"My brother is too kind. He was eminent when my eminence was only imminent." -Niles Crane
Question #80955 posted on 02/06/2015 1:38 p.m.


Usually, for the standardised format of my ongoing question posts, the question would be on the top line, but I don't really know what I'm asking, so...

~ { context } ~

I find it incredibly surprising how a limited array -- theboard.byu.edu/about/current -- could answer such an expansive range of questions, especially ones with graphs, or charts -- theboard.byu.edu/questions/80592 --

or highly specific question -- theboard.byu.edu/questions/80616/ -- that would take me a week to a month, given other things to do, and I still won't be able to answer the question. Then again, I just realised right now that those active likely includes PhDs, and other graduate students. (side note: they should open it up to those that graduated, but that's all policies)

So I guess my curiosity is,

How in the world do you do it?
What's the recommended generalistic research path to finding an answer?
How do you answer so many questions... (aka: why is your brain so big?)
AND within such a short time span?
What's the success rate of answering questions within deadline?
Do all the actives ever meet in person? (i.e. q&a party? cos you should!)

So... I don't really have any specific questions, so free feel to advise however you see best =)

~ { question meta-data } ~

* question goal -- Fulfilling A Wonder (which thereby leads to life being boring cause wonder has been diminished to none)

* challenge level --

0 Even A Baby Could Do It! 0 | =>> 1 What A Kicker! <<= 1 | 2 Wow, Really? 2

* topical chart -- Research > Productivity > Knowledge

~ AMBW (A More Beautiful World)


Dear Gaea,

Calling people can also be a quick way to get information. I think a lot of people would be surprised at how useful and painless making a phone call can be. I can sometimes answer a question in under 10 minutes that way.

As far as graphs and charts go, the data collection can definitely be tedious. But actually making the graphs and charts can be as easy as pie with Excel and other more sophisticated data visualization tools.

The highly specific question you mentioned? I don't know exactly how long it took to post, but I know that finding the actual answer took less than a day. It took longer to find two writers to meet together than it did to walk down to Special Collections, talk to the people there, and take pictures of the book. If Tally hadn't given us the tip about Special Collections, we might not have had such success, but it still wouldn't have taken a PhD.

Like Tally M. said, we do it with Google and with the contacts around us. We're naturally investigative, and it helps to be part of such a tight-knit and information-packed place as BYU. I definitely see searching out answers as something I do not only because of this responsibility, but also because I find it fun. Some people spend time, I don't know, knitting or watching cat videos or browsing Pinterest, but I use that time for my weird hobby called the Board. (Granted, we do watch our fair share of cat videos here, but I was having a hard time coming up with examples. Here's a better picture about what we'd do with our time otherwise.)

"What's the recommended generalistic research path to finding an answer?" Hmmm ... Good question. It sounds like you're asking about finding resources for fact-based answers (as opposed to relationship/opinion/funny/whatever answers, which can still require their own kind of research), so I'm going to address that. I'm kind of uncomfortable numbering these or calling them "steps" because in reality, I just go in whatever order I feel will help get the answer the quickest or most accurately. I included some examples from my own answers so you might be able to see how this looks in real-life applications. Here are some recommendations I have for finding answers:

  • Know the answer off the top of your head because you had a class about it, read about it, watched a documentary about it, heard a podcast about it, or were otherwise exposed to the information. Keep your eyes and ears open all the time—when you know you could be called upon at any time to answer random questions, you start to get good at collecting bits here and there. You may still want to employ some of the following research steps, though, to make sure you're remembering correctly and getting all sides of the problem. This is what I did for Board Question #75692, which asked about a book I had read when I was little. I had to search a bit for the actual title, but I knew pretty well what the reader was asking about.
  • Remember where you heard it but forget what exactly the answer was. Turn back to your original source (class notes, your mom, a bookmarked page, YouTube, the Board archives, etc.) to find the answer. I pulled out a textbook from one of my linguistics classes to refresh my memory when answering Board Question #78304.
  • Remember topic-specific resources to turn to first. For example, if it's a question about a word's etymology, I look up the Oxford English Dictionary before going to Google. Some other fun places for facts include Y Facts, the World Factbook, the Corpus of Contemporary American English, the Notable Names Database, and WolframAlpha. I used that last resource to determine the average age of people named Bertha for Board Question #80564.
  • Perform a preliminary Google search. Use words in the question and good Google technique. For me, the most common tricks at this stage include quotes and site-specific search. If a Wikipedia page isn't one of your top results, you might want to look it up specifically in Wikipedia as well. Follow the trails of links that you come across. As in Board Question #77723 and Board Question #80050, sometimes the answer is just the first hit.
  • Search the archives. There are quite a few questions that have been asked more than once. You just have to be careful about using outdated information, but the archives can at least give you a good starting point. As I mentioned in Board Question #74032, we should totally have a theme song for every time we direct someone to the archives.
  • Do an in-depth internet-based search. Pull out things like advanced search and Google Scholar, or do something drastic like view the second page of results. I'm pretty sure I used this for answering Board Question #72127 about names.
    • Don't forget about online academic library resources. Search the HBLL website in general or turn to the subject guides to narrow it down a bit. Try chatting with a librarian online to ask for a good place to start.
    • When you do find an article or other helpful source, look at its citations to see if you can look those up for even more information.
  • Go to the library! Go to the help desk of the appropriate field and ask them for resources. They may also recommend professors or other people to reach out to. I checked out a few books concerning ancient Spartan society to answer Board Question #72319.
  • Make a phone call/email/post/message/personal visit. The tricky part with this, I guess, is knowing who to call. Keep your eyes open for contact information when you're doing the above steps. As a Board writer, I pay particular attention to BYU events and resources that I think will come in handy for someone. Also, think about family members, friends, colleagues, ward members, anybody around you that might have some special knowledge in this area. Even if they don't know the answer, they should be able to point you somewhere you might not have considered before. Don't neglect specific physical centers of information. Libraries, community centers, forums, clubs, organizations, etc. can all be great niches to investigate, and those people are particularly enthusiastic to help out. I talked to a family history TA in the Family History Lab here at BYU to answer Board Question #72705.
  • Make your best educated guess. After all the things you've looked at by now, it's probably been at least 100 hours. Try linking to a picture of a cookie, or ask the reader to resubmit with more information. We also need to acknowledge that, while we're surrounded by a lot of brains here at BYU, we can't pester all our professors with a bunch of random questions, so it's a good idea to explain the reader the efforts that you took so they get an idea of where to look or not look themselves.

Sometimes questions involve primary research. In that case, you can either use the methods above to find your data, turn to your friends to conduct surveys, acquire resources to perform an experiment, use boss programming skills to compile data from the interwebs—carry out whatever your research question calls for. Attempt to make good use of the scientific method, but again recognize your limitations and give a ballpark result if necessary.

Once you have your sources, you just compare all the information you have, judge the research, summarize your findings, insert relevant quotes and figures, acknowledge limitations, and cite your sources. (Judging the legitimacy of the research may be the most difficult part. The Research and Writing Center in the HBLL, a library workshop, or this Research Starter Guide can give you some more information about that. Also, a decent background in statistics and research methods can't hurt.)

That covers most of it. There are other things we do for more unique questions, but that's the general path. Looking back on it now, I pretty much do any one of these things, but I always include Google in there somewhere. It's always a good idea to pair anything you do with Google to make sure you're not missing some really good, easy-to-find additional information.


Question #80922 posted on 02/04/2015 12:56 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Are the current apostles and First Presidency living longer than the apostles and First Presidency 50 years ago? Or 100 years ago? It seems that lifespans in the US have gotten longer over time so I wondered how that affected the leaders of the Church. Has the age when the prophet passes away changed much over time?

-fangirls for Tally M. (but anyone can answer this)


Dear Fangirls,

I put together a spreadsheet of all the apostles' lifespans, and this is the scatter plot that came out:

Apostolic Life Expectancy.png

  • The dotted red line is the line of best fit, an average of ages across the years.
  • Each blue dot is an apostle.
  • The yellow dots are those who became prophets.
  • The red dots are those who were murdered.
  • The yellow dot with a red outline is Joseph Smith, who both became a prophet and was murdered.
  • President Monson and other living apostles are excluded from this plot, since they don't yet have an age at death.

According to the numbers, the life expectancy of apostles and prophets has increased by about 0.16 per year. Therefore, if you were born in 1900, you were likely to live about 1.6 years longer than someone born in 1890. I included the "murdered" variable because I thought that a high number of martyrdoms in the early years of the Church might skew the data. Fortunately, there were fewer of those than I had anticipated. I have good news, guys: the likelihood of apostles and prophets meeting their deaths at the hands of vengeful mobs has decreased dramatically since the early 1800s.

Yours, &c.

Heidi Book

Question #80825 posted on 02/03/2015 10:12 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I have a confession...I really like reading self-help books on dating. I suppose it makes me feel like I'm doing something to progress towards marriage, but I know that sitting alone in my bedroom reading a book isn't actually going to help me get married. So my question is, what are some things that I can be doing that WILL improve my marriage prospects? I've got lots of free time and I'd like to think at least some of my time is going towards something more productive than watching every episode of every show on Netflix.

-Single and ready


Dear you,

One of the biggest things that I think you can do to improve your marriage prospects is doing what you can to meet people and go on dates. That's kind of obvious, but I'm going to expand on it below. I took this as a chance to consolidate a fair amount of dating advice into one question, so some of this isn't directly relevant to your inquiry (and you may not need it) but hopefully it'll help someone out there.

The Anne, Certainly Guide to Revolutionizing Your Dating Life

(Oooh, that's a really pretentious name for a guide. This one better be good). 

0. GPS Searching for Signal, or, Figuring Out Where You Are

I think that it's easy to feel like we don't know where to go because we the advice we read doesn't necessarily seem to reflect what's happening to us right now. Before you can have a hope at deciding which way to turn at the next intersection you reach, you have absolutely got to know where you are compared to where you are trying to get. In thinking about this question, I've realized there are (at least) three important areas of self-reflection: understanding your mental/emotional state, understanding your spiritual state, and understanding your current approach to dating. 

  • Your mental/emotional state: As I discussed in my Life Changing Summer Answer, the way you view yourself makes a huge difference in dating. Take a few minutes to reflect. Do you honestly believe that you are desirable? Do you believe that someone would be fortunate to date you? Do you believe that dating someone is going to solve certain problems in your life? What problems? Taking a few minutes to sit down and analyze your thought patterns can help you understand why you're acting in certain ways and what things it might be helpful to change.
  • Your spiritual state: This is closely related to your mental and emotional state. I firmly believe that dating (although totally fun sometimes and well worth the effort) can be really difficult and is something God wants to help us with. Do you remember that God loves you, even when the dating is rough? Do you continue to pray for courage to put yourself in the right situations? Do you act on promptings to do simple things like helping others, talking to them, etc? God will help you. Are you putting yourself in a situation where that's possible?
  • Your current approach to dating: What are you doing right now on the dating front? Are you flirting with a lot of guys? Are you flirting with one guy? Have you given up? If you're feeling really cynical, why is that, and what can you do to restore your hope?
1. Route Analyzing, or, Determining Where You're Headed
I am still realizing the wisdom of the Young Women's adviser who warned us as high schoolers that you marry the people you date. For many BYU students, even if they're not planning on marriage immediately, it's an end goal. That's important. That means you need to start considering right now how and who you're going to date. Fortunately for us, we actually do have a large degree of control over who we fall in love with. That does mean, though, that we need to be careful about the choices we make about dating. If you've decided that a temple marriage is a requirement for you (a standard I strongly endorse) then think about at least 3 things:
  1. What do I need to do to achieve this goal?
  2. What do the people I date need to do to achieve this goal?
  3. How should we date in order to achieve this goal?
I encourage writing things down because it helps us process and gives us a record of where we were. Man, Certainly and I actually have some written stuff from early in our relationship when we were having discussions about how things would need to function if we were going to be able to date successfully. So, sit down and write these out. This will give you something to look back at as you date and will hold you accountable for both the things that you do and the things you might be tempted to justify in others and in relationships with them.
2. Getting Started, or, What Has To Happen If I Want to Get Married?
There are obviously a lot of things that have to happen if we want to get married. This answer is obviously a simplification. However, once you've figured out where you are and where you want to get, it is time to:
Take Action: Get Off The Board (After Reading This Answer) And Talk To A Human
Okay. We all know that the odds of us getting asked out by people we've never met are pretty low. That means that the number of people you date is going to be bounded by the number of people you know.
  • For you extroverts, getting off Netflix and going out with some friends may be easy: make sure that you also take time to go to events where you don't know people and where you have an opportunity to meet people of the opposite gender who you could see again.
  • For the introverts, I know this is harder. I think a lot of people think I'm an extrovert, but I'm actually somewhere in the middle of the I-E scale. With the understanding that I have some empathy, here are some thoughts on getting to know people:
    • Go to things: sometimes you don't want to do this. It is often more difficult to make yourself vulnerable to boredom, casual rejection, or awkwardness at an activity in your new ward, a club meeting where you don't know people, or the random party your roommate invited you to come to with her. For introverts, realize that sometimes going to these things isn't something you do because it's immediately enjoyable, it's something you do as part of a longer-term investment with potentially amazing returns.
    • When you get there, find a place where you're comfortable enough to be yourself. This might somewhat limit the activities you go to (for example, I'd be uncomfortable at a rave in a club, probably even at the side along the wall. That's fine.) Find the corner with a person you know, the food table where there are just a few people casually chatting instead of dancing all crazy in a huge group, etc.
    • Say something. This can be hard, but it's critical. Sometimes other people are shy too. Taking the first step by making an offhand comment to someone  - "I like your shoes." "Is that a [fandom] shirt? I love that [book/movie]!" "So, which cupcakes here are the best?" - gives them the chance to start talking to you without feeling like they're being weird. If they give you a monosyllabic answer, you can totally ditch out and try someone else, but a lot of people will like that you're asking for their opinion, complimenting them, or otherwise showing interest in their existence and will start a conversation.
    • Get - and remember - people's names. When you meet that new guy/girl in the ward, try to remember who s/he is. This probably goes without saying.
    • Remember next time you see them that you've already started building a relationship. If you had a great conversation at the ward mixer last week, they remember it too! You don't need to act or feel like you're starting from ground zero the next time you talk to them. 
Find and Identify Humans You Like
This is one area where I think dating in college can vary pretty significantly from the way we understood it when we were younger. Back in middle school it was "Who do you have a crush on?" In college, there have been times for me where that wasn't a name - it was a list. And you know what? That's totally great. After all, diversification in a competitive market can lead to some solid returns. 
Key to this process is having reasonable expectations for what a new relationship is like. Now, I am not suggesting that we start dating guys who are clearly beneath our standards. I am suggesting that we remember that beginning relationships (and that's lowercase r relationships including acquaintanceships and friendships as well as dating relationships) is very often awkward. Even inviting a friend of the same gender to hang out for the first time is stressful, because what if they don't think you're as cool as you think they are? Remember this. Don't compare new relationships that are still dealing with the kinks with the rock-solid ones you've had for years or decades (or even a semester or two.) It's easy to count out a guy/girl because there were a few minutes of awkward silence in the conversation or a joke went flat. To this I say: try, try again. Give it some time.
This idea of meeting people and getting to know them is one of the most important things I think people need to understand about dating. It's really easy to surround ourselves with a small group of people we already know and don't consider as dating prospects and then not meet anyone to actually date. To this, I have two points of advice:
  1. People who say you shouldn't date your friends are wrong. You guys know me. I don't make a ton of categorical statements. However, the idea that dating your friends is somehow an inherently terrible plan is dumb. You want to date someone you're friends with. For an elaboration of this, see this answer. People who think they can only date their friends are also wrong. Take a chance! I'm not recommending anything unsafe, but don't feel like you can't start to flirt with a guy you don't know very well. I was vaguely aware of Man, Certainly before we started dating, but I became more aware of him when I noticed he was cute and added him to my general list of guys to flirt with (that makes me sound like a terrible person. Hey, it's well-established that I play the field when I'm single. It works for me.)
  2. Find Places to Be Friends with People. If you're going to date someone, they're presumably going to become your friend at some point. To this end, you need to be in places and doing things where you can meet people you'll be interested in. Join clubs! Go to ward choir! Do that weekly ward service project! Talk to someone about starting a study group in your class (that just happens to include that cute guy/girl). Meet your co-workers. I cannot express enough the importance of meeting people in dating! Anyone you think you could potentially be interested in, talk to and get to know! This is the some of the specific advice I'd give to you, reader: find things to attend that you enjoy doing and find other people who enjoy doing them too. That's a great place to start, and even if you don't find anyone you'll still have fun.
Go On A Date With A Human You Like
Obviously, this is a lot easier said than done. Fortunately, I have already published the Anne, Certainly Date-Getting Flirtation Method as well as the Anne, Certainly Guide to Having a Positive Date Experience (and some tips on dealing with physical flirtation). I'm guessing from your question that you're a girl, but if you're a guy, feel free to submit follow-up questions, because I'm happy to give more specific advice for that as well.
4. Re-routing is Okay, or, Don't Give Up
Remember that as Hannah Montana wisely informed us, "everybody has those days." Sometimes the guy turns you down. Sometimes the girl tells you she just wants to be friends. Sometimes you have to break up with someone and it's really awkward. Like Taylor Swift tells us, we need to shake it off. As the wisdom of Jimmy Eat World reminds us, "It just takes some time, little girl you're in the middle of the ride. Everything, everything will be just fine. Everything, everything will be alright." You may be noticing a pattern. This is a totally universal thing. Even the people who appear to have it totally under wraps struggle. Don't give up. Keep at it and get back on the horse.

