Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/Miscellaneous/2006 August 28

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Telling a girl I like her[edit]

l like this Asian girl, but don't know how to tell her. What should l do?

"You're an interesting person and I enjoy talking with you. Any chance you'd be interested in joining me for a drink/meal/concert/etc sometime?" Pesapluvo 01:13, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
You could do something notable. That'd get her attention. 01:25, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Hello! my name is I know that it's weird to have an IP for a name but I was wondering if ... (good luck from hydnjo talk 01:23, 28 August 2006 (UTC))
Further to some of the suggestions, maybe it would be a good idea to figure out some potential appropriate locations for a first date, just in case the conversation does result in that possibility coming up. Planning is everything ;) --Robert Merkel 02:04, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
In what way is it relevant that she's Asian? If it is, then wich part of Asia? DirkvdM 07:31, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
In an ideal world, it shouldn't matter (but in an ideal world, there wouldn't be any significant interracial relationship disparity either.) But in my opinion if the OP draws attention to her race, he's more likely than not to get things wrong. ColourBurst 16:16, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Whatever makes you think the OP is non-Asian himself? (Or herself, for that matter?) JIP | Talk 20:39, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Because if the OP were Asian (from Asia), he wouldn't refer to her as an Asian girl - he would specify the country (in the same way that relatively few Europeans call themselves European, and relatively few North Americans call themselves North American. People from the United States call themselves American, but that's because they call their country America.) ColourBurst 22:52, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

I dont normally do anything like this but you are extrodenary and I would like to get to know you better. ( if the mother superior says its ok) Hobgoblin

If she is Asian, then you should probably not use e-mail. Or if she is not Asian, you still shouldn't use e-mail. A poem, a rose, a box of chocolates, an affectionate slap on the butt... They all work. Viva La Vie Boheme!

Telling a guy I like him[edit]

(Like the above question! ^_^) I like this guy, but I don't know if he is gay or not, but he might be. How do I ask a guy out without alienating the friendship if he isn't gay? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Ummm, are you a male or a female?  ;-) --hydnjo talk 01:38, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
"Hey, man, can I ask you a question? I can? Okay...are you gay?" Problem solved. --ClockFace 01:41, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
And if the kid has misjudged badly enough he gets the answer "No, you filthy fag" and a broken nose for his troubles. Show a little common sense, please. --Robert Merkel 01:55, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
What are you guys on about? DirkvdM 07:24, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
A very unlikely response though. You can't go through life afraid and assuming the worst. Theresa Knott | Taste the Korn 02:15, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Sinse the questioner pointed out that they were friends, I assumed that his friend would react calmly with a "yes" or a "no" and perhaps some humor to make sure there was no tension between them. True friends would not care as to what their friend's sexual orientation is. --ClockFace 02:21, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Um, that's laudable, but naive. This person could be in an educational and family situation where homosexuality is accepted. Or he could be at high school in (insert stereotype of rural backwardness here) and about to ask the rampantly homophobic football team captain out on a date. --Robert Merkel 04:20, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Both your comments, Robert, made me laugh, but I absolutely don't want to get punched in the face. And no, I'm not about to ask some clearly anti-gay guy on a date. My problem is that the guy has never really showed signs of heterosexuality, like hitting on chicks or whatever. At school (where I met him of course) social groups are tight and I'd hate to ask him, be rejected, have my orientation come out, then spend the next few years as "<my name>, the lonely fag". Aren't suicide rates high among gay teens? It's no mystery why. (not that I'm going to kill myself) 04:35, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Yes, suicide rates are higher among gay teens. And I don't even have to explain that.100110100 07:40, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
From the context of the question, I gather you're a young gay man. While I can't precisely empathise with your situation, it's a difficult situation whether you're gay or straight if you're a teenager trying to guess whether somebody would appreciate you asking them out. In some parts of the world, there are support groups for gay teenagers which might be able to give you advice on the best way to deal with this situation - maybe a web search for "gay teenager support group" and your location might turn up some people who can help (but use your common sense to check out the bona fides of any such group). --Robert Merkel 01:55, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
If you aren't willing or able to let him know your orientation, you're in a difficult position, IMO. Because you don't want hitting on your friend to be the way he finds out you're gay. He probably wouldn't appreciate it even if he is also gay. I think that if you don't trust him with the truth about your orientation, you probably don't know him well enough to date him anyway. I'm not saying that's how it is, but your previous post suggests it to me.
If it were me, I'd just take him aside, and in a gentle, neutral, light way, tell him you're gay. Don't say you're attracted to him, don't make it a heavy conversation, just say this is something you want him to know about you, you're not weird about it, you hope he isn't, and you hope the honesty will make you better friends. If his response is negative, or if he makes no indication that he shares either your sexual orientation or a mutual attraction, leave it at that. If he indicates that he shares your orientation, or an interest in the lifestyle, suggest an outing (not a date) where the two of you can have some alone time and maybe explore gay culture (depending on your location, maybe it doesn't exist). Or, just go behind the 7-11, smoke a doobie, and make out. :-)
Isn't "outing" a word to be avoided among gays? Edison 15:59, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Not a criticism, but it's been my experience and observation that sometimes guys jump the gun, opting for action rather than talk. A couple of male friends found out their best friends were gay when they were asked on dates by said friends; neither appreciated it. I've found out guys liked me a couple of times when they kissed me out of the blue, that wasn't appreciated either. I know talk isn't as active as... action..., but it's usually the way to go. Test the waters before you jump in. And if you're too nervous to test the waters, it's probably best to leave it. If you don't feel you can trust him enough to be honest, you definitely can't trust him with what might be a big bombshell. Anchoress 07:47, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Have you considered telling him outright? Perhaps you might want to start by telling him 'It's so bona to vada yer dolly old eek'? Check the article on Polari for a translation - or perhaps not --russ 22:13, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Just because he's not aggressively heterosexual doesn't mean he's gay. I grew up in a suburbia-type environment and violent anti-gayness was the norm, so I may possibly be biased, especially since I still feel that way, !!but!! consider that chances are stacked dozens to one against you that he's gay and even that he's not revulsed by the idea --Froth 03:33, 1 September 2006 (UTC)


