Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2011 June 23

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June 23[edit]


My name is Herbert Hamilton Bowie and i was born to the parents of William C and Sarah E Bowie in Marbury Maryland in the year 1927 / Feb 9th. I have a picture of my graduation class from the Marbury Elementary school [ all four of us ] at that time the school taught seven classes. [ 54 students ] I'm now 84 so if you want me to send you the picture and maybe a bit of info, Please make it simple to do. I'm not very swift on this contraption.

        Thank  you.  Herb.  Bowie  >>>  <<<

Please foward this note to someone that they may use it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:06, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Hello, unfortunately your photo wouldn't belong here as Wikipedia doesn't accept class photos. Now, if they're showing the school itself, see Wikipedia:Uploading images. I hope this helps, SwisterTwister talk 06:59, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Herbie, it is fantastic that you have posted here about your photograph. I wonder if you are the oldest poster on the Ref. Desk. I just love your sentence "I'm not very swift on this contraption". May your god bless you. Richard Avery (talk) 07:14, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Do the police repair damage and disruption caused in raids?[edit]

So I'm watching Crimewatch Roadshow (what? I like it) and the police are raiding suspected drug dealers. As is standard procedure, they smash the door in instead of knocking, they also cause a fair amount of mess when they search the place. When they leave, do they 'put it right', especially the door? And is the answer different if nothing is found? This is not a request for legal advice, since I'm not a drug dealer. (talk) 08:30, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

They employ a locksmith to fix the door. They must also rectify any other damage and ensure the premises are secure before they leave. Apart from that I suspect they don't tidy up after themselves.--Shantavira|feed me 08:39, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
[citation needed] for the claim they will rectify any damage. See below Nil Einne (talk) 09:47, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Good to know, I'd always wondered why Police were allowed to just break stuff. The answer; they aren't. (talk) 08:45, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Note that there is probably a difference between what is done and what they may be required to do.
For example [1] suggests the Metropolitan Police Service have no liability in the UK when the action was 'lawful, conducted in accordance with a search warrant or other lawful authority and using only such force as was necessary' even if an innoncent party was affected. Further my reading is they are unlikely to compensate for damage if the person affected wasn't innocent (and the damage was resonable and part of a lawful search etc) and will only compensate if it's not covered by insurance.
[2] suggests the siutation in NZ is similar although it doesn't mention when you are likely to be paid for damages despite there being no legal liability (my guess is the situation may be similar to the UK).
Similarly [3] appears to suggest the situation in the US is 'where damages to the premises is an issue, the damage is treated as a “seizure of property” under the Fourth Amendment, the attendant question being: Was the seizure reasonable under the circumstances.' This may be a bit confusing but from what I can tell it means there may be no liability if the damage was resonable under the circumstances.
[4] mentions this one police department will make arrangements to guard any premise which may be vunerable to security problems from police action until it can be secured although doesn't mention who will pay for it to be secure (it may be the police so they don't have to waste time guarding while waiting for the owner to get someone to secure it). This is of course a somewhat distinct issue since while breaking the lock to enter the premises may often be resonable, 'house got burgled because it was left with a broken lock' is likely to be controversial particularly if the house was left with a broken lock with no one home (whether there will be any liability I don't know but since the police are supposed to help stop crime it's not a good look).
[5] may imply (although it's a bit unclear) liability for the Australian Federal Police may be similarly restricted to cases where the damage was unresonable or excessive.
As most of these hint at, causing unnecessary damage as sometimes seen in TV shows would usually result in liability and would generally be forbidden e.g. this shows a police department document explicitly forbidding it [6].
Nil Einne (talk) 09:47, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Shucks. I guess I'll just have to get better insurance. I wonder if standard UK home cover includes police raids... (talk) 21:02, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

See my previous question on this subject - Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2008 July 26#Police breaking down doors. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 21:25, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

