Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2010 February 2

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February 2[edit]

Super Saver Shipping[edit] often has "Free Super Saver Shipping" when you spend more than $25 that takes forever to start to ship and forever to arrive. My question: what is exactly going on here when they do this? Is it that they just sit on the order a bit to slow it down (and make you want to pay for faster shipping in the future), or is it something about how they ship it from facility to facility? E.g., Is it waiting for a truck to have extra space on it, or something like that? I'm just curious and Googling didn't really turn up much (other than a lot of complaints). Is it just a ploy, or is there more to it? --Mr.98 (talk) 01:04, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Do you order a lot from Amazon? It could be some sort of throttling, à la Netflix. The only reason I ask is because I experience the exact opposite situation: when I order enough for Supersaver usually it comes exactly when I'm told it will come; sometimes it comes even a day or two before the estimated time of delivery. I don't use Amazon very often to begin with, though. Xenon54 / talk / 01:27, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. You might be suffering from confirmation bias. I can't remember having a problem with Super Saver shipping from Amazon. I as well have found that my order arrives a day or two before they say it will. Dismas|(talk) 07:17, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I guess the obvious question is when do you order? Their fast shipping is obviously going to get priority so at a guess, during peak times like near Christmas you would expect free super saver shipping to take significantly longer. However I would have thought they adjust their estimated times accordingly. And there is obviously going to be some aspect of 'when we have space and time' so it's likely to be fairly variable in general. Nil Einne (talk) 09:15, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I haven't had trouble with Super Saver, but it is slower. It takes many more days to even start to ship, for one thing. My question is whether this has anything to do with how they are shipping it (in a physical or economic sense) or if it is just a means of first trying to get me to add more things to "qualify for super saver shipping", and/or trying to get me frustrated enough with shipping that I'll want to pay for it. I ordered something yesterday; it won't ship until Friday, and it'll probably take a few days after that, according to Amazon's estimate. (I don't order much on Amazon, so I don't think it is throttling.) --Mr.98 (talk) 14:03, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I have ordered many times from Amazon. Super saver is supposed to be slower than priority shipping, but still quite fast - i.e. less than a week within the continental US and Canada for items in stock. The main cause of delays are whether the items you order are in stock. Often, the estimates on the page about when the item is available (i.e. within 10 to 20 days) are off, but not necessarily in taking longer to arrive. Amazon works with independent distributors for such items, and does not know when a precise item is available; it only knows the average time it takes for the distributor to supply an item it carries. It is possible that the distributor needs to order the item first from another distributor or from the printer/label/etc., lengthening the delay; it is also possible that the distributor has the item in stock and is already making a shipment to the Amazon warehouse at that time and simply slips your item in that shipment, cutting delivery time significantly. In any case, using super saver shipping is advantageous if you're ordering a number of items and do not need to receive them right this minute. It's nothing like third class mail (does it still exist ?), which was cheap but took forever and a day to reach its destination. --Xuxl (talk) 15:57, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm a frequent customer of both and (which also has a free shipping option, but always ships your books as they become available, as opposed to Amazon who always groups them together, forcing you to wait until the last book is available). While Amazon's policy is sometimes annoying, I've never had an order exceed the promised delivery time - and have had stuff show up quite a bit earlier as well. I guess I'm a little unclear as to what the complaints are - the wait times are printed right there on the availability screen and remain the same regardless of the shipping option chosen, it's just that getting the item shipped for free means waiting until everything can go in one package, which sounds fair. If you're a real bookhound and tend to order a lot, why not do multiple orders, so that all the "in-stock" is on one order and the "1-2 weeks" stuff is on another? Matt Deres (talk) 20:38, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
If I understand Mr. 98's question, he's not complaining, but asking why it's cheaper for Amazon for shipping to take a long time (if indeed it is). If an item's out of stock, it won't get in any faster no matter how much you're willing to pay. But if Amazon does have things ready to go, then to me, it seems like it would cost about the same to ship in one week versus several. Obviously it's going to cost more to ship something overnight, but in this case, that's not an issue. I like his suggestion that they just fit those items in when they have empty truck space, but I don't really know. Buddy431 (talk) 20:50, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Amazon's "Super Saver" shipping is the US Postal Service's media mail shipping option -- basically, it gets the cheapest rates because packages are shipped on a "space available" basis -- if there's empty space in the truck, some media mail packages will be taken off the stack and shipped. Normally, this is about as fast as the other package shipping options, but at busy times of the year, media mail can be delayed by a month or more. --Carnildo (talk) 01:06, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
[citation needed]. The only time I've seen Media Mail used is from Amazon Marketplace sellers, not from Amazon themselves. I believe I've even gotten items via UPS when using Super Saver. --LarryMac | Talk 01:48, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
I presume this would only affect the 'time to arrive' bit and not the 'start to ship' bit however? Nil Einne (talk) 22:26, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
I don't know. When does "start to ship" take place? Is it when Amazon packages the shipment up? When it leaves their loading dock? When the Postal Service enters it into their tracking system (the Postal Service is notoriously bad about this)? Some other time? --Carnildo (talk) 01:39, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

