Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2008 October 13

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October 13[edit]


i am not usually the guy that gets nervous around girls but there is this one girl that does make me nervous. i dont even like her but i freeze up everytime i see her. why? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 02:54, 13 October 2008

Is she a basilisk? Plasticup T/C 03:29, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Doubleplus loldongs for that one Face-grin.svg CL — 04:20, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
This is because you have caught "the gay" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 06:50, 13 October 2008
Sounds like she's got your number, buddy. (in the "has you figured out" sense.) Avoid her at all costs or marry her, my advice. Darkspots (talk) 08:40, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Well usually to be nervous about something you want to impress (or at least not embarrass yourself infront of) someone. It may be that her personality is such that you subconciously (spelling) feel you need to impress them. Some people have an air of authority, or perhaps have traits you aspire to and thus makes you want to be seen in a favourable light in their eyes. Certainly doesn't have to mean you like her in a sexual/partner sense, but it could be that her personality is such that it triggers your nervousness. (talk) 09:21, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

thanks, you were the only one that actually said something useful. You other guys should find a different hobby because advisement is not your thing.

The reference desk isn't really intended for advice, it's intended for helping people find answers to factual questions - you're lucky you got any help at all. Try an agony aunt next time. --Tango (talk) 19:07, 14 October 2008 (UTC)


what is the etymology of the word cop, when refering to a police officer? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:57, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

This source says that it's from the Old French 'caper,' meaning, 'to seize.' It's cited from the Oxford English Dictionary, which is pretty much the ultimate reliable source for English word origins. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 12:04, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
I was always under the impression "Cop" came from the Latin cupare meaning to catch, though I wouldn't know where to look for a reference. -=# Amos E Wolfe talk #=- 12:20, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, the Old French probably comes from the Latin, so you're both right. In fact, Wiktionary says "From Latin and Old French capere ('to capture')." --Tango (talk) 12:50, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
One could start by checking a Latin dictionary for the existence of a verb cupare. I don't see it. —Tamfang (talk) 00:57, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Wiktionary says that the french capere is from the latin capio from the proto-indo-european kap. Nanonic (talk) 01:33, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
In England "Cop" is an considered to be an Americanized short-form of "Copper" - which still fits with a derivation from the French 'caper'. SteveBaker (talk

I have been told that it originated in the UK. When filing a report, the officer used it as shorthand for "constable on patrol."

Sounds like a backronym to me. (Also, would "officer on patrol" be repeated so often on a report as to require a shorthand?) -- Captain Disdain (talk) 14:36, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Another suggestion for "copper" - from Cassell's Dictionary of Slang (1998): American police sergeants had copper badges. (Patrolmen had brass badges, lieutenants and captains had silver.) AJHW (talk) 15:46, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

Police code[edit]

what does the america police code 10-75 mean? is it a murder, a rape ect —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:08, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

"In contact with", according to Ten-code and this. But this google search returns some sources that say "Domestic problem". Zain Ebrahim (talk) 13:18, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
10-codes are not, as often suspected, universal between police departments. There are a few that have become so common as to be somewhat universal (10-4, 10-20) but most of the time you will find a WIDE variation in 10 codes. The article Ten-code has lots of information on the codes; there is a national standard, but many local jurisdictions ignore these and have developed their own codes. 16:48, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
10-4. Edison (talk) 05:21, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

A level questions[edit]

I did 4 AS levels and dropped 1 of them (chemistry) at A2. Thus I am taking 3 full A levels. I am thinking of taking a gap year before I go to university.

