Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2012 February 26

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February 26[edit]

What are the closed "taps" in this photograph for?[edit] I mean the ones on the building wall. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Xcvxvbxcdxcvbd (talkcontribs) 00:01, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Firehoses, i think. (talk) 00:05, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Yes. They're fire hydrants. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 00:07, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Not hydrants, but standpipes. A hyrdrant provides water for hoses (or a pumper trunk). The connections in the photo are for the other end of the hose, to get water into the building. RudolfRed (talk) 00:23, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
See Dry riser. Nanonic (talk) 20:21, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

What is the song Beyoncé - Countdown about?[edit]

I've watched the music video a few times now and tried to listen to the lyrics, but it seems like it's just random nonsense? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Xcvxvbxcdxcvbd (talkcontribs) 02:14, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

If you can't make out the lyrics, look them up on Google. Or don't. It's basically random baby-talk nonsense about how she thinks her boyfriend is cool. Shakespeare it ain't. Dominus Vobisdu (talk) 02:22, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

What's a "hot lemon"?[edit]

Somebody was ill and asked for a hot lemon. What's that? You heat up a lemon on the stove and put it on your head or something? Never heard of that. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Xcvxvbxcdxcvbd (talkcontribs) 13:25, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

It's hot lemon water (a drink). Mostly just hot water with lemon juice. — Preceding unsigned comment added by XPPaul (talkcontribs) 13:37, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Sounds like a boring version of a hot toddy. SmartSE (talk) 14:35, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
The ones you can buy over the counter for when you are ill come in powdered form and have paracetamol in as well. --Viennese Waltz 16:40, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
(In the UK at least) the generic trademark for this kind of thing is Lemsip. AndrewWTaylor (talk) 19:00, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
But also perhaps one that doesn't make things worse. Nil Einne (talk) 18:07, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Usually drunk when someone has a cold. Also sometimes has a spoonful of honey to sweeten it. More elaborate versions have a little Ribena, or even a small amount of glycerine (if you have a sore throat). It is a comforting folk remedy. (talk) 21:44, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Music apps on app store[edit]

A question above where someone mentioned Audacity got me thinking. I have a very clever iPad app called TempoSlow, which can adjust the tempo of a song without changing the pitch. It's also remarkably cheap (I think the free version is even nearly complete, with a few non-essential features missing). Would they be able to use Audacity to make it, and port it to iTunes? It seems that Audacity has this feature (or something similar - altering pitch holding speed constant) but can they easily enough use it with iTunes? IBE (talk) 16:10, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Sure, it's possible, but they'd have to comply with the Audacity licensing requirements (GNU GPL) and probably have to rewrite the interface from scratch. I'm not sure what the advantage would be — it's sort of like grabbing an entire box full of tools when all you need is a fine screwdriver. I don't think changing the tempo without changing the pitch is very computationally difficult — it usually involves just multiplying snippets or removing snippets. You might have to port the code into C# — I'm not sure. It would still be easier to just start from scratch in that instance. --Mr.98 (talk) 17:50, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

How come all "black" singers are no longer black?[edit]

This Beyonce woman, for instance, looks anything but black-skinned. Isn't she supposed to be a typical "black" person? She doesn't even look brown. Just slightly tanned. The only time I see truly black people in media, they are typically male and some kind of cop or something. How is one supposed to interpret this? I'm genuinely interested because I no longer understand what a "black" person means if Beyonce is considered "black". Xcvxvbxcdxcvbd (talk) 16:16, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

