Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2008 September 29

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September 29[edit]

unknown flowering vine[edit]

I have a vine that I bought a while ago, well actually they were beans. They were about an inch long and pink. I planted the "beans' this year and it grew into a vine with leaves about the size of a dogwood tree leaf, then they started blooming. The flowers have no smell and they look like wild sweet pea flowers but they are bigger.It is not a wild sweet pea. But no one knows anything about it and no one has found it in any kind of book or on the net. Can anyone tell me anything I`d greatly appreciate it. I`m dumbfuzzeled about it. They are really pretty. The color of the flower islight purple. or lilac colored Thank you Brenda —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:58, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

It would help a lot if you could put up a picture of the flowers and the leaves. --Lgriot (talk) 02:13, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

How do I survive in prison?[edit]

Let's just say that I've done things that I'm.....ashamed of. Im not sure if they're gonna segregate me or not. Regardless, the guards wont be too happy with me. Im lookin at 5-20. Help.I'm Scared (talk) 02:14, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Go to WikiHow, input "prison". Most of what I've seen is that you keep to yourself, you do NOT get into ANY debts at all, you show NO emotions at all, do NOT do anything that will show as being "weak", such as crying, and you do NOT become what is called a "Prison Bitch". What that means is that you mind your own business, you don't indebt yourself to anyone, and I mean anyone at all. Hide all emotional weaknesses, since your emotions will betray you. A "Prison Bitch" is someone who is raped while he/she is in prison by another inmate, a guard. You see/witness something going on, you do not tell the guards, anyone at all about it. Walk off and if questioned, say that you have not seen anything at all, and you'll be telling the truth. Keep your mouth SHUT. If I seem harsh, I do apologise. I have, while dealing with paranormal matters, had to deal with law enforcement. (Example:"Police Officer sees UFO", and the cops discuss criminal cases as well, while I deal with the cop who allegedly saw a UFO.)You'll also have to watch out for gangs of all kinds and inmates who will mess you up by making things up that could get you sent to "the Hole". More can be found online. One other thing, another inmate who offers to "show you the ropes" may trick you into becomming his/her "bitch", and may even sell you out to be raped over and over for a pack of smokes, drugs, other favors. One good tip: Get a Bible and get really religious, pending what your situation is while in prison. WikiHow says that other inmates respect those who are religious, and religion will help turn your life around. Also follow all rules in prison, i.e. become a well behaved prisoner, so that you will get out sooner on parole, and don't (polite)foul up your parole either. If your crime is a felony, you will NOT be allowed any:
  • Weapons of any type
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Drugs (The illegal kind.)

and you will not be allowed to vote either. There are other restrictions as well. Observe them.

IF you are a child molester, a sex offender, you will have to be segregated from "the general population" and when you get out, you'll have to register AS a sex offender in each and every state, town, etc. Be advised that certain occupations/ jobs will also be barred to you as well, such as banking.

Have you been convicted yet? Powerzilla (talk) 03:46, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

One other thing, do NOT do ANY drugs while in prison either. Not only will the drugs be the problem, they can also cause other problems. and you don't need them, those other problems as well. Messing with dope there will also get you raped, even killed in prison. Powerzilla (talk) 03:50, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
The reason I said that IF you are a sex offender, you will need to stay out of the "general population" is that the convicts have a set of rules all their own, and , usually, cop killers, convicted terrorists (Eco-terrorists and other terrorists), sex offenders, child molesters are at the bottom of the totem pole and subject to abuse by the other convicts and even by staff, which includes the guards. Also watch some "prison movies" such as Brubaker, Papillon and some prison documentaries, such as those featured on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, such as The Big House. Also, on here, you may read about really famous prisons on Wikipedia, which got that way by being really famous "hell holes", especially Attica, Angola, "Sing-Sing" prison, Folsom Prison. Also, as earlier stated, watch out for the Prison gangs as well. These are set up based on race. You do not want any part of that at all if you can help it. Also, when you are using the phone in prison, make sure no one sees you dialing your friends, family, your lawyer on the phone. Some prisoners love to hassle other people, and you thought telemarketers are bad. Also watch what you say in prison, on the phone or not, the place is Bugged, so that the staff can fight crimes that take place in prison by monitoring ex-crime bosses, that sort of thing. Powerzilla (talk) 17:31, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't believe everything you see in movies - they are intended to be entertaining, not informative. --Tango (talk) 17:59, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
The intent of a prison movie in this context is to show the audience what prison looks like and to deter people from committing crimes. Powerzilla (talk) 19:25, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
You should see the HBO series Oz. It depicts life in what looks like a Supermax prison. That is the place in which the most dangerous of convicts are found, such as Noriega , former dictator and drug boss of Panama and the Unabomber, and that is where Tony Alamo may be heading as well. Powerzilla (talk) 19:30, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Keep in mind: almost all of the previous advice relates to U.S. prisons. Other countries' penal systems are better or worse depending on where you're talking about but much of the advice here wouldn't apply. —D. Monack talk 02:20, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

Oh yeah?! How much? As stated, I had to deal with law enforcement. Powerzilla (talk) 05:49, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I don't want to disparage Powerzilla but I think "I have, while dealing with paranormal matters, had to deal with law enforcement" is not exactly the best testimony for reliability. That and all of his knowledge of prison activities seems to be based primarily on movies. I'm not claiming to know too much to the contrary other than I think the advice from Office Space that you have to beat someone up on the first day is probably an exaggeration.
Instead, you might be interested to know that there are a number of prisoner and prisoner-family web forums out there (like that can give you advice from people who have actually been in prison for non-paranormal-related reasons. Needless to say, it isn't terribly positive news, but better to get it from them than from us. -- (talk) 03:14, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
I suppose Powerzilla meant 'paralegal reasons', he was working as a paralegal. Anyway, within the US there are many types of prisons - boot camps, high-security, low-security and many levels of risk, depending on the state, on how the prison is managed and the types of criminals you find there. (talk) 16:53, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm, I always wondered, are prisoners allowed to edit Wikipedia? GO-PCHS-NJROTC (Messages) 02:29, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
Haha. Powerzilla, "dealing with police" doesn't teach you what prison will be like at all. They aren't in and treat those they send there with a lot of contempt. You might get a sense of what it looks like from the guy on the other side of the bars. However at least half of what you said is dead on. Don't back down. Ever. Don't put yourself in a situation where you'll have to. Keep your mouth shut. Always give your dessert to the biggest guy in your unit but never offer it up unsolicited. It's better to get your ass kicked once than have it ****ed a dozen times. Good luck, and don't be ashamed. You made the choices, deal with it. and if you have hope you will survive to live on the outs again.

