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Things you are ashamed to admit you don't know

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
Okay, this thread is intended as a way for people to come out of hiding and admit that they don't know things. It also provides a forum for people to supply the missing knowledge. I hope everyone will have the decency not to mock anyone for their ignorance: that would rather defeat the purpose of the exercise.

The idea is that if there's something you've never quite worked out, but that seems like it ought to be such elementary common knowledge that you can't bring yourself to ask about it because you're too embarassed to admit that you don't already know it, this is your chance. I'm sure most people have something they're embarassed about not knowing. If enough people contribute to this, maybe people will start to feel less bad about not knowing things and be more willing to admit they don't know and ask questions. :)

Okay, I'll set the ball rolling with the excruciatingly embarassing admission that I don't know about rubbish disposal. :) There are certain items (batteries, for example, or fluorescent bulbs) which tell you in the blurb that you are not allowed to dispose of them as normal domestic waste, on the grounds that they contain evironmentally damaging toxins (Mercury, Cadmium, etc.) which will cause dangerous pollution around landfill sites. So my question is: if you're not allowed to throw these things in the rubbish and have the bin men collect it, what are you supposed to do with them when they're broken or used up? What's the officially sanctioned way of disposing of them?
 

Mr Cat

Banned
can someone tell me about women and how their mind works..? :D
 

Saggy

Established Member
take the old batteries to your local tip, at my local one there are all sorts of things they re-cycle now ;)
even thought the workers think you are mad, i tried to take a black bag full of plastic bottles that i had collected during the week (its amazing how much you usually throw away without thinking) and the guy at the tip said whats the point just throw them in the bin his coment was "the damage has allready been done."

Martin
 

DLPMaybe

Established Member
I can't calculate the square root of numbers in my head. Does this count? I know some people why can to several decimal places but don't know how they do it.
 

Toasty

Distinguished Member
Saggy said:
take the old batteries to your local tip, at my local one there are all sorts of things they re-cycle now ;)
even thought the workers think you are mad, i tried to take a black bag full of plastic bottles that i had collected during the week (its amazing how much you usually throw away without thinking) and the guy at the tip said whats the point just throw them in the bin his coment was "the damage has allready been done."


Thats odd, our council recycles plastic bottles, they even collect them for us every two weeks, and you're right, we collect loads over 2weeks!

I'd like to know if plastic bags are recyclable as we've got loads of these too, but have found no way to dispose of them other than the bin.
 
S

shadowritten

Guest
1) How to mirrors work?

2) Do spiders sleep?

Both of these have genuinely bugged me.
 

Saggy

Established Member
our dustmen take glass / metal / papers / garden waist but not plastics.

I think that some of the major supermarkets take the old bags back to recycle, (our local sainsburys does).

Martin
 

Mr Cat

Banned
shadowritten said:
1) How to mirrors work?


Both of these have genuinely bugged me.

when I was a kid I was convinced that it was normal paint - thus, a lot of windows got painted in our house... :D
 

unique

Moderator
shadowritten said:
1) How to mirrors work?

Both of these have genuinely bugged me.

We see objects in a mirror, because a mirror, when hit by particles of light called photons, reflects the photons back to us and some reach, and enter, our eyes. Photons that hit a rough surface will bounce off of the surface in a haphazard manner, while those that hit a smooth surface, such as a mirror, only bounce off of the surface at the same angle at which they hit the object. The scientific term for this phenomenon is reflection.

Not all smooth surfaces reflect photons back to us, even though, technically, they should bounce back at the same angle at which they hit the surface. This exception to the rule results, because some smooth surfaces absorb the light particles hitting them, making it impossible for them to bounce back.

Another apparent exception to this rule is that, although our bodies are rough, uneven surfaces, off of which light bounces at random angles, our images reflect off of a mirror. The reason for this apparent contradiction is simply that when we stand in front of a mirror, some, but not all, of the light particles bouncing off of us will hit the smooth surface of the mirror. The ones that do reflect our images back to our eyes at exactly the same angle at which they hit the mirror.

