Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2010 September 1

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September 1[edit]

aura[edit]

actually my question is what is an aura. does it belongs to spiritual power or anything scientific? or is it any practice? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gwen dollen (talkcontribs) 04:22, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Reading the Aura article(s) should address many of the questions you may have on this topic; feel free to come back to this desk to ask follow-up questions if you like. Wikiscient (talk) 04:54, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Actually our article is Aura (paranormal). The short answer to the original question is that there is no evidence that such a thing exists. Comet Tuttle (talk) 05:52, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
With thirty-odd entries on the disambig page, it seems clear such a thing exists.
The OP may also be interested in "the Science thing" aka Aura (symptom), or maybe it's more Halo (optical phenomenon) that you're interested in, Gwen? Or all of the above? The Aura page is the best place to start for both the "spiritual power" and the "scientific" senses of the word. I'm not sure what you might mean by "practice" though. Wikiscient (talk) 06:07, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Well, 'aura' as in "a subtle, luminous radiation supposedly surrounding a person or object" (per Aura (paranormal)) doesn't exist. The other things presumably do. However, it is abundantly clear that our questioner is asking about the "subtle radiation surrounding a person" kind of a thing because we're being asked whether it "belongs to spiritual power" or not - and the question wouldn't be worded like that if our OP was referring to any of the other meanings. So please don't muddy the waters here. The answer is very simple: No, THAT kind of aura definitely doesn't exist...and the somewhat ridiculous belief in them leads to deeply disturbing things like the concept of Indigo children (ie Children who are claimed to have an indigo colored aura whom their parents believe were born with various superhuman abilities). SteveBaker (talk) 13:26, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Steve, please take the time to carefully re-read both the original question and my response(s) to it. I think that you will find, on careful examination, that the OP asks "does it belongs to [...] anything scientific?" The answer to that question is very firmly "yes," as you will find I mention in more detail above.
Perhaps, Gwen, you could clarify for us exactly what it is you wanted to know? Because my esteemed colleagues seem a bit thrown by it. Wikiscient (talk) 13:53, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
There are at least two fair readings:
  • Is there any scientific basis for woo-woo paranormal auras? (Steve's/Comet's reading) -- the answer is clearly "no".
  • Is there any scientific basis for any phenomenon known as an "aura"? (Wikiscient's reading) -- the answer is clearly "yes".
Personally, I think one of these is far more likely the intended question, based on context. Perhaps if we left it at that, acknowledging both possible questions, rather than going for one-upmanship? — Lomn 14:21, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
I agree, context clearly suggests a paranormal interest. Since the OP did not actually ask about the existence of anything, I stand by my answer as "best" given context: Aura (disambig).
Apologies for carrying some annoyance from another response by Steve at another desk just before this over here: inappropriate, my fault. Wikiscient (talk) 14:36, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
(ec)It's pretty clear that the OP is asking about the "paranormal" version. The claim that they absolutely don't exist is a matter of opinion, not fact. Science has yet to find evidence that they exist, but some people insist they can see them, and in the absence of scientific evidence that those people are delusional, you can't totally close the book on it. However, I'll concede that way too much has been read into the so-called aura around a person, if it indeed exists. It might be nothing more than a "heat envelope" generated naturally by the body, and which some people can sense visually somehow. And obviously it goes away when they die. That would likely make it physiological (i.e. "scientific") rather than "spiritual" as such. So the correct answer to the first part of the OP's question has already been given as "read the articles". The second part has no answer, because no one knows whether the "spiritual" aura really exists; nor what it's its source is if it does exist. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:41, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
See also Kirlian photography and Bioelectromagnetism for related topics. Kirlian researchers claim to see differences in the electrophotograms of healthy/sick organisms. The physiological state of an organism can affect things such as the conductivity of the skin. This is not the same as the "woo woo aura." Edison (talk) 18:52, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Wanamakers store Philadelphia[edit]

My querie relates to Wanamakers store. During ww2 our family on Merseyside received food and gift parcels from the store. We had relatives in Philadelphia, but i have the feeling that Wanamakers played a major role. I cannot find any reference to the service that we enjoyed during the war. Has anyone else memories of this. I think that it should be known that Wanamakers recognised for their service. When i saw the logo "John Wanamaker" on your website it really took me back to those difficult days when big boxes arrived at our house. Any information you can find on this will be much appreciated.

