Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2008 September 23

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September 23[edit]

McCowan Subway Station[edit]

Why is there a McCowan and Scarborough centre station if they are 600 metres apart, there is an elevator at the Scarborough Centre Station, the 4 bus routes that stop at McCowan also stop at Scarborough and there are 9 more stations there and a bus terminal? Also there is connection to Go transit and a mall from Scarborough. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:47, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Well, crossing the road either way is kind of a pain in the ass, so maybe it was useful to have another stop after the mall (although according to McCowan (TTC) it is one of the least busiest stops). Maybe the RT was supposed to go farther, it's not unheard of to have stops that close elsewhere, like downtown; maybe they expected Scarborough to grow faster. Maybe McCowan was supposed to be the spot where the trains turn around, not a station, but they put one there anyway. Adam Bishop (talk) 03:10, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Bush's SAT Scores[edit]

What did President George W. Bush score on his SAT I and II's? Acceptable (talk) 01:19, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Bush is about 30 years to old to have taken those tests. Rmhermen (talk) 01:25, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Say what? Bush would have been at the age to take the tests in around 1963 or 1964; the tests certainly existed then. Of course they were called something slightly different (probably Scholastic Aptitude Test and Achievement Tests). --Trovatore (talk) 01:33, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
The SAT I and II were created in 1994 according to the article. They are not scored the same or cover the same subject matter as the old tests. Rmhermen (talk) 01:39, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
That's an absurdly pedantic approach to take to the question. The SAT I and II are the direct successors to the Scholastic Aptitude Test and the Achievement Tests. --Trovatore (talk) 01:45, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Hey, if it's not pedantic non-answers, it's not the Ref Desk! -- (talk) 02:11, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
566 verbal and 640 math. And here is his transcript from Yale. Plasticup T/C 03:06, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Is it rational to hypothesize that being the son of the President certainly aided in his entry into both Yale and Harvard Business School? Acceptable (talk) 03:09, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

As his father was not President at the time of his admission to either of those institutions, no. Plasticup T/C 03:13, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
It is worth mentioning that in 1964 Yale wasn't requiring (or paying any heed to) SATs. Jews were doing well on standardized tests and the entrenched antisemitic establishment was rejecting the tests as a way to keep them out. Interesting, Jews are now one of the most over-represented minorities in current Ivy League faculties. Some prejudices dissolve away so fast, yet others persist for centuries. Plasticup T/C 03:38, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
It is rational to hypothesize that his being a legacy student helped (legacy preferences are often an "affirmative action" for the rich and white). And his father being politically connected (and rich) couldn't have hurt. -- (talk) 13:24, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Interesting fact. At Yale (and presumably other Ivy League schools) legacy students have higher test scores than non-legacy students. Make of that what you will. Plasticup T/C 16:12, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

His chances of admission may have been helped by his Granddad, Prescott Bush and his great uncle being on the Yale Board of Trustees [1]. Average SAT scores should be more than enough for such an applicant to get admitted. In those days the SAT had a nominal or desired average of 500 and a standard deviation of 100. You could work out approximate percentiles from that, assuming the supposed transcript is legitimate. A 566 verbal would be a Z score of .66 for approximate 75th percentile. A 640 math would be a 1.4 Z score for approximate 92nd percentile. [2] gives an actual 1964 SAT verbal average of 467 and a math sat average of 486. [3] says the "median standard deviation," whatever that is, for unspecified SAT test in 1964 was 140. These figures would give a verbal Z score of .71 for a verbal percentile of approximately 72 and a math Z score of 1.1 for an approximate math percentile of 86. For a "non-legacy" student applying to a highly selective school which considered SAT scores in 1964, these scores would have been a detriment in gaining admission. Yale may have considered other factors than scholastic merit. Edison (talk) 23:07, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Admission rates have steadily fallen through this decade, but I cannot find any data on historically admission rates. There were a lot fewer people going to college in 1964, so perhaps the Yale class was less competitive than it is today. Plasticup T/C 00:46, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

Subsequent question on Bush's SAT[edit]

