If you ever catch on fire, try to avoid looking in a mirror, because I bet that will really throw you into a panic. -Jack Handey
Question #73894 posted on 08/27/2013 8:34 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My husband and I have been dreaming of building a home for a long time. I was thinking that if we ever do, I would write scriptures inside the walls when they are being built. I'm not sure I can think of any good ones though. Are there any scriptures from the Bible or preferably the Book of Mormon that you would hide inside your home? (Is this a totally weird idea?) I was trying to think of stuff to write on the main floor, in the master bedroom and in my future kids' rooms and a guest room.

Ideas? Thoughts?

-Foundation

A:

Dear Basil,

President Monson gave a talk called "Building Your Eternal Home" that has some wonderful scripture suggestions. Also it's one of my favorite President Monson talks, so I used it as my jumping off point and then added from there.

Kitchen:

D&C 88:119 "Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” (This can really go wherever you plan to gather frequently.)

Matthew 6:5-7, 9-13 “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray … , that they may be seen of men. …
“But thou, when thou prayest, … pray to thy Father which is in secret. …
“Use not vain repetitions. …
“After this manner … pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
“Give us this day our daily bread.
“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.”

Isaiah 58:6-11 “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? …
“To deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?”
The reward is then announced: “Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rereward.
“Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, “Here I am. …
“And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
“And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, … and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.”

D&C 130:2 "And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy."

The Family: A Proclamation to the World "Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities." I know it's not a scripture, but it could also be nice for where ever your family plans to gather frequently.

Entry Way/Foyer:

Matthew 12:25 "Every … house divided against itself shall not stand.”

1 Nephi 3:7 “I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.”

Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him."

James 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

Bedrooms:

3 John 1:4 "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

Enos 1:27 "And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen."

Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

D&C 42:88 "And if thy brother or sister offend thee, thou shalt take him or her between him or her and thee alone; and if he or she confess thou shalt be reconciled."

D&C 108:7 "Therefore, strengthen your brethren in all your conversation, in all your prayers, in all your exhortations, and in all your doings."

Pantry/Laundry Room:

D&C 132:8 “Behold, mine house is a house of order, … and not a house of confusion.” C'mon, that's funny. Well, at least if you saw my pantry....

Foundation:

Matthew 7:24 "Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock"

Helaman 5:12 "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."

Hebrews 11:10 "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."

Isaiah 28:16 "Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation..."

2 Corinthians 5:1 "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

Study/Office:

D&C 88:118 “Seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith."

Matthew 11:28-29 “Come … learn of me … and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”

Bathroom:

Ether 2:24-25 "For behold, ye shall be as a whale in the midst of the sea; for the mountain waves shall dash upon you. Nevertheless, I will bring you up again out of the depths of the sea; for the winds have gone forth out of my mouth, and also the drains and the floods have I sent forth. And behold, I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea, and the winds which have gone forth, and the floods which shall come. Therefore what will ye that I should prepare for you that ye may have light when ye are swallowed up in the depths of the sea?"

Porch/Garden Pathway:

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."

Jeremiah 29:5 "Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them."

Any Room:

1 Corinthians 3:16 "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"

1 Kings 9:3 “I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.”

Joshua 24:15 "Choose you this day whom ye will serve ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

3 Nephi 3:19-21 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal; But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

D&C 31:9 "... Govern your house in meekness, and be steadfast."

Proverbs 24:3 "Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established."

As for your kids' bedrooms, you should probably have this poster hanging up:

Lego.jpg

(source)

-Marguerite St. Just

Question #73890 posted on 08/25/2013 5:28 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Over the years, many composers have taken the text of various psalms in Psalms and put them to their own music. First, what are some notable compositions? And second, have all 150 psalms been put to music (disregarding the original music from David et. al.'s time)?

-Not the Song of Solomon

A:

Dear Solomon,

To answer your second question: yes, all 150 psalms have been put to music. Many times over, in fact. The most basic settings of the psalms that have occurred over the years were in psalters, books containing some or all of the psalms put to a singable meter. Though some earlier psalters contained only the text of the psalms, many psalters contained melodies and even harmonizations. One of the most notable collections of psalms was the Genevan Psalter, a French-language psalter created under the supervision of John Calvin. The first English book published in the New World was a psalter, the Bay Psalm Book. More recently, the Psalter Hymnal of the Christian Reformed Church was published in the 20th century and contains musical settings of all 150 psalms. As far as arrangements by famous classical composers goes, the Wikipedia entry for "Psalms Set to Music" seems to cover most if not all of the psalms, and that's only a small sampling of the many arrangements out there.

Okay, now on to notable settings of psalms. The most popular psalm setting is probably "Joy to the World." The text, by Isaac Watts, was based on Psalm 98 and the musical arrangement was created by Lowell Mason. Other famous psalm settings include:

  • Miserere by Gregorio Allegri is a setting of Psalm 51. Cool story: it was performed only once a year, in the Vatican, and performing it elsewhere or even transcribing it was punishable by execution. When Mozart was 14, he visited Rome, heard the Miserere and transcribed it by memory back in his hotel room. The piece was published, the ban lifted, and instead of excommunicating him, the Pope congratulated Mozart. 
  • Beatus Vir by Antonio Vivaldi. This choral piece uses the text from Psalm 112.
  • Wo Gott der Herr nicht bei uns Haelt and Waer Gott nicht mit uns diese Zeit by J.S. Bach both use a paraphrase of Psalm 124 as their text.
  • Psalm 42 by Felix Mendelssohn. This is absolutely gorgeous. Please go listen to it now.
  • Psalm 13 by Johannes Brahms. Hauntingly beautiful with a surprisingly jubilant ending. Listen to the Chamber Choir of Europe's recording.
  • Psalms 13, 18, 23, 116, 129 and 137 by Franz Liszt
  • Psalm 138 by Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Psalm 138 by Gustav Holst
  • Psalm 150 by Benjamin Britten. The orchestral part is really what makes this one for me. I mean..dang.
  • Psalms 121 and 150 by Zoltan Kodaly. I'm a sucker for Kodaly's choral works, what can I say? His Psalm 121 is especially lovely.
  • Symphony of Psalms by Igor Stravinsky uses Psalms 38, 39 and 150 and is pretty cool.
  • Tehillim by Steve Reich uses parts of Psalm 18, 19, 34, and 150. I listened to this piece for a music history class once and then completely forgot about it until now. Reich is pretty out there, so it isn't your standard choral psalm setting, but it's definitely worth a listen.
and a bit more recently...
  • "40" by U2 is based on Psalm 40
  • In live performance, snippets of Psalm 116 are often inserted into U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name."
  • "Tzama L'chol Nafshi" by Matisyahu uses text from Psalm 63
  • "Jerusalem" by Matisyahu is a setting of Psalm 137
  • The song "On the Willows" from the musical Godspell is based on Psalm 137

Peace,

-Stego Lily

Question #73779 posted on 08/14/2013 5:10 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How long can I survive on baked potatoes and eggs?

-Chippy

A:

Dear Chippy,

Interesting question! For the sake of the question and research, I'm going to assume that you eat 10 eggs (50 oz each) and 8 medium/large potatoes (213 grams each or close to 4 pounds total) a day. It seems to be the most efficient combination and you would be consuming about 2,053 calories a day, assuming each egg is about 75 calories and each potato is about 163 and assuming that you're a healthy human who requires the standard amount of 2,000 calories a day. For the sake of simplicity I'm also going to assume that you don't use any toppings on your baked potato or egg besides salt and pepper. 

The first thing I uncovered as I researched the nutritional value of potatoes and eggs was that potatoes contain glycoalkaloids that can potentially kill you if you eat an enormous amount of them raw. However, the level of glycoalkaloids in 8 raw potatoes a day would not be enough to kill you, and since you're baking them, you're denaturing the compound and rendering them mostly non-lethal. As long as you cook both your eggs and potatoes thoroughly, you should avoid both poisoning and disease. So far, so good. 

After deciding that you would prepare your food properly, I went through and calculated how much of your daily value you would get from your diet. I looked up the essential vitamins and minerals and discovered that vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B4, B6, B12, C, D, E, K and the minerals magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and iron are on almost every survivalist's list. After doing the math, I found that for 10 eggs and 8 potatoes a day you would be severely deficient in B4 (roughly 0%) and that you would only be eating about a third of the daily recommended amount for vitamins E and K. You'd be a little closer to your daily value for vitamin D at about 75%. Now let's see if any of those deficiencies will limit your potential survival:

According to this source a vitamin B4 deficiency seems serious, but B4, or adenine makes up part of your DNA and is synthesized by the body. Being deficient in B4 seems to be very unusual and I'm going to do some more assuming and decide that you will be okay. 

Your body also makes vitamin K, so as long as you don't suffer any traumatic injuries after several years of being deficient (vitamin K helps your blood clot, so hemorrhaging is one of the effects of being deficient) I'm also going to say that this is not a deficiency that would threaten your survival. My research was showing me that eggs are high in vitamin K, but two large eggs have about .3 micrograms, and an adult male needs about 90 micrograms a day. You would actually be consuming most of your daily value from the potatoes at about 32%. 

A vitamin E deficiency can lead to potential blindness, but even people with diets low in vitamin E rarely show symptoms and those deficient rarely develop problems. Assuming you have at least fifteen minutes of sun exposure every day, your body will synthesize plenty of vitamin D and make up for your dietary deficiency. So technically, none of your deficiencies are life threatening. As long as you add plenty of salt (with iodine, although potatoes have a lot of iodine as well) to your food, you should also avoid deficiency problems there. 

So your deficiencies are all well and good, but what about the vitamins and minerals you would be over consuming? You would be ingesting too much of the following: vitamin B2 (at 420% of your daily value), vitamin B6 (at 240%), vitamin B12 (at 230%) and vitamin C (So yay, no scurvy, but at a whopping 384% of your daily value!) as well as phosphorus (253% of your daily value).

As it turns out, vitamin B2 is very water soluble and impossible to overdose on. Your body just eliminates the excess. A vitamin B6 overdose (especially over years) is very serious, but even at 240% of your DV, you'd be fine-- you're only consuming about 4.72 mg a day, and a low upper limit, established by this source, is 10 mg. There's no upper limit for B12, and no adverse effects exist from ingesting too much. My mom likes to caution me about vitamin C overdoses, but as it happens, your consumption would be nowhere near close enough to cause a major overdose (6,000+ mg a day), so you're fine there. As for phosphorus, you would be consuming about 1,772 mg, and this Livestrong article puts the upper limit at 4,000 mg. So even your over-consumption would not threaten your survival. 

In total, you would be consuming plenty of fats (125% DV), enough carbs (about 96% DV) and enough protein to sustain muscle growth (124%). 

For your additional interest, this article by Cecil Adams takes a look at a diet consisting of just potatoes and milk and discovered that you would be deficient in molybdenum. The good news is that eggs have about 3 micrograms each, and you would consume about 30 micrograms total, which is about 77% of your daily value. Eggs and milk are actually fairly similar nutritionally speaking, except for molybdenum, and in this type of diet, eggs would be a better choice than milk. 

I'm honestly really surprised by the results. The vitamins and minerals you would be deficient in would have few adverse effects, while the ones you overdose on would also have no effect. I'm no nutritionist and my math is rounded, but as far as I can tell you could potentially survive for a long time on baked potatoes and eggs, unless dietary boredom killed you off. With that being said, please don't take this as a go-ahead for a diet that consists of nothing but potatoes and eggs. Common sense and moderation in all things. 

-Concorde

Question #73776 posted on 08/14/2013 4:40 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

One of the things I love about BYU is that there are so many things the university provides for students. I'm sure you all already know, but the Media Lab in the library has high-powered computers with advanced video editing software. Cool! The circulation desk checks out iPads. Anyone can use certain parts of the athletic facilities.

My question is, what gems like this does BYU offer that we should try/might not know about yet? Which ones have you found useful?

-Reader

A:

Dear reader,

Normally "The 100 Hour Board" would be my first response, but I suppose you've figured that one out already. Here is a list of BYU-provided things I've tried or heard about, in no particular order. Some are more well-known than others, and some are only useful depending on your interests.