So firstly i would like to know whether it is possible for me in this gap year to take chemistry A2 considering that they have now changed the specification? I dont know if the examining board still offers exams in the old spec but regardless my school does not offer to teach it anymore so I cannot lern the old A2 spec. Is it possible for me to learn the new A2 spec and then that can combine with my old AS to form a whole A level

Secondly, is it possible for me to take a whole A level (AS and A2) in one year. Im not asking whether I will be able to cope or whether my school will allow me, just whether the examining boards allow someone to be registered to take the AS and A2 in one year

Thank you very much -- (talk) 15:11, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Your school will be better able to answer those questions that we can. I think exam boards usually offer both specs for only the first year when changing an A-level, so you may not be able to take the old spec exams next year. Whether you can combine new and old, I have no idea, it will probably depend on what they've changed. Taking a whole A-level in one year is probably possible - often you can take exams in both January and the summer so you may be able to do the AS in January and the A2 in the summer. You really need to ask your school, though, they're the experts. --Tango (talk) 15:21, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Taking a whole A-level in a year is definitely possible; you just have to do all the modules in a year. Assuming nothing's really changed in this respect lately, you/your school 'cashes in' your modules to get you your AS/A2 levels. If you do enough modules for an A2, you can do it in a year; you could do this by taking the AS level exams in January and the A2 exams in the summer, or even by doing them all at once in the summer. Talking to your school or other local colleges is the way to approach this, but taking an A-level in a year is not uncommon at colleges that aren't connected to schools. (talk) 12:14, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

World's safest city and capital city.[edit]

What is the world's safest city? I'm looking, specifically, for a city that has at least 50,000 habitants and also the lowest amount of crime in the world. Additionally, as a related question, what is the world's safest capital city? Thank you in advance, and apologies if asking two questions is not allowed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by XxCutexXxGirlxX (talkcontribs) 17:19, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

According to this source, the answer to both questions is the city of Luxembourg. Marco polo (talk) 17:59, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
No, the article only reported results for 215 cities. Luxembourg may be the right answer for capitals -- though I would expect the Vatican City to rank very highly -- but for cities with over 50,000 population, there are thousands and thousands of them in the world. I would be surprised if anyone has compared crime statistics on so many cities. Such comparisons may also be unreliable because police in different countries are unlikely to tabulate crimes according to the same standards. --Anonymous, 03:25 UTC, October 14, 2008.

Bear in mind tat you are required to wear nappies, to make it safe for those who are of average height. Luxembourg is a protected biotope for the endangered species of EU garden gnomes. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 19:14, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
That's going a bit far, don't you think? Please redact that. Darkspots (talk) 21:37, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually, Vatican City has a relatively high crime rate. The reason for this is the fact that VC has an extremely high number of annual visitors per capita (on account of lots of people visiting but the population being only about 900) and this means that if only a few tourists commit relatively small criminal acts like nicking a pencil from the gift shop the crime rate may be relatively high. --JoeTalkWork 22:59, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Missing dates[edit]

