"Women can tell you how many degrees (Fahrenheit and Celsius, to say nothing of Kelvin) it was outside." -Optimistic. on first kisses
Question #87217 posted on 07/12/2016 12:18 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

In the movies, women are able to skillfully wrap their body -- covering the important parts -- with one single towel. I've always been perplexed by this because I was never able to get a towel to do that for me, and stay up on its own. It's like a magic trick to me. Can you give me step by step instructions on how to wrap my bod in a towel and be able to tuck it just right so that it doesn't slip down? If it is possible...

-Vogue Villain


Dear person,

Per your request, here are my step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Go to a store to purchase a towel.  Here is a list of stores in which you can buy towels.

  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Literally anywhere

Step 2: Purchase said towel.  Ensure that it is not a washcloth or hand towel, but a true, full-sized, body towel.

Step 3: Bathe yourself, so that your wet nature is in accordance with correct towel usage.


Using Andy as my model, because look at that glorious chest hair.

Step 4: In a towel-like fashion, wrap the towel around your body. 


There's only so much of a towel I can show online.

Step 5: Tuck the top, open flap of the towel into the top of the wrapped portion.


The final product.


His blocked face really says it all in this picture.

Step 6: Continue your life as normal.  Never put clothes on again.  Become Rita Ora.  Embrace life in a towel, for now it is all you will ever know.


Watch out for oil burns!


Andy, in his natural state: reading.


(Mind that you don't spread your legs too much.)


-April Ludgate

P.S: Shout-out to Andy for modeling.  You're going places, baby.

Question #87125 posted on 06/26/2016 10:18 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Has the length of board answers increased over time? It seems that whenever I click the "I'm Board!" button and hit an older answer, the length is much less than the answers I see today. I wonder if there's a mathematical trend...?



Dear Λrchetype,

Yes, indeed, the average length of Board responses has trended upward significantly.  Response length has increased from an average of ~750 characters in 2003 to ~1250 characters in 2016.  One influence would be that many of the early years would have had answers printed and posted on the physical board and this would have encouraged less verbose answers.

I tried to create a graph potting the number of characters in every Board response, but my spreadsheet really doesn't want to make that graph (over 140,000 rows is too much apparently) and I don't have time to to mess with more accommodating tools at the moment.  So instead, I took the average response length per day and plotted that.  But to make the plot useful I had to remove some outliers.  I removed any day where the average response length was greater than 5000 characters.  We had one writer, *ahem* Sheebs *ahem*, who made a mess out of the data by submitting a response with over 2.3 million characters in it.  My browser doesn't like loading that response either....

Anyway, on to the graph:


-Curious Physics Minor

Question #87059 posted on 06/21/2016 5:24 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I have a friend who hides from me and another friend. He sends us a picture whenever he gets to his hiding spot. Apparently it's somewhere on campus, we just can't figure out where. Maybe helpful things: he's a chemistry major, he plays volleyball, he likes pizza. Can you help us figure out where he's hiding? Picture: http://imgur.com/uOuFLH6.



Dear Spacer,

If there's anything that Board writers pride themselves on, it's knowing things that other people don't, especially when it comes to BYU. As soon as this question hit the inbox, I was sure that we'd get an answer for it within a few hours. Collectively, we've walked all over this dear campus, and some of us (*cough* *cough* Ardilla Feroz *cough*) have made a point to explore hidden nooks and crannies that sometimes are not accessible to the average student.

It was infuriating, then, when none of us could find it. 

For those too lazy to copy and paste that link, here is the picture in question:

imgur picture.jpg

I took a little walk around the athletic buildings on the day this question came in, suspecting it to be the Smith Field House or the Richards Building. TEN also took a walk, checking the Benson Building, the Nicholes Building, the Talmage Building, and the Eyring Science Center. Nada. I went home to Rubikland over the weekend, so I couldn't investigate further, but I watched as the placeholders and flagettes became a nearly incomprehensible soup of building acronyms: FB, CB, HFAC, BRWB, BYUB, CTB, ESC, HBLL, HFAC, JKB, JRCB, SNLB, TLRB, TMCB, WSC, TNRB, ITB, RB, MSRB, HGB, etc. TEN tried an analysis of buildings that offered student locker rental services, but to no avail. 

By Monday, I was back in Provo, and the spot still remained unfound. After work, I found myself with three hours of free time before FHE, and determined that I would take one final walk and discover this secret corridor once and for all (I also hoped to run into Vienna, who recently became the leader of a small tribe of pygmies that the locals call "EFY kids"). I printed out a map of campus and called for other writers to join my expedition; Luciana was the only one with enough free time/boredom to come help.

I started at the law building, working south through the ROTC, Snell, Brewster, and McDonald buildings. Luciana started by the McKay Building and swung around to check the Testing Center and the JSB and to re-check the Benson and the Nicholes Building. Nada. We met up at the LSB and determined to continue our quest together. We checked the Marb, then the Wilk, then the HFAC and the ASB. Nothing. Hot, sweaty, tired, and running out of time, we decided to make one last push into the athletic buildings before calling it quits at 7 (which is when my FHE started in the RB). We stopped by the FOB on our way, marveling at how thin it is in places. We checked out the Indoor Practice Field, which smelled wonky, and the Smith Field House, which smelled a different sort of wonky. The SFH gave us hope: the carpet was the right color, and in places the walls were made of white bricks which seemed to be the right thickness. Still, nothing. Our search brought us to the top of a set of stairs leading to a really sketchy-looking basement area; as desperate as we were, we decided not to go down.

Wearily, we trudged toward our final destination: the RB. We went upstairs and down, walking slowly, not talking much. We saw dark blue carpet, and we saw thin white brick (we often felt like real estate agents appraising homes), but not in the right combinations. When we reached the end of the last hallway, we sat down on some comfy chairs, feeling defeated. As a last resort (or a "Hail Katya," as TEN called it), we decided to post the picture to our respective ward Facebook pages and ask if anyone had seen a place like it. Admittedly, I wasn't too hopeful that this would work; if two Board writers couldn't find this spot, who could? Besides, the search had been pretty taxing, mentally. Several times we'd already ruled out a particular building, only to visit it when desperation convinced our weary brains that we might have seen the spot there before.

Within a few minutes, some of my ward members had commented on the picture, suggesting it was in the SFH. That had been what Luciana and I considered to be the most likely candidate, and I considered going back after FHE. 7:00 rolled around, Luciana went her way, and I played volleyball and Human Hungry-Hungry Hippos with the FHE fam. As we walked back to one of our houses to eat ice cream, I pulled out my phone and was surprised to find a few missed texts and even a missed call. They were all from another ward member who very emphatically stated that the other people who had posted on my picture were wrong and that he knew where the real secret spot was. As the night went on, a couple of other wardies commented on the picture and said that he was right. Feeling hopeful, I texted Luciana, and we agreed to meet up the next day to follow this new lead.

So, was my ward friend right? Did he know the true location of the secret spot?

See for yourself:


(Taken with Luciana's phone)


(Taken with my phone to prove we were really there. Our height difference made selfies a bit tricky.)

So, yes, we have found your friend's secret spot, and I have to say, it's a good one. It is completely open to the public (I've even been there before, but I didn't remember doing so), but it's off the beaten path enough that you almost certainly wouldn't find it if you didn't know where to look. 

Where is the spot? Well, for some reason, I'm a bit reluctant to put it on the Board for everyone to see. If you email me, I'll give you the exact location and instructions on how to get there, no questions asked. If not, here's a hint: it's in the Wilk, on the bottom floor. Think outside of the box a little on what constitutes the bottom floor of the Wilk, and I think you should be able to find it yourself.

Thanks for the adventure!

-Frère Rubik 

P.S. Just for fun, here's the map we were using:


Question #87054 posted on 06/20/2016 2:51 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I think I might be having something like anxiety episodes (certainly not panic attacks). When I sit down to study, especially write, I feel this dread. I feel incapable and just want to get away (I'm really good at avoiding sitting down to study in the first place too).

I've tried listening to soothing music and deep breathing but I almost always fall asleep. That cures it but can take hours. Sometimes I just got to get down to business. Any more "active" ways to handle situations like this?

Extra info: Diagnosed with depression but not anxiety. Taking an SSRI.

-Run Away!


Dear Knights of Camelot,

So I have been diagnosed with anxiety and am also taking an SSRI and also experienced what you described on a regular basis. So there's definitely things you can do to help deal with it, like caffeine - as mentioned by Luciana above - exercise, breaking it down into smaller chunks, etc.  Personally, I have realized that the times when I'm more physically healthy (eating well, exercising regularly, regular sleep schedule) that I have much more control over my anxiety and I'm far better able to be productive.  This is especially helpful when I have big projects like you mentioned, because instead of being filled with absolute dread, it's more of a general anxious feeling that's easier to overcome. Caffeine has also been helpful to me at times, but sometimes it just makes me more able to focus on the things I use to procrastinate, so it can be a two-edged sword. As for breaking it down, I know people who swear by this method of dealing with large, intimidating projects, but it has rarely ever worked for me. You may be different.

Now, the thing is, all of these suggestions may be helpful, but ultimately there's a deeper issue.  Get ready, 'cause I'm about to throw some science at you. Anxiety comes from the fight-or-flight response. Particularly, not being able to act on it. Remember, the fight-or-flight response originally was there to spike our adrenaline and some other hormones/chemicals in our body to either A) beat up that other caveman who's trying to steal my dinner, or B) run because that saber tooth tiger will straight up eat me. In both cases, the brain perceives a danger or threat and prepares the body to deal with the threat by either hitting it or running from it. Nowadays, especially in polite society, the things our brains perceive as threats are often not as concrete as they were several thousand years ago. Now, it's more like deadlines for school or work, bills, or asking that girl to Homecoming before someone else does. These things cause our brains to react in the same way as the caveman examples I listed above. The issue with that is that fight-or-flight can't really apply to them. Sure, you can procrastinate that assignment (essentially the flight response), but the deadline will still come, and you'll still have to deal with it somehow. You can also complain or make some sort of scene and try to argue your way out of it (the fight option), but the cases where that helps solve the problem are very few and even farther between. This leaves your brain unable to truly respond to the stressful situation and you get stuck in the fight-or-flight response.

"Okay Dr. Occam," you're probably thinking, "what does being stuck in the fight-or-flight response have to do with me being too anxious to start my assignment?" Well, the answer has to do with how procrastinating in this situation affects your brain. Remember, procrastinating is essentially the flight option; you just ignore the source of stress/anxiety and BOOM! no more feeling of dread. For the moment at least. But remember, unlike the saber tooth, you can't escape your assignment by running. The deadline will come because time moves forward regardless of how you feel about it. So basically, each time you procrastinate, you lower your stress level a bit which your brain likes. The more you do this, the more likely your brain is to say "Hey, stress? Lets avoid the problem, that always feels good," even about things that are typically  less stressful. You can see how this would be a bad cycle to fall into. By avoiding dealing with the causes of your anxiety/stress, you are actually teaching your brain to get stressed and go into the fight-or-flight response for lesser and lesser problems. Basically, you become a drug addict, and the drug you're addicted to is the combination of chemicals released when you get stressed and the chemicals released when you avoid the problem. Awesome right?

