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

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Miscellaneous desk
< March 20 << Feb | March | Apr >> March 22 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Miscellaneous Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.

March 21[edit]

what is this study called ?[edit]

Study about words those sound alike in different languages, how their meanings relate to each other. What is this study called ? Any reference in web ? If anything not there, please suggest me a new ?-logy. Also, what we can call if we group words based on how they sound / are pronounced / uttered. For example, we have thesaurus, for grouping words together based on their meanings. --V4vijayakumar (talk) 09:31, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Comparative linguistics? --Saddhiyama (talk) 10:38, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Words that sound the same but have different meanings (usually within one language) are homophones. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 21:13, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Sounds like the false friends article could be helpful to you. (talk) 00:14, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for your responses. Comparative linguistics looks related. Both homophones and false friends have different meanings, whereas in my case I am looking for words sound same and mean related. -- (talk) 02:47, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

I'm not sure about a study, but I think Cognateis the term for the type of words you are referring to. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:49, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

no wonder you are not sure about this, even I am not sure about what is it called, or how to name this. This is just fun finding sound alike words in different languages, and try to see whether they are related in any ways. --V4vijayakumar (talk) 04:16, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
You might get better answers on the Language Reference Desk. (Not sure of the etiquette with a semi- active discussion , or I'd just move this myself.) BrainyBabe (talk) 19:03, 23 March 2010 (UTC)

Adding one more reference; consider these two words both mean the same, "Money"

 Cash (English)
 காசு (Tamil) - pronounced as kaasu

also, cross posted to language reference desk. --V4vijayakumar (talk) 06:14, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

So, having written a book...[edit]

I'm not sure this is the best place to put this, but can't think of anywhere better. as the title suggests I have written a book and now seek to get it published. However there are a few points I want to make sure of before I start the long process of finding a publisher.

1-I have heard that many companies, recieving thousands of letters, emails and so on every day will ignore every one not sent via an agent and throw them away without a second thought, but is this the case for every single company, or are there some, perhaps small companies that don't have too many submissions to deal with each day, that might take a quick look first?

2-would sending a letter/email to every single potential publisher in the country at the same time work, rather than waiting for a reply from each before moving on to the next?

3-As for getting an agent, there are thousands out there, I have heard that there is an entire huge book on nothing but their contact details, how do I choose from amongst them, or would I have to write to/email every one that might be interested?

4-A final point, hypothetically could I sell all rights to the first book to the company for a very small fee, such that they can then print it, getting more of the profits, see how well (or not) it does and perhaps consider a more traditional arrangement for the rest? (talk) 10:26, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

The ref desk really isn't the best place for this type of question. Try google. This search has loads of pages giving advice on getting published. --Tango (talk) 10:52, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
I have certainly heard the same, that reputable publishers very often do not read any unsolicited submission that hasn't come via an agent. It is the disreputable or vanity publishers who will often accept "anything" (at the author's expense).
As for sending letters/emails to every publisher, I recently read a story (either here on the ref desks or elsewhere) about a guy who bugged so many publishers so often that they have taken out cease and desist notices and written open letters to him in a attempt to get him to stop bugging them (I wish I could remember the guy's name or find a link to the story I read) - you certainly do not want to get into that situation.
Getting an agent, might be difficult, but it is probably easier than finding a publisher. You might find the information in Writers' and Artists' yearbook useful. Astronaut (talk) 11:12, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Searching for the above mentioned link, I notice you asked a very similar question in December. The answers you got then, contain some advice about publishing. Astronaut (talk) 11:17, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
I've actually heard from friends who have gotten "real" publishing deals (e.g. with Knopf and FSG) that getting the good agent is the hardest and most important aspect. Once you can convince a good agent that your project is worth taking on, they are the ones who really know how to get the big publishers on board. That is how my friends managed their good deals—they spent maybe a year finding the right agent, and then the agent figured out the rest. I haven't done this myself so I can't say, and my sample size is small (two), but it is something I have heard. How one distinguishes between good and bad agents is probably by the difficulty of getting them! --Mr.98 (talk) 14:33, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

So in summary the only companies that will even take a look without an agent are those I should be avoiding, and the only way to get an agent is to send at least an outline of my book idea to every single one? (talk) 15:23, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

