Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2006 November 9

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November 9[edit]

The Autumn Leaves[edit]

One of my favourite popular songs is the jazz standard Autumn Leaves, which I've heard an uncountable number of times sung by many different singers. I heard it again today on the radio, and for the very first time it occurred to me that the following verse is incorrect:

  • Since you went away the days grow long
  • And seen soon we'll hear old winter's song.

That's odd, I thought. Don't the days grow short in autumn and winter, and long in spring and summer? I realise that 'short' doesn't rhyme with 'song', but wouldn't it have made more sense - scientifically, emotionally, poetically and romantically - to moan about the nights growing long? Or was that perhaps a little too suggestive for 1949, when Johnny Mercer wrote the English-language lyrics? Other explanations would include poetic licence, and ignorance. Or maybe he's just saying that every day passes a lot more slowly now that you've gone. Any thoughts? Are there any other examples of song lyrics containing scientific howlers? JackofOz 02:43, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

There's no real scientific howler per se, but have you ever heard Mose Allison's Your Molecular structure? You might get a kick out of it. Sample at amazon (low fidelity dammit).--Fuhghettaboutit 03:27, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Autumn Leaves isn't a literal translation of the French original, and looking at the translation it doesn't seem very similar at all, though the theme is the same. Maybe Mercer took a holiday in Australia and got confused.  freshofftheufoΓΛĿЌ  03:42, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I think your last interpretation is correct ("every day passes a lot more slowly now"). Given Johnny Mercer's level of sophistication, I wouldn't doubt that the paradox was intentional. Poetic license? Yes indeed. For a more recent example of scientific howlers in music, see how Simon Singh reacted to Katie Melua's Nine Million Bicycles.---Sluzzelin 03:46, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Cool. Ta. JackofOz 03:54, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
"Grow short" actually strikes me as quite oxymoronical... 惑乱 分からん 11:13, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, at first glance this may be so. "Grow" here is used in the sense of "become". Seems this song is full of undreamt paradoxes. That's what true art is all about, in my view. No matter how many times you see a great painting or hear a great piece of music or read a great set of words, there's always more to be discovered. JackofOz 02:33, 10 November 2006 (UTC)


What is cuba's view on microloans in Latin America? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

Domestically speaking, Cuba seems hesitant; The Havanah Jounral says that "the current Cuban regime is unlikely to embrace the [microloan] project." I don't know how Cuba feels about microloans in the rest of Latin America, though. Dar-Ape 04:17, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

The Rights of Women in Religion[edit]

What is cuba's view on the rights of women in religion?

This seems sort of an odd question; Cuba (I assume you mean the Cuban government) has views on women's rights (generally quite positive, as with most Socialist countries -- although of course Cuba's general restrictions on human rights apply to women), and they have views on religion and religious rights (while historically restrictive, relaxing significantly in the last 15 years to the point that Pope John Paul II visited the island). But surely the view on the rights of women in religion is the responsibility of the religion, not the country. Wahabbist Muslims, were there any in Cuba, would have quite restrictive views on the rights of women in religion. Wiccans, were there any in Cuba, would have very liberal views on the rights of women in religion. The most common religion in Cuba is the Roman Catholic Church, which is not without criticism for their views on women. --ByeByeBaby 06:44, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

What is the cuban government's policy on the rights of women in religion? What are solutions that can equalize women in religion around the world? As religion goes, how can women overcome being inferior to men? How can women get more rights aside from just being expected to take care of the household?

This question has been answered, with precision and clarity, in the above. No further comment is necessary. Clio the Muse 06:57, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
To be fair, the answer above does not answer the questions about how women can overcome religious discrimination. Historically, rights are seldom won without some kind of a power struggle, and I think this is also true of women's rights. Examples include women's suffrage and the feminist movements, advanced by organizations such as the U.S. National Organization for Women. Strategicaly, a Cuban women's movement would have to decide whether it would be worthwhile trying to reform Roman Catholicism, probably the leading religion in Cuba, given that it is a powerful international organization whose strongly held principles (for example, an exclusively male clergy, limits on reproductive freedom) limit women's rights. Arguably, a Cuban women's movement might have more success within Cuba by calling on women to abandon Roman Catholicism (for example, by abandoning religion altogether or by creating or joining religious groups that promote gender equality). Marco polo 14:17, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Though intelligent comments such as yours, Marco, are always welcome, it should be noted that this is at least the third time this question has been asked here today. The questioner is obviously abusing the RefDesk by repeatedly asking essentially the same question over and over. At this point, I'm with Clio, the questioner, having had a multitude of responses, yet still abusing the RefDesk, should, at this point, be ignored. Loomis 03:11, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Music inversion[edit]

If the C major scale triad is C-E-G, or 3 + 3b, minor is C-D#-G, right? How about the first inversion? Should I take the third from the root note of the MINOR triad, then apply the same triad, OR take the third from the root note of the MAJOR, then apply the minor triad? Thank you - 07:42, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

The C minor triad is C-Eb-G (Eb and D# may be the same key on your piano, but functionally it's not the same thing.) For the first inversion you pick whatever third applies for the lowest note - major third for the inversion of a major triad, minor third for the inversioin of a minor triad.---Sluzzelin 10:04, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, um, Eb. Thanks again - Imoeng 10:15, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

