Some dream big things, other wake up and do them. ~Old saying
Question #70868 posted on 02/06/2013 10:40 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What does this question look like from the Board Writer's perspective? In other words, I'm dying to see what the Writer's 100 Hour Board site looks like. If you don't want to let me take a gander at a print screen, then could you describe its much awesomeness for me please?



Dear there's not much to see really,

It looks pretty much the same as when it posts, except for a few minor differences, which I'll explain below.

question look like 2.png
A) We have an hour counter in the corner that tells us how old a question is. There's also a little colored line next to the hour to indicate the status of the question. Your question has an orange line in this picture because it's in the process of being answered, but is not yet complete.

B) This box gets checked once a question is sufficiently answered. 

C) When a writer finishes an answer they have to mark it as complete by checking this box. Once it's been proofread, approved by another writer, and approved by an editor, those boxes will appear checked.

D) These are options to edit or delete responses we're working on. Also, if a writer sees a problem with someone else's answer they can flagette it and leave a message.

E) If there's a problem with a question (offensive, self-promoting, not really a question, etc.) writers can flag it for review and the editors decide whether to reject it or allow it to post. 

F) When a question appears on the home page it displays the time and date it posted, but questions in the inbox show the time and date they were asked.

G) Questions can be assigned different categories from this drop-down menu to make them more searchable. Only two of our writers ever bother to do this.

The end.

-Genuine Article

Question #70806 posted on 02/04/2013 10:10 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Have more people won Best Actor Academy Awards for portraying someone with mental disability/handicap/illness or Best Actress Academy Awards for films in which they appeared nude/semi-nude in the generally accepted definition of film nudity? What are the totals?

-Dennis Swanberg


Dear Dennis Swanberg,

I looked up all my information from IMDB, so if anything is wrong, it's probably because IMDB was ambiguous. In some movies, there was significant nudity from characters who were not the Academy Award winner; these are marked by asterisks.

Year Actor/Actress Film Nudity Mental Disability Both Neither Comments
1927-28 Emil Jannings The Last Command       1  
    The Way of All Flesh       1  
1928-29 Warner Baxter In Old Arizona       1  
1929-30 George Arliss Disraeli       1  
1930-31 Lionel Barrymore A Free Soul       1  
1931-32 Wallace Beery (tie) The Champ       1  
  Fredric March (tie) Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde   1      
1932-33 Charles Laughton The Private Life of Henry VIII       1  
1934 Clark Gable It Happened One Night       1  
1935 Victor McLaglen The Informer       1  
1936 Paul Muni The Story of Louis Pasteur       1  
1937 Spencer Tracy Captains Courageous       1  
1938 Spencer Tracy Boys Town       1  
1939 Robert Donat Goodbye, Mr. Chips       1  
1940 James Stewart The Philadelphia Story       1  
1941 Gary Cooper Sergeant York       1  
1942 James Cagney Yankee Doodle Dandy       1  
1943 Paul Lucas Watch on the Rhine       1  
1944 Bing Crosby Going My Way       1  
1945 Ray Milland The Lost Weekend       1  
1946 Fredric March The Best Years of Our Lives       1  
1947 Ronald Colman A Double Life   1      
1948 Laurence Olivier Hamlet       1  
1949 Broderick Crawford All the King's Men       1  
1950 José Ferrer Cyrano de Bergerac       1  
1951 Humphrey Bogart The African Queen       1  
1952 Gary Cooper High Noon       1  
1953 William Holden Stalag 17       1  
1954 Marlon Brando On the Waterfront       1  
1955 Ernest Borgnine Marty       1  
1956 Yul Brynner The King and I       1  
1957 Alec Guinness The Bridge on the River Kwai       1  
1958 David Niven Separate Tables       1  
1959 Charlton Heston Ben-Hur       1  
1960 Burt Lancaster Elmer Gantry       1  
1961 Maximilian Schell Judgment at Nuremberg       1  
1962 Gregory Peck To Kill a Mockingbird       1  
1963 Sidney Poitier Lilies of the Field       1  
1964 Rex Harrison My Fair Lady       1  
1965 Lee Marvin Cat Ballou       1  
1966 Paul Scofield A Man for All Seasons       1  
1967 Rod Steiger In the Heat of the Night *     1  
1968 Cliff Robertson Charly * 1      
1969 John Wayne True Grit       1  
1970 George C. Scott (declined) Patton       1  
1971 Gene Hackman The French Connection *     1  
1972 Marlon Brando (declined) The Godfather *     1  
1973 Jack Lemmon Save the Tiger     1   I decided to interpret the flashbacks as PTSD, hence the mental illness being a "yes"
1974 Art Carney Harry and Tonto       1  
1975 Jack Nicholson One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest * 1     He only pleads insanity, but it does take place in a mental institution
1976 Peter Finch (posthumous) Network 1       IMDB was ambiguous as to which character showed nudity
1977 Richard Dreyfuss The Goodbye Girl       1  
1978 Jon Voight Coming Home 1       IMDB was ambiguous as to which character showed nudity
1979 Dustin Hoffman Kramer vs. Kramer *     1  
1980 Robert De Niro Raging Bull   1     He doesn't have a diagnosed mental illness, but the film summary makes it clear he has significant emotional problems
1981 Henry Fonda On Golden Pond       1  
1982 Ben Kingsley Gandhi       1  
1983 Robert Duvall Tender Mercies       1  
1984 F. Murray Abraham Amadeus *     1  
1985 William Hurt Kiss of the Spider Woman       1 There is a homesexual sex scene, but IMDB seemed to suggest that no explicit nudity was shown
1986 Paul Newman The Color of Money *     1  
1987 Michael Douglas Wall Street *     1  
1988 Dustin Hoffman Rain Man * 1      
1989 Daniel Day-Lewis My Left Foot *     1 Physical, but not mental, disability
1990 Jeremy Irons Reversal of Fortune *     1  
1991 Anthony Hopkins The Silence of the Lambs     1    
1992 Al Pacino Scent of a Woman       1  
1993 Tom Hanks Philadelphia 1       IMDB unclear if Hanks was the nude man
1994 Tom Hanks Forrest Gump     1    
1995 Nicholas Cage Leaving Las Vegas *     1  
1996 Geoffrey Rush Shine * 1     IMDB unclear if Rush is the man who appears nude
1997 Jack Nicholson As Good as It Gets * 1      
1998 Roberto Benigni Life is Beautiful       1  
1999 Kevin Spacey American Beauty     1    
2000 Russell Crowe Gladiator       1  
2001 Denzel Washington Training Day *     1  
2002 Adrien Brody The Pianist       1  
2003 Sean Penn Mystic River       1  
2004 Jamie Foxx Ray       1  
2005 Philip Seymour Hoffman Capote       1  
2006 Forest Whitaker The Last King of Scotland 1       IMDB not clear if Whitaker is the nude man
2007 Daniel Day-Lewis There Will Be Blood       1  
2008 Sean Penn Milk 1       IMDB unclear if explicit nudity is shown
2009 Jeff Bridges Crazy Heart *     1  
2010 Colin Firth The King's Speech   1     Wasn't sure whether to classify a speech impediment as a mental handicap
2011 Jean Dujardin The Artist       1  
  Actor Totals   5 9 4 68  
1927-28 Janet Gaynor Seventh Heaven       1  
    Street Angel       1  
    Sunrise       1  
1928-29 Mary Pickford Coquette       1  
1929-30 Norma Shearer The Divorcee       1  
1930-31 Marie Dressler Min and Bill       1  
1931-32 Helen Hayes The Sin of Madelon Claudet       1  
1932-33 Katharine Hepburn Morning Glory       1  
1934 Claudette Colbert It Happened One Night       1  
1935 Bette Davis Dangerous       1  
1936 Luise Rainer The Great Ziegfeld       1  
1937 Luise Rainer The Good Earth       1  
1938 Bette Davis Jezebel       1  
1939 Vivien Leigh Gone with the Wind       1  
1940 Ginger Rogers Kitty Foyle       1  
1941 Joan Fontaine Suspicion       1  
1942 Greer Garson Mrs. Miniver       1  
1943 Jennifer Jones The Song of Bernadette       1  
1944 Ingrid Bergman Gaslight   1      
1945 Joan Crawford Mildred Pierce       1  
1946 Olivia de Havilland To Each His Own       1  
1947 Loretta Young The Farmer's Daughter       1  
1948 Jane Wyman Johnny Belinda       1 Physical, but not mental, disability
1949 Olivia de Havilland The Heiress       1  
1950 Judy Holliday Born Yesterday       1  
1951 Vivien Leigh A Streetcar Named Desire       1  
1952 Shirley Booth Come Back, Little Sheba       1  
1953 Audrey Hepburn Roman Holiday       1  
1954 Grace Kelly The Country Girl       1  
1955 Anna Magnani The Rose Tattoo       1  
1956 Ingrid Bergman Anastasia       1  
1957 Joanne Woodward The Three Faces of Eve   1      
1958 Susan Hayward I Want to Live!       1  
1959 Simone Signoret Room at the Top       1  
1960 Elizabeth Taylor Butterfield 8       1  
1961 Sophia Loren Two Women *     1  
1962 Anne Bancroft The Miracle Worker       1 Physical, but not mental, disabilities
1963 Patricia Neal Hud       1  
1964 Julie Andrews Mary Poppins       1  
1965 Julie Christie Darling 1        
1966 Elizabeth Taylor Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?       1  
1967 Katharine Hepburn Guess Who's Coming to Dinner       1  
1968 Barbara Streisand (tie) Funny Girl       1  
  Katharine Hepburn (tie) The Lion in Winter       1  
1969 Maggie Smith The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie *     1  
1970 Glenda Jackson Women in Love 1        
1971 Jane Fonda Klute 1        
1972 Lisa Minnelli Cabaret       1  
1973 Glenda Jackson A Touch of Class       1 There might be nudity based on the plot, but I couldn't find any information
1974 Ellen Burstyn Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore       1  
1975 Louise Fletcher One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 1        
1976 Faye Dunaway Network 1        
1977 Diane Keaton Annie Hall       1  
1978 Jane Fonda Coming Home 1        
1979 Sally Field Norma Rae       1  
1980 Sissy Spacek Coal Miner's Daughter       1  
1981 Katharine Hepburn On Golden Pond       1  
1982 Meryl Streep Sophie's Choice       1  
1983 Shirley MacLaine Terms of Endearment       1  
1984 Sally Field Places in the Heart       1  
1985 Geraldine Page The Trip to Bountiful       1  
1986 Marlee Matlin Children of a Lesser God       1  
1987 Cher Moonstruck       1  
1988 Jodie Foster The Accused 1        
1989 Jessica Tandy Driving Miss Daisy       1  
1990 Kathy Bates Misery   1      
1991 Jodie Foster The Silence of the Lambs *     1 I don't thiiiiiink she has nudity, but I didn't feel like reading the description too closely
1992 Emma Thompson Howards End       1  
1993 Holly Hunter The Piano 1        
1994 Jessica Lange Blue Sky     1    
1995 Susan Sarandon Dead Man Walking       1 IMDB was unclear as to whether explicit nudity was shown
1996 Frances McDormand Fargo 1       Unclear as to whether McDormand herself is nude
1997 Helen Hunt As Good as It Gets 1        
1998 Gwyneth Paltrow Shakespeare in Love 1        
1999 Hilary Swank Boys Don't Cry 1        
2000 Julia Roberts Erin Brockovich       1  
2001 Halle Berry Monster's Ball 1        
2002 Nicole Kidman The Hours       1  
2003 Charlize Theron Monster     1    
2004 Hilary Swank Million Dollar Baby       1  
2005 Reese Witherspoon Walk the Line       1  
2006 Helen Mirren The Queen       1  
2007 Marion Cotillard La Vie en Rose 1        
2008 Kate Winslet The Reader 1        
2009 Sandra Bullock The Blind Side       1  
2010 Natalie Portman Black Swan     1    
2011 Meryl Streep The Iron Lady *     1  
  Actress Totals   15 3 3 66  
  Overall Totals   20 12 7 134  

So basically, more male actors portrayed mental illness than nudity, and more female actors featured nudity than mental illness. Overall, nudity was more commonly shown than mental illness.


Question #70762 posted on 02/15/2013 12:46 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How high above New York City would a nuclear bomb have to be detonated not to affect the inhabitants?

What would happen if one set off an nuclear bomb in space? On the Moon? On Jupiter (at the surface of, I suppose)? At the surface of the Sun?

-Peter Petrelli


Dear Peter Petrelli,

First of all, you might be interested in this website, which models the effects of different nuclear bombs at different detonation sites. Unfortunately, the site could only model detonations at ground level. So I went back to the site where the developer got the original equations, and looked at those.

Now, the effect partly depends on the size of the warhead. According to the website, strategic warheads are commonly hundreds of kilotons or greater. I chose a 500 kiloton warhead to model. The definition of a "destructive radius" is defined as enough heat to cause 3rd degree burns, a 4.6 psi blast overpressure, and a 500 rem radiation dose.

rthermal = (500/2.5)0.41 = 8.78 km

rblast = (500/2.5)0.33 = 5.75 km

rradiation = (500/2.5)0.19 = 2.74 km

So according to those equations, as long as you were at least 8.78 km away, you wouldn't feel any immediately fatal effects. The tallest building in New York City is the Empire State Building, at 381 m. This means that the bomb would have to be set off at least 9.161 km above New York City for the blast to be guaranteed to not immediately kill anyone. This would place the blast in the top end of the troposphere. As a result, much of the radiation would be injected into the stratosphere - even when nuclear reactions do not occur 9 km up, the fireball in blasts above 100 kilotons is usually large enough to inject a significant amount of radiation into the stratosphere. When radiation is in the stratosphere, it doesn't get brought down to the surface by weather, and has the opportunity to harmlessly decay instead of being brought to the surface while it's still radioactive. Furthermore, because the bomb is exploding in the air, it doesn't vaporize anything on the land. This means that far fewer radioactive isotopes are produced, which further decreases the chances of radiation sickness. However, some fallout would still reach New York, and while very few people would immediately die of radiation sickness, there would probably be a greatly increased risk of cancer and other radiation-associated health problems.

Also, while air bursts decrease the severity of the initial shockwave, they also increase the area that experiences the shockwaves. Furthermore, while a blast at 9.161 km above New York City wouldn't give anyone third-degree burns, a lot of heat would probably still reach New York. Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything that let me calculate alternate thermal radii. Based on these uncalculated factors (particularly the effect of altitude on radioactive particle distribution), I decided that a bomb would probably have an affect on New York City until it was firmly in the stratosphere. Height of the troposphere varies depending on where you are on the planet, so let's play it safe and say that the bomb would have to be at least 17 km up to have no significant physical affect. (The political and emotional affect, however, would probably still be quite large.)

Approximately to-scale diagram:

new york.png 
(clip art source)

However, you've got to be careful. Above 30 km, high-altitude nuclear explosions can disrupt satellites and lead to the collapse of the power grid. Computers, cell phones, and a great deal of infrastructure would be severly compromised. Depending on the severity of the pulse, some people theorize that the entire civil structure of the area would be severly threatened. So if you're a superhero trying to save New York, I'd recommend letting the bomb go off betwen 17 km and 30 km.

Alright, on to the rest of your question.

When a nuclear bomb is detonated in space, the lack of atmosphere means that the radiation does not attenuate the same way; that is, it stays potent longer. The radius of radiation can be 8 to 17 times larger than the radius at sea level. This means that the lethal radius can be over hundreds of miles, which is one of the primary differences when nuclear weapons are detonated in space. Furthermore, detonating nuclear weapons in space can lead to satellite disruptions and other problems, as discussed above. To see what a nuclear explosion looks like in space, check out this video.

Believe it or not, the question of detonating a nuclear bomb on the Moon was actually investigated during the Cold War. The detonation itself isn't too different, except for the fact that the low gravity would mean that the resulting dust cloud would be quite large. If it were detonated near the perimeter of the moon, the cloud would be plainly visible from Earth.

The question of detonating a nuclear weapon on the surface of Jupiter led me in several interesting directions. The first thing that came to my mind was the effect on Jupiter's atmosphere. As anyone familiar with the Great Red Spot knows, Jupiter has some awesome hurricanes. So what happens when you set off a nuclear bomb in a hurricane? Well, it turns out that enough people have asked this question that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a page specifically devoted to that question. Just enjoy that fact for a minute: enough people thought "Hurricanes? Why don't we just nuke 'em?" that they actually wrote up a detailed, serious answer to that question.

Anyways, a hurricane releases heat energy at a rate equal to that of a 10-megaton nuclear bomb exploding every 20 minutes. For reference, the bomb I modeled above was 0.5 megatons. From a strict energy standpoint, a bomb wouldn't be able to disrupt a hurricane at all. Furthermore, a nuclear explosion doesn't actually change the barometric pressure. So nuclear bombs have no effect on hurricanes on Earth, and Jupiter's storms are even bigger. Basically, a nuclear bomb detonated on Jupiter would look a lot like a nuclear bomb detonated on Earth, except for the fact that the atmosphere is less dense, so the radiation radius would be a great deal wider.

The other thing that this question turned up was an amusing theory about the Galileo probe. When Galileo's mission was over, NASA decided to crash Galileo into Jupiter, instead of allowing it to continue to orbit and possibly crash into one of Jupiter's moons, which could theoretically support life. Because of this, NASA didn't want to accidentally contaminate Europa. However, some people thought that NASA was secretly plotting to use Galileo as a fission bomb in order to kick-start a fusion reaction and make Jupiter a star. Unfortunately, while Jupiter has an abundance of hydrogen, it's the wrong isotope for a fusion reaction. Furthermore, Jupiter is simply too small to become a star, even if Galileo could act as a fission bomb, which it couldn't. It was an interesting tidbit to dig up, however.

Finally, detonating a bomb on the surface of the sun would have absolutely no effect whatsoever. First of all, it would be really difficult to get the bomb to the sun without it being destroyed by the heat long before it arrived. However, even in the event that you did get a nuclear bomb to the sun, even the largest nuclear weapon would be thousands of orders of magnitude less powerful than the sun. It would be a bit like throwing a pebble at a steam engine; the train just has too much momentum for the pebble to make a difference. 