I seem to remember the Police officers in this incident were reprimanded, and the owner of the house was compensated for the damage. I am not sure about the tenants, however. --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 23:13, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Yes I should clarify my response above. When referring to the police in the UK not being liable even if the people affected are completely innocent parties I meant cases where they got the right address (or whatever), an example would be if they forced into a house which a criminal entered to try and hide from them. From the ref I gather at least in the UK they are likely liable if they broke down the wrong door of a search warrant. I'm guessing this would be true in most other countries. For the MPS in the UK where they were proposing to start to pay compensation when they didn't have to in a limited number of cases (primarily the totally innocent parties affected ones) they only estimated they would have to pay out an additional 30 cases a year. About insurance, it was something I was thinking of earlier. My guess is it may be difficult to find any insurance willing to pay out if it's definitely your fault. E.g. if they executed a search warrant to find drugs on your property and they found drugs which resulted in you being convicted for drug offences. You may be able to get insurance to cover e.g. if you own the property but it was used for making drugs without your knowledge and the police broke in (well you may be covered for the cleanup so it seems possible you may get cover for police damage too [ Nil Einne (talk) 15:32, 25 June 2011 (UTC)

Font used in regional maps of CIA Factbook?[edit]

Hello. I am searching for the font used in CIA's regional maps, featured on their online factbook. One example is this. Can anyone help me out on this? It would be immensely appreciated. =) (talk) 18:58, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Looking at the fonts embedded in a PDF map for the CIA World Factbook (from which that map is drawn) it uses the following fonts: Sanvito, Tiepolo, Benguiat, Omni, and Helvetica. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 19:55, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
It seems they use Sanvito for seas, lakes, and rivers. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 20:04, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
And Benguiat for capital cities. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 20:05, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
And Tiepolo for other cities. They use Helvetica for geographic features, so that leaves Omni (which I can't find a font page about) for country names. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 20:08, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Thank you, Finlay, that is immensely helpful! Resolved in no time at all. =) (talk) 21:05, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

What happened to "Propose a better translation" in Google Translate?[edit]

Google Translate used to have a "Propose a better translation" option. It doesn't any more. What happened to it? How can Google Translate ever learn to make better translations if it doesn't get help from actual humans? In the end, a computer program doesn't really understand the language the same way humans do, so it can't suddenly notice "Hey, I made a mistake there, this should be that way instead...". Or has Google invented some magical way to make computer programs learn natural languages themselves? JIP | Talk 19:46, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

I see "Contribute a Better Translation" when I look at this page and highlight one of the English phrases. --LarryMac | Talk 19:55, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
So do I. But when I translate plain text as opposed to a web page, I don't see it. Why? The text itself is the same, regardless of whether it's coming directly from the browser or from an external web page, so why should there be a distinction? JIP | Talk 20:00, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I don't work for Google, and they don't often give out much information about how they make decisions, so I can't answer the "whys". The About Translate page gives some information on "What can I do to improve Translation quality?". --LarryMac | Talk 20:05, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't be surprised if they were getting a lot of garbage and don't have resources to sort through it to find what's helpful. Marco polo (talk) 20:37, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
That's what I thought too. A computer program can't possibly know whether a human is genuinely trying to help it or just pulling its leg. But I don't see any other way the program could get help other than input from humans. And anyway, why do they allow it for web pages but not for plain text? JIP | Talk 20:41, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
A few years ago someone had contributed to Google Translate in such a manner that requesting a translation of the title of a popular Bulgarian patriotic poem into Macedonian, the language of a country where massive anti-Bulgarian propaganda is being spread, would yield a most vulgar phrase. Damn FYROMians. --Theurgist (talk) 22:27, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
As far as I know, if you feed enough information into any computer, it can use statistical machine translation to teach itself the majority of a language - after which point you'll need a much smaller human team to refine it's "knowledge". Avicennasis @ 01:57, 22 Sivan 5771 / 24 June 2011 (UTC)

Methods for Pouring Milk in Tea[edit]

