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Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

Posted June 17, 2007 5:01 PM
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The question as it appears in the 06/19 edition of Specs & Techs from GlobalSpec:

Dad and his identical twin sons visit a building in Washington, DC. Dad tries an experiment, having read in his guidebook about one room in the building. Billy stands near the center of the room with Bobby to one side. Dad is directly opposite Bobby, with Billy halfway between.

Dad quietly says, "Who wants chocolate?" which both love. Only one son comes running. Which one and why? Bonus points for identifying the building!

Note: This is a question of Physics, NOT Physiology or Psychology.

Thanks to STL Engineer who submitted the original question (which we revised a bit).

(Update: June 26, 9:35 AM EST) And the Answer is...

ANSWER: Bobby heard his dad whispering, and Billy did not. Bobby came running to get his chocolate bar and Billy kept looking for "something special" unaware that Dad had already demonstrated its function.

The Dad has chosen to visit the U.S. Capitol building. In the Capitol building there is a room called the National Statuary Hall. In this room the ceiling and walls form a partial ellipsoid. This creates an effect known as a Whispering Gallery. If you stand at a certain spot on one side of the room, which happens to be the focus of the ellipses formed by the ceiling and walls, like Bobby, you can hear someone whispering at the other focal point on the other side of the room, where Dad was, even though those in between (Billy) cannot. This is because sound from one focal point is reflected, redirected, and focused on the other point due to the shape of the ellipses, making a whisper from across the room as clear as if the person were standing right next to you.

Whispering galleries also occur in certain enclosed arches and other domed areas by standing along the wall at one foot and whispering to someone on the opposite side. In this case the sound is conducted rather than focused, like speaking into an old fashioned "speaking tube" as used to be common on ships before electrical telephones and electronic radios replaced it.

In the entrance foyer of the Union Station building in St. Louis there is such an arched ceiling and wall. I love to show it to friends and family whenever we visit there. Everyone is always astonished at how well you can hear a whisper from over 50 feet away!

You can also set up your own "Whispering Gallery" if you have two large, smooth surfaced parabolic dishes whose concave surfaces face each other directly. You may then stand, or sit, depending on the size and mounting positions of the dishes, at the focal point of one parabola, speaking towards that dish. A friend positioned in front of the other dish, at its focal point will be able to hear you far across open ground (or water), provided ambient noise is low enough, while those in between will not hear a thing.

For more info, see the Wikipedia entries for "Whispering Gallery" and "National Statuary Hall".

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#1

Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 2:37 AM

It is a dome.

I don't know Washington (Do the DC stands for Decent Chaps?).

My guess it is a deep dome with Billy in the focus point.

Is it the White house?

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#2

Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 2:46 AM

I suspect that this is the "Oval Office", and that it is actually elliptical. The distance from one focus to the ellipse and back to the other focus is the same no matter where you touch the ellipse (Distance AB'C = AB''C = AB'''C on diagram)

Billy doesn't hear anything despite being closer, because the sound intensity has decreased over the distance from Dad to Billy, and the echo off the walls is not distinct.

Bobby hears the sound because the curved walls have 'concentrated' the echo at his location. Bobby runs for the chocolate.

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#3
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 2:55 AM

Does dad give both boys chocolate anyway because it's not really their fault where they were each standing, or does he just give it to the one who heard and tell the other one that he should listen more.

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#26
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/19/2007 2:04 AM

Bobby don't like virtual chocolates. He chose not to hear.

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#4

Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 6:03 AM

If they are cooperative twins, Bobby will tell Billy on the way past. If they are in competitive mode, Billy will twig something is up as soon as Bobby starts to run. Either way, both will come. If Billy is abstracted for some reason (surely the dome is not that impressive), I suppose he will just have to wait a little longer for his chocolate.

I expect that you mean the oval dome in the white house, as indicated by Davo. BTW, a round dome can give the same result if dad and Bobby are both standing quite close to the wall. The reason is different, of course.

Fyz

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#6
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 6:08 AM

Is this not a bit unfair to those outside America ?

Perhaps we can nominate alternative buildings and locations. I can think of quite a few. Back later , I just wanted in on the act here.

and btw , do you like the quote I've carried for a couple of days now. Spooky huh .

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#7
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 6:28 AM

Perhaps we can nominate alternative buildings and locations. I can think of quite a few
See post #5

What have Great Glass Elevators to do with chocolate? You're a proper Charlie!

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#8
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 7:03 AM

Oh go on , indulge me. How did I know to pick my quote ?

I have listening ears. You can even whisper (sweet nothings perhaps ?)

Shall I continue , or just repeat myself as normal?

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#11
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 9:54 AM

a) you've been talking to STL

b) Those ears look like prehistoric relics

c) Mayans were far brighter than the Spanish realised

d) There's an there's echo an in ech here o in here.

sweet nothings, sweet nothings...

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#13
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 2:20 PM

I am happy to declare that STL told me nothing and gave no hints anywhere that I know of. Still puzzled ? Ha-ha. Keep trying.

Don't you start on my ears ! They are finely tuned.

Mayans ? I'll have to Kelvinate that for a short while. By way of trivia , they had 18 urinals which is funny for a whole civilization to use each year.

Your interlaced echo is noted for later use .

Here are some funny sounds to amuse all , or possibly all to muse.

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#15
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 5:50 PM

Here's more synchronicity - I spotted this programme <Sounds of the Stone Age> on BBC7 today (broadcast Sunday 0930).

It can also be accessed here, a link that will last longer than the BBC link.

