Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open. -John Barrymore
Question #47430 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Are there any board members currently in BYU's Women's Chorus?

- Second Alto

A: Dear Second Alto,

Nope. We've had a couple of past writers in Women's Chorus (including our own Second Alto), but we don't have any current writers who are members.

- Katya
Question #47427 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Where/how can I see Kirby Heyborne's movie Pirates of the Great Salt Lake? Has it been picked up by a distributor?

film buff

A: Dear Ripped, Cinematically:

I think parts 1, 2, and 3 (hits # 3, 7, and 10 as of this writing) will give you what you need.

---Portia
Question #47425 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I would like to take a break for a semester so I can get settled in my new job which is quite demanding. My question is instead of deferring can I take independent study classes and still be considered a student thus not losing my status as a BYU student? I would love to know very soon. Thanks!

- Unsure one

A: Dear Unsure,

Sorry, taking classes through IS does not count as being enrolled for purposes of deferment. See Board Question #42571.

- the librarian
A: Dear Uo:

Just so you know, the deadline to put in the paperwork to defer Fall semester is October 1, so you have time yet.

---Portia
Question #47422 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is brushing your teeth with just baking soda, or baking soda and toothpaste, bad for your teeth? I've read both that it can be bad for your teeth, or that it is really good for your teeth. I've been adding some baking soda to my toothpaste lately, so hopefully it's okay. Thank you!!!1

- Lucy P.

A: Dear Lucy,

A wikihow on whitening your teeth with baking soda warns that baking soda is very abrasive and could damage your enamel. Baking soda can also dissolve orthodontic glue, which could be a problem if you have braces or a permanent lower retainer. Personally I would stick to normal toothpaste.

-Whistler
Question #47421 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I was talking to someone about movies and on-campus housing. I know the rule is that dorm lobbies are semi-public and therefore you can't watch copyrighted material there, but he didn't believe me. I thought I heard somewhere that the MPAA sent out a notice to universities specifically talking about dorm lobbies/lounge areas, and I think it was when Elder Oaks was president of BYU. Is that notice available for me to read?

- Life is Like...

A: Dear Your Alias Reminds Me of Instances Where Garfield Would Finish That Sentence With Something Nonsensical, Like ". . . A Conveyor Belt:"

Your friend had better believe it! You are correct in both your assertions and your reasons. I contacted Paul Barton (Helaman Area Manager), and he emailed me this document. He is even gracious enough to let you see hard copies of different documents, if five pages just aren't enough. He is easily look-up-able.

This was not a one-time policy in days gone by, but an ongoing process involving not just the MPAA, but studios like Sony and 20th Century Fox.

---Portia
Question #47419 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Am I depressed because I am not spiritual anymore, or am I not spiritual anymore because I am depressed? I think there is some sort of relationship here, but I cannot figure out what it is.

- Anonymous

A: Dear Anonymous ~

I don't think one led to the other. I think it's a combination. There was a little depression and a little lack of spirituality. Then the more depressed you got, the less you felt like you should worship a god who would let you feel like this. And the less spiritual you became, the more you felt depressed because a) you knew that you should still be following Christ and b) you distanced yourself from the only source of comfort you had. And it continued like that a little bit at a time, a slow spiral, until suddenly you were both depressed and not spiritual... wondering what in the world happened.

And now for my unsolicited advice. Go against what you feel and try to be spiritual. Even if you don't feel spiritual, go through the motions. Pray daily. Read your scriptures. Go to church. Talk to people you love, trust, and/or respect about gospel topics. Take 15 minutes every day and focus on someone other than yourself. Oh, and trust God. I know it's hard. I know like you feel like He has broken his promises to you. But remember how He is bound when you do what He says, but when you don't do what He says, you have no promise? Perhaps God isn't holding up His end of the bargain right now... but be honest with yourself... are you? Remember, He is only bound when you follow His commandments.

Don't expect results tomorrow. Remember how this was a long, slow spiral to get where you are? It's going to be an equally long, slow journey back. But the closer you get to being spiritual again, the more access you are allowing Christ and the Holy Ghost into your life. And the more time they can spend with you, the more time they have to heal your wounded and depressed heart and mind.

~ Dragon Lady
A: Dear Anonymous,

It's also possible that you're depressed because of a chemical imbalance or because of past stress or trauma, so don't rule out medication or counseling. See also Board Question #24723 for Melyngoch's excellent answer on depression and the Holy Ghost.