As noted above, economy shipping is cheaper because it allows carriers to use transport capacity left over from more expensive packages. In practice it is actually quite rare that transport vehicles are completely full, and depending on the route there may be only a few days a year when the vehicles are brimming with express packages. Now a shrewd customer might notice that their economy packages from A to B almost always arrive in a day or two, and stop using the more expensive transport options altogether. To prevent such customer behaviour, it is standard practice to always keep economy packages in storage for some minimum period of time, perhaps as long as the delivery time of the next cheapest option. Like all price differentiation, the idea may appear counter-intuitive or even dishonest, but it is essential to the economic efficiency of the transport system, and without it customers would not have the choice between fast & expensive and cheap & slow shipping. (talk) 19:24, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Kaaba tourism?[edit]

Is the Kaaba open to non-Hajji tourists for visiting? Staecker (talk) 17:05, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

I would imagine Muslims can but it's a definite no for non-Muslims. See Mecca#Entry to Mecca for Non-Muslims. Nanonic (talk) 17:47, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
There are various adventurers who have visited, just to see if they could get away with it (Richard Francis Burton, T. E. Lawrence, etc). Adam Bishop (talk) 21:08, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
It's like you can't go into the Mormon Temple at Salt Lake City, either, but they have pictures of its interior posted elsewhere, or at least they used to. It's not that it's a secret, just that it's a place they reserve only for true believers. In the case of the Kaaba, if these illustrations are any indication,[1][2][3] strictly as a building in and of itself it's no big deal. As to where I got these links, I googled [Kaaba interior]. That one interior photo, it looks like it's got a lemonade stand or something. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:11, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Short answer: No, it isn't. Long answer: No non-Muslims are allowed into Makkah, and any Muslim that goes to Makkah and to the Kaaba would be there for Umrah or Haj. If you asked a Muslim about visiting the Kaaba for "sight-seeing" or "tourism" they'd look at you as if you're crazy. There are no "tours" of the Kaaba or the Masjid al-Haram precincts, that is a non-existent concept. Zunaid 10:03, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Zunaid, there's no power on Earth that can prevent humans from having wild thoughts that never occurred to anyone else before. And that's a good thing. It's not really possible to have a discussion on a topic that is a "non-existent concept". -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 19:24, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Hehehe...good point! I sheepishly retract my comment. Zunaid 07:54, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
Photos of the large courtyard containing the Kaaba; the Kaaba uncovered; and its interior; presumably have all been taken by Muslims. Is there any particular issue with the existence of those photos? Would the photographers have gotten into trouble for it? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 07:34, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
I think officially it is frowned upon and they will stop you if they see you. There are guards stationed all around the precinct for crowd control and security. With cameras and cell phones these days it is of course impossible to stop people taking pictures. Presumably official photographers are permitted. Zunaid 07:54, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

Being that to be a Muslim is faith based if you really wanted to go and see M then just pretend to be a muslim grow a beard and away you go :)Chromagnum (talk) 07:05, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Test wiki[edit]