Stonehenge as a giant acoustic mirror? Most sound from inside the circle stays there...something I have noticed while there.

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#23
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/19/2007 12:54 AM

I went to Stonehenge years ago. It was not closed off then , so you could just wonder around. New Age was but a distant nightmare to come. (or perhaps I should say land).

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#27
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/19/2007 3:42 AM

If you know when, then you can still get into the centre...I remember a midsummer morning 3 years ago - the sky in the easy cleared in time to see the sunrise and when we turned back towards the west, the sky was black with storm clouds, with a perfect double rainbow which last over half an hour. Glorious, glorious time - envigorating.

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#28
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/19/2007 5:18 AM

Sounds cool . You'd better get your skates on for the 21st though. When I went there (years ago) there wasn't anybody else walking around. Wickadly good. (well how could I resist an opportunity like that ). If you like the serenity feeling there are some terrific (little visited sites) in Scotland.

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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/19/2007 7:33 AM

They're all over - I visited several last time I went to the Lake District

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#226
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 12:08 PM

.....and then the damn car wouldn't start.....

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#55
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/19/2007 8:37 PM

Even in New Zealand we've heard of the 'wispering gallery' - Dome of St Pauls I think...

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#18
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 9:47 PM

I thought twins could read each others minds anyway

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#5

Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 6:07 AM

I think they're under a dome - and being a Limey, I'm not sure whether it's the White House or the Capitol Building that has the dome that looks remarkably like the dome on St Paul's Cathedral, London - home of the famous Whispering Gallery. Whisper something on one side and a person standing oppposite will hear you clearly.

Of course, in St Paul's, you can't have one of them standing halfway across the room...unless there about 100 ft below the "floor" of the dome!

So after Bobby comes running and gets a choc-bar and Billy has finished complaining bitterly that he's always the one who gets the naff jobs - Dad explains that sound waves can be focused, bent and reinforced in ways analagous to light rays (on the occasions where you're treating light as a wave rather than a particle!).

Now, where's my 70% cocoa chocolate?!

PS At least I know that the White House et al are in WAshington DC, and that Washington State is miles away!

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#17
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/18/2007 9:03 PM

English Rose,

Try the 'Chocolate Factory' in the Swan Valley, Western Australia, they have the best 70% cocoa chocolate I've ever tasted. They sell it in these large 'ingot's which when refridgerated need to be broken by hitting with something heavy. It just adds to the adventure.

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#24
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/19/2007 1:27 AM

I will go with all the dome theories, Discovery ran this unique phenomenon a while back.

I did, however think it was a no-no to eat in historical buildings???

Will e-mail u 70% cocoa chocolate at earliest possible convenience! Personally I will go for the Swiss Choc, nothing better.

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#87
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/20/2007 5:06 PM

This is beginning to sound like some of those earlier challenges where the kids are arguing - and at least half the dads give totally unconnected explanations.

So far we have frequency-dependent nodes and antinodes, and explanations in whispering galleries that appear to concentrate on focussing* or refraction (sorry ER). With regards to St Paul's the effect is slightly broken by the discontinuities, but if you direct the sound along the wall you can be heard at any point on the gallery that is close enough to the wall - and you'll hear your own voice coming back from behind you.

*Actually, I admit it, focussing is involved in St Paul's, but it's supposedly a secondary effect

Phonons anyone?

Fyz

P.S. I'll go halves on the dark chocolate - do you prefer Lindt, Suchard, or Green and Black's, or one of the French "cooking" chocolatiers? Have you tired 85% - goes well with single malt?

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#96
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/21/2007 4:21 AM

How I long for those halcyon days of kids arguing, interspersed with lads weekends at the cabin in the woods...

Thank you for the apology (although I'm not quite sure what it's for!). Surely the effect in St Paul's is reflection not refraction, brick is a notoriously non-transparent substance wrt sound! Guest #74 provides an elegant diagram.

[I believe this reinstates my membership to the Institution of Pedants at no cost]

PS - Green and Black's (dark ginger Mmmmm - currently on offer in a well-known supermarket beginning with T), then Lindt. Not tried the Suchard. Last time I had 85%, I got caffeine headaches...perhaps if I joined you in the single malt, I wouldn't get the headaches. A nice Islay, anyone? Whilst watching the cricket - I favour Durham this year.

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#98
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/21/2007 5:17 AM

As I remember St Paul's, there are gaps in the walls, so the rotunda effect is not exact. I believe that the result is that if you whisper your message from a small way away from the walls the sound peaks and troughs as you move between discontinuities (at the same distance from the walls). That was where the focussing came in. But I could easily be wrong about this - it's a very long time since I went, and I was more concerned with keeping an assorted birthday party of six-to-nine-year-olds happy than with scientific experimentation. Islay (or indeed any other peaty island malt) sounds purrfect.

Fyz

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#111
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/21/2007 8:10 AM

Still reflection though, isn't it? Or am I missing something and the discontinuities allow sound to pass in and out of the dome, refracting through some sort of acoustically transparent material. Or am I just losing my (Elgin) marbles?

I'll keep the ginger chocolate to myself then! Yum

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#132
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/21/2007 11:11 AM

No need to return your Elgin's to Greece just yet. I never intended to imply that refraction might be significant - the bit I semi-recanted about was only the focussing. "Watch my slips", perhaps?

N.B. The precision-frequency specialists use resonators based on whispering gallery modes in multiple dielectrics (usually rutile+sapphire). Those involve refraction as well as (slightly frustrated) total internal reflection.
But in architectural acoustics significant refraction contributions usually imply excessive loss for the whispering gallery mode to be usable.

