everybody loves katya...
Question #91780 posted on 06/03/2019 11:12 a.m.

Dear astrophysicists of the 100 Hour Board,

Imagine I'm standing on the moon and you're standing on Earth. We're both looking up into the sky. Wave - I can see you!

Okay, now imagine that above my head is a mass hanging from a chain. The chain, which is about 238,900 miles long, stretches from me (on the moon) to you (on the Earth); on the other end, there is a second mass dangling above you. In other words, the thing that's suspending the mass above my head is the force of the Earth's gravity acting on the mass at your end of the chain. And vice versa.

Is this possible? That is, could you, in theory, have a chain that spans the distance from the Earth to the moon and has a mass on each end, the two masses balancing each other out without touching the ground and the chain held in tension by the gravity of the earth pulling on one mass and the gravity of the moon pulling on the other?

How big would each mass have to be? How high off the ground could they get before gravity was insufficient to pull the chain taut? How easy would it be to disrupt such a system? (If it helps, you can assume a weightless chain, although I would definitely be interested in an answer that accounts for how mind-bogglingly heavy a 238,900-mile chain would be. And how much force it would have to be able to withstand.)

-Not a physics major

P.S. I actually drew you a lovely ASCII-art diagram of the scenario I'm describing, as I feel like it's hard to visualize. But it turns out the Board can't render it properly. Alas.



Your question is awesome. I took the time to attempt a solution that includes a chain with mass. There's some math, so buckle up. First of all, here's the setup the way I think you have described it (there's a tl;dr at the bottom if you don't want to see this):

Original Setup.png

I've simplified your question and made the object between the Earth and the Moon a single "dumbbell" made of two masses (M1 and M2) and a solid bar of length L. Both masses are 10 km above the surface of the planet. I've arbitrarily chosen steel as the material that we're making this out of, because why not? Since it's a single piece, gravity will act on its center of mass as if it were a point mass (i.e. as if it had no shape and all its mass is in one place). The trick is to put the dumbbell between the Earth and the Moon so that its center of gravity is in a very special place: the Lagrangian point, which is the place where the combined gravitational effects of the Moon and the Earth combine together to exactly equal the centripetal force required to keep stuff in orbit. In other words, it's a place where you can set something and it'll stay there. It's right here:

Setup w CoM.png

First, let's calculate the Lagrangian, which I will call x. As I said, both terrestrial and lunar gravity have to combine to make the orbiting object go in a circle. In math-speak, that looks like this:

Calculating LaGrange (correctly).png

That's complex, so I threw it into WolframAlpha and solved it for x (inputing a term for velocity blah blah blah physics physics). The Lagrangian is about 90% of the way to the moon. So now that we know x, we need to pick masses that puts the center of mass of the dumbbell at the Lagrangian point so that it will stay there without falling toward either body. That equation looks like this:

Calculating CoM.png

Here we need to make some choices. I constrained the system by choosing M1 and the material for the cable (MC) so that those masses are known. Then WolframAlpha solved for M2 for me. I picked 1,000,000 kg for M1 and a steel cable. M2 came out as an absolutely massive number: 2.8E16 (28 quadrillion) kilograms. This huge mass is necessary to drag the center of mass almost all the way over to the moon against the placement of the first mass and the cable.

I was going to leave it at that, but this actually presents several problems. I'm going to leave out the math for the rest of this but trust me, it was impressive.

  • The fact that the dumbbell is also orbiting Earth so as to stay aligned between the Earth and the Moon makes it so that there's tons of tension on the Moon-side of the dumbbell. So much that it would tear the steel bar apart. I fiddled with the width of the cable until it was strong enough to withstand the forces and ended up with a 70- or 80-m thick cable. That's a lot, but that's what it takes.
  • That much steel weighs a bunch. The mass of the cable is now on the same order of magnitude as M2. I did a quick check and found that there is actually enough iron on the planet to make that much steel. We'd need something like one one-millionth of all the iron in the world, but it's there.
  • If the masses were spheres of steel, M1 would have a 3-m diameter. Ok, that's fine. But M2 gets up to almost 10,000 m in diameter. Not sure how we'd get it up there or get it moving fast enough to stay in orbit.
  • If you read El-ahrairah's response and click the link, you'll find a more thorough explanation of the fact that you wouldn't be able to just stand under the thing and look up at it. Because the Earth's surface is moving relative to the dumbbell, you'd fly past the dumbbell at a pretty good rate of speed (~1000 mph).
In other words, this is totally impossible and could never be done. But if we could just will a dumbbell in place, it would probably look like what I described above (more or less, the details here are likely wrong since I'm sure I overlooked something and didn't get a second opinion, but I'm pretty sure the general idea is going in the right direction. Anyone who sees mistakes or things I overlooked should definitely submit a comment.)
tl;dr: With a 1,000,000-kg mass suspended 10 km above the Earth, you'd need a 28-quadrillion-kg mass on the Moon side connected by an 80-m thick cable to keep it from ripping itself apart. And then you'd still have tons of problems.
Cool question.
-The Man with a Mustache
Question #91757 posted on 01/15/2019 9:46 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Today I was driving by a church building (belonging to another Christian denomination) with a "for sale" sign. It made me wonder what would happen if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ever needed to sell one of its church buildings. Does this ever happen, and if so, how do they go about selling it? I can't imagine seeing a "for sale" sign in front, so maybe they'd find a private buyer of sorts; would they just sell the land and take down the building? Or sell the whole thing as is? Thoughts?



Dear you,

Funny that you ask, but I have actually helped the Church sell buildings and land. They sell property all the time and all across the world and so your scenario actually happens quite frequently.

The Church usually has a long-standing contract with a commercial real estate brokerage in the United States who handles their transactions. When the Church sells property it is called a disposition project. They ask for an opinion of value by a licensed real estate agent or the equivalent and they match it with their internal valuation to make sure they don't list it for a price that they are not willing to sell it for. Here's a picture of a Church building in Preston, Montana that sold a few years ago (I got this picture from the commercial real estate assisting the Church at the time):

13.5.16 - 554-4823 MN Preston - Picture of sign_1.jpg

If the valuation is high enough, they will agree to sell it. This approval can take weeks or months. The real estate agent(s) involved are actually encouraged to put a sign on the property so that people who pass by the building or land will know that it is for sale. Typically the property is also listed on multiple websites for sale to attract as many potential buyers as possible. The standard process is to list the property for 30 days before responding to any offers as to give each buyer an equal chance of submitting an offer and doing some preliminary research in order to submit a reasonable offer.

Another tidbit of information that you may not be aware of is that when the Church decides to sell a meetinghouse they decommission the building. Essentially decommissioning a building involves removing the steeple, removing Church signage from the building and property, and filling the baptismal font. 

Upon receiving offers, the Church has an internal review process that can take weeks or even months to respond to buyers. It can be frustrating to buy property from the Church because the process can take quite a long time. 

One question you might or might not ask is: "Why would the Church contract with a commercial real estate brokerage in the United States even when they are selling property in Europe, Africa, or other continents and countries? Great question! Well, the Church prefers to have one point of contact for all of their transactions instead of having hundreds or thousands of points of contacts across the world. It helps the Church keep track of all their disposition, acquisition, and leasing projects straight, and it helps keeps transactions from being held over longer than normal.

Anyways, this is probably more information than you anticipated, but it's currently my job and I am loving it! Do you have any other questions regarding Church real estate or real estate in general? I'm happy to answer more questions like this!

-Sunday Night Banter

posted on 01/18/2019 9:31 p.m.
Provo has several examples of former COJCOLDS meeting houses.

The apartments at 396 100 W and the school at 105 N 500 W are examples.
posted on 01/19/2019 11:25 p.m.
You can also search the archives for another example:

Question #91747 posted on 10/18/2018 9:36 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Does water have enough surface tension that an ant (maybe your average small, black kitchen ant) could walk across it? Conversely, how much surface tension would a liquid have to have for a human to walk across it? Is such a liquid possible?

-the mad hatter


mad hatter,

Beautiful question. Just beautiful. 

Short answers:

  • no
  • 587170 mN/m
  • depends on your definition of "possible", "liquid", and how exclusively it needs to be caused by surface tension.


I'm not a physicist or an entomologist. If a professional were to proof this, they would likely find many errors. But I probably know more about it than you do because now I've been reading about it for like six hours. 

The potential in your first question r e a l l y depends on the ant, and I wouldn't call it "walking." Ants have a lot of different sizes and a lot of different instincts. Black kitchen ants in the western US are much smaller than the mammoths back home in Maryland.  But there aren't any species I know of that can really "walk" on water. Even bugs who are designed to travel on the surface aren't so much picking up their legs and walking, as they are pushing through the surface layer.

Maintaining surface tension is not strictly about mass. It's about weight distribution and the pressure placed on individual bonds between water molecules. Think of a needle laying on top of fabric vs the needle being stabbed through the fabric. Singular ants are often small enough not to break the surface tension of water. Their exoskeletons are hydrophobic which helps a lot. But after a few minutes the ant will sink. Their tiny legs break the surface tension because of the pressure applied at the point of the leg without being distributed. Water skeeters (or the Gerridae family) on the other hand, distribute that pressure with tiny hairs all along their legs that allow them to push through the surface layer of the water without breaking it. 

Red ants (Solenopsis invicta) have a rafting instinct to save the colony in the event of flooding. They lock their mandibles together, forming tight pockets of air between them. The air bubbles help distribute the weight to prevent the specified pressure on the water bonds. The colony can float for weeks while they wait for floodwaters to subside. So, yeah they can sit atop the surface layer but that's about it. Too much motion or release of the air pockets could penetrate the surface tension and, depending on the density of the ant, it would sink or at least get waterlogged. 

Technically, maintaining surface tension is a different phenomenon than floatation.  Floatation is a relationship between density, buoyancy, and maybe viscosity. You can get wet with water and still float. But if you get wet you've broken the surface tension. 

Basically, water skeeting(riding the surface tension) requires a certain relationship between the weight, the perimeter(or area) of the contact point, and the angle of the contact point. Human feet have many angles and contact points so it would require a liquid with enough surface tension (exerted force when stretched) to constantly out compete your weight/foot area/contact angles relationships. 

Surface tension is the force F per unit length L exerted by a stretched liquid membrane. Think of stretching a rubberband and how much force is waiting to be released. It's like that, only recognizing that such force is already being applied on your finger, and can be measured in terms of F over L. So how much force is being exerted by water when it gets stretched? Usually about 73 millinewtons (mN) per meter (m). 

Mercury has the highest surface tension relationships of any known element usually at around 485 mN/m. Converting that to pound-force you get .11 lbs/m. So mercury can support .11 pounds for every meter of contact. So a 132 pound human (such as myself) would require 1200 meters (3937 feet) of contact to maintain surface tension on a pool of mercury. I would basically need to be flattened into a very thin sheet of mass. Without being flattened out like that I would sink and bob until I reached equilibrium. That would probably submerge me partially and then flip me to have the most surface area distribution a.k.a laying flat. 

The average adult foot is about 1 meter. For simplification we won't talk about contact points and angles of that foot, or those of a foot in motion. But since walking requires one foot at a time and it is a very convenient conversion factor, we're going to use it. You need a liquid that can support 132 pounds over only 1 meter. The force of that liquid would have to be 132 pounds. Or, for the sake of comparison with mercury's 485 mN/m, it would have surface tension of 587170 mN/m. That is a very active amount of energy stored in the surface of a liquid. Like a swimming pool that is also a trampoline that also isn't defined by viscosity.

That brings me to non-Newtonian fluids. If you don't know what those are you should check out this video. Non-Newtonian fluids are about non-static viscosity. Not surface tension. These things can behave as both a liquid and a solid depending on the force applied to them. So they get the "walking on liquid" job done quite nicely. Whereas a liquid with high surface tension holds things up by applying force, non-Newtonian fluids hold things up by having force applied and becoming more solid. If you could have a liquid that was both non-Newtonian and had a high enough surface tension, the force would be applied to itself and it would act as a solid. Which actually turns out to be pretty boring because now it's just a solid. So I guess that's how we get trampolines. 

There you have it! Bonus analysis: If Jesus altered surface tension to walk on water he would have had to make up for pretty much his entire body weight in exerted force on a 1 meter foot. Scholars estimate that he was probably about 5'1 and weighed about 110 pounds. He was probably pretty muscular based on his profession, maybe with some atrophy at the time of the miracle. So he might have weighed a little more. So we're looking at maybe like a spiritual pound-force of 120?

Some other videos for your imagination:

Mercury + non-Newtonian fluid

Non-Newtonian fluid + hydraulic press



Question #91725 posted on 10/24/2018 11:46 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Runners always move to the inside when going around a curve because it's shorter.

How many miles would you save on a trip across the US (say on I-80 from SF to NYC but if you'd rather take I-10 from LA to Jacksonville, that's fine too) if you always moved to the inside of the curve of the road?

Related to that, how much gas would you save if you always drove the inside of the curve of the road?

-Yuki Kawauchi in a panda suit


 Dear Yukikawhat?

What a great question. Fun fact: the outside lane of a standard track is 453 meters, which is 53 meters longer than the inside lane. Calculating that distance is relatively simple, because you just measure the straightaways, and then use the formula arc length=radius*angle. You add those up and you end up with the difference if you're good at math and putting things into calculators. Figuring out how much of a difference it would make driving on the inside is trickier though because we don't know how many curves there are, and how much we save on each curve. How will we find out? We shall guesstimate! 

Guesstimate 1: How many curves are there? 

So, to estimate how many curves there are, I will count the number of curves on a 10 mile stretch of 1-10 (Jacksonville baby!) and then use that number to estimate the total number of curves. So, this is the stretch of road I chose:


Between Los Angeles and Ontario there were 26 turns over the 39.4 miles. The trip from Los Angeles to Jacksonville is 2,416 miles. So if we take 2,416 miles/ 39.4 miles * 26 turns we end up with an estimated 1594 turns on our trip.

Guesstimate 2: How much do we save on each curve? 

How much are we saving on each turn. Well, the majority of the spots on 1-10 I looked were 2 lanes and looked like this:


The average two lane road is 24 feet wide, but the cars will drive in the middle so the the distance between the center of both cars is more like 12 feet. The majority of turns, as you can see actually aren't very big turns. I would say that the majority of the curves you will find are only about 45 degrees, and most of them won't be more than 90 degrees. We'll guess that each curve is somewhere in the middle. We'll go with a generous 57.29 degrees because that gives us a 1 radian per curve and makes our math easier. So, now for our final guesstimate:

1594 turns * 1 radian/turn * 12 ft. radius differential per turn *(1/5280) miles/ft. = 3.622 miles

There you have it folks, it looks like cheating the inside corners will save you about 4 miles on your trip. This only works out to saving you about 0.15% of the distance. Now we could be off, but I honestly don't think we'd be off by much for three reasons:

  1. A standard 400 m track is going around curves half the time and the outside lane is only about 13% longer than the inside. So I would but the absolute maximum for any route at 13%, but that would be for driving around on winding roads.
  2. Have you ever driven accross Wyoming, Nebraska, or Arizona. Let me tell you, those roads are heckin' straight. The stretch of road I picked for our estimate went through cities, which means we probably overestimated.
  3. The downside with switching lanes, is that the inside curve often alternates, so you would have to switch lanes a lot, which would defeat the purpose a little.

So, in the end, how much does our 3.622 miles save us on gas?

3.622 miles / 20 mpg * $3/gallon = $0.54

That's right folks, 54 cents. The moral of the story here is that cutting corners doesn't pay, kids.



P.S.  Enjoy your well earned cash. Don't spend it all in one place though, eh?

Question #91714 posted on 11/07/2018 6:12 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Why doesn’t the Church run background checks on those who work with children?



Dear you,

This is related to the question you asked, but it's my thesis and I think it's important to set it out out front since my answer gives a lot of reasons I don't think background checks are the right answer. In my opinion, the Church already has policies in place to prevent the vast majority of child abuse, and efforts to further prevent abuse may well be more effective if they focused on increasing compliance with Church policies and making any necessary refinements to Church policy, rather than on background-checking members.*

I can't tell you why the Church doesn't background check, but I can offer a few reasons I'd be wary of doing background checks if I ran an organization that worked with children the way the Church does. Although even a problematic method of preventing abuse is worthwhile if it is the best method, I don't think background checks are necessarily the best method. Here are a few of the difficulties checks could prevent that may contribute to their potential inferiority versus other methods of abuse prevention. 