For a 10-minute presentation I have to give as part of an assignment at college, I'm planning to have the students edit a wiki, so that I can teach them how to edit. Would there be a suitable wiki somewhere where I could create 15 test pages simultaneously? I tried searching Wikia but the search didn't work, it never has. Google found a few wikis, but with no instructions on them to explain exactly what they are, and I don't want to be treading on people's toes. Vimescarrot (talk) 17:40, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't think it would enrage anyone if you created 15 sub-pages of your user page here on Wikipedia for test editing purposes. Here's your first one: User:Vimescarrot/Temp01. This isn't exactly what Wikipedia is for, but you could argue that 10 minutes of test edits won't harm the project. Comet Tuttle (talk) 18:16, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Since the MediaWiki software that runs Wikipedia is freely available, you might consider seeing if your college's IT department can set up a demonstration wiki for you to fiddle with. — Lomn 18:54, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Or you can download a portable server here which includes MediaWiki as an addable package, set the whole thing up on your computer and transfer it to usb drive for the presentation —Preceding unsigned comment added by Kv7sW9bIr8 (talkcontribs) 19:39, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Vimescarrot subpages would work for coding, although it would mean I'd have to forgo the "find an article not been made, search its name, and create it" part of the lesson. Which I can live with. This has to be done fairly soon, so it may not be time for the I.T. department to set up some MediaWiki software, but I'll give it a shot anyway. I'm not sure it would be practical for me to install the software from a pen drive...It'd have to be installed onto fifteen computers before the presentation even starts. Thanks for all the ideas so far. Vimescarrot (talk) 21:06, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
If the computers are networked, you'd only need to install it on one —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:22, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
There's the Wikia Community Test wiki, where you can do pretty much what you want (although it does note that any content may be removed). Warofdreams talk 00:09, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
You might try over at our sister project, Wikiversity. I don't know if your project necessarily fits their mandate, but it can't hurt to ask. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 01:04, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
If you don't come up with a better answer - let me know and I'll create a couple of dozen temporary accounts on my personal MediaWiki site ( There is a easy intro to Wiki editing there too. Email me (there is a link on my user page). SteveBaker (talk) 03:17, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks - I'll consider all these today. I just realised no page on Wikipedia would work because the college's IP is blocked. Vimescarrot (talk) 06:42, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Personally, particularly if this is a marked or otherwise important assignment, I would recommend you have one more moremore then one (edit:dunno how that happened) option ready. Perhaps see if you can set up a simple test wiki server and also look for some other externally hosted wiki that works from without the college. Something like SB's wiki will have the advantage that you're less likely to be blocked in the meantime because someone in the college is a royal idiot although may have a higher risk of being down (but may not, ask SB for his uptime/availability statistics perhaps). There's nothing like preparing a presentation and then it going all wrong because the internet is down or the server you intended to use is down, or the server you set up and tested crashes for some mysterios reason Nil Einne (talk) 11:30, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Heh, I don't have the skills required to set up a server, or even the MediaWiki software alone. Thanks for your confidence in my skill though. x) Vimescarrot (talk) 16:34, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
My personal Wiki is hosted on a commercial webhost - its uptime is close to 100%. SteveBaker (talk) 16:58, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the excellent suggestions, everyone. I've decided to go with downloading the MediaWiki software and getting it set up on my school a backup (thanks for that, Nil Einne) I'll be using the Wikia Community test wiki. I have every confidence that the students will be vandalising everything they can see - so thanks for the offer, Steve, but I wouldn't want you to have to clean up our mess. :) I'll be posting a video of my presentation on YouTube as soon as I can - probably two weeks from now - if anyone is at all interested. Vimescarrot (talk) 16:34, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
OK - well, if you change your mind, let me know. My personal Wiki only has about three users (me, my son and my sister) and the amount of content is fairly minimal - so I could back up the entire thing before you use it - and simply restore over whatever mess resulted when you were done. I have it set up so you have to have an account to edit - and such that only an admin can create accounts (and I'm the only admin) keeping the chaos to a minimum is easy too. Life is a LOT easier without anon IP users and with "by invitation only" accounts! SteveBaker (talk) 16:51, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Good to know - with a little luck I'll be able to check if the IT department managed to get MediaWiki installed on Friday, and if not, I may well be back... Vimescarrot (talk) 17:35, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Watch repair[edit]

I fell over the other day whilst running and my watch got scratched (see here) on both the glass covering the face, and significant scratches on the metal strap. I was wondering how difficult this is to repair, and how expensive it would approximately be? Thanks. (talk) 20:08, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Why not take it to a watch shop and ask them for an estimate? It'll be more straightforward than asking us on here. --Mr.98 (talk) 20:34, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Ask a jeweler. Anyway, I infer from the date and time shown on the watch face that the watch is still running, so I wouldn't worry too much. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:41, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Several years ago I chipped the crystal (glass) on a mid-range Seiko watch and it cost £60 to replace. I sent it to Seiko's own workshop. Richard Avery (talk) 07:04, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