BTW, some Irish Whiskeys are perfectly drinkable - though I'm still waiting for a really good peaty one.

Fyz

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#149
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/21/2007 2:52 PM

I see exactly what you're saying of course.

Silly Mid-Off.

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#159
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/21/2007 4:17 PM

A long . is just what is needed. Where's the catch?

Fyz

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#161
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/21/2007 4:23 PM

A long what?

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#163
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/21/2007 4:30 PM

Try reading that punctuation mark as a word. But the meaning is probably of little interest to a person who might be expected to understand baseball.

Fyz

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#164
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/21/2007 4:58 PM

Oooh, ouch...that baseball remark really hurt. And I suppose that Cricket is REALLY easy to understand for a non-Brit.

That's OK, my wife still calls hockey periods "quarters", even though she knows there are only THREE of them! And its not like she is ignorant about numbers, she is an IT manager! But then, she grew up primarily as a basketball and soccer player, games with Four distinct QUARTERS of play time.

It is funny that baseball, as an organized sport including professional leagues, is only wildly popular in the USA, Japan, and certain Latin American and Caribbean island countries. Then again, cricket is only popular in former British Commonwealth (previously British Empire) countries. Possibly our lack of interest and need to invent a national sport in the US stems from us being the only (correct me if I am wrong) English-settled and still English-speaking country that had to fight and win our independence from England in an actual war. Many others tried to win, and many others were peaceably granted, independence from England, but we had to win it with our own blood and guts on the battlefield.

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#167
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/21/2007 5:23 PM

Apologies for my clumsiness - no hurt or offence intended. My intention was to imply that one game with this level of artificial complexity should be enough for any one person. The daughters of a colleague tried to teach me baseball basics once when I was down your way (within about 1000 miles) a few years ago. I understood just enough at the time to know who should be doing what - but it didn't stick. Actually, compared with baseball, cricket is operationally quite simple* (otherwise we Brits couldn't cope), but has a load of minor variables that make it look hard.

Regards

Fyz

*The basics: the government of the day is restricted to 11 ministers. It fields two of these ministers at whom the 11-man opposition take turns throw questions at from the opposition benches. If a minister can appear to answer a question, the two ministers swap places, and award themselves a point each time they swap. If the question hits home, or a member of the opposition catches it before it bounces, the minister loses his position and is replaced be another, until there are no additional ministers available so the government can't field two people at once. Then the opposition take over as government. This goes on for periods of up to five days, or until both sides have been in government twice. You win if your party has more points and the other party has been in government the maximum two times.

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#171
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/22/2007 12:29 AM

Fyz,

Huh, that's simple??
Maybe your friend's daughters didn't know how to explain baseball to you. Surely they could have done better than this. Anyway, I'll try to do better.


A game consists of 9 innings. Each team bats in the inning, until the other team puts out 3 players. The visiting team bats in the first half of each inning, which is called the top of the inning because the visitors are listed above the home team.
The pitcher throws the ball to the catcher and the batter tries to hit it between the baselines that extend from home plate all the way to the edge of the stadium. If the batter hits the ball, he runs to first base. If he reaches the base before a fielder catches the ball, he is safe. This is a "hit," and scored based on the number of bases the runner safely reaches (single, double, triple, or home run for all four bases).
A batter can also get on first base if he is hit by a pitch, or the pitcher throws four pithches that are scored as "balls." When first base is awarded to a batter after 4 balls, that is called a "walk."
A "strike" on the other hand counts against the batter. Three strikes make for one out. The ball must pass through the strike zone, an area above the front edge of home plate that reaches from the batter's knees to his chest. A "ball" misses the strike zone.
Balls hit between the baselines are called "fair," and those outside the lines are "foul." The first foul counts as a strike. A foul caught by the catcher or a fielder is an out.
Sometimes a batter can reach first if he has 2 strikes and hits a foul ball that lands close to home plate. This known as a "foul tip," and the catcher must pick up the ball and tag out the batter. If the batter is aware of the foul tip, and the ball has rolled away from home plate, he can run to first and try to beat the catcher's throw.
Fielders can also make an out by tagging a runner with the ball when the ball is in play, or beating a runner to a base. Runners on base can advance if the current batter gets a hit, or by "stealing" a base when the pitcher starts his throw.

Baseball may seem complex, mostly because there are so many discrete events that make up a game, and there are nuances to every aspect. If you make it back over here, try to make it to a Little League game. Those tend to be a lot simpler than the majors.

Also baseball makes for some intersting studies in phyics!

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#172
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/22/2007 12:55 AM

Baseball looks like a great game. Is there any real advantage to sliding feet-first onto a base ? I know the feet have got to touch it , but it seems 'wrong' that you could go from running to a feet-first slide efficiently.

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#186
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/22/2007 9:28 AM

Several advantages to sliding. First of all, you are not allowed to over-run the base, well, 2nd or third bases anyway. If you do, you may be tagged "out" by the player with the ball, which is usually the baseman covering the base you are sliding into. Batters are taught to over-run first base so as not to lose any speed, since it is allowed. While you are also allowed to overrun Home plate, as long as you step on it in the process, runners will often slide if they think the catcher might get the ball and try to tag them out. And runners must be tagged before they reach the base (or plate) by the ball or the glove containing the ball unless it is a "force out" situation where there is already a runner on the base behind them, with no empty base in between. First base is always a "force out" situation.