So how does one kick this addiction? Well, I'm sorry to tell you that this is the one case with mental health issues where the ever-repeated-by-mentally-healthy-people bit of advice to "Just do the thing!" is actually the solution. I know, it sucks. When my therapist explained this to me about a year ago, I was just like, "Seriously?!" But that's just how it is. To expand the addiction analogy, stress/anxiety is like having a a bunch of slivers in you, all over your body. When you procrastinate or otherwise avoid the causes of your anxiety it's like you're taking pain meds. Sure they make the pain go away for a little while, but every time it comes back, and the more you take, the less effective they become. The real solution to your problem is instead of using your Vicodin to kill the pain and help you ignore your slivers, you need to get a sharp knife (or a needle or something) and use it to cut out each individual sliver. Now, this is painful. More painful than just having the sliver there. I mean, you're cutting into yourself to get this thing out. But when you do it, you have an initial spike of pain that is higher than your general pain level from the slivers, but then your body is able to heal in that spot and the general pain level decreases a bit because you have one less sliver. It works the same with your anxiety. Doing the thing (whether it's asking the girl out, starting that big paper, or applying for that job) is like taking the knife and cutting out one of the slivers. Initially, it'll spike your anxiety way up above your baseline (that's that feeling of dread you get when you go to start the project), but afterwards - once your brain realizes that a 15 page paper is not actually as dangerous as a saber tooth tiger - your stress level will decrease because now the perceived threat is gone (or at least lessened). The sliver is gone and the body is able to heal itself. The more often you make yourself do the thing instead of ignoring/procrastinating it, the more of the metaphorical slivers you remove and the more your mind is able to heal itself and lower your stress baseline to a more healthy level where instead of being filled with dread at the though of starting a project, you just get the general feeling of "I have literally zero desire to do this" that everyone gets when they have to do a big project for a class.

I've created the graph below to illustrate this point. Note that while at some points actually dealing with the cause of stress raises your stress level above the level it would be at if you ignored/procrastinated, by the end, as you do the thing more and more each spike gets lower and lower thus lowering your overall baseline stress level. Having personally done this to deal with my own anxiety, I admit that it sucks at the start. You are basically detoxing yourself and having withdrawals. Your brain wants the quick fix gratification of ignoring the problem, and when you don't let it have that, it kinda freaks out. But just like with real drugs, you can quit, and after a while, the cravings will be gone.

Anxiety Graph.jpg

The last thing I would suggest here is to get people close to you involved. If you have a significant other, explain this to them and get them to support you in your efforts to "detox" yourself. Having that kind of support from and accountability to another person can really help when doing the thing just seems like too daunting a task. And speaking of support, pray. The Atonement is awesome in that it can enable and empower you to do things that otherwise seemed impossible. Ask the Lord to help you to overcome this difficulty. Ask him to give you strength to persevere when it gets hard, and to comfort you if it ever becomes more than you can bear in the moment. If you ask in faith, He will give you the help and strength you need.

Best of luck to you friend. If you want to talk or if you have any questions for clarification, feel free to email me at dr.occam(at)theboard(dot)byu(dot)edu.


~Dr. Occam

posted on 06/20/2016 7:26 p.m.
Dear Run Away,

In addition do Dr. Occam's (awesome) theoretical answer, I wanted to share a practical approach that might help you with paper writing. As an undergrad, I developed a weird system of writing papers that was, in retrospect, a coping tool for then-undiagnosed anxiety issues.

Suppose that I have to write a 10-page paper. The first thing I will do is pick a crazy font, crank the size up to 96 points and write 10 pages like that. (Sometimes just the header information and title will take up 10 pages.)

Then I say to myself "You wrote 10 pages! It's time to take a break!" and I'll go and do something else for 5 minutes. Then I'm honest with myself and I say "Well, it might be 10 pages long, but it's also in 96-point type, so let's keep going."

Then I'll take it down to the next largest point size (generally 72-point type), pick another crazy font, and start writing again until I reach 10 pages, after which I'll take another short break.

I keep going like that and I keep having to write for longer and longer periods of time as the point size goes down. Eventually I'm having to put in some serious time at 16 or 14 points before I can take a break. However, by that point, my paper is usually more than halfway done, so finishing it doesn't seem nearly as stressful as sitting down to a completely blank page.

For me, one of the biggest stresses about this kind of situation is having to take the first step in a big project, so starting out in a giant font is just silly enough to take the edge off of my anxiety and help me actually take that first step.

Good luck and I hope this helps!

- Katya
Question #87025 posted on 06/18/2016 12:08 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

So! There are nearly 87000 questions on the Board. How many answers are there?

-Would you, Could you


Dear Would,

Including this one I'm writing right now, the database contains 142,406 answers.  The ID of this response is 158008.  The discrepancy is due to responses that were started and then deleted.  And, because I felt like it, here's a graph with the number of responses created each month throughout the Board's history:


-Curious Physics Minor

Question #86998 posted on 07/17/2016 6:57 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Can you please make a pros/cons list for the various types of healthcare reform, including the pre-Obamacare system, Obamacare, single payer, hybrids like Australia, and maybe another type or two if they exist?

-Editor's Choice


Dear Human

First of all, do you really realise how devilishly complex of a question you are asking? I don't think you do. I spent 4 months doing research for a professor on this very topic, and we didn't come to any really good conclusions. I have read hundreds of pages on this topic and came out with hundreds more questions than I went in with. I have friends who wrote their capstones on this topic and easily filled 30 double-spaced pages on only one of these systems. What's more, you aren't even asking for a specific basis of comparison! I mean come now! You could at least be specific and clear in what you are asking for.

That all being said, I have outlined the rudimentaries of each of these types of healthcare systems and discussed their pros and cons. 


Prior to the Affordable Care Act, we mainly had a private health insurance system. Most of the population under 65 was insured by their, or a family member's employer. Public sector employees were insured by Medicare, Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, TriCare, or the Veteran's Health Administration. The poor and disabled were able to obtain insurance through Medicaid, and the elderly used Medicare. Some bought health insurance on their own, and the remainders were uninsured. Under this system, the US spent 17 percent of its total GDP on health care, which was the highest among developed nations, while ranking at #42 for health outcomes.

Advantages of this system:

  • You got to choose your own Doctor: In the private healthcare system, you often have more flexibility in choosing a doctor as well as medical facilities. For patients that want the same doctor all the time, this can be a very important advantage.
  • Shorter waiting times. If you are in need of s surgery that is essential but not life threatening, your wait time to get that surgery is a lot shorter in a private health system than it is in other systems
  • Improved facilities. Capitalism doesn't work extremely well in the health market, but it certainly helps improve facilities.
  • Lots of research and development.


  • Private health insurance tends to cost more than public health insurance.While the US government might be saving a marginal amount of money by having a private healthcare system instead of a public one; there is no doubt that American citizens are paying a lot more money to get a decent level of private health care coverage than they would be required to pay in a public system. Most Americans are paying around $200 or
    more for their monthly health insurance premium plus a co-pay and deductible. Public system costs: under $100 monthly with no co-pay or deductible.
  • Private health insurance promotes inequality. Unfortunately, when health care insurance is privatised the health care providers and insurance companies are always thinking about their bottom line. This means that if you are willing to pay, you can get priority treatment. In the public system, everyone is treated equal, money or no money; order of treatment is based on severity of medical condition and who was there first.
  • It can lead to gross coverage gaps in your personal policy. Because individuals choose their coverage in a private health insurance market, they may end up selecting a policy that foregoes coverage on important health benefits. 

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

In terms of the basics of the American health care system, the ACA did little to overhaul the system. From a bird's eye view, the system is essentially the same. However, when this reform was enacted in 2010, it completely changed the health insurance landscape in America. It was enacted to increase the quality and affordability of health insurance, lower the uninsured rate by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and reduce the costs of health care for individuals through the use of subsidies and insurance exchanges. It also set up minimum standards by which all insurance companies are required to comply with in terms of basic coverage. It mandates that insurance companies offer these minimum standards at the same rates regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex. 


  • More Americans have health insurance. More than 16 million Americas have obtained health insurance within the first five years of the ACA, many of whom are young adults.
  • It is more affordable for most people. Insurance companies must now spend at least 80 percent of insurance premiums on medical care and improvements.
  • People with pre-existing health conditions can no longer be denied coverage
  • There are no longer time limits on care, so individuals with chronic health problems will not run out of insurance coverage. 
  • Minimum standards for coverage all for more screenings and preventive services to be covered.
  • Prescriptions drugs cost less under this system.


  • Many people have to pay higher premiums. Insurance companies now provide a wider range of benefits than before and cover people with pre-existing conditions. For those people who do not even need the minimum coverage requirements, this is all extraneous. Their premiums are therefore much higher than before.
  • You can be fined if you don't have insurance. 
  • Taxes are increasing as a result of the ACA, as there are a significant number of subsidies that accompanies this system. In fact, several new taxes were created to raise money for this system, including taxes on medical devices and pharmaceutical sales. 
  • Enrolling in the system is devilishly complicated. 
  • Businesses have cut the hours of many employees in order to avoid having to provide health insurance.
Single-payer system
This is a system in which the state, rather than private insurers pays for all health care costs. It collects all medical fees for individuals within the state, then pays for all services rendered through a single government source. In general, this means that the state has universal, or near universal, health insurance coverages. In concept, it is a pretty simple idea, but in practice, it is extremely varied and rather complex. 
  • Guaranteed health care for all legal residents of the United States to the full extent as is required by their health.
  • Billings becomes non-complex, as there is only one source for billings
  • Physicians who give out great health care quality can be rewarded for such good doing in providing preventive care. In some countries, most doctors and physicians can receive bonuses after giving their patients a truly remarkable health care. These vary though depending on what country you are in.
  • No limitations to health care services, in theory 
  • No insurance premiums
  • Bloated government bureaucracy 
  • Inability to choose physicians 
  • Longer waiting times for essential, non-life threatening procedures 
  • Physicians become government employees. They will likely get paid less, and there would be less incentive to go through 12 plus years of medical school to become a physician.
  • Single payer systems are notorious for reducing research and development as there is no more financial incentive fore people to produce better medicines and procedures 
  • The government would have a lot more of your personal information 
I think I am going to leave my analysis at that. If you are interested more in learning about the Australian system, in particular, you may consider looking into these resources
The Soulful Ginger 
Question #86949 posted on 06/10/2016 7:36 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Why does Mountain Dew Baja Blast mixed half and half with Tropicana Pink Lemonade turn clear?

-You guessed it I spend way too much time in front of a soda fountain.


Dear fountain fan,

I was super excited to answer this question because science and food are my two favorite things in the world. My first thought was that a change in pH was affecting the blue dye in the Baja Blast somehow, because that happens to natural blue dyes like anthocyanins. Then I looked at the ingredient list, and it turns out they use Blue #1, which doesn't have that problem.

My new hypothesis was that the Red 40 in the pink lemonade combined with the Yellow #5 and Blue #1 in the Baja Blast to absorb all colors more or less equally. I decided to test this hypothesis by measuring the absorbance spectra of pink lemonade, Baja Blast, and the combination and comparing them. If my hypothesis was true, I would see a similar spectral pattern between the combined drinks and the sum of the individual drinks. So, I took a trip to Taco Bell during happy hour and got a couple of drinks from the fountain. I brought them back to campus and got them ready to analyze.

I had to filter the lemonade and decarbonate the Baja Blast, after which I prepared a 50:50 mixture of the two. I got my cuvettes ready, warmed up the spectrophotometer, set it to 390 nm, and got to work. I looked at the absorbance of each beverage individually and combined at 10 nm intervals between 390 nm and 700 nm, which is roughly the range of light visible to humans. Here's a picture I took while setting everything up.

baja blast.jpg

Before we go on, I'd like to give a quick overview of color perception. When we see an object as having a certain color, that means that it primarily absorbs light of the opposite color (unless it actually shines, like a light bulb). So, if a compound absorbs red light, it will appear cyan (blue-green); absorbing green will make it look magenta (basically purple); and absorbing blue will make it look yellow. The opposite is also true, and most compounds absorb various colors of light at differing levels to make the color that they appear. If a solution (like our pink lemonade/Baja Blast mix) appears colorless, then it absorbs all wavelengths relatively equally. Depending on the degree to which it absorbs all these wavelengths, it could be completely clear, gray-ish, or even black. In our case, it looks like the mix is a pale gray color.

This is what the absorbance spectra looked like for the individual beverages. All the spectra have been adjusted so that the highest absorbance is 100%, because mixing the two together actually dilutes each one and makes them not really comparable otherwise.

baja blast chart 1.PNG

Here is what the absorbance spectrum of our mixed drink should look like if my hypothesis is true. I got these values by adding up the absorbances of the two drinks at each wavelength and, again, adjusting them so that the maximum absorbance is 100%.

baja blast chart 2.PNG

And now, for the moment of truth. Here's the absorbance spectrum of the mixed beverage.

baja blast chart 3.PNG

As you can see, it's nearly identical to the summed spectra of the two individual drinks. In fact, the only reason I didn't put them on the same graph was because they were so close together it didn't make much sense. I did expect the general trend to be more of a straight line, but apparently the mix still absorbs more violet and blue light than red and orange. However, this didn't seem to make a significant difference in the final color perceived. Maybe some day I'll try to repeat this experiment with purer dye solutions. For science.

tl;dr - Each drink absorbs the colors that the other doesn't, making it colorless overall.

