Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/Humanities/2006 October 2

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Religion[edit]

hii... Does any one know the nature and significant of public worship in a Synagogue for individuals and for groups

Yes, Jews do. Try clicking on synagogue.--Shantavira 08:20, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

It's probably "significance". As with many questions pertaining to Judaism, the answer should begin "It depends..." Check this out:

(And I'm just warming up) --Dweller 16:02, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

The emphasis of this question is rather difficult to decipher as it can pertain to so many different aspects of Jewish worship. But I'll take a shot in the dark here and assume that the questioner is asking specifically about the role of the synagogue and praying in groups vs. individual private worship.
First off, the actual physical structure known as a "synagogue" is rather insignificant, except for two things that come to mind regarding what is contained within it. First, most synagogues have an "ark" where the Torah scrolls are kept, and are extremely important for certain rituals (most importantly, for reading from them); and second, many rituals and prayers require a minyan, that is, a "quorum" of ten adult (over 13 years old) males (at least according to Orthodox Judaism they must be male, as I'm quite certain that certain other traditions, such as Reform Judaism allow for females to count as part of the "minyan"). Other prayers and rituals do not require a "minyan" and can be done in private. But as I said, the actual physical structure known as a "synagogue" is rather irrelevant. So long as there is an ark and a minyan is present, for what it matters, the services can just as well be performed in an open field. But then again, I'm not sure of the emphasis of the question, so I'm not really sure if this is the aspect the questioner was getting at. Loomis 18:21, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Loomis covers the "significance" angle pretty well. "Nature" is a big question and is again very variable. There's everything from the solemnity of Yom Kippur through the sadness of Tisha B'Av to the madness of Simchat Torah. Re the latter, read Samuel Pepys diary. Of all the days in the year for him to choose to visit a synagogue (Bevis Marks?) he chose Simchat Torah, with predictable results. --Dweller 19:07, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

neuro-esthetics[edit]

Hi,

My name is Erik Dormaels and I'm preparing a dissertation on the subject of neuro-esthetics. I would like to contact Oliver Elbs who seems to have done the job already. Can someone help me? Oliver Elbs is mentioned in the bibliography of the Wikipedia article about Neuro-esthetics: Elbs, Oliver (2005): Neuro-Esthetics. Mapological foundations and applications. Munich. (Dissertation).

Thanks in advance,

Erik Dormaels (e-mail address removed)

You can find Oliver Elbs's e-mail address on this website (scroll down a bit).---Sluzzelin 09:34, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Place name in Nepal[edit]

In a partly illegible text, there's a mention of a place name at the source of the Kali Gandaki River. It appears to be something like "Naipul" or "Neipol" (? – only the "N" and "L" are clear). Nothing similar appears on the List of cities in Nepal or the Category:Cities and towns in Nepal, or in the Geography section of the Nepal page, and I've found nothing relevant in any Google search. It's possibly a geographic (place) name rather than an inhabited settlement, so I don't know where/how else to search further -- I'd appreciate your help! -- Thanks, Deborahjay 12:49, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

The only semi-fitting place name I found near the source was 'Nyi La', which is a mountain pass (altitude: 3950m or 12,959ft) above the valley a bit downstream from the source. I also found 'Namghyat', further north, but it lacks an 'L'. Here's a google image search of 'Mustang' and 'map'. Maybe you, or someone else, can locate it. (My computer takes forever to load some of the maps).--- Sluzzelin

More about the place: it's (initially, at least) accessible by bus and serves as the starting point for [amateur] rafting trips down the Kali Gandaki. If a climb to a mountain pass would be involved, as web descriptions of treks including Nyi La show, that's not quite consistent with the description in the text I'm reading -- so I'm not sure it's the same place. -- Deborahjay 14:47, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Nilgiri ? Actually a mountain which seems to be the source of one branch of the river. MeltBanana 14:56, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

... and here it is: Nayapul! :-D Deborahjay 17:53, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Short form for engineers[edit]

What is the internationally accepted abbreviation for engineers? Is that Ing.(as in european countries) or Er.(as in India and neighbouring countries).Is there an internationally accepted logo for engineers or civil engineers?

