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General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Tue 3rd Jul '07 1:57PM
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Mrsham was bold enough to comment:


General was bold enough to comment in another thread:
You really have to stop taking stuff drunk guys tell you in pubs at face value.



This made me realise that I may be able to confirm something I was told by a drunken stranger in a pub: that you can tell where a digestive biscuit comes from (i.e. its factory of origin) by the number of holes in the design stamped on it. Anyone?



http://www.nicecupofteaandasitdown.com/biscuits/previous.php3?item=9

If nicey doesn't know about it, it can't be true.
    

Diziet
optical moose
Thu 9th Aug '07 2:17PM
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how much weight would need to be applied to a human head to make it pop?

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Thu 9th Aug '07 2:50PM
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What's the maximum G-Force a squirrel can sustain for an extended period (over 5 minutes)? Both an 'average' squirrel and a particularly fit or trained one.
  

Emo Squid
sanctus, sanctus, sanctus
Thu 9th Aug '07 3:19PM
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Diziet was bold enough to comment:
how much weight would need to be applied to a human head to make it pop?



170MPa, in terms of pressure. Can't be arsed working out the weight.

Diziet
optical moose
Thu 9th Aug '07 3:22PM
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Emo Squid was bold enough to comment:


Diziet was bold enough to comment:
how much weight would need to be applied to a human head to make it pop?



170MPa, in terms of pressure. Can't be arsed working out the weight.



i'm reluctant to ask but how did you find this out?

Amanshu*
Giggity Giggity goo
Fri 10th Aug '07 1:00AM
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What's the name, and who is the artist, of the Odeon theme tune? It goes something along the lines of "Here and now lets get this straight. Boogaloo baby, isn't it great? It's got that latin beat"

Something like that. I forget, but I love it everytime I hear it.
   

Amanshu*
Giggity Giggity goo
Fri 10th Aug '07 1:06AM
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Scratch that, I decided to look. It appears to be "I like it like that" by pete rodriguez, but I can't find the lyrics anywhere to actually confirm that
   

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Fri 10th Aug '07 2:37PM
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Aw I thought you meant the Pearl and Dean music!
    

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Mon 5th Nov '07 4:49PM
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How much does it cost to mint a penny and get it into circulation?

How long before inflation makes it cost more than a penny to get a penny into service?
    

Amanshu*
Giggity Giggity goo
Fri 9th Nov '07 8:08PM
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General was bold enough to comment:
How much does it cost to mint a penny and get it into circulation?

How long before inflation makes it cost more than a penny to get a penny into service?



It does happen every so often that the base materials used to make coins become nearly as expensive as the coin. You can usually tell when it's happened because the coin changes metal and size. 5ps, 10ps and 50ps have all changed in the last twenty years or so...
   

Diziet
optical moose
Mon 26th Nov '07 11:01PM
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whats so bloody great about cinema? over 100 years and still all you get is a big bloody blanket with some crackly images slapped over it.

answer me that, hmm?

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Tue 27th Nov '07 10:11AM
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Diziet was bold enough to comment:
whats so bloody great about cinema? over 100 years and still all you get is a big bloody blanket with some crackly images slapped over it.

answer me that, hmm?



Shark boy and Lavagirl in 3D FTW! What more could you want?
  

Emo Squid
sanctus, sanctus, sanctus
Tue 27th Nov '07 11:30AM
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Agentgonzo was bold enough to comment:


Diziet was bold enough to comment:
whats so bloody great about cinema? over 100 years and still all you get is a big bloody blanket with some crackly images slapped over it.

answer me that, hmm?



Shark boy and Lavagirl in 3D FTW! What more could you want?



Hear hear!

Also, if the was no cinema, where the hell are new couples supposed to go on their mid-week date?!

Joking aside, I'm a big fan of cinema, espacially Manchester's only independent cinema The Cornerhouse. Why? I think independent cinemas are very important because they don't bow down to the big studios/distributors who own the 47-screen multiplexes. You can go to The Cornerhouse and watch beautifully made films from all around the world - films with proper stories and everything!
Yes, I could just download the films from a torrent site or whatever, but as somebody who hopes to have a career in independent film-making, I'm not really paving the way for a bright future for myself. Film-making in this country is grossly under valued because there's no money in it. The majority of funds that could be going to British film-makers goes to Hollywood because multiplexes dominate the market. It's very a similar story to the state of British farming Vs supermarkets like Tesco.

I do enjoy the social element of cinema. Before TV, the cinema was an important cornerstone of any community larger than a village. Admittedly, whist cinema has remained the same in it's basic elements, audiences have changed somewhat - there's always that minority who seem to have absolutely no regard for the fact that they are in a room with lots of other people who are trying to watch a film. As much as anything else, going to the cinema gets people out of the house for a bit and that's never a bad thing!