Secondarily, there is something a little bit unnerving to the man trying to catch the ball and/or tag you "out" if you are coming at him feet first, and those feet have spikes on them. It is said that the great baseball player, but not so great human being, Ty Cobb used to sharpen his metal cleats to a pin point right before each game in full view of the opposition team. Then when he would slide, one foot would be raised off the ground, aimed at the opposing player's face. Cobb was an extremely successful base runner and base stealer (a "stolen base" is when the runner tries to get to the next base between plays without being tagged with the ball.).

Finally, the large cloud of dust raised by sliding can sometimes obscure the outcome (and the runner is usually "safe" if the tag is not seen clearly) or at least make it harder for the other player to tag you.

A player will not slide into 2nd or 3rd base if they think there is a good chance of going on to the next base, but will step on the base and overrun it, turning toward the next base. This is called "rounding" the base. The runner looks to his nearest coach to see if he is being signalled to continue or to "hold up" and return to the base he has just rounded.

A good, well-practiced slide will use the body's inertia to actually help the player stand back up, on the base, at the end of the slide in one smooth continuous motion. In this case the slide is often only partial, with the feet sliding, but the rest of the body not quite down on the ground. Without yet coming to a complete stop, except for the feet, body mass inertia continues to carry the upper body forward, and with a little help from the leg muscles, the player makes a perfect upright landing on the base! It is truly a beautiful thing to watch when done well. Literally, "poetry in motion".

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#177
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/22/2007 8:10 AM

Hi Doug

Do they ever broadcast "Prime Minister's Question Time" in your part of the USA? If so, that would make my little joke a lot clearer. But cricket is (basically) simple.

Two teams of 11 players. One team bats, the other fields (so far, this could be baseball).

There is a pair of targets, called wickets. A batsman from the batting team stands in front of each wicket. A member of the fielding team bowls a ball from one wicket toward the other. Once the signal has been given that the ball is in play, the two batsmen can do more-or-less what they like, short of interfering with members of the fielding team. But, if the ball hits either of the wickets when it is undefended, the batsman nearest that wicket has to be replaced. The only method of defending a wicket from the bowler is hitting the ball. Other than the originally bowled ball, the method of defending the wicket from fielders is to be within the base area near the wicket (just like being near a base, I think). The other difference is how points (called runs) are scored: basically, the batsmen change ends once for each run.

Everything else is just detail, such as:
deciding who bats first on the throw of a coin,
restrictions on bowling method,
penalties for bowling inaccuracy,
long hits counting four runs,
long-and-high hits counting six runs,
a struck ball being caught before it bounces terminating the hitters innings,
grouping the bowled balls in sets of six bowled from alternate ends,
the batting team's batting period (innings) ending when each batsman has batted once and the team can no longer field a pair,
Each team being allowed two innings, and
one game lasting five days* (that is in the original form of cricket - there are quicker variants that have been designed(?) by an Australian newsman for ease of broadcast)

*Probably the safest way to be reasonably certain that there will at least be a game - given the British weather

In case you cared, I hope that is now clearer.

Regards

Fyz

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#178
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/22/2007 8:31 AM

Or here

but this is the best!

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#187
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/22/2007 9:30 AM

Loved the second explanation !!

I'll keep it with the "Who's on first" video as I think it's one of the best piece of comedy I've ever seen....classic.

Thanks.

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#196
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/22/2007 2:46 PM

Fyz,

Cricket sounds a bit more like croquet. I don't know much about that game either.

I remember seeing a segment on TV years ago when NBC still carried Major League games. It explained that baseball came from an older British game called "Rounders," and it was based on seige warfare instead of field combat. Sounds like cricket may have had a similar origin.

Games like football, hockey, basketball, etc. are based on field combat. This shows that most competitive team sports are based on war of some kind, and may have risen first as substitutes for war, and evolved into a form of entertainment, recreation and exercise.

How did such a cultural discussion ind up here in a thread about physics and geometry? I guess it just shows the CIRCLES a converstion can travel in, once it gets started! It probably shows what an ECCENTRIC bunch we are!

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#199
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/23/2007 12:09 PM

My description must have been truly execrable! If you want to make that analogy, baseball has a larger number of bases (or hoops). The significant (?) differences between baseball and cricket are the number of bases (cricket=2, baseball rather more), and (I might even be wrong in this) that the vertical extension of the base marker in baseball is a player, whereas in cricket it is three stumps of wood with another balanced on top. Swapping ends and other such are mere refinements that either allow you to live with varying conditions or allow mankind to indulge its taste for pointless complexity (a bit like some of these threads, perhaps?)

Fyz

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#200
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/23/2007 3:03 PM

I've a horrible feeling that 'mankind' should read 'humankind' . Yet another game of passing through hoops in a pc world. Armstrongs supposed omission of 'a' might be the least thing to argue over.

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#202
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/23/2007 5:15 PM

I would have thought my choice of pronoun would have sorted that one.

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#205
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/24/2007 2:08 AM

I'll ask God if she agrees.

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#206
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/24/2007 11:40 AM

The answer to that question is "da". Hope you found that helpful.

SFIK, in English collective nouns take the gender of their members. If the collective has members of both genders, the neuter applies. The use of neutral pronoun clarifies that mankind includes both sexes equally (or none). If God doesn't subscribe to Fowler, it may not agree - but that is not my problem.

Of course, ER may have access to a reference that shows me to be totally incorrect on this.

