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Thread: Stuff you just don't get.

  1. #3571
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    Quote Originally Posted by DonM435 View Post
    As kids we were told that false fire alarms were evil because a real fire might kill some people while the firemen are responding to the false alarm.
    I wonder if they do that these days?
    I don't know what they tell kids these days, but that explanation about pulling false alarms is completely true. If a fire company is out on a false alarm, then if there is a real fire, a different, more distant company is going to have to respond, and time is everything in fighting a fire.

    Not to mention that just responding to a fire is a dangerous business - there have been plenty of cases of emergency vehicles getting involved in an accident in route to a call and people getting injured or killed.
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  2. #3572
    I was always told that the fire alarms had a dye in then that rubbed when you pull it. And it was easy to find out who pulled it.
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  3. #3573
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    A report from the National Fire Protection Association about false alarms.

    Abstract
    In 2012, U.S. fire departments responded to 2,238,000 false alarms. This was an decrease of 6.1%. This means that one out of twelve calls responded to by fire departments were false alarms.

    False alarms were a big story in the 1970s, when the concern tended to be malicious activation of call boxes, typically by juveniles in large urban areas. A number of initiatives were taken in many cities, ranging from public education messages to stakeouts to greater use of voice-communication boxes to 911 phone message systems to box removal, and the problem seemed to retreat.

    When false alarms began climbing again in 1982 (see Figure 1), fire protection experts expressed the view that the problem had changed, that malicious activation of boxes by juveniles were less of a problem than nuisance activation’s of automatic detection systems. Table 1 shows this view is surely correct when there were almost 3 system malfunctions for every malicious false call.

    Overall, the 2012 false alarm figure decreased 6.1% from the year before. Let’s examine changges within categories of false alarms. System malfunctions decreased 4.7% from a year ago, accounting for 713,000 or 31.9% of all false alarms. Malicious false calls decreased 8.2% from a year ago, accounting for 167,500 or 8.2% of all false calls. Unintentional false calls (e.g., tripping an interior device accidentally and includes carbon monoxide detectors) accounted for 1,044,500 or 46.6% of all false alarms. Other false calls including bomb scares accounted for 313,500 or 14.0% of all false calls.

    Over the 1988-2012 period, the number of system malfunctions increased every year from 1988 to 1999 and increased an overall 63.7% from 550,500 in 1988 to 901,500 in 1999, changed little in 2000, and then decreased 20.9% to 713,000 by the end of 2012 (Table 2). Malicious false calls after hovering around the 450,000 level from 1990 to 1992 decreased 40% from 1993 to 274,000 in 2001, increased 13% in 2002, then decreased quite steadily for an overall decrease of 46.1% to 167,500 in 2012. Unintentional false calls increased every year except for 1990, 1997, 2002, 2009, and 2012 for an overall increase of 276% from 278,000 in 1988 to 1,044,500 in 2012. A portion of the increase was due to the increase in the use of carbon monoxide detectors.
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  4. #3574
    Maybe the next generation of fire alarms should have built in cameras.

    Another thing I can't get is why it takes so long to get a check for working a day for the provincial elections but that will probably go into politics.
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  5. #3575
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    I work in a large complex of attached buildings, and often see signs at the entrance that say things like “Fire alarm testing, East Building, Saturday 8AM to Noon. Do not evacuate.” What happens if there is a real fire during that time?

    As for late payment for provincial work, I suspect the cause is more related to bureaucracy than politics.


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  6. #3576
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Also I knew this gird who said her and her friends would go and throw pennies at prostitutes, I don't condone their jobs but this just seems mean.
    It is. Without going too far into forbidden subjects, such moral judgements assume choices on their part that are almost always absent. It's punishing victims.
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  7. #3577
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Also I knew this gird who said her and her friends would go and throw pennies at prostitutes, I don't condone their jobs but this just seems mean.
    "Mean" is not the word. I've seen people blinded in one eye by coin-throwing. It's criminal assault, in Canada as in the UK, and they should be arrested.
    (Or do you mean "tossing pennies to prostitutes"?)