I need help in finding this answer: explain the differences in the equipment required (power tool and drill bit type) to drill holes in timber v's those needed to drill holes in concrete. aid of diagram would be greatly appreciated. thank you. 01:54, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

For wood you can use various types of drill bits: Auger drill bits, spade bits, and multi-purpose bits. It depends a bit on the purpose (woodwork? carpentry? pre-boring a hole for a screw?), the depth and width of the desired hole, and type of wood, which type is best. For concrete you'd want a drill bit that is advertised as usable for the purpose (masonry drill bit, concrete drill bit), but apart from extra strength this would not be essentially different from a multi-purpose drill bit. As to the power tool, for getting through concrete you need a hammer drill. Most hammer drills for do-it-yourself use will be combination drills: you can turn off the hammering action. If you want to see what the various drill bit types look like, go to Google images and search for any of the above types. --LambiamTalk 02:28, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Using metal/masonry drill bits in wood can ruin them due to heating and de-tempering (lot of friction between wood and bit, and can't use cooling fluid in wood). Therefore cheap soft bits tend to be used for wood. Masonry bits (concrete) are normally made of a small chevron shaped piece of tungsten carbide set in a helical shaft. See Drill bit. Rentwa 14:24, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

To drill a hole in cured concrete you will need to purchase a Hammer Drill. These drills work by vibrating a masonry bit against the concrete and breaking off tiny bits. You can purchase a drill powerful enough for most home projects for around $65. You can also rent a professional grade one for around $25 a day. These will cut through concrete quickly, a 3/16"x2" hole can be cut in around 20 sec. (a traditional drill will take around 5 min and melt the bit to slag in around a half hour). You will need to use "carbide concrete/masonry hammer drill bits". Buy 2 or 3 per every 100 holes. If the timber is larger than 3/4" you will need to switch to a wood bit to drill through it. Just a traditional wood drill bit will suffice. If the timber is less than 3/4" you can use the hammer drill on direct drive mode with the same bit. Hope this helps. --Darkfred Talk to me 20:35, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

diamond dave rides again[edit]

I want to learn how to buy loose diamonds at a local (Dallas+Ft.Worth) jewlery store. This is investments only not to wear. How can I get info so I dont get bad stuff? Thanks02:25, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Diamonds seem to be a rather poor investment for several reasons:
1) There are many factors which affect the value of each; such as size, color, clarity, inclusions, cut, etc. Unless you are a gem expert, you are likely to be "taken".
2) They aren't all that rare, so the price should be much lower than it is. Only by restricting the supply has DeBeers been able to keep the price artificially high. I would be worried that this situation may not last and there could be a price collapse soon.
3) Artificial diamonds (real diamonds made in a lab) are increasing in quality and decreasing in price steadily. Soon they will offer serious competition for natural diamonds. StuRat 03:32, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
In addition to the reasons given above, diamonds are a poor investment because they lose value incredibly fast. Because the supply is a monopoly, margins are very high, and a used market is discouraged by add campaigns. A typical diamond will lose 80% of its value immediately upon purchase. Unless you are a jeweler (in which case you are already getting diamonds at a steep discount) buying diamonds is an incredibly foolish investment. Even if you intend to set them later and sell them as new, the jeweler will charge more for the setting to recover the loss of profit from the diamond margin. --Darkfred Talk to me 20:27, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

phone number look-up[edit]

I need to look up a phone number that's not in the white pages reverse look-up (I assume it's a cell). How can I look it up? Thanks. -Wjlkgnsfb 02:50, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

fucck never mind it doesn't matter anymore. t Wjlkgnsfb 02:52, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Interesting. Hyenaste (tell) 02:59, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