-The Entomophagist

Question #86804 posted on 05/28/2016 11:44 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is it true that people are leaving the Church "in droves"?

-Alone on the Pew?


Dear Alone,

The Church doesn't release information about how many people leave so we only have conjecture and anecdotal evidence on the matter.  This website, by an author calling himself "kimballthenom", uses the Church's annual statistical reports, as well as other sources, and attempts to extract meaningful information about activity rates and resignations.  The methodology section is very thorough which allows you to read in detail how the statistics were used and argue whether it was appropriate or not.

According to kimballthenom, activity rates slid from ~41% in 2000 to ~33% in 2015.  With a reported Church membership of 15,634,199 at the end of 2015, that 8% activity drop would be a little over 1.25 million members.

(Source: http://www.fullerconsideration.com/membership.php)

Estimating how many people have their names removed from the Church's records is a particularly difficult task, but kimballthenom seems to make reasonable assumptions in the methodology.  According to his work, resignations began ticking up dramatically around 1985 (which correlates with the scandal of the Salamander Letter).  Resignations potentially rose from a baseline of ~10,000 per year prior to 1985 to a peak of ~100,000 per year around the mid-1990's (which correlates with the September Six excommunications).  Resignations then began generally decreasing, potentially down to as few as ~30,000 per year around 2013.  But 2014 shows a potential spike back up to ~90,000 per year and, as far as I can tell, this data hasn't been updated after the 2015 statistical report was released in April 2016.  With the November 2015 policy change declaring gay couples to be apostates and banning their children from Church membership, I would expect to see the resignation number remain high for 2016.

(Source: http://www.fullerconsideration.com/membership.php)

In April 2016 Elder Holland asserted, "We are in the midst of incredible growth, of staggering growth in the Church. It's the biggest problem we have."  Based on the Church's annual statistical reports, the Church membership growth rate from 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 was just under 2% for each year.  It would seem logical that if the Church has "staggering growth" somewhere (most likely Africa and South America) and that the total growth is ~2% then there must be an almost symmetric, "staggering," loss of members somewhere (most likely North America and Europe).

Anecdotally, Church leadership seems to be spending more time on messages of "doubting your doubts" and "staying in the boat" which may suggest that doing otherwise is a rising problem.

Does this qualify as "leaving in droves"?  I'm not sure, but I don't think it can be argued as insignificant either.

-Curious Physics Minor

posted on 06/01/2016 7:04 a.m.
This is a helpful perspective, but it is not the only perspective. Additional perspectives are found here: http://boardcommentboard.lefora.com/topic/50/BQ-86804-Leaving-the-Church-In-Droves?

-- Michael Worley
Question #86799 posted on 08/18/2016 3:03 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What would you write as Book of Mormon style chapter headings for each year of the Board archives?

-Would you, Could you


Dear I will,

Because the Board is asked so many diverse questions each day and each year, there's really no valid way to sum up. However, as a team we've perused the archives and noted significant events or notable trends in the Board's history. Enjoy.

1998In the beginning there was a wall with "perfectly good blank wall space." BYUSA decreed that they must know all that happened at the University of Brigham Young, and thus decreed that from thence forth the wall would used for answering the inquiries of students. BYUSA spoke, and thus it was.

1999: And it came to pass that the physical Board moved to a new location in the basement of the Wilk. And verily, the policy didst emerge that silly questions will receive silly answers.

2000: The Board mostly fulfills its purpose of answering questions about BYU, but also attracts many random questions. Writers rarely stick to one consistent 'nym, but remain omniscient nonetheless.

2001: Question askers move quickly away from the original BYU-affiliation. Writers begin to use more consistent 'nyms, but there are also many snarky one-time usages. Frequently only one question per day is posted. Many questions were still asked via the original submission box in the Wilk, and were then emailed to writers who had the option (or obligation) of replying. The proofreading was spotty and inconsistent.

2002: The Board develops a reputation for near-brutal sarcasm, and the writers clearly don't take criticism well. Board writers begin to evade the question of how to apply. The habit develops of many writers responding to a single question, perhaps the first indication of just how many writers work for the Board. Instead of corrections, readers wishing to comment on questions that previously posted ask another question without a link to this original. This is a really annoying and inconvenient way of doing things. The first retirement question posts, suggesting that writers get attached to the Board and readers get attached to writers. Answers tend to be short and to the point, with limited citations.

2003: Answers tend to be short and often flippant. Questions stop posting on Sundays. Writers tend to use consistent 'nyms.  The Board receives between 5-10 questions per day. The Board takes breaks for Christmas, reading days, and finals. We learn that no writers had ever been "fired" (as of April 2003). The Board's answers post in Times New Roman font. Writers seem to feel no qualms about stalking those that readers are interested in dating, or in posting phone numbers on the internet. Writers frequently claim omniscience. Most questions seem to be factual rather than opinion-based. Harry Potter and Homestarrunner seem to dominate the Board pop culture. The infamous trend of "Search the Archives" emerges. Readers complain that the "Search" function doesn't work very well. The first reader to show a demonstrable obsession with the Board emerges. The glorious Katya asks her first question (under that 'nym, at least). 

2004: The website setup means that most questions actually post before they reach 100 hours to avoid questions going over hours. Writers are assigned questions from the Editors to ensure that everything gets answered. Writers at times purposefully try to antagonize the readers, usually with hilarious results. The Webmaster informs us that the Board receives around 271 visits per day. The infamous stair-counting question posts. Jokes about writer omniscience are frequent. Sometimes comments are allowed to post that don't seem to have anything to do with particular questions. There seems to be a great interest in individual writers like Ambrosia, Latro, and The captain. There is a controversy regarding movies that are rated R. The Editors confirm that there are 46 writers working for the Board. The Board is sponsored by/under the leadership of BYUSA. The first 100 Hour Board t-shirt is designed and made available. Kayta becomes an official writer.

2005: BYUSA shuts the Board down due to censorship issues. No one is happy with the situation. As a result, the Board moves under the jurisdiction of the Linguistics society. The internet women go crazy over Skippy DeLorean. The Board grows exponentially, requiring some tech updates and a newfangled writer application. The "Editor's Choice" option appears, and the criteria for reaching that distinction seems somewhat lax. Optimistic. creates the first dating application.

2006The Board moves from the Linguistics Society to the Daily Universe - Writers index and rate important on-campus services, such as motorcycle parking lots, statues, and restrooms - A writer exposes the secret of Board writer 'nyms - Writers subject themselves to immeasurable discomfort for the sake of the Board. All answers had to be written in HTML, prompting the editors and Webmaster to seek a new way of doing things.

2007The readers definitely don't find out how to become a writer - The great war between 100 Typing Monkeys and CATS begins - Hobbes and Tangerine kill off most of the other writers - Four writers team up to write the dating advice to end all dating advice. The Boardboard is created.

2008: Yellow and CPM start work on building and designing Board 5.0. Writer team-ups become a big trend. Writers like Claudio and Cognoscente are lauded for their musical taste and recommendations. Based on the volume of questions, writers admit to spending many hours a week writing for the Board. Board writers briefly adopt new pseudonyms for The Board Identity. There are few pictures/graphics posted, but lots of pure text answers. Katya retires, perhaps best known for her many years of active writership and for categorizing the archives. California's Prop 8 causes some controversy.

2009:  It is the Golden Age of HFAC experiments. Board writers are accused of being too liberal. The 100 Board iPhone app is developed. Commander Keen joins the Board, creating a writer dynasty that April continues today. There is continued controversy regarding gay marriage, and the Board seems to receive a lot of other contentious political questions.

2010: The Borg assimilates Board writers. July marks the official launch of Board 5.0. Questions begin to regularly post on Sundays (to the consternation of Uncle Vernon). Harry Potter questions still seem to play a large role in pop culture. Board writers mourn the finale of LOST. Political questions still seem quite divisive, especially regarding healthcare. There is a minor controversy regarding modesty. Compared to previous years, writers tend to spend more time and effort answering questions instead of relying on flippant or sarcastic answers. Writers record the first Boardcast.

2011: The Board loses its sponsorship with the Daily Universe, but thankfully finds a new home. The Boardboard starts to get a fair amount of hate on the Board itself. There is an uptick in questions about marriage and family. Writers are accused of being too judgmental. There is controversy regarding the Honor Code, and the dress code more specifically. There is also a controversial question regarding sex education in the Church. Long story short: 2011 is a controversial year.

2012Ardilla Feroz started promoting reader-writer meet-ups. We found out when most people are on the Board. There was an informal demographics survey about Board readers via the Board Facebook page, which mostly asked questions like, "Do you pick your nose?" and "Do you get belly button lint?" The sordid history of tunnel worms was uncovered. There was a hullabaloo about the 2012 presidential election, especially Mitt Romney.

2013: The first Alumni week is held, to critical acclaim. Readers notice a trend where writers merely provide contact information instead of contacting someone to find out more concrete information themselves, a trend they are not altogether happy about. A relatively large proportion of writers feel comfortable disclosing/discussing their struggle with depression. Readers notice a pattern of retired writers not being active members of the LDS church. People complain that writers are too mean (for real, search the archives circa 2003 and then complain). Writers confirm that all applicants must be current BYU students in order to be eligible to write for the Board.

2014: There is controversy surrounding the Ordain Women movement, and around gender roles as they relate to the LDS church. Board writers are accused of sexism. Concerns about gay marriage persist. Answers just seem to be controversial again, like in 2011.

2015: The Board welcomes a large host of new writers. There is a behind-the-scenes and somewhat in-front-of-the-scenes debacle with a reader. The FreeBYU movement generates some interesting questions. Current events play a large role in the questions that are asked. It becomes more acceptable to provide opinions that aren't 100% in line with Church doctrine.

2016: There is an unfortunate slew of retirements, including several long-time writers. The Board Bachelorette boasts its first season. Compared to earlier years, Board writers seem to expend much more effort in answering questions thoroughly and thoughtfully. The Board conducts a reader survey and adjusts policies to better serve our fan base. The Board Comment Board is created per reader request. We answer this horrifying question and it takes an embarrassingly long time.

I am well aware that these aren't exactly BOM style, but it's the best we can do.

Love (with only minor bitterness),

Luciana, The Entomaphagist, and Alta

Question #86793 posted on 05/28/2016 11:28 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What percentage of the adult membership of the church is single? What percentage of them are inactive? Please cite reference if possible.



Dear Not a Member of Smash Mouth,

Other than the yearly statistical report given at General Conference, it is difficult to find resources that look into the more specific sections of the Church that you ask about.  I did my best, but some of this information is based on cross-sections, sample sizes, or is simply outdated.  Just a little disclaimer for you as we delve further into this subject.

Inactivity rates differ from country to country.  According to this helpful site:

"less than half of individuals claimed as members by the LDS Church worldwide identify the LDS Church as their faith of preference. The percentage varies from the mid-sixties in the United States to 20-27% in Latin America."

I know this is not part of what you asked, but I think this little tidbit of information is surprising: 

 "...existing data suggests that the number of Latter-day Saints attending church worldwide on an average Sunday cannot exceed 30% of official membership figures, and is likely closer to the upper twenties."

My reaction when reading this: 



That number is way lower than I thought. 30% of LDS people even attend church regularly??  Whoa.