Given that i've heard the 'because of his daddy' thing about a milion times from people and considering the above responses here's my Q: Was Bush's SAT (or whatever) scores notably worse than his fellow students at Yale joining that year? What % of students entering Yale that year had scores around his level? What % of all students entering the university system had scores at his level? I would note - I don't understand the idea that Bush is unintelligent. His academic skills may (if the evidence mounts up) be lacking, but it seems evident that he is at least socially-intelligent. (talk) 13:47, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Out of a country of 300 million people wouldn't it be possible to find a person who was both socially intelligent and actually intelligent? —Preceding unsigned comment added by DJ Clayworth (talkcontribs)
This shows current ranges for the middle 50% of Yalies. Of course the test has changed, but the scores are (I assume) normalized. With that in mind, Dubya seems to be, as Bob Uecker used to say, "Just a bit outside". Clarityfiend (talk) 17:43, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
The scores were recentered in 1995, so you can't directly compare scores from the two eras. -- Coneslayer (talk) 17:56, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Percentile scores would be a better basis for comparison. The unverified above average but not stellar scores reported above and the mediocre high school class rank would not get an ordinary applicant beyond the slushpile of automatic rejections at a selective college today or in 1964. There appears to be a book "The Chosen: The Hidden History of Admission and Exclusion at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton," by Jerome Karabel. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2005. 711 pp. ISBN 0618574581 reviewed in the Journal of Higher Education [4] which discusses G.W. Bush's admission to Yale on pages 344-345. Perhaps someone can find a copy. Edison (talk) 23:10, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
The relevant pages can be viewed at Google Book Search [5]. P344: Bush got 566 on SAT verbal, which would put him in the bottom 10% of the Yale freshman class. He never made honor role in high school and was a "mediocre student" with no "outstanding extracurricular talents." Policy at Yale then was to also consider the father's "whole record of service both to Yale and to American society." Bush's father and grandfather had been members of Skull and Bones at Yale and his grandfather was a school trustee. Edison (talk) 23:23, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Taming budgerigars/parakeets[edit]

I have 7 baby budgerigars (yeah, that's what happens when you have a boy and a girl) and I was wondering what the easiest way to tame them was. They're pretty afraid of me and when I try to take them out of the cage they fly around. I don't want to traumatize them being to forceful trying to take them out, and I want them to be able to trust me enough to not fly away. Do you have any advice for me? --Sapphire Flame (talk) 12:33, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

This site seems okay. Hope it helps! Utan Vax (talk) 13:01, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

BA planes that fly from Heathrow to Munich[edit]

Can anyone tell me the make/type of short haul plane that flies from Heathrow to Munich for BA? If it helps, the flight numbers are usually around BA0948 to BA0956. I've tried looking at the fleet on the BA website, but to no avail. Any help much appreciated, thank you in advance. Utan Vax (talk) 12:57, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Go the BA website, and start booking flights from Heathrow to Munich. After picking your dates, it will list all of the flights on each day. Click on the flight number (e.g. "BA0950") and you'll get a pop-up window that includes the equipment type. It looks to me like Airbus A319/A320 are typical. -- Coneslayer (talk) 13:03, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
That's great! Thanks very much. Utan Vax (talk) 14:58, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Indian book[edit]

Dear Wikipedians,

i'm still searching for a book, which is mentioned in this online article: 125 years later Indian circus struggles to survive, The Hindu (2004): Pravin Walimbe: The World of Circus. Well i've searched in all online catalogues I know (WorldCat and so on) and with search engines but I couldn't found anything. I've written to The Hindu but no answer. Maybe it's on hindi? I've found alternative spellings (Praveen Valimbe or Pravin Valimbe). Any indian librarian here ;) ? I want to know the publisher, the publishing year and maybe (if it’s given) an ISBN. Or maybe somebody can find a contact adress of the author. Thanks in advance for your help! -- (talk) 13:46, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

This blog mentions "two books on Circus World (by Mr Praveen P. Walimbe)" and it says he contacted Rambo Circus (whose website seems dead) to obtain a copy. So you could either email the bog or Rambo Circus itself for details. meltBanana 19:36, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Democracy and Republic[edit]

I don't see much difference between these democracy and republic political philosophies. Is it really possible to directly relate, election campaigns, or the way candidates are going to solve national issues (like outsourcing, energy, global warming, etc.) to these philosophies? --V4vijayakumar (talk) 13:48, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Do you mean US Democratic Party and US Republican party and their political philosophies? I don't know about the US but in the Uk major political parties produce an Election Manifesto that outlines their policies and ideas for how to deal with the major issues/running of the country. I suspect the same will be true in the US. The parties will be looking to offer policies that are popular with their core voters and also popular with swing-voters. They will also use their own political compass/ideological beliefs in how they decide what policies to promote, and the 'inner workings' of them. Traditionally parties are aligned on the political 'wings' (usually defined on the left wing or right wing). Of course parties change and there is much movement around by parties historically as the public and media influence what policies are 'important' and thus (to a degree) that dictates how the parties line-up. E.g. in the UK nowadays most major parties seek to be 'low tax' - because that is what is favoured by much of the public. Previously this was not always favoured and the Uk was more 'socialist' in its taxation policy. (talk) 15:31, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
At the bottom of the two parties' articles linked above, you will find links to their "2008 National Platforms". These, I think, are analogous to the "Election Manifesto" mentioned above. The describe each party's philosophy and policy goals. -- Coneslayer (talk) 17:49, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
Many political commentators (such as Fareed Zakaria) argue that the party system in the US is long dead. Running as a candidate on a party platform is really more of a mechanism to get quick access to a support base. It used to be that republican and democrat referred to decentralized and centralized philosophies of government, respecitvely, but today they relate more to conservative and liberal, respectively. This is why liberal republicans (see Republican In Name Only) and conservative democrats (such as Joe Leiberman) are often regarded as wolves in sheep's clothing. --Shaggorama (talk) 06:51, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

how to place an ad?[edit]

