Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2013 March 5

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Humanities desk
< March 4 << Feb | March | Apr >> March 6 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Humanities Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.

March 5[edit]

Popular vote versus congressional representatives in the United States[edit]

Obviously, in the most recent general election, the democrats won the popular vote for President, but the republicans got more representatives in the house. But how different was the distribution of the popular vote in each? There were more people voting democrat for president, but were there more people voting republican for the house of representatives? Or is the disparity merely a result of how districts are broken down? Speaking of which, what percentage of Americans did vote for a republican for the house in the last election? Historically, does that proportion tend to match the percentage that votes the same way for president? Thanks. Someguy1221 (talk) 01:59, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

As our article United States House of Representatives elections, 2012 clearly shows, Democratic candidates received a plurality of the votes in House elections in 2012. (Democrats received 49% of the vote, Republicans 47.7% of the vote, and smaller parties received the remainder.) So, if the United States had proportional representation, Democrats would be the largest party in the House. However, we have first-past-the-post voting in which the geographic definition of voting districts can change election results. The Republican majority is, as you say, an artifact of Republican gerrymandering that divides areas with large numbers of Democratic voters among districts with Republican majorities and/or concentrates Democratic voters in a small number of districts within a state and dilutes Democratic votes elsewhere in the state by making sure that any Democratic population is counterbalanced by a larger Republican population in a given district. Marco polo (talk) 02:14, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
For some nice statistic analysis of the role of gerrymandering in the last election, this is a good source. --Mr.98 (talk) 02:45, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

(ec) Given that the large states with the large congressional delegations tend to have Democratic legislatures (Texas being the obvious exception), I'm skeptical of the claim that the discrepancy is from Republican gerrymandering. The top level of "districting" for the House of Representatives is just state boundaries. Maybe Democratic voters are concentrated in heavily Democratic states, resulting in the same effect, but without it being the result of any deliberate policy, just where people happen to live). Also, every state, no matter how small, gets at least one representative, and states small enough to benefit from that tend to break Republican. --Trovatore (talk) 02:46, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
States with larger cities tend to lean more toward Democrats. Smaller states, by definition, lack large cities, hence they lean Republican. And more than one commentator has pointed out that thanks to manipulation of the district lines, there are very few "swing" districts, meaning that nearly every Congressman feels secure in his job, meaning that they have no reason (at the momen) to compromise or try to reach consensus. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:39, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, tiny states like Texas lean republican because they don't have any major metropolitan areas .. Whereas big states like Connecticut are liberal because they're full of large cities. Shadowjams (talk) 08:36, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Urban areas tend to be more Democratic than rural areas. In the south, the Democrats used to be the party of choice because they were the white supremacist party. When the Republicans took on that role and the Democrats abandoned it, the south switched from Democrat to Republican. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:35, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
(EC with below) I don't want to get in to this whole debate but I think it's fairly well established Democrats tend to do better in urban areas and Republicans in more rural areas. Of course it depends on the state, but I believe these trends are fairly common in most states even if how well they do may vary. See e.g. [1] and [2]. While these are going by the presidential vote rather then the congress vote, they do highlight the general trend, the later even gives some statistics for Texas showing it holds there to some extent (in fact very few cities in the US with a population over 100k voted had a majority for Romney).
I believe in a number of states, rural areas get a greater proportion of the vote. This is by definition Malapportionment (but not necessarily gerrymandering depending on your definition), but it isn't unique to the US and there are various arguments discussed on wikipedia as to why some degree of bias to towards rural areas may be fair (but of course even for those that agree there is argument about what level).
But anyway I think what Trovatore and Shadowjams are getting at is that it's more complicated then gerrymandering. As discussed in the earlier links and also in [3] and [4] which do relate to the congressional elections, one problem is that urban areas often very heavily lean Democrat whereas rural areas don't lean Republican quite so heavily. In other words, Democrats voters are far more concentrated then Republican voters. Since the US uses FPTP rather then a form of proportional representation, a Democrat getting 90% of the vote in district A is just as much the congressperson for that district as a Republican getting 51% of the vote in District B. So if you want to produce contiguous (and perhaps somewhat reasonably shaped) districts no matter what you try to do, Democrats will generally be punished because you can't get around the fact a lot of their voters are concentrated in geographically small areas so there's always going to be far more wasted votes for Democrats then Republicans. (Your solutions would be some strange non contiguous districts or at least very weird shapes, proportional representation or just accept the system warts and all.)
(Note that this doesn't address whether or not gerrymandering is happening.) Nil Einne (talk) 14:28, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
For historical comparison, consider rotten boroughs in the unreformed House of Commons in the UK, due to moving populations and the expansion of cities. (talk) 16:52, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
What I've read, per Nate Silver, is that currently Democrat-leaning districts tend to be more strongly Democrat than Republican-leaning districts tend to be Republican. That is, the average "safe" Democrat seat might see an 80/20 election split while the average "safe" Republican seat sees 70/30. This means more "wasted" votes for the Democrats, and sets up the scenario where the Republicans hold a House majority despite the Democrat plurality of votes. Gerrymandering is something of a factor, and there were more states with Republican-majority legislatures than Democrat-majority legislatures after the 2010 census, but both parties are guilty of trying to shift the odds in their favor by that means. — Lomn 14:14, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
To address Nil Einne's suggestion and the mention of rotten boroughs, that kind of malapportionment is unconstitutional in the United States and wouldn't withstand a legal challenge, so it doesn't exist. Electoral districts for any representative body have to be equal in population within fairly narrow limits. This is because a decennial census is written into the U.S. Constitution. Marco polo (talk) 20:56, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Marco polo is correct and I apologise for any confusion as I missed it in the articles yesterday. I thought I'd read discussions on this before but I must have been mistaken, perhaps confused by discussions surrounding the senate or the merits of the electoral college (the electoral college because it's the sum of the senate and house does have some small bias towards smaller states and more significantly the winner takes set-up used in most states and current voting patterns mean that smaller more rural states are often key battlegrounds). Note however per our article, until the 1960s and Baker v. Carr + Reynolds v. Sims, it did occur in state legislatures. Nil Einne (talk) 13:41, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Actually the "smaller more rural" states usually don't tend to be key battlegrounds, because most of them are safe for one party (Democrat for Hawaii, Republican for most of the rest of them). The only such state that's really in play on a regular basis is Nevada. --Trovatore (talk) 16:41, 7 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Regarding the OP's last question on "does [the House] proportion tend to match the percentage that votes the same way for president": Not always, because of split-ticket voting, where people vote for one party for president, while they vote for the congressional candidate from the other party. A good example of this was during the 1984 election when Republican Ronald Reagan got 58.8 percent of the popular vote to help him win re-election. However, the Democrats still maintained control of the House, getting 51.9 percent of the popular vote. Zzyzx11 (talk) 07:12, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Tipping in the US[edit]