This is basically true. 1. The smaller publishers do have a slush pile but the larger publishers send back form letters telling you they did not read your manuscript. 2. This is called doing a 'multiple submission' and you're still stonewalled by item #1. 3. The "Writer's Market" comes out yearly and lists publishers and agents. Go to your library for this. By the way, googling "agent query letter" is valuable. 4. The publishers want to print a book that will sell millions of copies, not a book that they get for close to free (from the author) and it sells only 1000 copies, so I don't think your proposal will stir interest. Comet Tuttle (talk) 16:36, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Send a short excerpt of your book with a short covering letter ("I look forward to hear whether you are interested in publishing my new book XXXXXXX"). Emphasis on the words short. Emphasis also on laying out these documents. You can't put too much care into making that first impression. For example, your post above spells receiving wrongly; Would should begin with a capital at point no. 2; the word "single" is redundant after every; points nos. 3 and 4 are poorly styled run-on sentences. Here are answers to the numbered questions.
1. No publisher can afford to ignore material that fits their market but many will throw out submissions that look amateurish. The only value agents bring is that they supposedly know ahead of time what a publisher needs. A quick look is all that an unknown author will get so make it good!
2. You don't say the genre of your book but you need to identify who publishes that type of book. Write to as many of those publishers as you can as fast as you can. Keep a record of where you send to avoid sending twice to anyone. Be prepared to get a lot of rejections.
3. There is nothing an agent can do that you can't do, and there are "thousands" of agents who charge money for doing less than that.
4. Wait until a publisher replies that they want your book before trying to negotiate. Traditionally they offer a lump sum for full rights and/or a royalty deal.
My advice is to run your text through a spelling checker and get a discerning friend or two to read it and give opinions. Magazine publishers can be an easier market for a new author because they need a constant flow of fresh material. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 21:11, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

You might also consider self-publishing. Mitch Ames (talk) 01:49, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

How many square metres of ground are required to feed someone for a year?[edit]

How many square metres of ground are needed to provide a person with all the nutrients that he requires for a year?

Thank you in advance for your replies, (talk) 14:31, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