- Katya
Question #47418 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I have read a couple of answers on here that attempted to answer the question about oral sex. It would seem that there is some genuine concern on the subject and I admit that I could be counted amongst that group. My question is as follows:

We are basically told that relations between a husband and wife are to remain wholesome and that we are to stay away from anything that would drive the spirit away, i.e. 'unholy' and 'impure' practices. There hasn't been anything definitively said in recent years on the subject, but my concern is that previous prophets HAVE included oral sex into the 'impure' practices category. What I am wondering is what else should we stray away from? Is touching or caressing those same areas deemed impure? Probably not. What about manually stimulating your spouse in those areas? Is anything outside the penetrative act unholy? What if you and your spouse decide to stimulate yourselves while you are with each other? What about if you two are not in the same room, or one is away on business? Is it unfaithful to be thinking of him/her while engaging in such an act while they are not there? If it is done with love for him/her, is that not within the guidelines set down by the Lord?

I am very confused. I realize that such a question is quite difficult to answer, but any insight would be very helpful. Thanks!

- anon2008

A: Dear you're probably really thankful to be anon,

I have my own "insights" on these matters however, I will not share them. Go talk to your bishop. And spouse if you have one. And go to the temple a lot. Realize that the Church tends to stay out of the bedroom and much will be left up to what you and your spouse feel is appropriate.

- steen
A: Dear anonymous 2008 times over:

Is anything outside the penetrative act unholy? Heck yes it is! Foreplay (even between legally married husband and wife)=of the devil. Please put a sheet of tin between your (fully clothed) torsos.

If this is what married Mormon life holds for me . . . I'm becoming Episcopalian.

This topic has been hashed and re-hashed in many corners of the Mormon online community, and I don't know that Board writers have any grand revelation to share with you.

(WARNING: if you are squeamish about such topics, and reading words like "masturbation" will make you supremely uncomfortable, please, don't follow those links. I would hope the rather straightforward nature of the question would have tipped you off by now that you might want to skip down to something tamer like tithing and lottery money. I don't need angry emails about how I am going against the Church and its prophets and the Lord's University and the American Way. I merely present these as places for further information, not endorsements. Thank you.)

As far as I can gather, the condemnatory letter in question, which took an anti-oral sex stance, was sent out in 1982, and quickly rescinded. As it is with evolution, racial discrimination, or the necessity of ankle-length dresses, I am unlikely to heed now-retracted counsel given before I was born. I somehow doubt that God has set aside a corner of Outer Darkness for Married Mutual Masturbators. Such a conception of deity is odd to me, to say the least, and at least as far as I can tell, a lot of these questions people have boiled down to not wanting to offend the Spirit.

By that definition, I think it's safe to say that orgies involving goats and tasers are out. I think that shutting yourself in a room with a porn magazine instead of paying attention to your spouse is selfish and definitely not strengthening to one's marriage.

Please, just ask these exact questions, with the same wording, if you want, of your spouse. My fountain of virginal sex advice has run dry. I am not Mr. anon2008, and I do not know he would react. I think the Church does a fine job of emphasizing the mystical oneness of "marital intimacy," and very thoroughly underlines the fact that such things are a big no-no before, but I think the more stalwart among us can take this Puritanism into their marriages, and want a print-out (Times New Roman, double-spaced), of what they can and can't do. You're not going to get that here (at least in Windows, the Board appears in Palatino Linotype and is single-spaced, after all), and you're certainly not going to get that over the pulpit. I think that we could perhaps do better as a culture of acknowledging that sex is a great thing, under the right circumstances, and not something to be afraid of. It seems like building a wall with Triple Combinations down the middle of your bed could be quite the turn-off.

You'll be a lot better off talking about this with your spouse--I can see a situation arising where one party thinks such activities are fine, and the other feels betrayed and sad and wishes werf had been alerted beforehand.

Also, people have made some decent dough off of Mormons' sexual insecurities. And They Were Not Ashamed only got one rating with less than four stars: could be worth checking out.

Good luck figuring all this out. Whatever you and your spouse decide, I don't think anyone ever found a "tin sheet" mentality to be that fulfilling.

---Portia
Question #47415 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

There seem to be petitions for anything and everything around nowadays. Ex: "Official Facebook Petition to Keep The Old Facebook an Option!" or "Petition to Release Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince On November 21st As Promised!". What qualities would a petition of this sort have to have, to end up with any sort of power over anything that a given organization will do? A certain amount of people who are a certain age or older? How professional would it have to be? I'm guessing a thousand kids who signed their names in pencil in a spiral notebook trying to petition for less homework wouldn't be approved. What is the actual likelihood that the types of petitions I mentioned would do any good whatsoever?

- thinks all these petitions are wastes of time

A: Dear thinks petitions are a waste,

I agree with you about online petitions - I recognize that they usually don't do anything. I get especially frustrated with e-mail petitions because there is no way to keep it organized, etc. (see Snopes for a good article on those e-mail petitions). However, I think that the Facebook group petitions provide Facebook and newsgroups with useful data about their consumer satisfaction. Not only does this foreigner-written article cite Facebook petitions, but so does this possibly more legitimate CBC article.

