Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2013 December 2

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December 2[edit]

Neither Math, Medical nor Legal. O yeah. Nor speculation (how much does the average scot drink)[edit]

Imagine the "average" Scot. Let "Scot" be defined as a person of Albannaich. How many pints must one drink in order to "outdrink" this Scot. Cheers. [O. Include neither Sean Connery nor Bill Shatner in your calculations as they are most assuradely better than average. By a lot.] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:26, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

Does List of countries by alcohol consumption help? You could also do a google search for similar terms. --Jayron32 15:35, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
This question has been brought to you by the same troll who asked us how to get a free trip to NK, and for the tour dates of a defunct band. See Jayron has answered it. There's no reason to encourage it further. μηδείς (talk) 17:08, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

(removed unnecessary hatting) SteveBaker (talk) 17:28, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

I think you may be surprised at how little that is.
According to, in 2012, men consumed an average of 15.2 units of alcohol a week, and women consumed an average of 7.6 units a week. A quarter of men and 15% of women drank more than twice the recommended daily limit on their heaviest drinking day.
According to Unit of alcohol a weak beer contains 2 units per pint, a strong one up to 4 units. So an "average" male drinker in scotland is drinking between 4 and 7 pints per week if they only drink beer...a woman, half that amount. However, that doesn't help us to answer the question because we don't know whether they happen to drink all of those pints on a single night - or spread them out through the week. The "recommended daily limit" is 3-4 units for men and 2-3 per day for we know that a quarter of men are drinking 6 to 8 units in one day...which is more than the average amount for an entire week. So it seems safe to assume that you might have to drink around 7 units to achieve you're somewhat dubious goal. However, that is a little under 2 pints of strong beer or 4 pints of the weak stuff.
The tricky part of this is that on some days of the year, even average people may drink a LOT more on that day than the averages suggest. So we can only really say what an average scot on an average day is likely to consume (one pint of weak beer or a half pint of the stronger stuff)...and we can be fairly sure that this is not the right answer for a specific day of the week or (worse still) a specific day of the year. Worse even than that is the vagueness of the term "out drink" - does it really mean "consume more units of alcohol than..." - or maybe "arrive at a state of inebriation later than"? Which carries enough different interpretations to make any solid answer more or less impossible.
SteveBaker (talk) 17:28, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Sorry Steve, but your personal OR is not a reason to unhat anyone's trolling. μηδείς (talk) 21:19, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm unhatting this question (again) because it does not appear to violate any of our guidelines and some effort at a reasonable answer has been made with appropriate references and cautions. I object to your accusation of WP:OR - my previous response is based on two references about the average consumption of alcohol and the recommended consumption rate. It is a perfectly cromulant answer to an odd - but not disallowed - question. Please take any further rants to our Talk page. I can tell from several of your other responses on this page today that you're not in the best of moods - so perhaps taking a little Wikibreak would be a good thing for you right now rather than taking another knee-jerk reaction. SteveBaker (talk) 00:28, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
You're right in that I only saw unit of alcohol, and not the reference above it. μηδείς (talk) 01:03, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
In my experience, the average figures quoted above by Mr Baker are highly dubious, unless by 'average' you include babes in arms, children, and teetotalers. If I get asked by some prodnose how much I drink - and for some reason doctors ask these questions, which is ironic given how medical students are notorious for heavy drinking - I immediately give a response which is at most 25% of the true figure.
The real problem, however, is that Scots tend to binge drink. The caricature, in which there is much truth, is that wherever 2 or 3 are gathered together, the bottle of usquebaugh will be produced, the seal broken and the top thrown away, and the assembled company will then drink themselves into merry oblivion whilst blaming the FEBs [Fucking English Bastards] for all their problems. And once the bottle has been finished - why, it's time for the deoch an dorus! (talk) 19:57, 7 December 2013 (UTC)

American knowledge of European geography[edit]