It would depend on the fertility and climate of the area, and of the type of food, vegetables for example could support more people than meat over the same area. However, English units mentions the the now obsolete unit of the hide, that is the area that can feed one family, usually equal to 4 to 8 bovates, each of 15 acres. therefore one family can eat off of 60-120 acres, though working out how large an area one person would need, would require knowing how many people were considered to be in that family. also farming is a little more efficient now, so likely a slightly smaller area would suffice. (talk) 15:13, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Farming isn't a little bit more efficient, it's massively more efficient. Then there's hydroponics, whereby no surface area is required at all, if done undergound with artificial lights (same thing for mushrooms). StuRat (talk) 16:39, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Unless you have wind turbines or other forms of large-scale electrical generation - you can't use artificial lighting and claim to be self-sufficient. Since having enough area of solar panels to generate enough artificial light must be more than the amount of area the plants would have needed in the first place, that's not going to work. So you're going to need a seriously large windmill or something similar. It's hard to imagine how that would take less land area than planting crops conventionally. Modern farming techniques require external input in the form of fertilizer and (possibly) irrigation water - and again, you aren't self-sufficient. Farming without external inputs such as to be properly "self-sufficient" rather than merely taking your external inputs in a different form, really isn't that efficient. SteveBaker (talk) 11:14, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
There are many ways to provide energy without massive land use, such as hydroelectric or nuclear power. StuRat (talk) 14:03, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Here's a detailed analysis: [1]. They came up with one acre (4,046.8564224 m²) producing enough calories for 2.42 people. Doing the math, that works out to about 1672 m² per person. This will, of course, vary dramatically depending on the crops and what other nutrients are to be provided. StuRat (talk)
John Seymour (author) holds that a family can be entirely self-sufficient on five acres. Gwinva (talk) 21:39, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
You might find the article on Ecological footprint interesting. Of course it goes far beyond purely "feeding" Vespine (talk) 01:07, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
The problem with being self-sufficient on 5 acres idea is that it only works when the weather is fairly normal. It doesn't take much of a once-in-10-years drought or some kind of crop disease or a particularly inopportune late frost to wreck your harvest. So you might be able to live that way for a while - but the sheer inevitability of a disaster doesn't allow it to work long-term. For long term survival, you either need to work in a larger group of farmers such that the bad times are averaged out over a larger number of farmers - or you have to have much more land and be able to store away provisions in case of a disaster in years to come. But storing food long-term is difficult...the simplest way to handle that is to sell the excess and use the cash (which doesn't "rot") to buy food when times are lean...and again, you just blew away the self-sufficiency idea. Hence the idea of going off and shutting yourself off from the outside world on just 5 acres is really a failed proposition. SteveBaker (talk) 11:20, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Since the invention of canning, storing food long-term hasn't been all that difficult. A nice root cellar full of canned food should get the family through the lean times. StuRat (talk) 13:53, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
But the materials used in canning aren't normally self-sustaining. Even assuming they're "given" the mason jars at the start, the lids are single use and you can't exactly "grow your own". Pickling is a bit more robust (as opposed to makes jams and preserves), but would still be tricky - and it also assumes you have a salt mine on your five acre plot. Matt Deres (talk) 18:37, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Some Mason jars had reusable glass lids and used the "ball closure", a metal lever, to maintain pressure on the rubber O-ring seal. No disposable parts there. StuRat (talk) 19:17, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
The answer to your question depends on the availability of water at your site, the quality of the soil, and the length of the growing season. The answer also depends on whether you are willing to adopt a (mainly vegetarian) diet requiring the minimum amount of space for your region. Assuming an adequate water supply, decent soil, a growing season of at least 120 days, and a willingness to adapt one's diet to what can be produced in limited space, some have argued that a person can survive on 4000–5000 square feet (370–460 square meters). It might be possible to lower this number in a tropical climate by double-cropping. Proponents argue that this can be done using biointensive methods. The key to these methods is not letting anything go to waste, not even human waste. With slightly more space, you can boost your protein supply by raising chickens, which, if you know how to manage them, will turn food scraps and insects from the garden into eggs, manure that helps fertilize crops, and the very occasional chicken dinner. Here is a link to a demonstration biointensive project in California. Marco polo (talk) 18:03, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Responding to the sub-thread on canning, the questioner didn't ask the minimum space required for total self-sufficiency, just self-sufficiency in nutrients. A strong case can be made that, beyond maybe a few months to a year, total self-sufficiency isn't possible. Human beings have evolved to live cooperatively. Even prehistoric humans engaged in some trade. It is almost impossible for a single individual to master all of the skills required for survival even in the most "primitive" foraging societies. The gender division of labor breaks skills down so that no one person need master them all, but even then, people choose to live in groups because this person is great at trapping small game, that person is great at finding edible roots, and this third person is great at tracking big game. Even if one person did master every survival skill, there will be times when that person and his or her family are ill and need the support of a larger community. So nobody should purchase an isolated site of a hectare (couple of acres), move there with their family, and expect to survive for very long without trading for inputs from the rest of society. Even if a family could successfully cultivate that small plot of land to produce all of their nutrients, they would still need tools, salts, canning jars, fibers, fuels, and so on. It would make sense either 1) to have more than the minimum land needed for subsistence in order to produce a tradable surplus crop, and/or 2) to have a tradable skill and to work part time producing goods or services for sale or barter. Marco polo (talk) 19:16, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
We seem to be drifting farther from the original Q. They didn't say they had no trade with anyone else. They might very well just want to know how much land, on average, each person in a community needs to feed themself. Or they might have plenty of money to buy things, but just want to grow all their own food as a hobby. I'm not sure where the assumption that they're a hermit who never trades with the outside world came in. StuRat (talk) 19:22, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
The trouble with bartering your produce for services is that you're competing against big, super-efficient agriculture. If you needed (for example) some kind of surgery - you could easily need a couple of thousand dollars worth of 'barter goods'. But the amount of food you can buy for a couple of thousand dollars in a supermarket is spectacular! Way more than you could grow on a few acres in an entire year. So you'll have a hard time doing that. You'd definitely need to have a valuable skill of some kind to trade. But now you're back working for a living. SteveBaker (talk) 03:01, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
You've just gone back to the assumption that the OP doesn't have any other job or source of income. They never said that. StuRat (talk) 17:02, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Then the answer is simple: You need enough land to do whatever job you do (about 2 square meters would be enough for me) and then you can buy all of your nutrients at your friendly local nutrient store. SteveBaker (talk) 17:16, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
I assume you're joking. They are clearly asking how much land a person needs to grow all the food they need right there. They aren't talking about buying food from others (except perhaps during droughts and such), and also never claimed to want to use the land for any purpose other than growing food. How they make their money is beyond the scope of the Q. StuRat (talk) 19:19, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
At a slight tangent, 40 acres and a mule was considered "a sound start for a family farm", and was awarded to some African-Americans after the Civil War. Hence Spike Lee's film production company of that name. BrainyBabe (talk) 19:08, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Cecil Woodham-Smith in The Great Hunger says "an acre and a half would provide a family of five or six with food for twelve months" (chapter 1). On the preceding page she says "in Queen's County it was reckoned that half an acre of conacre would support a labourer's family." Some cow's milk and green vegetables would also supplement the diet. Of course, that was all before the potato blight destroyed the potato crop. Weepy.Moyer (talk) 00:28, 24 March 2010 (UTC)