<This question has been removed since it was an advertisement and I the poster should not receive any sort of PR however small from this question> Gunrun (talk) 17:22, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

This is the reference desk of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. It is not a paper of any sort, and it won't advertise your book for you. Algebraist 17:08, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Oil Depletion tax allowance.[edit]

Back in the 70s, as reported in Phillip Stern's book, "The Rape of the American Taxpayer," oil drilling companies could automatically write-off 22% of the monies they made BEFORE paying taxes. Does an oil depletion tax allowance continue to exist and if so, what is the current write-off? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:36, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't know who Phillip Stern is, but that is obviously a gross over-simplification. Besides, you can't write off a profit and you don't pay taxes on a loss, so the idea of writing something off before paying taxes on it is... well... absurd. Plasticup T/C 21:30, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
I won't get into more detail but this ( seems to be a good forum discussion on the matter. In particular there is an example that could be of interest:
  • Bryce gives an example in his book how the oil depreciation allowance works. "An oilman drills a well that costs $100,000. He finds a reservoir containing $10,000,000 worth of oil. The well produces $1 million worth of oil per year for ten years. In the very first year, thanks to the depletion allowance, the oilman could deduct 27.5 per cent, or $275,000, of that $1 million in income from his taxable income. Thus, in just one year, he's deducted nearly three times his initial investment. But the depletion allowance continues to pay off. For each of the next nine years, he gets to continue taking the $275,000 depletion deduction. By the end of the tenth year, the oilman has deducted $2.75 million from his taxable income, even though his initial investment was only $100,000." ny156uk (talk) 22:01, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

The oil depletion is not the only "depletion allowance" ever used in the US income tax system. I know someone who bought a farm. He immediately sold the marketable timber for, about $10,000, but did not have to pay taxes on 10000 in income from the sale because he argued that the value of the farm had decreased by the amount of the sale. The growth of the timber each year would be the "crop" he is harvesting. If you sell the minerals (or oil) under the ground, it is not all profit, because the value of it was figured into the purchase price, and the land is worth that much less afterwards. With minerals there is exploration cost and many dry wells. This notion may have been stretched to the advantage of those in the "oil bidness" in the writing of the tax codes. Edison (talk) 23:40, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

source code for the c program[edit]

• Search for c source code for the function will accept character as a parameter, returns 1 if an alphabet is an char, 2 if alphabet is number and 3 if it is special symbol and in main accep character till user enter EOF and use the function to count total no of alpha,digits,and special symbol —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:51, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

You'd have better luck with this question on the Computers Ref Desk. Dismas|(talk) 21:13, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
I doubt it. --Sean 21:20, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
main () { printf ("Do your own homework."); } Clarityfiend (talk) 00:47, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
To be unbelievably generous to someone who is clearly trying to get others to do their work, go and look at the built-in functions that test character types in C. DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:12, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Or look at an ASCII table, this is about a 15-20 line program, if you can't figure this one out you are going to have a great deal of difficulty later, this is basicly a while loop, a scanf and an if/else if/else or two, and that's way more help than you should get. -- Mad031683 (talk) 16:21, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
ASCII? The OP's system could use EBCDIC for all we know. That's one of the reasons that the functions DJ mentioned exist. -- Coneslayer (talk) 17:10, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
True, I oversimplified based on the fact that when I was given this kind of assignment they intended us to check ASCII values, so that's my default assumption. -- Mad031683 (talk) 19:56, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Ignore Mad031683's advice to use 'scanf'. 'getchar' or 'getc' would be a vastly better choice. You'll also want to take a look at the functions that start with "is" in the C standard header file: ctype.h (eg 'isdigit(c)' returns a non-zero result if 'c' is a digit, zero if it is not. But I strongly agree that you should try to do this yourself. You'll never be a good programmer if you don't try to do these things yourself. Trust me - I've been a programmer for close to 40 years now. SteveBaker (talk) 22:52, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

U.S. Automobile Statistics[edit]

How many privately-owned automobiles (i.e., no taxis) were registered in the U.S. in 1940? How many privately-owned automobiles were registered in the U.S. in 1950? How many privately-owned automobiles were registered in the U.S. in 2008? NeedToKnowInAlbuquerque (talk) 21:07, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