    Grant Hutchison
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  8. #3578
    Tossing or throwing I wasn't there and it was a long while ago. I was just venting, something reminded me of the story.
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  9. #3579
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    A fellow named "Kashoggi" has been much in the news the past few days, and not in a good way. This morning the local Teevee Nooz anchor pronounced his name as "Kashooski" twice in a couple of minutes. Sure, it's not a usual American name, but it's been all over the news, including on the network her station is a part of; and the story she was reading so badly included the words "Saudi Arabia" a couple of times and she's turned him Polish. I can understand not wanting to watch the news, but shouldn't keeping up with world events be part of her job?
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  10. #3580
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    A fellow named "Kashoggi" has been much in the news the past few days, and not in a good way. This morning the local Teevee Nooz anchor pronounced his name as "Kashooski" twice in a couple of minutes. Sure, it's not a usual American name, but it's been all over the news, including on the network her station is a part of; and the story she was reading so badly included the words "Saudi Arabia" a couple of times and she's turned him Polish. I can understand not wanting to watch the news, but shouldn't keeping up with world events be part of her job?
    Reminds me of how many people, myself included, misread the name of a certain JPL engineer as "Ferdowski" instead of "Ferdosi" after the Curiosity landing, even after learning his family were Persian.
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  11. #3581
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    I work in a large complex of attached buildings, and often see signs at the entrance that say things like “Fire alarm testing, East Building, Saturday 8AM to Noon. Do not evacuate.” What happens if there is a real fire during that time?
    Then everyone dies. C’est la vie.


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  12. #3582
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Then everyone dies. C’est la vie.


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    I don’t know if they die, but they’ll certainly go deaf if they don’t evacuate. The alarms are beyond-threshold-of-pain loud.


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  13. #3583
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    Quote Originally Posted by Extravoice View Post
    I don’t know if they die, but they’ll certainly go deaf if they don’t evacuate. The alarms are beyond-threshold-of-pain loud.
    We were having problems with our fire alarm system several months ago, and the contractor spent a good part of the day testing them. We were told if there was an actual fire, they'd make an announcement over the PA system.

    And yes, our system is also painfully loud. I sat at my desk with my ear protection on.
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  14. #3584
    My first time living in a high rise was in a dorm and the week I moved in it was frosh week, We were told there was going to be a fire drill, I didn't know what it sound like and some people like pushing the emergency button in the elevator. So every time I heard the buzzer form the elevator I was headed to the door until someone told me what it was.
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  15. #3585
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    I was in a hotel in Rhode Island, in the shower when the fire alarm went off. Had to throw my clothes on over soapy water and get my 75 year old mother down 3 flights of emergency stairs.

    Then we had to wait an hour for them to unlock the elevators because she could not go back up 3 flights of stairs. The lobby was nice.

    (PS, it was a small dryer fire, quickly put out.)
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  16. #3586
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    I worked in one place that had so much fire alarm testing, that when we heard one, everybody went back to his/her desk to check e-mail to see it it was for real or just more testing.

  17. #3587
    The only time the fire alarm went off for legit reason was when someone wrapped outdoor Christmas lights around a sprinkler, the heat from the lights set the sprinkler off.
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  18. #3588
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I was in a hotel in Rhode Island, in the shower when the fire alarm went off.
    Sorry, this triggered a couple of Rhode Island fire alarm stories from me. Those who wish to evacuate the thread should do so.

    Rhode Island was also the period of time when I was an EMT, and worked on a college rescue squad, so I paid a lot of attention to these kinds of things.

    Working on a college campus, false fire alarms were not an unusual event. But the Providence Fire Department always had an aggressive response to them, until till it was demonstrated that an alarm was false. The reason was that about 10 years earlier to this time (I was there 1980 to 84) there had been a dorm fire at Providence College and several students had died. So there was a fair amount of paranoia about such fires (justified in my opinion).