Here is my findings for single adults in the Church.  This statistic comes from the Religious Studies Center at BYU, and they get pretty detailed in this Vital Statistics Report.  However, this report is 24 years old.  It's also the most detailed and accurate finding I can get my hands on, so I think it is time for an update.  The chart below shows the average LDS household composition in 4 major countries, and is prefaced by this:

 "Less information is available on LDS household composition, but sample surveys show characteristics of the United States, Britain, Mexico, and Japan in the early 1980s. In fig. 4.16 (shown below), three types of households are distinguished: (1) married couples with one or both being LDS; (2) households headed by LDS singles (never married, divorced, or widowed); and (3) households with LDS children but in which neither husband nor wife nor single head is LDS. Married-couple households are the majority in the United States and Britain and form a slight majority in Mexico. Single households constitute 20–30 percent."

Fig. 4.16:


That's the best information I can find.  I really hope that the Church and statistical analysts will create a more accurate and in-depth report of our members in the near future. 

-April Ludgate

Question #86723 posted on 05/21/2016 12:51 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Where in Provo/Orem can I buy 7th Generation laundry detergent? The neighborhood Walmart and Macey's don't have it.

-dirty laundry


Dear Dirty,

At first I thought you meant that you wanted laundry detergent that had already been used seven times, and I was like

1) How is that even possible?


2) Why would you even want such laundry detergent?

But then it occurred to me that you were actually referring to a specific brand called 7th Generation. That makes a lot more sense.

Teh Googlez told me that this mystical cleaner of laundry can be purchased at Target. 

Further searching claimed that 7th Generation detergent was available at the Orem Target. 

And so it was that Frère Rubik, having an abundance of free time (and having need of snow peas and coconut milk), ventured forth to the land of Orem in his Rubikmobile that he could verify Target's claims of 7th Generation-having.

And yea, upon entering the Super Target, he did proceed directly to the laundry aisle, whereupon he didst weather the Tide and sought not to get Gain, but did proceed down the straight and relatively narrow aisle until he came upon this sight:


And these are the generations of 7th Generation:

Free and Clear (100 oz.)

Free and Clear (150 oz.)

Ultra Power Plus (100 oz.)

Fights Stains (100 oz.)

Fights Stains (150 oz.)

Energy Smart (100 oz.)

And a smaller bottle whose name Frère could not discern from his photo.

And it came to pass that Frère did venture down another aisle, and found further generations of 7th Generation, namely all-purpose cleaners:


Thus satisfied, Frère left the land of households and ventured into the nearby foods section. Through much earnest searching and supplications to Sonya (who would not answer her phone), Frère did encounter snow peas and coconut milk, and was rewarded also with delicious-sounding herbal tea. And thus ended the travels of Frère Rubik in Target.

-Frère Rubik

Question #86582 posted on 05/14/2016 10:12 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Can you rank all of the alumni present and current writers from most right wing to most left wing?

-My Name Here


Dear clever, clever,

Not all writers chose to participate, but from those who chose to share, I was able to come up with the following:

100 hour politics map final.png

Keep in mind that there are more political axes than left and right. You'll see some people further up and further down. Libertarian doesn't always translate exactly to right wing any more than authoritarian does.

Katya and Professor Kirke seem to be our big winners on the right and on the left according to this map. Inverse Insomniac and Spectre are our most authoritarian writers, while Dr. Smeed is our most libertarian.

I didn't plot them on the map, but you may be interested to know that both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are right about where most of our writers are clustered, just beneath the head of the Left Wing arrow. Donald Trump is squarely in the head of the Right Wing arrow.

Special shoutouts to Sunday Night Banter and Tally M., who don't mess around when it comes to pure, undefiled centrism. Some of us think of ourselves as moderates, but you two, my hat is off to you.

Also, I need to apologize to Mico, who, when she sent me her results, must inadvertently have sent a link to the quiz rather than the results page. I didn't want to guess and get it wrong, so I left you off. Sorry, friend.

Sorry as well to all the other writers who didn't get a chance to respond. We only have so much time that we're allowed access to the board during Alumni Week. We had to cut it off somewhere.

- D.A.R.E.

Question #86545 posted on 05/17/2016 2:25 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,


I'm terrified. This seems true. Is it????



Dear you,

The above link is to a youtube video from a person who is very opposed to vaccines and who seems to go by the name of Health Ranger in his videos. The title and major claim of the video is that FDA documents prove a link between vaccines and autism.

Short answer: no. No it isn't true. I'll try to get into the specific reasons why it isn't true (and why this gentleman is a very unreliable source of information) below.

But first a word to you, the question asker (and to any vaccine-hesitant individuals who might be reading this): I am absolutely sure that the concern you may feel about vaccinating yourself or your children comes from a place of wanting only the best for someone you care about in a world that feels threatening. But though your love and desire are good and valid, the rationale behind hesitancy or rejection of vaccines (for normal, healthy individuals) are not good or valid.

If it helps to give you some credentials (and to be honest, for many people it won't help, because credentials as a physician or scientist can simply be seen as evidence that they/we are sell-outs from a corrupt system). I'm about to graduate with a PhD in Immunology. I'm going into the field of clinical microbiology, but I had been considering research positions at the Sabin Vaccine Institute that seeks to develop vaccines for neglected tropical diseases. I believe strongly in the field of immunology and in the efficacy, safety and necessity of vaccines. I don't think you need nearly six years of graduate education to be inducted into a secret cabal of knowing how vaccines function or to know that they are a trustworthy cornerstone to modern health in both developed and developing countries. But nothing I have read, learned, or seen in that time of intensive research has done anything but convince me of the rigorous and methodical nature of vaccine development and testing and their general good and safety. If you, the reader, trust the Board enough to ask a question like this, I hope you can trust me enough about this (a thing that I know actually quite a lot about).

Let's jump into the video. 

I watched through the whole thing one (1) time and quickly wrote down some of the claims and quotes from it. If I was being really thorough, I would include a time stamp for each claim and watching it repeatedly to be sure I wasn't missing any major points or claims. But, I think you'll see, there's more than enough to work with and to get a gist of the tone and tactic of the video.

I'm sorting the claims in a descending badness.

Correct (with an important caveat)

- Vaccines carry some risks. The video quotes (though I didn't confirm this was an actual quote) an Australian politician (maybe?) who stated "There are no risks to vaccines." The video pounces on this as inaccurate. And, correctly, the claim that there are no risks isn't strictly true. Side effects including soreness, tiredness and in rare cases extreme allergic responses, and other severe adverse reactions occur. The best data on these side effects, which are monitored by law (since 1986) at the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. It is fair to say that there are risks to vaccines. In general, humans are terrible about risk assessment: we're more scared of sharks than (the far deadlier) cows, and serial killers more than slippery bathtubs. So it's fitting to be more afraid of a hypothetical and statistically tiny side-effect than the far more common danger of a vaccine-preventable disease. The side effects (manageable or exceptionally rare) of vaccines exist, but are completely misrepresented by the rest of this video by the Health Ranger. 

Misinformed (by misinterpreting information)

- The documentation of the Tripedia vaccine insert by the company who produces it claims it is linked to autism. This is the major claim of the video. In the package insert (which you can find here), the company who makes the vaccine lists reported negative events that have been reported in recipients. These are events that occurred after (like, literally at some point after) vaccine administration. This list includes autism. This is a screen shot when the video discusses that insert:

Screen Shot 2016-05-14 at 12.07.27 AM.png

You'll notice that this highlighted group of events are so rare that, opposed to the other events listed above those highlighted, there aren't even multiple events reported so no evaluation of their relationship to the vaccine could even be done. No positive connection between vaccine administration and these events is, or even could be, established. Does that make sense? 

Imagine that there is a new allergy medication calling Ratingpending (trade name CoolGuy). I have reason to believe that Ratingpending changes humans' normal body odor to become irresistible to wasps. My claim is that when you take the pill, suddenly you will getting constantly swarmed and bitten by wasps. That's a pretty adverse reaction, but would be completely unexpected - there is no known medication that would do anything similar. How would I go about proving the link between Ratingpending and wasp attacks? I would need independent verification that 1) it is happening 2) happening frequently 3) happening in a causal manner (the medication MAKES it happen and not that we just happen to have a huge increase in wasps nation wide) and 4) the mechanism by which it is happening. 

The "link" between this vaccine and autism fails at step number two. These events are so rare (and, as it is pointed out in the insert, self-reported) that they can't even investigate them. You know those TV commercials for medications that show happy, functioning people (who aren't in black and white) and a voice describes patients who have taken ImproviTrax and suffer from horrible symptoms ("liver bleeding, irritable bowel syndromes, depression and bone liquification")? These companies are required by law to list their side effects. In this context, "autism" isn't a side effect of vaccines - that implies cause/effect. There is no relationship between the two as study after study of millions of vaccinated individuals confirm.

This claim I rated a "misunderstanding" because finding the word "autism" on a package insert of a vaccine could be startling. But Health Ranger (who sets himself up as a scientist) deliberately ignores and misconstrues the context in which this information appears. So it reflects extra poorly on him, but at the same time I can see why it would be worrisome without understanding where the package insert is coming from.

Wrong (about a very common misunderstanding of immunity) 

- Injected vaccines don't work because they bypass the skin. What do you think happens when you get a cut or a scrape? Intramuscular vaccines get immune-stimulating components to the places (lymph nodes primarily) where your immune cells will see antigen (the thing they respond to) and become activated the same, if not  better than something delivered into the skin.

- "Natural" infection is healthier, results in better/stronger immunity than immunity acquired by vaccines. This idea has been around for literally centuries and there's no evidence for it. If you were to take a virus, which is infinitesimally small, and shatter it into even smaller components you would get a mix of molecules: proteins, lipids (fats) and nucleic acids. Only a small number of these would stimulate an immune cell (which have receptors that are activated by seeing "patterns" of molecules). And an even smaller number of these molecules are "immunogenic" meaning they could induce the T cells and B cells that provide the long-lasting immunity you need to be protected the next time you see the virus.

Vaccines try to use only the immunogenic components of a disease-causing organisms (meaning you are only exposed to a tiny number of molecules in modern vaccines compared to the original formulations). Live organisms cause disease, weaken cells and organs, and have virulence factors like toxin and means of hiding from the immune system. Children especially suffer permanent damaged from a chronic infection with something like whooping cough. "Natural" immunity is not better, stronger than vaccine-induced immunity. Your immune system doesn't care much how it sees those immunogenic molecules. It just does its job.

"We'll pump them full of dead virus and call that immunity." This is related to the above. Immunity, in the context of vaccination, means you are protected, by virtue of your adaptive immune response (T cells and B cells that produce circulating antibodies) from a second encounter with an organism. Functionally, inducing that protection via a dead, weakened, subunits, the pathogen-causing toxin, or some other vaccine strategy, it doesn't matter how you get the induced protection. We "call that immunity" because that's what immunity is. Period.

- "[Long list of things not in vaccines]" In general if you hear someone saying that vaccine have mercury, rat poison or MSG (?) in them, and they are trying to establish themselves as an authority, they are deliberately lying. Vaccines have trace amounts of things like aluminum (there is far more aluminum in breast milk than vaccines) and the preservative thimerisol has a non-absorbable form of mercury. But deliberately ignoring dose and toxicity data when calling out ingredients is wrong.

In the context of this video, the Health Ranger is being especially duplicitous to try and use false vaccine ingredients as an anti-vaccine rationale: he is using information provided by the company (rare but serious health events) to say there is proof vaccines aren't safe, but ignores the company-provided formulation of the vaccine in the same package insert

Completely false (in a very dangerous way)

- "Every time we have a measles or mumps outbreak it is among vaccinated children." No. False. Vaccines, like all medications, have a failure rate. The induction of protection can be insufficient depending on how exposed someone is to the disease-causing organism. But outbreaks can, and increasingly are, associated with unvaccinated groups. Two good examples are the 2014 measles outbreak at Disneyland or the traveler-associated outbreak among Amish in Ohio. Vaccinated individual can, and do, get diseases during outbreaks. But to say outbreaks are limited to the vaccinated is completely, dangerously, false.

You can think of immune protection on an individual level or a community level. An hypothetical immunized individual, someone who has been vaccinated against, say, mumps, exposed to mumps-causing virus in a sealed room is 85% likely to be protected against the virus (this isn't totally true, but I think it works for this explanation).