You're welcome. Btw, using your interval notation, and starting from the lowest note, the first inversion of a major triad would consist of 3b + 4, and the first inversion of a minor triad would be 3 + 4. ---Sluzzelin 10:39, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Need help identifying a song[edit]

All I definitely remember about the lyrics is the opening, "Good morning sunshine", and it's definitely not the song with the same title by Aqua which is hindering me greatly when trying a google search. The chorus basically consists of nonsense lyrics with some syncopation and triplets thrown in - I'd probably be able to make a crude midi track if it'd help. I'd say it was released some time around the 60's or 70's as I heard it a few times on oldies radio stations. It was sung by an all-male group. Does this sound familiar? Graham87 12:28, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

"Good morning Starshine" from the Hair musical? 惑乱 分からん 12:41, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that looks like it. Thanks, Graham87 12:48, 9 November 2006 (UTC)


Does someone out there know any corpora of spoken language online for free with a scientific quality?

Are you referring to sound samples? 惑乱 分からん 17:37, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
You can find a miscellany of free science-related recordings here, but with such a broad search term there isn't much or organization - its a headless corpus. Lowerarchy 17:52, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
The University of Michigan has free archive of conversations organized into a corpus. Check it out here. --Cody.Pope 20:21, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Well, any sound sample of real speech would be nice. Transcribed or not. 21:24, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I remember there is a corpus of English speech for speech recognition purposes, made by the US government as a challenge for such software. No details, sorry. -- Rwst 15:50, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

longest serving in house[edit]

Trivia question, who is the longest serving member of the house of representatives, in all US history? Amists 16:16, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

If no other articles can be found, List of former members of the United States House of Representatives might be an interesting (albeit difficult) place to start.
You might also take a look at the Dean of the United States House of Representatives to narrow it down. Lowerarchy 17:38, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Jamie L. Whitten, according to his article. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 18:22, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
This guy got elected a lot. Thanks very much jpgordon Amists 00:02, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
As a sidenote, Michigan Rep. John Dingell, who was just reelected, will surpass Whitten in about two years. Newyorkbrad 01:53, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
You think that's a long time: John D. Dingell's predecessor in the district was his father, John D. Dingell Senior, who held the seat for 22 years. There's been a John D. Dingall in that seat since 1933!! --Charlene 11:53, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Wow, that's long. Our longest serving parliamentarian was Billy Hughes, who only managed a paltry 51 years of continuous service (1901-1952). JackofOz 06:06, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Ah, but Jack, Hughes was also a member of the New South Wales colonial parliament from 1894 until 1901, giving The Little Digger 58 years of continual service. --Roisterer 06:49, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
How very true. But not service to the same legislature. Would Whitten's term be a world record, and if not, who? JackofOz 06:27, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Live broadcast[edit]

When a speech is being broadcast live on several TV stations, how can the picture and sound be a second or fraction of a second out of sync? 16:59, 9 November 2006 (UTC) To clarify that question: I mean out of sync between stations, not that the picture doesn't match the sound on any channel. 17:02, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Live broadcasts are always broadcast with a few seconds delay, to allow for bleeping of swear words if necessary or other issues that may arise. Perhaps the stations you saw have different delay time periods. Natgoo 18:03, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Also, if it's coming in over satellite, each station might want a delay to confirm that it's the right program, etc., so they don't accidentally confuse a Bush speech with a speech by somebody intelligent. StuRat 01:41, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

the diffusion of hinduism[edit]

How was Hinduism diffused over the past years? 17:25, 9 November 2006 (UTC)Samuel Dahmin

I was about to redirect you to History of Hinduism, but I see that the article does not fully cover the geographical diffusion of the religion. The answer to your question is a bit complicated. I will base it mainly on India: A History, by John Keay, which I have been reading. The growth and spread of Hinduism took place in roughly five phases: 1. The development of the Vedic religion in northern India in the centuries around 1000 B.C. This religion merged elements of the religion of the Indo-Iranian nomads who brought the ancestor of the Sanskrit language to India and elements of the indigenous Indian religion, which may have been inherited from the Indus Valley Civilization. 2. The spread of Vedic religion throughout the Indian subcontinent. The details of this spread are little known, but it happened during the period between 1000 B.C. and about 300 B.C. Vedic religion may have spread because of its role in legitimating monarchies and other state structures, which were beginning to develop during this period throughout India. 3. The gradual metamorphosis of Vedic religion into Hinduism, which involved, among other changes, absorbing local cults and deities, partly through the application of the concept of the avatar. 4. The spread of both Hinduism and Buddhism to Southeast Asia. This is covered in our article on the history of Hinduism. 5. The spread of Hinduism in modern times to countries outside India populated by people of Indian descent. Such countries include Singapore, Australia, Fiji, Canada, the United States, Trinidad, Guyana, the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Mauritius. This process was a consequence of India's absorption into the British Empire. The British used Indians as a source of labor elsewhere in the empire. Indians' English-language skills subsequently aided their migration to other English-speaking countries. Marco polo 18:32, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Leonardo Da Vinci[edit]

I would like some viewpoints on what exactly makes him a genius in history books. Why is it that he is seen as the original renaissanceman? I'm trying to work it out from different aspects of his work so if anyone knows of sites or experts on the matter...