Things probably won't work out perfectly the first time. That is totally fine. I had been on dates with something like a dozen guys before I kissed anyone. I was up to something like 20 before I had a relationship that lasted a significant amount of time. It's a bit of a numbers game, and that can be discouraging at times. Just try to remember that continuing to try will have benefits: possible relationships, new friendships, strengthening your character (Man, Certainly's really into that whole character-building thing... he's trying to convince me,) learning about what you want in the future, and being blessed for making efforts to achieve a good thing. It might feel like you protect yourself from pain by not hoping for anything and not acting like you're trying for anything, but if you don't hope for good things, you are letting yourself down. 

5. It's Okay If You Don't Have an ETA, or, Don't Insist on Seeing the End from the Beginning

We don't know how our lives will go yet. Some of us (Anne, Certainly) can be control freaks, but learning to take joy in the fact that God is the one who is in charge. Give yourself time to listen and learn and decide what's working without feeling like everything has to happen (or not happen) right now. Reflect on what's happening to you and whether it is good. If not, what could make it better? If it is, have you taken time to be grateful and find ways to make it even better? 

Be grateful for the good things about where you are, and trust that if you follow God, He will in time take you somewhere even better. He'll give you ideas for what you should be doing if you ask Him for them with a determination to do them. You can do it. 


~Anne, Certainly

Question #80717 posted on 01/22/2015 4:02 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Why do baby towels have hoods? Is this actually a helpful feature or just a way to make you buy a new towel when you have a baby?



Dear Waluigi,

Let me demonstrate with a chart, based on my exhaustive research of this subject.


As you can no doubt see, in most clinical trials, hooded towels were consistently rated about 85 centi-teddies more snuggly than non-hooded towels for babies. The results were statistically significant (p<.05) and hoodedness accounted for about 82 percent of the variance in snuggability in our sample group (N=3,792).

-Inverse Insomniac

Citation: Meyerhoffer, Klaus. 2015. Snuggability and baby towels: What's up in the hood? Journal of Quantifying Baby Opinions 14(Summer): 410-563.

Question #80643 posted on 01/20/2015 12:56 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I have a Tinder account. My problem is when I come across a relatively good friend of mine that I'm not really interested in, but I feel like I have to acknowledge that I saw them. What's the proper etiquette for seeing friends (mostly those you aren't interested in) in Tinder?

-Left Swiper


Dear swiper stop swiping,

IN  CONGRESS, waaaaay after  JULY 4, 1776.

The Unanimous Declaration of the thirteen emotional States of Ardilla

WHEN in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one person to dissolve the social stigma which has heretofore prevented him with connecting with Another and to assume among the powers of The Worldwide Web, the separate and equal station to which a certain Social Network's Terms of Agreement entitle him, a decent respect to the opinions of womankind requires that he should declare the causes which impel him to the association.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the fruitless Pursuit of Relationships. That to secure these rights, dating websites are instituted among men and women, deriving their just powers from the common consent and frequenting of their users — That, whenever any Form of Online Interaction seems to be more alluring than its contemporaries, it is the Right of the Single People to investigate it closely, and to institute membership, laying their justification in vague principles and leveraging its powers in ways as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety, Happiness and general amusement. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Dating Habits long entrenched should not be changed for light and transient causes, and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer the evils of dating while these are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of unreturned calls and friendzonings, incurred while pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Denigration, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Habits, and to provide new strategies for their future relationship security — Such has been the patient sufferance of this Writer; and such is now the necessity which constrains him to alter his former Methods of Dating. The history of the present Dating Records is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations by disinterested Parties, all having in direct object the establishment of a dating stagnation over this Campus. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

She has refused her Assent to Dates, the most wholesome and necessary for the public approval of a given relationship.

She has forbidden her roommates and close friends to associate with him, suspending normal societal conversational norms until her Assent to the contrary should be so obtained, and whenever this decision is appealed she has utterly neglected to attend to it. 

She has refused other Affections for the accommodation of interest from other random people who Don't Even Go Here,

She has convened conversations to Define the Lack of a Relationship at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from matters of the heart for the sole purpose of fatiguing him into compliance with her measures.

She has dissolved men's resolutions to not be wimps repeatedly, for deflecting with womanly firmness their attempts to merely say hello in public places,

She has disappeared for a long time, after decisions towards missionary-service related relocations, to cause men to despaire whereby they, incapable of the Annihilation of their affections, have returned to the gyms at large for their exercise to blow off some steam; their emotions remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

She has endeavoured to prevent the population of the local dating pool with new individuals, for that purpose refusing to encourage them to sign a contract within a league of his residence, and effectively prevent their migrations hither.

She has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing to stop dating Tools and establishing proof of a modicum of Good Judgement.

She has made men dependent on her Will alone for the tenure of their relationships, and the amount and payment of any surfeit of their salary forfeited regularly in the hope of maintaining these.

She has erected a multitude of New Heritage Buildings, and sent hither swarms of Freshmen to harass our people and eat out their substances in lunch dates that will go nowhere.

She has kept among us, in times of what would otherwise be peace, ward prayers without the Consent of our ever having said we even wanted to have one, for surely reposing instead on the ottoman during a cold Sabbath evening is no great Sin. 

She has through her unreciprocated emotions affected to render men in favor of giving up and joining the Military for at least their Basic Training squad leader will Remember Their Name,

She has combined with others to subject us to judgments foreign to our constitution and unacknowledged by our Man Laws merely because we apparently did not text back quickly enough even though she knew us to be engaged in a particularly intense bout of Halo,

For quartering large bodies of Instagram photos among us,

For protecting them, by a veritable array of Pinterest pages unbearable even to visit for their pages replete with Bedazzled things and Recipes so Cutesy and visually complex in their Presentation only a Professional Pastry Chef could Actually Make Them,

For cutting off our Trade of Pokemon with other parts of the world:

For imposing purges of our favorite old T-shirts without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the Benefit of the Doubt:

For transporting us beyond the doors of her parents' homes to be tried for pretended offences:

For abolishing the use of Plain English in daily conversations, establishing therein Arbitrary meanings to voice inflections and pauses; and expecting sideways glances and other nigh-imperceptible movements to be accepted examples of fit instruments to convey encyclopedic amounts of information instantaneously.

For eating our Lucky Charms, abolishing our most valued gaming systems and altering fundamentally the Compositions of our Closets:

For suspending our own food preferences when deciding where we should Eat Out, and declaring herself invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever while we are Using the Restroom.

She has abdicated from the throne of reason by dating men she met scarcely two weeks ago, waging emotional War against us and any notion of hope for reasonable accomodation of romantic interest we harbored in our naive hearts.

She has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our pixelated people by obliviating deliberately the file of our favorite Minecraft world because she deemed it a Waste of Time,

She is at this time suggesting we Date her Friend who She Promises is Finally Over Her Ex even though previously falling for this diversion has resulted in dates so long, awkward and filled with venomous diatribes we wish large Armies of foreign Mercenaries would end and compleat our miserable evenings with whatever work of death, desolation, or tyranny strikes their fancy provided it terminates the circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages in which we now find ourselves embroiled, for which release we would gladly trade our position as the Head of a prosperous and civilized nation.

She has constrained our fellow Brothers taken Captive in relationships to bear Advice against their Comrades, to become the self-decreed custodians and executioners of their friends and Brethren's dating lives during innumerable Holiday Conversations by inquiring if they are Dating Anyone Yet and deeming the reply unsatisfactory subsequently offering unsolicited and unwelcome Profound Relationship Wisdom, causing these same annoyed Brethren to consequently desire to strangle them with their Bare Hands.

She has excited domestic insurrections amongst us by flirting shamelessly with us and our roommates while maintaining she is Dating Someone, and has thusly endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our apartments, the merciless plague of jealousy whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages and conditions of emotional stability.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Princess, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a once free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our feminine friends. We have warned them from time to time that attempts by their constituents to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us are most unwelcome. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here in Provo. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common Facebook friends to disavow these usurpations, which do incessantly interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of common sense. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of womankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

I, therefore, a citizen of the united States of America, in General Congress with all aliases heretofore created, unprovoked, appealing to the general kindliness of the world for the rectitude of my intentions, do, in my 'Nym, and by Authority granted by my street cred with the good Peasants of Provo, solemnly publish and declare, That this writer is, and of Right ought to be Free to Independently decide to join Tinder, and that he is absolved of all social stigma that would prevent him from doing so, and that as a Free and Independent Participant has full Power to swipe Left, swipe Right, establish Communication and the untaxed Commerce of Emoji, contract Alliances, establish Relationships, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent Persons may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, despite a sneaking fear that this is probably but a more efficient vehicle for further emotional Trauma and Heartbreak, we mutually pledge to Give it At Least A Fair Shot out of respect for our Lives, Fortunes, and sacred Honor.

TL;DR: I joined Tinder (Tally M. facilitating this by the use of her smartphone and know-how). You know, for science. Wherefore upon joining this Citizen did discover the proper etiquette upon encountering a Friend with whom you do not wish to engage in courtship is to swipe rapidly in the sinistral direction, this being less deceitful, more honest, and ultimately more kind. 

--Ardilla Feroz, Ardillas Friendzoned, Flirtroz, Fur-roz, Fluteroz, Frozen, Fayoz, Fearmonger, Functionista, Preblessed, Broke, Brain, Totally Unhelpful, Volador, the Hun, Armadillo Fuzz, Sasparilla Rush, Arbitrary Buzz, Rosquilla Schnozz, Esquilo Feroz, Ques-ardilla, Lizard Loafer, Flailed Razor, Afar Dill Zero, Lizard Florae, A Razor Filled, Zaire Far Doll, Ladle Razor If Lard Ail Fez Or Lazed Friar Lo Ordeal La Friz, Razed Oaf Rill, Dial Razor Elf, Areal Old Friz, Farad Zero Ill, Rodilla Tenaz, Zeal Friar Old, Leaf Razor Lid, Deaf Razor Ill, Floral Lira Zed, La Razor Filed, A Lizard Elf Or, Ren Xiao Lei, Lard Laze Fro I, Earl La Do Friz, Area Doll Friz, Afar Doze Rill, Lead Oral Friz, Razed Floral I, Lizard Earl Of Far All Id Zero, Aid Razor Fell Dial Razor Elf, Adze Fair Roll, Air La Lord Fez, Raze La Old Fir, Far Roar Zed I 

Question #80616 posted on 01/22/2015 10:32 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What is the smallest (width * height * depth) book in the Harold B. Lee Library?

I have searched somewhat on my own, but I believe that the skills of the Board far outstrip my own for these sorts of tasks.

-V. J. M. (Yes, the very same one)


Dear V.J.M.,

Challenge Accepted!

As you probably know, the library has close to five million books,and 98 miles of shelves. Needless to say, I was daunted. Nonetheless, I set out to find what you seek. At first, I expected a long and arduous trek through the miles and miles of stacks. I started on the second floor, and found hope in these "Very Short Introduction" books. They are about 4" tall, 3" wide, and .25" thick. I felt sure that I was on the right track.

I have never been so wrong before.


I scoured the 2nd floor and found nothing else, and hopelessness began to overtake me. As I prepared myself for many more hours of this tedious work, a missive came that was like manna from heaven. Tally M. had sent me a covert tip:  "Look in Special Collections," she told me. Now, I had heard of this place, "Special Collections." I knew it was a place of wonders, and secrets, and it lay exceedingly close to the lair of our great enemies the tunnel worms. (I suspect they control Special Collections to some extent). So with great trepidation I prepared to enter into that cave of caves; that wonder of wonders. Thankfully, as I prepared to journey into the netherlands, I encountered Owlet who joined me in my searching. Together we infiltrated the depths of Special collections...


...Well we tried to infiltrate the depths of Special Collections. At the entrance, we face two surprisingly helpful guards. After speaking with them, we gleaned a great deal of information concerning the smallest book in the library. Apparently, in addition to having a small book collection, containing over twenty cases of tiny books, the library has a copy of The Smallest Bible in the World, which is a microfiche that is smaller than your fingertip. However, we decided we were more interested in the books they had in hard copy. After some goading, cajoling, and threatening, we managed to convince them to bring us their smallest book. Here is what we were shown. 



This was the biggest book they brought out to us. It easily fit in the palm of my hand 


And here is the smallest we found. Wise Kwaks is 2 cm long, 1.5 cm wide, and .25 cm thick. 



It even had jokes on the inside.


We were forced to flee from Special Collections shortly thereafter, as the real enemy had discovered our whereabouts. While we were able to get the necessary photos and measurements, we were unable to find out what Grace is when she overeats. 

As I write this answer, I am forced to ponder on Grace and the things she eats. Why does she eat so much? Does she not know what happens to her when she overeats? Doesn't she know that she needs to save some of that food for the starving children in Africa? What am I when I overeat?

These are the questions that keep me up at night, but I hope you will be able to sleep, now that you have this information. 

Challenge completed.

The Soulful Ginger and Owlet  

posted on 08/16/2018 10:43 a.m.
There is yet a smaller book in the vaults of Special Collections... it is the 1974 knjiga. It is 10 pages long and it is 4x4 MILLIMETERS. That is a .16 inches by .16 inches. TEENY!

Here's the library record:

Here's a link to an auction for a copy a few years back so you can see a pic:
Question #80592 posted on 01/19/2015 2:32 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm seeking some help for emotional issues and anxiety. I've found two campus resources to help with this: the Counseling and Psychological Services in the Wilk and the Comprehensive Clinic across the street. What are the differences between these two services? I'm not really sure where to go.

Thanks for being someone I can ask without being afraid!



Dear Diane,

Both Counseling and Psychological Services (known as CAPS or the Counseling Center) and the Comprehensive Clinic are great resources for therapy. Here's a quick comparison table to help you make the decision. 