Library chat - on the right side of the library's website, click "Chat" under "Ask a Librarian" to have a lovely conversation about anything in the library
Media Center - on the fourth floor of the library there is a collection of movies available for three-day checkout; the Media Center can also convert your video tapes to DVDs; it also houses the Multimedia Lab where you can check out electronics equipment (camcorders, audio recorders, digital cameras, microphones) and, of course, they have sweet computers with great software
Classical Music Library - I've never used it, but Board Question #43951 gives details (and lists some other "best kept secrets" of BYU)
IT Training classes - learn everything from Microsoft Access to Photoshop to how to use a Mac; the library also offers some software classes, but I prefer the ones through IT
Women's Gym - see Board Question #66176 for location; it's good for girls who want a less crowded environment, but the selection of equipment isn't as great as the Student Fitness Center
Study Buddy program - practice your second language and help someone else learn English too; Board Question #42133 has a good description
BYU Writing Center - in 4026 JKB, writing tutors can help you with any kind of writing at any stage in the writing process (doesn't need to be school-related)
Counseling and Career Center - they have everything from general and pre-professional advisement to academic skills classes to career services (they can critique your resume for you, among many other things); perhaps most notably, the CCC also includes Counseling and Psychological Services and Stress Management & Biofeedback Services, which I've never tried but have been highly recommended right here at the Board
Women's Services & Resources - free nutrition consultations, support groups, and counseling centered around women's issues
Free personal trainer - interns at the Fitness Center can help you meet your exercise goals
Distribution Services Center - you can purchase Church distribution materials in the basement of the BYU Bookstore; it "offers a limited variety of temple clothing and garments"
BYU Info - call (801) 422-INFO to ask the BYU Operators any BYU-related question; they have special access to campus information
BYU Surplus - sells BYU surplus items, from furniture to electronics; send an email to surplus (at) byu.edu to get on the mailing list; more information here
Lost and Found Sale - get some used items for dirt cheap once a year around September; you can also get free used school supplies at the Lost & Found at various times during the school year (look in the boxes in front of the counter)
BYU Book Exchange - a Bookstore-run site that helps students connect with each other to buy and sell textbooks
University Accessibility Center - get tested for learning disabilities for free or at a reasonable price; also has helpful resources if you do have a disability
Borrow board games - check out up to three games at a time for three days from the WSC Info Desk (or, if you live in on-campus housing, you can check with your central building [where you can also borrow sports equipment, tools, and sometimes kitchen appliances, as well as buy stamps])
Harp room - a room with a harp in it in the HBLL; "If you go to the music desk on the fourth floor and ask nicely, they will let you go in and play it. There's also a huge library of harp music there." -yayfulness; thanks also to Tally M. for adding it to the list
Free bowling - every student receives one free game and shoe rental per school year at the WSC Games Center; there's also an arcade and great buffalo wings down there (or so I'm told)
Planetarium - Friday night shows are just $2 a person
BYU Textile Cleaning Services - offers dry cleaning at great prices
Free software - BYU provides a small selection of free programs; the Bookstore also offers software discounts but I'm not sure how competitive they are
Bookstore movie rentals - rent DVDs and Blu-rays for a dollar a night from the computer section on the third floor of the Bookstore; better selection than the Media Center, in my opinion
Viewing rooms - you can reserve a room in the HBLL to watch movies
Varsity Theater Dollar Movie nights - posters on the theater's front window give names, dates, and times; buy tickets at the WSC Info Desk
Great Works Card - if you're in the Honors program, you can get $2 tickets to some of BYU's performances (similar to the New Student Arts Card)
Free New York Times - there are stacks of these around campus that are depleted pretty quickly, but I can always find some in the Brimhall building
Bookstore Pack & Ship - according to the Universe, the Pack & Ship department in the Bookstore offers discounted shipping rates
Databases & Subject Guides - everyone knows about these now because they teach it in first-year writing, but I just want to emphasize that we are very priveleged to have access to some great scholarly journals and other online academic resources
International Cinema - admission is free to this theater (in the SWKT) that shows foreign and classic films
Music room in the Testing Center - listen to soft classical music as you take your test in a smaller, upper room of the building
Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum - (closed until Spring 2014) free admission, live animal shows for FHE, and more; the Museums of Paleontology and Art and Peoples and Cultures are also free admission
Cool classes - if you've ever wanted to learn scuba diving or Norwegian, BYU is the place to do it; check out Board Question #20477 and Board Question #71545 for some thoughts about Honors and unconventional courses  

Okay wow. I didn't realize how many there were when I started this, so I'm going to have to call that good before this goes overhours. I know I'm missing some, but hopefully a few are new and useful to you. Board Question #58515 also gives a good overview of BYU "freebies" and how to find more. The ones I've found most useful are the CCC and pretty much all the library.

-Owlet

Question #73752 posted on 08/14/2013 2:04 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What do you think would be the top 5 trending hashtags representing major events in each decade since 1900? For example, one for the 1930s could be #greatdepression. And that's 5 hashtags for each decade.

-The Anglophile

A:

Dear Mahler,

This project took much longer than I expected, so I apologize. I'm hoping, however, that my thoroughness will make up for it.

I needed to select some standards for the hashtags so that I could narrow it down to the major five for each decade, since I could easily come up with more than that (for some decades: other decades I could barely get to five).

The first problem I ran into was that Twitter would never really have a decade-long trending hashtag. Major events rarely trend for very long on Twitter. Instead, we get things like, "#JustinWillAlwaysBeTheBest," "#sorrynotsorry," "#43MillionBeliebers," or "#MyFavoriteSongWillAlwaysBe." None of those are particularly noteworthy trends that reflect an entire decade. (You could argue that it really does reflect our decade, but that's not my point right now.)

So, the first priority was that the event needed to happen during the entire decade, multiple times during the decade, or make a significant impact on the world. 

The next priority was a focus on international issues, since the decade didn't just happen in the United States. However, United States was second after international issues. The problem I ran into was deciding between political events and pop culture. To be honest, pop culture would be more likely to trend on Twitter. I made an effort to include pop culture when I could, but since your example hashtag focused on the historical, I did the same.

Some hashtags are reflective of the standard Twitter hashtags, while others are simply descriptive. Yay for consistency (or the lack thereof)!

Let us begin!

1900s:

#naturaldisaster — While containing just as many natural disasters as many other decades, 1900 - 1909 was filled with a number of notable disasters. Most remembered are the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 1906 and the San Francisco earthquake in the same year.

#snapshot — The Brownie camera was invented in 1900 and made it more financially possible to take pictures. Instagram was on its way to existence.

#phonograph — This technological marvel (for the time) was in widespread popularity, making it possible to have dance parties in your home without hiring an orchestra!

#firstflight — The Wright Brothers made their flight at Kitty Hawk, the first truly verified "first flight." There were other claims, but most aviation historians don't put much stock in them.

#radioactive — No, not the Imagine Dragons song. Marie Curie greatly contributed to research into radioactivity and went on to win two Noble Prizes for her efforts.

1910s:

#assassination — This decade held a handful of very notable assassinations, namely: Archduke Franz Ferdinand (essentially launching World War I), George I of Greece, and Nicholas II and his family.

#WWI — This is fairly self-explanatory. "The War To End All Wars" defined the decade and set the stage for the years to come.

#sinkingfeeling — The sinking of both the Titanic and the Lusitania left a total of nearly three thousand people dead in their respective crashes.

#cubism — Pablo Picasso, among others, helped to influence the art world to a whole new level. 

#igottafever — And it's not Beiber fever. The Spanish influenza epidemic (which I used as a plot point in a short story I wrote in seventh grade) killed millions worldwide.

1920s:

#YOLO — Sorry, Millennials, the Roaring Twenties had this attitude before you did. 

#dryspell — Prohibition went into effect with the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution, outlawing the sale, production, and transportation of alcohol. This ban lasted through the entire decade, leading to the rise of organized crime and people like Al Capone.

#monkeybusiness — The "Scopes Monkey Trial," as it was so called, brought the debate between creationism and evolutionism to the forefront of American minds and whether or not either should be taught in school.

#lostgeneration — The hipsters of the twenties, the term was typically used to describe those who had been through World War I and struggled to find themselves in the aftermath, particularly American artists, poets, and writers living in Europe. The Fitzgeralds, Ernest Hemingway, and John Dos Passos were among the most notable of the "Lost Generation."

#womansuffrage — This had become a major international issue during this decade, especially as women gained rights during 1920 in the United States and 1928 in the United Kingdom.

1930s:

#greatdepression — An economic downturn never affects just one country, and the Great Depression was no exception. As you noted, this impacted the entire decade, and was an obvious choice for this set of five.

#nazism — The rise of Nazism took place during this decade, cementing the inevitability of the forthcoming war. Kristallnacht, a devastating attack on the Jewish populations of Germany and Austria, took place in November of 1938, sending thousands of Jews to concentration camps.

#dustbowl — The "Dirty Thirties," as it was so called, was a series of violent dust storms in the prairie lands of the United States and Canada. A combination of extreme drought and lack of crop rotation had a crippling effect on not just the the region, but the entire country.

#hollywood — The decade of the thirties was often referred to as its Golden Age. Hollywood took advantage of people's disenchantment with reality and provided an escape from the problems of the Great Depression.

#wartime — Taking a step back from America, we find that there were actually quite a few wars going on during this decade. The Second Sino-Japanese War (beginning in 1937) was a huge deal, and the Spanish Civil War found the country in a dictatorship. Additionally, there was a war between Colombia and Peru going on, as well as a war between Bolivia and Paraguay. Oh, and the Chinese Civil War.

1940s:

#WWII — Like World War I, I feel the choice of this hashtag is fairly self-explanatory. The war pulled the United States out of the Great Depression, and led to the generation of baby boomers. 

#decolonization — Within this decade, Iceland declared itself independent from Denmark, India and Pakistan from Great Britain, Indonesia from the Netherlands, Syria and Lebanon from France, and Burma from Britain as well. 

#swing — This was the era of swing, at least for the first half of the decade.

#atomic — The dropping of bombs on Japan would change the tide of the war, as well as the world.

#crackthecode — Navajo code talkers, the Enigma cipher: the forties was a time for code making and code breaking, assisted by the advent of computer technology.

1950s: 

#Koreanwar — Tensions between North and South Korea led to intervention by the United Nations. The impact of this war is still notable today, especially in the difference between the two countries.

#TV — The television really took off during this decade, and by the end of it, nearly every American household had a television set. It also meant that 3D movies attempted to lure consumers out of their homes and back into the theaters.

#DNA — The double-helix structure was discovered (mostly) by Watson and Crick. It's hard to imagine a world today without this discovery.

#Sputnik — The space race began with the Russian satellite launch.

#rockandroll — This was the time that rock and roll really took off. Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Johnny Cash are names still remembered today for their impact on popular music. 

1960s:

#makelovenotwar — This phrase epitomizes the counterculture and anti-war movement of the sixties. Plus, it sounds like an actual trending hashtag!

#civilrights — A movement that peaked in the sixties, it shook up countries all across the world. African countries, Canada, the United States, Ireland, Germany, and France all found themselves rethinking the rights of minority populations.

#planecrash — At least seven extremely deadly plane crashes happened throughout the entire decade, crashing on nearly every continent. Definitely meets the international requirement.

#spacerace — Following JFK's challenge to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, it was a competition with the Soviet Union. One that America won.

#beatlemania — According to yayfulness, I can't have the sixties without the Beatles. So, instead of Bieber fever, we get Beatlemania. And people still remember the Beatles. Only time will tell if they remember the Biebs as well.

1970s:

#stagflation — While it wasn't as significant of an economic downturn as the Great Depression, the combination of increased inflation and unemployment rates let to a distressing economic state in the United States. 

#oilcrisis — Occurring twice in the decade, it sparked an interest in developing alternate fuels after the realization that the possibility of running out of fuel became more clear.

#coldwar — Even though this began well before the seventies, I needed to include it in some decade, and this was just the decade I put it in. Not to mention all of the movies it inspired (War Games is delightfully cheesy), this defined American foreign relations for years.

#discofever — Think of the seventies, and you think of disco fever. The Bee Gees, Village People, and ABBA all found themselves amidst the popular music.

#videogames — Ever played Space Invaders? Pong? Snake? Breakout? Oregon Trail? You've played games from the seventies. Don't tell me video games didn't have an impact.

1980s:

#justsayno — Nancy Reagan's pet project's slogan is reflective of the war on drugs that America began to attempt to fight. It's still going on now.

#crash — Multiple plane crashes, the crash of the Challenger, the Exxon Valdez incident, and the Chernobyl disaster filled the decade with memorable heartaches.

#MTV — Music videos took off, majorly impacting the industry. Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Whitney Houston (among others) helped establish the new format and bring about a genre of music that would become classic.

#irancontra — This was a political event that shook up the eighties, providing a wave of controversy that would have ignited the Twittersphere. 

#VHS — The debate between Betamax and VHS would have an impact into the future years as VHS eventually won out.

1990s:

#dotcom — The internet boom in the nineties would lead to the bubble bursting in the next decade. Regardless, the impact that it had affected the internet and the culture for years to come.

#prayers4 — Followed by either "Rwanda" or "Columbine," as both events were tragic and called for the sympathies of the world (or country). Both of them helped to create changes in how to handle genocide and school shootings.

#billandmonica — The Monica Lewinsky scandal could hardly be ignored in the Twittersphere. While this one may not have had as many lasting effects, it still is a significant part of the nineties for many Americans.

#eurounion — The only truly political event on this list, the formation of the European Union has shown its influence to today, since it still exists. The merits of which are, of course, debatable.

#RIPPrincessDi — Dubbed "The People's Princess," her death was met with an enormous public reaction. 

2000s:

#florida — The controversy over the presidential race between Al Gore and George Bush would inflame the nation as people heatedly discussed their opinions on the matter.

#twintowers — The events of 9/11 would bring a nation together as it kickstarted a discourse on terrorism and the course of action to take against it.

#harrypotter — As I'm personally a child of the Harry Potter generation, I had to include this. The books, movies, and surrounding magic will live on in the hearts of those who grew up reading about the adventures of Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Not to mention all of the children who will be raised with the same stories.

#waronterror — Since the events of 9/11, the War on Terror has been used to describe efforts in Iran, Iraq, and Afganistan, as well as new regulations concerning flight.

#outsourced — Jobs really began to be relocated to other locations around the world, especially India. Not only were these simply factory jobs, but tech industry jobs began to relocate as well.

Honorable mention:

#Hindenburg — Crashed in the 1930s

#doctorwho — Started in the 1960s, on the same day as the JFK assassination. 

#startrek — Also started in the 1960s. You didn't know I was a Trekkie?

#psychedelic — Number one word to describe the 1960s.

#chomsky — Little bit of linguistic favoritism here. Really started to discuss theories in the 1970s.

#starwars — First episode appeared in the 1970s. Don't tell me it hasn't made an impact on pop culture.

#stampede — There were 29 human stampedes in the 1990s. 

Shout out to Wikipedia's decade pages for providing me with concise summaries of the decades from which I could select my hashtags!

-Tally M.

Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Why was Ma Bell allowed to be a monopoly for so long, like, from around 1877 until 1984?

-Al

A:

Dear Al,

As a little bit of background, just being a monopoly isn't actually illegal. It does get you more scrutiny from the government, and there are certain things you can't do as a monopoly, but as long as you didn't do anything wrong to become a monopoly and you don't abuse your power, you're legal.

At first, AT&T had a monopoly simply because it was the only company that could make telephones; it had patents that didn't expire until 1893. By that point they already had a huge lead over their competitors who entered the market. They also refused to allow their competitors to connect to their network, which meant that competitors' customers could only call other people on the same network, but not anyone who used AT&T (which was most of the phone customers).