Now that I've established the legitimacy of some Facebook "petition" groups, let's look at your questions: What qualities would a petition of this sort have to have, to end up with any sort of power over anything that a given organization will do? Facebook "petition" groups that make it to mass media (i.e., news) usually have many members (thousands) and the petitioners themselves have a direct impact on the thing they're petitioning about. Facebook users who are unhappy with Facebook have the power to stop using Facebook, which makes their petition valid. However, Facebook users who want to see Harry Potter sooner will probably see it whenever it comes out.

Another example comes to mind. A student in my Russian 201 class wants to change the time of the 202 class to an hour later or earlier so she can take other required courses. The dean of Russian studies (or whoever is in charge of Russian classes) said he would consider it if she got several of her classmates to sign a petition. This petition would fulfill the requirements I mentioned previously for an effective petition: it would have a significant amount of those who want to study Russian 202 (about a third). Without these students, the Russian program might be compromised, so it's in the Russian department's best interest to take note if a change in class time would allow them to keep two sections of Russian 202.

-Whistler
Question #47413 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

When people like generals retire from the military and they were living in general's base housing when they retired, do they have to move off base after retirement or can they stay if they want to because they're generals?

- WWII Buff

A: Dear Ethel,

I asked my friend with various military experience. He told me that it would depend on the post; if there's housing available, they may let the general stay where he is, but since the point of the base is to house active military, that general could be kicked out any time they needed his house.

He said unless there's a reason to live on base, most senior officers will buy a house off-base to earn equity if they can get away with it. Most officers and NCOs (non-commissioned officers) use army programs to buy something off post so they'll have somewhere to live once they retire.

-Polly Esther
Question #47411 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Do you know anything about online job-finding site, such as which are reputable and which are more sketchy? Also, if you were graduating soon and were in the market for a job, what resources would you use to find a good one?

- genetics geek

A: Dear g2:

Jobs.yahoo.com, monster.com, careerbuilder.com, and jobs.com are all reputable job-finding sites. Craigslist can be good, but use your judgment. In your situation, I'd probably apply directly to different laboratories; if you wanted to work in Salt Lake, say, you could just go directly to the websites for Nelson Labs, the U of U, or IHC directly. Also, the College of Life Sciences (or something comparable, if you aren't at BYU) could also steer you in a good direction. It seems that the number one tip my recently graduated friends would give would be to start early.

---Portia
Question #47405 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

When is this year's Lost and Found Sale? I have heard they are a mosh pit of insanity.

- Bargain Hunter

A: Dear Mr. Hunter,

The lost and found sale will be Saturday September 27th starting at 9:00 a.m.

I have never been, but I was under the impression that it was auction style buying/selling.

- Rating Pending (who could be totally wrong about the style of selling, but is totally right about the date and time)
Question #47402 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I'm engaged, planning to get married in a little more than two months. I am very much in love and I truly feel like I have received an answer that I have found the right person for me, but I have always had a little bit of a commitment problem, partly I'm sure because of the weird circumstances under which I was raised. I am getting kind of nervous to bind my entire life to another person, even though I love him so much. Since we announced our engagement, everyone I know has shared horror stories of how difficult and miserable marriage is. I never planned on it being easy, but I certainly am not hoping to sign up for the eternity of misery people keep talking about. I am a little bit older, graduated from BYU about a year ago, and have dated a lot. I don't feel like I'm making my decision blindly but I'm still very nervous. Perhaps I just need some reassurance that marriage to someone you love really is a good idea? For those of you who are married, how did you adjust to being married? Are you happy? Do you feel like you made the right choice?

Sorry, that got a little bit long. Thanks so much for your input.

- nervous

A: Dear nervous ~

Y'know, people think they're doing others a favor by telling them that marriage is hard. "Preparing them for the worst." Blah. I think that's ridiculous. I think that yes, there will be struggles, but hey, there are struggles in single life, too! The best part about marriage is that there is someone right there to help you through those hard times. People tell us all of the time that we're in for a rough time. To be honest, I haven't seen that yet. (Ok, sure, we've only been married for almost 3 months, but still.)

Adjusting to marriage wasn't hard for me at all. Yellow and I had spent plenty of time together when we were dating and engaged, so spending more time with him wasn't an adjustment at all. It was very easy for us to communicate, which has been the biggest blessing ever. For example, I am a girl and thus tend to get emotional at times. I will be upset for really no reason at all. But because we have already established open communication, he's willing to ask if I'm ok and wait patiently until I'm ready to tell him what's wrong. And once I tell him, I either feel better, or he is able to fix whatever was wrong. And then we move on with life. Or, on the flip side, there are times that I do things that bother him and he tells me, and I change.

Really, I think the problem is not that there are hard times (welcome to life) but that people have never learned to communicate. So you want my advice on how to feel more comfortable? Talk to your fiancé. Learn to confide in him. Learn to trust him. Talk to him about what you're concerned about now. If you can build that communication and trust now, you have no need to be worried in future.