Derren Brown Question[edit]

I've recently become fascinated by Derren Brown and have watched a lot of videos about him on YouTube. I usually can tell, to some extent, how he does his-for the lack of a better word-tricks, but there's one video in particular that leaves me puzzled; this one: Does anybody know how that one is done? Tuesday42 (talk) 02:15, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Answer: Derren & assistants using subvocalization microphones & directional ultrasound speakers (sound from ultrasound).
When someone says something in their head their mouth will move slightly as if mouthing the words, with a lot of practise you can recognise enough letters to work it out. (At least, that's how I believe it's done, I certainly can't do it myself!) --Tango (talk) 14:34, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I can't remember whether this particular trick is addressed in Brown's book Tricks of the Mind without going back and rereading it, but it certainly has a chapter on "Unconscious Communication", discussing how we give nonverbal or subvocal clues that can be read by an experienced person. It's a fascinating (and rather spooky) read. Karenjc 19:28, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
There are a million ways to do this - firstly, you could just guess. One time in a hundred maybe you'd get it right - so you erase the other 99 videos and put this one on YouTube. Next, you could simply offer the girls $1,000 each to tell you in advance. Third, you could just hire people to say what you want them to. Fourth you could find a friend who knows them. Magicians are NOT required to play fair! SteveBaker (talk) 19:43, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
It is well worth reading this ( for starters. Derren is first and foremost a magician. He lies and tells half-truths to create a show that is extremely entertaining but - like all magic - would be dull as dishwater if you knew just how mundane the actual 'magic' part is. is also useful. I agree with the article in that what Derren does is damaging because most people accept that magic is trickery and a con, but people believe he is doing something more because of the scientific basis of psychological study he claims to be utilising. ny156uk (talk) 18:38, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Real ID Act: Status?[edit]

What is it and has it been made into law yet? Been hearing rumors about it, none any good. Powerzilla (talk) 03:15, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Did you see REAL ID Act? Plasticup T/C 03:58, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Why is yellow the most intense color?[edit]

The color yellow is the easiest to see, enhances concentration, and even makes people angry(?!), according to [this]. What is inherent in this slice of the electromagnetic spectrum that has such striking effects on our nervous systems?Sunburned Baby (talk) 03:21, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

My speculation is because that's the most intense color coming from the sun. The sun's peak radiation in the visible range is between 500-600 nm wavelength. See this picture: [1]. This falls in the green-yellow color range (see the diagram and accompanying chart in Visible spectrum article), which is probably why that chartrusy green-yellow color seems so bright in the sunlight, it is reflecting most efficiently the sun's brightest radiation. Likewise, and probably related, is that our eye's particular biochemistry is "tuned" to this color range (it is most sensitive to it) since THAT is the color that is strongest in sunlight. 03:31, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

The easiest to see part I guessed the sun also. Even the concentration part (daytime you're awake). But, anger? Who ever said "Ah crap, here comes the goddamn sun again!"?... Well, maybe someone with a hangover.--Sunburned Baby (talk) 03:37, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Just because? Some people like that answer. I always thought that red was the most striking color, the evolutionary reason being that it is the color of blood. Plasticup T/C 04:00, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Yould think it should be green wouldnt you? [2]--GreenSpigot (talk) 14:37, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
That is just the physical sensitivity though. There is a psychological response too. Plasticup T/C 15:33, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
We have three color sensors in our eyes, red, green and blue. Of these, the green sensor is by far the most sensitive, followed by red - with blue being kinda pathetic. The brightest color of all is white because it stimulates all three sensors. Second is yellow because it stimulates the two most sensitive sensors (red & green), followed by cyan (green and blue), then green (green alone), then magenta (red and blue), red (red alone) and finally blue - which is the darkest color other than black (which stimulates no sensors at all). Obviously, this is an oversimplification - but it gets the ordering of brightnesses right. SteveBaker (talk) 18:17, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I'm interested :-)[edit]

Back in 2007 I asked saw someone asking about the legality and requirements and possibility of registering a business name etc.

I didn't really take much of it in [and I don't think he did either] because it [sounded like it] was a bit of a half-hearted idea. Now, I'm back also interested in to it. So can somebody please clarify for me: I can register the business and get an ABN under age, but to actually run the company, I'm gonna need someone over age? This is hypothetical of course, and I am not asking for specific legal advice, just information on what the regulations are. Deon555 (talk) 04:48, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