I think you might also be interested in this article about detonating a nuclear bomb at the bottom of the sea.


Question #70687 posted on 02/11/2013 1:10 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I have this strange knack for knowing WAY more hymns in the hymn book than anyone else. As a result, I often pick hymns to sing that no one else knows, even though I think they're common. As a result, I come to you:

If you had to categorize each hymn based on it's commonness, with 1 being super common (i.e. Spirit of God) to 5 being arcane (i.e. #126, Lord, We Come Before Thee Now), how would the list break down?

I'll get you started (at least, how I think it would go)

#1--The Morning Breaks -- 2/5
#2--The Spirit of God -- 1/5
#3--Now Let Us Rejoice -- 1/5
#4--Truth Eternal (is this even right? I'm going by memory) -- 4/5
#5--High on the Mountain Top -- 1/5
etc. etc.

--I understand if this questions goes over, and look forward to Editor's Choice quality work.


Dear yep, you called the timeline on this one,

We decided a 340-row table would be a bit excessively long to post, so we made the Google Doc public. Happy hymn-singing!

-Zedability, Anne, Certainly, Gimgimno, No Dice, Art Vandelay, and Eirene

Question #70678 posted on 02/20/2013 6:46 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My roommate and I were wondering whether BYU has the most out-of-state students of any university in the United States, not as a percentage but as an actual number. After searching Google for a while, we haven't had a breakthrough. Can you help us figure this out?

-BYU Utahn


Dear BYU Utahn,

I think the reason you were having trouble finding solid numbers is because (prior to me writing this question, of course), those numbers didn't exist in any one spot on the Internet. I had to pull my information from multiple sources.

My methodology for this question was first, to look at all the degree-granting, not-online, not-military universities in the country in order of full-time undergraduate enrollment. I chose to only include undergrads, since grad students tend to be a different population altogether. It was also important to only look at full-time undergrads, since otherwise, you get a bunch of community colleges claiming they have over 50,000 undergrads, when only a fraction of those are active, full-time students. To find the official rankings for numbers of undergraduates, I used the National Center for Education Statistics' searchable database.

Unfortunately, that database doesn't contain information on in-state and out-of-state students, so I had to go elsewhere to find those numbers. Many universities participate in the Common Data Set program, which is basically an unfunded initiative asking colleges to provide answers to a standardized ~20 page survey about admissions, student demographics, financial aid, and student life at their university. The good news was that the Common Data Set conveniently asks about the percent of out-of-state undergraduate students. The bad news was that there's no single, searchable database for the Common Data Sets, so to find those percentages, it was a matter of Googling the most recent Common Data Set for each university in question.

Then, I calculated the number of out-of-state students for each one, based on the full-time undergraduate enrollment (from the NCES database) and the percent of out-of-state students (from each university's respective Common Data Set).

This first table includes all degree-granting, non-online, non-military universities in the country that are at least as big as BYU. As you can see, no university that is at least BYU's size has anywhere near as high of a percentage of out-of-staters. In terms of raw numbers, BYU still has the highest number of out-of-state students of all of these universities. The runners-up, Arizona State University and Pennsylvania State University, are much larger institutions but still only have about 2/3 the number of out-of-state students that BYU has. We can definitely conclude that out of universities at least BYU's size, BYU has the highest percentage of out-of-state students, as well as the highest raw number.

Institution Name Full-time Undergraduate Enrollment Percent Out of State Number Out of State (rounded down to nearest human)
Arizona State University 50,484 23 11611
Ohio State University 39,234 12 4708
Pennsylvania State University 37,347 30 11204
University of Central Florida 37,271 4.5 1677
Texas A&M 36,507 3 1095
University of Texas-Austin 35,608 5 1780
Michigan State University 33,412 9 3007
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 31,311 9 2817
Indiana University-Bloomington 31,093 28 8706
University of Florida 30,343 2.5 758
Purdue University-Main Campus 29,998 31 9299
Rutgers University-New Brunswick 29,752 7.3 2171
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 29,194 25.8 7532
Florida State University 28,864 12.3 3550
Brigham Young University 28,005 65 18203

At this point, the only way that another college could have a higher raw number of out-of-state students than BYU would be if it had at least 18,203 students and a higher percent of out-of-state students than BYU. I identified a few possible contenders by looking at schools with at least 18,203 undergraduates that were likely to have a high percentage of out-of-state students (including private universities and well-known public universities).

Institution Name Full-time Undergraduate Enrollment Percent Out of State Number Out of State
Temple University 24,593 18 4426
New York University 21,327 65 13862
University of Massachusetts Amherst 20,254 21 4253

Of universities smaller than BYU, New York University is the only one that could come close; it had an identical percentage of out-of-state students, but a smaller undergraduate student body overall, giving it about 3/4 as many out-of-state undergrads as BYU.

After looking up all of these numbers, I think it's very safe to conclude that your hunch was correct, and BYU does have the highest number of out-of-state students of all US degree-granting universities that are not online and not affiliated with the military. It also appears to have a relatively high percentage of out-of-state students, though there are a number of much smaller universities with a higher outright percentage (for example, it's 85% at Harvard and 93% at Yale).

- Eirene

Question #70656 posted on 08/07/2013 5:04 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What city/town/village/human settlement is the furthest from an LDS temple? (If it's the research station in Antarctica, I'd like to know the furthest point excluding Antarctica too, please.)

- Optimistic.


Dear Optimistic.,

Well, the long-awaited day has finally arrived. To answer your question, I created a globe with ArcGIS displaying all of the temples worldwide and using buffers to show distance.

Here is the video.

I'd just like everyone to appreciate that I did this almost entirely from scratch, meaning I had to log the names and coordinates of every temple in the world manually before I could manipulate the data. (Yes, I probably could have found the data online somewhere, but I really needed the practice.) Also, because I could not find access to any computer with both ArcGIS and audio recording capabilities in a reasonably noise-free environment, I had to record the audio and the video separately.

If any GIS users would like a copy of my files, email me and I'll get them to you.




Dear Optimistic.,

I took a somewhat different approach than yayfulness (great answer, by the way!). I got PostGIS set up and imported a map of the LDS temples (and added in some recently-announced ones). I also imported data on all of the "populated places" tracked by the NGA (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency), which included 2.9 million places in foreign countries; and I imported data from the USGS (United States Geological Survey), which included 200,000 places in the United States.

From there, it was relatively simple to calculate the closest temple to each human settlement, and find the settlement with the greatest distance. The furthest human settlement from any temple, including ones that have only been announced (but not completed yet) is Hitadu, in the Maldives. (I've also seen it spelled Hitaddu and Hithadhoo.) It's 5128 kilometers (3186 miles) from the nearest temple, which is the Hong Kong China temple.

However, if you count only actually operational temples, the furthest human settlement from any temple is Minni Minni, a British Indian Ocean Territory, a bit south of Hitadu. It's 5143 kilometers (3196 miles) from the nearest temple, which is the Johannesburg South Africa temple. (The announced Durban South Africa temple, when completed, will bump it down slightly and make Hitadu the "winner.")


Temporary research bases and the like don't seem to be included in this data, which makes sense. As a result, Antarctica wasn't even in the running. However, just to check, I pulled in the locations of all Antarctic research stations and found their closest temples. One of the more well-known stations, McMurdo, is actually closer to a temple than either Hitadu or Minni Minni; it is 4475 kilometers (2781 miles) from the Hamilton New Zealand temple. However, several are further than either of the above, and the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station is (unsurprisingly) the furthest from a temple, at 5809 kilometers (3610 miles) from the Melbourne Australia temple.

Bonus Round

As a bonus, what about meetinghouses? Which populated place is furthest from a meetinghouse? (Excluding Antarctica again.) I managed to get the locations of all meetinghouses (nearly 18,000 of them), and ran the numbers. And it turns out that the settlement furthest from any LDS meetinghouse is Port-aux-Français, far south of both Hitadu and Minni Minni. It's 3367 kilometers (2092 miles) from the nearest meetinghouse, in Taolagnaro, Madagascar (home of the Tanambao branch and Amparihy branch).

And finally, which meetinghouse is furthest from the nearest temple? That's the Goa meetinghouse (home of the Goa branch), on the southwestern coast of India, which is 4295 kilometers (2669 miles) from the Hong Kong temple. (It's the furthest away including both operational and announced temples.)


I wanted to find a good way to present all of this visually, and ended up creating a heat map. Here's a small version; click through for a full-screen, interactive version, showing all temples whether built or announced. The rough distance to the nearest temple for the spot the mouse is pointing to is shown in the lower-right (the mouse location is accurate to the nearest degree of latitude/longitude). Using the controls in the upper-right corner you can change the opacity of the distance overlay or turn the layers on and off, and switch between Google and OpenStreetMap.


I think it's interesting that you can see traces of the Thiessen polygons that yayfulness talks about around some of the temples (check out the Pacific, and crank up the opacity). Also note that this is using a Mercator projection, since that's what Google Maps and most other online maps use, which is why things start looking pretty stretched out toward the north and south extremes.

If you're interested in other Church-related maps, check out the award-winning atlas Mapping Mormonism: An Atlas of Latter-day Saint History, which came out last fall. (There's also an accompanying website,, which seems to be down a lot in the last couple of days when I've been trying to access it, but when it's up it has some maps you can explore online.)

—Laser Jock

Question #70653 posted on 01/26/2013 1:46 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

A lot of time in movies people say, "oh, you know those Irish Catholics," or "he's an Italian Catholic," or "she was raised French Catholic/Mexican Catholic/Brazilian Catholic," etc. What do these mean? Are there really such distinctions between the practices of the same faith in different countries? What are some of those distinctions that would set them apart?

-Jack Donaghy


Dear Jack,


So, first, thanks for asking this - I'm actually taking a Religious History class right now, so this question let me do some research in a related field.

Second, let me apologize: This answer is not very simple or very clear cut. As I searched this, it became apparent that the background of religious development into these different groups is not an easy thing. So, sorry if this is totally not what you were looking for - hopefully it will be informative anyways.

Getting started:

In speaking to BYU's religious librarian (thanks to him for his help on this!), he compared the different ethnic strains of Catholicism to those in Mormonism. He commented that while the Church is still the same, you may find differences in culture affecting religion, like Tongans wearing lava-lavas to church rather than the western-traditional pants.  In the church, we speak of "Utah" Mormons. As someone from outside of Utah may assert, they can be pretty different - not because the sacraments, doctrines, or ordinances of the faith are different, but because the culture mixed into the religion is. 

However, like all LDS wards and branches, all Catholics belong to the same church. All have the same pope, the same official doctrine and canon. What will vary from nation to nation is the "flavor" of that religion, which will inevitably be influenced by the development of the church, pre- or co-existing religions, and other cultural factors.

Let's take a look at two large "branches" of Catholicism to get an idea for how Catholicism develops differently in different times and places.

Irish Catholics:

In a 2012 Catholic Almanac, Ireland is listed as being 76% Catholic.1 The almanac goes on to explain that the nation was initially introduced to Catholicism through the efforts of St. Patrick in the 5th century, though full conversion took "until the seventh century or later." The Modern Catholic Encyclopedia explains that following the conversion of Ireland

Because the Western Roman Empire had dissolved into chaos, Irish Christianity established itself in great isolation, and adapted itself to a considerable degree to the patterns of civil society. The most distinctive feature of this society was that it was based on the extended kin grop rather than on territorially-defined units. In consequence, the territorial ecclesiastical units ... remained weak, while the strong unit was the monastery because it was more closely linked to the kin group.2

The Encyclopedia goes on to explain that even after Norman conquest, "The island was so fragmented that complete conquest [and the institution of centralized government] was difficult ... It settled down as a country of two cultures, Gaelic and Norman with a Church inter Hiberno [Irish] and a Church inter Anglos." Eventually, "The Irish were the only European people not to follow the religion of their civil ruler. ... the sheer weight of Catholic numbers made it possible to organize the Church on a ... territorial basis." 

The Encyclopedia comments both on the eventual rebellion of Irish Catholics who were for a long time refused religious rights and political rights (based on their religion) as well as the "rigorous religious observance [developed by the poor Irish Catholics during the Great Famine] that owed at least as much to a determination to preserve the family farm intact as to any precepts inculcated by the clergy". Many of these poor Irish Catholics would end up emigrating to America, where they would be able to retain ties to their homeland through their family-connecting religion.

Given the religious division between the rest of the British Isles (Anglican) and Ireland (Catholic,) the Encylcopedia's assertion that religion and politics were very intertwined for Irish Catholics makes sense. So, here we have a group of Catholics whose Catholicism has become inextricably linked with their own culture.

I looked up some Irish Catholic stereotypes to see what kind of thing people mean when they make comments about Irish Catholics. Interestingly, it seems to me that people seem to conflate Irish people with Irish Catholic people when stereotyping. Given the tight interweaving of Irish Catholicism with Irish culture in general, this perhaps should not be too surprising. One website characterized prevailing stereotype of Irish Catholics (historically) as being a group of "lazy, drunken, and proliferate." 

I think that today, such stereotypes are falling, though there appears to still be some stereotyping about the size of Irish Catholic families (which makes some sense, given that Catholic religion rejects artificial birth control methods and that many people probably still associate Irish people with Catholicism).

As to differences in practice, I found the USA Irish Apostolate, which explains that there are some unique traditions Irish Catholics have (such as outdoor "mass rocks" used for Mass celebrations during times of religious oppression, the idea of "Station mass" held at someone's house in the absence of church availablity, but now continued out of tradition and because of the social aspect. Irish "wakes" (services for the dead), are also listed as a specifically Irish tradition, rooted "in the strength of the Irish family and community." So, we have individual traditions that evolved because of local circumstances, but ultimately Irish Catholics are a part of the same universal Roman Catholic religion.

In sum: Things that make Irish Catholicism unique

1. Its initial organization as more of a family-based religion than a structure-based religion.

2. The opposition, oppression, and antagonizing it faced from other religions.

Irish Catholicism is very intertwined with Irish culture. This means that stereotypes about Irish people in general, (often constructed by unsympathetic non-Irish people) can easily be applied to "Irish Catholics" through conflation of the two groups. Irish Catholics do have unique traditions and "flavor."

Brazilian Catholics:

Once again, a brief bit of history/background. So, the Enclopedia of Catholicism explains that "Brazilian Catholics donstitute the largest body of Catholics in the word. Catholicism first came to Brazil in 1500."3 The New Catholic Encyclopedia further elaborates, explaining that Jesuits and Franciscans were active parts of the conversion of Brazil, "[creating] crude grammars and catechisms in the so-called 'lingoa geral,' a sort of lingua franca more or less understood by most of the native people in the region," and that "in 1533, the Jesuit general superior in Rome separated the missions of Brazil from Portugal and founded an independent province of Jesuits in the new land."4 Jesuits encouraged natives to live in a system of "village mission settlements" known as "aldeiamento."5 In these missions, Brazilian natives and Portuguese Catholics learned to communicate. Eventually, "native peoples were gathered into new strategically placed villages [with] catechetical instruction morning and evening for all." So, semi-forced conversion in the name of "civilizing" natives is at the foundation of Brazilian Catholicism.

Eventually Brazil became independent of its former colonial masters. Catholicism did not leave with the departure of formal Portuguese political control, though; the New Catholic Encyclopedia claims that Brazil remains "overwhelmingly Catholic," though "only 20 percent of all Catholics regularly [practice] their faith." In modern times, Brazilian Catholicism has flirted with "Liberation theology," a religious relationship between freeing the physically poor and oppressed in society and the ideas of liberation present in Christian theology. This liberation theology aspect of Brazilian Catholicism has caused some strain with the Vatican, but Brazilian Catholicism remains formally united with Roman Catholicism despite such cultural differences. Catholicism in Brazil has thus also been intertwined with local politics of a rising nation.

And that's without even getting into Japanese-Brazilian Catholicism or Afro-Brazilian Catholicism. Essentially, recall that Brazil is a place of diversity with natives, European immigrants, Asian immigrants, and imported African slaves that have all been influenced by and influenced Catholicism for hundreds of years.

Recently, as expressed in this article, Brazil has experienced something of an evangelical revolution, and Catholicism in Brazil is moving in that direction in order to keep members. "Charismatic" Christianity - faith that focuses on the manifestations of spiritual gifts - is on the rise in Brazil, and that is influencing Brazilian Catholicism.

In Sum: Things that make Brazilian Catholicism unique

1. Imposed Catholicism given as a "civilizing" method to Brazilian natives by Portuguese Catholics.

2. A continuing culture of Catholicism among diverse individuals (if not intense religious practice of the religion) and its role as an institution of change/reform/etc. I'm not going to go into research about syncretism with native religions, African religions, etc., but I'm sure that's been relative as well.

3. A movement in Brazil towards evangelicalism, Protestantism and charismatic religion.

Some unique Brazilian Catholic traditions/observances can be found at this site.

So what? Closing thoughts:

As you can see, the idea of [Nationality/Country] Catholicism is real. Catholicism cannot exist in a vacuum; all religions are affected by their political and social surroundings and by the history of the people adopting them. Each sub-culture within the Catholic church will depend upon the context in which it exists. Additionally, someone on Yahoo! Answers asked a similar question to you, which you may be interested in. Answers here point out things like local traditions and saints, traditional relations between groups, etc.

So, given all these sources and my knowledge, what I can give you is this: When someone makes a comment about "Brazilian Catholics" "French Catholics" "Irish Catholics" etc., they are bringing up an entire cultural history and a congregation/group distinguished by the unique identity that history creates. 

Whew! Religion is complicated stuff. If you're interested in Catholicism in a specific region, I'd recommend coming to the HBLL and looking over the articles in Catholic Encyclopedias (of which BYU has several) regarding Catholicism in that country or even just doing a google search for "Unique traditions [X] Catholic" or some such. Best of luck if you decide to continue research!

~Anne, Certainly

1 Erlandson, Greg. Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Almanac. 2012 Edition. Huntington: Our Sunday Visitor Publishing Division, 2012. 314. Print.

2 Glazier, Michael, and Monika K Hellwig. The Modern Catholic Encyclopeida. Collegeville: Order of Saint Benedict, 2004. 414-415. Print.

