Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2012 April 11

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April 11[edit]


This Lolcat: I get the reference to the old tv series Kung Fu, but why does "let the mailman come to you" mean? (talk) 08:53, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

It's a reference to the stereotype that dogs chase and/or bite mailmen. Also, it's a continuation of the Kung Fu meme. The lead character was known for saying things like don't go to the enemy, let the enemy come to you. Therefore, you're not expending energy going to them and you're also fighting on your own turf versus going to an unfamiliar place where you may not know the lay of the land and other factors. Dismas|(talk) 09:19, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
In the United States, and perhaps elsewhere, there is a stereotype that dogs want to bite or attack mailmen. (In my experience, there is some reality to it. My dog hates the mailman, because he comes to the house every day, rattles the mailbox which is attached to the house, and he is never, ever invited in as true friends are. Only through vigorous barking does he leave, so thinks my dog. Obviously he is a suspicious character.) --Mr.98 (talk) 11:52, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
There's a good deal of reality to it. When I was working as a letter carrier, I saw a fellow mailman come into the post office with a chunk taken out of his leg so deep that one could see the muscles within. I myself would sometimes refuse to deliver mail to places that had dogs loose in the yard (where one had to walk through the yard to reach the mailbox, and a dog was barking at me in a threatening manner). That's why the P.O. issued cans of pepper spray to employees. Deor (talk) 16:01, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Just curious, why did he go to the post office instead of the emergency room? Anonymous.translator (talk) 18:33, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
As I recall—this was more than 40 years ago—he did go to the emergency room after returning to the post office. I guess he wanted to make sure that his undelivered mail was secure and to inform the boss of his whereabouts. Surprisingly, the wound (it was in his calf) wasn't bleeding a whole lot. Deor (talk) 01:10, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
For completeness, the phrasing "let the ___ come to ___" is a reference to "If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain", often rendered (slightly contrarily) as "let the mountain come to Muhammad". - Cucumber Mike (talk) 18:32, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
The cat is also calling the dog "Grasshopper". This is a funny reinforcement of the odd body language displayed by the cat and facial expression displayed on the dog. "Grasshopper" in particular is a little belittling of the dog, accentuating the humor of a cat holding back a dog. Bus stop (talk) 01:23, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
And of course, this is the TV series "Kung Fu" reference given in the OP, just in case there are readers who don't get the reference. --TammyMoet (talk) 08:26, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

foam stuff people use in emergencies for fixing flat tires[edit]

Does Wikipedia have a article on the foam stuff people use in emergencies for fixing flat tires? I've been searching and can't find it — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:16, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

canned tire inflator. — Lomn 13:58, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Unfortunately not one of our best articles :( Roger (talk) 16:05, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Indeed not. I confess I'm having difficulties finding much in the way of reliable sources for anything about these things. Not a reliable source, but scary fun, is the video linked from here. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 16:29, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

German military term[edit]

While researching a WW2 related subject, my browser was unable to properly display the following term; can somebody identify this?
Nazi élite corps
(from this article) ~Eric F (talk) 22:13, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

It's probably "elite". My guess would be the SS. RudolfRed (talk) 22:23, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Almost certainly "élite" (notice the accent). The accented character has been encoded in Unicode, and your browser has not been told to interpret Unicode - probably because whoever created the website has not specified a character encoding for the page. This is annoyingly common on the web. --ColinFine (talk) 22:48, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
It may be a veiled reference to ACOLYTE. A google search of Nazi Acolite gives some results. Check definition of acolyte too Benyoch (talk) 23:12, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
All of the results I could find for "acolyte corps" relate to churches. I'm pretty certain it's going to be "elite corps". Alansplodge (talk) 23:21, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
"elite" seems most likely, but the term is preceded by "the", suggesting something more specific than "...the Nazi elite corps." -- for now my best guess, taking the article's context in account, would be something like "...the elite Nazi SS corps.", or "the elite of the Nazi corps. (?) -- since the article refers to SS officers. But I'm not very familiar with Nazi military hierarchy, etc. ~Eric F (talk) 00:06, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
It definitely should have said élite. The German city Lübeck is written Lübeck in the article so ü is changed to ü. Experimenting with shows:
ü has UTF-8 code units C3 BC. ü has UTF-16 code units C3 BC.
é has UTF-8 code units C3 A9. é has UTF-16 code units C3 A9.
This indicates it must have been é which was changed to é. A Google search on the context finds two other pages [1][2] which write Lubeck and elite. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:12, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Nice job, PrimeHunter. Benyoch (talk) 08:53, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Okay -- thanks. ~Eric F (talk) 01:16, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Mens sana in corpore sano[edit]

Virtually every problem facing humanity—except those constraints forced upon us by the natural world—can be traced to human health. Our institutions give human health lip service, but rarely defend or promote it. Why, then, is physical and mental health not considered the highest, primary social value? Viriditas (talk) 23:53, 11 April 2012 (UTC)

The struggle for resources with which to live is not an issue which can be traced to human health. I think your premise is incorrect rendering your question null. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:00, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Which resources are you struggling to obtain with which to live? I will show they are directly related to human health. Viriditas (talk) 00:03, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Maybe its because there are six billion of us. Thus, humans are not an endangered species. Also, the rich and powerful only need as many people as are required to provided them with all their toys. The surplus labor (population) is expendable. --Aspro (talk) 00:04, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
I think "our institutions" do "defend" and "promote" health. But most of what we do in the realm of health is in our own hands. No one can make us exercise or eat well or for instance not smoke cigarettes. How do you distinguish between defending and promoting and merely paying "lip service"? Bus stop (talk) 01:03, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Right, which explains the polluted air, water, earth, food, etc. Viriditas (talk) 01:20, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Is war or crime traceable to human health? Bus stop (talk) 01:27, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Of course! What do we call leaders and nations who start wars? We call them crazy, sick, mentally ill. And what do we call criminals? And, what happens when you crowd people close together like rats in cities? Why do we have wars? Why do we have crime? Go look for yourself, it's all there. Viriditas (talk) 03:02, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
There is a lot to be said for cities, according to this issue of Scientific American magazine. Not all leaders who go to war are mentally ill. Crime is not necessarily the result of mental illness. Do other forms of life steal? Yes, they do. Is a human mentally ill if they steal? Bus stop (talk) 03:46, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
I think there is a good argument to be made that our culture is unhealthy. Many of our most valued traditions, both in the past and present, are rooted in fantasy and delusion and promote unhealthy addictive behaviors. Why anyone would need to wage war or steal is a question that needs to be asked. The answer points to a sick and unhealthy society that values sickness over health. At the end of the day, society favors and encourages attitudes and behaviors which threaten our physical and mental health. Viriditas (talk) 08:59, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
The culture of most any mortal entity can be said to be "unhealthy". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:34, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
Wars and crime are responses to perverse incentives; they may be quite rational (in the sense of "the least bad choice for the actor's interests") in context. —Tamfang (talk) 18:31, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
It's possible to stretch definitions so that every problem is a health problem – or a numbers problem, or a language problem .... But then you end up with a classification system consisting of one class, and what's the benefit of that? —Tamfang (talk) 18:31, 12 April 2012 (UTC)
The RD is not for discussing your ideology. If you have questions about the increasing life-expectancy, even at poor countries, or the reduced number of wars, just ask.