  1. Infrastructure/Logistics: The number of people who work with children (and I assume you'd include youth) in the Church is huge. It might not seem that hard to background check a few primary teachers, right? But let's consider the number of people you'd need for a primary in a decent-sized ward. A simple count: 3 presidency members, 2 music specialists (pianist, conductor), 2 nursery, and 2 each for CTR 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and Valiant 9, 10, and 11. Assuming you have no primary subs EVER, that's like 23 people right off the bat. Then we add in 2 scout leaders and 2 activity day leaders. Then we get to the youth program and add presidencies for YW and YM (at least 3 people each), scout leaders (at least 2) and camp leaders (at least 1). Then add an adviser for each of Priests, Teachers, Deacons, Laurels, Mia Maids, and Beehives. Now we're up to something like 42 people who need to be background checked and who can never be absent from Church. Additionally, lots of these callings will be rotated frequently. On top of that, you lose a ton of flexibility if you can only use background-checked people for substitutes in Sunday classes or additional help at an activity, or babysitting during a Relief Society activity, or whatever. Further, you're going to have to repeat these background checks every few years in order to maintain the quality of information. That becomes even more burdensome.
  2. Cost and availability of checks. In the US, I think it's relatively cheap to get background checks and there are checks that are at least decent in terms of quality. However, "relatively inexpensive" adds up when it's 40+ people (at least), and when you have to do them on a continual renewing basis. However, the cost you pay to the agency (is the Church going to contract with one particular agency? Another complication...) isn't the only cost: you also will lose a lot of time cost because you'll basically need a new background check specialist or an additional clerk in every ward to help people fill out paperwork, keep on top of renewals, etc. Additionally, we're a global Church. I don't know to what extent complete, affordable background checks are available in other nations. 
  3. Legal/Liability: I speculate but do not know that by starting a policy of background checks, the Church could open itself to legal liability (or perceived liability by people trying to sue) in certain situations: what if a ward wasn't careful enough in making sure people filled out the paperwork properly? What if a ward missed someone because they knew they'd had a check done in another ward in the Stake last year? What if a ward wasn't careful enough when it chose a background check service? What if a ward ignored something on a background check that was later claimed to be relevant?
  4. Loss of willing volunteers: There are a lot of people in the Church who I think would look askance at the Church doing a background check on them. We believe in repentance, after all - why does my bishop (or ward clerk, or "background check specialist" a calling we'd probably have to invent to handle this many checks) need to know that I [got arrested for pot as a teenager, spent time in prison for tax fraud before moving to this ward, got a DUI 10 years ago, whatever]. I can imagine a decent number of people taking the stance of "Look, I do service with the children/youth as a form of service. I'm not going to sacrifice my privacy when I'm already giving up my time and adult socialization to do something I might not even really want to do."
  5. Standard-setting Problems: What, exactly, should be the standard for something that's "bad enough to keep you from working with youth"? Any crime that required sex offender registration at any point (such as public indecency or urination)? What about domestic violence? What about domestic violence in the presence of a child, or toward a child? Sexual offenses towards adults, or only children? What about non-sexual or non-violent offenses like drug use? Is there a time limit on any of them? What about stuff that happened when you were a minor? This becomes a logistical issue that the Church has to establish guidance on (or else you risk significant local variation, again possibly opening up liability or at least criticism). What if the check turns up court records where someone was accused, but acquitted? What if they lost a civil trial with a lower standard of proof but weren't guilty on a criminal case? (In case that's unclear: imagine that someone punches someone else- the criminal standard to convict them of assault is "beyond reasonable doubt" but the victim can sue them for the cost of the steak they put on their eye and have the standard to recover the money only be "preponderance of the evidence" (more likely than not.)) This becomes yet another logistics nightmare where you need a hugely complicated set of guidelines and probably significant guidance from Salt Lake to ensure consistency, and that means that you probably end up erring on the side of restricting where you might not need to and suddenly there are a lotttt of people who can't hold callings that they would be totally fine doing.
  6. False Sense of Safety: Finally, if people know that the Church generally background checks those who work with youth, they may actually fail to take appropriate cautions in protecting their own children (even though this seems backwards, it's related to the Moral Hazard problem.) Background checks on the level an organization like the Church would be doing them aren't likely to find anywhere near every case of abuse: they're mostly only going to turn up the ones that resulted in convictions. This could leave out not only people whose victims never came forward, but even cases where the victim came forward but no conviction resulted. People who don't understand this might get lax about using the Church's other, important safeguards. "Oh, it's okay if you ride home alone with Brother Johnson, he's been background-checked." "Oh, Sister Smith has been a member her whole life, I'm sure it's fine if she takes the primary class by herself; we're waiting on her background check still but she must have had one in her last ward because she mentioned working in primary there." "Oh, we'll just have the campout with Brother Franklin, after all, several of the boys are almost 18, and that's close enough even though none of the other adults can come..." etc. etc.
So why not add background checks in spite of these difficulties? The Church already has safeguards in place that, when followed, will prevent the vast majority of abuse of children without these difficulties.
This publication, "Preventing and Responding to Abuse" explains Church guidelines that I'd encourage everyone to familiarize themselves with and to stand up for. To summarize the relevant ones, the Church:
  • requires records be in the ward before giving a child-facing calling
  • will give no child-facing calling if note for abuse on record
  • requires 2-deep leadership
  • requires a second adult "in an adjoining room, foyer, or hall" or in the office at interviewee's request when a child is being interviewed
  • restricts adult-child sleep arrangements on overnight activities
Not every ward perfectly follows these guidelines, and that should change. I would urge people who see their ward's youth programs violating these points to raise the issue with the bishop (or stake president, if necessary). If you're asked to sub for primary, tell them you'd be happy to but you know the guidelines say you have to have a partner teacher, does the president know someone who's available, or should you run over to Gospel Principles and grab your spouse/friend? Etc. 
It is still sadly likely that some few cases of abuse would occur even if compliance with these rules were perfect; it's hard to come up with a set of rules that is perfect in any possible situation. However, the relevant questions seem to me to be:
1) Would background checking adult leaders improve compliance with the Church's anti-abuse guidelines?
Maybe, if people with even a non-abusive record are generally less rule-abiding and more likely to fudge or outright disobey abuse prevention rules and so you just exclude them from these callings entirely. But that's a pretty excluding way to use a background check. So, if the background check doesn't really improve the existing anti-abuse framework, 
2) Would background checking adult leaders prevent abuse the Church's anti-abuse guidelines don't currently prevent?
It's clear to me that background checks could identify some people who shouldn't work with youth, and maybe that includes people who haven't been already flagged as such by the Church. If these people are identified, maybe they don't get the calling to work with the youth. Maybe this prevents some abuse because a potential predator doesn't get a calling and so there's never a situation where they're left alone with a kid because their ward doesn't follow two-deep situations, or whatever else permitted the abuse.

3) And, more importantly, will background checks prevent abuse to the best amount in the best way (i.e. efficiently)?

This is the crux.
However, this also gets sort of unpleasant, because even though the worth of every person is infinite, the amount of resources we can devote to preventing any specific harm to that person is not. The safest way to prevent abuse of children in Church would be to refuse children any entry to Church buildings and require parents to find childcare before attending Church alone. We're obviously not going to do that because children, on the whole, benefit from Church. What's tricky is finding the exact point at which the benefit to children of decreased chance of abuse is more significant than the harm to children (or the Church as a whole) resulting from increased burdens of whatever prevention methods we use.
Let's take an example of a relatively simple policy: two deep leadership. This policy assumes that, with another adult watching, a predator won't risk getting caught and therefore won't abuse a child. A quick google indicates that there is something on the order of 750,000 (747408, but let's round) sex offenders in the US. That's a broad categorization that includes people who aren't necessarily a danger to children. The US population is roughly 329,000,000. That means that sex offenders make up less than .23 percent of the population. Now, the odds that any two randomly selected individuals will BOTH be sex offenders is about .05% per these numbers. And that's if we started randomly pairing people together that nobody knows anything at all about. This isn't close to an accurate representation of how things would actually work in the Church, of course, for many reasons: there may be non-offenders willing to protect offenders, which would raise likelihood of abuse, but there are also plenty of people on the sex offender registry for something like public urination who would absolutely report or prevent abuse of a child. Furthermore, we don't pair random people we don't know together to make up primary/youth callings: we have bishops to make callings, primary presidents to supervise, etc. But the point of this exercise is that we can see that a simple step like 2-deep leadership makes it very unlikely but not impossible that an abuser will have an opportunity for abuse. What we have to decide is, since there's still that remaining tiny chance, what else are we willing to do to reduce it? How far down do we need to get the number before we're happy having primary, and still able to have it from a cost perspective? Maybe if we did everything we can think of (say, 6-deep leadership with mandated teacher-student ratios, only using professional teachers who pass an annual background check and who pay a large bond to the Church that they'll lose in case of abuse, using rules that say teachers can never touch children) we could prevent abuse almost entirely (but still not totally, because people break rules and find ways), but at that point we can't functionally run the program.
So, we have to decide on the acceptable level of risk and then once we've got that we want to use the most cost-effective methods to get our risk down to that level.
In my opinion, the bulleted points above that the Church counsels for abuse prevention are relatively low-cost while being very effective at reducing risk when actually implemented. By contrast, an additional background-check requirement seems to me to add a lot of "cost" that could decrease volunteer willingness (hurting programs), cost time (hurting programs), add complexity, and still only reduce risk a little bit, assuming the Church's already-extant policies are being followed. Now, the policies are not always followed, and I think that needs to change. However, my argument would be that the more efficient way to reduce abuse is to increase enforcement of the anti-abuse policies and make any changes we need to them, rather than to add a secondary background check system.
Your mileage may vary, of course. You may have different opinions (or maybe you've got evidence I'm uninformed of, my knowledge of background checks or child abuse statistics/profiling are very limited) regarding how effective background checks are or about flaws with the Church's policies or the difficulty of enforcing compliance therewith. However, I hope that my reasoning above at least shows how it's possible, in good conscience, to believe that resources are better devoted to preventing abuse through mechanisms other than a background check.
Child abuse is evil. We all have a responsibility to be our brother's keeper, and that includes those of our brothers and sisters who are children. I urge everyone reading this answer to review the anti-abuse policies linked to above and commit to comply with them and encourage others to do the same, while still remaining vigilant to any situations that need reporting or revising.
Thanks for reading,
~Anne, Certainly

*For an example of recent refinement, see the announcement of allowing a second adult in the Priesthood interview of a woman or minor. The Church's policies might not be perfect yet, and what needs to change (and how) will likely vary based on who you ask, but the Church has shown a willingness to continue to improve them as good ideas are presented.  

posted on 11/10/2018 11:47 a.m.
I live in Pennsylvania, where essentially every organization that works with children (including churches) are required to have background checks and fingerprinting performed on the adults that work with children. The background checks by the state are free for volunteers, however, the fingerprinting is around $25, which is reimbursed by the ward. Although I think it's good that this is done, it is definitely a major stumbling block to quickly getting people into callings with the Primary and Youth programs. Not because everyone is a sex offender - it just takes time and paperwork (and remembering to turn in said paperwork).
Question #91708 posted on 03/25/2019 11:36 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Can you make a Dante's Inferno style thing about the worst types of fellow student to have class with, and the appropriate punishments they should have to endure?



Dear Dante,


Yauvana wandered, lost, in the midst of a forest of homework assignments. Occasionally a paper would flutter down from some tall stack, contributing to the debris littering the ground. As she walked, she noticed a light on a hill in the distance. A hill meant escape from this dark homework forest. She hurriedly followed the light, eventually coming to the foot of the hill. Yet even as she was about to climb up, three prowling beasts leaped out, ready to consume her: a lion, leopard and she-wolf. Yauvana retreated to the gloom of the forest, feeling more directionless than ever. As she cast her gaze hopelessly around herself, a being materialized next to her. 

"Uh... who are you? I have this strange feeling that you're some famous ancient poet that I should somehow be able to recognize by sight. Like, say, Virgil."

"Nope! I'm just some random guy who went to the University of Utah instead of BYU. So, although I thought BYU was great and everything, I've been consigned to hell. I'm here because some angel sent me; they're a person you met exactly once on the frontrunner. Apparently despite not having talked with you, they're a big fan. Right then. Now that introductions are over, let's mosey on over to hell."


 "Why is everyone screaming?" Yauvana inquired. The random guy just shot her a look that said, "We're practically in hell now. Of course everyone is screaming." Soon, Yauvana saw precisely why these people in particular were screaming. The air was filled with sharp letters, which zoomed towards their hapless victims, giving paper cuts every time they made contact. Yauvana caught one of the letters; it was a catalog of different BYU majors. 

"Oooh, these must be the people who went through BYU and never decided on a major. They didn't ever do anything bad, but they never decided on something firm to do."

Pseudo-Virgil nodded to Yauvana. "Yep." 

"Wow," Yauvana responded. "This seems like an inordinately cruel punishment for people who never did anything wrong."

"You got it! But a recurring theme of hell is that it's suddenly okay to be super vicious and cruel to others. Especially if you're righteous, because what's more righteous than reveling in another person's pain? Anyways, let's keep on moving."

The two came up to a salt water river. Pseudo-Virgil explained to Yauvana that the river was made up of the tears of people who failed their finals at BYU. All the little vials Yauvana had noticed in the past at the testing center suddenly made sense.

It was then that Yauvana noticed a looming figure rowing a boat across the river approaching the banks. Before she could ask, Pseudo-Virgil said, "That's Charon, the ferryman into hell. After all, if a figure from Greek mythology can make it into a Christian tale, he can also weasel his way into a spoof of said Christian tale." Yauvana simply shrugged. She was already living in a pretty judgy allegory, what was the occasional Greek mythological person?

As soon as they were to the other side, Pseudo-Virgil sighed and glanced back towards Yauvana, "Welcome to my home: Limbo. This is the first circle of hell, and where all the people who did not attend BYU end up. So yeah, for some reason we have people like Mother Teresa and Hitler in the same place, suffering the same fate. There's allegorical broad justice for you. Also, seems like a major oversight that people's fate after death is dependent on the type of BYU student they were, but considering we're in some weird spin off of an allegory, I wouldn't worry about it too much."

Yauvana and Pseudo-Virgil quickly passed the masses of vaguely bemused people, wondering how they got pulled into a BYU version of Dante's Inferno. Once they were almost through, Yauvana commented, "I feel like once again I should magically be recognizing people here, and then describe it as a gathering of the world's greatest writers, all while not so surreptitiously including myself as one of the world's greatest writers." 

"Whelp, missed your chance on that one, Yauvana. We just passed the actual Virgil, Dante, Horace, Homer, Ovid, and Lucan."

A great life opportunity having been lost, Yauvana and Pseudo-Virgil continued on their way.


The second circle of hell was just... gross, Yauvana thought to herself. All its occupants were chained to their seats, with braces on their necks, preventing them from turning their faces away from the giant screen. Which meant they were trapped into watching every second of every clip of disgusting PDA playing on that screen. All of the people had pained expressions on their faces, while some were mumbling, "We were never that bad, were we? Like, our little games of footsie across other people's feet couldn't have been as terrible as that last clip... ".

"Yeah, buddy, you definitely deserve this," Pseudo-Virgil remarked. Yauvana couldn't help but agree. Not having realized just how terrible it was for literally everyone else to see them doing PDA in life, at least these people would finally understand the extent of their crimes in death.

Yauvana looked off into the distance--anywhere besides that giant screen. "Hey, Pseudo-Virgil, is that King Minos? Why does he have a tail? And how am I even recognizing this person who didn't ever exist in real life?"

"First, it's better if you just don't question all the Greek mythology that somehow found its way in here. Second, he has a tail to decree which circle of hell each person will go to. Here in hell we place a lot of trust in the judgement of fictional characters who only communicate via postmortem appendage."

Noting Pseudo-Virgil had evaded her last question, Yauvana decided to simply accept it as an otherwordly storytelling device.


Red ink was falling from the sky, spattering on the drifts of paper below. It took Yauvana several moments to notice the people's heads poking up above all the paper. It was another moment before she realized the paper was covered in writing--they were homework assignments. 

"Wait, are these all the people who always reminded the professor of little extra assignments and quizzes?" Yauvana asked.

"You got it, " Pseudo-Virgil replied. "They were gluttons for punishment in school, and so now they get that punishment in full."

After wading through the homework piles, the pair was soon in the fourth circle of hell. Here were all the people who had loudly proclaimed all the cool stuff they had that their parents had bought for them. They hadn't really cared about their education; their parents took care of their tuition so they never worried about having to maintain scholarships. Their punishment was to repeatedly ram each other with their super nice cars, purchased by their parents. 

The fifth circle held the writers of countless angry emails to professors and TA's, explaining that they really shouldn't have to do all this dumb work, and why did they have such a terrible grade? Clearly it was completely the professor's/TA's fault.

"What are they choking on?" 

Pseudo-Virgil looked back at Yauvana, "Their own angry emails. If you look a little to your left, you can see the super angry ones wrestling with each other." He paused for a moment. "So... is there anyone here that you recognize? Like some old enemy that you'll derive a sick amount of enjoyment out of watching them getting torn to pieces? No? Hmmm... guess we'll just be on our miserable way in that case." He proceeded to lead Yauvana to the gates of a large city. She thought she glimpsed demons guarding the gate.


 Pseudo-Virgil looked up at the gates. "Hey, would you guys mind letting us through? We have heavenly approval and everything."

The demons peered down at him and Yauvana. The biggest one held up a magnifying glass to her eye. "Did you really think you'd get through our gates with that shadow of a beard on your face?"

Pseudo-Virgil sighed. "Seriously? I just shaved this morning! It's not my fault my facial hair grows so fast."

"No persons beyond this gate with any facial hair."

Grumbling angrily to himself, Pseudo-Virgil found a nearby rock to mope on. Yauvana just nervously shifted her weight from foot to foot. Just as she was about to ask Pseudo-Virgil what they were going to do next, a glowing white figure materialized at the top of the gate. He exchanged some very pointed words with the demon while brandishing his very pointed sword. 

Looking extremely disgruntled, the demon waved Pseudo-Virgil and Yauvana through the gate.

They had just arrived to the next level of hell.


"And here be all the mansplainers," Psuedo-Virgil announced. He had to shout to be heard over the constant blaring horns. Even then, Yauvana had a hard time making out what he was saying. Evidently the punishment here was to be forced to listen to loud annoying noises for all eternity.

