Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 April 10

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April 10[edit]

Giotto Painting[edit]

There is a painting of ... well somthing and he painteda fly on it and i can not find it anywere i was wondering if there was a link for that picture or beter yet put it on the Giotto page and to my user page here it is user:WrestlingManiac also it will be in my sig. i need it by tonorow by 6:30am (to just show my history teacher. If this pulls off THANK YOU SO MUCH > [[Wrestling Maniac]] 00:47, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm not sure, but I think you're referring to the anecdote as reported by Giorgio Vasari, one of Giotto's most famous biographers.
"It is said that when Giotto was only a boy with Cimabue, he once painted a fly on the nose of a face that Cimabue had drawn, so naturally that the master returning to his work tried more than once to drive it away with his hand, thinking it was real. And I might tell you of many other jests played by Giotto, but of this enough." (from fordham.edu)
This was probably merely Renaissance's rehashing of the legend of Zeuxis and Parrhasius. The described work of art most likely never existed. The fly was a popular trompe-l'oeil motif in 16th century painting, when Vasari wrote his text. ---Sluzzelin talk 01:05, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
The fly-painting anecdote I remember from school was about the Spanish painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. Our article has nothing on this, however. JackofOz 01:09, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
So far i've found flies in the foreground of a portrait of Giovanni Agostino and Nicolo della Torre by Lorenzo Lotto in 1515, and on the frilled cuff of John Keteltas' sleeve in a 1767 portrait by John Mare. Nothing by the two artists already mentioned tho.—eric 01:28, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The fly motif in art, guys, is not completely dead. There is a hilarious portrait by Stuart Pearson Wright of the Duke of Edinburgh, of all people, nude with four strands of watercress growing from his index finger and a bluebottle on his right shoulder! The full title, mostly in Latin, is Homo Sapiens, Lepidum savitum and Caliphora vomitoria-Human, Cress and Bluebottle. You will find it here [1] and here [2]. When the Duke saw the painting and was asked if he thought it looked like him, he replied 'I bloody well hope not.' But it does: yes, it does! The strands of watercress, incidentally, are a reference to his four children. The fly, according to the artist, represents the Prince's mortality, since it feeds on decaying organic matter. 'It's a motif that has been used throughout history', Wright said. So, now you know! Clio the Muse 07:58, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

State Court Decision[edit]

I am taking business law, I do not understand what a state court decision is. From my reading I think that it is a law passed within an individual state but I am just not sure. Any help?

66.188.39.50 01:35, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Sounds pretty much right. Case law has a few things to say but the article doesn't look like the absolute cream of the crop. (See also, Statutory law, and Jurisdiction#State_level). Best regards in your studies. dr.ef.tymac 02:01, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

In the US, a state court decision is where the state judiciary has decided on some interpretation of law. Such a decision typically only sets precedent within that state. The federal courts have the authority to overrule the state courts in many, but not all, cases. In some cases the US Constitution explicitly reserves certain rights to the states. In such cases, the federal government has no authority to intervene with the state courts' decisions. StuRat 05:20, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

...only sets (binding) precedent within that state, but may also be considered as persuasive authority in other states as well...The federal courts have the authority to overrule the state courts derive their jurisdiction exclusively from the U.S. Constitution and must apply state substantive common law in resolving disputes involving citizens of more than one state. In some cases the US Constitution explicitly reserves certain rights to the states. States (and the people) reserve all powers not expressly delegated to the Federal Government. (See also, Subject-matter jurisdiction, Removal jurisdiction, Supplemental jurisdiction, and Pendent jurisdiction. None of which are directly relevant to the original question but useful clarification now that this stone has been turned over.) dr.ef.tymac 14:14, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
The states do officially retain all powers not expressly delegated to the federal government, but that isn't always the reality. For example, road speed limits should be strictly a state matter, but the feds were able to get an informal national speed limit of 55 MPH at one point by threatening to withhold highway funds from any state that didn't comply. A more recent dispute also existed between California (which had legalized medical marijuana) and the feds, who went ahead arresting people involved with it in California anyway. StuRat 15:56, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Notorious abuses of the Commerce clause notwithstanding, I think the "reality" of the original question reflected a need far less subtle than those addressed by the issues you raise. Nevertheless, additional details are fine by me, so long as they are accurate. Regards. dr.ef.tymac 16:23, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I am concerned that these answers are needlessly complex for a business law student. If anyone attended law school, Gilbert's never dumped data on us. In the United States, a federal government exists. The original jurisdiction established by the colonies under British rule transferred to the states. In 1789, when the U.S. Constitution was ratified, the states and their people carved out special subjects that they felt a central federal government could address better. Basic everyday law tends to be state law. Every state has a system of courts that mirrors the federal government. A state court decision is merely a case heard by a state court. If the jurisdiction of the federal government is threatened, federal law overrules the law of any state. A quick reading of the U.S. Constitution should help. This becomes very complex once lawyers get involved. The Commerce Clause, as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court, favored states rights until a constitutional crisis during the New Deal. The Court abruptly decided to favor the federal government by reading the clause more broadly. The proper reading of the Commerce Clause is a "hot" topic in law. Most Congressional legislation enacted uses the Commerce Clause as a justification for federal power. I am sorry that I cannot write a simple legal outline.75Janice 03:25, 12 April 2007 (UTC)75Janice