During a visit to the US I was quite amazed one of the members of the party carried a cheat sheet called a "tipculator", to calculate the right amount for the tip for the waiter. This image amazes me even more, showing "this is the bill, you are pretty much supposed to pay the amount stated times 1.18". I thought tipping was: "I liked the guy, he made this a fun evening which was better than you'd expect, he certainly deserves some extra money because he did things that were not on the menu. Here's $20 extra for that". The bill I found on imgur pretty much says "Your waiter is paid just enough to cover his bus ride, you have to do the paperwork to pay him the salary the IRS thinks he earns". I think it is even meant to say that the guest is morally a thieve by not tipping 18%. I even suspect the "voluntary" 18% is stated by law to make it even worse. Tipping used to be (it still is in Europe) such a wonderful thing: you know the waiter (or taxi driver or whoever) is paid decently, and you pay extra for extra services, with a high probability of not seeing the service provider ever again, defying any theory of economics. Anyway, to turn a long story into a real question: does an average US citizen consider the line "Tip 18%" as perfectly normal? Joepnl (talk) 03:38, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Please just use the "search reference desk archives" function at the top of this page. This subject has been beaten to death to death to death several times to death within the last year or so to death. μηδείς (talk) 03:40, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
15 to 20 percent is typical. Many restaurants will automatically add 15 percent for large groups. No law compels you to tip. But if you don't tip, they're liable to remember you the next time. Bu if the service was so bad that you didn't tip, you won't be going back anyway. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:42, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
18 percent seems in line with standard convention. The usual standard is 15-20%, tending towards 20% for better service, and 15% for tolerable, 18% splits the difference nicely, but I find 15% and 20% to be easier to calculate, so I usually leave one or the other (15% is the amount plus half again, move decimal over one place. 20% is the amount doubled, move decimal over one place. 18% has no easy trick to calculate in your head.) As Medeis has already hinted at, expect a conversation to follow below where people will raise levels of vitriol and rage against the practice of tipping itself which is normally only reserved for genocidal dictators and fans of the wrong sports team. Pay them no mind. In the U.S., standard restaurant tipping is 15% to 20% of the bill. That's all you need to know. --Jayron32 05:05, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
You could always calculate 17.5%, which is considerably easier than 18%. Joe should also remember, in reading any subsequent explosions about tipping, that tips are not included in calculations of minimum wage and tax in countries like the UK, whereas they are assumed in calculations of minimum wage and tax in the US. Adjust expectations and outrage accordingly. (talk) 08:18, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
17.5% is 10%+5%+2.5%. 18% is 20%-2%; both are reasonably easy to calculate in your head. CS Miller (talk) 06:10, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Depends where you are! The old trick in NYC, for example, is just to double the tax, which is currently 8.875%. ~ Amory (utc) 15:30, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Most places charge automatic gratuity of 18% on tables over a certain size, usually 6 or 8. If the waiter is good that backfires because most decent patrons tip beyond that, but are less inclined to do so when they're told that they appreciate it 18% (could you imagine an 18% tax hike, and what kind of political response?). Some, less enlightened, restaurants do that for smaller groups. Most Americans tip somewhere between 15 and 25%. That's my colloquial answer. Shadowjams (talk) 12:49, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
For ease of reference, here is a link to one extended previous debate on this issue. --Viennese Waltz 13:10, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Servers where I live (in any restaurant where you can get a full meal for one for less than $20) actually get paid less than half of "minimum" wage because the government figures they'll make up for it in tips. It actually is a moral issue, because the minimum wage is actually less than a liveable salary in the US, so half that (or less) begins to borders on voluntary slavery. Ian.thomson (talk) 13:46, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
On the other side of the coin, good waiters in good restaurants can make a decent living on tips. My brother has been a waiter for 15 years; he's also had a 9 to 5 job for the past 10 years, but he has never given up waiting because the tips are too good. He has the experience and skills to get the best shifts at good restaurants, has a known reputation among regular clientele as a good waiter, and the money is too good to give up. He wouldn't be able to do so on a salary; the fact that he can parlay his skills and experience into working the best shifts on Fridays and Saturdays makes it very worthwhile for him. --Jayron32 14:24, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
I have never heard of carrying a printed sheet but my calculator and cell phone have built in tip calculating features. Rmhermen (talk) 14:50, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Some Americans seem to be obsessed with getting the tip just right, carrying around a calculator or cheat sheet. What I can't fathom is why they don't just round up to the nearest whole to give a suitably sized tip depending on the quality of the service. So, spend $9, pay $10, maybe $11. Spend $9.50, so leave $11 or $12. Spend $50, pay $60. And so on. Spend $34.93 and had really bad service? pay $35! Astronaut (talk) 18:41, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
I do that. I do either 15 or 20% and round up to the nearest whole dollar. --Jayron32 19:01, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
As for paying less than the minimum wage, why isn't that illegal? Astronaut (talk) 18:43, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Because the minimum wage law has many exceptions built into it, it only covers hourly wage employees holding down certain jobs, and there are many jobs (not just waiters, it should be said) for whom it does not apply, the article at Minimum wage in the United States only lists tipped labor (but notes that for employees whose tips do not make up the difference, employers still have to pay the minimum wage to). However, I am pretty sure that other forms of pay, including commission, piece work (esp. farm labor) and annual salary may also be exempt from minimum wage standards. I could be wrong about that, however, and I am not sure how non-hourly methods of remuneration are calculated for minimum wage purposes. However, waiters are entitled to minimum wage if their tips do not meet that standard. In practice, most good waiters at most good restaurants make much above the minimum wage (YMMV). In high school, for example, I worked in pizza delivery (basically a car waiter), and back then the minimum wage was $5.00 per hour. My boss paid me that up front (before tips); in tips on a good night I always cleared better than that. I would frequently make $100 or more on a 6 hour shift on a really good evening, $30 on a really bad evening in tips alone. So, just on tips, and just for pizza delivery tips easily matched minimum wage. YMMV as always... --Jayron32 19:29, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
I delivered papers for about a week. I don't know if it was explicitly listed as an exception or not, but the setup that existed was that I was technically an entrepreneur who purchased the papers from the publisher and sold them to the subscribers. I didn't handle any of the transactions, but if paper delivery wasn't a listed exception, that was probably the workaround. I also did some rock picking (anyone want to create an article?) on a farm for a couple of summers. In addition to being an exception to the minimum wage requirements, we were also able to start when we were around 11. Rock picking can be fun, but I doubt there are many other jobs in America that give as little amount of pay relative to the amount of effort required. The most ridiculous pay scheme I've seen in America is babysitting. Prices are rarely worked out beforehand and parents often return home late. Sometimes babysitters are generously paid, while others receive pay that doesn't come close to compensating them for their time. Ryan Vesey 06:39, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
I'm a Math teacher in Australia, and I know that some of my less successful students would struggle with almost any of the percentages mentioned here. (Maybe they could do 10%, but.....) Does the existence of tipping everywhere in the US make everyone there better at percentages, or do some people just give up? HiLo48 (talk) 06:22, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Well if you pay by debit/credit card there is a % option for tips, so no thinking/math require. Royor (talk) 06:55, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Dysfunctional families[edit]