In 1913 the government sued AT&T under antitrust laws, and AT&T settled in what's known as the Kingsbury Commitment. Essentially the government would allow them to remain a monopoly, in return for AT&T giving up their control of Western Union and allowing other telephone companies to connect to their long-distance network. AT&T also promised to refrain from acquiring the remaining independent telephone companies. (Without the Kingsbury Commitment, many people expected that the government would have taken over AT&T.)

The Willis–Graham Act of 1921 allowed AT&T (and other telephone companies, but mostly AT&T) to continue acquiring other telephone companies subject to the approval of the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC). It effectively declared telephone companies to be natural monopolies, and stated that "there is nothing to be gained by local competition in the telephone industry." The idea was that with a single company operating the whole network, customers would get better service and the system would operate more efficiently, compared to a hodge-podge of hundreds or thousands of companies that didn't interconnect. (For another example of a single organization in charge of something, think of the U.S. Postal Service, which is solely responsible for delivering mail. Fedex and UPS can do packages, but they can't use customers' mailboxes.)

The Communications Act of 1934 established the FCC and put them in charge of telephone companies, instead of the ICC. A case study I found states that under the Act, "AT&T was essentially granted immunity from antitrust suits with the goal of providing universal service."

Things started to go against AT&T in 1949, when the government again sued them for antitrust violations, leading to the consent decree of 1956 (which you can see a reprint of in page 107 of this PDF of Western Electric and the Bell System, edited by Albert B. Iardella). This decree limited them to telephone service and kept them out of the computer industry. Several more lawsuits forced AT&T to start allowing some equipment and accessories on their network made by third parties. Then in 1974 MCI filed an antitrust lawsuit against AT&T, the government joined in, and by 1982 AT&T agreed to the breakup of its local telephone service into regional companies (each of which was still considered a natural monopoly). It continued to exist to sell other services (like long distance and equipment), and the conditions of the 1956 consent decree were lifted, allowing it to enter the computer market. In 1984, the terms of the agreement took effect and AT&T was split up.

The short version: AT&T was allowed by the government largely because the government felt like having one large company in charge of service would be better for everyone than having a hodge-podge of incompatible competitors.

If you're interested in more history, the case study I mentioned has some good information, and this site has a good outline as well. Finally, that PDF I referenced is an entire book published internally in 1964 by Western Electric (a subsidiary of AT&T), and includes a good bit of history of the two companies.

—Laser Jock

Question #73566 posted on 08/08/2013 2:58 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My wife and I are both tall people, and we both spread in our sleep. This turns even a king-sized bed into a battleground for the covers, pretty much nightly. We decided to forget sharing a bed in favor of two smaller beds (like Leave it to Beaver or the Flintstones) and figure if we can't make other bedroom-y activities work, we can push our mattresses together like they do on cruise ships. Last week when we were at my parents' house for Sunday dinner, the subject came up. My mom freaked and told us that we would lose all sorts of chances to be close to each other.

Now my wife and I are perfectly capable of going against either or both of my parents, especially on things like this, which is none of their business at the end of the day. However, my mom's reaction makes me wonder if perhaps there is some merit to her opinion. Are there any studies on this topic? What do YOU think?

-Fred Flintstone, who is just looking for a good night's sleep

A:

Dear Fred,

Personally, I think you can still get many of the benefits of sleeping in the same bed while having separate beds, if you sleep in the same room (as Genuine Article pointed out). You can still wind down from the day, have pillow talk, and even cuddle (though one of you would have to go to the other bed once you were ready for sleep). I suppose if either of you started feeling like you were lacking in intimacy you might want to consider going back to a single bed, but I wouldn't be alarmed at a couple who chose to sleep separately.

As far as research, I had a hard time finding much about your exact situation, although there are a number of studies that examine the dynamics of sleeping together. The most thorough was by Jenny Hislop (2007). It's pretty readable, so I'd suggest that you check it out. Its abstract states its conclusions:

The paper contends that the management of tensions inherent in the sleeping relationship plays a key role in framing the couple identity over time, as well as reinforcing the gendered roles, power relationships and inequalities which underpin everyday life.

However, I will say that I didn't find this conclusion to be strongly supported by the research cited in the paper. Instead, I saw it as more of an attempt to answer the question of why so many people choose to sleep in the same bed despite the difficulties that doing so often causes.

The paper goes on to talk about a few things I found interesting. For instance, it points out that, "Incompatibility in sleep behaviour and preferences may thus become a major source of tension over the life course of the couple relationship." It also cites a study that found that 49% of respondents complained about being woken up in the night by their partner. According to that same study, only 7% of couples under age 55 sleep apart.

So why do couples still sleep together? It pretty much boils down to that fact that they don't want to sleep apart, because that would seem weird. It's just not the cultural expectation. Expanding on that idea, Hislop writes:

Our data suggests that couples are prepared to deprioritise their own sleep needs to ensure the maintenance of shared sleeping arrangements and as a symbol of the depth of their loyalty to the relationship. Sleeping together is considered central to the health and well-being of the relationship; a morally right "thing to do"; part of the marriage contract; and a behavioural pattern passed down from parent to child over the generations. While recognising that sleeping together may represent a compromise in terms of comfort and sleep quality, participants highlight the "normality" of sharing a bed.

I feel like this is probably the biggest reason why your mom reacted the way she did. Many people see sleeping together is a symbol of commitment to the relationship, while sleeping apart is associated with a rocky marriage.

Hislop also expands a bit on the kinds of things that couples find valuable about sharing a bed:

Couples speak of the comfort, warmth, familiarity and pleasure of having a partner beside them. For them, the bed becomes a site not merely for sexual intimacy, but for bonding and companionship through cuddles, hugs, and simply "messing about." The intimate space of the double bed provides opportunities not only for physical interaction but for conversation; a chance to chat and catch up on the day's activities; a chance to plan; a chance to discuss sensitive issues. According to the Sleep Council survey (2002), 89% of couples felt that sharing a bed was essential to keeping their love alive, with 58% of couples confessing to revealing their most "intimate secrets" to one another during pillow talk. Sharing a bed is thus not only part of the routine and sexual identity of a relationship; it is "a significant part of keeping you together."

Again (and unfortunately), the paper didn't really try to substantiate any benefits of sleeping together; rather, it explored the participants' own reasons for sharing a bed, and I don't think any of the participants in this particular study slept apart anyway. So this paper doesn't really provide evidence of why you should do the same; it just helps explain why most other people choose to sleep together. (That may be helpful anyway; at least it will help explain others' reactions to your plan.)

I found a second paper that reviewed research about marital quality and sleep quality and how they affect each other (Troxel, 2007). Interestingly, this paper also pointed out that despite couples having objectively worse sleep when together compared to alone (more time in stage 4, less in REM), "participants reported being less satisfied with their sleep on nights spent without their spouse."

Finally, they also found that treatment of sleeping disorders (like snoring and sleep apnea) was correlated with improvements in marital quality in a number of studies. I don't know if thrashing around a lot counts as a sleeping disorder, but if so, then getting it "treated" (possibly by choosing separate beds) might help your marriage!

—Laser Jock 

Hislop, Jenny (2007). A Bed of Roses or a Bed of Thorns? Negotiating the Couple Relationship Through SleepSociological Research Online, 12(5)2. doi: 10.5153/sro.1621

Troxel, Wendy M.; Robles, Theodore F.; Hall, Martica; Buysse, Daniel J. (2007). Marital quality and the marital bed: Examining the covariation between relationship quality and sleep. Sleep medicine reviews, 11(5) 389–404. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2007.05.002

Question #73436 posted on 07/23/2013 8:22 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My whole life I never particularly cared for either hot sauce or avocados. (Felt meh about hot sauce unless it was really hot and outright did not like avocado). Then, pretty much out of nowhere in the last 1.5 years, I developed a love and pretty frequent craving for both (not necessarily at the same time). I found myself putting hot sauce on everything and my mouth would water at the sight of a sliced avocado.

What could cause this reversal of tastes? Aside from being pregnant, which I am not. Nor did I serve a mission somewhere Latin where they eat a lot of both. Has this ever happened to you?

-Spicy guacamole

A:

Dear Spicy guacamole, 

What could cause this reversal of tastes?

These kinds of taste changes, however drastic they may be, are completely normal! While solid scientific studies that might answer why our tastes change are lacking, most people acknowledge that they do change, especially as we get older. One theory claims that our taste buds renew faster than our skin cells which allows them to change more frequently, while another theory states that our mental perception of taste changes as we age. This study, done at the University London College theorizes that the more we are exposed to something, the more likely we are to accept it and like it. Therefore, the older we get the more we begin to like foods we disliked before. 

This paper, by Jane Wardle and Lucy Cooke entitled "One man's meat is another man's poison" discusses possible reasons that we form likes and dislikes at a young age in regards to food. Your original dislike of avocados or hot sauce could have been the result of you observing people who didn't like them when you were young, according to this study, or you could have lacked early exposure that might have helped you enjoy these foods from a young age. 

If those theories weren't enough, chemical or hormonal changes in your body can lead to new or unusual cravings and the type of food that is craved is often unique to each individual. 

Has this ever happened to you?

I spent most of my life disliking strawberries a lot. I don't know why, because I really wanted to like them-they seemed like such cheerful, healthy berries and everyone would give me the weirdest looks when I professed my dislike. It seemed that no matter how many times I tried them, I simply hated them. This past summer though, I've developed an insane craving for strawberries. I want them all the time, and just like you and avocado, my mouth waters when I see fresh strawberries. It's really weird because it feels like it came out of nowhere, but my guess is that overtime my sensitivity to tartness (the reason I used to dislike strawberries) has declined and I taste more of their sweetness. 

-Concorde

Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What is the median age for a MARRIED woman to have her first child here in the US?

-Trying to get my mom off my back

A:

Dear Trying,

I did some looking and didn't find the statistics you wanted listed anywhere, unfortunately. However, I did find a very complete study from 2006–2010 done by the CDC, the National Study of Family Growth (NSFG), and the raw data from the study is available for download. So I downloaded the data and started crunching.

There was a huge amount of data collected from each person, and there were 12,279 female respondents. I filtered the dataset to include only women who were married at the beginning of their first pregnancy, and who reported their age at the time of their first live birth. (I also excluded women whose first birth was premarital, to try to catch cases where a woman was married at the beginning of her first pregnancy, but who then miscarried, got a divorce, and had their first live birth out of wedlock. However, apparently no women in the study did that.)

I ended up with 2020 respondents. Here's a histogram to give you an idea of the distribution:

age_married_women_first_birth.png

Interestingly, there appears to be a bimodal distribution (two well-defined peaks of about the same height), around ages 22 and 27.

Here's a plot showing what percentage of women had had their first baby by a particular age:

cdf_married_women_first_birth.png

(For instance, if you look at age 20, and then look over to the y-axis, roughly 10% of these women had had their first baby by age 20.)

The median age was 26.3 years old. The first quartile (age by which 25% of the respondents had their first baby) was 22.6 years old, and the third quartile (75% of respondents) was 30.0. 

Although religious information was collected as part of the survey, LDS/Mormon was not one of the choices, so there's no clear way to look at only respondents in those categories. However, I would expect that LDS women would be somewhat younger than the above data. I tried including only women who met the above criteria plus considered themselves very religious and attended church at least once a week (754 respondents), and the numbers got slightly younger, but not much. (The median was 26.0, the 1st quartile was 22.5, and the third quartile was 29.1.)

If you look only at women who met all of the above criteria (including religion, etc.) and also had at least a bachelor's degree, we're down to 300 respondents, and the ages skew older: the median was 28.3, the first quartile was 26.1, and the third quartile was 30.6.

And backing up to the original criteria, and then including only women who received at least a bachelor's degree (but without any requirements as to their religiosity), the bimodal distribution disappears. So I'd hazard a guess that the two peaks you see in the graph above are due to education level affecting timing of children.

And just in case any men are wondering, here's a graph for you, showing ages of men at their partner's first birth, who were married by the time of the birth (there was no data for men to indicate if they were married at the beginning of the pregnancy), including 1874 respondents:

age_married_men_first_birth.png

The median age was 26.0, first quartile 23.0, third quartile 30.0. The men's ages at time of birth were given in whole numbers, instead of fractional years like the women, which is why these are all integers. Interestingly, it appears that these ages are essentially the same as for women, although the overall distribution has a somewhat different shape.

—Laser Jock

Question #73362 posted on 07/19/2013 10:58 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Lets say that you were scuba diving in the ocean and a massive 300 ft tall and 10 ft wide air bubble was released from a cave below you. When the bubble reached you would you free fall 300 ft through the bubble and potentially die when you hit the water at the bottom?

-Sharpelectronics

A:

Dear Shark,

You would die in so many ways, but I don't think any of them would be from smacking into the bottom of a 300' tall bubble.

Let's say that you are peacefully swimming at a depth of 100 feet, when suddenly from below, a giant bubble inexplicably bursts forth from the ocean floor. Maybe it's a giant bubble of natural gas with sinister connections to the Deepwater Horizon spill that has finally worked its way out of the sea floor. Or perhaps it's a mythical kraken belching after eating a couple of navies.

In any case, according to my cursory understanding of liquid dynamics and bubble physics, a bubble as large as 300'x10' (which would be more like a vaguely spheroid 55'x55', really) couldn't exist for long in the ocean. Gas bubbles rising to the surface of water don't have it easy. Water is heavy, and to rise to the surface, a bubble must push all of the water in the water column above it out of the way. Really, the heavier water above the bubble moves around the bubble and then sinks below it because of gravity, but it amounts to the same thing: the energy required to move the water out of the way of the path of the bubble has to come from the pressure within the bubble.