In The Crown of the Crusader Kings, Huey, Dewey and Louie inform Scrooge McDuck that the crown would return as legal property of the Knights Templar on October 13 1582, however there never was an October 13 1582, so the crown does not belong to them. Surely this cannot be how things really happen? I would imagine it would be considered that in this case, it would be done as soon as that date had passed. Or are there really agreements that rely on a specific calendar date existing, not just having passed? JIP | Talk 20:58, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Are you really asking for scrupulous historical accuracy and internal logic from a Disney comic book?!? 22:01, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
See Gregorian calendar#Adoption, where it's explained that only in "Spain, Portugal, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and most of Italy" was there no 13 October 1582. Where were these Templars hanging out at the time? Deor (talk) 22:59, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
You really want to get technical? Okay, I'm warning you...
Contracts/agreements can be voided based on a legal impossibility - but in the case of a date, it is likely that this would be a losing effort. Say, for instance, a person forgot which month had 31 days and wrote "Sept. 31" - which has happened, I'm sure. This is not a legal impossibility in the same way that, "Mickey Mouse being elected President of Australia" would be. It is a dating impossibility, it's true, but I don't think the date's absence wuld matter. A judge would simply rule on what the intent was.
Now, I'm not in possession of the comic book, so I'm not privvy to what the intent was of this agreement, but I seriously doubt it was made *after* the agreed-upon changing of the calendar. Therefore, it would fall more under the lines of a delay that does not cause the contract to cease, only delays it; like, say, a contract to begin a building in March, but an unusually bad winter makes the foundation not able to be laid till April.
Even if it had been after, the next possible date is almost certainly the one which would be used, becuase of a few other little details.
However, if there were supposed to be something very special about that particular date, then it could be argued that if it didn't happen, then the transfer wouldn't occur. A Friday the 13th could do it, if that was the intent - say, for instance, they wanted it to be symbolic of that date in particular. So, there is still that chance.
Note that I am not concerned about giving you legal advice because I seriously doubt you are either a member of the Knights Templar, nor are you a cartoon duck. :-)Somebody or his brother (talk) 00:09, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
When the British Empire adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, the law had specific provisions covering things like contracts that referred to dates. Basically the rule was that the date in the contract referred to the same "natural day" that it would have meant without the change. If the Catholic countries that converted in October 1582 used the same sort of rule, the specified date of October 13 would simply be interpreted as meaning October 23 New Style. --Anonymous, 03:33 UTC, October 14 N.S., 2008.
Note also that the Templars never controlled the crusader crown (if by that the crown of the Kingdom of Jerusalem is meant); nor were there any Templars in 1582. Adam Bishop (talk) 01:03, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I suspect that the writers nominated a specific date in order to lend credibility and plausibility to the story for those who did not dig beneath the surface (i.e. most kids). But they deliberately chose what they believed was a non-existent date so they couldn't be accused of deliberately misleading their readers that this was a true story. Joan Lindsay did a similar thing when she set Picnic at Hanging Rock on Valentine's Day, Saturday 14 February 1900. It sounds real enough, until one discovers that 14 February 1900 was in fact a Wednesday. The Mickey Mouse writers perhaps did not realise that 13 October 1582 was a non-existent date only in certain countries, not everywhere, so their plan was foiled by their crass ineptitude in failing to research the piecemeal adoption of the Gregorian calendar. If only they'd read our article first. -- JackofOz (talk) 04:31, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I know that the story wasn't entirely historically accurate, but it is still based on real historical details. Anyway, I have to take issue at the term "Mickey Mouse writers". I don't know how the situation is in Australia, but I get the feeling that in the United States, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck are mixed up with each other, even though they were both invented there. The situation here in Europe, especially Finland, is entirely different. Relative to the size of our population, we read Donald Duck much more than the people who invented him do, and are very aware of the difference between the Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck universes (even though they sometimes - very rarely - mix). The story in question was written and drawn by Don Rosa, an American comic artist, who has written and drawn tens of Donald Duck stories but not one single Mickey Mouse story. JIP | Talk 18:11, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Of course, there's always Mickey Mouse writers. Gwinva (talk) 00:17, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

We've had at least one Mickey Mouse as Prime Minister of Australia, and I'm sure that when we become a republic with a president, this tradition will continue. (Sorry if that's an insult to Mickey.) -- JackofOz (talk) 02:53, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Oh Jack, that's harsh. To single him out, I mean. We've also had Pluto;)
I always thought he came from Easter Island. -- JackofOz (talk) 01:17, 16 October 2008 (UTC)


in the Bible which individuals judged God? please give the scripture passages. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:29, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

Maybe there's someone out there that can nail this in one, but do you remember any more context than that? Old or New Testament at least? Darkspots (talk) 21:32, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, Jesus, who is God-as-man (see Gospel of John, Chapter 1), was tried by the Sanhedrin, and sentenced by Pilate. Direct human judgement of God there. 22:00, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
(econ)Job (not Steve) tried it on the advice of friends in the OT. In the NT from some theological points of view, Pontius Pilate judged God. You can also google these things for references. Is this bible college exam time? In that case, we don't do your homework for you but we're happy to help when you've made an effort and get stuck. Cheers, Julia Rossi (talk) 22:01, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

good from tragedy[edit]

in the bible what scriptures sight incredible good coming out of unspeakable tragedies? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:33, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