You could always try a general google search, that might find it. StuRat 03:06, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

no this is trickier than just a google. Wjlkgnsfb 03:28, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
What country are you in? Tonywalton  | Talk 12:47, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

use reverse look up cell division, pay a few bucks and bobs your uncle. Hobgoblin

Misogyny as coping mechanism[edit]

I'm looking for an article which talks about using misogyny as a coping mechanism after some traumatic experience like an abusive mother or a nasty breakup. Jasbutal 03:35, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Google Scholar comes up with a few hundred promising results. You might try the article databases at your local library website. Nowimnthing 16:17, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Whats the minimum height for a cliff?[edit]

My question is sparked from the saying "if joe jumped of a cliff would you jump aswell?" so how high does the cliff have to be to be classed as a cliff?

it's just a term...language alone isn't very precise on this matter. I doubt that even geologists and topographers assign a heigh requirement for usage of the word "cliff". Jasbutal 04:35, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I thought that a cliff just meant a sheer, almost vertical drop. I suppose under this definition, the walls of a creek or other such artifical ditch could be considered a cliff as well. Hyenaste (tell) 04:38, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, if you jump from it and get seriously injured or killed, then it's probably a cliff. --Húsönd 05:04, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I think it is the angle rather than the height that allows it to be classified as a cliff. When studying topography, you realize that something may be defined as, say, a crest on a small scale (of <100m) but in the broader picture is classified as part of a "gentle slope". So topographical features can change classification depending on the scale over which it is being considered. I doubt any topographer would be interested in classifying something that was a few centimetres tall as a cliff. I think a person would just use their common sense to determine whether something was notable in the landscape, depending on what the information they were gathering was for. BenC7 09:14, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

For shorelines, we get this (which sounds reasonable): "High angle solid substrate shoreline; includes low cliffs (height < 2 m), medium cliffs (height 2 - 10 m) and high cliffs (height > 10 m)." --Zeizmic 12:38, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Smallest thing rock climbers would call a 'route' (route up a cliff) would be about 20ft - i.e. worth putting on a harness and roping up. Anything smaller would probably be called a 'problem' (tricky sequence of moves) and climbed without rope (soloed).
Most cliffs are 'dynamic' - i.e. they are in a constant state of evolution - material is eroded from the bottom leaving stuff above unsupported which then falls - for this reason many 'cliffs' are not vertical but have jumble of debris at bottom. Especially true of smaller cliffs and ends of escarpments. You could still get a nasty bruise if you fell off though.
Climbers call cliffs 'crags' btw. Rentwa 14:58, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

For the very similar question "how many grains of sand are there in a heap", take a look at Sorites paradox, an ancient Greek question. --Mary

Depends. --Proficient 05:05, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

mystery case file-MSN games[edit]

can you give me the sequence of getting the jewels into the box 08:50, 28 August 2006 (UTC)Fraser

I cannot remember. But as George Savile said: "Some men's memory is like a box where a man should mingle his jewels with his old shoes." ---Sluzzelin 09:01, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
OK that is THE BEST non-answer EVER. Anchoress 10:28, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

want to know about information management in gujarati language[edit]

hi i want to know about information management in gujarati language

Unfortunately, the Gujarati Wikipedia has no article on the topic, but nevertheless you may have a better chance to get a useful answer if you ask the question there: વિકિપીડિયા:જાણીતા પ્રશ્નો  --LambiamTalk 11:29, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

What is this symbol?[edit]

What does this mean? This label is this big.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  17:06, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Has anyone any idea what this symbol means? I've seen it here in the UK on labels and printed directly onto bottles of alcoholic drink, including imported beer (Corona), Scotch whisky and wine. It's always accompanied by a very long number in the format 999/99999999/99 (or similar; I forget the exact format). I've searched and asked around and no-one seems to know what it's about. It doesn't mean "contents under pressure", it may mean "recycle this bottle" though I've also seen it in combination with the usual "recycle" symbols. Presumably it means something to somebody, since manufacturers are taking the trouble to print it! Any ideas? Tonywalton  | Talk 12:45, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

In my misspent youth I was a bartender in the great state of Texas. We where told to smash empty glass bottles so ner-do-wells could not use the emptys for bootleging and thus not pay taxes. There were and are federal (ATF) and many state regs about this. I got into big time trouble with a not so nice man with a badge because I did not grasp that the tax labels on the bottles had to be distroyed too. I feel your symbol is suggested break points indicators for brave brit barmen to use as a guide on such jobs as this. Not that it works, its just boilerplate to keep nanny government off their backsides when national health refuses to patch up a cut barkeep because of inadiquite labeling on the bottle. Stranger things have happened. That is my logical guess and legal view of the matter free of charge and totally worthless. Hobgoblin