 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.0.32.32 (talk) 16:19, 1 September 2010 (UTC) 
I've taken the liberty of transforming your question in to sentence case. The use of upper case is, I think, against the Geneva Convention and may put your country at risk. As to the question: was anything more going on than that your relatives were getting Wanamakers to send parcels to you? And that Wanamakers were set up to do such a thing. Our article on the store is at Wanamaker's. --Tagishsimon (talk) 16:28, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
You're not supposed to edit other users comments, see the guidelines at the top of this page "Don't edit others' comments, except to fix formatting errors that interfere with readability." 82.44.55.25 (talk) 16:37, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. Changing from upper case to sentence case is fixing a formatting error that interferes with readability. And your problem is? --Tagishsimon (talk) 16:41, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
My apologies, I thought you had reworded the post. 82.44.55.25 (talk) 16:56, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Cigarette butt disposal[edit]

I smoke and I don't like littering. If there are no bins conveniently available, is it acceptable to discard cigarette butts down a drain. I live in Ireland. In case there are any linguistic differences, by drain I mean the grills on streets that are used to drain rainwater from the road. I suppose the issue is: what happens to a solid dropped into a drain? Thanks- Stanstaple (talk) 17:55, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Is it true that cigarette butts can survive even the most intense fires ?  Jon Ascton  (talk) 18:14, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
No. --Sean 18:20, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
It depends on the storm drain and where you live, but many such drains go directly into waterways. Even the ones that don't will usually go into waterways in overflow situations (like during a heavy rain). In short, it's still littering. A suggestion from this former smoker: roll the end of the cigarette so that the burning part drops on the ground and put the butt in your pocket for later disposal. --Sean 18:20, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Dumping litter into storm drains is likely WORSE than littering on the street, because these drains usually connect directly to local water ways. In the US, many major cities have started marking the fact that storm drains empty into rivers, like this [1] In this circumstance, I usually use the cellophane wrapper on the cigarette pack to store a few butts until I see a wastebin. Smokers get sneered at enough, let's not litter! SemanticMantis (talk) 18:22, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
(ec)2. No, they're flammable. 1. They're not likely to cause harm to the drainage system; they're on a par with leaves and other such floaty stuff which end up down a drain. On their own they do not have potential to block the drain, but in combination with many other cigarette ends and other stuff, they contribute to the probability of a blockage. They may float around until next time the drain is cleaned out. Or they may be conveyed through the drainage system; if the drain is connected to a processing plant, they'll be removed at the plant. But if the drain drains directly into a stream, river, or sea, then you'll contribute to visible littering of your environment. In all, convenient as it is to you, it cannot be thought to be a good thing. Given that you can get it together to carry a cigarette packet and a lighter or matches, you could probably also carry around a portable ashtray. --Tagishsimon (talk) 18:25, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Forcing oneself to carry a portable ashtray could be a factor in swaying oneself to quit. Bus stop (talk) 18:46, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
(ec) Dublin (where I live) is on the coast. I assume any 'waterway' the drain leads to is the sea, either via a water treatment plant or not. If the butt is ejected into the see where it is unseen, is it really any worse than ending up in some stretch on land designated a landfill? Isn't a major reason of the dislike of litter aesthetic? Stanstaple (talk) 18:32, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Have you lived on a heavy populated coastline? Try visiting hte isle of man, the beaches are littered with crap that floated there from other places.--178.167.247.73 (talk) 18:37, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Why don't you pinch the ciggie out, put it back in the packet, then throw the butts into the next bin you pass? CS Miller (talk) 19:21, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Better still, give up smoking!!!--Artjo (talk) 19:25, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Cigarette#Cigarette litter notes that the filter might be biodegradable. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 19:30, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Where I live the street drains go directly into Puget Sound. I'm not great fan of land fills, but I'd rather see trash go there than into a living ecosystem like the local sea. Pfly (talk) 08:32, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
See http://www.cigarettelitter.org/ .—Wavelength (talk) 19:31, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Ask your local council to update their litter bins. Modern ones have a special metal receptacle on the top of them for stubbing the cigarette and binning the extinguished stub. However as an aside you might just consider quitting - no smoking = no stubs! Exxolon (talk) 20:10, 1 September 2010 (UTC)