3 McBrien, Richard P. The HarperCollins Encyclopedia Of Catholicism. 1st ed. New York: HarperOne, 1996. 194. Print.

New Catholic Encyclopedia. 2nd ed. 10. Washington D.C: Gale, 2003. Book 2, 587-599. Print.

New Catholic Encyclopedia. 2nd ed. 10. Washington D.C: Gale, 2003. Book 1, 244-245. Print.

Question #70552 posted on 01/23/2013 1:40 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

A hypothetical BYU student gets caught by non-BYU police in Utah County with possession of marijuana and paraphernalia. First time offense. This hypothetical person will appear in the future to plead guilty.

First, any ideas of that this sort of thing usually leads to, legally? Suspended sentence, fines, community service, suspended drivers license?

Second, does BYU search through the public record to find students with convictions, and if the Honor Code Office were to find out, what would be the possible ramifications. The hypothetical person is currently in their last semester before graduating.

- worried hypothetical


Dear hypothetical,

Well, once again the 100 Hour Board makes my Google search history a more random place. 

The bad news:

The charges and penalties for marijuana/paraphernalia possession vary. This table, taken from Rasmussen and Miner's website, shows the Utah penalties and charges for possession of marijuana (assuming a first time offense):

Amount in Your Possession Charge Possible Penalties
Possession of 1 oz of marijuana or less Class B Misdemeanor Penalties include incarceration for a period of up to 6 months with a fine of $1,000
Possession of between 1 oz and 1 lb of marijuana Class A Misdemeanor Penalties include incarceration for a period of up to 1 year with a fine of $2,500
Possession of between 1 lb and 100 lbs of marijuana Third Degree Felony Penalties include incarceration for a period of up to 5 years with a fine of $5,000
Possession of greater than 100 lbs Second Degree Felony Penalties include incarceration for a period of 1 to 15 years with a fine of $10,000

The same attorney's site states that possession of paraphernalia is a Class B Misdemeanor and that "Penalties include incarceration for a period of up to 6 months and a fine of $1000.

Another problem you may run into is that "your driver's license will be suspended for six months if you are convicted of any marijuana-related charges."

Another attorney website, Sharifi and Baron, point out that if you were pulled over in a drug free zone, your charges could be elevated from the typical possession charges.

Now, Rasmussen's site also points out that it's possible they could help you get punishments reduced through plea bargaining or what have you. It's important  to recognize that lawyers want you to realize that you're in a bad spot (so you'll hire them) but also convince you that they really can help you to do damage control. 

An official (non-commercial) source for these penalties can be found here.

Remember; the 100 Hour Board does not offer legal advice or remove the need for a licensed attorneys. 
Now, the potentially good news:

One of the things brought up on a website I perused was that judges often consult sentencing guidelines, considering these forms when sentencing. Assuming you have no prior anything (including before reaching adulthood), your location on this matrix is likely to be within the area suggested for probation rather than imprisonment.

So, legally speaking:

There are some serious potential ramifications from this type of arrest. You may wish to consider engaging the services of a lawyer; you have a right to counsel and it may be a good time to exercise it (if you were charged with a felony, you will likely also have the right to have counsel provided for you if you cannot afford it.)

 Effects at BYU:

I contacted the BYU honor code office with a details-removed version of this question, and received the following response.

Thank you for your email regarding students who may have been involved in a misdemeanor with the police off campus. [Note: I assumed that you'll only be charged with misdemeanors, ie that you didn't have at least a pound of marijuana or intent to distribute.] Violation allegations come from many sources. BYU students have a responsibility to represent the Church and BYU in all their dealings by abiding in their Honor Code commitment both on and off campus and between semesters. When misconduct becomes public knowledge and involves a BYU student, the Honor Code Office may receive reports from people who are aware of the incident.

Off campus police departments generally do not provide reports to the HCO. However, if there are concerns that the incident may affect the community or other students, they may choose to make a report. The consequences for breaking the law are handled by the police and the courts.

A BYU student should take responsibility for their misconduct with the University when they have violated principles of the Honor Code. One of these principles is to obey the law and all campus policies. This is a part of the contractual agreement they entered into when they signed the Honor Code and committed themselves to abide in the principles of the Honor Code.

We hope this information is helpful.

So, that's the official word from the HCO. 

~Anne, Certainly

Question #70540 posted on 01/21/2013 9:58 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

A recent petition on the site to re-start the process of ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment got me wondering.

Apparently, the Church was heavily involved in fighting against the ERA, similar to the Prop 8 thing in California a few years ago. My question is: why? Why would the Church be opposed to "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged ... on account of sex"?

- Binary Search Tree


Dear Binary Search Tree,

I found a very thorough-looking Ensign article from 1980: "The Church and the Proposed Equal Rights Amendment: A Moral Issue", which you may want to read to get the full story. However, I'll summarize and explain why the Church was opposed before. (Please note that although some of these reasons may still apply today, others make more sense when considered in the context of their time period. Also, this was not an official statement by the Church, but rather an attempt to explain the issue by the staff of the Ensign; since the Ensign is a Church publication I feel like this was still fairly official, but there is a difference.)

Although the Church is (of course!) in favor of equal rights for women, they didn't feel like the ERA was the right way to go about it. They pointed out that sex discrimination was already Constitutionally prohibited (and had been the subject of further laws), and that a Constitutional amendment wouldn't magically erase any current inequities: Congress would still need to get laws passed (or overturned, as the case may be), just they're already doing.

Then they get to what I feel like are their main reasons: the ERA would force gay marriage to be allowed, would defeat any chance of overturning "abortion on demand" (which was fairly recent in 1980, since Roe v. Wade was only in 1973), and would pose threats to what we consider God's plan for the family (as stated more recently in the Proclamation on the Family, for instance).

The issue of gay marriage is fairly obvious, I think: a woman can marry a man, so under the language of the ERA, a man should be able to marry a man as well (and likewise for women marrying women). The issue of abortion was less clear to me, but after a little searching I found this brief explanation. Basically, the state of New Mexico has passed its own version of the ERA (as have a number of other states), and in a decision in 1998, New Mexico Right to Choose/Naral v. Johnson, the New Mexico Supreme Court addressed the issue of taxpayer-funded abortion and found unanimously that a state ban on tax-funded abortions "undoubtedly singles out for less favorable treatment a gender-linked condition that is unique to women." It seems likely that a similar decision would be reached on a national level if the ERA were passed; the logic seems pretty straightforward. (They give more reasoning in their decision in the paragraphs around the line I quoted, which you may or may not be interested in.)

The family point may also need a little clarification. Again based on other states that had passed their own versions of the ERA (on a state level), it looks likely that the ERA would "make it more difficult for wives and mothers to remain at home because it could require the removal of legal requirements that make a husband responsible for the support of his wife and children" (quoting from the Ensign article). In other words, things like child support and alimony may be struck down, which would make it riskier for women to stay at home rather than working. This might discourage those women who wish to remain at home and raise their family. Another quote from the Ensign sums it up:

Therefore, it is with this understanding of God’s instructions that we have noted the negative impact that ERA could have on present laws protecting mothers and children from fathers who do not accept legal responsibilities for their children, and on present laws protecting family structure and relationships between husbands and wives. The proposed ERA challenges this entire scriptural understanding, brings ambiguity to relationships where ambiguity need not exist, and portends tragic consequences for individuals and society.

Finally, they include some points that I think could be very convincing even to people who don't share the LDS views on issues like abortion, gay marriage, and the family. First of all, although the language of the ERA is very simple, a number of additions were suggested and struck down, including clauses that state the ERA (a) wouldn't impair laws that protect or exempt women / wives / mothers / widows; (b) wouldn't impair laws that impose upon fathers responsibility for support of their children; (c) wouldn't affect laws that "secure privacy to men and women, boys and girls"; and (d) would at least allow distinctions "based on physiological or functioning differences between [males and females]". Why does what they didn't say in the ERA matter? The Ensign points out that "Should the ERA be ratified, the courts will look to this legislative history as they seek to determine the intent of the lawmakers. The lawmakers clearly voted for no distinctions or exceptions on the basis of sex."

For people who are states' rights advocates, the ERA would continue the erosion of states' rights. As already pointed out, a number of states have already passed their own versions of the ERA, so that is clearly an option on a state by state basis. Also, because the language of the law is so vague, it would give a huge amount of power to (nonelected) judges as to how to interpret it, rather than letting the (elected) legislatures make the decisions.

The ERA could have interesting effects on school sports. As of 1980, both Pennsylvania and Washington had rulings that all school sports must be open to students of both genders. (I don't know, but I would guess there have been other rulings since then.) If taken to its logical conclusion, this would reduce the opportunity for as many girls and women to participate in school sports, since in many sports, men have physical advantages as a result of biology.

I should point out that it appears that just like with Proposition 8, the Ensign article stated that the Church allowed members to support the ERA without effect on their temple recommend or membership in the Church. However, actively denouncing the Church itself was, of course, an issue that could lead to excommunication.

Thanks for asking an interesting question. I've been vaguely aware of the ERA for a few years now, but I had no idea why the Church opposed it or some of the surprising effects it would likely have.

—Laser Jock

Question #70513 posted on 01/15/2013 12:28 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I was browsing the stacks in the HBLL when I happened upon a peculiar book. Inside the front cover is the signature of Joseph F. Smith. The book was published during his lifetime, and there's a date written in the same handwriting as the signature indicating a date during his life.

So, if I took it to Special Collections or something, would they be able to tell me if that's really his signature? Do you think they would want to put it in Special Collections?

Also, are any of you library ninjas who know what book I'm talking about based on the little information I've included here?

-Cassiodorus Biblothecarius


Dear You,

I appreciate the lack of call number, title, author, or even subject. It was quite the adventure to walk into the library and say, "I am looking for a book. It has Joseph F. Smith's signature in it and it is not in Special Collections." You know what they told me? "Ask the 100 Hour Board." So then I thought to myself, "Tink, you're part of the 100 Hour Board. Where is the book?" And then I was like, "Nope, still don't know."

I headed down to the good old Special Collections anyways, to ask the the first two questions, at least. At first, they said that if it had Joseph F. Smith's signature and it was in the stacks, it was probably a fake. But then, another librarian said it was quite possible that it was his signature, and to bring it in to compare, but it didn't need to be moved to Special Collections permanently.

I  had the answer to the question, but I was still out of luck on the book. I really wanted to find it, so the librarians did a special search and came up with four possible book titles. I found the books, and there was no signature. So I went back to Special Collections. They said that there wasn't anything else to be done, it would have to be found at random again.

Now, I'm a pretty stubborn person. If I wanted to find that book, I was going to find that book. I tried a lot of different keyword searches, and found a function on the library catalog that the librarians in Special Collections didn't even know was there. It allowed me to search for obscure things, such as the book binder, cover designer, dedicatee, or even signer!

There were still a lot of books that popped up as having Joseph F. Smith's signature in them. The problem was, many books had multiple copies in the library; one in Special Collections, and one in the stacks. That is how I ended up looking in so many books that didn't actually have his signature.

A few hours and several frustrated librarians later, I ask you: Is this the book you found?



I took it down to Special Collections, where the librarians and I compared it to a verified signature. I'd say it looks authentic.


I regret to inform you they decided to take the book, and double check that no one wanted it moved into Special Collections. However, I am sure you could go there and inquire about its fate.


p.s. Before I found it, the librarian in Special Collections had a very compelling argument as to why the signature was probably real. "If I were going to deface a book, I wouldn't sign Joseph F. Smith's name. That's just weird."

p.p.s. Today's title quote is "It's kind of fun to do the impossible." Yes, Walt Disney, it is.

posted on 01/20/2013 2:22 p.m.
Those are some crazy library skills! Good job! While you didn't find the same book I found, I'm seriously impressed that you were able to find a book signed by Joseph F. Smith.

The book I found is Strikers, Communists, Tramps, and Detectives, by Allan Pinkerton. The call number is HD 5325 .R12 1877 .P45.

The signature in this one is a little different than the ones you found, but it was also signed in 1878, more than thirty years before the ones you found.

I'll go take some pictures to send you guys so you can add them in as a comment or something, and then I'll see what Special Collections has to say about it.

Thanks for the great answer,

Question #70269 posted on 01/29/2013 10:46 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I was reading through the archives, and I was wondering, as to the previous writers, "Where are they now?" As in what have they been up to, whether or not the tunnel worms got them, etc., not their exact whereabouts.

-Ninja Lime


Dear Ninja Lime,

A.A. Melyngoch is currently working on a PhD while simultaneously teaching as an Associate Instructor of English.

Ambrosia worked for a few years as a technical writer before becoming a stay-at-home parent to a couple of Bawblings.

Anomalous is living in SLC and working as a reporter.

Baked Alaska graduated from BYU, moved to Arizona, and got married this last spring to the world's nicest guy.

Beemer Boy

Beemer Boy is happily married to a gorgeous, 5'11 green-eyed blond who is his superior in every way. They have three kids who are better than yours. Beemer Boy, still seeking the elusive car that is his namesake, has worked in and around Salt Lake since graduating. He's still an Apple fan and we thought we lost him when the iPhone was announced  in 2007 and he almost went into cardiac arrest from excitement.

Bertie Wooster went to law school and was never heard from again.


I graduated! This is really the only update of enough importance to merit a mention on the Board, but exciting nonetheless.


Boolean works as a web developer in SLC.

Branflakes works for Adobe as a network engineer.


Dear NL,

Here. Stuff.



Dear Neither a Ninja nor a Limey

Now I got t' tell ye, sir, tha' ye really canna be much of a ninja if'n ye dunna know where we are? C'mon now! 'Tisn't like there be a lot o' us or anythin. An ye dunna know enough to be a sailor in the queen's Navy either. Stick to your Yankee infantry.

As fer me, I've settled fer now in the south a the States where it's far too warm right now for December. Anyone else be havin tha problem? I got a whole bin of jumpers up in me closet, but it idn't cold enough. What I'd been doin' is, y'see, I jes came back in from takin' a commendation out to the letterbox for one of me friends. The wee lass is goin off to university already. They grows up too fast.
Bob's your uncle.

An now, I'm feelin' a bit peckish. I'm gonna go an make some bangers n mash t' break me fast. Take care, now!



After leaving BYU and The Board in 2007, I moved to Columbus, Ohio to finish my schooling at The Ohio State University.  I finished a BA in German in 2010 and a BS in Chemical Engineering in March 2012.  I currently live and in the Pittsburgh, PA area working as a Measurement Engineer for a midstream oil and gas company.  With hydraulic fracturing (fracking) becoming more mainstream, southwestern Pennsylvania is experiencing a fairly large oil boom and I expect to be here for the foreseeable future.  I miss living in Ohio (where God lives), but I have some family in this area and Pittsburgh is beginning more and more to feel like home.  I update my blog ( fairly irregularly, but if you have questions about what I am doing, I check it often enough to get back to you. I do, in fact, still have the button, despite anything that Uffish Thought, Lavish, or Optimus Prime may claim.

I sure hope this helps.  Please don’t hate me.



Buttercup has a soulless corporate job, so she's applying to grad school right now in an effort to change that. She's currently reading Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor, listening to Underwater by Joshua Radin, and recently re-watched Moonrise Kingdom. All three are absolutely delightful.

CAPCOM is a doctor in the state of Washington.


It is a break. But can it?? It will have a shining light, unless. Ha Ha Ha Ha...

Conrad is married and living in Pennsylvania.

Castle in the Sky married the Defenestrator, proving that two Boardies can get involved without disastrous results. They have two kids.


Dear Ninja Fruit,
I'm halfway through my third year of medical school. I almost feel like I know what's going on some of the time. Medical education is....a process. I came into medical school almost sure I wanted to go into gastroenterology, but then I unexpectedly fell in love with surgery. While I haven't made the decision for sure, I'm probably going to apply soon for a residency in general surgery. Someday, dear reader, I may have my hands all up in your guts. We can both look forward to that! I'll bring the knife!
Talk about school, check; make really scary side comment to readers, check; ah, it's time to talk about my family! I'm the proud father of three adorable daughters. My girls are 4, 2, and 8 months. My amazing wife stays home with them and keeps all of our lives running smoothly. Now at six-and-a-half years of marriage, I'm more convinced than ever that I made the right choice, marriage-wise. Our oldest daughter was diagnosed as autistic about a year ago, which has been an interesting thing to deal with. Luckily, we have a very supportive family and a good series of occupational, physical, and speech therapists helping her out. Mrs. Claudio has started homeschooling her and is making really good progress with teaching her how to read and the very beginnings of arithmetic.
All in all, life is pretty great! I'm on my way to my desired career with my awesome family by my side. Thanks for asking!

Cognoscente works as a systems analyst and got married to his missionary in 2010. They have a dog, a cat, and two guinea pigs. 

Commander Keen will be at BYU for a little while longer. He got married just a few months back.


I've escaped the cold winters of Idaho and moved to a burning desert, where I now am a large arms dealer.  Missiles and the like. That's about all I'm up to.  Have a lovely Christmas!

de novo

Benvolio and I (Kassidy) are specializing in little girls; we had our third in October. Benvolio is practicing law. I'm staying home raising our girls and playing my French horn in local musical groups. To this day, if either of us don't know the answer to a question, we look it up. 100 Hour Board habits die hard.


Dear Citrus-no-jutsu,

After departing Provo with the aspirations of making real money, I found myself wishing I could have stuck around just a little bit longer to get my master's thesis fully squared away. Needless to say, when I was working a full-time job and still trying to do research and write papers in my spare time, I couldn't keep up the board life. Somehow in the middle of it all, I met a Lovely Lady who pitied me for my plight and politely accepted my company whenever I had the opportunity. After weeks of cloistering myself in my one bedroom office, I finished my degree and asked Lovely Lady to marry me. I promptly took a trip around the world without her, realized my mistake and returned to her, and got married.
And now I have a fine trench coat.
democritus trench coat.jpg

Dinomight, I can only assume, is working as a programmer somewhere.

Dr. Smeed is currently a US Army Signal officer stationed in Georgia. He is the father of two strong and handsome boys.

Dragon Lady is a full-time mom of two girls. She remains an authority on all things gardening, Harry Potter, and Jerusalem.