In other words, photons that bounce off of any part of our bodies and hit the mirror reflect back to our eyes from only one place on the mirror, and at only one angle. It follows that each point on our bodies that reflects back to our eyes from one point on the mirror produces an image in the mirror. All of the images together make up our reflections, like it or not. And remember that mirrors don't lie!
 

unique

Moderator
shadowritten said:
Both of these have genuinely bugged me.

It really depends on how you define "sleep". All animals have some sort of 'circadian' rhythm - a daily activity/inactivity pattern. Some are active during the day - diurnal - others are active at night time - nocturnal/crepuscular. The periods of inactivity are characterised by withdrawal (to a shelter perhaps) and a drop in metabolic rate.

This applies to spiders as well, although no studies have been done to measure the period of time spent in such a state or at what times different species do it. It seems that spiders with good eyesight that rely on vision to capture prey may tend to be more active in daylight hours, whereas others that rely on snares/webs could be active at other times, but this is not necessarily the case for all species.

In cold climates, spiders "overwinter", which means that they have a kind of hibernation period. Overwintering involves a drop in metabolic rate, where the spiders bring their legs into their body and remain huddled in a shelter during the coldest months of the year.

This ability to shut down for a long period of time indicates that they might be able to do it for shorter periods in their everyday cycle, which could be seen as a form of sleep or rest.
 

booyaka

Moderator
if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to see it - does it make a sound??
:confused:
 

unique

Moderator
i'm useless at tying ties the neat and tidy way that everyone in Next or the rest of the guys on the bus or office do. instead i look awkward with a tie on, like brad pitt in se7en or the typical private investigator / alchoholic cop in american movies or in the sweeny. i don't even do the top button. the distressed/harrassed look makes me look busy and overworked, so i don't get bothered too much if i say i'm busy
 

Duncan G

Prominent Member
booyaka said:
if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to see it - does it make a sound??
:confused:

How do you know a tree falls if no one is there to see it fall in the first place. If you can't see the tree fall how do you know it makes a sound. Does it make a sound because you see it fall and thus expect it to make a sound and if so is the sound of the tree falling in your imagination. And if the sound of the tree falling is in your imagination, have you also imagined the tree falling. And if you have imagined the tree falling and the sound of the fall, do you actually exist or am I talking to myself and why are those men in white coats injecting meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.:boring:
 

Mr Cat

Banned
unique said:
We see objects in a mirror, because a mirror, when hit by particles of light called photons, reflects the photons back to us and some reach, and enter, our eyes. Photons that hit a rough surface will bounce off of the surface in a haphazard manner, while those that hit a smooth surface, such as a mirror, only bounce off of the surface at the same angle at which they hit the object. The scientific term for this phenomenon is reflection.

Not all smooth surfaces reflect photons back to us, even though, technically, they should bounce back at the same angle at which they hit the surface. This exception to the rule results, because some smooth surfaces absorb the light particles hitting them, making it impossible for them to bounce back.

Another apparent exception to this rule is that, although our bodies are rough, uneven surfaces, off of which light bounces at random angles, our images reflect off of a mirror. The reason for this apparent contradiction is simply that when we stand in front of a mirror, some, but not all, of the light particles bouncing off of us will hit the smooth surface of the mirror. The ones that do reflect our images back to our eyes at exactly the same angle at which they hit the mirror.

In other words, photons that bounce off of any part of our bodies and hit the mirror reflect back to our eyes from only one place on the mirror, and at only one angle. It follows that each point on our bodies that reflects back to our eyes from one point on the mirror produces an image in the mirror. All of the images together make up our reflections, like it or not. And remember that mirrors don't lie!

that was a very good use of copying and pasting and pretending you typed it in... :rolleyes: :rotfl:

booyaka said:
if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to see it - does it make a sound??
:confused:

what about this - if a bloke says something in a forest and his wife isn't there - is he still wrong..? :D
 

unique

Moderator
Mr Cat said:
that was a very good use of copying and pasting and pretending you typed it in... :rolleyes: :rotfl:

i might not know how to tie a tie properly, but i know how to google! :D
 

Kevo

Prominent Member
How to boil an egg?