Thankfully, the pair soon traveled beyond the horns. And arrived at a very pathetic football game. No matter which team anyone cheered for, they always lost. Sometimes both teams managed to lose. Such was the just desserts of violent football fans.

After passing the dejected fans, Yauvana and Pseudo-Virgil found themselves at the eighth circle. All the people here were just milling around... with their mouths duct-taped shut, and hands tied together.

"Alright, what did these people do?" Yauvana asked.

"They're the ones who pretended they were looking for a committed relationship, but were really just looking for a NCMO. Let's hurry now, Yauvana. We're almost to the final circle... Which we're going to get to by jumping through this giant well!"

"Wait, what!?"

"Don't worry about it--this is hell, what's the worst that could happen?" Pseudo-Virgil exclaimed, and then paused, "Yeah, on second thought, don't answer that. Just implicitly trust me like you've been doing this entire trip."


All Yauvana could hear was a strange kind of slimy slithering. "What is making that noise?"

Pseudo-Virgil glanced around nervously. "You know how I told you not to worry earlier? Perhaps start worrying; punishment here is meted out via tunnel worms."

"What could anyone have done to deserve such a fate?"

Pseudo-Virgil spat on the ground in disgust before answering, "These people gained other people's confidences and then used those secrets against them. Some of them tried to get people thrown out of BYU for breaking the honor code based on some trumped up charge based only on a kernel of truth. Others live tweeted personal secrets people told them. I think you get the picture."

Yauvana nodded wordlessly.

"Uh, Pseudo-Virgil, where are we going now?"

"Sshh, we're almost there." It was then that Yauvana saw it--the biggest tunnel worm she had ever seen, or imagined.

"I thought we were going to avoid the tunnel worms!" she hissed at Pseudo-Virgil. He simply held up a hand to indicate for her to be quiet in response. Then he gestured forward. They were going to get out of hell by climbing down this tunnel worm's body.


It was now several slimy hours later, but Yauvana finally stood blinking in the fresh morning's light. She had done it. She had traveled all the way through hell. She turned around to say goodbye, to say thank you to her guide, but Pseudo-Virgil was already gone.


Question #91651 posted on 09/25/2018 10 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board (especially Sunday Night Banter),

What is the difference between FHA, USDA, and traditional loans when buying a house? I kind of understand the positives of the USDA and FHA loans, but nothing I've seen has listed any kind of negative aspects to them, is there any reason that a qualifying person wouldn't want to use one of these programs?

-My Name Here


Dear MNH,

This is a fantastic question! In order to give you a side-by-side comparison I created the following chart:

Different Loan Types
FHA VA Conventional USDA
+ Lower credit scores are accepted + No strict limits for credit eligibility or debt-to-income ratio + Usually offers best interest rate + No down payment required
+ Requires a smaller down payment compared to conventional loans - Have to be cleared by the VA + Usually no Private Mortgage Insurance - Limited to certain geographical areas
- Usually requires you to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) - Can usually get better rate with conventional loan - Requires higher down payment - Borrower can't have income 115% above median income for area
- Usually requires you to pay higher closing costs - Usually requires a VA funding fee     - Home has to meet USDA standards
- Home needs to meet FHA standard of living         - Usually requires Private Mortgage Insurance

To be honest, each person will need to choose a loan type based off of their individual situation. I would recommend discussing your options with an Equal Housing lender because they will be able to give you specific direction based off your financial circumstance.

If you need a recommendation for a lender to talk to, I'd be happy to offer some options. Just shoot me an email and we'll talk.

-Sunday Night Banter

Question #91590 posted on 08/24/2018 2:30 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm hoping to get a list of which hymns in the LDS hymn book were written by women. Just going through the authors, there's a fair amount of names that I'm not sure if they're men or women...

Can you find such a list for me? Or would someone be willing to create one?

-New Roo


Dear Kanga,

I looked through the hymnbook and compiled a list of all the hymns written by women (for the purposes of this question I only looked at the author of the lyrics, not the composer, although if you also want to know about women composers in the LDS hymnbook, feel free to ask another question). When the names were ambiguous I researched the person to find out whether they were a man or a woman. There were ultimately two people who wrote some of the hymns whose gender I couldn't determine, but I noted that next to their names.

So, here you go, a comprehensive list of LDS hymns written by women (even though this whole list will be outdated as soon as they release the new hymnbooks).

  • 14Mary Ann Morton DurhamSweet is the Peace the Gospel Brings
  • 17Eliza R. SnowAwake, Ye Saints of God, Awake!
  • 22Marylou Cunningham LeavittWe Listen to a Prophet's Voice
  • 33Emmeline B. WellsOur Mountain Home So Dear
  • 35Felicia D. HemansFor the Strength of the Hills (note: the version in the hymnal was adapted by Edward Sloan)
  • 36Ida R. AlldredgeThey the Builders of the Nation
  • 60Julia Ward HoweBattle Hymn of the Republic
  • 63Carrie (Caroline) Stockdale ThomasGreat King of Heaven
  • 71Penelope Moody AllenWith Songs of Praise
  • 72written by Joachim Neander, but translated by Catherine WinkworthPraise to the Lord, the Almighty (note: I'm including it in this list because translating a song to maintain its musicality is sort of like co-authoring it)
  • 75Ada BlenkhornIn Hymns of Praise
  • 77Eliza R. SnowGreat is the Lord
  • 95written by Martin Rinkhart, but translated by Catherine WinkworthNow Thank We All Our God
  • 98Annie S. HawkesI Need Thee Every Hour
  • 100Sarah F. AdamsNearer, My God to Thee
  • 105Mary Ann BakerMaster, the Tempest is Raging
  • 122Eliza R. SnowThrough Deepening Trials
  • 124Katharina von SchlegelBe Still, My Soul (note: this one was translated to English by Jane Borthwick)
  • 128Naomi W. RandallWhen Faith Endures
  • 129Emma Lou ThayneWhere Can I Turn for Peace?
  • 130Grietje Terburg RowleyBe Thou Humble
  • 140Mary A. Pepper KidderDid You Think to Pray?
  • 143Penelope Moody AllenLet the Holy Spirit Guide
  • 154Nan Greene HunterFather, This Hour Has Been One of Joy
  • 155Mabel Jones GabbottWe Have Partaken of Thy Love
  • 164Anne StelleGreat God, to Thee My Evening Song
  • 170Annie Pinnock MalinGod, Our Father, Hear Us Pray
  • 171Zara SabinWith Humble Heart
  • 172Mabel Jones GabbottIn Humility, Our Savior
  • 184Vilate RaileUpon the Cross of Calvary
  • 186Eliza R. SnowAgain We Meet around the Board
  • 191Eliza R. SnowBehold the Great Redeemer Die
  • 195Eliza R. SnowHow Great the Wisdom and the Love
  • 197Karen Lynn DavidsonO Savior, Thou Who Wearest a Crown
  • 219Grace Noll CrowellBecause I Have Been Given Much
  • 220Susan Evans McCloudLord, I Would Follow Thee
  • 221Mary B. WingateDear to the Heart of the Shepherd
  • 224Josephine PollardI Have Work Enough to Do
  • 227Eliza E. HewittThere Is Sunshine in My Soul Today
  • 228Helen Silcott DunganYou Can Make the Pathway Bright
  • 229L. ClarkToday, While the Sun Shines (note: UNSURE. L. Clark doesn't have a first name anywhere that I could find, and the hymnal doesn't even have birth and death dates for them, just an approximate date of copyright for this song. With so little information I couldn't find out more about them. Based on the trends of other author's names in the hymnbook, it seems like mostly men went by simply their first initial and then a last name, but I really have no idea.)
  • 230—Lanta Wilson Smith—Scatter Sunshine
  • 231Ellis Reynolds ShippFather, Cheer Our Souls Tonight
  • 236Mabel Jones GabbottLord, Accept into Thy Kingdom
  • 249Grace GordonCalled to Serve
  • 251Fanny J. CrosbyBehold! A Royal Army
  • 253Jean L. KaberryLike Ten Thousand Legions Marching (note: UNSURE. Jean Kaberry authored various hymns, and shows up easily enough in a Google search, but literally nothing I could find says anything their gender or personal life. My guess is they were probably a woman, based on the fact that their last name stems from Scotland, and "Jean" in Scotland is a woman's name, although I suppose it's possible that they were actually a French man with a strange last name.)
  • 255Ruth May FoxCarry On
  • 256Susan Evans McCloudAs Zion's Youth in Latter Days
  • 260Hannah Last CornabyWho's on the Lord's Side?
  • 261Marilyn McMeen BrownThy Servants are Prepared
  • 263Ruth M. GardnerGo Forth with Faith
  • 266Eliza R. SnowThe Time Is Far Spent
  • 270Mary BrownI'll Go Where You Want Me to Go
  • 273Eliza R. SnowTruth Reflects upon Our Senses
  • 277C. Marianne Johnson FisherAs I Search the Holy Scriptures
  • 287—Jean L. Kaberry—Rise, Ye Saints, and Temples Enter (note: UNSURE, although my hunch is they were a woman. See the note for hymn number 253.)
  • 290Mabel Jones GabbottRejoice, Ye Saints of Latter Days
  • 292Eliza R. SnowO My Father
  • 293Karen Lynn DavidsonEach Life That Touches Ours for Good
  • 298Carolyn Hamilton KlopferHome Can Be a Heaven on Earth
  • 299Carolina Sandell BergChildren of Our Heavenly Father
  • 300Ruth M. GardnerFamilies Can Be Together Forever
  • 301Naomi W. RandallI Am a Child of God
  • 303Barbara A. McConochieKeep the Commandments
  • 304Clara W. McMasterTeach Me to Walk in the Light
  • 305Matilda Watts CahoonThe Light Divine
  • 306Marie C. TurkGod's Daily Care
  • 307Eliza R. SnowIn Our Lovely Deseret
  • 308Luacine Clark FoxLove One Another
  • 309Emily H. WoodmanseeAs Sisters in Zion
  • 310Jan Underwood PinboroughA Key Was Turned in Latter Days
  • 321Mary Judd PageYe Who Are Called to Labor
  • 325—Jean L. Kaberry—See the Mighty Priesthood Gathered (note: UNSURE. See the note for hymn number 253)
  • 329Marilyn McMeen BrownThy Servants Are Prepared
  • 334Annie S. HawkesI Need Thee Every Hour (men's choir arrangement)
  • 338Katharine Lee BatesAmerica the Beautiful

There you have it! A comprehensive list of all the hymns in the LDS hymnbook written by women! This was actually really cool to look at, and I loved seeing that some of my all time favorite hymns were written by women. Thanks for asking.


posted on 08/24/2018 8:19 p.m.
Don’t forget Cecil Frances Alexander. She was a woman with a male name. She wrote:

There Is A Green Hill Far Away #194
He Is Risen #199
Once In Royal David’s City #205
posted on 08/25/2018 11:15 p.m.
Jean L. Kaberry is a female. (I used public records databases on <i>Ancestry</i> to confirm her gender.)
Question #91517 posted on 08/30/2018 7:48 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is West Virginia really almost Heaven?

-Jack Denver


Dear Jackie Paper,

As we have all been taught, if we want to learn truths about Heaven, there is one source we can turn to with a surety:

The Scientific Method!

First, if we are to determine if West Virginia is like Heaven, we must ask ourselves: what is Heaven like? I think the following Far Side cartoon is instructive:



From the cartoon, I posit that we can learn three important truths about Heaven:

1) There are lots of angels,

2) It is very cloudy, and

3) Everyone plays the harp.

We will now evaluate West Virginia according to these three criteria in order to determine if it is "almost Heaven."

Criteria #1: Are there lots of angels in West Virginia?

If we are to determine if there are lots of angels in West Virginia, we first must qualify what exactly an angel is. Is it any good person that got to Heaven? Is it a human-like being with wings that assists the good people in Heaven, not unlike Michael in The Good Place? Is it a mythological creature with multiple heads and only a passing resemblance to your girlfriend

For our cases, I'll assume the middle option: angels are human-like, winged beings that live in Heaven and whose purpose is to help the good souls in Heaven with all of their heavenly needs (such as frozen yogurt). 

"Well, that's all fine and dandy, Frère," you may say, "but how do we tell if any such souls inhabit West Virginia?"

Glad you asked. You see, angels are inherently good and helpful beings, meaning they cannot lie. Since they cannot lie, it stands to reason that, if you asked one of these celestial beings if they were an angel, they would have to respond in the affirmative. So how do we tell how many angels are in West Virginia?

Well, the website howmanyofme.com reports that there are 191,745 people in the United States with the name "Angel." How many reside in West Virginia? Well, West Virginia has a population of 1.816 million, which is 0.56% of the total U.S. population (325.7 million). Assuming that all the angels are distributed according to population, that would mean that 0.56% of all of the U.S. Angels live in West Virginia, which comes out to an angelic population of 1,069.

That's all well and good, but: is that a lot of angels, comparatively speaking? To get an idea, I again turned to The Good Place. When Michael addresses the neighborhood, there seem to be somewhere between 150 and 200 people in attendance; let's say the typical angel-to-person ratio is 1:175. That means that, for a group of 1,069 angels, there should be...187,075 humans.

We won't comment on that number here; instead, we'll move on to...

Criteria #2: Is it very cloudy in West Virginia?

This one is much easier, as other people have done the science for us. The Farmer's Almanac has compiled a list of the cloudiest states in the U.S., based on how many sunny days each state receives in a given year. According to them, the cloudiest state is Washington, but West Virginia isn't far behind at #6. To quote,

The Allegheny Mountains that stretch along the border between West Virginia and Virginia are responsible for much of the overcast weather in this state. Because the Alleghenies trap moisture flowing into the state from the north and west, most of the state experiences only 60 to 65 clear days per year. One city – Elkins – only gets 48 clear days a year.

Very good. We now move on to the last Criteria,

Criteria #3: Does everyone play the harp in West Virginia?

Now, you may be tempted to answer this question with some anecdotal evidence, e.g. "Well my great-grandpappy is from West Virginia and he never played the harp on account of the oath he swore when he was but a boy of twelve after a roving bard called upon his house one day and in the ensuing violence..." etc. Now, anecdotal evidence is all well and good, but is it scientific? No. So, we turn to a different method.

One does not just pick up a harp and start playing by oneself, you see. One needs a teacher. So if we can find how many harp teachers there are in West Virginia, we can take a guess at how many harp students there also are in West Virginia, bringing us to our total number of harpists. 

Before we look that up, though: how many harp students does the average harp teacher have? Let's assume that harp lessons last half an hour and each student meets with the harp teacher twice a week. Assuming that the harp teachers work from 9-5 Monday through Friday, with an hour lunch break, that gives 35 hours a week. Since each student takes up an hour total in the week, that means that each harp teacher can handle 35 students.

So, how many harp teachers are in West Virginia? After researching thoroughly, I found a grand total of...



Yeah, seven.


Let's try something else: I searched the Yellow Pages for harp lessons in West Virginia. I found 30 schools. Do all of them look like they teach the harp? Nope. I mean, "Steve Barker's Percussion Studio" seems like a sure bet, but "Renaissance Music Academy?" Doubtful. So let's assume that some schools teach many more students than the average harp teacher and some teach fewer, averaging out to the same number of students, 35. 

Then 30 music schools and seven music teachers with 35 students each gives...1,332 harp players (counting the teachers, of course). That represents 0.07% of the total population of West Virginia.

BUT! Never fear. We just need to expand our horizons a bit. We've been trading in teachers and students of "traditional" harps, like pedal harps or lever harps. Do you know what else is a harp?

A jaw harp.

Do you know what kind of music uses a jaw harp?

Bluegrass music.

And how many bluegrass bands are in West Virginia?

Like, a ton. And the thing about bluegrass bands is that most of them probably do not have an internet footprint. 

To determine their numbers, imagine this scenario: you are a proud West Virginian. Though you are not a member of a bluegrass band, your good friend plays a mean jug, and he invites you to a neighborhood concert that he and his band are giving on Friday. You go to the concert and listen to the band a bit; they're jamming (especially that jaw harp player). There are eight members of the band, and the concert has drawn in about 40 people. Assuming that your experience is typical of most West Virginians', that means that there is at least one jaw harp for every 50-or-so people. This gives us 36,320 jaw harps, and added to the players of other harps, we get approximately 37,652 harp players in West Virginia, or around 2% of the total population.

That's all the criteria accounted for, so now we move to...

The Conclusion.

What have we learned? We have seen that:

1) There is an angel-human ratio of about 1:1,656 in West Virgina (compared to a postulated 1:175 ratio in Heaven),

2) West Virginia has 48 days without clouds a year (whereas Heaven is always cloudy), and

3) About 2% of West Virginians play the harp (and we theorize that around 99% of the denizens of Heaven do).

Is that enough to qualify West Virginia as a Heavenly place?

Well, if we know one more thing about Heaven, it's that it is perfect, so any place trying to be like Heaven should be similarly perfect in its Heavenly criteria. By that standard, West Virginia falls short.



We never asked if West Virginia was Heaven: we were concerned with whether West Virginia was almost Heaven. And, thankfully, "almost" is such an ambiguous term that I feel that, given the evidence, we can firmly declare that West Virginia IS almost Heaven (Jim Gaffigan be darned). 

-Frère Rubik will defend John Denver anytime, anywhere, whether or not he's ever set foot in West Virginia

Question #91463 posted on 06/03/2019 12:12 a.m.