Fyz

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#208
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/24/2007 12:14 PM

The whole topic is hilarious. On the one hand we have people screaming for politically correct gender-speak , and on the other we have people shouting 'my gender is irrelevant'. Betwixt the two , it is laborious to construct an inoffensive substance. My schooling in English language was non -existent , so you'll have to excuse my inability with usage. Could you describe my words here without recourse to the word 'Kris' ? Possibly you could , but if avoiding gender specific reference it would be laborious. I think the internet age needs some gender neutral term that facilitates communication. I would love to hear any suggestion's. Not because I have any interest in a persons being , simply because it makes communication easier. How would you describe my comments here if talking to a third party (avoiding the usage of 'Kris') ?

You may see this post as slightly mischievous , but have a look at the post on TLA's with specific reference to SFIK - my meaning may be clearer.

No offence intended , just a bit of philosophy at the end of a thread. I do take head of your comments Fyz.

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#209
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/24/2007 12:26 PM

Dear Kristina,

My apologies; I wasn't aware that Kris was gender-specific.

Fyz

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#210
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/24/2007 12:54 PM

Fyz,

No apology is reqired . My life simply revolves around 'Coronation Street'. I am easily confused. Kris is my name , and despite ambiguity the male (ususally assumed inference ) is correct). I simply wish to avoid inadverant offence. Kris. (I prefer my name as stated , but no offence is taken given the context)

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#213
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 9:26 AM

My college girlfriend was Kris, short for Kristina. Kris, or Chris (which is what we call my cousin Christine), is one of those many names that seems to have not specific gender and are often used in movies and TV shows when the writer WANTS a character to be confused as to another character's gender. Other gender-neutral names include, Sam (for Samuel or Samantha), George (itself or Georgina), Hunter (given to both sexes), Blair, Danny (for Daniel or Daniella or Dannica), Steve/Stevie (for Stephen or Stephanie), Jackie (for Jack, John, or Jacqueline), Bobby (for Robert or Roberta), and of course Pat (for Patrick or Patricia), the quintessential gender-bender from the Saturday Night Live series of skits, "It's Pat!", which made good fun of this gender confusion. "Pat" often confused the people she was with ("Is Pat a guy or a girl?") since she liked just as many "boy" things as "girl" things. Her looks were not gender specific, since she could be a woman dressing in mannish clothing, or a man with a very effective feminine side. The short curly hair and dumpy body that hid gender clues quite well and nasally, mid-range voice, all made for even more confusion and wonderful hilarity.

BTW, no offense, and maybe it was the prior girlfriend with the same name, but I assumed "Kris" was female as well, until your last post revealed the opposite!

ROFL

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#215
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 10:05 AM

ROFLMAO!

I'd always assumed 'our' Kris was male - something to do with his avatar...and the mentions of his wife!

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#216
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 10:16 AM

Wife and children is no guarantee in the UK these days - assuming they ever were (e.g. Jan Morris?). As for avatar - I clearly don't exist (in case you ask - yes it does feel like that sometimes - all together now...), and I doubt you consist entirely of vegetable matter.

Fyz

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#220
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 11:08 AM

who said that?

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#221
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 11:12 AM

Said what?

Or, while on the subject of Avatari (no, that's not an early games computer) that GM1960 stands for "Granite Mass entirely surrounded by ocean",

Fyz

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#223
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 11:21 AM

OI!!!!!

there's a 4 at the end - I'm old enough already, without you giving me an extra few years!

The north east might be granite, but the west is quite gneiss.

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#225
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 12:06 PM

Apologies for my typo. But you must be very young if four years either way is an issue. Also for the oversimplification - but I felt that too much detail would confuse the message.

Fyz

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#229
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 12:37 PM

Nae worries, Fyz - thought you might have changed it so the "ocean" bit would fit.

Of course I'm young - I just got the degree last year.

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#230
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 12:39 PM

And it was a genuine "Type '0'".

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#242
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 5:50 PM

Reminds me of the Physical Geology course I took.

In our first lab session, we had to identify several samples by the minerals in them. Afterwards, I told the instructor the lab was important so we would learn not to take things for granite.

Later in another lab about metamorphic rocks, she held two samples in her hands and said one showed more of a folded pattern than the other. I said, "So you could say that one is gneisser that the other one."

When we finished the lab about sedimentary rocks, I told the instructor (who is also a musician), that the lab should have had a theme song, "Sedimental Journey."

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#247
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 5:01 AM

Foilage and foliage present another problem altogether.

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#249
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 10:30 AM

You might appreciate this story:

As a Senior in college I dated a Freshman young lady who was a Geological Engineering major. She was really bright and a hard worker, who worried excessively over each exam to keep her straight "A" average. I was mostly a "B" student, who enjoyed other things in life and extracurricular activities and did not stress as much over exams. However, as I had some free time after her upcoming Mineralogy exam, I agreed to meet her outside the building and either celebrate her success or help her wallow in mediocrity.

She came outside looking somewhat out of sorts, and it was hard to tell if she was depressed, unnerved, perplexed, or what. I asked how the test had been. She answered that the actual test was fine, she did very well. However, she quickly added, she had really been thrown by the extra credit questions that her graduate Teaching Assistant, a lovely young woman I happened to know as well, had added to the exam.

She complained that the questions had nothing to do with Mineralogy or Geology in any way and I asked her to elaborate. She told me that one of the questions was, "What is the Airspeed Velocity of a Swallow?", immediately recognizing the Pythonesque source of the questions, I decided to play her along a bit. I responded, as if the question had been asked of me,"Well, what kind of swallow, European or African?", to which she looked up at me astounded, and said, "That's the right answer! How stupid is that?" Playing along a bit more I asked her what was another one. She said, "What is your favorite color?" to which I responded, "Red......no, blue!"