Comprehensive Clinic


Mostly students working towards their PhD in Counseling Psychology, some faculty (licensed psychologists) as well.

Mostly students working towards their PhD in Clinical Psychology, or graduate degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy or Social Work.

Services available

Individual therapy, couples therapy, group therapy, biofeedback lab

Individual therapy, couples/family therapy, group therapy, psychological assessments

Eligibility for services

Must be a BYU student taking ¾ time credits, however waivers are available for those taking fewer credits due to mental health reasons, or if it is your last semester at BYU. For couples therapy, at least one spouse must fit the eligibility requirements above.



All services are free

Individual therapy is free for BYU students, otherwise it is $15/session for individual or couples/family therapy, $15 one time payment for participation in a group, $50 for psychological assessments, $400 for neuropsychological assessments

Group Therapy

This semester, groups are available for general process (everyone brings different issues to work on), as well as the following specialized groups: autism spectrum, couples, chronic pain and illness, eating disorders, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, meditation/mindfulness, sexual concerns, stress management, trauma recovery and empowerment, and video game addiction.

This semester, there are groups for coping with depression, premarital topics, and cancer support. The Comprehensive Clinic also typically offers general process groups, parenting groups, and other marriage-related or divorce adjustment groups.  

Intake Process

Fill out intake paperwork online, then call to schedule an in-person intake. The counselor you are scheduled an intake with will be your counselor moving forward unless you request a transfer.

Call to schedule a phone intake. Phone intakes are conducted with an intake worker, who will either give you a referral to services in the community or forward your case to a counselor at the Comprehensive Clinic, who will contact you to schedule a first appointment.

A few final words: It is important to note that all student therapists are closely supervised and are essentially working under the license of their licensed psychologist supervisor. Although people are often a little apprehensive about having a therapist who is a student rather than a licensed professional, outcome research has shown that graduate student therapists can be just as (if not more) effective in their therapy than licensed psychologists. This is probably at least in part because student therapists tend to be a little more humble about trying something new if current therapy isn't working, as well as the fact that student therapists discuss their cases with their supervisors and have additional frequent opportunities to consult with colleagues, meaning they are actually less likely to miss something important and have the advantage of drawing upon the expertise of many professionals for each case they see. However, if you're set on seeing a faculty member, you can make that request. Just be aware that you will probably have to wait longer for an intake and have a lower frequency of sessions if you decide to see a faculty member, as they are much busier and their schedules are less flexible. You should also not be afraid to switch therapists if the one you are initially scheduled with (at either location) doesn't seem like a good fit for you. 


Question #80522 posted on 01/12/2015 5:02 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm not able to fathom how two people can remain in love for eternity. Marriage seems so beyond awkward. What do you talk about when you've talked about everything you can think of? What do you do when you run out of ideas for dates and activities? I guess it's because I'm leaving one of my first relationships because I couldn't seem to get the conversation flowing and I felt like we were talking about the same things all the time that I'm feeling like I can never commit to someone for eternity. I also have social anxiety (medically diagnosed), and it's really difficult for me to be around people I feel awkward with. I've had countless panic attacks over it. Basically I just want to know if I'll ever be able to find someone that I'll be able to feel comfortable with and to talk to for the rest of eternity because it's really not seeming like it right now. I'm perfectly fine with having a few cats and living on my own.

-Painfully Introverted


Dear you,

A few thoughts:

1. On talking with someone you've been with for a long time

I'm obviously not qualified to talk about eternity, not having been in an eternal relationship (or even one that gets close). However, I have been dating Man, Certainly for a significant time period. Here are some things I've learned (with recognition of the fact that he is quieter than I am):

  • Sometimes you don't have to talk as much. I think there's a lot of value to having a relationship where you reach the point that you can feel comfortable in each other's silence.
  • If you think about the relationships that you're comfortable in (with family and friends) I'm betting that a lot of the conversations you have aren't super deep, though some probably are. You aren't spending all of your time having deeply scintillating conversation; a lot of the time you just exist around each other. You talk about the things that happen that day, the things you heard about in the news or from friends, etc. We sometimes have different expectations for how conversations will go when we're in social situations (we need to be Having Conversation!) whereas with those we're comfortable with we don't necessarily see that same need.
  • There are things you can do to encourage conversations between people who don't know each other as well or feel as comfortable yet. One thing my boyfriend and I do is play "truth or truth". It's a pretty self-explanatory variation of truth or dare. Basically, we just ask each other questions. Some questions are deeper, some are less deep. In general when we play question games like this we stay away from simply repeating each other's questions (My favorite color is blue. What's yours?). Alternating questions can be a useful device for keeping conversation going because both people get to think of what they'd like to get the other person's opinions or views on and learn about each other.
  • It takes time to get to know someone. Don't cut someone off too early just because conversation doesn't flow effortlessly from the beginning. There are some people we have very good initial conversational chemistry with and some people with whom it can take a while to break the ice. There are people other than Man, Certainly, who it's been easier for me to start a conversational relationship with, but that doesn't mean that taking longer to get it with him hasn't been worthwhile and rewarding. Don't stick around forever if you can't get what you need, but I don't think that initial awkwardness that gradually fades but occasionally resurfaces over time should necessarily be fatal.
Finally, remember that you're going to keep having lives. There will always be things happening to both you and your SO. Forever and ever, things will keep happening. As we learn and grow, we can find lots of new topics of conversation if we look.

2. On being in love with someone forever

This I won't go into in depth, since I'm obviously not qualified to discuss being in love forever (because I obviously haven't). However, I will share something I have been learning that I shared with a roommate last night.

I think falling in love can be like walking down stairs in the dark. You move down a step and you're like "Yep, that's one step more attached to this person." At some point, you think you've reached the bottom of the stairs, and you're like "Yep, I'm in love." Then, you put out your foot to take the next step forward and there's actually another stair. And then there's another stair. Being in love is not binary; it's a matter of degree. If it was just that we "fall in love" and then have to maintain that static state for eternity, I agree that the concept would be quite worrisome. What I think is helpful is to remember that you learn and grow together and that there is always another step.

~Anne, Certainly

Question #80395 posted on 01/03/2015 10:38 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

An oft asked question but one which the writers may have more thoughts to share on: how can I be happy when I'm single when I really want to be married?

The only time I've gotten close to happy with my single status was when I didn't have a crush on anyone and that is not currently the case. How can I be happy when I want to be cuddled with and told I'm pretty by a husband instead of my female friends? How can I be happy when I really crave romance and physical and verbal affection? I would like to be really, truly adored by a spouse. And yet, I am single. Is this God's way of saying I'm not good enough yet? Am I not allowed to get married until I'm more charitable? Until my mental health is better (I'm in counseling already)? Is it the world's way of punishing me for not being an interesting enough person? For not being pretty enough? For not being nice enough or social enough? How can I be happy not knowing when this will end? Not knowing when God will send someone that likes me and I like back (that's actually a member/an option)? I could be alone for years for all I know. And I really don't want that. It makes it harder to plan my life as well.

unhappily single this holiday season


Dear Donna,

Let me first clear something up for you. I personally believe that in most instances, circumstances are not created by God for us to learn lessons. He can help us to learn lessons, but He's not necessarily holding off marriage until you get better at whatever you think you need to get better at. Granted, there may be some cases in which this is true, but I'm not so certain that it's all of the time. That being said, that doesn't mean you can't learn lessons in the meantime. In my opinion, you should always be preparing for marriage, even when you don't know when it'll come. 

I think it's ridiculous to assume that because you aren't married yet, it means you aren't good enough. It's a way of thinking that is incredibly negative. I live in an apartment of six wonderful girls and all of us are good enough for marriage. And yet, all of us are single, most of us without prospects for marriage. It's so much nicer to pretend that it's because we aren't ready yet. Then it's our fault. It's easier to believe. So how do we be happy when it probably isn't entirely our fault? 

To be absolutely honest, I have no clue. I could've written this question and there was a part of me that wanted to. I do have some tactics that work temporarily.

First of all, don't write your love story before it starts. What I mean by that is that you shouldn't try and plan out every possible scenario with a guy before anything actually happens. When it comes to the beginning stages of a relationship, you often need to live in the moment. Otherwise, when you're away, you start constructing scenarios in which your relationship advances, and then when you are actually with that person, you're depressed that your relationship isn't where you thought it was. Along these lines, take a page from Hitch's book: there are no basic principles. I was talking to Concorde earlier this week and said, "Everyone's love story is different. There's no rules, no plan. And yet we all try and construct rules and plans to try and figure out the system. We never will. One day it'll happen to us, and we'll try to explain how our story fits in the system, but deep down, we know that it won't because there is no such thing." Don't worry about whether you're doing things that fit what you think the pattern is.

The above thoughts are mostly related to the beginning stages of relationships, which, while you're single, can be really stressful because they give you hope. They give you hope that you aren't going to be stuck single forever, that the pain you're feeling might be relieved. And then, inevitably, you're disappointed with the results.

When this happens, live your life as if there are no guys in your future. Make your plans as if you're not going to be dating someone in four months. Focus on extracurriculars or hobbies that you find enjoyment in. Find ways to progress in other areas of your life. Commiserate with your roommates occasionally and indulge yourself in a chick flick marathon when you watch four in a row while doing homework on a Saturday. It is all right to be sad about being single. Let me repeat: IT IS OKAY TO BE SAD ABOUT BEING SINGLE. IT IS OKAY TO WANT TO BE MARRIED MORE THAN YOU WANT TO BE SINGLE. You aren't going to be happy about your single status all of the time, and that's perfectly fine. But you also can't be miserable about it all of the time. Indulge the sorrow once in awhile, as long as you get back up and carry on with your life. Don't begrudge the happiness of the other couples, because you don't know how many of them were in exactly the same position you were in.

I don't know when this will end for you, nor when this will end for me. But in the meantime, let's be the super awesome people we both are, and eventually a couple of guys will realize they won't want to let us slip out of their lives.

-Tally M.

Question #80272 posted on 12/14/2014 12:08 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

so I saw a website the other day that listed 72 places you could get a student discount

I'm not sure if you can put web addresses in a question but if you can here it is

Some of those things are common knowledge (for example, Amazon Prime). And I'm pretty sure I've heard about a discount at Banana Republic, but honestly even with 15% off, I'm still a poor college kid who can't afford it, so I've never tried it out.

I am guessing some of those are not actually true, like 10% off at McDonald's, or perhaps only true at a specific location, because if these are legit discounts, how come nobody knows about them? Or am I just out of the loop?

Have you tried getting discounts from any of those places listed and had it work? Any recommendations? or favorite places in general (not necessarily on that list) to get a student discount?

-college student


Dear College Student,

I was able to verify the following student discounts with the company's website. All of the others listed on that website were not listed on their company's. However, that doesn't necessarily mean they don't exist, they probably just don't advertise the. On that note though, it was made abundantly clear by the McDonald's website that they do not have a student discount currently. 

  1. Amazon Prime
  2. Spotify
  3. Supercuts—I could not verify if this is true outside of the UK
  4. New York Times Subscription
  5. Metropolitan Opera in NYC 
  6. The Economist
  7. Wall Street Journal
  8. Rail Europe
  9. Eastern Mountain Sports 
  10. J. Crew 
  11. Madewell
  12. Sam's Club—with the purchase of a membership
  13. ASOS
  14. Banana Republic 
  15. The Limited
  16. Buffalo Wild Wings—Sunday nights only 
  17. Apple
  18. Radio Shack
  19. Amtrak
  20. Ann Taylor
  21. Adobe 
  22. Microsoft
  23. Sprint
  24. Allstate—Good Student Discount
  25. General Motors
  26. Fenway park 
  27. Art Institute of Chicago
  28. FedEx 
  29. JoAnn Fabrics
  30. Coast London 
  31. Alex and Ani
  32. Club Monaco
  33. Norton Protection Software
  34. Dairy Queen—by location
  35. Moo.com
  36. Greyhound 

Of those listed, I have only used the Amazon Prime Discount and the Met Discount. They are quite nice to have. I have also taken advantage of Student Rush Broadway tickets, which is awesome. I never paid more then $40 to see a Broadway play. Also, it seems that PuckerMob has updated their list with links for the student discounts.  

The Soulful Ginger  

Question #80216 posted on 12/10/2014 5:08 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

So, I was lying in bed, half-asleep, half-awake, when an interesting scene played out in my mind. I imagined two men about to participate in an old-fashioned duel (where they walk a certain amount of paces and then turn and fire at each other), and they were arguing about who was more accurate at long distances. Finally, one of them said: "Fine then! Why don't we go one million paces, and then we'll see who's a better shot!" They then started marking off the paces.

The daydream didn't last long enough for me to see the end result of the duel, but it got me wondering: If the two men started in, say, the middle of Kansas, and each walked one million paces in a straight line (one going east, one going west), where would they end up? And is there any weapon short of some ballistic missile that they could hit each other with?

-Cowboy Reggae


Dear Bebop,

I spent this entire semester doing computational problems almost exactly like this so I'm only slightly disappointed I didn't get to show my computations for this answer. A pace is about 30 inches so one million paces is 762 km. I don't even have to make any estimations this time! WolframAlpha provides us with the geographic center of Kansas. At that latitude, for every one km west or east the longitude changes by about 0.0115 degrees. (OK, I'm estimating again but at least I'm not doing any order-of-magnitude estimations, right?) In other words, a million paces at that latitude is about 8.757 degrees of longitude. One of these guys will end up southeast of St. Louis in Illinois and the other will find himself near some national forests in Colorado.

Coincidentally, this is just about 1,000 miles of separation. No firearm can even come close to this distance. But you know I'd walk a thousand miles... if I could just see you tonight. (You probably thought I was going to go with a The Proclaimers reference, didn't you? Sometimes I like to be a little unpredictable.)


Question #80112 posted on 12/03/2014 6:14 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

True or false: the relationship between the number of marathons/marathon like things in Utah and the number of unwed and thus sexually frustrated YSAs in the state is statistically significant.

Please define the relationship to the best of your ability.

Extra thumbs for inclusion of lovely charts and/or diagrams.

-I know you saw what I did there


Dear I don't know what you're talking about,


I wasn't sure from your question whether marathons or singles was supposed to be the independent variable, so I went with the combination that would yield easier-to-read regression numbers. Thus, the hypothesis is that marathons and marathon-like things cause singleness in Utah. Any number of explanations might provide a viable theoretical framework to explain why, including but not limited to:

  • Singles in Utah are too busy running marathons, so they don't have time to date.
  • People at marathons stink because they just ran 26 miles. No one wants to marry a stinky person, so singles who meet at marathons are less likely to get married.
  • Marathons edge out all other forms of recreation. People have to be crazy to want to run 26 miles. Not-crazy people don't want to run in the marathons, but there aren't any other options. So not-crazy people stay at home playing video games, and not-crazy singles never meet each other. All marriages in the state of Utah are between crazy marathon runners.
  • Where there are more marathons, people run so much that their libido drops off the charts and they no longer feel a need to get married because all that passion is channeled into their running. (The opposite of sexual frustration, if you will.)

I decided to approach this question using data from each of Utah's 29 counties. Your definitions were a little loose: do widowed and divorced people count as single? What are "marathon-like things," exactly? For the purposes of this study, I defined single as "never married" and used the US Census website to get that information for each county. I defined marathon-like things as "any running event that pops up on RunningintheUSA.com's search feature for Utah during 2014." That includes 5k and 10k runs, triathlons, walks, relay races, and stair climbs. I also gathered data on some control variables, like county population, proportion of population between the ages of 20 and 24, and the number of married, divorced, widowed, and separated adults. That all came from the census as well. 

