Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2010 February 8

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February 8[edit]

Avatar[edit]

Is Sam Worthington really paraplegic? His legs look convincing in the movie... 117.194.230.236 (talk) 06:21, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

No, he can walk. See Wikipedai article Sam Worthington. --220.101.28.25 (talk) 06:57, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
CGI -> http://www.ugo.com/movies/best-worst-special-effects-in-avatar -- 87.112.154.130 (talk) 13:00, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Who Had the Highest Power Level?[edit]

In the animated series, Dragon Ball (including the original, Z and GT), which character had the highest power level? Acceptable (talk) 07:06, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Most people's power level's aren't over 9,000. Shadowjams (talk) 10:49, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
"The highest power level ever officially stated was from the Daizenshuu guides, in which Super Saiyan Goku had a power level of 150,000,000 while battling Frieza on Planet Namek." [1]. Quickly scanning [2] suggests Frieza at "Over 1,000,000" is the highest level in the anime series. FiggyBee (talk) 11:00, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
yes, but is that green power? what kind of carbon footprint does it make? --Ludwigs2 23:26, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Boooooooooo... Booooooooooooooo... Get off the staaaaaaaaage... 130.126.63.29 (talk) 04:16, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Another question about female infant deaths in China[edit]

If the number is 21 deaths out of 1000 and should be 16-17 deaths out of 1000 if there were no bias against female infants, then in terms of scale, the tragedy is one of the largest. Why is this not talked about more? Or are there reasons other than bias? 12thdegree (talk) 07:47, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