getting schoolboys to join in with "Glad to Be Gay"[edit]

If in doubt, file under Misc. The singer Tom Robinson had a hit in the mid-1970s with "Glad to Be Gay", and the song continues to be closely associated wih him. He has taken it on the road in the decades since; he is from time to time invited to schools, and has sung this song there. I heard him tell the following story. I paraphrase:

I was invited to a posh boys' school to address its assembly, where, as usual, I sung "Glad to Be Gay". I wanted to get the boys to join in with the chorus, so I told them that of course gay people love to sing the song, and well-adjusted heterosexuals are perfectly happy to sing along in solidarity, but that people uncomfortable with their sexuality are not very enthusiastic about it. (puase for dramatic effect) You never heard such a full-throated rendition of the chorus! All the boys singing at the tops of their voices, and looking out of the corners of their eyes to see if their friends could tell from the volume just how happily heterosexual they were!

Any chance of finding a source for this? BrainyBabe (talk) 14:40, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Ask him? Ghmyrtle (talk) 20:54, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
If true, it's an interesting experiment in peer pressure. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:47, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Might it be reverse psychology in reverse? Bus stop (talk) 14:52, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
More like Reverse discrimination to me.-- (talk) 07:45, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Well adjusted Wikipedians can sing along with this video. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 20:14, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

It's neither reverse discrimination or reverse psychology, it's merely temporarily moving the goalposts of typical schoolyard homophobia and nothing Mr Robinson should be especially proud of (ie, the boys were loudly singing along to prove they weren't gay; if they were genuinely secure and unconcerned about their sexuality they wouldn't have let themselves be bullied into singing). FiggyBee (talk) 08:09, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Pressuring people to prove themselves using a very narrow band of qualification? I think not.-- (talk) 09:05, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with FB that such a stunt really has little chance of making things any better. I'm reminded of one day in my college when the GPA said it was "jeans day", and all the gays would be wearing jeans. Well, that was pretty much standard apparel for students, so in effect they were conducting a social experiment to see who would dress like they normally do vs. who would make a conscious effort not to be possibly identified as gay. About the only purpose for such an experiment is to "let straights know how it feels", a confrontational approach which as I say is unlikely to foster better relations. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 09:22, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Well, that trick evidently didn't always work. I recall the 'warm up' act before a Pink Floyd concert at the Hammersmith Odeon (sometime in the 1970's, I think) who sang that song. It might even have been Tom Robinson for all I know. Anyway, he was booed off the stage before he got halfway into the song. I don't think that was homophobia so much as an audience being pissed off by a guy singing solo with an acoustic guitar - sounding like the most depressed person in the world - when everyone wanted an upbeat psychedelic/progressive rock band with kick-ass special effect, lighting, lasers and so forth. I can't imagine a worse choice of warmup act! SteveBaker (talk) 02:46, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
Maybe Roseanne Barr/Arnold singing the national anthem? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:04, 23 March 2010 (UTC)
I searched quite a bit, but found no mention or transcript. Queer Music Heritage links to a long interview with Tom Robinson (scroll down, a bit beyond the middle, and hit the ochre "TRB TWO" banner. Maybe he mentions the incident. Unfortunately, I can't listen to .wmv files right now (but will likely check it out later). ---Sluzzelin talk 15:48, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Never mind. I've listened now. He doesn't mention it. I still enjoyed the interview! ---Sluzzelin talk 00:23, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

street lights[edit]

have you ever noticed street lights, the long pole is thinner at the top is there any very scientific reason about is? thanx--Myownid420 (talk) 17:06, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

