Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/September 2004 I

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Ancient olympics.[edit]

When and why did the ancient olympics stop.

The last ancient Olympics were held in AD 393. They were thereafter banned by the Byzantine Emperor Theodosius I because of their frivolity and non-Christian basis. - Nunh-huh 07:44, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Frivolity? My television has been telling me they used to break each other's fingers. None of this namby-pamby, pyjama wearing Judo nonsense. If not being able to sign autographs afterwards is frivolous in your town...  ;o) --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 23:46, Aug 17, 2004 (UTC)
I recall hearing one historian's description of ancient olympic 'boxing' which had become so stylised the boxers took turns to hit each other. The first man struck a powerful blow to the head. After recovering his balance, the second man jabbed through the wall of his opponent's stomach, and pulled out his intestines - killing him on the spot. (For more, see for example Damoxenos of Syracuse and Kreugas of Epidamnos). That's the sort of frivolity that should be stopped... -- Solipsist 10:13, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
People are killed for many frivolous reasons. That death ensues from a pursuit makes it a costly pursuit, not a worthy or serious one. "Young boys throw rocks in jest, but the frogs die in earnest." Theodosius certainly did not consider the olympics less frivilous because athletes died in them. - Nunh-huh 02:22, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
IIRC, the pagan connections of the Olympic Games (eg, sponsored by Zeus with that famous temple there and all) was the critical point. ww 17:59, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Complete Summer Olympics on media?[edit]

Is there any legal way to get the complete Olympics anywhere from the first recordings to current from opening to closing ceremony on media? --Brian

I very much doubt it. You seem to be asking for all footage of every event. That would be a very expensive stack of DVD media even if you only bought cheap blanks and had someone at a network TV channel copy it all down for you. Probably the best you can hope for is a DVD or VHS tape of the highlights from any particular year. Anything beyond that would require a contact in the media and a bloomin' marvellous research reason why you needed them. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 23:50, Aug 17, 2004 (UTC)
the IOC is particularly paranoid about the rights to their material. Ultimately, you could try the Olympic museum in Lausanne, which would probably have the most comprehensive collection of this stuff. --Robert Merkel 16:26, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Who boycotted the 1976 Summer Olympics?[edit]

Our article says "Tanzania led a boycott of 22 African nations".. but searching around the net I've found numbers ranging from 17 to 29 countries boycotting! Argh, it was only 28 years ago, is it that hard for people to agree?

And while we're at it.. our All Blacks article says "many African Countries boycotted the 1984 Olympics" in protest at New Zealand not being excluded after allowing a tour by the South African rugby team - but I can't find any mention of anyone other than the Soviet bloc boycotting that one.

Can someone clear it up for me? —Stormie 11:49, Aug 16, 2004 (UTC)

1976 - Montreal, Canada
Participating Countries - 92¹
¹ Most sources list this figure as 88. Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia all boycotted the 1976 :Games. However, their athletes had already competed before the boycott was officially announced.
There seem to be many numbers floating around. Probably the most authoritative number is from the :IOC's UK website:
"Despite there being no African athletes present (they participated in a boycott organised by :Tanzania, in which 22 countries came together to protest against a tour of South Africa by the New :Zealand national rugby team), the standard of the competitions at the 1976 Olympic Games was very :high." Link.
--inks 00:54, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
On a related topic, I've been trying to work out how many countries were at each olympics, using a variety of sources. Of course, they all disagree. Check the bottom few rows at Template:WikiProject Olympics Country Table -- Chuq 06:22, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

fransiscan barotrice[edit]

John Carmack "Carmack the Magnificent"[edit]

my name is john carmack. I was trying to find a way to get in touch with "Carmack the Magnificent" to see if we are related. If you could help me my e-mail is Or my sister Pamela Carmack at Thank You

I assume you mean this John Carmack? It is well known in certain nerdy circles that Carmack regularly posts to to* hierachy of Usenet. Here is a post from Carmack with an email address on it, but I don't know if it's valid. If it bounces, you might try just contacting id Software; if your story's genuine, I don't see why they wouldn't pass the message on. --Robert Merkel 16:07, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Now do a google search on "Carmack the Magnificent", and you'll likely see that this page you are reading shows up, complete with your, and your sister's email address... might be a better idea to just come back later to retrieve your answer...Pedant 17:13, 2004 Aug 18 (UTC)

Subacoustic psychopathology of sheep[edit]

Hello, I'm currently researching atypical herd behavior in sheep and need information about individual noncooperation with flock coherence, factious imprinting, subversive malignancy of bellwethers, and competitive collaboration, especially as related to destructive interaction with herding or guard animals such as dogs, subvocalisation, and pathological predator emulation. Your help is appreciated.

~ V. Guillermina.

I could give you some similar information about a herd of goats I spent some time with in the High sierras. They were the companions of a young woman who was goatpacking the high sierras. One of the younger goats would sneak off, and circle (in really rugged territory) around in front, and hide behind things making noises, noises that the woman explained were 'her scary sounds'... stuff like that. I never ever expected that I'd hear about anything remotely similar. It seems like it might have been "predator emulation". I assume you don't want anecdotal information though.Pedant
Well, I'm researching classification schemes for the application of adaptive random testing to nonnumeric data types, ranking algorithms for context-free languages, and am currently kicking round the idea of incrementalizing RPO trees. However, I don't think I'll be getting much help on any of them here...
Seriously, while there a quite a number of active researchers who contribute to Wikipedia, it's neither a repository of current research nor a forum for discussing active research or such highly specialised topics in animal behaviour. There might be a real expert on animal behaviour topics here, but I don't like your odds. Sounds like you need to locate a real university library and start combing the textbooks and, ultimately, the journals. I don't know what the good databases in the animal behaviour/ag science areas are; your librarian should be able to point you in the right direction. A good general tool is "Web of Science", which has details and abstracts in a ridiculous number of scientific journals, going all the way back to 1945 if your library has a subscription going back that far.
Good luck with your research.--Robert Merkel 15:55, 16 Aug 2004 (UTC)

"Fairly Odd Parents" or "Fairly OddParents"[edit]

I recently moved The Fairly Oddparents to The Fairly Odd Parents, but I'm a bit unsure of my move now. I did a google search prior to my move, and "Fairly Odd Parents" gave me about 94.000 hits and the official site as the number one, while "Fairly OddParents" showed me around 66.000 hits with the official site on the second place. The title of the official site is "Fairly Odd Parents", while the text inside says "Fairly OddParents". IMDB lists it as "Fairly OddParents" again, so.. anyone knows for sure what notation is the right one..? --Conti| 02:34, Aug 17, 2004 (UTC)

I'd say "Fairly OddParents" would be correct. It is used on the official site many times with the exception being webpage titles. The name is a play off of fairy godparents. --Idiotfromia 02:07, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I am a writer on the Fairly Oddparents. Oddparents is one word.

It's OddParents, capital P. RickK 21:15, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)

Social Trauma in France after WWI[edit]

The Aftermath of World War I article claims,

"The optimism of 1900 was entirely gone and those who fought in the war became what is known as "the Lost Generation" because they never fully recovered from their experiences. This was especially acute in France where a huge number of their young men were killed or injured during the conflict. For the next few years the nation became obsessive in its mourning and thousands of memorials were erected, one for each village in France."

Is it in fact accurate to say that the French experience was more traumatizing than that of other countries with similar levels of casualties? Lets say Germany, Austria-Hungary, or Russia?

Peregrine981 02:41, Aug 17, 2004 (UTC)

This should probably be raised on the talk page of the article in question. But to your substantive point, I also wonder about this claim. WWI memorials in every little town aren't exactly unique; I've seen them in a lot of towns in Germany and certainly most small towns in Australia. Melbourne's own Shrine of Remembrance, initially in honor of the fallen in WWI, is enormous. --Robert Merkel 07:19, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I have arbitrarily removed the "especially acute in France" bit, since I see no real justification anywhere. Thanks for the ideas,

Peregrine981 02:45, Aug 21, 2004 (UTC)

Longest Serving Democratically Elected National/Regional Leader[edit]

I'm in the process of writing an entry for Sir Thomas Playford, who served as Premier of South Australia for nigh on 27 years, and referred to at Political families of the world as the "longest-serving Premier in Australian and British Commonwealth history". Does anyone know whether any nation/state/territory etc outside the Commonwealth has been led by someone for 27 years or more? --Roisterer 03:28, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Jyoti Basu remained the Chief Minister of West Bengal for a record period of 26 years. He later resigned voluntarily due to advancing age and CPI (M), the political party to which he belongs, still rules the state.
-- Sundar 05:03, Aug 17, 2004 (UTC)
If this is correct, Playford's been beaten; India is most definitely in the Commonwealth. --Robert Merkel 15:56, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I had a look around and found this article ( which has Basu in power for 23 years, so while commendable, no banana and Playford's 26 years, 124 days still looks the goods. Hmm, I think I can see a List of Longest Serving Democratically Elected National/Regional Leaders article in the making. --Roisterer 22:13, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

On alternating current (AC): the "hot wire"[edit]

The alternating (two ways) current arrives at the consumer's home along one wire only (the "hot wire").


  1. What is the route the current follows to reach that wire.
  2. How does it "alternate" in that wire.
  3. Where does the other wire (the "neutral") go, how and why.
  4. Where does the "earth" wire go, how and why.
  5. How does the current (the flow of electrons) finally return to the generator in the power station so that there is a continuous, uninterrupted flow, a sine qua non condition for the flow to exist?

user:Ghitis, 17 Aug 2004, 10:20 (GT)

Have a look at this diagram (click on it to see it full-size).
Single-phase mains supply
The transformer in your local power substation is on the left, and your house with all its appliances (labelled "load") is on the right. The transmission line is a pair of wires, live and neutral, as shown, although in practice there may be more wires than this. The substation, transmission line and load together form a circuit.
You see that link to earth in the bottom left corner? Without that, the live and neutral wires would both alternate positive and negative, so they would both be "live". This would cause safety problems, because if a fuse in either wire were to blow, the other wire would remain live. The link holds the neutral wire at earth potential, so that only the live wire alternates. This does not affect the current in the loop, which reverses periodically just as it would if the link were not there.
To save on wiring costs, the earth wire in the consumer's property is not normally connected directly to the power company's earth. The system relies on a reasonably good conduction path through the ground. This is why it is not a good idea to touch the neutral wire, unless you are very confident about the quality of your local earthing.
There is another reason for holding the neutral wire at earth potential, which is connected with the need to save on the quantity of copper wire, but I won't go into this here. -- Heron 09:24, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • Thank you, Heron. I wonder what your qualifications are; you certainly surprised me. I'll erase this when I present soon a dialogue with your explanations.-- Ghitis 16:01, Aug 17, 2004 (UTC)

Other questions[edit]

  1. What is the other reason for grounding the neutral wire? Is it connected to the earth wire in some way?
  2. In a system with two live wires, why would one wire continue to alternate if the other had been broken by a fuse? --Eequor 14:35, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
My drawing is a simplified version of the actual system used. In most power transmission systems there are actually three live wires (called 'phases') and one neutral wire. Each domestic consumer gets a pair consisting of one phase and the neutral, and the system is balanced so that the loads on the three phases are about equal. The result (to do with vector addition of complex numbers representing the three phases), if the system is perfectly balanced, is that the current in the neutral wire is zero. Thus, if the balance is good enough, you can omit the neutral wire altogether, and use the less reliable conductivity of the earth to carry the small neutral current instead. If you do this, then the neutral wire is at earth potential, by definition. This is the "other reason" I referred to. Don't ask me what happens if all the consumers connected to one phase suddenly switch on all their power tools at once. I suspect that the power companies gamble on this not happening. I think it was Nikola Tesla who invented this idea, or at least first put it into commercial use. I might have to draw another diagram to illustrate how three-phase transmission works, but I don't have time just now.
I'll come back to your second question later, if nobody else answers it. -- Heron 15:04, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Thanks, that makes sense. Why is a separate ground wire needed for wall sockets? --Eequor 16:17, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Because you want any dangerous voltages to be shorted straight to your local earth, right under your house, before they do any damage. You don't want your safety to depend on a variable-conductance path back to the power company's substation, which could be miles away and is not under your control. -- Heron 16:28, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Since nobody has jumped in to answer your second question, I'll have a go. Imagine a single-phase transmission line, supplied by the secondary winding of a transformer or even direct from a small generator. Imagine that the power company doesn't earth either side, so both sides are "live". Imagine you connect a load across the wires, and a fuse blows in wire 1, breaking the circuit. Now imagine that you touch wire 2. The naive view is that, since there is no circuit, no current will flow, so you won't get a shock. However, this is wrong. There are two reasons why a current, although smaller than normal, will flow through your body to earth. These are (1) resistive leakage and (2) capacitive leakage. (Actually there is another one, inductive leakage, but I think it's negligible.) (1) means that, due to imperfections in the insulation of the wiring, there is a weak conductive path from every point in the wire to earth. Over hundreds of metres of wire this adds up to enough to kill you. (2) means that, even if the insulation were perfect, the alternating voltage produced by the transformer would cause a small current to flow through the empty space between the wires and the earth. This might sound like witchcraft, but actually it's called capacitance. Again, this small current would be enough to kill you. -- Heron 08:52, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
There is more than one way to provide AC. Increasingly the developed world uses the system described above for Live and Neutral (as I understand it) - in domestic situations (although with varying voltages and frequencies). In industrial situations the norm is 3-phase wiring, again there are different solutions, "star" or "delta" wound generators deliver different phase/neutral patterns. In the realm of earth bonding things change again, and become more complex. It just so happens I have asked a friend to write up his wisom in the area of earthing for the wp, I hope he does. Rich Farmbrough 21:23, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • The only thing missing is the list of suggested readings:
Simon A. 18:00, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Hi, just wondering if anyone could help me with an assignment.

I'm having trouble finding information on this question:

"Mammals maintain a thermal homeostasis, but they do it only be expending considerable amounts of energy. Would you consider this a handicap?"

Thank you so much for your help, and i just want to say, thank you also for a great website!

Keep up the good work, ella.

Questions are usually not answered by email; also, please be aware that content on Wikipedia is fairly extensively copied on many websites, and so making your email address public here may make it very public throughout the internet. Please check this page occasionally for answers to your question. --Eequor 14:35, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I would answer this by pointing out that it is a question that invites the answerer into a misunderstanding of comparative animal physiology and evolution. All life exists within environmental constraints. If you judge it a handicap to be unable to thrive at boiling temperatures then all life forms except the bacteria that live in thermal vents are "handicapped;" if you judge it a handicap to be unable to survive freezing, then all life forms not equipped with "antifreeze" in their systems are handicapped. Ongoing thriving of a species in a given environment demonstrates that the "energy cost" of a trait like active homeothermia is affordable. Considering whether it is a "handicap" seems like a dumb question. But I used to piss off my teachers with answers like this when I was in school. Use it advisedly. Good luck. Alteripse 14:39, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I second Alteripse; the expenditure of energy is a handicap only if the cost is not affordable; the question is ill-posed (i.e. badly phrased, inviting a dismissive "stupid question" answer) But before your conclusion, you should probably run through what are the costs involved, and demonstrate their affordability as evidenced by the continuation of species, whilst pointing out that it becomes a handicap only at the malthusian limits - when food runs short, or the population increases beywond the supply of food; or when environmental conditions change such that species are taken out of their "affordable" zone into, well, depopulation and death, I suppose. Have fun writing it! --Tagishsimon
And be sure to browse the Wikipedia, start by reading thermal regulation which mentions the benefits of a stable body temperature. Simon A. 18:05, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Why "the" dictionary?[edit]

On hearing an unlikely sounding word, some people will say it's not a real word because it's not in "the" dictionary. We often say we're going to check a word in "the" dictionary. Why do we say this, when we all know that there are thousands of different dictionaries out there, all with content that is different from all the others? Why do we profess to believe that the only dictionary there is, is the one on our desk or in our own library? Cheers JackofOz 14:59, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Because all dictionaries (ideally) should contain all words in the language, so they should all be equivalent. Of course, this won't happen in real life, but our ideal is reflected in our speech. [[User:Meelar|Meelar (talk)]] 15:59, 2004 Aug 17 (UTC)
As far as I know there is only one truly important dictionary. The Oxford English Dictionary. If it's in there it's English, if it aint it aint (I wonder if aint is?) theresa knott 19:24, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Ain't is in my medium sized Oxford Reference Dictionary, so I could safely bet my trousers on the fact that it would be in the full OED. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 23:58, Aug 17, 2004 (UTC)
Although I have made the concession to have a British-type dictionary (OED) on my shelf at all times, if only because it's cool to be able to drop "OED" casually in conversations at cocktail parties (Hey, how come there's no article for cocktail party?), I have through the years found terms that weren't in there that were in Webster's. I'm not sure that I know the definitive American dictionary, though. But when I mean "if it's in the OED", I say such; if I mean "if the word exists," I revert to "in the dictionary." Actually that gives us Scrabble(R) players some wiggle room, because unless specified beforehand, that really means "in any English-language dictionary." Elf | Talk 00:43, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The OED is an English language dictionary, and as such it contains American spellings as well as British ones. The official scrabble dictionary for UK players (and I guess Aussie's and Kiwis too) in Chambers Dictionary, which is strictly a British English dictionary. Mintguy (T)
There were until recently two lists of words for tournament play Scrabble: SOW (Scrabble Official Words?) and PODS (I think), for the US and the rest of the world (not necessarily respectivley). Last I had heard they had been merged into "SOWPODS" which is used in all international tournements and in all countires except the USA. I expect someone will be along to correct this shortly... Rich Farmbrough

The phrase indicates a popular opinion of the role of dictionaries as defining normative language. People seek advice on usage from whatever authority has managed to persuade them of its sagacity. The OED has certainly done this quite successfully. Of course, many people these days are of the opinion that dictionaries should reflect usage.

This arose, likely because at one point, there was only one. Rhymeless 03:09, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The OED does reflect usage. [[User:Theresa knott|Theresa Knott Sig.gif]] 17:20, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
yes... for instance "d'oh!" is in the OED. ain't is too...(contraction of am not)

but I would say that dictionaries cannot have every word in the Language, any living language, because any new word will at some point, not have been added yet.Pedant 17:28, 2004 Aug 18 (UTC)

And in following usage, it's following Samuel Johnson's principles. If you don't believe it (and hardly anybody does), read Boswell's Life. Dandrake 01:41, Aug 19, 2004 (UTC)
True but you have to have some kind of quality control. I could make up a word quankert say. Is is English? No of course not, for it to be English people other than me have to use it. The nice people at OED constantly looks at the developement of the language and add a word as soon as enough people start to use it, and as long as it's been around long enough not to a silly fad. This does mean that words can take a couple of years to get in, but how else can it be done? [[User:Theresa knott|Theresa Knott Sig.gif]] 18:38, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
That sig thing scares me. I'll have nightmares. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 22:38, Aug 18, 2004 (UTC)
If you can think of a less scary anagram let me know. Theresa knott
How about:
Good admin anagrams:
or the bewildering, but provocative:
I would blame this to the Scrabble rules which advise the players to have a sufficently complete dictionary handy to setlle disputes about whether a word exists or has been made up by a player. After all, Scrabble is a well-known game, has been around for quite a while, and -so it seems to me- has indeed left some subtle imprints on English culture. Simon A. 18:09, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

In the same way we say "I'm going to the shops" or "the library" or "the moon". In context it's clear what we mean, in general. "The dictionary" is special because we imply a sort of platonic ideal dictionary. Nontheless the following annoying phrases are common among columnists - "According to my biggest dictionary" and "at least in any dictionary I could find". Rich Farmbrough 20:47, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I doubt if anyone has the OED on their desk. With half a million words listed in 24 volumes at a cost of around £6,000 it's a highly specialised document. But even this one isn't complete. There are over 2 million life forms on earth each of which has its own name and virtually none of them are listed. A more interesting question about the definite article is why pub names don't use it but church names do; for instance we go to 'The Rose and Crown' at night but go to 'St Mary's' on Sunday.