That was asked before, about a month ago, and I believe the answer was that there is no international standard. Every country has its own abbreviations. It also depends on which level of engineer. In the Netherlands, a university engineer is 'ir' and a HTS enigneer is 'ing'. DirkvdM 18:46, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
In any case, 'engineer' is still not an occupation which garners much honour in England, so the word simply does not occur as a title. I don't know how far the same is true in other English-speaking areas. ColinFine 23:25, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
In Australia, I think it's a listing of their qualification after their name, so someone with a Bachelor of Engineering Degree would be "John Smith, B.Eng." --Canley 02:27, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
In the US one might see "John Smith, BSEE, PE" indicating Smith has a Bachelors in electrical engineering and is a Professional Engineer, having attained experience and recommendations and having passed special exams. Without it , he can't be a consulting engineer or sign plans.Edison 04:39, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Yes, B.Eng exists in England too. I thought toriginal poster was asking about titles, but I can see they might have meant in degree abbreviations as well. --ColinFine 08:21, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
In the U.S, putting Ing. or Er. after your name would not tell people you were an engineer, unless they were from India or Europe.Edison 15:44, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
In India and Nepal almost all engineers put Er. before their Name eg Er. Rajendra.amrahs 17:14, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

Replacing your victim[edit]

I'm trying to remember or find a story I once read. The details are a little hazy, so I can't easily search for it. In the story, a story is being told to someone else about a man who kills someone's son. That person (the killer) then has to replace the victim, go and live with the family, become their son in all respects.

Any idea where I pulled this from in my memory? TrekBarnes 19:50, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Although I'm not positive, the short bit of plot you supplied sounds strangely familiar to The Talented Mr Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. Could that possibly be it? --Hunter85014 02:51, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

In what key did Victoria originally write his "O Magnum Mysterium"?[edit]

Thomas Luis de Victoria's motet "O Magnum Mysterium" is in the Dorian mode. It appears to be transposed in the versions I have seen, which are mostly in B flat, with a key signature of four flats. What key was it originally performed in?

What voices originally performed this piece? (As, men and boys, for example.) Were the voices in the same vertical position, or have any of the voices subsequently been placed in a different octave. Thank you very muchy. BillWhite 20:06, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

According to [1], a choral music wiki, it is SATB. Looking at the time it was written (late 16th, early 17th century?), I thought sacred music of the time would be sung entirely male voice, but I wouldn't be sure of that. Skittle 21:29, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Thanks. Frankly, I haven't a clue. Now, on the question of what was the original key for this motet, let me attempt to answer my own question as best I can, in the hopes of spurring a further response. Editions of the motet in B flat (ecclesiastical dorian, with four flats) are described as transposed. We have more freedom today in choosing the written key, whereas perhaps Victoria had more freedom in choosing the realised key. Furthermore, concert pitch has risen considerably over the centuries. The assumed limitation on available written keys in Victoria's day presents us with D (dorian, no flats or sharps), G (one flat) or A (one sharp) as the likely, perhaps only, possibilities. The greatest range difficulty for the D version is the high A appearing throughout in the Tenor, which is far more difficult today than in Victoria's day even assuming he was particular to deliver it in the written pitch. On the other hand, the setting in G might present the biggest difficulty in the Bass line which descends to F a great deal. A transposition from G to B flat gives freedom to all parts. But in truth I do not know the original key, and hope one day to see the answer here. BillWhite 17:33, 6 October 2006 (UTC)

In the first printed edition of 1573 there is one flat in the signature, with the first note in the soprano being A. The final cadence is on G, making it dorian mode transposed to G: G A B-flat C D E F G. Originally it would have been sung with boy sopranos on the highest part and men on the lower three parts. Today it is often transposed up in order to use female altos on the second part from the top.

Gambling in the US[edit]