Dear Ninja Lime,

How nice of you to ask. Since leaving the Board in 2006 a lot has happened in my life. I've changed employment 4 times, careers 3 times, and moved from Provo to Draper to Salt Lake. I earned an MS degree in Technical Communication from Utah State University (though I never lived in Logan, thank goodness, as it is way too cold there). I've always worked in some sort of communications position, but now I'm working in documentation. Let's face it, I used to write user manuals for the Board writers just for fun, and I think they all thought I was nuts. If that didn't do it, compiling the entire Board history (as still posted on the Board's website) was probably a close second. I spend a lot of time traveling and being the best aunt in the world to my 3 nieces and 2 nephews.

I actually still associate with a lot of Board writers. I keep up with Branflakes, Pa Grape, Benvolio & Kassidy, the Mighty Quinn, Katya, Ambrosia, Mynamyn, Lavish, and others. And interestingly enough, the world is still pretty small because I now work with Yellow! Let me tell you he was as surprised to see me as I was to see him, if not more so. (I'm sorry to break it to everyone, but we work for the best company ever.)

When I have time I come down to BYU football and basketball games—I was at that St. Mary's game and totally missed that last shot that lost the game for us! Campus has changed a lot since I was a freshman as DT no longer exists, The Cannon Center has been completely remodeled, Heritage Halls is in transition, and all that's left of the Morris Center are my memories of treks for IBC Root Beer. But the Board is still here. And I hope that the current and future Board writers can maintain the standard of excellence that the original Board creators set up so long ago in 1995—or whenever it really got started—and keep it going for many more years to come.
Keep learning,



I'm homeschooling a strangely increasing number of children, chugging through hubby's pursuit of a PhD while I polish my shiny longest-B.S.-ever diploma on the wall, and planning to attend midwifery or ND school when these children stop showing up at my house constantly.


I'm living in Utah County working from home as a software developer, putting Mr. Socks through school.  No cats or kids.... yet ;)  I developed an unexpected passion six years ago for healthy cooking and other domestic activities, which leads to me saying weird things like, "I'd rather be programming or baking!" 

fine print is living in Arizona with her husband and three children, the youngest of which arrived just last month.

Foreman is living in the DC area with his lovely wife Stargirl and is enrolled in a Master's program.

Fractile lives in Colorado where he works for EDUCAUSE, and, as of October of last year, is married.

Fsyod is married with two boys and a girl, and last I heard had plans to move to North Carolina.

Geo Prism got married, graduated, had a baby, and moved to the Pacific Northwest. She likes to sew, read, and do other nerdy things.  

habiba is currently living in Massachusetts.


I'm working as an editor for a company that teaches students foreign languages through the Internet. I married a beautiful, intelligent woman and got a house and a husky--I'm all domesticated! I still have two parakeets, and they're scared of my husky.

I'm still diligently writing eight hours a week and trying to get published. My life is in a pleasant state of equilibrium and I miss the wild adventures the Board provided sometimes.

Horatio currently works for Skullcandy in Park City.

Humble Master

I wrapped up my PhD program and I now teach English at a church owned university (where I share an office with the Mrs. who teaches in the Psychology department).  Lil' Master has been joined by Lil'er Master, who are both freaking adorable in my unbiased opinion.  I've published academic pieces on comic books and/or tv shows, and I'm currently editing a series of essay collections on various superheroes and how they have evolved to reflect changing attitudes and issues in American society. So feel free to purchase essay collections such as, oh I don't know, The Ages of Superman: Essays on the Man of Steel in Changing Times  (or similar collections on Wonder Woman, the X-Men, and the Avengers which will be coming out in the next year or so).  I wouldn't mind that at all.

Hypatia left us to go study in the Great White North.

Il Guanaco is a paramedic in the great state of Texas, despite his great love for the state of Virginia. He used to have a hedgehog, but she died of old age. As of right now he's still single, still searching, and is watching Battlestar Galactica. 

Just Another Cassio

JAC lives in Salt lake City and spends his days helping companies go paperless and his nights strengthening the Utah theatre community. His experience at The Board led to a statewide theatre review site ( that in the past 3 years has reviewed over 600 shows ranging from city plays to Broadway tours.

Katya the Physics Chick is still librarian-ing it up, and may soon be coming to a library near you. 

Kicks and Giggles graduated from BYU, and then stayed in Provo for a handful of years to work. She now lives in SLC and works for the editing department of the corporation that resides in Utah's tallest building. When asked about her love life, K&G responded that she's still as single as ever, but she's okay with it "BECAUSE MY VALUE ISN'T DEPENDENT ON BEING ATTACHED TO A MAN, DAD!" 

Killer Uno Addict lives and works in Illinois, and is currently getting her second Masters in Library Information Science.

krebscout lives with her husband and two kiddos in California. In addition to being a full-time mom she owns her own business and works as a freelance illustrator. She successfully rode a bicycle for the first time in forever, which is a really big deal.

L'Afro, despite being female, is a contributing writer at Modern Mormon Men. She recently moved across the country with her husband and toddler son, while simultaneously working on her portfolio, studying her brains out for the GRE, and preparing for the birth of her second child. She has applied to a very prestigious writing program and we will be shocked if she is not accepted.

la bamba


I was recently on a nationally-televised game show and won a lot of money (more than $60K, less than $600K)  
I live on the East Coast with my husband and read The 100 Hour Board every day.

-la bamba  

Latro moved to Florida after leaving BYU, but has since relocated to Maryland, where he works for the Air Force. 

Lavish got married, moved to San Francisco, moved back to Utah, finished school, and settled down in a townhouse with her husband and two cats.

Leibniz is currently a BYU faculty member. Guess which one.

Lexi Khan is married and living in Washington, D.C.

Marzipan graduated from BYU in 2012 and is still ridiculously awesome.

Mico is a "plain old grad student" who is currently learning how to knit and wishes she were more interesting.

Mighty Quinn

Mighty Quinn here. I know what you're all wondering. And I don't think it coincidence that a question about my life and whereabouts has come at a time of year reserved for joy and celebration: yes all you fit women out there, I'm still single. Yes, the abs are still like titanium. Yes, if we ever meet in person I'll let you touch them...but only softly.

Misaneroth got a degree in Biochemistry from BYU, then went to U Penn for a second, better degree in Biochemistry.

Miss Scarlett is an Academic Advisor at BYU.

Mojoschmoe worked in Utah as a dietician for two years, then moved to Minnesota to pursue an MFA in Musical Theatre Performance. She hopes to end up in Seattle.

Nike lives in Arizona.

No Dice

No Dice is a first-year law student on the West Coast somewhere. He manages to do most of his assigned reading with the help of copious amounts of saltine crackers and fruit snacks. Mrs. Dice stays at home with Baby Dice, who likes to do lots of baby stuff like eat Oreos and bonk his head on furniture. He keeps the Dices busy and sane. Here's a picture of him being a complete goofball on his first birthday, since--let's face it--babies are cuter than big people.
baby dice 2.jpg

Cheerio, all. 
No Dice
Novel Concept moved to Pennsylvania so her husband could go to grad school, but they and their two children have since relocated to Illinois. Since retiring as a writer Novel Concept has taught high school physics and World Civilizations.


Dear Ninja Lime,

Heyyyy. Since I retired, I worked for a diversity magazine in my hometown and then decided to move out of my hometown so I would someday have half a chance of meeting Mr. Olympus. I met him within three weeks of the move (and also saw The Golden Mean in the same place I met Mr. Olympus!) After building an origami lighthouse that lights up with conductive ink and getting disqualified from a No-Rules Pinewood Derby for interfering with other cars, we decided to get married and go to Harry Potter World for a honeymoon. Now, we live in an inner-city ward in the Bay Area, CA, and have zero children. I own nearly 600 books and a superrad bookshelf I made. I teach piano lessons, and I am taking prerequisite classes for ASL interpreting and Speech/Language Pathology grad programs. I have a time-intensive calling right now. I am going to Disneyland for Christmas. I watch "Stargate" and scrapbook and read academic papers on The Collected Works of Joss Whedon and I just learned to play chess. I made awesome Christmas presents for my family, but they're all still secrets. Also I still answer questions periodically when Marguerite St. Just asks really nicely.

Optimus Prime lives and works in Texas where the weather is freakishly warm year-round. He enjoys photography, taking trips with his family, and recently got LASIK surgery. He and his wife are expecting their fourth child later this year.

Optimistic. graduated from BYU, grew a beard waiting for his wife to graduate, and finally moved to the northwest to attend the UO. He's currently working on his thesis and has plans to graduate in June. When he's not reading up on translation theory he's watching his beloved Blazers, Rockies, and Canucks lose. More than anything else in the world, he loves watching Puddles, the UO mascot, caper around. If he had one wish it would be to have Puddles speak at his graduation.


Der Berliner/Othello got a doctorate in chemistry at UC Berkeley.  While in Berkeley he and his wife adopted two children and had one through traditional methods. He is currently a chemistry/physics teacher at a high school in central Washington, and has added a fourth child to the family.

Oz is...elusive, to say the least. I've tracked him as far as Rexburg, where his wife attends BYU-I, but there the trail goes cold.

Pa Grape lives with his wife and three kids in Colorado, where he has a private practice.

Petra graduated from BYU, moved to Indonesia for a year, then moved to California to start a PhD in Linguistics. She has since gotten married, traveled the world, and read a lot of books. She eventually decided to leave her PhD program, and is currently working for Facebook.

PEZkopf got married last June, and that is all I know about him.

Phoenix lives in Provo and works for BYU OIT.


Dear Ninja,

I wrote you a haiku:
My life now entails
Adventures! Philadelphia! 
Back to my studies
--Pilgrim/Hamilton/Eliot Rosewater/Pi

Portia of Belmont spent some time working as a tutor in SLC, and has recently re-enrolled at BYU.


Pseudoname lives in Las Vegas, where she has a full ride to the law school at UNLV. She reports that torts are stupid, and when she tried to explain what torts were to the Black Sheep, the Black Sheep felt stupid. Pseudoname has worn her Perry the Platypus shirt to law school at least once with zero shame.

Quandary is living in Washington and working as an actuary.

Saint Sebastienne

Saint Seb seems to be pretty much the same: still in Provo, still liberal, still trying to decrease suck in the world however she can, still loves food, still a crime-fighting space professor.

--Saint Seb

Saurus is a business analyst at an engineering firm. He is expecting his second child in February.

St. Jerome is married with four children, works in academia, and attended last year's Society of Biblical Literature conference with his wife.

steen has two little boys, a photography business, and started teaching at BYU this semester.

Tangerine served a mission, got married, and lives in Logan where her husband attends USU.

The Black Sheep

The Black Sheep lives in Salt Lake and is a children's case manager at an addiction treatment facility that also specializes in reuniting mothers with their children. She will probably finally go to grad school in the fall to pursue a  master's in social work. Her cat continues to look as depressed as ever.

The Cleaning Lady

The Cleaning Lady/Madame Mimm is expecting child #4 in a few months. She spends the bulk of her days caring for the 3 Prime/Cleaning kids, teaching piano lessons, occasionally freelancing in clothing design and editing, and of course, cleaning.

TheGoldenMean lives in Palo Alto and works in San Jose as a middle school teacher and cross country coach.

The Heartless Siren married Curious Physics Minor, moved to the west coast, and retired as our fearless proofreader last October when her lovely daughter was born.  

The Right Reverend Rusky Roo, after telling of his post-retirement exploits in BQ#66308, hasn't been heard from.

The Smurfs are in a comedy troupe in Provo.


My wife and I are living in Las Vegas. We have 4 year old twins, and 4 week old twins. It's a magical conglomeration of torture and joy. I have an insurance agency to pay the bills, and teach SAT & ACT prep classes to feed my soul. I'm also in the process of starting a tutoring agency. Sure miss The Board!


I married a cute hot grammarian hot girl. BAWB and Ambrosia can confirm.


Traviesa is married with two kids.

Uffish Thought recently completed her student teaching and became licensed to teach high school in the state of Utah. She remains the world's foremost expert on P.G. Wodehouse, throwing great parties, and rock climbing. No man will ever love her.

Unlucky Stuntman

Unlucky Stuntman fell into a vat of toxic waste last year, rendering her with superpowers and purple hair. That's actually a lie, minus the bit about her purple hair (which is glorious). Right now, she is on a medical leave of absence from the BYU Master of Social Work program, while she acts as caregiver to her husband who had a stroke in 2011. She is the proud momma to one human baby and one rat terrier.

Vampiress is divorced, lives in Georgia, and manages a 220-unit apartment community.

Waldorf and Sauron live in LA, where Sauron is working on his PhD. In his spare time Sauron enjoys growing his beard and collecting Star Wars figurines.


I'm still at UVU, though aviation didn't work out quite the way I had hoped. Let's just say it's on the back burner for now. I'm studying Entrepreneurship and loving it.

Wilhelmina Wafflewitz is married with two kids and a dog.


Whistler is now a videogame journalist living in Utah. She helps edit Nightmare Mode and studies Japanese kanji every day at Wanikani. She married Hobbes's brother in 2010.

Xanadu is a lawyer in Boise.

Yellow is doing iOS development and helping his wife raise two extraordinarily nerdy children.

I regret that I do not have any information as to the whereabouts or activities of the following writers: Aspen, Cartridge, Dragonboy, ECDC, Ghetto Superstar, Hermia, Holbein's Skull, Inconveniently Willful, Ineffable, Iris, Knut the Great, Krishna, Les Frogs, Motionite, MrPhil, Mynamyn, Paperback Writer, Queen Alice, Resilient, Sharky McAllister, She Who Must Not Be Named, Skippy DeLorean, Tao, The Captain, The Defenestrator, The Franchise, The Great Deflector, and The Meanest Flower.

-Genuine Article

posted on 01/30/2013 10:36 a.m.
Also, I, Hermia, am living in Ogden, attending graduate school, and doing my best to instill an appreciation for literacy in seventh graders. I still read the Board regularly.

posted on 01/31/2013 9:24 a.m.
The Defenestrator married Castle in the Sky, graduated from BYU, and is a stay-at-home mom of two adorable children. They currently living in Virginia. She may occasionally still want to throw things out the window, but her yoga routine keeps her somewhat calm even when her children won't take naps!

~The Defenestrator's Mom
Question #70228 posted on 12/16/2012 9:40 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

When do you project that the 100,000th question will be asked based on historical question asking trends? The 250,000th? The 1,000,000th?

-I dibs the 100,000th


Dear no calling shotgun until you can see the car,

The timing of your question was actually great, since it coincided with me studying linear regressions for my stats final. In order to answer it without spending crazy amounts of time, I took a small sample of past questions (all of them asked after Katya went through the archives and assigned question numbers to questions asked before question numbers were instituted) and recorded the month and year that they were asked. Limiting myself to nine questions and rounding the time to the nearest month means that this regression won't be as accurate as it could be, but I claim finals week as a legitimate excuse. Also, this measures when questions were posted, not when they were asked (which is what determines their question number), but since I'm already rounding to the nearest month, I'm going to work under the reasonable assumption that that doesn't have more than a trivial effect. Here's the data I used:

 Question number (x)   When the question was asked (y) 
 38000  September 2007
 42000  January 2008
 46000  June 2008
 50000  February 2009
 54000  October 2009
 58000  June 2010
 62000  February 2011
 66000  January 2012
 70000  December 2012

To make calculations easier, I did a couple transformations. I divided each of the question numbers by 1000, and converted the months and years into only months (with zero representing December 2006). Here's what that looks like:

 Question number (x)   When the question was asked (y) 
 38  7
 42  13
 46  18
 50  26
 54  34
 58  42
 62  50
 66  61
 70  72

With that information, I was then able to do the linear regression.

And I could tell you exactly how I got the linear regression, but I've already taken the final and I feel lazy now, so we'll just pretend I did it on my calculator. Based on the linear model y = ax + b, I got the following results:

a = 2.016666667
b = -73.011111111

Cutting off some of the repeating digits, that makes the linear model y = 2.0167x - 73.0111. The r2 value, which I may have improperly computed but don't feel like redoing now that it's Christmas break, is approximately .988; a value of 1 indicates that the model fits the data points perfectly.

Once I had that regression, I plugged 100, 250, and 1000 (remember, I divided x by 1000 earlier) into the equation. Here are the results, transformed back into months and years:

Board Question #100000: August 2017
Board Question #250000: November 2042
Board Question #1000000: November 2168

So, if you feel like making a note in your calendar for four years and eight months from now, you just might be able to ask the one hundred thousandth question!


Question #70200 posted on 12/17/2012 2:10 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My siblings and parents and I are pretty sure my sister-in-law has either somatization or somatoform disorder (benefit of the doubt that it isn't factitious disorder). It is waging a very, very heavy toll on my brother and their children. My brother does not see it, however, choosing (probably subconsciously) to believe and accept that his wife is battling any number of complaints at any given time (polycystic ovarian syndrome, chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, thyroid disorder, migraines, carpel tunnel, etc). She is always in need of some sort of procedure or medication. Truly a month does not go by without hearing of some new need.
The most troubling part of this is the need she seems to have for medical attention/approval, and the spillover onto the kids. She takes them to the doctor when they aren't sick, and has expressed a need to have them medicated in order to deal with them (as in, she is certain her 4 year old has ADHD, though her regular pediatrician rejected that idea, and refused to prescribe for it and she had to 'doctor shop' to get the meds).
So, my question is, how likely is it that we are all just heartless and seeing things? How likely is it that she actually has some sort of medical attention problem? How likely is it that she really is that sick all the time, and that her kids really need the meds she has them on? They live close to her family and to ours, and it seems her family (especially her mother) are enabling her. They think we are just being mean.

- Any insight is welcome


Dear Any,

What a tricky situation. I agree that it's definitely unusual, though not impossible, for a young person to have that many seemingly unrelated medical problems, and I also agree that doctor-shopping to obtain medications is generally not good. We learned a little bit about somatoform and fictitious disorders last year, so I'll try to share some of the information I got from that lecture.

