Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2010 July 21

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July 21[edit]



I just read that the US Democrats "just" broke through a Republican filibuster -- what does this mean (emphasis on the "just")? Did not enough Democrats/Independents agree to signal that they wished the filibuster to be over and then they suddenly changes their mind? DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 02:26, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Today, Carte Goodwin was sworn in, so the Democrats got another Senator, for now, and that was the extra vote they needed. Comet Tuttle (talk) 05:22, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Oh, thanx! DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 14:52, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Personal Opinions on Global Warming[edit]

What are Bjørn Lomborg, Penn Jillette, and Teller's personal opinions on global warming? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:39, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Their own. (Couldn't resist). Moriori (talk) 03:55, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
F T W ! DOR (HK) (talk) 06:18, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
You again?! Okay fine. For what it's worth, the Bjørn Lomborg and Penn Jillette articles cover this. As for Teller, his views are pretty much in line with Jillette's. Dismas|(talk) 10:21, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Following the axiom that "silence implies consent"? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:33, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Breathes there a man....[edit]

Can a man love another man without becoming homosexual ?  Jon Ascton  (talk) 04:41, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

There are lots of kinds of love. I assume you're talking about the sexual, lustful kind? Also, people aren't always 100% straight or homosexual. There are shades between. --mboverload@ 04:46, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Our Sexual orientation article is all about this subject. Comet Tuttle (talk) 05:25, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
If no one is 0% or 100% gay (i.e. grayshades between exist) then how do governmnets (or alike) come to know them, for instance when they are "persecuted" (whatever that means) etc.  Jon Ascton  (talk) 04:56, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Let me ask you a more general question: Is it possible to love someone without it becoming sexual? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 05:43, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Usually people define "homosexual" as "self-identifies as homosexual" since that is pretty much the only reasonable objective definition. --Tango (talk) 06:10, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
This whole business of self-identification bothers me. Whatever one thinks of one's own sexuality, the fact of the matter is that there are societal norms and conventions which have evolved over time and those are what matters. As far as I'm concerned there are only three possible types of human sexuality, straight, gay and bi, and which one you are is defined by who you sleep with. --Viennese Waltz talk 07:50, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Jon Ascton, "shades of grey" exist between white people and black people, but that never stopped anyone from persecuting anyone else. APL (talk) 06:29, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
I love my dad, and I'm not gay. -- Q Chris (talk) 07:43, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Bingo. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:31, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
See Down-low (sexual slang). Everard Proudfoot (talk) 06:14, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
John, just to be clear, what was said was that "people aren't always 100% straight or homosexual". This is not the same as what you then questioned when you said "If no one is 0% or 100% gay". "Aren't always" is not the same as "never". Dismas|(talk) 09:56, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

To address the legal / persecution question, the behavior, not the emotion, is in some places (and for some weird reasons) considered BAD. DOR (HK) (talk) 06:19, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Well, sort of. Legally, DOR (HK) is correct; the society makes it a crime to have sexual contact with another person of the same gender. In practice, though, the police working in a certain neighborhood learn who is reputed to be homosexual and what places are gay hangouts, and then the police raid those places when they feel like it, possibly beating the crap out of apparently-gay people, or arresting them for, say, holding hands, for "disturbing the peace" or "sodomy" or whatever other crime can be applied. The "Background" section of our Stonewall riots article has some pretty good material on the USA's history about this. Apart from criminalizing the sex acts, "persecution" might mean a lot of things. About 500 people were fired from their US government jobs in the 1940s for being homosexual; that seems like a form of persecution. Nowadays, some activists use the word "persecution" to describe "ethically wrong discrimination", and currently in Western countries the focal area for this is the ongoing gay marriage controversy. In other countries the controversy remains simply "being homosexual"; our LGBT rights in Saudi Arabia article, for example, notes that homosexual acts are still illegal there, with a lengthy prison term or execution as punishment. Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:08, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
How did those folks get fired from their jobs? What was the basis for it? Did the government ask, and did 500 respondents stupidly say, "Yes"? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:31, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
No, someone said "I think XYZ is a homo; fire him." There weren't a lot of protections for gay people until very recently. --jpgordon::==( o ) 22:27, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
I wonder what they used for "evidence". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:42, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
The source - it's actually 420 people, not 500, sorry - is this book, which I don't have a copy of; it's cited many times in the Stonewall riots article. With regard to the basis of the firing, here's footnote #1 from that article:

Except for Illinois, which decriminalized sodomy in 1961, homosexual acts, even between consenting adults acting in private homes, were a criminal offense in every U.S. state at the time the Stonewall riots occurred: "An adult convicted of the crime of having sex with another consenting adult in the privacy of his or her home could get anywhere from a light fine to five, ten, or twenty years—or even life—in prison. In 1971, twenty states had 'sex psychopath' laws that permitted the detaining of homosexuals for that reason alone. In Pennsylvania and California sex offenders could be locked in a mental institution for life, and [in] seven states they could be castrated." (Carter, p. 15) Castration, emetics, hypnosis, electroshock therapy and lobotomies were used by psychiatrists to attempt to cure homosexuals through the 1950s and 1960s.(Katz, pp. 181–197.)(Adam, p. 60.)

Comet Tuttle (talk) 00:09, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
There are a whole lot of bi-sexual men. Also consider the identification men who have sex with men. Also, maybe they just got drunk one time :p Jabberwalkee (talk) 15:00, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Yes, love of many kinds is possible without necessarily "becoming homosexual", as the OP puts it. See the Klein Sexual Orientation Grid for one way of interpreting different variables such as sexual attraction, behaviour, fantasies, and emotional, social and lifestyle preferences, as well as self-identification. Human sexuality is more complex than the Kinsey scale would have us believe. BrainyBabe (talk) 17:03, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Flying from Thailand to Israel[edit]

Can a user please tell me when flying by El-Al from Thailand to Israel, over which countries does one fly? Thank you.Simonschaim (talk) 12:47, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Egypt and Israel give each other mutual overflight rights, and Israel has decent relations with Eritrea, Djibouti, and India. Apparently, the usual flight path for El Al planes headed for South or Southeast Asia is to fly south within Israel to Eilat, then over the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea on the Egyptian side to avoid Saudi airspace. The planes continue over the Eritrean and Djiboutian side of the Bab-el-Mandeb, then make an almost 90° turn to proceed east over the Gulf of Aden, avoiding Yemeni and Somali airspace, into the Indian Ocean. El Al has overflight rights for India, so planes could fly over southern India. Israel also has good relations with Myanmar, so flying over southern Myanmar to Bangkok would not be an issue. Marco polo (talk) 14:05, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Here's an intercontinental destination map for El Al that shows the roundabout flight path Marco polo mentions. Note also the flight paths to Hong Kong and Beijing, which go around the Arab countries and Iran. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 22:13, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
You forgot the link. Rimush (talk) 08:22, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Map: --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 12:46, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Thank you. Simonschaim (talk) 04:33, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

Public Speaking by Military Members[edit]

I have heard that a new policy prohibits members of the military from public speaking at any faith based functions. Is this true?

Thank you —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:09, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Short Version : No. It is not true.
In USA the right-wing is always trying to spread rumors that the left it trying to oppress religious freedom. This is more of the same. (To be fair, The left also spreads rumors that the right is trying to oppress religious freedom, but they're rumors of a recognizably different flavor.)
If such a rule were really going into effect, It would cause so much wide-spread outrage from both the left and the right that you wouldn't be able to turn on a television without getting an earful of it!
In any case, here's the lowdown right here on Snopes.
APL (talk) 16:05, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
To extract the key information from the Snopes link:
In short, according to the U.S. Army, this issue was not a "faith-based" issue or a substantially new interpretation of policy, but rather an application of a long-standing policy that prohibits uniformed military personnel from engaging in most political, fundraising, and religious activities. They are allowed to participate in such activities, but only while off-duty and out of uniform, and only as long as they are not paid for their time.
Basically, the policy is intended to avoid giving anyone the impression that the armed forces specifically endorse any particular charity, political party, or religion. This is not new to the Obama administration. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 20:57, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Also, it would presumably be a breach of the 1st amendment for someone in the employ of the government to promote religion - and soldiers are presumed to be in the pay of the government whenever they are in uniform. SteveBaker (talk) 01:55, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
United States Air Force Chaplain Corps, Chaplain Corps (United States Army) and United States Navy Chaplain Corps might disagree with you Steve. Googlemeister (talk) 14:52, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
To clarify, there is a distinction between providing pastoral care to their own employees, and implying (by word or deed) to the public that the Armed Forces specifically endorse one religion or another. The Chaplain Corps are not meant to proselytize. The distinction may be subtle, but it is extremely important. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:02, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Toyota model in England[edit]

