Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2008 November 7

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November 7[edit]

In the event of fire...[edit]

Saw this at the gas station while filling up. Placards on the pump and walls with all the safety precautions (turn engine off, etc) included what to do if the pump catches fire. The instructions were to leave the pump in the car's tank (makes sense), and back away from the pump. This strikes me as a bit counter-intuitive. I would think you would want to turn your face away to protect it from a flare-up, as well as to see where you're going so you don't trip while backing up. Anyone have the rationale for backing away from a gasoline fire? ArakunemTalk 00:21, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

I would think that they meant "run away" (which would seem fairly obvious, I hope), but that doesn't sound quite right when put on a set of safety instructions, so they tried to make it sound "proper". Or something to that affect. --(Flying Ninja Monkey) (Banana!) 02:17, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
People who run have a higher likelyhood of tripping, as do people who turn around in place; it is probably safer to be moving at some rate of speed away from the fire than lying on the ground next to it with a twisted ankle. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 03:41, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Doesn't back away mean you bump into your vehicle? Though it does seem less panicky than say, "get away" Oops – usually I'm between the pump and the car, so literally following instructions wouldn't work. Julia Rossi (talk) 05:10, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms lists "back away" with two senses (1) Walk backward (2) Gradually retreat, withdraw.[1] The second sense is more often metaphorical ("he's backing away from his original idea", they quote) but it's possible that back away=retreat is a valid meaning in literal contexts too, or at least the writers of the sign may be influenced by the metaphorical meaning. --Maltelauridsbrigge (talk) 11:10, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
See Engrish. --S.dedalus (talk) 21:49, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Christian Universalist Churches and Congregrations (cont.)[edit]

In my last question, one person replied that if one want to become a Christian Universalist but lives where there is no Christian Universalist church nearby, then one should seek online help for advice.

But the problem is that I am using a computer at school and I can't go on to such websites because they are not whitelisted.

Bowei Huang (talk) 01:29, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

I'd recommend that you get yourself to an internet café or public library where you can have free access to the Internet and research churches that you might contact. You might start with our article Universalism for a list of denominations. If you are in China and cannot access the websites of churches that interest you even from a non-school computer, you could let us know if there is a particular denomination that interests you, and we could perhaps find a telephone number for you to contact. However, if you really want to become a member of a church, it would be best to have face-to-face contact with other members to learn the culture and practices of that church. Therefore, you might consider traveling to a place where your church is active and spending a week or two visiting members of the church. Marco polo (talk) 02:14, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
One star for being inventive and persistent, Bowei. "Computer at school" – you mean tertiary? A bit old for little kids school, wouldn't you say? Julia Rossi (talk) 05:13, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
(Could be a teacher maybe?) SteveBaker (talk) 19:20, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Surely, we Yanks are not the only ones to generically refer to any educational institution as a school, are we? --Nricardo (talk) 03:24, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Forgot I was in a another country – we say uni/tafe/college if it's where we are, but we do say "back to school" for going back to study (I think). My point is that Bowei Huang is a serial repeater of church/religion-oriented questions and is being disingenuous here, in the light of that. The limits of access to the net have not come up before in this approach. Julia Rossi (talk) 04:14, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Incidentally, it looks like Bowei may be from Australia too. In NZ (I think) and Malaysia, I would have to concur with Julia. You may use school to include uni in some cases but it's rare (mostly only when you are referring to all education and in "back to school" kind of thing) and you are unlikely to say "a computer at school" when you mean a computer at uni. Perhaps more significantly, I would like to know what crappy university in the developed world has a whitelist for websites and doesn't let you visit the sites of churches. That would be a university I'd well avoid Nil Einne (talk) 12:25, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Yeah - whitelisting is exceedingly rare (and draconian) - it's hard to imagine a university doing it. A school for little kids might though. SteveBaker (talk) 14:19, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
From his previous questions, Mr Huang is a student at an ecclesiastical college of some sort. Whitelisting there might make more sense. Steewi (talk) 11:19, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Doesn't prevent him playing us though, now as before. As I said, this is a first for this excuse to get us involved with his one-point posts. Julia Rossi (talk) 22:12, 9 November 2008 (UTC)
Well if you're a student at an ecclestial college which is unwilling to whitelist sites enabling me to explore other religions in greater depth, I would reconsider my studies first before I worry to much about joining the Christian Universalists but perhaps that's just me Nil Einne (talk) 10:13, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Living Antiquity?[edit]