Why is gambling illeagel in so many US states, and now online gambling aswell, even when based outside the US (does your government have that kind of authority!?). I mean surely something as popular as gambling that causes no harm to the stability of society by comparison to many things that you are allowed to do, by making it illeagel, surely all the US gov't is doing is not hindering gambling (as people who want to do it, will find a way) but just criminalising all gamblers, and meaning that all of the money goes into crime, i.e. gambling surely could be used as a gang front, much as alcohol was during your prohibition thingy, so basically, I'm not trying to satart an argument of be inflammatory, or deragatory to americans, I just dont understand the motives for it, and was hopen someone could enlighten me. Philc TECI 20:51, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Speaking form the UK, we've recently had a lot of discussion on this with the licencing of big casinos and loosening of some laws on gambling. Previously, we have had relatively low rates of problem gamblers and some people fear that making it easier to gamble, and to gamble large amounts, will change this. For example, I think there was a law that in order to go into a casino and gamble, you had to be a member. In order to become a member there was a 24 hour 'cooling off' period. The theory was that if people could just wander off the street and gamble as much as they wanted, on a whim, this would encourage problem gambling.
Incidentally, do we have an article on the US laws on gambling and the recent situation with certain British and Irish citizens unwilling to set foot in the US in case they're arrested for running online casinos? Skittle 21:21, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
Gambling in the United States but no mention of online gaming. Rmhermen 21:29, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I found some stuff in Online_gambling. Still doesn't make a lot of sense to me (the arrests), but it's there. Skittle 21:58, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I heard it pointed out (on BBC radio) today that the new ruling by Congress would hit online casinos (many of which are British companies, though they do a lot of business in the US) but that other kinds of online gambling such as on horse racing - which is coincidentally run mainly by US companies - would not be affected. ColinFine 23:30, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

The position of most state governments in the US is that gambling is highly immoral and should be totally banned, unless they get a cut, in which case it should not only be allowed, but actively promoted by the government, with taxpayer dollars. StuRat 00:47, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

As far as the authority of the U.S. gov't mentioned in the OP's first couple sentences... From what I understand, the law they wanted to pass would make it illegal for credit card companies to process transactions for U.S. citizens if the charges were going to the online casinos. In that sense, yes, the gov't does have the authority to step in since they are making laws for U.S. credit card companies and not making laws dealing directly with the casinos. Dismas|(talk) 01:46, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Gambling is a bit like cigarettes. Governments know they're harmful, and dutifully insist on health warnings on packets, but still reap colossal revenue by way of excise. JackofOz 04:17, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
I agree with that, the only difference being, (and I can only speak for Canada here,) that while the government pretty much forbids every type of advertisement for cigarettes, and insists that cigarette companies include huge gory pictures of cancerous lungs and messages such as "Cigarettes Can Kill You"; for gambling, they actually promote government lotteries and government owned casinos with catchy advertisement campaigns on TV, albeit with a small qoute at the end "if you have a gambling problem, please call [the following toll free help-line]". That's where they're being hypocrites. If they truly wanted to provide an outlet for those hard core gamblers who would just go underground and gamble illegally anyway with a legal means of gambling, why spend money on ads encouraging it? I don't know if this is the case in other countries. Loomis 07:23, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
On the other hand, the stupidity tax (lottery) is unique, a way for governments to tax the feeble-minded and have them be happy about it. There aren't many chances like that. StuRat 11:12, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Gambling is highly immoral and stupid, but so are lots of things, like most adrenaline sports, smoking, gun cultures, car cultures and fast food cultures, america features all of those things, some head and shoulders above the rest of the world, so why do they pick on the gamblers, every week in the UK we hear about another american breaking into a school/shop/office, taking a load of hostages and shooting some of them. So I just dont understand why they see gambling as more of a problem, than so many of the things that they allow. Philc TECI 17:52, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Philc, the answer to your question is that governments do not act rationally, least of all the government of the United States. Also, U.S. politics, especially internal politics, is rife with hypocritical moralism, particularly regarding anything considered a "sin," such as gambling. Marco polo 20:09, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Phil, I think you're taking things a bit too far. It's not exactly legal in the US for Americans to break into schools/shops/offices, take a load of hostages and shoot them. In fact nothing could be more illegal. It's true that (in my opinion) the Second Ammendment is ridiculously outdated and I hold such a radical (left-wing!) view AGAINST guns that I actually think the ammendment should be repealed outright. The opposition to gun control from folks like the NRA is, to me, ridiculous. First, "sport hunting", no matter how much "fun" it may be to some, call me crazy, but just isn't a good enough rationalization for the approximately 30,000 gun-related deaths in the US each year (compared to a very, very minute fraction of that statistic per capita in Canada or the UK). Is "sport hunting" REALLY that important? For goodness sake, it would actually, technically speaking, be far easier for the US Government to refuse to grant you a fishing license than a gun permit! As for the "well regulated militia" part, first of all, has anyone ever noticed that the Second Ammendment is the only one that actually begins with a rationale? "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State...". Leads one to wonder if this rationale is still relevant in any sense. All those farmers with shotguns really helped to prevent 9/11, didn't they!
But as always, I'm getting off topic. To pick a few of your examples, sure, adrenaline sports may be stupid, but what do you care? What harm does it do to you? As for the car culture, I think your statement may be rather innacurate. Look at the continent. Look at the Autobahn and all those Mercedes and BMW's flying by at 100+ mph (160+ kph), While the speed limit in the US, Canada and the UK is a far more reasonable is 65mph (100kph). As for smoking, what can be done? Prohibition? That didn't work with alcohol, it sure as hell wouldn't work with tobacco, and it's never worked with gambling. I disagree with the implications of the previous post to some degree that it is the "norm" for governments to act irrationally. To me it's quite rational, as "the lessor of two evils" to allow government regulated alcohol, tobacco, and gambling. The alternative has proven to be a failure. Prohibit it all and you'll only be creating new and profitable businesses for the underworld. I suppose, then, that the next best thing is to impose what Stu calls a stupidity tax (or what we call up here, as a sort of nonsensical pun, a "sintax"). Believe me, gambling can do a GREAT DEAL of harm. Just look at all those poor slobs spending their entire welfare check on legal VLTs the first of every month, with nothing left to feed their starving families. At least tobacco smokers can live productive, responsible (albeit shortened) lives, and don't blow their weekly paycheque every Friday on smokes. So rather than prohibit gambling and have it go underground, where only organized crime would benefit, they do the next best thing and give the poor gambling addicts a government lotto to have their fun with. At least the profit goes into the government's coffers, rather than lining the pockets of gangsters. What still pisses me off, though, is why they have to spend some of that profit advertising it, and actually encouraging all the more people to get hooked. Loomis 21:58, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Ok, the things I listed weren't things I expected the government to fix, but rather bad things which, accepably, do nothing about, and I just didnt see how gambling was any different. I too have a strong anti gun policy, the things are useless if you have no need to shoot anything, which unless you are in a war, you dont. They say guns dont kill people, people kill people,... yeh, with guns. Theres no way these people could hold a whole school of kids hostage with a knife. So yeh...
Fair point, gun crime is far from legal, but making something illeagel isnt all the government can do to prevent things happening, but I suppose as an outsider I dont know if they are doing anything to curtail gun crime, but given the stigma, I would highly doubt they are. But yeh, considering all of this free country stuff americans say, and freedom, and all that rubbish, it seems more and more of their rights are stripped away every day.
Also when I said car culture, I wasnt really reffering to speed, as modern vehicles, with a relatively co-ordinated dfriver can easily handle 100mph+, I was more reffering to the growing attitude that if you have a car, you should drive it if you go anywhere, no matter how short the distance or the alternative transports or anything but yeh. Anyway. I dunno. Cheers anyway. Philc TECI 22:42, 3 October 2006 (UTC)