Driving abstract[edit]

I am writing from Illinois; I work for the McHenry County public defenders, who defend people with low income. I need to get someone's driving information. I need to know what I have to send and where to send it.

I'm not sure this is something we can legally obtain for you. Presumably if the subject does not have car insurance, it might be possible to find information from his credit, or by petitioning the state. Rhymeless 03:29, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Random Royal Navy question[edit]

I was wondering, for no particular reason, what the last conventional surface action ever to be fought by the Royal Navy was? I seem to have a vague memory of once reading that it was some sort of night-time destroyer action against the Japanese navy in the Pacific towards the end of World War Two. Anyone able to point me at a helpful article? Angmering 19:54, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Falklands maybe? 1982? Alteripse 00:05, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Ship to ship surface engament? I'm not sure. Definitely not the Falklands, The only direct contact between vessels was the British sumarine action. HMS Ameythst and the Yangtze Incident don't count either. (hm.. no link for those, poor show) , they were bombarded by Chinese guns on the river banks. Mintguy (T)
Well, by that criterion you wouldn't consider Midway a "conventional surface action" either, would you? If you exclude actions that involved airplanes and submarines, there have hardly been any naval battles fought by anyone since world war I. Maybe Angmering could clarify which he was looking for? Alteripse 01:13, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Yes, I was talking about surface ships firing guns against enemy surface ships. I'm almost certain, as I said, that it was some sort of 1945 destroyer action against a Japanese force, but I cannot remember where I read that, when and where it might have happened exactly, or what ships were involved, etc. Angmering 09:51, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

That's right. Midway isn't considered a "conventional" surface action, because the ships didn't make make "contact" with each other, but there were plenty of WWII battles in which ships did. Like the Battle of the River Plate and Sinking of the Bismarck to name two off the top of my head. Mintguy (T)

Yeah, conventional ship-to-ship Trafalgar style naval engagements died a death during WW2. All those fancy battleships Hitler built, hoping to win a repeat of Jutland, almost all sunk by itty bitty aircraft. Much the same was true in the pacific. The Belgrano doesn't count as a "surface action", methinks, and the last Cod War is even less militant than the Ameythst thing. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 01:20, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Name of a piece of music[edit]

I can't think of a better way to word this question, so I hope it makes sense: What is the name of that piece of music that is used stereotypically or satirically for people falling in love on TV? For example, it was in the first episode of South Park, and it's in commercials all the time (I saw it on some car commercial recently). I hope this question is not too vague :) Adam Bishop 22:28, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I can hear the piece you mean in my head too, I think. It's often used especially when love is illustrated by a man and woman running towards each other on a beach. Various comedy endings have been used to subvert this:
  1. They run past each other (possibly one of them ending up in the arms of someone else).
  2. They get soaked by the sea.
  3. Er, that's it.
It's a violin piece you mean, isn't it? Lar-deeee, da-da-da-darr-di-dee, da-de-dar-daaaah, da-dee-da-dee-dee-dee. Don't laugh, it took me a couple of minutes singing to get those das and dees in the right place. In case you haven't gussed by this point... I have no idea what it's called or who it's by. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 00:08, Aug 18, 2004 (UTC)
I know the music you mean. I thought it was called "Hearts and Flowers" but Googling doesn't seem to confirm this. Mintguy (T)

Sounds (to me) like Percy Faith's "Theme from 'A Summer Place'". It appears (among countless other places) in the Buffy episode "Him" (a poor ripoff of the earlier episode "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"). If you're in the UK, you could always try shazaming the South Park pilot.

chocolateboy 01:00, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Bodnotbod has the melody (more or less :)), but it's not Theme From a Summer Place, that's different. Adam Bishop 01:15, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I've had this idea for years that we ought to have a Music Google, where you just hum a few bars and it tries to match it to known songs. I'm sure there would be obscene amounts of copyright difficulty with implementing it, though. -- Wapcaplet 02:11, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • I can't quite hear the theme you're trying to get at (though I can think of others like it)--is it any of these, by any chance? (Now it's gonna bother me that I can't figure out what song you're talking about :-). -- Wapcaplet 02:20, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I was right! It is called "Hearts and Flowers". Go to and scroll down the page a bit to hear a midi version. Mintguy (T) 03:29, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Are you sure? The midi version of "Hearts and Flowers" doesn't sound right to me. I would have though the piece you are looking for is commonly called "Theme from Love Story", which is also the film that popularised it. See for example Love Story, The (piano-only). -- Solipsist 10:29, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Hm... well it's difficult to match up the 'lah de dahs', so perhaps you're probably right. But the tune I was thinking of is Hearts and Flowers anyway. It it often used for silent films or parodies of such. Mintguy (T)
The Love Story Theme sounds right, although as Bodnotnod said it is usually on violin, so I'm not sure. Adam Bishop 15:07, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
the overture to romeo and juliet, or whatever it's called? try that one on.Pedant 17:35, 2004 Aug 18 (UTC)
Ah, of course! That's exactly what it is! Pedant wins! :) Adam Bishop 18:14, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
This is the Romeo and Juliet by Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, by the way. (Quite famously used in the computer game, The Sims. --[[User:OldakQuill|Oldak Quill]] 18:16, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

There is a (sadly out-of-print) reference book called A Dictionary of Musical Themes which lets you look up classical compositions by theme... requires some musical knowledge to use in the same way that an English dictionary requires familiarity with English; you have to be able to correctly identify the notes of the theme, transposed to C (major or minor), and from there themes are listed in the book alphabetically, pointing you to suggestions of what they could be from. Often frustrating, but also quite useful. Wish there were some sort of comparable free online resource; then again, even this book's publishers could not include some entries because of copyright issues. 20:26, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Hm, I seem to have gotten logged out. I also want to note that I may have to check myself into musicians' rehab, given that I recognized the theme immediately from "Lar-deeee, da-da-da-darr-di-dee, da-de-dar-daaaah, da-dee-da-dee-dee-dee". Mindspillage 20:28, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Oh. Ta. I'm rather delighted by that. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 16:38, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)

Could it be the Love Theme from Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet? That's played all the time in movies and tv, usually as two lovers run towards each other in slow-motion? PedanticallySpeaking 19:40, Aug 26, 2004 (UTC)

Korean symbol using I Ching characters[edit]

Hi, I'm creating a logo for my Taekwondo club, and I was wondering if there was any specific configuration that I should use for arranging the eight I Ching trigrams. Currently, I have them corresponding to the 4 trigrams in the corners of the South Korean flag plus the 4 additional trigrams in the north, south, east, and west. So, starting from top left corner and proceeding clockwise: ☰ keon, ☴ seon, ☵ gam, ☳ jin, ☶ gan, ☷ gon, ☲ ri, ☱ tae. For comparison. imagine this image rotated such that 'heaven' is where 'lake' is ('wind' topmost, 'thunder' bottom, etc). Please leave your comments on my talk page. Thanks --Wasabe3543 23:39, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

What is a hispanic?[edit]

What is a hispanic? I don't think that word should exist. I mean when you say hispanic is like saying european. There are many europeans with different cultures. The so called hispanics all look different and have different cultures. For example the Mexicans and Central Americans have dark skin and have an Indian heritage. The people from the Dominican Republic are black and have African heritage. And how about some of the South Americans like Argentina? People from Argentina are as white as Europeans and they look like Spaniards or Italians. So why are they called hispanic if they all look different?

See Hispanic American. Elf | Talk 00:47, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Technically it simply means someone who speaks Spanish. As your question shows, and the page to which Elf refers compounds, its use as an ethnic group is bordering on meaningless. A similar confounding diversity is found in "african", "european" or (worse yet) "caucasian". But really all racial groups are taxonomic chimeras, wrongheaded holdovers from silly nineteenth century desires to reverse-philosophise the state of the world. If Hannibal the Cannibal were here now, I'm sure he'd say that everone is the same colour when you cut their skin off :) -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 00:59, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
So a Brazilian is technically not a Hispanic? Anárion 12:50, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
see also: Ashley Montague's Man's most Dangerous Myth: Race
To just add an anecdote: When the head of the research group, I did my Master's thesis in, got a professorship in California, we all happily moved with him from rainy England. A collegeue, from Spain, also always wondered about this question, because the califonian state asks on virtually every administrative form to voluntarily state your race (to help with statatisics evaluating race euality measures). You can check 'White/Caucasian', 'African', 'Native American', 'Asian', 'Hispanic', 'Mixed' and maybe something else. She always several times and was always explaind, that she, being from Spain, counts as Caucasian and not as Hispanic, which she found quite amusingly absurd. (But, of course, it made sense, as any affirmative action for Hispanics was targeted at the (in CA very large) population of Mexican-and-the-like immigrants, and not so much at her as a scholar from privileged Europe.) Simon A. 18:19, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Shakespeare in common use[edit]

Could you please point me to resources that can help me with common English phrases or words that originate or were popularised by W.S.? Thank you!

Here's quite a 03:51, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Thank you! That's what I wanted!

Damn. How frustrating. I remember reading a couple of reviews of a book which is specifically about how Shakespeare developed the English language. I don't doubt there are a few such books but this one was fairly recent (published in the last 2 years or so) and the reviews held it in high esteem. I've been doing a site search of Guardian Books which would have been where I saw at least 1 of those reviews but can't seem to narrow the search enough not to have to wade through 200 links. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 16:51, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)

translation please[edit]

Please tell me what 'verae nomerosque modosque ediscere vitae' means. I can be contacted by email at I hope you can help, thanks.

Nimirum sapere est abiectis utile nugis et tempestivum pueris concedere ludum, ac non verba sequi fidibus modulanda Latinis, sed verae numerosque modosque ediscere vitae. Horace epistle 2

the phrase sort of means "to study the ways and numbers of the true life" but you can probably find a better english translation. Alteripse 12:20, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)

John Conington's rather loose translation of 1869 is:
Wise men betimes will bid adieu to toys,
And give up idle games to idle boys;
Not now to string the Latian lyre, but learn
The harmony of life, is my concern.
(Found at [1]) --AlexG 00:02, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)


  1. What is the effective resolution of the human eye, supposing a pixel to be a circle with radius equal to the smallest distinguishable angular distance?
    1. Should this be simply proportional to the density of receptors in the retina, or might it be more complex?
    2. How is this affected by the changing lens?
    3. What is the density of receptors, particularly in the macula?
    4. What is the resolution in voxels (three-dimensional pixels, presumably truncated cones) provided by depth perception?
  2. How would the information capacity (in bits per second) of the retina and optic nerve be measured?
  3. How much of the brain is dedicated to processing information from the macula?
  4. What filtering and postprocessing is known to be performed on human vision before the image is consciously perceived?
  5. What are the dimensions of the human field of view, in degrees?
  6. What are the dimensions of the field of view of the macula?
  7. In general, which units and other technical terms are most convenient for discussing the visual field?

--Eequor 16:00, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

These questions are far more complex than they appear at first sight (excuse the pun)... for instance, the resolution of the eye is not uniform. The central point (the macula) has high resolution and high colour sensitivity, whereas in the peripheral regions the resolution is lower, but light sensitivity is higher. And the blind spot region obviously has no resolution at all. Also, remember the resolution of the eye is not neccessarily the same thing as what can be percieved: your brain has to extensively process something before you 'see' it. Furthermore, resolution can vary depending on the intensity and wavelength of light being viewed, as well as ambient conditions. There are many other complications, like pupil diameter and image alignment, that I won't even go into. And, to further complicate things, different researchers use completely different critera to measure the eye's resolution! Nevertheless, if we ignore all the provisoes, then the best estimate for the eye's pixel-resolution is in the order of 1 pixel per arc-minute. (I believe that Carl Sagan discusses the resolution of the eye in his book, The Dragons of Eden.) -- FirstPrinciples 06:05, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)
Here is a page that discusses many of your questions: . (I'm not sure I agree with all the reasoning, which is often rather spurious, but it is interesting to consider.) It claims the eye consists of around 100-200 million pixels, or a 'resolution', in computer terms, of roughly 10,000 x 10,000, with a central 'refresh rate' of something between 60 and 120 Hz. The author goes on to speculate (somewhat whimsically) that the bandwidth of the visual system is in the region of 600 terahertz. -- FirstPrinciples 23:38, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)
Thanks! That is fascinating. It seems that a more accurate description of the bandwidth would be:
Pixels bpp fps
126,000,000 × 48 × 80 = 967.68 Gbps per eye
Which leads to the second half of #2; is the optic nerve capable of transmitting that much information?
There's a discrepancy between the minute of arc calculation of pixels and the receptor calculation; as I recall, the human field of view is not 180° &times 180°, but rather 180° × 2°. This gives 1.3 million square arc-minutes, one-hundredth the number of receptors, though I'd expect some overlap with increasing receptor density. --Eequor 00:59, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

No sure I would be entirely eager to apply computer terminology to the visual system, it is not really analagous, and behaves very non-linearly. The number of 'bits' of information is not a very useful measure.


  1. Which colors are usually perceived in phosphenes?
    1. Might the brain naturally filter out spurious red signals?
  2. What might cause this range of colors to change?
    • E.g., at one time I mainly saw colors between yellow and green, with neither blue nor red.
  3. What patterns are frequently observed?
    1. What might cause a square grid pattern?
    2. What might cause a single, centered ring?
    3. What might cause a set of concentric triangles?

--Eequor 16:00, 17 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Looks to me like some assigments for an undergrad visual perception course - most of this could be found in a textbook on that subject, I could look it up for you, but don't have mine to hand right now. Out of interest, are you studying this? Are these questions that you couldn't find the answers to in a textbook? The answers to all of them are going to be relatively involved.

Afraid I haven't a textbook, nor am I taking a course about it. I am generally curious about the subject, though. Are there books you would recommend? --Eequor 11:25, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Smoke rings[edit]

  • How do they hold together, even if only briefly?
  • And why should smoke emanating from your mouth come out in the shape of your lips?
  • Shouldn't it more or less congregate towards your upper lip and just come out looking rubbish?
  • Could you make a really big smoke ring and keep it stable in some kind of wind tunnel? --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 22:45, Aug 18, 2004 (UTC)
The smoke in a smoke ring is trapped in a toroidal vortex of air leaving your mouth. The vortex starts with the air in the centre of the stream moving faster than the air in contact with your lips. I guess this is more influenced by the shape you hold you mouth, rather than friction against the lips.
Could you make a really big smoke ring and keep it stable - I imagine a reasonably stable ring could be made if you set up a wind tunnel to blow a central core of air against a larger ring being blown the opposite way. In the mean time you could try a Zero Blaster. -- Solipsist 23:34, 18 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Actually, no. I believe there exists an obsenely complex aerodynamic proof that no smoke ring can exist indefinitely, even in ideal circumstances. They inevitably "collapse". I can't find a source, but I remember seeing an article on this in about 2002. --FirstPrinciples 05:00, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)
Cor. That's a lovely pair of articles. Thanks very much. It's exciting my brain trying to merge the two articles into the one happenstance, which is just what I need. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 01:20, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)

Largest things made by humans[edit]

What is the most voluminous human-made object, and what is the heaviest? elpenmaster

See also: orders of magnitude (mass), orders of magnitude (volume)


  • I should have thought of this sooner - The most voluminous human-made object would most likely be the telephone network. It is certainly the biggest and most complicated machine. You could definately argue that it is comprised of every PSTN which are totaly interconnected, plus the whole of the physical internet, with more tenuous links to the wireless networks and geostationary satellites. If you separate it from the planet its embedded in, you would have an object which is mostly a big hollow ball of wire with a volume about the same as the Earth (perhaps chop a bit off if the poles aren't connected). Anybody care to estimate how much it weighs? -- Solipsist 13:44, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

To which you would have to add the electric power grid, parts of which are fed off oil pipelines, (artificial) rivers and dams, gas networks and tidal races. Plus those items whic are fed by these power sources. Rich Farmbrough 20:59, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

But I don't think the power grid is so interconnected. The power grids for most US states and Canada are interconnected, as is much of Europe. There is a cross channel electricity link between Britain and France, and I recall a gas pipeline being proposed too, but I'm pretty sure there isn't a transatlantic link, and I doubt much of Africa is interconnected. -- Solipsist 13:18, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I would propose that the largest agglomeration ever constructed would be the system of paved roads and highways; either the system in North America or Eurasia. It would surely weigh more than the telephone network. Whether it could be considered one object might depend on whether there is a single name for everything from freeways to asphalt-paved trails. The Interstate Highway System or Pan-American Highway alone might qualify even if smaller roads are not included. GUllman 19:32, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Extended structures[edit]

The Suez Canal from Earth orbit
  • The Suez Canal is 165 km × 325 m × 14.5 m (average), with a volume of 777 million . These numbers might represent only the interior of the channel itself, so its total volume may be greater than this. This volume of water masses 777 billion kg; if accompanying structures are included, it may be more massive than the Great Wall of China (and keep in mind that the Wall is not solid granite, as is used below for convenience). --Eequor 16:37, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • The Panama Canal is 81.6 km × 150 m × 30 m (average), for a volume of 367 million m³ and mass of at least 367 billion kg. --Eequor 16:47, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • A classic answer to this is the Great Wall of China. I've heard that you can see it from space, although I've also heard that you cannot. Either way there's an awful lot of it. Rhymeless 03:24, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Its visibility from space is mostly an urban legend. From the article:
One shuttle astronaut reported that "we can see things as small as airport runways [but] the Great Wall is almost invisible from only 180 miles up."
. . .
Regardless of how visible the Great Wall is when viewed by the unaided eye from low earth orbit, the notion that the Great Wall has a unique and superlative visibility, exceeding that of other great public works, is a myth.
I agree its mostly a myth, but this story contains a current counter claim. -- Solipsist 12:15, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The main difficulty in seeing the wall from orbit is that it was constructed using rock quarried near the site of its construction, so it is roughly the same color as the surrounding landscape.
As for its volume and mass, the average height of the wall is 10 m and the average width is 5 m, while its length is 6,400 - 6,700 km, so its volume is 320 - 335 million m³. Assuming it to be composed of solid granite with a density of 2691 kg/m³, its mass is up to 861 - 902 billion kg. --Eequor 11:56, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)


Just a note: these calculations show that the Great Wall of China is about 50% larger and more than twice as heavy as the entire human population. - Plutor 17:04, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Single structures[edit]

Zones of effect[edit]

  • The biggest is surely the hole in ozone layer but I don't know how you would measure that volume. Too complicated for someone as dense as me.Scraggy4 00:04, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The "hole" isn't really a physical hole in any normal sense of the word. The ozone layer is a region of the atmosphere between 10 and 50 km above Earth's surface, containing trace amounts of ozone. Out of every ten million molecules in Earth's atmosphere, ozone accounts for three of them. An "ozone hole" is really just a portion of the atmosphere where ozone molecules (O3) have decomposed into normal oxygen molecules (O2); the amount of gas is unchanged. --Eequor 02:25, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • if you're willing to take this most liberal definition of "object", then the emission shell created by Marconi's first radio transmissions (a hemisphere with a radius of over 100 lightyears) would be a "zone of human effect" of titanic size. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 17:32, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)
    • What about the Zone of the light of the first forest fire started by a human? Rich Farmbrough 21:02, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Related questions[edit]

How much space underground is typically used by cities? Is Mumbai the largest city? --Eequor 17:09, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)


I was going to say something twatty like the Golden Gate Bridge (which is rubbish compared to the Great Wall... but I saw a film the other day where the bridge seemed to go on forever... but I realise that won't wash with this forensic bunch. But I suppose I feel obliged to ask it as a supplementary question now. It would have been an American bridge. It wasn't suspended, very flat, 2-4 lanes... it just seemed to go off into the horizon. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 01:26, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)