I couldn't find numbers on how many of the single adults in the state are members of the Church, which I assume you wanted because you said "YSAs." Nor were there any data on age distribution among singles. Therefore, these data include people who are not members of the Church and who are over the age of 18, not just members between 18 and 31. 

A scatter plot between the number of marathons run and the number of single adults looks like this:



Obviously there is a pretty strong relationship, and it appears to be curvilinear. A simple scatter plot, however, cannot control for other variables. So I ran a couple of regressions, and here are the results:


As you can see, the relationship is only statistically significant when no other variables are controlled for. When I include the other data, however, statistical significance drops down to about 0.49. Given that the scatter plot indicated that the relationship was curved, not linear, I created a logged singles variable and ran a regression with that as the dependent variable. The relationship still doesn't come up as statistically significant. Which is good, because I've forgotten how to interpret logged coefficients.

As a visual representation of just how insignificant the relationship is, here is a graph of the 95% confidence interval:


 Basically, the red line is the predicted relationship between marathons and singles. But we would want to be super-confident that the relationship actually exists, right? I think 95% confident sounds like a good threshold. We can be 95% confident that the slope of the relationship falls somewhere between the green line and the yellow line. Meaning that we can't even be sure whether the relationship is positive or negative. Statistically significant? I don't think so.

Yours, &c.

Heidi Book

P.S. I've compiled the data in an Excel Spreadsheet for your delectation and delight, just in case you want to double check my numbers. Or redo the whole regression, since I've forgotten most of what I learned in statistics.

Question #79917 posted on 11/17/2014 8:26 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

My son LOVES the song "The Wheels on the Bus," which means that I usually end up singing it multiple times a day...every day. But one can only sing the same verses over and over again before getting kinda tired of it. So, I thought that it would be a good idea to make up some new verses for the song. Since you're all intelligent folks, I'm enlisting your help.

What are some good alternative verses to "The Wheels on the Bus?" My only rules are that it has to be appropriate for children (obviously) and fit the melody/rhythm of the song. But other than that, anything goes. I'm fine with space aliens or magical creatures or accountants or whatever (everyone's got to have transportation, right?). Bonus points to you if you can think of a hand motion to go with it.

-Swish, swish, swish


Dear Swish, swish, swish,

The bard on the bus had lots of fun, is bored by none, and now is done.
The bard on the bus hopes you now have fun, all through the town.

Harry Potter versions

The wizards on the bus go, "Swish and flick! Swish and flick! Swish and flick!"
The wizards on the bus go, "Swish and flick!" all through the town.
(Swish and flick.)

The Snapes on the bus go, "Snape, Snape, Severus Snape, Snape, Snape, Severus Snape,"
The Snapes on the bus go, "Severus Snape," all through the town.
(Look around creepily and toss your hair back.)

The Albus on the bus goes, "Dumbledore! Dumbledore! Dumbledore!"
The Albus on the bus goes, "Dumbledore!" all through the town.
(Wave your arms like you're crazy.)

The Weasleys on the bus go, "Ron, Ron, Ron Weasley! Ron, Ron, Ron Weasley!"
The Weasleys on the bus go, "Ron Weasley!" all through the town.
(Have a really excited expression.)

The Grangers on the bus go, "Hermione, Hermione, Hermione Granger! Hermione, Hermione, Hermione Granger!"
The Grangers on the bus go, "Hermione Granger!" all through the town.
(Tilt your head haughtily.)

The Potters on the bus go, "Harry Potter, Harry Potter, yeah! Harry Potter, Harry Potter, yeah!"
The Potters on the bus go, "Harry Potter, Harry Potter, yeah!" all through the town.
(Do a cool dance.)

The Riddles on the bus go "Voldemort, Voldemort, Vol-Volde-Volde-Volde-Voldemort!"
The Riddles on the bus go "Voldemort!" all through the town.
(Rub hands together evilly.)

Animal versions

The penguins on the bus go march, march, march! March, march, march! March, march, march!
The penguins on the bus go march, march, march! all through the town.
(Kind of self-explanatory.)

The lemurs on the bus go hop, hop, hop! Hop, hop, hop! Hop, hop, hop!
The lemurs on the bus go hop, hop, hop! all through the town.
(Also self-explanatory.)

The sheep on the bus go ba-ram-yoo! Ba-ram-yoo! Ba-ram-yoo!
The sheep on the bus go Ba-ram-yoo! all through the town.
(Shake head like a sheep.)

The tunnel worms on the bus go chomp, chomp, chomp! Chomp, chomp, chomp! Chomp, chomp, chomp!
The tunnel worms on the bus go chomp, chomp, chomp! all through the town.
(Pretend to eat a freshman.)

Historical/Political versions

The Teddys on the bus go whack, whack, whack! Whack, whack, whack! Whack, whack, whack!
The Teddys on the bus go whack, whack, whack! all through the town.
(Sing softly but use a big stick.)

The Trumans on the bus go, "The buck stops here! The buck stops here! The buck stops here!"
The Trumans on the bus go, "The buck stops here!" all through the town.
(Point your finger down.)

The Bushes on the bus go, "Read my lips! Read my lips! Read my lips!"
The Bushes on the bus go, "Read my lips!" all through the town.
(Point to your lips.)

The Marxists on the bus go, "Share, share, share! Share, share, share! Share, share, share!"
The Marxists on the bus go, "Share, share, share!" all through the town.
(Grab other people's money.)

The capitalists on the bus go, "Earn, earn, earn! Earn, earn, earn! Earn, earn, earn!"
The capitalists on the bus go, "Earn, earn, earn!" all through the town.
(See action above.)

The Congress on the bus goes, "Filibust! Filibust! Filibust!"
The Congress on the bus goes, "Filibust! all through the town.
(Pretend like you're giving speech.)

Primary song versions

The wise men on the bus go build on rock, build on rock, build on rock.
The wise men on the bus go build on rock all through the town.
(Alternate putting fists on top of each other.)

The fools on the bus go build on sand, build on sand, build on sand.
The fools on the bus go build on sand all through the town.
(See action above.)

The rains on the bus go down, down, down! Down, down, down! Down, down, down!
The rains on the bus go down, down, down! all through the town.
(Make rain with your fingers, going down.)

The floods on the bus go up, up, up! Up, up, up! Up, up, up!
The floods on the bus go up, up, up! all through the town.
(Same as action above, but going up.)

The wise house on the bus stands still, stands still, stands still.
The wise house on the bus stands still all through the town.
(Hold fists still on top of each other.)

The fool's house on the bus washes away, washes away, washes away.
The fool's house on the bus washes away all through the town.
(Start with action above, but have hands "wash away.")

The streams on the bus say, "Give, give, give! Give, give, give! Give, give, give!"
The streams on the bus say, "Give, give, give!" all through the town.
(Simulate giving to others.)

Science versions

The protons on the bus go [action], [action], [action].
The protons on the bus go [action] all through the town.
(action: Make a big smile and give two thumbs up.)

The electrons on the bus go [action], [action], [action].
The electrons on the bus go [action] all through the town.
(action: Make a big frown and give two thumbs down.)

The neutrons on the bus go [action], [action], [action].
The neutrons on the bus go [action] all through the town.
(action: Make a completely neutral expression.)

Pokemon versions

The Pikachus on the bus go Pi-ka-CHU! Pi-ka-CHU! Pi-ka-CHU!
The Pikachus on the bus go  Pi-ka-CHU!, all through the town.
(Clench fists, close your eyes, and generate lightning.)

[Create with the same syntax for any pokemon]

Miscellaneous versions

The signers on the bus ask [action], [action], [action].
The signers on the bus ask [action] all through the town.
(action: Sign "How are you?" in ASL.)

The Kiwis on the bus go Timtam slam! Timtam slam! Timtam slam!
The Kiwis on the bus go Timtam slam! all through the town.
(Pretend to suck hot milo through a timtam.)

The Arnolds on the bus go, "I'll be back, I'll be back, I'll be back"
The Arnolds on the bus go, "I'll be back," all through the town.
(Put on sunglasses at the beginning and look like Arnold.)

-100 Hour Bard

Question #79801 posted on 11/08/2014 11:08 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How should I go about reading things, particularly poems, literarily or deeply? Then I could pride myself in educating myself (perhaps).
Better yet, how can I read them in such a way as to prepare myself to have a knack at writing? I can look for techniques, I suppose, or for tone that justifies or wrecks a piece, but should I do something more meticulous if I want to get a truer attitude of writing for myself as well?

-May words drift....


Dear Hamlet,

I love this question! I think the ability to understand a text on a deeper level - to really plumb the depths of meaning that make up the richness of humanity - is immensely important. Few things are as exciting for me as a well-written poem. (Insert joke about English majors1 here.) However, good literary analysis is a hard skill to pin down. Someone pointed out in one of my classes the other day that a writer can know all of the formal qualities (like rhyme, alliteration, word choice, meter, etc.) and still turn out a really bad poem, which to me says that poetry and its interpretation aren't entirely quantifiable. Nevertheless, that doesn't mean you can't improve your ability to analyze a text. I've been ruminating on this question about ninety-five hours now, and while there's certainly more to it than this, here are some suggestions that have come to mind.

Read it slowly. Whether you're encountering a poem or a novel or a journal article, take the time to understand it thoroughly. Don't be afraid of difficult texts. Going slowly will allow you to isolate the effect of individual words and to capture more of their meaning. Don't feel pressured to rush through it. If you run across a tough phrase or passage, don't just move on and assume it's too hard; reread it two or three or six times if you have to in order to really understand the meaning. Look up words you don't know, and look up words you think you know but sound weird in the context of the poem. Pace yourself. Take it easy.

Pay attention to how it sounds. A huge part of writing is mastering the flow of language, understanding how spoken sounds work together to create rhythms pleasing (or jarring, if that's the point) to the ear. Especially if it's a poem, read it aloud, which will give you a better sense for what it sounds like and how it flows. Notice how the meter of the poem or the phrase puts emphasis on certain words and ask yourself why those words are important. How do the sounds of a poem help to determine its character? One of my favorite examples of this is Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et decorum est." Read the first few lines in your head:

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge
'Til on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And toward our distant rest began to trudge.

Now read it aloud. Do you notice that it makes a difference? When you read it silently you don't feel the sensation produced by all the hard consonants like g, k, d, and b. Reading it aloud makes the poem feel heavier and more grim.

Learn connotations. Lots of words have dictionary definitions that don't entirely describe what they mean. Pay attention to how good writers use certain words in context and learn the difference between, say, bias and prejudice, which mean the same thing if you look them up in the dictionary but are generally used differently in writing. A lot of a piece's subtext is in the connotations of its words - for the alert reader, they recall other issues or themes without having to address them directly. Take, for example, this little poem by Robert Frost. He could have used the word "yearning" instead of "desire" - they mean the same thing, after all - but aside from wanting to preserve the poem's lyrical rhyme, he wanted to infuse the idea of fire with the sensual passion associated with the word desire. Yearning is more about wanting something deeply, whereas desire can be the equivalent of lust.

Think about themes. Once you've finished a piece, ask yourself what the primary themes were. You can even keep a written list so that you can start comparing works that address similar topics - if you notice that you wrote nature of death under both Roethke's "The Far Field" and Houseman's "To an Athlete Dying Young," you can go back and see what they have in common. What are the differences in the way they approach death? What is the tone of each poem? Where do you, yourself, stand in relation to them? Do you agree with either poet? 

Read what others write about literature. Over the summer I read Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, both of which have won the UK's prestigious Man Booker prize in recent years. They were a lot of fun, and I felt like I learned a lot about good writing, but much of the critical thinking I did about both books started when I read reviews of them from The Guardian, The London Review of Books, and The New Yorker. Not only did the authors of these reviews open my mind to elements of the books that I hadn't noticed myself, but they also provided a starting point for the germination of my own ideas. Now I'm preparing a grad school writing sample about my interpretation of the character Thomas Cromwell and Mantle's masterful reconfiguration of someone who has historically been cast as a villain. As you read what others write, you'll become more and more adept at spotting things before someone tells you about them. 

Learn the rules. As for becoming a good writer, think about painters like Picasso who created works that were beautiful for their unconventionality. I hear a lot of Pablo-haters who look at his works and pronounce that he must have been a poor painter if he couldn't depict a human without cubic forms. If you look at his earlier works, however, you realize that he was actually very good at realistic art; his method of painting was a conscious choice, not an inability to paint well. The same goes for literature. You can break all the rules you want, as long as you're aware you're breaking them. Get yourself a copy of Strunk and White's Elements of Style or a similar style-and-grammar book and familiarize yourself with the rules they list. Obviously, they're teaching you about academic writing, which is different from fiction or poetry, but once you have the principles of academic writing down, it's not as big of a leap to the creative stuff.  

Look for chances to critique others' writing. Ask your roommates if you can edit their papers for them, or look for violations of style and grammar principles as you read textbooks and journal articles. Nothing - nothing - helped me to recognize the flaws in my own writing as much as the chance I had to TA for an advanced writing class, where I was reading fifteen or thirty four-to-five-page papers a week and explaining to the students what changes their writing needed. 

Work to improve your vocabulary. I think this happens best by extensive reading. Circle great words when you encounter them. Some of the more fun ones I've run across in my assigned reading lately have been milquetoast, paucity, inveterate, and mawkish. Knowing lots of words is valuable if you're writing poetry or fiction, but they need to be useful words, too. For example, tergiversate is a word. But no one knows it, and it's not replete with the deep connotations and beautiful layers of meaning that go along with renounce or abandon, which are much more common words that mean basically the same thing. Therefore, tergiversate becomes just a big word that your reader will have to look up and that contributes to clunky writing. On the other hand, the word frippery sounds more or less like what it is, has a fun combination of consonants, and could add a little bit of zing to a poem. Your reader doesn't have to pull out a dictionary, and she walks away wanting to be able to use the word herself. Remember, not all big words are created equal.

Read all the time. Like ALL THE TIME. I know everyone's tired of hearing that practice makes perfect - but let's face it. Nothing is so effective as consistently reading valuable material. Make a goal of reading something new every day and trying to extract meaning from it. Write down your impressions. Figure out what you, yourself, believe about the writer's evocative themes. Follow newspapers and cool magazines like National Geographic or The Economist. Buy a used poetry anthology. Talk to people about what you're learning. (English professors love this - they'll talk your ear off about their favorite poems. Don't be afraid to ask them when you're having trouble interpreting something.) Devour texts. Set aside time to read for fun. Don't be an omnivorous reader; use good judgment when selecting your reading materials. You only have, like, eighty years on this earth, and the seconds are too precious to be wasted on anything that won't improve your understanding, deepen your compassion, or teach you something about yourself. Have fun. Remember that it will come with time.

Good luck in your pursuit of meaning in quality literature. I love this topic, so if you want more, email me at heidibook (at) theboard (dot) byu (dot) edu.

Yours, &c.

Heidi Book

Question #79413 posted on 10/08/2014 3:20 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Somehow I got it into my head that kettle-cooked chips are healthier than normal ones, but now I can't find any evidence. Is this true? And what is the healthiest kind of potato chip?

-Mai Nayum Heir


Dear My Name Here1,

I present to you my most recent excursion into the daunting world of science, which I will shortly be submitting as an Orca Grant proposal:


By my observation, recent years have seen a significant increase in the number of consumers who prefer the kettle-cooked potato chip to the original, classic-style potato chip commonly consumed in the 1980s and 1990s. Those who have made the transition indicate several reasons for their newly-acquired tastes: some note the increased crunchiness of the kettle-cooked chip, while others insist that it has a deeper and richer flavor. Some, however, have been converted by the presumed health merits of the new chip. "Somehow I got it into my head that kettle-cooked chips are healthier than normal ones," says Mai Nayum Heir, a consumer who has recently noticed that there exists little scientific evidence to support this assumption. Werf, however, is not alone, as many voices around the country are now raising the same question: "Are kettle-cooked chips really more healthy than other chips?" A study addressing this issue could have weighty implications for Americans' health, as well as for the continued growth of the potato chip industry.