Hmm, very odd. I checked on all of my wine bottles and didn't see it (I'm in the US). I would have imagined it was "contents under pressure" or something like that (it looks like a gas exerting pressure on an enclosed space) but if you're sure it's not that, then I don't have a clue. --Fastfission 15:44, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I googlimaged for gas, pressure, bottle, can and regulation logo - scanned 880 pics for the last one. We still need a "something like" visual engine search. Any ideas ? -- DLL .. T 18:52, 28 August 2006 (UTC) is quite good for that - it has a search facility where you tell it "is it an open or closed symbol", "is it symmeterical" and so on, and it comes up with best guesses. Unfortunately it doesn't know about this one. Tonywalton  | Talk 07:05, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

I looked all over, as well. I'm sure it has something to do with pressure, but I've never heard of anybody killed by a beer bottle... maybe from mad Texan bartenders throwing them, but that would be a different symbol. :) --Zeizmic 20:45, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Something to do with the fact that it is exempt from ecotax in Belgium probably because it is recyclable glass. Here is a Dutch page explaining it somewhat but it seems far too dull to investigate further. MeltBanana 21:17, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Maybe it means do not recycle. THrow away instead.--Light current 22:59, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
That page says the packaging will be recycled. It also says the meaning is unclear. DirkvdM 05:34, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

The reason I reckon it's not "contents under pressure" is that as I mentioned I've seen it on both whisky and wine, neither of which are pressurised (and Corona beer hardly is). Thanks for the dull page in Dutch, MeltBanana, and the translation, DirkVD; looks like it's some weird EU tax thing which nobody outside Brussels understands or cares about, then. Thanks, all, for your responses! 06:43, 29 August 2006 (UTC) Tonywalton  | Talk 06:46, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

andy of mayberry[edit]

could someone please tell me the name of the diner on any of mayberry? Thank-you.

The name of the diner on Andy Griffith was the Bluebird Diner.--Fuhghettaboutit 12:56, 28 August 2006 (UTC)


International Flights[edit]

What are the flight regulations concerning carrying knives in your luggage, can you bring knives from one country to another?

Checked baggage only, of course. It depends on the regulations of both countries, and of the airline. Check all three. For example, discovered knives carried without "good reason" are generally confiscated on entry to the UK. Notinasnaid 13:02, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
And does planning to use the knives in a murder constitute a "good reason" to take them on a plane ? :-) StuRat 04:55, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
  • or if there are snakes on it?hotclaws**==( 15:03, 30 August 2006 (UTC))

distance in clicks[edit]

how many miles or kilometers is a click?

See Klick. --Richardrj talk email 14:44, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Interstingly, this doesn't answer your question, but your question made me wonder how many miles or units of measurements a common computer mouse has traveled in it's lifetime. It would be intersting to find out. --Proficient 05:07, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
None, im my case (I use a trackpad :-P ) Tonywalton  | Talk 06:49, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
You'd know the answer if you had the mouse odometer. --Heron 15:31, 3 September 2006 (UTC)

Japanese tourism instincts[edit]

Why do Japanese tourists always travel in herds?

You're begging the question; they don't. They may appear to on occasion, for a couple of reasons. Certainly many Japanese people travel with tour groups, but not all of them. When visiting a country where you don't speak the language and don't have experience with the local customs, it can be helpful to be accompanied by a guide who can translate and advise. A planned tour also reduces the guesswork and planning burden for a traveller—transportation, meal planning, hotel bookings, and so forth can all be taken care of. (Some people enjoy the convenience, others will chafe from the lack of freedom. The latter won't do packaged tours.) I will note that it is easier for an English-speaking tourist to find someone who speaks at least some broken English than it is for a Japanese-speaking tourist to find someone who speaks Japanese.
You see a lot of Japanese tourists, period, because it is a fairly wealthy country whose people can afford to travel. You are more likely to notice Japanese tourists – particularly when they are in groups – because their appearance and language are different (I'm guessing that you're asking the question from somewhere in the West.) Caucasians sometimes also travel in herds, but you're less likely to notice because they blend in (to an extent) with the locals and with other, individual tourists. TenOfAllTrades(talk) 15:11, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
That wasn't a period but a comma. :) DirkvdM 06:14, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
See herd#Why do animals herd?. Does it answer your question? Weregerbil 15:13, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Lol, yes it does.