I used to work as a projectionist in a multiplex and films serve one purpose in them: sell popcorn/hot dogs/nachos/sugary beverages. The films are "crackly" because they get played 6 times a day, seven days a week, unsupervised. The cliche of the projectionist sitting and watching the flm through is only true in indie cinemas, therefore the prints get scratched and look shit and the sound doesn't work properly because the projectionists don't look after the films. Although, DLP is the sharpest, richest image you will see and sounds amazing. The downside of DLP is it's very expensive and is limited to the multplexes and big studios at the moment.

Multiplexes are killing independent film-making and turning cinema into a glorified McDonalds!!!!

Sorry, I'm ranting.

Diziet
optical moose
Tue 27th Nov '07 11:52AM
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Agentgonzo was bold enough to comment:

Shark boy and Lavagirl in 3D FTW! What more could you want?



ermm, a decent film for a start! robert rodriguez must cringe every time he thinks about that steaming turd.

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Wed 28th Nov '07 5:01PM
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Does velcro stick to:
a) a cat?
b) a sheep?
  

Diziet
optical moose
Wed 28th Nov '07 5:16PM
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Agentgonzo was bold enough to comment:
Does velcro stick to:
a) a cat?




in two words, "no" and "ow!"

Malcolm*
My ape goosed a Bishop. Who are you?
Mon 3rd Dec '07 5:35PM
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Malcolm was bold enough to comment:
I always used to wonder this, but a couple of years back I found a clue and looked further into it:

In times of plague & disease, people used to leave a huge boulder on the outskirts of the village. Traders would bring food and supplies and leave them for the villagers to collect, and in return villagers would leave coins in little hollows in the boulder, filled with water or vinegar to stop them carrying disease back to the traders. There are still examples of these all over the place. (If you live in York, there's one on the corner of Burton Stone Lane, in the wall outside the Burton Stone pub, and I think there's also one on Hob Moor on the path near Tadcaster Road.)

Anyway, there's a long tradition in Europe & Asia of frogs & toads being associated with wealth - you can by so-called "money toads", very ugly ornamental things that are supposed to bring good fortune to those who own them. I assume that's why people started referring to these coins, left in exchange for food, as "toads in the hole".

So, the dish is named after that, because the batter (kind of) resembles the smooth rock with things in it. And possibly, I imagine, because the sausage would have been the most luxurious part of it (=richness, wealth etc) so was associated with the other meaning of "toad".

Glad to be of service!



For some reason, a full year and a half later, I feel the sudden urge to confess that this explanation was an utter lie that I concocted my very own self. I don't know why I did it, really, but it did make me feel slightly big and clever.

The bits about the plague, and the stones with money in, and the examples in York, and the money toads are all true. But there's no connection between them and toad in the hole.

My, that confession felt quite good. Maybe those crazy Catholics have got it right after all. Anyone else fancy admitting anything?
   

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Tue 4th Dec '07 10:17AM
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Anyone else fancy admitting anything?


I'm the real Slim Shady
  

Diziet
optical moose
Fri 22nd Feb '08 2:47PM
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Why do all male members of the royal family start to go bald prematurely?

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Fri 22nd Feb '08 3:21PM
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Diziet was bold enough to comment:
Why do all male members of the royal family start to go bald prematurely?


Centuries of inbreeding
  

Magina*
Mrs Spanners if you please.
Fri 22nd Feb '08 4:48PM
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If long haired pet guinea pigs/rabbits need their fur combing regularly, what the do the wild ones do; have they invented combing devices???
 

Mrsham
I lost my toes in a game of blackjack
Tue 26th Feb '08 5:30PM
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Magina was bold enough to comment:
If long haired pet guinea pigs/rabbits need their fur combing regularly, what the do the wild ones do; have they invented combing devices???



Hmm. Maybe they have a symbiotic relationship with wild porcupines? The guinea pigs er .... polish the porcupine spines to a gleaming finish. Whilst being combed.

OK, I'm making it up.

Is it legal to keep porcupines as pets?
 

Amanshu*
Giggity Giggity goo
Wed 19th Mar '08 10:50AM
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I'm sure I've had it explained to me before, but I also always forget. So:

1) The Earth's tides are caused by the influence of the Moon's gravity on the surface of the planet. Except every diagram of it I've seen has two bulges - one towards the Moon and one away. What causes the one away?

2) We can harness the energy of the tides to create electricity. But energy can neither be created nor destroyed, just transferred. So where does this energy come from? What would happen if we harvested enough/too much of it and removed all of that energy from the system? Could we actually stop the tides or cause the Moon to drift away?
   

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Wed 19th Mar '08 12:19PM
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1) Gravity falls off with the inverse square law as we all know. Thus gravity on the near side of the Earth is stronger than for the centre of the Earth, which is in turn stronger than on the far side. Thus the centre of the Earth is being pulled towards the moon stronger than the water on the far side, effectively pulling the Earth and the water on the far side apart, creating the bulge.