First of all, for readers who don't know, factitious disorder involves fabricated or feigned symptoms that are produced due to a psychological need to assume the "sick role," with ensuing pity, attention, and so forth. Factitious disorder can also happen "by proxy," meaning that a parent or caregiver feigns symptoms in another person in order to assume the role of "long-suffering caregiver." It's important to remember that people with factitious disorder don't feign symptoms out of malice or ill will, but out of a genuine psychiatric problem that requires its own treatment.

On the other hand, somatoform disorders involve real, physical symptoms that cannot be explained by any medical or physiologic problems, and these symptoms are not intentionally produced or under voluntary control. There are a number of different somatoform classifications, and these disorders occur in 1-2% of adults. The most important difference between somatoform disorders and factitious disorders is that the artificial symptoms of factitious disorder should not be treated, while the symptoms of somatoform disorder should be treated to whatever degree is possible.

I'm going to talk mostly about somatoform disorders, because although I wouldn't rule out factitious disorder if I saw your sister-in-law as a patient (judging by your brief snippet about the situation), I know a lot less about dealing with that purely psychiatric disorder. Unless I specify otherwise, most of what I'm about to say will apply to somatoform disorders.

In Western thought, we have this idea that there's a difference between "physical" health problems and "mental" health problems—the difference being that when we have a physiologic, scientific explanation of an illness, then it is real and physical, but when we do not have that explanation, then it's just a mental problem that's "all in someone's head." There are a lot of problems with this mode of thinking. First of all, it sets up a false dichotomy between "medical" and "mental," when in reality, there can be a lot of overlap. Additionally, the whole idea of saying a problem isn't a real, physical disease relies on us having a perfect understanding of all diseases, which we definitely don't have. There can also be some pretty subjective decisions regarding "medical" problems versus "psychiatric" problems. Basically, it's important to avoid being dismissive of symptoms that can't be medically explained—yes, sometimes medically unexplained symptoms are fabricated, as in fictitious disorder or malingering, but in general, not having an explanation for the symptoms doesn't make them less real.

The foundation for treating either somatoform disorders or factitious disorders is an accurate diagnosis. One of the hardest things about this whole issue is that you, yourself, are not qualified to make the diagnosis. It would be AWESOME if one of her doctors would talk to her about this, or if her husband or family would encourage her to a psychiatrist, doesn't sound like that's going to happen in the near future. So what can you do in the meantime?

You might be able to plant a non-judgmental, helpful seed that could push her or her family to considering counseling. "I've heard of conditions that cause multiple painful symptoms, especially painful symptoms that can't always be explained, like some kinds of back pain or fibromyalgia. Do you think that might describe you/your wife/your family member?" or "I heard that a lot of people with chronic pain symptoms benefit from talking to someone about it, even if they don't have any real psychiatric problems. Have you ever thought about that?" or "I've heard that doing cognitive-behavioral therapy with a psychiatrist or counselor can be really helpful for dealing with chronic pain. Have you ever thought about that?" You don't have to say, "Hey, you have a psychiatric problem and you need to see a doctor," but you can say the people in her condition often find therapy helpful in learning to manage the pain and rehabilitate themselves, which is absolutely true, and which might get her one step closer to a somatoform or factitious disorder diagnosis, if she does have one of those disorders.

In the meantime, you can try to support their family, in general ways and in specific ways regarding your sister-in-law's illness. It's difficult, because you don't want to reinforce negative behavior, but it's also important to remain kind and empathetic, and to act in such a way that nobody would ever accuse you of being "mean." Poor communication, failure to show empathy, challenge to the reality of symptoms, and dismissing fears are all things that make somatoform disorders worse, and it's important to avoid those things.

In somatoform disorders, it's also important for the family to stop being the "protectors" and start being the "life coaches." These disorders aren't diseases to be cured, but rather challenges to overcome. It's likely that the symptoms and the disorder will be present for a very long time, and since there's no medical explanation, there often isn't very much to be done in terms of procedures and medications. This means that rehabilitation will be the best thing to do.There are lots of options for cognitive-behavioral therapy that can help minimize pain and regain function. Even if you can't get her to consider whether she might have a somatoform or factitious disorder, and even if you never end up being able to convince her to see a psychiatrist or therapist, you can help her by being a "life coach" for her and by encouraging her to do a lot of the goals that she might have done in therapy. Encourage her to follow her usual routines and functioning even when she doesn't feel like it, and help her plan rewarding activities even if she feels unmotivated to do so (I'm thinking of things like joining a community choir or orchestra, joining a book club, volunteering locally, and so forth).

There are other self-management strategies for chronic pain: relaxation training, biofeedback, and self-hypnosis, for starters. Maybe you can find a way to do these things with her? Or you could start doing some and invite her to come with you?

The slides I have from the lecture go into a bit more detail, although it's mainly geared towards the physicians of these patients, not necessarily the family members. If you'd like me to send you the slides, though, just shoot me an email and I'd be happy to send them along to you.

- Eirene

Question #70144 posted on 01/06/2013 11:46 a.m.

Dear yayfulness and the 100 Hour Board,

I'm pleased to hear you are focusing on events that are far more likely than a velociraptor attack.

What are your (and your roommate's) plans to survive a zombie outbreak? How have you incorporated tunnel worms into your strategy?

-Worldwide Oligochaetological Restoration Mission (zombie tunnel worms would be a catastrophe!)


Dear WORM,

I would hope that I was at home for Christmas.

First off, you have to know that my home state has a population density of less than 15 people per square mile. My family lives close to a town, but it's still a good mile or so to the nearest truly urban population. So we're already at a bit of an advantage, since we're not going to be right next to any major sources of zombies.

Next, my house is largely surrounded by terrain that looks like this:


I'm not saying it's impossible to navigate, but it's not exactly zombie-friendly. This limits the areas that the zombies can approach from. Also, you'll notice that everything is covered in snow. During the winter, temperatures are usually below freezing, which is another thing that is not very friendly to zombies. In all likelihood, they'd freeze before they could even come close to reaching us.

Even if they did somehow manage to reach us, the zombies would have to deal with all the things we have sitting around the house. With enough of a warning, we could mount a pretty successful defense. For instance, we have the following:


Admittedly not the best arsenal ever for dealing with zombies, but it's a lot better than nothing. And most of the neighbors are similarly (or better) armed. Failing that, we also have some more basic tools, such as this:


And this:


And even these:


I should point out, though, that the stereotype of disabling zombies with chainsaws would actually be really horrible in practice. I used those chainsaws to cut trees over the break, and it was hard enough to manage them effectively when the thing I was cutting wasn't trying to eat my brains.

There's one thing that I think would be particularly effective, though. Here it is:


It's a de-limber. Basically, a chainsaw on a very long pole.

We have plenty of other things around the house that could very easily be used to defend against zombies. However, let me just show you another picture for emphasis:


It is COLD in the winter. Usually below freezing. Zombies freeze solid in the cold. All we'd have to do is wait a couple days and then go frozen zombie smashing, and problem solved.

If, on the other hand, I were in Provo, the solution would be simple: Retreat to the tunnels, seal them off, and wait it out. Our secret lair is well-stocked in preparation for just such an event.

And if that didn't work, I'd probably die, since my zombie apocalypse expert roommate decided to go get married or something and not be my roommate anymore, and I don't actually know anything about zombies except what he taught me.


Question #70137 posted on 12/11/2012 4:28 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What time of day are the most questions submitted to this all knowing board?

What time of day do most the board members answer questions? (not necessarily when they are posted.. just looking for what time of day the answer gets written)

-Just asked an unrelated question, so I submitted this as a separate question.


Dear Questioner,

As of shortly after you asked this question, here's the data on when every question waiting to be posted was asked. I divided it into questions at under 100 hours (an independent and identically distributed sample) and questions at over 100 hours (not IIDbasically, skewed towards harder or more obscure questions).


 <100 hours      >100 hours      total 
 12 AM      1  2  3
 1  2  0  2
 2  0  0  0
 3  1  0  1
 4  0  0  0
 5  0  0  0
 6  0  2  2
 7  3  1  4
 8  6  2  8
 9  4  0  4
 10  5  2  7
 11  2  2  4
 12 PM  5  1  6
 1  4  0  4
 2  4  2  6
 3  5  5  10
 4  5  4  9
 5  4  1  5
 6  3  0  3
 7  6  3  9
 8  7  0  7
 9  3  2  5
 10  3  1  4
 11  6  3  9

I then took that information and turned it into a graph. In order to compare the two (basically, to see if harder questions get asked at a different time of day), I graphed them by percent of the total questions asked in a given hour. Red represents questions at under 100 hours, and green represents questions that have passed 10 hours.

le board graph.png

As you can see, the questions at under 100 hours as of the collection of this data were asked at a fairly constant rate from 7:00 AM to 1:00 AM, although they drop off a bit after midnight. Because I love overkill, I calculated the mean and standard deviation of the number of questions asked per hour from 7:00 AM to 1:00 AM.

Mean: 4.11
Standard deviation: 1.55

Adjusting the range to be from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM, the statistics are as follows.

Mean: 4.41 
Standard deviation: 1.33

And, since I love overkill, I decided to take a look at it in a different way. Here are the three-hour averages for every three-hour interval from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM.

7:00-9:00:      4.33
8:00-10:00:    5
9:00-11:00:    3.67
10:00-12:00:  4
11:00-1:00:    3.67
12:00-2:00:    4.33
1:00-3:00:      4.33
2:00-4:00:      4.67
3:00-5:00:      4.67
4:00-6:00:      4
5:00-7:00:      4.33
6:00-8:00:      5.33
7:00-9:00:      5.33
8:00-10:00:    4.33
9:00-11:00:    4

So, while there does appear to be a slight bump upwards in the evening, it looks like the rate is fairly steady throughout the day. With time and patience, I could probably get a much more accurate picture, but I don't think it's worth holding your question over hours. (I did take a look at the questions asked between when I started and finished this answer, and while I didn't bother analyzing them in depth, a quick look over them suggests that, when combined with the data presented here, they tell more or less the same story.)

For a variety of reasons, the data on over-hours questions is much less likely to paint an accurate picture; however, it does seem to agree in general with the rest of the data.

As for the other part of your question... I can't speak for the other writers, but I tend to do the bulk of my work in the evening or just after midnight, since I'm usually doing it to procrastinate take a break from homework or avoid going to bed get it out of the way before going to bed.



Dear Donna!Ten

I just finished a research paper on military involvement in genocide, and I'm curious to know some writers' positions.

1) Are you for or against military involvement in cases of genocide? Why?
2) Is the U.S. morally obligated to intervene in cases of genocide?
3) Is any country morally obligated to intervene in cases of genocide?

-Tally M.

P.S. You guys are magnificent. Just saying.


Dear Tally,

I need to apologize for two things. First, I have kept this answer on hold for a very, very, very long time. A... very... long time. I am sorry. Second, I ended up being extremely long-winded and sounding very pessimistic or jaded in this answer. I would just like to assure you all that I am not such a pessimist, even in the realm of international politics. However, I do hope that my answer to this question gives you at least a small glimpse of how thoroughly complicated of a field it is. Rarely is anything presented in black and white, and often there simply are not any completely satisfactory solutions.

So with that, on to my answer!

This is a fairly simple question, but the answers are incredibly complex. I can't pretend to give you a scholarly opinion; this is just my own thought. However, as a former International Relations major, it's something I've thought about quite a bit, so hopefully some of those thoughts prove worthwhile.

The first issue that your question brings up is the definition of genocide itself. While ideally it would be the kind of thing where "you know it when you see it," often, that is simply too precise and the line between genocide and less-severe war crimes is very indistinct. A generally accepted definition of genocide (quoted on Wikipedia) is "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group." It's a good, simple definition for understanding what genocide is; however, it leaves extensive ambiguity as to the application of the term genocide in practical situations. A better legal definition, from a UN convention and quoted in the same article, is "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group." For our purposes, this is a very good definition, but it's important to remember that it is subject to interpretation.

So who, then, is responsible for interpreting the definition of genocide and determining what qualifies? Whether we pick the United Nations, the victimized group itself, another country, or a nongovernmental organization, there will always be questions of bias and reliability. What qualifies as a part of a group? To what degree is central leadership necessary for killing to qualify as systematic? These are not just academic questions.

Another important consideration is the availability of information. In a highly developed country in the Internet Age, we're used to being able to instantaneously learn anything about anything. However, there are many parts of the world where, especially in the chaos of war, reliable information simply is not available. Accounts by the two sides in the conflict will always be inherently biased, and third-party observers often do not have consistent or comprehensive access to the conflict zone and its actual conditions. There is a certain amount of guesswork inherent.

It is also sometimes an open question which side is the victim. It takes two parties to engage in warfare. While it is true that there are many cases in which a powerful group unilaterally oppresses a weaker group, many other cases are far less black and white. Often, the two parties in combat have been similarly brutal to each other; the fact that one is committing genocide against the other may say more about their relative military might than about their relative moral right. For that reason, exclusively supporting one side at the expense of the other may in fact be incredibly unjust.

I do not say these things in order to convince anyone that armed international intervention in genocide is a bad thing. Rather, my intent is to give you some idea of just a few of the challenges that any leader must face in determining whether to take action in any situation. These cases are very rarely cut and dried.

For the sake of argument, though, let's imagine that there is a case that is cut and dried. One group, through no fault of its own, is being systematically and brutally destroyed by another. How, then, should the international community respond?

A philosopher, whose identity I do not know, once gave this analogy. Suppose a man is committed to non-violence. While traveling, he is attacked by murderous robbers. It is completely within his right to allow himself to be beaten and killed in the name of non-violence. However, suppose that rather than being attacked himself, this man encounters another man who is in the process of being murdered, and the other man cries out for help. Would it be just for the first man to say "I do not believe in violence, so I am going to do nothing and allow you to die?" The philosopher was of the opinion that it would be unjust. I'm willing to see a bit more nuance than that; however, in the world of international politics, I do not know of any state that is so committed to nonviolence that it would allow itself to be conquered without offering any resistance, so for all intents and purposes it is a moot point. Anyone willing to defend himself ought to be willing to defend someone else.

I temper that statement with the recognition that "it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order." If one state's intervention to prevent genocide in another state would simply result in that first state's destruction without alleviating the genocide at all, then there is no sense whatsoever in intervention.

However, I think that to a great degree, the morality of international intervention in cases of genocide depends greatly on the nature of that intervention. It can be done well, and it can be done poorly, and sometimes, if done poorly, it's an open question whether it was better off being done at all.

First, I believe that intervention should only occur in cases in which either the intervening state has a direct interest in the conflict or in cases in which international approval has been given for intervention. I recognize that there is some weakness here; powerful interests in the United Nations (such as the United States or China) may block UN approval, and direct interest does not correlate to impartiality. However, unsanctioned unilateral intervention by an uninterested party goes so far beyond the usual recognition of state sovereignty that I suspect it could be damaging to the international system as it currently stands; furthermore, such an international savior risks provoking profound resentment, and not just from one side in the conflict.

Second, I believe that intervention should only be attempted if it has a significant chance of success. If one weak power is committing genocide against another weak power and a third weak power intervenes, it's quite possible that all this does is expand the scope of the war without resolving anything. In order for intervention to be worthwhile, it has to be achievable. The intervening power or coalition has to have the military strength to overcome the offending power. Otherwise, the death toll will rise and nothing else will change.

Third, I believe that intervention must absolutely have limited objectives, and these objectives must be clearly defined from the outset. When the United States intervened following North Korea's invasion of South Korea in 1950 (not genocide, to my knowledge, but it's enough of an analogous case for our purposes here), both of the first two conditions were fulfilled--it was done under UN auspices, and the US military had more than enough strength to turn back the invaders. The intervention was a resounding success, as long as it was limited to the repulsion of North Korean forces from South Korea. However, when it became obvious that the US intention was not only to repel the invasion but to overthrow the North Korean government, China was provoked into intervention and overt hostilities ceased three years later in a stalemate. Would it have been a good thing for the North Korean government to have been overthrown and the Koreas to have been united? I am firmly convinced that it would have been. But, however desirable such an outcome may have been, it was quite simply impossible. Limited, acknowledged objectives prevent the kind of misunderstandings that led China to surprise the United States with its intervention, and they protect the intervening powers from the temptations of victory.

Fourth, I believe that the intervening power must take responsibility for its actions. If intervention destabilizes a country, the intervening power cannot simply abandon the country to chaos. However, the intervening power is also obligated to respect the country's right to self-determination and not exert undue influence. If this seems like a nearly impossible balance, that is because it is.

This isn't a comprehensive or authoritative list by any means; I've drawn on things I've learned in classes and readings, but these are my opinions and should be treated as such. To summarize, I do believe that states have the obligation to internationally intervene in cases of genocide, but only under certain conditions. These cases will always be dirty and gray-scale; there are no perfect answers, and in some cases, there may not even be any good answers.

Finally, I'd like to treat your second question--does the United States, specifically, have the responsibility to intervene in cases of genocide? Now that we're leaving the world of generalities and beginning to deal with cases involving one very specific element, the story gets much more complicated.

The United States is a uniquely powerful country. It could be described as a hyperpower--a superpower so dominant that it has no serious rivals, and no other world power has the capability to unilaterally overpower it in military or economic terms. The power of the United States, especially in military terms, is almost unimaginably overwhelming. This may seem like an advantage, and in many cases, it is. However, especially when it comes to US intervention in foreign affairs, it is far too easy for our incredible power to turn to our disadvantage.

It's also important to understand the concept of political capital. To borrow an analogy usually used in interpersonal relationships, the relationship between any two countries can be compared to a bank account. A country can contribute capital to that account through its helpful or otherwise positive actions towards another country, and it can withdraw capital from that account through selfish or harmful actions. To complicate things, these accounts are, to a certain extent, public--everyone can see when one country deposits or withdraws capital from that account.

If the United States had a history of truly benevolent interventions, of simply depositing capital into its international relationships, perhaps we could have the leeway to intervene wherever and whenever necessary. However, as a matter of actual history, this has been anything but the case.

