You really, REALLY should have started a new thread for this. MR isn't one of the forums that frowns on people starting new threads for new topics; we like it here. People are going to think this is a months-old discussion of something the OP dislikes, and never know you've got some questions.
Anyway, Starson answered your questions fairly well, I think. You will also want to read my .sig (the first post in it) for the answer to your third question. Unlike some of the rather technical discussions that go on here, it is, or at least should be (I tried) written for everyone.
Oh, and hi. People tell me I'm not welcoming enough, so that's an official 'hi'.