sanne 18:29, 9 November 2006

I think you may find, Sanne, that he is considered to be a genius 'outside' history books as well! Anyway, your first destination should be the page on Leonardo da Vinci. The short answer to your question is that Leonardo managed to excel in so many diverse disciplines, and was in many respects well ahead of his time. However, once you've had a chance to read the article I've highlighted I would be pleased to tackle any more specific questions you may have. Clio the Muse 23:24, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Only a genius (or a madman) would draw a naked man doing jumping jacks: [1]. :-) StuRat 01:37, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

lol, but that famous picture of a naked person also makes use of the golden ratio. But in general, he excelled in many fields, and did them extremely well, from science to art. Considering he died at the age of 67, he probably did more relavent things in his life than anyone else in history. --Wirbelwindヴィルヴェルヴィント (talk) 02:04, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I think I'll make that picture my personal emblem. :) JackofOz 02:25, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I'm shuddering to think about you putting your own pic up, doing naked jumping jacks. StuRat 03:11, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Shudder not. Hell will freeze over before the internet is ever graced with my naked body. I wouldn't want to frighten the chickens.  :) JackofOz 03:39, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
The article on polymaths explains why such people are sometimes called "Renaissance (wo)men" and why Leonardo was considered one of them. -- 03:45, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Of course, in Leonardo's case he lived during the Renaissance anyway, so he's doubly a Renaissance man.  :) JackofOz 05:58, 10 November 2006 (UTC)


I'm doing an essay [lucky me!]. I wanted to see what modern US citizen's views of the vietnamease war. Can someone help me out? MHDIV Englishnerd 19:28, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

The war remains very controversial in U.S. political discourse. The Vietnam War is kind of a Rohrschach test for Americans, whose views of it vary with their views of the United States as an imperial power. Vietnam is resonant today because of its analogies to Iraq. There may be nearly as many American views of the Vietnam War as there are Americans who have thought about it. At one end of the spectrum, there are those who feel that the U.S. could and should have defeated the communists, for example by bombing North Vietnam back to the Stone Age. These people often believe and resent that the liberal media and the hippies sabotaged the war effort. At the other end of the spectrum, there are those who see the war as an immoral imperialistic venture that should never have been attempted. Most Americans probably see the needless loss of life as a great tragedy, though some feel that the loss of life would not have been needless if the U.S. military had been allowed to triumph and had not, in their view, been forced to fight with one hand tied behind its back due to the attention of the media. Others question whether the U.S. had any right to be there in the first place. Some see the war as a national humiliation. Others see it as a tragic lesson to be learned. And so on. Marco polo 20:36, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

One lesson that can't be ignored is the argument that, if Vietnam fell to the communists, so would the rest of South-East Asia, like a series of dominoes. It didn't happen, however. This is critical now because of the argument that, if Iraq falls to the insurgents, so will the rest of the Muslim world, like a series of dominoes. StuRat 01:32, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you're saying, Stu. Are you disputing the "domino" theory? Loomis 03:00, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Yep. Each country should be looked at on a case-by-case basis. A country shouldn't base it's foreign policy too much on the effect on future generations in other countries, because this is essentially unpredictable. StuRat 03:08, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Future generations? The Cold War was a one-generation thing. The Vietnam war was but a battle in this larger Cold War. Yes, the US lost that battle, but in losing it they gave the Communists one hell of a bloody nose, and stalled their advance for a good decade. Though they lost the battle, thankfully for all of us, they won the war. Loomis 05:03, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Gave them a bloody nose how ? A few million dead Vietnamese ? Hardly any price at all to the average communist official. The "stall" came in Korea, due to the UN, Cuba, due to the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Afghanistan, due to US support for the Islamic fundamentalists. Vietnam was a total victory for them. "Protecting future generations from communist oppression" was an argument made at the time that did, indeed, turn out to be baseless. StuRat 05:40, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
For another angle on this, the domino theory assumes that all 'communist' countries work together, and indeed that is a goal of the international communist community ("workers of the world, unite"). But in reality they didn't quite cooperate very much. Within the 'communist world' there were more animosities than friendships. Also, the best known friendship was between two countries that were half a world apart (USSR and Cuba). Having a socialist state (to use the right term) as a neighbour seemed to inspire animosity rather than friendship, as SE Asia shows. Another factor might be a difference in size, though. China was willing to support small countries that were no potential future threat, possibly as a buffer. Whether this last bit would support or refute the domino theory in more general terms, I'm not sure. But what it specifically said, that if Vietnam would win the rest of SE Asia would turn to communism, turned out to be completely unture, for the former happened and the latter didn't. DirkvdM 09:04, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
The Cold War lasted some 45 years: from c.1945 to c.1990. Though the Sino-Soviet split was many years in the making, starting as early as 1960, the Chinese still made exception in allowing the Soviets to aid in the North Vietnamese effort. Then, in his 1972 visit to China, Nixon (through Kissinger's brilliance) drove a magnificent wedge between China and the Soviet Union. Had the US never got itself involved in Vietnam, or had Vietnam fallen before then, the Cold War would have taken a whole different turn. I know it's complicated and difficult to explain, but the fact that the US "took a stand" in Vietnam, in my view, made one hell of a difference in the mindset of both the Chinese and the Soviets concerning the extent to which the US was prepared to fight communism. Had the US ignored Vietnam, rather than "take a stand", the Chinese, in my view, would have likely snubbed any US overtures, and the Soviets, in turn, would be all the more emboldened in their cause. Vietnam may have been a lost battle, but, in my view at least, it was crucial to the victory of US victory in the Cold War. Loomis 03:11, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Had the US reacted to Ho Chi Minh's original plea to help oust the French then the French would have probably not resisted and the whole bloody thing wouldn't have happenend. That was one of the biggest oopses in US politics. The US claimed to be strongly against colonialism (except that they themselves never left, but that's a differrent issue) and here was this guy who wanted to replace a French colony with a state modeled after the US - a godsend. And what did they do? They ignored it. DirkvdM 08:09, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
What on earth are you talking about, Dirk? Minh's plea back in c. 1918 to Woodrow Wilson? A state modeled after the US? Please, even you aren't that naive. Ho Chi Minh was an opportunist communist butcher. Loomis 23:42, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