The United States has been directly or indirectly involved or alleged to be involved in regime change or attempted regime change in the following countries during the Cold War: Syria, Iran, North Korea, Guatemala, Indonesia, Tibet, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, the Dominican Republic, South Vietnam, Brazil, Ghana, Chile, Afghanistan, Turkey, Poland, Nicaragua, Cambodia, Angola, Grenada, Libya, and Panama. Please note that I'm not arguing that all of these interventions were immoral or unjustified. However, in each case, the US chose to support one side at the expense of the other, thus alienating the other side; in some but not all cases, it could be convincingly argued that the US acted out of pure self-interest to the detriment of the country where the intervention occurred. What I'm trying to say here is that for all the international capital the US has deposited, there is a long and detailed history of the US withdrawing international capital, and it has led to an atmosphere of distrust in many parts of the world. Again, I'm not passing moral judgment here. I'm simply attempting to recount things as they actually are. (I'm also including alleged interventions because, regardless of whether they actually happened, they have an effect on political capital merely because enough people believe that they happened.)

What does this mean for US international interventions? I think the single most important lesson here is that in order for the United States to militarily intervene in another country's affairs and be afforded any level of international sympathy, the intervention must come as the result of a direct attack on the United States or with full UN approval. Simply put, we don't have enough international capital to intervene in another country's interests without international approval. We're too powerful, and our history is too long, for the international community to trust us to be acting in others' best interests if we do so purely on our own initiative.

Again, there is a lot of nuance here that I am ignoring. However, I believe that this is a good general statement.


p.s. Before parting ways with this answer, I'd like to leave you with some food for thought in the form of a film I watched at a meeting of Students for International Development last year. If you skipped the rest of my answer because it was absurdly long, read this postscript. It is called Pray the Devil Back to Hell, and recounts the successful overthrow of both Libyan dictator Charles Taylor and also his opponents in a brutal civil war, carried out by an alliance of Christian and Muslim women dedicated to achieving peace for their own country. It is absolutely worth your time if you have any interest at all in genocide, civil war, international development, or African affairs. It deals very directly with a brutal civil war, including rape and violence, and is not suitable for children. I feel like I've sounded like a pessimist or at least a bit of a jaded realist in this answer; I present this film as a counterargument and as my model for how to successfully oppose genocide.

Question #69814 posted on 11/15/2012 7:08 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Some friends and I are going to sell handmade cards at a craft fair, but can't determine how much to charge. We have both 5x7 and 4x6 cards. It takes between 15-45 minutes to make a card, depending on the complexity.

The booth cost us $20. The materials cost us about $70. What's the best way to determine how much to charge?



Dear Crafty,

The equation for retail pricing, as stolen from is as follows:

Materials + Labor + Expenses + Profit = Wholesale x 2 = Retail

To simplify things I made a spreadsheet that you can tinker with. Here are some screenshots for reference:

card pricinf spreadsheet 4.png

So, what I've done here is divide your cards into two categories (4X6 and 5X7) based on the assumption that the larger the card is, the more you'll want to charge for it.

card pricinf spreadsheet time.png

Then, within those two categories I made sub-groups based on time spent making a card. The more intricate the card, the longer it took to make, the more you should charge for it. A 4X6 that took 45 minutes to make will be priced differently than a 5X7 that took 15 minutes to make. I suggest you go through your cards and classify each as a 15, 30, or 45 minute card. (Also, you can change those amounts to whatever you want. Perhaps you have a lot of cards that took 20 minutes.)

card pricinf spreadsheet number of units.png

Count those up and enter them into the unit column. This will tell you how much of your up front cost is tied up in each category of card, which isn't vitally important, but I still think is neat to know. What is vitally important is knowing what your average unit price would need to be in order to break even, which you get by dividing your overall cost by your total number of cards. In my example of 185 cards you'd have to sell all of your cards for at least 49 cents to earn back the $90 you spent and break even. 

card pricinf spreadsheet wage.png

Enter an hourly wage so you can be paid for the time it took to make the cards. I put $8 as a placeholder, but you can change it to whatever you think is fair.

card pricinf spreadsheet profit.png

Now enter the amount of profit you'd like to make per card. This is money that doesn't go toward reimbursing you for your time or the cost of supplies; it's just pure profit, assuming you sell all of your cards. This number is completely arbitrary, but the higher it is the sooner you'll break even. 

card pricinf spreadsheet egads prices.png

Lastly, take a look at the final price and ask yourself if it's reasonable. Personally, a card would have to made out of Faberge eggs for me to shell out $15 for it, but that's just me. It's up to you to figure out a good price based on supply and demand. You have to feel out the buyers and figure out what they're willing to pay. If things aren't selling, consider cutting your prices. You can sell your cards at wholesale prices (which look pretty reasonable to me) and still make a profit; just remember where the bottom line is.

I've set up the spreadsheet as an open-access Google document, so just click here and you should be able to access it. If you can't access it, it isn't working, or something doesn't make sense, email me. If you try it out and like it, shoot me an email and I'll transfer ownership of it over to you. Best of luck to you in your crafting endeavors.

-Genuine Article

Question #69788 posted on 11/28/2012 8:26 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board, especially Zedability,

I want to get rid of the two-party political system here in the US. How would you do it? Both with and without time travel powers please.

-Smurf Blue Snuggie


Dear Smurfly,

We actually just covered this issue a couple weeks ago in my political science class. The short answer to your question is that the only way to create a multiparty system in the United States would be by radically restructuring our electoral system. In other words, nothing's going to be changing anytime soon.

As for the long answer...

Electoral systems can be divided into two broad categories. In some countries, such as the United States, congressmen or members of parliament are elected in a winner-take-all system. In such a system, to use the House of Representatives as an example, each congressperson represents one district and each district elects one congressperson. In more technical terms, this is called a district magnitude of one. In districts with a magnitude of one, either the candidate who has the highest percentage of votes wins (even if he receives a plurality rather than an outright majority), or a runoff election is held and the winner takes the seat. Either way, the representative of one party takes the whole district and all other representatives from all other parties get nothing.

Here is an example:

Party    Percentage of popular vote 
A 45%
B 30%
C 10%
D 5%
E 5%
F 3%
G 2%

In an electoral system with a district magnitude of one and a simple plurality victory, the candidate from Party A would win the election outright. In a system with a district magnitude of one and a majority (50% plus one vote) required for victory, the candidate from Party A would face the candidate from Party B in a runoff election. (If the candidate from Party A had received 55% of the vote instead of 45%, no runoff would be necessary.)

On the other hand, many parliaments have their representatives elected from districts of greater magnitude. In Peru, for example, each district elects an average of about six representatives (varying depending on the district's population). An extreme case is Israel, where the entire country is a single district with a magnitude of greater than 100. In such a system, rather than individual candidates being presented for election, each party submits a list of candidates. If, say, there is a district magnitude of ten, a party must submit a list of ten candidates to stand for election in that district. Sometimes individuals vote for specific candidates, but most of the time they vote for a party's list of candidates.

Let's look at that same example, with a plurality system:

Party    Percentage of popular vote 
A 45%
B 30%
C 10%
D 5%
E 5%
F 3%
G 2%

For simplicity's sake, let's say this district has a magnitude of 20. Therefore, every 5% of the vote elects one representative. Party A received 45% of the vote, so the first nine candidates on their list are sent to parliament. (In some countries, voters choose the order of the candidates on the list; in others, the party specifies the order.) Party B sends six representatives to parliament, Party C sends two, and Party D and Party E each send one. The last 5% of the vote is split between Party F and Party G; since Party F has 3% and Party G has 2%, Party F sends one candidate to parliament and Party G does not send any. The exact rules for converting the popular vote into parliamentary seats varies from country to country, but this example covers the basic system.

Thus, we can see that two completely identical results create two very different outcomes under different sets of rules. If we imagine the results of this election played out over 20 districts with a magnitude of one each, it's conceivable that Party B would beat Party A in some elections, and it's even possible that Party C would win in one or two districts. However, if voter preferences are more or less the same throughout the country, the vast majority of the seats in congress or parliament would be won by two parties, and Parties D, E, F, and G would have essentially no chance of winning any seats at all. On the other hand, under a party-list system, six of the seven political parties send representatives to parliament, with a voice approximately equal to their percentage of the vote.

It doesn't take much imagination to see why elections with a district magnitude of one produce a two-party system while elections with a district magnitude of greater than two produce a multiparty system. (Elections with a district magnitude of two, which are fairly rare but occur in Chile, still tend to produce a two-party system.) In a winner-take-all system, any candidate who wants a shot at actually winning office, as opposed to making a political statement (*cough*RonPaul*cough*), will join one of the two most powerful parties.

There are exceptions to this, of course. One prime example is India, which has districts with a magnitude of one but has a large number of effective parties. This can be explained, however, by regionalism—if voter preferences are very different in different regions of the country, the two most powerful parties in a given district may not be the same parties as the two most powerful in another district. However, individual districts will still tend to be dominated by one or two parties.

The principle I have described is known as Duverger's Law. It's not meant to be an absolute delineation of how elections will turn out, but it does serve as a good general description.

One interesting aspect of Duverger's Law is that it is partly intended to explain the speed at which old political parties die off and new parties form. According to Duverger, in proportional representation systems, old parties are capable of retaining representation even as their base erodes and they lose popular support. On the other hand, in a winner-takes-all system, the rise and fall of parties is infrequent but sudden. In the United States, sparked by issues of slavery and states' rights that eventually led to the Civil War, the Whig Party died off and was replaced completely by the Republican Party in a period of less than a decade. In the 150 years since then, neither the Republican Party nor the Democratic Party has faced a challenger capable of unseating their dominance.

In order to convert the United States from a two-party system to a multiparty system, two things would have to happen. First, Senate rules would have to be changed to award three Senate seats to each state instead of just two, and all three Senators would have to be elected on the same ballot rather than in the current system of staggered elections. Second, Congressional districts would have to be abolished, and members of the House of Representatives would have to be elected collectively by the entire state. This would require major changes to the Constitution.

I suppose it's also possible that we could institute a multiparty system by creating significant political cleavages along geographical lines. If, say, the Hispanic immigrant population in the Southwest were to reject both the Democratic and Republican Parties and create a new party, they would become a major player in regional politics and would probably elect representatives to Congress. However, they could never elect a presidential candidate. Such a thing is only possible in cases of radical departure from both established parties, though, and it would be extremely difficult for such a movement to gain enough momentum to make a real impact.

My opinion is that, rather than wishing for an incredibly unlikely change in our political structure, we are best off pushing for a more civil political culture in the system we have now. Congress is now extremely polarized (compared to how it has been for the past century), and our current political environment is a product of that polarization. The solution is a return to civil inter-party dialogue and the election of more moderate congresspeople from the major parties, not a promulgation of third parties.


Question #69693 posted on 12/10/2012 3:14 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

If you left Earth in a spaceship headed for Alpha Centauri Bb, about 4.3 ly away, and accelerated uniformly to 0.8c at exactly the midpoint of your journey distance-wise and after that point decelerated uniformly for the remainder of the journey, how long would the journey have seemed to you? I know how to use the Lorentz equation to figure out the answer if one supposed that for the duration of the trip the speed were a constant 0.8c (supposing instant acceleration and deceleration), but with a changing speed, I'm not sure. Go ahead and wow me with derivations if you feel compelled to, but could you please just also somewhere stick in "And the answer to your only question is, X years, Y days, Z hours."?



Dear Fritz,

Things are a little trickier when you're in a non-inertial reference frame; you can't use the Lorentz equations to go between inertial and non-inertial reference frames, unfortunately, which is probably why you weren't sure how to use them to handle acceleration.

Since we're using constant acceleration, first of all let's figure out what that acceleration should be. I found a really helpful page exploring constant acceleration to relativistic speeds, which is where I'll pull my equations from. The equations they give need to be manipulated a little bit to get one that gives acceleration in terms of the parameters you gave. But if we take the equations for d and v and solve them for t (the time as seen from Earth), we can get the following expressions:


Then, plugging in the values you gave and solving the system of equations for a, we get a ≈ 0.32g (after multiplying by 1.03 to convert from lyr/yr2). So the acceleration would be a bit under a third of Earth gravity, which would be just fine for the people aboard.

With that, we can pretty easily find out how long the trip will take as seen by the people on board, using the equation for T:


For the first half of the trip (up until the midpoint), someone aboard the ship would have experienced 3.54 years, so the full trip would seem like 7.1 years, or roughly 7 years and 1 month.

In case you care about how long this trip would look from Earth (or from Alpha Centauri), we can use the first equation for t given above, to find that you'd reach the midpoint after about 4.3 years, and the whole trip would appear to take 8.6 years, or approximately 8 years and 7 months.

—Laser Jock


Dear 100 Hour Board,

Maybe this won't be possible, but could a board writer to take pictures of the best costumes they see today (on campus or otherwise)? I always hear about good costumes after the fact, but never get to see them.



Dear Cleph,

Thanks to the hipsters, it was occasionally difficult to tell the difference between costumes and regular clothes. However, these are a few that I saw:


Some sort of wizardly dude.


The classic "Clark Kent" costume is 1000x funnier due to his missionary name tag that says "Elder Kent."


The guy from Assassin's Creed. (I was proud of myself for recognizing this one.)


I think this guy was wearing stilts or something, because he was about twice as tall as a normal person.


This guy is a pilot from Star Wars.


An Asian guy doing the "Gangnam Style" dance.


This is difficult to see, but this guy is wearing a horse head identical to the one in this news article.


Only at BYU would you get a Bible/Book of Mormon character.


Mario Kart! She had a friend dressed as Mario, but she walked away before I could creepily come up and ask for a picture.


Question #69359 posted on 04/01/2013 7:22 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I have a question that I've asked a couple people and never been able to get a straight answer on, so I thought I would ask you guys for your opinion.

I know there are many members of the Church who, despite the declaration from the prophet that marriage is supposed to be between a man and woman, support same-sex marriage. They cite many different reasons for this, from tolerance to not forcing our beliefs on others, to the Constitution.

How do those members reconcile these opposing standards? On one hand, they believe that our prophet speaks for God. But on the other hand, they take a position that is directly in opposition to God's will as given to the prophet and in scripture.

So my big questions that I would like specifically addressed if possible: Do they believe then that God does NOT actually speak to the prophet? Or that God told them to do something wrong? In which case, why believe in such a God? Otherwise, how does such a position make sense to them?

I understand that we are expected to think and decide for ourselves and we have agency, but I've also grown up understanding that God's not going to give you truth that contradicts His already established commands in most instances. So I just find it hard to believe that it could be "true" for some and not for others.

I guess this could come across as somewhat inflammatory and I don't mean it that way. It's just that everyone I've ever asked this to has sidestepped and evaded those specific questions. I'm interested in understanding the logic behind it.



Dear bewildered,

(Note: In the time since this question was asked, another, almost identical question, Board Question #71773 was submitted. The two question will post relatively close to each other. For more opinions, including those from Board alumni, I refer you to question #71773.) 

First, you asked this question quite a while ago. I'm really sorry about that. I’ve thought bunch and prayed a little about what I should say. I wrote long and hard (and once accidentally lost a nearly complete version of an answer that bears no resemblance to what is actually posting now). I started answering this question a hundred different ways and have written and thrown out thousands of words trying hard to get it just right. What I hope that demonstrates (besides the fact that I can be terrible with writing and/or deadlines) is that, this is can be a really thorny and complicated issue. As one person I talked to about your question said, "[When it comes to debating same-sex marriage] everyone has different assumptions. Among strong, active members of the Church the underlying reasons for their beliefs differ. And discussion is hard because 'logically' everyone's position can be argued, when ‘logically’ means ‘based on their underlying assumptions.’” I think this gets at the heart of your question: it makes no sense to believe that God speaks through his a prophet and then not agree 100% with everything that the Church led by said prophet asks of its members. But if your underlying assumption is that the prophet and other Church leaders are not infallible mouthpieces and are influenced by their own experiences, life-view, etc., then from those underlying assumptions it could be logical to not agree with, and in some cases vocally disagree with the Church’s position. What informs those underlying assumptions is people's own personal revelations, their own testimonies (or lack thereof), and their own life experiences. I think it's a huge mistake to, for example, assume or publicly declare that any Church member who supports same-sex marriage is in a state of apostasy. So I appreciate that your question stems from trying to understand someone else's mindset. 

Asking this exact kind of question is something that really helped me begin to see how people’s personal experiences can influence their testimonies, their beliefs, and their connection to both the Church and to God (not always the same thing). Whether or not the world generally (or this issue specifically) is clearly black and white is, in some ways, immaterial. It's immaterial because people like you and me, the ones who experience and respond to the world (and the issue of same-sex marriage), can’t help but see and experience it through the gray and/or rose-colored lens of our own experiences.

You asked about what a specific group of people believe, people who are active, believing members who support same-sex marriage. So I figured the best way to answer would be to find some of them ask them. I sent your question to several friends, including a former roommate, some former Board writers, and a member of BYU's USGA organization. Before initiating these conversations, I really didn’t know exactly what these people would say in response to your question (meaning I didn’t know if they found themselves in the category of people you describe). But I knew that they were people who would likely have personal connections and experiences. I’m just going to present, hopefully in a coherent way that answers your question, what we came up with.

I want to be really clear about my own purpose here. I'm not trying to convince, sway or justify any particular position. I’ll try to point out what is my own opinion, but I also want to do justice to the experiences of the people I talked to and present their ideas, even if they don’t entirely fit with my own beliefs. In other words, just because I choose to include what people say does not mean it’s my own opinion. But it’s an opinion I think deserves to be expressed.

Legislating Morality

One respondent said this: “I'm not sure why the writer sort of dismissed the arguments of tolerance, not forcing our beliefs on others, and the Constitution. These are really important points.”

I’m inclined to agree. To me, the issue of not wanting to legislate morality (or our own particular moral code) is one of the strongest reasons why a Church member would feel justified supporting same-sex marriage. As Latter-day Saints we have quite a list of commandments and restrictions we live by. One well publicized example is the fact that we don’t drink alcohol or coffee or smoke. We believe we are spiritually blessed when we live these commandments because we have covenanted with God to abide by the Word of Wisdom. But I don’t think anyone would argue that there is anything inherently good or bad about coffee or cigarettes (and, for what it’s worth, the wine that the Savior drank was not just grape juice). It's inherently amoral not immoral. Furthermore, I don’t think anyone believes that outlawing cigarettes or alcohol is the same thing as people using their agency to choose to live the commandments, just as taking 10% out of someone's paycheck without their knowledge entitles them to the blessings of being a full tithe payer. So, even if legislation supports a lifestyle we choose to live, others who have not made that choice will not be spiritually or morally benefited by being legally forced to live it.