To add to our hypothetical bubble's difficulties, as it nears the surface, it tends to expand as the downward pressure on it decreases. A bubble that contains 1 liter of gas at about 100 feet will contain 4 liters of gas when it hits the surface of the ocean. This all means, simply, that a bubble will have to move increasingly large amounts of water out of the way as it nears the surface. Every time the bubble's diameter doubles, it has to move eight times as much water out of the way to reach the surface. This problem is solved in nature by breaking up large amounts of gas into small bubbles so that they are free to rise to the surface without outputting much energy. That's unsatisfactory for our hypothetical situation, though, because we want to actually encounter a giant underwater bubble in order to attempt to fall through it.

So how do we create a large bubble that has enough internal pressure to withstand the forces trying to rip it apart? Nuclear weapons are the answer to this and so many of the world's problems. The deepest nuclear explosion, Operation Wigwam (seriously, who names these things?), happened 2000 feet down, suspended over the 16,000 feet deep ocean floor. The explosion initially created a bubble with a maximum radius of 376 feet, which is more than big enough for our purposes. Hooray! However, the bubble oscillates in size, shrinking and breaking up as a trend, and by the time it reaches the surface of the ocean, it's an incredibly fine, if enormous, geyser of foam. Also, if you're swimming in the path of the bubble, that means you're well within the 7000' radius required to rupture and destroy submarines. I may not be an expert on human physiology, but let's just say that I'm pretty sure we're a lot easier to explode than a Soviet submarine. And if you're close enough to the bubble for it to be large enough in diameter to contain a human, you're probably vaporized by the blast. That's rather unfortunate. If we try for a shallower blast like the Bikini Atoll test (190' depth) to try to get a large bubble to exist at only 100' of ocean depth, we will probably succeed in making the bubble, but not in, you know, surviving. Being only 90 feet away from the center of a nuclear blast is bad for health, I assume.

You would die from

  • Exploding, but if you survived that,
  • Being boiled alive from the scalding water rushing outward from the blast, but if you survived that,
  • Decompression sickness from reaching the ocean surface at ludicrous speeds, but if you survived that,
  • Radiation poisoning, but if you survived that,
  • Violating the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1996 if the UN decides to use deadly force against you, but if you survived that,
  • NUCLEAR MUTANT MEGA-SHARKS!!!

Overall, bad situation. Would not recommend.

–Concealocanth

Further reading/citations: Wikipedia's entry on Underwater explosions, OPERATION WIGWAM Scientific Director's Summary Report (Take a peek. It has a lot of exclamation points and it's very 1950's "Hooray, we're exploding things with nuclear weapons!") and Wikipedia's entry on the Bikini atoll atomic experiments.

Question #73218 posted on 07/05/2013 1:58 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is it generally a good idea to use different passwords for different accounts or to use the same one or two passwords universally? What do you do?

-Me

A:

Dear You,

It's a terrible idea to reuse passwords. It's becoming increasingly common for people to attack websites and grab their stored passwords. Typically, once they have those, it's fairly easy to retrieve 90% or more of the original passwords. At that point they can then try using the same username/password combinations to log into other sites (especially high-reward sites like banks, shopping sites, and so on). The moral of the story? Never, ever reuse passwords, because if you do, a single leak may mean multiple accounts get compromised.

But how can you possibly remember a different password for every single site? You probably have dozens of accounts (maybe even hundreds). The best way to go is with a password safe / password manager. (I recommend LastPass). A password manager is a program that keeps an encrypted database of your passwords, and then allows you to decrypt the database by typing in a master password. Typically it integrates with your browsers and will sync your passwords across different computers. Once you unlock it, you can visit a site's login page and it will fill in your information for you (although you can tweak the settings if you want). (I would not recommend the built-in "remember this password" feature in browsers, though; it tends to be insecure, not to mention more limited.)

Since you don't have to remember the passwords, it's no problem to just generate a different, completely random password for each account. And that makes things even stronger: a password like B"wP|@(Yz,4?pE~48rUZioT<Qn%fe4 is not going to be guessed, ever.

If you're reaching your limit of complexity, you can stop here. Congratulations! Switching to a password manager and generating random passwords for all of your accounts will make you way, way more resistant to people cracking your passwords. But if not, there is one more step you can do.

That is to generate a strong master password for your password manager. But how? My favorite way is to use dice to select from a list of words, to build a random passphrase. (This is similar to the XKCD comic that Zedability refers to in Board Question #71178). This system is commonly called diceware. The idea is that you start with a list of words, roll 5 dice (or 1 die 5 times, it doesn't matter), and look up the word on the list that corresponds with the 5 dice rolls.

For instance, you might roll 16655, which corresponds to "clause" on the standard list. Write that word down on a slip of paper, and then roll 5 more times to pick the next word. Keep going until you have enough words. Six words isn't bad, seven is good, and eight is quite strong. Diceware is strong even if an attacker knows you used this technique and the particular word list you used. (For more questions about how to use diceware, and its security, see the page I linked to above.)

Carry the paper in your wallet, with your other valuable pieces of paper; after the first day or so you should have it memorized, but you'll still have it there in case you forget. (If you're prone to forgetting or won't be using your password manager every day, it wouldn't hurt to write your password down somewhere else, too; if you forget it, you won't be able to get in any other way.)

See also Board Question #59568 for general information on how passwords are stored. And if you want a fascinating look at techniques used in password cracking (and why passwords you pick are probably very vulnerable to pattern-based guessing), see Ars Technica's fantastic article.

—Laser Jock

Question #73164 posted on 07/01/2013 12:58 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is there some relation between length of answer and selection as Editor's Choice? What's the average length of a Board answer? What's the average length of an Editor's choice? How long is the shortest Editor's Choice? The Longest?

-My Name Here, Ph.D., Time waster extraordinaire.

A:

Dear TWE,

First, the actual averages/lengths for Editor's Choice (EC) and non-Editor's Choice (non-EC) answers, excluding punctuation, HTML, and URLs:

  • Average answer length (including EC): 756 characters.
  • Average EC answer length: 3,412.
  • Shortest EC (22 characters): Board Question #46985. (Squirrel pointed out that Board Question #47554 is also a contender: if you don't count the numbers, it has only 13 characters.)
  • Longest EC (66,019 characters): Board Question #71118.

Now, you asked if there was some relation between length of answer and selection as Editor's Choice. Based on the averages I reported you would probably guess that the answer is yes, but let's explore that a little bit more to be sure.

First of all, here's a graph showing what percent of answers had a given number of characters (EC and non-EC are considered separately). The black stars indicate non-EC, while the blue pluses indicate EC. (I also fitted curves to the data.)

exc_char_length_scaled.png

Each star or plus includes a range of 165 characters (the first is 0 to 165, the second is 166 to 300, etc.). In other words, looking at the first two stars, roughly 19% of non-EC answers have 0-165 characters, and another 20% have 166-300 characters, and so on. One of the most striking features of this graph is that the EC answers have a much longer "tail": a much larger fraction of them are longer answers. (And it keeps going off to the right, too; I just chose 10,000 arbitrarily to cut off the outliers and keep the interesting stuff from being compressed too much.)

To make it easier to compare features of the two, here's another graph with both data sets scaled to be roughly the same height.

exc_char_length.png

It's a bit easier to compare the locations of the peaks, now; the most common length for EC answers is around 875 characters, while non-EC answers peak around 150 characters.

Now, the final question: given length, what percentage of responses are EC? (Keep in mind that overall, only 3.8% of all answers have been marked Editor's Choice.)

exc_percent.png

Note that I extended the x-axis to 20,000 characters (past that point there wasn't enough data to draw conclusions), and I also widened out the character counts represented by each star: each star is 1320 characters wide (e.g., 0-1320, 1321-2640, etc.). Why did I widen them out? Mainly because with narrower bins, I was getting lots of points that were 0% and lots that were 100%, and it's easier to see what's going on if you get things averaged out a little more.

Anyway, I would say there's plenty of evidence that longer responses become progressively more likely to be marked Editor's Choice. Fun question!

—Laser Jock

Question #73090 posted on 06/30/2013 11:10 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is there another park besides Rock Canyon that would be the one Leibniz refers to in Board Question #12755? If there is one, will you tell me where it is?

(There is that small private park/plot of sod up there, but trees and houses block the view, so I doubt it's that one.)

Do any current writers have any further thoughts on good places in or near Utah Valley to watch a sunset from? (Distance is not an issue...the intensity of a hike, if one is called for to reach said spot, might be).

-Sunsets are my Favorite

A:

Dear Sunsets,

To answer this question, Concealocanth, Yog in Neverland, Tootles and I went on a grand adventure through the hills of Provo. We used Leibniz's exceedingly vague description and this map of all the parks in Provo as our guide. It was a perilous adventure: Tootles drives like unto a rollercoaster, the map turned out to be absolute rubbish, and we nearly ran out of gas, in which case we would have been stranded up in the Indian streets for all time. Fortunately for you, dear reader, we survived and can now share the bounties of our knowledge with you.

After much exploration, we were unable to find the park that Leibniz may have been describing. Judging by the map, it could be the Sherwood Hills Park or the Timpanogos-Kiwanis Bounous park. However, these two parks seem to exist in an alternate dimension inaccessible to Board Writers. So we instead present to you our findings, which hopefully will be of use to you:

First: A vacant lot with a beautiful view! 

 DSC02901.JPG

This would be a lovely place to watch a sunset, provided you found a nice piece of sagebrush to sit on. Note also the lovely typo on the sign.

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If I'm remembering correctly, this is at the intersection of 1200 E and 2620 N. Probably.

Next, the church on Mojave lane, up in the Indian Hills neighborhood. This is the ideal sun-set watching locale, with a gorgeous view of the valley.

 DSC02905.JPG

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It also has some incredibly soft, definitely overwatered grass. Here Yog is testing it with her incredible grass-sampling skills.

 DSC02908.JPG

Seriously, though, look at the indents it leaves when you step in it. That's some crazy stuff.

 DSC02910.JPG

So, we were unable to locate your mystery park. But you now have a map with all the parks in Provo on it; hopefully, you'll have better luck than I in locating it! 

As for other places to watch the sunset, I would recommend the Bonneville Shoreline Trail just above the Orem City Cemetery. Follow it up to the water tower, and then find somewhere to sit down. It's a fantastic view. The Provo Temple and Squaw Peak are also both excellent sunset-watching sites.

Peace,

-Stego Lily

Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Do you know what the official divorce rate is amongst members of the LDS church? I have heard what seem like absurd numbers (2%) but I've also heard 50%, the same as the national average. This is all hearsay though, and I'm not sure if there is any official number out there.

-Happily Married

A:

Dear Happily Married,

The numbers you get depend on how you count, which is part of why you hear so much debate about it. Note that nearly all of these statistics are based on data that is 30 or more years old.

Short Version

  • It appears that overall, the number of Mormons who have ever been married who have ever had a divorce is about 24%, which is not statistically different from the national average of 26%. (Note that this is not the same as the "divorce rate," which would be all divorces divided by all marriages in a given year, and which is skewed because of serial divorcers.)
  • However, Mormons who marry within their faith have much better odds than those who do not (at the 5-year mark, 13% vs. 40%).
  • And those who marry in the temple also have better odds than average, though it's not clear exactly how big the difference is. (One study said about 6%, but that may not be reliable.)
  • Finally, keep in mind that "People committed to a religious lifestyle who graduate college either before or during marriage, who have no children prior to marriage and who do not live together before marriage have about a 15 percent chance of divorce." (source) So other factors besides being Mormon or being married in the temple also have very strong effects on chance of divorce.

Longer Version

Based on a survey of 7,446 LDS adults in 1981, 14.3% of LDS men and 18.8% of LDS women who had ever married had ever divorced (Heaton & Goodman, 1985). Dr. Tim Heaton, a professor of sociology at BYU and author on the 1985 paper just cited (which used the 1981 data) pointed out some potential issues with studies such as the one done in 1981, which don't match up with other studies that have been done (which have found higher rates):

Divorce may be underestimated in Church-sponsored studies, which may have some difficulty locating single or less active members. Perhaps divorced members who were raised on the idea that failure in the home is the only real failure may be reluctant to admit to a failed marriage when the Church sponsors the surveys. (Heaton, 1992)

The methodology of the 1981 study also included having the bishops of those who didn't respond attempt to give responses based on their personal knowledge and Church records, which may not have included more recent information about divorces. (As Heaton also points out, though, there are also difficulties in other methods of identifying members of the LDS church, or any other church.)

What else is out there, then? Several studies have been done based on numbers from the 1988 National Survey of Families and Households. One found that the likelihood of a divorce by the 5-year mark where both spouses were Mormon was 13%, significantly different from any other religion studied (Lehrer & Chiswick, 1993). On the other hand, if only one spouse was Mormon, the probability went up to 40% at the 5-year mark (which was among the highest rates of any mixed-religion marriage). Unfortunately, the Church's Newsroom seems to have misunderstood the study and claims that the 13% figure only applies to those sealed in the temple, which is not what the study says.

One often-cited study from the 1980s done by Dr. Daniel K. Judd, professor of ancient scripture at BYU, claimed that 6% of LDS members who marry in the temple ever undergo a divorce (Lobdell, 2000). Unfortunately, I can't find the actual study published anywhere; the only source anyone gives is his interview with the Los Angeles Times. Facing questions about his methods, he appears to have clarified that he was in fact talking about civil divorces, not just so-called "temple divorces," which must receive First Presidency approval and are thus much harder to get. Specifically, he said that the numbers were 5.4% for men and 6.5% for women.

The moral of the story? Marry another member, in the temple, during or after completing college and before having kids, and stay strong in the gospel. Not surprising, perhaps, but still good advice.

—Laser Jock

Heaton, TB. (1992). Demographics of the contemporary Mormon family. Dialogue, 25, 19–34.

Heaton, TB., & Goodman, KL. (1985). Religion and family formation. Review of Religious Research, 26, 343–359.

Lehrer, EL & Chiswick, CU. (1993). Religion as a Determinant of Marital StabilityDemography, 30(3), 385–404.

Lobdell, W. (2000). "Holy matrimony: In era of divorce, Mormon Temple weddings are built to last," Los Angeles Times, 8 April 2000.

