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-   -   Persistent, Niggling Questions (http://www.fiveminute.net/forums/showthread.php?t=1410)

Nate the Great 08-11-2007 06:47 AM

Persistent, Niggling Questions
 
The other day I found myself (as is my wont) debating the number of truly pointless questions I keep asking myself from day to day. Questions where having the answers would serve no possible useful purpose, I just "want to know." This thread is just to serve the standard of catharsis. We can all post these issues that bother us, then proceed not to answer them. Maybe it'll even bring us closer together as we found out that we're not the only person to ever wonder about these things.

How come the countries of the world didn't agree on the right side versus left side of the road controversy years ago and just stick with one standard?

How can MMORPG's pretend to have reasonable economies when there's no standard for global resources, nor is there a poor person created for every rich person?

How come so many new shows get the short end of the stick when it comes to consistent programming, releasing new episodes at predictable intervals, getting a guarantee of thirteen episodes to give a fanbase a chance to build up, etc.?

What if the Hokey Pokey really is what it's all about? (I really am sorry, but as a humor writer of sorts, I'm obligated to use this gag. I don't want to be kicked out of the Humorist and Parodist's Guild, do I?)

Additions?

NAHTMMM 08-23-2007 02:45 PM

I know I have some, but my mind continues to be blank on the matter . . . :(

mudshark 08-23-2007 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 74372)
How come the countries of the world didn't agree on the right side versus left side of the road controversy years ago and just stick with one standard?

By and large, they have. See?

catalina_marina 08-23-2007 09:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 74372)
How come the countries of the world didn't agree on the right side versus left side of the road controversy years ago and just stick with one standard?

For the same reasons we'll never all speak the same language. We'd never agree which option is the best, and changing is a bitch.

Nate the Great 08-24-2007 02:11 AM

Feel free to add your own questions.

As originally stated, I DON'T want this to devolve into a flamewar of "no, I'M right, and I'll tell you EXACTLY why!" Just get these things out, you feel better, move on.

AKAArzosah 08-24-2007 10:56 AM

Why are people always asking how much wood a woodchuck could chuck? IT'S NOT FUNNY ANYMORE PEOPLE!

How much have I really spent on eBay? (You know, the pet rock thing's not far off, I buy crystals)

Why do they call them 'lead pencils'?

How long will Nate's siggy get before Zeke puts a stop to it?

Why are trees GREEN (primarily)?

Why do I hate tomatoes but love tomato sauce?

Will Firefly ever truly be revived?





Why did the forum kick me out so I had to log in again before posting...?

catalina_marina 08-24-2007 11:40 AM

Aw, but I like trying to answer these questions. :p

Nate the Great 08-24-2007 01:16 PM

As for the signature, it's already at about maximum capacity (and there IS a maximum). Awhile back I tried to add a much larger scene and the forum barked at me. If I want anything else, I'll have to chuck something, probably the Bashir line.

Lead pencils used to actually have a lead mixture as the pigment. Graphite was introduced (I think, standard disclaimers apply) because graphite is less brittle and creates a better mark on paper. Plus that whole lead poisoning thing...

How many flaming insult e-mails did Apple get about that inane "do not chew iPod Shuffle" message in the official user manual?

How come Heinz or someone never said "this ketchup versus catsup thing is inane, THIS is how we're going to say it."?

Chancellor Valium 08-24-2007 04:30 PM

Why do people keep sending me junk mail? I don't want a zarking Chinese boat...

Nate the Great 08-25-2007 04:54 AM

If Spider-Man has to wear essentially elastic nylon all over his body to enable his wallcrawling powers to reach through it, how come it's not perpetually dirty? For that matter, why doesn't he just patent his webfluid formula and retire a millionaire?

(I apologize in advance) Why Daylight Saving Time? Just WHY? If the tradeoff for all that hassle is just a couple bucks, wouldn't you all be willing to pay it?

(This one occurred to me just yesterday) How do blind people know what the top or bottom of Braille letters are? Here's a diagram (since the forum can't handle spaces properly, each O is a dot and each X is a space):

OO XX
OX OO
XX OX

Same dot configuration, but different symbol. How can they tell?