To be sure, that there are some actions (murder, for example) that are not just wrong because of a code of conduct we live by. Immoral and not amoral. It’s in society’s best interest to limit behaviors that damaged society and murder is one of these – even if you don’t believe God has forbidden murder, it’s still wrong and deserves to be restricted. In the Church we believe that sexual transgressions are very serious and, by extension, sex and sexual relationships are very serious and important in the eyes of God. But regulating sexual activity is not at all what opposing same-sex marriage, or voting to oppose it, is about. So I think this is case where, even though abstaining from sex outside of marriage or same-sex relationships is something Church members are taught and should abide by, they may not feel justified voting to oppose it for others who do not live or believe the same things.

The Scriptures and the Prophet

The way you phrased your question makes it clear, like I indicated before, that you see this as a pretty black-and-white scenario. In your question you said, “[they take] a position that is directly in opposition to God's will as given to the prophet and in scripture,” and “God's not going to give you truth that contradicts His already established commands in most instances,” and “So I just find it hard to believe that it could be ‘true’ for some and not for others.”

I understand your position – I really do: God speaks to his prophet who speaks to us. Since the Church is opposed to same-sex marriage (more on that in a second), and the prophet and apostles have specifically spoken about it, then God has spoken, end of story. But it seems clear that, for members who support same-sex marriage, it is more nuanced than this.

First, one respondent took exception to your line “God’s will as given to the prophets and in scripture.” Her point is that the scriptures actually say very little about same-sex relationships and those that do are in a Bible we believe to be true “as far as it is translated correctly.” Basically, just reminding you that opposing homosexuality and same-sex relationships with an appeal to Biblical scriptures is not really going to get you very far.

Second, I wouldn't speak for every active member who supports same-sex marriage, but a general feeling I got from these conversations is that many of these members do believe that the prophet really is a spokesman for God, and God really does guide the Church, but as mortals, Church leaders are fallible and can and do make mistakes. A few quotes: 

One person said this:

I'd say that historically, people have done a lot of terrible things in the name of religion and that includes Mormons. I know there are people who believe that if you follow Church leaders you'll be blessed for it, even if you do something bad, as though following the prophet were some sort of ‘get out of sin free’ card. I don't believe that because I've seen and had to live with some of the effects of that attitude, and I know that the pain of wrong actions is real, no matter what the motivation. So, although I put a lot of weight and value in the words of the prophet and other Church leaders, I don't think their words excuse me from having to weigh my own choices according to my best judgment of right and wrong.

Another said this:

Latter-day Saints are put in this very confusing place where we're told to listen in General Conference and never put our own education or understanding above those we hear over the pulpit...while we're also taught to pray, question, ponder, get personal confirmation, and that doctrine is only doctrine when it's been canonized and ratified and spoken with, ‘And thus sayeth the Lord.’ My internal moral compass, my personal relationship with God and truth, it tells me that Prop 8 was wrong. And I've prayed and striven for the humility to see it for what it is without my pride in the way, though I'll readily admit I've got my share of pride, I think Prop 8 and all of its associated issues are a symptom of fear and disgust, and those are not the Lord's feelings.

Another said this:

It’s important to remember that not everything that is said in General Conference is scripture. Even the Proclamation on the Family is only a statement of "we believe this" and not "everything other than this is sin."

Finally, another said this:

You want my actual opinion on how you can be a member of the Church and support gay marriage? In short it's because the Church is run by men and heavily influenced by society. It's pitched as being entirely separate from society, but I think it's rather arrogant to think you can see what you'll wish you could have seen looking back. Look at the way society has treated blacks, women, interracial marriage, and homosexuality in the past. The way I see it, the men that lead the church I believe in don’t have to be infallible and the Church can "mess up." That doesn't mean that Jesus "messed up"; Either Jesus is letting men learn for themselves or someone else is driving this flying umbrella – it's a conundrum that is so difficult to discuss within "orthodox" Mormonism.

Several of the respondents independently brought up the priesthood ban, which restricted certain ethnic groups from holding the priesthood until 1978. They cited this as an example where, frankly, they think the Church and/or its leaders were in the wrong and that the ban was due to societal and personal influence more than a truly, justifiable, God-given commandment. I'll mention more later about the comparison many of these people drew between the opposition to same-sex marriage the the priesthood restriction. But you questioned whether or not this group of members believed that the prophet/leaders could be wrong. And for many of them, the answer is yes, and there is a historical precedent for it. 

New Wine into New Bottles

Like I said previously, my purpose in presenting some of these opinions isn't to try and phrase an argument of what is or should be the case, but to answer your question of "what do these members believe." During the events of the 2008 California Proposition 8 debate and vote and aftermath, I found myself grateful to not be forced into an active, participatory role, the way many friends and family members in and from California were. It's an admittedly cowardly position, to be glad that you haven't been forced into doing or saying something because you feel unsure about something difficult. I said in previous Board answers that, like many Church members, I felt that the Church's stance against same-sex marriage, and more specifically, same-sex marriage in California was very much a "watchmen on the tower" situation: for purposes we did not know or understand, the leadership of the Church decided to take a very public, very unusual stand on what was a moral position, but also a very political and politicized issue. 

One thing, though, that I think is important to point out about what I see as the Church's stance against same-sex marriage: I think it's fair to say that, as an organization, the Church supports laws that enforce traditional marriage norms and because of this oppose legalizing same-sex marriage. The Church recently issued a statement, in response to the Supreme Court case which could decide the legality of the Defense of Marriage Act and states' rights to prohibit same-sex marriage, reaffirming its position supporting traditional marriage and hoping that the Supreme Court will agree with this position. 

But I think there's a difference between the Church asking its members, given the legal, democratic opportunity to vote for traditional marriage (a.k.a. against legalizing same-sex marriage) and the Church being committed to opposing every and all same-sex marriages. Same-sex marriage was up for legalization, and passed by popular vote, in three different states (Washington, Maryland and Maine) the last election cycle in 2012. It had been legalized by judicial decree in various other states (like Massachusetts, Vermont and Iowa) before that. Outside of the United States, the Church is established and thriving in many countries where same-sex marriage is and has been legal for years. In these cases there is no mobilization of Church members or funds, advertising or actions, to oppose same-sex marriage. The LDS Church believes in "honoring and sustaining the law," but I think this also represents the fact that the Church was really seeking to take a stand for something and not drawing a line in the sand demanding that all its people be against something. 

I don't think this is merely semantics either. In a statement made in the thick of Proposition 8, the Salt Lake Tribune quoted Elder Clayton of the Seventy:

Latter-day Saints are free to disagree with their church on the issue without facing any sanction, said L. Whitney Clayton of the LDS Quorum of the Seventy. "We love them and bear them no ill will."

In another statement, made in November 2008, after the election in which Proposition 8 narrowly passed, the Church issued a statement saying this:
Voting choices by Latter-day Saints, like all other people, are influenced by their own unique experiences and circumstances.  As we move forward from the election, Church members need to be understanding and accepting of each other and work together for a better society. Even though the democratic process can be demanding and difficult, Latter-day Saints are profoundly grateful for and respect the ideals of a true democracy.

I don't think these are hollow words. We are told that we need to be understanding and accepting, not only of those outside of the Church, but also accepting of "each other." So regardless of your own personal, spiritual or other experiences that lead you to feel strongly that it is required and God-mandated to oppose same-sex marriage, I truly believe that the Church and its leaders are trying to make it clear that there is a space within the Church for those who support it. 

A few more quotes from my respondents:

The arguments for standing strong against homosexuality aren't unique to Mormonism – the exact same arguments, ALL these arguments, are used throughout the anti-gay Christian world. There's really nothing unique about it. I think it's extremely scary how quickly members of the Church flock to being told what the "answer" is on this subject – it's hard, awkward and difficult to resolve. I'm not surprised, by any means, that many people are unable or unwilling to think about it themselves. In the cultural of "You're either on God's side or not," there's only one answer. And it's much easier to not kick against the pricks if you wait to be told. But I believe there are a lot of members that feel their conscience pulling them the other way and it sucks. It's hard – and fear and judgment become the defense mechanisms of facing that.

Another said this: 

I also personally believe that when we, as a church, focus so much on this issue, we do not see the millions of people we are alienating. It has become an "us and them" issue, which often blocks out the "we" issue, and the fact that we are all God's children. I have seen some who get so caught up in this moment that they forget to love. They forget the we are not enemies, but brothers and sisters in Christ. These are good, honest, and loving people who were born in every possible circumstance and they are just trying to do the best they can with what they are given, which is a heart that loves.   

Another said this:

The thing I'd add is charity - that regardless of your views, we all need to strive for charity, and if anyone's actions or responses to others on this topic bring fear, anger or judgment, charity is lost. And God is lost. Love is lost. So if we're going to talk of godly things, we need to learn to retain charity in the face of ideas that are different from our own. Because we'll never come to reconcile together if we can't sit at the same table peacefully, happily – and talk.

And finally, another said this. I know this has become a really long answer, but this next quote really resonated with me:

Do I see things more clearly than the Brethren do? I don't. But I also don't have the responsibility of keeping together such a big and diverse institution as this church. It's my personal opinion that the Brethren, or most of them, can see areas for big improvement in the Church, but they have to do it slowly, line upon line. They have to put new wine in new bottles and old wine in old bottles, lest the bottles burst, and people who have the old wine before the new wine say, "Hey, the old wine was tastier." I recently read a quote that said that change does not happen until the pain of changing becomes less than the pain of staying the same. And right now, the Church would probably hurt more by changing. But I am personally in a place where I can change for myself, and I can ask for change, because I'm not in charge.

Can I repeat something from that? "Change does not happen until the pain of changing becomes less than the pain of staying the same." I think for many of these members who actively support same-sex marriage, and for the many, many others who are still trying to reconcile the conflict of conscience they feel on the issue, they are experiencing the pain of staying the same. Getting back to the priesthood ban (I said I would get back to this), there were certainly members who had problems with blacks receiving the priesthood in 1978. But the stories we hear people tell now about the day when the priesthood ban was ended by revelation? They are stories about celebration and tears of joy. The Church, as a body, was ready to receive that change, were praying for something to change, for something to happen.

Let me be clear: I am not saying that the Church will, or even should, accept within its doctrine same-sex marriage or homosexual relationships. That's not the big change I think these members I talked to are necessarily waiting or praying for. But I think they are waiting and hoping for . . . a change. Greater acceptance within the Church of its gay members (something I think is happening), a space for gay Church members who are in committed same-sex relationships and want to be able to participate in some way in the church they still believe in, or a change in the way the Church stands on the legalization of same-sex marriage. What will happen I don't know. What should happen, I also can't say. What I hope happens, and this really is me sharing my own opinion, is that we find a greater space within the Church and that, even if people cannot receive every good thing the Church has to offer (like temple marriage) they can still receive good things from fellowship with the Saints. I also hope that the Church continues to take a role in calling for laws and social changes that strengthen people, marriages and families. Though this hypothetical future legislation I would like to be more clearly and directly to support and strengthen people and marriages (being more explicit for something instead of against something). 

More immediately, though, I hope that people can do as one of my respondents – or rather, one of my friends – said above, and retain charity in the face of ideas that are not our own. That kind of charity isn't holding out hope that people will come around to your point of view and agree with you. But gaining a Christ-like ability to see that even those who don't and never will agree with you are children of God. 

- Rating Pending (who gives much thanks to the four people he talked to, for their openness and honestly and the goodness of their hearts)

Question #69344 posted on 10/16/2012 9:34 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Could you construct an in-world reason for Dumbledore's appearance changing drastically (the real reason, of course, is the changing of the actors) and why none of the characters mentioned it?



Dear Chizpurfle,

I would like to lay the blame for this entirely on your shoulders and just remind you as you read that you asked for this. 


Nothing was the same after Grindelwald. After defeating a Dark Lord, society expects a certain amount of messianic behavior that a broken heart finds difficult to substantiate. In his heart, he knew that the stain on his soul might follow him forever, but the world needed a savior.

Instead of continuing his descent into the deepest of magics, Dumbledore put his focus into teaching. To avoid the temptation to fall into darkness after his dearest friend, Albus must put away his experimentation in Dragon blood and spell creation. Instead of exploring the farthest reaches of what transfiguration can be, he busied himself repeating the first seven years of his education over and over again.

As time passes, he’s able to hide the pain of betrayal and betraying and reflect the expectations of the public back onto them. He allowed his past to fade into myth, barely keeping contact with his brother, despite proximity. In time, he was less haunted by his sins, flooded as he is by his many responsibilities to direct the decisions of all those within the scope of his considerable influence.

Though he is expected to rise up again as a beacon of light during the campaign of Lord Voldemort, he just couldn’t muster the gumption to immerse himself in that life again. Using his carefully networked political powers, he creates the Order of the Phoenix instead of peeking back into the darkness to find the powers that could outmatch a young intellectual.

Tom Riddle was everything Albus could have been if his first kill had been someone he hated rather than someone he loved. Though he had no proof that Ariana’s death had been the work of his own wand, it was definitely his fault. He had charge of her safety, and he failed her. That is a far different guilt than the purposeful end of the pathetic life of an inferior.

Over the years, Dumbledore had slipped back into his old ways a very few times. Once, when he found out that James Potter actually held the legendary cloak of invisibility, he couldn't help himself. He asked for it without thinking about where it could lead him. James, a faithful follower, assumed his leader knew best. Most of the time, he didn't even look at the shimmery fabric. He set it in a drawer in his deepest personal chambers and used all the willpower he’d mustered in the fight against Grindelwald to force himself not to run the watery material through his hands over and over again as his considerable mental power picked apart its secrets.

By the time Harry Potter came to Hogwarts, Albus had repeated his friend’s favorite mantra to himself so many times that he had created a sort of righteous barrier between himself and his past. His aura shown as a beacon of light to all who looked upon him; a sort of ethereal glow transformed his ancient face to one of wisdom unquestioned. He hadn't broken his pact to not touch the cloak in years, instead benevolently listening to the petty problems of the plebeians that surrounded him.

Still, it was a weight off his shoulders to finally give the cloak to Harry, despite his young age. The amount of effort it took to part with the artifact told him it was the right choice. It was a burden he couldn't afford to have when Voldemort made moves to come back into the world. He needed to be the pillar the people needed, not a second force of evil he knew he could have so easily become.

Still, his curious, brilliant mind longed for exercise. When Harry Potter presented him with a puzzle at the end of his second year at Hogwarts, a flood of justification completely broke his mental dam. Suddenly, it was vital to his role of mentor to the new savior to know all the twining evil young Tom Riddle had studied so extensively.

The summer of 1993 undid most of the work he’d done to appear as the benevolent grandfatherly type. The friendly glow he hid behind deserted him, leaving his true age to shine through. The process was so gradual, the change was hardly noted. Perception is a powerful tool, so even as his once shiny silver hair faded to a dull yellow and his twinkling eyes grew sunken, he still heard familiar descriptions of him as ‘grandfatherly’ and ‘mischievous.’ 

McGonagall, as a dear friend, expressed her concern for his health, but allowed him to dismiss it as age finally catching up with him. The research required to discover just exactly what young Tom had done to his soul ripped off the scab that sealed his own soul shut. Old wounds were re-opened, and every day it became a struggle to keep his greater good on the side of the light.

More and more, he would try to justify his actions with his adopted mantra. Sending Harry back to his neglectful relatives was for the ‘greater good’ and having a dangerous tournament at Hogwarts would serve the ‘greater good.’ Hosting the ministry at Hogwarts was a mistake, but the time he spend on the run from his own school was better spent researching the darkest of magics. Finally he reached the point where, upon discovering the resurrection stone, he was unable to resist its pull as he once had with its other set member.

He put on the ring! He knew it would be trapped. He knew Riddle well enough by now to know that it would be trapped. But he could not resist. He put it on his finger, and finally the blackness that had slowly encroaching on the empty places of his heart showed on his hand.

Albus knew he was spiraling out of control. His hold on his precious school was slipping, and things that had once filled his time were no longer a priority. A precipice had been reached. So easily, he could slip into the roll that his friend had once filled, and no one would stand up to stop him. In his desperation to avoid the temptation of political games, he had instead ingrained himself into the childhood of generations of wizards in charge. If the Light Lord fell to darkness the whole Wizarding World would.

Harry was almost ready to replace him, and he was so tired. Instead of waiting for a grown wizard, he taught his young successor what he could and secretly prepared to take himself out of the equation. With his soul darkening with knowledge even as a curse darkened his arm, Dumbledore the leader could do more for the war effort as a dead hero than as a living influence.

As the 1996-1997 school year reached a close, Albus reached a point where he could no longer see a way out. He knew the time had come, and had begun to welcome it. Young Severus would do the deed, once again shouldering the blame in the eyes of the youthful generation, and Albus could finally be at peace, away from the glaring eyes of societal expectation. Finally he could sacrifice something for the greater good that was actually his to give.

Dumbledore died. But he was not allowed the peace of heaven. Some things touch a soul so deeply that they cannot be smoothed over. Instead of peaceful rest, he was stuck in a sort of limbo. His work was not as done as he had thought. He was given the opportunity to help the hero once again. At the train station, he advised Harry, kept the company of Voldemort’s soul bits, and briefly, so quickly that he almost missed it, saw Gellert again.

Gellert moved on without him, his final destination clear. After years of going places Albus couldn't follow, Albus was tempted to leave be his cloak of light. It would be so easy after years and decades and centuries to stop gripping so tightly to the tiny spark of brightness he had let consume him for much of his life. Only memories of Ariana, his mother, his countless bright and promising students, forced Dumbledore to hang on a little longer.

Long after his life had faded into legend, Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore stayed as a guide for many a young hero on the edge of life. Heaven or hell awaited his own decisions on whom his heart would follow. They waited a very long time.



Question #69193 posted on 10/16/2012 9:34 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How many ways are there to make a peanut butter sandwich using just bread, peanut butter, and jelly?