She could not believe her ears. "How did you know THAT?", she demanded. I responded, enigmatically, "Kings have to know these things." Then I explained they were all lines from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. She threw a fit!

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#253
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 1:15 PM

Enjoy again !

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#224
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 11:27 AM

But Gregor McDowell wasn't even born in 1960! He was born 4 years later.

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#232
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 12:48 PM

Jsem Gregor McDowell a střídám tě ve službě," představil jsem se, spíše jsem na něj vyštěkl. Bylo to něco mezi pozdravem a představením

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#233
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 1:45 PM

What language is that Croation? Czech? Hungarian? Polish?

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#234
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 1:53 PM

Try Czeching by Googling "Gregor McDowell".

Fyz

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#235
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 2:18 PM

ER,

Whotheheck is Gregor McDowell? Malcolm McDowell's illegitimate Slavic offspring? Roddy McDowell's idiot half-brother?

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#273
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

07/04/2007 5:33 AM

<sigh> GM1964...GM=initials (a guess) and 1964 his year of birth (a correct guess). Both Gregor and McDowell are genuine Scottish names...

Where'd you lot get the Slavic connection? Shouldn't that be Igor?

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#274
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

07/04/2007 5:47 AM

"(a guess)" - or a read at another thread???

(at least I'm giving some clues)

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#275
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

07/04/2007 7:28 AM

Nope peeking was done - definitely all my own work (let's face it, it's pretty obvious!) Who was the ???? who thought it was genetic coding?!

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#276
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

07/04/2007 7:48 AM

Our good friend Scapolie.

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#277
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

07/05/2007 10:33 AM

I thought Gregor was also a Slavic name.

Pronounced "greg ur" it would be Scottish. The Slavic name would be pronounced "grey gore"

Gregor Mendel, the pioneering geneticist, although born Johann Mendel, a German-speaker, took his new first name when he entered the Abbey in Brno, now part of the Czech Republic. Some say Mendel was Austrian, but my Croatian grandfather's immigration papers says "Austria", since the "Austro-Hungarian Empire" was fairly vast at that time.

I had also found some Polish "Gregor" names.

It seems Gregor as a first name is also most popular among Germans as well as Scots, so I perhaps should have said "German" instead of "Slavic".

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#278
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

07/05/2007 11:19 AM

Enough, enough. Gregor is an international Christian name - same root as Gregory. Often after Pope Gregory "the Great". There have been 16 popes who took that name, and 10 (Roman Catholic) Saints. So it must have been popular in Italy.

Whatever the reason, speakers of German, Gaelic, and Slavonic languages tend to remove 'y' endings from base names.

Surely you shouldn't need a non-Christian to tell you this.

Fyz

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#279
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

07/05/2007 11:31 AM

Could have something to do with the Gaelic not using the letter "Y", or "Z", or...

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#280
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

07/06/2007 6:17 AM

Two fewer letters than this

BTW idad should be spelt Iodhadh (or Iodha) LOL

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#217
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 10:19 AM

I Assumed he was human.....just shows how wrong I can be!

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#246
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 4:52 AM

No no no everybody !

..despite ambiguity the male (usually assumed inference ) is correct).

'the male' refers to Fyz who I was clarifying things to.

'usually assumed inference' means a whole range of possible things.

Moving on (in a cloud of more ambiguity ) , there was at least one that I think you missed. I know a female (honest , I do ) called Hilary. This can be used by either gender. To make things more confusing , she is also known as Billy (for reasons lost in time). This was her usual name long before the 'celeb' Billy Piper was even born , and also when Billy Holiday was little known. Many people were confused by this. Apart from the Lady , I can not think of any other earlier females called Billy.I am not even sure how this usage came into being (given that Bill derives from William). I suspect a Germanic root , but I know of no such connection to the Billy I know or the one who could sing. The former was last heard of in the mud at Glastonbury , where there is no danger of being misconstrued as musical (Surprising guest Shirley Bassey excepted). Women using Chrissy or Kris (etc) is just an extension of the feminist movement. They are incidentally responsible in large part for vegetarianism. Let me explain. In olden pre-suffrage days , the men would gather in 'pork-chop houses to discuss their nefarious activities whilst gorging on meat. Women wished to meet and do similar (discuss , that is ) , but needed a venue where men would not go or take any interest. The brilliant solution was eateries that only did vegetable dishes. I do occasional requests for trivia as well , though I mainly just drop it in randomly.

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#258
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 1:44 PM

Once upon a time in America there ruled the slick King William of Clinton and his steadfast Queen Hillary. King Bill and his queen ruled hand-in-hand, if not other parts of their bodies. Side-by-side most of the time (except when old Bill needed another part of his anatomy to be held), they were sometimes referred to collectively as "Billary".

Perhaps, guilty by association of names, your friend acquired this nickname as well, which later became shortened to "Bill" or affectionately, "Billy". N'est-ce possible?

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#259
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 1:50 PM

Females' names that can be shortened to Billy:

Wilhelmina (after the Danish queen), Sybil - to mention just two.

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#261
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 2:11 PM

I'd been thinking Wilhelmina , but was thinking it was German ( and OK , I wasn't quite sure of the spelling !). Sybil ? Nah , I'm not convince unless you have an example. I think Sybil Fawlty of Torquay is refered to as Syb.