I can never guarantee on getting in the way I like it every time, i.e. runny enough for soldier dipping, but not too much so it's slimey or too hard so there's no 'dippy yolk'!

What's the best eggs/method and best way to prevent em sometimes cracking up in the pan?

I usually use large free range from Tesco's :)blush:
Pierce both ends (supposed to prevent it from cracking?)
Add salt to water (seals cracks??)
Put eggs in when water is about to boil.
Boil for 4-5mins

Serve and dip :)
 

unique

Moderator
Duncan G said:
How do you know a tree falls if no one is there to see it fall in the first place. If you can't see the tree fall how do you know it makes a sound. Does it make a sound because you see it fall and thus expect it to make a sound and if so is the sound of the tree falling in your imagination. And if the sound of the tree falling is in your imagination, have you also imagined the tree falling. And if you have imagined the tree falling and the sound of the fall, do you actually exist or am I talking to myself and why are those men in white coats injecting meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.:boring:


i'm just waiting on someone to ask if the light goes off in the fridge when you close the door...
 
D

Dr Diversity

Guest
NicolasB said:
There are certain items (batteries, for example, or fluorescent bulbs) which tell you in the blurb that you are not allowed to dispose of them as normal domestic waste, on the grounds that they contain evironmentally damaging toxins (Mercury, Cadmium, etc.)

Your tip will take away domestic tubes. In the office they count as hazardous waste and have to be accounted for. Get a container from City Electrical Factors and they take it away when it is full (100 - 200 tubes). You give them £100 and they give you a reciept to say they have been disposed of properly. Watch out in a few years time when offices get prosecuted for not dumping tubes correctly.
 

Kevo

Prominent Member
unique said:
i'm just waiting on someone to ask if the light goes off in the fridge when you close the door...

Or

'How does the man who drives the snow plough get to work?' :rolleyes:
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
booyaka said:
if a tree falls in a forest and no one is there to see it - does it make a sound??
:confused:
That depends on how you define sound. If you define sound as being the perception of sound by a human ear/brain system, then the answer is "no", because, by definition, there has to be a human/brain system present for the perception to happen. If, on the other hand, you define sound as the pressure waves in air that create a perception of sound when they hit an ear-drum then yes, it does - the effect on the air is the same regardless of whether there is an ear-drum around to intercept the pressure waves.

If people are going to insist on asking "imponderable" questions, then let me just head off a couple of others:


Q: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

A: The egg. Chickens evolved gradually from a non-chicken ancestor. At some point between that ancestor and the present-day animal they must have crossed the line between being classed as a chicken and not being classed as a chicken (however you choose to define that). Thus, the first ever chicken was hatched from an egg that was laid by something that wasn't a chicken (although it was very similar).

If you're a creationist, then I guess you would argue that it was the chicken.


Q: If God is omnipotent, can He create something that He cannot destroy? (The theory behind this question is that if the answer is yes, He's not omnipotent, because there's something He can't destroy, but if the answer is no, He's not omnipotent because there's something He can't create - either way, he can't be ominpotent).

A: No, because the concept of an object that an omnipotent God cannot destroy is meaningless. He couldn't create a triangle with 4 sides for the same reason.


Q: What happened before the beginning of the Universe?

A: Nothing, because this, again, is a meaningless question. Space and time were created by the Big Bang, so the words "before the Big Bang" have no meaning. (This is not an easy idea to get one's head around; people think of the Big Bang as matter and energy exploding outwards into previously-empty space, but this actually isn't correct - it actually created the empty space as well).
 

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