Wikipedia article about tidal forces

The Moon's (or Sun's) gravity differential field at the surface of the earth is known as the tide generating force. This is the primary mechanism that drives tidal action and explains two tidal equipotential bulges, accounting for two high waters per day.

2) The energy comes from the rotational energy of the Earth and the orbital energy of the moon and is part of the Tidal Locking mechanism that has already left one side of the moon permanently* facing us. Essentially, the Earth gets squished a bit by the Moon's gravity (the Earth itself bulges, not just the oceans) but it's also rotating. This means that the Earth's bulge will rotate with the Earth to be slightly 'ahead' of the line between the Earth and the Moon. As the side of the Earth that is closer to the moon experiences a greater gravitational field than the far side, this out-of-line bulge generates a torque force on the Earth that is in the opposite direction to the rotation of the Earth. This means that it is very slowly slowing down the rotation of the Earth. At the other end of this effect, the bulged on the nearside of the Earth will affect the gravity at the moon, essentially adjusting the gravity vector at the moon to be pointing slightly 'ahead' of the Earth (with respect to the moon's orbit). This causes the moon to accelerate slightly in the orbit, which causes it to slowly recede away from the Earth.

So essentially the rotational energy of the Earth is being slowly transferred to the orbital energy of the moon. There is energy lost in this mechanism by the frictional heating of the Earth in this process as it gets squished and this is where we get our tiny fraction of the energy. This is what also causes Io to be so hot and to have constant volcanism on its surface. This will continue to happen until the Earth and the Moon become tidally locked and you'll only be able to see the Moon from one side of the Earth. The moon will also be further away from us by then so you won't get any more total solar eclipses (moon will appear smaller than the sun in the sky), though the amount of energy that we get is negligible compared to that lost by the heating of the Earth in this squishing.



*It does actually wobble so we see slightly more than one half, but that's a bit more complicated and not really relevant here
  

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Sun 6th Apr '08 2:49PM
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I heard that 98% of the money in the world is just data on bank computers rather than hard cash. This being the case what stops banks from just deciding how much money they want to have?
    

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Tue 16th Sep '08 1:29PM
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Here's one for the linguists out there.
Why are towns and countries called different things in different languages? In fact this applies to proper nouns in general. I understand why and how different languages develop but why, for example, did the first French person to hear of London say hah I shall not call it 'London', my people shall name it 'Londres'. any why did the first Spanish person to encounter England say 'England shmingland! I shall call it Inglaterra!"

It just seems pointless
    

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Wed 17th Sep '08 10:49AM
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Spanners was bold enough to comment:
I heard that 98% of the money in the world is just data on bank computers rather than hard cash. This being the case what stops banks from just deciding how much money they want to have?



Surprisingly litte, actually. But it's a fascinating question and the answer contains some surprising information.

In 1694 a guy called William Paterson started the Bank of England. He wanted to become the official banker for the state and he offered £1.2m (at that time a ridiculous amount of money) to King William, in exchange for being given the official title of Governor of the Bank of England.

Over the next 100 years or so the bank grew, mainly providing loans to the government, but it also started issueing promisory notes to people in exchange for money and gold, these are obviously what became todays bank notes. By 1781, the public had grown to rely on banks to such an extent that it was renamed 'The People's Exchequer' when it's charter was renewed.

Then the war on France started, and in 1779 the government issued an edict banning the bank from making its repayments in gold. This was the first time bank notes were started to be seen as holding inherent value, rather than just something you could swap for gold later. The edict was repealed in 1821 but by this time perceived value had switched from the gold to the promisory notes.

In 1844, to address the problem of gold and notes being tied together in value, an act was passed requiring the bank to account it's gold and it's notes separately, and this continues to this day - this is why the value of gold fluctuates day-to-day and our bank notes no longer promise a certain amount of gold, just a certain value in gold. The gold itself was handed over to the treasury in 1931 and remains there to this day. So yes, if you were wondering, somewhere there is a little slip of gold that the tenner in your pocket refers to!

The upshot of all this to-ing and fro-ing between state and private ownership is that the modern banking system is a kind of compromise between the two. And believe it or not, banks can, and do, print money to alter the financial situation of the country they operate in! Example:
http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article5190.html

Of course, this is short-termism at its worst. Here's an article explaining the pitfalls of printing your own money:

http://www.angryharry.com/esPrintingMoney.htm

The US Federal Reserve system is even more arcane and a lot of people argue it's inherently corrupt and unfair. However, I've not done enough research into it to know if that's true or not.

Wow, I guess something actually stuck from my endless debates about economics with my stockbroker friend!

Bonus fun fact: In 2001 Abbey National, by way of an April Fools joke, offered customers the chance to download and print out their own money. The Bank of England interceded and stopped it from being published.
  