We can't give legal advice. --Random832 (contribs) 04:56, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Wow you're helpful! I didn't ask for legal advice. I've rephrased the question to suit people like you. Deon555 (talk) 05:41, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Maybe you should ask people like those who answer the phone at 1300 55 81 81. That's going by the thread you've listed above, and links therein. Franamax (talk) 06:48, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
And in case that seems like another unhelpful answer, it's actually intended to be helpful. When you find a government page listing a direct contact phone number - call it and ask your questions. It may seem easier to post to Internet forums, but sooner or later you will have to find out for sure. You might also want to talk to a bank, 'cause you'll need an account. Again, use the phone book and ask someone who can give you a specific answer. Franamax (talk) 06:54, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
You may want to bear in mind that in many cases, simply registering a business name is not going to be enough to allow you to access something restricted to businesses. And it'll be even worse with your age. For example, if you're thinking of dealing with a supplier, bear in mind many suppliers have minimum purchase requirements. And in many countries including I suspect Australia, companies are probably entitled to reject you out of hand if they don't feel you are a serious business or worth their time even if they don't explicitly specify what conditions you have to meet (provided they aren't discriminating against you illegally of course). In any case, anything which requires a business is likely to also need you (or the director) to sign a contract, which you can't do since your underage. Also bear in mind that different laws will govern anything done under the business (whatever the Australian equivalent of the consumer guarantees act may not cover any goods or services that are delivered or sold to a business) and there will likely be a whole bunch of legal requirements (like tax) to deal with. All in all, I think you'll find opening up a business isn't as simply as it may sound and is probably not worth it unless you want to do something rather significant with the business Nil Einne (talk) 11:53, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I can't track any down, but I have read about school-age Australian entrepreneurs who've become astoundingly rich. It probably happens more than most people are ever aware of, because it might tend to be based on "invisible" services such as software design etc. But as for the legalities and technicalities, it'd really be best to consult a business adviser. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:36, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Like many areas, it seems that Victoria has the usual network of free/low-cost advice centres for small business: [3]. That might be a good start. Franamax (talk) 22:13, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Also note that per Victorian Consolidated Legislation, Business Names Act 1962, s. 7 (Registration of business names) (2): "If any applicant is a minor he shall be so described in the application."[4] Franamax (talk) 23:39, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Stamps with odd denominations[edit]

Whilst sorting through my stamp collection,I noticed some US stamps with rather odd denominations- 6.3c or 7.2c. How practically can you have a stamp for .3 of a cent when the cent is the smallest coin available and what would be the point of having stamps for such an unusual amount? Lemon martini (talk) 10:02, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't know the answer but I've always found it rather odd that the US has stamps worth 41 cents. Most countries don't bother with such small difference. You might have a 40 cent stamp or perhaps a 45 or 5 cent stamp but 1 cent, not so much, at least in everyday use. Some US states did have coins for under 1 cent according to Mill (currency) but the obvious other possibility is that when you buy them in bulk e.g. lots of 10 you pay 63 cents or 72 cents. Or that you only pay 6 cents or 7 cents for one depending on the rounding policies of the post shop Nil Einne (talk) 11:41, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
You are probably thinking of the Transportation coils and the unusual prices are because of special postage rates/discounts for bulk mailers. Also lots of countries have a large collection of definitive stamps of strange values see for instance list of Machin stamps for the British set, although few have the strange fractional values of this US set. meltBanana 12:12, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
The reason the US has 41 cent stamps (no longer - now there are 42 cent stamps of course) is because mailing a letter under one ounce first class cost exactly 41 cents between May 2007 and May 2008. Does your country not have stamps for the exact price of common rates? --Random832 (contribs) 13:30, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
As far as I know, many countries set their definitive rates using a simpler system. Why 41/42 cents? Just set it at something simpler like 40 cents or 45 cents Nil Einne (talk) 16:29, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
For an example of what I'm talking about, take a look at the definative series of NZ [5] or Malaysia [6] [7], Switzerland [8], [9], Australia [10] [11] [12] [13] [14], Germany [15]. Even Australia which seems to have a lot of values doesn't get as complicated as the US 1/2 cent or 41/42 cent systems. The only ones I came across that seem to come close are France [16] and perhaps the UK which you mentioned (although IIRC whenever I've received mail from the UK it doesn't tend to have such complicated values, perhaps the 1 p stamps are there for historic reasons rather then serving any real purpose in everyday life?). I mean if it were 11 cents perhaps I would understand but when it reaches the level of 41 cents, it's starting to make things unnecessarily complicated IMHO. Even Hong Kong [17] ([18]) while given the low value of the HK dollar the 10 cent stamp (the smallest) may seem a rather tiny value) they don't seem to be as complicated as the US and given the very low price of postage in HK I would say them having a 10 cent stamp isn't as strange as the US 1/2 cent or 41/42 cent system. Nil Einne (talk) 17:05, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
As to the question of why have a 41¢ postage rate, the answer is a preference that, as inflation raises the rate, there should be relatively frequent smaller increases rather than less frequent increases from one round number to the next. Beside, most things sold in North America are not priced in round numbers, both because of psychological pricing and because most things have sales tax added to the quoted price and most merchants don't set their prices so that the result of this will be a round number. (Let's not debate why these things are true; but they are.) So there's no pressure for stamp prices to be round numbers when nothing else is anyway. --Anonymous, 17:20 UTC, September 29, 2008.
The alternative (which I have also started seeing in the US) is to label stamps with what they do - not what they cost. Hence a 1st class letter stamp in the UK has "1st class" written on it without a price. You buy those stamps for whatever the postage rate is - and the stamp is still good even if the price goes up. It would make sense to do that with parcel postage stamps. eg have a 10ounce stamp instead of a 90 cent stamp (or whatever it is)...but I don't know of countries that have gone that far. In times of rapidly increasing prices, saving the cost of redesigning and recirculating new stamps whenever the postal rates go up ought to be well worth the effort.SteveBaker (talk) 18:12, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
That sounds like a good idea in theory, but there's also the pressure on the philatelic authorities for all sorts of commemorative stamps these days, and they have to schedule such releases well in advance, and cannot possibly accommodate all the suggestions, requests etc that they receive. This is a matter of great interest to a lot of people, as evidenced by many of our biographical articles having such sentences as "José Antonio Gonzalez was the first Paraguayan xylophone player to be commemorated on a postage stamp". -- JackofOz (talk) 21:27, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I think the fractional denominations are for a specific type of bulk mail, where no one ever buys a single stamp. —Tamfang (talk) 05:59, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Most stamps are probably not purchased as single stamps, but as sets of stamps, e.g. in a roll of 100 stamps. So in all likelihood a postal customer would never have purchased a single 6.3c stamp, but rather purchased a roll of them for $6.30, or perhaps a package of ten for $0.63. If a customer needed to purchase a single stamp by itself, they would either have paid 7c for the privilege (even today, the post office is fine with you overpaying), or added 6.3c to their tab, for payment later when the fractional cents add up to an integer. Modern bulk-rate fractional cent rates are usually metered rather than stamped, so the fractional cents are simply deducted from your credit - you may be left with an odd 0.7c in the machine, but you'll simply apply that toward your next mailing. -- (talk) 23:44, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Avoiding sales taxes in Europe[edit]