The Jesus story comes to mind. Any karmic themes of pay now play later also originate from Old Testament times onwards, expressed more in the lamenting Psalms. In the NT, there's the parable of the rich man and the leper (Luke 16:19-31) for example. Cheers, Julia Rossi (talk) 21:56, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Jesus dying on the cross? You know, the leader of the entire religion is sacrificed so that, in doing so, we can all live in the presence of God for eternity? That's about a big as it gets. 21:58, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
I was thinking of Joseph getting sold down the river into Egypt, which led to his saving his entire tribe. I bet there are dozens more...Darkspots (talk) 22:16, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Genesis 50:20 would be the exact reference for that, but also Romand 8:28 for a general statement that good can come out of bad. But, yes, there are many, really.Somebody or his brother (talk) 23:56, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

A Mac virus[edit]

Apple say that there is no virus for Macs, which makes sense because they are only 2% of the computer market and so there is not much point for someone to make a virus for it. Software companies create viruses and put them on websites where you can download software illegaly, claiming that this is their software. This discourages people trying to download software illegally, as they dont want viruses.

Why doesn't Microsoft just their people to create a virus for Macs as this would be one less thing Apple could advertise? - obviously, Microsoft would do this secretly.

Also, what happens if a Mac downloads a Windows-only virus, does the virus just not work?

Thanks. (talk) 23:05, 13 October 2008 (UTC)