Question #73074 posted on 06/24/2013 12:22 a.m.
Q:

Dear Genuine Article,

Is there a story behind the rubber lobster? If so, will you share it?


circumlocution

A:

Dear circumlocution,

Well, as most of you know, I used to be roommates with Uffish Thought. And at some point in our friendship she told me that as a two-year-old child she had a toy lobster, which she carried around and used as her wand of terror (meaning she'd point it at people and scream until they screamed back). Knowing this, I decided it would be fun to buy her a rubber lobster for her birthday one year. I searched online and found a few listings for rubber lobsters, but they were only available in pairs of two, or cases of something like 37—I couldn't find just one for sale. So I bought a pair, presented Uffish with one, and kept one for myself. They're kind of like bizarro friendship bracelets when you think about it.

Anyway, my lobster (Lobstee) lives in my purse and goes pretty much wherever I go, and let me tell you, he comes in handy in a pinch (Ha! Pinch!). For one thing he's the perfect toy for distracting distraught children, being chewable, bendable, bumpy, wiggly, and washable. For another, Lobstee enjoys having his picture taken while I do not, so he often stands in for me in pictures. Speaking of which, here are some highlights from the past year or so:

Here's Lobstee taking the Tillamook Cheese Factory tour:

tillamook.jpg

Taking in a play at West Yellowstone:

drowsy.jpg

Enjoying an ice cream cone at Miner's Landing:

IMG_20130328_163118.jpg

Visiting his friends at the Seattle Aquarium:

IMG_20130328_153233.jpg

And, most recently, hanging at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland waiting for a They Might Be Giants concert to start:

IMG_20130613_203455.jpg

And that is the story behind why I own a rubber lobster that I carry around with me most everywhere I go.

-Genuine Article

P.S. Funny thing—by complete coincidence my older sister used to keep a rubber shark in her purse, so sometimes when people ask me why I carry around a lobster I tell them it's something of a family tradition.

Question #72953 posted on 07/04/2013 4:40 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

So I've looked quite a lot of places and have found nothing. What are the blessings and callings of every tribe of Israel? Meaning: if you we're declared _______ lineage, what responsibilities would you be given? I know Ephraim is to share the gospel but I really can't find any other tribe.

-the pusillanimous juggernaut

A:

Dear the pouring jug,

My primary sources are Genesis 49, which contains the original blessings to each of the sons of Israel and the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis, which talks specifically about the blessings extended to Ephraim and Manasseh. I also draw from Deuteronomy 33:6-29, which contains Moses's restatement of those blessings with some changes. The Institute Old Testament manual offers some official interpretation of these Old Testament texts and I borrow heavily from that too. So, in order of birth, with Ephraim and Manasseh taking Joseph's place in the list, here are the blessings:

Reuben: He lost the birthright to Joseph by committing the grievous sin of sexual immorality when he "went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine" in Genesis 35:22. Because of this, Reuben is chastised when Israel blesses his sons in Genesis 49:3-4: "Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father’s bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch." Despite this, Reuben and his descendants are still of the house of Israel and consequently aid Ephraim in gathering Israel before the second coming of Christ. In the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 48 we learn that "Reuben...shall be blessed" with the same Abrahamic blessing as the other brothers as well as Ephraim and Manasseh.

Simeon and Levi: Simeon and Levi, both sons of Leah, are likewise chastened for a grievous sin, the massacre of the Shechemites, which you can read about in Genesis 34. Simeon and Levi get the same chastening/blessing in Genesis 49:5-7: "Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel." However, like Reuben, despite their sins, after their chastening and scattering, they are still numbered and blessed in the house of Israel. The blessing of the tribes of Simeon and Levi now seems to relate to being gathered after their scattering. Their descendants are blessed to accept the gospel and be gathered again. Once they receive the gospel, the charge of those in the tribes of Simeon and Levi is to aid in gathering Israel. You may also recall that the tribe of Levi were also called the Levites, who during the time of Mosaic law were, as holders of the Aaronic priesthood, the priests, musicians, and ministers of the sanctuary (i.e. temple workers). For more on the Levites, see the Bible Dictionary entry.

Judah: The blessing to Judah indicates that kings and leaders would be born of his bloodline to rule until the first coming of Christ (Shiloh). In Genesis 49:10 Judah is blessed: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be." The descendants of Judah (the Old Testament Jews) were charged with leading and becoming a gathered people in preparation for the first coming of Christ. The Institute manual elaborates on Judah's blessing: "Old Testament history teaches that this promise was fulfilled. King David, King Solomon, and King Rehoboam are just three of the kings who came through Judah’s lineage. The King of Kings, Jesus Christ, referred to here as Shiloh, also came through this line."

Zebulun and Issachar: Genesis 49:13: "Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for an haven of ships; and his border shall be unto Zidon." This blessing refers to the tribe of Zebulun's historical inheritance in the promised land, which you can read about in Joshua 19:10-16. As for Issachar, Genesis 49:14-15 says: "Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens: And he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant unto tribute." I believe this refers to this tribe's inheritance in Palestine and their later captivity, meaning this blessing is fulfilled in Old Testament events. In Deuteronomy 33:18-19 Moses speaks about these two tribes: "And of Zebulun he said, Rejoice, Zebulun, in thy going out; and, Issachar, in thy tents. They shall call the people unto the mountain; there they shall offer sacrifices of righteousness: for they shall suck of the abundance of the seas, and of treasures hid in the sand." The "abundance of the seas" seems to refer to the tribe of Zebulun's historical coastal land inheritance, and the "treasures hid in the sand" seems to refer to the tribe of Issachar's historical inheritance of some of the richest plains of Palestine, land which would include Nazareth among other important sites."Call[ing] the people unto the mountain" means calling people to the temple. The temple is often referred to as a mountain; there is a rich volume of symbolism relating the two that I won't delve into here. Suffice it to say that it looks like, according to Moses's statement, that the tribes of Zebulun and Issachar are especially charged with temple work and helping everyone to receive the full blessings of the temple.

Dan: Genesis 49:16-18: "Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward. I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord." Dan's blessing is in his name. When Bilhah gave birth to Dan, Rachel, Bilhah's owner, was inspired to name him Dan, which means "He has judged, or vindicated." Dan represented the judgment of God to Rachel because Rachel was angry she could not conceive and sent Jacob to her handmaid Bilhah, who immediately conceived Dan. The tribe of Dan was blessed to judge by Jacob (and by Rachel's inspired name) as well as to rule during Old Testament times. Like the tribe of Judah, the tribe of Dan is also called a "lion's whelp" in Moses's blessing, symbolizing rule. (A whelp, of course, is a cub.) These roles of judgment and rule, like that of Judah, seem fulfilled in the time before the coming of Christ. Because of the wickedness of the tribe of Dan in worshipping idols, they were made captive and scattered. Today this tribe is blessed among the house of Israel to be gathered.

Gad: Genesis 49:19: "Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last." ("Gad" is a play on words of "troop" and "good fortune," another inspired name, this time from Leah, Gad's mother Zilpah's owner.) Though Gad was scattered by "a troop" this tribe has the "good fortune" of being gathered again. Moses enlarges Gad's blessing: 20  "And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head. And he provided the first part for himself, because there, in a portion of the lawgiver, was he seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the Lord, and his judgments with Israel." Like Dan, those of the tribe of Gad also ruled and judged before the tribe was scattered. Now we see the "he shall overcome at last" as this tribe is gathered in when members of it receive the gospel.

Asher: Genesis 49:20: "Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties." The tribe of Asher is/was temporally blessed. "Royal dainties" also alludes to rule and leadership during the time before the tribes were scattered. Moses's blessing in Deuteronomy 33:24-25: "And of Asher he said, Let Asher be blessed with children; let him be acceptable to his brethren, and let him dip his foot in oil. Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be." The tribe of Asher is anointed and strengthened according to righteousness.

Naphtali: Genesis 49:21: "Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words." A hind is a female deer. I won't pretend to be an expert on the symbolism of "a hind let loose," but an escaped wild animal seems analogous to a scattered tribe. "Giv[ing] goodly words" can be interpreted in many ways. The gospel of Jesus Christ is often called good news or the good word. Jesus Christ Himself is also called "the Word." To me, this seems to indicate that Naphtali is blessed to assist in spreading the gospel.

Ephraim and Manasseh: As we learn from the story of Joseph and the coat (Genesis 37), Jacob conferred the birthright (likely symbolized by the coat) to Joseph after Reuben lost it due to sin. The blessings given to Joseph are given to Ephraim and Manasseh, his two sons. This is explained in the Joseph Smith Translation of Genesis 48 when Jacob says that Ephraim and Manasseh "are mine"  and are numbered in the house of Israel. Ephraim, Joseph's younger son, is given the birthright. Therefore he leads the gathering of Israel in the latter days, because he inherits the full birthright of the Abrahamic covenant. The birthright of the Abrahamic covenant is passed down as follows: Abraham to Isaac, Isaac to Jacob, Jacob to Joseph, Joseph to Ephraim, and then to all of Ephraim's descendants. Though the Abrahamic covenant applies to all Abraham's descendants, the birthright, i.e. the right to lead, falls on Ephraim's descendants. Ephraim and Manasseh must gather Israel by spreading the gospel and building up the kingdom. We also know that Lehi was a descendant of Manasseh (Alma 10:3). Manasseh was blessed to be the "branch running over the wall" referred to in Jacob's blessing to Joseph in Genesis 49, which is officially interpreted as the establishment of Lehi's family in America. There is a lot written on Ephraim, and for more on the modern responsibilities and blessings of Ephraim, refer to Doctrine and Covenants 133:26-34.

Benjamin: Genesis 49:27 "Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil." I think this refers to the tribe of Benjamin's large conquests and inheritance in Palestine in Old Testament times. Moses expands this blessing:  Deuteronomy 33:12: "And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders." Again, this tribe is also blessed with the protection of the Lord dependent on righteousness. As this tribe was scattered, so it will be gathered again.

In summary, all of the tribes are charged and blessed to be gathered and then assist the tribe of Ephraim in gathering Israel. As a matter of note, every single one of these lineages have been recognized in patriarchal blessings. The gathering of Israel is happening right now.

–Concealocanth

Question #72906 posted on 06/24/2013 5:22 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How do you daily remember and live your baptismal covenants?

-Vin

A:

Dear Adelaide,

Conveniently enough, this is what I've been studying over the past few weeks. In order to determine how to remember and live your covenants, you must first know what they entail.

The Bible Dictionary mentions that "[the baptismal covenant's] symbolism is beautiful, and its consequences ever so desirable."

I picked out the following scriptures for definitions while doing my personal research.

Doctrine and Covenants 20:37 mentions that those who are to be baptized are "willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end, and truly manifest by their works that they have received of the Spirit of Christ unto the remission of their sins..."

Mosiah 5:8 adds, "I would that ye should take upon you the name of Christ, all you that have entered into the covenant with God that ye should be obedient unto the end of your lives."

In Mosiah 18:9-10, it states that the baptismal covenant means we are "willing to bear one another's burdens, that they may be light. Yea, and willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places that ye may be in, even until death...that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments."

Moroni 4:3 is the sacrament prayer that is a reminder of our baptismal covenants: "O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son, and witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son, and always remember him, and keep his commandments which he hath given them, that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. Amen."

Elder Hales, in "The Covenant of Baptism: To Be in the Kingdom and of the Kingdom" contributes the following thoughts: "When we understand our baptismal covenant and the gift of the Holy Ghost, it will change our lives and will establish our total allegiance to the kingdom of God...we humble ourselves with a broken heart and a contrite spirit as we recognize our sins and seek forgiveness of our trespasses."

The baptismal covenant consists of taking God's name upon us, being willing to bear another's burden—mourning with those that mourn and comforting those that need comfort, standing as a witness of God, always remembering him, and being obedient to God's commandments. Essentially, it means to become like Christ.

So, let's take each of these separately.

"...willing to take upon them the name of Christ..."

One comparison I've heard is that, like the name of our family here on Earth, we take on the name of Christ and become part of His family. This means that not only do our actions reflect on our earthly family, but also upon our heavenly family. Elder Oaks gave a wonderful talk in April 1985 about taking upon ourselves the name of Christ. (The following snippets may sound disjointed at first, but I promise they will all make sense.)

"We also take upon us the name of Jesus Christ whenever we publicly proclaim our belief in him...

"A follower of Christ is obligated to serve him. Many scriptural references to the name of the Lord seem to be references to the work of his kingdom...

"The Old Testament contains scores of references to the name of the Lord in a context where it clearly means the authority of the Lord. Most of these references have to do with the temple...

"The scriptures speak of the Lord's putting his name in a temple because he gives authority for his name to be used in the sacred ordinances of that house...

"Willingness to take upon us the name of Jesus Christ can therefore be understood as willingness to take upon us the authority of Jesus Christ. According to this meaning, by partaking of the sacrament we witness our willingness to participate in the sacred ordinances of the temple and to receive the highest blessings available through the name and authority of the Savior when he chooses to confer them on us...

"Thus, those who exercise faith in the sacred name of Jesus Christ and repent of their sins and enter into his covenant and keep his commandments can lay claim on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Those who do so will be called by his name at the last day...

"There is something beyond these familiar meanings, because what we witness is not that we take upon us his name but that we are willing to do so. In this sense, our witness relates to some future event or status whose attainment is not self-assumed, but depends on the authority or initiative of the Savior himself."

There are a few different elements of being willing to take the Lord's name upon us. The most obvious is representing him. On a daily basis, this means living a Christ-like life: being charitable, patient, honest, responsible, forgiving, etc. It also includes sharing the gospel with those we come in contact—even those that already have the gospel.

Taking the Lord's name upon us is focused on our willingness to participate in the covenants and ordinances of the temple. If you cannot do so yet, your efforts to daily live your baptismal covenants can demonstrate your willingness to do so in the future.

