exam. SN0WKITT3N 12:38, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Agree with snow. i tried oncejust to realise what a bl;under it was as i could not switch my head off the"oh my god, harder" to the american civil warVikram79 (talk) 12:43, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

There is recent research that suggests that market traders' success is correlated with their level of testosterone. How much you want to extrapolate from one study is another matter. Does sexual activity "use up" the hormone, or lead to more production, for example? I don't know. But you may wish to learn more here. BrainyBabe (talk) 12:58, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
One obvious flaw in the theory that sex before an exam will improve performance is that higher testosterone levels only help with activities where physical strength and aggressiveness are needed. Not only won't these attributes assist you on a test, they may make it difficult to sit still and concentrate (as in Vikram79's example). So, the only way sex before an exam could help your grade is if it's with the teacher/instructor/professor. StuRat (talk) 14:51, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
If you were totally unprepared for the exam, the added testosterone could make it easier for you to scrunch your exam paper up into a ball, throw it and hit the examiner right between the eyes. Fribbler (talk) 14:54, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Having sex with the teacher may be counter-productive. They might have a flash of conscience, and think this way: "Hmm, I guess I really shouldn't have had sex with my student, being unethical and all. What if it comes out; my reputation and career will be f***ed. People will say I only gave them good marks because they slept with me, and we'll both be f***ed. I'd better mark them harder than I would otherwise have done, to make sure there can be no perception of favours being traded. At least, that way, even if my career goes down the toilet, their mark can stand and their whole life won't be ruined". -- JackofOz (talk) 20:33, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
You're doing it wrong. You need to sleep with your teacher and then threaten to report them if they don't give you an A. --Tango (talk) 00:24, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I see. We're not allowed to give legal advice here, but illegal advice is okay? :-) --Anonymous, 05:29 UTC, November 16, 2008.
We're not allowed to give legal or medical advice because such advice should always come from a licensed professional. There's no licensed profession for giving illegal advice (although one could consider "prisoner" to be, de facto, such a profession), ergo we can do so! --Tango (talk) 14:08, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I'd be wary of whoever gives odd advice to cope with exams. As you know, in any competition there's such a thing as a "psych-out"[1]. You need to be wired for the focal thing – the exam, by keeping the brain clear and go to it fresh. Better to keep buzzy things on hold (and here's me thinking market traders' power was in those suits they wear...) Julia Rossi (talk) 07:27, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
I liked this novel (paraphrased) way to cheat which Bart Simpson came up with: "I figured out a completely new way to cheat; first I make a list of facts which I think might be on the test, then I memorize them all. It's just like cheating with crib notes, but with no paper trail, so you can't ever get caught !". StuRat (talk) 16:37, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
What we have all overlooked in our efforts to be helpful is what sort of exam. If, for example, it is in anatomy or gymnastics, the porn videos might prove to be extremely misleading. If it is a mathematics exam, or one for say real estate qualifications, that's probably safe. BrainyBabe (talk) 23:38, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Another thing we may have overlooked is that we're talking about "watching" porn, as if that were all there is to the question. Not that I personally would know, of course, but I'm reliably informed that those who watch porn often find themselves engaging in other, er, solitary activities that result in fluid release. Not to mention dwarfism, hairy palms and insanity. If the activity in question is confined to visual enjoyment, then it may have less impact on exam performance. -- JackofOz (talk) 00:05, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
No comment on the maths one but I'm sure there are some porn films which will mislead you for your real estate qualifications. For example, most hot women/guys/couples looking at a house don't want to try doing it in every single room with the agent so you'll be ill advised to recommend fondling clients as part of the sale process in an exam Nil Einne (talk) 11:27, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't know if the specific act of watching porn would help, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if masturbation is very helpful before an exam. Masturbation is extraordinary at relaxing the body and removing tension. I wouldn't recommend doing it in a school bathroom (that's just nasty), but I warmly recommend a quick wanking in the morning before school! And not just for that reason! (talk) 09:49, 17 November 2008 (UTC)
Comment A lot of people appear to be presuming the OP is male however that was never stated. Anyway to answer the question, if watching porn means you don't get a good nights sleep or miss out on that last minute cramming section then it may not help. On the other hand if it means you can concentrate on the exam rather then doing the hot hunk/gal next to you during the exam then it may Nil Einne (talk) 11:27, 17 November 2008 (UTC)