  1. What are the core characteristics of dysfunctional families? Unfortunately, the long list of "features", "signs", "styles", etc. on the page do not give clear answer to the question.
  2. How do dysfunctional families come into existence? How do families become dysfunctional? How do individuals form dysfunctional families? How do you explain the long list of "features", "signs", "styles", etc. on the page?
  3. What are the relationships between dysfunctional family, personality disorder (either full diagnosis, PD-NOS, "subthreshold" PD, "personality problems", etc.), and "emotional immaturity"?
  4. What are the branches of psychology most commonly used to understand, explain, and heal dysfunctional families?
  5. Aside from DSM-IV's V61 codes, ICD-9's V61 codes, and ICD-10's Z codes (all very sparse), are there efforts to categorize and classify family dysfunction? Are relational disorders going to be included in DSM-5? Are there psychological tests and psychiatric rating scales used to rate family dysfunction?

Thanks for any answer. If answers to my questions are deemed too long for this page, you can always refer me to a book (scientific one, please). (talk) 05:05, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

I think one of the problems with "dysfunctional families" is who is defining what is dysfunctional (leaving aside the definition of a family), and to what end are they applying that definition. Depending on how you look at the world and what you think the aim of a family should be, then your approach to the family will differ. Just at the moment I can't think of the main theorists regarding what I've just written (brain fog combined with it's been 10 years since I taught this), but I'm sure someone will come up with it. If not I'll come back later with some names and references. --TammyMoet (talk) 10:37, 5 March 2013 (UTC) Just had a look at the article. No criticism of the concept mentioned at all. Jeez. --TammyMoet (talk) 10:41, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, we have an article on that. Which is about the best answer the reference desk can provide. But if you want random opinions, I guess you'll get a bunch of them here too. Shadowjams (talk) 12:45, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
That article's in awful shape, I might add. Shadowjams (talk) 12:46, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
I think that's highly appropriate (as above, so below, and all that). I'm surprised nobody's mentioned that all families are dysfunctional in certain ways. And probably no family is dysfunctional in every possible way. So it's just a question of degree. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 19:18, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Some other articles and stuff that might help here: Structural family therapy, Talcott Parsons, Structural Functionalism, Family Therapy, Family Stress theory --TammyMoet (talk) 13:36, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Oldest Church in Britain[edit]

St Martin's Church, Canterbury is considered the oldest church in Britain but are there any other that predate this. Are there any churches from pre-Anglo-Saxon Britain during the late Roman Empire and the subsequent century after its fall.--The Emperor's New Spy (talk) 07:31, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

No, it's "England's oldest parish church in continuous use", not "the oldest church in Britain". -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 08:21, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
I think there are some in Cornwall. Itsmejudith (talk) 08:28, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Many churches in Wales (and also in Cornwall) are dedicated to saints who lived in those centuries, and it is likely that those churches were founded in their lifetimes or shortly afterwards. The earliest unequivocal evidence of Christian worship in Wales is a plate found with a chi-rho inscription at Caerwent in Monmouthshire - Many church sites - traditionally believed to be indicated by circular or oval churchyards - derive from that period, but most early church buildings would have been built of wood and have not survived. Another candidate is the Candida Casa or White House established by St Ninian in Whithorn, southern Scotland, in the mid fifth century - again though, I don't think that material of that church survives - Ghmyrtle (talk) 08:54, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
See also Roman Britain#Christianity which, unsourced, suggests that there may have been churches earlier than Candida Casa. CambridgeBayWeather (talk) 09:07, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
St Piran's Oratory, currently being excavated, is probably the oldest church in Cornwall surviving in part and may well be an older establishment than St Martin's. Warofdreams talk 10:02, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
That's good timing - Happy St Piran's Day! Alansplodge (talk) 15:13, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
A building excavated in Colchester in the 1970s was identified as a church because of its similarity to other early Christian buildings, and its position in the middle of an identified Christian cemetery. The construction was thought to have commenced between 320 and 340 AD based on coins discovered in the foundations. Assuming that it has been correctly identified, "it is probably the earliest known Christian church in Britain." See Butt Road Roman Church and COLCHESTER ARCHAEOLOGICAL REPORT 9: Excavations of Roman and later cemeteries, churches and monastic sites in Colchester, 1971-88. According to the latter report, there are no churches anywhere that predate the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, which ended the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. Here is a picture. Alansplodge (talk) 13:47, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Our list of oldest church buildings lists three churches now thought to predate the Edict of Milan: Etchmiadzin Cathedral (completely rebuilt; was in the Christian Kingdom of Armenia, so unaffected by the Edict), plus two relatively recent discoveries. Warofdreams talk 15:17, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Not in Britain though.... Ghmyrtle (talk) 15:18, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
I stand corrected, I was paraphrasing the archeologists in the report that I linked to. It would be more accurate to say "anywhere in the Roman Empire". Alansplodge (talk) 11:04, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
  • There's also a Ship of Theseus problem when defining "oldest church". Are you asking after the oldest church building or the oldest church congregation? And by oldest do you mean oldest extant and still active/in use as such or do you mean earliest? How you mean your question will likely change the answers. --Jayron32 14:20, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Does the Catholic church have any position on extraterrestrial life?[edit]