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#265
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 3:34 PM

So you don't think Sybil might have multiple diminutives? I can't give you a well-known example - in fact (off the top of my head) I can only think of one truly famous person whose real name was Sybil, and she used the full version - which I would have considered vastly preferable to Syb, which sounds rather like a cigarette stub to me. However, I did know a Sybil who was always known as Bil or Billie - but I didn't know her proper name until much later.

A more unexpected source of Billie as an abbreviation is Bertha (yes, really). Of course, early in the last century Billie was popular as a name in its own right - I've no idea where that came from. Then there's the Billie-Jean ...

Now, about that chocolate...

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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 3:43 PM

I'm not sure that Maddie was good at finnishing of sentances in the usual way.

....who claims that...

Just kidding of course. Must fly , I have to be up in time for the Milkman.

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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 3:44 PM

"Now, about that chocolate..."

Careful! Don't melt it with that Heat Beam you keep swinging around!

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#268
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 4:02 PM

It's amazing how difficult it is to tell the difference between a heat-beam and an ice-spike on the web...

And I don't remember telling you I was a laser physicist. Even if I did, I might have been lying.

Fyz

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#269
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 6:46 PM

Well, you never know what kind of STIMULATING information will come to LIGHT and become AMPLIFIED by the EMISSIONS of others and then that information begins to RADIATE to who knows where.

That must the most complicate pun I've ever created!

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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 2:04 PM

Non , c'est impossible. (well it could be , but the French always seem to say that )

Billary would presumably have drooled in Scamelot.

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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/23/2007 4:01 PM

Execrable? I didn't expect your reaction to be that strong! If I inadvertantly stepped on your toes, Fyz, I apologize. My comparasion of cricket to croquet was based on a causal observation of both games using wickets.

Baseball has 4 bases: home, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. They are laid out in a diamond pattern with the picher's mound in the middle. Home is often a flat plate shaped like a square with a triangle attached to one side. The other bases are square bags placed at the corners of the diamond.
The player is not an extension of the base, he is the defender of the base. A baseman will often stand away from the base in order to be in a postion to field (catch) a ball. When a runner is on first or third base, the baseman will usually stay on the base, especially if the runner is fast and has a reputation for stealing. Runners are allowed to take a lead off the base, and the baseman needs to be in postion in case the pitcher tries to pick off the runner.
It may seem that baseball has more bases because the infield has an extra defender, known as a shortstop, who covers the area between 2nd and 3rd. The outfield has three players, left, center, and right field.
In regular season major league games, umpires will be stationed to cover the bases and related areas of the outfield. In the playoffs, they will add two umpires to cover the boundaries of the outfield.

I should have included a description of the field's layout in my original description of the game. But now we see that geometry is a factor in these sports. Maybe this long detour will insire someone to submit a Challenge Question about cricket or baseball.

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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/23/2007 5:26 PM

Toes well protected - no problem. I just think happen to think execrable is the only adjective for explanations that cause more confusion than understanding.

In all cases, the essential simplicity of a game is best understood by starting from the version played by families on the beach.

BTW, we would regard the fielding team as "attacking", and the batting team as "defending" the wickets. Maybe this explains why I hadn't grasped the present version of the concept of a "pre-emptive strike"... (the Brits have long had this idea, but it seemed to change meaning about four years ago)

Fyz

Bandannas tambourines - let's call the whole thing Orff?

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#204
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/23/2007 7:27 PM

Well, that exposes one major difference between the games. In baseball, the batting team in on offense and the fielding team is on defense.

I don't know for sure, but I imagine the sport of baseball started as a kid's game with one side defending a castle and the other side attacking it. At one point, the defenders had no weapons left except some balls or rocks that they pretended were grenades or some kind of hand-thrown bomb. One attacker was sent to be the first to penetrate the castle. The chief defender would throw the ball at him and he would try to deflect it with his stick that he pretended was a sword or lance. If the attacker hit the ball or rock, he would run to where a defender was guarding the base of a tower, and another attacker would appear at the gate to have a ball thrown at him. If the second attacker hit the ball he would run to relieve the first attacker, who would go attack another guard at the next tower, and so on.

I could imagine another group of kids changing the game to where the attacking team thows the bombs at the castle and the defenders trying to deflect the bombs.

The truth probably will remain shrouded in the mists of history and the long lost imaginations of children. That is, unless someone decided to record these games on parchment or stone, and someone discovers their writings. Who knows, there might be a diagram somewhere outling the "castle."

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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/24/2007 11:45 AM

Viewed from here: another possibility is that following independence the ex-colonials wanted to make everything they did as different from the hated oppressors as possible, but still wanted to play a team game with bat and ball. Hence, round bat, single batting base but multiple others, different duration and terminology...

Fyz

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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/24/2007 8:14 PM

I don't think that post-independence feelings towards the British had that much to do with it. Baseball didn't apppear until the last half of the 1800's.

Culturally, Americans and Britons were already different by the time the war started. The Dutch, Scotch-Irish, and Swiss German Mennonties were already in the colonies by then, and they all had infuenced American society. The British brought in German mercenaries. As America expanded, it picked up some from the former French colony of Louisiana, and quite a few Irish came to work on the railroads. The influence of these other ethnic groups may have been a factor.

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#218
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 10:32 AM

3Doug,

You stated, "I should have included a description of the field's layout in my original description of the game. But now we see that geometry is a factor in these sports."

This is quite true and a very astute observation.

Normally, you give excellent answers, fairly clear and precise. However I must take you to task a little about this last description of baseball geometry, especially when trying to communicate with someone with an avowed lack of understanding of the game:

"Baseball has 4 bases: home, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. They are laid out in a diamond pattern with the picher's mound in the middle. Home is often a flat plate shaped like a square with a triangle attached to one side."