Considering that Europe is the home of so many low-cost airlines, where can you fly to buy a tax free laptop? Gibraltar? Melilla? Dubai? Tanger?Mr.K. (talk) 11:44, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Do you not have to declare your purchase and pay the relevant tax on your return?--Artjo (talk) 11:47, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes you almost definitely will. There may be some duty free allowance, but it's unlikely to be enough to cover a laptop and you will likely have to be away for a certain period before you're even given an allowance Nil Einne (talk) 11:58, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
The duty-free allowance is 180 euro (145 GBP) for "miscellaneous gifts". That's not going to be a very good laptop. Anyway, the cheapest non-EU destinations to fly to are probably Croatia and Turkey. Fribbler (talk) 12:02, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, but Gibraltar and Melilla are tax-free aren't them? And no, I don't have to declare a used laptop. I am not planning to bring it over in the box.Mr.K. (talk) 12:18, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
You may have a conundrum. Keep the documentation and you have a warranty but also the possibility of being caught (which could cost a lot more than the tax). Dispose of the documentation and you will probably be safe but have no warranty! -- Q Chris (talk) 12:22, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Yup, no VAT there. But that doesn't mean things are cheaper. The savings are generally absorbed by the shops. You don't pay VAT on privately traded second hand items anyway, so why add a costly trip into it? Fribbler (talk) 12:28, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I won't buy a used laptop. If I buy a new one and use it before I come back, I am coming back with a used one, right? The documentation can be send by mail. You all just want to spoil my fun. It would cost me only 50 pound to Gibraltar and back. Mr.K. (talk) 12:34, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Seems like a lot of hassle that will more than likely save you nothing or cost you. To quote from this travel tips thread : So, if you go to Gibraltar expecting to get a bargain and if what your buying isn't Tobacco or Spirits, you will probably discover that you are not getting a bargain at all. Fribbler (talk) 12:37, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Indeed, if you're going to somewhere like the US or Hong Kong, you'll probably find the item is cheaper to buy there. If you're going to Gibraltar, not so much... Note also that while laptops are one of the few items with decent international warranties, the warranty terms might still vary and you're also likely not entitled to any protection under UK (or whever you live) law if they screw you around beyond perhaps normal contract law (although even that is in doubt if you smuggled the laptop in). Nil Einne (talk) 12:42, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I wouldn't be so sure. Customs officials are not necessarily as dumb as you seem to think. If you have a brand spanking new laptop, without any scratches or signs of use, that was manufactured a 1 month ago, they may start to wonder where it came from and may ask you questions about where your purchased it from. Sure you could lie to them but then not only have you filed a false declaration, you've lied to a customs official. Not a good idea IMHO considering the risks involved. Note that an item usually has to have been in your possession for quite a long period before it is considered used and tax-exempt. Nil Einne (talk) 12:40, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
From a quick look through[19] it appears that for the UK you need to have held/used the items for 6 months and you have had to be living outside the EC for 12 months before there is any chance for an exemption on tax Nil Einne (talk) 12:54, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I recall purchasing a rather nice Graf Von Faber Castell (spelling) pen as a gift and found it cheaper online at an international site. I think it was about £20 cheaper than in the uk. It arrive all well and fine but then about 3 months later so did an 'importation tax' bill from the government for about the same as my saving. Oh well. I would suggest that your best bet is to source this either A) second hand in the UK or B) sign-up for one of those mobile-phone contracts that offer one free. Get the phone and sell it on e-bay and between the money you get from that phone and the cost of the contract over the contract-term you will probably end up with a lap-top for cheaper than a brand-new laptop (though the effort involved is obviously quite a bit). (talk) 12:45, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Most countries will compensate for the VAT when you leave (e.g. at the airport). You're still stuck with a laptop with a foreign keyboard, though... Asav (talk) 15:56, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Be careful with the warranty. Most PC manufacturers are well aware of the existance of grey imports and therefore DO NOT offer a full worldwide warranty. The usual expectation is that it will be returned for service under warranty to the country where it was purchased. It is for this reason that I abandoned the idea of flying to New York for a couple of "meetings" and few days "sightseeing", and coming back with a new laptop ($2 = £1 made it a worthwhile consideration). If I had gone ahead, I would have said my employer issued me a new laptop only last week. Astronaut (talk) 17:17, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Also remember that if you are challenged, the burden of proof will be on you to show that you had the laptop in the UK before you left, not on the customs official to show otherwise. If you can't produce a UK receipt, they'll tax you - and their estimate of the tax due may be greater than you would have paid if you'd declared it honestly. I'm aware of our legal disclaimer but this is more of an anecdote: an acquaintance tried this one a couple of years ago on a top-of-the-range camera from a non-EU country. When the "I've lost the receipt" bit failed he was presented with a large tax bill; when he claimed to have no money they confiscated the camera until he came up with the cash. All that hassle, plus an air fare, just to (fail to) save a measly few quid. Karenjc 20:15, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
And a sharp customs officer might ask you to show him a file you created that's more than 4 days old, or check the warranty/support/help information on the laptop, or the country setting. If the savings are that great, other people will have already tried it. Franamax (talk) 22:20, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
In Ireland in recent years a weekend shopping trip to New York was a common way of stocking up on clothes, iPods, etc, especially in the run-up to Christmas. Recent economic events may have scuppered this tradition. Savings were due to Euro-dollar exchange rates, and lower prices generally in certain sectors, not just lower tax rates. News reports suggested customs officers were not active in enforcing the relevant tax-free limits. jnestorius(talk) 22:59, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

What is a ralser (listed as occupation)?[edit]

Occupation: Ralser

This was an occupation listed on a marriage license in 1912 in Wisconsin.