Dear astronomers and physicists of the 100 Hour Board,

The artistic renditions of how the other planets in the solar system would look from earth if they were as close as the moon in this article are super cool. But I have a question. How much light (and, even, maybe, heat) would reflect onto the earth from each of these planets? The artist has kept the level of light in the surrounding earth the same, as if each planet gave off the same amount of light as the moon. But Jupiter would take up half the sky, so would it in fact make the nighttime on Earth significantly brighter? Do different planets made of different materials reflect different wavelengths and quantities of light back into the atmosphere around them? If you want a fun hypothetical, I'd love for you to pick a planet or two, pretend earth is actually a moon to that planet, and try to (a) calculate how much it would illuminate the night sky and (b) speculate how life might be different on a planet that gets that much more light.

-Not Kepler


Dear Nepler,

This is a great question and it requires a few calculations that I'll reproduce here. First off, we are going to assume that planets radiate very little (which is not always the case) and that all of the light that they give comes from reflecting solar radiation. The percentage of light reflected off a planet relative to the light incident upon it can be expressed as a decimal between 0 and 1 and is known as a planet's albedo. For example, Mars has an albedo of 0.25 which means that it reflects 25% of the light incident upon its surface back into space. Here is a table of known planetary albedos:

Planet Albedo
Mercury 0.088
Venus 0.76
Mars 0.25
Jupiter 0.503
Saturn 0.342
Uranus 0.3
Neptune 0.29
Moon 0.12


Ok, that's great, but how much energy are the planets getting from the sun in their orbits? To figure this out, we have to look at the luminosity of the Sun, which puts out 3.83×1026 W (or, that many joules of energy per second). That energy spreads out as a sphere which gets larger the farther out you go, so the amount of energy that hits a given square meter of area decreases as you get farther from the Sun. To calculate how much of the Sun's energy hits a given planet, you have to imagine a sphere of radiation with the Sun at the center that has a radius of the orbital distance of the planet. Then imagine the cross-sectional area of the planet on that sphere. You can calculate the area of that planet and express it as a percentage of the total area of the solar radiation sphere. 

For example, Mercury is 5.79E+10 meters away from the Sun and has a radius of 2.44E+6 m. A sphere with the Sun at the center would have a surface area of 4π(5.79E+10)2 = 4.21E+22 m2. The planet itself only has a cross-sectional area of π(2.44E+6)2 m2 = 1.87E+13. Taking the ratio of these two will tell us how much of the Sun's energy the planet gets at that distance. In the case of Mercury, that's 4.44E-10 (or 0.0000000444% which is, of course, REALLY small). Taking this percentage of the Sun's luminosity would give you the energy incident upon the surface of that planet every second. Multiply that by the albedo and BAM, you've got yourself the total reflected energy by the planet. I'll spare you the remainder of the details and just give a final rendering of this here in lunar luminosities (that is, 1 = the amount of energy reflected by the moon).

Planet Reflected Energy
Mercury 9.6
Venus 146.5
Mars 3.4
Jupiter 261.2
Saturn 37.2
Uranus 14.6
Neptune 5.4
Moon 1.0

Now, you could do all that math again, assuming that the reflected energy is radiated in a half-sphere (because only the half of the planet exposed to the sun reflects energy) and that the Earth would intersect a portion of that hemisphere at the lunar orbital distance, but that would only give you the actual number of watts that the Earth picks up at that distance which is specificity we don't need. The ratios are exactly the same in both cases so we can look at the above numbers as being an expression of how much brighter each planet would appear than the Moon. In other words, if we were orbiting Jupiter at the distance the moon is from the Earth, Jupiter would be 261 times brighter than the Moon!

[Side note: in actuality, Jupiter's Roche limit is much larger than the lunar orbital distance. The Roche limit is the point at which external gravitational forces are greater than the internal gravitational forces of the body itself and the body crumbles apart. If we were at the lunar orbital distance around Jupiter, the Earth would disintegrate and we would all die. But let's ignore that and assume that some great celestial superglue has been applied to the planet (chemical bonds could potentially overcome the problems associated with being inside the Roche limit) and that the Earth can handle the massive tidal forces involved here.]

Of course, this would all be different if, instead of us being transported to orbit other planets, they were transported to us to be our moon (again, impossible since the gravitational disruptions would in many cases destroy the Earth, but again, pretending). Then, the planets would each be brighter or dimmer for being closer to or farther away from the Sun. I re-did the calculations in this case and came up with these numbers:

Planet Reflected Energy
Mercury 1.4
Venus 76.6
Mars 7.9
Jupiter 7,076.3
Saturn 3,419.2
Uranus 539.4
Neptune 489.5
Moon 1.0

Now, all of this feels very catastrophic, like somehow we'd all be destroyed by Jupiter-shine if it were our moon (assuming, again, that we weren't destroyed by its gravity. Which we totally would be.). But, remember that the Sun is about 400,000 times brighter than the moon. A measly 7000 times brighter wouldn't scorch us or anything. It would be very bright; perhaps bright enough to cast significant shadows. We might feel warmth from it on full-Jupiter nights. We'd see many fewer stars (perhaps only the 2 or 3 brightest in the sky), and Jupiter would take up a massive 20-degree swath of sky above us (and, not to belabor the point, we'd be dead and the Earth would be crumbled like one of those granola bars in the green packages, you know, that produce more crumbs than is physically possible? Yeah, like that.).

Now back to us orbiting planets in their current orbits about the Sun: we'd be getting different amount of sunlight if we were orbiting those planets. I'll again spare you the details (it's the same basic calculations we did before, just putting the Earth in different solar radiation spheres) and just give you the amount of sunlight we'd be getting in terms of the amount of light we get normally (i.e. 1 = the amount of sunlight we get in our own orbit). For your convenience, I'm adding a column for what would probably happen to us if we got that much light.

Planet Sunlight Status
Mercury 6.7 Dead
Venus 1.9 Dead
Mars 0.43 Dead
Jupiter 0.04 Dead
Saturn 0.01 Dead
Uranus ~0 Dead
Neptune ~0 Dead
Earth 1 Alive

In each case, the amount of sunlight we would be getting would be MUCH greater than the amount of light we'd be getting from planet-shine. Jupiter-shine tops out at 0.87% of the sunlight we'd get there. Saturn comes in at a little under 0.5%. Every other planet is negligible.

So, yeah, depending on the planet that we're orbiting (or that is orbiting us), we'd get anywhere from a few times to many thousands of times brighter light than we get from the full moon. It might give us a little noticeable heat, but the bright ones would just wash out stars, cast moon shadows, and generally make our nights brighter without much other difference. The real difference, in case you didn't pick this up from one of my many parenthetical statements, is that gravity would totally hose us and we'd all die. Space is scary and Earth is in a really lucky spot (or, alternatively, the way we've evolved to live is highly specific to this watery rock that we live on). I love our watery rock.


The Man with a Mustache  

(For those interested, here is the spreadsheet I used to do my calculations. Feel free to comment if I missed something.)

Question #91400 posted on 06/05/2018 10:18 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is Superman faster than a speeding Avada Kedavra? Would Superman survive an Avada Kedavra?



Dear person,

My initial reaction (and Anne's, too) was that spells travel fairly slowly - perhaps 60 mph or so. However, I couldn't find the source on the internet that gives the exact speed. That means it's speculation time!

It's certain that the speed of spells is slower than the speed of sound because incantations are heard by their targets before they hit. If magic traveled at the speed of sound (1125 feet/second) and it takes about half a second for a person to speak a three-syllable word (e.g., stupefy, protego), then to block a spell with a three-syllable incantation I would have to be at least 562 feet away from the caster (assuming I didn't start casting shield charm before the caster was done saying the incantation). There's no way anyone could hear an incantation at that distance unless they were yelling.

It seems reasonable to assume that duellers frequently stand about 10 feet apart. It would take the sound of the finished incantation about .009 seconds to travel that distance. We need the spell to take at least 0.5 seconds to travel. So the spell needs to take a maximum of 20 feet/second to travel that far. Or about 13 miles per hour. That's too slow. 

Okay, that's not good. Let's assume duellers who have any sense of caution stand about 20 feet apart. That would double the speed it would take to cross that distance in .5 seconds to about 40 feet per/second or 26 mph. Also slow.

Okay, let's pretend they stand 30 feet apart. That brings the required speed up to 60 feet per second or 39 mph. Also still slower than Usain Bolt.

We made some big, not totally realistic assumptions conducive to spell slowness (i.e., that people being don't react before the incantation is over). I don't really see the number getting much higher than 50 or 60 mph (approximately 80 or 100 km/h). There. Final answer. 

If anyone would like to submit a correction because they have a link to the quote that Anne and I were thinking about or they noticed my math is terrible, please do so.


posted on 06/06/2018 1:01 p.m.
Here's a slightly less speculative answer for you. Using this video as reference: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcJl2YjFcr0)

You can calculate how fast something is moving from a video if you know the framerate of the video and the distance that the object travels.

Movies are typically shot in 24 fps, and from what I could find, the HP movies are no exception.

In this video, it takes Voldy about 37 frames to SAY 'avada kedavra'. 37 frames at 24 fps is about 1.54 seconds.

It takes the spell exactly 8 frames to hit our protagonist straight in the chest. I counted it like 20 times. It's exactly 8 frames. 8 frames/24 fps is 0.333 seconds.

We all know that speed is distance over time, so now we need the distance. I used Radcliffe's height as a reference to get a good estimate of how far apart they are in the video. Luckily we've got a nice side view. Danny is 5'5", and using that, it seems like they are standing about 25 feet apart.

The Avada Kedavra spell travels 25 feet in .333 seconds, or 75 feet per second (75.075 if you wanna get technical) or 51.188 miles per hour.

(https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/80312/how-do-we-know-the-flash-is-faster-than-superman) that link says that superman can fly 7,200,000 mph... so... Yes, Superman can fly faster than the Avada Kedavra spell... by a longshot. Could he survive it? I don't know, and trying to cross the boundaries of alien abilities and magic gets a little tricky. I vote yes.

Yay for math!


Dear Yayfulness,

What's your favorite map?

-My Map Here


Dear MyMap,

I know this question was directed at yayfulness, but the world can always use more excellent maps. I especially love this one from Brandon Sanderson's Oathbringer (painted by Isaac Stewart, who is awesome):


         Click to view the source full-sized.

I thought it was really cool that they put actual lines of latitude and longitude on the map, so being the map nerd that I am, I set out to digitize it and play with different map projections. Here's the map that I made based on the original:


         Click to view the source full-sized.

-Inverse Insomniac

Question #91386 posted on 08/29/2018 7:10 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Can you get me a dialogue sample of the screenplay, “Pride and Prejudice” with Dwayne Johnson cast as Elizabeth Bennett?

-My Name Here


Dear person,

I have secured a dialogue sample that matches the description you provided. (I copied/transcribed/paraphrased phrases from the following sources: Project GutenbergYouTube [caution: lots of profanity], and Moana.)


ELIZABETH is sitting at a desk reading a letter, her right eyebrow raised. A bell rings. Her expression briefly changes to an open-mouthed smile. The door opens and DARCY walks quickly into the room. Elizabeth's lips retract into her mouth. Nevertheless, she waves briefly and awkwardly, and runs a hand over her bald head. 

(in a rushed manner)        
How is your health?

Elizabeth pauses for several moments.

(clears throat awkwardly)       
What's on your mind?

Darcy sits down in an empty chair for a few moments, then stands up and paces on the opposite side of the room from Elizabeth for several minutes. Elizabeth looks at her watch and flexes her arm muscles threateningly. After several more minutes, Darcy approaches Elizabeth.

In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not repressed.
You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.

Elizabeth's discomfort vanishes. She snorts slightly and stares, trying to keep her face straight.

(still agitated)       
Against my better judgment, and that of my entire family, and despite your obvious inferiority,
I confess my 
feelings of deep attraction to you. Though your family - which includes you -
is collectively a disgrace to society, something about you compels me to love you.

(using relatively dramatic hand gestures)       
So, you think I'm pretty cool. But you feel like a loser because of that? 

(agitated but unabashed)       
In spite of my endeavors to conquer it, I love you still. I hope I will be
rewarded by your acceptance of my hand. Elizabeth, will you marry me?

If you start singing, I'm going to throw up.

Darcy is clearly surprised, but says nothing.

(in a manner appropriate for a motivational speech)              
You haven't even started being a good guy. I don't know about you,
but I had my wake up call. It's your turn. Let me just speak from my gut;
I don't have anything prepared. Man, as you have your goals and ambitions,
further on down the line, this idea that you can have anything you want -
which you have heard since you were a little boy -
you gotta be ballin'. 

And this is all the reply which I am to have the honour of expecting.

My conclusion is that Dwayne is cool but, as predicted by Anne, Certainly, he does sound a little out of place in the England-in-the-1810s setting.


Question #91348 posted on 05/23/2018 8:18 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Imagine if America, in some alternate timeline, opted for kings instead of presidents.

How many kings would we have gone through since 1776, and who would they have most likely been?



Dear ALT+1,

First, let's make some assumptions.

  1. The monarchy will be hereditary.
  2. It will follow the English rule of primogeniture (although the parts about religion will all be thrown out).
  3. It will switch from male-preference primogeniture to gender-neutral primogeniture sometime between 1920 (passage of the 19th Amendment) and 2011 (when the English monarchy made the switch).
  4. George Washington will be the first king.
  5. Wikipedia will be used as far as it is available, after which FamilySearch will be the preferred source.
  6. Adopted children, illegitimate children, and children without both a recorded birth date and a recorded death date will be excluded.
  7. For simplicity's sake, we're ignoring the butterfly effect as far as is reasonably possible. Most likely, the life stories of all of these people would be extremely different if they were actual American royalty, but we're going to assume that nobody died sooner or later in this alternate world than in the real world, and that nobody had more or less children than they in fact had.
  8. For simplicity's sake, I'm assuming that every birth and death occurred on January 1 of the relevant year.

Sound good? Okay. Now, here are the rules of primogeniture.

  1. Under male-preference primogeniture, all male children are treated as being older than all female children. Under gender-neutral primogeniture, the actual birth order is respected.
  2. In theory, the monarch is succeeded by their first child, who is then succeeded by the child's first child, and so on for eternity.
  3. If the monarch's first child dies, the throne passes to the monarch's first child's first child. In other words, death of a child doesn't remove that child's children from the order of succession.
  4. If at any point someone dies leaving no living descendants, their oldest sibling is next in line.
  5. If at any point someone dies leaving no living descendants and no living siblings, their royal parent's oldest sibling is next in line.
  6. Spouses are meaningless. The throne only ever passes to blood family.

So with that, let's get started! Our first king is

King George I Washington

Born in 1732, acceded to the throne in 1776 at age 34, and died in 1799 at age 67 after a reign of 33 years.

George I had no children of his own - he was most likely left sterile after a bout of smallpox in 1751, although when he married the widowed Martha Custis he adopted her two children. Because of that, the throne would pass to a descendant of his father Augustine.

Augustine's oldest son died as an infant. His second son, Lawrence, died in 1752 and none of Lawrence's children lived to adulthood. His third son, Augustine Jr., died childless in 1762. George I was Augustine's fourth son (and first by his second wife); next in line would be Augustine's fifth son, Samuel.

Samuel died in 1781 (he was preceded in death by four wives and two children - be grateful for modern medicine, people). His oldest son Thornton died in 1787 in his late 20s, but not before having three or four children of his own, if FamilySearch is to be believed. Thornton's oldest son Thomas died in 1794 as a child, but his second son (George I's brother's grandson) would have been

King John I Washington

Born in 1783, acceded to the throne in 1799 at age 16, and died in 1841 at age 58 after a reign of 42 years.

John has 12 children listed on FamilySearch. His oldest son was

King Lawrence I Washington

Born in 1811, acceded to the throne in 1841 at age 30, and died in 1856 at age 45 after a reign of 15 years.

As far as FamilySearch knows, Lawrence never married or had children. John I's second son appears likely to have died young (no death date is listed), and his third and fourth children were daughters and therefore passed over by the rules of male-preference primogeniture, so the fourth king would have been Lawrence I's brother

King Benjamin I Washington

Born in 1820, acceded to the throne in 1856 at age 36, and died in 1872 at age 52 after a reign of 16 years.

Benjamin I had two sons and three daughters, in that order. His oldest son was

King John II Washington

Born in 1846, acceded to the throne in 1872 at age 26, and died in 1929 at age 83 after a reign of 57 years.

John II did not marry and had no children. His brother Franklin died in 1915 and had one son, Lawrence, whose death is not recorded. It's possible that Lawrence would have been the next king, but since Family Search has no record of his existence after 1910 we will skip over him and go to John II's sister

Queen Fannie I Washington

Born in 1853, acceded to the throne in 1929 at age 76, and died in 1930 at age 77 after a reign of one year.

She's the first queen in a line of six monarchs, but she doesn't last very long. She has numerous children attributed to her on FamilySearch, but the oldest of whom we have a meaningful record is

King John III Delehanty

Born in 1888, acceded to the throne in 1930 at age 42, and died in 1965 at age 77 after a reign of 35 years.