Surley the US had more of a bloody nose; the war was an utter embarrasment. Englishnerd 23:09, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Question about a name on Aurelia Cotta's page[edit]


On the Aurelia Cotta page, the name Julia Caesonis. Who is this?! Isn't that supposed to be Julia Caesar??? If not who is this girl? And what's Julia's last name? I can't find this anywhere! Please help!

- Sadie

Try Julia (daughter of Julius Caesar) 21:35, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, it's Caesar's daughter. Clio the Muse 23:30, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
I think "Ceasar" is a title, not a family name. 惑乱 分からん 01:05, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't know about "Ceasar", but I know that Caesar was the title of Roman emperors, especially from Augustus to Hadrian. It's also, rather interestingly, the etymological root of the word "king" in both the Germanic and the Slavic family of languages. Though they bear no resemblance, the English word "king" is actually related to the Russian "tsar". Roman "Caeser" -> German "kaiser" -> English -> "king" on the one hand, and Roman "Caeser" -> Russian "Tsar" on the other. Loomis 01:23, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
What began life as a personal name ended up as a title. All Roman leaders, from Augustus onwards adopted the name and, by association, some of the prestige of the great Julius, a practice that continued well after the death of Hadrian. Likewise, Tsar and Kaiser all come from 'Caesar'. The German word for 'king', incidentally, is König. There will also be a separate Russian word, though I am not able to say what this is. Clio the Muse 01:35, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
It's король (pron. ka-ROL'), and it's related to other Slavic words for king such as král (Czech). (Btw, for today's almost irrelevant bit of trivia, despite popular belief the term 'caesarean section' has nothing to do with Julius Caesar; but the German equivalent Kaiserschnitt does refer to him). JackofOz 02:22, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
The English word "king", as well as German "König", Swedish "k(on)ung" and Norwegian "konge" all goes back to Proto-Germanic *kuningaz, probably unrelated to "Caesar". It seems true that the word "caesaran section" often is calqued from Caesar/emperor, although that origin possibly is a folk etymology. 惑乱 分からん 11:44, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I can't recall where I saw/heard this, but Gaius was his name, Julius his house, and Ceaser his clan. I'm not sure if those are the terms exactly, but it's something like that. | AndonicO Talk 19:49, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Caesar was originally a personal (family) name at that point, but no-one would ever be called "Julia Caesar". A female member of the Caesar family would use the genitive form of the name, so she would be referred to as Julia Caesaris. Similarly, Aurelia Cotta should be Aurelia Cottae. --Nicknack009 22:49, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
See Roman naming conventions. Briefly, the Caesares were a branch of the Julii (so Julius was the least specific of his three names). —Tamfang 08:38, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
First of all, with respect to Gaius Julius Caesar, to give his full name, "Gaius", his praenomen, was his personal name, "Julius", his nomen, was the name of the gens or large clan he belonged to (the Julii), and "Caesar", his cognomen, was the name of the subsection of the Julii to which he belonged. The name "Caesar" was probably given to an ancestor of the dictator over 300 years before the dictator was born, and was probably given to disambiguate that individual from another Julius; "Caesar" may have come from a word meaning either "having a full head of hair", "grey-eyed", or "elephant" (the theory is that the first Caesar slew an elephant). The first emperor, Octavius (later Augustus) took the cognomen Caesar simply because Julius Caesar had adopted him. Succeeding emperors also took "Caesar" as a cognomen and it eventually became the title; at first it was the title of the emperor himself, but after about 200 CE it became the title of the heir to the throne (the emperor himself taking the title "Augustus").
Back to the main topic. Women didn't use last names in Roman times. In fact, until the early Empire/late Republic women didn't have names at all. They were referred to using the feminine version of their father's nomen - for example, every daughter of Marcus Sempronius Gracchus would have been named "Sempronia" - but they were not considered legal names. (In the family daughters would often be referred to by their ordinals - Prima, Secunda, Quinta, etc. or sometimes Major and Minor if there were only two).
"Julia Caesaris" actually stands for "Julia of the Caesar subfamily", and would only be used to disambiguate her from a Julia from another subfamily of the Julii. Only women born to the Julii family would have the name Julia until the early Empire, when parents began to give their daughters actual names (rather than simply a feminized version of their father's nomen). --Charlene 12:16, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

Origins of Ice As Food[edit]

Specifically, I am interested in finding out if there are references in history known, on when humans first began using ice as a major element in refreshments -- that is, in iced drinks. My haphazard research so far shows that in our current age, this sort thing mostly appears to coincide with the invention and subsequent widespread use of artificial refrigeration.