Ah, memories of being in a warm port when the cruise ship pulled in. Suddenly, you are surrounded by a herd of Oklahoma ladies with blue hair, and all the prices go up by a factor of 10... --Zeizmic 20:47, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Another factor is that Japanese people tend to take very short holidays (even worse than Americans in this respect). Therefore, they try and pack as much as possible into that time, and having a tour guide take you to what you want to see saves time and hassle. --Robert Merkel 04:13, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I have done a lot of budget solo travelling and the places I stayed at usually attract other solo travellers. They were mostly Germans, USians, English, Dutch, Canadians, Aussies and Kiwis (roughly in that order). There are many other travelling nationalities, but they seem to spend more money in less time. That almost automatically means taking tours, as Robert pointed out.
Speaking of Japanese herding, I noticed that at a specific tourist restaurant in Amsterdam, that Japanese package touirists frequent, that they don't seem to take much note of other pedestrians, getting in their way. So I once decided to just walk on and bump into one. I glanced over my shoulder and noticed there was no reaction. I suppose that in a crowded country it is more normal to get into each other's way and bump into each other. No offence was meant nor taken on either part. DirkvdM 06:14, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
You want to see what he's saying about rude Amsterdammers on the ja Wikipedia! Tonywalton  | Talk 06:50, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Because you think they're different, so you notice them in herds more. There's a lot of American tour groups in China, but should I then think of them as travelling in herds as well? ColourBurst 13:40, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Proving it's happening now[edit]


In Miami Vice, the bad guys kidnap Trudy and then telephone her boyfriend. Before they let Trudy speak, first they play the current TV weather forecast "to prove it's happening now". Upon hearing this, the cops immediately conclude it's really happening now. Why? What's to stop them from first playing a live TV broadcast and then a recording of Trudy's voice? AFAIK they would have to have Trudy recite something said in the weather forecast to really prove it's happening now. JIP | Talk 15:06, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Have a look at Suspension of disbelief. CambridgeBayWeather (Talk) 15:30, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I see what you mean, but I don't like "suspension of disbelief" being used as a blanket justification for every plot hole I see. If "suspension of disbelief" is by definition explanation enough, then how come, in the film, the cops didn't magically read Trudy's and the bad guys' minds, teleport to their hideout, and knock them out with their superhuman strength? JIP | Talk 16:16, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Likewise, when Castro died and they showed him holding up the daily paper to "prove" he was still alive, how did anyone fall for that? Have they not heard of photoshop? Fidel Castro Photoshop contest... --Mary
If you don't like 'suspension of disbelief' being used as an excuse to cover every lame plot hole, I strongly suggest you stop going to see Hollywood movies. Especially action movies. DJ Clayworth 19:43, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

I prefer a "partial suspension of disbelief". That is, if a movie features something like a time machine, I don't question that. However, when somebody shoots at a car and what appears to be a low yield thermonuclear explosion results, it's time to change the channel. StuRat 04:51, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

I sympathize. I've had a lot of trouble deciding how I want to handle truly ridiculous plot holes - Complain? Watch something else, even though that would seriously limit my options? Just pretend I don't notice? I especially hate it when people accuse me of "overthinking" things that were quite clearly not even "thought" about in the first place. Like that. Or like in Saw, when the guy cuts off his foot to reach a phone they'd gotten to without difficulty just moments before, with the exact same materials. The best thing I can come up with is to quietly hate the people who were too lazy or stupid to do it properly, and resolve to slap/punch/shiv/pistolwhip them if I ever pass them on the street. Black Carrot 05:07, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Haha, yes to StuRat. The Simpsons has parodied this at least twice (stroller hit by car catches on fire; garbage can rolls into tree, explodes), so you know it's true. --zenohockey 21:22, 31 August 2006 (UTC)


I need a definition of supply and demand, plus an article containing supply and demand. Thanks—

Have you tried supply and demand? --Bowlhover 15:40, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Yup. You demand, we supply.--Shantavira 17:12, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Why was August 25 such a slow day for the Miscellaneous Reference Desk?[edit]

It is a bizarre anamoly.

aren't fridays usually slow? Jasbutal 19:13, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
The day wasn't a total loss. It's given the world a cute new word: anamoly.  :--) JackofOz 04:50, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Can for please to be suitly emphazi anamoly? Luigi30 (Taλk) 16:29, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
Yeah. I keep wondering why the desks are so slow. Wikipedia gets a lot of traffic to articles but not really to the desk. Perhaps the desk is too hidden? --Proficient 05:08, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
What do you mean? There were 17 threads. Proficient, I've brought your issue up at Talk:Main_Page#Reference_desk_traffic. DirkvdM 06:36, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
It wasn't a slow day, someone just messed up the date headers, the day marked as "August 25" was really the first 5 hours of August 26th, and August 25 was in an unmarked section containing everything from August 21 to August 26. This has been corrected--VectorPotential71.247.243.173 16:04, 29 August 2006 (UTC)



Please state your full name and location, and what has happened. Is anyone in immediate need of medical assistance? JIP | Talk 17:57, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Of course, assuming that no-one is injured, that there isn't a lawyer involved and no kangaroos are trying to tell you that Timmy has fallen down a well, it's just possible - and I'm going to stick my neck out here - that the article Macroeconomics might be able to help. DJ Clayworth 19:41, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I think it was an accidental use of the title of the question above, and he/she doesn't actually want help with macroeconomics. --Froth 21:31, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Just so long as it doesn't involve seagulls. User:Zoe|(talk) 15:29, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Differentiating a function[edit]

Hi, I'm going through a tutorial on neural networks, and in one section we need to have a function that is differentiable, and we need to have its partial derivative. The text has an example, but what I'm confused about is whether the partial derivative shown is only for the specific function given, or if it is a general case.