Seriously, one of the things I've enjoyed the most about marriage is having someone there to help me through the rough times and to share the great times.

Yes, I think that marrying someone you love is really a good idea. I am very happy. I know I made the right choice.

If you know he's the right person for you, go in with faith, not fear. Marriage is divinely sanctioned of God. It is something to be embraced. Do you really think God would ask you to go into marriage if it was going to be fraught with nothing but trials? Heavens no. Just continue to live the gospel and live it together with your husband. Talk to each other about what's bothering you and praise each other for things that make you happy.

You'll do great. Also, marriage will be awesome. Don't worry.

~ Dragon Lady
A: Dear n:

(Random, random side note: I swear I once had a dream where there was a Board question/answer exchange somewhat similar to this, and it was even Dragon Lady answering. Talk about déjà vu.)

Well, one thing I think that is important to consider are differences in personality. Dragon Lady posted on her blog that she wanted to get married several months before she was engaged. Such is her way. From what I have seen, I think she has a temperament very well-suited to family life and relational commitment. On the other hand, take these words from Optimstic. as something of a counterexample:
Every so often in my life, I have moments of doubt and second-guessing. Who doesn't? . . . About a month ago, I managed to convince Genuine Draft that she wanted to marry me. At the time, it not only seemed like a good idea, but a perfectly rational one - one that felt inevitable. I came back home feeling as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened. When I woke up the next morning, though, the full impact of what I had just done hit me. What on earth had I done? Supposing I made the wrong decision. Had I just tied my fate to someone who was going to bring me down in life? What if I ended up miserable? And was I anywhere close to ready to start a grown-up and responsible life?

Between that moment and now, I've had about a thousand little moments where I realize that yes, I made the right decision. (We made the right decision, Genuine.) Really, I've had those little moments that come after I make big decisions nearly every time. I'm a worrier, by nature (and I know that I'm not the only one), so it's nice to have little things like this to reinforce my resolve every so often. It's nice to know that every once in a while, I make the right decision.

More than ever, I'm realizing that God is in the details.
I don't see how anyone could possibly fault you for second-guessing yourself, for being nervous, for having moments where you think that this is going to be FOR-EV-ER and how in heaven's name are you supposed to be able to make that level of commitment for the next 60+ years of your life?! Especially if you have had to face the divorce of parents, or if you have had less-than-ideal relationships in the past, or something similar, it can be very scary, I'm sure.

I don't feel like I'm making my decision blindly but I'm still very nervous. Read that again. You're nervous--not marrying a horrible man, not throwing your life away, not going to be shackled in a pit of doom from which you can never escape. If you have the presence of mind and maturity to have gotten a college degree and dated different guys, I'm sure you made an excellent choice. Of course, he's not the only person with whom you could be compatible--that's where the hard work part comes in, I'm sure--but being with someone you love and always having someone there to share your life with sounds pretty good too, doesn't it?

Good luck. I don't think experiencing a bit of trepidation at a decision that momentous is in any way strange or out of the ordinary. I'm not married myself, but it seems like a lot of people have come out of it swimmingly.

---Portia
A: Dear nervous and Portia~

Hmm... Portia makes a good point. Perhaps I should clarify, however, just a bit. I was nervous at times. And I did wonder sometimes if I was really doing the right thing, or if I had just been so invested in dating Yellow for so long that I was just getting married because it seemed like the logical next step. I didn't go without my fair share of wedding jitters. But whenever I did, I would kneel down and pray again, and every time, God reassured me that I really was doing the right thing... that I was marrying Yellow because I loved him and because he was perfect for me. Not because it was the "logical next step."

Yes, Portia, I was ready to get married. I had been for years. I was very tired of being single. But being anxious to be married wasn't the reason that getting married wasn't a hard adjustment. I still had to make sure the guy I was marrying was the best choice for me, and that is a scary thing. I mean, forever is a long time and a big choice to make.

I stand by my original declaration that learning to communicate with your future spouse is the key to adjusting easily. Once you're married, you have to put thoughts of "Did I marry the right person?" out of your head. Then adjusting is based on things like squeezing the toothpaste tube in the middle vs. the end, how to fold socks, and who takes out the garbage. It's learning how to handle finances, who takes the car in to be fixed, and what is a need vs. a want. It's whether to cook with onions or not, whether the Star Wars pictures or the flower painting goes on the wall, and what he should do when you just burst into tears for no reason. It's you learning that he works on his truck to release energy and him learning how to deal with your PMS. It's learning each other's medical quirks. It's him being a night owl when you're an early bird.

And I promise, they're all things you can deal with if you truly love each other and are willing to work and talk.

Hmmm... more proof that I'll talk forever if allowed to. Sorry about that. :)

~ Dragon Lady
A: Dear Dragon Lady:

Thank you for graciously editing out my real name in your second response.

