Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2012 July 28

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July 28[edit]


I posted some questions at the Wikipedia:Reference desk/Science here. Appreciated if someone with knowledge on this subject would take a look at it. Doesn't hurt to widen the audience :) Thanks, TMCk (talk) 00:36, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Don't post multiply. The same volunteers are likely monitoring both boards. Edison (talk) 02:54, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Uhm, no, that's not very likely for most I'd say and you'd have a hard time to proof me wrong on this. Anyways, I only pointed to the other thread w/o repeating the whole thing here so what's your problem. I know you as being reasonable whenever I've encountered you. So please, don't distract from my inquire. Thanks, TMCk (talk) 03:37, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Hey, thanks for your response over there. Just saw and responded to it.TMCk (talk) 03:46, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree with Edison here, all evidence I've seen from responses is that the majority of people who can answer questions like yours are monitoring science and misc, and generally humanities too. While posting a link isn't as bad as posting the question again, it's generally considered rude on the RD. And the sort of thing likely to lead to people being reluctant to help you, particularly when even after this is pointed out, you respond as if you the person pointing it out is at fault. Nil Einne (talk) 17:25, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

A claim to need replacing the PCM on my PT Cruiser sounds fishy - Ripoff?[edit]

After the engine quit in the middle of driving, I had to get my 2002 Chrysler PT Cruiser towed to the service department for a local Ford dealer off of a 4-lane highway east of town. (I was fortunate to see this happen on a residential street; not a busy boulevard intersection, so I simply coasted it to a curb in a fairly quiet neighborhood.)

I got a call back about my Powertrain Control Module being at fault, not under my service plan, and after parts, labor and diagnostic ($91 to make a diagnostic) (but "mostly parts,") the total would be $788.30.

I just have a gut feeling that there's not all that meets the eye, so to speak.

I spoke to a representative of a company that sells portable car diagnosers, and he was once a technician, so he mentioned "re-flashing" the PCM (that is, reprogramming it; reimaging it to factory pre-programming.)

So that sounded like an epiphany - I would like to entertain this money-saving idea straight to their general manager tomorrow morning.

Now how likely is it that my PCM just needs a re-flash? Moreover, what would cause the PCM to need an entire replacement and not merely a reflash?

Some vital info you may need to help you answer:

VIN: (redact info provided in good faith μηδείς (talk) 03:47, 28 July 2012 (UTC))

I bought it secondhand from the Ford dealer; I am the 3rd owner of this vehicle. They claimed to have committed a 150-point inspection before sale.

I estimate about 97,000 miles on the odometer, give or take a few hundred.

So overall, what are the best methods to deal with this new predicament? Are there methods you know of to bypass the ordeal for a reduced charge and still restore the car to good working order? Too many fibers of my being tell me that the service advisor is trying to milk me out of more than this problem is actually worth.

PS: Much of the time, the service advisor's demeanor and tone doesn't seem to reflect that he's been trained in the fine arts of customer service. He sounds like, and his general aura seems like he worked previously in a line of work that involved causing others to reprehend him. He even cracked a joke that I'd "have to trade in my first three children to pay the repairs." I'm not sure whether he wanted to aggravate me or that was just a (very) misguided attempt to get me to laugh. I hope I can switch to a different service advisor for a second opinion and potentially a better deal, when I speak with their General Manager tomorrow. And would you be confident that speaking with said Manager will do much good? -- (talk) 03:23, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