That bridge might have been the one that goes over a lake about 30 miles across just north of New Orleans, Louisiana. The bridge is about 30 miles long and does seem to go on forever. If the Great wall of China is the heaviest/most volumnous thing made by humans, it seems strange that those titles should go to something made so long ago! elpenmaster
It's mentioned in the last para of Lake Pontchartrain, but doesn't appear to have a name. I've found some more details here, which I'll add into wikipedia (after making sure it isn't already there). It's the longest bridge in the States. And it's definitely the one I was thinking of, so thanks for that. This is what I was thinking of, thanks - Lake_Pontchartrain_Causeway --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 16:40, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)
You've found what you were looking for, but there are also the interconnected bridges over the Florida keys, individually up to 7 miles long but altogether including roadway on some really tiny islands about 128 miiles I think. list of bridges Elf | Talk 23:45, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

What is a "matched pair" of RAM modules?[edit]

Someone has asked on Talk:random access memory what a "matched pair" is. If anybody knows, perhaps they could add the answer to the DIMM or DDR SDRAM article? Thanks. -- Heron 08:29, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

A matched pair is generally just two RAM modules of the same size (and best-case, exact same latency, CAS level, etc). Some modern motherboards support a "Dual Channel" architecture, which uses two memory controllers to make memory access almost twice as fast as a single module of twice the size. [2] - Plutor 16:59, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
A lot of the old beige macs supported 'memory interleaving' and gave a (slight) performance boost if you installed memory in matched pairs of slots [3] adamsan 20:05, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Thanks guys. I added a note under DDR SDRAM with Plutor's information. Adamsan's note probably belongs in a different article, but I'm not sure which one, not being a Mac person. Perhaps we need a new article on interleaved memory? --Heron 21:13, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

As the above posters mention, many computers access RAM modules in pairs, putting half of a nominal storage unit (byte) in one and half in the other. Allow me to add that with such machines, it's often very important that the two modules respond to a request at very, very close to the same time (measured in nanoseconds, of course); failure to do so can lead to system hangs and crashes, often intermittent and hard to diagnose. Modules with identical nominal ratings of type and speed can respond very slightly differently, even though they're within specification for the type. It is thus common advice to add memory in modules taken from the same manufacturer, even the same batch, to decrease the risk of problems. This is hard to quantify and at times verges on the superstitious; it's strongest for systems at the (current, ever-changing) high edge of performance. Similar advice circulates for CPUs in multi-processor systems, with some vendors advising against buying a system with one CPU installed and planning to add a second later. These vendors claim that CPUs are individually tested and paired for installation together in a system; I have not heard of this happening with memory but it's certainly possible. Sharkford 17:11, 2004 Aug 20 (UTC)

Henry Baldwin illustration[edit]

The illustration on Henry P. Baldwin, a Senator from Michigan, which is on the Bioguide site appears in my Oxford Companion to the U.S. Supreme Court as that of Justice Henry Baldwin. The illustration on the Supreme Court Historical Society site could be the same fellow. Can anyone clarify?PedanticallySpeaking 17:31, Aug 19, 2004 (UTC)

Huh. The Bioguide entry for Senator Baldwin has that picture, but no picture for Justice Baldwin. Either they looked virtually the same, or, more likely, some intern put that photo in the wrong place. Unfortunately, I can't clarify more than that. You might have to contact the Supreme Court site and or the Bioguide people to get it checked out. [[User:Meelar|Meelar (talk)]] 18:27, 2004 Aug 19 (UTC)
Yesterday I e-mailed the Heather Moore, the U.S. Senate Historical Office's photo historian, to enquire about this discrepancy. If I get a reply, I'll post it here on on the two Henry Baldwin's pages. In the interim, if anyone knows anything, please let me know. PedanticallySpeaking 14:55, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)
I've contacted Heather Moore, photo researcher at the U.S. Senate Historical Office, and she e-mailed me on August 31, 2004, to say she'll look into this. PedanticallySpeaking 14:15, Sep 2, 2004 (UTC)

Tidal channels[edit]

What is the proper term for an underwater channel between locations which experience different levels of tide at the same time, causing a stream to flow through the channel at high speeds toward the endpoint with lower water level? --Eequor 18:02, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Children's Short Stories[edit]

OK, this is driving me nuts. When I was young I read a collection of short stories. The main character was a kid who wore overalls and chewed stalks of straw. He lived in a small midwestern town and worked at the local donut shop, where there was a jukebox that featured in several of the plots. The covers of the books were black and white illustrations (the books themselves may have been illustrated as well. I think that in one story he gets uncontrollable hiccups, and in another story the whole small town becomes obsessed with a song on the jukebox. I seem to think that the kid's last name was "Price", but I can't seem to find this on google anywhere. --DropDeadGorgias (talk) 18:58, Aug 19, 2004 (UTC)

The stories you are thinking of are probably those collected in "Homer Price," by Robert McCloskey. I remember the book well from my own childhood -- I loved it. Here is a link to the Amazon record: Also, fyi, this is the type of question that a public library is well equipped to answer! Brassratgirl 04:52, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Thanks a bunch. I was adding to the article on Motif of harmful sensation and I remembered the short story when everyone can't stop singing the catchy song, but I couldn't remember the guys name. I figured Reference desk here was as good a place as any. Thanks again! --DropDeadGorgias (talk) 18:57, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)

'Impossible' Rainbow[edit]

In September of 1999 I saw an 'impossible' triple rainbow. The third bow was only a small arc inside the primary bow. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera available. Worse, having trained as a scientist, I've been kicking myself ever since for not at least documenting the features.

Now I have read much of Greenler's book on rainbows, so I understand how a rainbow is formed from reflections from near spherical raindrops. The first internal reflection produces the primary bow, the second internal reflection produces the fainter secondary bow, and the hypothetical third internal reflection would produce a rainbow in the opposite direction looking into the sun and so is not observed. I'm pretty sure that this sort of triple bow is not described.

Fortunately, I have just seen the another 'impossible' triple rainbow. Unfortunately I again didn't have a camera available. However, this time I did record the details:

  • Time: 18:46 UT - 19 August 2004 (about 45 mins before sunset)
  • Location: Cambridge, UK
  • Rain clouds were mainly to the south and east, with a patch of blue sky to the north, and patchy cloud in the direction of the sun, although the sun was below the height of nearby buildings.
  • Primary bow clearly visible over 80% of full arc from S to N.
  • Secondary bow diffuse, but visible at ~50% brightness over 40% arc from S to N, about 10° above the primary bow with the order of colours reversed (ie red on the inside of bow)
  • Tertiary bow clearly visible with a brightness only slightly less than the primary bow (ie. much brighter than the secondary bow), covering some 60% or the arc from S to N. The third bow was about 1° below the primary bow, with colours in the same order. That is to say the primary bow merged with the tertiary bow, and the colours from top to bottom were (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet)1st, (green, blue, indigo and violet)3rd.
  • After about one-two minutes the tertiary bow faded and disappeared. After another five minutes the secondary bow became less distinct, but came back again later.

When I saw the similar phenomenon in 1999, the tertiary bow was only a small arc of 5° although the primary and secondary were more or less full. On that occasion, I have the impression that the tertiary bow may have been more clearly separated from the primary bow, but it was definitely inside (below) the primary. I didn't make a note of the order of the colours, but now I have seen it again I would think the tertiary bow had the same order as the primary.

Does anyone know what is going on? -- Solipsist 19:45, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I'm assuming you don't wear corrective lenses, and you weren't looking through a window (so we can rule out some kind of internal-reflection artifact. And naturally you'd mention if you'd ever had eye surgery, particularly laser vision correction (as people who've had that see all kinds of crazy stuff around the Sun). -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 19:56, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Good questions - but no, I've got pretty good vision. An optitian (inaccurately) described it as 20:22, although I have a mild astigmatism which can cause a little blurring, but isn't worth correcting. No eye surgery, and all these bows were in the normal direction opposite to the sun. I was outside in my garden at the time.
I thought about an eye defect. If you have every tried to focus on a single colour band of a rainbow you'll know that it can be a little disorienting. However, a carefully counted the ~11 colour bands at several places along the arc. Also I'm pretty sure that an eye defect would not have produced an arc centred on the anti-solar point over such a wide arc and I shouldn't have been able to see the tertiary bow fade out. Further, I would expect to have seen a similar distortion replicating the secondary bow. -- Solipsist 20:47, 19 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Could there have been some large reflective object nearby, such as a building with mirrored windows? Reflected images of the sun can sometimes cause "extra" bows (for instance, reflection of the sun on a very calm lake can produce an inverted bow). Or perhaps mirage-like diffraction (you do say it was nearly sunset) might produce a "double sun", which could produce the sort of effects you saw. -- DrBob 16:18, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Also a very good question. This is one of the possibilities I was wondering about. On both occaisions I was within 100 meters of a river (the river Cam), which could have been a reflector. That could fit the 1999 rainbow, however I have trouble reconciling this with such a wide tertiary arc yesterday and wonder whether the brightness of the tertiary arc would be so strong with a reflection off water.
I can't say whether there was a double sun or not. The sun wasn't directly visible due to neighbouring buildings, but I doubt it - a double sun requires high stratospheric ice cystals which (I think) usually occurs on stable, high pressure, cold winter days - somewhat incompatible with the turbulent heavy rain storm fronts we've been having in the UK this week. As you say, perhaps some other 'mirage' effect could do it. -- Solipsist 23:39, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

This rang a bell for me -- I know I have never seen a third rainbow, but I had read about it. So I tried to look it up, and found a sentence about it in my physics book. In a caption to a picture of a double rainbow, it says (translated from swedish) "Triple rainbows can also be seen, but under very special conditions. This is very rare.". So, as I suspected, you don't have to seek any disturbance to explain your sight. (By the way, a Google search turned up this: [4] [[User:Sverdrup|Sverdrup❞]] 23:32, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Yup, that looks a good match for what I saw. Possibly my third bow was brighter, but I couldn't be sure. However, I don't think his internal reflection suggestion is correct — the third internal reflection produces a bow at an angle of 40° in the opposite direction, around the sun. -- Solipsist 13:25, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Can I use the word Xenotheism?[edit]

The word exists only once on the internet and that was on a website called god wars. If this is not allowed can someone tell me the term used to refer to alien-based religions. Xeno is the latin word for stranger so I don't know if it fits totally. --metta, The Sunborn 03:14, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

If you don't know what "xenotheism" means, how can you expect the reader to know? Remember that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia for the general reader. If you mean "worship of extraterrestrials", use that clear phrase instead of an opaque neologism. (In any case, "xenotheism" ought to mean something like "belief in foreign god(s)"). Gdr 12:07, 2004 Aug 20 (UTC)
I think the more common term is "UFO cult". And you mean Greek, not Latin. -- Heron 12:17, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

xeno and theos are both greek, not latin. Yrs truly, nitpicker patrol.

Theos means "god," by the way. If you want a neologism for "worship of extraterrestrials," how about exobiolatry? Exobiology is the study of life beyond Earth (Greek -logia, "study," from logos, also meaning "word," from legein, "to speak"). Your neologism would be composed of exô, "outer," + bios, "life," + latreia, "worship."

Shi-Tsao Natural Preserve[edit]

Does anybody have any information on Shi-Tsao Natural Preserve, Taiwan? I can't find any info on it at all! - Ta bu shi da yu 03:43, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Penguin sweater[edit]

Anyone know the backstory behind this? - Ta bu shi da yu 05:27, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I only know that that is just adorable! If you google for it, you get quite a few news stories: [5] --DropDeadGorgias (talk) 14:41, Aug 20, 2004 (UTC)

Change in Los Angeles Times comics section[edit]

This week the newspaper Los Angeles Times replaced the comic strip The Wizard of Id with a comic strip called Brewster Rocket: Space Guy. Does anybody know why this was done? Why would the LA Times stop running such a funny and classic cartoon as The Wizard of Id? --elpenmaster

You could phone them and ask for the Comics Editor. They should be braced for inquiries whenever they swap out a strip (many papers include a note when they do this, so check the paper just before and after the switch was made). Typical reasons include a mix of things like "our research showed less interest in that one" and (rather more concrete) "the contract came up for renewal and another paper in our coverage area outbid us". Sometimes as papers grow, coverage areas come into overlap and the strip's syndicate/publisher decides to renew only one of them. Sharkford 16:56, 2004 Aug 20 (UTC)
There was an article in the New York Times this past week (8.22.2004) that indicated that a lot of papers are dumping more than just "Wizard of Id." The Dallas Morning News recently ditched a dozen strips, including Mary Worth and Jump Start. The article attributed the move to "sluggish advertising revenue and sharply rising paper costs." The editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer was quoted as saying, "We’re struggling with both the cost of the comics we buy and the cost of the newsprint we use to run them. We think readers still care a lot about the comics. Although in the long term, we're thinking of them in ways like stock agate, which had usefulness, but the usefulness is dropping off." In any case, it sounds like a newspaper industry trend. ffirehorse 16:50, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)

There was a note in the LA Times saying that The Wizard of Id was being replaced, but it didn't say why. The LA Times has replaced several comics recently, swapping them with different comic. Untilthe replaced The Wizard of Id, however, all of the comics they had replaced hadn't been particularly funny ones. I had thought that the cartoons were being replaced because polls had found them to not be very funny. But obviously The Wizard of Id is a very funny comic, so it's replacement with a lesser-known cartoon like "Brewster Rocket: Space Guy" seemed rather strange. If there is a major trend of dropping comics in newspapers, I am deeply saddened. I read the LA Times almost every day, and the comics section is one of my favorite parts! -- elpenmaster

Fashion manual for men[edit]

I am wondering if someone at Wikipedia could point me to good resource for men's wardrobe. I'd like to know especially:

  1. Which kind of suits (black, gray, navy blue, with or without waistcoat) is expected at what kind of places,
  2. What kind of shoes one should wear with what kind of suits,
  3. How to select a tie (but I can tie a tie),
  4. What shirt colour goes with suit colour.

I am currently working as a system administrator, but I was accepted as a part-time prosecutor trainee. So you could imagine how this will affect my fashion habits, and how puzzled I am. Only thing I decided so far, is that I should propably wear black suit and tie for sworn-in ceremony.

In exchange for help, I declare that I'll create Fashion tips for men or any other fashion related article. Przepla 19:18, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

where? as well as varying over time, fashion varies from place to place as well; to take a simple example, in Melbourne black is the only appropriate colour, in Sydney the more incandescent, the better! --Robert Merkel 17:46, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
We certainly don't give tips, tops we would have an article on authorative and (non-) tips with a NPOV discussion. A fashion article would be Men's fashion, but as above, there is no "one" fashion. [[User:Sverdrup|Sverdrup❞]] 01:48, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I see. Maybe then someone explain me what the terms: white tie, black tie and coat and tie? Przepla 22:18, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Have you tried Wikipedia? (White tie and Black tie — unfortunately, these articles need some work to make them neutral). Gdr 23:00, 2004 Aug 22 (UTC)
White tie and black tie are evening wear. While your new job is undoubtedly more formal, lawyers don't generally wear tuxedos to work. I think your best bet is to ask your colleagues - in law, appearance is part of the job and I'm sure they'll be happy to give you some tips about what is appropriate when. Rhobite 17:07, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)

2004 Summer Olympics delegation size by country?[edit]

Hello, I am looking for a list of the delegation sizes for each country participating in the 2004 summer olympics (I think they showed it on TV for the opening ceremony when each country entered). Also, are delegation size and number of athletes competing the same thing? Or does delegation size include coaches and trainers? Thank you, -- 20:49, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

If you click here you can view every team by athlete. coach, manager and olympic committee. Delegation as far as I am aware includes every from the athletes to the physios.Scraggy4 21:13, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

George Lerner[edit]

Anyone got any more information on the inventor of Mr. Potato Head? - Ta bu shi da yu 09:48, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Have you tried Googling for it? --Slowking Man 22:20, Aug 21, 2004 (UTC)

Historical Olympic medal counts[edit]

Does anyone know where I can find the previous best number of medals won by country by single day of an Olympiad. Without manually having to add them all up. As I would like to know when Great Britain last won as many gold medals in one day as they have already and will later today. I can't remember us winning four golds in one day before as well as having the individual eventing gold awarded to us in the Court of Arbitration for Sports. What a refreshing change.Scraggy4 15:19, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

According to reports today, a British IOC member and BOA official is quoted as saying GBR has never won as many medals in one day as yesterday. The BBC last night reported that the BOA had checked the records back at least as far as 1924 without finding a more successful day. -- Arwel 13:25, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Thanx Arwel, no wonder I couldn't remember it then.Scraggy4 21:18, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Mysterious figure[edit]

I found this geometric shape in one fo those scinece and miysticism houses which gave courses in relativity theory and acunpunture. It was a poster for something else.

They told me that this symbol is also present in rosicrucian books

There they told me that this figure represent the alchemic squaring the circle method. That I doubt as after reading those articles, it seems that they have nothing to do.

and that in ancient (old egypt? old india? middle ages? renaissance? I don't know, old times that's it) architechts would wander around with this shape and it would serve as a tool to make measures about the sizes and proportions of things, something as a shape that had all the golden ratios used to construction.

And that's a really interesting point , because it's plausible that there was a tool who incorporated all the divine mathematics of architechture, and this kind of things inspire legends of divine inspired architechs.

Anyone knows anything about it, so it could be a fact in somewhere? (it's hard to do a google search for something that has no name) --Alexandre Van de Sande 19:20, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Looks to me like a distorted rendering of the so-called Philosophers' Stone. See also this explanation. No clue if it's supposed to be the same figure, though. -- Wapcaplet 19:31, 21 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that most of the explanations on the Claus Furstner page is bogus. The claimed difficulty in constructing the figure is totaly false - its actually trivial. It could easily be solved from first principles by anyone having read Euclid and by most highschool mathematicians. It is more likely that the gap at the top of the 1618 drawing is deliberate. The split between material world and spiritual world sounds plausible, but once we get into the Modern Interpretation section he's lost the plot entirely. -- Solipsist 08:48, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Scroll down on this page also found on this interesting site Mintguy (T)
Odd. The explanation claims matter and antimatter exist in the universe in equal proportions, further claiming dark matter has been observed and is composed of antimatter. Also, the weak nuclear force affects molecules. That's so fitting for a site which discusses alchemy. Heheheh. --Eequor 00:48, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

This must be right. I supose that i mistaked the order of the triangle and square when redrawing form memory. I did remeber that the seconde figure did not touch the upper part of the circle wich amuzed me, making it a non rigid geometric shape. It's the philosopher stone surely. All the stories to explain it comes form a time when people had to read uneditable books with unclear explanations, ages before wikipedia
Philosopher's Stone diagram
I'm partially convinced, but its not the whole story. The Philosopher's stone is actually supposed to be a material, but there were alchemical documents and diagrams that contain the 'secret' of how to make it. However, I don't think there is one canonical source. This diagram isn't one I recognise, but the four shapes could represent the four Aristotelian elements which should be a feature (it also looks reminiscent of a 2D version of Kepler's platonic solid model of the solar system [6]). However, beyond that it doesn't contain much information that could be used to guide the chemistry required.
Here is a drawing of a Philosopher's Stone diagram I came across a few years back, which is completely different. The black/green/blue/red circle at the centre are the elements earth/water/air/fire (apart from air, I'm not totaly sure that order is right). It comes from Isaac Newton's alchemical notes held at Babson College library. -- Solipsist 17:41, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I see this symbol a lot in the windows of cars. Black with silver markings -- a square decal, with a circle, and inside the circle a triangle. What's going on there? RickK 06:28, Aug 23, 2004 (UTC)

Well I've looked on and I can't find it. Mintguy (T)

Donkey Engine?[edit]

Does anybody remember a film that may have been by Disney that was on TV in either the late 80s or early 90s. It dealt with a lake monster that turned out to be a steam shovel called a Donkey Engine. I also think there was some old aborigine in it.