While I can't point you to a reference, I can see two straightforward reasons for a tapered shape to the pole. First, the post at the base is supporting slightly more weight (due to the full length of the post being above it) and more importantly is subject to a greater bending torque (due to wind, people leaning on the post, etc.). Small displacements at the top of the post can deliver large forces to the bottom of the post, and a broader cross-section at the bottom means that the post is less likely to snap off at the base.
The second reason that I see is that objects attached to metal or concrete posts are often supported (partly or wholly) by metal straps or brackets which wrap around the entire perimeter (or circumference, for round posts) of the pole. Straps which fit snugly at one point along a tapered pole can't slide downwards. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 17:18, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Masts, flagpoles, and lamp and sign standards are susceptible to damage from wind induced resonance. Tapering helps resist this - this article in Structure Magazine says "...round (or octagonal) tapered light poles are less susceptible to it than square ones. The natural frequency of a tapered light pole varies along its length, which makes it less likely to develop overall resonance from a constant wind. This is evident in the common types of poles used for highway lighting, flagpoles, and traffic control/signage structures." The same authors go on to give more details, and to list other countermeasures against WIR, in this note. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 19:36, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Thank you, Finley, for providing a correct and well-sourced answer, instead of just guessing. StuRat (talk) 01:20, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
Another reason, at least for the wooden poles: that's how trees are shaped. --Sean 13:45, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
O RLY? While metal light poles are invariably tapered, I've never seen a wooden telephone pole which wasn't (roughly) the same width at the top as at the bottom. FiggyBee (talk) 17:02, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
How do you know that ? Did you climb them with a measuring tape ? If not, you may not be able to distinguish a subtle taper from the apparent thinning of the pole due to perspective. StuRat (talk) 17:58, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
The article Utility pole indicates both in text and photos that the wooden poles are indeed tapered to some extent. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:07, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
On the other hand, they always have a fairly smooth surface, indicating that all sides of the pole are the result of cutting. So the natural taper of the tree is irrelevant except if it is involved in determining which trees are big enough to use. --Anonymous, 19:01 UTC, March 22, 2010.
Also, some optical illusion makes columns look thicker at the top than the bottom if they are the same width all the way up. (talk) 20:34, 22 March 2010 (UTC)
YA RLY. The following are the ANSI standard pole tapers for various pole types:
Table 2. ANSI pole species by treatment group and corresponding fiber stress and taper values.
Treatment group                     Fiber stress    Circumference taper
                                      (Ib/in2)          (inch/ft)
Group A (air seasoning)
Cedar, western red                      6,000              0.38
Cedar, yellow                           7,400              0.20
Pine,ponderosa                          6,000              0.29
Pine, jack                              6,600              0.30
Pine, lodgepole                         6,600              0.30
Pine, red                               6,600              0.30
Douglas-fir (interior north)           8,000               0.21
Group B (Boulton drying)
Douglas-fir,coast                      8,000               0.21
larch, western                         8,400               0.21
Group C (steam conditioning)
Southern Pinea                          8,000              0.25
So the lowest taper is 1/5 inch per foot. The source is the ANSI document Standard Specifications for Wood Poles, which I understand made quite a splash at the 1997 Utility Pole Structures Conference and Trade Show at the Nugget Hotel in Reno. --Sean 21:07, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Karl Gauss[edit]

i have searched all day for the man called karl gauss and cannot find teacher says that carl gauss is a different person.can you please help me in finding this mathmatition.thank you for the help.dean —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:37, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

email deleted. Carl Friedrich Gauss was a mathematician - are you certain it's not him you're looking for? --Phil Holmes (talk) 18:00, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
A quick Google finds both spellings for the same individual, the one with the magnetic personality. PhGustaf (talk) 18:03, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
He was also, you know, just very very normal.
One of his standard deviations, apparently, was the use of the Carl spelling, which is unusual for a German. At least someone on talk:Carl Friedrich Gauss says that he used both spellings. --Trovatore (talk) 19:12, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