The text says (where 't' is a little triangle symbol):

The function we will use is the sigmoid function:

            t   ----------
      g(x)  =   1 + e^(-x)

This function can be differentiated. Its partial derivative with respect to x, dg/dx, also written g', is

      g'(x) =   g(x) * (1 - g(x))

So is the second formula the case for any differentiable function, or just the sigmoid function?

Thanks! --Mary

the second formula is the derivative of just the sigmoid function..... Jasbutal 19:12, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Ah, ok, thanks. How would I find the derivative of the tanh function (besides taking a course in calculus...)? --Mary
if you have a calc book, there are lists of common derivatives in the back. Also, there are sites like this: Jasbutal 19:19, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
By going to the Wikipedia Mathematics Reference Desk. I don't get it. You see a "Mathematics" and a "Miscellaneous" tab... and you got Miscellaneous??Evilbu 19:20, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
No, but I got used to url short-cuts, and accidentally presumed that WP:RD/M was for math, extrapolating from WP:RD/S for science. I greatly appologize for this mistake, and hope that you weren't irreparably damaged or traumatized by the use of math formulas on this page. For everyone else, thank you very much for your help. --Mary
I'm a mathie so I can handle it. To finish this problem, deriving the tanh function, well it depends on your definition of the goniometric functions. But are you familiar with the formula for taking the derivative of the inverse of a function?

Evilbu 19:32, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

omg EVILBU ur so mean!! om g I dunno what a goniometriciacaly function is please tell us evilbu and please derivise it for us so we can stand in awe of your euro-intellect . Jasbutal 19:37, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
You can find the derivative of the tanh function at Table of derivatives#Derivatives of hyperbolic functions. --LambiamTalk 20:00, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Can someone tell me why I am mean?? I told the user that questions like these are supposed to be asked in the mathematics reference desk. Then I said that it depends on the given definitions (some authors define goniometric functions by starting with the arctangens, which is simply defined as the integral of its derivative). Calling me mean because I said something unclear or incomplete is one thing, but I find that "euro-intellect" comment far from friendly (Did you go to my userpage, and decided to do something "creative" with my "nationality"?)Evilbu 23:28, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

brake pads[edit]

how much will it cost me to get a mechanic to replace two sets of brake pads on a 90's ford? looking for a ballpark figure.Jasbutal 19:18, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

What kind of Ford? In what country? In what town? Seriously a five minute phone call would be a simpler way to find out this information. DJ Clayworth 19:39, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
The problem is, they almost never will replace just the pads..."Well, the rotors are warped, and need to be resurfaced, but that would mill them below specs, so they will need to be replaced, and you need new calipers, too. So, tell you what, just sign the title over to me and we'll call it even, OK ?". :-) StuRat 04:40, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Probably under $100, unless they do your rotors like mentioned above, then a few hundred. Nowimnthing 13:59, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Free Use Image[edit]

What would be the best way to add a link to a fair use image I uploaded to my userpage? Thanks! Reywas92 19:58, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

If I'm understanding you correctly, you want to use a colon (:) in front of the word "image" when you link it. For example [[:image:padlock.svg]] renders as image:padlock.svg instead of as an actual image. Hyenaste (tell) 21:27, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
If that was the answer the question was overemphazied. DirkvdM 06:45, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Fair use images are not acceptable on User pages. Please remove it. User:Zoe|(talk) 15:29, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Zoe, I am adding a link to a fair use photo to my user page. Thanks Hyenaste! Reywas92 20:41, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Notre Dame de Paris[edit]

Dear Wikipedia,

How many bells does the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris have, and were they operating at Christmas 1870 during the siege of Paris/Franco-Prussian war?

Many thanks, Maja

  • Our article on the Notre Dame de Paris only mentions 1 bell. Have you tried the external links at the bottom of that article. One of the links will probably tell you more about the bell(s) or the period you're asking about. If all else fails, try to ask through the official site for the place. - Mgm|(talk) 21:48, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Snakes on a Plane (in the absurd deep voice)[edit]

If that guy could blow up the boxes to let the snakes out, why couldn't he just have blown up the plane --Froth 21:37, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