Did God create aliens? Do they believe there is no life anywhere in the universe? What's their deal. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:20, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

That's briefly described in Extraterrestrial_life#Recent history.  Sandstein  11:24, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
As is it more than possible that any such aliens won't have signed up to an Internet Service Provider which can connect their laptops/Apple wrist-watch computers/brain-implants/etc. to Google and Google Earth, so they may not know about Jesus of Nazareth. Therefore, the Catholic Church will need to send missionaries out to them in-order to convert these aliens to Christianity and by so doing save their heathen souls. [5] Amen.. or in the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Star Ship Enterprise: “Make-it-so”. As an aside: The Vatican might find that Erich von Däniken was right and that the boot is really on the other foot.--Aspro (talk) 12:12, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Oh yes it does! AndrewWTaylor (talk) 12:33, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Not quite the same scope, but that is really cool. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 12:37, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
God created the univese, so it follows that if ET's exist, God created them also. I expect the religionist view is practical: "If ET's show up, then we'll deal with it." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:58, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
  • This has been discussed repeatedly, and any user could have looked it up at the top of the page in the archives. What's the deal with that? μηδείς (talk) 16:30, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
James Blish's novel A Case of Conscience is about a missionary who to whom these questions are crucial. --ColinFine (talk) 17:23, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes that's one of the topics that was discussed before--certainly no harm in plugging that most excellent novel again though. See also the wonderful The Sparrow. μηδείς (talk) 19:25, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
It may be an excellent novel, but if the synopsis in the Wikipedia article on it (A Case of Conscience) is accurate, then it completely misrepresents Catholic teaching and likely issues. 'Moral' beings with no religion are not actually counter to Catholic teaching, since Catholic teaching is that moral law is "written on men's hearts" (that is, natural law exists and can be derived by all) no matter whether or not they believe in God. Alien beings who follow Catholic moral teaching, despite never having heard of God, would be taken as confirmation of Catholic teaching. The Catholic Church isn't one of the groups that expects in-group members to be paragons of virtue, and out-group members to be completely depraved. So, excellent novel or not, if the article is accurate then it is a poor read for the given topic. (talk) 07:52, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Llywelyn the Great[edit]

Wales about 1217

In this image it looks like to me that Llywelyn the Great ruled by his client princes all these lands. Did he also rule the lands in green? How many lands did he rule total (directly or thru his client princes) in 1217?--Doug Coldwell (talk) 14:03, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

If you read the article you just linked, there's a caption under the picture which states "Green: Anglo-Norman lordships." These would have been lands ruled by "client princes" of the King of England and not Llywelyn. See Marcher Lord and Welsh Marches for more background. There's also a map in the "Welsh Marches" article that shows who controlled what. There are a few differences over some of the lands in the south of Wales between the two maps; this may have been simply a difference between the specific times when the maps are depicting, or perhaps interpretations of conflicting claims. --Jayron32 14:17, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Jayron32. Is Deheubarth, Ceredigion, and Ystad Tywi three (3) different lands?--Doug Coldwell (talk) 14:39, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Borders and "lands" are a little fluid and fuzzy around the edges, especially at this time. At its greatest extent, Deheubarth included ALL of southwestern Wales; it is roughly equivalent to the modern land of Dyfed, which historically was only the southwesternmost tip of Wales. Ceredigion (sometimes Cardigan) was the northern part of Deheubarth and at times independent. Ystrad Tywi is roughly south central wales. It was never an independent land, but changed hands frequently between various rulers. --Jayron32 18:47, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Thanks Jayron32! I have a lot of studying to do.--Doug Coldwell (talk) 12:26, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Patrol 35 or Patrol 36 (Israeli Neo-Nazi organization)[edit]

A question was posted at the WP:Teahouse (diff), explaining the name of the article Patrol 35 should actually be Patrol 36. The explanation was:

Some of the references given within this article also make the same mistake, calling the respective group "Patrol 35", so please don't look at just those references cited therein - if one checks the group's name by doing a general search outside of Wiki (e.g., by using Google), one can see that virtually all of the search results come up with Patrol 36. The other important point about Patrol 36 (versus Patrol 35) is that 36 (the number) is twice 18 - in effect, the name "Patrol 36" reflects the fact that it is the second style of group built along the lines of the neo-Nazi group Combat 18 (but is not a scion thereof, such as White Wolves): two times 18 is 36! (Not, of course, 35... To find out why "18" is so central to neo-Nazi ideology, check out Wiki's own article on Combat 18.

Can anybody help on it. (Google shows both[6] and I cannot determine which one is correct)? Thanks···Vanischenu「m/Talk」 14:58, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Jpost, Haaretz, and Ynetnews report them as Patrol 36. Patrol 35 might appear in many search results, but it's something else. OsmanRF34 (talk) 15:46, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
From what I can find, most high-quality sources use "Patrol 36." I've gone ahead and moved the page accordingly, but if someone thinks I'm mistaken, please feel free to revert. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 20:59, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks a lot to both of you···Vanischenu「m/Talk」 20:12, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

Making bread and wine 2000 years ago?[edit]

How were bread and wine made approximately 2000 years ago? How strong was the wine? How much could one drink before becoming intoxicated? What did the bread taste like? Is it possible to make this type of old-fashioned unleavened bread and wine in a modern-day kitchen? (talk) 15:05, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

The methods were very similar to the methods that are used nowadays. Yeast is a natural part of the environment; there is no difficulty in acquiring it. Here are the main differences: (1) bread was made using a "starter" -- a kind of fermented batter that was kept always on hand and maintained by adding flour to it each day. Many high-quality breads are still made that way. (2) The flour was generally coarser than the kind you can buy in the grocery store. (3) Wine was made in pottery jugs rather than glass bottles. Most bread was definitely leavened -- people have been making leavened bread since early biblical times. You can easily make old-style bread and wine in a modern kitchen -- all you need is flour or grapes. Looie496 (talk) 15:28, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
First take 150 gallons of water... - Cucumber Mike (talk) 17:34, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