One suggestion is to get the parts you need from a junkyard (call them each up and tell them what part you need, they have their parts listed in a database these days). I'd also suggest installing them yourself, or have a friend do it, if you know somebody who is "handy". StuRat (talk) 03:34, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion. Even though I'll pursue it as necessary, I would feel dubious to the quality that they are at that point. On the other hand, I found a supplier site that sells them brand new for nearly $160, and with a lifetime warranty for $100 higher. Did that seem like a great deal to you? I would hope that supplying this to them will cut the bill greatly. On the other hand, if they don't accept user-supplied parts, do you know what chains of auto-repair shops will? -- (talk) 04:09, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I don't think you mean quality of the used parts, but are worried that they might be worn out. I was assuming that a 10 year old used car is just "basic transportation", and that you don't need for it to last all that long anyway. If this is a car you want to keep it top condition for years, then, by all means, spend the extra cash for new parts. I think it's quite likely they would install parts you supply, but you should ask first. Although you might find that their labor prices suddenly go up, as they have to soak you somewhere. StuRat (talk) 04:59, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
My thanks to the IP for reposting his question. I have again removed the VIN number, which User IP 70 has given in good faith: "I'm volunteering the VIN info. This is my car, and I trust posting it here will not harm me nor the vehicle. I hope that posting this VIN would bring us closer to resolving this matter, as it may pull up particular unique needs, known defects and the like." given it is a unique identifier. If other editors believe this information is both actually necessary and guaranteed harmless I invite it to be restored if there is consensus. μηδείς (talk) 03:47, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Can you think of any scenario where posting your VIN will cause harm ? StuRat (talk) 03:55, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
^-- I would beg this question as well. -- (talk) 04:09, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Not sure where I first heard it, but the greatest difficulty in car theft is not taking the vehicle - it is providing clear title. A VIN is integral to that. --Nouniquenames (talk) 04:33, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
The VIN number is stamped onto the chassis. If you have already stolen the vehicle physically, then you can read it off, but it won't help you claim ownership. (talk) 04:37, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
In addition to the other answers, I would suggest taking it to a Chrysler dealer, as they will be much more familiar with the PT Cruiser than a Ford dealer. Even though you bought it from a Ford dealer, they may not be experts on that model. RudolfRed (talk) 23:12, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Or, a an independent non-affiliated mechanic for another opinion. RudolfRed (talk) 23:14, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Yes, and they are widely known for their honesty. If you can find one that works for a used car dealership, all the better ! :-) StuRat (talk) 23:42, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
I agree with RudolfRed. Having a dealer do the repair is rarely a good value unless it's covered by the warranty. I would at least call another shop and tell them what the dealer mechanic told you and ask for a rough estimate. I'd be especially wary with an older car because some mechanics might tell you the repair would be prohibitively expensive and offer to "take it off your hands". Then they do the repair themselves and flip the car for a nice profit. I had someone try to pull this on me once. Jerk182 (talk) 22:49, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

Is mental health situation in South Africa and Botswana some what stable because of stability both countries?[edit]

Is mental health situation in South Africa and Botswana some what stable because of stability both both countries? They seem to have some kind of mental health program for both countries: Does any have info on this tropic? Buffyfan84 (talk) 03:35, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

What do you mean by the stability of the mental health situation in a nation ? Do you mean their mental health CARE systems ? StuRat (talk) 04:02, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm talking about those countries mental health acre systems. Yes. How good are their mental health systems? Do they have shrinks and mental hospitals? Buffyfan84 (talk) 04:41, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

You may be interested in Healthcare in South Africa, Department of Health (South Africa) and/or Health in Botswana. (talk) 04:46, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

-- I'm not talking HIV or aids in Botswana. I mean mental health in Botswana.

Thank you for the links but is there source that talks about mental healthcare in Botswana. Not about people having aids but about how people with mental illnesses are treated there. Thank you. Buffyfan84 (talk) 04:55, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

I don't know about those nations in particular, but 3rd world nations generally have a very limited total health care budget, and faced with immediate killers like AIDS, tend to focus their resources there. Mental health may get little, if any, consideration. StuRat (talk) 05:01, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Please post replies to this question here, not on my talk page. If you click the links and follow the references to the South Africa Department of Health and the Botswana Ministry of Health you may find what you're looking for. (talk) 05:03, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
See [1] and [2] for Google search results. StuRat (talk) 05:05, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

What stone the queen wears for her necklace?[edit]

Queen of punt.jpg

I think it is pearl. Is there any other evidence or suggestion means let me know?--Tenkasi Subramanian (talk) 14:35, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