Research Question

Are Kettle-cooked potato chips healthier than normal potato chips?


Contrary to guess of the gentle reader who put forth the original query, I hypothesize that Kettle-cooked chips are in fact less healthy than normal potato chips.

Theoretical Framework

Kettle chips are thicker than normal potato chips. Thicker things have more volume. Things that have more volume have an increased capacity to retain liquid. Oil is the only liquid present in potato chips. Therefore, Kettle chips have the capacity to retain more oil than normal chips, thus making them less healthy.


Oil is unhealthy.
Potato chips are cooked in oil.
Heidi Book likes potato chips enough to carry out the necessary tests.
Calories are unhealthy.
Fat is unhealthy.
Sodium is unhealthy.
Potassium is healthy.
Carbohydrates are unhealthy.
Protein is healthy.
Vitamins and minerals are healthy.


If possible, this test would examine chips from all major producers, comparing the kettle-cooked variety to the originals. Given budgetary constraints, however, I was limited to comparing types of potato chips within a single brand. For the quantitative test, I was forced to make value judgments on the various categories of nutrition - i.e., I had to unilaterally categorize calories, fat, and sodium as unhealthy, when in reality you need those in your system as much as you need anything else. Those are the ones that we tend to need less of than we actually consume. (Sheebs is probably going to blow a cork when she reads this answer, because by automatically categorizing these things as bad or good, I'm encouraging unhealthy ways of thinking about food.) Additionally, the conclusions drawn from my experiment will have a wide margin of error, considering that I could only get two participants to sign up, one of whom was myself.

Experimental test

My roommate and I have adjusted our food intake to consist of a potato-chip-only diet. In a randomized controlled experiment, she will subsist on Lay's original potato chips and I on Lay's kettle-cooked chips. Check back in six months to see which of us is fatter.

Quantitative test

I decided to base my quantitative test on an analysis of the nutrition labels for a single brand of potato chips. Lay's was deemed the most appropriate because of its commercial prominence, as well as Heidi Book's normative preference for Lay's over most other brands.

Original v Kettle_1.png

Here is a brief summary of the findings:

Both types of chip have the same number of calories, which is probably the most socially-accepted measure of healthy, but kettle-cooked chips have 1g less fat, 52% as much sodium, an extra 20mg of potassium, 8 times as much iron, and more phosphorus. Original chips have 1g fewer carbohydrates and more niacin, thiamin, and Vitamin E.


It appears that my hypothesis was wrong and that kettle-cooked chips are indeed healthier than original potato chips. However, the margin of victory is quite small - the only dramatic differences between the two are in sodium and iron. Therefore, Citizen Heir, you probably won't do yourself a huge favor by limiting yourself to kettle-cooked chips for the rest of your life. That said, The Daily Mail seems to have done a fairly logical comparison of chips across the board, which analyzes several brands according to the number of chips you can eat per 150-calorie serving. It concludes that the brand Utz gives you the most bang for your buck, so to speak - the most chips for your calorie. Given the fact that no one's ever heard of Utz before, they're probably not worth it. 

Yours, &c.

Heidi Book

1 I must confess myself indebted to another writer for indicating to me that your 'nym was an alternate orthographic representation of said quotidian signature.

Question #79360 posted on 10/09/2014 1:08 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

While watching the Utah vs Washington State game on Saturday, I realized that both teams' head coaches were BYU alum. There's also Steve Sarkisian who coaches at USC. This got me wondering, which college has the most alumni working as head coaches right now?

-Go Cougs!


Dear Co Gougs,

This was not as easy as I expected it to be. Turns out there wasn't a nice list of current head coaches with their alma maters out there on the Internet. Well, there is now. I only included top division teams, because as it turns out, there are 127 of them! Who knew? My Wikipedia-fu is strong, but this still took a while to compile. I accept pumpkin spice cake donuts as tokens of appreciation, should you feel so inclined.

So, alma maters. The school that produced the most head coaches is Iowa, as it turns out. There are five coaches from there. I leave it as an exercise for the reader to find their names. In second place is Alabama, with four. BYU is tied for third with Texas Tech and West Virginia. Each boasts three current head coaches. Not too shabby a turnout from the Cougars.

In an effort to offer a bit more, I also compiled all of the mascots as well. You may be interested to note that the most prevalent mascots are the Bulldogs, Wildcats, and Tigers, each of which is the totem of four schools. My personal favorite mascot is the Volunteer. Personally, I find that bizarre. It's like they're saying, "no, really, we won't force you to be on our team, promise!"

-Inverse Insomniac

Question #79096 posted on 09/16/2014 noon

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I am so conflicted when it comes to the issue of gay rights and homosexuality in general. I have many gay friends who I love and respect. A few of them are getting married in the near future. I want to be able to congratulate them and be happy for them, but I hold back because of my LDS beliefs. It hurts, I guess. I don't want to betray my beliefs, but I don't want my friends to feel I am not happy for them or that I am judging them. How do I respond in these situations?

On a related note, I feel like I can say all I want that the church does not hate or condemn homosexual people, but in the end, it really doesn't seem there is a place for them in our religion. I understand the reasons, I guess - marriage between a man and a woman is essential to exaltation- and that is just what God has decreed... But it is still so sad to me. I hate having to say, "Well, yes, you can be a member of my church, but you have to either marry someone you're not attracted to, or remain celibate all your life... um, but it will all be worth it in the end!" It makes me want to cry that my friends will never know the joy of the gospel and the love of Christ through really no fault of their own... It doesn't seem fair to me. Am I missing something here? I really want to know. How do I explain these things to my gay and lesbian friends? Thank you so much in advance for your help, I know these are very difficult questions.



Dear you,

I have many gay friends who I love and respect. A few of them are getting married in the near future. I want to be able to... be happy for them, but I hold back because of my LDS beliefs....I don't want my friends to feel I am not happy for them or that I am judging them. How do I respond in these situations?

I wanted to bring up this portion of your question mostly to say that I'm not really going to address it. How to respond to specific individual situations isn't something I feel particularly qualified to instruct you on. I'd urge you to pray for guidance and let the Spirit fill your mouth as you open it; he can do a much better job than I could.

It really doesn't seem there is a place for them in our religion...

I can see how someone would arrive at this conclusion, but to me it indicates an improper view of the Church. The expression that the Church should serve not as a museum for saints but as a hospital for sinners brings us closer to the true point: not because those naturally inclined to homsoexuality are inherently more sinful than the rest of us but because the reason we ALL need our religion is because of our imperfection. There is a place in our religion for anyone who can be better than he is (which is all of us) or for anyone who has successfully completely emulated the Savior (none of us yet). There are blessings of the Gospel that may have to wait: eternal companions, children, etc. However, there are likewise many heterosexual members waiting on the Lord in these situations as well. The Church is not a social club for perfect nuclear families. It is an organization founded on and sustained by a message of truth that applies to every single human being who has (or will) ever lived.

I hate having to say, "Well, yes, you can be a member of my church, but you have to either marry someone you're not attracted to, or remain celibate all your life... um, but it will all be worth it in the end!"

You say that end phrase like it's a consolation. That end phrase is the entire point. Yes, some of us start our eternal families earlier or in different circumstances than others. However, our earth lives are "but a moment" in our eternal destinies. Remaining faithful to the laws of God "all your life," is certainly a sacrifice, but it is one that is asked universally of the Saints. 

Joseph Smith taught that "a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has the power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation." This sacrifice will require different things of different people, but it will be required of everyone. There is no church member who can escape the requirement of sacrifice of all things. This means that any of us must be willing to suffer anything according to the will of God, and for this sacrifice we will receive "life and salvation." 

It makes me want to cry that my friends will never know the joy of the gospel and the love of Christ through really no fault of their own...

If this were true, it would certainly be something worthy of sincere sorrow. However, your friends can absolutely know the joy of the Gospel and the love of Christ. These things are held out to all men and women. The good news of Christ's redemption of mankind is freely available to all of God's children. He does not send any of us away. It needs to be made clear here that being susceptible to a particular temptation or being inclined to a particular sin does not somehow except us from God's love. God knows we are all going to be tempted and at times give in to that temptation. This is why he sent Christ to provide an infinite Atonement so that what matters is not the failures in our past but way in which we direct our hearts: toward him and a future of obedience and true repentance and sanctification.

It doesn't seem fair to me.

I think that one of the things that really does make this hard is that humans have a longing for "fairness" but an inadequate perspective to understand what fairness is. God is perfectly just, but He also has a perfect and infinite perspective, while our views are all too often limited to that which we can currently perceive or conceive of. Is it "fair" for me to give one of my children one cookie and another child two cookies and to give a third child only vegetables? Perhaps your initial instinct is that this is not fair. What if I told you that one of my children is two (only needs one cookie) one is ten and just came home from a soccer game (is hungrier) and the third is diabetic (and can't have the sugar right now)? God is aware of what we need: not just right at this moment, but to be perfected eternally. God's goal is not to make my earth life contain the same type or number of trials as someone else's. It is to allow and help me to face those things which I need in order for me to be who He (and I) needs me to be. These trials will differ from Concealocanth's or Tally M.'s or Maven's or yours. However, we can trust in the knowledge that if we all endure our trials and come unto Christ the end result will be glorious for all of us: eternal life with God.

Am I missing something here? ...How do I explain these things to my gay and lesbian friends? 

Explain with love. As I said earlier, pray for the guidance of the Spirit and speak as you are prompted. Remember that you cannot force knowledge or acceptance of truth on anyone. Agency is powerful and allows us all the choice to accept or deny the truths of the Gospel. Speak truthfully and in the charity of God, neither judging those you have no authority to judge, nor excusing those whose actions you cannot give absolution for. These things (judgment and forgiveness of sin) are for God. All we can do is explain that we love others, that we seek to emulate God in this, that we know God loves them, and that we can testify to particular truths that He has revealed to us.

It is a sign of your tenderheartedness that you hurt for others. Empathy is a critical quality in becoming Christlike, because it allows us to mourn with those that mourn and comfort those who need comforting. Recognize pain. Comfort those who struggle. Know, though, that struggling is asked of all of us because it is what we need to be refined and perfected. Finally, remember that the Lord does not give commandments to any of us without making it possible for us to keep them and that if we endure well our times of trial, we will be exalted on high


~Anne, Certainly

Question #78909 posted on 08/28/2014 5:48 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Bard,

How many flirts per minute does it take to bake a potato in a half hour?

-The Exquisite


Exquisite Dear,

Impossible complete
To answer is thy query which concerns
The tuberific processes of heat
Which flirting steadily and oft returns.

For thou neglects aright to specify
The type of flirting and the type of spud;
Thus here attempt myself to rectify
Such obstacles and bar against the flood

Of all the sorts of each. Let us begin
With flirting. First, of course, the smile earns
A coquet count of 1. The wink, akin
To such, earns 2. To blow a kiss returns

A triple coquet count, while one of four
Becomes a subtle touch of hand or feet.
Tickling or massaging is a 5,
While bantor's is dependent on its wit

A 2 for dolts, a 3 for flattery,
A 4 must needs be witty through and through,
While 5 requires quick eye battery.
With that established, now I may construe

What flirting count some tubers may require.
A sweet potato blushes easily,
A red bliss more so. Setting them afire
Takes 25 or 30 barely

So flirt but once a minute for half an hour.
On th'other end, the purple majesty
Is noble as a king, the all blue sour;
These will not take thy flirtings easily.

Start low, but quick increase to 5 or 6
Or 7 flirts per minute. 30 past,
You will have managed expertly to fix
Your dinner. Russets, ever stably classed,

Will take an f.p.m. of 3 to bake.
But I wouldst warn you: such a means works right,
Yet tubers oft return the flirts they take
And there's a chance you'll fall in love tonight.

-100 Hour Bard

Question #78790 posted on 08/18/2014 11:18 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board:

When I'm on BYU campus and look up to the north-east at the pointy mountain that I think of as the Lion King rock, if I really look hard I think I can see something on top of it -- like maybe a pole or a flag.

Is there really something up there? If so, what is it? How did it get up there? Or am I imagining it?



Dear Nala,

Day 1: Dear Diary, today I start my journey to Squaw Peak, in order that I might discover what it is that sits at the top and towers over all. I am optimistic that I shall reach the top in good time and safety. I travel alone and I leave early this morning, long before the sun has yet risen over the tops of the mountaons. There is a distinct chill to the air and the crunching of my shoes on the gravel echoes in the canyon. I shall shoulder on.

Day 3: I have underestimated the length of this journey. I thought I would be done by now but I wandered onto the wrong path and took much time to recorrect. My provisions might run short. 

Day 6: I came across a rock earlier this morning, with strange etching on it. My spirits fell. I am only now just reaching the proper trail. 

photo 3 (4)_1.JPG

Day 8: I wander long hours and find my nights are filled with terrors rustling in the bushes. There is little to eat in the natural environment and I fear my rations are running short. I have emptied my bag to find two water bottles, two fiber one bars, a strange curvaceous yellow fruit, headphones, an umbrella, keys, my journal, a hairbrush, Chapstick, contact solution and breath freshening drops. I also have a fork and a single band-aid for any grievous wounds I may suffer. I have included a bit of my finger for size reference.

photo 4 (3).JPG

Day 15: I ate the curvaceous fruit. I was desperate. Even the rocks look appetizing to me now. I fall asleep dreaming of their hot, freshly boiled cracks, oozing with butter. I wake with the gritty taste of dirt in my mouth and stones clutched in my fists. 

photo 1 (6).JPG

Day 29: My legs ache and my lungs burn as I ascend this God-forsaken mountain. When will it end?

Day 35: I hate you. 

Day 47: I hate me. 

Day 82: Such agony is surely unbearable. The heat is rising quickly and the flies descend upon my delicate flesh. They bite and tear and I itch as if hot with fever. There is no respite.

Day 134: A miraculous gift has been bestowed upon me. I am able to draw from a hidden well of energy deep within. I shall call this gift a second wind. 

Day 134.5: Second wind gone as quickly as it had come. 

Day 254: Third wind? 

Day 254 1/4: False alarm. 

Day 745: Sometimes I am struck by the beauty of this barren, murderous landscape. Mostly I just cry myself to sleep, listening to the howl of the coyotes and the buzzing of the malaria-infested mosquitoes. 

photo 5 (4).JPG

Day 642: Lost track of the days. Could be Tuesday. Could be Friday. Could be Halloween for all I know. Time moves strangely up here where the wind blows across the hot rocks and weaves the dust into my hair. 

Day 1,333: I have discovered the Fount of Life-Giving Water That is Also Really Cold Which I Like Because Warm Water is Gross. It burbles forth from sort of man-made creation and has greatly refreshed me. 

Day something or other: I have dysentery. 

Day 513: At last. I can see it. I can hear it and taste it and feel it and very nearly touch it. I have reached the top of this arduous peak. I am collapsed, exhausted and alone but I am here. And all I can see is one stolid black flag pole with the American flag atop, blowing in the wind. I would cry tears of joy and wonderment if I was not severely dehydrated. How it got there and who put it there is henceforth unknown, but it has been cemented into a crevice in the rock and there it remains, night and a day. I shall return to the valley, forever changed by my solitary journey into the unknown darkness. 

photo 2 (8).JPG


Question #78658 posted on 08/10/2014 10:48 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How many stories high can you build structures comprised singularly of the following materials before you have to resort to extensive "creative engineering": ice, mud, stone, wood, glass, aluminum, steel, plastic?