Can anyone help. Haven't found it in dictionaries or genealogy sites that address occupations. (talk) 11:59, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Could it be a typo of "raiser", a farmer of crops: [20]? Fribbler (talk) 12:07, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Or "wrestler"? Hopefully not rustler. Corvus cornixtalk 18:47, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Or "rouster". This has been a surreal Google-search. "Rouster" got me pictures of roosters. "Ralsing" got me cattle-ralsing, dam-ralsing, fund-ralsing, awareness-ralsing. It seems as if your ancestor was at the forefront of internet misspelling. :) Franamax (talk) 23:17, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Never heard of it, but keep in mind it may not be English. Especially pre-WWI, there was a large foreign-speaking population in the US (e.g. Germans, Norwegians, and Poles in Wisconsin), and in certain regions the day-to-day language was German, Norwegian, Polish, etc. rather than English. If your Ralser didn't speak English day-to-day, he might have put the foreign word down when asked his job, and the clerk didn't care/couldn't be bothered to translate to English. I'd suggest asking at the Language Desk to see if anyone has a thought. -- (talk) 23:22, 1 October 2008 (UTC)


I know frustrations are on the rise with my edits but please note that my intent upon login is always to keep the flow of information fluid. It is NEVER my intent do harm, I am trying to follow procedure. Most recently, i clicked to ensure accuracy on some issue and a response came back telling me that the data or article was not part of wikipedia and asked for deletion. Right then I realized that everything is part of wikipedia, it's just not owned by it. I just wish that that BIG RED lock wasn't just staring at me. I do not work for Wikipedia and i am starting to realize that only those who work for W..... should update files Please advise from this point on as to when I am asked to help, should I? --Ptw007 (talk) 12:59, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Can you clarify your comment? The only article edits I see by you are signing your name and similar test edits, which are inappropriate. However, the number of active editors who are employees of Wikipedia is vanishingly small. Virtually all edits are made by volunteers. — Lomn 13:12, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Wikimedia Foundation organization chart.svg
Indeed the vast majority of employees of the WMF aren't active editors from my experience Nil Einne (talk) 16:19, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
"Vast majority"? What is the number we can use to quantify the "vast majority" of WMF employees? Three? Corvus cornixtalk 19:43, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Wikipedia says... 15! Franamax (talk) 21:04, 30 September 2008 (UTC)


what is the name of the piece of skin/flesh that runs from your lip through to the middle of your two front teeth. There is another on the bottom in the same place, in front of your teeth, behind your lip. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:03, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Frenulum. Fribbler (talk) 13:19, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

fire drill[edit]

Why are we quiet during a fire drill???????

Nick (talk) 15:50, 29 September 2008 (UTC)nicholassayshi

Because if people start yelling it induces panic, which is not what you want during a fire or a fire drill. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:04, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Also, it would make it harder for people the hear instructions. It's important that people do what they're told during an emergency. --Tango (talk) 17:10, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Yes, but if you have a bunch of seniors (i.e. 12th graders NOT Silver Seniors), then people dont yell. We are half asleep. obviously —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nicholassayshi (talkcontribs) 16:07, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

It's a funny thing, but a bunch of half-asleep twelfth-graders in a classroom suddenly become very wide awake when the fire bell sounds. DJ Clayworth (talk) 19:36, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Richard Ballerand[edit]

Does anybody have any information about this person? Or (his association with) Dorrington Associates? Is his biography verifiable? It seems kind of... Well, have a look at the talk page. Asav (talk) 15:52, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Not one source is anything other than bollocks. Looks like a good Hoax catch, Asav Actually some of the sources mention him. I will investigate further. Fribbler (talk) 15:57, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Well colour me surprised! After looking at the sources (some of which were broken/outdated, throwing me off at first) t seems that pretty much all the claims that are backed up by in-line citations check out. Fribbler (talk) 16:19, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
We've probably done mostly the same checks on the net, but I still feel this bio looks unreliable. Given the specifics mentioned there, I am astounded that he's not mentioned in any sources you'd expect. I don't have the Who's Who editions mentioned. Have you had a chance to look at them (or anything more substantial than websites)? The proxy homepage issue really made me suspicious. Asav (talk) 15:33, 3 October 2008 (UTC)

Wikipedia Ref. Desk vs. Real Ref. Desks[edit]

Shouldn't our ref. desk be more strict regarding the acceptance of some kind of questions? As I understand, it should only be a virtual ref. desk, comparable to the ref. desk of a library. However, we find any kind of question here, like: "My girlfriend don't let me perform anal sex on her, what should I do?" or "Who is going to win a fight between a bear and a bull?" or "If someone forces a prostitute into sex, is that rape or shoplifting?" (talk) 15:55, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

This question would be more appropriate in the talk page, Wikipedia talk:Reference desk Nil Einne (talk) 16:22, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Inappropriate questions are routinely removed from the reference desk, or ignored with a note that they don't fall within the scope of the reference desk. This question, in fact, does not fall within the scope of the reference desk, which answers factual questions. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 16:24, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

No it doesn't, but it is a valid question regarding policy. Where should it be posted ? (talk) 16:28, 29 September 2008 (UTC)DT