How far can we compare forcasting as an element of assuming in general or financial point of view? and if they are synonymous "to a certain extent" which is the element of which? any suggestions would be gladly ambraced..Vikram79 (talk) 12:37, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

I can't follow your question. Do you mean weather forecasting, stock market forecasts or something else ? StuRat (talk) 14:45, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

hi STUrat i mean customer behaviour forcasting in relation to the the changing markets trend effecting their behaviour in return effecting business decisions and the change in the management decisions.Vikram79 (talk) 17:19, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

I'd say trends in customer behavior can often be predicted based on economic conditions. For example, it was quite predictable that we would eventually use gasoline more quickly than we can produce it, which was certain to lead to shortages and skyrocketing gasoline prices, which, in turn, will shift customer demand to smaller cars and/or vehicles using alternative energy sources. However, the short term orientation of most automotive company CEO's led them to ignore this reality and focus on large, gasoline powered vehicles since they were more profitable in the short term.
Why this short term orientation ? The newer, low-cost transaction price of stock trades makes it possible now to trade stocks quickly, whereas previously any profits from such quick trades would have been eaten up by transaction costs. This then leads to stockholders who want quick profits, and have no concern for the long-term profitability of the company, as they will have sold all their stock by then. The CEO's and boards of directors then reflect their stockholder wishes, and make all decisions based on short term profitability only. The cure ? Higher taxes on stock sales if the stock has been held for a short period of time, and lower taxes if held for long periods of time. StuRat (talk) 17:30, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks STUrat, i have some clarity now.cheersVikram79 (talk) 19:01, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

You're welcome. StuRat (talk) 20:34, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Names of parts of the body[edit]

List of human anatomical features doesn't answer this question. What is the name of the silver snake-like marking under the skin that represent sudden growth, e.g. during adolescence, or on pregant women's bellies? And does Wikipedia have a list of names for these odd parts of the body, like the philtrum or the hairline on the nape of the neck or all the individual toes or the frenulum under the tongue? Gather and label the obscurities, and bring order to the universe! BrainyBabe (talk) 12:53, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

Stretch marks, or striae, aren't usually considered to be anatomical entities. They are a physical manifestation of rapid growth. Like wrinkles are signs of ageing. Fribbler (talk) 13:14, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
By Googling I found big toe, little toe, middle toe, toe 1 thru toe 5, the piggie who went to market etc. Many languages call them feet fingers. Not everything in the universe has a name. "There are stranger things in heaven and earth ...." Phil Burnstein (talk) 10:17, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

getting jobs when under 18 (really pissed off under 18 year old)[edit]

Im only after a part time job to make a bit of money, however i am finding it increasingly difficult. I am 17 and from the UK and had a job before (however it was working for the family business - i still got paid though!) and the only opportunities availible are all unpaid work experience placements (i've had plenty of those over the years!) and im not after that, what advice can you give me to be able to get a part time job (i constantly look everywhere & send CV's in and never get a reply)?, why is so hard in the UK to get one? i seriously gonna pretend to be 18 because it is getting annoying —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:14, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm in the UK, and I worked at a McDonalds part time when I was 16-18. Pretty horrible job, but they have no problem employing 16-17 year olds and the hours are very flexible. I had friends that got jobs at supermarkets at the same age. Where have you been trying? ~ mazca t|c 15:55, 15 November 2008 (UTC)

What skills/abilities do you have ? What sort of job would you like ? (talk) 15:12, 15 November 2008 (UTC)DT