My mate, an old war veteran of 83, through a series of events lost his sight a number of years back. Now, he has a carer, and he has some special equipment in his house, one of which being a special kettle which he uses to make tea. He puts his cup (with tea bag in) up to the machine, and it fills his cup with hot water, and the tea bag proceeds to brew the tea. However, he has trouble with pouring the milk. As the cup is now nearly full, with just enough room for an average amount of milk, plus a bit of space at the top, he is in danger of overflowing the cup every time he puts the milk in (a thing which happens in 90% of cases, apparently). Is there anything he can do to stop this from happening? He can get the milk into the cup. He just does not know when to stop. We have thought of putting milk into an ice cube tray and hopefully using the resulting cubes, but a) we believe that the milk will expand and just make one big block of ice in the tray; and b) he's lost his ice cube tray. If anyone has any ideas, we would both appreciate it. He has asked a number of people, both carers, and people in the same situation, and no-one has come up with an idea.

Also, I think I should point out that there is no possibility of putting the milk in first, as a) he still won't know how much he's put in, and b) tea takes longer to brew with milk already in it. Also, powdered milk is out of the question. Cheers! --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 23:07, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Buy the little pre-packaged, plastic, one-serving containers provided by various restaurants/food take-out places. Bus stop (talk) 23:11, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
That's a possibility. It was two strokes that led to his blindness, however, and, in his words, he's 'got hands like shovels'. I think he may find them a little too fiddly. --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 23:16, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Can he not use a larger cup...? It won't solve the problem of when to stop, but it'll help with spilling. And he can probably poke holes in the containers of the creamers or whatever's in the single-serve containers, and pour it in. --Wirbelwindヴィルヴェルヴィント (talk) 23:50, 23 June 2011 (UTC)
Milk is mostly water, so it will expand the same way that water does when it freezes. That just means you need to make sure you don't fill the tray completely so there is room for it to expand without overflowing. As for having lost the tray: buy a new one. They are very cheap. I know people that routinely freeze milk, so it should still be usable. As long as he doesn't want too much milk in his tea, the ice cubes shouldn't cool it down too much. It seems like a great idea to me. --Tango (talk) 00:07, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Well, actually, it's his birthday in two weeks, so I might get one for him (he doesn't like getting presents, so this would be the best present, I guess). I would also like to see if there are any alternative methods we can look into. Cheers so far! --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 02:52, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
A pretty expensive solution would be a bottletop dispenser. All you need to do is pull the bottletop, then push down, and it will deliver the exact (preset) amount of liquid from the bottle. The cheapest one I could find by googling is this which cost a whooping US $119! Royor (talk) 07:29, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Two other suggestions: there are such things as liquid level sensors designed to beep when a tea-cup is full. Some examples here, such as that by Cobalt Systems (UK), Independent Living Aids (US). They're very cheap. (And more generally, there is a wealth of technology designed to make living with impaired sight more easy - some more examples here.) In quite the opposite direction, I remember a radio interview between Peter White (broadcaster) (blind since birth) and David Rathband, a recently blinded policeman. Discussing the use of tea-cup level sensors, both agreed that the most straightforward instrument to use was a finger. --Tagishsimon (talk) 11:08, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
These things don't look too hard to open, but of course I don't know the man's manual abilities. This advertisement seems to sell them. Here are some more. The break off plastic tops seem pretty easy to get off, but I can't really be sure. They seem to come packaged as sticks too, sold for instance here.. Bus stop (talk) 11:39, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