-PBJ (aka - poor, broke, jobless) fiend


Dear PBJ,

It has been said that "you are what you eat." If that statement were to be held to be literally true, then I suppose that I would probably be considered a sandwich. I will not delve into all of the philosophical, metaphorical, or existential implications of that fact in this answer. Those can come another day. Today, I am here to talk about real, literal sandwiches. I shall entitle my presentation:

Groundbreaking Advances in the Science of Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Production and Consumption: A Qualitative Study of a High Culinary Art in Collegiate Residents of Provo, Utah

I have carefully prepared each of these sandwiches over the course of the past weeks, painstakingly documenting their creation and structure. Each of them has been carefully rated with my new and innovative "smiley scale," using a notation system based on the discovery that I recently made that a colon followed by a capital letter "d" has the appearance of a grinning face (:D). Each sandwich is rated from one smiley (:D) to five smileys (:D :D :D :D :D) depending on my overall composite reaction. So, without further ado, let us proceed to the sandwiches!

The Basic

I find it rather unnecessary to give a detailed description of how to construct a run-of-the-mill PB&J. I will instead present you with a brief photographic exhibit. Because of some input deficiencies, I was forced to substitute honey for jelly in several of my experiments.

Here is the PB&H during production:


And the finished product:


Rating: :D :D :D :D

The Half Sandwich

The Half PB&H is essentially identical to the regular PB&H, except constructed with only one slice of bread, as follows:


Rating: :D :D :D :D

The Triple-Decker

A Triple-Decker PB&H begins much the same as a regular PB&H, as follows:


However, once the first two slices of bread have been placed together, the top slice and the third slice are then used to house a second PB&H combination:


The finished product is essentially a stacked sandwich:


While this differs little from the regular PB&H in taste, it is considerably more voluminous and would not be suitable as a snack, only as a meal.

Rating: :D :D :D

The Half-Toasted Sandwich

A regular PB&H can be enhanced by toasting its bread before preparation. But what of a sandwich in which only one slice of bread is toasted?


As the following photo demonstrates, the only potential obstacle is that the toasted slice of bread is slightly smaller than its un-toasted companion:


The combination of toasted and un-toasted bread creates a very interesting contrast unique to such a variety of sandwich.

Rating: :D :D :D :D

The Inverse PB&J

The Inverse PB&J is constructed by applying peanut butter and jelly to the outside of a single slice of bread, rather than containing them between two slices:


This sandwich's preparation is unusually difficult, as pressure must be exerted on the bread against a solid surface when applying both the peanut butter and the jelly. I chose to accept that my own hand would have to serve as the backing, leading to a very unfortunate side effect.


The Inverse PB&J is also unusually difficult to eat. However, surprisingly, it was by far the best-tasting sandwich out of all those that I constructed, presumably because both the peanut butter and the jelly were directly exposed to my taste buds rather than being shielded by the accompanying bread. It is for this reason alone that the sandwich is not given the lowest possible rating based purely on its messiness.

Rating: :D :D

The PB&J Salad

The PB&J Salad represents an attempt to deconstruct traditional notions of what constitutes a PB&J and what constitutes a sandwich. While it consists of identical ingredients to the preceding sandwiches (peanut butter, jelly, and bread), it radically alters their configuration. The bread is first torn into small- to medium-sized pieces. Approximately half of those pieces are dipped in peanut butter, as follows:


The remaining half are dipped in jelly, as follows:


Ideally, jelly- and peanut butter-coated pieces are created alternating one at a time of each, rather than two totally separate groups. The are then combined in a bowl and mixed:


The final product may be eaten with a fork.

Surprisingly, the quality of the PB&J Salad's taste is significantly lower than that of the basic sandwich. I hypothesize that it is the result of insufficient quantities of peanut butter and/or jelly. Future researchers may be interested in exploring the implications of additional quantities, but for the purposes of this experiment, I declare my results to be sufficient.

Rating: :D :D :D

The PB&J Roll

Having finished the PB&J Salad, I had presumed to conclude my experiments and write up this report. However, at the suggestion of my assistant sisterfulness, I decided to proceed with one final item: the PB&J Roll. To construct the PB&J Roll, it is necessary to first remove the crust from a slice of bread, as shown:


The crusts may be incorporated into a PB&J Salad or consumed on their own. After the crust is removed, the remaining bread is flattened under the thumbs as indicated below:


The final product should be completely flat and compressed:


Peanut butter and jelly are then applied in alternating strips:


The bread is rolled up, beginning at the strip of jelly on the right:


The finished product takes the form of a roll:


At this point, the sandwich can be consumed immediately. Alternatively, should the creator so desire, it may be cut into individual slices as follows:


These smaller slices may be consumed individually as a snack. They also would serve as an excellent item for guests.

Due to the increased density of bread in the PB&J Roll, the ratio of peanut butter and jelly to bread area is much higher, leading to a more intense flavor. Of all the sandwiches prepared in the course of this experiment, the PB&J Roll provided the greatest level of culinary satisfaction.

Rating: :D :D :D :D :D


In the course of this experiment, I have attempted to delineate the various varieties of PB&J traditionally produced, as well as break new ground in innovative PB&J development. The reader is invited to replicate these experiments in his or her own kitchen or lab.


p.s. I would be remiss if I did not include an entirely gratuitous homage to the greatest comic strip character of all time, who I hold in remembrance in each of my peanut butter jars and who serves as an inspiration and mentor to me via the documentation of his life.


Let his legacy be remembered always.

Question #69186 posted on 10/09/2012 9:58 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Do any of you have an outstanding cinnamon roll recipe that you could share? (In the archives Krishna references a website for a recipe in Board Question #37665, which is no longer available.) Also, if you have any roll or bread-making tips/secrets, I would appreciate those as well. I generally use my Kitchen Aid mixer for mixing the bread, and knead it by hand. Oh, and I am yet to try Vietnamese cinnamon as suggested in a previous Board answer, but I plan to do so.

Thanks in advance,

recien casada


Dear recien casada,

You have come to the right place, my friend. Feast your eyes (and your taste buds) on this.

Cinnamon Rolls

1 Tbs yeast
½ cup water
½ tsp sugar
1 cup milk, scalded
¼ cup butter (put in milk to soften)
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
3 ½ - 4 ½ cup flour

Proof yeast by dissolving yeast and  sugar in water. Wait until foam forms, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine yeast mixture with milk, butter, sugar, salt, egg, and 3 ½ cups flour. Add more flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead well, then place dough in a lightly greased bowl covered by a damp towel to rise. Let rise until double, about 1-1 ½ hours.

1 cube butter, melted
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar

Cover baking sheets in parchment paper and set aside. Punch dough down. Roll out into a large rectangle. Combine butter, cinnamon, and sugar, and spread the mixture evenly over the dough. [Here’s the best part, guys! My family’s super-secret fancy roll-forming technique!] Form rolls by cutting 1” wide strips with a knife or pizza cutter, folding the strips in half, twisting the folded strip into a spiral, and tying the twist in a knot. Handy visual time (complete with blurry action shots)!

cinnamon roll forming.jpg

Place formed rolls on parchment-covered baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray, and allow to rise again until doubled in size.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cinnamon rolls for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Allow rolls to cool until just warm.

1/3 cup butter, softened
¼ c milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar (I don't actually use this much–I add to taste)
dash of salt

Blend butter, milk, vanilla, powdered sugar, and salt. Add more or less milk and powdered sugar depending on how thick or thin you want the glaze. Drizzle glaze over warm rolls.

cinnamon rolls done.jpg

Eat one roll. Eat one more roll. Restrain yourself. Ok, I’ll allow one more, but I take no responsibility for any expansion of your waistline. Now take a plate of cinnamon rolls to that cute guy/girl in your ward that you’ve been crushing on and let the rolls work their magic. I guarantee results!*


*What the results are I couldn’t say, but I know there will be results!

Question #69118 posted on 12/17/2012 7:10 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

One of my boys at Webelos asked me a great question this week that I couldn't answer, maybe you guys can: what do President Monson and other General Authorities do for fun?

-The Cubmaster


Dear Parpika,

What an interesting question. I knew I could answer on some apostles without even looking, but, to be fair, I looked up supporting articles* for all of them in case you (or your boys) want to read further.

Thomas S. Monson: President Monson is a man who, above all else, enjoys people. He lives by the idea that if he sees someone who isn't already a friend, they will become a friend. He just likes being around them, talking to them and getting to know them. Often he will spend Sundays visiting rest homes in the Salt Lake valley and talking to the residents there. He likes fishing in Alaska, Idaho and on the Provo River. It is generally well known that President Monson raises Birmingham Roller Pigeons in what we fondly refer to as "The Taj Mahal of Pigeon Coops." (Disclaimer, I haven't seen a lot of pigeon coops in my life so there is little to compare that to. But his is white and big and impeccably well-kept). He loves his wife, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (as I imagine they all do) and spends a lot of time with them. I've heard that President Faust used to say, "If we believed in reincarnation, I'd want to come back as one of President Monson's grandchildren." He's just a wonderful, loving grandfather. He likes seeing musicals and plays, often whistling the tunes as he goes about his day. He attends sporting events (many have seen him at Utah Jazz games) and roots on BYU/Utah football games. I've also heard he loves playing checkers and watching Perry Mason.

Remember President Monson's devotional back in September 2009 when he talked about all the former prophets' favorite food, hymn, scripture and advice? Well, I'm going to add his information to that talk since he didn't include himself (and I looked this up back in 2009 for...things).

Favorite food: Turkey dinner, white meat only, no cranberry sauce.
Favorite hymn: Hark All Ye Nations.
A favorite scripture: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him." Rev. 3:20 or "I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness and in truth unto the end. Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory." D&C 76:5,6 or "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." Prov. 3:5,6
Advice: Go out and find someone who is hurting or in need and help them.

I'm going to now admit I don't know that information for all the First Presidency and Twelve, I just happened to wonder after the devotional and then saved the information. But, because he is the prophet, there are tons of articles about him, and it’s easy to find out about him. I'm not ashamed to admit I read the main article I linked to on him and cried all the way through so I didn't want to read any more. President Monson is so great.

Henry B. Eyring: President Eyring enjoys spending time with his family. He sends out a daily e-mail to all his children which includes that day’s journal entry and some photos. Also, he's quite technologically inclined and can use his iProducts with the best of them (which makes me think someone should get him on Instagram -- which he is not on, I checked. How great would that be? Way). He cooks and even makes his own bread. He does woodcarvings and woodwork, even making some of his own furniture. He also paints watercolors. His home is filled with his paintings and carvings. He also enjoys sports, having played basketball in his youth (though I don't imagine he plays anymore, just enjoys). Rumor also had it that he's good at tennis. Studying, learning and improving have always been important in President Eyring’s life, and he strives to be better every day.

Dieter F. Uchtdorf: You may not know this, but President Uchtdorf likes planes. Loves them, in fact. He went down to St. George to fly with the Blue Angels (he didn't actually fly the plane; apparently you have to keep up on plane-flying skills in order to do that. He was merely a passenger). President Uchtdorf, unsurprisingly, also loves his family. He and his wife like to travel together and he always makes time for his family (which sometimes include trips to Germany to visit them). He is also, like Elder Eyring, very tech-savvy. President and Sister Uchtdorf are very active and health-conscious and enjoy outdoor sports such as riding bikes and skiing.

Boyd K. Packer: President Packer has a great love of the outdoors, specifically the wildlife. He paints and sculpts birds. There's an area in the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni Building at BYU devoted solely to his sculptures of birds. He has also illustrated some of his own books with pictures of birds, though he also loves to carve and paint other things. In fact, he has such fondness for birds that he and Sister Packer have raised many birds including peacocks, golden pheasants and pigeons. It should not surprise you that President Packer is very devoted to his family. Among his carvings, he created the wooden form of what would become a brass door knocker symbolizing the faith his parents taught President Packer and his siblings. The door knocker hangs on the doors of all his siblings as well as other family members.

L. Tom Perry: Growing up, Elder Perry enjoyed fishing, hiking, playing horse shoes, softball and was involved in scouting. He grew up very athletic and still maintains a strong interest in sports today. He also still enjoys the outdoors; I've often seen him walking around Salt Lake in the mornings. He's very, very active. He and his wife also enjoy gardening and doing housework and repairs together. Elder Perry likes to build things and work with his hands. He is a family-oriented person, having always devoted Saturdays to spending time with his family. He, like his parents, is very involved in his children's  lives -- and they in his. Elder Perry drives to some assignments instead of flying so that he can spend more time with his wife.

Russell M. Nelson: Unsurprisingly, Elder Nelson is very involved with his family life. He has always made his wife and children a priority in all he does. In past years when he would travel, he would to take at least one family member with him, believing that the time together was well-invested. Elder Nelson has a great interest in music, especially singing and playing the organ. He is very active and considers skiing "one of [his] greatest loves." He, with his family, also enjoys water skiing, horse back riding, swimming and tennis.

Dallin H. Oaks: Elder Oaks is fully devoted to whatever activity he's engaged in, whether that be work or learning. He learned to work from a young age and finds great joy in his work. He loves to read things like newspapers, Church magazines, legal journals, and other books or periodicals (because, really, he never stops learning and studying). To be honest, most of what I read about him focused on Elder Oaks professionally, but having a passionate interest in one’s profession can be a hobby too! I also hear rumor that he enjoys fishing.

M. Russell Ballard: Elder Ballard is extremely hard-working. He's had various jobs since he was a young boy mowing lawns. He made his family a top priority in his life. He spent time with his children talking to them and taking them on outings, and always made them feel included in his life. His children all have memories of times he has been there to help and guide them. Elder Ballard is a people-person. He's always reaching out to others who may need his help. He is compassionate and in tune with others and always looking for ways to serve. The Ballards also have a garden that he works in, but it sounds like even then, he's working with other people. I think Elder Ballard just likes being with people.

Richard G. Scott: Elder Scott showed an early interest in science, which may explain why he became a nuclear engineer. As a child he liked to explore, tinker with mechanical things, discover how things worked, build them and repair them. He still loves to build and fix things. He played clarinet, saxophone and was a drum major for the marching band, and he still holds a love of music today. Elder Scott is also a really good artist, preferring to paint with watercolors as a way to relax. Elder Scott also enjoys the outdoors, specifically hiking and bird watching.

Robert D. Hales: Elder Hales' early life was very influenced by spending time with family (mostly his cousins) on his grandparents farm. He also grew up with a love for baseball (though he stopped playing due to an injury), and he still loves sports even now, especially golf. While growing up in New York City, Elder Hales' high school was involved in the United Nations, which gave him an interest and desire to have cultural experiences. He later lived in England, Germany, Spain, and several different areas of the United States. He believes that seeing the world is a valuable part of education (here is where I realize I could easily be friends with Elder Hales). His love of travel is very evident. Elder Hales is also completely devoted to his wife; he credits her with all the good decisions in his life. Like so many others, he loves to spend time with his children and grandchildren. Elder Hales also loves people, and he especially loves helping them and building them up to be better.

Jeffrey R. Holland: Elder Holland has a fantastic sense of humor. He is always making jokes and laughing. He is outgoing, selfless and enthusiastically welcoming. He is very much a people-person. While he can tell stories and be entertaining, he is also very in tune with the feelings and struggles of others. Elder Holland grew up with an interests in athletics: football, basketball, track and baseball. Elder Holland always makes time for his wife and children.

A story I love about Elder Holland (which I heard him tell) relates to a time he went fishing with President Monson in Alaska. He was standing in the river and there was a fish on his line. At that moment, a big black bear came out of the woods and ate the fish. Elder Holland considered fighting the bear for the fish (the only one he'd caught so far), but thought better of it, which had to be the wisest of choices. President Monson, in his office, has a giant wooden fish that looks like one he once caught and Elder Holland joked that he was going to, instead of a fish, mount the handle of the broken fishing pole since that was all he had left after the bear came. Fishing is not one of Elder Holland's hobbies.

David A. Bednar: Elder Bednar is very reliant on the scriptures. As you've probably noticed in all his talks, he encourages members to study the scriptures and to carry them to Church meetings. He takes time to teach his family and others about the scriptures and how they can search them to find answers to all their questions. Having joy in studying the scriptures seems to be his most notable hobby. He said, "“My dad was a tool-and-die maker, and he would never be caught without his tools. It seemed to me that for members of the Church of Jesus Christ our tools are the scriptures and we should always have them in our meetings." From all that I have read about him, I realize that he just has a very deep love of teaching and studying the scriptures. I also hear that he enjoys playing golf.

Quentin L. Cook: Elder Cook has a great love of sports. In his younger years, he played basketball and football. He also, at a young age, had an interest in debate and politics, which may explain why he went into law. His father taught him at an early age to always have worthy goals and always be working toward them, as he has also taught his children. Elder Cook has a close relationship with his wife and children. He made it a point in his life to spend time with them working in the yard, playing sports or doing things together outdoors.

D. Todd Christofferson: Surprising to me, Elder Christofferson knows how to make homemade bread. He learned it as a gift to his mother (who loves homemade bread) while she was undergoing cancer treatments. This is all speculation, but I imagine he had to be the most amazing son! He is also a loving and thoughtful father. He has a great sense of humor, as does his wife.

Neil L. Andersen: Elder Andersen grew up with a strong work ethic. He grew up on a farm and raised rabbits, rode horses, milked cows and played in the fields with his siblings. In high school he worked hard at sports and lettered in cross-country running. He continued playing sports, specifically basketball, with his children. As the others, Elder Andersen is no exception in his love and devotion of his family. His children still call him "daddy" and fondly remember their individual monthly breakfast dates growing up where they would get to talk to their father and have his undivided attention. He also still opens doors for his wife, which I find endearing and romantic. Elder Andersen has also made a diligent study in learning other languages. Besides English, he speaks French, Portuguese and Spanish.

I might recommend that you read the bios with your boys. I feel as though like I learned a lot about these men I already felt I knew so well. There are things to learn, things to remember and more than a few stories to touch and inspire.

-Marguerite St. Just (with MUCH thanks to Yayfulness for helping me find the articles and Mama Sleuth for, well, a lot of the behind-the-scenes work)

*These articles are usually written after the apostles' most-recent calling, so some of them are a little less updated than others.