From the lede of Missing women of Asia (the article referred to above):
The phenomenon of the missing women of Asia is a shortfall in the number of women in Asia relative to the number that would be expected if there was no sex-selective abortion or female infanticide or if the newborn of both sexes received similar levels of health care and nutrition.
The phenomenon was first noted by the Indian Nobel Prize–winning economist Amartya Sen in an essay in The New York Review of Books in 1990,[1] and expanded upon in his subsequent academic work. Sen originally estimated that more than a 100 million women were "missing" (in the sense that their potential existence had been eliminated either through sex selective abortion, infanticide or inadequate nutrition during infancy).
Research conducted by Monica Das Gupta and others has identified a number of societal factors responsible for the elimination of females phenomenon.[2]
The original articles by Das Gupta and Sen may provide more reasons for this tragedy, but briefly, as in Das Gupta's title, "son preference". A longer answer is patriarchy. Many peasant economies throughout the world practice patrilocality, so a girl who marries leaves her birth family and their subsistence farm, and her economic input as an adult goes instead to the farm or business of her husband's family. In addition, her parents may have to pay a dowry to marry her off, so the birth of a daughter represents a sink of that family's money and energy, a losing investment, in crude terms. They are better off investing in their sons, who will by social custom inherit the land (patrilineality) and thus the obligation to care for their aging parents. (Those societies that practice the reverse, a bride price, protect their daughters as the original cash cows.) BrainyBabe (talk) 08:36, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
I see there is some attention but to me it seems like an issue that is rarely brought up. Also China is a bride price society. 12thdegree (talk) 10:26, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Post removed from thread ([3]).
Removed my response since it no longer applies. 12thdegree (talk) 11:00, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
It is talked about. You may not have noticed. As recently as a couple weeks ago, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences issued a study about the 24 million excess men which received wide media coverage.[4] Rmhermen (talk) 14:44, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
The truth is that this is going to be a really difficult question to get a factual answer to. The Chinese government doesn't want investigations done, and it's really hard to do any kind of study without widespread access to the people, so a definitive answer to "are there reasons other than bias" is going to be pretty much impossible. As for "why is this not talked about more", we can only speculate. If asked to speculate I might suggest a) it's hard to really commit to a cause that you can do nothing about b) there are actually several tragedies on similar or bigger scale that we could do something about, like African AIDS, child malnourishment in Africa, Third World deaths due to easily preventable diseases (and unclean water) c) human beings have a remarkable capacity to ignore tragedies that don't affect them - especially slow and undramatic ones. But as I say, that's just speculation. DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:44, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
(ec)I don't see your statement above as soapboxing. Inasmuch as these phantom girls have not-existed by human decisions, as opposed to biological variation or statistical fluke, I think reasonable people will have no problem in describing this as a tragedy. What is perhaps more interesting in the context of a reference desk is that the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has called attention to this as a "serious demographic problem", according to this BBC story last month:
More than 24 million Chinese men of marrying age could find themselves without spouses by 2020.<...>The gender imbalance among newborns is the most serious demographic problem for the country's population of 1.3 billion. <...>It cites sex-specific abortions as a major factor, due to China's traditional bias towards male children. The academy says gender selection abortions are "extremely common".
(Post edit conflict) The CASS is a prestigious, state-affiliated think tank, so it is not entirely true to assert that "the Chinese government does not want investigations done": some parts of it clearly do. BrainyBabe (talk) 14:50, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
In the same vein as DJ's point, while the ~20 deaths per live births for girls in China may seem a big tragedy to the OP, others may consider the ~90 deaths per live birth overall in Nigeria et al a big tragedy as well, some may consider it a bigger one. In terms of numbers, the ~50 deaths per live births overall in India would be a larger number of infants who some may feel don't have to die, particularly given the higher fertility rate (~1.8 cf ~2.7). In other words, how big a tragedy this is clearly relative and not something the RD can answer and the question of whether it receives enough attention considering the extent of the tragedy ditto.
Also I agree with BB that there are clearly people affliated with the Chinese government who do care (although their concern may more often be the societal effects of a gender imbalance and include all practices that lead to the imbalance not just infant mortality) and with Rmhermen that the issue clearly does receive attention in the media.
Nil Einne (talk) 15:52, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
We are not being asked to vote for the biggest tragedy of all time; it isn't a competition. There seem to be two questions: how bad is the situation, and why is the amount of media coverage not commensurate with its scale? The former is more factual and the latter interpretive.
The OP used the phrase "one of the largest" [tragedies]. If we are to go by absolute numbers of human deaths, then yes, this would on the face of it seem to be one of the biggest of our time. Malaria, for example, kills one to three million people a year, mostly African children, and is largely preventable. If we are to go by relative numbers, then we have to decide what we are comparing: boys and girls in China, girls in China and girls in India, or babies of both sexes in China and those in Nigeria? (By the way, infant mortality is expressed as deaths per 1000 births.)
The reference desks have a respectable history of number-crunching, and of course researching to find the data in the first place. DJ is correct that these are difficult questions to answer, but not that they can only be attempted with access to people: what is needed is access to the information, e.g. Chinese census figures, or whatever the CASS has drawn from, which may or may not be public to some degree.
As for the amount of airplay these problems get, I'm with DJ on this. For purposes of comparison, see Missing white woman syndrome and Media bias. Decisions made at a family level rarely make headlines on other continents. BrainyBabe (talk) 17:39, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
In terms of number crunching, World population says there's currently about 134 million births per year. List of countries by infant mortality rate gives a figure of 42.09 for the world's infant mortality from the CIA world fact book. Compare that to a rate for a developed country, say 5 and you have 37.09 extra deaths/1000 births per year or 4,970,060 per year. Not as high as I expected I admit, but I can easily see that working up to well over 100 million over the past 30 years. For example a crude test of multipling it by 30 gives 149 million. This is obviously rather crude since the number of births varied up and down and the infant mortality has varied I presume primarily down. But it may not be far from the truth
Of course if you looked at the list you probably noticed the UN Populations Division gives a different figure (49.4) and in particular gives 73.7 for the under 5 mortality. A developed country rate isn't much worse then the infant mortality so let's take 7 as our ideal target for under 5s, and we end up with 66.7 extra deaths/1000 births instead or 8,937,800 per year. 268 million from my crude estimate over 30 years. Of course this figure will include some of those missing 100 million.
Achieving a world average infant mortality akin to the developed world may seem an unrealistic goal in the short term, but it does illustrate why 100 million missing girls is clearly not the only problems many may seem worth tackling even from a pure numbers standpoint.
Nil Einne (talk) 20:44, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
One thing that isn't clear to me, am I right this 100 million missing girls includes all ages? If so an important point that I haven't seen mentioned yet is a contributing factor (even in China to a limited extent) and particularly in the more developed parts of Asia likely isn't only involving deaths but lifes. If one or both parents want a son and they only have daughters, there's a fair chance, depending on their circumstances they'll keep having children until they get one or decide they can't support any more children. If they already have a son/s but no daughters, they're only going to keep trying if they want more children.
While this won't create an extreme bias or the 100 million, it can definitely create some bias. (More unfortunately and back to the issue of deaths, if they have more children then they can really support then their more likely to have their children die, and of course back to the vein of the earlier question they may prioritise the son/s over the daughter/s when it comes down to it.)
There may already be some estimates of how big a difference that makes but it's easy to imagine a very simple model you can test. For example, if all parents stop having children after two if they have at least one son (I said very simple), 50% of those with 2 daughters only will have another child, 25% with 3 daughters only will have another child, and 10% with 4 daughters only will have another child.
Nil Einne (talk) 20:44, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Allegedly that does not have any effect at all on gender balance, but I'm not quite sure so I've posted on the mathematics desk for someone to confirm it. Stay tuned! --antilivedT | C | G 09:36, 9 February 2010 (UTC)