In a community, if enough people are 85% likely to be protected, this can prevent the virus from getting a foothold and infecting other individuals. It's all a matter of probability. An outbreak could still occur when there is not sufficient protection. This is herd immunity. It's real and it works.

- "The safest child in a public healthcare system are unvaccinated children who are healthy and strong, good sunlight, vitamin B." Totally false. Mostly for the reasons listed above. Health, sunlight and vitamin B promote immunity, but are not themselves immunity. Unvaccinated children can transmit disease to children who cannot be vaccinated or whose parents have fallen behind on vaccination schedules (poor parents who have recently moved to new areas are far more likely to have under-vaccinated kids). 

Completely wrong, the furthest one could possibly be from right

- "There would be fewer deaths with no vaccines." This is monstrously false. Entirely false. There is no way to twist or sugar-coat this sentence, especially in the context it was given, to not make it anything other than absolutely false.

Vaccines save, and have saved, millions of lives and improved the lives of millions upon millions of others who never had to suffer and sicken through a vaccine-preventable disease. I enjoyed this comic that talks about that, and also takes a comprehensive look at vaccines, their history and many of the claims discussed here and elsewhere about vaccines.

- Throughout the video, language calling vaccines "unscientific," vaccine providers "quacks," accusing the entire field of vaccine study, production of "never doing the science." Something that really stood out in my watching is how anxious Health Ranger is to twist what he must know are the common accusations directed at anti-vaccine proponents and vaccine deniers: they are ignoring the science, they are misrepresenting the data. He is leapfrogging all of this and trying to strengthen his position by instead claiming that in fact HIS side has science backing it up, HE has the real information and data, and his OPPONENTS are ignoring reality.

Filming a video in front of a lab (where he conducts food and water elemental analysis? I missed his one line explanation meant to demonstrate his scientific credentials) does not establish credentials. He's again trying to have it both ways: casting doubt on scientific analysis of vaccine safety but also claiming that the "real" science confirms his position.

- "They only compare vaccines to other vaccines. They never compare vaccines to non vaccines. They call it double blind. They compare it to placebos. But even the placebo is a vaccine." This line, meant to show that there are "real" tests that the industry is afraid to do, goes more and more off the rails as it progresses. And it is entirely false.

Before any FDA approved drug or therapy or vaccine goes to market it goes through phases of testing. Phase 1 clinical trials test a small population for safety. If it is safe, and there is measurable effect, it passes. Phase 2 is a larger group, and at any signs of side effects, or if the therapy is not helping, they can intervene. Phase 3 is when a large cohort of individuals, in the conditions where infection will occur, will receive or not receive the vaccine in a blinded fashion - individuals do not know if they had the vaccine or a placebo (which is not a vaccine. That is ludicrous.). No intervention happens in Phase 3. Phase 4 is post-licensing, gathering further information aimed at improving safety. If it sounds familiar, the so-called smoking gun that triggered this whole video was data collected during the Phase 4 stage that Health Ranger doesn't even believe exists. When, in reality, everything he claims is NOT done during vaccine testing is done for EVERY vaccine. 

Claims that defy categorization (but are basically accusations of unspeakable evil against those who disagree with him)

- "By never conducting the real science of comparing vaccines to non vaccines they are systematically harming, maiming children."

- "Vaccine pushers, who are essentially child murderers. They love to murder children and maim children."

- "But at night behind closed curtains, they love sacrificing children to their vaccine gods. This document describes child sacrifice by vaccine."

Those are direct quotes. I don't even know how to respond to that. If that truly, honestly is your perspective of the millions of health care professionals who use, research, promote, improve, and distribute vaccines, not to mention the billions of people who use vaccines to save and improve their lives and the lives of those they love, I don't know what I could possibly say to convince you otherwise. But you would have my pity.

Final Notes

Did you like that? Did you the reader who, statistically speaking, is probably NOT the question asker like my thorough take down of an anti-vaccine activist? I mean, I guess I hope so. What you (and here I'm including everyone) shouldn't do is scoff, feel smug, roll your eyes, or be dismissive of other people's fears and concerns, even if you/we are "right" about vaccines. But here's the problem that all of us (and by "us" I mean people who generally accept vaccines as safe, smart, and necessary) need to confront:

It can be impossible to convince someone opposed to vaccines that they are safe. That's not on opinion - that's the finding of a study on the subject. Quoting studies, data, scientists, showing pictures of kids with vaccine-preventable diseases, whatever you think might be convincing, results in the "backfire effect" - anti-vaccine individuals leave more convinced than before that vaccines are dangerous. The psychological underpinnings of why that is are as unclear as they are frustrating. 

It's not all bad news. Other studies find pointing out positive reasons to be vaccinated in a non-confrontational way can be helpful, as can scary descriptions of the symptoms or outcomes of vaccine-preventable diseases on kids. Another study (that I can't find right now) indicates that the number one thing that convinced parents to vaccinate their kids was if their children's doctors had their (the doctor's) kids vaccinated. 

I would highly recommend to anyone a really wonderful book called On Immunity by the author Eula Bliss, a non-scientist writer who delved into vaccines, immunity, how we think about being "immune" (For example, is "immunity" a fragile thing that can be destroyed? Or is it an intelligent system capable of shaping and adapting to its environment? Hint: it's more the latter). Ms. Bliss confronts the basis and the history a lot of the concerns we're grappling with today in a very approachable way. 

Last plea: Get vaccinated. Vaccinate your kids. Be kind to those who are afraid and point them toward good sources of information. Good luck.

- Rating Pending (who, frankly, feels pretty down about the futility of responding to false vaccine claims and trying to convince the vaccine hesitant. But what else can you do, right? Also, happy 267th birthday today, May 17th, Edward Jenner!)

Question #86490 posted on 05/12/2016 10:18 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Now that it's alumni week, I would like to revisit Board Question #85423 and expand our genealogy of Board mentors. Does anyone have anything to add to the tree or know when probies became an official thing?



Dear Doctor,

Due to the fact that two of the writers have had two mentors (because they came back prior to our new "returning writers don't need mentors" stance), the family tree is a tad convoluted. But that's okay!

The biggest family by far is the Uffish Thought/fine print/Sky Bones family.

Then the next biggest is the Smeed family:

Smeed Family.png

Finally we have some stragglers that due to missing data, don't fit in a larger tree:

Family 1.png

Family 2.png

Family 3.png

Family 4.png

Family 5.png

Family 6.png

Family 7.png

Family 8.png

A number of writers (including Katya, Il Guanaco, and Genuine Article) didn't have official mentors, which didn't seem to really start until the Pa Grape era (as I'd previously suspected).

-Tally M.

posted on 05/13/2016 1:34 a.m.
Dear all,

Hobbes was my mentor, and Pseudoname was my mentee.

We're all family,

The Black Sheep
posted on 05/13/2016 7:39 a.m.
Dear people,

My mentor was Concorde, and my probies were M.O.D.A.Q. And The Lone Musketeer. Sorry, I didn't realize you wanted me to submit a new form!

Question #86397 posted on 05/06/2016 9:36 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

O, great people who know physics! (Probably not the whole Board of course. That's OK. I like the rest of you anyway.)

I occasionally read stuff about the double-blind experiment, and I just found this article today in a similar vein:


The problem is that the media tends to blow every study out of proportion and misrepresent the results, as I think we're seeing here. They make such large claims about what this study could suggest, like "time may be an illusion" or "testers' perceptions/intent was the only variable, and that intent altered the results." (Not claims exactly from this article, but things I have seen.) I think I first heard about the double-blind experiment when somebody was trying to use it as "proof" that writing daily affirmations would make stuff in the universe work your way. Because, intent. I am a religious person and believe in lots of things I can't prove, but I don't think it's that easy.

Welp, in the most unbiased and non-quackery way possible, can you explain to me what we DO know from stuff like this study, and what we don't? I'm sick of seeing people go crazy over stuff that I don't understand. I've read a bit but I keep finding news articles and then crazy dense science-y things I don't understand with my background.

I get that we can't explain everything, and that's cool. But I don't like getting tricked.



P.S. Yeah, I don't know much about the Higgs-Boson either. Dark matter?


Dear HB,

First things first: quantum mechanics is the bomb. I love this stuff. 

Like Frère said, these topics are pretty abstract, so I'm here mostly to give you a second take on it and some more metaphors in case you don't like Frère's description. I find that more than one explanation is often helpful to my understanding, so here goes nothing.

The Double-Slit Experiment

Frère already described the experiment itself pretty well, so I'm just going to clarify and expand on it. We'll go back to his "shooting paintballs at a fence" analogy because it's a good one for this experiment.

Imagine the fence has only one small, vertical slit. What would you expect to see? Well, there should be one vertical stripe of paint on the back wall. If you really are using paintballs, that's what you'd see. Instead, shine a collimated flashlight directly at the fence. What do you see on the back wall? It's not just a slit, is it? It spreads out horizontally, getting dimmer as you go left or right. This is called a diffraction pattern, and it's what we intuitively expect light to do--it spreads out. If light were made up of particles like paintballs--even very, very small ones--you'd see a single vertical stripe on the back wall. The diffraction pattern, however, is something you expect from a wave, which tells us that light acts more like a wave in this situation. 

The double-slit version is very similar, but more convincing. Shooting paintballs should give you two vertical slits, which it does. You would expect that shining a flashlight would give you two versions of the single-slit pattern with the horizontal spreading. There's a space on the back wall, however, in between the two slits, where the two patterns overlap, so you get an interference pattern, just like you would with any other wave. It's hard to see with walls and flashlights, but scientists have done it on very small scales. Again, if light were made up of very small photon paintballs, you wouldn't see that pattern, but we do. The picture below (taken from Wikipedia) might help. 


Great! Now let's complicate things. 

Historical Interlude

In 1905, Einstein explained the photoelectric effect with his concept of photons, effectively particles of light, and receives a Nobel Prize for it. Cue confusion. I thought we had this nailed down with the double-slit thing. We showed that light is a wave, and we can even measure its wavelength, but now you're telling me it acts like a particle! So which is it?

A Double-Slit Experiment Variation

Scientists then tried to devise an experiment to push the debate one way or another. In short, they asked, "What would happen if you shot just one photon at the slits?" 

This is one really important variant of the double-slit experiment. Instead of shooting a bunch of paintballs at the fence, you only shoot one. The paintball should go through one of the slits and make a single paint splotch on the back wall, right? It turns out that if you shoot one photon at our double-slit contraption, that's what happens. You get one dot on the "back wall," or the detector. Great! When we boil it down to individual photons, they act like individual particles. Problem solved! 

Well, not quite. Now shoot another paintball. It goes through one of the two slits in the fence and you get one more splotch. Same thing happens if you shoot one more photon. So, if we keep shooting individual paintballs, we'll see two vertical stripes of paint emerge on the back wall. The same thing should happen with the photons, right? 


When you shoot individual photons, one by one, you eventually get the interference pattern back again. What gives? It's as if each of those individual particles adds up to a wave, but we designed the experiment so that each of the particles is exactly the same, so that can't be right. What if--and I'm going to say something crazy now--what if each of the individual particles is a wave? 

Now that raises all sorts of interesting questions. How can something be both a particle and a wave? Are there actually two different "parts" to light? Why don't paintballs act like that? What on earth is going on?

The other implication, as Frère pointed out, is that our mode of measurement changes the result of the experiment. Shoot one photon paintball, and you get one spot on the back wall. That indicates particle behavior, but that's also the nature of the wall. In order to see where the paintball went, we have to stop it from moving; similarly, in order to detect a photon, we have to absorb it, which causes it to, well, stop being a photon. This is what we mean when we say that the act of observing the experiment changes the outcome. 

Another metaphor: imagine that you want to study an insect--a housefly, perhaps. In this metaphor, the only way to see and study the fly is to catch it because it moves too fast on its own for you to get any good observations. You decide to catch it by putting up flypaper. That way, the fly sticks to the paper when it runs into it, but you haven't touched it, which means, in theory, that you haven't affected it. Here' the catch: however good your observations of the immobile fly is, they can't tell you anything about the pattern in which it flew to get there. 