Agentgonzo
There's no pee in catheter!
Wed 17th Sep '08 1:22PM
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Spanners was bold enough to comment:
Here's one for the linguists out there.
Why are towns and countries called different things in different languages? In fact this applies to proper nouns in general. I understand why and how different languages develop but why, for example, did the first French person to hear of London say hah I shall not call it 'London', my people shall name it 'Londres'. any why did the first Spanish person to encounter England say 'England shmingland! I shall call it Inglaterra!"

It just seems pointless


I don't know with any kind of authority, but I have some thoughts on this subject.

1) The names stem back to before speedy travel between countries was commonplace and before a lot of the populous was literate. People started out in London and knew it as London. As they moved about and met people down in the south-east of England, they told them of this place called London and they told their friends etc. As the knowledge of this 'London' made it across the channel and into France, it got distorted by a form of Chinese whispers (interestingly known as "Arab phone" in France), since it was probably not written down a lot. Combining this with the French accent and the evolution of the word over time in two separate places, it became known as Londres in France, and Ingleterra further down the continent in Spain.

2) Place names and country names often contain words - eg England. When the foreigners come here with their different words for things, they notice the 'land' part of the name, and being a word, they translate this into their own language - in the spanish case, 'terra'. They take the first part of the word and write it phoenetically (changing the E to an I as that's how it's pronounced) and get Ingterra. As this doesn't flow too well in the spanish tongue, they add the 'le' to make the word flow better and get Ingleterra. The same happens with Den Haag (The Hague). 'Den' in translated to 'The' and there is a slight phoenetic change (probably for reason 1 above) and the English version of the word is written how we would expect it - Hague.

3) Foreign accents can have problems pronouncing words and place names. Thing of trying to pronounce München (Munich). Obviously there is no umlaut in English, so we quietly ignore it. The german 'ch' sound has no equivalent in English (and similarly the English 'ch' and 'r' are not found in Chinese, which is why they have problems sounding English) and so we need to do something about it. We change 'ch' sound into something we can pronounce more easily and mash the rest of the word around it.

4) Places get known by different names by different people. Wales is known as "Cymru" in Welsh from the old Welsh word for 'compatriots'. It's known in English as 'Wales' from Walha, the old Germanic word for foreigner and 'Pays de Galles' in French, presumably from Gaul, the Roman name for western Europe. These names would have originated independently in the different regions and have stuck to this day.


You also get places called different things in different languages after invasion and naming places that have been around for ages in honour of some far distant (and usually British) monarch. Eg, Rabat, the capital of Gozo is known as Victoria to the British and Rabat to the locals (it was named by the British foreigners in honour of their monarch for no reason whatsoever)
  

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Fri 19th Sep '08 11:02AM
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Those are some great answers fellas. The language thing makes a lot of sense, I'd never really thought about it in that way before.
And I'm actually a little afraid at the power the big banks have. If they can (literally in some cases) print their own money then without major regulation they could easily cause out of control inflation. This happenned in Germany after the war when it got to a point where people would literally use wheelbarrows to carry the money necessary to buy a loaf of bread. I even heard storied of people getting mugged and the criminals would ditch the money and just steal the wheelbarrow!
    

Amanshu*
Giggity Giggity goo
Fri 19th Sep '08 1:49PM
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Spanners was bold enough to comment:
Those are some great answers fellas. The language thing makes a lot of sense, I'd never really thought about it in that way before.
And I'm actually a little afraid at the power the big banks have. If they can (literally in some cases) print their own money then without major regulation they could easily cause out of control inflation. This happenned in Germany after the war when it got to a point where people would literally use wheelbarrows to carry the money necessary to buy a loaf of bread. I even heard storied of people getting mugged and the criminals would ditch the money and just steal the wheelbarrow!



It's called hyper-inflation. Carrying money around in wheelbarrows is really only a symptom. It can be mitigated by either printing higher denominations or revaluing the currency (i.e. 1 new bob = 100,000,000 bob). In some cases agro currencies are created that effectively change value daily (i.e. 1 agrobob = 1 bob initially, and this changes daily as the currency falls).

The real problem is when you get paid in the morning and have to go out at lunch to buy food for the month because your pay will be worthless by the evening. I believe the best known case of this was in Hungary just after the war when prices were doubling every 15 hours. Germany at least managed to only double prices every two days...

For a current view of the effects of hyperinflation look at Zimbabwe, which currently has an inflation rate of about 11,250,000% - or prices double every 22 days.

Usually at this point the economy becomes untenable and everything devolves back to a barter system. Either that or dollarisation takes place and an external currency is used instead of the local one.

The exact causes of hyperinflation are hard to gauge, but generally they're to do with governments printing money excessively or the aftermath of a war. Unfortunately when hyperinflation looms the only real option is recession and unemployment
   

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