The recent case of a gunman shooting down 5 school girls in US is a valid case at the point. The shooter was suffering from mental sickness and went on molesting young girls. This shows a clear sign of improper parenting and guidance and to what extent can pornographic content can do harm. When there is abuse of freedom then such are the examples of lawlessness & high degree of insanity. Why is prostitution still illegal in many countries ? Is porn industry and gambling not viewed as options to make money?? Whats the difference? All avenues just being created as a consequence of lack of education???

Reads like an attempted straw man. Note that the porn industry is not illegal, and I have no bloody idea what you're going on about. -- Consumed Crustacean (talk) 21:22, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Agreed, his arguments goes on the basis that prostitution and gambling are the same thing, and therefore since prositution is wrong, gambling is wrong. Curious point of view, but yeh, a straw man. Philc TECI 21:27, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
It also concludes without any logical argumentation that pornography leads to sex-crimes, when many would argue the opposite to be true; that is, that to a certain extent pornography can actually serve a positive societal purpose. Many would argue that pornography can act as a harmless sexual outlet, precluding the need of certain potentially dangerous sex-offenders from actually going about committing sex-crimes. I wouldn't at all be surprised to find out that sexually repressive regimes that not only forbid pornography, but go so far as to forbid women from exposing most if not all of their bodies in public would have quite a high rate of sex-crimes. Of course there's no way of me checking up on this stat, as I'm pretty sure that the Taliban or similar sexually repressive regimes wouldn't keep reliable records of such statistics. Now if that gunman would only have picked up a copy of Hustler and got his jollies that way rather than repressed his sexuality to the point where he felt compelled to commit such reprehensible sex-crimes and eventually go on a shooting rampage, perhaps all of his horrific crimes could have been averted. Yes, Hustler may be cheap smut, but it's a hell of a lot better than sexual repression. Loomis 13:30, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