Does the 97 Toyota Corolla DX in the United States have a nearly identical model (body design) in England? I tried to look it up, but the models in England are hatchback, estate, and saloon. -- kainaw 17:59, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

To translate; "hatchback" equals "liftback", "estate car" equals "station wagon" and "saloon car" equals "sedan".
The WP article Toyota Corolla (E110) says: "Unlike the Japanese counterparts, the North American Corolla at this time was only offered as a four-door compact sedan." If this is correct, the "saloon" model is the one you want. Alansplodge (talk) 18:58, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

Railroad lights[edit]

I joined a site a few years back which I had hoped would provide answers to these questions, but no one did.

I used to live on a main railroad line (actually, several hundred feet from the railroad at the end of a long driveway connecting to the road running parallel). Going both north and south from my house along the railroad tracks, there were basic sets of lights. Both north and south of my house, the first set of lights had green at the top, yellow in the middle and red at the bottom, green being normal, and one set of lights facing each direction. The next set of lights, in each direction, had two sets of lights facing each way. Yellow was normal on top, and the bottom set could be either red or green but not yellow. I forget which color was normal. Farther down the track going south, there were two full ses of lights facing each way. I don't remember the normal colors. I've forgotten what lights were next going north. The final set of lights I remember before a town had a structure over the railroad, with red, yellow and green possible on two sets of lights at the top, and always red below each of those. One set of lights like that is on a track I walked over yesterday.

What do these various sets of lights mean?Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:32, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Far as I know, those are used like traffic lights, in an area where a single track is bidirectional. I'll see what I can find out. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:35, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
And as I suspected, Railway signals were the inspiration for Traffic signals. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:37, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Thanks. I even asked at the local railroad museum about 20 years ago and they tried to get my to look for guidelines which I would have to buy (today's equivalent would be going to eBay). That was before the Internet.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:39, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
The traffic signals article mentions that the original traffic lights were the semaphore type, like the railroads originally used. That's evident in some cartoons of the 1940s. Obviously, lights are easier to see on cloudy days and the like. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:42, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
I'm afraid the article was not helpful. With all the different countries, I should add I'm in the United States.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 18:44, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Does this diagram help? (They are the U.S. and Canadian signals authorized by NORAC.) — Michael J 17:30, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

There are a few things to say here. First, the original poster seems to be describing signals with different lamps for each color, so that only one is on at a time, like traffic lights on a road. This type of signal is standard practice in Britain but in North America I have only seen them used on subway systems and most railroads use signals where the lamps are permanently lit and a colored filter is used to show red, yellow, or green. With the old-style semaphore signals you could see the colored disks, which rotated along with the signal arm (the idea was that you'd see the arm position in daytime and the colors at night), but the modern style has the works concealed so you just see a single lamp that changes color. (I suppose today an apparatus with this appearance might use LEDs internally instead.) In Britain they call this a "searchlight signal", as distinct from the other kind, which they call a "colour-light signal".

When there is just one colored light, the basic meaning is that green = clear to go (typically implying that the next signal is not red), yellow = prepare to stop at next signal (typically because it is red), red = stop here. Stop signals may be for any of several reasons, a conflicting train, a switch not set for your route, scheduling reasons, etc. Yellow may call for a specific speed, or on lines using written train orders, it may also mean to pick up a train order at this station with no need to stop. (Someone holds it up on a stick to be grabbed by a crew member leaning out.)