Katy Jane 08-25-2007 02:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 74478)
(This one occurred to me just yesterday) How do blind people know what the top or bottom of Braille letters are? Here's a diagram (since the forum can't handle spaces properly, each O is a dot and each X is a space):

OO XX
OX OO
XX OX

Same dot configuration, but different symbol. How can they tell?

I'm guessing they would have letters before and after it to compare it too. if the top row of dots lines up with the top row of dots from the previous letter then it's the first one you show and if it doesn't then its the second one.

Nate the Great 08-25-2007 08:45 PM

Even so, it must take a long time to train your mind and fingers to detect such subtle differences and read as fast as a sighted person can. On a related note, I'm still curious about Braille letters on the buttons at a driveup ATM. Backseat banking? Probably the real answer is its easier to mass-produce ATMs if there are fewer differences between vestibule and driveup models.

How long has it been since people used brass brads (or whatever those "punch through and fold out the wings" things are) to actually hold real documents together, as opposed to using them as axles for construction paper windmills and such?

Why order meat rare? Issues of taste preference aside, don't the customers care about their health, and don't the restaurants get worried about food poisoning lawsuits?

Has anyone ever heard someone use the alternative to genericized trademarks? i.e. "I need to buy some facial tissue" as opposed to "I need to buy some Kleenix" especially when they don't intend to buy Kleenix brand?

Why do people make movies that set Shakespeare plays in later time periods, but still use the complete Shakespearean dialogue, which is archaic for the time period? There's gotta be a happy medium between authentic Shakespeare and modern vernacular, right?

How many people know that Mario the plumber was originally Jumpman the carpenter?

Nate the Great 08-26-2007 01:05 AM

I would make this one into a poll, but I've created too many threads lately. Please answer this one if you want...

What's the average number of floors that it takes before a person realizes "whoa, I'm dozens/hundreds of feet up. Yikes! What if the building tipped over?" For me it's about ten. Three or four don't scare me, but ten...

Katy Jane 08-26-2007 01:59 AM

I'd say it's about the same for me, granted i've only been up that high about twice in my life... in a bulding anyway.

AKAArzosah 08-26-2007 06:27 AM

People still BUY brass brads (or whatever) - we sell them and people buy them. Don't know what they use them for though.

And the number of floors up before I freak out, depends on the building and where I am in it. I'm fine if there's a floor below, but if I'm on a balcony or a building on stilts, then I freak. Even on the first storey. I will actually be constantly nervous - how can people handle knowing they're supported by nothing but twig thin beams?
Oh and I won't lean on glass windows. And those 'nothing but a plate of glass' balconies seem incredibly dangerous.

Why do I want more money even though I can't think of anything I want to buy?

Why the hell hasn't everyone done something about global warming and pollution yet?

Should I or shouldn't I go to University?

Chancellor Valium 08-26-2007 11:11 AM

The number of floors don't matter. It's that moment at the top of a very crumbly castle in eastern Europe, when you realise that all that's standing between you and going 'splat' is a single crenellation and a lot of air.

This is also a problem in the Whispering Gallery of St. Paul's Cathedral, and going up into the dome of St. Peter's in Rome.

catalina_marina 08-26-2007 11:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 74478)
OO XX
OX OO
XX OX

Same dot configuration, but different symbol. How can they tell?

How do you see the difference between a written l or e? They really look the same, only in a different ratio. The second symbol has twice as much vertical space between the dots as the first one does. Seems easy to me.

Now how your fingers could be trained to be so sensitive, I would not know.

Nate the Great 08-27-2007 12:08 AM

Okay, the O's are the dots. Both of the imaginary Braille letters are two dots with a third below it to the left. The difference is that the first has the triangle at the top of the grid, and the second has the triangle at the bottom of the grid. Therefore, different symbols. A blind person would have no idea which is which without knowing where the top of the line is.

I remember being VERY impressed that Matt Murdock AKA Daredevil's senses are so advanced that he can run his fingers over ordinary printed type and still read it. Think about how complex a letter is, and how hard it'd be to feel the differences in ink placement on a sheet of paper that'd still be impossibly bumpy from all the paper fibers at that resolution.

If you can't think of anything more to buy, then you're dead. There are literally millions of things you can buy. Most of them are unnecessary or unaffordable or embarrassing, but you can still think of them.