The scratches on the band if it's stainless steel could possibly be buffed out.Replacing the glass can vary, some makes are very expensive, some can be done for a few pounds there and then.hotclaws 00:26, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Maybe more expensive than getting new glass just woundered if the process of mending car windsreens could be used to cover the scratch on the watch glass front?Chromagnum (talk) 07:14, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

How to evade thermal imaging cameras?[edit]

How might one evade thermal imaging cameras mounted on police helicopters? I've seen clips of them in use and they've found people hiding in bins, under bushes etc. So is it possible without entering a building?-- (talk) 20:47, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

How about hiding in someones hottub? Just a thought. Other ideas would be things like old freezers or refrigerators, but don;t suffocate. Googlemeister (talk) 20:57, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Fill the hottub with cold water? By the looks of them they would see someone inside a freezer or fridge. Btw I'm not trying this I was just watching a police show-- (talk) 20:59, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
No, someone would show up as a massive hot splash in a cold hot tub, unless they were dead. Fridges and freezers could work because they're good insulators. The reflective sheets they wrap victims of cold in are designed to reflect heat in to keep people warm, so they may work too. Any solution will be all about keeping the heat inside, so it'll get hot very quickly as your body warms that small space up. Vimescarrot (talk) 21:03, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Another possibility would be underneath a car's engine area, especially if it has been running recently. What you want to do against thermal imaging is either have something "brighter" (hotter) then you between you and the camera, or else to prevent your heat from reaching the camera. Googlemeister (talk) 21:08, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Though in the latter case, if you block all heat from your vicinity from reaching the cameras, it will show up as a conspicuous human-sized "cold" spot. I sort of think entering a building seems the most straightforward approach... there are, you know, a lot of buildings around in most human-habited places, and it seems like the definite path of least resistance. --Mr.98 (talk) 21:12, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Would running in to a herd of animals work, if the animals don't run?-- (talk) 21:13, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
If whoever is looking at the image can't tell the difference between a sheep and a human. I don't know how easy it is, on IR, at that resolution. Another suggestion is a fire proximity suit. You would hope they're fairly well insulated...though you don't tend to find them lying around. Vimescarrot (talk) 21:15, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
People have tried to hide in livestock on these shows before, they are very obvious. Prokhorovka (talk) 22:05, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Try to get into a area with lots of other people, mix around but don't run, keep at a steady pace with the rest of the people, and do something "normal" like stop at a cashpoint. Then they won't be able to tell you from the other human shapes acting normal on their screen. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:12, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Tom Cruise shows how to hide in a bathtub (Video). Cuddlyable3 (talk) 22:50, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Water is a good choice because it's fairly opaque to near-IR. An awful lot depends on how good this infrared gadget is. The top of the line military stuff can see the residual heat from your footprints for quite a while after you were there. Your breath is visible at some wavelengths so shutting yourself in that old fridge would only help if you couldn't breathe - so that's really not going to work. The resolution is no worse than a regular HD TV camera. You can easily tell the difference between a sheep and a person at distances where you could tell the difference on a TV camera. Faces are a little difficult to recognize because the brightness depends on the depths of fat deposits and such - and we're just not used to seeing people look like that. The 'pro' way to deal with IR cameras is with a combination of flares and smoke canisters that emit IR-opaque smoke. SteveBaker (talk) 02:58, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Is there any such a thing as an Infrared Laser? Shoot it directly back to the camera lens and it would blind/destroy the sensor perhaps? The trick is to aim it directly back of course. nb. Myth Busters had an episode about this topic.-- (talk) 07:38, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Of course there are (near) infrared lasers, like the ones in CD drives. I'm not sure if you'll actually need one though, it wouldn't surprise me if the sensors lack any filters and respond to visible wavelengths.(Okay I just realised that was a dumb suggestion since you'll be giving your location away to anyone in the vicinity, of course you'll likely do the same thing with your infrared laser before you manage to aim it at the sensors along with to anyone else who happens to have googles or other equipement that can see that region, like most digital cameras.) Also I'm not particularly sure why near IR came into it, since the original question was about thermal infrared. In any case the suggestion sounds fun, until you blind the helicopter pilot, cause a crash, get branded a terrorist, captured and if the people doing the capturing are Americans and you aren't a US citizen (and maybe even if you are), get extraordinary renditioned to some hellhole perhaps never to be seen from or heard from again. If your lucky, perhaps you'll only be sent to Guantánamo Bay and then maybe you'll eventually actually receive a fair trial. Nil Einne (talk) 11:14, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Nil Einne, do you mean "If YOU'RE lucky..."