To take one geographical area, what was then the Roman province of Syria Palaestina, the mishnah, compiled around 2000 years ago, uses the verb "mix" in place of "pour" when talking about wine. It seems that wine was stored in concentrate and then watered down when served. So to answer your question, extremely strong and not very strong, depending on whether you're talking about before or during consumption. --Dweller (talk) 20:20, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

I'm always amazed that ancient wine didn't turn to vinegar more often, but after reading our article, I get the impression that it did regularly, and so it was drank quickly. We have 3 articles of interest; the one above, and also a similar one on Rome and Phoenician wine.
The answer to your question is highly dependent on when/where you're asking about. But as far as Greece and Rome goes, ancient wine was flavored with a lot of sweetener from what I can tell. There's also some suggestion that it was quite strong; there's some line about it lighting on fire if held near a flame. How they did that without distilling, I don't know. My guess is it was pretty nasty by today's standards. Shadowjams (talk) 21:41, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
For Passover Seder, see "Matzo" and "Kosher wine".
For Passover (Christian holiday), see
Wavelength (talk) 22:01, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Yes, the OP seems to be under the impression that the bread was unleavened. In the case of Passover, it was unleavened because they were in a hurry and didn't have time to wait for the dough to rise. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:42, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
If there is enough fermentable sugars in the starting liquor then the wine could be as every bit as strong as today (there are some special yeasts available now, specifically for brewing but the the total alcohol content is not much different from wild fermentation – the modern stuff are just more pure strains). Home brewers will know that a good wife could brew excellent wine with a very simple pot and a covering cloth to stop it souring. As for bread. Khorasan wheat, Einkorn wheat and Emmer where used – sometimes with other things added. Eg., Ezekiel 4:9-17: “Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof.” These ancient grains are still available and your supplier will no doubt be able to furnish you with some good home unleavened recipes. The ancients also sprouted some of the grains before grinding, thus producing a kind of unleavened black bread malt loaf. --Aspro (talk) 22:46, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
As far as I know, the highest [drinkable] alcohol content from live yeast is the Sam Adams yeast they use in Utopias, which comes out at 27%. I guess there's Armageddon (beer), which I just now heard of... but it's technically distilled... by freeze distillation, so I don't think that counts. Does something at 27% abv light on fire? Shadowjams (talk) 22:48, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
See proof spirit. 100° proof (the value below which gunpowder won't ignite) is 57.15% abv. I'm not sure what the minimum strength for a drink to be flammable is, but I'd expect it to be more than 30%. Tevildo (talk) 01:53, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

Visas for Catholic bishops?[edit]

How do Catholic bishops get the travel documents needed to go to Vatican City if they don't have visa-free access to the EU? Would they get a transit visa from Italy? Visa policy of Vatican City redirects to Visa policy in the European Union, but the latter page doesn't give the relevant info. Indeed, I suspect that this issue gets even more complicated since Vatican City isn't part of the EU or the Schengen Area. Edge3 (talk) 15:37, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

I doubt that Catholic bishops have any problems traveling to the Vatican. In the worst case, they will have to apply for a transit visa for Italy, but since they have a sound reason to pass through the country, and a stable job, by the grace of god, getting it shouldn't be a problem. Another case would be some third world tourist, who could have problems to obtain an Italian visa. OsmanRF34 (talk) 15:53, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
You kind of have to assume the oldest continuing government on the planet has a bureaucracy in place to handle these matters ahead of time. μηδείς (talk) 16:25, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
As they will probably pass through Rome's international airport, it will not take much time to get to the Vatican, and they are very likely to be allowed in, without a visa. The 90-day tourist visa for Italy would be long enough. Even if they needed a visa to get into the Vatican (which most people don't) it would be long enough for their trip. KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 17:17, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
That's a very interesting question - and one which, it turns out, the Internet has already answered. According to this blog, any possible issues would be quickly smoothed out due to the international magnitude of the Conclave. In particular, "The first issue is that they all need to get to Rome quickly and undoubtedly, many will need visas to go there. Imagine the international outcry if one of the Papabile (favourites for election) were refused a visa to attend the Conclave. Given the global importance of the event, the Italian authorities would never even consider doing this. Were it ever an issue, then it would be open for a Cardinal to fly direct to the Vatican City State as opposed to flying to Rome airport. Given that the Vatican City State is recognised in international law, European or Italian visa restrictions could be easily circumvented.
It would also be possible for the Vatican to issue a passport to a Cardinal having immigration trouble. I have once given advice to a very senior non-European Cardinal about whether it would be easier for him to enter the UK on his Vatican (Holy See) passport or that of his home country. Either way, almost all of the Cardinals will be able to get to Rome to carry out their sacred duties."
Of course, if you actually are a Catholic cardinal travelling to Rome, this should not be taken as legal advice. If you have doubts over your immigration status, please contact The Boss. - Cucumber Mike (talk) 17:28, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Cardinals on their way to the conclave. PrimeHunter (talk) 15:35, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Wait, what? Unless you're taking a helicopter and landing in St. Peter's Square I'm not sure how you could fly directly to the Vatican City State; unless the Vatican somehow enjoys some extraterritoriality in some nearby airport. The entire country is 110 acres, and there are no landing strips for fixed wing aircraft within it. Eyeballing the two on Google Maps, it looks like Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport is actually a bit larger than the territory of Vatican City itself. --Jayron32 18:16, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Hmm. Good point. Actually, there is a heliport, as well as a station, though presumably it would still be practically impossible to enter the Vatican without first entering Italy. Nonetheless, the point made by the link I posted is that ways would be found by the Vatican, working with the Italian government, to overcome any potential issues before they occur. - Cucumber Mike (talk) 18:40, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
There is a difference here between US and European airports. If you have to stop over a US airport, you'll be entering the US (hence, you'll need at least a transit visa). In Europe, for stopovers, you are not required to apply for a visa, you won't be leaving the international area. Therefore, a bishop from any country could travel to the Vatican without any interference by Italian authorities. Although I doubt Italy has even considered blocking legit Catholic bishops of crossing its territory. OsmanRF34 (talk) 19:08, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
I'd also take issue with the issue of a papabile being unable to get to the conclave. If the cardinals who were there wanted him to become pope, they'd just elect him in absentia. (He would not have been allowed to vote for himself anyway, so his absence would actually mean an even greater vote for him than would otherwise have been the case.) Then try and keep him out of the Vatican, and see how much luck you have. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 19:09, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Thank God, no need to send the hired Swiss guns to raid the Rome Airport to rescue the bishops! Otherwise, this shall make a great Hollywood movie! Ha! Ha! -- Toytoy (talk) 15:01, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Nations without a head of state[edit]