A good place to go to find the answer to this sort of question is the I Need To Know board on IMDB Mintguy (T) 08:48, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)
FYI and AFAIK, a Donkey Engine is an engine used to start another (larger) engine. Your common or garden car/automobile has an electric starter motor. Your huge earthmoving vehicle will have a huge engine, which is started initially by another, small, internal combustion engine (the donkey engine), which in turn is started by its electric starter motor. FWIW. --Tagishsimon
I found it! It's called "Frog Dreaming" or "The Quest" (1986) I remember this one from my childhood and it took some searching to find.
"American boy, Cody, whoose parents have died, lives in Australia with his guardian, Gaza. Cody is very imaginative, inventive, and inquisitive. He comes accross some strange events happenning in Devil's Knob national park associated with an aboriginal myth about "frog dreamings". Cody tries to investigate..."

IMDB here

Shrek 2 - minor Spanish translation[edit]

Hey all. I watched Shrek 2 some time ago, and there's one thing I'd like to know. About halfway through the movie, Shrek the human stops a stagecoach and takes the clothes from one of the passengers. As he rides off after saying some words of thanks, Puss is thrown off the horse, and walks after it, muttering something in what is probably Spanish. What does he say? --inks 02:53, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

As above, a good place to go to find the answer to this sort of question is the I Need To Know board on IMDB Mintguy (T) 08:51, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for the pointer - however if anyone does know, I'm still interested in the answer! :) --inks 05:08, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)


The square of 88 is 7744. This number is said to be the only known square number with no isolated digits; what exactly does this mean? --Eequor 17:10, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Base Square
88 7744
880 774400
8800 77440000
74162 5500002244
88000 7744000000
105462 11122233444
741620 550000224400
880000 774400000000
1054620 1112223344400
2973962 8844449977444
7416200 55000022440000
8800000 77440000000000
10546200 111222334440000
There certainly aren't many square numbers in which every digit is found adjacent to at least one identical digit. The first few are shown at right.
Something's odd here, even if 7744 isn't so unique (though it does seem to be the only one with only two digits). Runs of odd lengths seem especially rare. --Eequor 18:32, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Machine-readable boundary outlines[edit]

I've seen several of the maps on Wikipedia and they looked like they must have been drawn electronically. Where in the Internet can one freely get data files for country/region boundary outlines? [[User:Poccil|Peter O. (Talk)]] 17:19, Aug 22, 2004 (UTC)

Should be at Wikipedia:Public_domain_image_resources#Locations. I haven't checked. If it isn't there, say so here & I bet someone will remedy that. -- Jmabel 19:32, Aug 22, 2004 (UTC)
There's the famous CIA world data bank: see

You Brits[edit]

What do British people mean when they say "New England"? I know that the northeastern region of the United States is called New England, but I wasn't sure if that's what they meant across the pond/lake. IlyanepIlγαηερ (Tαlκ, cοηtrιbs) 17:59, 22 Aug 2004 (UTC)

We mean New England as do you. New Britain though, has a "new" relatively recently coined meaning, related to New Labour, which I've just noticed isn't coverd on the disambiguation page. Mintguy (T)
Billy Bragg is presumably just punning on the place name when one of his songs ("Looking for Another Girl") says, "I'm not looking for a new England." Yes to what Mintguy said. -- Jmabel 19:27, Aug 22, 2004 (UTC)
There is also a New England in Australia. It is in northern New South Wales and the area narrowly missed out on becoming a separate state of Australia in the 1960s (hmm, at first glance, there doesn't appear to be an article on this). Armidale is the unofficial capital of the area and the city hosts the University of New England --Roisterer 05:11, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Check out (New England (Australia) RickK 22:28, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)
There is a New England in Peterborough. I've added it to the Diambig page.Rich Farmbrough 22:19, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)


You know those questions kids ask and you think... "buggered if I know the answer to that". Well here's one that got me the other day.

Sometimes you get a double yoke in an egg. If an ostrich egg (she needs to know for ostriches although I guess this applies for any bird) had a double yoke could it mature and produce two ostrich chicks inside the one egg, or would one or both of the chicks die in the egg or what? Mintguy (T)

As long as both are viable I suspect the two embryos would probably mature until constrained by the shell. However, some websites suggest that to exit the egg, the chick needs to be able to push on one "side" of the egg to exit from the other side - in the case of twins, the chicks would only have each other to push against, and so be unable to exit, or die trying. --inks 05:22, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Anyone got anthing else to add to the above? I can't imagine two chicks growing large enough within one ege and not causing problems with each other. Mintguy (T)

ALmost never hatch acording to This was ref from which claims "Yes but rarely. The two chicks are always tiny and usually hatch from a double yolk egg. Often only one embryo survives and sometimes neither does." and that "Ordinarily they aren't identical twins but fraternal. "A double yolker forms when one egg follows another down the shoot a little too closely and they both get wrapped in the same shell," " Rich Farmbrough 18:01, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

There's a refernce here to Siames Twin Chicks and some general info here Rich Farmbrough 18:05, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Thank you. Mintguy (T) 09:24, 27 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Looking for Family[edit]

What year did the O'Hagan Family come to America? I am a decendent of the O'Hagans from Ireland. I would like to learn more about my family's history. Can anybody help me?

There's pretty much no way to help except to tell you you have to trace your ancestry backwards, from you. There's no way to leap-frog to the guy who immigrated to the U.S., because, frankly, there are so many O'Hagan's that did so in nearly every year you can imagine. You may want to take a look around this site for hints about ways to start. And don't forget that other ancestors may be easier to find: seven of your eight great-grandparents were not named O'Hagan. (Well, presumably<g>). Nunh-huh 00:48, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

strangling for beginners[edit]

How's that? I see the birth of a new book in the "For Dummies" series. Rhymeless 09:31, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

We have an article on asphyxia, but it's short on practical details. There are probably military manuals on how to do it efficiently. --Heron 12:56, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Or just go into any disreputable bar. There's always, in my experience, some morbid, muscular man in any nasty pub willing to tell you how he can kill a man with a single blow. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 17:04, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)
Or perhaps a Greatist Hits album would serve as an introduction. -- Solipsist 17:21, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Whatever happened to the Heroes? All the Shakespeare-o's? --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 17:39, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)

Bounds of (standard deviation divided by mean), given that there are no negative samples[edit]

What are the bounds of (standard deviation divided by mean), given that there are no negative samples? —Rajasekaran Deepak 06:30, 2004 Aug 23 (UTC)

I am writing a program for the Term-Vector Model . Each term occurs in multiple documents. I am taking the statistics of number of occurences of a single term across all documents. I am using (S.D. divided by mean) as a measure of dispersion. I am getting large values like 3.87. I want to know if this indicates an error in my program. —Rajasekaran Deepak 06:41, 2004 Aug 23 (UTC)

Am I missing something here? Won't it depend on how your data is distributed? If your mean is low but your sd is high you could get very high values.

And there are long-tailed distributions where the variance (and hence standard deviation) is ill-defined or tends to infinity, whilst the mean remains well-defined and finite, so I don't think there is any theoretical limit to the standard deviation/mean ratio. -- The Anome 10:38, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The greatest lower bound is zero. I'm going to have to think about the least upper bound.... Michael Hardy 01:55, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

OK, simple example: the Pareto distribution whose probability density function is 1/x³ for x > 1, and zero elsewhere, has a finite expected value, but infinite standard deviation. So the least upper bound is infinite. You can't narrow it down more than that. Michael Hardy 01:59, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Differences between Southern and Central Dravidian[edit]

What are the differences between the Southern Dravidian and Central Dravidian languages? —Rajasekaran Deepak 18:00, 2004 Aug 23 (UTC)

May I recommend an excellent site where you can ask this question? Right here: [7]. --Gelu Ignisque

What was the battle of Troy?[edit]

What was the battle of Troy? I know part of the answer: It was a battle by the Greek. --Patricknoddy 20:56, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)User:Patricknoddy --Patricknoddy 20:56, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)User talk:Patricknoddy 16:56 August 23, MMVI (EDT)

Well, I know "battle of Troy" is on the List of battles page, although that's not really the best way to describe it - you should look at the Trojan War article. It is not a "real" war or battle - a war might have occurred, but the story that we know is actually mythology. Adam Bishop 20:59, 23 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Food colouring.[edit]

Say, I have something of a hypothetical question here: If food colouring was introduced to a freshwater aquarium, how damaging would it be to the fish? Rhymeless 00:26, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I once saw a toilet in a nightclub in Leeds that had a transparent water resevoir with goldfish in it, when the toilet was flushed, the fish were left flapping on the bottom for a few seconds while it re-filled. While tripping, this was awsome, but in the cold light of day, it seems rather cruel... Mooo! 07:15, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
There is a trick you can play with a Carnation and other flowers, where you split the stem and stand each half in separate vases of water coloured with ink or food dye. The carnation sucks up the different dyes and results in a two-tone flower. I doubt it translates to fish though. -- Solipsist 22:30, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I somehow doubt the hypothetical nature of this particular question, but I imagine that it depends on what the food coloring was made of. I'm pretty sure that not all food coloring is made out of the same additives, the ingredient list probably varies across both brands and colors. You can probably be reasonably sure that there aren't explicit toxins in it, after all it is food coloring, but individual substances may be dangerous to fish.

Free Aquarium Screensaver for Mac OS X[edit]

Where can I find a free downloadable aquarium screensaver for Mac OS X? --Gelu Ignisque

There's some Apple-endorsed shareware available here. It's $20 (US) but it looks quite realistic (I still don't know if I'd shell out the bucks for a screensaver, though). --Diberri | Talk 02:07, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)

I'd like to find a comparable one, but free. :-\ --Gelu Ignisque

Insult to Canadians?[edit]

File:Logitech registration form.jpg
A slap in the face to Canadians?

I'm completing a registration form for a Logitech video game controller, and the bottom of the form says:

Canadian entrants must correctly complete the mathematical skill testing question: (2 x 3) + 24 - 5 = ______

I've seen this in the past too, but let it slide as a bad joke. But it keeps cropping up. Is this a slap in the face to Canadians? --Diberri | Talk 02:35, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)

  • For real? That's sort of funny and disturbing. I wonder if there's a place in Wikipedia for "inside jokes found in product instructions." Reminds me of this one. -- Wapcaplet 02:52, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
    • Ah, there's no better humor than anti-presidential humor :-) That one is great. And yes, this Logitech one is real (see scan at right). Humorous, yes; but a tad bit too disturbing. Could it really be a joke? --Diberri | Talk 03:37, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)
  • It's probably not an insult, there is probably some legal basis for it, like they can't give prizes or whatever to people outside the US. In Canada contests are often not open to residents of Quebec, and similar things happen. Adam Bishop 04:45, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
    • I think Adam is right on this. I've seen cases in the US where residents of certain states had to answer some trivial math question in order to qualify for prizes, etc. RickK 05:04, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)
      But why? Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 05:15, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Thats just hilarious Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 05:15, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

It's to get around gambling laws. If it is simply a draw, it comes under different regs to if it is a test of skill. Mooo! 07:05, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

How does it get around gambling laws? Do you mean the math problem allows Logitech to disguise the registration form as some sort of math contest? Doubtful. --Diberri | Talk 17:08, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)
I believe that the say "if you register, you might win XXX". Their legal folks tell them that this counts as a lottery, for which they'd need a licence. But if they make it a "game of skill" then they're okay. Clearly the law doesn't specify the degree of necessary skill (that's a hard law to write, after all). They do similar things in the UK - you'll get phone-in things on the TV, for which you could win a holiday (and for which the phonecall costs a pound or so). To get around the lottery law, they make you answer an incredibly simple quiz (e.g. "who is the Prime Minister: a) Tony Blair b) Tony Martin c) Tony the Tiger"). -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 17:25, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Of course, this begs the question: if games of skill, even trivial ones, are more loosely regulated in the UK and Canada, what's to stop operators of real lotteries (such as scratchcards, for example) for including just such a silly question (the answer is c, btw). Hmm, that I don't know. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 17:40, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I suspect that it is a question of scale. Nothing, in principle, stops the lottery scratchcard people from doing this, but, while Logitech doing it on a registration probably does not attract the ire of anti gambling folks, these sorts of things not really being the ojbect of gambling laws anyway, the UK National Lottery circumventing lottery laws probably would attract lawmakers to change the law and get rid of the loophole. While the effect of people using the loophole is small, no one will bother to change it, since these things dont intutively look like gambling anyway. If things that did look like gambling started doing it, I think legistaltors would change it.

Of course, people may not know the answer (half the people walking around on the streets of New York don't know who the hell the vice president is. Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 19:24, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
That's exactly what it is. Canadians tend to use a simple math puzzle. If you read the small print of the Tim Hortons "Roll up the rim to Win" contest (you'll know what that is if you are Canadian) you will find that technically you have to answer a math question to claim your prize. No-one ever does, of course. DJ Clayworth 17:36, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Yes, this sounds like the sort of rule that applies in the UK. We frequently have television programmes where the production company raises funds for the show by giving away a prize, for which viewers need to phone a premium rate (ie expensive) phone line. However, it must be a game of skill, so you frequently see pathetic contests such as:
  • What is the capital of France?
    • Paris
    • Plutonium
    • The Titanic
Similarly, when you get cash prizes given away by discovering the correct ring pull or crisp (potato chip) packet the packaging has to say no purchase necessary - as a purchase implies you're taking part in a lottery. However, this also leads to some enterprising souls opening the packaging in the shop without wishing to buy the items (well, perhaps the winning one). --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 17:49, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)
I'm told that when it says this you can play without purchase by phoning the manufacturers and having one of the open a packet of crisps for you, and tell you that you haven't won. DJ Clayworth 16:37, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Hey, I just spent the summer drinking free roll-up-the-rim Cokes where I work and they asked everytime me to fill a form with a math question. (They told me the answer before I asked or tried to make the calculations though. :-) --Valmi 00:41, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)

I'm glad this wasn't just an example of a joke gone awry; it's good to know that we Americans have some limits when it comes to bad taste :-) Thanks for the explanation! --Diberri | Talk 21:47, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)

We actually have an article on this at skill testing question. - SimonP 03:13, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)
This reminds of the dialog from a W.C Fields film, I forget which one. "Is this a game of chance?" "Not the way I play it, no."Pustelnik 19:40, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

hi, how r u?[edit]

Received: from
[ China Network Communications Group Corporation ]
To: "Edie Sherill"
[ supposedly, this is my name ]
From: "Freida Vivian" <>
X-Originating-IP: []
[ Mercedes Benz ]
X-Originating-Email: []
Received: from ([ by with Microsoft SMTPSVC(5.0.2195.6720); Tue, 24 Aug 2004 13:52:02 +0200
Received: from mail pickup service by with Microsoft SMTPSVC; Tue, 24 Aug 2004 06:49:02 -0500
Received: from [] by with DAV; Tue, 24 Aug 2004 04:51:02 -0700
his swimming yellow cried grave subject. practically actually others bird hello free seat" enemy welcome letter until everywhere surprise started, many size nay everyone magazine both friend,
Simple: You Pãy & we šhïp to all cöuntrïés! + Chéãpest Prïcé on Net
\/âlium, \/ïâgra, Xânâx, Ciâlis & all
Clíck Hêrê
[ ]
closed tuesday show bit" power countenance familiar together twenty-one easy doubt thee,

Recently, I've been finding spam containing nonsense with the subjects "hi" or "how r u?", using random addresses and names. This is the first I've seen to use both subjects. --Eequor 14:20, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  1. Where does this sort of spam originate?
  2. Who processes email forwarded to
  3. What is
  4. What effect does the random text have?
  5. Is purchasing from this site legal?
  6. Is the site legal in the country it's operated from?
  7. Are there really that many guys who need Viagra?
First, I know it's not new. "hi" is a classic subject for viruses and spam. (I found one on the Symantec site that dates from 2001. [8]
Second, the random text is almost certainly an attempt to foil spam filters. (That is clearly why they use the odd characters.) I would guess that the random words of no relevance 1-confuse a filter that tries to see if there is meaningful content, and 2-make it more likely that a search of your inbox will find this email (although it does seem that if they were trying for the latter, they would have chosen more common words). --Aranel 14:53, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Let's see. I'll answer what I can. The random text serves to distract most spam filters, so they put it into your non-spam folder (however Bayesian filters are usually immune to this). I suppose the FTC processes the address. However, I would like to know as much as you how they get these random addresses from seemingly legit domains. And about the guys needing viagra, if one person out of the 1000 they send it to buys the viagra, they make a profit (email is free!) Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 19:19, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Uncertain about this, but alot of spam these days do not actually sell anything. The reply addresses they give are usually invalid, and they often do not actually back a real business. Much spam it seems are simply made as a nuisiance. Further, the email address may well be forged. Several recent viruses, for example, have shown the ability to make an email appear to be from someone its not. Quite possibly, the spam will also display differently in HTML format - the random text etc would be invisible, or in an extremely small font, making the email appear legit.
ADDENTUM: I ran a search on the Internet Archive. does not exist, and has never existed.--Fangz 22:21, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Is not the mean of the standard Cauchy distribution zero?[edit]

Is not the mean of the standard Cauchy distribution zero? The Cauchy distribution page says: "The Cauchy distribution is often cited as an example of a distribution which has no mean, variance or higher moments defined". —Rajasekaran Deepak 15:58, 2004 Aug 24 (UTC)

The mean is not zero; there is no mean. If a probability distribution has a density function f(x) then the mean or expected value is
Is this the same thing as
If both the positive and negative terms in (2) are finite, then (1) is the same as (2). If either the positive term or the negative term is finite, then (1) is the same as (2). But in the case of the Cauchy distribution, both are infinite. This means (2) is undefined, and then:
  • If (1) is construed as a Lebesgue integral, then (1) is also undefined, since (1) is then defined simply as the difference (2) between positive and negative parts; however
  • If (1) is construed as an improper integral rather than a Lebesgue integral, then (2) is undefined, and (1) is not necessarily well-defined. We may take (1) to mean
and this is its Cauchy principal value, and it is zero, but we could also take (1) to mean, for example,
and this is not zero, as you will see easily if you compute the integral. The various results in probability theory about expected values, such as the strong law of large numbers, will not work in such cases.