Where Nil said. Algebraist 16:39, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I think the Ref Desk's main purpose is to help people find the answers to factual questions in the manner of a library ref desk, however it is also a place where a group of people with varied wide and varied knowledge and a lot of experience finding and working things out gather and many of us are more than happy to answer the stranger questions when we have a spare five minutes, so what harm does it do? Anyway, that last question sounds like a valid ref desk question to me (although one with an obvious answer - if you change it slightly and throw in the extra detail that the person has handed over the cash and had it accepted and then the prostitute changes their mind then it's a more interesting question and touches on the definition of consent, contracts, offer and acceptance, etc.). --Tango (talk) 17:08, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
We'll soon find out!
"An Aachen man who failed to reach orgasm during his €30 ($44) session with a prostitute has accused her of unfairly taking his money ..."
Source --Sean 19:20, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
In my opinion, by the way, the answers to these questions are: (1)Offer to let her perform anal sex on you first. (2) The bear. (3) Rape. You're welcome. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 22:12, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I saw something recently and thought of this question. Actually maybe it was a different question that go deleted. Either way [21] [22] [23] mention a case which touched on this raping a prostitute thing Nil Einne (talk) 21:51, 26 October 2009 (UTC)
Most people who've worked on a reference desk have had equally odd questions from people person-to-person. The anonymity given by the internet expands it into sexual possibilities a bit more, but that's about it. Steewi (talk) 03:44, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
It's amusing for someone with the ID of to have such strong opinions about "our" reference desk and how "we" should respond to questions. Is there a pay raise in the works? An improved retirement plan? Reserved parking for best-response-to-a-former-hall-monitor? --- OtherDave (talk) 10:33, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Cruise Ship Prepaid Gratuities[edit]