That fly represents our photon. Once it's absorbed, or "stuck" to the detector, it can't behave like a photon any longer. All we can observe is the "stuck" photon, which isn't really a photon anymore. Perhaps an actual photon moves in a wave pattern, but we can't observe that because we can't see it moving. In other words, we don't know anything about the pattern in which it flew to get to the detector. 

Now back to the fly. If you were to leave your flypaper up for a long time, eventually you'd catch a lot of flies. Since they're flies, they'd probably be arranged somewhat randomly on the paper. Using that information, you can reasonably conclude that they fly somewhat randomly. When we collect a large number of photons on our detector, we're taking measurements in aggregate. It just so happens that the pattern is not random, and that it's consistent with wave behavior. One photon can't tell you anything about how it got there, but lots of photons can. 

When you hear the phrase, "observing the experiment changes its outcome" on its own, it sounds downright mystical. My description is definitely not perfect, but this is how I understand the phenomena, and I hope this explanation clears up what scientists mean when they use this phrase.

The next couple sections will lead me to the article you asked about, but they also set up an important discussion on scaling, which sums up my beef with the article's conclusions. Bear with me, please.

Another Historical Interlude and Another Variation

There's another variation on the double-slit experiment that's still being explored. What happens if you use something other than photons? It's a great idea. After all, we know know that, say, an electron is a bona fide particle. It has mass and everything! What happens if you do the double-slit experiment with electrons? 

Claus Jönsson did just that in 1961, and curiously enough, he got the same results with electrons as Young did with light. Cue Italian physicists Merli, Missiroli, and Pozzi, who performed the experiment using single electrons in 1974, with the same results. Wait, what? So now electrons are waves, too? 

Additionally, the questions that scientists are asking have evolved. Wheeler's delayed-choice thought experiment, another variation on the double-slit experiment, does not explicitly ask, "Is this photon a particle or a wave?" Instead, it asks, "When did the photon 'decide' whether it was going to behave like a particle or a wave?" and "Can the photon 'detect' the experimental apparatus and adjust its behavior accordingly?" At the time Wheeler proposed his experiment, many scientists believed that a photon is either a wave or a particle, but that it cannot be both at the same time. Wheeler himself seemed clear on the idea of wave-particle duality; he felt that quantum phenomena are "intrinsically undefined until the moment they are measured." It wasn't until long after its inception, however, that scientists were able to actually create the experiment and test Wheeler's hypotheses.

Present Day: Dr. Truscott's Experiment

The article you linked to talks about an actual scientific paper, "Wheeler's delayed-choice gedanken experiment with a single atom," which you can read here, if you are so inclined. Its contribution to the field of physics is related to that second variation of the double-slit experiment. So far in the history of physics, the experiment has been effectively performed using a beam of photons, a beam of electrons, a single electron, and a single photon, roughly in that order. This paper, however, scales up by using a single, metastable helium atom. 

The paper sums up its conclusions with this: "Our experiment confirms Bohr's view that it does not make sense to ascribe the wave or particle behavior to a massive particle before the measurement takes place." In more detail, it concludes in its last paragraph that 

"Wheeler’s thought experiment is important since it tries to force a classical view of reality on to a quantum system. If one holds the view that to observe interference at the detector the photon must have traversed both arms (as a wave) of the interferometer (and conversely that the lack of interference unambiguously demonstrates the photon has traversed a single arm (as a particle)) then the ‘delayed’ choice creates a conundrum. In this picture, the choice of detection (delayed until after the photon has passed the first beamsplitter) is correlated with observing interference or no interference—and thus it seems that a future event (the method of detection) causes the photon to decide its past. If such a perspective seems untenable with a fast-moving massless photon, then our experiment, which uses a slow-moving massive helium atom (and thus is closer to our classical notions), makes this view of reality seem even more unlikely."

Roughly translated, this says that Wheeler was probably right. When they placed the detector behind the slits (or the fence, in our paintball analogy), they saw an interference pattern, but when they placed the detector in front of them, no interference pattern showed up. Because an atom cannot "know" if, when, or where it will be detected, it makes no sense to say that it "decided" at any point how it was going to behave. In essence, because the future cannot affect its past, the atom exists in both "wave" and "particle" states at one time.

Cool, huh?

The Daily Mail Article

If my understanding of the scientific paper is correct, then the reporter of the Daily Mail article you linked to, Ellie Zolfagharifard, got things a bit backward. She reports,

If you choose to believe that the atom really did take a particular path or paths then you have to accept that a future measurement is affecting the atom's past, said Truscott.

'The atoms did not travel from A to B. It was only when they were measured at the end of the journey that their wave-like or particle-like behaviour was brought into existence,' he said.

Those things are true, according to the paper. What Zolfagharifard seems to have missed is the last portion of the quote above from the paper, namely the "makes this view of reality seem even more unlikely [emphasis mine]." The paper assumes that the atom has to have a fixed state--particle or wave--but then goes on to conclude that that assumption can't be correct, which the Daily Mail article leaves out entirely. 

Scaling and Media Exaggeration

Dr. Truscott is quoted in the article, saying, "It proves that measurement is everything. At the quantum level, reality does not exist if you are not looking at it." Yes, the statement, "reality does not exist if you are not looking at it" sounds suspect, but you may notice that the quote does not claim, as the title of the article does, that "Your entire life is an ILLUSION," or  "the world doesn’t exist until we look at it." 

There's a big difference between reality at the quantum level and "the world." Just because something is true on an atomic scale does not mean that it is true on a macroscopic scale. I mean, sometimes it does, but more often than not, it doesn't. Physics is weird like that. Dr. Truscott does, in fact, qualify his statement with, "At the quantum level," but that's conveniently glossed over without any more discussion. 

Here's a metaphor that conveys a little bit of why scaling is important. Imagine a car on a highway. Every little dip and bump and inconsistency in the road technically affects its travel route and time, but the deviations are so small compared to your intended route--say, across town--that they don't matter. They're negligible. If you and your car shrunk so that the car was only a millimeter long, those bumps would matter a whole lot more. The route you take in and around them will affect your travel time significantly.

Atoms are a little like the bumps in the road. They experience all sorts of vibrations and rotations and energetic movements, but those movements are so small compared to what we experience in our day-to-day lives (or the entire road trip, if you will) that they don't matter very much. And yet, despite not mattering very much individually, they add up to, well, everything. The experimenters conclude one thing about your travel time at the bumps-in-the-road level, but the article tries to use that to report your across-town travel time. They're just not the same thing. Dr. Truscott made a conclusion about one atom in his experiment, but to scale that up and apply it to all of reality is kind of ridiculous. 

The media are simply exacerbating the problem, but I think there's more than one reason why. Yes, the media often skews our perception of things, sometimes intentionally, to gain and retain readers. That's just something they do. The other problem is that journalists are not specialists. It's not just you that can't easily decipher the crazy-dense scientific articles. Even with interviews and explanations, reporters don't always understand what they're reporting, especially in science and technology. It's not that they don't make an effort, because I'm sure many of them do, but these are not easy topics to understand. Period. I can all but guarantee that it wasn't easy for even the people doing the study to understand. I think it's that, combined with the media's penchant for exaggeration and extrapolation, that makes a reader's job so difficult. 


My thoughts on the article: it isn't really accurate, but hey, they tried. 

To summarize the science: A "particle", be it atom or molecule or photon, behaves like it does. We're trying to ascribe to it behaviors that we understand, but our description is fundamentally flawed because the particle doesn't behave in a way we understand in the first place. A photon acts like a photon and exhibits "photon behavior," but we don't know how to measure that, so we have to use our flawed models (like particles and waves) to figure out what that means. This is especially important in quantum mechanics because the scientific models we're used to--things like Newton's laws--are macroscopic. They don't necessarily apply at such small scales, which is why scaling is important. 

In conclusion: the media isn't very good at accurate scientific reporting. Probably because science is hard and complicated. 


Question #86306 posted on 04/28/2016 4:54 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

If the British Empire still existed in the same form and territories, that it did on the day of Queen Victoria's death, what would its population be today?

-My Name Here


Dear Doctor,

Approximately 2,446,431,772, or about a third of the current world population.

-Tally M.

Question #86200 posted on 04/20/2016 2:33 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm kinda new to makeup. Do you have any advice/tips/good tutorials I should start with?



Dear Reina,

I'll create my own tutorial for you!

To maintain anonymity, all pictures will be taken in:

extreme closeup.gif



I've managed to perfect a decent "smoky eye" look, and I'll try to share it as best I can.  The photos are from my cell phone, so I apologize for the quality.

These are the brushes that I will use through the process: 


The brush on the left (an angled liner brush) will be used for eyebrows and eyeliner.

The brush on the right (a C-shaped eyeshadow brush) will be used for eyeshadow.

Here's my clean and make-up free face:


First, the eyebrows need to be filled in.  I always use the darkest shade of L'Oreal® Colour Riche "Snooze Addict" eyeshadow for my eyebrows.


I only did it on the left eye here for comparison.  Some people get really into sculpting and contouring their eyebrows, but I simply add more colour.

Next is the eyshadow.  I use the L'Oreal® Colour Riche "Black Pump" set for eyeshadow, and use the C-shaped eyeshadow brush throughout the process.

Using the lightest, white shade, I highlight the inside of my eyelid, and the underside of my eyebrows.  The white eyeshadow makes the eyes look larger and wider.



I use the next shade and brush over the rest of the eyelid, like so:


Now comes the smoky part of the "smoky eye."  Using the middle shade, I contour the outside of the eye, making sure not to go past the eyebrow.  It takes very little of these darker colours to cover the eyelid, so don't put too much on the brush.  Make sure you blend.


The eyeshadow is done!

Now it's time for the eyeliner. 

I actually don't like using eyeliner pens, so I use this Mary Kay® "Coal" eyeshadow with the angled brush.  

Try and keep the eyeliner on the INNER rim of the eyes, otherwise you might end up looking like this.  It definitely takes practice to apply eyeliner to the inner rim, so you might poke yourself in the eye the first couple times.  Don't give up!

I also only apply eyeliner to the OUTER HALF of the lower lid, never the whole lower lid, just because it doesn't look good with my eye shape.


With the eyeliner on the inner rims, my eyes still have an outline, but it is less likely to smudge and get rubbed off throughout the day.

Now it's time for my favourite part: the mascara.  I use CoverGirl's® Full Lash Bloom Mascara.

If you choose to use an eyelash curler, run it under hot water or a hairdryer for a couple of seconds.  It's like a curling iron: the warmer it is, the easier it curls the eyelashes.  Don't burn yourself, though!


Apply 2-3 coats of mascara to both the top and bottom eyelashes, but be careful not to smudge any mascara on your completed eyelids. 


When you learn how to do this better, the whole process only takes about 7-10 minutes.  I myself only mastered this technique in my sophomore year of college, so be patient with yourself.
If you want a more casual and everyday look, I recommend skipping the dark eyeshadow step.
Make sure that you ALWAYS wash makeup off your face before you go to bed.  I also recommend using a gentle lotion to keep skin clean and moisturized.  I use Pond's® Dry Skin Cream.
-April Ludgate
Question #86195 posted on 04/20/2016 12:41 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

It's hard for me to believe in religion when it seems to be on a societal decline. How do you deal with trusting religion when very few people do these days?

-i want to believe


Dear I want to believe,

I was at a Q&A with Elder Christofferson on Sunday and this seemed like a good question for him because often talks about worldly philosophies in General Conference. So I read it to him and also asked him to talk about how to resist the influence of secularism in this age. This was his answer (paraphrased and interpreted somewhat by necessity), which he gave me permission to repost:

Secularism is gaining momentum. It's happened before, it's not a recurring new cycle. It's a problem of memory and remembering. Parents not teaching what they know, and the meaning gets lost. My generation has failed their children by not doing a good job of teaching - the first post-war generation. It reminds me in the Book of Mormon when children who were small when King Benjamin when they began to grow up they were not believers so it's interesting to think their parents had that experience were so changed by it - their hearts were changed and it was wonderful and miraculous. But they didn't teach their children.