<unindent>But what seems different about the tragedy of bias mortality is that it's the result of many deliberate decisions. Millions of malaria deaths are terrible but do not have disturbing effect of so many ordinary people doing unthinkable things. That's the primary reason I feel it's odd this isn't a huge attention getting issue. 12thdegree (talk) 05:34, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

12thdegree, you make the assumption that an unborn child is a tragedy, which is a value judgment that may not be shared by the parents (among others). Second, you assume that this subject is not being discussed sufficiently, which is a value judgment which may not be shared by those who know something about the subject. Third, you make the statement “China is a bride price society,” without any supporting evidence. Fourth, you postulate that because there is human decision-making involved, somehow the “tragedy” is greater than if the cause was biological variation or statistical fluke, which may not be shared by those who believe in the individual’s right to choose what to do with his or her own body. Finally, underlying the entire discussion is a touching faith in Chinese statistics that is simply not borne out by experience. DOR (HK) (talk) 09:26, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
DOR, this discussion has nothing to do with unborn fetuses. You should read the discussion more closely. This is about the mortality rate of female infants before the age of one. Yes I assume the tragedy is greater if a parent waits longer to take a sick one year old to a hospital in the hope that she will die and give way to a male. This is also criminal, showing a universal repugnance towards such behavior.
China is a bride price society. This is common knowledge. If you wish to make a contrary statement, don't be so coy. Say what you want to say outright. If you are actually unaware China is a bride price society, then read a little before commenting. 12thdegree (talk) 10:10, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Why do you keep harping on this point? As pointed out by BrainyBabe, a bride price would make girls more attractive to parents, not less, and as our article says (and many more references I found attest) bride prices in modern China are mostly symbolic, with the groom's family giving gifts as part of the betrothal, and the bride's family giving gifts in return as part of the wedding. In a traditional western wedding, the bride's family pays for everything, often causing considerable financial strain, but it's interesting that we (for a given value of "we") don't denigrate that custom as "husband price"... FiggyBee (talk) 12:56, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
12thdegree, I can understand your confusion, as our bride price article starts with ancient practice, and then mixes China -- clearly stated as traditional, rather than current practice -- in with examples that might be current. And, the subject is one I'm familiar with. DOR (HK) (talk) 08:51, 10 February 2010 (UTC)
A Wall Street Journal article says that it's a continued custom. [5] 12thdegree (talk) 11:02, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

starvation and fat reserves[edit]