If you mean the Queen of Punt, that looks much too big to be a pearl. They preferred larger and more colourful gemstones in those days anyway. If you mean the Queen, she was wearing a diamond neckless last night.--Shantavira|feed me 20:57, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Wow, what a looker ! Put's Queen Victoria to shame ! StuRat (talk) 23:39, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Is she were neck-less, she couldn't have been wearing a necklace. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 23:55, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
By that logic, a cutlass must be cutless. StuRat (talk) 00:06, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Reminds me of the old joke: Hear about the guy who poisoned his wife with a razor blade? He gave her arsenic. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 08:31, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
I had to switch to British English mode to get that joke (the "arse" part). StuRat (talk) 09:18, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Jack wins today's award for the best punning situation. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:32, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
The Personal Jewel Collection of Elizabeth II includes a notable pair of pearl necklaces.  Card Zero  (talk) 21:03, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
Please, this question has obviously nothing to do with with Queen Elizabeth but is about the Queen of Punt depicted here. Many historians believe Punt to have been located around or near modern Somalia, although Djibouti and Eritrea has also been mentioned. This (unsourced) site: lists various gemstones natural to those countries, for example it lists amethyst, aquamarine, emerald and quartz for Somalia. So it may have been one of those, however it could also have been gems that had been traded from other places. --Saddhiyama (talk) 09:47, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
It has to do with gems, though, and ERII's pearl necklaces might provide a frame of reference for the size of pearls. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:09, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Not really. Spherical natural pearls doesn't come in a size comparable to the gem on the picture. If queen Elizabeth has spherical pearls of that size they are obviously cultured ones, which didn't exist at the time of our queen of Punt. --Saddhiyama (talk) 22:55, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
There is mother of pearl, which comes in that size. StuRat (talk) 23:34, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
I didn't realise the OP put that picture there. I thought it was Shantavira being whimsical.  Card Zero  (talk) 21:51, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
I see. An understandable mistake considering the OP didn't specify which queen except by the picture, and after all the off topic comments it would indeed have been difficult to ascertain whether the picture was part of the original question or some of the off topic chit chat. I still don't understand how Shantavira could mix the British queen into this, though, as it would have been obvious to him that it was a question about the queen of Punt when the picture would have been showing only with the OP. --Saddhiyama (talk) 22:55, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
I'm sure that if an OP asked some question about "the Queen", and the rest of the question did not make it clear which queen was being referred to, the first response (probably from me) would be to ask which queen they were asking about. Without the picture, Shanta would have been right to ask if Elizabeth II was the queen in question, since most anglo people call her that, and this is English WP after all. But, as you say, the picture was there all along. Some say QE II is not the most attractive woman in the world. Some even go as far as calling her downright unattractive, but even they would agree that that picture does her a disservice. How strange. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 00:53, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
I am not quite sure what your point is, since you just seem to repeat what I already stated: The picture was posted with the OP, so it was quite clear at that time who the question concerned, but the following off topic banter muddied it up, making it more difficult for people wanting to provide serious answers to discern which royalty the question was actually about. --Saddhiyama (talk) 00:58, 31 July 2012 (UTC)
If I'd said "I agree", would you have taken issue with that? I hope not. Why does it become an issue if I choose a different set of words to provide a slightly differently nuanced response than yours? -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 08:39, 31 July 2012 (UTC)

What is the best website for streaming Jerry Springer episodes in Canada?[edit]

What is the best website for streaming Jerry Springer episodes in Canada? Bulkbot84 (talk) 18:52, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Please don't post the same question to more than one reference desk. RudolfRed (talk) 23:09, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

US Savings Bond[edit]

We have a series EE US Savings Bond issued in May 1992. The article about savings bonds says "Series EE bonds reach maturity (double in value) 20 years from issuance though they continue to earn interest for a total of 30 years. Interest accrues monthly and is paid when the holder cashes the bond. For bonds issued before May 2005 the rate of interest is recomputed every six months at 90% of the average five-year Treasury yield for the preceding six months."

What I want to know is when does the interest go down - is it recomputed after 20 years or after 30 years? The website lists it at getting 4.00%. Is it still getting 4% and will it still get that until it is 30 years old? Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 19:39, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

It could go down at any time. However, savings bonds are supposed to encourage people to save, which is why it is paying 4% which is much more than 90% of "the average five-year Treasury yield for the preceding six months" (which has been about 0.5%). Since bonds issued in 1985 are still paying 4%, you are at the mercy of some Office of Management and Budget official who could probably cut it down to 0.45% at any time over the next decade, but I strongly suspect will keep it high. I bet you never thought that bond would be paying five times the commercial bank and credit union certificate of deposit rates. (talk) 00:58, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
The government has at least one strong incentive not to lower that rate too much. It would result in many people cashing in their bonds and that would force the government to refinance its debt as it doesn't exactly have the surplus funds lying around. (talk) 01:21, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
If it refinances from 4% down to .45%, isn't that better for the government (ie: taxpayers?). What's wrong with needing to refinance when rates are low? Asked another way: why is there incentive to keep the 4% debt? RudolfRed (talk) 01:27, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
When the prevailing interest rates are low the lending/saving rate is also low. Although the nominal rates might be 0.5% few people are happy to lend at that rate so the government has to offer them a higher rate through instruments like the EE Bond, unless the treasury just wants to sell it's bonds to the lender of last resort. (talk) 01:38, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
Exactly. The personal savings rate has been declining since a bump during the recession already back down to 2003-5 rates of 3-4%. The personal savings rate means a lot less than it did before Social Security was pegged to the Consumer Price Index in the early 1970s, but it's still a pretty big deal, and the government doesn't want to see it get below 2% again for sure. It's that kind of attention to detail (at the expense of the employment ratio, poverty, and child homelessness) which earns the U.S. such low, negative real interest rates. At the bond rates the U.S. has been getting, it is almost criminally negligent to not call in and roll over all the old debt. (Perhaps by issuing platinum coins.) But they won't try to call in Savings Bonds because of the low personal savings rate. (talk) 02:38, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

