Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2011 January 26

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January 26[edit]

US presidents' approval ratings[edit]

How good an indicator of re-election chances of a sitting US president are his approval ratings? Is a net positive rating in the year running up to the vote generally good enough to assure success? Skomorokh 01:47, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

I found this Gallup page interesting and detailed. For example: the "eight-month mark" before the election. Except for Truman, every president since FDR "who won re-election had approval ratings above 50% at the eight-month mark, and every president who lost had approval ratings below 50%". ---Sluzzelin talk 01:55, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Excellent, that fits the bill. Thanks Sluzzelin, for this and that too. Regards, Skomorokh 02:22, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I forgot to mention that this was before GWB's re-election. He was no exception though: Eight months before the 2004 election, Bush's job approval rating was 52%,[1] and, as we all know, he was re-elected. ---Sluzzelin talk 02:36, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Nate Silver however warns against interpreting approval ratings as re-election chances too early, warning that they bear little relation to each other at this stage . Prokhorovka (talk) 08:05, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, to summarize from the Gallup link (which I do recommend looking at, if you enjoy this kind of playful demoscopy :-).: Nixon's ratings were at 49% twelve months before his re-election. Reagan's were at 45% eighteen months in advance. George Herbert Walker Bush's approval ratings were at 75% (!) eighteen months (and still at 55% twelve months) before he got beat by Clinton. Otherwise, Gallup calls the twelve and eighteen month markers "suggestive but not definitive" (Note: we are currently at over 21 months before the 2012 presidential election. ---Sluzzelin talk 11:19, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Leaf blowers[edit]

Are there any places (communities or larger political entities) outside North America where leaf blowers are legally banned? (I mean directly banned, not indirectly banned by adjusting the local noise limits, for example). ---Sluzzelin talk 08:59, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

The thought that immediately comes to mind is: it is never too soon to start introducing such laws if they don't already exist! Especially leaf blowers operated by people wearing fluorescent yellow jackets.--Aspro (talk) 11:20, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I'm having trouble finding anything definite because so many people seem to be going on about Los Angeles outlawing them. I haven't found a definitive reference (yet), but it appears that gas-powered leaf blowers are illegal in the UK (see here - it's probably not a reliable source, but appears legit). Matt Deres (talk) 15:17, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Sadly, gas (petrol) leaf blowers are far too common in the UK. --Aspro (talk) 16:23, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I can say with some feeling of certainty that there are no laws banning brooms. HiLo48 (talk) 23:04, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Further reading has given me the impression that leaf blowers (gas and electric) are legal in both Australia and New Zealand. I'm not sure why I'm the only one taking this question seriously - is there some kind of joke meme I'm not getting here? Matt Deres (talk) 17:14, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Matt. I had trouble finding anything. In some places in Europe there is no legal basis for banning an apparatus, as long as it operates within environmental emission standards and isn't considered hazardous or otherwise dangerous. This includes noise emission rates. The gas-powered models aren't as loud anymore, but most of the problem lies in the song this beastly thing is singing, not just in its volume. It's one of those mixes of regular harmonic patterns with chaotic noise. As comforting as an air raid siren and as pleasant as a Jack Russell terrier yipping in close proximity. Where I live, they're using them to blow snow off the paths now. I was just curious, but wasn't aware of any meme either. Thanks again! ---Sluzzelin talk 19:28, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I too like Jack Russell terriers. Thinly sliced and fried with a little onion and garlic, they are very tasty.--Aspro (talk) 20:09, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
I can confirm they are legal in Auckland and I've never heard of them being banned in any part of NZ. I did actually do a brief search for various things before anyone answered, found nothing of interest (one person in Australia calling for them to be banned and a lot of discussions/mentions of them being banned in various parts of the US) so didn't consider my response that useful and also didn't find the question raised my interest enough to try harder. Not speaking from a legal POV but as with Sluzzelin I'm not sure why they would be if they meet whatever standards are imposed on all equipment and as with him don't find them that much more annoying then all the other noise you get. . Nil Einne (talk) 18:25, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Status of European Union recording copyright extension?[edit]

I have been trying to find out the current status of the European Union 95 year recording copyright extension proposal. The last I heard, it was passed by the European parliament on 23 April 2009. However, the law still seems to be 50 years (Article 3 in ). Does anyone know if it is still likely to become a law? Jrincayc (talk) 13:21, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

This covers it pretty well. The proposal was defeated in April 2009, but an extension to 70 years was approved. States apparently have two years to implement the law. Warofdreams talk 17:53, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
That news article only mentions that it passed Parliament, but not that it has passed the European Council. Did it get passed that? Basically this still lists it as proposed [2] and the law still seems to be 50 years [3] Jrincayc (talk) 04:09, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

what is the right provided to waqf board[edit]

This question has been removed. Per the reference desk guidelines, the reference desk is not an appropriate place to request medical, legal or other professional advice, including any kind of medical diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment recommendations. For such advice, please see a qualified professional. If you don't believe this is such a request, please explain what you meant to ask, either here or on the Reference Desk's talk page. Wikipedia cannot give advice on how to proceed in this case, as it would require consultation with a lawyer or similar advocate. --Jayron32 16:59, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
This question has been removed. Per the reference desk guidelines, the reference desk is not an appropriate place to request medical, legal or other professional advice, including any kind of medical diagnosis or prognosis, or treatment recommendations. For such advice, please see a qualified professional. If you don't believe this is such a request, please explain what you meant to ask, either here or on the Reference Desk's talk page. Wikipedia cannot give advice on how to proceed in this case, as it would require consultation with a lawyer or similar advocate. --Jayron32 16:59, 26 January 2011 (UTC)--~~~~