Two questions about these two words: Is the phrase logical/sensible and are there actual instances of "living antiquity"? --70.168.2.59 (talk) 05:19, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

The term living fossil is pretty common (and we have an article about them - with LOTS of actual instances of them). But "living antiquity" is a new one on me - its gets over 900 Google hits - but that's very few indeed. SteveBaker (talk) 05:26, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
The English noun antique corresponds to French antiquité, so maybe "living antiquity" is written by a non-anglophone who means "living antique". —Tamfang (talk) 06:55, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
See Oxymoron —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.111.121.208 (talk) 09:09, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
I thought an antique is >100 years old and an antiquity is >1000 years old. Surely the Great Barrier Reef and a number of trees are 1000+ years old (oldest tree). See also List of long-living organisms. Kittybrewster 08:37, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
I don't think you're right about that. At the very least it depends on what you're talking about. Texas state law defines an "antique" car as one more than 25 years old...Wiktionary says that 'antiquity' and 'antique' are the same thing - and gives no indication of a strict time threshold. Our article antique underscores that by saying: "An item which is at least 50 to 100 years old and is collected or desirable due to rarity, condition, utility, or some other unique feature. Motor vehicles, tools and other items subject to vigorous use in contrast, may be considered antiques in the U.S. if older than 25 years, and some electronic gadgets of more recent vintage may be considered antiques."...but it also says "Any piece of furniture or decorative object or the like produced in a former period and valuable because of its beauty or rarity.". Antiquities has complex definitions from many sources - but none of them have a 1000 year cutoff. SteveBaker (talk) 14:16, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
I have no personal or expert knowledge of this subject, but from watching the Antiques Road Show for many years I can say that the experts often call something a hundred years old or more a genuine antique. Why they say genuine I don't know. Titch Tucker (talk) 14:23, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
I imagine a fake antique is an object <100 years old being passed off as being >100 years old. Kittybrewster 15:01, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
They appear (in my opinion anyway) to be implying that if it was less than 100 years old it was not a genuine antique. Titch Tucker (talk) 15:10, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Of course it's a matter of arbitrary definition, and using "genuine" is misleading. An object that becomes an antique today because today is exactly 100 years since it was made, might not have been considered so yesterday. But it was still genuine yesterday, and the day before, and last week, last month, last year, and ever since the day it was made. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:54, 9 November 2008 (UTC)

Replacing resigning US Senators[edit]

If Senator Ted Stevens (R. Alaska) resigns or is removed from office, can Governor Sarah Palin appoint herself as his replacement as U.S. Senator? If not, what procedure would have to take place in order for Palin to replace Stevens as U.S. Senator?Art99999 (talk) 06:26, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

I'm sure this has been discussed before, but here's a yes [2] and a possibly [3]. --Maltelauridsbrigge (talk) 11:13, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
As an aside, this is not a matter covered by the constitution. While the constitution covers the initial election of Senators at the start of the term, it does not cover the replacement of Senators should they leave office or die before their term has expired. Each state is left to determine how such a Senetor is replaced. Some states hold by elections; while in others the replacement is appointed by the Governor. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 11:51, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
As an example, for a U.S. Senate vacancy, Wyoming law [22-18-111(a)(i)] requires the governor to ask the party of the previous incumbent to submit 3 names from which the governor must select a replacement. It gets even more complicated if the previous incumbent has not been a member of a party. Wyoming statutes, title 22 --- OtherDave (talk) 12:36, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Actually the answer is no. After a recent debacle surrounding the appointment of Lisa Murkowski, a voter initiative passed barring appointments of U.S. Senators (and maybe house members, I'm not sure). This also applies to interim appointments, according to interpretation by the AK supreme court. So if Steven resigns or is removed, there will almost certainly be a vacancy until a special election is held. At that point, Palin could run against Stevens whoever else oops and possibly might win. Calliopejen1 (talk) 17:07, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