-Sad Fantasy Castle


Dear Castle,

Wow, I didn't think the answer to your question was going to be as hard as it turned out. I'm guessing you didn't either, so I'm going to give you a ballpark answer for each material with a brief explanation about why in order to spare this question from becoming a senior thesis.

Ice: The outside temperature is a huge factor. If you're above 250K (around -10 F for us Americans), you'll run into a problem where adding more weight to the top will cause some ice to melt into water (per this journal article by Wagner et al by the American Chemical Society). Assuming you're below 250K, you're only limited to the point when ice begins to be crushed under its own weight. USGS puts this somewhere around 500 pounds per square inch for atmospherically formed ice (meaning that if the ice was formed perfectly in a lab somewhere the ice structure might have fewer defects that increase its strength). 500 lb/in2 is about 1,200 feet of ice (in a column of one square inch) pushing down on the bottom. If a story is 10 feet, that's about 120 stories tall. This calculation considers only a solid block of ice and not rooms, people, furniture, elevators, etc. which would decrease the theoretical maximum height. It also doesn't account for the fact that ice is very brittle and any wind near the top could bend and snap the structure. I'd still say that the theoretical height is around 50 stories (500 feet tall) for a non-usable structure (like a Hershey's Kiss style pyramid/tower of solid ice), but it could be higher. Usable, I think 10 stories would be pushing it but it might be possible.

Mud: If you're talking mud hardened into bricks then it depends on the quality of bricks. I couldn't find any hard numbers, but I'm guessing around 500 feet (50 stories) is reasonable for "modern" bricks. For bricks made of literally mud with straw, like they used to do it, the city of Shibam in Yemen has some of the tallest at 11 stories high (an article about them can be found here). They have been there for centuries, and probably with modern construction capabilities we could go a little bit higher, but not much. A big worry is wind; bricks can't bend and lateral movement at the top would push the bricks out of alignment, causing them not to bear load on the bricks below. If pushed enough, the tower would collapse quickly. Bricks are also terrible in earthquakes for this exact reason. They also don't hold up as well in the environment; floods in Shibam destroyed the foundations of some buildings and they collapsed.

Stone: Similar to mud/bricks, it depends on the type of stone but the limiting factor is the wind. There are some buildings around 500 ft. tall made of stone (such as Torre del Mangia or Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, more discussion here) and theoretically you could go a bit higher, maybe to 750 feet. The worry again is the wind and lateral force.

Wood: With modern plywood techniques, it seems possible to create a skyscraper at least 30-feet tall. Michael Green Architecture recently was approved to build one in Sweden (article here), and he suggests they can go much higher. He actually has a TED talk if you're into those; you can watch why he is so intent that wood is ideal for future skyscrapers here. This is an area of active development and I'm not sure engineers have placed a cap on how high they can be yet.

Glass: Glass poses a large problem. Without supports it is really quite useless. I can't see how you could build a building purely with glass (how would you connect the panels? How would rooms, walls, stairs, elevator shafts, etc. be constructed?), and if you used supports then the load would probably be born by the supports and we would look at that material rather than glass. Glass is extremely brittle, so even over 5-10 stories and I imagine that wind could cause pieces to snap or shatter. I'm not sure exactly, but it is not very high.

Aluminum: Some types of aluminum alloys can be almost as strong as steel. Some current skyscrapers, like the Taipei 101, actually use some aluminum, but not for the main weight bearing components (see this article). Aluminum simply has different properties than steel (discussed in mild detail in this forum thread), and apparently it can fatigue-fail more easily than steel. I don't know enough about civil engineering to pin a maximum height to an aluminum skyscraper, but I imagine it's at least 100 stories. There might be something I'm missing making it lower, and I think it costs more than similar steel which limits its actual use.

Steel: Per this conversation with a designer of some of the tallest buildings in the world, two miles tall is possible now. He suggested that buildings taller than two miles are theoretically possible to build, but challenges such as transporting people to the top, keeping the space usable, and raising enough capital to build such a building are difficult to overcome.

Plastic: Depending on the shape of the plastic, different heights are possible. This Gizmodo article discusses the theoretical height of a Lego tower and puts it at around 2.17 miles tall using standard bricks. The authors say using special techniques to change the weight of each brick it could be driven up higher. They did not take into account anything beside the weight on the lower bricks crushing them (such as wind blowing at the top, buckling, etc.), so I'm going to say that one mile is more probable out of Legos if it's in the proper shape with a large base and tapering tower at the top. Obviously such a tower is not usable as a building; the maximum height of something usable is maybe on the order of 10 stories.

As you see, it wasn't easy to come up with these figures. Not even the experts can always answer these questions, as it involves design that haven't been realistically explored! Hopefully these estimations are enough for your purposes.


Question #78238 posted on 07/28/2014 8:36 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I am a fictional writer - I'm trying to imagine up a world. One thought I had was what if the sea floor went as high as it is deep in the ocean and all the land masses swap like that as well so they are now as deep as they are high now. So just a 100 percent swap around sea level. So the mariana Trench would be the mariana mountain.

What are some interesting things about such a world? (for example Hawaii would be some small lakes. Australia would be a small tree. Anything that would make that world not exist -- would the mariana mountain be higher than any real mountain? Russia Europe would be a ocean -- but would it be deep enough for seafaring travel?)

-Alternate World


Dear fictionist,

It has been entirely too long since I have used ArcGIS. So, I made a map.

My methodology for the map is as follows. I took as my base a map of the world's elevation, both above and below sea level. Using ArcMap, I then simply flipped the coloration--oceans are shown in green and land is shown in blue. For the purposes of this fictional world, then, any location in the real world with an elevation of 1000 meters will have an elevation of -1000 meters. I then committed one of the cardinal sins of cartography--I did not include a legend. In the interest of getting this published in a timely manner, I won't go back and make one; I plead the cartography gods forgiveness for my omission. In the oceans, the darker the blue, the deeper the ocean. On the land, the lighter or yellower the green, the higher the elevation. Each change in shade represents a change of 1000 meters.

inverse world high elevations.jpg

I have set up the picture so that it changes in size with your browser's window size. If it looks grainy, make the window smaller. If you're looking at this on your phone... basically, I am sorry.

Now, there are a couple important things to remember. First, this map projection (like any other map projection) involves a great deal of distortion. In this case, the map preserves direction but greatly distorts size as you get further from the equator. Basically, trust the Ginger's numbers rather than my picture when you're thinking about proportions.

Now, the geography of this world.

One of the first things you'll notice is that, with the exception of a very small number of islands (lakes whose base extends below sea level), the entire world's landmass is connected in a single unit. The oceans are divided into three main groups, which I'll call the Eastern Ocean (Europe, Asia, and Africa), the Western Ocean (North and South America), and the Southern Ocean (Antarctica). The next-largest body of water is the Great Australian Lake.

The coastlines pose an interesting situation. Although there are extensive lowlands on the northern borders of the Eastern and Western Oceans, in most cases the elevation drops very sharply from the World Continent to the oceans. This is the result of the swift dropoffs at the continental shelves in our real world. Even in the low-lying areas, often there is a huge cliff followed by miles of gently sloping land.

Looking at the map, you can see another interesting change--there are very few mountains. Elevation changes very slowly, so although it does vary greatly, the vast majority of the World Continent is more or less flat. In the Atlantic Belt of the continent, there is a valley running down the middle of the belt. In our real world, that is where two plates of the Earth's crust are diverging and magma is rising to the ocean floor to fill the gap. The Indian Protrusion and the Pacific Belt have more complex topographies, but the basic pattern remains the same. The biggest exception is the Mariana Mountains, along the eastern coast of the Eastern Ocean. The mountains are narrow but exceptionally tall.

Islands are few and far between. The largest by far is the Caspian Island in the Eastern Ocean. Although other islands do exist, they are all tiny. (Remember, not all lakes become islands. The only islands are the result of lakes whose floor is below sea level.) The Mediterranean Peninsula is so narrowly connected to the World Continent that it is almost an island, but it is still connected via the Isthmus of Gibraltar.

Lakes, on the other hand, are a bit more common. The Great Australian Lake is the largest, of course, and you could even call it an ocean in the same sense that you'd call Pluto a planet. Other major lakes include the British Lakes, the Japanese Lakes, the Indonesian and Lesser Australian Lakes, Lake Madagascar, and Greenlake and Icelake. All of these are lakes that extend below sea level.

Now that we've established the basic topography of the world, let's examine how climactic and geological forces would affect it.

Our first big question is presented by the joint forces of erosion and gravity. Water is a much stronger force for erosion than air is, which is why I haven't bothered describing the topography of the new ocean floor--it will be smoothed very quickly. The rather smooth continents, on the other hand, have nothing to fear from erosion. The problems come where elevation changes abruptly. Depending on the underlying geology, the seaside cliffs and the Mariana Mountains could end up being smoothed over time. This is fiction, though, so you can make the geology be whatever you want it to be. Just beware of landslides.

Next, there is the climate. If we assume that it is only the land structure that has changed and the planet's orbit and tilt remain the same, then the Southern Ocean will be more or less permanently frozen over, much as the Arctic Ocean is in our world. The same is likely to be true of most or all of Greenlake. The northern lowlands of the World Continent will be much like the northernmost reaches of Siberia and Canada, on the outermost fringe of suitability for human habitation.

This may be modified, however, by a consideration I did not account for when I first started answering this question. While the original source of the Earth's heat energy is the Sun, that energy travels through outer space as electromagnetic radiation and is converted to heat after it reaches the Earth. While some of it is converted to heat in the upper atmosphere, about two-thirds of the electromagnetic radiation that is converted to heat is converted to heat at the planet's surface. Some of this heat remains on the surface, while some is transferred immediately back to the atmosphere. Not surprisingly, water and land behave very differently in this equation. In all honesty, I do not understand this process well enough to tell you how increased land surface area and decreased water surface area would affect this process. If I had to guess, though, I would say that the world would be slightly cooler. This has much more to do with physics than geography, though, and I am most definitely not an expert on physics.

One of the most important basic principles of meteorology is that land changes temperature more rapidly than water. The surface of a land area will both gain and lose heat relatively quickly. The surface and subsurface of a body of water will gain and lose it gradually, and will not reach the same extremes. There are reasons for this, but they're not terribly important as long as you understand the basic fact. Because of the interaction between surface temperature and air temperature, large bodies of water also exert a moderating effect on coastal regions. So, in general, temperatures (both hot and cold) will get more extreme the further you get inland.

The influence of ocean currents will be much less significant in our inverse world than it is in the real world. I do think they would probably exist, but they would be fewer, and they would not interact with each other. In the northern hemisphere, currents move in a clockwise direction; in the southern hemisphere, they move counterclockwise. My best guess is that there would be four of them--one in North America, one in South America, one in Eurasia, and one in Africa. In the real world, currents affect temperature by bringing warm equatorial water towards the poles and cold polar water towards the equator. The east coast of a landmass is generally heated by equatorial water, and the west coast is generally cooled by polar water. There are exceptions caused by non-circular currents, but in the inverse world the oceans would be too disconnected for anything like that to exist.

Certain contributors to temperature would not change at all, of course. For instance, higher elevations will generally be cooler than lower elevations. Areas closer to the poles will be colder, while areas closer to the equator will be warmer. Seasonal variations will exist. Their biggest effect will be in the areas between the equator and the poles, where summers will be hot and winters will be cold. Near the poles, it will be cold year-round; near the equator, it will be hot year-round.

Wind is a very complex topic and the differences probably won't be hugely important, so I won't spend much time on it. Suffice it to say that coastal areas and mountainous areas will have the most persistent winds. Generally, winds will move from sea to land during the day and during the summer, and from land to sea during the night and during the winter. The day-night distinction is more of a localized phenomenon, while the summer-winter distinction is more regional or global. It is this summer-winter reversal of air flow that causes monsoons in certain parts of the world, and you could expect to find a smaller but still significant monsoon effect in some parts of the inverse world. It would probably be most noticeable on the southern coast of the Eastern (Eurasian) ocean, although other equatorial regions near large bodies of water may experience it to one degree or another.

Now, precipitation. Precipitation is a complex process as well, but one constant element is that warm and wet air is forced upwards until it cools and the moisture condenses. This generally happens in one of three ways. Convective uplift (a vertical circular pattern of air movement) create large thunderclouds and is characteristic of warm parts of the world and warm seasons. Orographic lifting is caused by mountains; warm wet air goes up a mountain, cools, drops rain on the windward side of the mountain, and then descends the other side of the mountain both drier and hotter than it was when it started. (This is the cause of rain shadows, and the reason that the pattern of oceans followed by mountains followed by deserts is common.) Frontal lifting (and its less common variant, convergent lifting) is caused when two dissimilar bodies of air meet and the warmer body is forced above the colder body. This creates generalized steady precipitation and tends to occur in the middle latitudes where cold polar air meets hot tropical air. Bodies of air near the poles and the equator are too uniform for this type of precipitation to be common.

Globally, precipitation in our world is highest in the tropical regions. The trade winds move from east to west, so the east coasts of landmasses tend to be on the receiving end of higher precipitation. Coastal mountain ranges in northwestern North America and southwestern South America also produce high precipitation. I suspect that the tendency of the tropics to be particularly rainy would carry over to the inverse world. The west coast precipitation in the Americas obviously would not carry over. However, I suspect it might have a parallel on the eastern end of the Eurasian ocean, between the ocean and the Marianas Mountains. In all of these cases, rain shadows would be strongly accentuated.

Low precipitation in our world tends to occur on the western ends of continents in subtropical latitudes (i.e. 30 degrees), especially if there are mountains to the east. Inland areas may also be very dry simply because of the distance from large bodies of water. Also, the poles have essentially no precipitation. Although they may have permanent snow and ice cover, the complete absence of precipitation makes them technically deserts. All three of these effects would carry over to the inverse world. The inland effect, in all likelihood, would be by far the most significant. Much of the Pacific landmass would be extremely dry.

As a general rule, wet areas have little variation in yearly precipitation, and dry areas have a great deal of variation. Put another way, wet areas are always consistently wet, but dry areas are not always consistently dry.

Because of the placement of the oceans, hurricanes are extremely unlikely and the only region with any reasonable potential for hurricane development is in the northern portion of the African Ocean. (The reasons are too long to include; if you want details, Wikipedia is your friend.) These hurricanes would move northwest after their development, losing force after landfall just as they do in the real world. 

As previously mentioned, there will be several large lakes. However, in this world, just as in our world, not all lakes will be below sea level. The lakes shown on the map will probably all be saltwater lakes. Any rain that falls, however, will be fresh water, and it will flow through rivers and freshwater lakes just as it does here and now. The inland valleys visible in the map will probably hold a large network of lakes; depending on the amount of rainfall, some of them may even become one long, narrow lake. Whether these lakes are freshwater or saltwater would depend on whether they are connected by rivers to the various oceans. Such a connection would usually be plausible. Rivers in the uplands will likely cut canyons leading either to the central lakes or to the oceans. Once they pass the cliffs and enter the lowlands, they will do what water always does at the base of a mountain: slow down and spread out.

All of this is very interesting, of course, but for the most part it's only background to the background of your story. The most important part of all this is how it affects where and how people live.

The first thing you can expect is a significant concentration of population in coastal areas. With the exception of the Antarctic Ocean, most coasts will contain major population centers. Population will also be higher near rivers and lakes. The Atlantic and Indian landmasses will contain such bodies of water, as will the western portions of the Pacific landmass. Conversely, dry inland areas will be sparsely populated. The Pacific landmass is the biggest example; most of it may very well be almost uninhabited. If it does have inhabitants, they will be nomadic rather than settled. In pre-modern eras, at least, access to water is one of the biggest prerequisites to the formation of (relatively) large cities, and severe lack of water may make nomadism the only realistic option for finding sufficient resources to raise food.