I'm guessing that if the monarchy actually existed, John III would keep the Washington family name rather than adopting his father's last name, but this is all a fictional interpretation so we can do whatever we want here. John has two children listed on FamilySearch, born in 1921 and 1922. It's possible that he had one or more children born before 1920 who are still alive today and therefore don't show up on FamilySearch, but that's unlikely enough that we will assume he did not. As it turns out, it doesn't matter whether male-preference primogeniture is replaced by gender-neutral primogeniture in 1920, because John III's son John (the younger of the two children) died in 1940 at the age of 18. This means that, as far as we know, with John III's death the throne passed to his only living child

Queen Margaret I Delehanty

Born in 1921, acceded to the throne in 1965 at age 44, and died in 1994 at age 73 after a reign of 29 years.

FamilySearch does not record a spouse or children for Margaret I, but it is entirely reasonable to believe that her husband and any children might still be alive today.

Assuming that she did die childless and had no additional siblings, though, the line would pass back to the next male sibling of John III (since the transition from male-preference primogeniture to gender-neutral primogeniture is not retroactive), Thornton Augustin Washington Delehanty. Thornton died in 1971 and his wife died in 1951, but it's entirely reasonable that they could have had at least one child who is alive today. So, regardless of whether the throne would pass to Margaret I's child or her cousin, we would almost certainly be living under the rule of the ninth king or queen in the Washingtonian line.

So, to recap, the nine monarchs of the Washingtonian line are:

  1. King George I (1776-1799)
  2. King John I (1799-1841)
  3. King Lawrence I (1841-1856)
  4. King Benjamin I (1856-1872)
  5. King John II (1872-1929)
  6. Queen Fannie I (1929-1930)
  7. King John III (1930-1965)
  8. Queen Margaret I (1965-1994)
  9. Unknown (1994-present)

In timeline form, it looks like this:

kings and queens of the united states 3.png

And as a family tree, it looks like this (with monarchs' names in all caps):

kings and queens of the united states 2.png

So there you have it: the royal lineage of the United States.

As flawed as the current system is, I think it's probably better than this.


p.s. After finishing this answer, I did some digging and found a couple other sources that don't fit neatly into the answer above. In 1991, the Chicago Tribune published an article on an 85-year-old man who was the last living descendant of Augustine Washington on a strictly male line. Under the Salic Law system of inheritance, in which the throne passes exclusively through male descendants, he would have been the King of the United States. Since he had no sons and has presumably died sometime in the 27 years since the article was written, the entire Washingtonian line via Augustine would have ended with him. Either a search would have to be made for a living descendant on an all-male line of Augustine's brother John Washington III or his uncle John Washington II (likely a very difficult proposition), or a new royal line would have to be chosen, or a new law of succession would have to be adopted, or the practice of royalty in the United States would come to an end.

Meanwhile, this article names Ancestry's pick for the most likely Washington family member to be the current monarch of the United States, although it does not give any detailed methodology. Despite my best efforts, I haven't been able to figure out his lineage or how they decided that he was the most likely to be next in the royal line.

Should you trust the genealogy professional, or the random guy on the internet? I'll let you decide.

Question #91271 posted on 09/30/2018 7:17 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

For Alumni week, and if it doesn't take too much effort, could you update the answers to Question #70656 with the recently announced temples? Especially yayfulness's video, if he's around.

-Thinks its still SO Cool!


Dear thinker,

Greetings from significantly beyond the end of alumni week! In my defense, I finally bought Crusader Kings 2 as a graduation gift to myself and it's taken over my life I've had a very busy last few months. But this wouldn't be a yayfulness temples answer if it didn't go horrifically over hours, would it? Either way, it's done now, so I hope it's worth the wait.

First off, for anyone who's new to this series, in 2013 I answered Optimistic's Board Question #70656 with a video showing that the Maldives, a tiny archipelago south of India, were the furthest permanently inhabited location from an existing or announced LDS temple. In 2015, right before I retired from the Board, I updated the answer in Board Question #83118, which is honestly easier to read if you don't want to deal with a video. By then, thanks to the announcement of the Bangkok Temple, the new furthest point from a temple was the island of Socotra, just off the coast of Yemen. Earlier that same year, I also answered Board Question #82234, which took a look at the United States (not counting Hawaii and Alaska, because... Hawaii and Alaska), and Board Question #82284, which corrected an error in my answer to the previous question.

Since 2015, the Church has announced sixteen more temples. The most notable ones for the purposes of this mapping exercise are in Harare, Zimbabwe; Nairobi, Kenya; Bengaluru (Bangalore), India; and an as-yet undetermined location in Russia. Because it's kind of hard to make a map of a location that hasn't been chosen yet, I've left the Russian temple off of my list, but we'll revisit it later.

So with that, here's the map:

distances to 2500.png

You can click here to download a larger zoomable version. I highly recommend it; there are a lot of details that are easy to miss on the small version. The key is as follows:

  • Cyan lines - 200 mile radius
  • Green lines - 500 mile radius
  • Yellow lines - 1,000 mile radius
  • Orange lines - 1,500 mile radius
  • Red lines - 2,000 mile radius
  • Purple lines - 2,500 mile radius
I omitted all distances above 2,500 miles, since no land outside Antarctica was covered and the polar distortion was too high to intuitively interpret.

As you can see, Socotra and the Maldives are now within 1,500 miles of the Nairobi and Bangaluru temples, respectively.

In total, there are six areas with permanent human habitations that are over 2,000 miles from the nearest temple, and no areas at a distance of over 2,500 miles. Before we get to the winner, let's see the runners-up. In order to make my life easier, I added an intermediate black line at 2,250 miles which only shows up on some of the zoomed-in images.

The smallest area on the map - incredibly easy to miss on the smaller map, where it's just a tiny red dot - is in the northern Arabian Desert. Here's a close-up picture:

red triangle.png

Remarkably, the red triangle falls directly on Al-Hofuf, the fifth largest city in Saudi Arabia. The city is almost exactly 2,000 miles from Bengaluru, Nairobi, and Kiev, and it's evidently one of the biggest sites of date cultivation in the world.

The second area is in northwestern Greenland. I didn't catch it the first time around, and now that I've graduated I can't go back and see exactly where the 2,000-mile line falls along the coast (there are no inland cities). However, if I didn't miss anything while investigating using the Google Maps distance measurement tool, there are three permanent settlements beyond that line: Kullorsuaq (population 448, 2,052 miles from Winnipeg), Nuussuaq (formerly Kraulshavn, population 202, 2,037 miles from Winnipeg), and Qeqertat (population 33, 2,014 miles from Edmonton).

The third area is in the Indian Ocean. At the southern end of that area, beyond 2,500 miles from the nearest temple, you can find the Australian territory of Heard Island and MacDonald Islands - but you probably won't find any people there. In the mid-1800s, a community formed around the seal oil industry and had a peak population of around 200, but the industry collapsed before the end of the century after hunting the local seal population nearly to extinction. Today there are occasional expeditions by scientists and amateur radio operators, but there doesn't appear to have been a permanent population in over a century. The nearby Kerguelen Islands, which I mentioned in Board Question #91382, are home to a French naval base but no civilian population.

Further north, midway between the 2,000 and 2,250 mile lines, is the island of Rodrigues.


The island is a territory of Mauritius and has a population of a little over 40,000.

The fourth area is in the central Pacific and contains several islands. One of those islands, just short of the 2,250 mile line, is Bikini Atoll.

bikini atoll.png

The atoll, near the center of the image and to the west of the largest island, had a population of 167 in 1946 before being relocated by the United States to allow the island to be used for nuclear testing. Today, Wikipedia reports that the island is home to six caretakers, and the larger island to the east, Rongelap Atoll, has either 19 or 20 residents.

Further west is the island of Pohnpei.


Pohnpei is the large island in the center, home to the capital of the Federated States of Micronesia. It has a population of about 34,000.

The fifth area is in the eastern Pacific, and has just one island: Easter Island.

easter island.png

Easter Island is an outer territory of Chile, with a population of about 7,750.

And the winner? The winner is our old friend Россия. There's enough Россия, in fact, that cataloging all of it would be nearly impossible, so I'm going to stick to the two segments that are beyond the 2,250-mile mark.

Segment number one is on the northern Siberian coast, way out in Significant Map Distortion Land. (If you want to see what the geography looks like without distortion, here it is on Google Maps.)

northern triangle.png

The red circle is the ghost city of Nordvik (Нордвик), which was founded in the 1930s in the hopes of finding oil. The oil prospecting never worked out, and instead a penal colony operated a salt mine. The settlement was abandoned in 1956.

The yellow circle at the juncture of the Anabar River and a minor tributary is the city of Yuryung-Khaya (Юрюнг-Хая), also founded in the 1930s, which has a current population of just over 1,100. As far as I can tell, it's the only populated city further than 2,250 miles from a temple in this part of Russia, although the settlements of Syndassko (Сындасско, population "less than 497") and Ust-Olenyok (Усть-Оленёк, population 27) are nearby.

If we go further south, though, there's a lot more to look at.

southern triangle.png

So remember when I said that this was Russia? It turns out that's using an... ah... expansive definition of "Russia" which includes a decent chunk of Kazakhstan and China. (The 2,000-mile line clips the corner of Mongolia too.) Here's that same place on Google:

kinda sorta russia.png

As you can see, there are quite a few cities in this area. We're going to need another buffer.

smaller triangle.png

The outer black line on this image is the 2,250 mile buffer from before, and the inner line is a 2,325 mile buffer. (A 2,300 mile buffer includes a bit too much and a 2,350 mile buffer closes the triangle entirely.) Inside that triangle is a mountain peak named Khrebet Tarbagatay, whose Wikipedia page somewhat inexplicably only exists in Swedish and Cebuano. There is also a ton of farmland but, at least according to Google Maps, only one city more than one city but I'll get to the rest of them later: Makanchi (Мақаншы), which is almost perfectly cut in half by the western side of the triangle.

triangle detail with circle.png

Finding any information on Makanchi was difficult. You can get a decent look at it from above on Google, but street view has only minimal coverage in Kazakhstan - you can see the border crossing at Qoqek (Tacheng) about 45 miles to the east and a random residential scene at Naualy a similar distance to the west, but hardly anything else even remotely close. Wikipedia has a sparse English-language page on Urzhar District, but the only pages for Makanchi itself are in Kazakh and Russian. From what I could gather from Google's attempts at translation, the city was founded in 1879 and has a population of around 12,242.

Now, about those other cities? Somehow I missed them my first time through this project, but a few do in fact exist, mostly along the road from Makanchi to Qoqek. The only two I could find on Wikipedia (links in Russian, which appears to have the most information) are Karatal (Каратал), a town of just under 1,000 residents (not to be confused with any of the fifteen other Kazakh and five Russian cities of the same name, one of which is located 150 miles to the northeast), and Bakhty (Бахты), a city immediately to the Kazakh side of the Kazakh-Chinese border with a population of about 2,500. Google shows a few other settlements along that road, but none of their names are given in the Cyrillic alphabet and as best I can tell none of them show up anywhere on Wikipedia.

While the northern tip of the triangle does approach several settlements, as best I can tell it doesn't actually include them. The closest is a village called Lager (Лагерь), but it turns out Лагерь is actually just the generic Russian and Kazakh word for "camp," so finding any details on the site turned out to be impossible. (For all I know, it may be an actual camp; it can't have more than a dozen or two structures.) Is Lager really outside the triangle? My measurements on Google suggest it is. My best guess from looking at the GIS screenshots says it isn't. I have easy access to Google and no easy access to GIS as I write this section of the answer, so Google is the official winner.

As best I can tell, then, Karatal is the furthest city from a current or announced LDS temple site (if you define "city" as "permanent civilian settlement with a Wikipedia page in at least one language").


Remember how I said I couldn't map the announced temple in Russia, because it doesn't have a location yet?

Giving it a location could change this answer quite a bit.

Wikipedia says there are currently three stakes and four districts in Russia. It seems likely that the Church would try to build a temple in one of those stakes, since they represent the largest concentration of Church membership. Therefore, I will start by looking at those three locations: MoscowSaratov, and St. Petersburg.

Moscow seems to be the most logical choice. According to the LDS Meetinghouse Locator, there are ten wards and branches in Moscow and its suburbs, and five others nearby. Plus, as the capital city, it seems likely to be the most suitable travel destination.

Moscow to Bakhty:

moscow to bakhty.png

Moscow to Yuryung-Khaya:

moscow to yuryung khaya.png

If a temple is built in Moscow, it will be just under 2,000 miles from Makanchi, and the entire Urzhar District triangle will fall within the 2,250 mile radius. Nordvik and Yuryung-Khaya would still fall outside of that radius, though, leaving Yuryung-Khaya as the furthest city from a temple.

Next up is Saratov. It only has six wards and branches, but the nearby cities of Samara (home to a district and a mission) and Tolyatti (also home to a district) and other nearby cities contribute seven more. Plus, it's closer to the far-flung branches in Russia's interior.

Saratov to Bakhty:

saratov to bakhty.png

Saratov to Yuryung-Khaya:

saratov to yuryung khaya.png

A temple in Saratov would be even closer to the Urzhar District than Moscow and even further from Yuryung-Khaya, so the result would be the same as Moscow: Yuryung-Khaya is our new winner. If the temple is built 200 miles to the northeast in either Samara or Tolyatti, it will be 2,230 miles from Yuryung-Khaya, still far enough to keep it in first place.

Last, and in my opinion definitely least likely, is St. Petersburg. With seven congregations and three more nearby, the number of members in the temple's immediate vicinity would be lower than either of the other two locations. Plus, St. Petersburg is just under 200 miles from the temple in Helsinki, Finland. Apart from saving the trouble of crossing an international border, a temple in St. Petersburg wouldn't do much to bring temple access closer to most of Russia's members. Still, it's a significantly more likely location than any other city that hasn't made the list.

St. Petersburg to Bakhty:

st petersburg to bakhty.png

St. Petersburg to Yuryung-Khaya:

st petersburg to yuryung khaya.png

If a temple is built in St. Petersburg, it will be about 2,235 miles from Yuryung-Khaya, 2,245 miles from Makanchi, and 2,250 miles from Karatal. This leaves Bakhty and Karatal tied as the furthest cities from a temple.

Let's imagine, though, that none of those cities work out and instead a temple is built somewhere like Yekaterinburg or Novosibirsk, less than 2,000 miles from both regions. If the furthest point from a temple is not in Russia, where will it be?

Remember the six inhabited areas further than 2,000 miles from a temple? We can eliminate Russia immediately, courtesy of the new temple's hypothetical location. We can also knock out Al-Hofuf and Greenland, since all of their cities are between 2,000 and 2,100 miles from a temple. Rodrigues is barely over 2,100 miles, so the Indian Ocean is out too. That leaves two contenders, both in the Pacific Ocean - one to the east, and one to the west.

Easter Island is the only candidate location in the eastern Pacific. By my rough measurement, it's around 2,215 miles from the nearest temple in Concepcion, Chile. In the western Pacific, I'm eliminating both Bikini Atoll and Rongelap Atoll, since the aftermath of nuclear testing left them with only a negligible population. That makes Pohnpei, Micronesia the only island under consideration. Depending on what part of the island you measure, it's between 2,200 and 2,220 miles from the nearest temple in Suva, Fiji. So ultimately, it all comes down to the exact location of the Conception and Suva temples and the exact location of the furthest inhabited point on each island.

If you think I'm going to stop here, you are completely wrong.

The exact site of the temple in Concepcion is Pedro de Valdivia 1525 (addresses in Spanish put the street number after the street name). Here is a close-up of the site:

100hb easter island temple distance 1.png

And here is the most distant identifiable man-made structure on Easter Island that someone could conceivably live in:

100hb easter island temple distance 3.png

The total distance? 2,219.85 miles.

100hb easter island temple distance 2.png

The best address I can find for the temple in Suva is the intersection of Lakeba Street and Princess Road. Here it is:

100hb pohnpei temple distance 1.png

It was a bit harder to find the most distant building on Pohnpei, but I'm pretty sure this is it:

100hb pohnpei temple distance 3.png

Total distance: 2,217.20 miles.

100hb pohnpei temple distance 2.png

Easter Island beats Pohnpei by exactly 2.65 miles.

So there you have it. If the temple in Russia is built east of Moscow, the furthest permanent civilian population from a temple will be on Easter Island. I think that's unlikely, though; once the Russia temple location is announced, I'm willing to bet Easter Island will be in second place, after Yuryung-Khaya, and I'm willing to bet that both of those locations will hold their position for a very long time. Why? Let's take a look at what it would take to change that.

We'll start with Yuryung-Khaya As I previously mentioned, a temple in St. Petersburg or the Samara-Tolyatti area would shave 15-20 miles off the distance from Yuryung-Khaya to the nearest temple, which would still leave it ahead of Easter Island (and in the case of St. Petersburg, if no other temple is built elsewhere in Russia, behind the Urzhar District). But both of these options are, in my opinion, unlikely at best. Could the Church build a second temple elsewhere in Russia? Assuming the first temple is in Moscow or St. Petersburg, I suppose it's possible. Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk are each surrounded by a cluster of branches, but it seems unlikely that either location would be able to support a temple without significant growth first. And Vladivostok is too isolated from the rest of Russia and too close to Japan and South Korea to seem realistic, especially with a bare handful of branches there. And on top of all of that, Russian politics are not exactly favorable to foreign churches at the moment. Given that we still don't know where the already-announced temple in Russia will be located, I don't think a second one is coming in the foreseeable future.