The above question has got me to thinking: Presumably today, and for most of the past week, the Vatican City has had no Head of state. Depending on the Cardinals, it is also possible that this state could continue for some time. In most countries, heads of state who resign, are removed, or die are replaced either immediately or with little delay. My questions, therefore, are these: What other examples of head-of-state-less countries have there been? (Would Germany following the surrender of Admiral Dönitz be one such?) Do we know what is the longest time a sovereign nation has been without a head of state? And are there any penalties in international law or international relations for not having a head of state? (Note, by the way, that I understand the difference between head of state and head of government - I'm aware that countries can function for extended periods without a head of government; I want to know specifically about the role (mainly ceremonial in some countries) of the head of state. Thanks!) - Cucumber Mike (talk) 18:53, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Penalties? Who would impose such a penalty on a sovereign nation? -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 18:56, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Presumably he's using the word in the disadvantage sense[7].Dncsky (talk) 19:03, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
I don't know - that's why I asked! :-) One possibility, according to our HoS article, is that "The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations operates under the presumption that the head of a diplomatic mission (i.e. ambassador or nuncio) of the sending state is accredited to the head of state of the receiving state." I thought, therefore, that maybe a country without a functioning head of state would not be able to send diplomatic missions to other countries. I have no idea who would enforce it though. (And yes, I am using penalties as in 'some advantage that would be due to a country with a HoS that is not due to countries without) - Cucumber Mike (talk) 19:07, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Just as a point of order, the Vatican City does have an acting head of state. During Sede vacante, the role of Head of State is officially devolved to a Regency made up of the entire College of Cardinals; the secular administrative roles held by the Pope as head of state of the Vatican City continue unabated, as certain offices maintain a level of continuity. It should also be noted that there are nations that permanently have no singular head of state. Switzerland does not have a head of state; it has a Federal Council that acts as a committee to fill that role. The current situation (where the role devolves to the regency under the College of Cardinals) is not much different than that. --Jayron32 19:26, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
And Australia is chronically unable to make up its mind as to exactly who is its head of state: see Australian head of state dispute. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 19:48, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Hmm. And Ireland went for 12 years without knowing who was head of state. Nevertheless, they at least knew that someone was - as do Australians - it's just a case of which one it is. I guess that these examples suggest that it's not particularly vital to have a head of state, but in that case why would the Vatican go to the trouble of explicitly declaring what happens to the position in the absence of the Pope? And why can't I find an example of a country without one? (Or two, three or seven. - I'd seen the case of Switzerland; see also the Co-Princes of Andorra, the Captains Regent of San Marino and the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina. None of these countries could be argued not to have a head of state.) - Cucumber Mike (talk) 20:49, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, it could be argued that for much of the past two decades, Somalia has had no functioning head of state, in any form. The issue is that you're describing a situation that is not logically able to exist. Insofar as a political entity known as a "state" exists, that "state" has certain functions that need to be done. Every state takes a somewhat different take on how to do those functions, but to the definition of state itself contains the functions, the "head of state" is whatever person or persons is tasked with those responsibilities. Just off the top of my head, all states do the following basic functions:
  • Maintain a defense of the national borders
  • Maintain order within the national borders
  • Enforce the laws of the land
  • Establish and maintain relations with other states
  • Maintain a means of trade and commerce (monetary system)
  • Provide symbolic national/cultural unity for the state
  • Pay for doing all of the above (taxation and treasury)
The head of state is traditionally the organ of the state which is responsible for all of the above functions. Now, in no state does a single person do all of these jobs for the entire country. It is impossible. Different countries approach these roles differently. For example, in constitutional monarchies and some countries with a weak presidency (The UK or Israel for example) the official "head of state" only provides the symbolic role, the other roles are split off under the "head of government". In Switzerland, each role is given co-equally to a different member of the Federal Council. In nations with a strong presidency, a single person is ultimately responsible for all of these roles (the U.S. President for example) and heads an administration or government where various departments are tasked with each individual issue, but the President is still ultimately responsible as the sole Head of State. It simply isn't possible to have a functioning country where no one does these jobs, and yet is still a "state". --Jayron32 21:11, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
For a recent notable example, the office of President of Moldova was vacant for two and a half years from 2009 until 2012. The country had three successive acting presidents during that time. — Kpalion(talk) 21:52, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Hmmm... I would think the stance of the Vatican would be that upon the death or resignation of the pope, the position of head of state devolves back to Jesus Christ. Blueboar (talk) 01:39, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Do you have any sort of reference or citation for that thought? -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 01:54, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
It's possible he's being funny. Although if they managed to get Jesus on the Vatican hot line, that would be a major news story. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 06:14, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Well, the Second Coming has been predicted for over 2,000 years. Maybe we're gonna get Jesus Christ returning and becoming Pope Jesus I. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 07:14, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
The Pope's assistant dashes into his office and reports, "Jesus has returned and is headed up the stairs right now! What should we do?" The Pope says, "Well, look busy!" ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:55, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Medieval Iceland had no head of state or indeed any central government during the Icelandic Commonwealth. Any legal disputes that could not be sorted out by the local chieftains, were taken to the annual parliament or Althing. Alansplodge (talk) 10:57, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

British prisoners of war in WWI Germany[edit]

While researching in an archive, I came across some postal cards that were mailed from Karlsruhe to England (presumably via the Red Cross) in February 1918. I'm trying to figure out the postal handstamps; what do they mean? They're all the same, but they're all faint, so I'm not sure that I've transcribed them correctly.

