Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2009 October 8

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October 8[edit]

Aftermath Gandhi's assasination[edit]

I read that the assasin of Mahatma Gandhi was a Marathi. Does this mean that the Gujarati people fought against the Marathi people?q —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.64.52.143 (talk) 00:36, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Not necessarily. Claude Érignac was assassinated by a Corsican; that doesn't mean the Corsican people fought against the French people (some may have, just as in your question). You may be interested in our articles Mahatma Gandhi, Marathi, Gujarati, and Assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Intelligentsiumreview 00:57, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Sindhi shia[edit]

Is ethnic group Sindhi people the olny one with Shi'a Muslim population? if no, who else? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.64.52.143 (talk) 00:37, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

I think, probably not. You may be interested in our articles Shi'a Islam and Sindhi people. Intelligentsiumreview 00:52, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Persecution of homosexuals in the Nazi Germany[edit]

How did they know that you were gay. I don't understand that. I understand the persecution of gypsies, communists, Jews, Slavic people, etc. Because they are recognizable, because of their clothes, skin, etc. But I can't understand the persecution of homosexuals, if you didn't "come out" in public, how could they know that you were a homosexual?. --FromSouthAmerica (talk) 01:37, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

When societies fall down into "witch hunts", you can't expect well reasoned and fundamented methods for finding the persecuted people. They start with the obvious cases (in this case, the gays who "come out"), and they follow with false positives, circunstancial evidence, plain mistakes or making a big mess from some inconsequential anecdote (have you ever seen the Stark Raving Dad simpson episode?) MBelgrano (talk) 02:45, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Probably similar to how America persecuted communists under McCarthy. If you did stuff that McCarthy didn't like, you were investigated for communism. Falconusp t c 03:57, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Communists could be readily identified by their soft caps. And their red shirts.--Wetman (talk) 04:16, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
You might check out Persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany and the Holocaust. Rckrone (talk) 04:20, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
The other thing to remember is that, even though many homosexuals were "invisible" when they went about their business in the outside world, neighbors could have observed overnight visits by members of the same sex. If such a neighbor wished, all he or she had to do was alert the authorities, and there was a good chance that the perceived homosexual would be hauled off. Marco polo (talk) 16:06, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Heinz Heger, the author of The men with the Pink Triangle was caught after a christmas card he sent to his boyfriend was intercepted. DuncanHill (talk) 18:55, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
I don't think they were really concerned with hard evidence and fair trials when they were herding people onto the cattle cars. And seriously Falconus poke yourself in the head mate: "investigating someone for being a communist" and "throwing someone into a gas chamber for being gay" are not close what I'd call "similar". Vespine (talk) 04:34, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
In fairness to Falconus, I think he/she was merely drawing parallels between the lacks of due process inherent in the two, not their relative scales of extent or outcome. Note also the following passage from the McCarthyism article:
"Suspected homosexuality was also a common cause for being targeted by McCarthyism. The hunt for "sexual perverts", who were presumed to be subversive by nature, resulted in thousands being harassed and denied employment." 87.81.230.195 (talk) 04:56, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
yeah look, i'm usually also on the side of shooting down knee jerk reactions to do with holocaust, however I think in this context it's really not appropriate to bring up how similar it is when people got harassed and "denied employment" to when MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WERE EXTERMINATED. Vespine (talk) 09:45, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Mmm. I wasn't really with you until you SHOUTED. That sure compelled me to buy into your schtick. --Tagishsimon (talk) 09:56, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Ironically, Ernst Roehm, leader of the SA, was found on the Night of the Long Knives in bed with a young man. Many of his cronies were criminals and homosexuals. But that is not to say they were all purged on that night, when, according to Willaim Shirer, some 5000 people were excecuted because of it. Others question even Hitler's sexuality, but then there is also a suspicion that he was a Jew hating Jew. All of this was in accordance with the Nazi Ideals of purity and wholesomeness, or so they claimed. Interesting that the Lebensborn Project did not require mothers of Germanic babies to be married, but only to be sure all involved were of pure Aryan blood. Not as homely and wholesome as they made themselves out to be. Fornicators persecuting homosexuals. The thing is, no one really chooses to be say a Jew, except a proselyte, but people do choose to be homosexual, and this is noted by some homosexuals themselves, so it is not a natural thing any of them are stuck with. Even then, there have been many homosexuals who, I will admit, have been useful and productive, so as much as I believe it to be wrong, I will not lump all of them together as completely evil, because we all have our faults, and need to realise as such. Anything like that the Nazis did was wrong. Let us be glad we are away from it, and hope it never happens again. Let us make sure it never happens again. The Russian.202.36.179.66 (talk) 01:02, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

1971 liberation war a religion-based civil war[edit]

How is 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War a religion-based civil war? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.64.52.143 (talk) 02:25, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Who says so? Certainly not Bangladesh Liberation War#East Pakistani grievances. Clarityfiend (talk) 02:55, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

We won't do your homework for you. DOR (HK) (talk) 02:59, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Both East Pakistan (largely Bengali) and non-Bengali West Pakistan were Muslim; that's why those two parts of the former British Indian Empire formed one nation after 1947 that separated from the largely (though far-from-wholly) Hindu and Sikh but secular Union of India (now Republic of India). —— Shakescene (talk) 06:26, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

IS there really a presidents book?[edit]

Just a random "i wonder" question that popped into my head from who knows where. If you have the "national treasure 2" you'll know what im talking about. But does anyone know if there is one?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Iluvgofishband (talkcontribs) 03:30, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

For those of us that have not seen National Treasure Two, you may have to expound on that to get an answer. Falconusp t c 03:53, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
According to our plot summary: "Riley tells Ben that the Book of Secrets contains documents collected by Presidents for Presidents' eyes only, covering such controversial subjects as the JFK assassination, Watergate, and Area 51." I have never heard of such a book, and I doubt one exists - I can't see why a President would have that kind of information when other officials at the CIA, NSA, military, etc. wouldn't. How would the President have got the information? He wouldn't be carrying out investigations himself. There are certainly top secret archives full of information about that kind of thing, but I doubt there is anything restricted to just Presidents. --Tango (talk) 04:03, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Its main interest is that it's a McGuffin.--Wetman (talk) 04:09, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
I have heard it said that when Bill Clinton asked the CIA for information on UFO's, the CIA denied presenting any such information to the president by directly stating "We release information on a presidential need to know basis, not a presidential want to know basis." If that is true, I would suspect that the CIA would keep a much tighter lid on any information, and not have a book available to the president listing top secret national embarrassments etc that were released to previous presidents. Unfortunately I don't have the sources for that, so take it at face value. Falconusp t c 04:28, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Yes, unfortunate you don't have a cited source for a statement that appears to be untrue on the face of it. Tempshill (talk) 04:45, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, just who would judge what the President could see, the Super President? Clarityfiend (talk) 05:41, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Oh, that's really unfair. She only ever claimed that she and Bill "are the President". -- JackofOz (talk) 07:09, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
JackofOz is right. Clarityfiend must not confuse a First Lady with a second. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 13:37, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
My preferred rumor is that when E.T. came out, Reagan got a special screening of it with some friends in the White House. At one point, he supposedly leaned over to someone and said "They have no idea how true this actually is." Whether he was talking about aliens or the governments ability to be shown up by a child remains unknown. ~ Amory (utc) 12:41, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
My above comment notwithstanding, there is a tradition of the outgoing president leaving a letter for the incoming one in the Oval Office that only the President reads. That's probably the closest you'll find. Nick Cage movies are not known for their accuracy. ~ Amory (utc) 12:51, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Nick Cage movies? Actually, Hollywood movies, and movies in general are not known for their accuracy! --DThomsen8 (talk) 13:42, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Found a source... Nothing to do with UFO's, but information that was apparently withheld from Johnson. http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst;jsessionid=KNpKWvdvqGrqhQBQHnQph6lQ6FW7p9X0VyrgZdnyY6Tb2c1PGXKp!-383115674!1267170845?docId=5010936527 Falconusp t c 13:30, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
There are lots of cases of the military withholding information from Presidents. Pentagon Papers are one of them; information about VENONA is another. Somewhat relatedly, Vice President Truman wasn't informed about the Manhattan Project until Roosevelt's death. --Mr.98 (talk) 14:02, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
That source is dubious, and even that source doesn't allege that anybody in the government is able to withhold information from the President upon a direct request. Tempshill (talk) 05:03, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

Social criticism in poems/songs[edit]

I know this is not a teachers' forum, nevertheless my question: I am about to plan a lesson or several lessons for EFL students (advanced level) on social criticism in poems and songs. However, I'm having problems finding the right texts. (Google didn't help, neither did the textbooks available in the school library.) Does anyone know a good post-WWII poem/song with social criticism in general or referring to an English-speaking country? Thanks in advance, 87.123.200.242 (talk) 12:07, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

There are countless ones. 'The Eve of Destruction','What are we fighting for' by Country Joe and the Fish, 'In the Ghetto' by Elvis Presley, 'Little Boxes' (can't remember who wrote it, but Pete Seeger's cover is the best-known) 'God Save the Queen' by the Sex Pistols...Rhinoracer (talk) 12:30, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
"Little Boxes" (inspired by the hillside housing tracts in Daly City on the road from San Francisco International Airport to San Francisco) was written by Malvina Reynolds—— Shakescene (talk) 22:45, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Any song written between 1965 and 1975, for starters; protests to the Vietnam war is a good topic to look into regarding music. As for a good song, my person favorite has always been War Pigs by Black Sabbath, followed closely by Alice's Restaurant. ~ Amory (utc) 12:58, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Rhinoracer and Amory are absolutely right. Bob Dylan's early songs [1][2][3][4][5] are masterpieces of social criticism, and from the same period there are these[6]What are we fighting for / I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die [7]. You can hear these songs at www.youtube.com, just put the title or singer in their search engine. Google will help you if you tell it you want LYRICS BLOWIN IN THE WIND. So far it's all songs so here is an anti-war protest poem [8] - you could draw a comparison between what Adrian Mitchell wrote then about Vietnam and western involvement today in Iraq & Afghanistan.Cuddlyable3 (talk) 13:23, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Thanks a lot for your hints. Maybe I just didn't know where to start... --87.123.200.242 (talk) 13:54, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Phil Ochs is another one to look into. →Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 13:59, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Anything by Joan Baez, Pete Seeger. "Fortunate Son by John Fogerty. "For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield. Lots of stuff by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. →Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 14:01, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
I notice that nobody has said anything about poems rather than songs. If you don't mind going back 100 years, maybe you'd look at the works of Rudyard Kipling, especially Gunga Din and Tommy. DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:18, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps you missed that I noted a poem and that the OP only asks us to go back 64 years (post WWII). Cuddlyable3 (talk) 15:03, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Sorry, yes, I missed your mention of Mitchell. DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:10, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Allen Ginsberg's "Howl", perhaps? Deor (talk) 14:41, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Are any of Kipling's poems really "criticism" though? TastyCakes (talk) 14:59, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
The two mentioned? Very much so. --Carnildo (talk) 22:36, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

There was a Vietnam war show they used to have on the history channel, and I'm pretty sure I originally saw this one there: "This is a war of the unwilling, led by the unqualified, dying for the ungrateful -- G.I. Latrine Graffiti." I guess it's not really poetry, but by the standards of bathroom graffiti I think it's pretty close. TastyCakes (talk) 14:58, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Most famously: Strange Fruit. 195.35.160.133 (talk) 15:07, 8 October 2009 (UTC) Martin.
That would be infamously surely. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 15:10, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

"We Didn't Start the Fire" [9] uses images from Wikipedia in the video. This social criticism song[10] is barely coherent though we know Who sang it. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 15:26, 8 October 2009 (UTC) Cuddlyable3 (talk) 15:10, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Thank you, thanks a million, that's an overwhelming load of answers! --87.123.200.242 (talk) 15:27, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

For What It's Worth (Buffalo Springfield song), Signs (Five Man Electrical Band song) Googlemeister (talk) 15:31, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
This is pretty good. Bus stop (talk) 15:41, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Protest song has many, many, many more suggestions. Livewireo (talk) 16:07, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

If you'd like a UK (specifically English) voice, I suggest Billy Bragg's work, particularly Between the Wars. --TammyMoet (talk) 17:55, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

¶ I'd suggest another web search. I've never had any difficulty in finding several promising web anthologies of protest songs (or poetry or literature) while looking for something else, often a particular set of lines. Off the top of my head, try Simon and Garfunkel's 7 O'Clock News/Silent Night and Pete Seeger's Turn! Turn! Turn!. For protest poetry, there's always "i sing of olaf" by E.E. Cummings, and in a more ironic, indirect vein, the poems of Edwin Arlington Robinson, such as Richard Cory and Miniver Cheevy. And don't forget The Little Red Song Book ("Songs to Fan the Flames of Discontent") of the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World#Folk music and protest songs). On line, there's the Socialist Song Book with a variety of protest, folk and satirical songs. —— Shakescene (talk) 22:45, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

A Vietnam era one not mentioned is War (Edwin Starr song). Was just doing a little work on the article of one way off in time that deserves much better - "the greatest political poem ever written in English" - The Masque of Anarchy.John Z (talk) 06:42, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
And no one has mentioned We Shall Overcome?! - Hordaland (talk) 08:12, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Post-WWII song about social-criticism? Practically any song by Chumbawamba would do - I use them myself when I am teaching and some of the songs go down very well and lead to some very long discussions. --KageTora - SPQW - (影虎) (talk) 09:18, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Not Tubthumping I hope... sing it with me... "I get knocked down, but I get up again..." --Jayron32 23:20, 9 October 2009 (UTC)


Where do we draw the line between politics and art ? Politics seem to invade every aspect of life, even areas supposed to be politically neutral. One could say, if the musicians want to opine, let them mount a soapbox. It would be nice to listen to something without having it to be a manifesto. On the other hand, we are ALLLLLLL entitled to our opinion, so fine. If say the Dixie Chicks want to bash Bush Junior, excellent, after all what has he ever done for them ? But in that case, do not dare to critcise Miss America for giving her opinion on gays. It has got to work both ways. Our PM made I believe a mistake in singling out Whale Rider's Keisha Castle Hughes ( also of the Nativity Story ), for being in an ad about climate change. The ad did not sound like she was criticising him. I am not interested in all this Kyoto Green credits stuff, which I think is just another unneccessary tax, but again, she has an opinion, that was what the ad was about, let them air it - as long as an alternative view can be aired too.

I actually have a question. Seeing ice is expanded water, if it melts, its volume will decrease, so how can we say the ocean levels will rise ? Certainly if the North Pole melts, since it is sitting on water, this ice will melt into the water, add to it, but decrease in volume. This may be added to by Antarctica melting, since that is land, so the water runs off it, but if anything, this may level out the oceans anyway. Is it not just a scare tactic, since the only thing that seems to bring up water levels is a Tsunami, and none can say that man has ever caused those. The Russian.202.36.179.66 (talk) 01:14, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Roman Polanski[edit]

Can someone please explain the uproar abroad and in Hollywood about this man being arrested? I simply don't get it: he raped a thirteen year old girl when he was 44 years old. Not statutory rape, rape rape. Is there some idea that because it happened a long time ago, we shouldn't care? Is it a lot of anti-Americanism rearing its ugly head (I'm somehow not understanding how the country of origin has anything to do with this). Help. Magog the Ogre (talk) 16:35, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Rape is horrible. There is, however, a well-known history of celebrities receiving softer treatments when it comes to the law, and that effect is usually stronger when the celebrity is someone who, aside from their crime, is a fantastic artist and continues to make superb works of art. Moreover, there is/was a significant amount of sympathy for him as his wife was murdered by the Manson family. Example: In 2004 he won an Oscar and received a standing ovation - not the sort of treatment a child rapist usually gets. Hollywood most likely wants to get what many view as an excellent director back to America. He has French and Polish citizenship, so they are naturally outraged at one of their own citizens being arrested with the intent of being deported, although they have backed down for the obvious reasons you bring up. The victim herself has also expressed a desire to just get past the whole thing.
In short, the whole thing was a long time coming, and fucking stupid. ~ Amory (utc) 17:02, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
A documentary came out recently (Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired) in which it is alleged that the prosecutor mishandled the case and even colluded against him, or something along those lines (I haven't seen it, just read coverage about it). (The prosecutor has since recanted his interview, or something like that.) Anyway, the argument is that they had some kind of deal worked out but Polanski got screwed over by the prosecutors, which is why he fled. Or something like that. The idea is not what Polanski did was an acceptable thing, but that the justice system got perverted, etc. I don't know enough about the case myself to pass judgment on that aspect of it (which is not the same thing as passing judgment on his actual crime). --Mr.98 (talk) 18:35, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
In America, it's kind of the prosecutor's job to be against the accused. They're supposed to do it in an ethical way, but even so, it's hard to see what the prosecutor did in this case that was so unethical. Any defense lawyer worth his law degree is going to warn his client that judges don't have to accept plea bargains if the judge feels that the bargain is too generous for the accused. --M@rēino 19:30, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, there are regulations about what prosecutors and judges may and may not do. They can, in fact, lead to an overturning of convictions (or at least a mistrial), much less disbarring and things like that. So it's serious if the prosecutor really did break one of those laws. Doesn't mean Polanski is a good guy. Could mean that the court case gets thrown out. (Is it justice? Unclear.) --Mr.98 (talk) 22:41, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
The only thing that surprises me (and Polanski and his lawyers, as well) about this case, is why he was allowed to enter and leave Switzerland innumerable times over the past 35 years without the slightest problem, but only on this occasion was he apprehended. -- JackofOz (talk) 20:27, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, I'm no INTERPOL expert, but I think it had to do with the fact that an international warrant for his arrest was not issued until 2005. This section and this article give a little information on it. ~ Amory (utc) 20:53, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
And the LAPD has gone to some lengths to show that they've actually been still after him for years, and have tried to apprehend him, but he has slipped out of their jurisdiction time and time again. As they tell it, it's not a case of "well, we ignored him for decades and now we've pounced," it's a case of "we've tried to get him and this time he was finally in a country that would extradite to us at the same time we were." --Mr.98 (talk) 22:38, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
It's worth remembering that in addition to having his wife murdered he was also a victim of the holocaust and was later nearly killed by a thieving con-artist. None of this excuses what he's done but it's likely one of the reasons people feel sympathy for him. Also the statute of limitations on his crime has I believed has expired meaning if he had never been charged he couldn't now be charged. Since he has been charged and in fact pled guilty the statute of limitations is irrelevant in a legal sense but it does mean that there's some acceptance (whether wide or not) that people who have gotten away with it for so long are not worth pursuing for that sort of crime. Also in terms of the judge issue from what I can tell [12] the allegations if true are likely ethical violations enough to warrant a new judge at a minimum. I think it's understandable that people are uncomfortable with judges and district attorney's behaving unethically even if they don't agree with the plea bargain result and would have preferred a harsher outcome. In terms of the rape-rape thing, the problem is that as our article mentions, Polanski claims the sex was consensual and she shows no signs of being uncomfortable or unwilling with what was happening. The victim says it was not and she told him to stop numerous times. In a legal sense AFAIK it doesn't matter much (it may matter for the sentencing) since she was below the age of consent and indeed that's one of the numerous reasons for an age of consent and I suspect most people (or me anyway) would agree it doesn't matter much whether or not she consented or said no. But if you're going to talk about it in ethical terms like 'rape rape' you have to appreciate that as with many rape cases, it comes down to a case of she said/he said. While it's not surprising many people are more willing to accept the testimony of a 13 year old girl who has maintained the claims throughout her life then some disgusting 44 year old man who unquestionably had sex with her in a variety of ways and gave her drugs but ultimately we can never know what actually went on between them. Again many people would feel this doesn't matter and I agree with that sentiment but if you want to get to the complexity of "rape-rape" starting to head down a complicated ethical road and you're going to have to consider the details in more detail. For BLP and soapboxing reasons I don't think it's appropriate to discuss this much more but I came across the JREF forums which have some good discussions [13] Nil Einne (talk) 10:25, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
For BLP reasons and to avoid going off into the opinion area I've tried to restrict my comments. But a few more I've decided are important enough to mention. It's worth considering this in perspective of the time. As I understand it, the plea bargain (and in fact nearly everyone involved in the case at the time including the mother and victim and psychologist [14] agreed) was he would received no jail time but due to alleged misconduct by the judge and a ADA (uninvolved in the case) and/or other factors, he feared he would be given a long jail sentence [15]. As I mentioned above, while it's understandable people may feel such a sentence is deserved even if they are unhappy with any misconduct, it's my understanding jail for his crime at the time was rather rare. (And in fact it's worth remembering the treatment and attitude to sex crimes in general at the time was quite different from it is now.) The second point related to the anti-Americanism comment. It's my experience people criticise other legal systems all the time particularly when they are significantly different from theirs. People criticise the American system, sure including in the Roman Polanski case. But Australians extensively criticised the Indonesian system in Schapelle Corby's case. Americans extensively criticise the Dutch/Aruban system in Natalie Holloway and seem to be doing the same thing with the Italian system in Murder of Meredith Kercher. Some of these criticisms may be deserved, others may be a lack of understanding, particularly on the difference between civil and common law systems; different expectations of evidence, jailtime, conduct of trials; and simply distrust of stranger things or foreign countries and/or nationalism. Since this is a case involving 'sex' with a 13 year old the divide would likely be quite wide. (There are some additional details about the victim that I've not mentioned for BLP reasons which may further complicate the case in the minds of some.) Also I mentioned the fact that Polanski's version differs from the victim's. It's worth remembering there's surely people who are only aware of Polanski's version (or something similar). Oh and one final thing, as I understand it there is also some divide between the (initial anyway) French government response and the views French people shown in polls, with a significant number agreeing with an extradition. P.S. I was wondering if this would come up. It didn't but I feel it worth mentioning for any future readers. Some people may think he pled guilty therefore he accepted the victims version of events, at least technically. However I haven't seen any evidence this is the case. Remember his crime was a crime whichever version. Nil Einne (talk) 19:43, 16 October 2009 (UTC)


But this happens too often. A criminal, say Ronnie Biggs for example, does his dirty deed, has a high time for decades, thumbing his nose at British Justice, and the train driver, Bill Boal, who was bashed and never really recovered, whom by, I know not, but remember, these are hard nosed East London gangsters, not Jackass style teenagers, some of whom have since been murdered themselves, so they know the score. They know their kind are not Boy Scouts, and are likely to resort to violence when it suits them, so all are guilty of what happened to Mr. Boal. Then when he finally gets homesick when it suits him he wants to come home, and some say leave him alone he is ill and old. So are my parents, but at least they never carried out nor had a part in one of the most audacious but thieving heists in history - rumoured to have been financed by the Nazi Paratrooper Otto Skorzeny. Same with Mr. Polanski. What the Manson Gang did to his wife Sharon Tate and the others murdered those two nights in August 1969 was evil and wicked and they should have been given the Death Penalty they deserved. Even now at 75, Mr. Manson is still unrepentant and a danger to society. But this kind of thing should have made Mr. Polanski sensitive to how it feels to be a victim, and yet he does something like that. If a person has escaped justice due to their own deceit, they should not get a get out of jail free card, nor collect 200 dollars each time. It is certain that the whole thing should have been resolved ages ago, but part of that is due to Mr. Polanski's own flight from prosecution, just as the murderer Captain Jeffery McDonald tried to claim when he avoided prosecution for killing his whole family for many years. You can't have it both ways. He lied and averted justice, then tried to claim he did not get a speedy trial. This is like a man who bashes a guy in the head claim that the vicitim was headbutting his fist, and since his knuckles now hurt, he should be able to sue for being assaulted. Yes, it is far better if a case is resolved speedily, but authorities need the funding, equipment and staff to do so, and it would help if the guilty party turned themselves in, switched on the automatic lethal injection machine, and got it over with. At least Mr. Polanski won't get that. Now is his opportunity to put it behind him, and had he done so, it would have been over ages ago, although I do wonder why such a man as he would do such a thing that is so wicked. This is the trouble these days - excuse the guilty and or blame the innocent. But that is simply not right. The Russian.202.36.179.66 (talk) 01:35, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Public Use of Research Papers[edit]

If a company or institution has paid another institution to undertake a research study, can anyone use the results of that research or would the paying company have a claim? I always understood that information could not be copyrighted only the layout and the actual text (copy) used. Thanks Kirk UK —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.82.79.175 (talk) 19:26, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

You have got several issues going on here. Firstly, the answer may depend on the contract that exists between the two parties. If IBM pays Motorola to do a research study, for example, the contract may require that both IBM and Motorola keep the research study confidential. I believe what you're asking about, though, is a research paper being written and published, so anybody can read it. In that case, whether anyone can use the results of that research depends on whether the results include something that has been patented. IBM would presumably file for patents on any inventions that come from research it has paid for. Contrary to your belief, information is definitely copyrightable — computer programs, for example, are copyrightable information. In the EU there are even specific copyright protections for databases of information. Ideas are not copyrightable, but the expression of those ideas (i.e. the actual research paper) is copyrightable. In summary, if a research paper were to review methods of irrigating the Sahara, and the institutions have not properly patented the methods, then anyone would be free to go and irrigate the Sahara — but nobody is free to, without permission, copy and paste the text of the research paper, outside of the extent of the fair use laws in the copier's country. Comet Tuttle (talk) 19:52, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
It's worth noting that even the classic "ideas are not copyrightable but expression is" mantra is pretty murky in practice. The line between an idea and its expression is quite blurry (which is what one would expect with even a reasonable knowledge of philosophy and epistemology—the "idea" and the "expression" are often deeply linked, even in such apparently "non-expressive" realms as science and mathematics). But in the case of paying for institutions to do research, it is almost always governed by the terms of the contract in question. --Mr.98 (talk) 20:26, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for all the information. Let me give a more specific example which happens in the world of education constantly. If a local authority or state pay a university to conduct a piece of research on say how to improve the teaching of reading. Imagine that that county or state pays tens of thousands of dollars to the university to undertake the research. A few years later the state which commissioned the research publishes the results and everything is claimed a success. The state that commissioned the research do not sell on the results to anyone or the practices used. Would it be permissible for any other county or state to adapt their teaching methods in light of the results of the research paid for by another party? This is what I mean about information being copyrightable. If I pay someone to find out the best way to drive a car, I'm sure I can't charge every time someone drives correctly because it matches my research. Is this just one of those grey areas? Kirk UK —Preceding unsigned comment added by 87.82.79.175 (talk) 05:17, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

If information is out in the public and not protected by patents, then yes, the information is usable by everybody. We scientists do it all the time - think about Newton's "shoulders of giants" quote. What is required is proper attribution, although that is more a professional and practical consideration, not a legal one. Of course, knowledge gained in one setting may not always transfer, or transfer fully, from one setting to the other. Switzerland, Sweden, and the US probably have different problems with teaching children proper reading. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 08:32, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
If you're talking about methods and procedures, it isn't copyright law you have to worry about, it's patent law. Unlikely copyrights, though, patents aren't automatic—there is a lot of paperwork and fees and etc. So if someone hasn't filed a patent on a given method, then it's fair game (at least until they try to retrospectively file a patent on it!). Now often states and governments will have patent clauses in any contracts they file with universities, that say things like, "the state reserves the right to own the patent on this if they want" or "the university can patent it if they want". That doesn't mean they will actually file a patent, but it's worth noting that this sort of thing is not usually left up to chance. --Mr.98 (talk) 15:51, 9 October 2009 (UTC)

Jury Duty[edit]

I have a question about jury duty in the USA. I just read an article about the end of the Brooke Astor trial and I noticed that the jury has been empaneled since March. What happens to people when they end up on juries for long trials? Are they protected from being fired? If they aren't getting any hours at work, how do they pay their bills? This seems like it would ruin your life. What protections/considerations are in place for jurors? Gohome00 (talk) 20:46, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Well you could plead to the judge during jury selection that a long trial would put undue hardship on you. He might go for that, but probably a better idea would just be to claim to distrust all police officers, which would render you not suitable for jury selection. Googlemeister (talk) 20:54, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
If you are a Federal Employee, you get paid even when you are on jury duty. I'm not sure if it's full pay, though. I know you can tell the judge it would be undue hardship, but what if it wouldn't be if it was a week, but it would be if it was 7 months? What if you are three months in and going bankrupt? What is your recourse? Wrad (talk) 21:03, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
(EC) It's a serious concern, yes. The answer depends on the state in question, I'm sure. Using California, the most populous state, as an example, this link says, "It is against the law to fire or harass an employee who is summoned to serve as a juror." However, there's no law saying your employer has to pay you — this California state website pleads with employers to do so. You can plead "extreme financial hardship" to the judge, as Googlemeister said, if it's a murder trial or a famous celebrity trial or something sure to be a long trial and therefore an ... extreme financial hardship. Comet Tuttle (talk) 21:07, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) It varies from state to state, but in New York, for example, you get 40 bucks a day, and if the trial goes longer than 30 days you can get an additional 6. Jury duty doesn't have to take up all day every day (courts are busy too), so people can often work while serving (shorter hours of work, of course). Also, the judge tells you beforehand how long the trial is expected to go, so you can plan accordingly. If you can prove that serving will cause financial or medical hardships, you can be excused from that service. Finally, it's a violation of Federal law to fire an employee for serving on Jury Duty. ~ Amory (utc) 21:09, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
What if you are in the midst of a trial that is showing no signs of ending soon and you literally have no way of paying your bills. You are going bankrupt, your life is falling apart, and you are unable to keep going on your $40 a day (in my state it is $10 a day). What can you do? Wrad (talk) 21:35, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
They usually have a pretty good idea of how long the trial is going to take before they empanel a jury. Sometimes a trial will end much sooner than expected (usually when unexpected evidence comes up and either the prosecuter drops the case or the defendant decides to plead guilty), but I've never heard of a trial going long by more than a day or two. Deliberations are another matter, but if they're going nowhere, it's usual to declare a hung jury. --Carnildo (talk) 22:43, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
There are also sometimes back-up jurors that can take your place, but these are rather rare I believe. ~ Amory (utc) 23:02, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
If that's the case, the juror would talk with the judge, who would take pity on the juror and excuse him/her from jury service. If the judge refused even though the juror's life was falling apart, I believe the most the juror can legally do is to file complaints about the judge's conduct. Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:26, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
In Massachusetts, employers are legally obligated to pay employees as if they were at work for the first three days of jury service. Apparently, the vast majority of trials in Massachusetts last three days or fewer. After three days, if the employer does not continue to pay the employee, the state will pay $50 per day. (My employer and many others will pay employees indefinitely during jury duty.) I think most people can just about find a way to scrape by at $50 per day. Marco polo (talk) 23:03, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
"Obligated"? I think you mean obliged. 89.242.154.74 (talk) 23:57, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
"Obligated" is correct and is the usual word in North America for such situations. --Anon, 05:10 UTC, October 9, 2009.
It's of note that $50 a day, $30 a day, and $10 a day are all pretty different values. The first nets you $1500 a month, which is not bad on average, though depending on your mortgage, is not necessarily great. The second is around $900 a month—getting into tough territory there. The last is $300 a month—which will probably not pay for your lunch. It's pretty awful of states to pay so little for it—obviously nobody expects them to help anyone make a profit, but covering basic expenses seems rather minimal. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:32, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Well, the presumption is not that this will be your only source of income for a month or greater. Those cases are very rare, and most will be completely done in well over a week, often allowing for plenty of time during that week to spend some time at work, depending on locations. And, a number of places (translation:higher paying, more white-collar jobs) will pay you for a time instead of leaving it to the gov't. It's not really enough, but hey, at least it's one area of government spending that's not over budget! Although, considering it's a civic duty, we should arguably be glad we get anything. ~ Amory (utc) 00:41, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Wikipedia should have a map showing jury duty compensation by state. Wrad (talk) 03:10, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
For you information, in the UK jurors are compensated for loss of earnings up to a maximum that increases the longer a trial goes on (you can also claim for other financial loss, but that's included in the same maximum - travel and food is in addition to it). For regular length jury service it is £63.12 for a full day. As I understand it, that is tax and National Insurance free so corresponds to an annual salary of around £18,000 (if you trust my mental arithmetic) which is maybe 2/3 of median earnings. --Tango (talk) 21:20, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
Jury duty in the U.S. is a form of undercompensated involuntary servitude. In some states you might get a small fraction of minimum wage. You might conceivably go bankrupt if it is a long trial, and you are the sole support of your family. Such a juror would be a ready target for bribery. In a just society, there would be sufficient compensation for jury duty. I have had jobs where I got my normal pay plus the paltry $15 per day for serving on a jury in a long murder trial. I have also had a minimum wage job where the jury pay was the only pay. A result is that, unless you are independently wealthy or get your normal pay when on jury duty, it makes sense to get excused by telling the judge that you have already made up your mind and could not possible render an impartial verdict. Edison (talk) 04:46, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
It makes more sense to tell the truth. --Anon, 05:11 UTC, October 9, 2009.
As someone once said, if you're ever on trial, keep in mind you're being judged by 12 people who weren't smart enough to get out of jury duty. →Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 05:46, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
These things cut both ways. If we don't occasionally do things for complete strangers, how can we expect the same in return? I don't know about you, but if I were ever on trial, I would hope to get a jury of people who saw it as their civic duty to be jurors and were reasonably willing participants - and who were not morons. For that reason, if I were ever called for jury duty myself, I would not go out of my way to avoid being selected (and I certainly wouldn't lie to do so). -- JackofOz (talk) 20:51, 9 October 2009 (UTC)
It's a civic duty and it's good experience. →Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 23:15, 9 October 2009 (UTC)