There are several technically possible but completely implausible options: a second temple north of Sapporo on the island of Hokkaido (which would make no sense, as Sapporo is home to half the island's population and Japan still has no temple in most of its major cities), a temple in Fairbanks, Alaska (which would basically exist for the benefit of the Fairbanks Stake and nobody else - and which would still be 2,235 miles from Yuryung-Khaya), or a temple somewhere in the far reaches of Canada (and far from any existing congregations) or northern Norway, Sweden, or Finland (where there are only a handful of branches).

There are also three currently temple-less countries that we can safely disregard for the foreseeable future: China (not happening anytime soon, and Beijing and all but a few of China's largest cities are outside of the 2,250 mile radius anyway), Kazakhstan (unlikely - while the country isn't as religiously repressive as China, the current LDS population is just 197 people), and the northern tip of North Korea (no).

BUT! That does leave one important possibility: Mongolia. Right now, Mongolia has a mission, two stakes and a district, and over 10,000 members. That's only half as many members as Russia, but they're concentrated in a much smaller area. Ulaanbaatar alone has twelve wards, two more than Moscow. And right now, the nearest temple is over 1,200 miles away in Seoul, South Korea. I imagine it will be a while, but I'm willing to bet most of us will live to see a temple in Ulaanbaatar.

So, in summary and in order, the plausible locations for a temple within 2,250 miles of Yuryung-Khaya:

  1. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (1,730 miles; Yuryung-Khaya drops off the list entirely)
  2. St. Petersburg, Russia (2,235 miles; if no temple is built elsewhere in Russia, the Urzhar District stays in first place and Yuryung-Khaya stays in second)
  3. Samara or Tolyatti, Russia (2,230 miles; Yuryung-Khaya stays in first place)
  4. Yekaterinburg, Russia (1,800 miles; Yuryung-Khaya drops off the list)
  5. Novosibirsk, Russia (1,500 miles; there are entire countries in Asia further than Yuryung-Khaya from a temple)
  6. Anywhere else, which would require shocking and unforeseeable circumstances

As for Easter Island? In order to get a temple closer to Easter Island than Concepcion, you'd basically have to build a temple on Easter Island itself. The nearest inhabited place is nearly 1,300 miles away on Pitcairn Island; the nearest city of over 500 people is about 1,600 miles away on Mangareva in French Polynesia. Aside from the Easter Island branch, the nearest listed congregations on the Meetinghouse Locator are the Isla Juan Fernandez, Chile branch 1,900 miles to the east and the Hao, French Polynesia branch 2,000 miles to the west. The only areas in mainland South America closer to Easter Island than Concepcion are just a few miles to the city's south. All four of those places are incredibly unlikely temple candidates. Easter Island's branch is tiny, and when I was a missionary in Chile (2009-2011) the branch president was a senior missionary. Juan Fernandez Island has a population of barely 900 and the branch there is also very small small (although, to the best of my recollection, the branch at least had a local branch president). Hao is an atoll threatened by climate change - its highest point is just three feet above sea level - and it is only 600 miles from the temple in Pape'ete, Tahiti. And there's no good reason to build a second temple in a rural area just a few miles from Concepcion.

So is there ever going to be a temple closer to Easter Island? Probably not in my lifetime.

While we're at it, we might as well look at the outlook for the other locations beyond the 2,000 mile mark.

Micronesia and the Marshall Islands about 700 miles to the east each have a Church membership of 6,000-7,000, but I suspect a more likely location for a new temple in the Pacific is Tarawa, some 1,000 miles to the southeast. The island has 15 congregations, and Kiribati, the country it is a part of, has two stakes, two districts, 31 congregations, and around 20,000 members, making up nearly 20% of its population. It is also around 1,400 miles from the temples in Fiji and Samoa. Now, I'm not sure how the Church would feel about building a temple on an atoll as opposed to a proper island, but it's definitely a possibility.

Even more likely than that, though, is a temple about 1,350 miles to the southwest of Pohnpei in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The country has two missions, two stakes, and twelve (!) districts made up of over 27,000 members in 80 wards and branches - significantly more members than Russia. The nearest temple is over 1,300 miles to the south in Brisbane, Australia. I would bet you just about anything that they will have a temple of their own announced within the next ten years.

For Rodrugues to lose its spot on the list, the Church would most likely have to build a temple in Mozambique or Madagascar. Both countries have a mission, multiple stakes, and just over 10,000 members. I'd guess Madagascar is the more likely of the two, since Mozambique is already close to two temples in South Africa and one in Zimbabwe.

You'd think that the towns in Greenland might get knocked off the list by another temple in Canada, but there really aren't any major cities with a concentration of Church members that are closer than the existing temples. The best candidate would actually be Edinburgh or Glasgow, Scotland. The two cities each have a decent cluster of meetinghouses, and it's been twenty years since the last temple was dedicated in the UK, so I think it's entirely plausible.

Al-Hofuf... that is a tough one. A temple in Saratov or Samara, Russia, would bump it off the list. It's hard to think of other realistic possibilities - Albania was the only serious candidate in Europe to come to mind, with 3,000 members and several thousand more in the surrounding countries, but Tirana is just barely over 2,000 miles from Al-Hofuf. India's Church membership is concentrated to the country's south and east, so a second temple there would probably not change anything. Still... I'm not willing to rule out Russia completely.

So I'll refine my prediction just a little:

  1. The Urzhar District will drop off the list of distant locations as soon as the location of the Russia temple is announced.
  2. Pohnpei will drop off the list within a decade.
  3. Yuryung-Khaya, Rodrigues, and Greenland will all drop off the list sometime in the next 20-30 years, give or take.
  4. Al-Hofuf will lose its place eventually, but the time and manner are impossible to predict at this point.
  5. Barring a dramatic change in the Church's philosophy towards temples or an utterly unprecedented mass conversion, Easter Island will sooner or later reach first place and stay there for as long as anyone who remembers this list is around to remember it.

And there you have it: in all likelihood, the second-most conclusive answer to this recurring question that I will ever write. I look forward to updating it as soon as the location of the temple in Russia is announced (although depending on my GIS access, it might not look as fancy). Until then, I hope this has kept you informed and entertained!


Question #91151 posted on 04/15/2018 8:24 a.m.

Dear Frère Rubik,





Dear Vienna,

Kidding! I’m just kidding! 


That's right, folks: one of the Board's kindest, funniest, most loving and compassionate writers has decided to marry probably the Board's most Rubik-iest writer. 

How on earth did I get to be so lucky, you ask? It's simple, really: I successfully defeated Chris Pratt in a taco-eating contest on top of the Empire State Building. Why she had us hold the contest there, I don't know (it was very cold and windy and the cilantro kept flying off of my tacos), but we went along with it because she is totally worth it.

I don't want to overly gush, but Vienna is amazing. She is so amazingly kind and loving and supportive and funny and great. She feels special to me in a way that no one else has before. She makes me so much better.

Plus, I mean, she's really pretty, guys:


What did I tell you? Drop-dead gorgeous. And I get to be with her forever.

-Frère Lovestruck

P.S. The reason it took so long, Vienna, is because I got lost in your eyes every time I tried to draw a paper bag over them.

P.P.S. Ok so yeah technically the real reason it took so long is because this semester has been absolutely crazy with graduating and wedding planning and whatnot but I'm serious about those eyes of yours, chica. They are DREAMY.

Question #91100 posted on 03/31/2018 9:06 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I know you’re busy trying to get into the Room of Requirement, but I saw a picture in the library on one of the display monitors advertising laptop chargers as perk #126. What are the other 125+

Or if you can’t secure a list of those, what would you list as the top ten library perks?



Dear Rachmaninoff,

You came to the write place, because as a Board writer I'm definitely privy to that real information, and didn't just come up with a list off the top of my head. Here are the other 125 library perks:

  1. Great place for studying. 8/10 recommend
  2. (The other 2/10 get bad grades)
  3. Comfy chairs for napping
  4. Comfy couches for napping
  5. Snack zone
  6. Sometimes they give away free chocolate milk during our weird version of Oktoberfest
  7. Vending machines
  8. So many books!
  9. Including one that may be about making your own cocaine?
  10. JK I know it's not about drugs sorry if my joke offended you
  11. But also so many cute teeny books!
  12. Lots of tables
  13. Some of which have outlets!
  14. You can meet your soulmate in periodicals
  15. Or anywhere else in the library, I guess
  16. Family study area
  17. Moving bookcases because BYU is Hogwarts
  18. The special collections
  19. (Which, if you haven't checked out, you definitely should, because they have some cool stuff)
  20. Like, they have engraved clay tablets from the Roman Empire
  21. And original illuminated manuscripts written on vellum by monks
  22. Reservable study rooms
  23. (If only the girls next to me having a loud study session in a quiet section of the library realized this)
  24. (Hopefully they read the Board and will see this and know that in the future they should definitely just reserve a study room)
  25. (#PassiveAggressive)
  26. Lots of available computers
  27. The multimedia lab, for all your multimedia desires
  28. You can check out cool movies
  29. You can also use some of their rooms to watch said cool movies
  30. The music area (where I am currently writing this)
  31. A production studio for recording videos or taking photos
  32. (With lighting, backgrounds, and cameras!)
  33. You can check out laptops
  34. And also iPads
  35. And also cameras
  36. (Photo cameras AND video cameras)
  37. And even GoPros!
  38. It provides employment to a lot of BYU students
  39. And the employees are all so nice
  40. Convenient printers
  41. And color printers!
  42. Also there are organs
  43. (Musical ones, not human ones)
  44. (Except for the human ones inside the humans who frequent the library)
  45. It's probably definitely haunted!
  46. Lots of family history stuff
  47. The giant globe on the 2nd floor
  48. Also the skeletons on the 2nd floor
  49. No Shh zones
  50. There are a lot of bathrooms here, so I suppose that's pretty useful
  51. Fast waterbottle filling stations
  52. And also some very slow ones
  53. Interlibrary loan, which gets you access to basically any book in any library in the nation
  54. It gives you access to cool databases like ebsco and JSTOR
  55. Also you can get a RefWorks account through them
  56. There's a big cool auditorium for lectures and conferences
  57. It doesn't leak, so you can stay dry during rain or snow storms
  58. Also it has AC for hot summer months
  59. It has fridges in certain areas for certain employees
  60. Self check-out stations to expedite your checking-out process
  61. The American Heritage review room is located there
  62. Vending machines that have school supplies
  63. And also chapstick
  64. (Basically, library vending machines are like a little mini-store in their own right)
  65. Conference rooms for people who must convene in conferences
  66. The cool mural on the 4th floor
  67. It has stairs, which is helpful for people who need to get from one floor to another
  68. It also has elevators, which is helpful for people who can't take the stairs
  69. Periodicals has a cozy fireplace area surrounded by couches
  70. It has some classrooms
  71. (Which means fewer classes being held in the MARB, something we should all be grateful for)
  72. Some of the women's restrooms also include nursing mother areas
  73. A lot of it is underground, which is pretty cool
  74. (HA, literally, because underground is cooler than above-ground in terms of temperature)
  75. (Well, I guess underground is just more insulated, so it could be cooler or warmer than above-ground, depending on the outside temperature)
  76. There are a lot of doors, so you're more likely to be protected in case of a velociraptor attack
  77. (Because if we learned anything from Jurassic Park, it's that velociraptors can definitely open doors, but hopefully having lots of doors would at least slow them down)
  78. The big glass ceiling/walls at the north entrance allow you to see what the weather outside is like
  79. Once I heard a rumor that it's the most highly insured building the Church owns, because of all its rare books and collections
  80. Little study carrels that line the walls on pretty much every floor except the 3rd
  81. Those carrels even have little personal whiteboards!
  82. Book detectors by the entrances/exits, so you can't steal their books
  83. (Bad news for book thieves, good news for future generations of students)
  84. Lots of outlets to charge your computer
  85. And I guess also your phone
  86. Art on lots of the walls
  87. Lots of fire extinguishers, in case of fires
  88. One time I was at the library and they were giving away cake
  89. There are 3D printers students can use!
  90. They have virtual reality equipment
  91. (And it's really cool and all of you should try it)
  92. You can check out hollow books
  93. The 1st floor has an auditorium that always has different art displays up
  94. There are weird but cool statues on the 2nd floor near periodicals
  95. There's a 3D scale model of BYU campus in 2005 on the 1st floor
  96. All the floors have little display cases by the south-end staircases
  97. The north-end staircase going from the 3rd floor to the 4th has grooves in it from so many generations of BYU students walking on it
  98. (Which is actually very poetic)
  99. (At least according to poets who write about mundane things like staircases)
  100. The University Accessibility Lab
  101. The Research and Writing Center
  102. Lots of recycling bins
  103. They're starting to put up more paintings of women, and I'm all about that women's representation
  104. The basement doesn't have cell service
  105. (Which could be good if you're trying to focus but get distracted by your phone a lot)
  106. "The largest repository of materials related to the viola in the world"
  107. The cool secret-ish study space near the viola archive
  108. The Asian section is pretty cool
  109. Also they have some old antique tables around that area, too
  110. They have hole punchers for students to use
  111. And also staplers
  112. They have scanners
  113. And even a fax machine!
  114. They have longer hours during finals week
  115. It's where freshman mentors meet with their mentees
  116. You can browse music scores on their website
  117. They turn on music to kick people out at night, so at least it's a fun way of kicking people out
  118. Some of the tables have little plaques on the sides next to the outlets discouraging the theft of chargers
  119. Brightly colored accent walls next to the staircases
  120. You can do an audio tour of the library
  121. You can stream media through BYUgle
  122. An AV dubbing rack to change VHS to DVD
  123. A reserveable sound booth
  124. They have a photo archive of their whiteboard quotes
  125. They have a vast documentary collection

And that, of course, brings up to perk #126, laptop chargers.

There's definitely more perks of the library, but in the interest of doing something else with my life instead of thinking about the HBLL at all times, I'll let you discover those on your own.


Question #90985 posted on 03/06/2018 11:16 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Books printed in the 1960s smell good, like really good. Why is that?



Dear Sniffler,

Do you want to know about SCIENCE??

Books are primarily made of paper, which is made of wood. Two of the main molecules in the cell walls of plants are cellulose and lignin. Here are some fun diagrams of the molecules.



You'll see that they're both long chains of mostly circular molecules. Circular molecules are aromatic, and they're called aromatic because most of the first aromatic molecules smelled good. That's not a general rule for aromatic compounds, but lucky for us a lot of the by-products of the breakdown of cellulose and lignin smell nice. Here are some of the by-products of the breakdown of cellulose and lignin:

 - Toluene

Toluene has a strong aromatic odor that most people find pleasant. It smells vaguely like gasoline.

 - Vanillin

You'll recognize this one as the functional molecule in vanilla. This is why old books smell kind of like vanilla.

 - 2-ethyl hexanol

2-ethyl hexanol is a compound that is found in a lot of natural plant fragrances, specifically fruits, like plums.

 - Ethyl Benzene

Ethyl benzene smells like gasoline as well, and has a sweet odor. It's used in tars and ink.

 - Benzaldehyde

Benzaldehyde is used in imitation almond extract, and has a sweet almond-like odor.

 - Furfural

Furfural also is a sweet, almond-smelling compound, and can also be used to calculate how old a book is!

So that's the chemical reason that old books have that slightly fruity, nutty vanilla smell! The older they are, the more they've got that smell. Books from the 1960's have been breaking down for like 60 years!

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave

Question #90973 posted on 04/08/2018 6:42 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Can you all write answers/tell stories while impersonating another writer? This would make my week.



Dear friend,

Well, you didn't really ask for this, but I decided to do a predictive text answer based on the answers from each individual writer. Enjoy! (I've included some of our recently departed writers as well.)


Dear politicians,

The Cossack of the church can help serve a lot throughout the course of history. Virtually every country in the world crumbled into pieces of polygamy. Certainly, American opposition to the persecution of various protestant sects were killed by the government. The Korean majority of northerners were looking for a candidate who would be more uncomfortable with a god who allows for some trial and error. Despite his imperfections on the spot of the church he presided over recreational activities of the church. However, eventually I realized that I could figure out what the common factors were if you don't think of the church today. They didn't change the testimony of them.  I toootally feel you and they demonstrated suspicious sweatpants.



Dear Nancy of the unwritten horcruxes,

It definitely wouldn't revert back to different numbers represented lovingly by the reader. However esoteric people may be, I can just use my ~30 lb backpack as a bludgeon. So, while I thank you for the interesting read, I was extremely weak stomach and have actually fainted. Will you have 1.265x10 pictures of badly drawn squares? I don't even care. The point is, you can major in business, but I promise I am working on it. I especially like depressed shrubs creeping on the ground but never went through the veil of a dust mote. Negligible disclaimer here, the survivors will be highly incentivized to stop right now. Please don't significantly forward google results turned up 8 rows in the terrestrial room was seated with more people than the second row in the terrestrial room. never specify.



Dear you,

So, here's two more seconds of catchy game music and then the mountains on the west of the valley. The tunnel worms found the nearly tough fight between semesters and drums. You certainly would ensue you have it is very dark inside the earth and come out on the other side. The document singer clop range music with the opera woman is coming back. She's superhuman. I merely hope that father shall be so excited to learn that his theory is correct. It's never certain that you enjoy enough songs. Never enough. Yog begins making judgement calls, and we must hurry. We have dug as fast as we can but it's not something you'd specifically see. If Edward could somehow bring this fight to the water, then the mountains would probably have been graciously translated.