    But the biggest response I ever heard was to a fire alarm at Rhode Island Hospital. RI Hospital is the main trauma center for the entire state and is a huge hospital. They essentially responded half the city fire department to this alarm, and called in help from every surrounding city. Why - because if it was a major fire, they would have had to evacuate every patient from the hospital! You are probably talking about hundreds of non-ambulatory people.

    It turned out that it was a very minor fire, IIRC it was in a broom closet or something like that, and was very quickly put out, but for a good 5 or 10 minutes it was "all hands on-deck".
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  19. #3589
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    A fellow named "Kashoggi" has been much in the news the past few days, and not in a good way. This morning the local Teevee Nooz anchor pronounced his name as "Kashooski" twice in a couple of minutes. Sure, it's not a usual American name, but it's been all over the news, including on the network her station is a part of; and the story she was reading so badly included the words "Saudi Arabia" a couple of times and she's turned him Polish. I can understand not wanting to watch the news, but shouldn't keeping up with world events be part of her job?
    Too young to remember Adnan Kashoggi, the Saudi billionaire arms dealer who was mixed up in Iran-Contra, I suppose. Pretty famous name, back in the day.

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  20. #3590
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    Sorry, this triggered a couple of Rhode Island fire alarm stories from me. Those who wish to evacuate the thread should do so.

    Rhode Island was also the period of time when I was an EMT, and worked on a college rescue squad, so I paid a lot of attention to these kinds of things.

    Working on a college campus, false fire alarms were not an unusual event. But the Providence Fire Department always had an aggressive response to them, until till it was demonstrated that an alarm was false. The reason was that about 10 years earlier to this time (I was there 1980 to 84) there had been a dorm fire at Providence College and several students had died. So there was a fair amount of paranoia about such fires (justified in my opinion).

    But the biggest response I ever heard was to a fire alarm at Rhode Island Hospital. RI Hospital is the main trauma center for the entire state and is a huge hospital. They essentially responded half the city fire department to this alarm, and called in help from every surrounding city. Why - because if it was a major fire, they would have had to evacuate every patient from the hospital! You are probably talking about hundreds of non-ambulatory people.

    It turned out that it was a very minor fire, IIRC it was in a broom closet or something like that, and was very quickly put out, but for a good 5 or 10 minutes it was "all hands on-deck".
    My Mom used to work at RI Hospital! When was this?
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  21. #3591
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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    My Mom used to work at RI Hospital! When was this?
    As I said, I was there '80 to '84. I don't remember more precisely than that.
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  22. #3592
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    As I said, I was there '80 to '84. I don't remember more precisely than that.
    Oops, yeah, I missed you saying that.

    It was after her time there. We moved to CT in 1976.
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  23. #3593
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuchet View Post
    A fellow named "Kashoggi" has been much in the news the past few days, and not in a good way. This morning the local Teevee Nooz anchor pronounced his name as "Kashooski" twice in a couple of minutes. Sure, it's not a usual American name, but it's been all over the news, including on the network her station is a part of; and the story she was reading so badly included the words "Saudi Arabia" a couple of times and she's turned him Polish.
    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Too young to remember Adnan Kashoggi, the Saudi billionaire arms dealer who was mixed up in Iran-Contra, I suppose. Pretty famous name, back in the day.
    Phonetics ahoy!

    The original spelling of his name is خاشقجي. The thing at the end is just the equivalent of "i". The previous two consonants are the issue.

    I'll start out of order with ج because it affects the other one. In ancient times, it was the same sound as our G (the way we pronounce it when it's not followed by E/I/Y). Then, in most dialects, it shifted to become like our J, but, unlike when the same shift happened in our language, in Arabic it happened in all positions within all words, not just before certain other sounds, giving us all of the Js in romanized Arabic words. That shift left those dialects with no G-sound: a conspicuous gap in the phonetic system, although more conservative non-standard dialects still have the original sound, so it can get romanized as G instead of the usual J in names from those places. More importantly, in some Arabic dialects, including this man's (Hejazi), it shifted again, at least under some circumstances, from J to ZH (which is represented as a funky lowercase Z with a tail, "ʒ", in the system linguists use for this kind of discussion).