  • The movie would've been too short(!) Perhaps he hasn't get enough explosives to get a hole in the plane, but enough to blow up a box? - Mgm|(talk) 21:43, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
So he has access to enough venomous snakes to kill an entire flight of people but his gangster connections can't net him even the tiny volume of explosives required to cripple an airplane? --Froth 21:50, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Hey, it's Hollywood. It's like asking George Lucas why you can hear the X-Wing lasers in space if space is a vacuum. bibliomaniac15 23:51, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Indeed. Don't question movies. --Proficient 05:09, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
The attitude "don't question movies" annoys me greatly. It's poor writing, plot holes.
  • True. I'm not familiar with the plot of the film yet, but generally speaking the people with access to venomous snakes are different than those with access to explosives. - Mgm|(talk) 08:24, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure why, but your comment has made me laugh more than any other tonight. Maybe it's because you were talking about "plot" and Snakes in a Plane at the same time.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  16:58, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Also to answer your question, he's some kind of mob boss or something, so I'd think he'd be able to get his hands on some explosives. In fact, he did, and he used them to blow up the snake cages to let them out --Froth 14:38, 31 August 2006 (UTC)

Because it was more fun to kill the person that way, and this proved how evil and ruthless he is, perhaps? - Snorgle 18:27, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

Gold Rush Town[edit]

Hi I was wondering if you could possibly help me Would anyone know the answer to this question? A sudden gold rush created a town faster than the law could order. Well over a hundred years later, legends born here have begun to appear in their prime, nationwide. Does anyone know the name of this town? Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you (email address removed)

  • "legends born here have begun to appear in their prime, nationwide." — what? --Fastfission 01:39, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Las Vegas?--Light current 02:41, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
No, Vegas was a nothing little town until the Mob moved in and set up gambling there. I would say Tombstone, Arizona, except it was silver they found there. Maybe they mean San Francisco ? StuRat 04:32, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Treasure of the Sierra Madre. I just thought of that!--Light current 04:44, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

I'm still trying to figure out what legends born here have begun to appear in their prime, nationwide means. But there were gold rushes in Australia, too. User:Zoe|(talk) 15:31, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Well, there was a California Gold Rush over a 100 years ago. A town involved in this was Los Angeles, California. And a district of LA is Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. Legends are "born" there and seem to "appear in their prime, nationwide" but was it created "faster than the law could order"? CambridgeBayWeather (Talk) 19:04, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Los Angeles was founded as a Spanish colony in 1781 and didn't have any gold. However, there are plenty of ghost towns in the southwestern U.S. such as Calico, California. Collectively they form part of the national folklore. Durova 14:19, 1 September 2006 (UTC)
  • iditerod? Somewhere in the Yukon?hotclaws**==( 15:09, 30 August 2006 (UTC))

Rifle Recoil[edit]

Realistically, how should the barrel of a rifle (M4) move during sustained automatic gunfire? In video games, such as Halo 2, automatic gunfire causes the gun to rise upwards. Why is that? Jamesino 21:57, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

The rifleing on the inside of the barrel causes the bullet to spin. This in turn causes the barrel to spin in the opposite direction. So it sort of twists in your hand. It also kicks backwards. The combination of the two makes the gun rise up as if trying to jump out of your hand. For guns without rifleing the gun kicks straight back with considerably more recoil. The video games have it basically correct. Theresa Knott | Taste the Korn 23:01, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Something inaccurate about many first-person shooters is that when you reload and still have some rounds inside your clip, only the amount of ammo inside the old clip is subtracted from your total ammo. For example, say you have the assault rifle in Halo: Combat Evolved, which has a 60-round clip. Pretend (this is theoretical) that you waste 30 bullets to kill an Elite, so you have 30 rounds left. If you are carrying 240 rounds total, you should notice that when you reload with these 30 bullets, you end up with 210 rounds left, instead 180 rounds left. I probably didn't make a whole lot of sense, but it's just an interesting tangent. bibliomaniac15 23:14, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

I'd be surprised if the spin imparted to the bullet caused any significant reaction in the gun - after all, the energy of spinning is very small compared to the forward energy of the bullet.
Also, the movement of the gun is more complicated than 'bullet goes forward, gun goes back'. The British LMG (Bren) for instance, pulls forward when fired. It depends, I think, on the mechanism of each particular gun, but an engineer could probably describe it best. Rentwa 23:30, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
Bearing in mind the principle of conservation of momentum, how could the LMG possibly do that?--Light current 23:45, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Looking at this [[1]] it might appear that it just walks forward, depending on the gas ejection and the general spring constant. --Zeizmic 23:51, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

One way it would go forward is if the shooter was to apply more force than needed to the butt. THis may be possible.--Light current 23:57, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I don't know, but it certainly does. I don't understand the science - I'm not an engineer, but I think the gun's behaviour is determined by its mechanism - or maybe significant masses of gas are moving around? Although I haven't used it, I'm told the Uzi Desert Eagle has almost no recoil - another mystery! Rentwa 00:00, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Unless the shooter is pushing the gun forward, the gun will naturally move backwards. It has to! But see this.