You have probably seen this post where a number of Americans were asked to label European countries. Well, I painstakingly went through every single entry, keeping notes country by country, how many countries were labelled right and how many wrong. I didn't count unsure entries ("maybe they're this way, maybe that way"), blatant ignorance ("I don't know! Sorry!"), nonexistent countries (such as Czechoslovakia, which doesn't exist any more) or frivolous answers ("cold!", "high standard of living", "Borat", "Dracula") as either right or wrong. I had a thought of making a map of this, where each country would be coloured, where the saturation would mean the number of answers (deeper colour means more answers), and the hue would mean the correctness (greener means more correct, redder means less correct). Would such a map be of any use on Wikipedia? JIP | Talk 20:25, 2 December 2013 (UTC)

A quiz like that might work out better if the European nations would ever decide once and for all what their borders are. The lower 48 American states have been firmly defined since about 1912. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:32, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Interestingly, Bugs, you're quite wrong. We have a relevant category, with several entries therein remaining active (this one comes up every drought season). But while JIP's map might be interesting to see compiled data on, I concur with you below that it's probably not useful to WP -- albeit not for any jingoistic reasons. — Lomn 20:55, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Even as we speak, those states' militias are gathering at the disputed border, ready to engage in a firefight if the judicial approach doesn't work out. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:00, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, there was the Toledo Strip War, where Michigan won and forced Ohio to take Toledo. Now we need another war, so we can force them to take Detroit, too. :-) StuRat (talk) 08:15, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
You didn't answer my question, and anyway, other than eastern and south-eastern Europe, the borders of the European nations have been more or less (too small differences to make a difference in this quiz) for almost two centuries. Some of the nations were established before the United Stations States became independent, some even before western civilisation discovered America in the first place. (But at that time, the national borders were different from what they are now.) But my main point is, please answer my question instead of making side remarks. JIP | Talk 20:44, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
"United Stations"? All righty, then, the answer to your first question is "No", because its only purpose would be to malign Americans. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:50, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
That was a typo, I've corrected it. I'll take your answer into consideration and wait for other answers. So far, I've seen the counterargument "Well, Europeans can't label US states either" pretty much everywhere. The difference is that the USA is a federal nation consisting of semi-independent states, whereas the European nations are fully independent and not subject to each other. I couldn't label many of the US states, but then neither could I label many states of Mexico, Germany, Austria, or India. JIP | Talk 20:58, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
"...fully independent and not subject to each other"? That might come as a surprise to the EU. Actually, I expect many European students who are sufficiently interested can name individual US states - and I expect many American students who are sufficiently interested can fill in the names of the European nations (occasionally borrowing the same tiny pen the Europeans would have used to label Rhode Island). ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:04, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
It might be useful for the article "National Council for Geographic Education" or the article "Education in the United States" or the article "Geo-literacy" or the article "Geography of Europe". In any case, I am interested in seeing the map.
Wavelength (talk) 21:01, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Thank you. I have the source data now, but I have yet to actually make the map. JIP | Talk 21:02, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Hatted personal attacks and insults
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
  • What a load of shit. How many dead Americans does it take to keep European borders stable? We've pulled your asses out of the fire from WWI on. You fuckers submit to destruction by Serbia if we don't stand up for you, and you complain about the map skills of the people who die on your behalf? Seriously? Go suck Hitler and Stalin. μηδείς (talk) 21:13, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
^^ Another high-quality, helpful, and well-referenced post from our frequent contributor. </sarcasm> Please do not contribute if you can't be helpful, or assume good faith. This plea goes out to several of the above, not just Medeis, who happened to me the most recent problematic responder. SemanticMantis (talk) 21:31, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
While my words wouldn't be quite as stark as those used by Medeis, I don't disagree with the sentiment. And it's clear that such a map has no value in Wikipedia. So this section should be closed down, and the OP can post their precious little map on their "Why I'm jealous of America" blog. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:43, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