However, the drinking of iced tea and chilled soda pop, in both Europe and North America, seems to predate the invention of modern refrigeration. And ice cream, a related topic, was a popular dessert for some Americans dating from colonial times. A converasation with my father on the this topic recalled to him that he remembered learning that 19th century America's New England region as being an important exporter of ice to British ice merchants (then what was it used for…?). Many towns and citys in America, and other countries also, had ice houses during that vsame era for local use. The origins of these in America and other countries, apparently, also predate the invention of mechanical refrigeration.

I recall reading of an Islamic Spanish Caliph who ordered snow from the nearby mountains be brought down for use in cooling certain living areas of his palace during the warmer seasons And I also have heard of an English King who had ice stored in special barns taken from ponds in wintertime, in order to have cooling baths when it was hot later in the year. These two rulers lived during the Middle Ages, thus easily predating the invention of modern refrigeration. Might have that caliph also iced his fruit yogurt drink with snow. Might have possibly that king iced chilled his wine in a similiar manner?

Given that while our predicessors in earlier ages were less sophisticated than we are today, they were no less bright, then, than we believe ourselves to be now in this modern era. Someone in olden times, somewhere, must have figured out that a cool iced drink eases the sweltering pressing heat of a hot summer afternoon.

So is this known of, this use of ice as food? Or is this a historical question that is too hard to pin down? Now I will grant that the widesprread proliferation of iced drinks and such in human culinary experience nowadays probably came into existance 'hand in glove' with the invention of modern refrigeration technology. And that technology's now currently common and everday use, as mentioned previously. But the not the specific use itself. What I would like to know is if it is known of in historical references pregating modern times to be done as a practice, or even just as an idea. This, even if it was then and possibley, only a rare and/or exclusive privilage for an elite few.

Thank youi, Christopher D.

I do not have an exact answer to your question, Christopher, but I can, perhaps, offer one or two clues. I suspect that ice has long been in use, even in the hottest of places, where people live close to mountains. Take one example I do know of. After Saladin defeated the Crusader army at the Battle of Hattin near Tiberias in Galilee in July 1187, he offered Guy of Lusignan, the captured King of Jerusalem, a goblet of iced water; so the ice must have been transported-quickly!-from the mountains to the north. Also I know that in northern Europe, before the advent of refrigeration, cold stores were dug into hillsides close to country houses. How long the ice would be 'preserved' I really can't say. Clio the Muse 23:52, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Saladin had style. The crusaders had just lost the decisive Battle of Hattin, largely because they were so thirsty. Saladin personally offered Guy and his other noble prisoners rose-water, cooled with ice from the snows on Mount Hermon. Saladin was careful not to personally offer any to the infamous Reynald of Chatillon, as he and Reynald were about to, shall we say, enjoy a frank and open conversation about their differences of opinion. Incidentally, Saladin also sent iced water to Richard the Lionheart on one occasion when the latter was unwell. --Dweller 12:50, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I don't know if I'm going as far back in history as you'd like, but my own father still calls the refrigerator the icebox. That's because when he was a kid, just as milkmen came to sell milk door-to-door, icemen sold blocks of ice to be used in iceboxes, the predecessor to today's refrigerator. In a climate like mine (Canada), ice never really had to be imported, even during the summer months (and believe me, even in Canada, the summers are plenty hot!) The ice would be harvested during the winter months, stored in insulated ice houses, and would be available all summer long. As this process doesn't seem to require much scientific sophistication at all, I don't see why it couldn't have been practiced since time immemorial. Loomis 01:00, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

I believe the ancient Roman's would have ice brought down from mountains on insulated carts and make something similar to modern flavored ice. StuRat 01:28, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

On the Science Channel, I saw a program called What the Ancients Knew. One particular episode was about Ancient India, where the heat was just as strong as it is today. They showed how, using only clay pots, hay, and the heat, they could lower the temperature of water to near freezing levels. All they (and we, on a hot summer day) had to do, was take a clay pot, pour in some water, cover it with hay, and leave it outside in the burning heat. I can't remember how long it was until the water cooled; I suppose only a few hours. | AndonicO Talk 20:00, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Are you talking about evaporative cooling due to the hay being wet ? StuRat 02:18, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Internet Friendships & Sociology[edit]

Are there any sociological studies (or articles) on online/nternet friendships? --Stacey 22:36, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

There are heaps of them. In fact, a friend of mine wrote her thesis on the topic (and I'm sure she's among hundreds, if not thousands, of academics to do so). Anchoress 22:41, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Yep. If you're thinking about writing one - don't. I'm a Sociology graduate and many of my classmates used to write studies on that topic. Try to think of a more original one.Moonwalkerwiz 23:09, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

On the other hand, if you're an undergraduate, it's a fine topic. No one expects sparkling originality at that level, just remember to make it specific by applying what you learn to a certain website or something (friendships developing through Wikipedia?). You won't do well if you don't have real-world examples. Sherry Turkle is one of the most often referenced Internet theorists, although many of her ideas are considered dated now. Same with Mark Poster. I do cultural studies, not (quite) sociology, and I've done several essays on virtual communities (Slashdot, LiveJournal, etc.), although I can't recall anything about one-to-one friendships specifically. If you have any questions I might be able to help with, feel free to contact me on my talk page. --Grace 00:07, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
It's not for a study or anything like that. I haven't started University yet! I just wanted to read other peoples :) I did see a Sherry Turkle book from 1995 but I was looking for something more recent. Thank you though! --Stacey 19:51, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