Actually, I think I've seen brass brads being used to hold the corners of small stacks of papers, just like staples, only more flexible. But not very often. Plus I'd imagine it's a bear to remove them all the time. You wouldn't just throw away a brass brad like a staple, they must cost ten times as much.

AKAArzosah 08-27-2007 09:33 AM

I can think of lots of things I could buy, just not anything I want to buy that still only costs a realistic amount of money.

Nate the Great 08-27-2007 10:07 AM

So you don't want money to magically appear because you can't think of anything to buy with it at the moment? I myself have often done cost/benefit analysis' based on the premise of "okay, if it's MY money I'd spend X for that, if my dad's buying it I'd let him if the cost was Y or lower (Y>X, of course), if it's coming from a gift certificate I'd buy it at Z (Z>Y), and so on.

The beauty of money as the basis of a bartering system is that (putting aside inflation issues), it will ALWAYS have value. One reason why I prefer gift cards to undesirable gifts OR cash, I'd feel obligated to use cash on boring stuff like food and gas.

catalina_marina 08-27-2007 10:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 74495)
Okay, the O's are the dots. Both of the imaginary Braille letters are two dots with a third below it to the left. The difference is that the first has the triangle at the top of the grid, and the second has the triangle at the bottom of the grid. Therefore, different symbols. A blind person would have no idea which is which without knowing where the top of the line is.

Okay, my bad. In that case I have nothing to add to KJ's reasoning.

Have you checked that these things actually exist though? I'm pretty sure not all possible symbols are actually used...

Nate the Great 08-27-2007 08:02 PM

It was simply an example to bring up my niggling question. Strictly speaking, the purpose was simply to get these things off our chests, not try to answer them, so I suppose it's time to move on to something else.

Why do we still broadcast radio on FM and AM on different scales? Don't we have enough stations on one or the other to say "we're only going to broadcast in FM from now on, no more AM?" We'd probably have to build in a transition period so all the AM guys could swap over, but still...

Why do we (in the USA, at least) HAVE to swap over to digital tuners in a few years? Couldn't they just duplicate the broadcast stations in HD on cable channels?

How come some restaurant actually got the rights to use "Kentucky" in their name, thus forcing KFC to go by initials? Seems pretty wonky, it's the name of an entire STATE, after all.

How is George Lucas going to pull off transforming the Star Wars saga into HD, much less 3D? All I can think of is using the existing voice tracks to dub over photorealistic CG characters a la Final Fantasy (only better... :) )

Along similar lines, what's so wrong with Han shooting first? He's a mercenary (of sorts) for hire, right? Discretion the better part of valor and all that. In that situation I'd have shot first.

catalina_marina 08-27-2007 08:48 PM

But I like trying to answer them! :D

They still broadcast on AM?

I don't know. Cheaper, maybe? (I'm not entirely sure what you're talking about, by the way.)

I don't see why anybody would not have that right. Though you'll have to explain to me why this forces KFC to go by initials. Was the full name already taken or something?

Nate the Great 08-27-2007 08:59 PM

I'm confused by the whole KFC thing, actually. Their Wikipedia page doesn't mention it. You'll probably have to look for the answer on one of the urban legend pages. PM for links if you want to look for yourself.

Yeah, they still broadcast in AM. "Radio Disney AM 1440, Golden Valley, Minneapolis, St. Paul."

catalina_marina 08-27-2007 09:08 PM

Well if they still use it, there's probably a reason. I never turn my radio to AM, and I'm not even sure there's nothing there, but most of it is FM here, anyway. They do have some trouble with other countries, near the borders, by the way. They change frequency there, because of those nasty foreign channels. :rolleyes:

PointyHairedJedi 08-27-2007 10:22 PM

As to why the US government might want to switch off analogue radio signals (which I wasn't aware they wanted to do), it'd be for the same reason they want to switch off analogue TV signals - digital signals as I understand it require less bandwidth per channel, and they are sent at different frequencies than analogue signals, meaning that the government could then flog off the resulting frequencies for fabulous sums of money, probably to mobile telephone network companies for wireless internet and such.

Chancellor Valium 08-27-2007 10:30 PM

Are you sure it isn't a Jesuit plot? They're all the rage these days.