[Top of handstamp] Gelesen und gepräft
[Bottom of handstamp] Offizier-Kriegsgefangenenlager
[Middle of handstamp]F.A.[line break]Karlsruhe

de:Kriegsgefangenenlager is a prisoner-of-war camp, so apparently this is a POW camp for officers. But what does "Gelesen und gepräft" mean, and what would F.A. Karlsruhe be? Nyttend (talk) 20:11, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Gelesen und geprüft means "read and checked/examined". --Wrongfilter (talk) 20:14, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
This site explains "F.A." as Frist abgelaufen, "waiting period expired" — for security reasons, these letters and cards were only sent off 10 days after they were written. --Wrongfilter (talk) 20:19, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
And Karlsruhe refers to the Offizierlager in the grounds of the Karlsruher Schloss, as opposed to the Durchgangslager in the former Europäischer Hof at 39, Ettlinger Strasse. - Cucumber Mike (talk) 20:31, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Amityville Horror[edit]

Searching for a long-lost book[edit]

Lately I've been looking up old favorite books from my childhood. Between my above-average memory for all things book-related and the wonders of the modern search engine, few can elude my grasp for long . . . but there's one I just can't remember and it's driving me fairly batty. It's a short novel for readers of late elementary school age, published probably in the 1970s. My copy was paperback; I don't know if it was ever issued in hardcover. I don't remember anything about the author. The title was one word, the name of a dog, not a particularly unusual name but not too common either, and not gender specific. The titular dog is the protagonist of the novel and narrates the story in the first person, addressed to a mysterious "you" whose identity is only revealed in the final paragraphs. The dog, originally a stray, is taken in by a young married couple. They assume their new pet to be male - until the first time they take her to the vet. Over the course of the story, the couple take in two or three other dogs, but all except the protagonist die by the end. The last of the dogs to die is named Happy, who runs into the highway at a rest stop while the family is moving to their new home. At the end of the book, the couple introduce their dog to their newborn baby, towards whom the dog feels an instant rush of love and protectiveness, and the baby turns out to be the "you" to whom the dog has been narrating her life story. How can I go about identifying the title and author of this book? It was so precious to me - the ending moved me to tears. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:12, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Would this have been published in the US ? Any chance it would have won a Newbery Medal or Caldecott Medal ? That would certainly limit the search. StuRat (talk) 00:39, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Yes to the first question. No to the second. I think it was one of those books that come into the world without fanfare and never get so far as a second printing. I have searched for literally dozens of dimly remembered books and found nearly all of them - I think it's safe to say this one's going to be cussedly obscure. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:03, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

And the name of the book was a boy's name ? StuRat (talk) 05:46, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

It was a dog name. Not a human name, and not gender specific. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:22, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

That's a good clue. There are only so many non-human, common, unisex, dog names, like Rex, Rover, King, Blackie, etc. It might be worthwhile to search for a book under each of those names, like: "children's book title Blackie". StuRat (talk) 22:19, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Try here . or here. Hotclaws (talk) 11:14, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. I'll give those a try. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:30, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Title: Spunky. Author: Dori Brink. Published 1980. It got to where I was just obsessively poring over lists of dog books. And I didn't actually find it in any of them, but one of them had the word "spunk" and something clicked in my brain and I did a search for "spunky" on Amazon and THERE IT WAS. It's actually back in print, which surprises me because you can look at DOZENS of lists of dog books without finding it. Anyway, I'm happy now. Thanks to everyone who offered advice.

Wow, glad you found it. I'll mark this Q resolved. StuRat (talk) 04:01, 8 March 2013 (UTC)

What happens when a priest plagiarizes a sermon?[edit]

What happens when a priest plagiarizes a sermon? Are sermons copyrighted? How does a person cite a sermon for an academic paper? (talk) 22:39, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

"...several ministers have been fired or severely rebuked for crossing the line", according to "5 Leaders Examine Plagiarism in Preaching". Then there's the prospect of eternal damnation for breaking the commandment thou shalt not steal, even if most sermons aren't copyrighted. Clarityfiend (talk) 22:56, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Whether or not Intellectual property was recognized in Biblical times, it is clear that "the prospect of eternal damnation for breaking the commandment thou shalt not steal" is a bogus claim. Ryan Vesey 23:02, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
In regards to citing it for an academic paper, I suggest using Purdue OWL to find it for the specific style you are using. I would presume a sermon should be cited as a speech. Ryan Vesey 23:02, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Sermons are 'derivatives' of the words of God. Thus the priest would probably have to agree that his expansive verbiage is copyrighted under the Creative Commons licence of: Attribution-ShareAlike CC BY-SA --Aspro (talk) 23:48, 5 March 2013 (UTC)
Not true, first the Words of God are not released under a CC BY SA license. A large number of Biblical translations are now PD; however, a possibly larger number of biblical translations are still under copyright. In any case, a derivative of a PD source is not PD or CC BY SA. Ryan Vesey 00:05, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Those that are PD (like the original source (providing they are not the King James II version)) are because they are now out of copyright. Yet, if I should render and blend my own interpretation with a current day context ( ie, a sermon) then I hold the copyright to my words and should you reproduce them without attribution I can sue you.--Aspro (talk) 00:21, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
I said nothing different. I only pointed out that sermons are not creative commons licensed. Ryan Vesey 04:20, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
For nations under the Berne Convention (most of them) all works such as sermons are copyrighted automatically as far as secular law is concerned. There is nothing legally tricky about that, despite attempts to be clever by other responders above. --Mr.98 (talk) 02:34, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
I stand corrected. Clarityfiend (talk) 04:16, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Tangentally to all the above, I believe (he weaseled) that, up until at least the 19th century, books of pre-composed sermons were printed and published explicitly for priests to use either verbatim or with their own variations. Composing one or several original public addresses of reasonable quality per week would have been a quite daunting task for many clergy hard pressed by other parishional duties. {The poster formerly known as} (talk) 12:13, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
This still happens, although I don't know that they're always published books. I've certainly heard priests read sermons they had not written, and given the particular priests in question it was usually an improvement (and very clear when they deviated from the written words). (talk) 19:20, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

"Hips on shoulders, Place!"[edit]

"It turned out that Bloom had been relieved from NCO School a week before. The story was that Bloom had been called out of ranks to give calisthenics. His first exercise had begun with the command: "Hips on shoulders, Place!" The platoon of Candidates had immediately degenerated into a disorganized and howling pandemonium. Bloom had been excused and sent back to the ranks. That afternoon he had been relieved." - James Jones, "From Here to Eternity," Chapter 34. I think there's something going on here that I'm not getting. What is it about "Hips on shoulders, Place!" that is so disgraceful and/or hilarious (besides simply sounding weird)? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:47, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

It's a roundabout phrasing for "stick your head up your ass" (think through the physical implications of "hips on shoulders"). — Lomn 01:55, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Makes sense. Should I understand then that Bloom was acting out deliberately? In context, based on my understanding of Bloom's character and the way his fellow soldiers treated him afterwards, I got the impression it was some sort of mortifying blunder. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:06, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