You should not worry about such terminology. These days the politically correct way of looking at this is to say that someone is black if they self-identify as black. As you point out, it's hard to apply objective criteria, so the only solution is self-identification. --Viennese Waltz 16:43, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
It means she is considered by her society (and perhaps by herself) to have a "significant" number of genes derived from historically Sub-Saharan African populations. It's not scientific, it's mostly cultural. It doesn't merely reflect color of skin. Definitions of Blackness have changed over time, as have definitions of Whiteness. See Race (classification of humans). --Mr.98 (talk) 17:41, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Mr.98 is on the right track when saying that subjective Blackness/Whiteness is cultural. This is why in the United States you have some Blacks calling each other Uncle Toms, usually deriding their "not being black enough". It's not due to the color of their skin, but more due to the environment that they were raised in, as well as their socioeconomic status. Note I am not a sociologist, so my information may be inaccurate.--WaltCip (talk) 18:27, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
It may be interesting to note that northern urban African Americans have, on average, 15-20% of European genes (with some variations from city to city), and as many as 30% of African American males carry Y chromosomes of recent European origin.--Itinerant1 (talk) 05:56, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
And plenty of people who are considered "white" by their society contain genes that originated in sub-Saharan Africa. The short story is that it isn't really about the genes except in the way they superficially relate to appearance (facial features, skin color, hair type), and even these can be deceptive. --Mr.98 (talk) 18:06, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
There is a longstanding issue of "light-skinned blacks" being preferred over "dark-skinned blacks", especially females. This has two effects in the direction you noted:
1) Lighter-skinned blacks may be more successful, and thus more visible.
2) They may also go out of their way to have lighter skins, in order to be more successful. For example, Michael Jackson seemed to have his skin bleached. Compare early [1] and later [2] pictures of him. Makeup and airbrushing photos are other ways to lighten the appearance of the skin.
Note that when the media want to make someone look like a thug, they often darken the image, as Time Magazine did with OJ Simpson's mug shot: [3]. And yes, this is racism, plain and simple. StuRat (talk) 21:47, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
It should be noted that Jackson did suffer from vitiligo, which is a disease which produces lighten splotches of skin. See Michael_Jackson's_health_and_appearance#Vitiligo_and_lupus.2C_treatments_and_effects for a longer discussion. --Mr.98 (talk) 18:05, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I am reading: "Isn't she supposed to be a typical "black" person?" From where are you deriving that? Bus stop (talk) 18:55, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

"Average student prospects to become an investment banker"[edit]

hi all,

This is a question which i revolving inside my head every time I read something related to Investment banking or Private Equity or Venture Capitalists. I am a graduate in commerce & at present a final year student of Chartered Accountants. I am keen to know what all is required for an average student to start with investment banking or I can quote it in this way "that what all efforts a student is required to put in order to become an investment banker".

All the replies in this regards will be overwhelmingly appreciated.

Regards ′Bhawana joshi (talk) 18:07, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Do you have any work experience in banking, accounting, or any of the related fields? In what country did you obtain your diplomas, and if applicable, at what university? Do you have any outside/personal connections to banking besides simply having the academic credentials?--WaltCip (talk) 18:22, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Certainly, in my experience of seeking work, they all seem to want some previous experience in investment banking. However, there are some graduate opportunities in the field, though you might have to do an (unpaid) internship first. Check out job hunting websites (eg. or your local equivalent) and see what the adverts are saying when it comes to skills required and expected qualifications. Astronaut (talk) 22:21, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
In the UK, summer internships (usually the summer before your final year) are paid (and paid very well - you usually get the graduate salary, pro-rated) and are definitely the best way to get in (it's basically a 10 week job interview and you hear horror stories of interns being made to routinely work through the night, but if you're good you'll get a firm job offer at the end of it). It is possible to get a job without an internship if a company has places to fill that it didn't fill through its internship programme. However, investment banking is a very popular job so investment banks can, and do, demand the very best from applicants. I don't think an "average student" would stand much chance. --Tango (talk) 13:08, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

What's the song in this video clip?[edit] Been trying to find this song forever... — Preceding unsigned comment added by Xcvxvbxcdxcvbd (talkcontribs) 19:18, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

As the twelfth track on the remastered CD release of the soundtrack [4], it is called "Shelley Winters Cha Cha". --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 21:46, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
And it was composed for the film by Nelson Riddle. Deor (talk) 21:49, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Why does evolution hate zebras?[edit]

They are all white and black in a savanna setting. Logically, such an animal should've evolved into some kind of dirt-colored creature. The pattern might be okay, but the colors?! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Xcvxvbxcdxcvbd (talkcontribs) 19:43, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