Dear Original Person Whose Question Is Now Several "Page Up"s Away:

One last thought. If your fear goes beyond the typical butterflies in your stomach, pre-marriage counseling or support groups could be one option. I think their focus is not so much "oh, you all must have problems," as it is to open those oh-so-important communication lines.

---Portia
Question #47397 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Is it a good idea to have my parents ship my Nintendo Wii out here next month? It seems that I only have two classes that will be particularly hard for me. But I also have a tendency to procrastinate homework, as I am doing right now.

Also, is bismark still a prowler here? I can provide blackmail material to any writers seeking it.(for example: how he treated his younger brother)
- Goda

A: Dear Goda,

Well, here's the deal: The Wii would be fine if you have strong enough of a will to live your life with a good sense of priorities.

The fact that you have to ask seems to indicate you have a problem with this. I would use this semester to try and build up really solid study habits and figuring out how to manage your time. Then bring it out after Christmas. Be sure to keep your good habits going. If it proves problematic, get rid of it.

Also, be sure to get Mariokart. Woo!

-Claudio
A: Dear Goda,

A much better idea would be for you parents to ship your Nintendo Wii to me. You can play on it. Sometimes.

Also, it has come to my attention that it is my life's purpose to destroy bismark. If at some point in the future it becomes necessary, I shall light the Furious George symbol and summon your aid. Come running. Or you're on the list too.

- Furious George
A: Dear Cheese:

Rii: the Wii--if you do choose to have it, make a concerted and clear effort to eliminate another entertainment thing in your life--movies, blog reading, whatever . . . I don't think the Wii itself is the issue, but time management. You only have so many hours in the day.

Re: bismark--quite frankly, I am getting sick of what I perceive to be a slight shift in . . . what I can only call cattiness among some of our readers. The Board and its unofficial offshoots are not places for a mudslinging, name-calling, junior high fest. It's not to that point yet, but I know that increased efforts towards civility never hurt. I think bismark has come back occasionally after his hiatus, but I don't know that his level of participation will ever be quite what it was. In my opinion, he's an intelligent, fun person who has good things to say, and anyone who feels the need to blackmail him (or any other reader/writer) will sink rather low in my estimation.

---Portia

P.S.: upon re-reading your question, I realized that you likely are said younger brother, and just giving him a hard time: still, the spirit of my points still stands.
A: Dear Portia,

Message received. I shall retreat humbly into my lair to gnaw on the bones of idiots and not encourage mudslinging. Besides, in true monkey fashion, I do not sling "mud," per se. Bismark shall remain untouched for now.

- Furious George
Question #47395 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

When Joseph Smith received and translated our current Book of Abraham, he also received and translated from the same source the Book of Joseph (the one sold into Egypt):

“The record of Abraham translated by the Prophet was subsequently printed, and it is now known as the book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. However, the translation of the book of Joseph has not yet been published. Evidently the record of Joseph was translated by the Prophet, but perhaps the reason it was not published was because the great prophecies therein were ‘too great’ for the people of this day” (Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, pp. 130–31).

Obviously some of Joseph's writings are found in the Book of Mormon, and the JST of the Old Testament. But my question is, where is the actual Book of Joseph now? Was it lost or destroyed? Does the church still have the translated manuscript in a vault somewhere but hasn't published it?

- Loves the Scriptures I have, and am excited to know that there's more out there that we'll hopefully get someday.

A: Dear Me Too,

From Abraham by Mark E. Peterson:
The Prophet Joseph Smith, as is well known, obtained ancient writings in Egyptian mummies that he purchased. He makes frequent reference to them, one as the book of Abraham and the other as the book of Joseph, who was sold into Egypt. . . . The book of Joseph was never published. Whether or not it was translated is not known.

Only fragments of the pieces of papyrus owned by the Prophet are now extant; most of what he had is now missing. Scholars believe that some of the few scraps of the ancient papyrus now in the possession of the Church are from documents other than the actual Book of Abraham, although the facsimiles now printed in the Pearl of Great Price are definitely from that original book.
Never published and the whereabouts of the original papyrus are unknown. Too bad.

If, however, you are concerned about having more scriptures to read, you will be pleased to remember that at some point in time, we will get to see the sealed portions of the Book of Mormon. And a whole new batch of scriptures will be delivered from the pulpit this coming General Conference. So many scriptures, so little time.

- Rating Pending (who needs to read the ones we have more often)
Question #47390 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Are there any vending machines on campus that have Hot Tamales candies in them? If so, where? And if not, why not?

- The Hot Tamale Seeker

A: Dear Don Quimale:

1. No, though they do have Mike & Ikes, which are close.

2. Since it's not like BYU has had Hot Tamales in the vending machines in recent memory, I deemed timeliness more important than thoroughness on this one, and now encourage you to contact BYU Vending (there are many ways) if you are truly passionate about your confectionary cause.