Finally, taking the Lord's name upon us includes exercising faith in him and repenting of our sins. To me, this encompasses a few things. First, it means trusting in his plan for me. He knows what will be best for me, and while there are some things that can be fine options either way, there are also some things that are definite no's or yes's. While we don't always understand why in the moment, we will eventually understand. When we barely know what we want, how wonderful it is that the Lord knows what he wants for us. It is up to us, through prayer, to understand what that path is.

Being willing to take upon ourselves the name of Christ is essential to our baptismal covenants, and is a main component of the sacrament prayers. In fact, the sacrament is a witness that we are willing to take upon us the Lord's name and always remember him.

"...willing to bear one another's burdens that they may be light. Yea, and willing to mourn with those that mourn; and comfort those that stand in need of comfort..."

The important thing is that we are willing to do so and that we are looking for opportunities to help. There are two sides to this. We should be willing to listen when people come to us for help. Often that is all they need: a listening ear, and not someone to solve all of their problems. Additionally, since people won't always come to us for help, it's also developing a sense for who needs our help and what they need from us. The BYU Men's Chorus started singing "I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go" as I was writing this, and I think the second verse is especially pertinent.

Perhaps today there are loving words Which Jesus would have me speak;

There may be now in the paths of sin, Some wand'rer whom I should seek;

O Savior, if Thou wilt be my guide, Though dark and rugged the way,

My voice shall echo Thy message sweet, I'll say what You want me to say.

For me, I feel that living this part of my covenant daily means making a greater effort to listen to others and looking for ways to help those around me, something that the Spirit can help guide me to do.

"...to stand as a witness of God at all times and in all things and in all places that ye may be in..."

Standing as a witness ties in very closely to taking God's name upon us, specifically the first aspect that I mentioned, so I'm going to just tell you to refer back to that section.

"...that they...always remember him..."

Lds.org actually has a page set aside for this topic, and they link to a talk by Elder D. Todd Christofferson. He suggests that there are three ways we can always remember Him:

"...first, seeking to know and follow His will; second, recognizing and accepting our obligation to answer to Christ for every thought, word, and action; and third, living with faith and without fear so that we can always look to the Savior for the help we need."

Following the Lord's will demonstrates our remembrance with him. As our actions are in line with His teachings and promptings, we are in constant remembrance. I've noticed in my own life that when I am consciously trying to follow the Lord's plan for me, I am much better able to remember Him and I have, in my opinion, a better focus to my life. It's not easy to align ourselves to God's will, often because we believe that our path is the best one for us. Additionally, following the Lord means giving up the natural man, a task that requires self-control and the Lord's grace. Elder Christofferson adds,

Though it may not be easy, we can consistently press forward with faith in the Lord. I can attest that over time our desire and capacity to always remember and follow the Savior will grow. We should patiently work toward that end and pray always for the discernment and divine help we need. 

The second concept, of being responsible to the Lord for our conduct, is best explained, again, by Elder Christofferson:

Always remembering Him, therefore, means that we always remember that nothing is hidden from Him. There is no part of our lives, whether act, word, or even thought, that can be kept from the knowledge of the Father and the Son. No cheating on a test, no instance of shoplifting, no lustful fantasy or indulgence, and no lie is missed, overlooked, hidden, or forgotten. Whatever we “get away with” in life or manage to hide from other people, we must still face when the inevitable day comes that we are lifted up before Jesus Christ, the God of pure and perfect justice.

Sins do not take care of themselves or simply fade away. Sins do not get “swept under the rug” in the eternal economy of things. They must be dealt with, and the wonderful thing is that because of the Savior’s atoning grace, they can be dealt with in a much happier and less painful manner than directly satisfying offended justice ourselves.

We should also take heart when thinking of a judgment in which nothing is overlooked because this also means that no act of obedience, no kindness, and no good deed however small is ever forgotten, and no corresponding blessing is ever withheld.

Concerning living with faith and without fear, he continues,

Looking unto the Savior in every thought is, of course, another way of saying “always remember him.” As we do, we need not doubt or fear. 

In short, to “always remember him” means that we do not live our lives in fear. We know that challenges, disappointments, and sorrows will come to each of us in different ways, but we also know that in the end, because of our divine Advocate, all things can be made to work together for our good. It is the faith expressed so simply by President Gordon B. Hinckley when he would say, “Things will work out.” When we always remember the Savior, we can “cheerfully do all things that lie in our power,” confident that His power and love for us will see us through.

Like I said in Board Question #72886, learning to trust in the Lord is one of the greatest lessons you can learn in this life. Trusting in His plan for us keeps Him in the forefront of our minds.

"...to keep his commandments..."

There seems to be an impossible number of commandments to keep, but there's something that I've been using recently to break things down a little bit and, well, make the commandments easier to follow. In Matthew 22:36-40, we find that there are, essentially, two commandments: love God, and love thy neighbor as thyself. Think about it. If you look at every commandment we've been given it, we follow it because we love God or because we love our neighbor (which we do because we love God).

How do we remember and live our baptismal covenants daily?

To remember them, study them. To really remember them, live them. How you live them is, ultimately, up to you. Look at what you need to improve on, and start gradually making changes. Make your own personal study of your baptismal covenants. Take a day per topic and really study and ponder what it means to keep your baptismal covenants. Really applying these to your life will bless you more than you can currently imagine.

-Tally M. 

P.S. I realize I didn't really answer your question until the very end, and even then I gave you an answer that probably doesn't help much. However, it really is between you and the Lord to learn how to best live your baptismal covenants. The thing is, though, this is a good starting point for you, because knowing what you have to do in general can help you determine what to do specifically.

Question #72823 posted on 06/07/2013 4:16 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Which question is truly the most popular? Meaning, it has the most thumbs up for all it's answers combined?

-Galinda (Just not quite as popular as ME)

A:

Dear Galinda,

As counted by the total of votes on all responses as of June 4, 2013, the 6 most popular questions are:

  1. Board Question #62542 (227)
  2. Board Question #71792 (219)
  3. Board Question #69694 (194)
  4. Board Question #21534 (191)
  5. Board Question #43468 (177)
  6. Board Question #67964 (176)

(I was going to cut off at 5, but #5 and #6 are basically tied.) I noticed that most of these are about the Board writers themselves in some way.

Curious Physics Minor suggested also looking at which questions got the most page views, as another way of measuring popularity. Counting from August 2, 2010 (the first week after switching to Board 5.0, which had a new URL scheme) to now (June 3, 2012), I noticed that the most popular question-related page was FAQ #12 (71,339 views), about how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop. Apparently many of the people who viewed that page then clicked the links to the four questions listed there, because first four questions by pageviews were those four, followed by one other:

  1. Board Question #19899 (20,543)
  2. Board Question #15750 (20,192)
  3. Board Question #47554 (19,422)
  4. Board Question #40690 (14,427)
  5. Board Question #60499 (14,171)

In the #5 spot above, and the first one that's not asking about Tootsie Roll Pops, is Board Question #60499 (which as you can see was barely behind the last Tootsie Roll Pop question in page views).

I did just a little more digging, curious to see where all those Tootsie Roll Pop visitors were coming from. The answer, according to Google Analytics: Yahoo Answers. (Here are some of the places that link to us about Tootsie Roll Pops.) Interesting. All of the Tootsie Roll Pop questions had a somewhat steady stream of traffic; pageviews went up and down, but there are visits across the last several years. In contrast, Mico's answer about Finding Nemo got nearly all of its visits on a single day: February 7, 2013. The source? Reddit. Specifically, this post. Cool!

—Laser Jock

Question #72688 posted on 05/27/2013 8:10 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

When/how was it decided that symbols and numbers should come before letters when alphabetizing things? How do computers alphabetize symbols and numbers? Is there a universal system?

~*oO0Oo*~

A:

Dear circles,

Perhaps you would be surprised to learn that your questions open quite a large realm of study.

The process of ordering information is known generally as "collation."  In general, as far as I can tell, the decision about how non-alphabetical characters are handled is completely arbitrary.  One organizational scheme might say that numbers come before letters.  Another might say that numbers come after letters.  And in some schemes numbers would be handled by converting them to their written form (e.g., "100 Hour Board" would be sorted as "One-Hundred Hour Board").  But this can lead to additional inconsistencies.  If you wanted to sort the book title 1776 one person might sort that strictly as written, "One-thousand seven-hundred seventy-six," but another might sort it as spoken, "Seventeen seventy-six."

However (and somewhat blessedly), decisions about sorting have become pseudo-standardized since the advent of the computer for a variety of reasons.  The pseudo-standardization occurred mainly because a computer, with a given set of rules, will always behave the exact same way.  Any ambiguity in the rules will always be resolved in the same fashion (however the software developer decided).  So as computers grew in popularity users accepted the computer's rules on sorting even when they conflicted with their own rules simply because it was easier to adapt the user to the computer than to make the computer adapt to the user.

So how do computers alphabetize things?

All data in a computer is equivalent to a series of 0s and 1s.  Everything.  Every picture, every video, every song, every paragraph, every word, every letter.  The only difference is how we tell our computer to interpret those 0s and 1s.  (The way in which a computer "knows" that something is a picture and not a song is a different discussion, but a very simple way that Windows used exclusively for sometime is the file extension: .txt, .jpg, .mov.   A file ending in .txt would be interpreted as text, .jpg as a specific type of picture, and .mov as a specific type of video.)

Let's suppose we want to sort the words "cat", "dog", and "car".  The computer can simply look at their series of 0s and 1s and sort those instead.  It doesn't care about "letters" per se. So let's convert those words to binary.

Word Binary Representation
cat 011000110110000101110100
dog 011001000110111101100111
car 011000110110000101110010

Great, but how does the computer "know" what order they should be in?  This brings us to the concept of lexicographical ordering.  Short version, it's the mathematically precise description of ordering whole things based on the relative ordering of their parts.  Which is just saying, we can order two words by comparing them letter-by-letter.  The order of the words is determined by the order of the first letters that differ.  We don't need to compare any further letters.  Or, in this case, we can compare the binary values bit by bit and the first time we find a difference we're done.

If we consider our 0s and 1s as numbers then, of course, 0 comes before 1 (because math defines it).  So, to order our 3 words the computer need only compare them up until it sees a difference.  The actual algorithm used to determine in which order it should compare the words is a completely different field of study, so we'll skip that.

Let's say our computer first compares "cat" to "dog."  The sixth entry is a 1 for "dog," but a 0 for "cat."  So "cat" comes before "dog."  Now we need to see where "car" fits in the ordering.  The computer compares "car" to "cat" and the 0s and 1s are the same all the way until the third-to-last entry.  At that entry "car" has a 0 and "cat" has a 1, so "car" comes first.  We now know "car" comes before "cat" and "cat" comes before "dog" thus our sorting is complete: "car," "cat," "dog."

Whoa, whoa, whoa, but that ordering also happens to be the alphabetical order, how did that happen?!  How did the 0s and 1s that "just happen" to represent those words also "just happen" to sort in the exact same way that the words would sort alphabetically?!  Fair enough.

Representing letters, numbers, and symbols in binary

It isn't just coincidence that when we sort the words by their binary representations that they get sorted alphabetically.  You may have heard the word "ASCII" at some point in your life, particularly if you spend any time around computer nerds.  ASCII stands for American Standard Code for Information Interchange.  And that's exactly what it is.  ASCII is the standardized mapping that tells you what number, and thus binary value, represents which character.  "c" is represented by the number 99, or, in binary, 1100011.

But each of the things in our table start with a zero!

Each 0 or 1 is referred to as a bit.  The original ASCII standard only used 7 bits to represent characters.  This meant it could only represent 128 distinct characters which easily covers lower case letters, upper case letters, numbers, and some basic symbols; but it doesn't provide enough characters for various other characters or for the various non-printable characters like "end of text" or "line feed" or "carriage return" which are all needed.  So an 8th bit was added to the standard which allowed for an additional 128 characters for a total of 256.  So when we look up in the ASCII table that "c" is 99, we write all 8 bits which gives us 01100011.

Are you still with me?  We're almost done.

The ASCII table defines a standard order simply by mapping each character to a unique number.  And the ASCII standard just happens to put digits (in order, 0-9, and various symbols) before upper case letters (in order, A-Z) which come before lower case letters (in order, a-z). 0-9 are represented by the numbers 48-57.  A-Z are represented by the numbers 65-90.  And a-z are represented by the numbers 97-122.

Now remember that lexicographical ordering I brought up?  Well, it's transitive.  So when we want to compare "cat" to "dog" we can break it down by first comparing "c" to "d" and we can break that down by comparing their numeric representations, "99" to "100", which we can compare in their binary representations: "01100011" to "01100100."  We then break that down and compare bit to bit until we find a difference (at the 6th entry).  Then the entire comparison can unwind: 0 comes before 1, so 99 comes before 100, so "c" comes before "d", so "cat" comes before "dog."

When text is sorted by the binary values of the individual characters it comes out in a consistent and alphabetical order with numbers/symbols before letters.

And there you have it.  In regards to computer data that's why symbols and numbers come before letters when sorting.

But is it really as simple as that?

Well, no, it's not.  Sorry.

The computer is most likely not going to compare things bit to bit.  It's much easier to just subtract one value from the other to find out which is larger and sort based on the outcome.  So it may compare compute that 99-100=-1 and then know that 99 is smaller than 100.

Also, you may have noticed that the "A" in ASCII stands for "American" and there certainly isn't enough room using only 8-bits to store all the characters we need for English and for Chinese, and Japanese, and Arabic, and all the other languages.  So ASCII is a deprecated standard, which was subsumed by the Unicode standard which is widely used today.  The Unicode standard uses up to 32 bits to represent characters allowing us to represent 4,294,967,296 unique characters.  (To save us some pain and anguish, the first 256 characters of the Unicode standard are exactly the same as the ASCII characters.)

But the complexity doesn't end there.  ASCII and Unicode are just two possible mappings used to represent characters.  There are literally dozens of other mappings that might still be in use around the world.  If one of those systems didn't put letters in an order that allowed the binary values to match their alphabetical order then a computer wouldn't (by default) order them alphabetically.