The arguments against pornography would have been undoubetdly higher. Sexual repression is not the point of debate. Stop deviating from the subject and dont abuse freedom. There is a perfect case for abuse of freedom. There are many sex offenders in the US, many gals go missing at young ages. The divorce rates are high. Some get addicted to porn to an excessive extent. The passion behind romance gets lost,there is absolutely no patience. There are various side-efftects to addictive porn. Why is it that the reader is deliberately arguing against taliban & other sexually repressive regimes? Everything has its own limits. Sexual repressiveness is equally bad. It all varies with the state of mind.

I have at least a good half-dozen responses that would all very easily destroy the above argument. (And whatever faults I may have, I'm pretty sure that most editors who know me here know that I'm anything but ever at a loss for words!) Yet I've simply had ENOUGH of the unsigned comments. How am I supposed to know if the above anonymous coward is the same anonymous coward as the previous anonymous coward? How can I build an argument without knowing who said what? SIGN your comments, write a COHERENT argument, and no one would be happier than me to respond to it in a civilized manner. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong. I'll be the first to admit it, and in fact, I HAVE admitted it on many occasions. But I've simply had enough of the "guerrilla debate" going on here. Some anonymous coward pops up, makes an abrasive yet incoherent comment, and then scurries off into nowhere, only for another anonymous coward (likely the same as the last, but hard to say) to pop up and do the same. I call it cowardice, because, unlike myself, you have no courage to say what you feel, be it right or wrong, and have the courage to PUT YOUR NAME TO IT. When I'm right, I enjoy the praise, and when I'm wrong, I SUFFER THE EMBARRASSMENT. Like I've said, I'd love to debate the pornography thing, but I refuse to debate with anonymous cowards who refuse to put their NAME on the line. Put YOUR NAME to it, (it doesn't matter if it's a pseudonym like mine, personal privacy is important, so don't feel compelled to put your "real" name. Yet it still serves the same purpose, that of forming a reputation, for being RIGHT or WRONG,) and I'll be more than glad to put MY NAME (and reputation) on the line in responding. Loomis 22:13, 5 October 2006 (UTC)

There is a serious problem with the attitude of the youth who indulge in such pleasures(porn) and whats even worse is that the west makes it a question of choice. There clearly reflects the attitude of the west towards the lack of compulsive educational training & Faith isnt practiced on a constant basis and the distractions are simply too much which erodes the necessity of education. Impatience for desires is the root of everythng. The side effects of porn do outweigh the benefits.The laws should put a ban against hard-core abusive porn. The weakness is in the MINDUser:kj_venus

14:57, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
(Sorry guys, for feeding the troll, but I'm just too curious). KJ, you speak of the "west". Where in the "east" are you? Perhaps if you revealed that much we'd be able to have a civilized discussion about it. Give us an example of a "better" legal system that apparently prohibits porn, and then we'd have a real discussion! Loomis 03:54, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Mit Hitler in Polen[edit]

I work in a library, and a patron brought me a copy of the book, "Mit Hitler in Polen" by Heinrich Hoffmann and wanted to know how much it was worth. It appears to be autographed by Himmler - I couldn't tell if it was a genuine autograph, of course. I checked Google, but didn't find much. Does anyone out there know about this book, and is there a chance that the autograph is genuine? --Shuttlebug 21:13, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

A quick search shows me that the book itself is probably worth about $20 (value may vary depending on condition). I don't know how you would authenticate the signature, but one site I found listed an asking price of $2999.[2] Durova 22:10, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

I guess what I really need to know is, is it even possible that Himmler would have signed this book, since he didn't write it? I didn't have time to look at the book for very long, but the signature seemed similar to ones shown on the internet.--Shuttlebug 01:40, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