When multiple lights are used on the same pole, allowing a combination of colors, different meanings are possible. There is an elaborate standard code used on many North American lines, already linked above. I used to live in an apartment from which I could see every day a signal that used a different code: each light was used for a different way that the train might go, and had the usual meaning. So at this signal only one light in a column could be yellow or green: Green-red-red was "go, you will take right-hand track", red-green-red was "go, you will take middle route", and so on.

Subway systems and some railways may have their own codes. On the Toronto subway, where there are two lights on a pole the top one has the usual meaning while the bottom one is red if the top is red, and otherwise green for "you will take the usual route" and yellow for "you will turn off". (At the specific signal illustrated, there is no yellow bottom lamp because there is only one track that trains passing this signal are allowed to take. The presence of a second lamp just marks it as a "home signal", subject to possible manual control.) Likewise on some lines of the New York subway.

If you see signals that are "normally green", it probably indicates that they are controlled automatically. On railways where each train requires an explicit action by a signalman before it is authorized to proceed, the signals would be "normally red". The latter system is usual in Britain but I don't know if any North American railroads use it.

This is a big topic. There is no substitute for talking to someone with knowledge of the specific railway whose signals you want to know about. --Anonymous, edited 05:12 UTC, July 24, 2010.

the study of spiders[edit]

I hate spiders and so would like to know which ones are which. What I am looking for is a book on spiders that is much like a bird book. One can look up what one has seen by either where it was spotted or by what it looks like and therby can find the name and some useful information. Can some one sugest such a book for me, if it exists. The format that I would hope to find would be similar to that of Dr.Richard Liversidge's books on ornathology. Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:12, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

As you appear to be located in England, this one looks to be the sort of thing you want. Deor (talk) 21:19, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
I haven't seen this one, but Collins Field Guides are generally excellent. Alansplodge (talk) 18:42, 22 July 2010 (UTC)


My band and I would like to play a gig or two in Paris, after having met a Parisian band in England, I have promised my band that I will get this organised. Can some one please sugest some small venues where a five piece band might play in Paris. What I would ultimatly require is an email address for the pub landlord or the person that would organise gigs for small unsigned bands. Or any such venue that has a website where I can get this information. We play original music. also, how accurate is google translate? Any help in this would be greatly appreciated, and I will buy you a beer if you come and see us play. Thanks for everything Wikipedians. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:17, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

It might help to know what kind of band. Is it punk metal, or jazz, or what? Googlemeister (talk) 20:35, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
we play a mixture of styles some where between pop, metal, jazz and funk. a bit like Guano apes meets evanesence meets gojira with a hint of the dave brubeck quartet, and a smidgen of incubus, but saying that it is not really for me to judge what type of music we play, I am just the bassist and manager. lots of fast drumming, female vocals, keyboards, pink floyd-esk guitar solos, and funky bass lines. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:47, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
You might find it an easier start to try one of the many Irish pubs in Paris. This search might help you find a suitable venue and quite probably with English speaking staff. Astronaut (talk) 22:50, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
How about asking the band from Paris you met directly? They might offer suggestions, and You could take it from there once you have any leads on a place that would be sympathetic to you. --Ouro (blah blah) 07:56, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
You could browse the forthcoming event listings on Last FM and follow the links to the venues in those listings. Or buy a copy of the Time Out Guide to Paris and go through the venue listings there. --Viennese Waltz talk 08:10, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
Back when my band was still active, what we usually did was to browse bands' Myspace profiles from the city we wanted to go, contact one or two whose style we liked and offer to set up a gig for them in Munich if they in turn organized something for us in their city. Wonderful times...that was a couple years ago, and I know Myspace is no longer as popular as it used to be, but from a quick glance at our band's long-neglected Myspace page there's still quite a bit of traffic so you should still be able to do that (or something similar, quite frankly I have no idea which social networking site is used by bands these days :) ) -- Ferkelparade π 09:40, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
My experiences with Google translate (the person did ask) have not been particularly positive. The results look silly nearly every time.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 20:20, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
Here are some samples I found of Google translate (again, the person asked):
The company has its origins in the construction department of the VÖEST that after 1945 with the restoration of the mill was entrusted Linz.
In 1995, the GIA of Voest-Alpine and removed from a 100 -% - daughter of the then newly established VA TECH.
As the most important invention is still true as the LD process by which over 50% of the steel mills will be operated worldwide.
The VA Tech is in the Austrian Industries (a former project of the former conglomerate ÖIAG Boss Hugo Michael Sekyra emerged).
1997 1946 have been since the nationalized "ELIN-UNION AG" and the 1955 Upper Austrian company also nationalized electric Bau AG and transferred to the " VA Tech Elin EBG "together, today's division for infrastructure.
I needed to translate some Wikipedia articles from German to improve articles I was working on. This is not helpful.Vchimpanzee · talk · contributions · 20:44, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Gas grill[edit]