And another added complexity is that we software developers can write different sorting algorithms.  Even though the ASCII standard puts numbers before letters I could easily write a sorting algorithm that puts the numbers after letters just by checking if I'm looking at a digit and, if so, add 100 to the binary value (for example) which would then cause the numbers to be sorted after the letters.  This algorithm would necessarily be slightly slower than the native sorting, but it'd still be so fast that you wouldn't notice the difference.

-Curious Physics Minor

Question #72573 posted on 05/17/2013 8:46 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How is it that when thrown, a stone can skip water?

-This is a Clever Alias

A:

Dear Clever Alias,

You're essentially making the rock ricochet off the water. First, to give you a visual, here's a series of high-speed images of a circular disc (simulating a rock), taken 6.5 milliseconds apart (Clanet, 2004):

skipping_cropped.jpg

You can see the disc coming in, hitting the water (and digging a hole), and then flying out the far side. This probably gives you some intuition as to what's happening; if you're more of a force-diagram sort of person, here's a diagram (Bocquet, 2003): 

skip_diagram_shrunk.png

It turns out that there are several important factors for a successful stone skip. First of all, the rock has to be going fast enough. Secondly, both the angle of the rock relative to the water (labeled θ in diagram 2) and the angle of the rock's motion relative to the water (labeled β in diagram 2) need to be right; it turns out that the optimum value for both angles is about 20° (Clanet, 2004). And finally, the spin on the rock is important: its purpose is to stabilize the rock's angle relative to the water (θ), via the gyroscopic effect.

When the rock first strikes the water, the water pushes back: as seen in diagram 2, some of the force is pointing up and back (labeled n; this is the rebound, if you will), and some is pointing down and back (labeled t; this is friction). If you add those forces together with the initial force (V in the diagram), you get the final motion of the rock. If you have the angles and the speed right, the vertical part of n is large enough to overcome the other downward forces on the rock and send it back upward, causing it to skip as it moves forward.

It turns out that what makes a rock stop skipping is actually the angle θ (of the rock relative to the water): with repeated bounces/skips, the angle eventually gets messed up enough (far enough away from 20°) that the rock can no longer skip, and it sinks, no matter how hard you threw it (Bocquet, 2003). Hence, a good fast spin is important, to preserve the optimum angle θ for as long as possible.

—Laser Jock

Bocquet, L. "The physics of stone skipping," American Journal of Physics 71, 150 (February 2003). doi: 10.1119/1.1519232

Clanet, C., Hersen, F. & Bocquet, L. "Secrets of successful stone-skipping," Nature 427, 29 (1 January 2004). doi: 10.1038/427029a

Question #72571 posted on 05/18/2013 2:04 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Friday is date night. You are hosting and want to have a nice, home-cooked meal. But you want to impress your date, so it's going to be three courses. Using what is currently in your pantry (and no more than $5 if you really need to buy something), what would you make? Descriptions of the finished product along with a list of the ingredients used is fine, but I wouldn't mind learning a new recipe if you want to share. :)

~Smurf Blue Snuggie

A:

Dear Smurf,

Seeing as I almost never eat a full meal at home this summer, I didn't really have all that much food available, so this was a pretty fun experiment. I enlisted the aid of Owlet to make sure I didn't burn down my apartment help prepare this answer. So, here's the meal.

Course 1: Bacon Quesadillas

Or, to quote my original placeholder answer, "HECK YES BACON QUESADILLAS." It was my very first thought after listing all of my available ingredients. Because bacon. Always because bacon.

SAM_1424.JPG

Then we stuck the bacon on tortillas and stuck some cheese on the bacon.

0515132112.jpg

Here's the microwaved final product:

0515132126.jpg

It was awesome, as well as ridiculously easy to make. BACON.

Course 2: Fried Rice and Vegetables

After coming up with the idea of bacon quesadillas and deciding that this was something too good to just leave hypothetical, I then had to invent two more courses. This led to a long discussion with sisterfulness in which a wide variety of fruitless ideas were tossed around. We rejected beans and rice as being too bland (since I don't really have any seasonings) and rice with tuna as being too strange. Other concoctions I've tried before, like corn and boiled cabbage with melted cheese, tasted good but just didn't seem like the kind of thing I'd ever want to serve to another person. Finally, we settled on the idea of fried rice with vegetables.

So, while Owlet and I were making and enjoying the bacon quesadillas, we cooked a pot of rice and let some of my frozen vegetables thaw.

0515132149.jpg

We cut up the thawed vegetables (a mix of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and squash) and added some chopped fresh cabbage, then mixed it all with the rice and fried it in the leftover bacon grease.

0515132213.jpg

The final product was good, but hampered by the fact that the only seasonings available (without significant rule-breaking) were my roommate's salt and pepper. Some soy sauce would have made it awesome. But even without it, it was definitely worth eating.

0515132228.jpg

Course 3: Eclectic Parfait

Dessert was the hardest thing for me to come up with, since I really didn't have all that many dessertish ingredients. Sisterfulness had suggested that I use yogurt and an avocado to make chocolate mousse, but... um... let's just say I didn't realize how long that avocado had been sitting in my fridge. I don't think it was really an avocado anymore...

Not to be deterred, we took my roommate's suggestion to make a parfait instead. Here's what we had to work with:

0515132305.jpg

Peach yogurt, strawberry jelly, a pop tart, and a peanut-butter-filled chocolate rabbit that we melted down in the microwave. We made a layer of yogurt, a thin layer of jelly, a layer of crumbled pop tart, and a topping of melted rabbit.

0515132316.jpg

It was good, but if I didn't have so many constraints, I'd have used a different type of yogurt, and there's no way I'd have used that peanut butter chocolate rabbit. The chocolate was good enough, but the peanut butter made it an absolute pain to work with and didn't really do much good to the flavor. Also, the pop tart... yeah. Use a graham cracker instead. But the basic idea was definitely good.

-yayfulness, with yet another adventure in experimental cooking

Question #72561 posted on 05/16/2013 11:04 p.m.
Q:

Fellow Experimenters,

I recently acquired a laser that professes to put out 100 mW but I suspect it only puts out between 5-10 mW. That doesn't really bother me, I'm just happy to have a laser and one that I can easily see the beam in midair at night.

Last night I wanted to see if I could read by the light of my laser shining on the ceiling of my bedroom (which is your standard white, drywall ceiling). As it turns out, I actually can read by the reflected light. However, I noticed that something that looked a lot like static on the pages of my book that was being created by the laser-light. There were lighter and darker areas that were moving around and fading in and out. Why did this happen and what is it called? Would it be a bad thing to look at it for a long time? (keep in mind, it's not direct laser light. It's reflecting off the ceiling and the page before it hits my eye).

Thanks for all you do!

Stands
Upon
Magnificent
Places

A:

Dear Sump,

What you're seeing is called laser speckle, and it's caused by interference. It's not dangerous; once a laser beam has bounced off of a diffuse surface (as opposed to a specular, i.e., shiny, surface), it's no more dangerous than any other bright light source. (However, even ordinary light sources can be painful or even dangerous if they're bright enough. In your case, though, you're definitely fine after bouncing off of two diffuse surfaces.)

There are actually two types of laser speckle. Subjective speckles are what you see if you shine a laser on a surface (e.g., the wall or ceiling) and look at the surface directly (although if your laser pointer is as bright as it sounds, you might have difficulty looking directly at the wall/ceiling). These are subjective because the actual speckles you see depend on things like the aperture of the lens (your eye, or a camera's). One example Wikipedia gives is to look directly at the wall, and then at the wall through a small hole (e.g., a pinhole); the speckles will appear much larger through the hole. (If the spot on the wall is too bright to look at, don't push it.)

Then there are objective speckles. These are caused by light bouncing off one diffuse surface (the ceiling) and then a second (the pages of your book). In this case, the speckle pattern doesn't depend on the optical properties of your eye. You would expect to mostly see objective speckles in your case, although there will still be some subjective ones as well (they'll just be much harder or impossible to see).

Okay. So what causes laser speckle? The light coming out of the laser is coherent, which means that the wavelength and the phase of the photons coming from the laser are pretty much the same as each other. (This is a bit of an oversimplification, but good enough in this case.) So you can imagine all of these waves coming from the laser in sync. Once they scatter off of a rough surface, however, the phase of each photon gets changed relative to its neighbors (since they all reflect at different "depths" on the wall). They're still the same wavelength as each other, though. This is a perfect setup for interference.

If you're unfamiliar with the idea of interference, I'll refer you to the double-slit experiment, which is a classic example of interference. If you just want a visual example of what's happening, you can jump down to here (note the diagrams/animations on the right-hand side). I also explained interference in thin films in Board Question #49920. The basic idea is that waves can either add up (if they're in phase, e.g., wiggling in sync), which is constructive interference, or they can cancel out (if they're out of phase, e.g., if one is going "up" at the exact time that another is going "down"), which is destructive interference.

Anyway, with the diagrams from Wikipedia to look at, here's what's happening with your laser (which is slightly different from the double-slit experiment): some of the light from your laser reflects off the ceiling and hits your book. The phase of this light will depend on how far the light traveled to get to the book, which will vary depending on which particular spot on the wall it's coming from. Some places, by random chance, will have lots of light that is mostly in phase arriving at the same spot; these will be brighter spots on your book. Other spots, also by chance, will have light arriving that's all out of phase with the rest of the light arriving, which will cause a dark spot. (Of course, there will also be places in between.)

So why are the speckles moving? Your laser pointer isn't exactly a high-quality laser, and so it's unlikely to have a very stable beam. The beam profile is likely to fluctuate, which would cause the shifting you're seeing. (It's also probably not extremely coherent, but that would just keep the bright spots from being quite as bright and the dark spots from being quite as dark.)

Why doesn't this happen with other light sources, like a flashlight or your ceiling light? The light from most non-laser sources isn't coherent at all; it's such a mix of different wavelengths and different phases that the speckles are washed out. You could imagine it as if you have millions of speckle patterns all on top of each other, and they all blend together to create uniform illumination.

Oh, and one final note: if you want to cheaply check to see if your laser pointer is in the ballpark of 100 mW or not, you might look at these do-it-yourself laser power meters. (I put DIY laser power meter into Google and wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised!) The first one linked from that page requires no soldering and claims to give you a number within about 15% of the real value. Not super accurate, but not too shabby for only $17. (Plus the cost includes an IR thermometer that you can use for other things.)

—Laser Jock

Question #72555 posted on 05/15/2013 9:28 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Your mission: Find a picture of Brenda Song's purple makeup on an episode of Suite Life of Zack and Cody - I remember she had on really pretty purple makeup that matched her skin tone amazingly.
Your next mission: Tell me how to do my sister's Prom makeup like her.

- Older Sister

A:

Dear Older Sister,

You should know that, while I myself don't wear makeup every day, sometimes I look at makeup blogs and I have acquaintances that do makeup semi-professionally, so that's where I'm coming from. This is the best picture I could find:

 London Tipton.png

This is a pretty good video showing a step-by-step tutorial of Brenda Song-inspired makeup. The person in the video uses dark green and light green eye shadow, which you'll want to substitute with dark and light purple. I looked at quite a few written-out makeup tutorials, and so combining those, the tutorial video, and my modest understanding of makeup artistry, this is what I suggest you do:

1. Start with foundation (a dewy one, if you have it [but not if you have oily skin]) & eye shadow primer.
2. Apply a matte light-colored eyeshadow (like cream or light tan) as the highlight color all over lid and up to the brow bone.
3. Apply dark purple eye shadow on the upper lid. Wing out the eye shadow slightly past the outer corner of the eye.
4. Apply the same color a little along the bottom lid of the eye near the outer corner.
5. Apply a dark neutral (such as reddish brown) eye shadow in the crease and outer V; blend everything well.
6. Line the upper lid with black eyeliner, winging out with a thicker line on the outside corner.
7. Apply black eyeliner to the waterline as well, but don't go all the way in with the lower lid; keep it towards the outer corner.
8. Apply a lighter shade of purple eye shadow on the inner corner, both on the upper and lower lids. This will really make the eyes look bright and awake. Blend.
9. Add a smokey effect by adding a touch of black eye shadow where you used eyeliner and blend out a little.
10. Use a lot of black mascara. I recommend doing the lower lashes before the upper.
11. If you use blush, use a neutral/brown/plum-like shade, not pink. Sweep up along cheekbone.
12. If you use bronzer, use just a bit on the temples and sides of the face.
13. You'll want to go easy on the lips, as having both strong eye and lip color will make you (or your sister, I guess) look like a clown. Opt for a neutral or light pink shade. 

I drew this diagram for steps 2-10, but it's rough and I was pretty conservative with the purple. I hope some of this helps! Have fun!

-Owlet

Question #72405 posted on 05/16/2013 10:16 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My niece is turning five in the next few weeks. The other day she heard my sister and me singing “Time After Time” and she loved it and wanted us to play the song over and over. This made me think that, due to her age, she’s missed out on some great music. For her birthday present, I wanted to give her five CDs (one for each year of her life) to celebrate five full decades of the best sing-along (or dance-along, she also likes dancing) music possible. Can you please suggest to me music I should add from the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s (and, I guess 2010+ if you feel inclined. It’s not a full decade, so I wasn’t going to include it)?

-Sheri

A:

Dear Basil,

With the help of a few friends, we have compiled you five and a little bit decades of music. Olympus's sister, She, compiled the original list (though she had a lot of things I would have added anyway), and she added some international songs because they're favorites for dancing at the elementary school where she teaches.