Chains hanging from truck and bus axles[edit]

I've noticed that school buses (and sometimes dump trucks) have several chains hanging down from the rear axle, on either side of the differential. Ones I saw today had 2 chains hanging down the front and the rear of the axle, on both sides of the diffy, for a total of 8 chains. What would the purpose of these be? ArakunemTalk 17:37, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

Here's an answer ( not sure how reliable it is but seems plausible. ny156uk (talk)

Wow, that's quite interesting! ArakunemTalk 18:51, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
There's a video of them in action (and at rest) at this address: -- Finlay McWalterTalk 19:58, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Ordinary snow chains are often hung under large vehicles and are a legal requirement in Scandinavia in Winter. The OnSpot device will not work well in deep snow that prevents the friction wheel contacting the tire. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 22:21, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

An expert may be able to give a more details answer but I was always told that this was to ground the vehicle as an electric charge can build on the vehicle much like the outside of a farday cage and can shock anyone that touches the car. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:33, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

That's a myth but I saw many cars in the 60s with a single thin chain hanging hopefully from the rear bumper, usually with the bottom link worn away so not actually connecting to ground. It may still have had a placebo effect on travel sickness. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 22:21, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't call it an out-and-out myth, more like... an untested hypothesis, though I share your doubts. Either way, that's not what the OP is asking about. Matt Deres (talk) 23:57, 26 January 2011 (UTC)
Isn't the myth the travel sickness story (though I don't doubt the placebo effect)? Static electricity is a fact. Dbfirs 08:28, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Static electricity exists, but did dragging a chain do anything useful? I seriously doubt it. Most vehicles don't have a chain, and if they built up a significant charge you'd notice it every time you touched a door handle. APL (talk) 08:39, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Over here in Europe, cars used to have small tabs of resistant plastic hanging from the back for the static release purpose. How effective that was I don't know. BTW, what's the travel sickness myth? I haven't heard that one, and I just can't put hanging a chain on your car and travel sickness prevention together into any conceivable form. TomorrowTime (talk) 08:43, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
In my part of Australia in the 1960s it was a leather strap hanging out the back of your car that allegedly prevented car sickness, again by reducing static electricity. Being a bit of a nerd and knowing that dry leather would hold a charge rather than discharge it from the vehicle, I was sceptical. HiLo48 (talk) 10:08, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
My favourite automotive (adj.) myth is that placing pressure on the windscreen with the fingers when another vehicle is approaching or accelerating away in the same direction, on a gravelly road, will reduce the risk of the windscreen shattering. Not only will that have no effect on the risk of shattering, but if it does shatter, you've just cut your hand to shreds. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 12:17, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
I... still don't get the car sickness thing. So you use the chain/strap of leather/whatever to prevent static electricity build up in the Faraday cage of the car and the lack of static electricity prevents car sickness? Regardless of that iconic photograph of Tesla sitting in a giant Faraday cage with thousands of volts of electricity whizzing through the cage while the guy sits inside quite unperturbed, reading a book and patently not getting car-sick? Even though it's (supposed to be?) pretty common knowledge that car sickness is caused by the vibration of the drive and the inability of the inner ear to cope? Oh well, people will sometimes believe the strangest things. And adding to the pile of silly automotive myths, there used to be a pretty prevalent one in my neck of the European woods about a decade, decade and a half ago which stated that hanging a CD on your back-mirror will somehow jam the police speedometer, making you impervious to speeding tickets. TomorrowTime (talk) 14:21, 27 January 2011 (UTC)
Okay, here's the story that I heard - and keep in mind, I'm not promoting this as a fact, just telling you what I heard. Static builds up in your car as it drives along. That charge affects (among other things), the vestibular system of the inner ear, interfering with the ability of the semicircular canals from "righting themselves" after movement takes place. It's... kind of like how a balloon with a static charge tends to stick to your hand rather than fall away as it normally would. That sluggishness of response is a contributing factor to motion sickness. As I've posted on here before, this explanation isn't something I completely buy, but I've observed it at work and I think there might be something there besides the placebo effect, though I'm sure that's involved as well. Matt Deres (talk) 17:08, 27 January 2011 (UTC)(I have edited this post. Matt Deres (talk) 19:39, 27 January 2011 (UTC))
That explanation violates the laws of physics. It's impossible for a static charge to build up inside the head. It doesn't even build up on the person, the charge is completely excluded from the inside of the vehicle and it's entirely on the surface of the car. Besides the Faraday cage which I've just described, think about it in a different way: The reason a balloon sticks to you is that it is charged and you are not (i.e. static only does something when there is a difference in how much charge objects have, i.e. a difference in potential). In a car the static is generated outside the car, for it to go to the middle ear it would have to conduct through the person (which is possible), but if it conducts through a person then all parts of the middle ear are at the same potential and absolutely no effect can be seen. Ariel. (talk) 13:35, 28 January 2011 (UTC)
Just as an aside, the iconic Tesla photo is a double exposure. He was not in the chair when the electricity was actually forking out. --Mr.98 (talk) 19:24, 29 January 2011 (UTC)
Yea, because he's just sitting out in the open. They do that demonstration live with an actual Tesla cage (Looks like a giant bird cage) at the Boston Museum of Science. (I think they've only had one accident, but I notice they all wear ear protection now. Their lightning machine isn't quiet.) APL (talk) 22:43, 31 January 2011 (UTC)