Be great teachers and break that cycle. If you want to help others, ask yourself: are you willing to consider the possibility of the gospel/a belief in God being true? If no, that's it for now but if yes... Mosiah 26, many of the rising generation couldn't understand King Benjamin and didn't believe and their hearts were hard. We can't force. We do not have the power to convert. Provide opportunity and if they are open the process can begin. Plant the seed that Jesus was the Son of God and that he can save us by his grace. Study to enlarge your memory of God and his work. Then do all you can to teach others.

Here's an assignment for you: prepare a one-page summary of the Plan of Salvation. No longer than one page, so it is concise. Know it well.

He went on to talk about how he did this and how he thought he understood and how much more this made him understand but I couldn't keep up.

His answer was very much directed at me because I said someone asked me this question and he talked a lot about how to help other people not be influenced. But I think that it gets at something essential for anyone wanting to believe in a religion: to not be influenced by secularism, study the gospel! Also, it can help to recognize that both theism and atheism are, to an extent, the products of things that are taught or the absence thereof. The decline of religion is something that has happened before and has a lot to do with how parents rear and teach their children.

He returned to the idea of secularization when someone else asked a question about whether there was more happiness or unhappiness in the world, and I think it was still relevant. I think he really liked your question and still had it in mind.

In the end, happiness is based on living according to the commandments of God. The law of God means if there is no law, there is no sin, no righteousness or happiness, or punishment or misery. Sin leads to unhappiness, righteousness to happiness. Both come from the law. People don't like to be miserable, or the law of God. So they erase the law, say "Do what you feel", your truth. Things are only relative. No law, no sin. But it also erases righteousness and happiness. Keep the law, stay on top, and you'll be happy. 

[Individual] secularization yields disappointment. Happiness comes from gratitude for your blessings. It brings a sense of happiness and peace.

So what I got from that is that one way to increase faith is to follow God's law and see if the promised blessings come. Plant the seed and try to see the fruit to determine if the seed is good, so to speak.

I hope you found his response helpful. Either way, I felt like you might want to know what his answer was even if it was directed at the messenger of the question rather than the question asker. And thanks for asking your question, I'm really excited to do my assignment to do a one page summary of the Plan of Salvation and I felt like I understand better what I will need to do as a parent one day! 

-A writer

Question #86150 posted on 05/05/2016 10:34 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I am training for a rolling down the hill tournament during the summer. It will be a fairly substantial hill with a decent decline (incline?). The biggest rule is that one has to roll horizontally (rather than somersaults).

Anyways, so 2 questions:

1. What is the optimal way to roll down a hill based on speed? How should I hold my arms?

2. How do I control the dizziness? Should I look in a certain direction? Spin counter to my roll before going down?

-Any advice would be helpful


Dear High Roller,

Are you ready for some science? 'Cause I did some science!

After an unsuccessful attempt at trying to get the whole Board to do this I bravely took it upon myself to science this.

I had just gone on a date to Red Robin and I ate the "Banzai" which is a huge burger smothered in Teriyaki sauce with grilled pineapple, so I thought, "What better time to go rolling down hills than now?" So off I went to Rock Canyon Park to test out my hypothesis. 


The fastest way down would be a position where the body was slightly lifted off the ground rather than lying prostrate and rolling. As for dizziness, I assumed looking up or down would be best as opposed to keeping my head looking in a natural forward position.


I wanted to thoroughly test this so I came up with 4 different positions for rolling down the hill.

1. Arms straight up, head looking at my hands.

arms up.jpg

2. Arms down, head looking down.

arms down.jpg

3. On hands and knees with arms in a circle, head looking at hands.

circle arms.jpg 

Here's a look at my arm position on this one.


4. Fetal position.

fetal position.jpg

As you can see from my face, I was very excited to do some science (though I was basically just smooshing my face in the ground for #2) and I enthusiastically ran to the top of the hill to start. I rolled 4 times, once for each type of roll. I started at the same dandelion at the top of the hill (where a bee was just chillin' and cheering me on) and rolled until I hit a certain mark from the freshly cut lawn near the bottom of the hill. Here are the results of the science:

Type of Roll Time Dizziness (1 - 5, 5 being dizziest) Accuracy
Arms up 20+ sec 4.5 Very diagonal
Arms down 11 sec 5 slightly diagonal
Circle arms 7 sec 3.5 barely diagonal
Fetal 8 sec 4.5 barely diagonal







Rolling with my arms up was the most comfortable position but the least accurate. As I rolled, I completely lost track of my position on the hill and drifted far to the side. This caused my time to suffer in this position. Looking at my hands did little if anything to prevent dizziness.

Rolling with arms down was much more accurate but an unexpected result was that my shoulders were hitting the ground with each roll. So my time improved because of my accuracy but discomfort was higher because of the constant banging of my shoulder to the ground. Looking down caused even more dizziness than looking up. I needed a full 30 seconds to recover from the roll.

Rolling with circle arms allowed me to have more control over my movement when I would get off course. I tried spotting using this technique but I started rolling so fast it was all I could take to just keep my head from hitting the ground, though initial spotting helped me keep a straight path. Again, I hit my shoulder with each roll, this time, with much more force than with my arms down. My dizziness was much lower because I was rolling for a shorter amount of time, combined with my head being on the outside of the rotation instead of being at the center of the rotation. Another unexpected result was that I started getting some small air after some rolls (imagine rolling a barrel down a hill, it bounces) which helped to go faster with few rotations.

Rolling sideways in the fetal position was fairly accurate as well. I did have some control to redirect myself if I needed to course-correct but less so than the circle arms. I hit my shoulder while rolling harder than with my arms down but less so than with circle arms. My dizziness went up again since my head was more towards the center of my axis of rotation. 

Other observations were that, no matter what you do, you will get dizzy when you roll down a hill. Who'd a thunk, right? The faster rolls require more physical endurance because of the constant impact.


My initial hypothesis was correct in that I assumed rolling while raising my body would be faster and it was. But my initial hypothesis was wrong in relation to dizziness. Basically, the faster you get to the bottom, the less dizzy you'll be (but you're still going to be dizzy). Focus on rolling to a certain destination rather than rolling really fast because accuracy is more important than speed in this case.

I hope this helps. Happy rolling!


Question #86132 posted on 04/20/2016 10:25 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What is the 'proper' way to make a bed?

-Momma Chubbs


Dear Chubbsy Momma,

It is a tranquil spring afternoon, and Frère Rubik is sitting at his desk in his room, happily surfing the interwebz. His phone begins to ring, and he sees that he is getting a call from Mère Rubik. He picks up the phone.

"Hey Mom! How is it—"

"[FRÈRE]! WHAT ARE YOU DOING RIGHT NOW?" Mère Rubik interrupts.

Startled, Frère looks back to his computer screen, which is currently displaying leekspin.com. Embarrassed, he switches tabs.

"Oh, you know, just working on some Board answers—"

"Well, why are you wasting time on the internet when your bed is an absolute mess?! Just look at it!"

Frère turns to look at his bed. He has to admit that it is, in fact, an absolute mess:


"Well, you have a good point, Mom, but how did you know--"

"RUBIKVISION!" Mère Rubik responds.

"Ah, right," says Frère Rubik, knowingly. Mère Rubik is referring to the preternatural ability of Rubik family members to "see beyond," allowing them to remotely view events and locales without actually being present. But then,

"Wait. If you were using Rubikvision to look at my bed, why couldn't you see what I was doing—"

"[Frère]!" Mère Rubik snaps, "Stop pointing out the holes in your hastily constructed introductory narrative and make with the bed-making!"

So, without further ado, Frère Rubik proudly presents:


No. How about

Frère's Fifteen Steps for Making the Perfect Bed:

Also no. TEN would kill me/vaporize me.

How about we just make the bed? Okay? Okay.

Step 1: Stripping the bed. 

This is the fun part: ripping all of the things off of your bed in preparation for washing. Squirrel has a rather fancy-pantsy way of doing it below, but I tend to just let my inner Rubik run wild until the bed is stripped and the blankets are sorted into piles for washing (sheets, pillowcases) and not washing (comforters, other blankets, mattress pads)


(The washing pile is already in my laundry bag.)

Two things to note before we move on: 1) The mattress pad does not need to be washed with the sheets, so you can leave it on the mattress and 2) Depending on what material your sheets are made of/what laundry products you use, removing the sheets may result in enough static charge to spontaneously generate a Pikachu. If you have a Pokéball, go ahead and try to catch the little guy/girl, but if not, just let it be.

Step 2: Washing the sheets.

Take your washable pile to the Wash Hut, and use their washers and dryers to clean your laundry (experts have not yet reached a consensus as to whether or not this step can be performed in places other than the Wash Hut, such as other laundromats or laundry rooms within homes/apartments).

While you're there, entertain yourself by trying to beat Frère Rubik's high score on the Simpsons Pinball game.


(That's totally my high score, guys. The whole jar thing is an old inside joke. I tried to get another high score and do something like FRÈ, but for one thing they don't have grave accents on pinball machines and for another I COULD NOT GET ANOTHER HIGH SCORE. I SPENT SO MANY QUARTERS, GUYS. SO MANY. ALL WHILE BART SIMPSON INSULTED ME. IT WAS MILDLY TRAUMATIC.)

Step 3: Put on the fitted sheet. 

Return to your bedroom. If you didn't catch the Pikachu earlier, it's presence may have caused other, smaller Pikachus (Minichus) to spawn in the area. While they are cute, you cannot successfully make your bed while they are there, so they will have to be removed. Hiding them amongst your roommate's possessions is usually quite effective.


With the Pikachu problem taken care of, lift your mattress off of your bed frame and stretch the fitted sheet over the mattress. Any tags or seams on the sheet should be on the inside of the sheet, on the side that actually touches the mattress. Make sure to pull the corners of the sheet tightly over the corners of the mattress, and tuck any extra fabric under the mattress as tightly as you can.


(The struggles of having an immobile bed that's also high off the ground. Also it's a lot darker because Addison decided to take a nap while I was out doing laundry.)

Step 4: Put on the top sheet.

With the fitted sheet snugly secured to the mattress, it's time to add the top sheet. Lay it flat on top of the bed, making sure it is straight and smoothing out any wrinkles (be sure to remove any lingering Minichus beforehand). Now, if you're going to be really proper, you'll center the top sheet so that equal amounts are hanging off of either side of the bed. If you're me, though (in which case, what the heck, when was I cloned? We should probably meet up to discuss this), you put more of the sheet on the side facing the bed so that it's easier to tuck in and make your bed in the mornings.


Now, slide the bed back into the frame and then lift up the side not facing the bed. Pull the edge of the sheet further under the bed so that you get a really good tuck; this will make it easier for your bed to stay nice in the future (again, this is obviously easier if you're working on a real bed with a box spring instead of a ramshackle Provo apartment bed frame).


Once the top sheet is good and tucked in, put the bed back in the frame and tuck in the other side. Once both sides are tucked in, fold the remaining sheet at the end of the bed under and tuck it in as well (or, if you want to be really fancy, follow the steps in this video to get the famous "hospital corners" known the world around in bed-making).


Step 5: Add other blankets.

Using the same process in Step 4, add and tuck in any other blankets that you want on the bed, going from thin to thick. For me, this is just my big white comforter, which is very warm.



By which I mean put the pillowcase back on your pillow, fold up any auxiliary blankets you didn't want as a permanent part of your bed, and make things look good. 

If you haven't been able to get rid of the Pikachu or the Minichus, you might as well just accept them into your life and make things comfy for them.


That's it! Enjoy your clean, crisp, freshly made bed! To keep it feeling good, be sure to tuck the sheets and blankets in every morning after you get up; it'll go a long way toward keeping your bed nice.

-Frère Rubik

Question #86114 posted on 04/25/2016 9:18 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

You can wait until after finals on this one if you want. Or maybe it will prove a useful distraction.

Take a look at this synopsis of The Music Man. It follows a format where it describes what happens (and then puts the song title in parenthesis).

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to take the following 25 songs and rearrange them to form a coherent musical, and then write one of those synopses for your new musical.