I agree with Mazca above. OK, we are having a recession and there may not be as much dosh being splashed around by the consumer public - but we are only 6 weeks away from Christmas when most of the supermarkets and fast food chains will be hiring younger and cheaper casual staff. What about working in a garden centre or behind the scenes in Argos. What about being an usher or cleaner in a multi-plex cinema. All those jobs in my area of the UK seem to be filled by people your age. Mind you, at my age, all the policemen and doctors seem to be your age too !!! (talk) 16:18, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Don't know about the UK. The job market is pretty tight everywhere, though. That means that "the ends of the distribution curve" find it hard to find employment. Forget jobs that ask you to mail in your CV. They are usually looking for regular employees. Traditional job market niches for minors like baby sitting, pet sitting and homework help might not be up your alley or have been commercialized where you are, so you'll have to see where you can fit in. Sit down and make a list of special abilities, skills or experience you can offer potential employers. Can you turn a hobby into a business? (Christmas is coming up. Some towns have bazaars. If you are good at crafts you could whip something up for sale. Flea markets are another avenue you might explore.) If you say you "constantly look" does that mean you do things like post notes offering your services on noticeboards in places like supermarkets and the library or are you just looking for job ads posted by potential employers? In a market like this you have to get active. Networking is key to any job hunt. Once you've narrowed down your profile and know what you can offer start spreading the word. Start from your usual social circles like church groups, relatives, sports team etc. Then go where your "customers" i.e. potential employers are. This may involve doing some volunteer work, starting up a new hobby, taking up a sport, joining a club, etc. Remember you are not doing this for the sake of doing it, but in order to meet people who might want to employ you or know s.o. who might employ you. Keep your eyes and ears open and see where someone needs assistance, then see how you could help and approach them with an offer. One thing that might help is a change in your appearance. If you are a jeans and sneakers or tattoo and piercing person you move yourself way farther to the edge of the curve. (There is the occasional job in the entertainment industry and such where it actually helps rather than hinders. But guess what, there are long lines waiting for that one.) What you want to do is convince employers that you are more responsible and grown up than they suspect. So lose the sneakers for shoes, disarm the metal arsenal and head for the "Prince William's cousin" or "Princess Diana's niece" look. There are jobs available that one can do online and/or freelance. They do usually require special skills, tough. Go google with all your abilities and see if pops up. Good luck. (talk) 16:22, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
As an addendum, I'd strongly recommend against pretending you're 18. Most, if not all, reputable companies tend to want to confirm your details to your passport or similar before you start. ~ mazca t|c 18:02, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Have you tried asking in any locals bars and restaurants if they need anyone to wait on tables or wash up? Or local newsagents if they need anyone to deliver papers? Or supermarkets, as others have mentioned. Sending in CVs is a lost cause at your age, the only jobs you're likely to get are ones involve going into a place and asking if they want to hire anyone. --Tango (talk) 18:07, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
  • Firstly - I suppose it's possible that there is something horribly wrong with your CV or whatever cover letter you sent with it. If you can find a professional (a careers expert at school/college perhaps) who could give it a look - that may help a whole lot. If you can get help with interview technique - grab that with both hands! Given how hard it is to get to an interview - you don't want to blow it by not having a great answer for the dreaded "What is your worst feature?" or "Why do you want to work here?" questions.
  • Secondly - "cold calling" by sending out CV's in scatter-gun fashion is a process that may require sending a LOT of CV's before you get a response - so don't be too concerned if you send out (say) a dozen and don't get any results...send out two dozen - a hundred. Sometimes local unemployment offices can help you with free postage and stuff like that.
  • Thirdly - what works a MILLION times better than sending out CV's "cold" is to network with friends & family. In the case of a not-"key-position" job (such as you might get at age 17 without lots of qualifications or experience) - the company will probably get an insane number of CV's for every position they have open. Probably 80% of the people who apply are qualified enough to do the work - so the poor human-resources person is faced with a pile of perhaps a couple of hundred CV's and just a couple of jobs to fill. Are they going to carefully read through a few hundred CV's and carefully sieve out the best? No. They are going to flip though them very quickly - rejecting almost all of them with nothing but a glance for the most trivial and superficial reasons. Then they'll call a handful of people for an interview...the process is more or less random.