~Anne, Certainly


Dear bakerer's apprentice,

The aforementioned putrid enlightening Quora article does mention hot liquid sugars as an edible liquid. Anathema pointed out liquid nitrogen as a possibility but noted a google search showed there was controversy about safety risks. There's not enough food for this discussion 'cause their concentration as an ingredient never would work. Occasionally borrowing evasive moves from the quickstep when the disturbance occurred to the Marriott floor. He nodded appreciatively, but frankly I don't know how anyone could really substantiate that claim. Honey from bees and the body metabolizes the stuff I like best. He rumba his job. He topped his pilfered prize. successful recovery! It's fortunate the police showed up when they did so long beyond the 100 hours. thrilled to have our dragons back.


--Ardilla Feroz


Benedict of the friendship status,

I think maybe not worth it because who cares really? Babalugats hates change and always chooses the passive confidence. Babalugats would be Babalugates or something, I don't already read it. Whether plants experience things is important, and vulnerability can be explored in collaboration with the opposite party. The active participant reported feelings of relief come to understand the connection you should approach the conversation with respect. respect is the bit soft of the eggs. You can be that kind of wisdom every year, and disease production without snowfall? Not quite embarrassing enough. Lightning should be fine to understand the connection between moisture and wildfire. Please maybe date your life depends on what scholarship you get. you can be traced. Never mentally worth it.



Dear individuals,

Have any questions regarding any parts of this conveniently livable planet been assured? I mean, you stand to lose if you leave in peace on earth. The rarity produced throughout the week would help your body to metabolize the cake better than if you ignored prior cry. Monopoly on truth will resonate with our brains to be able to do anything good. If that's not a very expressive individual, then hopefully wrap it all up, because instead the spirit moves I have literally zero desire to do this. Always assume that if I bring something like the Aquabats, then hopefully I would rate each water bottle filler on any of 11 floors to fill my water bottle. Sometimes it just makes me more able to focus. But that's just a few moments of my existence.


~Dr. Occam


Dear fragrant James,

Now, slide dollars, and I am inferring to be really fancy metals. This is further reinforcement that many of the events that people tend to think apply to our day are actually talking about laundry. This miserable mood is a tranquil spring afternoon dance. One whiff of this complex fragrance and you can see the blues. see lectures, see feelings. They didn't really understand any of the different sweats encountered freshman year, such as: the scent that says, " well worth it ", the thermal conductivity of any pure metal, and instantly you'll be transported back to your days of ice blocking. They didn't really follow that order at all of the roman currency, which is kind of what I figured might happen. You didn't ever bottle up the epic and then lift up the side. I was going to take over our government, but the oldest version of the Hebrew torah should put in one last disclaimer. I was actually a vacuum.

-Frere Rubik


Dear clone,

Board question # 34094 squirrel pending technically came in the conservatory. It's probably significantly magic not entirely sure of the board's entropy. 12 board words ordered by the webmasters made major progress toward updating the future. lies sponsors domain number blownapart 20th board anniversary. Board 6.0 will significantly end the audience of the repeated meme board. I personally do have a point, the webmasters made major board questions.  When this question whisperer Sam was fine print, he got stuff to work. Some more progress toward updating the board is incredibly subjective and Sauron is going to die. 

--django fett


Dear yosef,

The social stigma of my major and psyche after all of the world literally had stopped says here's a little hat. But instead we just started using symbolism like the pro floor tradition orthodoxy. 06 things can happen without using words to do a survey for religious message collections. I was tired around 1891 minutes so long test seeds who can magnify thought attitudes. Acceptable thing grief check will cause something within you and bring you rage siblings to be more wonderful. The board generally just wanted to drop something like " mom is now that capture ". It's not attractive that I can keep going back to tithing in the sense that there are some beds in a fixed mindset. I was tired, and I didn't want to risk letting tarot cards be able to maintain their strange form. Not that I was going to stop worrying about what happened when I was still learning more about this practice. 

Take care,

-Auto Surf


Dear nameless of doom,

I officially decided to do it 4 weeks ago, and the means by which he came to them a few months ago is wrong. It's highly unlikely he would say " that was a girl from the tropics ", but more seriously contemplating getting a PhD in eternity hereafter. My roommate didn't take that test, or amorous relationships seriously. Do we not practice polygamy today? No, and about doing baptisms. If you explain what you can improve to be barber words, no choice in high school helped me. Thighs smaller than one man implies that a woman is the glory of the Pythagorean theorem. And you might even feel more comfortable telling them what you can improve in yourself or do to serve your laptop. students should avoid dating website to use it on walks and the temple grounds. That is entirely certain.

-guppy of doom


Dear fossilized typewriter,

I really do, you want high swear words? What recording label created the music you have to start worrying about this. The doctor descended deeper into a human clone of the doctor that got stuck in that alternate dimension with rose Tyler. For more information about the headphones you're looking at, there's a lot of good said thing people at the internet. So, if you ever compromise those standards, there's a little different perspectives besides elder Uchtdorf. There's some isolation between the first dimension and the pearl quorum. If somewhat boring with plenty of haiku blessings seems excellent spatially? Just mentally mentally mentally mentally chaotic. Don't be afraid of the twelve after being taught out there are over the muscles in his tongue. The majority of measurements of different perspectives are sealed headphones.



Dear charlotte in the car,

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Dear seeker of salt,

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Dear attractive caves,

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Dear friend,

I totally get where you fit in the lord’s permit. The eclipse began particularly eloquent considering some of the things I didn't simply know.  I'm pretty sneaky and they're not necessarily more attractive than I.  It's because of William Flake. Also, it takes place in France which is pretty restrictive for me to understand.  Why is this important you may ask, it's so many crazy medical estimates for English speakers in China?  But, Sherpa Dave is not currently accepting any applications for commercial diamond groups, so estimating around the building we would hand out medicine and eyeglasses.  Keep it real people. When his work is done, his administration functions provide care to more people who speak mandarin Chinese. henlo religion, because honestly trying to understand where they collect carbon dioxide is not something that specifically trigger cravings.  It's certainly not the same values that are constantly important to understand. I often feel unpopular and different than someone who can communicate in English.  Literally this question reminds me of untalented people who are very different. Counselor 33 is located in Ghana.  Would whiplash for a paradoxically healthy person be kleptomaniacs? I don't think so.

Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave


Dear rey of the hill,

I don't know what timeline you expect going forward, but you hit a sensitive spot for some science this day. This helps me feel comfortable with my arms down, and I assume there are multiple artists creating the primary presidency. Did little guy in the world of the transcript text or email back? absolutely none of them sounded particularly jazzy, just like doctrine and covenants 121 says. I would just let him back in the newest movies only, you are at war with my arms. My dizziness went up again, and kingdom hearts 2.8 the music used during the broadcast are incomplete and cannot be updated. The story line of the rotation instead of being at the center of my axis is a good opportunity to do so because now the alumni will be having problems then the parent and member of the primary presidency specifically told us to let them know of any children that were referring to Dallas down a hill.



Dear perturbed Alibaba,

I believe this is a very common swamp for the job. We hugged her dad to admit that it is important to read, but I have told her that I think it is more comfortable that way. If it really bugs you, then do my shoes. Gordon b. Colony on mars is a very common feeling for all of us to prayerfully consider. Case the couch and then you are free game again. Needless to be a brag party, but I have told bighands and bigfingers respectively that you are your own grandmother. You just swallow it down and smile. The lizard people found out that our quarterbacks struggled untied shoelaces and I recognized that this confusion by Budweiser is a very common explanation for all of us to make the hottest chili on the planet. Have a new slogan like " band of brothers " and rise and roar. It'll be a good relationship in the long term.

-Sunday Night Banter


Dear rhubarb for carbs,

I had hoped to delay my hypothesis by measuring the absorbance spectra of those feelings about lego.com. If you are present somewhere in Provo, then taxation is theft. My dad gave up trying to manage each beverage individually and combined unique minutes because they were awkward. It's normal enough to deal blood cream at least until alumni week or even if you're more practical, until they have been broken. I can only hope that it primarily shines more of a straight interview. If you're on dates, they say they recommend marriage, but I got scholarships when I was going to do some real thing. So, what's the government actually sensitive for? Forcing people to do things and anything not crazy like butter. When I’m not true at each one isn't significantly nutritionally different from river dance theaters.

-The Entomophagist


Dear fellow nerf slave,

I also agree with choosing whether or not to return your motivations. The consensus was that it is normal to enjoy your style for the better friends until my cousin realized you mean you are enough. You can always improve a lot of barbecue with some board writers and this is for good reasons. You choose to make it worth your time by the church does not officially enforce a couple of levels and I feel that god is prompting you to go back to a creepy little man. It's properly summed up by a lot of ways and I feel you need to do it with straw as a ruse to kidnap maximum employment. Cheers do not have access to work worldwide. However, because she liked him a lot she should have encouraged church members to join with her to eat something. So, don't be a full failure associated with choosing tithing intervention. Just teach painful perspectives.

The Lone Musketeer


Dear wonderer,

I just don't think of anything to start to become the person god intended us to become. The thing about kissing family friends is that no matter how much you want to avoid them afterwards, you need to know everything frantically. You might avoid embarrassment by trying to do things by yourself but there are subtle differences between zombies or raptors. Combining all the strengths of both zombies and raptors are significantly harder to avoid than anyone. Byu football is awesome too, and I have asked 88 questions despite having kissed miss leinster. You don't have a lot championship clockwise minor dating equivalent. There are 10 things you need to know about everything to be good enough to repel them once you wish a long way. I happen to have tried the specific dance of learning for Disney princess. There you have it, but you don't need homework to make battle against the land of Clyde.




Dear certain monster podcast,

I mean, this corner of the Americas hasn't morally offered members anything. But alas, my thoughts about the Magyars in comparison to the nineteenth spectrum of emotion are pretty gruesome. understanding lgbt policies that can help your question but then frère made me remember that being around campus is not right. Nobody's good at byu. Even taking the initiative and emotional charge together, I think it depends on the circumstances and menu online to read its message of the church. That being said to be yourself about what kind of stress you have got yourself a meal. You want to see if audiobooks hold your partner's weaknesses and attack and just want them to be happy products. Also, you sound southern, and I think that if you want a little bit about Confucianism, I technically am a difficult enough person who doesn't just have a lot of answers.

-Van Goff


Dear you,

I don't really like this statistic of the philosophies of colonialism, the main goal was typically to extract the tea into the swkt and then forget about it. This map shows every part of the wilk in Greek symphonies. I am fluent in the private information of Provo, but it does mention that when you don't really address your late gas you have caused a hard impact. It's better to be single than to be a curator for a national museum. Honestly, and disseminated that throughout the world and it's just so perpetuating. We can tell the same story of the fathers of the fathers, but it does corroborate the editors would say about half of my mission companions are dealbreakers. They chopped the lids off the harbor and it's just never within someone's control. It makes sense when you're dealing with a limited-edition version of the original place.



Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave (with significant help from Tipperary)

Question #90969 posted on 03/25/2018 10 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How many tri-state areas are there in the United States? Which one would you want to conquer entirely?


Dear... you,
Why are you so excited about conquering tri-state areas? Well, who am I to question this, I've come up with an absolutely objective scoring system to determine which of these tri-state areas is the best, and thus, most conquerable. There are 13 defined tri-state areas that have a shared metropolitan area, and there are 62 places where three and only three states meet. (28 of those are in water.)
These are my categories:
Estimated GDP
Influence, political and otherwise
Does it look nice
With bonus categories like
Does the area include Illinois? (-5 points)
Does the area have a special name so I don't have to make up a new one when I conquer it? (+10 points)
Is Ike Samuels, the 1895 third baseman for the Saint Louis Browns from this area? (+20 points)
Does this area make a mockery of pizza? (-15 points)
How many Chick-fil-A restaurants does this area have? (+.1 points per restaurant)
Does this area claim to have the world's shortest and steepest funicular railroad? (-5 points)
  • The New York metropolitan area (NY, NJ, CT)
Population: 24 million people, 100 points
Estimated GDP: $1.74 trillion, 100 points
Area: 13,318 sq mi, 100 points
Food: Bagels and lox? Pastrami on rye? NY style pizza? Cheesecake? Lobster roll? Eggs Benedict? New York food is perfect, I don't make the rules, 100 points
Culture: Broadway? The Met? Jazz? That's pretty good, 85 points
Influence, political and otherwise: Wall Street? Silicon Alley? Not bad NY, 78 points
Does it look nice: It's pretty nice, good skyline, 53 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: +2.5 points
TOTAL: 618.5 points
  • The Delaware Valley region (PA, NJ, DE)
Population: 7 million, 29.2 points
Estimated GDP: $434 billion, 25 points
Area: 5,118 sq mi, 38.4 points
Food: Philly cheesesteak? Soft pretzels? Italian ice? That's pretty good folks, 80 points
Culture: Quakers? Mostly food? It's not so bad, 70 points
Influence, political and otherwise: I mean, it's a pretty big city, 50 points
Does it look nice: Heck yeah, 100 points
Mockery of Pizza Bonus: -15 points (Have you SEEN Philly pizza)
Special Name Bonus: +10 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: +8.5 points
TOTAL: 396.1 points
  • The Cincinnati (OH, KY, IN)
Population: 2.1 million, 8.8 points
Estimated GDP: $127 billion, 7.3 points
Area: 4,808 sq mi, 36.1 points
Food: Cincinnati chili? Nothing else? 10 points
Culture: Some pretty darn good zoos and museums? 80 points
Influence, political and otherwise: It's not lookin' great for the Cinc, 40 points
Does it look nice: DEFINITELY, 100 points
Special Name Bonus: +10 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: +2.5 points
TOTAL: 294.7 points
  • The Pittsburgh tri-state area (PA, OH, WV)
Population: 2.6 million, 10.8 points
Estimated GDP: $139 billion, 8 points
Area: 11,751 sq mi, 88.2 points
Food: Kielbasa? Pierogi? Golabki? Polish food in general? 100 points
Culture: Polish people? The Andy Warhol Museum? Jazz? 100 points
Influence, political and otherwise: Pittsburgh? 20 points
Does it look nice: Sure, 80 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: +2 points
TOTAL: 409 points
  • The Chicago tri-state area (IL, IN, WI)
Population: 10 million, 41.7 points
Estimated GDP: $670 billion, 38.6 points
Area: 10,874 sq mi, 81.6 points
Food: Italian beef? Deep dish pizza? Chicago style hot dogs? Not bad Chicago, 81 points
Culture: Architecture? Music? Museums? Chicago's got 'em, 84 points
Influence, political and otherwise: Chicago is pretty darn influential, 75 points
Does it look nice: THE BEAN, 100 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: +3.5 points
Mockery of Pizza Bonus: -15 points
Includes Illinois: -5 points
Special Name Bonus (Chicagoland): +10 points
TOTAL: 495.4
  • The Greater Memphis area (TN, MS, AR)
Population: 1.3 million, 5.4 points
Estimated GDP: $71 billion, 4.1 points
Area: 3,013 sq mi, 22.6 points
Food: BBQ that is all, 100 points
Culture: Memphis Zoo? Blues? Gospel? 95 points
Influence, political and otherwise: Not bad area strategically, 70 points
Does it look nice: Oh yeah, 91 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: +2 points
TOTAL: 390.1 points
  • The Dubuque tri-state area (IA, IL, WI)
Population: .19 million, .8 points
Estimated GDP: $5.5 billion, .3 points
Area: 3,070 sq mi, 23 points
Food: At least they don't make a mockery of pizza, 30 points
Culture: There are six parks, 8 points
Influence, political and otherwise: honestly zero points
Does it look nice: It's the Midwest baby, 80 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: .1 point
Includes Illinois: -5 points
Funicular Railroad Bonus: -5 points
TOTAL: 133.1 points
  • The Chattanooga tri-state area (TN, AL, GA)
Population: .53 million, 2.2 points
Estimated GDP: $25 billion, 1.4 points
Area: 2,137 sq mi, 16 points
Food: Apparently really good coffee? 60 points
Culture: "Chattanooga Choo Choo" by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, 100 points
Influence, political and otherwise: The city has it's own custom typeface, 100 points
Does it look nice: You better believe it, 87 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: +2.5 points
TOTAL: 369.1 points
  • The D.C. tri-state area (MD, VA, WV)
Population: 6.1 million, 25.4 points
Estimated GDP: $491 billion, 28.3 points
Area: 5,564 sq mi, 41.8 points
Food: Tons of different influences but no signature dishes, 70 points
Culture: Smithsonian? A billion museums? The Washington Monument? It's all there, 100 points
Influence, political and otherwise: D.C.? That's the capital kids, 100 points
Does it look nice: You bet it does, 94 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: +13 points
Special Name Bonus (DMV): +10 points
TOTAL: 482.7 points
  • The Joplin District (OK, KS, MS)
Population: .2 million, .8 points
Estimated GDP: $7 billion, .4 points
Area: 1,753 sq mi, 13.2 points
Food: ?? 
Culture: ??
Influence, political and otherwise: Control of zinc mining, 10 points
Does it look nice: You talkin' about the Show Me State? 86 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: +.2 points
TOTAL: 110.6 points
  • The Quincy tri-state area (MO, IA, IL)
Population: .1 million, .4 points
Estimated GDP: $1 billion, .1 points
Area: 2,000 sq mi, 15 points
Food: Midwest food is not that great, I should know, 10 points
Culture: Midwest? Culture? 4 points
Influence, political and otherwise: Not looking good buddy, 5 points
Does it look nice: I mean, the Midwest is beautiful, there's no debating that one, 70 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: -100 points (ZERO CHICK-FIL-A'S)
Includes Illinois: -5 points
Ike Samuels Bonus: +20 points
TOTAL: 19.5 points
  • The Evansville tri-state area (IL, IA, KY)
Population: .9 million, 3.8 points
Estimated GDP: $17 billion, 1 point
Area: 2,367 sq mi, 17.8 points
Food: They have the oldest restaurant in Indiana, 60 points
Culture: A good zoo? The Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra? 67 points
Influence, political and otherwise: Southern Indiana isn't exactly the seat of influence in the US, 20 points
Does it look nice: We've spoken about the Midwest, 89 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: +.4 points
Includes Illinois: -5 points
TOTAL: 254 points
  • The Huntington tri-state area (KY, OH, WV)
Population: .36 million, 1.5 points
Estimated GDP: $14 billion, .8 points
Area: 2,160 sq mi, 16.2 points
Food: I've heard they have some good German food, 68 points
Culture: The Huntington Museum of Radio and Technology?? 96 points
Influence, political and otherwise: 6 points
Does it look nice: The Ohio River, 76 points
Chick-fil-A Bonus: +.6 points
Special Name Bonus (Kyova): +10 points
TOTAL: 275.1 points
So there you have it. The New York metropolitan area is objectively the best tri-state area out there. Go ahead and conquer that one.
Keep it real,
Sherpa Dave
Question #90944 posted on 04/02/2018 4:30 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Could kidney stones be considered a sedimentary rock?