What a wonderful and coherent set of ideas. We should pass them on to MS at once and credit you of course ;) hydnjo talk 23:42, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
I konw, I'm a geneous. LOL92.4.229.8 (talk) 23:53, 13 October 2008 (UTC)
Because Microsoft is a good corporate citizen which only believes in beating the competition fair and square, with better software, not underhanded tricks. As for the second question, it's the wrong file format. --Sean 00:06, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
For sufficiently wide Values of "Fair". See:Criticism of Microsoft.
I think that a better answer is that the risk and consequences of being caught are just too high. -- (talk) 00:15, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Thanks. (talk) 00:19, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Yeah, that'd be horrible on the company's image if they were discovered. Useight (talk) 00:19, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
So, we shouldn't do it in case we get caught? Oh yeah, good ol' American corporate culture that! hydnjo talk 00:28, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Oh, yeah, I forgot about this "good corporate citizen which only believes in beating the competition fair and square"  :( hydnjo talk 00:40, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Whilst perhaps purposeful virus-distribution does occur by software companies, if they get caught their reputation/company would be pretty much ruined (consumer confidence wise) - that will limit the number who take that risk. Incidently - Macs are capable of getting viruses, but as you suggest there are fewer about for Macs. Why? I suspect the market-share reason is a factor, but the operating system's basis is quite widely used so it may also be down to good programming and a more secure operating system in general. (talk) 08:24, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
If we are really talking about a virus as opposed to other kinds of malware - then the real reason viruses don't take a hold in Mac and Linux communities is that the virus can't spread fast enough. Consider an old-fashioned email virus. Somehow it infects your computer - it looks at your addressbook and emails itself to all of your friends...they get infected and the cycle continues. Well, if it's a Windows virus then the odds are good that 95% of the addresses in your address book are other Windows PC's. So if there are 100 addresses in a typical persons book then: 1 virus becomes 95 viruses which becomes 95x95 which becomes 95x95x95...and within about four or five cycles, it's infected a million computers. On the other hand, a Mac virus will be lucky to find even a couple of other Mac's in the address book - so one computer infects two which infects four which infects 8...but even after four cycles, it's only hit 16 machines...not a million. So even if there were Mac or Linux viruses - they'd spread so slowly that we'd easily be able to deal with them.
A second reason is "biodiversity" - just as in the natural world, if every animal in a population is closely related to the same original animal - then a disease that affects one of them will take down the entire herd. But when there is plenty of genetic diversity, the population does much better. The same principle applies with computer virus attacks: A huge percentage of Windows users are using just two versions: XP and Vista - and nearly everyone is still stuck in the 1980's with 32 bit versions of those OS's. You can easily write a virus that runs on both of those OS's - exploiting different loopholes in each where no common mechanism exists. But lots of Mac's are not even running on x86 CPU's and in the Linux world, there are at least a hundred fifferent distributions - two different mainstream windowing systems and dozens of lesser known ones. There are 32 bit systems, 64 bit systems, things that don't use x86 architecture processors at all. There are a dozen different email clients. It's really tough to write a virus that exploits whatever loopholes there are in more than a tiny percentage of those systems. So the "biodiversity" of the non-Windows world does it a lot of good.
A third reason is that increasingly, malware is spreading with a purpose. It's no longer enough for a virus to pop up that sends stupid messages to all of your friends - these days, it's going to install "botnet" software onto the PC and use it to distribute Spam or to launch denial-of-service attacks or something. That's a business - not some random loser wasting people's time for some sick thrill. Businesses make rational business decisions - even when they are part of some evil spamming empire. For those guys - there simply aren't enough Mac's and Linux boxes to be worth attacking.
There are many other technical reasons why Mac and Linux boxes are relatively secure too.
SteveBaker (talk) 09:23, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Don't get complacent if you run a Linux box, though. From the bad guys' perspective they might represent more effort per node acquired, but if they can take one it's quite a prize, precisely because of the power and flexibility of the OS. They can use it as a base to attack lots and lots of Windows machines.
As I understand it, Ubuntu by default has no dangerous services listening (such as sshd, telnetd, ftpd, or httpd); you have to turn these on explicitly, and hopefully if you do you know what you're doing. That's a major obstacle to attackers, and a good reason to pick that distro if you're not a security expert. But you should still be cautious -- I use iptables on top of not having the services listening, and I'm very chary of installing any software that doesn't come from the Ubuntu servers. --Trovatore (talk) 03:05, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
It's also possible, under Linux, to seriously screw up your WINE install with windows-based Malware. Not a tragedy, as the WINE registry is a lot easier to manually edit than a real windows one, but still a major pain in the neck to fix without hosing your applications.
Come to think of it, I usually give my WINE install read/write access to my home directory, so I suppose a particularly nasty windows virus could still delete all the files on my Linux install, but as Steve notes, those sorts of ultra-nasties are mostly a thing of the past now. APL (talk) 04:09, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Is WINE actually usable these days? The last time I played with it (years ago) it didn't work very well. --Trovatore (talk) 04:11, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Quite, though it's always dependent on what exactly you want to use. See [1]. There's also the derivative CrossOver and Cedega which have better compatibility with certain apps. -- Consumed Crustacean (talk) 04:23, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
What about Microsoft Visual Studio? That's the only MS product that I really especially like. I develop software under Linux and have never been able to find an IDE that works a tenth as well. --Trovatore (talk) 07:16, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
[2], not so hot apparently. -- Consumed Crustacean (talk) 07:22, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
What power and flexibility are you talking about? I can't think of anything that would make a compromised Linux box more useful to an attacker than a compromised NT box. -- BenRG (talk) 19:31, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Well, I was repeating something I'd heard, more or less. But it stands to reason to me. If you were writing code for a zombie machine, which platform would you rather develop it for? --Trovatore (talk) 19:45, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
I suspect the main reason Microsoft doesn't is because Scott Adams has probably already used the idea in Dilbert so it wouldn't be fresh; or, if he hasn't, he soon will after a reder tells him. :-)
Corporate greed and dishonesty is a sad part of human nature, but the idea of using a virus like that sounds a bit too outlandish, too over the top; more the stuff of office humor like Adams writes. (Though I'll admit some people have said Dilbert reminds them a lot of their workplace.)Somebody or his brother (talk) 14:22, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
It's over the top but it isn't necessarily a bad idea. One of the mantras about Macs is that they don't get viruses. If there was a highly publicized (however erroneous or misleading) story about Mac viruses going around (or grinding Apple headquarters to a stop or something) it could conceivably become a response to that mantra, and have some effect on the market share. (I use a Mac, incidentally.) My father, for example, who is not very tech savvy, cited the lack of malware (though he phrased it differently) as one of the reasons he decided to make his second laptop a Mac rather than a PC. If he got it into his head that this was not a real difference it could conceivably affect his choice of his third laptop, whenever that might be. Of course, if Microsoft did fund/encourage something like that, and got found out about it, it would probably lead to another anti-trust suit at the very least. -- (talk) 14:31, 16 October 2008 (UTC)