The barrel, gas action and bolt assembly with bipod can recoil slightly inside the receiver body to reduce felt recoil. --Light current 00:08, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Original question[edit]

Is the barrel higher than the point about which the rifle can pivot? If so, the barrel will rise on shooting.--Light current 00:05, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Hey kiddies!- Thers no recoil when you fire a blank round,,,wait for it,,,so If you are in a fireing squad and your riflE kicks when fired, you just killed the guest of honour! BWA-HA-HA-ha hOBGOBLIN

Since no projectile is fired, this seems obvious.--Light current 00:40, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Actually there is a recoil when shooting blamks, just not as large. Rmhermen 01:41, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Since your only shooting gas, I would think the recoil was quite small?--Light current 02:02, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

The thing that bothers me is: on rifles with an anti recoil spring or mechanism, where does that momentum go? I guess the impulse is just smoothed out; all the momentum is finally transffered to the shooter, and if he doesnt move wrt earth, then the earth absorbs it. --Light current 14:19, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Oh dear!

Veet Voojagig, was a quiet young student at the University of Maximeglon, who pursued a brilliant academic career studying ancient philology, transformational ethics and the wave harmonic theory of historical perception, and then, after a night of drinking Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters with Zaphod Beeblebrox, became increasingly obsessed with the problem of what had happened to all the biros he'd bought over the past few years.

Ahem. Is that significant in any possible way?--Light current 00:15, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Sorry, thought you were getting a little obsessed. No offence...:-)

Rentwa 14:47, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

There's some information at Recoil operation. Which I think has it correct with "When a projectile is accelerated down the barrel of a firearm, all or a portion of the firearm will begin to move in the opposite direction, as required for conservation of momentum,..." I don't think the spin of the bullet matters as you get a recoil with a shotgun as well. You can see recoil charts at Rifle Recoil Table and Shotgun Recoil Table plus pictures of recoil here. CambridgeBayWeather (Talk) 18:45, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Many firearms "kick" by rotating upwards. Consider the reaction of the bullet departing as a vector relative to the center of mass of the weapon. The barrel is at the very top of most weapons so the shooter's eye can align the sights with the target (the rear sight being higher to allow for the fall of the bullet). Since the vector is above the center of mass, the gun "kicks" by the barrel rising after each shot. For some shoulder-fired automatic weapons like a Thompson submachinegun, the barrel would rise in each burst of fire. Some had a blast diverter to send some of the gases upward and counteract this tendency, IIRC. Edison 04:08, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

Automobiles or cars?[edit]

Am I correct in saying that until about 20 yrs ago, most people in US called 'em automobiles rather than cars?--Light current 22:53, 28 August 2006 (UTC)

Not really. "There's nothing like a new car for enchantment" Oldsmobile ad in 1960. Olds 1958 industrial musical "Gotta get a car", etc. Rmhermen 23:37, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
For some reason, a lot of British people seem to think that Americans don't (or didn't) use the word "car." We actually say "car" far more than we say "automobile." The latter word is used in more-formal contexts, probably like the word "motorcar" in British English. -- Mwalcoff 00:04, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

I see. Thank you both.--Light current 00:10, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

If there is such cross-atlantic agreement, then why does car redirect to 'automobile'? DirkvdM 06:49, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
because it is the more formal (as in found in writing). In US yellow pages, car always redirects to automobile. There might also be the distinction between car, suv, station wagon and truck whereas automobile covers all. Nowimnthing 13:41, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

In that case the UK equivalent would be: motor vehicle--Light current 14:21, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Merriam-Webster says "automobile" and "car" are synonyms. Americans also use "motor vehicle" in formal contexts to refer to the class of vehicle that includes cars, trucks, motorcycles, etc. -- Mwalcoff 22:25, 29 August 2006 (UTC)
Merriam Webster is right and wrong. To specify ALL vehicle possibilities the word Vehicle would be used. However automobile can be used for a car, van, suv or light truck. Don't get me started on Truck (lorry) vs Truck (minivan with short bed attached). --Darkfred Talk to me 23:40, 29 August 2006 (UTC)

Keep on truckin'!--Light current 00:14, 30 August 2006 (UTC)

'Automobile' literally means 'moves by itself'. Both that and 'motor vehicle' could refer to a motorised ship. 'Car' refers to something on (four) wheels. But then that could also refer to a horse-drawn cart. Or not? Anyway, If there is no logical solution I'd say go for the most used term, which is 'car'. Right? DirkvdM 06:18, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Well another difference between "car" and "automobile" is that "car" can also refer to part of a train. -- Mwalcoff 11:43, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Repeat after me: "Etymology is not meaning". As far as I know, 'automobile' has never, anywhere, been used for a ship - or, for that matter, for a train. What's logic got to do with vocabulary? ColinFine 23:22, 30 August 2006 (UTC)
Should language be logical? I'd prefer it to. That it isn't always is no reason to throw in the towel. DirkvdM 07:21, 31 August 2006 (UTC)