Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2009 January 31

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January 31[edit]

Law question[edit]

A hypothetical case: Tom beats up Dick. Dick is left badly injured, but for his own reasons, does not press charges against Tom. Harry, a friend of Dick's, wants Tom punished. These are my questions: (1) Is it even necessary for someone to bring charges, or will Tom be prosecuted anyway? (2) If yes, would Harry be able to bring charges against Tom, or would he lack standing? Lantzy talk 00:30, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

It's certainly possible for charges to be pressed in certain scenarios even if the victim refuses to do so or co-operate with law enforcement - this is a major strand of domestic violence law - the legal system recognises that victims may be reluctant to press charges but has the ability to do so anyway. Exxolon (talk) 01:02, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Battery (crime) is a felony and is prosecuted by the state against the perpetrator. Harry can go to any police station and report the crime. Battery (tort) is a tort aagainst (in this case) Dick. Dick can go to a lawyuer to raise a claim against Tom. Harry has no standing. This response is general: for specifics in any particular jurisdiction, you nee to ask a lawyer. -Arch dude (talk) 01:07, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

In most common law jurisdictions crimes are almost always prosecuted in the name of the crown (or "the people" in the US) and there is no need for a complaint or someone to press charges. However, for many crimes it is generally the practice of local police and public prosecutors to not bring charges unless a complaint is made or the victime "presses charges." There is nothing stopping them at law, however. For an interesting application of the "no complainant needed" idea check out BDSM#Legal_status--Jabberwalkee (talk) 16:38, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

What others have said is correct, but it is important to note that without the testimony of the victim it would be very difficult to get a conviction. I think that's why such cases are rarely brought - I imagine there are exceptions, though, where other witnesses are sufficient. --Tango (talk) 23:17, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Thanks, everyone, for the quick replies. Lantzy talk 00:23, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

New paintings in Oval Office[edit]

29 January, 2009
2008 November 2008

Could someone knows what this two shrill colour paintings are ? There were not in the Oval Office during the last days of G.W.B and seems to have replace his personal Texas paintings. Did Obama chose it ? TCY (talk) 01:13, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

They look a little generic to me (a flag on the left, the statue of liberty on the right). I wouldn't be surprised if they were just stand-ins for the moment. -- (talk) 03:43, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
In fact, apparently those two paintings were in Bill Clinton's office as well: [1] -- (talk) 03:45, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
In the first picture, according to our article on the Oval Office, the painting on the left is by Childe Hassam called "Avenue in the Rain" (here's an excellent link). The other item is the Statue of Liberty. Underneath the statue appears to be a bronze sculpture by Frederic Remington called "The Bronco Buster". --Blue387 (talk) 06:13, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for this answer. I've heard about the Avenue on the Rain painting was in the White House (as I partially translated on the French Wikipedia the Childe Hassam article) but i did not recognize it. The statue of Liberty painting is a little colorful for the actual shade of the Oval Office.
Some of the Obama Oval Office paintings changes noted in the english wikipedia Oval Office article are wrong. It said
"Barack Obama has also installed the portraits of two Presidents: George Washington has been placed above the fireplace and Abraham Lincoln to the right of the Resolute desk.". But the Abraham Lincoln painting was not really at the right of resolute desk and this two portraits, as shown below, were already there during Bush presidency. I'm going to correct it. TCY (talk) 15:27, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

RELATED QUESTION: An episode of the tv show The West Wing mentioned that the president can have anything from The Smithsonian to decorate the White House (President Bartlett jokes that he wants Apollo 11.) Is there any truth to this? Taggart.BBS (talk) 10:10, 7 February 2009 (UTC)

  edit: d'oh! posted accidentally in the archive (what i get for responding to a week old question.

name the novel (children/young adult book)[edit]

name the novel (children/young adult book)

I read this great novel a couple of years back, and I want to read it again but I can't seem to remember its title, so please help me

It's a story about a young man named David (I think... i'm not too sure). It's set in modern times (as in the 21st century). david has recently moved to the city, and he is looking for a place to stay. He finds a great place, an inn owned by a single mother and a daughter (aged roughly 8-12). the mother is an artist, and she makes ceramic dragons in her own studio upstairs at the inn. the mother and the daughter make one for David as a welcoming gift. What he doesn't know (and this is the basic groundwork of the story) is that the tiny dragons are alive and sometimes come to life. He once tried to go into the studio but is shocked and burnt when he tries to turn the doorknob, as if it was heated from the inside. ...... hmmm I can't remember the rest, but david decides to write a short story as a thankyou gift to the young girl (daughter). It's about a squirrel who ventures to the city. My memory's quite blurry, but i think that the squirrel story actually comes true and one of the squirrels gets hurt and they call the wildlife care center. the female wildlife carer is named sophie (i think...), and david and sophie begin dating. Also, sometimes the mother tells a special bedtime story to her daughter about a dragon and a girl named (guineviere ?? im not sure) Later on, David begins to realize that his ceramic dragon may be alive. sometimes when david is writing and cannot think of anything, when he pictures the dragon in his mind, the dragon sometimes gives him a hint or a keyword to help him. But after a while, he begins to dislike the dragon: and the dragon, needing his master's love to survive, begins to die...

That's pretty much everything I could remember about the book. Could anyone help me remember the title of the book? Anything would be appreciated. Thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Johnnyboi7 (talkcontribs) 05:49, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Answered on the Entertainment reference desk. Please don't post the same query to multiple reference desks - thanks. Karenjc 13:25, 31 January 2009 (UTC)


Which Latin American nations, besides Venezuela, has zambo population? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:03, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

See Zambo#Population_today. However, if the term is taken to mean any mixed African/native American group, I'd expect those to exist in pretty much every county in the Americas. StuRat (talk) 15:38, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Sorry, I didn't make clear. I know that Brazil, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Uruguay, Dominican Republic and Cuba and Puerto Rico have significant black population, but do they have Amerindian population in order to produce a Zambo child? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:04, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, almost every nation in the Americas still has a significant "Amerindian" population (although many will have blended with Europeans). Haiti might be an exception, where the Spanish seemed to kill them all off before importing blacks as slaves. StuRat (talk) 03:28, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Here's the figures I found here and in the CIA Factbook:
Brazil:             Amerindian 0.4%
Colombia:           Amerindian 1.8%
Costa Rica:         Amerindian 1%
Cuba:               mulatto and mestizo 24.8%
Dominican Republic: mixed 73%
Ecuador:            Amerindian 25%
Honduras:           Amerindian 7%
Nicaragua:          Amerindian 5%
Panama:             Amerindian 6%
Puerto Rico:        Amerindian 0.4%
Uruguay:            Amerindian 4.5% here but practically nonexistent in CIA
Venezuela:          Amerindian 5%
Cuba and the Dominican Republic don't report Amerind figures, but do have mixed races, which likely include Amerind/black mixtures. For some reason the CIA Factbook says Amerinds are practically nonexistent in Uruguay. I find the figures we have to be more believable. StuRat (talk) 04:03, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Bolivia would rate high in the Amerindian stats, at 55% according to our article. Whether there is a significant zambo population is another issue though. Pfly (talk) 05:24, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Gypsy And English Romnichel[edit]

Are there any reference anywhere that gypsies, and or Romnichel might be Jewish decent, and or 1 of the Lost Tribes of Israel. Also has any DNA been done to confirm this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Earlr1957 (talkcontribs) 15:49, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

DNA testing has been done. They aren't descended from Jews. See History of the Romani people Dmcq (talk) 17:58, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
As for whether it's been suggested, it's not mentioned in our article on the lost tribes of Israel. There's a small industry of such baseless claims, though, so I wouldn't be surprized if someone had suggested it. Algebraist 18:01, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
But what DNA would one use to make a comparison, in lack of the ancient Jewish DNA? Can one really distinguish between the DNA of modern european Jews and of any other european people? --pma (talk) 20:56, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
The standard methods for tracing long-distance genealogical connections involve Mitochondrial DNA (matrilineal) and Y chromosome DNA (patrilineal), which each give information about only one ancestor in each generation. For potential kinship relationships traced through any of the other ancestors (i.e. not exclusively matrilineal or exclusively patrilineal), the effects of Chromosomal crossover mean that usually only approximate statistical estimates of relatedness can be made.... AnonMoos (talk) 23:00, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Naval Armada in Pirates of the Caribbean?[edit]

At the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End, there was a extremely large British naval armada, at war with the Black Pearl. Are there any real life examples of a naval force that large being deployed at a single time?

Additionally, can you guide me to relevant pages concerning these ships?

Thanks in advance,

PerfectProposal 15:54, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

From largest naval battle in history, the largest fleets deployed in battle seem to have numbered a few hundred ships. For a British force of roughly the right period, the Battle of Cartagena de Indias involved 186 British vessels, of which about 50 were warships (the rest being troop transports). Algebraist 16:05, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
There wasn't much in the way of an opposing naval force, but the Invasion of Normandy did involve a fair number of ships (6,939, including 1,213 warships). And none of them were CGI. --- OtherDave (talk) 14:15, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
The British force that came to try and put down the rebellion in New York in 1776 numbered several dozen ships. DJ Clayworth (talk) 20:04, 2 February 2009 (UTC)

Arab butt dancing videos[edit]

Where can I get free videos of this Arab butt dancing videos like this one [2], [3], and this [4]? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:58, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Parliament of Scotland[edit]

Where do I find a list of members in 1700? Kittybrewster 16:43, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

In "External links" there is The Records of the Scottish Parliament. Once there, Browse by Reign / William II (1694-1702) Translation. Expand tree in left pane, and pick May or October 1700. Click on the "next page" icon in the main pane. Will that do? --Milkbreath (talk) 17:03, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

History of waving (the hand gesture)[edit]

It suprised me to see that Finger gun had its own article whereas waving only has it's own subsection (and a small one at that). I'd like to know more about the origins of the wave (ie the hand gesture). Somebody once told me it was related to the English monarchy (something to do with monarchs waving to their subjects), though this could have been a joke. I'd appreciate any info particularly and with regard to the English monarchy 'theory'. Thanks, -- (talk) 19:43, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Dollarizing Zimbabwe[edit]

What are the advantages and disadvantages in dollarizing? Kittybrewster 20:34, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

An economist would be able to say more than I could, but the big advantage is that you have a relatively stable currency which doesn't keep inflating away almost to nothing. One big disadvantage to the situation right now is that many people in Zimbabwe who don't have access to hard currencies are pretty much screwed. AnonMoos (talk) 22:48, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
The other disadvantage is that the Zimbabwean government/central bank now have next to no control over monetary policy. Interest rates and money supply are determined by the US central bank. (Of course, given their history of controlling monetary policy, you could argue this is actually an advantage!) --Tango (talk) 23:14, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Lack of monetary policy is a biggie (Tango mentioned that), but, judging how Zimbabwe-an (?) officials have managed their... haha I was just going to cynically say pretty much the exact same thing Tango said about them being better off without their own monetary policy! Haha
Also, having a freely-floating, independent currency acts as an economic stabilizer, of sorts, allowing total economic output to respond less harshly to external shocks. Under an independent free-floating currency regime, when external demand for one of Zimbabwe's export goods (say: platinum) falls, the price - or exchange rate - of the Zimbabwe-an currency will similarly fall. This makes Zimbabwe's other export goods (say: grain) relatively less expensive on world markets. This means more volume of grain will be produced at any given (domestic) price, partially offsetting the GDP effect of the drop in demand for platinum.
Under a fixed exchange rate, currency board or foreign currency system, a drop in the demand for platinum will likely not effect the other (usually much larger, or at least differently structured) country's currency significantly, and the decrease in demand will not be cushioned by a partially offsetting increase in another sector, leading to a much greater GDP loss. NByz (talk) 00:04, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Question about the Hall of the Maggior Consiglio in the Ducal Palace in Venice[edit]

Can someone tell me what the floor is made of in the above room please?

Ta Adambrowne666 (talk) 22:07, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

notable people with a low agerage IQ[edit]

I hope this is the right category for a psychology question. I am wondering if there is a list of famous or notable people who accomplished great things (e.g. artist, poet, scientist, politician, etc.) even though he or she had an IQ that was average to low average. I have a client would just completed a psycho-ed and she falls into the average to low average range in most areas. She now thinks she is "stupid." I am hoping to help by showing her that there are many people who fall into the same range yet are not "stupid" and are able (via hard work, proper supports and sheer determination)to accomplish great things. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:48, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

If I were counseling this person -- not knowing the exact nature of the professional relationship you have with her -- I think I'd try a different approach. Ability to love has no correlation with IQ. Plenty of people have low IQs, but rather than discover scientific laws or design famous buildings, they may have gifts invisible to people with Nobel Prizes. Do you need a high IQ to have courage, integrity, and compassion? And maybe Dostoyevsky was right when he said that "to think too much is a disease." I hear Andy Warhol had a low IQ, but I don't know if it's true or not. Having a low IQ is not an impediment to being a good or even a heroic person. The ability to love is a far greater gift than the ability to visualize a universe in 11 dimensions. Just my two cents. Antandrus (talk) 23:09, 31 January 2009 (UTC)
Ouch! I'd be careful with that. Maybe that approach would work on you, but I know plenty of people (myself included) who would find it patronising and, effectively, saying that they are stupid. (talk) 17:18, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
How about the reverse. Christopher Langan (IQ of 195-210) was a bouncer and now owns a horse ranch. Marilyn vos Savant writes a newspaper column; nothing to sneeze at, but not exactly groundbreaking. IQ measures how well you do on IQ tests. It does not measure creativity, drive, etc. Tell her that a number does not dictate her future success or failure. Clarityfiend (talk) 00:08, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't know if he ever had an IQ test, but I always thought of Thomas Edison as someone of limited intelligence who still made major contributions to science and technology. He was a "plugger", who did massive trial and error, as opposed to deeply theoretical work. For example, to find the best filament for a light bulb, he just tried many things and chose the best. A brilliant person, on the other hand, would have identified the characteristics needed and reasoned which material would have those properties. He also never quite seemed to understand A/C electricity.
One other comment, failing an IQ test doesn't necessarily mean you actually have a low IQ. It can just mean you think very differently than the people who designed the test. And, since the ability to think "outside the box" is important, doing poorly on an IQ test may actually mean you are more intelligent than those who give the expected answers. StuRat (talk) 03:21, 1 February 2009 (UTC)
Stu: In many of the R and D efforts of Thomas Edison, there were no reference books to use, such as to look up the correct formula for a light bulb filament. Where formulas and reference material existed, he used them. "Dust-bowl empiricism"and parametric experiments have been productive in science in getting away from the thought experiments and invalid assumptions to be found in reference books. His teachers are said to have considered him "addled" but his deafness or even above average intelligence could have led to lack of classroom success. The controversial Arthur Jenson said that the accomplishments of Thomas Edison would not have been possible "without superior general intelligence."Edison (talk) 04:03, 2 February 2009 (UTC)
I don't mean to insult your namesake, but I could reason that a filament must not be flammable and must have a high melting point, and much info on such material properties already existed back then. Yet I believe he tried filaments which failed both of those tests. StuRat (talk)

Dexter Manley of the Washington Redskins couldn't read. Neither could hockey coach Jacques Demers. Tenzing Norgay, one of the first two men to climb Mt. Everest, was illiterate as well. Doesn't mean these people were inherently stupid, but then, few people are. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 06:39, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

Remember that intelligence is what is measured by intelligence tests. There are theories that we have many intelligences, and you might like to point your client in the direction of Emotional Intelligence and Multiple Intelligence. Your client might also like to consider people who have learning disabilities, and especially the sentence in our article that says "A learning disability is not indicative of low intelligence. Indeed, research indicates that some people with learning disabilities may have average or above-average intelligence." What about actresses such as Susan Hampshire and Zoe Wanamaker who have dyslexia? --TammyMoet (talk) 09:51, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

People Autism and Aspergers often test badly or inconsistently on IQ tests, and achieve surprising feats. This doesn't make them unintelligent, of course. It means the test doesn't cover their intelligence. Some people make a living out of having (or seeming to have) a low IQ, mostly celebrities. Steewi (talk) 00:03, 2 February 2009 (UTC)