The most important humans that have ever lived.[edit]

Who, in your opinion, are the most important humans to have been born so far? This isn't a homework question, I'm just curious -- there are probably a lot of people who have had a huge impact on human life that I don't know of. My answers would be Hippocrates (for founding the medical profession), Charles Darwin (his work is massively important to biology and natural sciences), Winston Churchill (without him the Nazi Party may have survived to the present day), Alexander Graham Bell (the telephone is the most important device in modern technology) and Paris Hilton (because without her, where would we be today? No, wait...). Pesapluvo 23:18, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

That's an interesting question, but you seem to have fallen into the same trap as Time Magazine has when it makes its annual selection of Person of the Year. All the people you're mentioning are people who, in your view at least, have made "positive" contributions to humanity. For example, 01's "Person of the Year" was Rudy Giuliani, a great man to be sure, yet the most obvious choice would clearly be Osama bin Laden. Time learnt its lesson back in '79 when it suffered a massive public backlash when it named Ayatollah Khomeini as person of the year. Since then it's chosen to stay away from the truly nasty, no matter how "important" they may be (though, interestingly, Yasser Arafat made it in '93...I guess that was the year he took a break from being the murdering terrorist he was, and took a go at playing "peacemaker"...only to quickly tire of it and revert back to his old monstrous self). As for "Person of the Century", they chose Einstein. In my mind, for all the wrong reasons of course, Adolph Hitler was clearly Man of the Century.
You're also avoiding religious figures. But again, to be truly neutral, you'd have to include guys like Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammed and the Buddha, to name a few. Your personal religious views are irrelevant, like it or not, these guys had an enormous influence on humanity. One I agree with you on is Churchill, no doubt. However most of the others you mention, I would argue, though they were brilliant, are only so well known because they were the first to accomplish what they did. Do you really believe that without Alexander Graham Bell, the telephone would never have been invented? Do you really believe that without Darwin, the theory of evolution would not have been developed by some other genius perhaps a few years later? Do you really believe, that without Paris Hilton...uhh...without Paris Hilton...wait...what was I going on about? :) Loomis 00:04, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
In the case of Darwin it is worth remembering that he only published when he did because he thought he would be soon scooped by Wallace if he did not! -- 03:25, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
As Loomis says, you do seem to be leaning toward positive contributions. This might be acceptable depending on how you are defining "important", which is such a vague word. If you're just looking for "influential" I'd suggest Constantine I, who is considered largely responsible for spreading Christianity in the Roman Empire. This may ignore a large part of the world, but at the very least Western society without the influence of Christianity is unimaginable. -- 00:27, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

I'm gonna have to say Friedrich Nietzsche was the most important human being who had ever lived for exposing modernity for what it truly is. Before Nietzsche, human beings were all under the illusion of progress both in morality and in science. Nietzsche showed that despite Christianity being trampled down by science, it's basic concepts and its morality are still within the very language we use and the lives we live. Postmodernism has its roots in Nietzsche. The madness of the modern world with its confusion over what is right and what is wrong, what is real and what is a copy can all be traced to Nietzche's hatred of empty idols. This man is the Redpill to modernity.Moonwalkerwiz 00:32, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Yes, of course; and when visiting women always remember to bring your whip! Pesapluvo, can I suggest that you get a hold of a dictionary of biography, close your eyes, open at any page you like, stab your finger at random and see what you have got? Because, quite frankly, that would be just as meaningful a way of going about this kind of exercise. Oh yes-if it even contains an entry for Paris Hilton just forget the whole thing! Clio the Muse 00:42, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
"Bring a whip", Clio? You're being rather uncharacteristically cryptic. :) Loomis 01:12, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
No, Loomis; indeed not. It's one of Nietzche's intellectual gems-from Also Sprach Zarathustra, from memory. Clio the Muse 01:16, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I stand corrected. I also fully admit that I'm completely unfamiliar with Nietzche. Maybe I'll take a look at his works someday, but I have many others to get to who are much further up on my list. Loomis 01:44, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
The whole question is a bit silly as the only way to measure importance is to remove the person from history and see how it looks. Also some people can be influential with only a very tenuous existence, Homer (both of them) and King Arthur. I have heard that Norman Borlaug is the most influential but as i've never heard of him I suspect it is propaganda spread by Norman Borlaug. And don't forget, you too are important in you own, parasitically draining the life blood of the world, way. MeltBanana 00:45, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

I agree with Loomis that religious figures have, for good or ill, influenced every society enormously. The problem is, when viewed from a neutral point of view it is often very difficult to conclusively prove that a given religious leader existed. Some would be harder to prove then others because of the variability of records in different societies.

After religious leaders, military commanders have probably had the greatest impact on the world. The conquest of Alexander the Great, for instance, left behind a cultural and genetic track that effected the world for centuries.