Michael Hardy 23:52, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

"Happy campers"[edit]

Where did the expression "happy campers" come from? I'm working on a Summer camp article and I'd like to incorporate this tidbit, of which I am unaware. Rhobite 16:17, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)

A complete guess here. But I wonder if it might have originated with one of the UK's holiday camps. By which I mean a peculiarly British (I believe) institution: Butlins, Pontins (Pontins external) or (less well known) Warners Warner holidays. These were holiday resorts that had a specific boundary that you paid to enter and then could charge about taking advantage of all the facilities for free. The downside being that you lived in a balconied, concentration camp atmosphere: particularly in the early days when you were regularly pummelled by friendly voices barking at you from one of the many tannoy megaphones: "BABY CRYING IN BLUE 15, BABY CRYING IN BLUE 15!!!"
These places were immortalised in the woeful British sitcom, Hi-De-Hi!. See also Butlins Online (God help us).
I'm wondering if it was an advertising slogan for one of those places. The problem with Googling for such is that pretty much every camp will, by now, have had the phrase "happy campers" associated with it, I imagine.
Still, if nothing else, you've probably taken a whole 3 generations of British people back to a time they'd rather forget - so well done for your question. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 18:04, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)
So it's probably a British thing? I always thought it was associated with the American summer camps for children. BTW I know nothing about the British institutions, but do they deserve a link from the summer camp article? It sounds very interesting to me. Similar to the Catskills resorts in New York (see Borscht Belt). Rhobite 18:29, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)
I can't see a direct connection with the US summer camp. The UK camps were/are cheap family seaside holidays based in decommissioned army barracks (well I believe the accomodation has improved a little). In the UK, they have a heritage in the Wakes Week holiday from the industrial revolution which established the seaside resort of the Victorian era. Both summer camp and Butlins could be united under holiday camp. -- Solipsist 22:15, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I don't think they are the same thing, or even related to each other, although if holiday camp (referring to the British phenomenon) is written it should have a disambig link back and forth with summer camp (referring to the American phenomenon). Also remember, the British term "holiday" means "vacation" in American English. Rhobite 22:54, Aug 24, 2004 (UTC)
Yes I agree with Rhobite, that sounds a good way to organise it. I'm tempted to write up the holiday camp article myself, but I'm not sure I'd be able to suppress a tirade of invective. Even if I could I'm sure lots of cheeky asides would sneak in... although that would be strangely apt for a British seaside phenomena. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 02:42, Aug 25, 2004 (UTC)
Almost wilfully avoiding giving an answer to the original question I have, at least, now written holiday camp. It includes, though, an external link to an article entitled Happy Campers which I stumbled on. The article could do with some tidying, but I'll leave it to someone else safe in the knowledge that this means at least someone will have read the bloody thing. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 17:39, Aug 25, 2004 (UTC)
Nice work. Get a picture and a fact and it could go into 'Did you know...' on the main page. (I don't suppose they were the origin of the word 'camp' as an adjective.) I was actually thinking of a more international version which might include Club Méditerranée and the like. But Rhobite makes the good point that that should probably vaction resort or holiday resort, which we already have.
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms says that "happy camper"'s origin is "slang, mid-1900s". Helpful, huh? Elf | Talk 00:16, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

what did Shi Huangdi do to help China?[edit]

Apparently, he united China out of the warring states phase it was in, and abolished feudalism, instead dividing it into 36 provinces. See Shi Huangdi for more. [[User:Meelar|Meelar (talk)]] 19:25, 2004 Aug 24 (UTC)


What are the differences between polytopes, polygons, polyhedra, and polychora? In particular, how would the latter three be mapped to the n-topes? --Eequor 22:32, 24 Aug 2004 (UTC)

For starters, polygons are 2-dimensional, polyhedra are 3-dimensional. -- Jmabel 02:15, Aug 25, 2004 (UTC)
The answer to these questions can be found in the articles themsleves. Polychora are 4D, polytopes appear to be the general class of any D. Theresa Knott (Hot net streak!) 16:15, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Mainly I'm curious how these should be described in general terms, as polytopes. Why is pentatope used rather than pentachoron? Is a hexagon a hexatope? What shape is an octatope? --Eequor 17:10, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)
You use -tope when you are talking about general dimension, or for a specific dimension greater than 3. The suffix -choron is a recent coinage, whose origin is explained in the polychoron article. This coinage seems like a good idea and it may stick — until it does stick you need to explain it if you use it. Logically speaking, a pentatope ought to be any of a pentagon, pentahedron, or pentachoron. However, because there are no pentatopes in dimensions higher than 4; and because lower-dimensional pentatopes already have common names; and because there is essentially only one kind of pentachoron; "pentatope" is only ever used to refer to the "4-simplex".
Hexagons and hexahedrons (cubes) are regular hexatopes; so is a regular 5-simplex. Octagons, octahedrons, tesseracts and regular 7-simplices are regular octatopes in 2, 3, 4 and 7 dimensions respectively. (Of course there are many non-regular hexatopes and octatopes too.) Gdr 21:25, 2004 Aug 25 (UTC)

When is Kerry Wells' release date?[edit]

Who is he/she? What were they arrested for? --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 22:27, Aug 25, 2004 (UTC)

Help with an Etymology[edit]

What is the etymology of alpidem? --Gelu Ignisque I don't know? --Patricknoddy 20:03, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)User:Patricknoddy User talk:Patricknoddy 16:03 August 25, 2004 (EDT)

A Riddle[edit]

I came across this riddle - many people are struggling to answer it:

"This story gardener tells of lollipop skies in a country that is neither here nor there, and pinpointless.
Name the Storyteller?
Name the Story?
Where its facts can be found?"

There is also a hint: "The author's initials are C.S."

Any ideas? Dmn / Դմն 22:00, 25 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • The first thing that popped into my mind was Christian Science as the storyteller; I suppose then the story is Creationism, lollipop skies = Heaven or the Garden of Eden; IMHO, the facts can be found neither here nor there :-) But that's just a wild association, probably not the (supposedly) correct answer to the riddle. -- Wapcaplet 18:29, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Is this for something from a contest? I found several results on Google for the same question:

RickK 22:46, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)

American Radio Station Names[edit]

Why do so many American radio stations have four letter names beginning with a K? And what does the K mean?

I mean, look at this... how do you keep track of it all in your head? (I'm British, by the way). --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 01:14, Aug 26, 2004 (UTC)

  • This is from memory, subject to correction. The US was long ago assigned the letters "W" and "K" for the first letter of its radio stations' call letters. By convention, "W" was assigned to stations east of the Mississippi River, while "K" was assigned to stations west of that line. Some stations had their call letters assigned before the east/west convention was established so they were allowed to keep their call letters, even if it conflicted with the standard. Catbar (Brian Rock) 01:49, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The Mississippi flows through the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, and one finds KSTP east of the river, and WCCO west of the river, and I suspect a few other exceptions, although I also suspect that most conform. Michael Hardy 01:53, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Oh yes, quite a few exceptions. KDKA in Pittsburgh was the first radio station and it breaks the "rule". There was WHB in Kansas City and WIBW in Topeka, both near where I grew up. They both break the rule, too, but I remember that they were very early radio stations. Radio grew fast in the early days, so I think there are a number of exceptions. Maybe someone will know dates when the convention was adopted (assuming I'm right, of course). Catbar (Brian Rock) 03:25, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)
There's a WRR in Dallas, as well. Rhymeless 03:27, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)
And WACO[9] is in Waco! Marnanel 04:35, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Sounds like this could be an article if we don't have one already? DJ Clayworth 18:52, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Actually, it is already out there. See Radio call sign. The information concerning "K" and "W" / west vs east is only a few days old, but it predates this thread. It backs up my recollection. It also discusses things like three letter call signs and what happens when stations change hands. Catbar (Brian Rock) 22:41, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Blimey. Well that does explain it. To an extent. It's striking that they've held on to those, though. Rather than doing what us Brits do... calling stations like Magic FM and Kiss etc. They seem to have stuck with outmoded schemes. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 00:10, Aug 27, 2004 (UTC)
Oh, we do that too. Clear Channel is on a holy crusade to buy every radio station in the country and name it either "Kiss" or "The River." Ugh. Rhobite 00:22, Aug 27, 2004 (UTC)

You can look up callsigns here: [10]. Marnanel 04:35, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Most stations have a catchy phrase associated with their call letters, e.g., KLIV might be "LIV(E) radio" or KBAY for the san francisco bay area, or the letters are already well known, e.g., KCBS, CBS is already a well-known TV network. So it's not all that bad to sort out once you're familiar with the stations in your area. Elf | Talk 00:31, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I wouldn't say most do. It's common, but nowhere near universal IME. Marnanel 01:16, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Two envelope problem[edit]

Some time ago I mentioned about the "two envelope problem" on the talk page for the Monty Hall problem, hoping it might elicit a response from some clever mathematical genius, but it hasn't. There are several sites explaining this problem but I've found that either I'm too thick to understand them because the maths gets hard very quickly or they are hopelessly wrong anyway. It would be nice if someone could help me out and write an explanation of it? A two envelope problem article would be a good start. Mintguy (T) 02:12, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • So do you gain if you switch envelopes or not? Seems to me that there's not enough information to make an informed decision; the problem is akin to trying to guess which fist a guy is about to slug you with after getting a chance to look at exactly one fist. 50/50 is 50/50. (Note that the Monty Hall problem, unlike the two envelope problem, has a clear and unambiguous solution.) --[[User:Ardonik|Ardonik(talk)]] 05:25, Sep 4, 2004 (UTC)

type of inheritance[edit]

What is the mode of inheritance called, where the last surviving member of a group inheirits? I remember there was a specific name for it...Rhymeless 03:33, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

A tontine is probably what you're thinking of. Dandrake 04:38, Aug 26, 2004 (UTC)
Yes! Thank you! Rhymeless 05:05, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

H.W. Fowler[edit]

The entry for Henry Watson Fowler says he was born in Devon, but my Cambridge Biographical Dictionary says Tonbridge, Kent. Can anyone clarify? PedanticallySpeaking 15:25, Aug 26, 2004 (UTC)

Chambers Biog. Dict. and Britannica Online agree with you, so I'm going to correct the article. --Heron 15:34, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Pedro Lopez "Monster of the Andes"[edit]

I'm having trouble finding hard refernces for this entry.

Can anyone provide me with a copy (scan?) of the alleged interview with Pedro Lopez in the (USA) National Examiner/ Jan 12 1999/ Page 6-7?

Can anyone provide any contempory references to the arrest, interrogation, investigation, trial, release and deportation?

Are there any independant references to his life before his arrest (other than his own disclosures to police)?

Any information from Peru, Ecudor or Columbia particularly aprciated. Where did his appelation "monster of the Andes" originate? Rich Farmbrough 16:05, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Buying out of print children's books in NYC (ValueTales)[edit]

Does anyone know where I can find used out of print children's books in new york city? I'm specifically looking for any book in the "ValueTales" series, by Ann D. Johnson. I seem to find several of these used on Amazon and Barnes and Noble's website but I need it on fairly short notice. Also, if there are any wikipedians in New York city that would be willing to sell a copy of theirs, contact me via my e-mail link or on my talk page. --DropDeadGorgias (talk) 18:53, Aug 26, 2004 (UTC)

Hmm, I was able to find one copy of one of the books at The Strand (used bookstore) downtown... --DropDeadGorgias (talk) 19:50, Aug 26, 2004 (UTC)

Stuck Computer Drive[edit]

I've got 2 CD drives. One of them won't open. It has one of those holes, and I stuck an unfurled paperclip in. Didn't open it.

Oh, and I also did (cos I've got Windows, I know you all hate that) do a software right-click eject.

Bugger won't move.

Any advice? (You're going to make me open up my computer, aren't you?) --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 02:14, Aug 27, 2004 (UTC)

Did you make sure the computer was switched off and unplugged before trying the paperclip trick? Also, is the drive making any strange noises? And is the drive light on? -- FirstPrinciples 04:50, Aug 27, 2004 (UTC)
Ah, the computer was on when I put the paperclip in. Now I'm unsure whether you're suggesting it will work when it's switched off or whether you're suggesting I might have killed myself ;o) The light comes on when I press the eject button. It's not making odd noises. When I press eject, there's a damp click as a part of the drive struggles to fulfill it's eject command, but its heart isn't in it. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 18:17, Aug 28, 2004 (UTC)

I think the pin-hole is a mechanical release (rather than an electrical one) so yes, the power would have to be off. Maybe the pulley came off the eject motor or something, which would explain it. -- Wapcaplet 18:31, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Yes, the pinhole release is entirely mechanical. Provided the power is disconnected (and I mean unplugged at the wall), the mechanical eject should always work. If the power's on, it probably won't work, and you may damage the drive (but not yourself!). To use the paperclip, you have to press reasonably firmly, and slowly coax the drawer open by hand. If the drive still refuses to open, you may have to remove it from the computer and get out the tools. (By the way, what model is the drive, and how old is it?) -- FirstPrinciples 03:33, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)

Koshchei reference in Sandman[edit]

I was reading an issue in Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" series -- specifically, "The High Cost of Living", issue #1. One character asks another for the location of something, and the other replies that perhaps it is hidden "In a duck's egg, inside a duck, inside a well, in a castle, on an island, surrounded by a lake of fire, guarded by a hundred dragons each larger and more ferocious than the last..."

I recognized this as something I'd read before as a child, but couldn't pinpoint it. Some Googling turns up a reference to an evil wizard named Koshchei from Russian myth (who is himself mentioned in the Sandman series, as the article says). This is undoubtedly where it ultimately comes from, but can someone confirm that this exact configuration (in a duck's egg, inside a duck...) turns up in a derivative story, and the details of that story? I'd like to know the original source I got it from. --- JRM 07:53, 27 Aug 2004 (UTC)

It turns up somewhere else in Sandman, Koshchei the Deathless hides his life force (or soul, or something?) in a duck's egg so that a witch (or something?) cannot kill him. The werewolf boy in the story in one of them comes accross an egg which Baba Yaga believes is the egg that KtheD hid this thing in. I don't know whether this is something Gaiman made up, or a reference to a 'real' legend.
Yes, but I knew this long before I ever heard of Sandman. At first I thought it was something from some Arthurian saga, but I can't find any that feature it, so it may be simple confusion with stories I read in the same period. Of course, the meme of a powerful being hiding his/her heart in some inaccessible place to cheat death is quite old to begin with, and I'm not sure it started with Koshchei. If anyone has more information on the meme itself, that would also be welcome. --- JRM 09:54, 27 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I'm almost positive I read a Scandinavian folktale when I was young where the heart of a giant or some other villain was hidden in a duck's egg, inside a castle, etc., etc. If I can still find the old book, I'll post what I can discover here. Jwrosenzweig 22:14, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
This isn't what I remember, but perhaps it's another version of the tale [11] -- so similar that I think you'll have trouble tracing down the story's ultimate origin. It appears to come from many places. :-) Jwrosenzweig 22:16, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Eureka! :-) Frazer talks at length about this motif -- the Koshchei story is at and more varieties and versions exist on the pages that follow. Page 673 has the Norse tale of the giant's heart I recall (well, it alludes to it, although of course the folktale was much longer....and now I have a great desire to read it again). Jwrosenzweig 22:22, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
A great reference, and I'm now sure that I got it from the Norse tale of the heartless giant (which doesn't involve lakes of fire or dragons, but the island/church/well/duck/egg chain is exactly as I remember it). I'll grab the book from Gutenberg. Anyone else who's interested: [12]. Kudos to Jwrosenzweig. --- 09:20, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Gurdwara Sahib Dashmesh Darbar, New Jersey[edit]

This was placed on a sign on a building in my community. What does it mean? "gurdwara sahib dashmesh darbar new jersey" My adress is

Thank you in advance for any ass8istance.

A gurdwara is a Sikh temple. The name "Sahib Dashmesh Darbar" is shared by many gurdwaras, but I don't know what it means. The famous Golden Temple at Amritsar is also called Sri Darbar Sahib. --AlexG 15:18, 27 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Adjusting cats to each other[edit]

Recently, the sister of my family's cat died, which put our remaining cat, Harry, into a state of depression. Then I (his nominal owner) had to leave for a few days. During that interval, we brought back a long-lost brother of Harry's (Jacob). Harry is neutered; Jacob is not. Now the problem is, Jacob wants (or seems to want) to be friends with Harry. Harry, on the other hand, growls whenever he sees Jacob, and if they're close enough, they will fight. They can't even be in the same room with each other. How can we get them to accept each other so we don't have to run for cover when one runs into the other? Johnleemk | Talk 17:48, 27 Aug 2004 (UTC)

If you get no help here I can tell you there's a vibrant (and, to me, incredibly tedious) cat loving community at the Guardian Talk Boards. They can talk to you forever about bloody cats, it's almost an in-joke over there. If you look to the left of the screen you'll see links to various forums, you'd probably get the most help by starting a thread in Notes & Queries. I'm pretty sure you have to register though, so see if any Wikipedians jump to the rescue first. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 18:26, Aug 28, 2004 (UTC)

Diagnosing a personality problem[edit]

I've recently become convinced, despite my fears of becoming a hypochondriac, that I have some sort of mental disorder. I've been browsing through the autism article, which generally matched my symptoms (only to a much lesser extent), and I've found that the following three seem to be likely problems of mine:

  1. Tourette syndrome
  2. Alogia (see also formal thought disorder)
  3. Asperger's syndrome

I'm almost 100% sure I have Tourette's — my friends have mentioned that my mouth moves even after I'm done talking, and I often repeat myself when talking, sometimes unconsciously. Beyond that, I discuss things so obscene at so inappropriate times that even your typical sex-talking adolescents are now afraid of me (I'm not kidding, sadly). When I was younger I also exhibited echolalia, but I eventually learnt to control it around the age of six. If Tourette's is hereditary, my younger brother may have it too, because he enjoys scatological humour rather a lot for a guy aged only nine. (He's also dsylexic)

As for alogia, I think I have a mild form of it, as I often dislike talking to others. I will try to talk as least as possible, and when I do, this leads to the tics I mentioned above — unconscious movement of my lips.

Asperger's is something I'm not really sure about, as I could easily just be too anti-social, but I've noticed that I often have trouble picking up non-verbal cues or in some cases telling emotions from a person's face. I also have trouble tailouring my words to a situation, often leading to a misinterpretation of what I'm trying to convey.

Beyond that, there's another issue I'd like to address — is there a specific mental problem with a general lack of emotion? I do not express my emotions much, except anger in a few cases. Most of the time I just brush off any insults I get with a really bad joke. I am never extremely depressed nor extremely elated, and in the rare cases when I am, I don't show it. I almost never exhibit any emotions I have, except anger, and only when I'm extremely pissed off.

Last but not least, I find I seriously cannot relate to women. I blame this on my mother and sister, both of whom are [censored]. They will whine and bitch about tiny infractions, and do it so often that I just don't care when they do it anymore. All it does is piss me off, and I think I transfer that to other members of the female gender. When girls cry, whether or not there's a reasonable reason, whether or not it's my fault, I just don't care. I just ignore them. Often I feel like I'm lacking in conscience, because I seriously cannot empathise with women. I just couldn't care less about them.

Of course, whether or not these are just the ramblings of a hypochondriac, I don't know, but whether or not, I don't think I can seek treatment for them. My family has a history of psychological problems. My younger sister is a control freak who screams and yells when you move something on her desk one millimetre out of place. My younger brother is dyslexic. My youngest sister has been diagnosed with global developmental delay. Malaysia is not an accomodative nation for people with mental problems, and if I do have Tourette's, I fear the backlash from my conservative parents, especially my mother, when they find out the nature of my discussions with my friends.