Beyond this, I think you'll be as good a judge of how to interpret the effects on life as I am. A good study of history, including where and how ancient cultures developed, will give you the tools necessary to make accurate representations of the inverse world's civilizations.

I'd apologize for the length of this answer, but really, I am not sorry at all. I have had entirely too much fun doing this, and I hope I get the excuse to do it again soon. In the interest of time, I've only included one map; however, if you'd like me to take any of my words and convert them into maps (for instance, climate maps), just email me or submit a follow-up question and I will be extremely happy to make them for you. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!


Question #78196 posted on 07/18/2014 3:18 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I want to better understand prophets in antiquity.

From what I gather from the OT, there were many prophets, many of them contemporary. Many of them traveled in groups while others traveled alone. Yes?

Well, if many of these prophets were prophets by profession, did that mean that often times they were paid for their services? I'm thinking of 1 Sam. 9:6-10:

"And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go. Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we? And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way. (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come, let us go. So they went unto the city where the man of God was."

Now was Saul looking for something to give to the prophet as a payment or more of a polite gift? If it was just a polite gift -- do you know if it was normal for prophets to be paid for their services? I obviously know that now days, you don't pay for blessings/prophecy... (no need to discuss that) but I'm talking about the ancient days. If not, how did the prophets support themselves?

In Kings we learn about Elisha and Elijah. It also seems that there are a band/group/guild of prophets. What does this mean exactly? Did people in these groups/bands/guilds get training to become a prophet? Did they enlist themselves? Or were they called by God? We also hear about the 400 prophets in 1 Kings 22:6: "Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king." Is "prophet" in this sense anyone that can receive personal revelation or are they actually prophets like we know them?

Were priests above prophets in reference to kingly authority? In Jeremiah 29:26-27, we know that the high priest Zephaniah was assigned to monitor Jeremiah. Also, in Amos 7:10-17, we read another story of High Priests being placed above prophets in terms of authority? Were these cases just contrary to typical practices? (Because obviously, prophets generally have more authority than high priests).

Can you explain to me what a ephod & urim & thummim are & how prophets used them? (Pictures?)

Lastly, can you tell me what/who women prophetess were? The OT mentions Huldah (2 King 22:14) & Deborah & the prophetess in Isa. 8:3 & mirmiam and Noadiah. What does this mean exactly? What did they do? How do they differ from male prophets? How come we don't have women prophets today?



Dear Merry Galel,

I took a trip to the Religion section of the library to find some relevant books on the subject, and found it a quite pleasant place to study. Just the right amount of noise. No windows, though. But I digress.

For many of your questions there are rather incomplete answers, just because the personal details of the lives of the prophets of the Old Testament were less important than the message they shared (Ellison, 13-17).

Well, if many of these prophets were prophets by profession, did that mean that often times they were paid for their services? Now was Saul looking for something to give to the prophet as a payment or more of a polite gift? If it was just a polite gift -- do you know if it was normal for prophets to be paid for their services? If not, how did the prophets support themselves?

From some of my research, it suggests that some of the prophets—most likely false ones—prophesied for money (Ellison, 29). This point is explained more under the next section.

From what I gather from the OT, there were many prophets, many of them contemporary. Many of them traveled in groups while others traveled alone. Yes? It also seems that there are a band/group/guild of prophets. What does this mean exactly? Did people in these groups/bands/guilds get training to become a prophet? Did they enlist themselves? Or were they called by God? 

The Old Testament Student Manual provides the following:

Sometimes there was more than one prophet in Israel, and sometimes there were many prophets. Lehi and Jeremiah were contemporaries, as were many others. Isaiah and Micah are thought to have lived at the same time, addressing different audiences. The question of which prophet had ecclesiastical authority over the others (if one did) cannot be answered because there is insufficient information about their times. Latter-day Saints are more aware of the role of a presiding prophet because the expanded nature of the Church today requires it and because the Lord has directed that there be a presiding prophet today. Elder John A. Widtsoe explained: “When others besides the President of the Church hold the title ‘prophet, seer, and revelator,’ it follows that the ‘power and authority’ thus represented are called into action only by appointment from the President of the Church. For example, a man may be ordained a High Priest, an office in which the right of presidency is inherent, but he presides only when called to do so. It is even so with the exercise of authority under these sacred titles."

However, they didn't enlist themselves. Prophets are always called by the authority of God. 

Elder Widtsoe also explained that “the teacher must learn before he can teach. Therefore, in ancient and modern times there have been schools of the prophets, in which the mysteries of the kingdom have been taught to men who would go out to teach the gospel and to fight the battles of the Lord.” 

The disciples of the prophets were called sons, just as teachers were sometimes called fathers (see 2 Kings 2:12; 6:21). These “sons of the prophets” formed a peculiar group. Possibly they assisted the prophets in their duties, and in time succeeded them. These “sons of the prophets” were trained teachers of religion. Some of them were married and probably lived in houses of their own. Others were unmarried and occupied a building in common, eating at a common table.

It is supposed that the schools of the prophets were founded by the prophet Samuel. A description of him instructing them is found in 1 Samuel 19:19–20. But just how long the schools of the prophets lasted in Old Testament times is not known. They seem to have flourished in the times of Samuel, Elijah, and Elisha. Eventually they degenerated into an unscrupulous guild that divined for money and power. (Old Testament Student Manual).

We also hear about the 400 prophets in 1 Kings 22:6: Is "prophet" in this sense anyone that can receive personal revelation or are they actually prophets like we know them?

So, following the footnote in 1 Kings 22:6, we find a reference to 1 Kings 18:19, which, on the term prophets, has a footnote referring to false prophets, which would imply that they are in neither of the two categories you suggest. There are even false prophets among the true in Israel (Ellison, 13). In fact, this is explained in the Old Testament Student Manual as the prime example of false prophets:

A classic example of a confrontation between false prophets and a true prophet is found in 1 Kings 22. The kings of Judah and Israel had joined forces to fight the Syrians, and Ahab suggested to Jehoshaphat that they go together and take the city of Ramoth. Jehoshaphat asked for the opinion of the prophets. All of Ahab’s prophets counseled them to go to battle. Jehoshaphat pressed Ahab, saying, “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might enquire of him?” (v. 7), and he was told there was one, Micaiah. But Ahab hated him because, he said, “He doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (v. 8). Micaiah was called, but Ahab’s servant instructed him, “The words of the prophets [of Baal] declare good unto the king with one mouth; let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good” (v. 13). And Micaiah said, “As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak” (v. 14). Though it put his own life in jeopardy, he spoke the truth. The false prophets said whatever would please the king and help them maintain their favored status in the court.

Were priests above prophets in reference to kingly authority? Were these cases just contrary to typical practices?

The instance mentioned in Jeremiah actually deals with a false prophet, Shemaiah, who was trying to undermine Jeremiah's authority. Ellison explains concerning the second reference that, "Amos' message will have wakened fierce hostility...in official priestly circles," (33). I would say that these instances are contrary to the typical practices. It seems that both of them deal with people who are unhappy with the messages that the official messengers of God are sharing. 

Can you explain to me what a ephod & urim & thummim are & how prophets used them?

The 1973 Ensign "I Have a Question" section explains this concerning the ephod:

The ephod was an article of sacred clothing worn by the high priests of the Levitical Priesthood. The Lord directed that they were not to wear ordinary clothing during their service, but they were to have “holy garments” made by those whom the Lord had “filled with the spirit of wisdom.” (Ex. 28:2–3.) These sacred garments were to be passed from father to son along with the high priestly office itself. (Ex. 29:29.)

The ephod, worn over a blue robe, was made of blue, purple, and scarlet material, with designs of gold thread skillfully woven into the fabric. This garment was fastened at each shoulder and had an intricately woven band with which it could be fastened around the waist. In gold settings on each shoulder were onyx stones engraved with the names of the 12 sons of Israel as a “memorial” as the priest served before the Lord. (See Ex. 28:6–14 and Ex. 39:2–7). Fastened to the ephod was a breastplate into which the Urim and Thummim could be placed. (Ex. 28:15–30.)

The exact function of the ephod is not known. As President Joseph Fielding Smith observed, information concerning these ancient ordinances “was never recorded in any detail, because such ordinances are sacred and not for the world.” (Improvement Era, November 1955, p. 794.)

There are later references to a linen ephod; the boy Samuel, for example, wore such a garment when he served the Lord.

As for the Urim and Thummim, "the religious Jew, apart from an exceptional crisis that might occur once in a life-time, had outgrown the need for some almost mechanical means for the discovery of God's will, whether through the priest with Urim and Thummim or the prophet through his dreams or clairvoyance," (Ellison, 117). Only seers used the Urim and Thummim, and while "a seer could be a prophet, ...a prophet was not necessarily a seer. A prophet was in a sense a practical religionist who advised and counseled his people through the inspiration of the Spirit, but who did not necessarily enjoy a knowledge of the higher mysteries of the Lord's kingdom," (Sperry, 8)

Can you tell me what/who women prophetess were? What does this mean exactly? What did they do? How do they differ from male prophets? How come we don't have women prophets today? 

I would greatly recommend reading Camille Fronk Olson's Women of the Old Testament, particularly the section entitled "Prophetesses," which will afford you a look into the lives of some of the Old Testament prophetesses. Prophet is more often used in the Bible in a general sense. The gift of prophecy, as one of the gifts of the Spirit, is not connected to directing the church, but can include women and men. "Prophetesses and prophets are endowed with the spiritual knowledge that Jesus is the Christ; they then bear that witness by the same Spirit. More than predicting future events, prophets and prophetesses deliver God's message of warning or direction pertaining to current situations, a message that can also have a profound effect on an entire people," (Olson, 83).

I hope this helps to answer your questions, and if you have any further questions, the sources listed below should help to answer some of those.

-Tally M.


Bess, S. Herbert. "The Office of the Prophet in Old Testament Times." Grace Journal 1.1 (1960): 7-12. Web. <https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/otesources/23a-prophets/text/articles/bess-prophet-gtj.pdf>.

Day, John. Prophecy and Prophets in Ancient Israel: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar. New York: T & T Clark, 2010. Print.

Ellison, H. L. The Old Testament Prophets: A Study Guide; Studies in the Hebrew Prophets. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Pub. House, 1971. Print.

Old Testament Student Manual: 1 Kings - Malachi. Salt Lake City, UT: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1982. Web.

Olson, Camille Fronk. Women of the Old Testament. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 2009. Print.

Sperry, Sidney B. The Voice of Israel's Prophets: A Latter-day Saint Interpretation of the Major and Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1962. Print.


Dear 100 Hour Board,

I was watching Monuments Men the other day... The potential was grand, but I'm afraid it flopped... (am I right?). Anyway, this got me thinking about the validity of this movie?

I know the Nazis were ransacking Europe for art, but did they really keep their statues and stuff in the Neuschwenstein Castle in Bavaria (the original Disney/Cinderella castle)? I went there, and no one mentioned that to me when I was touring it.... (So is this a movie fantasy or did the Germans try to sweep this part of their history under the rug by not mentioning it in one of their hottest tourist spots?).

Did the Nazis hide art in salt/copper/etc. mines? Wouldn't this negatively impact the paintings? The moist atmosphere, etc?

Any famous art pieces that have extraordinary WWII stories?

Any famous art pieces still missing, but have the potential to be found? What is the most recently discovered stolen art by the Nazis that have been discovered?

Did they hide archaeological artifacts?

--Artifice Thief

-My Name Here


Dear human,

The movie, while not perfect, actually got a lot of things right in terms of its overall, big-picture validity. WWII in Europe caused a large amount of damage to historical buildings and art, which was devastating to culture. It was also bad for the image of the United States, which then took measures to destroy as few monuments as possible. In addition to issuing a letter to its whole army to be careful, there were some specialized officers hired, many of whom were art historians, who were specifically responsible to preserve culturally significant objects. These officers became known as the Monuments Men.

Neuschwenstein Castle

Neuschwenstein Castle really was one of three major locations used by the Germans to store stolen art as well as valuable possessions they had seized from Jews that had been sent to concentration camps. The hoard of items was massive. It included about 1700 paintings, some sculptures, and household items such as china and silverware. Once the Allies gained control, it took about 49 train loads in order to return everything back. 

Most of the items at Neuschwenstein were taken from Paris. A lot of things were actually able to be returned to their rightful owners because of a French art historian named Rose Valland. She was the overseer of the Jeu de Paume museum in Paris where Hitler and other prominent Nazis would select hundreds of pieces of art for their collections. She was a small, easy-to-overlook woman who secretly spoke German. Like a fly on the wall, she paid attention to what was going on and every night when she went home she recorded who took what, who it belonged to, and where it was sent. She did this at the risk of execution.

Is that not the coolest story ever? I know you didn't ask for stories about Neuschwenstein Castle specifically but I just had to tell this one because her actions were so heroic.

Famous Art with Extraordinary WWII Stories

Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan Van Eynck


(outside of altarpiece)


(inside of altarpiece)

One of the most famous pieces of art stolen by the Nazis was the Ghent altarpiece, a painting composed of several panels that can be opened and closed. It was stolen from a cathedral in Belgium and held in Hitler's personal art stash in a salt mine in Austria. As depicted in the movie, it was found and returned.

The Astronomer by Vermeer


This was another incredibly famous painting that was stolen by Hitler. It was later returned. I know this isn't the coolest story but I really like Vermeer so here it is.

Winged Victory of Samothrace


This second century (and therefore almost two thousand-year-old) sculpture was one of many art pieces that was taken out of the Louvre. It was incredibly difficult to move because it is large and very delicate because it was previously broken into many pieces and reassembled. The curator, as it was being moved, fell to his knees and expressed that he felt that it would never make it back into the Louvre. Fortunately he was wrong, and it did make it back.

Actually, it's worth mentioning here that everything was taken out of the Louvre and hidden in castles in the French countryside. Moving everything out was a huge job and lots of volunteers were recruited to help pack. I think that's such a cool story. I wasn't even there and I can vicariously feel the camaraderie. 

Lady with an Ermine by Leonardo Da Vinci


This painting was stolen from a place in Poland and eventually returned. It was treated very unceremoniously by the Nazis who stole and hid it, which we know because it was discovered with a boot print on it, if you can wrap your head around that. Can you imagine stepping on a LEONARDO DA VINCI painting? I know I can't.

Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci


While we are on the subjects of Leonardo Da Vinci and the Louvre, the Mona Lisa was also evacuated from the museum when it became apparent that Paris would be taken over by the Nazis. It was taken to its hiding place in a sealed ambulance with perfect humidity and temperature. Upon arrival at the destination, the back of the ambulance was opened, and it was found that the attendant who was with the Mona Lisa had passed out because the chamber was so well sealed. To that guy, way to take one for art.

David by Michelangelo 


David, along with several other sculptures in Florence, had brick walls built around it in case it got bombed. 

Lots of measures were taken in Florence to protect art simply because there is so much that is valuable there. When the Allies were attempting to bomb the Nazi rail yard the pilots, they were given super specific targets and were forbidden from dropping bombs near significant sites. It was one of the most precise missions of the war.

Unfortunately, Florence still suffered a lot of damage to its art and architecture. The Germans deliberately trashed the city when they left. They destroyed the central bridges which had priceless, Michelangelo-designed arches. Additionally, during the time they occupied Florence they took art by big names like Michelangelo, Botticelli, and Raphael and they treated it really roughly. Sometimes they even moved it during battles, which was bad. 

Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia


This beautiful museum is a work of art all by itself! When the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, the museum tried to evacuate as much of its art as possible to hide it in Siberia. However, they only were able to relocate about half. During the 900 day siege of Leningrad (what St. Petersburg was called at the time), at one point about two thousand people took shelter in cellars under the museum and worked to protect the gallery and what remained in it. Several of them died.