If two people of the same weight/mass and background etc are both set to starve, man A got fat by eating burgers and chocolates while Man B got fat from overeating vegitables and healthy things. Would the healthy man live longer as his fat reserves are made from healthier origins? If not, why not, and any other related info would be of help. Just curious, Thanks.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.172.58.82 (talkcontribs) 10:57, 8 February 2010

Well, fat is fat - but the other consequences of eating so much might make a difference. If you got fat from eating burgers and chocolates, you might expect some serious cholestorol issues and perhaps dental problems. But the guy who ate only vegetables would have had to have eaten a collossal volume of the stuff in order to get that fat. It's hard to say who would be worse off - but whichever it is, I don't think it could be due to differences in the composition of the fat they laid down in the process. SteveBaker (talk) 13:55, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
The unhealthy diet may've contributed to increased insulin resistance which would influence fat loss. But yes, stored calories are stored calories. So if you had identical twins with the exact same blood sugar levels, body fat percentages, etc and the only difference is the source of the extra calories, you should expect the weight loss to be very similar. In practice, you do not get these sorts of perfect matches.--droptone (talk) 14:54, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Pesticides and other toxic substances bioaccumulate, i.e. creatures higher up the food chain will store more of them in their body fat. This is an issue particularly for the Inuit, whose traditional diet is predominantly meat. Studies are looking at the effects of polychlorinated biphenyls and persistent organic pollutants in the body; the breast milk of Inuit mothers is extraordinarily high in synthetic nasties. (See Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic by Marla Cone, Grove Press.)It would be interesting to compare the composition of an Inuk's body fat to that of, say, a vegan Indian (there are millions of devout Hindus), or better yet, someone who lives beyond the reach of agrochemicals and air-borne pollution, such as one of the uncontacted people of the deep forests, much romanticised as the noble savage. I can only speculate as to whether these individuals would suffer different physical effects from a crash diet such as the OP proposes, but I would love to read any research on the subject. BrainyBabe (talk) 15:39, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

About U.S.[edit]

please let me know about Seattle(U.S) city because i am going to visit in near future?

thank you —Preceding unsigned comment added by 117.197.233.77 (talk) 12:49, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Read Seattle, also have a look at Seattle's entry on Wikitravel. --Richardrj talk email 12:57, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
If you are headed there very soon (say for the nearby Winter Olympics), you may want to note the climate section. And be sure to eat the salmon. Rmhermen (talk) 14:34, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Watch out for the trolls. Comet Tuttle (talk) 18:32, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Poland[edit]

I am looking for map and/or articles on the following: I would like to see a map of the population of Poland and its ethnic make up prior to 1939 and then in say 1946. This would be really interesting for me thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 62.172.58.82 (talk) 14:19, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Historical demography of Poland and Expulsion of Germans after World War II have the raw numbers but are short on maps. Rmhermen (talk) 14:38, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm having a weirdly difficult time finding a post-war map, but here is one of ethnicity as determined by language, dating from 1931. - Fullobeans (talk) 05:26, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Is 'reckon' the right word?[edit]