There are plenty of reasons why the zebra's stripes may help them survive - see Zebra#Stripes. Hut 8.5 19:59, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
One of the reasons mentioned in the Zebra#Stripes section, is also the subject of an in brief story in the 18th February issue of New Scientist, p 18: The stripes confuse tsetse flies and Horseflies, and provide an unattractive surface to land on. J Exp Biol, DOI:10.1242/jeb.065540. --NorwegianBlue talk 22:00, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
You might also look at Camouflage#Motion_dazzle. AJCham 09:54, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Logic says you're wrong. Shadowjams (talk) 09:49, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Evolution doesn't love or hate anyone or anything. If zebras have survived and thrived, then their stripes are either benefiting them or at worst are not significantly harming them. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:47, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
The pattern is actually more important than the color. Most mammals have very bad color vision. Most nocturnal and marine mammals only see in one color (monochromacy), while most diurnal mammals only see in green, blue, and yellow (dichromacy). Take for instance, tigers. They're glaringly orange to us trichromats, but to most other mammals they're more or less indistinguishable from a background of green grass.
We humans are actually the lucky ones in that we have trichromatic vision, a gift from primate ancestors that decided to eat fruits and young leaves. The former is usually red, a color that makes it indistinguishable from unripe fruits to most mammalian herbivores, but birds (the dispersal agents targeted by the plants) see it just fine. Recessive monochromacy and dichromacy still occur in humans every now and then though - as color blindness. And even trichromacy is far far less than the usual colors seen by birds, reptiles, fish, and some invertebrates.
The main predators of zebras (lions, hyenas, leopards, etc.) are members of Carnivora. And carnivores, as far as anyone can tell, have poor color vision, though they have excellent dim-light and binocular vision. Unsurprising given that they are mostly nocturnal. At night time, colors don't matter.-- OBSIDIANSOUL 13:43, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
If I remember correctly, what little night vision we have left is mostly black and white, our minds just fill in the other colors. Ian.thomson (talk) 14:24, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

Just thanx[edit]

Just wanted to tell you all how good wikipedia is looking now and in such a short time. Music, botanics, youve nailed it. Compliments for everyones commitment, wishing you all success. Find solace in that you are educating and education hopefully leads us into a better era. Kind regards Xil — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:17, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

You're welcome, from all of us here at Wikipedia. StuRat (talk) 21:34, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Of course the best way to say thanks is to join us, and help make it even better. Mitch Ames (talk) 11:00, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

cutty sark[edit]

what was life on bourd the cutty sark like? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:45, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

These pages are from the Cutty Sark Preservation Society, who currently own the ship:
The first two pages seem like they may be of particular use to you. --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 21:28, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

cutty sark answer now please[edit]

Please, I have now to find out wat the life was like abourd the cutty sark if not answered be 4 1155 then thanx alot so plese help

Presumably this is for your homework, which we're not going to do for you, however have you read Cutty Sark for a starting point? And then a few google searches for things like "life on the cutty sark" or "life on 19th century ships" should get you the rest--Jac16888 Talk 21:09, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Also, you need to be more patient. You posted you're follow-up question 8 minutes after the first post. You really shouldn't expect an answer that fast. Sometimes answers take a week on here, although often you get a partial answer within a day. StuRat (talk) 21:32, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
There's some really good film of the Cutty Sark at sea in the 1920s here and here. It gives a hint about how difficult life was - heavy manual work, no safety equipment (if you let go, there was nothing to stop you falling-off and being killed). Bad food, long hours on watch, not much sleep and no way of drying your clothes. My grandfather was an apprentice on a sailing ship from the age of 15 and had some tales to tell. Alansplodge (talk) 21:42, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm curious now; were we in time? Alansplodge (talk) 11:12, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
...Or did he miss the boat? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:32, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
If it was me, just to be a smart ass, I'd do a report on the Scotch whiskey. StuRat (talk) 04:27, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
A smart ass would know that there's no such thing as 'Scotch whiskey'. Good Scotch (or even bad Scotch) has no 'e' ;-) AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:32, 29 February 2012 (UTC)
In EO, under "whisky" it says "see whiskey".[5]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:33, 1 March 2012 (UTC)