Well, this probably sets a record for the longest question(s) on the reference desk, which can be boiled down to: What should I do? Have fun cracking it. =) Johnleemk | Talk 18:26, 27 Aug 2004 (UTC)

If you're that worried about your mental state I'm not sure asking Wikipedians for a diagnosis will help. You should seek qualified, confidential advice. However seeing as you've asked, I think you're suffering from puberty adamsan 18:35, 27 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I second this opinion. And, is there a school counsellor or religious leader (priest, rabbi, etc.--whatever works for you) that you could talk to? Most of the issues you mention are likely to fade as you get older, but they could probably be dealt with faster, and with less difficulty, if you had a mature, experienced, neutral party to talk about your family's dynamics with. Otherwise, hit the library (or the Net), but instead of looking for diagnoses, look for more general theraputic treatment-oriented info, esp. those that cover family relationships, getting in touch with emotions, transferrence, adolescence (sp?), body language, etc. Also, if there are public speaking groups like Toastmasters where you are, participation there might help with some of the communications and socialability concerns you express. I really don't think the 'mouth moving after talking' is Tourettes, and I doubt it is connected to a mental problem--probably just some habit picked up while learning to talk (if I remember correctly, at least one of the people I've known that does it said they're reviewing what they just said to make sure it came out OK, and don't notice that they're mouthing the words). If it really concerns you, a speech therapist would probably be of more help than a mental health professional. It's likely to also fade over time--you might try having pretend conversations in front of a mirror to try and get practice not doing it. Niteowlneils 03:50, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I don't want to sound disparaging, but I think you're seriously barking up the wrong tree.
  1. Tourettes doesn't consist of "amusement" at scatological humour, or conscious discussion of scatological topics. It consists of violent, inappropriate, involuntary tics that happen all the time (not just when you're with friends). I think that you and your family would already be fully aware if you had Tourettes.
  2. The fact that you are capable of asking this complex, lucid question would tend to deny any formal thought disorder.
  3. Asperger's Syndrome is possible, but your symptoms seem pretty vague.
In conclusion, I think you're just being oversensitive. I went through a similar phase when I was younger -- FirstPrinciples 21:32, Aug 27, 2004 (UTC)
I'm not just amused by it, I can joke or even just talk about it at inappropriate times. Someitmes I'm not even sure if I'm controlling it. and I don't know whether I have tics at home or not, because my family has adjusted to our weird behaviour and may just dismiss it as something else. I don't know. You're probably right. I think alogia is another likely thing, though. I've never really enjoyed talking. Often I just hate it, and my parents get pissed off by my shyness. Johnleemk | Talk 04:03, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I tend to think the insight in your question, and, for instance, your recognition of insults, rules out Asperger's (although I've always tended to the belief that Asperger's is better thought of as a scale ... people have more or less tendency towards it, it's not an on or off condition. I agree with Adamsan that Alogia is more likely to be your age. And I agree with FirstPrinciples in doubting Tourette's. Sadly, you're probably woefully sane. But cheer up; you might make a full recovery. best wishes --Tagishsimon
I don't know about the Tourette's and the tics, but on the emotional side and relating to women etc, if you can afford it you might benefit from seeing a therapist. Although, having said that, I'm rather disillusioned with my experience. It's much cheaper to buy a book ;o) In terms of the criticism you receive from the women around you... being criticised by women is just what being a man is, I'm afraid... --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 18:55, Aug 28, 2004 (UTC)
If all else fails with the womenfolk, you could always become a monk. Rhymeless 03:04, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I'm 99% sure that you don't have these disorders. Tourette's is a kind of involuntary tic, it doesn't sound like what you're describing. And judging from your writing on Wikipedia, you seem intelligent, lucid and self-perceptive, so I would rule out Alogia and Asperger's, which are serious failures to think normally. Remember that these are serious, disabling mental disorders. It's all too easy to read descriptions of psychological problems and think, "hmm, that's just like me!" but you have to remember that actual disorders involve extremely severe manifestations of these symptoms. You sound like you're just a bit of a dork --- I was one too at your age. Nothing to get worried about. --Shibboleth 00:29, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Astute diagnosis, Dr. Shibboleth; I concur with your analysis of this challenging case. By the way, what are the DSM-IV criteria and ICD-9 code for "dork"? Alteripse 01:33, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
You shouldn't brush this off. I suffer from bouts of arrogance and this has led, in the past, to personal injury. Usually someone hits me in the jaw. I expect a dose of dork could lead to a sore backside at the very least. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 05:00, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)

These Words.........[edit]

Are the words north, south, east, west, Virginia, Pacific, Atlantic, united, capital and states all come from Latin words or are Latin words? Please tell me. Thanks!

No - north, south, east and west are just normal English words (that is, they come from Germanic - ). Pacific, unite, capital, and state are derived from Latin. Atlantic comes from Latin, but Latin got it from Greek. Virginia is sort of both Latin and English - it was created with the form of a Latin word, but it was invented for the English language by English speakers, if that makes sense. Adam Bishop 07:43, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Here's a useful little chart from what I know:

Word ...... Origin
North ...... English
South ...... English
East ...... English
West ...... English
Virginia ...... a Latin element and a combining form found in Latin and Greek; the word was formed in English
Pacific ...... Latin
Atlantic ...... Latin, from Greek
united ...... Latin plus an English derivational affix of Germanic origin
capital ...... Latin
states ...... an element that went from Latin through French plus an English derivational affix

Hope this helps! --Gelu Ignisque

Baking Soda[edit]

I know baking soda is good for cleaning but does baking soda kill germs? Thanks! -Anon

No. You need a good disinfectant for that. Theresa Knott (The token star) 11:10, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)
It depends upon the height from which you drop it on their little heads ;) --Tagishsimon
Well, ... Enough baking soda (in water solution) for long enough is likely to incompatible with the continued life of many germs. And that's true of salt as well. However, those are lots of conditions which aren't likely to be easily met.
An adequate disinfectant is indeed likely to be rather more effective. 'Adequate' is hard to determine however, despite the ads touting this or that. Germs vary in how hardy they are in the face of Flit, or Bug-off, or <insert your favorite here>.
However, germs are everywhere on everything (but not really seriously floating about in the air (with or without making smells) -- mostly), most of them couldn't care less about us (and so we shouldn't probably be too concerned about them), and no disinfectant can possibly get them all, especially when considering that the next person (dog, cat, bird, breeze, newspaper, ...) by will introduce some more. You haven't said what you want to disinfect, but soap and water is a good choice for most surfaces as the reduced surface tension makes the solution more likely to get into the cracks and crevices and makes germ membranes more fragile in many cases. Cheaper than nearly all disinfectants too, if you avoid the fancy milled kinds or the ones with cold cream or parfume (French is of course better, which is known to all, n'est pas?), and so on.
If the concern is health, washing one's hands regularly does wonders in reducing the infection rate, and avoiding prison (especially some Russian ones) helps to avoid exposure to TB, and making sure one's food has been handled/stored/prepared correctly, and taking care in situations in which one might be exposed to a 'social disease', and so on. They all help. Boringly, most of this is the stuff Mom went on and on about. ww 19:14, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Kitchen chemistry[edit]

Polyethlyene glycol: What is the easiest way to isolate it, and from what? Rhymeless 07:09, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Who knows. But Ethylene glycol is the next station on that line... --Tagishsimon
I'm actually looking for a non-toxic form of PEG's.. Rhymeless 07:30, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Polyethylene glycol isn't very expensive. It may be considerably easier to buy it. --Eequor 08:23, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Okay, that's good, thanks. Rhymeless 08:52, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Brussels International Airport[edit]

I heard that Brussels International Airport was built during World War II by the German occupying forces in Zaventem (on the outskirts of Brussels), after they asked Belgians what was the best place to build an airport. Belgians then pointed them this location because they knew it was an often foggy place. Is that true? --Edcolins 22:10, Aug 28, 2004 (UTC)

No, that's an urban legend. The site was (and still is) the logical place to build an airport near Brussels, and is no more (or less) foggy than the rest of Brussels. [[User:Anárion|File:Anarion.png]] 22:23, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)
How can you be so sure? I heard that from an old Belgian guy, who seemed to know quite well what he was talking about. Brussels' area is very marshy and some places are a lot more marshy than others. Why was the site the logical place to build an airport? --Edcolins 22:37, Aug 28, 2004 (UTC)
It’s in a Broodje Aap collection I have. Broodje Aap (monkey sandwich) is a Dutch term for referring to urban legends. Additionally, the nazis were no fools. A large undertaking like building an airport would not have been done on just any location — especially not in a conquered nation. Compare Iraq: I doubt that the US occupation force would decide the location of a new HQ just by asking some locals!
Take a look at a map of Belgian Brabant of the 1940s, and you'll see that Zaventem is very central, while still allowing sufficient free space for flight routes/no-entrance areas. [[User:Anárion|File:Anarion.png]] 22:49, 28 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Could you add the reference you have in the article? That would be nice and very valuable, since this kind of information is rather difficult to find. Thanks. I have already updated the article. --Edcolins 23:02, Aug 28, 2004 (UTC)

Other projects[edit]

Are there other free wiki projects to build an online encyclopedia or dictionary? --Eequor 00:07, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Yes. I know that a separate encyclopedia project Enciclopedia Libre "forked off" from See Does anyone know of others? -- Jmabel 19:10, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)
Ouch, the Spanish fork looks like it was really a disaster. There are roughly an equal number of articles in each encyclopedia: what a waste of effort! You get two mediocre encyclopedias instead of one good one. I hope that'll never happen here on en. --Shibboleth 20:33, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Oh wait, actually there are Wikipedia-like projects to build encyclopedias in English, although their policies differ substantially from ours. Wikinfo is a fork of Wikipedia. Everything2 and H2G2 are not wiki-based, but at any rate they are user-built. --Shibboleth 20:51, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Disinfopedia isn't a full-scale encyclopedia, in that it covers only the public relations field, but it uses the same software as Wikipedia. JamesMLane 15:41, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Britain's Olympic 4 x 100m relay victory tonight[edit]

Is this the first time that this event has been won by a team not featuring a single participant from either the 100m or 200m individual finals? Angmering 00:27, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Derivational Affix[edit]

  What does derivational affix means?

A derivational affix is a term in linguistics for a word formed from another word and a particle affixed to one end (prefix) or the other (suffix). Affix in latin is a derivational affix (ad+fingere, I think) but I am betting you would rather have some english examples like: online, kindness, plentiful... Alteripse 03:37, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC) [13]

Slight correction: as shown at that page, the affix is the part of the word which combines, not the word so formed. In English "-ness" is an affix, but "kindness" isn't. Marnanel 04:25, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Medals for coaches?[edit]

When a team win a medal at the Olympics is one given to the team's coach too? I'm pretty certain they don't get one, but that seems rather unfair. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 02:13, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)

It may be unfair, but the satisfaction makes up for it. Right? ww 19:16, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Also, an athlete may have had multiple coaches over a career, each one contributing something to the athlete's overall skill level. What I really want to know is why don't the horses in equestrian get medals (unless I'm mistaken and they do), after all, don't they do all the work? Cvaneg 21:13, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The horses are considered pieces of equipment by the IOC, and therefore do not qualify for medals. Gentgeen

US Navy Sea Bees[edit]

From WIkipedia:Village Pump#US Navy Sea Bees

I'm trying to find out more information about the SeaBees and the different units. I have found the page that shows the emblem but I'm looking for more. My uncle and father were both with the SeaBees. My uncle was stationed with the Marines during WWII and my father was in the Aleutian Islands. I have the units where my uncle was stationed. They were the 25th and the 53rd Naval construction Battalion. My father was with the 12 NCB, 2 NC Brigade, 7th NC Regiment and the 112th NC Battalion.

Can anyone help me?

You could start with the official Navy site at RickK 22:36, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)

New IP Version[edit]

Whatever happened to that new IP version where the IP's would look something like 199::15: etc. or something like that (it's been a long time since I've seen it). Does wikipedia have an article on this? I think it's called something like IPv6, but I'm totally clueless. Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 05:56, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

IPv6 :) -- Chuq 06:23, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Novosibirsk Agreement[edit]

Hmm, in this edit, User: added the following text to Novosibirsk:

The Novosibirsk Agreement is the informal name for the promise made at a meeting in Novosibirsk by Tony Blair to Paddy Ashdown that he would share government with the Liberal Democrats and institute Proportional Representation in UK elections on coming to power. The promise was not kept.

I've never heard of such a thing, and can't find any reference to it anywhere. That IP's contribution history is so varied I'm inclined to believe it's a dynamic IP. I know this sounds like another Granita / Loch Fyne Oyster Bar incident - does anyone know anything about this "Novosibirsk Agreement"? -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 14:32, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

That's the kind of remark I would cut from the article, move to the talk page, indicate where it came from, and say that citation is needed before it should be restored to the article. -- Jmabel 19:15, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)

birth religion of Yassir Arafat[edit]

Someone stated that Yassir Arafat was born a Christian in that his mother was a Christian. Is this correct? Is there any factual data as to his birth religion available? If he is, in fact, a Christian, did he convert to Islam?

I know his wife is a Christian. RickK 22:31, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)

Is there a word for it?[edit]

(Part the first) Is there a specific word for the speech impediment in which the English speaker pronounces Rs as Ws? (Part the second) Is there specific term (other than "lying") for the marketing strategy in which an established company trades on their familiarity to customers by falsely claiming they are scrapping either a product or part of their brand identity? (e.g. HMV claiming they're scrapping "Nipper" whenever they want a bit of free publicity, or Heinz' similar claims re: "Beanz Meanz Heinz" and salad cream) Bonalaw 16:29, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The word for Part I is rhotacism, although it doesn't specify how you pronounce the R, just that you pronounce it wrongly. --Heron 18:13, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

And I think the word for part II is cynicism  ;o) --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 22:15, Aug 29, 2004 (UTC)

Another good example of part II is Pepsi continually claiming they will drop Mountain Dew Live Wire. Rhymeless 04:37, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

For the second part, I would go with 'obnoxious mendacious lying' myself. Or maybe 'pernicious manipulation'. 'Bait and switch' isn't quite right. What they're producing is, of course, bumph or bushwa. And the people in charge are at best twits. I know of nothing more specificly on target. ww 19:20, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

We have an article for bait and switch - but I've heard it used only in reference to cults and a way of luring in the unwary. Anyone know anything about the usage in that context, because the article doesn't currently talk about it? I'm not qualified to fill that gap (assuming it is a gap and my friends weren;t just plain confused. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 20:02, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)
Even though rhotacism is technically a correct description of part the first, most linguists use rhotacism mainly to refer to the softening of /s/ to /r/ between vowels, as in forlosen --» forlorn or wese --» were.

Thai allergies[edit]

  1. What are the most common food allergies triggered by Thai food?
  2. Is kaffir lime allergenic?
    1. Are any citrus plants allergenic?

--Eequor 18:58, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Easy. Thai restaurants use peanut sauces or pieces on over 50% of the menu items. Peanuts are the number one serious food allergy. Alteripse 19:09, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

What are others? --Eequor 19:29, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Eggs, milk, peanuts, soy, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, and wheat are some common examples of food allergens that are implicated in allergic reactions to foods and are confirmed in well-controlled blinded food challenges. Investigations of near-fatal or fatal anaphylactic reactions following food ingestion are mainly secondary to peanuts, tree nuts, and shellfish. (I just copied these lists from and inserted them in our food allergy articel)Alteripse 19:59, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

As far as I understand it, people can be allergic to anything. Personally, I'm allergic to peaches. Never heard anyone being allergic to citrus, although it's certainly possible; they would probably be allergic to all citrus though. Rhymeless 04:34, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Health risks of ingesting ground coffee[edit]

Are there any health risks associated with ingesting freshly ground coffee?

Are you talking about drinking the coffee or eating the grounds? As for all other material substances on earth, the risks are in the amounts. Alteripse 20:04, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • I can't imagine there'd be any significant risk associated with it; lots of people snack on chocolate covered espresso beans, and I'm sure many coffee drinkers swallow quite a few coffee grounds in their brew. Any health risks present in the grounds are likely to be present in the drink also, and as far as I know no such risks have been demonstrated. -- Wapcaplet 22:58, 29 Aug 2004 (UTC)
    • I have, however, heard directly from a Gulf War veteran sniper that it was very healthy to chew coffee grounds on the front line, as opposed to holding a warm cup. He said the heat of coffee in the cup, your hands, and even your mouth could make you show up on an infrared scope up to half a mile away. (Today's trivia brought to you by the letter Catherine | talk.)
      • Well, the LD50 for pure caffeine (causing death from heart palpitations) is about 5 grams, if I recall correctly. That would be a collossal number of cups of coffee. --[[User:Ardonik|Ardonik(talk)]] 03:14, Sep 1, 2004 (UTC)

Short horror story involving tower staircase[edit]

I have a very vague recollection of seeing a short story a long time ago, which I'd like to know the title and author of. What I remember of it is the following (likely distorted by memory). The protagonist enters a mysterious dark tower with a specified number of steps on its staircase (it was 1000 or something). He/she goes up to the top of the tower, counting the steps out loud as he goes (one, two, three ... etc ... 998, 999, 1000). There is nothing but an empty room at the top of the tower. So the protagonist goes back down, getting more and more scared, also counting the steps (one, two, three, etc). The surprise twist is that out of some evil magic, the stairs continue going down past the original number of steps (998, 999, 1000, 1001, 1002, 1003...).

Anyone know where this comes from? I've never been able to find it anywhere. I'm starting to wonder whether I didn't just make it up. --Shibboleth 00:17, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

This reminds me of a story whose title I can't remember either, where someone gets stuck on a moving staircase going down, down, down, and when they reach the bottom they're a long way underground and either the "up" moving stairs are out of order, or there aren't any, and he has to climb back up, but he doesn't make it. Still don't know what either of these stories are, though. Bonalaw 08:43, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

The latter is presumably a 1960s science fiction story called "Descending", I believe by Thomas M. Disch. In the story, the central character is broke and somewhat distracted, shopping on credit in a department store. I don't remember too many details (I read it over 30 years ago) but the unstoppable "descent" is clearly a metaphor for his mood and his finances. But I don't know the original story with the tower. -- Jmabel 15:53, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)

You can find Descending here. --Eequor 16:48, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Another story to use this motif is Zork: The Malifestro Quest by Steve Meretsky (1983). I think it also appears in one of the Titan series by John Varley (1979). Gdr 18:51, 2004 Aug 30 (UTC)
Was the story inspired by the game? Oh lord I miss Zork - the really don't make games like that anymore. Theresa Knott (The token star) 18:58, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
It was in a series of three CYOA books very loosely based on the Zork universe. (Meretsky wasn't one of the Zork authors, but he did work for Infocom.) You know that they do still make games like that? (See Interactive fiction.) Gdr 19:36, 2004 Aug 30 (UTC)
There's also a resonance here with a short story by Jeremy Dyson (who co-wrote, but did not appear in The League of Gentlemen (TV series)) in his book Never Trust A Rabbit wherein...erm, spoiler alert... a man who gets very anxious on the London Underground struggles to overcome his fear and claustrophobia only to find his fears realised when the train goes deeper, and deeper, and deeper into the earth, never to return. Mwa-ha-haHA-HA! MWA-HA-HA-HAAAAAAA! Ahem, er, sorry 'bout that - got carried away. --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 20:10, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)
All this is interesting, but as usual nobody's heard of the story I'm talking about... --Shibboleth 23:42, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Well, you did say you might have made it up ;o) --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 21:53, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)

Sphenic numbers[edit]

What is the origin of the term sphenic number? --Eequor 05:55, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Sphenic means wedge-shaped. Perhaps the connection is deeper though than the mutual three-ness of a wedge and a sphenic number. mat_x 13:19, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Greek sphen, sphen-, "wedge", and -ikos, adjectival suffix. --Gelu Ignisque

Mayor Robert Bennett of Melbourne, Australia[edit]

I'd like to break up the existing Robert Bennett article, which presently covers three gentlemen (him, a senator from Utah, and a governor of Kansas). Can anyone tell me Mayor Bennett's middle name or birth/death dates so I can differentiate him from the others? Ave! PedanticallySpeaking 15:51, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)

Monocle, Radical middle[edit]

I believe that the satire magazine Monocle had a much earlier use of "radical middle" than any we cite (1963 vs. 1970s), but no library anywhere near me has a copy. I've added a list of North American libraries with Monocle in their collection at Talk:Monocle, and I've also raised the question at Talk:Radical middle. Does anyone who lives near one of these libraries want to take on a rather fun piece of research reading 40-year-old satire? Also, I suspect you could greatly enhance the article on Monocle at the same time. -- Jmabel 18:45, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)

I've noted on Talk:Radical middle that there's an even earlier occurrence in the work of Jules Feiffer. Flipping through his works of 40 years ago is a remarkable demonstration of how little changes apart from the names in the topical jokes. Dandrake 19:16, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)

Microsoft's XP, .NET and Longhorn products[edit]