I feel certain this question will have been asked before but I cannot recall having seen it. We are thinking of cruising the Panama Canal next year and are considering various quotes from Travel Agents and on the Web. All of them bar none include the element of prepaid gratuities amounting to about 10% of the total cost of the cruise for 2 persons. I am not a skinflint and do tip regularly for good service that has been delivered and received, but if I had to pay a 10% tip on ENTERING a restaurant without having sampled the food or judged the service, I should be disinclined to enter at all. Questions - are these prepaid gratuities obligatory and can I choose not to pay them in advance but pay them on board as I see fit, and how assured can I be that these "tips" are not used by the operators to make up otherwise low wages? I appreciate from earlier cruises that most waiters, barstaff and room staff are from low paid countries in Indonesia and it might be said that the "low wages" aboard a cruise ship would exceed what would be available in the employees' countries of origin, but I will not be paying a cruise charge concomitant with that reasoning. Anyway, any info. forthcoming would be appreciated. Thanks. BTW, we are British and consider 10% of a restaurant bill a fair tip for good service. (talk) 18:18, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
If you are known to be the "non-advance tipper" it could work to your advantage, as the servers give you great service in hope of getting a tip doled out to them from time to time Or you could become invisible, with no server noticing that you want a drink refill, since they might figure you to be a tightwad. 10 % is a lousy tip in a restaurant, by the way. Edison (talk) 20:09, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
10% is low in the USA. This side of the water 10% is ten percent more than we're used to. Fribbler (talk) 20:17, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
So what you're used to, roughly, is 9.1% ? Just checking. --Trovatore (talk) 20:21, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Prepaid gratuities? Specified by the service provider? What's the world coming to? That removes any and all meaning from the word "gratuity" and is a contradiction in terms. What guarantee do you have that the "gratuity" will be going to the employee/s who actually serve you, rather than the owners? I'm with you, questioner, I'd be very disinclined to use the service to begin with. I'm from Australia, which is much more like the UK in terms of not having socially mandatory tipping, although it's still a very common practice - but it's done on an entirely voluntary basis, normally in recognition of service that is actually above-average, or if the diner happens to be in a really good mood that night, or they get a wink from the cute waiter/tress, or on special occasions like a group celebrating a birthday etc. There are some people here who feel it's rude not to tip no matter what, but they're in the minority. The US seems to have institutionalised tipping to the point that it's considered very poor form to tip even less than about 15%, let alone not at all - even if the service happens to be lousy and the food rotten. I understand that it's become less about quality of service and more about supplementing the poor wages of staff, who actually need this extra money to survive, because the owners have abrogated their responsiblity to pay their staff a reasonable living wage and have transferred the responsibility to the customers. Although most customers see this for what it is, and know they're playing into the owners' hands, they still come to the party because it's also become a social imperative and there are severe social punishments if one does not tip, or does not tip enough - including the friends you're dining with removing you from their Christmas card lists and never talking to you again; and/or getting nasty looks and/or nasty language from the service providers, or even being told never to come back there because you're an arsehole and you won't be welcome. Which, as I say, removes all notions of free, individual, and voluntary from the word "gratuity". But on the other hand, if you're committed to going on the cruise, and this is going to be the way it is no matter whom you go with, then I'd say just reframe it as a tax and pay it as you would any other unavoidable rip-off tax in a third- or fourth-world country. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:13, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Adding a service charge to a bill (which I guess is what this is, just with the added feature of the bill being paid in advance which makes it all the more outrageous) is fairly common in some parts of the word (it's universal in Singapore and mandated by law apparently - if you complain about service you may be able to get them to discount your meal so that the end result is that you haven't paid the charge, but they can't actually remove the charge - it's crazy!). It's becoming more and more common in the UK too - my system for dealing with it is that if I don't think the service was worth a tip of that size I ask for it to be removed and they get nothing, had they not added it to the bill they would have got a tip, just a small one. Their loss! --Tango (talk) 22:05, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
The service personnel on the ship might have been burned in the past by people who "forget" to tip, or who think the workers should live on their wages, or who manage to find the service in some way inadequate, or who come from countries where tips are around 10% even in a restaurant. Edison (talk) 01:22, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
What do you mean "even in a restaurant"? Do you consider 10% high or low? Would you expect it to be more or less in places other than a restaurant? I come from a country where tips are for exceptional service, 10% would be considered high, people DO live on their wages, and any automatic addition of a tip to any bill puts peoples backs up so much that, like Tango, they are more likely to strike it off (or refuse to come back). ("Why should I reward anyone for doing their job properly: it's what they get paid to do, after all. Next you'll be expecting me to tip the bus driver or my doctor. What cheek!" etc.) Gwinva (talk) 02:46, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
But, getting back to the OP's question, what is the point of adding 10% to the cost of the cruise? If it's to supplement poor wages, then why not pay the staff properly, and set the cruise fare 10% higher? It seems a bit bizarre to me. If tips are to reward service, then impersonal payment at source seems pointless, for it's not a reward, or a gesture of thanks. If tips are to bribe staff to attend to your needs above anyone else's, then it's even more pointless, since the staff aren't tipped directly. There is the possibility that the company circulates the names of those who have crossed out the gratuity charge, of course, so are the guests then going to be treated to bad service as punishment? If that's the case, its blackmail. Unless, of course, the expectation is that you'll tip individuals once on board, in which case this is a simple 10% surcharge, which makes the cruise look cheaper than it is. Gwinva (talk) 02:58, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I hope that doesn't read like a rant: I just don't understand it. Why should some people's wages need to be supplemented by tips? I can see the attraction of cash tips: that can go in the back pocket, and never get declared for tax purposes; but pre-paid "service charges" and those built automatically into the bill go through official accounting measures, and can hardly be hidden from the taxman. Although, if they're not official "wages", then perhaps the employer can escape some employer contributions and levies? (And thus it's just a tax fiddle?) Gwinva (talk) 03:26, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
In the U.S. servers get starvation wages, and a 15% tip is average. 10% is quite insulting. I give 20% for good service. In other countries, the base wage may be higher, so there a 10% tip might be appropriate. I only know that I try to not stiff the waitstaff. In the U.S, waiters barkeeps etc are assessed taxes on the assumed tips. Do not assume they are adequately paid without tips and that tips go "in the back pocket" without taxation for a riotous luxury lifestyle. Edison (talk) 05:35, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
No, I wasn't assuming that; I was just wondering why staff were paid starvation wages, and need to subsist on tips, when the restaurant could charge 15% more for the meals, and pay their staff properly. Same money going round, same taxes being paid, but there's not the "food bill/service bill" and "wages/tip" components. Gwinva (talk) 07:21, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I absolutely agree. Why does it become the customer's responsibility to pay the waiters' wages or any part thereof? That's the employer's responsibility. The customer's financial relationship is with the restaurant, not with any individual staff member. If they wish to tip someone, fine. If not, also fine. Are there not "fair labour" laws in the US? -- JackofOz (talk) 07:58, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Some points: it is always the customer's responsibility to pay wages - that's how wages get paid; to Gwinva and why couldn't the restaurant charge 15% more for the meals - well, that's exactly what the OP is asking about, the cruise line is building in an explicit 10% charge, so what's the diff, total cost is total cost; and as far as discretionary tipping, I use a standard (in Canada) of 15% before taxes then toss in the extra buck or two to be a 20% hero however, if the service is bad, that's a discount to me through lower tip, if the food is bad, I either tell the server to ask the cook for their tip ('cause I'm leaving zero) or I ask why they're charging me anything for the crappy food I just got, and if both service and food are bad, I ask for the manager. Don't be afraid to speak up when things are sub-par (and don't be a dick, don't expect your drinks in 30 seconds when the place is packed, don't expect gourmet quality at Bert's Beanery) - but if you've been dealt a low hand, say so, you will discover the magic words of hospitality: "comp it". Franamax (talk) 09:09, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, yes, obviously if there are no customers, or if the customers don't pay for the services/goods they buy, the staff won't get paid and the business will fold. So there's an indirect relationship between the money the customers pay the business and the money the business pays its staff. But the whole societally-driven mandatory tipping thing makes it a direct relationship between customers and staff. But only in certain situations. Do customers at McDonalds, for example, feel the need to add 15% to the bill? Americans are pretty smart, generally speaking, but I just don't understand how they ever let themselves get drawn into this system that seems to apply only in restaurants. And once a business starts demanding gratuities up-front, as I said above, who knows where the money goes? Do the staff ever get any of it, or does the employer pocket the lot? Tipping is in essence a cash transaction that in most cases is never recorded anywhere and no tax is ever paid (I know there are some exceptions to this). Once it becomes hard coded into the system, the whole spirit of the exercise is lost. -- JackofOz (talk) 03:57, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