What if the milk was transferred into a plastic bottle of some sort, like the kind used for condiments? Then he would just need to squeeze the bottle, which might be easier than trying to pour. Once he had done it a few times it might be clear how much he needs (e.g. one big squeeze, or two small squeezes, or whatever) for the average cup. Getting the milk into the bottle itself (once a week or so) could be simplified by means of a funnel. --Mr.98 (talk) 13:01, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Alternatively, if the milk was first put in a pitcher with a wide open top, you could use a measuring spoon to transfer the right amount into the teacup. (talk) 13:52, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Just to pick up on what Tagishsimon said, the traditional way I've always heard that blind people use for pouring liquid in a cup is to stick a finger on the lip so that they can feel when the liquid is high enough. However, I'm not sure how safe that would be for him, given that the tea will be near boiling point. So a sensor (as he described) is probably ideal. (talk) 13:55, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Off the top of my head, would the following method be workable? 1. Put a shot glass or other small container in the sink. 2. Pour the desired quantity of milk into this smaller container. Inadvertent overflow stays in the sink. 3. Empty the shot glass containing the correct quantity of milk into the teacup. (In principle, this could allow him to use 86.164's suggested 'fingertip' method for checking the liquid level, without the risk of burns.) TenOfAllTrades(talk) 14:13, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
If he lives in the UK, then the key word is Independent Living skills. His local council will be able to help him learn how to cope with a variety of issues faced by having a disability -(making a cup of tea is a major priority here in Blighty). Example:[7] They are over worked and under resourced so it would help if you do the insisting to intiveiw him a.s.a.p. as they will find any excuse to delay and delay and delay. His GP might be able to help give him priority in pointing out he is at risk from not having yet learn these skill.--Aspro (talk) 14:55, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Another possibility is a measured pourer.
They're often quite cheap. Amazon seems to have them in different sizes for under five pounds.
They're not going to fit on milk bottles, but the milk could be transferred to a separate bottle.
The only thing I'm uncertain of is, since I don't drink hot tea, I'm not sure how much milk goes into a cup of tea. Most of these devices seem to be between 25ml and 50ml which strikes me as a bit much. APL (talk) 19:05, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Oh, they've got them here that go down as low as a tablespoon(15ml), which seems more likely. APL (talk) 19:10, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
This type of ice cube tray would seem to be good, because it makes its "cubes" small and round. And they are very easy to get out because the bottom is a flexible substance similar to rubber. After freezing the 20 little receptacles, you just have to pop them out into a bowl and store the bowl in the freezer. I've seen these trays on sale in supermarkets for under $3. Bus stop (talk) 19:23, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
I've got one of those, I'm sort of disappointed in it. The cubes still grip the sides like they do any other ice tray. So basically you still wind up twisting the tray to loosen all the cubes at once. APL (talk) 19:47, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Oops—I'd better strike that out. I never tried one. It just seemed like it would be easy to get them out. Bus stop (talk) 19:51, 24 June 2011 (UTC)
Is that one of the silicone ice trays? I've never tried one but would have thought given the flexibility you could push out individual ice cubes. At least it works with mini muffins which I have try (and could use to test the theory, from what I've seen it's basically the same thing except for the colour and size as the ice trays) Nil Einne (talk) 15:45, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
My experience with them is that you can push out individual cubes, but it takes a lot of strength. Usually I give up and twist the tray popping them all out of their slots. Now they're all loose and you can't turn the tray upside down. I guess if you didn't have much dexterity it might be a little easier to push them out at this point. But on the whole, it wasn't as cool as I was expecting. APL (talk) 02:28, 26 June 2011 (UTC)
Would it be easier if he put the milk in first? That is said to be the better way to do it, as the milk and the tea are not so scalded by the boiling water. It was also the traditional way, as it made the delicate porcelain cups of the early tea drinkers less likely to crack due to heat shock. (talk) 09:47, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
If you're making the tea in the cup the milk has to go in after it is brewed, if you put the milk in first the liquid is too cool to brew properly. If you make the tea in a pot then you do put the milk into the cup first. DuncanHill (talk) 15:53, 25 June 2011 (UTC)
That's your choice, but I understood that boiling water was bad for tea. Very hot but not boiling was better. If you leave the teabag in too long then all the bitter tannins leach out and the taste is not as good. (talk) 20:58, 28 June 2011 (UTC)