Visa Card[edit]

I want to ask how secure is Shopping in mall via Visa Card ? During the checkout the clerk generally asks to swipe the card and sign on the paper. They never asks to enter your PIN in machine. Also, Signature issue is nonsense as I had used my signature on my brother's card once.So, what my point is someone could easily pickpocket my wallet and go to nearest mall and buy Gold with it and then sell gold to get cash. This was the PIN of ATM is useless. GiantBluePanda (talk) 21:19, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Which country is this? In the UK, all retail outlets require use of a PIN for this reason. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 21:30, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

It is Sri Lanka GiantBluePanda (talk) 21:34, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

Credit card companies and banks agree that security is an issue. It would seem that Sri Lanka simply may not have adopted the new standards. See Smart card for more info on an attempt at a solution and Credit_card#Security_problems_and_solutions for more general issues on credit card security. Mingmingla (talk) 22:20, 28 July 2012 (UTC)
The situation is the same in the US. Only some require a signature, but none of them seem to actually bother to verify it. A few gas stations require your ZIP code, but that's probably in the same stolen wallet as the credit card. Online retailers require an additional 3 or 4 digit code, but it's printed on the back of the same stolen credit card. StuRat (talk) 23:34, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

I'm not sure of the situation where you are, but in Australia if someone makes a fraudulent purchase with your card it's the issuer's problem, not the card holder's. You can organise a chargeback with the card issuer and it then becomes the vendor's problem for not having checked the signature. (talk) 23:59, 28 July 2012 (UTC)

In Canada, the signature on the back of the card is not there for authentication purposes. It's there to confirm that the cardholder has agreed to the terms under which the card was issued. A business is not legally allowed to accept an unsigned card because it's not valid until it's signed, and if they do neither the cardholder nor the issuing bank is responsible for anything charged on that card. It's very common for parents to give their kids their credit cards, and it's not at all uncommon for the signatures not to match. Nowadays, though, the PIN system takes care of that and nobody has to sign - which is of course safer, since it's not likely any random pickpocket will know Dad's PIN unless he's foolish enough to write it on the card. --NellieBly (talk) 06:40, 29 July 2012 (UTC)
So in the pre-PIN days, there was no attempt to authenticate transactions? I was surprised when I was in the US recently that they didn't do anything to authenticate transactions there either. In the UK, it is only recently that it has been possible to make small transactions without authentication, through contactless cards. --Tango (talk) 00:36, 30 July 2012 (UTC)
In a lot of places, you have to show ID to use a credit card, particularly if the use is suspicious or unusual (buying gold would qualify, to get back to the original question). This was the case before PIN numbers as well. And you are expected to report a lost or stolen card as soon as possible. These numbers have been tracked by computers for decades now, so a stolen card has a very short lifespan before the user is identified as using a stolen card. --Xuxl (talk) 10:08, 30 July 2012 (UTC)

I work part-time in a Shell gas station in Canada and while we have the PIN installed, our current POS units don't allow it to function properly, so we still swipe the cards manually and have the customers sign the receipt. However to be honest, these are not verified. It's too much of a hassle, especially due to the high number of customers and usually low-cost (baring gas) purchases. We do have limits such as two packs of cigarettes tops (and no lotteries or prepaid cards) on credit though. I believe that only less than 0,07% of all active cards are fraudulent (I'd have to dig through my textbooks for a confirmation), so it's not really the lurking danger it's made out to be in popular folklore. Eisenikov (talk) 10:54, 31 July 2012 (UTC)