NZ election[edit]

How can I follow the NZ elections live from overseas (Europe)? 141.14.217.217 (talk) 12:01, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

TVNZ [4] say they will have live streams for those overseas. I'm pretty sure TV3 [5] will have to, I know they sometimes limit their streams to NZ only (as with TVNZ) but since this will solely be their own content with no broadcsts right issues, I doubt they will in this case Nil Einne (talk) 12:37, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

How do I start with a guitar[edit]

I'm hoping all you good people can give me a little advice. My sister, her husband, children, and my nephews wife can all play the guitar to varying degrees. When we are all together at my sisters house in France everyone has a great time jamming away. Now, I enjoy listening to it, but what I would love to do is join in. This may be a bit late (I'm in my late 40's), but I would like some advice on how to start, what kind of guitar to first buy and which books would be better for a complete beginner like myself. Thanks. Titch Tucker (talk) 13:39, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

I would say go for an acoustic guitar, i.e. the kind that has steel strings and is the main guitar used in folk music. You can learn a few simple chords and be playing songs like "Blowin' In The Wind" in no time. As for books, I like this one. --Richardrj talk email 13:56, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
I started playing in my late 20's. The best advice I can give is to start, as described, with a steel-string acoustic. It is "harder" to play, in the sense that you need to push the strings with greater strength, but this will help develop the peculiar muscle-memory necessary to play guitar well. Everyone I know that started with electric guitar has found the transition to accoustic to be harder than the other way around. I never took a lesson myself. Go to a book store or musical instrument store, and browse through the instructional books. Find one that "walks" you through learning basic notes and chords, and then just practice, practice, practice. Oh, and learn barre chords earlier rather than later. It was the HARDEST thing I learned how to do when playing the guitar, but it will set you free in terms of flexibility on the instrument. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 14:49, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

There are some good Youtube channels with guitar lessons and song lessons. My favorite is Justin Sandercoe - songs and lessons. There's also rock on good people and I'm sure other good free lessons on youtube and the internet in general. TastyCakes (talk) 16:46, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

My son was desperate to learn guitar - we tried quite a few approaches - books, DVD's, expensive lessons...but somehow nothing "clicked". In the end, he found the "Guitar Tabs" system on the Internet (just google for it - they are everywhere) - which is a special music notation for guitar that literally shows you where to put your fingers and which strings to pluck. Somehow that clicked in his mind - and now (less than a year later) he plays really well and is in a band. He plays 7-string and bass guitars and has mastered several different tunings. There are huge numbers of web sites with all kinds of music in that format - pretty much anything well-known that you might want to play is out there someplace. SteveBaker (talk) 18:19, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Thanks, all good advice. Give it six months then I'll let you know how I'm getting on. I'ts a shame nobody gives their real names, I might have given you all a cut when I become the new Jimmi Hendrix. :) Titch Tucker (talk) 20:02, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Actually - lots of us post with our real names - we're not all fanatics about being anonymous. I am Stephen J Baker - but only my mother calls me "Stephen" - hence I post as User:SteveBaker. You can email me at my regular email address that you'll find on my user page - and my website and personal Wiki addresses are there too. Since you can find my email address - you can send the royalty checks directly into my PayPal account...so you'll have no excuses when the time comes! :-P SteveBaker (talk) 14:04, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
Just as an aside, the biggest problem with learning guitar is just getting your fingers and mind in sync so that when you think of a note, your fingers go to it and hit it precisely. It's just muscle memory, and it just takes endless practice. Once you have that sort of familiarity with the fret board, it's very easy to learn new styles, musical theory, etc. --140.247.242.66 (talk) 20:06, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Most of the information given is about lessons, so I'll just add - don't buy a cheap guitar. It will only drive you crazy by going constantly out of tune, and probably not sounding too good even if it is tuned. --LarryMac | Talk 20:32, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