Firstly, although we do call it a "baseball diamond", in geometric terms it is actually a square, just rotated 45° from our normal frame of reference. Most people think of a "diamond shape" as being a non-square rhombus, oriented with its major axis (or diagonal) being vertical. It is only with some imagination, that we see a "diamond" in the baseball field layout.

Secondly, your description of home plate is incorrect, because the three sides adjacent to the two right angles are not equal length, as they would be if they formed part of a square. The shape could more accurately described as a non-regular pentagon with two adjacent right angles at either end of the base, and a height equal to the length of the base, so that the 4th and 5th line segments form a right angle and connect to the two parallel sides. The standard dimensions are 17 inch for base and height, 8.5 for the two parallel sides, and 12 inches for the two other sides. There is a very small error if you check this geometry mathematically, and I am not sure if it is the right angle at "the top" or the length of the sides.

Here is a sketch of the dimensions:

Your description would give a home plate which was much longer than actual.

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#219
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 11:05 AM

Confused
????????
Even more confused
?????????????????????????????????
Worried - not too much - maybe some things are best left as mysteries.

By the way, a well known American singer singing once composed an entire song about cricket pitches: "take these chains..." (Wicket)

Fyz

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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 11:18 AM

Did you hear the result of the Borsetshire Cricket final last night? They were darned lucky not to have the torrential rain there that most of the rest of the country had! Bad luck Ambridge, losing by 1 run.

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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/25/2007 5:09 PM

Borsetshire seems to have special conditions a lot of the time. I'd say artistic licence, if I didn't have reservations about both words in this context. Let's just say a warp of some sort.

Fyz

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#248
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 5:06 AM

I don't do '..sympathy' . 'chain chain chain....' . Much cooler.

Also , the dimensions of the baseball plate appear to make it slightly warped. This is probably just to confuse pedantic Brits. Whatever the dimensions , Baseball sound a much better game than cricket. At least it has some life to it. Why on earth would anyone want to combine sleeping with playing sport. 'Cricket' even sounds like watching grass grow.

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#250
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 12:29 PM

Kris - how could you? Cricket is the best game in the world - just look at the people it removes from circulation at weekends.

Personally, wimp that I am, I preferred rounders, netball, badminton and tennis to most other sports.

Fyz

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#251
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 12:46 PM

Is Rounders still popular in Britain? As a child's playground game, or organized as a sport for young men (or women?), amateurs or professionals?

Our schoolchildren in the US play another variant we call Kickball, combining elements of soccer (football in the rest of the world) and baseball. There is no bat. Instead the "batter" kicks the ball from home plate that is rolled (not bounced) to him by the pitcher, who is often a teacher, so he is fair to both sides. The rest of the rules and play are like baseball except that the ball may be thrown at the runner to get him out if he is off base. Stealing bases is usually not allowed, and only one extra base is allowed in case of an overthrow.

Is Kickball played anywhere else outside the US? I have never heard of it being played as an organized sport either, but it wouldn't surprised me, since Dodgeball, once only a children's game, now has organized teams and leagues!

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#252
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 1:02 PM

I don't know if rounders are still popular - but I imagine so, as they can be played on hard and soft surfaces, and with no fixed equipment (it's forty-odd years since I played). I can't remember them ever being overly organised.

In the UK, all the sports I mentioned can have one very important common denominator. One part of your question was relevant - professional tennis may provide a further clue?

Fyz

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#272
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

07/04/2007 5:23 AM

One of our secretaries has recently joined an adult Rounders Team - and as they have matches, I assume there's a league (not sure how formal/official) in place as well.

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#256
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 1:35 PM

I am rather brazen I suppose. And , yes , I have to admit that Cricket does have some value though mostly unintentionally. Fewer Subday drivers , less DIY mayhem etc etc.

My playground favourite was British Bulldog. In my Schooldays everybody played , like it or not. The link is a bit of a send up , but it was genuinly fun. Nobody got too badly mangled , despite the limited rules. The inclusion of all actually worked well , the whole school getting involved at times. This was of course in days when conkers were the most dangerous playground accessory. It's about the only inclusive sport I can think of . Gawd , I'm getting all nostalgic.

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#263
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Re: Who Wants Chocolate?: Newsletter Challenge (06/19/07)

06/26/2007 2:39 PM

Oh, yes. You are bringing back some memories for me now! In Boy Scouts we would play British Bulldog, running from one side of the gymnasium to the other with one or more of the older Scouts starting as catchers in the middle. The signal to begin running was when the Scouts in the middle called "BRITISH BULLDOG!" I remember it being a fairly rough game, more than once losing a button on my Scout uniform shirt. But we loved it. We never played it in school though, and I suspect that it was one of those games brought back from a World Jamboree and then spread to other Scout troops in the US. Of course, it could have been with the Boy Scouts of America since its founding in 1910, as the BSA was a spin-off of the original Boy Scouts organization in England founded by Lord Baden-Powell.

Most US schoolchildren play a similar, less violent, game called Red Rover, which sounds very similar to one of the B/B variants. Two teams each form a line, holding hands. One team starts chanting/singing "Red Rover, Red Rover, let (insert name) come over." The named child from the other side would have to run at the opposing line. If able to break the grip between two he could then choose one of them to return to his line. If not he joined the line he failed to break. The other team then got a chance to call one over. The game continued until one line was down to a single player, since a single player could not form a line to break.

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