---Portia
Question #47361 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Correct me if I am wrong, but this is what I understand to be true:
In the Old Testament, Daniel's friends were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These were their newly-received Babylonian names that the king gave them, not the Hebrew ones they were given at birth. Daniel received a new name as well: Beltashazzar. In the Bible, they are most often referred to as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Right?

So if they all received new names, why would the Bible refer to only Daniel as his Hebrew name, while calling the rest of them by their new Babylonian names?

- Confused

A: Dear Confused ~

What a great question for Theopholis! I emailed him and asked his opinion. I knew that the book of Daniel is written part in Hebrew and part in Aramaic, but that didn't seem to be a good reason for the different naming patterns. Here's what he had to say:
This is a pretty good question, and nobody knows the answer for sure. Some speculate, for example, that there are different strands to the story that were sewn together. In the end it probably doesn't have anything to do with the Hebrew Aramaic sections of the text. I think the best answer is a literary one as below.
In Daniel 1:6-7 Daniel and his fellow Jewish nobles received Babylonian names: Daniel got the name Belteshazzar and Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah became Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Some have asked why Daniel continues to be known by his Hebrew name while his friends are referred to by their Babylonian names. This is generally true but there are exceptions to this usage leading some scholars to suppose that the usage of the Hebrew vs. Babylonian names is part of a larger literary strategy. For example, Daniel is known by his Babylonian name Belteshazzar in chap 4 where Nebuchadnezzar addreses him directly. In regards to Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah one scholar has noted:

"From a literary standpoint the Hebrew names and their Babylonian counterparts do not appear at random in the texts. In fact they are subtly woven into the narrative fabric in order to reflect the cultural and religious dichotomy which existed between the Jewish people and their Babylonian overlords. In the introductory chapter the authorial voice uses Hebrew nomenclature in referring to the three companions (1:6, 11, 19) and it is left to Nebuchadnezzar's chief of the eunuchs to change their names (1:7). In the story of the colossal statue it is Nebuchadnezzar who bestowed high office on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (1:49) even though in their personal relationship with Daniel they keep their Hebrew names (2:17). In the tale of the furnace of burning fire the Babylonian names are declaimed 13 times within the space of 19 verses (3:12, 13, 16, 19, 20, 22, 23, 26 [twice], 28, 29, 30). Such reiteration seems to be rhetorical rather than a structural device but it is worth noticing hat the sonorous repetition is set firmly in the context of the confrontation between Jewish heroes and Nebuchadnezzar, the king himself declaiming the Babylonian names 5 times (3:14, 16, 28, 29). Babylonian nomenclature thus provides an authentic local touch to the narratives while at the same time the deft deformation of the spelling satirizes Babylonian cultural values." Peter W. Coxon (Anchor Bible Dictionary V:1150).
Totally not the answer you were expecting, was it? The fun thing about the Bible is that a lot of the times, the reason for things that don't make sense to us is simply the author writing in Hebrew poetry or doing a play on words. Most of this is lost in translation. The Old Testament is full of subtleties that are completely lost on us. Why do you think that Jewish scholars study the Old Testament for hours every day for their entire lives? It's not just because they're trying to be all spiritual... it's because there is so much to discover in there. The Old Testament is a giant literary puzzle just waiting to be solved.

When you have questions about the Bible, great resources for your answers (besides us, of course) are books such as the Anchor Bible Dictionary. There are shelves upon shelves of these kinds of books down in the religion section of the HBLL (currently housed in the Family History library). If you have any questions, please talk to the Religion Librarian (currently Ryan Combs). That's what he's there to do. And really, it can be quite fun as you read through the various books that spend a full page on a couple of key verses, and see how the serious scholars have interpreted them.

~ Dragon Lady
Question #47359 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I was just looking at GoogleMaps, and I saw something weird. Please look at [38.631616,-121.182622]?

The brown patch doesn't look like normal, natural landscape for the area. Then, when you look around the brown patch for a bit, there's these weird gray looking things. It looks to me like there are a bunch of rocky ridges, but when I zoom in it looks more like gravel. I guess it could be sand dunes, but I'm not aware of them occurring naturally in that part of the country. Also, I've never seen sand dunes with such precise groove lines as to remind me of those machines at ski resorts that they say lay down fake snow, but I swear they really just scrape the ice.

All I've found out about the area are that there are a Temple, a premium factory outlet mall, and an aerospace propulsion lab very nearby. I guess it could be effects of soil erosion or maybe a quarry. Maybe even teenagers when they're feeling "randy" decide to go out and gouge grooves into the ridges in an attempt to usurp crop circles' position as biggest waste of free time and hope that M. Night Shyamalan will make a movie about them. I don't know. What's the deal?