And by "cheap", it means nothing at all about the cost. You will likely find that "entry-level" models from reputable luthiers are going to be far more reliable than more-expensive off-brand models. I have a $150 Takamine that I beat the crap out of, and it keeps a tune for like a week with very little tweaking. Takamine also makes $1500 hand crafted guitars, and everything in between. Stick to the name brands (Gibson/Epiphone, Fender/Squire, Martin, Ibanez) and you will likely receive a quality product. If you buy one of those "Walmart" off-brands like "First Act" or some such, you will only be disappointed. Oh, and strings make a BIG difference. I generally play Cleartone (used to play the coated strings like Elixr, but I grew to like the tone of the Cleartones better). Splurge the extra few dollars for the higher quality strings; they last longer, keep a better tune, and generally sound much better. Oh, and change your strings often. I generally change mine at least once a month. --Jayron32.talk.contribs 20:43, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
I've been much happier since I got a guitar tuner device. It only cost about $10 and has a little microphone so listen to acoustic guitars (or anything else), or you can plug in an electric. I've long known how to tune a guitar, but this little device speeds the process up significantly, with better results for a novice like me. It also let's me tune to a standard pitch without having to refer to a piano or whatever. Also, I can rapidly retune the guitar to alternate tunings and back with minimal effort. Well worth the ten bucks or so. Pfly (talk) 05:27, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
You can also get a capo pretty cheap. Capos are used extensively in acoustic folk and rock music, if you are interested in playing songs at their original pitch. Adam Bishop (talk) 07:05, 8 November 2008 (UTC)
I'll second the advice on guitar tuners - the electronic kind. They are a godsend for the beginner. I'm not so sure about the advice to not buy a cheap guitar. My kid now has a really nice 7-string electric, a decent six string electric and a four-string bass - but he still plays the $35 (new - on Ebay - including shipping!) piece of junk acoustic we got him. Sure, it goes out of tune...but with an electric tuner, that's easily fixed - and the nasty stickers that made it look like it so good in the advert (but so awful in reality) fell off about a week later. At the beginning, you're learning chord patterns and which strings to strum and when - and you really don't need a good guitar for that part...if you get past that then you'll know what you want in a guitar and a trip to your local Guitar Center will let you pick out what you really want. But to spend a packet on a good machine - and then lose interest in it a month later is just dumb. The biggest thing you can do to stop your guitar from going out of tune so often is to buy a stand for it so that the tuning knobs don't get knocked when you put the guitar down! SteveBaker (talk) 14:04, 8 November 2008 (UTC)

scramble squares[edit]

Please find the solution to the scramble square puzzle, Outer Banks' LighthousesSucaku (talk) 14:35, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

What are you talking about? Algebraist 15:28, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
I assume we're talking about sliding puzzles. The solution will, obviously, depend on how it's been scrambled (although there are algorithms to find a solution), so there's not a great deal we can do to help. --Tango (talk) 15:36, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Questioner may be talking about this. Gandalf61 (talk) 15:40, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
There's a scramble squares solver here. Follow the instructions and give it a go. Fribbler (talk) 15:44, 7 November 2008 (UTC)
Universal scramble squares solver here. With computer-programs, database of single-solution puzzles, many links...
Enter your problem at Editor, press Solve and program will solve it for you. To solve variations, you will have to map different patterns to turtles. More information can be found at this link .

The importance of the US Navy and Marine Corps to San Diego.[edit]

As a UK visitor to San Diego, I love that place - the people, the history, the weather, the proximity to the Pacific, the visitor facilities, the restaurants etc. etc. Oh I could go on and on. But the purpose of my question is to ask just how much San Diego depends on the US Navy and all its feeder industries and suppliers, ship repair and building, hospitals, schools, shops etc. Put another way, if ever the USA decided to relocate its entire San Diego Naval Operations somewhere else (I am not suggesting they will or should - this is purely a rhetorical question), what percentage of San Diego's current economy would remain? 92.21.36.70 (talk) 15:40, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

Googling "economic impact military San Diego" gets a study that says the military and related industries generates about $25 billion annually and makes up about 27% of the workforce. I can't find a source that says what percentage of the economy is made up of the military, though. Tomdobb (talk) 18:03, 7 November 2008 (UTC)