? Post repunctuated. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 22:19, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes although I have to say I'm disappointed in your performance, you failed to notice I spelt 'equipment' wrong (perhaps other things, I didn't look carefully that's your job, although do note Guantánamo Bay was not a mistake) :-P Nil Einne (talk) 22:12, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
The wise one loves correction because it is the Path to Perfection. The foolish one only defends its mistakes. "YES" would have been enough. Thank you. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 22:40, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
A cruel person would also note the incorrect use of a comma before an ellipsis and the incorrect use of a space before a question mark. But I wouldn't do that. SteveBaker (talk) 02:23, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
In case you're wondering, the reason why I (conciously) choose Guantánamo Bay instead of Guantanamo Bay is because I don't believe a country who's occupation/leasing of a territory (which they agree is not theirs) is controversial anyway should have a right to rename it because they don't know how to spell or are unwilling or unable to use accents or whatever. Therefore I choose to use Guantánamo Bay whether referring to the geographical location (like our article does) or the military base/prison (like our article does not). According to [4] while the US did under Bush refuse to use the accent even when referring to the bay, this is changing under Obama (the base name would I presume rename Guantanamo Bay for them). I do not believe, as some do, that there's something inherently wrong in English of using accented characters particularly for proper nouns. Nil Einne (talk) 07:46, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, OK, but only because you insist on twisting my arm:
  • happens to have googles or other equipement - I think you meant 'goggles'
  • get branded a terrorist, captured and if ..., get extraordinary renditioned to ... - there's a 'get' missing before "captured"
  • a country who's occupation/leasing of a territory - that should be 'whose' ('who's' is an abbreviation for 'who is', which doesn't fit here)
  • there's something inherently wrong in English of using accented characters - usually 'with' is used here. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 18:55, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
The governor of California managed it with a thin layer of mud. FiggyBee (talk) 03:37, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
The team that robbed the Antwerp diamond centre used simple sheets of polystyrene, according to "The Untold Story of the World's Biggest Diamond Heist", the story in Wired (magazine). BrainyBabe (talk) 16:05, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
OK - there are two problems with both of the previous two answers. Firstly, the Antwerp robbers were not trying to evade a human looking through an IR camera - they were trying to evade heat-sensitive motion detectors - which is an entirely different matter. Secondly, it doesn't matter that you are completely covered in an insulator (be it mud or a lump of foam) because on an IR camera that's the equivelant of painting yourself a uniform shade of grey (or hiding behind a large sheet of grey cardboard) and expecting to be hidden from a regular video camera in broad daylight! You're not invisible - you're still blocking the 'background' - you'll be seen easily! SteveBaker (talk) 16:43, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
That is, Steve, presumably, only if the shield you're holding (to take the foam example) is at a different temperature than the background? --Tagishsimon (talk) 16:54, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Wouldn't that be like making yourself invisible to normal cameras by holding up a piece of foam that's the same color as the background? You'd still see this ridiculous blank rectangle running from the police. At least you could pretend that the mud might conceivably act as camouflage. APL (talk) 18:52, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Exactly - you seem to think that (for example) a grassy slope is all one temperature and therefore you could have a shield that was the exact same temperature. But nothing could be further from the truth. It's just like in a visual camera, grass isn't a uniform shade of green. Each blade of grass casts a shadow onto it's neighbors -that produces a range of shades of green. In IR, one blade casts a shadow on it's neighbor - or shields it from the wind a bit or there are small variations in growth and color. Your shield could no more hide you in an IR camera than a photograph of a grassy hill stuck onto a shield would hide you from a regular camera. But even if you were hiding against a perfectly smooth, flat, uniform surface, these cameras are sensitive to tiny fractions of a degree of temperature variation - the odds of you having your shield be at exactly the right temperature is small. Worse still, the IR reflectivity is another issue. Ambient IR radiation bounces off surfaces just like regular light does. So if one object is shiney and another smooth - you'll see the difference easily. SteveBaker (talk) 02:21, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Unfortunately there are lots of police-state type programmes on British TV including those about pursuing suspected criminals from a helicopter at night using its infra-red camera (like a scene from Farenheit 451 except that instead of burning books, people dont want to read any in the first place). From the one or two I've seen the best thing to do is hide and stay stationary in dense undergrowth, and then you may be mistaken for a fox. I expect a space blanket would help shield your heat from above. May be best to have a air gap between you and the space blanket to stop any conduction, and allow the breeze to keep the blanket cool. (talk) 02:07, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