Thanks Ex- the bins in Dublin are of that kind of design. The question came to me in situations when I either had to discard quickly (my bus or taxi was coming) or no bins where around (a much less often occurrence- we seem to have more in Dublin than is average- I was amazed how few bins there were in Sydney- My impression though is that Oz is tidier than Ireland- Unfortunately we may be more slovenly.) Stanstaple (talk) 18:56, 2 September 2010 (UTC)


Switch to unfiltered cigarettes - richer taste and the dog-ends disintegrate readily and degrade rapidly. DuncanHill (talk) 20:15, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Nah...give it up. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Artjo (talkcontribs) 10:07, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
A solution I've seen here is to carry around an old film canister from the heyday of predigital photography. The caps are secure and they can hold a number of cigarette butts in them, but are smll enough to fit in a pocket, purse or backpack. It can be emptied when you next pass a bin or you get home. Steewi (talk) 10:44, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
No, dumping them down the drain is not acceptable. They're a danger to wildlife for starters. As Tagishsimon suggests, if you must smoke buy yourself a portable ashtray for about $5 and do everyone a favour. --jjron (talk) 14:53, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
With regard to Wavelength's preference for rubbish going to landfill rather than the sea; what is it that makes a sea more of a 'living ecosystem' than the a landfill. I'd imagine (but could be wrong) that a landfill would be abundant with life. I'm trying to thrash out the difference in my mind. I know, though, that I'd rather have a hotel view of the sea rather than a tip. Is human sensibility the only difference? Stanstaple (talk) 18:26, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
In any first-world nation, landfills (at least, new landfills) are subject to stringent regulation — they're not just big piles of trash. For example, landfill site preparation often involves the construction and monitoring of a watertight barrier under and around the site, with facilities for treating runoff water; this prevents contamination of surrounding land or groundwater. In contrast, throwing stuff into the sea means that any toxins just go straight out to the environment. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 18:41, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
My neighbor saves them in his automobile ashtray and then periodically dumps them on my lawn! hydnjo (talk) 01:59, 3 September 2010 (UTC)
Become a firearms enthusiast and make sure your neighbor knows. It would be helpful to mention your hair trigger temper at the same time. Googlemeister (talk) 13:44, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Author Shirley Jackson[edit]

I am trying to find out how much Shirley Jackson was paid for her story in the New Republic, 22 Dec. 1941 titled " My life with R.H. Macy". Thank you in advance —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gunnardanny (talkcontribs) 18:42, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

You could try asking the magazine via the general enquiries email address, TNRDigital@tnr.com; their archives may go back that far. Or there might be a clue in the Shirley Jackson papers held in the Library of Congress (see here). Much of their material dates from later on, but the catalogue does list some early correspondence. It would have been a very early publication success for her, so she may have mentioned it in a letter to someone even if the acceptance letter from the publishers didn't survive. Karenjc 19:19, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
In ancient times pulp magazines payed a penny a word. Work it out, based on the number of words in the work. Edison (talk) 05:40, 3 September 2010 (UTC)

Terrorist Attack[edit]

What is the most serious terrorist incident besides 9-11 ?  Jon Ascton  (talk) 20:44, 1 September 2010 (UTC)

Define worst and terrorist incident! 86.161.108.172 (talk) 21:20, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Purely by death toll and using the list 86.161 linked to above it would be the 2007 Yazidi communities bombings in Iraq. Now, if you want to get into definitions of terrorism, and judge seriousness in terms of political/social impact rather than death toll the question becomes a lot more difficult, and entirely dependent on personal value judgements. Equisetum (talk | email | contributions) 21:26, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
On USA soil, I believe the second worst by death-toll is the Oklahoma City bombing. APL (talk) 21:33, 1 September 2010 (UTC)
Wounded Knee Massacre is on par with the Oklahoma City bombing. Whether it was terrorism or not is up to the reader to decide. Pfly (talk) 08:26, 2 September 2010 (UTC)
Doesn't the media do deciding for us? While that's meant somewhat facetiously, organisations that we normally regard as reliable sources do use the word terrorism. Obviously its use is coloured by local politics, but can we not report what a normally reliable source says, so long as we make it clear who said it? HiLo48 (talk) 08:31, 2 September 2010 (UTC)