I did some further research on Google, and the only copies I could find for $20 were DVD reproductions. There were only a few copies of the original book, and those were $150 (and already sold). And those had no autograph. Does anyone know how to get an autograph authenticated?--Shuttlebug 05:03, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Google gave plenty of returns for "autograph authentication." Durova 15:02, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

i need help!!!!!!!!!!!!![edit]

i need images of different ethnic groups (drawings preferably) for my 5 year old son's kindergarden homework and im completely lost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In Google Images, enter for example [drawing chinese] in the search box, and a few result pages down you'll find this image. Repeat for other ethnic groups.  --LambiamTalk 00:11, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Hmmm, that ethnic group looks Central European to me, possibly gypsy or something... =S 惑乱 分からん 11:41, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

your five year old needs to do an ethnographic project (is he in some sort of kindergarden for the super-gifted) and you are doing it for him, and are now asking us to do it for you?? dab () 15:10, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Politics and Science[edit]

are politics more important than science in decision making

I may just be pessemistic, but this sounds like a homework question. Look it up in your textbook. Яussiaп F 23:56, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

If you mean "Are US national policy decisions made based on political considerations rather than scientific reasons ?", then yes, they are. Decisions on stem cell research funding, RU-486, marijuana legalization, the Iraq War, global warming & environmental policy, NASA funding, national energy policy, etc., are made based on political, rather than scientific, considerations. Those political reasons are, in turn, influenced by the Christian Fundamentalists, and, in the case of national energy policy, the US petroleum industry. StuRat 00:22, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

If you mean in a democracy, then yes. To get votes you need to do what the people think is right. Alas that is a judgement that is rarely based on actual knowledge. Take climate change for example. The scientific community pretty much agrees that we're heading for disaster, or at least that there is a good chance we are. There is more certainty here than politicians usually have to base their major long-term decisions on. However, if the scierntists don't manage to convince the voters of this, politicians will do nothing about it. Well, some would, but they don't get the required votes. This is the major pitfall of democracy. That said, is there a decent alternative? I have thought of giving people different voting rights, depending on their fields of expertise. Still thinking on that, though. And if that would mean that most people would have to relinquish much of their voting powers to others (people with a higher education), wuold they be willing to do so (ie vote for a party that proposese that)? DirkvdM 05:49, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
I support the idea of direct democracy to solve this issue. Presumably, most voters would only vote on items in fields which interest them. For example, teachers and parents would be more likely to vote on issues related to the education curriculum. You could either rely on apathy to keep voters away from issues in which they have no interest, or limit the number of votes each voter may participate in, say to 10% of the total votes, with them making the choice. This might be better to keep extremists, like Christian fundamentalists, from having a disproportional influence on society, as they do in the US currently. StuRat 11:07, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
Wow, a political issue we agree upon. Late reaction (been away for a few days), so I hope you will still read this and witness this incredibly rare event. This would have to be a neighbourhood democracy, though, which would have the added advantages of bringing politics to the people and letting alienated city people get to know their neighbours. Do you agree with me on that too? DirkvdM 19:01, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
I'm not sure what a "neighbourhood democracy" means. I'd set it up so everyone can vote online or by phone (with computers and phones provided in libraries for those who don't have them). StuRat 20:01, 7 October 2006 (UTC)
My idea was more of a Greek type of democracy (without the exclusion of women and slaves, that is), where people get together to discuss things. I've experienced this at a rainbow gathering, where it worked quite well. Even kids could join in. But since a consensus had to be reached discussions went on for a long time and only those who sat through an entire discussion could vote. This guaranteed that only those who were interrested and listened to all the arguments were part of the decision process. Of course the kids didn't hang around long enough for that, but they did get a good example of how a proper discussion was held. And I noticed that the kids there were much more reasonable (literally) than kids usually are. And because everybody could have joined in the discussion they were more willing to accept the decisions.
Of course it would be nice if this could also be done on the Internet, but then there would be no guarantee that people had read all the posts, so a different selection criterium might be needed, such as expertise. Other people could still read the entire discussion, though, which might be a good idea. Also, the neighbourhood dsicussions will also require some outside expertise in certain fields and maybe the decisions should be restricted to neighbourhood issues. This could, however, lead to the election of a neghbourhood representative who takes part in the city counsil and functions as a communication channel between the city and the various neighbourhoods. All this is part of my idea of societies going more small scale, focusing on local abillities and initiatives in stead of the big companies and governments making decisions without any 'grassroots' knowledge (I think that's the term). DirkvdM 06:42, 8 October 2006 (UTC)
And in a dictatorship, it's whatever the dictator thinks is right. B00P 08:58, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
See also public choice theory, rational choice theory, and social choice theory.---Sluzzelin 08:45, 3 October 2006 (UTC)