I notice that there is not much mention of the other two products on each of the articles for each product. Are these Microsoft products not at all related to one another? - [[User:Bevo|Bevo]] 23:26, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Longhorn is the next version of Windows. It's roughly as related to XP as XP is to windows NT. .NET is a programming environment and runtime system, which runs on XP, on (I think) windows 2000, and will surely run on longhorn. .NET is in the java / visual basic / C# domain (rather than being an OS like the previous two). -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 23:35, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
I probably have a better architectural feel for the Unix ideas (including the X Window System). To any extent is .NET to XP and Longhorn like X is to Solaris and Linux? That is, just a set of libraries that an application links to to get access to services? - [[User:Bevo|Bevo]] 23:43, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Well, sort of, but X in the strictest sense is just a low-level graphical system. .NET is more comparable to Java, because it provides a large class library and a virtual machine (aka runtime) in addition to a graphical system.
At one point, the successor to Windows 2000 Server was going to be called Windows .NET Server. That name was scrapped in favor of Windows Server 2003. Maybe that's what you're thinking of when you say .NET. BTW, the .NET runtime can run on any version of Windows from 98 up. And Finlay McWalter is correct that Longhorn will certainly support .NET software. Rhobite 23:49, Aug 30, 2004 (UTC)
Kinda. .NET really is just like java or python or perl or cobol (it's a largely architecture-neutral runtime, theoretically interpreted but in practice dynamically compiled). Unlike those languages its API is essentially a thin wrapper over the windows API (so Mono has a lot of work to do in running it on linux). Unlike java (or the other runtimes) the runtime is (mostly) language neutral - you compile C# (which is so close to java I can't be bothered explaining the differences) and visual basic (and theoretically almost everything else). So, yes, it's a set of libraries, but it's also a runtime (classloader, security, interpreter, translator, etc.) which X doesn't have. Thing "windows specific java virtual machine to which one can realistically compile C and C++" and that's about it. Not a bad idea really, but a fairly evil one. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 23:54, 30 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Mona Lisa mysteries[edit]

I'm looking to improve our Mona Lisa article, and was wondering if any art history buffs know the answers (or non-answers, if these are secrets) to the following questions. Thanks, • Benc • 02:52, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • The Mona Lisa was temporarily moved from the Louvre to protect it during the Franco-Prussian War, WWI, and WWII. Where was it moved to — or is this an official secret?
  • The Guinness Book of Records lists the Mona Lisa as the most valuable object ever insured. How much is it insured for, and by whom? Or is this an official secret?
    • Shibboleth found the answer as of 1962: $100 million [14]. This was apparently only done for the U.S. tour. I'm guessing that the painting is not insured for when it's resident at the Louvre. If I'm wrong, please correct me. • Benc • 07:56, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Origin of symbols[edit]

Anyone knows what is the origin of the symbols used universally for "play", "stop", "pause", "eject" and etc? I mean these things 07:59, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)

I just wanted to comment, thats a bloody good question. These symbols have a single meaning worldwide, and everyone understands them, but nobody knows what they are called or where they come from (including me, sorry!) -- Chuq 23:36, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Yup. Great question (and answers)! chocolateboy 13:45, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Yeah... I can't find anything about it either... I just contacted Philips about that, thought it'd be a good place to look for, but they probably won't care about that question... hehe That sucks... Thanks anyway Kieff | Talk 04:47, Sep 1, 2004 (UTC)
It looks like they may have come in in the 60s. I thought I would check images of old tape recorders. According to our Reel-to-reel audio tape recording page, the German Magnetophon are some of the earliest. From 1930-1950 it looks like they mostly used rotating knobs and mechanical levers to control the transport. I couldn't find any examples that labeled with icons instead of words. The picture of this 1967 Magnetophon 203 TS isn't clear, but doesn't look like the right icons, although it is using a red record button. Whilst this earlier 1964 Magnetophon 301 very nearly has it right. I can't find a date for this Magnetophon 21, but its icons are also nearly there but not quite - the red record button almost looks like an eject symbol. -- Solipsist 15:05, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Both play and record on that look a lot like indicators of the movement of the play and record heads. Record in particular looks a lot like a stylised head touching a tape. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 01:49, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
And how do they (whoever "they" are) decide what a new symbol should be added? I can't imagine a pause symbol being necessary until the advent of video tape and "next track" and "previous track" buttons until compact disc technology came around. Cvaneg 19:24, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It occurred to me that "they" were probably ISO. So I went to their website and found a standard titled Cinematography -- Graphical symbols -- Description. Of course I didn't actually pay for it, so I don't know the contents, but I'd be willing to bet that it's in there. Cvaneg 19:41, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Excellent point. I would suggest that cassette tapes created the need for the pause, but maybe I'm wrong...did video tape predate the cassette? Did the old reel-to-reels have the ability to pause? My memory is dim. Jwrosenzweig 19:46, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You were right! They ARE iso! Thanks for the help people :D Kieff | Talk 03:43, Sep 2, 2004 (UTC)
ISO really doesn't invent anything, and decides very little - they merely adopt a standard that reflects either where a given industry wants to be next year (as decided by some working group made up of that industry) or (more often) a standard that reflects where almost everyone is already. When new stuff comes out (like next/last track buttons) things generally diverge for a while, then folks informally converge, and eventually someone writes a standard. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 01:49, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Pause dates to early reel to reel tapes. It is stopping the tape movement without dismounting the heads.

Oblivious transfer[edit]

Could somebody explain this concept to me? Why is it a primitive for secure communication? (BTW: There is an article oblivious transfer but it is only a stub. So maybe write your answer right there.) Thanks a lot in advance. Simon A. 09:05, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Whale[edit]

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which is the book where the whale falls through the air and dies? Thanks! - Ta bu shi da yu 12:03, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

  • The first book.
  • davidzuccaro 12:30, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • That happens in the first book after Arthur activates the Infinite Improbability drive to escape from two guided missiles fired from Magrathea. The two missiles become, quite improbably, into the sperm whale and the petunias. Kieff | Talk 16:38, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)
    • Am I not right in thinking that the whale crops up more than once, with a "not again" thought in his head? --Tagishsimon
    • It was the bowl of petunias that thought "Oh no, not again." The petunias were a reincarnation of Agrajag, who is introduced later in the series. -- Wapcaplet 00:50, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Am I the only deluded fool?... or Hitchhikers Guide to the Allen Key[edit]

It just took me quite a long time (in net search terms) to find Allen key because I was raised by people that said Allum with an M sound at the end.

I wonder if this is a common British pronounciation or whether it's just my parents exhibiting signs of neurological indaquacy again.

Admittedly 34,000 hits for Allen key v er... 20 for allum key and 124 for alum key seem to be pointing in the direction of the latter... but I thought I'd check - particularly with British Wikipedians - to see if a Redirect was worthwhile. (Actually, as you'll have guessed, this is far more about trying to guage my own sanity...) --[[User:Bodnotbod|bodnotbod » .....TALKQuietly)]] 21:47, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)

It's just you, and maybe the other graduates of the Frank Butcher school of elocution and deportment. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 23:04, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)'
I've lived in Australia all my life and I also thought it was Allum or Alum key up until the last year or so. I can't find anyone who referred to it as Allum/Alum now that I ask around, so perhaps I just made it up? I guess I figured it was short for aluminium or something like that. -- Chuq 23:34, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
It is just you. And Chuq. no-one else. Mind, is there a redir from hex key? This post will tell. Apparantly not. --Tagishsimon
No, it's me as well. I spent a long time thinking it was Allum. DJ Clayworth 17:50, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Encircled "U"[edit]

I have always been mystified by the symbol I see on food products, the one with the U inside a circle. What does this symbol stand for? [[User:Poccil|Peter O. (Talk)]] 22:11, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)

kosher - -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 22:15, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)
Thanks for the lead. By the way, I knew already that the small "K" stood for kosher.[[User:Poccil|Peter O. (Talk)]] 22:21, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)

What's the best Ipod or clone for Linux and OGG?[edit]


  • From what I've heard, Linux can interface with iPods, though I don't know whether iPods can play OGG audio files or not. Fortunately, a lot of Linux software can play OGG Vorbis--I'm listening to one with XMMS right now. (If only XMMS could play MIDI!) --[[User:Ardonik|Ardonik(talk)]] 04:42, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)

Naming question: exobiology[edit]

What name for this discipline is the most commonly used by scientists? I've heard 'astrobiology' and 'xenobiology' as well. We have separate articles under two of these names, and they should be merged, but I can't figure out what the correct name is. --Smack 03:48, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

  • Science isn't really my greatest strength, but I'd understood exobiology to refer to life that was brought to earth from another planet, and xenobiology, to be the science of extraterrestrial life. Rhymeless 04:46, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
  • In What Does a Martian Look Like? The Science of Extraterrestrial Life, Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart draw a distinction between astrobiology and xenobiology. They characterise astrobiology as the science of carbon-based life on Earth-like planets, which they describe as "narrow minded" and "unimaginiative". They characterise xenobiology as the wider science of life in any extraterrestrial environment. Gandalf61 09:51, Sep 1, 2004 (UTC)
  • Well it is probably still finding its feet as a serious scientific subject. My guess is that in scientific circles it will settle down as astrobiology. That's the term used by NASA's Origins program, but Gandalf's reference to Cohen & Stewart holds water too. -- Solipsist 10:33, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

fleeing for religious reasons after sexual encounter[edit]

Hello, My name is Rebeca and am currently with a case in which a young man is involved. He is Mormon. He had a sexual encounter, and is the victim really since it was SHE that came on to him, she is older than he and he did not know it at the time, but she was married. He offered her a ride because she claimed to need a ride to work and he picked her up (weather was 40 degrees and she was not wearing sweater and flagged him down) not knowing this would almost ruin his life. He was not only young but stupid to have fallen into her game, the issue is that he is innocent of the claimed charge of the woman 'rape' . Medical report does not show sign of any force and she has changed her story 3 times, while the poor guy is incarcerated now. After their encounter, she told him to told him to get her to work (She has totally forgotten where she worked and who were her supervisors, co-workers, etc) or that he would have to pay her for the day. He gets nervous and speeds according to her directions, and runs red light. Police car sees this and he sees that officer is behind car and signals him to pull over, so he does. He gets out of the car to go to Officer, but the woman comes out and starts yelling "He wants to kill me", so Client panics gets in car and flees. She goes 14 years and does not pursue case, now it comes up as an old case and old warrrant. Young man is contacted and he waives extradition and asks to be taken to California to clear up issue. Woman accepts to come to California, all expenses paid and gives new version of what occurred 14/15 years ago. And lies about spelling of name. DA is pushing against young man because he fled and does not understand Mormon PreMaritial Delicate Issue and reason he fled aside from her lie yelled to officer.

Question: Has any body conducted a study where religion guiltiness is so strong for having had sex that individual flees for solely having committed such a grave sin according to religious upbringing, and not because rape was committed. I totally believe Client, woman has given different stories, and even states that Police Officer would not open his car door to help her when she ran to the Police Car. She is trying to save face with husband (could be she has done this before due to other info but cannot prove immediately). Information is vital, need help from anyone with research , it is not right for this innocent man to be incarcerated because of fleeing, he fled because of religious guilt but not because he committed rape, and need any info to help and see DA and court see this.


Kind Regards, Rebeca

Are you familiar with the legal term "inadequate defense"? Rhobite 04:29, Sep 1, 2004 (UTC)
I believe that you need to seek professional legal advice. 08:31, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

In my opinion and IANAL, this story doesn't make human or legal sense. He "fled scene" before or after officer could give him a traffic ticket? If officer didn't pursue, was it because he made immediate judgement it was not warranted? It's hard to imagine warrant for 14 years for rape unpursued if they had his car info. If he got away from a pursuit (doubtful) it is unlikely that anyone had enough info to even i.d. him and track him down after 14 years unless he and she had more of a relationship than an anonymous quickie. What is statute of limitations? DAs rarely pursue unwinnable 14 year old cases that didn't impress police at the time. If facts are as you state about her this seems unlikely to be prosecuted. Subjective guilt can have a hundred causes and be disporportionate to the offense, but religion as cause of his embarrassment seems irrelevant here. It's offensive to suggest that somewhow a rape charge is even more "Delicate" for Mormons (like the rest of us who don't play in the NBA consider it no big deal?). I suspect you are leaving out or misunderstanding some legally important pieces of information, or have not been told all the truth. Obviously, he needs a lawyer if there is really a warrant or charge. If this is nonsense made up to explain a current legal predicament, be careful. If he is currently behind bars, be very careful. And always remember, advice here may or may not be worth what it costs you. Alteripse 12:46, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

IANAL. Just some background, California's statute of limitations for non-aggrivated rape is 6 years, and aggrivated rape has no statute of limitations. In cases where an identity can be established by DNA evidence, the statute is 1 year after the identity is established or 10 years after the crime, whichever happens first. Gentgeen 22:26, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Rebeca I may be presuming too much but if you are in any way emotionally involved with this man please please be very very careful. You must consider the possibilty that there is a whole heap of stuff he isn't telling you.Theresa Knott (Nate the Stork) 11:39, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Baseball slang---eef[edit]

Thanks for any help in finding the meaning of the baseball slang word eef or maybe Eef. I know that this term is quite old. It was used as far back as the early 50's I know.It was used as a nickname for some players sometimes and I think it derived from something that happened in a game---maybe not.Thanks for any info. This is very important to me. Earl Wilson, Jr.

You're thinking of the "Eephus pitch", I believe, a slow lob thrown high in the air that falls at the last moment into the strike zone. See here: The Eephus Pitch Ortolan88 19:19, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I really appreciate your timely help to me!! It has been 35 years since I had last heard of the "Eephus pitch". I had completely forgotten about it or where I read about it. Thank you so much for the info. Earl

Eisenach Germany[edit]

I much enjoyed the information you have published on Eisenach but was there a reason why Eisenach is not recognized in your article as the home of Saint Elizabeth of Thuringia, wife of Landgrave Louis/Lewis?

Inspired and greatly by Francis of Asissi she was canonized and brought much fame to the town before she moved to Marburg where a cathedral has been erected to mark her contribution to the German people.

She was canonized 27 May 1235 by Pope Gregory IX at Perugia, Italy and for many years was considered by the common people of Germany as the patron saint of the country. Many make pilgrimages to Eisenach on her account even today.

Submitted only for research purposes the following two sites will yield more accurate information.

I am submitting this only in the interests of greater accuracy.

The only reason is that no one wrote about it yet. You can add it though, just click "edit this page." Adam Bishop 19:23, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)
By the way, our article about her is at Elisabeth of Hungary, so I suppose a redirect should also be made from Elisabeth of Thuringia. Adam Bishop 23:43, 1 Sep 2004 (UTC)

John Napier[edit]

The 1612 Deaths list contains the name of John Napier. Yet if one follows up on the notes concerning this eminent gentleman they suggest that he died in 1617. Can the date be verified and corrected, please?

Bruce Savage Dunedin New Zealand 2 September 2004

His death was listed on both the 1612 and 1617 pages! I removed him from 1612. --Heron 08:37, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Total money in the world[edit]

If you sum all the money currently in circulation (or at least what every country claim to have), how much it'd be? Kieff | Talk 06:27, Sep 2, 2004 (UTC)

Do you mean the total amount of physical cash, or the total value of assets notional cash in bank accounts etc?
Not the physical amount. Even if I wouldn't refuse knowing both Kieff | Talk 07:18, Sep 2, 2004 (UTC)
Well, according to the New York Federal Reserve, there is about $730 billion in US currency in circulation, and according to the CIA factbook the USA is responsible for about 20% of the world's GDP. Assuming that there is a strong correlation between a country's GDP and its worldwide cash circulation (and I have no idea how good or bad of an assumption that may be), you could probably make an argument for there being somewhere around $3.5 trillion in physical cash in the world. As for the total value of all assets, if anything I think that would be harder to figure out. If you have a good way, I'm sure that the IRS would like to know it. Cvaneg 07:34, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The Economist suggested (a few years ago, IIRC), that the total value of the entire world's assets was approximately US$120tn. Obviously, this will have changed since (not least because of the falling dollar).
James F. (talk) 11:20, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

It's difficult to value the world's total assets, because the act of trying to buy them changes their value. Were an alien species to come to earth and say "How much do you want for it?" it would be sort of difficult to say "well, 120tn would pretty much cover it."

It's still a valid question, though. We don't actually have to buy something to assess it's worth. It's like corporate mergers. We can look at the Book_value of a company and, in theory, that should tell us how much the company is "worth". However, the cost of acquiring it, will be tied more to the Market_cap, which may very well be out of step with the book value. Many investment bankers make a very good living based on that fact. Cvaneg 19:37, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yes, accountants have ways of assessing an 'official' value for something, but the actual price at which people are willing to sell it is a very different thing. The only 'real' value is what someone is willing to accept, and someone else willing to pay - that changes very much depending on context. 06:26, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Flag draped casket[edit]

Who in the US is entitled to a flag-draped casket. What are the specific guidelines? --Jiang 09:18, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I'm going to assume you're talking about the US Flag for the purposes of this answer. Title 38 of the US Code lays out who spefically is eligible to receive a flag for the purposes of draping a casket. Also, if the death of a government official warrants that the flag be flown at half staff, as outlined in the US Flag Code they will probably also have a flag-draped casket. And of course, there's nothing stopping the average american from buying a flag and draping it on a coffin. Cvaneg 16:00, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It occurred to me that my answer only dealt with the federal government. There are probably additional laws dictated by state and local governments as to when it is appropriate to purchase a flag to drape on a casket. In particular, emergency services personnel who die in the course of executing their duties are typically given this honor. Cvaneg 18:53, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Flags are generally reserved for state funerals and servicemen (military, emergency, etc) who die in the line of duty. It's largely a matter of taste - I doubt the family of anyone less important than a federal official would be presumptuous enough to drape their deceased's coffin with a flag. Regarding military deaths - I am interested to know whether one has to be killed in action, or simply die after being honorably discharged (which is the only qualification for burial in Arlington National Cemetery) to merit a flag. Ðåñηÿßôý | Talk 04:16, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Looking at the Arlington National Cemetary FAQ it looks like the only requirement is that the person being buried or interred be a veteran. From the site:
For interment or inurnment of cremated remains, you should arrive with the urn, a cremation certificate (or death certificate), and a burial flag if military honors are being provided to the veteran. For casketed remains, the funeral home will provide the hearse, the casketed remains (flag draped, if a veteran), and a transfer permit (if crossing state lines).
I imagine that the same is true of all funerals eligible for military honors, not just those at Arlington. Cvaneg 19:30, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Black and Tans[edit]

I have been reading up on the Irish War of Independence (and I recently watched Michael Collins), and am curious, from where were the Black and Tans recruited? The tam o'shanters they wore suggest Scotland, but I have no idea.

I thought for a minute that perhaps they were Irish, but would Irishmen commit such atrocities against their own people? [[User:DO'Neil|DO'Иeil]]

It looks from here as if they were mainly recruited in England. However given the nature of the conflict it would be surprising if there weren't some Welsh, Scots and probably Irish in there too. DJ Clayworth 17:39, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Thinking back to A Level History, I remember them being predominantly battle-hardened Scots who signed up after the First World War. Public opinion in Britain quickly turned against their deployment and they were a contributory factor to Lloyd George's fall from grace. adamsan 20:04, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Yeah, WWI veterans. Remember sectarianism is rife in Scotland too, especially so in those days. My great-grandparents had to move from Scotland to England because my great-grandfather was a coalminer who couldn't find work because he was Catholic. So protestant Scots would probably be the most motivated too. Dunc_Harris| 20:17, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC) btw, were you aware that "black and tan" was a railway livery used by IE?

