Hello and welcome to CWN – the Collected Wisdom Network. We kick off tonight’s programming with Dancing with the Canucks, featuring the dazzling footwork of Sandie Rinaldo and Thomas Mulcair, followed by Real Housewives of Moose Jaw …
How do we know how many people tune in to programs on radio or TV? asks Karen Quinton of Toronto.
To get the full picture on this, Collected Wisdom talked to Tom Jenks, communications director at BBM Canada, which monitors Canadians’ viewing habits.
He says that, in larger markets, BBM provides volunteers with a Portable People Meter, a device about the size of a cellphone that the people wear all day. It catalogues any radio or TV signals within the wearer’s earshot by monitoring codes embedded by broadcasters in their programs’ soundtracks using equipment supplied by BBM. At night, the meter is plugged into a battery recharger that also sends the viewing and listening figures to BBM.
These meters are currently being used in 4,500 Canadian households. The figures from these devices are extrapolated to form a national picture of viewing habits.
In smaller markets, Mr. Jenks says, volunteer households are mailed “diaries” in which they write down their viewing and listening information. The diary surveys are done twice a year – in the spring and the fall – and the volunteers are asked to keep track of one week of their TV viewing and radio listening. About 700,000 diaries are sent out each year.
Marco Balestrin of St. Marys, Ont., wonders why acceleration figures for cars are usually stated as zero to 100 kilometres an hour or zero to 60 miles an hour.
“This is because 100 km/h or 60 mph are pretty typical highway speed limits,” writes George Olsen of Calgary. “The original concern probably was how long it would take a car to accelerate to highway speeds when entering a highway.”
More now on why German U-boat commanders wore peaked caps while at sea when it meant turning the cap backward when they used the periscope.
Eric Morse of the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto says a good friend of his, Werner Hirschmann, was chief engineer on U-190 during the Second World War. Mr. Hirschmann told him that “while U-boat crews dressed for comfort, … they usually wore something on their heads in case they had to go on deck quickly.”
Mr. Morse adds that the periscope of U-190 now resides in the Crow’s Nest Officers Club in St. John’s.
Moving from submarines to sunshine, here’s a postscript to our item on the best colour to wear to show off a tan.
Surprisingly, Jane Crist of Toronto says, the best colour is black. “Any other colour attracts the eye away from the tan. Black lets the tan speak for itself.”
Humanity seems to have standardized on a 24-hour day, a 60-minute hour and a 60-second minute, writes Dewi Williams of Kanata, Ont. How did this come about?
“My grandson asked me why sour cream is called sour,” writes Murray Citron of Ottawa. Years ago, sour cream had a definite tang, he says, while nowadays it is almost tasteless. What has changed?
Chris Savage of Toronto wonders how much fuel sits in a gas pump’s hose. In other words, when he pumps gas, how many litres does he get from the previous purchase before he starts getting the grade he wants?