Nate the Great 08-27-2007 10:53 PM

I meant analog TV. I'm not sure that they could just "turn off" analog radio. I mean, even if the major stations go HD, anybody with a moderate amount of money could turn themselves into a radio station, right? Less than public access TV, anyway.

AKAArzosah 08-28-2007 12:03 AM

AM radio has greater range, I've noticed. But FM has better sound quality. That's how it is here anyway, and it's why it's mostly news/sports on AM and music on FM.

Of course that could just be how many towers are available to boost the respective signals, or something. I have no idea HOW it works.

Nate the Great 08-28-2007 01:11 AM

Don't tell me that there's actually LOGIC behind the private sector's actions. ;)

catalina_marina 08-28-2007 07:47 AM

Private sector? What's this?

Actually, I'm not sure you're even allowed to make your own radio station, here. It might jam the other stations to much. You'd probably need a special permit.

PointyHairedJedi 08-28-2007 10:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 74525)
I meant analog TV.

Ah, well, that makes much more sense.

In the UK it's incredibly hard to set up a new radio station, precisely because there are only a limited number of frequencies available, and the oppertunity to bid for them comes up very very rarely indeed.

Nate the Great 08-28-2007 12:43 PM

Well, I'd imagine that any "real" radio station is able to put out a signal that would drown out any amateur ham operator.

Chancellor Valium 08-28-2007 03:01 PM

Why would radio stations be interested in asphyxiating pig-vets?

Nate the Great 08-29-2007 02:11 AM

Oh, you've unraveled the stitches in my side again. Shame on you.

Nate the Great 08-31-2007 12:35 AM

A few more cathartic questions:

How did it happen (whether God or evolution) that a bee can't sting without dying?

Why do so many people hate dandelions?

Why do people still make lutefisk? The logic for why it was invented no longer applies. For that matter, why do fruitcake lovers persist in believing that fruitcake haters can be converted?

In these days of skin cancer and ozone depletion, what's up with using mirrors to focus MORE sunshine on you?

PointyHairedJedi 08-31-2007 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 74543)
Well, I'd imagine that any "real" radio station is able to put out a signal that would drown out any amateur ham operator.

Close to a transmitter, perhaps, but further away it would cause serious interference problems.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 74587)
In these days of skin cancer and ozone depletion, what's up with using mirrors to focus MORE sunshine on you?

Perhaps they wish to contend for the Darwin Awards? It's a pretty feeble way to go about it though.

Nate the Great 08-31-2007 01:27 PM

Naw, no Darwin contention there. It has to demonstrate an astonishing lack of judgment, remember?

KillerGodMan 08-31-2007 05:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nate the Great (Post 74483)
Why order meat rare? Issues of taste preference aside, don't the customers care about their health, and don't the restaurants get worried about food poisoning lawsuits?

Sorry, but as a restaurant worker, I simply MUST answer it

*clears throat*

Escherichia coli (E. Coli) strain 0157:H7, one of the deadliest forms of E. Coli, (and causes of food poisoning outbreaks) is found predominatly in the intestines of bovines, where it is harmless, when humans eat it, however, that's a different story

Beef processing plants are great places for 0157 to spread, because the beef is all processed together, regardless of whether or not a bovine was affected by it. The meat is flash frozen, preserving it for some unsuspecting human to eat it.

This happens, almost only, in ground beef.

Most beef cuts are just big slabs o' meat, with little to no openings for E. Coli to spread further into the meat, so it can only be found on the surface, so really, all it takes is a quick sear to kill any organisms, E. Coli or otherwise

This isn't the case with ground beef, because there are so many pockets for bacterium to hide in, so unless it's cooked well done, there is always a chance of death by E. Coli. This is part of what happened in 1993, when Jack in the Box ran into trouble with E. Coli in their burgers (which were cooked medium rare) It's also why you have to sign a waiver at The WORKS (greatest burger place ever!) if you order you burger anything less then 'completely cooked'

That's why

...wow, my glasses got bigger and nerdier looking...

Why do I continue to keep cats, even though I'm allergic to them?

Why did I completely forget the questions I had in my head whilst answering Nate?

Nate the Great 08-31-2007 08:15 PM

So you argue that rare burgers are much more dangerous than rare steaks. I guess I never thought about it from that angle before.


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