As an American geographer, I am as disheartened by the sorry state of my compatriots' geographic knowledge as anyone. However, I question the value of this particular map on Wikipedia. Why is it important how many Americans can locate this or that European country on a map? And incidentally, I reject your claim that it is more important to know about nation-states on a different continent than internal subdivisions. A country such as Finland is much less important on the world scale than U.S. states such as California, Texas, or New York, or for that matter, Chinese provinces such as Jiangsu or Guangdong. Marco polo (talk) 21:27, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Off topic discussion
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.
I should have expected so many furious replies from (presumably) Americans. It might take about two or three centuries before Americans stop reacting to any criticism with "We pulled your asses out of the fire from WWI on". And anyway, Finland wasn't particularly involved in WWII, and only fought a separate war because the Soviet Union attacked us. Most (but not all) of WWI and WWII was fought within Europe. The USA was a major contributor, but not the most important one. Furthermore, I know that Finland is by far less known throughout the world than the USA or China, but I have to question how it would be less known than individual states or provinces. But anyway, nationalistic differences aside, I think I'll go ahead and make the map at some time, but probably not add it to Wikipedia, as it seems it has too little use here. JIP | Talk 21:49, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Talk about ignorance. The US was at war from 1917 to 1989 keeping Europe free from the Germans and the Russians. But we should be ashamed for some people not knowing where a "country" smaller than an average state or our five largest conurbations is on the world map? We have the decency of referring to "brave little Finland". It is you who started this thread, JIP, not any American. μηδείς (talk) 22:13, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
"Most (but not all) of WWI and WWII was fought within Europe." Sure, especially WWII, where the European theatre dragged out so much longer than the Pacific theater. Oh, wait... ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:46, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
OK, the argument might have got quite heated over the evening. I will try to not to argue this any further. JIP | Talk 06:44, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
In an attempt to merge the two sub-threads here, an American, Mark Twain once said "God created war so that Americans would learn geography." HiLo48 (talk) 22:55, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
I've always been seized by what Thomas Gold Appleton said: Good Americans, when they die, go to Paris (presumably not Paris, Texas). And by Oscar Wilde's variation, in A Woman of No Importance: When good Americans die they go to Paris ... And when bad Americans die ... they go to America.  :) -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 23:19, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
Having been an Irishman who enjoyed success in America, was jailed in Britain, and died penniless in Paris, I suppose Wilde would know? μηδείς (talk) 01:08, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, that's right. Oscar knew everything worth knowing. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 01:48, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Not sure about "everything", but if you haven't seen ‎An Ideal Husband (1999 film) then you need to see it at least three more times. μηδείς (talk) 03:06, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Zero + 3 more times = 3 times. Is that what you meant? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 10:54, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Yes, in so far as that is a specific case of X + 3 more times = 3 + X times. Everyone should watch this movie at least three more times. μηδείς (talk) 17:42, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
How many times will you have seen it when you get through your 3 more times? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 01:50, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
I am not quite sure how that process will end, I'd have to ask at the math desk, but I have seen it three times so far. (More if you count other versions, but I am only talking about the 1999 version, which has a slight change from the original plot.) μηδείς (talk) 18:27, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
As a non-American (red, white and not blue), it seems to me that this would be WP:OR. Clarityfiend (talk) 23:18, 2 December 2013 (UTC)
If you've never seen something, you can't see it 3 more times. After you've seen it once then you could see it 2 more times for a total of 3. Or you could see it 3 more times for a total of 4. And so on. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:08, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
British people label American states - RNealK (talk) 04:04, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
That gave me the best laugh I had for months. Thanks. I feel cleansed now. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 07:18, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