The best I could find is this ( but it only does 1980-2005 so doesn't cover any of your things. Still I thought it might prove useful as a starting point for search terms in google (also might be a good place to look for stats like this). Good luck ny156uk (talk) 22:22, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

U.S. Tramway/Light Rail Statistics[edit]

How many miles of commuter/light rail (subway, tramway, streetcar, elevated train, commuter rail) lines existed in the U.S. in 1930? How many miles of commuter/light rail lines existed in the U.S. in 1960? How many miles of commuter/light rail lines existed in the U.S. in 1990? NeedToKnowInAlbuquerque (talk) 21:11, 23 September 2008 (UTC)


Why was being a librarian back in his time a title of more respect than it is now? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Because historically libraries were extremely important places. Books were expensive and rare, a commodity only the richest could afford. Nowadays every homeless person in the world seems to be reading something and charity shops sell books for less than it costs to buy a chocolate bar. As a result the 'social standing' of a librarian has also changed. A library is now no longer the sole source of information for the public/people. There is the internet, tv, cheap books. Not to devaluing being a librarian - I was one myself for a few years and enjoyed it myself. ny156uk (talk) 22:43, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
And keep in mind that literacy was a mark of education which itself was a mark of some wealth for quite a long time. That started to change in the late 19th century but it didn't become totally passé until the 20th. -- (talk) 22:49, 23 September 2008 (UTC)
That's interesting. Are librarians still somewhat revered in countries with high rates of illiteracy? Plasticup T/C 00:37, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I would suppose the opposite: that librarians are much more respected in countries with high literacy rates, because higher literacy means more people are actually interested in being guided through the vast libraries, that might only rarely be found in countries with lower literacy rates. IMHO. --Ouro (blah blah) 09:00, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
I meant in the sense that they would be revered as keepers of information, as suggested they used to be. Plasticup T/C 15:44, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

He was a lot more than "just" a librarian - he was a mathematician too. For example, his "sieve" is still one of the most used algorithms for generating large quantities of prime numbers. But I agree - being both literate and well-read, he would have received a lot of respect just for the knowledge packed into his head. SteveBaker (talk) 22:45, 24 September 2008 (UTC)

$700 billion mortgage bailout[edit]

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has requested that $700 billion be used to buy "illiquid" mortgage backed securities of uncertain worth from investment banks. Until May 2006, Paulson was head of Goldman Sachs, one of the main beneficiaries of the bailout. Paulson's net worth is about $700 million, per the bio article in Wikipedia. Is any of it in Goldman Sachs stock? Edison (talk) 22:34, 23 September 2008 (UTC)

Here's his most recent financial disclosure form: [6]. "Goldman Sachs" appears not infrequently. --Sean 00:13, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Goldman Sachs doesn't own any of these securities. They will not be getting any of that $700bn. They benefit from this in the same way that you and I benefit: by the financial system recovering and general liquidity being restored. Plasticup T/C 00:36, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
If they don't own them, why are they desperate to sell them? The Miami Herald [7] says Goldman Sachs' trading division included the mortgage bonds. The New York Times [8] said the plan calls for the government to "buy bad mortgages and other rotten assets held by troubled banks and other financial institutions" so as to "improve their balance sheets." The Globe and Mail says [9] "Fears that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley might collapse was one of the key triggers for the U.S. government's decision to buy up bad loans." says [10] "Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley may be among the biggest beneficiaries of the $700 billion U.S. plan to buy assets from financial companies.."MarketOracle says [11] "Banks are unhappy with the size of their bailout (of which they deserve zero), simply because Goldman and Morgan are getting a bigger bailout (of which they equally deserve zero)." [12] So does Goldman need no such help? Has their CEO rejected any share of the $700 billion proposed bailout? Edison (talk) 06:11, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Like I said, they need the bailout in the same way that you and I need it. Goldman Sachs did not own lots of mortgage back securities. In fact, when the crisis hit they had a net short position on them. In those first couple months when everyone else was going down in flames, Goldman made a fortune. But their problem now is more subtle. Even though they played their cards well, the rest of the banking system is collapsing around them. No bank can exist in a vacuum. They need other functioning institutions around them to provide a marketplace. They need everyone else to have liquidity. So they are 100% behind this bailout not because they will get their hands on some of that $700bn, but because when that money stops the Great Depression Part II it will save you, me, and them as well. Plasticup T/C 15:24, 24 September 2008 (UTC)
Just seen the news. The $700 Billion Bailout has failed in the House in Congress, and the NYSE took a header into the proverbial toilet at a (last seen) -700 points. Powerzilla (talk) 20:17, 29 September 2008 (UTC)