- MustacheBoy, who gets out his chisel and hopes that someday his hobbies will be recognized.

PS: Man, don't parts of the Sahara desert look like the Google guy just got bored and copy/pasted a few hundred-thousand acres? Yeah, they do.

A: Dear Mustachio,

Um, sorry but not really so weird at all. Given the low elevation, and the large bowl that makes up the area around the Sacramento Temple, I'm pretty sure that the gray ridges are layers of gray sandstone that a plate shift has simply caused to come up on their side, revealing the individual ridges. (You see this in southern Utah quite a bit, something like this.) Can't say that I really appreciate your postulation about how the grooves were formed ("randy teenagers"? What are you talking about?), but there's an answer for you.

- Rating Pending (who has nothing more to say, and will now go look at his mission areas on Google Map)
Question #47351 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

What is the perimeter of the Marriott Center? I don't mean around the outside of the building, I mean if you were to go inside and walk from Portal A all the way around back to Portal A.

- razr

A: Dear razr,

Well, BYU's not keen on us riding our bikes around the concourse, so that avenue was out of the question. Luckily, Google Earth came to the rescue. I first measured the perimeter around the outside of the building to be approximately 0.28 miles. I then moved each point of the path a few feet inside, since the concourse is just inside the perimeter. The length of your path will depend on whether you're walking around the outside or inside edge, but my rough estimate is that you'll walk 0.20 miles if you run around the inside perimeter.

Note that the Mariott Center is not designed as a running track, so don't even think about it.

-Yellow
A: Dear phone,

I didn't notice that Yellow had answered this question, so I started on an answer of my own. Once I was almost done it was brought to my attention that he'd answered it already, but I figured I was close enough to done that I'd post my answer as well.

I thought of a couple of methods to get an answer; the first was to use my bicycle, which is fitted with a cycle computer that measures distance traveled fairly accurately. I could just walk it around the inner perimeter and find out that way. However, as Yellow alluded to in his answer, I wasn't confident that they'd be okay with that.

My next idea was to look at the floor plans for the Marriott Center. Yes, such things really are available to students; if you're on campus, you can see them here. The specific one I looked at, for the third floor of the Marriott Center, is here [PDF].

The next step was to import that PDF into a vector drawing program, Inkscape. (It's an open-source alternative to programs like Adobe Illustrator.) I found that I could draw a rectangle with rounded-off corners that exactly fit the interior perimeter of the hallway in the floor plan. They fit so perfectly that I'm sure the designers must have used cubic Bézier curves to design the Marriott Center. (Cubic Bézier curves are commonly used in vector illustration programs to give a great deal of flexibility in drawing smooth, arbitrary curves.)

However, it took me a while to find out that Bézier curves were, indeed, what programs like Inkscape used. And once I found that they used Bézier curves, I had to find out what kind (quadratic and cubic were the most likely), and then figure out how to use the equations on that Wikipedia page. However, once I got the right equation (for a cubic Bézier curve, which I plotted in Maple to verify), I found the arc length for one of the corner curves, using parameters from an EPS file I exported. I multiplied that by four and added the length of each of the sides, and voilà! ...I got an answer almost identical to Yellow's. Seriously, I got about 1070 feet (0.203 miles) to his 0.20 miles. All I did, really, was get the same answer with a tighter margin of error (which I estimate is a few percent).

All of which just goes to show that there's more than one way to find the perimeter of a semi-complicated shape, and that the complicated way isn't necessarily the best one, especially considering the time it took. But wasn't that fun?

—Laser Jock
Question #47344 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I recently decided to apply as a transfer student to BYU from the University of Chicago after one full year of undergraduate work. I was admitted as a freshman but ultimately decided to attend the University of Chicago instead of BYU.

The one biggest problem in my application, however, has been my inactivity with the church. For whatever excuses I made up, I didn't attend sunday church meetings regularly. I did hang out with the members of my branch, attending FHE or whatever outings were planned. My branch president doesn't think I am eligible to apply to BYU and though he said he could still fill out an ecclesiastical endorsement, he didn't think i would get in. ( I guess meaning he wouldn't fill out a form)

Even though I struggled going to church last year, one of the main reasons that I really want to go to BYU now is because I WANT to go to church more. Obviously, all universities are not like BYU in providing a nurturing environment for spirituality and for attending church. Ultimately, it was my lack of discipline and my own laziness which kept me from going to church, but that's exactly why I would like to transfer to BYU. I just need that extra push or peer pressure to attend church regularly. And i also want to transfer because i've heard fun things about byu! :).

Does anyone have any advice about what I should do? Is there anyplace in admissions I could call and mention my situation to? Thanks!

- t

A: Dear Mr/s. T.,

For what it's worth, this aforementioned "nurturing environment"/"peer pressure to attend church regularly" can actually have the opposite effect, making people less inclined to go to church, FHE, firesides, whathaveyou.