I'm currently tryng to put together a short fanfic. In it, one character is unsure about joining his buddies in a hot tub. The reason that is, because he remembers a double rescue in one day. The second of it was he and his buddies tried to help a passed out man in a hot tub. When they pulled the victim out, it was too late. In the same fanfic, another character is encouraged by his buddies to sing barbershop music with them. Soon, the first character joins the second character and their buddies in the hot tub and sing barbershop music. I don't know if 'reckon' is the right word to use in the title.24.90.204.234 (talk) 15:00, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Sorry but your question is not clear. In order to give a view on whether or not "reckon" is the right word in the title, we'd need to know the title – which, as far as I can see, you don't give. --Richardrj talk email 15:06, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
(e/c; a guess on what the IP is trying to say) "Reckon" is not usually to mean "remember", rather as a synonym for "I count" or "I think". Correct usage would be "I reckon there are three hundred dogs on Facebook," or "I reckon Bob would be stupid enough to do that again." It's sort of colloquial, anyway, and I would leave it out of any serious writing. Xenon54 / talk / 15:07, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
There was a thread about the use of "reckon" not long ago[6] Alansplodge (talk) 17:48, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
If you're willing to utilise something of a neologism, you might use "Re-ken", utilising the Northern English dialect/Scots word "ken" meaning "to know" (as in "D'ye ken John Peel", for example). (The corresponding Scots word for "remember" is "mind".) 87.81.230.195 (talk) 19:17, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
I reckons we dasn't judge until we can do a recon on the title, whereupon there will be a reckoning. Clarityfiend (talk) 01:13, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Sending Gift Parcels from UK to Cuba.[edit]

I am just back from a fabulous holiday to Havana and Cayo Coco. We had the advantage of being advised to take with us lots of small and inexpensive gifts to hand out to the lovely Cuban folk, such as pens, pencils, toiletries, fragrances and soap, all of which were greatly appreciated. But we met one young guy who was a member of the entertainments crew in our last hotel who wanted to learn to speak English with a British/English accent as his teacher of English was a heavily accented Spanish/Cuban teacher which made it difficult for him to be understood by the many British tourists he meets. So I promised to send him a British English/Spanish audio course and now I am home, I have no idea how to go about sending it as I understand that posting parcels to Cuba is at best erratic and unreliable and at worst a total waste of time and money. Any advice here would be welcome. Thanks. 92.30.44.160 (talk) 15:37, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Interaction between a local Cuban and tourists can be fraught with difficulties and it may have been unwise to make your promise. It sounds like you have the guy's name and address and don't want to risk causing trouble for him. You could ask someone going to Cuba to deliver the tape personally. I am sure English speaking radio stations such as BBC are receivable in Cuba on cheap short-wave radios. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 23:33, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
THanks for your response Cuddly, but I have made the promise and ultimately, I will deliver, even it it takes another trip to Cuba. So meanwhile, I fancy trying to send the package of 3 CD's plus a few hard copy pics by regular post. The worst that could happen, surely, is that they would either be lost, or opened and confiscated?????????92.30.41.154 (talk) 00:08, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

US Adoptions[edit]

I often see white couples adopting children of other races in the media. Have there been any documented cases where a black (or another race) couple adopting a white child(ren)? --Reticuli88 (talk) 16:50, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Obviously yes. If you're looking for black celebrities who've adopted white children, I don't really keep up with current pop culture so I don't know. I'd guess also yes. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.43.89.90 (talk) 17:23, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
As 82 says, obviously yes. But [7] suggests unofficial discrimination is still a problem for African American parents wanting to adopt a non-African American child in the US and mentions it was only in 1994 that racial discrimination of adoptive families was officially banned. (It also mentions a documented case.) Interracial adoption also may be of interest and mentions in relation to the US "2% of women of other races adopt white children (estimates include foreign-born)". In fact from that and [8], it appears that white couple - African American child interracial or transracial adoptions in the US were fairly popular at a time but after this drew controversy in the 70s they died down, which isn't that surprising, and the law change was in response to that Nil Einne (talk) 21:25, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Nicole Richie was adopted by Lionel Richie, even though she isn't African-American. Woogee (talk) 19:59, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Scott Fujita was adopted by Japanese parents. And this might be a stretch, but Michael Jackson's children are possibly not really biologically his. Adam Bishop (talk) 22:10, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

Anonymous bank accounts[edit]

Say you have no identity whatsoever, maybe you bumped your head and lost your memory etc etc and no one knows who your are. Are there banks that allow opening accounts that require no or very little identification? Obviously it'd be an extremely basic account, no overdraft or anything. Does something like this exist for homeless people or people in difficult situations where they don't have ID?