I think that it's less about the difference between "Carl" and "Karl" and more about the fact that, at least according to what I think, "Carl Gauss" is not exactly an unusual name. There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of Carl Gausses, in history, some still living. It's only that the world-famous mathematician is the only one so famous as to have articles in many Wikipedia editions written about him. JIP | Talk 21:03, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Not really following. What exactly is about the fact that there are other people named "Carl Gauss"? The fact that the OP is having trouble finding info? That doesn't really seem likely -- the first six hits for "Karl Gauss" in double quotes, and the entire first page for "Carl Gauss", appear to be about the mathematician. --Trovatore (talk) 21:29, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
The OP says he has searched for a man called Karl Gauss. He says his teacher says Carl Gauss is a different person. I am fairly sure that if the mathematician is meant, "Karl Gauss" and "Carl Gauss" are the same thing. Therefore if the OP's teacher is convinced that it's a different person, then it must be because it's actually a different person than the mathematician. There are very many, but none nearly as famous. On the other hand, it just might be that the OP's teacher really doesn't know that in German, "Carl" and "Karl" are usually just different spellings of the same name, not completely different names that don't have the slightest thing to do with each other. JIP | Talk 21:38, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, I think the simple explanation is that the OP's teacher is just wrong. I thought that was too obvious to mention. --Trovatore (talk) 21:39, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
I guess the simple answer is if you can find anyone named Karl Gauss who's a mathematician you've answered the question. As JIP says there must be many unfortunately an internet search isn't going to go very far since you just find Carl Gauss. It could be this is intentional. It's not clear in what context this was asked. Perhaps try looking in the library to see if there's any book by Karl Gauss (probably not the only thing I find on Amazon other then Carl Gauss is Karl-Markus Gauß who isn't a mathematician) or look in a Who's Who or something perhaps. Alternatively are you sure there's no one named Karl Gauss in your school (please don't tell us you don't know the name of the teacher who asked this question and it could be Karl Gauss)? Of course if you're teacher didn't specify mathematician but simply any Karl Gauss then perhaps the Markus person is intended. Of course it could be anyone but at least the Markus is well known enough you can probably write something about them. That got me thinking and I looked at de:Gauß (Begriffsklärung) but the only other one who comes close is de:Carl Joseph Gauß the more famous Carl's great grandson (if the Google translate was correct) who also wasn't a mathematician or a Karl but also probably someone you can write about, e.g. [2] [3]. Nil Einne (talk) 22:09, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps Karl has been degaussed? :-) Alansplodge (talk) 19:48, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Personal possession of firearms illegal in Japan?[edit]

My little brother told me that in Japan, it is illegal for private persons to possess firearms, only the authorities and the military can possess them. Is this true? JIP | Talk 20:49, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Gun law#Japan agrees, but it is unreferenced. --Tango (talk) 20:51, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Gun politics#Japan agrees, and is better referenced. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 21:10, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Kopel, David. (1993) "Japanese Gun Control".—eric 21:06, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

Has 'Con Air' ever happened?[edit]

I was watching the film Con Air again last night and I was wondering if anything remotely like the events depicted in the film have ever occurred, even attempts or a much smaller scale event, maybe involving a bus even?

Thanks, (talk) 22:20, 21 March 2010 (UTC)

A bit of Googling found at least one case where a prisoner hijacked a prison (mini)bus in Canada: [4]. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 22:49, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Not a mode of transport but prisoners have taken control of the prisons that they were in. The Attica Prison riot is probably the most notorious. Dismas|(talk) 23:30, 21 March 2010 (UTC)
Not as grand as in Con Air but this involved a helicopter. This was only the first time this guy had escaped by helicopter. The second time was also by helicopter. --Kvasir (talk) 16:09, 22 March 2010 (UTC)

Fair enough, I thought it was a bit farfetched. Thank you everyone. (talk) 23:50, 22 March 2010 (UTC)