Category Archives: 2007

Food inflation

Why have the prices of food gone up so much in the last year/since last semester? [3388A]

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I don’t know if this is a lame question, as the next person says, but it may be inappropriate for this book if you were hoping to get your paper done on time. There are issues with the demand for ethanol driving up the price of feed corn. There may be more weather events this year: droughts (e.g., NC) or floods (e.g., Texas, Minnesota). The folks at the Reference desk can suggest databases that index articles in this area (business, economics, agriculture, public policy).

Numbered trees

Why are all the trees on campus numbered? [3356C]

Duke serves as a tree prison, and prisoners are given numbers.  Also, it’s part of an inventory to help monitor the health of and schedule maintenance on the trees.  The round metal tags identify a sample (certainly not all) trees in different stages in their life cycle, of different species, etc., and if problems are noted then the grounds people can tackle the problem on other trees with similar characteristics.

Has all the answers

Dear AP, How do you know the answers to EVERYTHING?  And also, why does [Duke prof.]  hate me? [3356B]

When I myself went to college, I simply majored in “everything.”   I doubt if Prof. [x] hates you.  Why don’t you try impressing him with a spectacularly researched paper and erudite answers on exams?


Dear Answer Person, I suggest you become friends with [Duke student] currently an undergraduate senior here at Duke.  She’s the coolest student I’ve met at Duke, but she hasn’t had a boyfriend in her near-four years here.  How is that? [3356A]

Maybe she’s just too smart to mess up her life, or maybe the sort of guys she’s attracted to (and who are attracted to her) aren’t assertive enough.

Study carrels

Why are there so few closed carrels?  Why are there so many that seem free, but I’m so far down the wait list it looks like I won’t even get one before I get my degree?  At the end of the semester will I suddenly get bumped up a few notches? [3355C]

Our Circulation Dept. manages the carrel reservations, so you should check with them regarding your placement on the waiting list. Yes, you should move up as others move on in life.  If there are carrels that seem free, it must be that whoever has them keeps them empty.  During renovations, there will be a lower number of grad student and faculty closed study carrels since some of that space is needed for library staff left without offices.  This should be remedied within a couple of years.

Filipino names

Why do Phillipino [crossed out and corrected to Filipino by someone else] people have last names that sound Hispanic, like Hernandez, for example?
[in the same pen as the spelling correction:] A: B/c the Phillipines was once a Spanish colony and their people “got busy.” [3355B]

As the purple-pen person suggests, they were for a long time a Spanish colony. The Spanish introduced (compelled?) the Spanish naming system on the native populace (perhaps this went hand-in-hand with their conversion to Catholicism), but the language itself never seemed to get a foothold.


What is a girasse? [3354B]

Girasse is a conjugation of a verb in a Romance language.  In Portuguese, for instance, girar is roughly along the lines of “to turn around,” and the asse ending creates the first person subjunctive imperfect form, such as “I would have turned,” “I would have been turning,” ‘If I had turned,” “if I were to have been turning,” or some such messiness.  The folks in the Dept. of Romance Languages can surely help you further.