The nice thing about discretionary tipping is that it adds an element of variable payment and an incentive for the server to perform. Tightwads can take a 15% discount, they can trade the $ for lousy service next time they come in. Nice customers and good servers get appropriate rewards. If people think the tip is mandatory regardless of service quality - well Americans needed the firm hand of George W to steer them safely through the last 8 years, right - if they'll buy that line, what harm is there paying the extra 15%?
I agree that built-in gratuities don't usually work. Try a restaurant near the Rialto where there is an automatic 10%, versus one a little farther off the path where the Venetians go - no contest. In the case of a cruise ship though, that guy down in the laundry room busting his hump all night deserves a tip just as much as the nice lady putting the sheets on the bed. How does that get resolved? And the built-in charge relieves customers of the worry of "geez, should I have tipped her? Did I tip him enough?" and they can just enjoy the cruise.
As I've said below, best to just think of it as part of the total price and a gain-sharing arrangement. If someone goes extra-above-and-beyond, tip 'em anyway. Franamax (talk) 04:27, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I think you've hit the nail on the head, Franamax. "That guy down in the laundry room busting his hump all night deserves a tip just as much as the nice lady putting the sheets on the bed". OK, you're face to face with the sheet lady but you never see the laundry guy. That aside, why is there an assumption that the laundry guy isn't paid well enough for the work he does, and it's therefore up to the travellers to see that he doesn't starve? I ask the same question about waiters in restaurants. If there's a structural problem in people being paid too low by their employers, there are things that can be done to at least try to correct it. This is an issue between the staff, the employers, the unions, and the government regulatory authorities or whoever determines minimum wages and what's a far day's pay for a fair day's work. Without wanting to seem callous, it's not the customers' responsibility to fix it in any particular case; and they certainly shouldn't be perpetuating the problem by doing it on a nation-wide scale, thus becoming part of the problem itself. I know none of this will change anything; but the essence of my position is that if you wish to tip someone, whether it's for excellent service or whatever personal reasons, that's fine. But if you're doing it because you feel you "should", or "if we don't all help these poor underpaid guys out, there'll be no chicken in the pot for them and their families tonight", that's not fine. That is no solution to such a problem, if problem there is perceived to be. It just entrenches the problem. Americans apparently write to their congressmen every day of the week about issues of concern to them. Why don't they write in their millions about this issue, rather than trying to fix it themselves and becoming drawn into a massive web of manipulation, blackmail and deceit, in which the only winners are the owners? -- JackofOz (talk) 05:22, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
In the US, tips form a part of the salary of certain types of service people, including waiters. You can argue about whether this is a good system, but it is the system. When you tip a waiter you're not "correcting for underpayment," you're paying part of the waiter's salary directly to the waiter, and part indirectly via the cost of the food. When visiting the US, please tip 15-20% in restaurants unless you intend to punish your waiter for bad service. -- BenRG (talk) 15:24, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
That's one of the best reframes I've seen in a long time. Should I tip 15-20% at McDonalds? If not, why not? If this is a salary, it's the only form of salary I've ever heard of that's not legally enforceable, is paid by someone other than the employer, and can vary or be entirely withheld on the whim of the payer without the payee having any recourse. -- JackofOz (talk) 22:15, 1 October 2008 (UTC)
I think "salary" was the wrong word—I probably meant "income"—and I think "tip"/"gratuity" is probably a bad way of referring to money left on the table in the U.S. system, since it implies it's an optional extra and really it isn't. Word choice aside, the reality of the matter is that money left on the table for waiters by their customers is a significant percentage of the money they take home at the end of the day, in the United States. You don't tip at McDonalds, where there are no waiters and you bus your own tray. This system doesn't apply to the people behind the counter or to people who wipe down the tables. Why? It just doesn't. You have to memorize it the way you memorize American English vocabulary. Culture is based on tradition, not on logic, and this has been a part of American culture for a long time (though I gather you're just now learning about it). That's not a defense of it—and honestly I think we'd be better off without it—but your horror at the very idea is irrational and inappropriate. There are parallels here to the recent thread where you corrected a supposed misuse of the word "hopefully" (which in fact was perfectly okay, at least in my dialect). Some people, once they realize that the "ungrammatical" and "illogical" arguments aren't going to work in that debate, try to argue that it's confusing to use the word "hopefully" in two different ways. Whether or not that's true (I don't think it is), it's not the reason they want to drop "hopefully" as a sentence modifier. It simply irritates them, at a pre-logical level, and the logical arguments are just desperate attempts to convince other people who unaccountably refuse to be irritated by it. You need to first of all stop being irritated by this aspect of American culture before you can even think rationally about its economic ramifications. At any rate I didn't respond to defend American tipping, I responded out of a fear that foreigners might think it's okay to not tip when they visit the US. Probably the system should be changed, but until it is, for heaven's sake give these poor people their money. Your bold act of rebellion against the oppressive system will not be understood, and the people you want to help will appreciate it least of all. -- BenRG (talk) 11:26, 2 October 2008 (UTC)
Time to take this offline, I think. See you over at your talk page. -- JackofOz (talk) 01:54, 3 October 2008 (UTC)
The excuse, in some UK restaurant chains at least, appears to be that the taxman assumes waiting staff receive a certain level of gratuity income anyway, so it's simpler for tax purposes to formalise the arrangement and account for all gratuities on paper. What they don't tell you is that this then allows them to record the tips as a regular component of staff income, thus permitting them to pay staff below the legal minimum wage and top up to the minimum with these formal, taxable gratuities. There's only one way to deal with this kind of cynical penny-pinching - don't eat there again, and explain politely as you leave why you won't be back. Since these exploitative policies ensure you'll be served by a tired, sour-faced individual with no financial incentive to make your eating experience pleasant, and who will probably have been replaced next time you visit, chances are you won't want to anyway. Karenjc 09:14, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Wasn't their something in the news about a month ago about them not being able to do that any more? Tips now don't (or soon won't) count towards minimum wage. --Tango (talk) 14:59, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
As the OP here, I am truly grateful for all the above responses and can see there appears to be a difference of opinion on the amount (if any) tip between here in the UK and on the other side of the pond. As to Edison's and Franamax's responses, without appearing to be rude to them, I fear they have missed the point here, which was why I should have to pay any gratuities in advance. The questions of how much and if any simply do not arise. I am not happy to be being charged up front. Do I go to a football match and throw 10% of the admission price on to the pitch for the players to divi. up before they play an abyssmal game? Do I go to the theatre and throw 10% of the (usually extortionate) ticket price on to the stage before the curtain goes up? Clearly no. When I worked as a senior administrator in the supreme courts, did any criminal just convicted, or any judge grateful for his papers and books being delivered to him timeously during the trial, or any overpaid lawyer grateful for being directed to the correct court or judge's chambers, or any policeman grateful for a quiet place to sit and have a smoke and a cuppa, ever come to me afterwards and say, "Thanks, and there's a tip of 10% of your salary for your assistance", Clearly no, and I would never have accepted one. If I ever thought my lifestyle could not have been supported without the input of tips, I would have sought a better paying job elsewhere. And if everyone else in that unfortunate position did likewise, the ship owners, restauranters, and other employers would raise wages to decent levels. And tipping, as in Japan, would become an insulting gesture. But back to the other half of my question, not yet answered. Can I refuse to pay the advance gratuities charge and pay any real and deserved tips on board instead? Thanks (talk) 14:57, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
Sure, and they can refuse to let you travel on their ship. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 15:04, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
You can call the cruise line and ask for that arrangement. They will explain to you how many unseen hands are involved in making your cruise experience a great one. If they want your business, they'll give you a 10% discount and distribute tips as usual. (Though they might make you wear an orange vest that says "Hasn't tipped anyone yet") One possible reason they would have this 10% arrangement is that when the ship is full, the crew's pay goes up, if it's not, crew and line share the pain.
You're best to think of it as just part of the cost of the cruise, like taxes and fuel surcharges. Nothing is stopping you from handing out additional tips if you get especially good service. Franamax (talk) 20:55, 30 September 2008 (UTC)