Junk mail economics[edit]

I get ads for the same cable company (U-verse) mailed to me about once a week. I have difficulty figuring out how such a practice can be profitable for them. Surely if a consumer doesn't respond to the first hundred such ads, the chances of them responded to number 101, one week later, with the same exact offer, must be absurdly low. Are there any studies on the effectiveness of repeat mailings that show that this really is in their interest ? StuRat (talk) 23:27, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Once you have the infrastructure in place, sending an email costs almost nothing. So even if the chances of you replying to email 101 are absurdly low, they're still probably a little higher then almost nothing. Vespine (talk) 23:44, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Oops, I see a clarification is needed here: I mean snail mail, not email. StuRat (talk) 23:46, 26 February 2012 (UTC)

Here is a discussion of "repetition effects" in advertising. Goals are to have you "overlearn" their message, and to "drown out" the message of the opposition. The article notes the risk of "wearout and negative effects." A rational consumer might hear or see an ad once and base his purchasing on what he heard. Advertisers do not really expect the consumer to run out and buy their products without many repetitions. The hazard from overzealous repetition is that the consumer may develop a positive attitude after a certain number of reps, which turns to a negative attitude after too many reps. In the 1970's US TV advertisers introduced the "irritating" commercial, a type which caused viewers to complained to one another about, and to vow never to buy the indigestion remedy or cleaning product. Yet when "indigestion" struck or there were stains the regular detergent just could not remove, the annoying brand was likely the one which came to mind. The profit they might gain from you installing their cable service seems to be enough to motivate the annoying repetition of junk mail. Edison (talk) 23:47, 26 February 2012 (UTC)
Virgin media are certainly doing themselves no favours by continuing to ignore the spirit of the UK Mailing Preference Service (by mailing 'the occupier' at my address). I now have a big stack of their junk mail. Astronaut (talk) 02:14, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
It has always puzzled me that people will complain about spam in their email or annoying telemarketers, both easy to ignore, but seem to care very little about the incredible wastefulness of junk mail. I get credit card offers several times a week. These people in Virginia or Arizona or wherever are sending a letter, and sometimes that stupid little fake sample credit card, all the way to Alaska on the off chance that I might decide to take them up on another card exactly like the three they know I already have and barely use. And I don't even open them, they go straight in the shredder. And their stupid letter from Virginia gets buried in the dump in Alaska. It's obscene that the U.S. mail gives these idiots a break with their bulk mail rates. They're mailing me garbage that I now have to get rid of. i should send them a bill. Actually, sometimes I do open them up if I thin they included a "business reply envelope." I tear up everything else, including the outer envelope, stuff it in there, and send it back to them. Unfortunately this wastes still more resources, but I bet if enough people did it they would get the message and stop sending them out. Who's with me? Beeblebrox (talk) 04:15, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. I remember reading a satirical article appearing, I think, in Reader's Digest some 30 years ago, where archeologists from the future were digging through the ruins of our society to study it, and concluded that the end came when the Post Office lowered the rate for bulk postage, and everyone was buried alive in the subsequent flood of junk mail, much like Vesuvius buried Pompeii. StuRat (talk) 07:32, 27 February 2012 (UTC)
I can believe it. UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 13:19, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
One guy I used to know would return every single one of the free reply envelopes - Business Reply Mail or some such - since each one cost a stamp's price to the company sending him spam. There's also the story of the guy (somewhere on the internet, if I recall) who said he "felt bad" that they spent money to send him a catalog or whatever, so he put $.86 in coins in the return envelope. This would, because of weight, cost more to send for the company - and they refunded it to him by check, which probably cost more for them to print and mail than the value of the check. Didn't stop the junk mail, though... UltraExactZZ Said ~ Did 13:19, 28 February 2012 (UTC)
Even Honest Abe Lincoln would probably stop short of that. One thing to consider, though, is that for every bit of junk mail you add to the weekly recycling drive will be a donation toward making more paper bags for grocery stores. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:38, 1 March 2012 (UTC)
Or even more junk mail. StuRat (talk) 04:58, 2 March 2012 (UTC)