So what you've got to do is to improve the odds by somehow standing out from the crowd. There have been lots of tricks proposed for this in the past - printing your CV on bizarre objects or packaging it weirdly - or using silly paper colors or shapes - but those are probably gimmicks that the HR person has seen a million times before. So I'm not sure that's a good plan - and I don't recommend it.
That means you need other ways to get noticed. Best of all - you want the HR person to be looking at your CV before the job has even been advertised yet...before it gets mixed up with a hundred other ones. What you want is for someone you know (or possibly someone who knows someone you know) who works at the company and knows that they need an employee to take your CV and present it by hand to the HR person. "Hey - I heard we need a new Widget nerdler! My sister's friend is a GREAT widget spangler - I bet he could nerdle widgets pretty good - he's a good kid - could you take a look at his CV!" Well, that's something the HR person can't easily ignore. While your friend's brother stands there in his office with a hopeful look on his face - the HR person pretty much has no choice but to at least read the CV. And with even a minimal a personal recommendation from an existing (and presumably, trusted) employee, your CV has a head start over all the others...which is all it needs if they are all pretty similar.
So it's a matter of how many people would do that for you. This is where the "Networking" thing comes in. You need to hit up every friend and relative (no matter how distant) for recommendations. Sit down and make a list of EVERYONE you know - then methodically go through that list - phone (or go and visit) all of them. If you have accounts on Facebook, MySpace or other social networking sites - make sure everyone on your friends list gets asked to put your name forward like that. Heck - you could even (gently) ask people whom you've worked with on Wikipedia to help (use their Talk: pages though!) Get a stack of CV's and give them to absolutely everyone who knows you...even people you don't like much or who you don't think could help - you have nothing to lose. Have a copy of your CV (nicely presented) online somewhere - so you can send the URL via email or whatever. Make a point of making contacts everywhere you can. Start talking to your next door neighbours - make sure they all know. If you've worked in other places in the past - make sure your ex-coworkers know that you're on the job market. Widen that network - ask your contacts whether THEY have contacts who could help. Remember the "six degrees of separation" rule - in this world, there is a friendship chain of at most ~6 people between you and everyone else on the planet. If you need to get a personal introduction with some manager at some very specific workplace - there IS a chain that you can follow to get directly to them. Find it - use it.
You can deliberately make new links. Suppose you want a job in a particular supermarket - make sure to talk to the checkout people when you shop there - make a point of picking the same checkout person every time you go - get chatty with them - then, when they know you well enough to recognise you...say "Hey do you know if there are jobs open here?"...and "Would you mind giving my CV to your boss - it probably won't get read otherwise." this everywhere - sooner or later, you'll find someone who will!
When you get an interview - remember how hard it was to get? Make it count. Before you go - research the company - read everything on their website - be ready with smart, intelligent questions...and make SURE you've got good answers for all of the god-awful questions that interviewers sometimes ask.
SteveBaker (talk) 19:08, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
TBH, unless you're trying to build a career, I doubt a CV will be a lot of use. If you don't mind doing shitty jobs for shitty pay, there's lots of work out there. Just before Christmas, many retail places are hiring part-timers - just walk in and ask for an application form. Mention any special skills or experience you might have. For example: till/checkout skills, experience with kids, prepared to work nights, etc. Astronaut (talk) 21:19, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
I really can't see a 17 year old getting any job that requires a Human Resources department to be involved in the process. Just walk in off the street, ask to see the manager, ask if they have any jobs going and keep trying until someone says yes. --Tango (talk) 22:01, 15 November 2008 (UTC)
Keep in mind that the first jobs are always hard to get, for everyone. Once you get a foot in the door though they become a lot easier. Have patience. You will have an entire lifetime to do boring work for money... -- (talk) 00:40, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
Lots of manual labor jobs also require little or no qualifications. You could look to get on a road crew or a construction crew or work as a domestic of some sort. If you are half-way competant, and willing to stick with it, you could find yourself as a supervisor or foreman before too long. 01:05, 16 November 2008 (UTC)
There are restrictions on what kind of jobs minors can have in the UK that might get in the way of that kind of work. Although, I expect the minimum age for working on a construction site is 16, so a 17 year-old would be ok. However, those kind of jobs are usually full-time, the OP specified he was looking for part time work. --Tango (talk) 01:11, 16 November 2008 (UTC)