Also do not forget the great philosophers an artists of the ancient world. There influence is style felt today. Examples would be:

  • Homer
  • Virgil
  • Michelangelo

Finley I would suggest Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer as he played a very large part in the development of the atomic bomb. S.dedalus 01:01, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

There's a book called The 100 that ranks the 100 most-important people in history. I believe Muhammad was no. 1 and Jesus no. 2. But in The Jewish 100, from the same publisher, Jesus ranks behind Moses. -- Mwalcoff 01:46, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Non-religiously, I'd say Thomas Edison, who created the phonograph idea that gave rise to the telephone, lightbulbs, supported DC current, amongst other things. Else, Jesus. --Wirbelwindヴィルヴェルヴィント (talk) 01:55, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
And that addresses my other point. Though Edison may have been a brilliant man with many nifty ideas, I'm quite sure that even had he never existed, we'd certainly not have to still rely on candlelight and gaslamps to bring us light. Even had he not invented the phonograph, the iPod of 2006 would no less exist. He was certainly a brilliant man, but had this brilliant man never existed, some other or others would have developed all that he did, at the very worst, a year or two, or perhaps even a decade later.
Again, it depends on your definition of "important". Though he may have not been the most "important" of human beings, and despite my "if it wasn't him, it would've been someone else" argument, one of the most "significant" human beings to ever exist would definitely have to be Neil Armstrong. Loomis 02:32, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Edison didn't even invent all of those things, and he certainly didn't do it alone. Edison was part of a larger network of innovation in electrical technology and built up a research and development infrastructure which allowed technological progress in that realm to be more or less cumulative. To claim Edison was one of the most important people is to be wholly sucked in by the myth of the lone inventive genius that Edison himself propagated. All of which I say not to be a spoilsport but just to emphasize that if you think about history in terms of biography you miss much, if not most, of what is actually going on. -- 03:30, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I think you could make a case for Mitochondrial Eve (and the one or more "Adams" her existence implies) (The original question did say "who ever lived" without specifying a time range ...)
In more recent times, the ones who have influenced human thought probably are most significant. Confucius; Socrates; Jesus; the anonymous authors of the Vedas, the old testament, ... so many. Antandrus (talk) 03:40, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

"The most important humans that have ever lived." high words indeed. I guess it all depends of your own point of view (it always does). Ask a scientist and he might say: Albert Einstein. Ask a medic and he might tell you: Fleming. Ask a Mongol and he might answer: Genghis Khan. Ask a scholar and he might tell you: Gutenberg. Let me be a little more abstract: The most important person for you will be that one which in your personal opinion had the greatest impact on yourself and your country, culture, religion, etc.

Now, the most significant humans in history will necessarly have to be the ones who in hindsight had the greatest impact upon world culture (a nice vague word, by which in this particular case I mean everything: Religion, morality, laws, politics, military, tecnology etc) and in my personal opinion we have two main candidates:

First, we have Jesus of Nazareth and why? Resumedly, because of: In hoc signo vinces = by this sign you shall win/conquer. After the Battle of Milvian Bridge Constantine the Great legalized and contributed decisivly to the conversion of the Roman Empire to the Christian faith. Even with the fall of the Roman Empire the Christian faith survived and prospered. The Christian faith in turn influenced to a enormous extent Western civilation (Is anyone going to deny that?). Western civilization invaded, dominated, colonized, conquered, and influenced culturally the entire world with the Age of Discovery until today. I am not going to try to convince you that it was a good or bad thing, that again depends from your own POV, but is anyone going to deny the impact of Christian values upon world culture? Even if you don´t believe in the "divine nature" of Jesus, or even dislike him, Jesus of Nazareth and his teachings had and have to this date the greatest cultural impact upon this world. Simply stating a fact.

The second canditate is undoubtbly (in my opinion) Adolf Hitler. The simple tecnological impact of WWII through massproduction, planes, veicules, medicine, communications, etc (Man, they even invented and used the atomic bomb during this war) and WWII had also a imense impact in morals and politics: the Holocaust, the Nuremberg trials, ONU, The Cold War after it, the rise of the USA, the retreat of the old British Empire to the UK, Decolonization, and the birth of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the ocupation and "re-education" (couldn´t find a better word) of Germany and Japan, the victory of Mao-Tse Tung in China.

Would all this things still happen if there were not a WWII? Probably yes, but they were certainly hugely influenced and shaped by it. Notice that in real history the IF question is not soo important, is more important that IT DID and HOW and WHY did it happen. Notice that all the main players in today´s political arena were hugely changed by WWII (USA, Germany, Japan, China, UK, Russia, France, Israel, Canada, India, Korea (both of them), the list goes on and on). I am not telling anyone that all these countries are important because of WWII or that everything happened only because of that war, most of these countries were allready quite important before WWII. But all of them (in fact the entire world to a varied extent) were hugely affected by WWII. Think of anything and try to find out if it wasn´t affected, improved or even created during WWII. And as Hitler is guilty of starting it, his impact upon this world is there, for good and bad.

The two most important persons in human history to this date are Jesus and Adolf Hitler.