-Oscar E. Meinzer


Dear The Grouch,

Oscar E. Meinzer asked all of us
a question, which, answer we often must
but you must know this fact
we just can't be exact
for we are not nephrogeologists

 - The Earl of Limerick

Question #90925 posted on 02/04/2018 11:56 p.m.

Dear Entomophagist,

It's time for you to leave, sir.

-The Entomophagist


Dear Clone,

And so it is.

I had hoped to delay my retirement until I officially graduated, had been a writer for two full years, and/or had reached some arbitrary answer count milestone, but it's just too much for me now. It has been a long while since I've been able to fulfill this responsibility to my satisfaction. In the eloquent words of Bilbo Baggins, "I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread."

To my now former colleagues in the writership, it was a pleasure to know you. I can only hope to have added as much to your lives as each of you have added to mine. Maybe we can see each other again sometime when I'm back in Provo.

To you readers, thank you for your questions. My wish is that I could have been a net benefit to you as a writer, even though I'm sure I ruffled some feathers along the way.

I don't have a ring of power to blame for my problems, or any elf buddies that I can crash with until I feel better, but it's still time to say goodbye. That is, at least until Alumni Week.

Take care of yourselves,

-The Entomophagist

Question #90917 posted on 02/06/2018 1:32 a.m.

Dear Purveyor of Sound Kirito,

I'm in the market for some professional-grade over-the-ear headphones to edit sound in video programs like Adobe Premiere; I also plan on using them for mundane things like listening to music. Noise-cancelling seems like a nice feature, though I'll confess I have little idea of how or why that works. Cordlessness isn't a big deal—I don't really want to pay for batteries.

Do you have any recommendations or suggestions of how to select a good pair of headphones? What would your optimal headphones be? Is there a set of headphones that is a good balance of price and performance (perhaps to take on journeys where headphone damage is a risk)? Is there any other equipment I should acquire—sound cards, maybe, not really sure—to better facilitate pristine audio?

Thanks for your expertise,

--Ardilla Feroz

P.S. I've done a cursory Google search and found the following recommended list of 2018 headphones but basically all of them sound good to me. Also, if you're busy don't worry too much about this question.


Dear Ardilla Feroz,

Thanks for asking! I really enjoy headphones as a hobby, mostly for listening to music. I've done a lot of research over the years, and hopefully I can help!

First off, it's important to mention that price alone does little to indicate the sound quality of a headphone. At a given budget, there's a huge range of sound quality. Some headphones are inflated in price by name recognition. Some headphones have fatal flaws in their sound signatures. The fun part is finding the headphone that's the best sound for your budget, and that matches your personal taste in tonality.

The website I trust most for recommendations is innerfidelity.com. It's run by Tyll Hertsens, who has become one of the most well-known and respected headphone reviewers out there. And he's heard EVERYTHING. The reviews on there are focused on the sound quality and are very enlightening. He's careful to combine his listening impressions with actual measurements of the headphones, and the website features a huge database of measurements of different headphones, which can be very useful in seeing how a particular model will perform. I definitely recommend looking at his Wall of Fame pages, where his top headphones for each category and price point are listed with links to the full reviews.

The most important feature of a headphone is its frequency response, or how loud the headphone plays each frequency. Ideally, you'd want the sound to be perfectly flat (same volume) all the way down to 20 Hz and all the way up to 20 kHz. High-end floor-standing speakers achieve this pretty well, but it's way more complicated when you're trying to do it with a tiny driver on your ear. Additionally, a perfectly flat frequency response on a headphone sounds different than a flat response on speakers because the way the sound bounces off our face changes the sound. We're used to that, and so headphones have to tune their response to compensate. That's all really hard to get right in a tiny device, which is why so many headphones fall short. Additionally, there's personal tastes to take into consideration.  One reason I really like Tyll's reviews is that he has very neutral tastes. He wants music to sound natural, which only happens when the frequency response is tuned just right. And when that's there, the magic starts to happen.

Before picking a model, it's important to decide what kind of headphone you want. For pure sound quality, the best headphones out there are over-ear and open-back. The majority of headphones are sealed, meaning that the frame surrounding the drivers is airtight. This creates an air pocket behind the drivers that can make some weird resonances, creating an uneven frequency response. On the other hand, open-back headphones are vented behind the driver. This has several effects. One, it's possible to have a much smoother frequency response, creating a much more natural sound. Two, open-back headphones often make it feel like the sound is coming from outside your head rather than inside. In a good recording, you can hear the sound all around you and even pinpoint where the different instruments are. A good open-back headphone turns music-listening from "mundane" to an immersive and transcendent experience. Classical music is where they shine, but it improves the experience for pretty much any genre.

Now, there's some things to consider about open-back headphones. Since they're open-back, there's almost zero sound isolation. You will hear everything around you, and everyone around you will hear what you're listening to. So it's not ideal if you're around people or in noisy environments. For those situations I would recommend a good pair of sealed headphones, or some in-ears with isolating memory-foam tips. Check Tyll's Wall of Fame for recommendations there. Noise cancelling can give you even more isolation, but it raises the price and can sometimes make the music sound a little weird.

Right now I own the HiFiMAN HE400S, which is a $300 open-back headphone. I really, really enjoy it. When I switched from the similarly-priced Philips X2, it sounded like a synthetic curtain was lifted out of the way. Suddenly I was hearing real sound, in a presentation that is both exciting and pleasant. It injects a lot of life into the music, which is on the other side of the spectrum from the Sennheiser HD650. The HD650 is another excellent neutral headphone, but it's a lot more "transparent" in that it presents the music without trying to add any excitement of its own. Personally, I prefer the HE400S, and since the treble is light it keeps the excitement from being fatiguing.

The sound of the HE400S is excellent for $300, but my ideal headphone would have a little more clarity without losing the pleasant character, and a little more bass. I wondered if that headphone existed, until I heard the Focal Clear over Christmas break. At only $1500, it's the first headphone below $4000 to be practically perfect in every way. I would love to own that headphone. But, I also really enjoy what I already have, and I think my money would be better spent on a nice speaker and subwoofer setup once I actually have my own place.

For in-ears, I have the Philips S2 ($120), which is fantastic for listening to music at work and on the way to school. The memory-foam tips block as much sound as earplugs, so the isolation is great. They're nice enough that I don't mind the sound quality, but they're cheap enough I can throw them in my backpack and not be too afraid of the day they eventually fail, as all earbuds do. Mine have lasted a year and a half so far, which is great. I keep thinking about the Shure SE 535 ($500), but I don't think I would be comfortable carrying around that much breakable money.

Everyone has different ears. Not just mentally, but physically different ears. That impacts what we hear. Since headphones are so subjective, it's helpful to read a lot of reviews and see what people are describing. But to really understand what they mean when they say "clarity" or "transparent" or "neutral" is to start listening to headphones yourself, and to find what you like. That can be hard to do since the showrooms are all closing down, and the business is moving to the internet. So if you ever get an opportunity to listen to something, take it. And Amazon Prime is great because you can order something and then return it, just to hear how it sounds.

You also asked about other equipment, and you're absolutely right. The sound card in your headphone jack that costed a few cents to make is not going to create a signal that will do high-quality headphones justice. Luckily, there's a pretty big market for this. You need both a DAC (to convert the digital signal into analog audio) and an amp (to give that signal enough power to drive your headphones well). Often these come as a packaged combination. The Fulla 2 ($100) sounds great, and is probably the cheapest you can go and get a significant improvement over your phone or laptop. I have one in my office at work. At home I have a Massdrop O2+SDAC ($150).

I know this is a lot to take in. It's quite an involved hobby. But once again I'll point you to the Wall of Fame on innerfidelity.com as a starting point.

With a lot of this, you have to hear it to believe it. Maybe what I'm saying about headphones sounds like snake oils and mumbo jumbo. It really can create a magical experience though. An excellent setup can transform music from mundane to something a little more like this: (source)


Best of luck! Email me if you have any questions!


Question #90910 posted on 02/01/2018 2:47 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What do I need to make sure I do/don't do in order to keep my mac in A+ condition for as long as possible?

new computer


Dear newbie,

There's some boring articles out there that have some run-of-the-mill advice to keep your mac in tip top condition. But did you really come to the illustrious 100 Hour Board to get such tedious and common advice? Of course not! So here's the real deal if you want to keep your mac in a condition unlike your grades:

DON'T throw it against a wall. You may assume your laptop is as capable and durable as a book. This may shock you, but it's not. 

DON'T feed it chocolate, which is poisonous to computers.

DON'T light it on fire. Like books, fire is also super effective against laptops. Alternatively, you may consider finding the top student in your class and lighting their laptop on fire. Top students tend to wreck the curve, which means you won't get into that top master's program.

DON'T water it. And if you do end up watering it, don't plug it in when you do. However, if you want a new, electrifying hairdo, play with the cords while watering your laptop.

DO take it on walks. Though some studies have tried to prove that this doesn't actually help the laptop and is only a trick to get laptop users in the sun each day, I can assure you it's a lie. Taking walks is vital to the health of a laptop. 

DO talk to it lovingly each day. Remind it that your future depends on its little circuits. 

DO consult a therapist if your laptop ever experiences technical difficulties. Such problems are often signs that your relationship is failing, and a therapist can help you better understand each other and make needed adjustments. 

With these tips, hopefully your mac is able to stay in tip top condition! And never forget, if your laptop does unexpectedly die, you may need to take out a huge student loan to buy a new one, take a boring desk job you hate to pay for those student loans, live an unmotivated life due to your depressing job, and die alone at your desk! So never forget to keep your mac in A+ condition!

-guppy of doom

Question #90891 posted on 01/28/2018 10:54 a.m.

Dear Luciana,

My husband and I are going to disneyworld for a Friday and Saturday in April. We trying to decide on 2 parks to visit, so we can save a little money by getting the one-park-per-day ticket instead of the park hopper. I have no idea what there is to do in the non-magic kingdom parks.

The Disney website is a bit overwhelming to me, so I thought I'd ask you if you could give me a quick summary of the parks and maybe a recommendation.

We've been to Disneyland, by we wouldn't mind going to magic kingdom. Our top priority is rides, and we'd probably skip the more little-kid-ish ones like Peter Pan or Small World. We haven't done any of the shows before and don't really care about meeting characters.

Any thoughts to which 2 parks will be the best for us?

-Conference in Orlando


Dear Conference Woman,

In your situation, I would probably recommend going to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom, but for your reference I'll discuss each park and its pros and cons.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom is the most iconic park at Walt Disney World, home to Cinderella castle and classic attractions like Dumbo and Pirates of the Caribbean. It is separated into six themed lands that house various attractions, entertainment, and eateries: Main Street U.S.A., Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Liberty Square, Frontierland, and Adventureland.

Pros: Magic Kingdom is the park with the most attractions, and since you specify that rides are most important to you, that's a big plus. It's also home to some of the most popular and well-known attractions, so if you have fond memories of riding the Jungle Cruise or Big Thunder Mountain in Disneyland, it can hold a lot of nostalgia. With so much to see and do, it's easy to spend a whole day in this one park.

Cons: Magic Kingdom does tend to be one of the more crowded parks, and it is home to a lot of rides geared towards smaller kids, like Peter Pan. A one-day ticket to MK is also slightly more expensive than a one-day ticket to the other parks.


Epcot was Walt Disney's brainchild, originally meant to be a futuristic city where cast members would live, or an "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow." While that vision didn't exactly work out, Epcot does have two major themed areas: Future World and the World Showcase. Future World is a bit of a misnomer, because I wouldn't necessarily call it futuristic anymore, but it's home to classic attractions like Spaceship Earth and Test Track. The World Showcase features 12 different pavilions celebrating the history and culture of various nations, from Mexico to Morocco.

Pros: Epcot is very unique, as theme parks go, as it has a slightly more educational bent than the other parks. Perusing the world showcase and exploring the wide variety of shops, dining, and entertainment is a truly incredible way to pass a day. There are also some really awesome rides, like Soarin' Around the World which offers stunning views of great architectural achievements. Epcot probably has the best food options of any of the 4 parks, because you can grab a French pastry for breakfast then jump over to China for lunch. Epcot also features some amazing shows and entertainment from performers throughout the World Showcase, from Japanese drummers to French mimes.

Cons: Epcot doesn't have a huge plethora of rides the way Magic Kingdom does. It's home to Soarin', the Seas with Nemo and Friends, Journey into Imagination, Spaceship Earth, Test Track, Mission: Space, Frozen Ever After, and the Gran Fiesta Tour. Some of those are amazing, and others I could easily recommend skipping (particularly Journey into Imagination and the Gran Fiesta Tour, unless you're a huge The Three Caballeros fan).


Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios is themed to the classic films and culture of Hollywood. While it is undergoing quite a bit of refurbishment right now, it's home to exciting attractions like Star Tours and The Tower of Terror.

Pros: Some of Disney's most thrilling rides can be found in Hollywood Studios, and there also some shows that are worth seeing. It's also home to my favorite attraction, Toy Story Midway Mania. They have super cool street performances from aspiring actors and actresses. HS also has my favorite nighttime spectacular, Fantasmic, featuring Mickey Mouse and his vivid imagination.

Cons: Hollywood Studios is currently receiving a bit of a facelift, with Toy Story land scheduled to open sometime this summer, and Galaxy's Edge (Star Wars) sometime next year. HS could really use those additions, because currently there are only 4 rides in the entire park: Toy Story Midway Mania, Star Tours, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, and the Tower of Terror. Those are all awesome rides, but unless you specifically want to see shows like Beauty and the Beast: Live on Stage or the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, it's hard to fill an entire day. To be clear, most of their shows are good and worth seeing, but if rides are your priority, Hollywood Studios might not be your cup of tea (or noncaffeinated beverage of your choice).

Animal Kingdom

Animal Kingdom is meant to bring us in closer contact with the world of animals than we could otherwise come. It's the newest of Disney's WDW theme parks, and home to the newest land as well (Pandora: World of Avatar). It's various themed lands are designed to ingratiate us with the animal world and allow us to experience animals of the past, present, and imagination. Animal Kingdom is also big into animal education and conservation, so if you're interested in learning about animals and how you can help protect them and their habitats, this is the park for you.

Pros: Animal Kingdom houses some truly incredible attractions, ones that I highly recommend nobody miss. Kilimanjaro Safari takes you through various ecosystems on an African safari, where you'll see real life animals like okapi and elephants. Because the animals are free to wander as they see fit (within reason, of course), every safari will be a unique experience, and you'll get different guides who share facts about the animals you see. Expedition Everest is my favorite roller coaster on Disney property. And one of the newest attractions, Avatar Flight of Passage, is by general consensus one of the most visually and technologically stunning rides ever. Animal Kingdom also has the best-rated show on Disney property, and for good reason. The Festival of the Lion King is incredible and moving and I adore it.

Cons: In terms of simple numbers, Animal Kingdom doesn't have the highest number of rides, coming in with a total of 8. However, shows like Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Musical are well worth your time, and it's easy to fill a whole day in this park.

So overall, for your specific purposes, I would recommend Animal Kingdom and Magic Kingdom. You definitely won't get to see everything Disney has to offer with only two days, but with some good planning you can see the most iconic park and the newest attractions.

I have a couple of pieces of general advice. First, you can book dining reservations now for a trip in April, so if there are any table service locations you're particularly interested in, find a reservation now, if you can. Secondly, if you're staying on Disney property, you can book Fastpasses 60 days in advance, starting at 7 a.m. EST. Rides like Space Mountain, Seven Dwarves Mine Train, and Avatar Flight of Passage tend to have very long wait times, and a Fastpass is almost a necessity, so book one as soon as you can. Like, at 7 a.m. EST 60 days before your arrival. Or 30 days before, if you aren't staying at a Disney resort.

I hope you have a magical vacation! If you have any more specific queries, feel free to ask another question, or you can always email me at luciana@theboard.byu.edu and I would be happy to help any way I can.