I have now created this map, but the consensus of this discussion was that it does not belong on Wikipedia. I will probably upload it somewhere else. Also, if you read the comments from the original site I posted a link to, you'll see that I'm not at all the only one who thinks knowing US states is not the same thing as knowing European countries. That doesn't necessarily mean that viewpoint is correct, though. JIP | Talk 17:41, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

How many Europeans and Americans can correctly label all countries of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Oceania? (I can.) --Theurgist (talk) 18:18, 3 December 2013 (UTC)

Without even looking, I'd say I'd fare quite poorly at least in the Africa quiz. The Caribbean would also be difficult. The others should be easier, because there are some very big, well-known countries there (Russia, China and India in Asia, Australia and New Zealand in Oceania, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran in the Middle East). But I couldn't get every single country right in any of them. JIP | Talk 18:47, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
There are at least a couple of different approaches this could take. One is to be given an outline map and being asked to fill in the names. The other is to be presented with that same map along with a list of names. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:57, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
I did the tests, and scored 65% on Asia, 64% on the Middle East, 35% on Africa, 33% on the Caribbean, and 29% on Oceania. Are there quizzes on other continents too? Europe should be fairly easy for me, although I don't know every European country. If the quizzes only include independent nations, then North America would be very easy, because it has only three nations: the USA, Canada and Mexico. If I have to find individual states it would be a lot more difficult. I'd also fare quite poorly in South America, especially if I have to find subdivisions of the nations. JIP | Talk 19:44, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
Only three countries in North America? Look here. HiLo48 (talk) 07:19, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
I appreciate you pointing out the irony of his mistake. Hot Stop talk-contribs 07:25, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
I didn't realise the Caribbean was counted as a part of North America. Is this unambiguous, or is it open for dispute? Anyway I was only thinking of the three mainland countries of North America. JIP | Talk 16:45, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Well, what's certainly unambiguous is that North America goes all the way down to the isthmus, so it includes all of Central America, except possibly part of Panama. (Dividing the continents at the Panama Canal is a little too precise, maybe, but the fuzzy borderline is certainly somewhere in the neighborhood.) So that includes plenty of "mainland".
But yeah, I think the islands are fairly unambiguous too. They're all continental islands, that is, lying on the continental shelf, right? --Trovatore (talk) 18:27, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
See the "What are Continents?" educational video of a popular YouTube channel. While it covers the issue nicely and explains adequately how some combine multiple continents into one (Americas, Eurasia, Afro-Eurasia) thus reducing the total number to fewer than the traditional seven, I think it should have mentioned, apart from the hypothetical cultural divisions prompted by the cultural as opposed to geographical nature of the Europe-Asia border, the extra splits that others do actually make - for example some do but others do not see Australia as being a part of Oceania, and some regard Central America and the Caribbean as being a separate entity lying between the North and the South while others draw a line along the U.S.-Mexico border to get Anglo-America versus Latin America. You may want to check other videos of the channel as well - it's worth it. --Theurgist (talk) 18:36, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
I try to base it on physical geography as much as possible. Look at the continental shelves without water — they naturally break up into globs, even if some of them might have narrow connections. The division between North America and South America is natural. The division between Europe and Asia, on the other hand, is completely ridiculous. A mountain range, and not even a high one? That's just silly. Eurasia is a single continent, but the Americas are two continents. --Trovatore (talk) 19:21, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
JIP: Even if you exclude everything beneath Mexico from North America, you still can't avoid the inclusion of Greenland, Saint Pierre and Miquelon and, possibly, Bermuda and the Bahamas. --Theurgist (talk) 19:11, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Scored 100% on Asia, Middle East, Africa, Europe, Central America, and South America; 87% on the Caribbean and 85% on Oceania (they make the last two harder by adding all sorts of non-states and splitting up states); also, 93% on US states. Proud Romanian here. (talk) 21:35, 3 December 2013 (UTC)
JIP: Check the mouse-over drop-down lists. They provide quizzes on topics like European countries, Swiss cantons, Afghanistani provinces, major cities, bodies of water, and flags. --Theurgist (talk) 00:30, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
I scored 100% on everything except Oceania, where I missed the Pitcairn Islands. I can even locate Finland. Marco polo (talk) 01:30, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Finland is in Oceania now? Did it move south for the winter? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:57, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
Nope. That would have brought it into the general vicinity of South Africa. -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 07:23, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
South and east, technically - able to swim a long distance thanks to its many Fins. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:39, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
I scored 98% on European countries, 69% on South American countries, 43% on German states, 24% on US states, and 9% on Mexican states. JIP | Talk 06:32, 4 December 2013 (UTC)
97% Africa, 96% Asia, 96% Middle East, 71% Caribbean, 54% Oceania. Admittedly, most of the islands were gotten by guessing at random. But the continental landmasses were pretty easy to identify the countries by shape alone. --Jayron32 00:46, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
100% on Asia, South America, Europe, Middle East, and US Rivers (didn't bother with states), although the last was due to some educated guessing of rivers I could not have named if the name hadn't been given. 82% on Africa, due to confusion bteween the small, west-coast states between Nigeria and Senegal. Surprised I got as high as 67% on Oceania, where the small newly created states in the middle were difficult. Is there one on the traditional counties of England and France? I have to confess geography has long been a favorite subject, that blue was always my favorite color in Trivial Pursuit, and that I always bet it all on geography questions on Jeopardy. μηδείς (talk) 20:27, 5 December 2013 (UTC)