A Place to Stand, A Place to Grow -- Dolores Claman and Richard Morris
And Then You're Gone -- Pink Martini --
But Now I'm Back -- Pink Martini --
Canada Haunts Me -- They Might Be Giants
Canada -- Bobby Gimby
Canto a Nuevo León
Cloissonné -- They Might Be Giants
Come On Over -- Shania Twain
Don't Worry Be Happy -- Bobby McFerrin
The Stranger -- Billy Joel
Flor Pálida -- Marc Anthony
Four of Two -- -- They Might Be Giants
I'll Be There for You -- The Rembrandts
It's All Been Done Before -- Barenaked Ladies
Je Ne T'Aime Plus -- Pink Martini
Making Your Mind Up -- Bucks Fizz
Man! I Feel Like a Woman -- Shania Twain --
No Siento Penas -- Juanes
Poisoning Pigeons in the Park -- Tom Lehrer
The Creation of Man -- Scarlet Pimpernel
The Man With the Big Sombrero -- Pink Martini
The Riddle -- Scarlet Pimpernel
'Til There Was You -- Meredith Wilson
When Canada Rules the World -- Arrogant Worms
You May Be Right -- Billy Joel

-Rushin' to Broadway


Dear Broadway,

Act I

Two families, Juarez and Garcia, live happy lives in Nuevo Leon, Mexico. They find their lives fulfilling, and are close friends, as the patriarchs Santiago and Tomas work together. Lorenzo Garcia and Maria Juarez are both eight years old and in the same class. They take pride in their Hispanic heritage and participate in an annual celebration of their Mexican background ("Canto a Nuevo Leon").

Just as the pageant ends, the phones of both fathers ring ominously. Their company has folded and they are now unemployed. The Juarez family leaves quickly to live with family in Ontario, Canada. As they arrive, they hear a Canadian school pageant, which signals just how drastically their lives have changed ("A Place to Stand, A Place to Grow").

Tomas Garcia finds a job in Quebec, and his family moves there. They find it difficult to adapt to the shift in culture, and Lorenzo struggles to adapt to speaking both English and French instead of Spanish ("Canada").

Five years pass, and Maria reaches her early teenage years. She is still resentful that her life was uprooted, and is struggling to find a place for herself in Ontario. She comes home crying, and her parents try to comfort and console her ("I'll Be There For You").

Five more years pass, and Lorenzo is eighteen and just entering the workforce. He tries to find a job, but finds it difficult because of prejudice against his Hispanic heritage. He is extremely frustrated, and angry at the people who are discriminating against him. Together with other frustrated Hispanic young men, he mocks the Quebec businessmen for being so snooty and arrogant ("The Creation of Man").

Both Lorenzo and Maria realize they're still unhappy in Canada, and ponder what they should do with their adult lives ("Making Your Mind Up"). They want to experience something new, and both decide to both to New York City, a place of limitless opportunities.

Maria finds a job as a poorly paid secretary. She enjoys the freedom of New York, but still feels unhappy and unfulfilled. She reflects that her life has been filled with unhappiness since she was eight years old ("Canada Haunts Me"). Lorenzo too arrives in New York, but doesn't find a job. He takes to playing his guitar in Central Park to earn a little bit of money, but is still cheerful and optimistic.

Maria goes for a jog in Central Park, and hears Lorenzo playing. She stops to listen, and suddenly recognizes him. They hug and are reunited, and spend hours catching up. Maria tells Lorenzo how unsatisfied she is, and how she doesn't know what she ought to be doing with her life. Lorenzo tries to cheer her up and remind her that life will bring many wonderful things ("Don't Worry, Be Happy").

Lorenzo and Maria see each other frequently, and their friendship is rekindled. Maria grows to rely on Lorenzo, and he admires her for being so driven. They spend a lot of time together, and begin to fall in love. Lorenzo reflects on how he and Maria fit together so well ("Flor Pálida").

Lorenzo and Maria declare that they love each other and begin a relationship. On their first date as a couple, they go dancing and tango for hours, celebrating their Hispanic heritage ("The Man with the Big Sombrero").

Act II

Maria and Lorenzo are blissfully in love, but Maria still feels burdened by the past, spending a lot of time talking about the past instead of the future ("When Canada Rules the World"). Lorenzo grows frustrated by her inability to move past old hardships. He tries to tease her to show her how ridiculous she's being, but Maria is offended by his insensitivity and they have their first big fight ("You May Be Right"). They continue to date, but things are tense between them.

Lorenzo is playing in Central Park when he sees a group of people singing ("Come On Over"). He approaches them, and sees that they are all stoned. They welcome him, and even offer him the opportunity to be a drug dealer. He is reluctant, and tries to leave, until they tell him how much money he can make. He is hesitant, but he still accepts. He even smokes his first joint, and inadvertently misses a date with Maria.

When he sobers up, Lorenzo realizes his mistake and hurries to Maria's side. He tries to apologize, but Maria can see that he is stoned, and is terribly hurt. She is afraid of what his new career will mean for their relationship, and feels she has no choice but to break up with him in order to protect herself from future heartbreak ("Je Ne T'Aime Plus").

Maria believes that she made the right decision, but is still sad to be without Lorenzo. She asks for the advice of her friends and family, who cynically assert that betrayal is inevitable, and that she was bound to get hurt ("The Riddle"). She resolves to get over him and stop lingering on the past.

Lorenzo becomes a successful drug dealer, and decides he should try one of the drugs he peddles. He take LSD, and goes on a serious trip ("Cloissonné"). He realizes how unhappy he is, and resolves to turn his life around and win Maria back.

Lorenzo shows up at Maria's door apologizing for his mistakes and asking her to give him another chance ("But Now I'm Back"). Maria promises him that she'll think about it, and goes for a walk to work through her feelings. She admits that her life was empty and directionless until she found Lorenzo, and that he was the only person that could make her happy ("'Til There Was You"). Even though she still loves him, she realizes that she can't trust him anymore, and therefore cannot rekindle their relationship.

She goes to his door and delivers the bad news ("And Then You're Gone"). Both of them are very upset, but Lorenzo accepts Maria's decision, even telling her that he understands. She leaves in tears, as Lorenzo tries to comfort her ("Don't Worry, Be Happy" reprise).

Mourning the consequences of his decisions, Lorenzo reflects on how much he loves Maria, and how she alone takes away life's pains. ("No Siento Penas"). He realizes that she inspires him to be a better person, and resolves to turn his life around in order to win her once and for all. He finds a real, well-paying job, and works hard to get clean.

Maria is heartbroken, but tries hard to move past it. She goes out to a club and gets drunk, trying to forget ("Man! I Feel Like a Woman"). She is hit on by a man, and tries to flirt back, but finds that her heart isn't in it. After a severe hangover, she realizes how much she misses Lorenzo, and what a mistake it was to reject him. She calls him and asks to meet with him the following day. He agrees, and hopes it means that she has forgiven him.

When the time of their rendezvous arrives, Maria doesn't show up. Lorenzo is heartbroken, and wonders why she is acting so strangely ("Four of Two").

Meanwhile, Maria is plagued by doubt. She remembers all the pain that Lorenzo caused her, and is again torn as to whether she ought to forgive and forget. However, she realizes that she cannot expect him to be perfect, and that she loves him in spite of everything ("The Stranger").

Feeling angry but nostalgic, Lorenzo is again playing guitar in Central Park, but is still feeling much more bitter and cynical than he used to ("Poisoning Pigeons in the Park").

Maria goes looking for Lorenzo, and finds him in Central Park. She explains how much she loves him, and that she's willing to forgive him if he will forgive her. They recall their tenuous past, but decide they have gone through enough heartbreak ("It's All Been Done Before"). Hand in hand, they commit to simply loving each other, and looking forward to a happy future together ("I'll Be There for You" reprise).




Question #86076 posted on 04/11/2016 6:54 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My grandparents met at a dance at the Smith Fieldhouse during Thanksgiving break in 1959. I'm trying to find pictures from the dance to give to them for their anniversary. I've already looked in the old BYU Banyan yearbooks, but I haven't found anything. I know this is a longshot, but can you help me find pictures from this dance?



Dear Sadie,

Well, I found no photographs, but I did look through a Daily Universe microfilm down at the Family History library in the HBLL. I found a newspaper article talking about the dance that your grandparents met at, though it was an article announcing the dance, so there weren't any pictures. I looked through the next week of films but didn't find anything there either. So unfortunately all I can give you is an article announcing the dance your grandparents met at. Who knows? Maybe they both found out about it by reading the Daily Universe.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 6.23.13 PM.png

Yeah, sorry about the horrible microfilm reproduction. You can't blame me for that.

Also, bonus, this picture was attached to the article; maybe one of them is one of your grandparents. Who knows?

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 6.24.28 PM.png


Question #85993 posted on 04/02/2016 11:12 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I have a new Acer laptop (Aspire V -- touch screen), and it's pretty decent. (I've had much worse).

However, I was wondering if any of you, younguns, can tell me what this "I'm Cortana. Ask Me anything" phrase is on my screen in the bottom right corner (next to the windows/"start" button)? I don't know all the technical terms so here is an image of what I'm talking about: https://www.google.ca/search?q=i%27m+cortana+ask+me+anything&safe=active&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=643&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjVrPTsmefLAhXHUZQKHS0VC0cQ_AUIBygC#imgrc=MLVMqjDVmDXV_M%3A

How do I use it? Can I verbally speak to it (like Siri)? Or is it just a plain old search engine dressed up in a fancy name? How do I make the most of this new gadget???

-Fossilized Typewriter

P.S. Why the name "Cortana"? What's the inspiration for this name???
P.P.S. And for good measure, why is Siri named Siri?


Dear Aerodactyl,

The Goose Girl explained where the name came from so I will explain what it is for.

Cortana is basically a digital assistant like Siri. The little phrase "Ask me anything" is meant to be clicked on and used like a search bar. You can use Cortana to search for files or pictures on your computer, to search for things on the internet, to do math, to create reminders on your computer, to set alarms and more.

I always feel like I should put pictures in when I describe technical things, so here are some pictures! When you click on the bar something like this should pop up.

Screenshot (28).png

And there should be some news stories and other things Cortana thinks you are interested in. All of Cortana's different uses can be found by clicking the "?" on the left-hand side.

 Screenshot (29).png

Yes, you can talk to her if your computer has a microphone and you click on the microphone button in the search bar.


You can also change your settings so Cortana will start listening to you as soon as you say "Hey Cortana." If you want to enable speaking to Cortana click on the Book underneath the House on the left hand side. Then click "Settings".

Screenshot (25).png

Then click the button that says 'Let Cortana respond to "Hey Cortana."'

Screenshot (26).png

And then you can talk to your computer! Do you like terrible jokes? Just say "Hey Cortana, tell me a joke."

Screenshot (27).png

Or, for more useful things could say, "Hey Cortana, go to facebook.com" or "Hey Cortana, open Microsoft Word" and Cortana will open it in your default browser. You can also just type a url like "homestarrunner.com".

As a note, saying "Hey Cortana" has worked off and on for me. It normally works when I have just booted up my computer but if I'm doing a bunch of other stuff on it already then it doesn't hear me when I say "Hey Cortana." When it does work, though, it feels like I'm living in the future.

TL;DR: Cortana can be a very useful tool or a nice search bar with a name.


Question #85968 posted on 03/31/2016 11:54 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Are there more fish or bugs on this earth?



Dear person,

There are approximately 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) bugs.

There are 2 billion (2,000,000,000) tonnes of fish or 2,000,000,000,000 kilograms.

I couldn’t find anything on the internet that lets me know what what the average fish size is. But let’s assume that, on average, fish weigh 5 grams. I think this is a low estimate, but going low is good because it means there will be more total fish to compete with total number of bugs.

That said, even though we guessed that fish are small, this estimate would still only yield a total of 400 trillion (400,000,000,000,000) total fish. So bugs still win. By a lot.

To give you an idea of just how many more bugs there are, if the 5 gram estimate is accurate there would be 25,000 times as many bugs as fish. Let's just visualize this for a moment. For every 1 fish,


There would be 25,000 bugs: