Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2011 February 13

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February 13[edit]

Trade Secret[edit]

Is the law a trade secret and the public process a business owned and operated by the legal profession?--Inning (talk) 00:49, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

No and no. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 00:59, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Why does that question sound vaguely familiar? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:14, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
There is a quote sometimes attributed to Patrick Eberhart "The law is a trade secret and the public process a business owned and operated by the legal profession in absence of the law being published in the form of a polychotomous key" or variants thereof. No idea what it means. Nanonic (talk) 02:13, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Sounds like a cynic. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:18, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
I read that. In fact it is in part why I asked the question. Since the attribution is unsourced I'm confused. Is he the person being quoted or the person posting the unsourced quotation? --Inning (talk) 05:22, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, what it means that nobody knows the law except lawyers, and they keep other people from knowing it by writing it down in a way that makes it difficult for non-lawyers to search for laws that are relevant to a given situation. Which may be true to a certain degree. Looie496 (talk) 07:29, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
If you see a sign that says "speed limit 65", you don't need a lawyer to interpret that. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 09:37, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
You do though, because if everyone is going exactly 7 MPH faster, should you make everyone pass you at 7 MPH? What if the road makes it dangerous for you to be passed with such frequency? Shouldn't you just go 7 MPH faster yourself? 109.128.173.201 (talk) 11:24, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
You're expected to know what the rules of the road are, in order to get a driver's license. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:58, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
The point of the quote is to say that only those who are in the legal profession can really make use of the law. This is fairly true, and is why people are encouraged never to represent themselves in court. A posted sign is only the most blunt and not always correct aspect of the law; if you want to see how much it leaves out, look up your state's actual codes on road behavior. For kicks, compare those to what you have to know to get a license. It is not expected that drivers know all rules of the road and their full legal ramifications.
You can still get a ticket for going the speed limit, if the road conditions are poor, for example. Only a lawyer is probably qualified to know exactly how to argue such a case in actual court. However I think calling it a trade secret is entirely incorrect, because in principle and in practice, people can learn the "secret" — it is not hidden away, it is just complex and requires a lot of training. Theoretical physics is not a "trade secret," even if it is more or less the monopoly of trained theoretical physicists. The information is not kept from people; it just happens to be overwhelming complicated, and requires considerably training for "accurate" understanding. Legal proceedings are even more complicated; not because of conspiracy, but because in actual practice, legal operations necessarily have to adapt to how complicated the real world is. Any actual "key" that reflected actual practice of law would be similarly complex; I do not see how it would "liberate" legal knowledge. One could argue that legal codes should be drastically simplified, but this too seems to me to be a fanciful idea. Even for "simple" criminal law, things get complicated rather fast if you actually care about justice and nuance; for things like tort law or corporate law, the complications become so varied that even lawyers have to specialize. --Mr.98 (talk) 16:23, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
(Carriage return character goes here.) --Inning (talk) 18:17, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Those are very good points, Mr. 98. When I started sixth or seventh grade English classes our teacher showed us how to diagram sentences and the very first thing we learned in introduction to computers was flow charting binary logic and decision tables. We learned that the reason they were necessary was because computers were so complicated and complex that everything had to be kept organized and using these tools were the best way to do it. --Inning (talk) 18:17, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

It's actually the opposite. Computers, especially years ago, were logically un-complicated. Hence the instructions had to be very precise. The law is not so. It's an evolving creature, as all human enterprises must be. Our teacher told us that computers are fast, accurate and stupid, while humans are slow, inaccurate and complex. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:43, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
I was also informed that computers were accurate and fast and that because humans were complex they made lots of mistakes for that reason that were difficult to prevent or catch. The Soviets tried to remedy this problem by basing human decisions on rules that used binary logic rather than rules that used variables with many states. Fuzzy logic was an effort to rectify this by making binary variables into values of probability with "maybe" being the 50, 50 chance. The problem is that while yes and no and maybe do represent at least three states there is still a dichotomy rather than a polychotomy, which can handle an infinite number of states. This capability allows logic to handle complex issues in a logical format to address the problem of human error due to complexity of the human mind. --Inning (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 04:29, 14 February 2011 (UTC).
Is this a Turing test? Corvus cornixtalk 06:53, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Is what a Turing test? --Inning (talk) 10:05, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Your inane questions and further inane responses. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 18:21, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Technology is the devil's work?[edit]

I'm hoping for early references to this idea - religious as opposed to the other forms of technophobia - and aside from Faust, too, if possible. Can anyone help? Thanks Adambrowne666 (talk) 01:43, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Such as fire, the arrowhead, and the wheel, for example? Certainly Genesis' first part contains such a warning, from God, about "the tree of knowledge". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:47, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
It's often misquoted that way. It's the Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This should not encourage technophobia, but instead suspicion of anybody who thinks they know absolutely the difference between good and evil. Staecker (talk) 17:42, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Sorry- now I see schyler beat me to this below. Staecker (talk) 17:43, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Yes, thanks - maybe that's when the idea started? Was it a common idea in religious thought? Medieval, say? Adambrowne666 (talk) 02:00, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Have you ever actually seen the expression "technology is the devil's work" anywhere? Magic and witchcraft are "the devil's work". Technology is just machinery. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:18, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
No, never heard that expression. I tried googling technology + devil's work, and didn't get much. I'm happy to talk about machinery too - or bows and arrows or whatever - I'm not even sure if I'm right in thinking it's an idea in religious thought - I have only the vaguest notion that I read/heard about it somewhere - I am hoping someone will be able to find evidence of it in medieval or later texts. Adambrowne666 (talk) 02:28, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
I just have trouble believing there ever was a significant opinion along those lines. I don't think even the Amish consider automation to be "the devil's work". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:30, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
I have to point out that the forbidden fruit did not come from the Tree of Knowledge, but from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Indeed it was a tree of knowledge of evil in that the eating of its fruit was the one evil Adam and Eve could do. schyler (talk) 03:01, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
As an aside, I'd suggest that 'technology', or perhaps more accurately, those who use it, have been seen as sinister, if not necessarily 'evil' in many contexts - an obvious case are smiths, who seemingly possess the ability to turn rocks into metal, and have this been seen as dangerous in many cultures - from Thor in Norse mythology (who wields a smith's hammer) to the mystique surrounding metal workers in parts of sub-Saharan Africa - I'll see if I can locate a source for the latter. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:10, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Doesn't it depend on application? I mean, guns can be used to kill people or to kill animals for food. A glove can be used to keep hands warm or to cover someone's face to smother them. What kind of technology are your thinking about? --Inning (talk) 05:39, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Perhaps look into the Luddites? They were against technology - granted, on political rather than theological/philosophical grounds, but perhaps there was bit of the Puritan mixed in too - according to the article, a hammer they used to smash machines was called the "Hammer of God"... or something... Herostratus (talk) 06:10, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
I wonder if modern day computer virus and worm coders do it for the same reason - programs that generate code taking their jobs? --Inning (talk) 06:35, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Generally they do it because they're social misfits who get kick out of it and don't care about anything or anybody but themselves. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 09:36, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

There's Prometheus and fire, but there fire is not evil. I don't think that this is particularly a Biblical theme (though at one point in the Book of Judges, the Israelites are not happy that the Canaanites have iron chariots, but the Israelites don't...). AnonMoos (talk) 14:39, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

There are "dark satanic mills" even in England's green and pleasant land - this view was perhaps more common at the time of the industrial revolution than the middle ages. Itsmejudith (talk) 16:16, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Well, here is a medieval poem called A Complaint Against the Blacksmith:
 Swart smutted smiths, smattered with smoke,
 Drive me to death with din of their dints;
 Such noise on nights ne heard men never.
 What with knaven cry and clattering of knocks!
 The crooked caitiffs cryen after coal! coal!
 And bloweth their bellows till their brain bursteth.
 Huf! puf! says the one; haf! paf! says the other;
 They spitten and they sprawlen and they spellen many spells.
 They gnawen and gnashen and they groan all together,
 And holden them hot with their hard hammers.
 Of a bull-hide be their barm-fells;
 Their shanks be shackled for the fiery flinders;
 Heavy hammers they have that are hard to be handled,
 Stark strokes they striken on a steely stock,
 Lus! bus! las! das! snore they by the row,
 Such doleful a dream that the devil it to-drive!
 The master loungeth a little and catcheth a less,
 Twineth them twain and toucheth a treble,
 Tik! tak! hic! hac!, tiket! taket! tyk! tyk!
 Lus! bus! las! das!... Christ give them sorrow!
 May no man for brenn waters on night have his rest?
So people were complaining about technology even then. Looie496 (talk) 17:31, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
...Though little alarmed by a lot of alliteration.--Wetman (talk) 19:39, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Where does this poem come from? The Mediæval Bæbes sing a very nice version of this. --TrogWoolley (talk) 19:32, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
A rather comprehensive list of these themes in Western literature and thought is in Roger Shattuck's Forbidden Knowledge: From Prometheus to Pornography. As the title suggests, technology is only one small part of the over cornucopia of "forbidden knowledge." I would also take care as to what I call "technophobia" — the original Luddites weren't afraid of technology as a whole, they were just resistant to technologies that would radically upset the existing socio-economic order (put them out of a job). That's not the same thing as people being "afraid" of technology in my mind, much less connecting it with religious themes. --Mr.98 (talk) 16:16, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
See Amish people. ~AH1(TCU) 17:05, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Similarly, the Amish don't think technology is "evil". They think that some (but not all) modern technology creates social situations that are unwholesome. (They do use some high-tech stuff, in fact. Just not stuff that materially changes the "way of life" they deem worth living.) It's a subtle point, but an important one. It's not considered illogical to reject technological change on the basis of undesirable consequences. It is definitely considered illogical to reject technology because you think the devil made it. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:48, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
The magic aspect of metalworking, the first real "technology", (weaving and pottery being crafts really) is reflected in the fearful laming of Hephaestus and Wayland the Smith. Technology was alarming from the Bronze Age get-go.--Wetman (talk) 19:43, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, all - all excellent grist - keep it coming! Adambrowne666 (talk) 04:42, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

relationship names[edit]

hello every body....

  • i want the relationship names in Telugu to English.

like example: in Telugu maridhi means in English is "brother in law".. like that — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sabarish.kalangi (talkcontribs) 09:25, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

teluguwebsite.com has an extensive list (wow, a lot of distinctions! For example, "maridi" is given as "Wife's younger brother. Husband's younger brother.") ---Sluzzelin talk 09:33, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
See also multilingual list of Indian kin terms which translates "maridhi" as "husband's younger brother", while "wife's younger brother" is "bammaridhi". ---Sluzzelin talk 09:39, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Nuclear bombs at home[edit]

Is it legal for Americans to own and possess nuclear bombs under the "right to bear arms" thing in the Constitution? 92.15.7.193 (talk) 12:34, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

No. Military weapons are not protected by the second amendment. Although this reminds me of a fake "toy" nuclear weapon, whose tagline was, "Be the first kid on your block to be the last kid on your block."Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:37, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
And, where stays which weapons you can have? I'm not questioning the wisdom of the government to not let anyone bear rockets, but they have to regulate that somewhere, don't they? 212.169.190.82 (talk) 14:11, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
The 2nd_amendment contains in its own words some limitation: "as allowed by law." That gives the law makers the possibility of regulating things like atomic bombs, missiles and whatever. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Quest09 (talkcontribs) 14:38, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
The phrase "as allowed by law" is not in the second amendment. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:50, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
OK, you're right. They are in the 1689 Bill of Rights.Quest09 (talk) 15:33, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
The vague phrase "to keep and bear arms" probably covers it, in the sense that it implies that it's up to someone else to define which arms are allowable. In the late 1700s, the ultimate weapons were probably cannons, and I don't think that the average citizen would have been allowed to own an operable cannon. But muskets were OK. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:40, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
The Atomic Energy Act of 1954 prohibits private ownership or production of nuclear weapons. It makes it explicitly unlawful for "any person to transfer or receive in interstate or foreign commerce, manufacture, produce, transfer, acquire, possess, import, or export any atomic weapon," except as explicitly authorized by the US government (e.g. the military can have them). There are many other regulations throughout the law which make it effectively illegal to possess enriched uranium or plutonium in any quantities without a government license. There has never been any doubt that the Supreme Court would recognize weapons of mass destruction as laying beyond the protections of the Second Amendment, however exactly where the line should be (assault rifles? machine guns? grenade launchers?) has long been heavily contested, and has shifted over time. (And before you ask, could I have one before 1954?, the answer is no, because the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 said essentially the same thing. What about before 1947? At that point it would have been impossible anyway since the only technology in the world that could produce nuclear weapons was in possession of the US Army Corps of Engineers, and they weren't going to let you have one.) --Mr.98 (talk) 14:27, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, David Hahn ran into some problems with the authorities and he was only building a little breeder.--Aspro (talk) 14:35, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Adding to the confusion is the fact that the States all have different laws... Nukes aside, some weapons are perfectly legal to own in one State, but are illegal in another. In some cases the weapon may be legal to own, but the ammunition is restricted. Blueboar (talk) 14:50, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Some have suggested that the second amendment should be interpreted as only giving citizens the right bear the kinds of arms that existed at the time it was written. Things would be a lot safer. (Although not necessarily for anyone trying to actually use such weapons.) HiLo48 (talk) 16:25, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Sounds like suitcase bombs are illegal. However, we cannot offer legal advice. ~AH1(TCU) 17:00, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

That depends. Does the following sentence make sense:
"A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear nuclear Arms shall not be infringed."
If it is a sensible sentence, then nuclear bombs ought to be covered by the amendment and protected. 109.128.173.201 (talk) 17:18, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

As we've discussed on here before, the interpretation that the Second Amendment allows any and all types of guns is at most a very recent one, but even then, many categories of military hardware are prohibited for private ownership. Nobody has ever challenged the Atomic Energy Act on Second Amendment grounds, and they would certainly lose, even in a court staffed by NRA lobbyists... --Mr.98 (talk) 18:21, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
NRA are not pro-private nuclear proliferation, and I believe no one is. Furthermore, the consequences for any kind of weapon being at the hands of any kind of person can be so devastating, that no one is defending this idea. Quest09 (talk) 18:52, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Indeed, that was exactly my point. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:37, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
An interesting question though... could a State government authorize nuclear weapons for its militia units (such as the New York Naval Militia)? I could see the argument that this should be allowed under the Constitution... but there may have been laws put in place about this since the Civil War. Blueboar (talk) 19:09, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Federal law would override state law in a case like that. Regarding the NRA, they do not lobby for the rights of citizens to own military weapons. The irony of that stance is that the whole theory behind it has to do with potentially "resisting a tyrannical government". But without military weapons, that would be kind of hard to do. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:38, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
That could be against the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Quest09 (talk) 20:35, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think it violates the NPT. The NPT just says, "don't give them to other countries, and don't develop them unless you're one of the five members of the nuclear club." It doesn't have anything to say about the fact that one country might have different levels of government within it. Even if Alabama got the bomb, it would not violate the NPT, for the US as a state overall is allowed to develop nukes under the NPT. It would, however, violate the Atomic Energy Act. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:44, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
It also say (vaguely) reduce your nuclear weapons pile. If a state government wants some, that could mean that the federal government would need to reduce their arsenal, to comply with the NPT. Otherwise, you'll end up having more bombs than earlier. Quest09 (talk) 12:53, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
That part of the NPT has never been considered binding by the nuclear powers. It has been interpreted as an expression of a general goal, not a requirement that no new nuclear weapons be produced. --Mr.98 (talk) 13:17, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, you are right the NPT is not originally binding, but set the path to the 2010_NPT_Review_Conference and New_START, which would cap the total number of warheads in general. Quest09 (talk) 14:14, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
The US has many treaty obligations, to be sure. But this is a fairly separate issue from the question of whether individual states could produce nukes. --Mr.98 (talk) 15:14, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Only the US federal government can possess and transfer nuclear weapons under the Atomic Energy Act. State governments are totally left out of the equation. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:37, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

The "right to bear arms" is rooted in the traditional right of self-defense. Weapons that go far beyond the requirements of self-defense, like cannons or bombs, have never been protected by the 2nd Amendment. —Kevin Myers 20:39, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

As a historical reenactor I knew a number of people who owned functional cannons (black powder), tanks (non-functional main gun), machine guns, etc. More is allowed than you imply. 75.41.110.200 (talk) 21:56, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Does not follow. Just because something is allowed does not mean that it is protected by the Constitution. Black powder cannons might be legal in some states (I've seen plenty of them at historical reenactments, though I never thought about who actually owned them), but you don't have a Constitutional right to own one. —Kevin Myers 22:17, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Kevin, the IPs point is that, in the case of "historical weaponry" such as cannon, tanks and machine guns... a lot of people would argue that Americans do have a Second Amendment right to own these things. This isn't the venue to determine who is correct on the issue (I don't think it has ever come before the court)... but the issue is definitely debatable. Blueboar (talk) 00:33, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
What Kevin is saying is that just because something is currently allowed does not mean it is protected from being banned, should Congress decide it wants to. It's a fair point. Status quo is not indication of Constitutionality. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:40, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Quite true. Typically, things are not banned until they become a problem. The number of street crimes and assassination attempts committed by cannon in the USA, I daresay is very small, compared with handguns. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:45, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Agreed... And it's been ages since someone was mugged at tank-point. Blueboar (talk) 04:08, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
But if they did, they'd have to contend with the full force of cannon law.  :) -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 18:35, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Pachabel had a canon, but he didn't live in the US. Googlemeister (talk) 19:50, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Neither did Pachelbel.  :) -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 07:26, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
I think that it is important to note that the courts have very broadly allowed any bill of rights amendment to be abridged provided that the limitation is "necessary and proper" to a legitimate governmental aim, and narrowly tailored to avoid being overbroad and overly restrictive. I think you'd be hardpressed to say that preventing nuclear extinction of the human race is not a legitimate goal of government, or that refusing to allow the citizenry to own megadeath weaponry is overly broad. 65.29.47.55 (talk) 22:47, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
It would also depend on which jurisdiction you live under. I know that certain places such as Berkeley, California and Chico, California have been declared Nuclear free zones by their city councils. Corvus cornixtalk 06:56, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
However, nobody thinks that those local ordinances can trump federal law. --Mr.98 (talk) 12:40, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Curiously, there are many groups of naval cannon left unguarded as historical ornaments in Britain, usually at the seaside. If the wooden plug they usuually have was removed from the end of the barrel, then it should be easy to fire them. 92.28.251.167 (talk) 15:02, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Similarly, there are many an old cannon on town squares in the US. Getting your hands on one would be the easy part. Finding functional ammo would be the challenge. —Kevin Myers 15:22, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I would have expected those weapons to have been spiked or partially filled with concrete or something. Are you sure that they are actually functional? Googlemeister (talk) 19:53, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Anecdotally, some were used by the Home Guard (United Kingdom) in 1940 although I can't now find a reference. BTW, the wooden plug is called a tampion. In the UK, "Antiques held as a curiosity or ornament are still exempt from certificate control under the terms of Section 58(2) of the Firearms Act 1968."[1] Alansplodge (talk) 13:01, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Similarly, in the US "antique firearms" are not regulated by the National Firearms Act. Individual states can regulate antique firearms to a degree (our article says that Oregon does), as long as they don't run afoul of federal law and the 2nd amendment. But there's probably not much call for such restrictions, since muskets don't seem to be the weapon of choice of modern wackos. —Kevin Myers 14:43, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
True, but that law does allow automatic weapons from before a certain date to be privately owned, so it is legal to possess a tommygun in the US in some cases. Googlemeister (talk) 19:51, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Miller addresses this issue directly, as does subsequent dicta. Our article on it has some good discussion: "In Miller, we determined that the Second Amendment did not guarantee a citizen's right to possess a sawed off shotgun because that weapon had not been shown to be "ordinary military equipment" that could "contribute to the common defense." quoting Printz. Shadowjams (talk) 00:11, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Yeah. Or to quote from Heller: "Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose...." —Kevin Myers 01:51, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Suffice to say, the OP is coming from a "Literal" or "Strict" Constitutionalist perspective, which is that the articles of the Constitution must be word-for-word sacrosanct. That simply isn't how the US government works. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 18:33, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

Leprosy in the Roman Empire[edit]

Hello all, I am writing a response paper on the film Ben-Hur. My task is to evaluate the historicity of some aspect of the movie. I decided to investigate leprosy in the Roman Empire, since it is an important movie subplot. Unfortunately, I'm running a little low on information. I can verify that yes, the disease occurred back then and, according to one source, was indeed cause for banishment. But how common was it? Would a prisoner with leprosy really be released into a colony? What were the nature of the Roman leper colonies, if they existed? There is plenty of information on Medieval practices, but not of those around the time of Christ. I would appreciate some sources dealing with these questions. Thanks! WordyGirl90 18:33, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Here are two suggestions for books that are likely to contain enough information to get you started:
  • Ralph Jackson (1988). Doctors and diseases in the Roman Empire. University of Oklahoma Press. 
  • Plinio Prioreschi (1998). A History of Medicine. Vol 3:. Roman Medicine. Horatio. Press. 
There's a lot more out there, though. Looie496 (talk) 19:26, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Latin Vikipedia has an article Lepra, which gives you the Latin name of the disease, for a start. Unfortunately that article simply gives a long quote from Leviticus 13, a work of the seventh century BCE. True leprosy was known to the Greeks as elephantiasis. When Arabic texts, drawn from Greek were translated into Latin in the ninth century CE, this condition was confused with Lepra graecorum,, "Lepra of the Greeks", resulting in the impression that all scaling conditions of skin were leprosy. This second mistranslation is credited with the introduction of the term leprosy for Hansen's disease thatpersists to the present day. Try googling some of these terms with "Rome" or "Roman" at Google Scholar.--Wetman (talk) 19:31, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Pliny the Elder records a treatment for leprosy among the Romans was to soak the leaves of the elm tree in vinegar and apply them to the ulcers.[2] citation: Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia, 24.49.84, translation by John Bostock (1855). The Natural History was published about 77 CE, which would have been about 40 years after the conclusion of the movie Ben Hurr. The Latin is:

ulmi et folia et cortex et rami vim habent spissandi et volnera contrahendi. corticis utique interior tilia lepras sedat et folia ex aceto inlita. corticis denarii pondus potum in hemina aquae frigidae alvum purgat pituitasque et aquas privatim trahit. inponitur et collectionibus lacrima et volneribus et ambustis, quae decocto fovere prodest. umor in folliculis arboris huius nascens cuti nitorem inducit faciemque gratiorem praestat. cauliculi foliorum primi vino decocti tumores sanant extrahuntque per fistulas. idem praestant et tiliae corticis.

the English by John Bostock is sometimes quoted as chapter 33 of book 24:

The leaves, bark, and branches of the elm have the property of filling up wounds and knitting the flesh together: the inner membrane too, of the bark, and the leaves, steeped in vinegar, are applied topically for leprosy. The bark, in doses of one denarius, taken in one hemina of cold water, acts as a purgative upon the bowels, and is particularly useful for carrying off pituitous and aqueous humours. The gum also which this tree produces is applied topically to gatherings, wounds, and burns, which it would be as well to foment with the decoction also. The moisture which is secreted on the follicules of the tree gives a finer colour to the skin, and improves the looks. The foot-stalks of the leaves that first appear, boiled in wine, are curative of tumours, and bring them to a head: the same, too, is the effect produced by the inner bark.

Gx872op (talk) 15:37, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

"What we may have to accept is the ambiguity and confusion caused by the polymorphous nature of leprosy when it appeared in the ancient world, if the disease was at all like modern leprosy." (Michael W. Dols. "Leprosy in medieval Arabic medicine" Journal of the History of Medicine 1979): download it ).

With reference to the Latin article, it's fairly clear that Leviticus isn't referring to the disease we know as leprosy. For one argument (of several), the biblical disease afflicted both people and inanimate objects. See our article Tzaraat. Perhaps someone with knowledge of Latin should amend the article to remove that and add Gx872op's excellent material. --Dweller (talk) 13:39, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

Does suicide send them to Hell? Mom told me this, but where in religious text does it say so?[edit]

It'd be pretty sad for him to be burning now because <<<someone I know>>> was found dead with some kind of a long-barreled gun in <<<some place>>> at the edge of a forest in Kansas.

However, I've had a hard time finding text in scriptures that say that suicide automatically makes you Hellbound. Where would it say so? --70.179.187.21 (talk) 19:38, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Note original thread was a BLP violation and was removed, quite rightly; I've replaced it in an anonymised form. Hope this isn't a problem. Will notify two relevant users. Egg Centric (talk) 19:45, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
See Religious views on suicide, which talks about the views of Aquinas and others on the matter. Do bear in mind that not all churches' teaching is directly based on a particular passage in scripture; rather, it can be the product of a synthesis of several passages, tradition, reasoning, and so on. (I'm not sure how information about a successful suicide can possibly be a BLP violation.) Marnanel (talk) 20:10, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Suicide being the willful and unlawful taking of human life, it would be classified as a "mortal sin" or something like that. That could be the Roman Catholic view, but I've heard other Christian leaders say that someone who has been "saved" but later becomes mentally ill and commits suicide should still be "saved". In a partial answer to Marnanel's question, I would say there's only one way to know for sure, but I would be quick to add, "don't try this at home - or anywhere else." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:32, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
"...a "mortal sin" or something like that. That could be the Roman Catholic view, but I've heard..." Why have you guessed this, when it is so easy to look up? There are churches which do not list their beliefs for all to read: the Catholic Church has theirs listed on the Vatican website, if you don't believe the answer in our article that Marnanel linked. For example, "Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. 2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. the Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives." 86.164.25.178 (talk) 10:22, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
There are surprisingly few actual references to Hell in scripture. It is mentioned a lot in Judeo-Christian commentary, but not that often in actual scripture. Blueboar (talk) 00:19, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
There are a number of sayings of Jesus about Gehenna or the outer darkness, where "the worm never dies and the fire is not put out" or where "men shall wail and gnash their teeth". Then of course there's Revelation. From the Hebrew scriptures, the Book of Daniel has some language that could be interpreted as being about Hell ("the smoke of their torment went up for ever" or some such).
That said, I am not aware of anything in the Bible that directly says suicides go to Hell.
On the other hand, I believe the Qur'an is rather more specific, detailing the punishment as according to the method of suicide — those who throttle themselves are throttled forever, and so on. --Trovatore (talk) 00:39, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
In that case, the suicide of choice would be a fun hallucinogenic overdose. Googlemeister (talk) 19:39, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I very seriously doubt that. As far as I can figure out, the relevant Surah is 4:29-30, which simply says "(4:29) Believers, do not consume each others' properties illicitly - only mutually acceptable transactions are permitted. You shall not kill yourselves. Allah is merciful towards you.(4:30) Anyone who commits these transgressions, maliciously and deliberately, will be condemned to hell. This is easy for Allah to do." Fairly straightforward, with a nice bit of libertarian sentiment in there. Of course, one might discuss if and when a suicide is "malicious". --Stephan Schulz (talk) 16:22, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it seems that I confused the Qur'an with the hadith, or sayings of Muhammad. See religious views on suicide#Islam, which is presumably where I picked up this tidbit in the first place. --Trovatore (talk) 07:31, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Where one would "go" would be the same answer as the answer to the question, "What is the punishment for violation of the Ten Commandments?" ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:28, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

The obvious answer is that it depends on your religion. If you subscribe to one of the Abrahamic religions then the widely-held view is yes, suicide does send you to the Abrahamic Hell (because if it didn't then everyone would just do a single good deed and kill themselves to get into the Abrahamic Heaven; then these religions would have no followers [not because all their followers will have killed themselves but because people wouldn't believe them]). However, some religions (such as Jainism and Buddhism) permit suicide if for a good purpose (for example, a hunger strike to protest human rights violations). And of course from a scientific point of view killing yourself is no different from dying in any other way. 72.128.95.0 (talk) 00:31, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

The "greater sin" rule figures into this. If your death will allow others to survive, then your death would be the "lesser sin" of the two. Praying for forgiveness just before you pull the trigger might help also. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:35, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I can't imagine how killing yourself would allow another person to live. But allowing yourself to die so that others may live is a different story, and I doubt that would ever qualify as suicide. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 02:03, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
It would be considered a "selfless" act vs. a "selfish" act. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:39, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Taking your own life if your party doesn't have enough supplies for everyone would be a case of killing yourself to allow other people to live. Lawrence Oates tried this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Colapeninsula (talkcontribs) 10:49, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
All we know for certain is that he went outside and said he may be a little time. Did he intend to wait for death, or did he misjudge the severity of the conditions? Even if he was fully prepared to die, we come to a definitional issue. Is waiting out in the cold in the full knowledge that it will probably kill you, effectively the same as picking up a knife and stabbing yourself in the heart? In outcome, yes; but in intent ...? Why is it that doctors are not permitted to practise euthanasia but there's far less of an issue when it comes to turning off patients' life support systems? The outcome is the same - the death of the patient - but the actions are not the same. I have a friend who's retired and getting on a bit now; his daughter often asks him what he's doing today and his reply is always the sardonic "Waiting for death". He might have to wait 20 years rather than an hour or so, and the ultimate cause might be organ failure due to extreme old age rather than exposure to extreme cold - but is he not committing suicide in the same sense as Oates did? Questions, always more questions ... -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 11:09, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Picking up on that thought it could be argued that Jesus committed suicide. And he went to hell for three days didn't he? Further it could be argued that a person commits murder by neglect when failing to feed or water another who is unable to feed and water themselves. Kittybrewster 12:00, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
That's actually a mistranslation. It being Spring Break, and a bit nippy in the Holy Land, He went to Daytona for three days. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 08:05, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
There is nothing in the Bible that I could find that mentions that Jesus went to Hell (or Florida, which is pretty much the same thing) for 3 days. Googlemeister (talk) 19:44, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
Harrowing of Hell: it's been a pretty mainstream Christian belief for nearly about as long as Christianity has existed. If you look for explicit Biblical evidence of all Christian beliefs, even if you limit yourself to supposedly sola scriptura groups, you'll be looking a long time. 86.164.25.178 (talk) 20:10, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
(ec) Christ Stopped at Eboli has a certain ring to it. But Christ Stopped at Daytona ... I just dunno. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 19:49, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

This article may be of partial interest to all interested articulate parties. schyler (talk) 02:30, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

It is a link to The Watchtower, and so covers the Jehovah's Witness view. It would be considered more honest, and less an attempt to evangelise, if you said 'This article explains the Jehovah's Witness view' rather than just saying it 'may be of partial interest'. 86.164.25.178 (talk) 10:26, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Suffice it to say that whenever I post something it is inherently and intrinsically the view of Jehovah's Witnesses... schyler (talk) 12:35, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
Then perhaps you ought to make your biases more clear on each and every post. Littering up the Ref Desk with links to the Watchtower is not very helpful in and of itself; even less so when you blithely pass them off as neutral references. --Mr.98 (talk) 12:38, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
That doesn't suffice at all! It's not the responsibility of everyone else in the world to know and account for your bias, it's your responsibility to make it clear. APL (talk) 17:32, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
(ec)Like 86 said, many churches may now be shifting judgement away from religious leaders and instead let God decide. Others will insist that suicide is not acceptable on any circumstances. Also, you may be interested in this. ~AH1(TCU) 12:47, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
That page uses the expression "NDE experience" - a nice of example of RAS syndrome. Pais (talk) 16:17, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

My parish priest said that a suicide could be considered to be mentally ill,therefore not responsible for their actions therefore not sinning.Hotclaws (talk) 15:49, 15 February 2011 (UTC)

If your parish priest is correct, then laws against attempted suicide are ludicrous, because the person arrested for the crime would automatically get off by reason of insanity. Googlemeister (talk) 19:46, 16 February 2011 (UTC)
True; see Christian views on suicide#Modern Catholicism, although it seems to be more nuanced than that - "not 100% morally culpable" rather than "not sinning" at all. I think this is the reason why people who commit suicide are nowadays allowed to be buried in sacred ground, instead of at crossroads, like they used to be. When I was a child, I asked my father why Judas Iscariot went to hell, since he had repented of betraying Jesus, and my father said it was because Judas had committed suicide, which is the only sin you can't repent of (because by the time you've committed it, it's too late to repent). Pais (talk) 16:12, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
Just a thought for the OP, as Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount "Judge not, that you be not judged", then none of us know for certain whether anyone has gone to hell or heaven. That's between them and God, not for us to judge. TammyMoet (talk) 10:07, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

My Generation[edit]

One hears about Generation X and Generation A, but to which generation do people born in the late 1950s belong to? I believe they're too late to be Baby-Boomers.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 19:50, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Our articles on these subjects notes that some use the term Baby-Boomers up until the mid-1960s and then followed immediately by Generation X. Generation Jones is a recent term applied to the crossover group however. Nanonic (talk) 20:19, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Thank you. Generation Jones does describe the people born roughly from 1954-1964, especially the part about having high expectations only to be confronted by harsh reality. Isn't this also the first generation who grew up in the era of the television?--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 21:07, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
According to the Health and Retirement Study of the University of Michigan, people born from 1955-1959 are "Mid Baby Boomers" and '60-'64 would be the "late baby boomers" 65.29.47.55 (talk) 22:51, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but Baby-Boomers were really those born after the war; the generation of people born in the late 50s-early 60s grew up in a different social and cultural milieu.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 23:03, 13 February 2011 (UTC)
The problem is that "Baby-boom" refers to two distinct things... a demographic grouping, and a cultural grouping. Those of us who were born between 1957 and 1964 are part of the broad demographic statistical phenomenon known as the "Baby-Boom" (the bulge in population that started in the late 40s and came to an end in the mid 60s, when there was a marked drop off in the number of children being born.) Culturally, however, there is a huge difference between those born in the late 40s to early 50s and those of us born later. A lot of the cultural commonalities that define the "boomers" do not apply to those of us at the end of the boom ... We were too young for most of it. While I don't particularly agree with all the rational behind "Generation Jones" ... it at least gives us a distinct name. Blueboar (talk) 23:53, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Incidentally, I am currently in the process of reading Tony Judts excellent Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945. In a note on p. 447 he writes: "The baby-boom generation itself never wanted for employment. It was its immediate successor, the cohort born after 1953, which entered the employment market just as jobs were getting harder to find". So it seems he defines 1953 as the last year of the baby boomers. Unfortunately he does not seem to provide a name for the following generation, unless you want to style yourself "The cohort born after 1953". --Saddhiyama (talk) 19:54, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

The cohort born after 1953 Generation?... nah. Lacks advertising appeal. Perhaps "the Unnamed Generation" or "Generation: Unnamed"... (gives us an air of mystery). Blueboar (talk) 20:14, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
So why is there a need to label and categorise oneself? I meet all the chronological requirements of the baby boomer category, but I've never thought of myself as such. The people born pre-war don't seem to have generational categories at all, but their lives have not been rendered poorer by such a lack. Few people in the West give serious credence to Chinese astrology, where one is a Tiger/Rabbit/whatever depending on which year you were born in. But when it comes entire generational spans of years, that somehow seems to be given more, rather than even less, significance. Curious. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 20:34, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
I don't think that's a fitting comparison. Sharing the same period of history, culture, and technology while growing up (as opposed to other generations who did not) is not the same thing as sharing one's ordinal year of birth within a twelve-year cycle. The former is food for theories among scholars (Mannheim, Strauss/Howe), the latter is not. ---Sluzzelin talk 21:15, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
For what it's worth, I'd also take issue with the suggestion that people born before World War II did not have generation-based identities. Consider the Silent Generation or, especially, the Lost Generation. Marco polo (talk) 21:40, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
OK, but they're much less frequently applied or even referred to, compared with the baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Y and whatever else they have these days. Everyone who's a Gen X knows they're a Gen X, but not everyone who's a member of the Lost or Silent Generations would even be aware they're in that grouping. The propensity to classify whole generations of people with a single label is very much a post-war phenomenon. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 01:20, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
(WP:OR) I think that's largely true and I wonder if it's somewhat due to the incredible shift in communication and transportation that's taken place since that time. A Gen X'er in Toronto has watched the same shows and used the same technology and listened to the same music as a Gen X'er in San Francisco - or at least to a much greater extent than would have been possible a hundred years prior. As communication and transportation blur the lines between our geographical boundaries, we may become more acutely aware of our generational differences (see also: generation gap). Matt Deres (talk) 14:48, 15 February 2011 (UTC)
How about the "Tony Manero" generation for those of us born between 1954 and 1964?--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 15:35, 16 February 2011 (UTC)

What was the combined total area of the USSR and its satellite states?[edit]

--75.15.161.185 (talk) 20:55, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

The page for USSR has its total area. Each of the Eastern Bloc states has its own page with its own area in it. Just add them up! Some of this will depend what time period you go looking for satellite states (e.g. Yugoslavia, Albania, which leave the bloc). --Mr.98 (talk) 00:31, 14 February 2011 (UTC)