1960's (ignore the part where there are songs from the late 50's, just enjoy the music)

  • La Bamba - Ritchie Valens - 1958
  • 16 Candles - The Crests - 1985
  • Shout Part I - The Isley Brothers - 1959
  • Jump in the Line (Shake, Senora) - Harry Belafonte - 1961
  • Uptight (Everything's Alright) - Stevie Wonder - 1965
  • You Can't Hurry Love - Diana Ross & The Supremes - 1966
  • Mrs. Robinson - Simon & Garfunkel - 1967
  • Higher & Higher - Jackie Wilson - 1967
  • For Once In My Life - Stevie Wonder - 1968
  • I Want You Back - Jackson 5 - 1969
  • Sugar, Sugar - The Archies - 1969
  • Sweet Caroline - Neil Diamond - 1969

1970's

  • ABC - Jackson 5 - 1970
  • Signed, Sealed, Delivered - Stevie Wonder - 1970
  • Joy to the World - Three Dog Night - 1970
  • Don't Pull Your Love - Sam & Dave - 1971
  • Mama Don't Dance and Daddy Don't Rock & Roll - Dr. Hook - 1972
  • Play Me - Neil Diamond - 1972
  • Desperado - Eagles - 1973
  • Sweet Home Alabama - Lynyrd Skynyrd - 1974
  • Mamma Mia - ABBA - 1975
  • Seaside Rendezvous - Queen - 1975
  • You're My Best Friend - Queen - 1975
  • Rubberband Man - The Spinners - 1976
  • Somebody to Love - Queen - 1976
  • Dancing Queen - A*Teens (2000) or ABBA (1976)
  • Fernando - ABBA
  • Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees - 1977
  • September - Earth, Wind, & Fire - 1978
  • YMCA - Village People - 1978
  • Let's Go - The Cars - 1979
  • Don't Stop Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson - 1979
  • Video Killed the Radio Star - The Buggles - 1979
  • Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper - 1979
  • What a Fool Believes - Doobie Brothers - 1979

1980's

  • Celebrate - Kool & The Gang - 1980
  • All Out of Love - Air Supply - 1980
  • Hit Me With Your Best Shot - Pat Benatar - 1981
  • Mickey - Toni Basil - 1981
  • Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield - 1981
  • You Make My Dreams - Hall & Oates - 1981
  • Come On, Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners - 1982
  • Eye of the Tiger - Survivor - 1982
  • Hungry Like a Wolf - Duran Duran - 1982
  • I'm So Excited - The Pointer Sisters - 1982
  • Beat It - Michael Jackson - 1983
  • Jump For My Love - The Pointer Sisters - 1983
  • Separate Ways - Journey - 1983
  • Uptown Girl - Billy Joel - 1983
  • Burning Down the House - Talking Heads - 1983
  • Time After Time - Cyndi Lauper - 1984
  • Footloose - Kenny Loggins - 1984
  • Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go - Wham! - 1984
  • Careless Whisper - George Michael - 1984
  • Oh Sherrie - Steve Perry - 1984
  • I Would Die 4 U - Prince - 1984
  • Neutron Dance - The Pointer Sisters - 1984
  • Take On Me - A-ha - 1985
  • The Power of Love - Huey Lewis and the News - 1985
  • Conga - Gloria Estefan - 1985
  • Livin' on a Prayer - Bon Jovi - 1986
  • Manic Monday - The Bangles - 1986
  • Walk Like An Egyptian - The Bangles - 1986
  • I Wanna Dance - Whitney Houston - 1987
  • It Must Have Been Love - Roxette - 1987
  • The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson - 1987
  • 500 Miles - The Proclaimers - 1988
  • Don't Worry, Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin - 1988
  • Get On Your Feet - Gloria Estefan - 1989
  • Love Shack - The B-52's - 1989
  • Pump Up the Jam - Technotronic - 1989

1990's

  • Theme from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - Will Smith & Quincy Jones - 1990
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople) - They Might Be Giants - 1990
  • Black or White - Michael Jackson - 1991
  • Walking in Memphis - Marc Cohn - 1991
  • Fading Like a Flower (Every Time You Leave) - Roxette - 1991
  • If We Hold On Together (Laugh if you will, but if you play it, people sing) - Dianna Ross - 1991
  • Too Legit to Quit - MC Hammer - 1991
  • I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston - 1992
  • Basket Case - Green Day - 1994
  • Macarena - Los Del Rio - 1994
  • Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls - TLC - 1995
  • Larger Than Life - Backstreet Boys - 1996
  • Wannabe - Spice Girls - 1996
  • Real World - Matchbox Twenty - 1996
  • Barbie Girl - Aqua - 1997
  • Doctor Jones - Aqua - 1997
  • Mmmbop - Hansen - 1997
  • My Heart Will Go On - Céline Dion - 1997
  • Truly Madly Deeply - Savage Garden - 1997
  • Tearin' Up My Heart - *NSync - 1998
  • One Week - Barenaked Ladies - 1998
  • Believe - Cher - 1998
  • Jump, Jive an' Wail - The Brain Setzer Orchestra - 1998
  • All Star - Smash Mouth - 1999
  • I Want It That Way - Backstreet Boys - 1999
  • Baby One More Time - Britney Spears - 1999
  • Rhythm Divine - Enrique Iglesias - 1999
  • Livin' La Vida Loca - Ricky Martin - 1999
  • Smooth - Santana & Rob Thomas - 1999
  • Candy - Mandy Moore - 1999
  • Hey, Beautiful - The Solids - 90's

2000's

  • Aaron's Party - Aaron Carter - 2000
  • Beautiful Day - U2 - 2000
  • Bye Bye Bye - *NSync - 2000
  • Dancing Queen - A*Teens (2000) or ABBA (1976)
  • I Want Candy - Aaron Carter - 2000
  • Oops!...I Did It Again - Britney Spears - 2000
  • S Club Party or Viva la Fiesta - S Club 7 - 2000
  • Upside Down - A*Teens - 2000
  • Wherever You Will Go - The Calling - 2001
  • Ave Maria - David Bisbal - 2002
  • Heaven - DJ Sammy - 2002
  • Song for the Lonely - Cher - 2002
  • Crazy in Love - Beyoncé - 2003
  • Hey Ya! - Outkast - 2003
  • I Believe In a Thing Called Love - The Darkness - 2003
  • In Love With the 80's - Relient K - 2003
  • Baila Esta Cumbia - Kumbia Kings & Selena - 2005
  • Brat Pack - The Rocket Summer - 2005
  • Crazy - Gnarls Barkley - 2006
  • All For One - High School Musical 2 - 2007
  • Ever Ever After - Carrie Underwood - 2007
  • What Time Is It? - High School Musical 2 - 2007
  • Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
  • Love Story - Taylor Swift - 2008
  • Eres Tú - Kany Garcia - 2009
  • Halo/Walking On Sunshine - Glee - 2009
  • I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas - 2009
  • Party in the USA - Miley Cyrus - 2009
  • Tik Tok - Ke$ha - 2009

2010's

  • Baby - Justin Bieber - 2010
  • Forget You - Cee Lo Green - 2010
  • Kick Drum Heart - The Avett Brothers - 2010
  • Waka Waka - Shakira - 2010
  • Dynamite - Taio Cruz - 2010
  • Call Me Maybe - Carly Rae Jepsen - 2011
  • Elle Me Dit - Mika - 2011
  • Good Feeling - Flo Rida - 2011
  • Titanium - David Guetta - 2011
  • Good Time - Carly Rae Jepsen & Owl City - 2012

There are a lot of artists who have enough popular music that you can just buy the whole CD, for example, I would buy CDs for ABBA, Backstreet Boys, Michael Jackson (and The Jackson Five), NSync, Brittney Spears, Spice Girls, Christian Aguilera and Neil Diamond.

Hopefully you will use this to create the most awesome playlists in the history of ever.

-Marguerite St. Just (with help from Olympus, She, Laser Jock, Eirene and various nymless friends and cousins)

Question #72319 posted on 04/27/2013 10:10 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

The following are some facts(?) about Sparta that I read on tumblr. Seeing as it's tumblr, I figured I'd fact check. What, if anything, of the following is true?

"Like, guys. Sparta was so kick [edit] sometimes when it came to women. Spartan women were given these small knives so that if their husbands came home and tried to hit them or assault them, they had a weapon within reach. That weapon was for CUTTING THEIR HUSBANDS’ [edit] FACES so that when he went out in public everyone would know he was an [edit], abusing jerkface and they would publicly shame him.

In Sparta, women could own land and were considered citizens.

Divorce was totally fine, and a woman could expect to keep her own wealth and get custody of the kids because paternal lineage wasn’t very important. And it didn’t make her a pariah! She could totally remarry, no big deal at all.

Spartan women participated in some [explicative] sporting events, too. And because they were expected to be as physically fit as the Spartan menfolk (who all had to serve compulsory military duties, btw, and couldn’t marry until they finished them at thirty) they didn’t have time for lots of swishy dresses. So they wore notoriously short skirts. According to some accounts, their thighs were visible at all times.

Also, In Sparta men only got their names on their graves if they died in battle. And women? Women only got their names on their graves if they died in childbirth. THE SPARTANS COMPARED CHILDBIRTH TO [edit] BATTLE AND IT WAS VIEWED AS A [edit] AND HONORABLE WAY TO GO OUT."

Thanks,
Razputin's girl

A:

Dear Razputin's girl,

Congratulations! You've hit on one of my favorite topics: ancient Greece! You may be aware that one of my favorite people from that time is Athena, and so I feel I must defend Athens by refuting these claims. Alas, Wikipedia actually confirms many of them and so I turned to the library. The books I used for this answer can all be found in the HBLL (once I return them).

It should be noted that much of what we know from history, especially ancient history, is limited to and influenced by the writings of the men of the time. One author provided this caveat: "Contemporary scholars...differ in their assessment of what constitutes historical reality, and what was part of the 'Spartan mirage'" (Pomeroy viii). One should also keep in mind that the following research mostly applies to higher-status Spartan women.

Women holding knives to scar their husbands in case of assault: No evidence. In her book Spartan Woman, Sarah B. Pomeroy writes that "One may speculate that Spartan women would have been better at defending themselves if need be, for Plutarch...states that a goal of their physical education was to make them able to defend themselves, their children, and their country. At any rate, just as there is little evidence for illicit adultery at Sparta, there is little for the rape of individuals" (18). While the above shows that women were prepared to resist, I have found no research that points to their being armed.

Women could own land and were citizens: True. Pomeroy clearly states "women could own land" (36). Spartan women were Spartiates, or citizens of Sparta, but they did not enjoy the same political privileges as men. Although Pomeroy gives an example of the significance of women in Spartan elections, she concedes that "Such reports do not indicate that women were fully active citizens in the sense that men were, that they could defend their polis [city], vote, or hold governmental office, for overt political power was not exercised by women anywhere in the Greek world before the advent of Hellenistic queens" (92). They had more citizenship than the lower class and slaves, but not as much as men.

Divorce and remarriage were acceptable: True. It was very important in Spartan society to have heirs, and as Pomeroy writes, "...divorce and remarriage would allow them to sample partners with whom they could have fertile unions" (66). Divorce appears to have been common in ancient Sparta, as was remarriage. In his essay in Spartan Society, Hodkinson points out "It seems that mature rich widows were often in a strong position to determine whether and whom they remarried"(116). Younger widows could remarry but they had less of a say in the matter--"women were normally expected to marry within restricted socio-economic bounds" (118). From what I understand, women who were divorced or widowed were expected to remarry, especially if she was still young enough to have children.

Women kept their wealth and children's custody after divorce: Sort of. It's hard to say definitively, because property laws and things were quite complicated in Sparta. As one author notes, "the Spartans had not completely evolved the principle of private property, and...the family was not a fixed institution" (Oliva 9). A woman's influence in society and power to make her own decisions depended on her wealth, land, and marital situation (Pomeroy 93). The evidence points to women being able to keep their wealth after divorce--indeed, this would help her secure a high-status second husband--but I could not find anything convincing regarding the custody of the children. The emphasis of the woman's role in rearing children leads me to believe that she would retain custody as well.

Women participated in sporting events and wore short skirts: True. The importance of athletics for Spartan women seems to be unique among ancient Greek societies. Some ancient Greek authors indicated that racing, trials of strength, wrestling, discus throwing, and hurling the javelin were important physical activities. Pomeroy writes that "the women's curriculum was a selective and less arduous version of the men's, but similar to it" (14). In regard to dress, she writes that "Not only did Spartan women wear a peplos (tunic) that revealed their thighs, but they regularly exercised completely nude" (25). Some ancient writers referred to Spartan women as "thigh-flashers" (26).

The men couldn’t marry until they finished their military service at thirty years of age: False. They were required to serve in the military and live in the barracks until they were 30, but they could still--and were expected to--marry during this time; they just couldn't live with their wives for an extended period of time until they finished their residence in the barracks.

Women had the honor of getting their names on graves if they died in childbirth: True. This is mentioned in the book Spartan Society, which quotes Plutarch: "On the gravestones it was forbidden to write the names of the dead, except in the case of men who had died in war and of women who had died in childbirth." However, from what I understand, this meaning is disputed by some, and "childbirth" could be better translated as "sacred office," introducing some ambiguity to the account. Nevertheless, the former meaning is generally accepted. (Brulé and Piolot 152-153)

In conclusion, though I've not found it put quite so colorfully as on tumblr, Sparta indeed rocked women's rights. This website has some more cool facts--the good and the bad--about women in Sparta that seem to agree with my research. (I also borrowed a book about Athenian woman, but that's another question.) For now I must admit, Sparta, that you win this battle. Until next time.

-Owlet of Athens

Brulé, Pierre and Laurent Piolot. "Women's Way of Death: Fatal Childbirth or Heirai?: Commemorative Stones at Sparta and Plutarch, Lycurgus 27.3." Spartan Society. Ed. Thomas J. Figuiera. Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales, 2004. 151-178. Print.

Hodkinson, Stephen. "Female Property Ownership and Empowerment in Classical and Hellenistic Sparta." Spartan Society. Ed. Thomas J. Figueira. Swansea: The Classical Press of Wales, 2004. 103-136. Print.

Oliva, Pavel. Sparta and her Social Problems. Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert, 1971. Print.

Pomeroy, Sarah B. Spartan Women. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.