But hey, everything is debatable and I only gave my personal opinion. I don´t claim to know the whole truth. Feel free to disagree (rationaly, please) perhaps you can even convince me and I will change my mind (or/and learn from you POV and improve my limited knowledge). Flamarande 03:42, 10 November 2006 (UTC)

Obviously, the three most important humans are Adam, Eve, and "me". -THB 03:52, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I was just going to suggest Adam, Eve, and User:THB. 04:15, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I actually agree with you, Flamarande. Certanly about Jesus. With regards to Hitler, yes, of course, as I argued, he was the most important person of the 20th century. I'm just a bit hesitant to decide yet whether or not he was one of the two most important people of all time. Certainly Jesus will remain, but for me, Hitler is too recent to really know yet. Loomis 04:45, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
A major problem with pinning a major change in the world down to one person is that that change would probably have taken place anyway if that person would not have existed. The time is usually ripe for a certain discovery or change to take place. The Russians would have revolted with or without Lenin and germany after WWI was an accident waiting to happen. Had it not been Hitler who led the way, then it would have been someone else. So don't overestimate the importance of individuals. Likewise, many scientific 'discoveries' were really just waiting for somone to have the guts to say it out loud (such as Darwin). If the insight is already there, someone will rise and make it known. Of course some had keen enough insight to be ahead of their time (but not so much that they were laughed at). But those people merely expedited the change by a decade or two (more and they would have been ignored)- without them it would still have happened. So ultimaltely the most important humans in terms of effect on society are all individuals that make up society. To take this a step further, even Einstein would not have been able to do what he did without the farmers (note the plural) that produced the food he needed to sustain himself. The greatest strength of human society is that it is a society.
Antandrus has a point, though. When there are only a few thosand people around, as was the case at the time of mitochondrial Eve, one individual can make a huge difference and stop humanity from going extinct. Alas we don't know if there was such a person and who that might be then. Maybe even Eve herself.
Oh, another exeption might be Antony van Leeuwenhoek. He discovered microbes, which gave rise to modern medicine. Given the existence of microscopes at the time, it was also a matter of time until someone pointed one the right way (not as trivial as one might think), but expediting modern medicine by one decade may in the long run have saved millions of lives. Or is this too simple a view? DirkvdM 09:32, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
I'd say: religiously, Jesus Christ; militaraly, Alexander the Great and Miltiades (without these two, there would have been no Roman Empire as we know it, and we'd be speaking Persian); intelectually, everyone at the ancient Library of Alexandria, or who contributed to said library (analog computer, acurate clocks, size of Earth, Earth is round ect.); past century, Hitler, Einstein, Oppenheimer; modern times, Jimbo. Thats my list, and if you have a problem with it, so be it. :-) Obviosly, cavemen could also be included in there. | AndonicO Talk 20:32, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
Do you really believe that Hitler was to blame for WWII? That's a very skimming-the-surface view. Have you ever done the exercise in history lessons, when you go through all the factors for the war, and actually Hitler played a small rôle in it (although he did a lot after the start of the war). Englishnerd 23:07, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
What do you mean "skimming the surface"? I always thought that it was Hitler's idea to assimilate Austria, and then to invade Poland (the reason why France and England declared war). Are there any reasons I'm missing? | AndonicO Talk 00:44, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
In line with my reasoning above, Hitler may have been the one to implement it, but had he not been around then someone else would have done it, because there were enough people who had the idea in their heads (which also made it a wise move for German internal politics). So it was not Hitler who made the difference, but the situation that made that made that move (or something similar) pretty inevitable. So you'd have to search for who was responsible for that and then you'd probably find that what they did would have been done by others had they not been around. This is starting to sound a bit too teleological, though, and I don't really want to go there. :) DirkvdM 06:48, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
-digging through old school books- OK the main reasons I can come up with are:
  • Obviously Hitler's foreign policy
  • Policy of appeasment
  • Failures of the League Of Nations
  • In with the last poin a bit, but the US's refusal to join and support the League of Nations
  • Issues with the WWI Peace treaties
  • Mainly the treaty of versaille
  • The NASDAP-Soviet Pact
and a few more, but I can't remember them! Englishnerd 10:30, 11 November 2006 (UTC)

Adolph Hitler was absolutely to blame for WWII (at least as we know it). Had there been no Hitler, there would DEFINITELY have been no Third Reich. Of course he wasn't the ONLY to blame, those who followed him must take their share of blame as well. Yet I repeat, without Adolph Hitler, though there may have been some war of sorts (after all, wars are unfortunately inevitable under certain circumstances), it would not have been a "World War". There would have been no Third Reich, and if indeed a war was inevitable, (of which I'm not convinced,) it would not have borne the absolutely unprecedented inhumanity that was WWII. Loomis 02:47, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

How can you know it wouldn't have been worse? If you utterly humiliate someone with a history of power and they later get a chance to get back at you, their revenge will be fierce. This goes for people and for nations. Fascism wasn't too alien to politics in those days and given the circumstances it had to rise in Germany. Maybe not under that name and maybe not under Hitler, but it would have happened. DirkvdM 08:15, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Arguably one could conclude that each factor was ablolutely to blame. If france hadn't insisted that Germany pay 660 million GBP, or thereabouts in reparations Hitler wouldn't have had enough support within Germany to start a war. If America had not wanted to 'stay out of european matters', then the League of Nations would have succeded, and Germany wouldn't have been allowed to start a war. If Chaimberlain hadn't used the Policy of appeasment, then, In Hitler's own words, If Germany had been aprehended for breaking the treaty of versaille, e.g. by re-militarising the Rhine land, then she would have backed down, and no war would have ensued. No one factor was absolutely to blame. Englishnerd 23:10, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
  • Looking at the question from a logical perspective, wouldn't Adam and Eve be the most importanty people ever. Without them, assuming they existed, none of us would be here