Category Archives: Uncategorized

Three Berts went into a bar

Why do so many names have “bert” in them?  Think about it–there’s a lot, both male and female, although the female ones are usually versions of male names.  Albert, Bert, Cuthbert, Dilbert, Ethelbert, Filbert, Gilbert, Hubert…….

“Think about it?!”  Thanks a lot.  Combating my OCD, though, I’m going to answer this one quickly so it doesn’t ruin my weekend.  “bert,” from the German word for “bright,” is perhaps a part of so many American names because nearly 20% of Americans claim German descent.

Did the Titanic have chapel ?

did the titanic have chapel ?

You’d think so, wouldn’t you?  I found incredibly detailed floor plans for the Titanic at The Discovery Channel’s web site and went through floor by floor looking for the chapel and couldn’t find one.  Here’s how detailed the plans are: they show separate compartments for east bound beef and west bound beef (!), as well as a Potato Wash Place and Dough Trough (the latter two on F Deck).  I seem to recall a scene from the movie in which there’s a church service, but perhaps one of the lounges was converted for the occasion.

follow the money

How much money is given to the NRA each year by the gun industry? By gun industry I mean the companies that produce and sell guns.

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: A lot. AP diligently tried to learn this information, but these companies chased me away with their own products. I’ve only now recovered, over 2 months after you submitted this message.

Searching for words like “donation” and “lobby” in the annual 10-K reports of the Olin Corp. (Winchester) and of Smith & Wesson didn’t didn’t find anything, so these expenses are probably buried as advertising expenses. I think this will require a large, and perhaps undercover, research project in which you’ll need to infiltrate the NRA as well as the executive suites of the various manufacturers.

Fizzy water

When using a soda siphon to make carbonated water, one suggestion (in the instructions of the siphon) to increase the fizziness is that you use very cold water. This does not make sense to me since solubility generally increases with decreased temperature. Shouldn’t hotter water be fizzier since more CO2 can dissolve?

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: You want as much carbon dioxide to be dissolved in the water as possible, so you’d want it cold to get it as loaded with CO2 as possible. As the liquid warms up, there’d be that much more gas to percolate out into the atmosphere. If it started out hot, it wouldn’t have had the CO2 dissolved in it in the first place.


I noticed the ugly “Tattoo” statue on the Plaza is gone. When was it removed, and where did it go?

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: Dealt with in comment 3414A of the paper Suggestion Book: “An Article in the Oct. 26, 2006 Chronicle said that the 2003 work ‘Tatoo’ was designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa and was on loan from the Crown family of Chicago. ‘Paula Crown, Trinity ’80 and member of the Board of Trustees, is an advisor to the Nasher Museum of Art.’ The story further states that the statue ‘is expected to be on display through May 2007.'” It appears to have gone back to the owners, as there’s no evidence it’s on loan anywhere else at the moment.


Could you make cheese out of human breast milk? How about ice cream?

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: Uh … it certainly could be done from a technical standpoint (high cream content, etc.), but I think that you’d be depriving a baby of his or her nourishment. So, it certainly wouldn’t be very nice. I hate to think of who’d be in the market for it, and I wouldn’t ever want to meet them.

Birthday date

I cannot remember my friend’s birthday. He sits next to me in class. Do you know when it is?

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: I recommend giving him a card that says “Happy Belated Birthday.” Maybe somehow it will come out in the ensuing conversation. Either that, or steal his wallet and peek at his driver license.

Children's Book

Can you recommend any good children’s book(s) about friendship and love?

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: You might do best to go to a public library, where, unlike here, they specialize in reader’s advisory services and would have in their collections, unlike here, lots of children’s literature.

Databases that we subscribe to that might help you identify something are NoveList (a reader’s advisory tool searchable by reading level), Litfinder (there’s a link to “children’s literature”), and Primary Search (which indexes children’s magazines).

Cooking at Perkins

Why is it that the thermostat levels at our “new and improved” Perkins library seem to be permanently stuck at “boiling hot” regardless of the season of the year or the temperature prevailing outside? Each time I step into Perkins, I feel I am taking my life into my own hands for fear I will either melt or spontaneously combust. Can anything be done about this? Is there anyone whom I can contact to suggest that perhaps it would be a good idea to turn down the heat just wee little bit, so as to make the library a more conducive place to study? Or should I just resign myself to the whim of the library gods and make the best of a bad situation by basting myself with butter and bread-crumbs prior to visiting Perkins and turning myself into the world’s biggest Shake-and-Bake entree?

ANSWER PERSON RESPONDS: You’ve got me hungry. It’s probably best to live with the temperature situation, since during the ongoing renovations the HVAC systems will be unbalanced. Although I notice some warm days (and some cold days) in the building, I haven’t really noticed the extremes that you mention except occasionally. Temperature differentials will be exacerbated if you’re in a closed room (e.g., group study room or study carrel).

It’s possible that the worst days were before the chilled water from central facilities was turned back on, but when it was hot outside. There can be problems when it’s hot out in the cooler months and the chilled water isn’t flowing, or when it’s cool in the warmer months and the hot water isn’t flowing (this might make it really cold inside).