IE? 08:15, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Iarnród Éireann, Irish Railways. -- Arwel 11:09, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

about natural gas exploration[edit]

question moved from Wikipedia:Village Pump by User:Finlay McWalter

i don't clearly know what is the most qualified source rock for generating natural gas? -- User:

This doesn't answer the question exactly, but the natural gas article is a good place to look. It says natural gas can be generated from trash or farts - as for what's the best rock, it doesn't say. Salasks 19:12, Sep 2, 2004 (UTC)

Broadway Database[edit]

I just wanted to make my fellow Wikipedians aware of a wonderful new web-site on the theatre, the Internet Broadway Database. There have been full page ads in "The New York Times" in recent days touting it and I finally tried it today in writing an article; very useful site--like the Internet Movie Database, but it appears more professionally done. It's here. PedanticallySpeaking 14:30, Sep 2, 2004 (UTC)

Where was Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer Born?[edit]

I've just written up an article on Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, who brought the coelacanth to light. The sources I found conflicted on where she was born. Some say East London, South Africa, others say Aliwal North, South Africa. (Some say she went to school in the latter.) Can anyone clarify? PedanticallySpeaking 17:23, Sep 2, 2004 (UTC)

Gabrielle Anwar's parents[edit]

Can somebody find out the names of Gabrielle Anwar's parents for me? I can't find their names, just that her father was a Persian director and her mother an English actress. RickK 05:33, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)

Moin Moin Redirects[edit]

I have a question about redirects in Moin Moin. When I make a page called notfoo that is:

#REDIRECT ["foo"]

and click on the page, I get:

<!>This page redirects to page "[foo]"

but it does not actually redirect there. What am I doing wrong? I can find no documentation on this... Thanks, 08:11, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I think that the MoinMoin IRC chat or mailing lists [15] would be a better place to get an answer to this question. Wikipedia uses MediaWiki — a completely different software package — so there's probably not going to be a lot of people here able to help you. Then again, someone here just might know. Regards, • Benc • 09:43, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Thanks - I got it - I think there is a bug where redirects in ["foo"] format do not go properly. I will investigate on the site you gave me! Thanks! 13:03, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Videotaping CRT screens[edit]

The other day I was trying to explain this phenomenon but failed utterly. When you are watching a TV show and they have a video of a computer screen on it, you often get the effect of a dark band moving up or down the videotaped screen at various speeds (though the speed is constant for each shot).

I have a vague, general understanding of how this works. The cathode ray tube repeatedly shoots electrons in a path across the screen, top to bottom and left to right. This happens over a period of time, so it exhibits wave properties. Next, video recorders work by recording an image several times a second — also exhibiting wave properties. Wave interference occurs sometimes, and stuff happens.

I'd like to integrate this material into the CRT and/or interference articles, but like I said, I only have a vague understanding. Could a knowledgable Wikipedian please:

  1. Check the above paragraph for accuracy?
  2. Give rough estimates (milliseconds?) for the periods for:
    1. CRT scan times?
    2. Video recording equipment?
  3. Could this phenomenon be considered a moiré pattern, or is it merely related to it?

Thanks, • Benc • 09:24, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

For camcorders, PAL devices scan at 50Hz, NTSC at 60Hz. A TV set of the same ilk will show the same frequency. A computer monitor is (almost always) multisync, which means it will update at the frequency of the video signal sent it by your graphics adaptor. This varies, but is usually between 50 and 80 Hz. Video recorders (as opposed to camcorders) don't suffer from frequency drift with a (compliant) input signal, as they constantly resync using special information embedded in the PAL or NTSC signal (the horizontal and vertical retrace signals). Camcorders only see light, not the full signal, and so can't sync to the picture. Thus you get the interference patterns you describe. The reason you see a dark band is that pixels illuminated by the raster (the scanning electron beam) glow only for a fraction of the frame time - the display relies on persistence of vision in your eye to blur the gap (if you violently shake your head while watching tv, you see break the persistence and can see (kinda) the raster's effects. Camcorders don't have the same persistence of vision characteristics your eye does, and so record the crt's picture elements in their dark condition. I don't know about moire per se - it's really stroboscopic timing. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 09:54, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
And as to the speed being constant for each shot - try walking backward or forward during the shot. You'll change the relative frequencies (which are proportionate to the size the target screen takes up in the camera's view) and the dark band will change speed (and size) as you do so. Zooming should have the same effect. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 09:56, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Another related trick is to try humming a very low note whilst staring at a CRT screen. If you steadily lower the pitch you are humming you can usually find a note which makes the image wobble and shake violently - presumably because the humming mmakes your eye balls vibrate a frequency which is a multiple of the scan rate. -- Solipsist 12:52, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Fascinating — a big thank you to everyone who's responded. I have a related question: I have a small fan that is designed to clip on a desk, and when I move it close to my (CRT) computer monitor, the image on the monitor starts to wobble and shake violently. This occurs even when the fan isn't clipped to the desk, so it's not the entire desk vibrating. The effect lessens the further I move the fan away from the monitor. Am I correct to assume that this is the same effect as you mentioned, or is this something else? Thanks again, • Benc • 23:42, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
CRT tubes are extremely sensitive to magnetic interference. The position of the electron gun is controlled by a set of twin electromagnets known as yokes, which intentionally distort the beam of electrons. The fan's motor has also set of electromagnets on the axis of the fan, and the motor's commutator will flip the polarity of the magnets every so often so the thing rotates. This is probably interfering in the same way the yoke interfers with the electron beam.
So keep your fan away from the screen, or shield it somehow :) Aside: if you're wondering what that degauss button does, it neutralizes any residual magneticism that may remain in the monitor and surroundings. If you're getting weird problems after you move the fan away, and your monitor has a degauss button, try it (keep floppy disks and other magnetic material away, though!) Dysprosia 05:43, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Moiré is a kind of spatial interference, whereas the dark stripe effect is a kind of temporal interference. Mathematically they are similar, but in one case the independent variable is distance and in the other it's time. I would go for "merely related". --Heron 10:51, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The handling of sewage in Venice[edit]

This is a strange question for sure...but I have wondered for years how the city of Venice handles sewage. With the constant shifting of buildings wouldn't any sewage pipes be cracked or broken. On dry land this is a problem at times..but when the pipes are under water this must be very difficult. Then again I'm wondering if there are sewage pipes under the water for this purpose. If someone could satisfy my curiosity I would appreciate it.

Well, according to NOVA in an article they have on Venice
...Venice's treatment of sewage, which for centuries has been dumped directly into the canals.
It seems that they rely on the tides to wash out the sewage, which I guess is why many of the people I know who have been to Venice claim that the canals smell horrible. In that same article, they say that they will eventually try installing normal sewage pipes, but I have no idea how they intend on doing it.Cvaneg 19:00, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
The canals do smell bad, but it's a "dank lagoon" smell, not a "faecal mudflat" smell. I suspect septic tanks and tanker-boats may be the modern answer. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 20:50, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Wandering off topic - I know a guy who helps run the Cambridge technology museum which is basically a sewage pumping station. There is a story of Queen Victoria coming to open the new pumping station. In here innocence she enquired why there were pieces of [toilet] paper floating in the river, to which the manager replied they were 'notices advising residents that they should not bathe here'. -- Solipsist 21:18, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Deprecated HTML tags[edit]

I have been doing HTML for a while now (like 5 years) so imagine my surprise when I find the <font> tag is deprecated. What replaces it (I guess 'div')? How do Div tags work? Are there any other deprecated tags I should know about? Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 22:25, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Don't forget everyones favorite tag, <blink> --WhiteDragon 03:32, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I believe that the <font> tag was deprecated in favor of well formed Cascading_Style_Sheets which allow for better encapsulation and consistency in style.Cvaneg 22:31, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
FONT is generally replaced by DIV or SPAN, the latter probably being more commonly used because it's an inline element (i.e. not a block element like DIV or P). Many elements can now use the STYLE attribute, in which you can place CSS rules to style the element's contents. For example, <div style="font-weight: bold; font-family: Verdana">Hello there!</div> will render "Hello there!" in boldface Verdana. Some other deprecated tags include APPLET, CENTER, S, STRIKE, and U. --Diberri | Talk 22:41, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)
This page from the W3C lists some other deprecated tags in HTML 4.0. --Diberri | Talk 22:43, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)
Well, font isn't really replaced by div or span or any other tag. In HTML4/CSS, tags whose only purpose is to affect the appearance of the page are all deprecated (font, underline, strikeout). Bold and italic technically aren't deprecated, but htmltidy will harass you for using them anyway (as well it should). Instead, this information is supposed to go into a style parameter, or better yet into a stylesheet. What remains in the HTML is supposed to be only semantic markup, with the appearance stuff devolved entirely to the stylesheet. Done properly this can have fantastic results - check the W3c's homepage on a modern browser, and then on a text-only browser. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 23:04, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Similarly, see the CSS Zen Garden for a demonstration of the power of CSS. My favorite CSS theme on the site is [
"Viridity."]  Quite frankly, the <font> tag is embarassingly inferior to using CSS styles on inline elements.  I think the only reason the font tag is so prevalent around here is because Wikipedians can't currently use the canonical inline tag, <span>, so remember to make your voice heard in the span tag poll.  --[[User:Ardonik|Ardonik(talk)]] 23:43, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)
Right: div and span aren't replacements, per se, but they are commonly used as replacements in practice. --Diberri | Talk 23:46, Sep 3, 2004 (UTC)
Oh shoot, now I have to learn CSS and XHTML in favor of HTML ... which I've been using since I was like 8 (I'm now 13). Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 04:44, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Don't worry, it's not that difficult. Of course, the transition to XHTML may be harder if you weren't like me (I've always favoured writing tags in lower-case). CSS rocks, but even writing a simple sidebar can become complicated if you're not sure about what you're doing. Johnleemk | Talk 07:45, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Finlay: In Mozilla, if you go to View->Use Style->None , you get the effect as if it were in a text-only browser . I suppose this is done through the "magic" of CSS. Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 04:45, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Wait...if I want to do something like This what non-block element can I use to color it? <div> and <p> both start new lines, so it would be like


. Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 14:43, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

<span>, like this. Marnanel 15:15, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

As you can see, span is currently unsupported in Wikipedia. Unless there's a structural reason for altering the appearance of the text (the text is emphasized, represents a code snippet, etc.), it's considered bad form to use presentational markup; span might encourage using it for that. -- Wapcaplet 15:54, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I was thinking generally for webpages, because I use the <font> tag a lot in my webpage. Ilγαηερ (Tαlκ) 21:24, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
If you want to do something like this, you should use span. The best way (especially if you want to the this more than once) would be to define a class in your stylesheet. It would look something like this: .highlight {color:#FF0000; font-family: times} and then when you put it around your text it would look like this. This seems like a lot more work, until you realize that you only have to put it in your stylesheet once and then you can use it as many times as you like on as many pages as you like! CSS, once you have learned it, is a great time-saver; you can remodel your entire site by changing just one file. --[[User:Aranel|Aranel ("Sarah")]] 21:31, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Pedant: the point of deprecating the font tag in favor of style rules was that html is intended to markup content based on meaning of the content rather than creating a certain appearance... like:
this is a level one heading: Font Tag deprecated
this is a paragraph:  HTML is not meant to markup the 
(emphasize this:)appearance
 of text but the 
(emphasize this strongly:)meaning of the text.

instead of :

(Make this big and fancy looking:) Font Tag deprecated
(make this small and normal looking):  HTML is not meant to markup the 
(italicize this:)appearance
 of text but the 
(bold this:)meaning
of the text.
One reason to adhere to the semantical markup rather than the appearance markup is that an aural browser can't use 24 point verdana, can't italicise, but it CAN speak a heading in a 'heading' voice, and CAN emphasize passages and strongly emphasize passages that would be 'bold' in text. Automatically. If you use css techniques, users can control all aspects of the appearance of a page, themselves, by writing a user style sheet. Even internet explorer can handle a user style sheet.Pedant 00:53, 2004 Sep 18 (UTC)

On the SAT II, are Math Level IC and Math Level IIC mutually exclusive?[edit]

Well, are they? The College Board's website is rather ambiguous about this, although the Harvard and MIT sites seem to imply that if you take one, you can't take the other. Johnleemk | Talk 13:41, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

I would imagine that the college board will let you take as many tests as you are willing to pay for. However, for admissions purposes I highly doubt that you could use scores from both test as Math IC looks like it's a sub-set of Math IIC. Don't take my uninformed opinion, though, your best course of action would be to call each university's admissions office (Harvard: 617-495-1551 MIT:617-253-4791) and speak to an official. It may very well be the case that one university allows you to use both scores, while another does not, or it may be that you can only use one, but both tests are equally weighted, so why not take the easy one.Cvaneg 14:06, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)</nowiki>
Based on the way other such tests work, I would say that the IIC version is basically a more advanced version of the same test. It covers a broader range of topics. If you read the descriptions (IC and IIC), the major difference is that the second test assumes a year of precalculus and/or trigonometry. I would imagine that the only point in taking both tests would be that if you do poorly on II, you might do much better on I. (Can you choose which scores to send after you have the results?) I don't think I would risk sending both scores if I were applying to universities like MIT and Harvard. I'm almost certain that would not be a good call - better to take, say, Chemistry or Physics, which are also mathematically-based. It seems to me that a student looking to improve his/her chances should probably not submit scores for both of the math tests, but of course that's just my opinion. --[[User:Aranel|Aranel ("Sarah")]] 19:45, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

You can choose which tests to send after you get the results. For example, I took writing twice and chose to have only the second (higher) score sent to colleges. This doesn't work for the regular SAT, though, which is why you should be prepared before taking it - most colleges only want you to take the SAT a maximum of 3 times. Then again, most students don't want to take the SAT at all, so usually it works out. Salasks 21:24, Sep 4, 2004 (UTC)

The IIC is not a superset of the IC (as opposed to, say, Calculus BC and AB). IC covers certain topics that IIC doesn't (arithmetic, pre-algebra, methinks), while IIC covers certain topics more deeply (solids), and certain topics not covered by IC (trigonometry, mainly). Of course, that's off the top of my head, so it may be incorrect and is most certainly incomplete. I would suggest buying an SAT II Math prep book, taking the practice tests (or studying beforehand then taking the tests), and see which one you do well on - you'll also learn certain things, like you have to get *every question* right to get an 800 on the IC< while you can miss about 2-5 questions on the IIC and still get a perfect. ugen64 20:56, Sep 16, 2004 (UTC)

Dorothy Parker quotation[edit]

Dorothy Parker once wrote:

This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force

Can anyone tell me about which book she was writing? -- Graham ☺ | Talk 21:35, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)

According to 4 usenet postings that I was able to find, A. A. Milne's The House at Pooh Corner. Google groups search: "Dorothy Parker" pooh "not a book to be tossed aside" Of course, this is usenet — take with a grain of salt. • Benc • 22:31, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I first found the answer by looking through newsgroups, but there's plenty of web sources, too. About 64 of them for a Google web search on "Dorothy Parker" pooh "not a book to be tossed aside". It's probably a safe bet to assume Parker was talking about Pooh. The book review was in the The New Yorker, by the way. • Benc • 22:55, 4 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Many thanks. I wonder why she didn't like it? -- Graham ☺ | Talk 03:49, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Apparently it was too cutesy for her. According to a variety of sources, the word "hummy" was the breaking point, where, as is oft quoted, "Tonstant Weader fwowed up." Mindspillage 04:39, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC) be tossed aside lightly... (etc.) I've been known to have that feeling about some passages in Nietzsche, but never about A. A. Milne. -- Jmabel 07:07, Sep 5, 2004 (UTC)

I thought that "Tonstant Weader fwowed up" was her line about Pooh. RickK 06:21, Sep 6, 2004 (UTC)

"...thrown with great force" is certainly not from the Pooh review as I have it here in tree-book format. I skimmed through some of her other reviews but I could not find it. It does not sound typical of her review style which was biting but not usually directly rude. If Ms Parker did say it in print I think it is more likely to be in one of her short stories. MeltBanana 15:33, 1 Oct 2004 (UTC)



United Kindom driving regulations[edit]

I would like to know where can I find United Kindom driving regulations.

I looking expecially for the meaning of the yellow lines paint along the sine of the street to indicate no parking rules AnyFile

The Highway Code has the lot. adamsan 20:36, 5 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Specifically, this page. Trilobite (Talk) 16:23, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You could also look at the underlying law on the matter - the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002, the sections on road markings are 25 to 32, and section 6 has all the images of the various permitted markings. The printed version is a lot easier to read and work through, but sadly not free.--Pikelet 17:11, 12 Sep 2004 (UTC)

'Star' Forts?[edit]

Late design forts or castles seem to often be in the form of stars, and I was wondering why this is so? I seem to recall this possibly originally being a French design having something to do with gunpowder and cannons, but I forget precisely why it was done. What are the advatages of star shaped fortification design? And does it have an original architect? --Senca 01:57, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

IIRC, it was to make it more difficult for projectiles to impact the walls at right angles. I am also quite sure I read this in an article here that I can't find now (but someone else probably can)...--inks 02:45, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I thought that might have something to do with it. Hm... thanks. --Senca 03:21, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)
You can bring a lot of fire to bear on anyone trying to scale the walls. -- Jmabel 06:07, Sep 6, 2004 (UTC)
Slightly off-topic, but last year in school, we had to plot a star fort onto something like 1/2 cm graphing paper. But I'd guess such difficulties are merely incidental. Rhymeless 06:54, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Sébastien le Prestre de Vauban was the Frenchman who invented those forts.Gravelines has a particulary fine example, Google for 'Vauban defences' for more info. adamsan 08:04, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)
One should also mention the article on sieges, a Wikipedia Featured Article, which explains all this very nicely. Simon A. 17:15, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Very useful info. Thank you all. --Senca 20:59, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

What this dude says?[edit]

The first part is from a song from the game "Command & Conquer" The second is from Cowboy Bebop (the song "American Money")

In both songs there's that guy saying "reaching out" something (I guess). I couldn't understand what he's saying, and since both things are unrelated I suppose this is a famous quote.

So, can anyone tell me what he's saying? And if you know where that's from, I'd be glad to know also.

Thanks Kieff | Talk 07:25, Sep 6, 2004 (UTC)

Undownloadable for me. [[User:Anárion|File:Anarion.png]] 22:13, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)
It sounds like "reaching out into other worlds" to me, but looking on Google, all I can find is references to songs that sample the same line. Cvaneg 04:22, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Well, it is that, I guess, but I'm only finding references to Cowboy Bebop... Hmm... Damn Kieff | Talk 10:10, Sep 7, 2004 (UTC)
I hear "reaching out into other worlds", "satellite control" and "deep thrust telescopic probe". A little googling on the last phrase [16] would suggest that it comes from Lost in Space [17], which sounds plausible. - 13:03, 7 Sep 2004 (UTC) Lee (talk)
I hear: "Reaching out into other worlds, satellite control, Reaching out into other worlds, telescopic deep thrust telescopic probe" --[[User:AllyUnion|AllyUnion (talk)]] 12:40, 23 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Anywhere decolonized that didn't want to be?[edit]

A question that arose lately in an argument...

Has there ever been anywhere that was decolonized that didn't want to be decolonized, during the 20th Century? I'm familiar with Rhodesia, but I was wondering if there was anywhere else? --Penta 15:18, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Perhaps some of the Portuguese colonies that were abruptly granted independence in 1975. The Spanish Sahara and parts of New Guinea among them, and East Timor, maybe. I don't really know the details. Michael Hardy 21:35, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Former Dutch colony West Papua, annexed by force by the culturally and religiously different Indonesia in 1961. Instead of a gradual road to decolonisation in 1970 the nation has now been occupied by great force for over thirty years.
Similarily Atjeh and the Moluccas, promised independance by the Netherlands but forcibly annexed by Indonesia in 1949. [[User:Anárion|File:Anarion.png]] 22:10, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Anguilla wanted to remain a seperate British dependency when it was incorporated into St Kitts & Nevis (with the intention that it would evenutally become part of an independent St Kitts)due to the attitude of the St Kitts and Nevis politicians. The book Under an English Heaven by Donald E Westlake hunorously recounts the events. --Roisterer 22:33, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Hong Kong is the clearest example. It was also a close call in Newfoundland. DJ Clayworth 14:19, 8 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Can UK dependencies appeal to the ECHR?[edit]

Yet another attempt at settling an argument.

Can UK dependencies such as Gibraltar appeal things to the ECHR?


You describe Azrael, in this encyclopedia, as follows; "Azrael is a personification of death appearing in the Biblical Book of Tobit and in the Qur'an. He is depicted as an angel under the command of God. In Islam, he is an archangel." This seems to be a direct quote from Webster Dictionary. I have read every book of Tobit that I can find and followed many references of this subject to many sites and have not found a single reference to Azrael being the Angel of Death. Where did you find this information?

You could try Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (14th ed. 1989), which describes him as "the Mohammedan angel of death". --Heron 20:02, 6 Sep 2004 (UTC)