That won't work either. The reflectivity of your space blanket makes it look shiney and mirror-like in IR just like it does in a visual camera. SteveBaker (talk) 02:21, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
I do not believe that, since at night there is no "sun" that provides illumination for it to be shiny or mirror-like. May I remind you that in the dark, a mirror is not shiny or mirror-like. If it was a concern that the space blanket would shine when a searchlight was turned on, then a layer of camoflage material over it would be the solution. (talk) 12:46, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
But there are lots of other things emitting IR light - grass, trees, bricks...all sorts of things. The whole point of using IR is because there is lots of it around at night. Putting camoflage over the space blanket would certainly help - but even so, the blanket will gradually warm up from the person's body heat - and then it'll be glowing with the heat anyway. I've spent years of my life making a careful computer graphics simulation of infrared cameras for the US military - what you see through those things is not in the slightest bit what you'd think. Most of the stuff you see on TV is not IR - it's night vision goggles and those only work in the near infra-red. Proper infrared cameras see in the mid to far IR band. SteveBaker (talk) 03:19, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
The footage I've seen on tv from helicopters using just using passive IR at night just shows a few blurry images of people, hot car engines and so on at low definition. People are picked out by being a bright blob against a dark background. The helicopter is high in the sky and zooming in a lot. Most people have been trying to hide in undergrowth or woodland. If you have enough breeze to mix with and dilute the air warmed by your body, and to keep the space blanket at the same temperature as the ground or twigs and branches, then you should be invisible to the sort of searching I have seen. Ideally you would have the space blanket stretched out above you like a tent or awning. You could even have two of them one above the other. Taking an IR photo and going over it inch by inch is another matter. (talk) 12:18, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
You could also try putting a large bag of ice over your head and shoulders. This would be more likely to work when the environment was cold, and not on a hot summer's night. (talk) 21:05, 6 February 2010 (UTC)
If you took an overhead IR image of the terrain (grassland, brush, whatever) where you planned to hide, couldn't you print up an image which had about the average IR reflectivity of that terrain, on an irregularly shaped sheet of insulating material, or bag which had enough cooling (coldpacks) or thermal mass to prevent heating up for a while, then deploy it when the helicopter was about to pass over? I would expect that it would be quite possible to create a blind which would make a person far less detectable than if he were just standing/running/under a bush. Sounds like a good one for Mythbusters. Edison (talk) 20:02, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Are we talking about passive IR, where the camera just records the heat of the surroundings, or active IR where there is also an infra red "dark light" that shines IR on things? Hiding from the latter would be more difficult I expect. (talk) 22:19, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm talking about passive IR - but certainly some police helicopters have IR searchlights - and that makes hiding from the camera even tougher...not least because the miscreant can't see where it's shining...or even know that it IS shining! SteveBaker (talk) 03:19, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

You could use a Emergency Cold weather Blanket this keeps the heat in and stops it radiating out if you maganged to jump into a freezing river then place your self in oneto three of these it would hide you from Thermal cameras but your body would need to be cold hence jump in a river first.Chromagnum (talk) 07:19, 7 February 2010 (UTC)

Exchange rate[edit]

I am trying to find out the exchange rate between the Cypriot Pound and the UK pound. The time of the period required is from the 20th April 2002 and 20th May 2002. I require this information for tax purposes. Any advice as to where the information can be found will be greatly appreciated. Thanks Doug —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bargainsniffer (talkcontribs) 23:24, 2 February 2010 (UTC) might have historical information, otherwise try typing in (Exchange rates history) into google. Prokhorovka (talk) 23:51, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Yep Xe has them available via this page. An example output (for April 20th 2002) is here. Nanonic (talk) 23:53, 2 February 2010 (UTC)