In the US, due to I think the Patriot Act, you need 2 forms of government issued ID to open any kind of account. Googlemeister (talk) 17:28, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I should have said in the original question, this is for UK banks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 82.43.89.90 (talk) 20:00, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Major High Street banks in the UK offer a "basic bank account" for people with poor credit history, which does not offer an overdraft facility but will permit deposits and withdrawals, usually a cash card, and sometimes a debit card or cheque book. The exact requirement for opening these accounts varies between banks, and some are less demanding than others, but due to the money laundering regulations some proof of your identity and your address will be required, so your hypothetical amnesiac would have problems until s/he had some official documentation. The Co-operative Bank has a "Cashminder" account which is said to handle difficulties over proving ID sympathetically in a Joseph Rowntree Foundation report here. The Post Office offers what is probably the most basic account you can get - benefits and state pensions can be paid into it by Government departments and withdrawn using a cash card, but you cannot pay a salary into it and it offers none of the other features of a current account. Since anyone in the situation you describe would probably end up being supported by the state, at least in the short term, that would probably be the account for them. In Scotland, "Grand Central Savings" is a project started by the Bank of Scotland and The Big Issue aimed specifically at providing banking for homeless people (see here). Interestingly, it is an extension of a Bank of Scotland initiative to accept Big Issue sellers' badges as sufficient ID to open a basic bank account. Karenjc 20:54, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Let's back up a bit. Never mind bank accounts, what really happens to someone who has lost their memory and whose identity can't be established? I'm guessing it's exceptionally rare, since you would have to have lost all your ID, have nobody from your previous life who was looking for you, and not show up in any fingerprint records. I'm also guessing that most cases of lost memory are accompanied by other symptoms of mental illness, so you would actually stay in hospital. Anyone ever heard of this happening? DJ Clayworth (talk) 02:42, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
There was that case of the guy who couldn't remember anything about himself. I don't remember the exact circumstances but the people in the hospital discovered he could play the piano rather well. That's all I can remember of the story though. I'll see if I can Google something up... He has an article here. Or at least he did. Dismas|(talk) 05:40, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Oop, sorry. Apparently it was a hoax to some extent. The man that I was thinking of is Andreas Grassl. On a strange side note, if you type "piano playing man" into Google, the first page of hits is full of results that include the phrase "...with his penis". Dismas|(talk) 05:45, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Typing piano man into Wikipedia's search box is much safer.--Shantavira|feed me 10:16, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
I didn't remember that he was called the piano man. I'll endeavor to in the future. Dismas|(talk) 11:26, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
Almost everyone has relatives and friends. Even if you cannot remember your name, I'm sure someone will show up soon enough to identify you. Of course, if you are deliberately withholding your identity due to a desire to disappear from your previous life, it might be possible to stay unidentified. Astronaut (talk) 04:40, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
... and if the banks suspect that you are deliberately withholding your identity then they will definitely not allow you to open an account. Dbfirs 10:53, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Homeless[edit]

Say you just decide to stop paying the bills, you loose your house and job etc etc and you are homeless. Does the UK government provide any support or shelter for people who have absolutely nothing, or are you simply left to starve in the street?