Les Jeunes Amoreux by François Boucher


Here is a shout out to Utah! This painting was stolen by a high-ranking Nazi official and eventually found its way to the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. However, the museum found out that it was stolen by Nazis and so they found the rightful owner and gave it back.

Missing Art/Restoring Damaged Art

There are literally thousands of pieces of art that are still missing. Some are known but the ownership is under dispute, and some of them are completely unknown as to their location. Thousands of artworks from Poland were lost. Lots of valuable art and antique furniture from the USSR were also lost. The Red Army found almost nothing of value when they returned because it had been taken by the Nazis.

On the flip side, the Red Army actually stole a lot of German art that still hasn't been returned. Its locations are known, but the Russians refuse to give it back because they feel justified in having taken it because of the culturally significant items stolen and massive loss of life caused by the Germans. It's still a bitter battle.

The good news is that a lot of these things are expected to resurface over time. A lot of things that were confiscated were catalogued and with improvements in technology and communication it is easier to identify stolen pieces and return them.

Some of the lost and damaged pieces were really significant, so I have highlighted a few of those here.

Portrait of a Young Man by Raphael


This is arguably the most famous piece of art lost in the war. No one knows what happened to it. It could be destroyed, it could be hiding in someone's basement somewhere, or it could be a lucrative black market item. Hopefully eventually it will resurface. 

Gold Portait by Gustav Klimt


This is a famous painting that was stolen by the Nazis which was never returned to the family. Instead, it was given to the Austrian State Gallery. This was justified largely by some slightly ambiguous wording in the will of the owner.

The Camposanto


The frescoes (paintings on the plaster of the walls) of the Camposanto of Pisa, while not missing per se, were blown up by bombs. Which makes them kind of lost. But almost for over 25 years people have been working on putting it back together (worst jigsaw puzzle ever), which I think is pretty amazing and inspiring.

Archaeological Artifacts

I'm not sure what qualifies as "archaeological artifacts", but there were many valuable possessions stolen from Jewish people who went to concentration camps that were hidden. While some pieces are being returned to descendants and relatives of the original owners, most of these pieces eventually went to museums and libraries around the world. 

I know your question asks if archaeological artifacts were hidden, but I think it's worth mentioning a ton of valuable architectural sites were destroyed. The Warsaw Castle, an important national symbol in Poland, was utterly destroyed deliberately by the Nazis in order to punish the people for fighting back. Additionally, there were many Russian palaces (including those of Catherine and Peter the Great) that were destroyed. Leo Tolstoy's country estate was destroyed as well.

Honestly, there were countless historical sites throughout Europe that were destroyed. I already mentioned this but the Camposanto in Pisa was historically significant and was largely destroyed. So were the central bridges with the Michelangelo arches. Another important loss was the Monte Cassino, the abbey that housed the original Benedictine order of monks (the original strict, highly-scheduled monks that inspired that stereotype).

Salt and Copper Mines

I couldn't find any information anywhere that said that the mines' humidity or temperature damaged anything, so I don't think that was a huge problem. If anything, the worst thing about the mines were that some artworks were plundered and lost en route to storage there.

If You Want to Know More...

I got almost all of the information for this answer by watching a documentary that my professor recommended called The Rape of Europa, which can be rented at the Media Center in the HBLL. I really enjoyed it and if you want to know more, it is a great watch. It will give you a whole new angle on WWII and teach you about art!


posted on 07/28/2014 10:06 p.m.
Sheebs gives a wonderfully detailed answer. I just want to add that the movie is based on a book. The book version is based on interviews, journals, and extensive research and provides quite the in-depth look at this extraordinary historical endeavor. I loved the book!

posted on 07/28/2014 11:55 p.m.
I'd just like to make a quick correction. The Ghent altarpiece was hidden in a salt mine in AUSTRIA, not Belgium. Sorry!

Question #77880 posted on 06/08/2014 8:06 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Bored,

Who's your favorite editor?

-Not Anonymous


Dear nope,

Whichever editor decides to mark this answer Editor's Choice.

-crossed fingers

Question #77657 posted on 05/20/2014 11:22 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board

I have problems with dating. Ever since I first starting dating at 16 I have dreaded going on dates, often to the point I feel sick or have to cancel the date. And its not just because I'm nervous about the date, I genuinely don't like dating. Most of the activities dates take me on are things I am absolutely not interested in or I am bad at. I wouldn't want to go bowling, go-karting, rock climbing, or paintballing with my friends, let alone with someone I just met and am trying to have a good time with. That's not the only problem, I have a hard time being assertive on dates, telling them what I want to do, or not do just because I'm too nice. This also includes when dates want to hold my hand or kiss me at the end of the night. I often just do it even though I am uncomfortable with it. I know this is an issue with me and I shouldn't do it but I feel like many girls feel this same way. So how do you make dating more palatable? How do you be assertive without coming across as selfish, needy, or rude? Dating to me seems a terribly inefficient way to get to know someone anyways most of the time, so I ask you, is there a "better" way to date?

-The Passive Questioneer who is currently dreading a date... again.


Dear you,

The cynical part of me says that nobody actually likes dating: dating involves going with a person you don't know very well to an activity where the activity isn't really the point because you're totally just watching each other and trying to see if you like each other and if you're having enough fun that you want to do another activity later. If yes, hoorah: repeat. If no, insert awkward DTR/friendzone/lack of continuing invitations. That being said, even though I've had some awkward dating experiences (who hasn't?) I find that dates don't have to be bad - even dates with guys you're not interested in. Thus, I give you, in an exceedingly and probably excessively lengthy answer,

The Anne, Certainly Guide to Having a Positive Date Experience 

0. To Date or Not To Date: That Is the Question (Since Everyone Reading This Guide Already Decided "To Be.")

Step 1 assumes that you've already accepted a date, but remember that this isn't a requirement. You say that you've had problems with boys trying to hold your hand/kiss you when you don't want them to. If this is because you're not ready for that yet, then keep reading: we'll address that later. If, however, this is because you have ended up on a second, third, fourth, etc. date with a guy in whom you are not interested because you don't want to tell him no, you may be able to prevent some of these situations by simply denying dates. Denying dates isn't always simple. That being said, we will include within this guide a nested sub guide:

The Anne, Certainly Guide for Turning Down a Date

Well, to be fair, I can't really claim credit for this. The first time I was going to turn down a date I called Kirke for advice and he told me how a girl had shut him down in such a gracious/tasteful manner that his estimation of her actually rose afterward. I have used this pattern since then, on multiple guys. It works.

0. Determine that you really don't want to go on the date. This is generally not valid on the first date. Even if you don't think you like a guy, it won't kill you to spend an hour or two eating pizza and getting to know him better. Once you've really figured out that you're not interested, though, I firmly believe that guys deserve to get it straight. They take the risks of asking us out, and it's not fair for that to be "rewarded" with excuses about our busy-ness or with straight-up disappearance/avoidance. I should comment that when I decide to reject a date I generally give a non-committal response to the invitation ("Let me get back to you on that, okay?") and then call him later to give it to him straight. In order to give it to him straight:

1. Call or meet up with him. I prefer to do this on the phone because I am a chicken. When having important conversations I like to have written out in front of me a rough outline of how I expect the conversation to go (i.e. what are the main points I hope to communicate?) If doing this in person, though, just plan ahead.

2. Say hello like a normal human being. Don't just be like "HI NO BYE." Ask him how his day was. Spend a minute or two discussing something random (the weather, his crazy class story, something that just happened to you, etc.)

3. Transition. This can be hard, but it's also fairly easy to plan ahead. A line like "Anyways, I'm calling because I didn't want to leave you hanging for too long about [this Friday/that trip to Guam/the concert/whatever]" lets the boy know that you've called to address The Elephant In The Room.

4. Simply and kindly tell the boy that you appreciate the invitation, but that you are not interested in dating him. This is really not as terrible as it sounds. You can literally use these exact words: I wanted to thank you for the offer, and I think you're great [or your positive adjective of choice, or comment that you had fun on previous dates if true], but I'm not interested in dating you.

4.b. I have never met a guy who didn't take that in a mature and responsible way. If he reacts by demanding reasons, don't feel like you need to give them. Just repeat that you're not interested and that you hope he'll respect your decisions.

5. Discuss something else for a minute or two. If you're in the same class, mention a homework assignment you're going to work on. If you're both soccer fans, bring up a recent game. Plan ahead for this so you'll have something to say. Kirke described this to me as having given him the chance to feel like he wasn't a social failure: the girl was still willing to talk to him and stuff, she didn't just reject him and then jump off the phone immediately. Talk for a minute. Show him you still think he's a decent human being and that you don't plan on awkwardly avoiding eye contact next time you see him or never talking to him again or whatever. We are big kids.

6. Say goodbye. 

7. Treat boy kindly in the future. Do not falsely flirt or force conversation if he is uncomfortable, but act as if he is a valid human being. He is. You are. 

The end.

1. Sufficient Unto the Date is the Evil Thereof

Hopefully that doesn't sound horribly heretical and overly flippant.

So you're going on a date. Congratulations! Whether you're already madly in like with this person, one of you just needed a plus one for an event, or you're actually a little wary already, this can be a positive experience. 

I think that sometimes we overstress in advance. I sure do. We (perhaps girls in particular) think way, way, WAY ahead and before they guy's picked us up we're already nervously hypothesizing about running out of conversation during dinner, tripping during ultimate frisbee, or having an awkward doorstep experience. If you find yourself focusing on a date that hasn't happened yet and find that it's making you stress, find a way to redirect your thoughts: get out a book and read, go to the Y-Serve office and knit a baby cap, clean your room, do the dishes your roommate left in the sink, whatever. Find something to do other than sit around and worry about something that hasn't even happened yet.

2. Doing Things: Going on Dates Where People Make Us Do Things We Don't Really Like

This happens. Sometimes the date involves an activity we're not super talented at or crazy about. I recently went on a date that involved rock climbing and I'm afraid of heights. Sometimes we end up in situations that definitely aren't our forte because it's what the guy took the trouble to plan. If this is the case, a few comments:

  • The boy took the trouble to plan this date and wants you to have fun. If you're really uncomfortable with an idea when it's suggested, try bringing up an alternative (Oh, I'm super afraid of heights but I'd like to do something - did you hear about that concert on Friday?). If you can deal with the plans but they're just not your favorite, just try to make the best of it. Look for the positive parts. On that note:
  • Don't overstress about doing the thing. If a guy invited you paintballing, it's probably because he wants to spend time with you and he likes paintballing, not because he expects you to be his team's MVP. What matters more than how well you do the thing is how willing you are and your attitude about doing the thing. Terrible bowler (hello!)? Laugh with him about how your goal for the night is to get to 100. Can't drive a go-kart to save your life? Drive anyway, and kid him if he doesn't let you win you might accidentally ram him. 
  • One important purpose of dates is to get to know the person. You don't have to love all of the same things, but if you can focus on making the best of the activity and getting to know the person, you can decide whether or not you want to go on more dates. As you get to know the person better and go on more dates, hopefully you'll be able to align future dates better according to both of your preferences, because you'll know more about what those are.
3. Suiting Our Tempers
David Hume said that,"He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper; but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to any circumstances." 
Sometimes, despite our best efforts to keep the conversation rolling, there's awkwardness. Despite our best attempts to bowl with two left feet, we can tell he's not impressed. Sometimes we wish we were sitting at home watching Pride and Prejudice instead of on a date where it feels either like the guy is Mr. Collins or we are one of the less fortunate Bennet sisters. If this happens, chin up. Remember that you can do hard things and that keeping a smile on your face and keeping up an effort for the last hour of the date is a noble endeavor and that you determine much of your attitude towards what happens. Of course none of us are perfect at doing this, but remembering and focusing on the positive can help us survive the awkward moments of dates.
4. AWKWARD AHOY! When Your Fair Suitor Wouldst Press a Token Upon You And You Wouldst Not Receive It

When a guy wants to get physical in any way, the first thing you need to remember is that you are a valuable person and your physical affection cannot be bought or "owed" based on pizza, movie tickets, relationship status, previous number of dates, previous affection shown, or any other such status. If you don't want to do something with a boy, then YOU DO NOT HAVE TO DO THAT THING WITH THAT BOY AND THAT BOY DOES NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO DO THAT THING WITH YOU.

Consent in relationships is critical. We never "owe" another person a physical action we're not comfortable with. If the person you're dating is worth dating, they won't want physical affection from you unless it's something you're both ready and willing to give.

That being said, of course it can be awkward to actually turn someone down. It can be easier to just give in because hey, it's not really that bad. That's not fair to you. 

A few tips on this:

  1. If you know what you're NOT looking for, close opportunities before they open. Monitoring and manipulating your body language can show a boy pretty clearly that you're unlikely to consent to something. If you're sitting in the theater, having your arms folded or your hands clasped is a pretty clear no-go. If you pull out your keys as soon as you get to the doorstep, he might start to get the hint. If you give him a hug (which you don't have to do, by the way) and your eyes and chin are down, towards his chest, (rather than looking up into his eyes) he'll hopefully get the signal that you're not looking for a kiss. 
  2. If he goes for it anyway, speak up. This isn't easy, because nobody wants to be labeled a "prude." Parts of society would like us to think that our worth is based on sexual desirability or physical experience and that if we turn guys down, we're somehow failing what we're "supposed" to do. False. This doesn't have to be a big awkward thing, just simply state that you're not ready for that yet, or that you have rules about who you kiss/hold hands with, or whatever. ("I'm not ready for that." "I only kiss boys I'm in exclusive relationships with." "I don't hold hands on first dates." You can apologize in these sentences if that's the kind of person you are (like me) but you by no means have to: remember, there is no right to expectation here.)
  3. Consent is individual. Just because you held hands with a guy doesn't mean now he gets to kiss you (or even hold hands with you again). You never yield control of your ability to consent. If you allowed or did something that you now regret or that you're uncomfortable with for any reason, you do not have to allow it again. I was recently in a situation where I talked to a guy about dialing this stuff back since I was still trying to figure out how interested I was. He was very sweet and understanding. He didn't feel like he had a right to cuddle with me or what have you based on anything in the past. I was really impressed by how respectful he was. You know what? We deserve that, you and me. If you tell a guy you're not ready for something (whether it's something you've done before or not) he needs to respect that. If he can't, get out.
5. Let Me 'Splain. No, There Is Too Much. Let Me Sum Up.
So, basically, there are a few things I hope might help you.
First of all, remember that you have no responsibility to be in situations where you're uncomfortable. I generally think it's a good idea to give a guy a first date unless I'd feel unsafe doing so or have some other significant objection. That being said, you never have to date a guy. You never have to do a specific activity you're uncomfortable with. You never have to hold hands or kiss or even hug a guy. All of these things are yours to consent to or to deny, and you don't "owe" a guy any of them because he bought you a pizza.
Second of all, know that if you HAVE decided to go on a date, your consent continues to matter throughout the date. You never HAVE to do anything. If you've decided to do something, though, your attitude towards the activity can really make a big difference. Don't stress too much about being great at whatever "it" is. Remember that you're there to get to know a person. Talk to them. Observe them. Joke with them. Do NOT feel that your eternal destiny is dependent upon your ability to [insert activity here]. Remember that he's nervous too and that he wants you to have a good time. Don't focus on your performance on the activity that you dislike. After all, that is not the purpose of a date. Focus on the chance to spend time with a person - whether you're romantically interested in them or not. 
I hope that some of this is helpful. It's definitely hard to be on dates where some combination of the person and/or activity and/or situation is not to your preference. However, you are a valuable person worth dating and this person is fortunate to have a chance to get to know you in ways in which you are comfortable. Take the same opportunity with them.
~Anne, Certainly