My reading of it was that he meant to say "hands on shoulders" or "hands on hips" but got in a muddle, issuing a command that was physically impossible. This newsreel sets the scene. Alansplodge (talk) 10:21, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Thanks. That makes sense. Poor Bloom. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:27, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Tom Short's citation[edit]

Tom Short is a campus preacher who frequents college campuses year-round to preach. Often he says roughly the same things on each visit. There was one time when he cited something about so-and-so many civilizations collapsed because of lack of strong something in order to justify the importance of his religion - Christianity - in American society. I am wondering if I may find the exact reference that this guy is referring to. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:47, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

It's certainly not his idea. Extremist preachers have been saying that for decades. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:21, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
You should be able to find the exact reference this guy is referring to... if you want our assistance in finding it you would have to tell us a lot more than you have. Blueboar (talk) 01:48, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

I don't understand the premise. If you made a list of all of the civilisations that have ever existed, it'd be a very long list indeed. The ones that survive today ones are a) very few and b) not all Christian. Furthermore, c) many of the ones that have disappeared were Christian. Every civilisation, Christian or not, that no longer exists, collapsed because of a lack of something. The extreme vagueness of your recollection may be doing this preacher a disservice, or it may be bunkum. --Dweller (talk) 11:05, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

Those characters used to make the claim, supported by no facts, that the "average" civilization lasts about 200 years at best, and that moral degredation causes it to collapse. That notion was being floated, by an amazing coincidence, around the year 1976. The British civilization, in its current form, has been around for nearly 1,000 years. The Indian civilization far longer, and they're primarily polytheists. Oops. :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:45, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
If "moral degredation" (seen through theist spectacles) causes a civilisation to collapse, it's a wonder there are any existing civilisations. --Dweller (talk) 14:40, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Amazing, ain't it? That, along with the fact that each successive generation is worse than the previous one - according to the previous one's members, at least. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:48, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

"The world's great civilizations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance; from abundance to selfishness; from selfishness to complacency; from complacency to apathy; from apathy to dependence; from dependence back again into bondage." Attributed to Alexander Tyler [8] but our article says that the first record of "The Fatal Sequence" was a speech by Henning Webb Prentis, Jr., President of the Armstrong Cork Company in 1943. Alansplodge (talk) 17:20, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

This is the best I could find, extending Alansplodge's contribution. (talk) 19:49, 6 March 2013 (UTC)

oh hey just an update that i was right and the reference desk was wrong on the negative net worth thing[edit]

so it seems that if you have no debts and $10 in your pocket, you have more net worth than 25% of americans. this was not given by the reference desk, although i explicitly asked.

so just to give an update, here is fortune saying the same thing.

it would have been nice to get a correct answer like that, but i do appreciate that you tried, and are volunteers. My question on the utility of money still did not go answered though - i am genuinely interested how the utilty of all americans compares, including the lowest, highest, and their distributions, on a logarithmic scale. (talk) 23:10, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

Keep in mind, the old accounting equation: Assets = Liabilities + Capital. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:27, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
First of all, the youtube video used 2005 wealth data. The Forbes article used 2009 wealth data (page 5, table 2). You would know this if you done your homework. :)
Now looking at the 2009 data, note the lowest bottom four-fifths own -1.4% (negativity net worth). The actual data set: [% of population, % of wealth] [0 ~ 19, -1.4], [20 ~ 39, 0.3], [40 ~ 59, 3.3], [60 ~ 79, 10.6], [80 ~ 89, 12.2], [90 ~ 94, 11.6], [95 ~ 99, 27.9], [99 ~ 100, 35.6]. So even with a 4 year differences the graph from the youtube video (@03:53) still roughly match the shape of the 2009 wealth data (difference is that -1.4% of wealth for the lowest 20% of the population is not there).
Chart fundamentally wrong? I think not.
As for the utility part of the question, call me petty but I don't think I want to help you. :P Royor (talk) 04:08, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Hmm ... the numbers seems a bit dry. To help you visualize, let say a jar of delicious Nutella equal 100% of U.S net worth. One piece of bread represent the entire U.S population. Now cut off one fifth of that bread. There is no Nutella on that piece, in fact it will supply the other pieces an extra 1.4% of a jar of Nutella to the other pieces. Now take a bread crumb (perhaps a small piece of the edge) (the 1%) and spread a bit more than 1/3 of the entire jar of chocolate on it, and so on. There you go, enjoy your sandwich. Royor (talk) 04:48, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
The lowest quintile of Americans has had negative net worth for the past 50 years[9], so it doesn't matter if the video used the 2005 data or the 2009 data. The video showed a slightly positive net worth for the lowest quintile for illustrative purposes only, since it's apparent that the lowest quintile and the second lowest quintile are shown with exactly the same amount of net worth[10].Dncsky (talk) 05:35, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
True, but the original question was whether negative net worth would skew the graph. With a -1.4% area (for 2005 it would probably be -0.5%) under the x-axis spread over from 0 ~ 19 (translation: a sliver of a line drawn under the x-axis for the bottom 20%) vs a 101.4% (100.5% for 2005) area above the x-axis the graph is in no way "fundamentally wrong". Royor (talk) 06:00, 6 March 2013 (UTC)
Hi, OP here. This is what I mean: the chart implies, though does not state, that those people near the x-axis have practically no utility, maybe the air they breath but that's it. It evokes imagining a crumb. But if we saw the people who enjoy less than no net wealth, we quickly see that they must still breathe and eat something, otherwise they would have died years ago. So, the nutella example shows the truth: if nutella were utility, you wouldn't have negative nutella on anyone, because they would not even be alive if they didn't enjoy any utility at all. The real truth is this. We should all be clear that a gourmet meal is logarithmically several times better than a $1 bag of chips which the person might not even want to eat, knows is unhealthy, but is the only thing they can afford. But if the gourmet meal cost $249 at a great new york restaurant, only linearly can it be considered to grant "249 times as much utility" - and, in fact, due to diminishing marginal utility maybe not even linearly. I am sure some people eating a gourmet meal would have preferred junk food - chips - at some points in time. So what I am saying is that the curve would look like that: and I would like to have your help determining the distribution of utility at the right. (talk) 08:34, 6 March 2013 (UTC)