I believe you can apply for Jobseeker's Allowance. --Mark PEA (talk) 17:34, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Such a person would generally be eligible for Income Support and Housing Benefit. While such a person would be eligible for accomodation provided by a local authority or housing association, in practice both have insufficient accomodation, and usually only people with children are accomodated. Single and childless homeless people can sometimes find bedsits or B&Bs, but many resort to homeless hostels. Homeless people on the street are usually either those who voluntarily left such hostels (they're very far from nice places) or who have been ejected due to bad behaviour, substance use, or mental health issues. -- 87.112.154.130 (talk) 17:37, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Such person could apply to one of the governmental benefit programs, but not everyone in the UK is entitle to them. Alternatively they could try some charity like Caritas or Shelter. Normally, you are covered during an emergency situation, but charities are not able to deal with the chronic cases of poverty, drug abuse, alcoholism. --ProteanEd (talk) 18:19, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
The article Homelessness contains links to the situations in various countries including England. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 18:31, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
It should be noted that the number of people sleeping rough in the UK is probably low but wildly unknown. Wikipedia claims on one page that the Dept of Local Communities in 2005 said there were 10,000 people, and in 2007 on another page that 500 people were. The latter is sourced. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Prokhorovka (talkcontribs) 18:53, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Her Majesty's Government says 464 actually "sleeping rough" in 2008[9]. Alansplodge (talk) 20:59, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) .... Government departments have to be for something in modern new-speak, but perhaps the Department for Communities and Local Government distinguishes between "homeless people", which includes those whose home is unfit as well as those who don't have a legal right to occupy a home (including sqatters and those who are in B&B, hostels, shelters, caravans, houseboats etc.), totalling perhaps more than 200,000 [10], and those who are actually sleeping on the streets/doorways/parks etc, where recent initiatives by government and local authorities has reduced the number to 464 (claimed in the official count for England in 2009, more than a quarter of these being in the London Borough of Westminster). Dbfirs 21:09, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
[Unindent] In the UK, doing precisely what you suggest would probably leave you with the sole option of begging to survive. To be eligible for Jobseeker's allowance you have to show that you are looking for work and that you did not give up a previous job for no reason. You will not be eligible for any other benefit such as Income Support if you are a single person with no dependents. The local authority will probably view you as intentionally homeless and will not help you find somewhere to live. If you look for rented accommodation you would need to find a deposit and rent in advance, and if you have a history of rent arrears you will be unlikely to be able to borrow the money to do this. (Phil Holmes, but not signed in). --205.168.109.130 (talk) 21:37, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Unless the reason you dropped out and stopped caring about everything was because of mental health problems. If your doctor thinks that's what's going on, you might find yourself receiving sickness benefit and associated benefits. However, you would have to jump through all the hoops for it, which can take a shocking length of time when you are least able to absorb being out of pocket, and requiring you to chase things up when you're least able to cope with paperwork and other people. 86.177.123.1 (talk) 22:37, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Even if you left your job for no good reason, you may later become eligible for Jobseeker's allowance. It may be as much as 26 weeks later. [11] AlmostReadytoFly (talk) 08:38, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
"You will not be eligible for any other benefit such as Income Support if you are a single person with no dependents." I am doubtful that is true. It certainly didnt used to be. If you have assets, apart from a house or flat, that are worth more than several thousand pounds you will not be elibible, but apart from that you will be. I'm fairly certain housing benefit is paid independantly from JSA or income support. Many landlords will accept people who are "on benefits" as its called, particularly for cheaper accommodation. As far as I know, the worst that would happen is that you would have to live in a rather seedy bed & breakfast. If you are crazy enough to spend all the money you are given on drugs or booze or refuse help, then that is another story, although the Salvation Army hostels would still be available. 89.243.182.24 (talk) 20:06, 11 February 2010 (UTC)
If this http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/world_news_america/8513771.stm report is correct, the homeless situation in the US is far worse than anything we get in the UK. 92.24.131.69 (talk) 21:24, 13 February 2010 (UTC)

Durability of shoes - trainers vs "office" shoes[edit]

I'm aware that BOTH categories are fairly broad, but please stay with me. I've always been of the opinion that "smartish" shoes (as distinguished from "smarter" shoes), such as these are usually more durable than trainers for the purpose of walking on pavements. My recent experience seems to suggest otherwise. Can anyone shed any light on this, and perhaps where I can find more durable "smartish" shoes? Thanks.--Leon (talk) 19:47, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