I have a regular propane BBQ -- is it necessary to turn the propane tank closed after each use, or is turning the flame knobs to an off position sufficient? Will gas leak if the tank is not cranked 'closed' or is there any greater risk of exploding, etc.? DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 21:21, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

I think it's just a matter of common sense. Places for leaks to occur when tank valve is closed: the tank valve. Places for leaks to occur when the tank valve is open: all those hoses and connections between the tank and the burners. --jpgordon::==( o ) 22:20, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
What Jpgordon said. I was unpleasantly surprised recently to find that I was out of propane on a new tank. I had failed to close the valve on the tank itself. Never again, I say. Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:55, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
I also worry about rats/squirrels gnawing through the rubber hose. I've had various bits of my car chewed by rodents over the years - and I don't want to think about what could happen if they chewed the BBQ hoses while they were under pressure. I also strongly suspect (without actual evidence) that the gas gradually leaks out of the various fittings and hoses between the cylinder and the front panel controls. But the safety issue is the thing that bothers me the I certainly shut off the cylinder at the valve. SteveBaker (talk) 01:46, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

What would be the proper term for "Italian bread" from an American bakery?[edit]

It there a specific traditional European loaf in Italy from which we derive the American term "Italian bread" (like "French bread" = "baguette") or is this a development of Italian-American bakeries? (Question referred from Talk:List of Italian dishes#Italian Bread?.)Novangelis (talk) 21:45, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

I learnt to make two types of Italian flat bread from Jamie Oliver's first book. Both ciabatta and focaccia are available from my local (in the UK) Italian sandwich shop. The former is more common, it can be found in most supermarkets and many other bakeries here. The later tastes better, 'cos it has loads of olive oil in it. Restaurant chain Bella Italia makes the best fresh focaccia I ever tasted. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to go to Italy to try out the Real McCoy. --Chan Tai Man 22:24, 21 July 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Chantaiman (talkcontribs)
Generally, the Italian bread sold at American grocery stores can refer to one of two items, neither of which would ever be found in Italy:
  • Prepackaged, sliced white sandwich bread with sesame seeds is called "Italian bread". See [1]. Its basically "wonder bread with sesame seeds".
  • An oversized loaf of white bread, roughly the size and shape of a flattened rugby ball, is also often called "Italian bread": [2]. This is usually fresh-baked bread (different from the chemical foam with sesame seeds cited above), and is distinguished in American bakeries from "French bread" which is usually the same recipe, but baked in narrower tube shapes, like this: [3].
So, there you have it. --Jayron32 06:38, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
I was the one who originally asked the question. Thanks for the information! Still, should there be some sort of notation for that? How the Italian bread labeled as such in American bakeries is basically a fatter French bread and isn't actually Italian? There's no article on the bread as we know it, and not having it mentioned under that article could cause confusion. Even my Italian grandmother calls it Italian Bread. A Google search for 'Italian bread' brings up mostly the fat loaf, adding even more confusion to the issue. (talk) 15:01, 27 July 2010 (UTC)