You have been warned.

Dark Chocolate

A: Dear t,

You could talk to someone in Admissions, but there's almost no chance that they'd remember your name when reviewing your application, so it would probably be somewhat of an exercise in futility.

My personal recommendation is that you go ahead and apply to BYU. Part of the application process requires that you write a few short paragraphs about why you want to attend BYU. This would be the perfect place to mention your situation; it will be a stand-out answer to a question that largely will receive the same response over and over, and your description of the situation is intrinsically linked with your application.

If you want to talk to someone in the admissions office to get a more official answer, you can find contact information at http://saas.byu.edu/admissionsServices/.

Good luck!

-Yellow
Question #47312 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Although perusal of the archives shows that the longest wait for a question to be answered is near 2024 hours, http://theboard.byu.edu/index.php?area=editor_writeup says that the longest waiting time is 2653 hours and that a retired writer took the answer with him. Is there a way to know the id number of the question or what the question and answer was?

Thank you,

- Nanti-SARRMM

A: Dear Nanti,

Let's take a look at the questions in our system that have the longest amount of time between their submission and their posting.

IDTime Diff, Hours (appx)
Board Question #1231335088
Board Question #122779456
Board Question #7694680
Board Question #172603816
Board Question #363802856
Board Question #358162400


Now, let's look at each of these to determine their validity. The first two (12313 and 12277) each pertain to a period of time when the server was being messed with and the questions posted within 24 hours of each other, and I am inclined to believe that their Submit Times were incorrectly recorded (Evidence to support this theory is found in their high ID numbers which, when compared with similar IDs, place them as actually being submitted near their Post Times, end of January 2005).

The next one in the list, 769, has a much more valid claim, though it's still not quite a clean example because according to the answer it got lost during a system change, which explains the length of time it sat unanswered.

So, moving on to 17260, this one offers no unworldly explanation for why it was so late, so it is probably our best bet for a real answer that happened to take forever. At ~3816 hours it surely wins.

Now, of course, you ask, "Why are the numbers approximate?" Well, it turns out that MySQL can't calculate time values larger than 838:59:59 (hours:minutes:seconds) so I had to compute the numbers in days, and then multiply by 24. Yah, I could have figured it out exactly for each one, but I didn't want to spend the time.

-Curious Physics Minor
Question #47298 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

On the fourth floor of the library, right next to the south stairs ish, there is a form of batik art signed by bambang oetoro. What are the scenes depicting and what is the religious context behind them?

Thanks,
Johnny Boat

A: Dear HMS Jonathan:

My first line of attack was to track down Mr. Oetoro himself. I tried to contact this former student of his, but the number had since been disconnected. Next, I asked Gail Smith, one of the librarians working with the Asian collection, about the work. She said she knew little, except that the piece was given by donors who had been to Indonesia, and that it depicted scenes from the Ramayana. Any matching up of scenes from the batik and scenes from the Ramayana would be pure guesswork on my part, and that is a task I leave to the reader with a greater familiarity with Indonesian and/or Hindu culture.

---Portia
Question #47239 posted on 09/16/2008 3:01 a.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

Home School Legal Defense Association states that some act similar to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed in the state of Washington. (http://hslda.org/docs/nche/000000/00000029.asp) I'm not a pro on WestLaw but from what searching I've done, I can't find anything that resembles that. (I've been able to locate the statutes for all of the other states they list.)

Has the state of Washington passed some act that is similar to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that Congress passed in 1993?

-wired

A: Dear wired,

Alright, let's luke at whats we got.

Like you, I was pretty easily able to find the laws/bills similar to the Religious Freedom Reformation Act that were passed by most of the states mentioned on the Home School Legal Defense Association's website. The purpose of the Religious Reformation Act was to guarantee that the federal government would not pass laws that while appearing neutral, would present an undue burden on those seeking to practice their religion.
Government may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person--(1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.
My own (I think in-depth) search for something recently passed in the state of Washington that resembles this yielded only a bill that was presented in 2007 titled "Protecting the liberties of religious objectors." Its purpose, however, is specifically to keep religious objectors who wish to participate in "employee organizations" from paying dues to such organizations if their money from their dues goes to causes the objectors find objectionable. The employees are free to be part of these organizations if those employees are willing to donate the same amount of money to an approved charity.

As far as I can see, not at all what we're looking for.

I have called (several times) the offices of the Home School Legal Defense Association ((540) 338-5600) (they are very nice) and been transfered to the Washington State legal representative who has been busy each time and has not returned my calls. If she does call me back and I get further clarification as to what bill they are referring to, I will certainly let you know.

- Rating Pending (who now knows that if you are homeschooling your children, and a truant officer shows up at your door, the HSLDA sounds like a good group to have on your side. But I'm still not homeschooling my kids.)