I always choose Clarks shoes for pavement and office walking but Moshulus for smart off-duty wear. Both brands stand up well to all weather walking and are quite smart and very comfortable. 92.30.44.160 (talk) 20:48, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Price and brand does tend to make a big difference in general. And I have to say I would have expected what you experienced, i.e. that sport shoes of the walking type tend to last longer then smartish shoes even when walking on pavement. Nil Einne (talk) 21:16, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
FWIW, my solution to this problem is to wear durable and comfortable shoes to and from the office and to change into flimsy and uncomfortable "office shoes" when I get to the office. The carpet doesn't wear them out much. Marco polo (talk) 21:37, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
Do you drive to work? In my experience, the pedals in a car wear out the soles of shoes quicker than walking or running. Astronaut (talk) 04:34, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
No, but I do walk up a short (~1 mile) but steep hill. Are there ANY technical benefits to smartish shoes over trainers (durability, comfort etc)?--Leon (talk) 06:34, 9 February 2010 (UTC)
In my experience the most hardwearing soles are those made out of solid rubber. Must be rubber not plastic and more importantly solid - no honeycombing or air "bubbles". Thin soles made out of solid rubber are much more hardwearing than thick soles, which are unlikely to be solid or rubber. Avoid thick soles because they crack easily long before they wear out. I imagine this is due to their thickness resulting in more stress on the surface due to leverage, and because they are not solid and made with plastic to save the manufacturer money and stop them being very heavy. I agree that Clarks are a good brand, as they often have solid rubber soles. Vibram is a high-quality brand of sole that is usually or perhaps always solid rubber. So search for Vibram, and buy the shoes that have them. The shoes given in the link by the OP look like trainers to me and not what I'd call smart shoes. So I must be old-fashioned. 92.29.127.70 (talk) 13:47, 9 February 2010 (UTC)

Strange guitar[edit]

So I recently bought an older acoustic guitar I found a pawn shop. On the headstock, it has the name "Gamma", and on the back of the neck there's a little sticker that says "Made in Japan", but that's it. There's nothing else to identify it by. I searched the almighty Google for quite some time and found this review of an electric by what I can probably safely assume is the same company, and there was also some vague post on a Gibson forum somewhere, but that too was about an electric and didn't have much information either. It's very clearly a Martin copy (it looks exactly like this minus of course the name), but it is a very good one and seems comparable to guitars five or six times its price (I paid 100$ for it).The tone is excellent, and it's extremely well built. Has anybody any information on this? I'm wondering if it was Martin's short-lived version of a Squier or something that never really took off. --72.175.196.58 (talk) 21:41, 8 February 2010 (UTC)

I saw this kiwi auction for a similar guitar; you might email the seller and ask if he has any details. --Ludwigs2 23:38, 8 February 2010 (UTC)
The trouble is, there are/were literally hundreds of cheap guitar manufacturers or companies that make cheap knockoffs of more reputable designs. Occasionally, one of these cheapo/knockoff companies becomes famous as their guitars become widely used merely because they are cheap (Danelectro springs to mind) but more often then not, some of these companies make a few guitars for a few years, then disappear from the market, having never made a significant impact. Under the "even a blind dog hits the tree sometimes" principle, its quite possible that some random knockoff cheapo ends up producing a really high-quality sound and keeps a good tune and all of that, so you can find some diamonds in the rough that way. That's likely what happened here; an insignificant manufacturer produced a cheap Martin knock-off that happens to actually sound really good, but since they didn't make any money at it, and never occupied a large market share, they didn't make many guitars and no one noticed them. It could also be that this was a bargin nameplate of a reputable manufacturer, (Like the Jasmine line from Takamine, or the Epiphone line from Gibson), but if that were the case here, it would be getting a lot more press than you are finding. --Jayron32 05:39, 9 February 2010 (UTC)