    ق is the one that gives us all those Qs in romanized Arabic words. In Modern Standard Arabic and Classical Arabic, it's a uvular sound, similar to K but just positioned farther back where the back of the mouth meets the top of the throat, at or near the uvula, which gets "q" as its standard symbol in modern linguistic writing. However, the colloquial dialects in most Arabic-speaking territory in the modern world differ from MSA and CA on this; first, it became voiced (thus the voiced uvular sound represented by linguists with a capital-shaped but lowercase-sized G, "ɢ"), and then, in a lot of places where it did that, it also shifted forward to velar position, becoming identical to our G, thus filling in the gap that had been left by ج! So sometimes it gets romanized as G instead of as Q. (This letter, conventionally romanized as Q but actually often pronounced either "ɢ" or "g", is also why westerners couldn't agree on how to spell or pronounce "Gaddafi/Kaddafi/Qaddafi" ages ago when he was in the news, although the internet seems to have settled on G since then for that one. It's also the reason you might have heard that the country name "Qatar" is actually pronounced "Gatar" (or "Gitar").)

    So the sequence قجي (with the unwritten vowel before it) would be romanized as "uqji" in Classical or Modern Standard Arabic, but would sound like "uqgi/oqgi" in ancient times and still does in the most conservative non-standard modern dialects, or "uɢji/oɢji", "ugji/ogji", or "ugʒi/ogʒi" in the ones that have changed more. And this journalist is from one of the latter places, so "ugʒi" or "ogʒi" is correct. Notice that no dialect or stage has ever had two letters that would both sound like "g"; they've always been two different sounds in any given place & time, and in some cases neither would have that particular sound. So this name's romanization with "uggi/oggi" is just plain wrong. I don't know why this happened. It looks as if the romanization was done by somebody who found out that both letters can sometimes equate to our G and took that as an easy shortcut rather than bother learning the difference. Either that, or somebody dropped one of them and then twinned/geminated the remaining one, which would be two separate wrong things to do.

    That misromanization has the effect of dropping the "ʒ" from his own pronunciation of his own name. So anybody who is pronouncing it with a "ʒ" or even anything like it (s, z, sh) added back in is getting closer to the right pronunciation than those who don't, even if they get the order reversed. I suspect they're looking at a better romanization for it than the one I've seen.

    BTW, there's also another problem with this romanization. Our letter K represents exactly the same sound as Arabic ك, so the plain K we see there should mean his name starts with ك, but it's not there. What is there instead is خ. That sound is in either velar or uvular position, just like "k", "g", "q", and "ɢ", but instead of a plosive (the category including k, g, t, d, p, b, "q", and "ɢ") it's a fricative (the category including f, v, s, z, sh, zh, h, th and the other th). English doesn't have such sounds, but we've all heard one in German CH, Spanish J, and letters that look like our X in the Greek and Cyrillic alphabets. In Arabic, there's a very simple, well known, universal solution for romanizing it: KH. Why in the world would whoever came up with this spelling neglect the most obvious choice in favor of another that yields a sound that's just plain wrong? (There, we went from something somebody else didn't get but I did, to something I don't get!)

    (Also, the "u" or "o" in the middle is the shortest vowel in it, but I'll but you've been making it the longest one.)

    Khashugzhi!!!
    Last edited by Delvo; Yesterday at 09:27 AM.

  24. #3594
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    Khashugzhi!!!
    Yeah, that's more or less how the BBC newsreaders say it, except without the initial fricative, which is difficult for English folk. (Jamal spelled it Khashoggi, BTW; Adnan spelled it Kashoggi.)

    Grant Hutchison
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