This entire thread is needlessly complex for a business law student, which is precisely why my original answer was intentionally simple and short, see? Who asked for an outline *smacks forehead* sheesh! dr.ef.tymac 16:22, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Don Juan, Byron[edit]

In Byron's version of Don Juan, at the end was Don Juan sold into sexual slavery to the wife of the sultan by the pirate girl? [Mαc Δαvιs] (How's my driving?) ❖ 02:37, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The last canto (XVII) appears to be incomplete, according to this site: [3]. bibliomaniac15 02:54, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Duan Juan was never completed because two months after beginning Canto XVII while in Italy in May, 1823, Byron left for Greece to aid the rebels in the War of Independence. He died at Messolonghi in April, 1824. Clio the Muse 05:28, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

yes[edit]

I was just watching the movie Jesus Camp, and noticed something a bit strange. Many of the children (and some of the adults) have extremely dilated pupils, like they were on MDMA or something like that. One of my friends recently became a born again christian, and I noticed the same thing happening to him... huge dilated pupils. When people feel this way, I'm thinking it must be the body releasing endorphins that make them feel that way, which allows them to feel like jesus is inside of them, and that leads to the dilated pupils. Has anyone else noticed this, or have any thoughts on it? 128.61.52.213 03:12, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I think you asked this before, and don't spam your question across desks. Splintercellguy 03:14, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
That makes 3 different desks on which exactly the same question has been asked. JackofOz 03:15, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

In 128's defence, this is a question that could cross many different disciplines. However, for the actual question, I would challenge the accuracy of the original observation. Could it not just be the case that the producers of Jesus Camp are using a certain kind of lighting that is dilating their pupils. In any case, the observation must be proved before it can be discussed. 82.36.179.20 14:18, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The rule is to post on only the most appropriate desk, even if it crosses several disciplines. − Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 21:11, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Need help finding quotation, possibly Aristotle[edit]

Can someone tell me which philosopher said: "You cannot convince a man beyond his will" or some similar syntax?

To the best of my recollection it was Aristotle, but I can't confirm. I also seem to recall that the quotation appeared on Jeopardy, so it is no doubt famous enough that someone hopefully knows it.

The other possibility is that I picked this up from Russian literature...

Thanks in advance!

Myzembla 09:34, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I cannot find this in Aristotle, Myzembla, nor is it familiar to me from Russian literature. The closest I can get to the meaning of these words is Jonathan Swift, who wrote "It is useless to try to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into." Clio the Muse 10:26, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I remembered this couplet: "A man convinced against his will/Is of the same opinion still." In running a Yahoo! search and skimming the results in very slapdash fasion, I find attributions to Mark Twain, "a German proverb", Dale Carnegie, Benjamin Franklin, and Lawrence J. Peter. Maybe Aristotle stole it from one of those sources.  :) JamesMLane t c 08:31, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Thanks so much for your help, Clio & James. I had asked the same question on Yahoo answers and got three responses trying to convince me that there is no free will. I am glad, even without finding the answer, that you two actually read my question! Aristotle has a similar quote: "Some men are just as sure of the truth of their opinions as are others of what they know." Maybe, I will try Socrates and Russian lit again. For some reason, I seem to associate it with _Correspondence Across A Room_. I'm sure the sentiment has had many permutations, but I'll keep looking for the one I have in mind. Take care.--Myzembla 14:00, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
"Persuasion is opposed to force and compulsion." (ἡ δὲ πειθὼ τῇ βίᾳ καὶ ἀνάγκῃ ἀντιτίθεται.) Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics 1224a38-39. This seems to be the basic thought, though perhaps you have another passage in mind. Wareh 19:12, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Crisis of modernity[edit]

I have heard many people discuss about the crisis of modernity. My question, where is the root of all such discussion ?

In 1539, latin loses it's official status in European parliaments because of an order from Francis I.

In 1604, Hugo Grotius writes De iure praedae on maritime and international law. In 1698, Locke writes Two Treatises of Government.

In 1690, Charles Perrault won a famous literary battle against Nicolas Boileau : that was called the Quarrel of the Ancients and the Moderns.

In 1710, Leibnitz authors his Theodicy.

In 1725, Giambattista Vico speaks of a new wisdom and promotes a cyclical view of history.

In 1761, Rousseau claimed that Agape had priority over Eros, which is a disputed view. He later wrote the social contract.

In 1778, Voltaire joined the Nine Sisters Lodge [4]. Revolution begins around the world.

In 1781, Kant wrote a book where he criticized metahysics, to which he subsituted transcendetal reason. D'Alembert and Holbach write their Encyclopedia.

In 1797, Chateaubriant writes Essai sur les révolutions.

In 1807, Hegel writes Phänomenologie des Geistes

In 1840, Schopenhauer writes Über die Grundlage der Moral.

In 1856, Victor Hugo composes Les Contemplations.

In 1860, Jacob Burhardt writes Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien. He later inspires Nietzsche.

In 1879, Leo XIII writes Aeterni Patris and laments the disapearance of thomism. He later inspires Fides Et Ratio by John Paul II.

In 1884, Dewey begins his work on education, psychology and philosophy.

In 1905, Separation of Church and State is voted in the National Assembly. The Radical-Socialist Party leads the left. At about the same time, Pascendi criticizes Louis Duchesne.

In 1910, Emile Faguet claims there is a crisis in grammar because Greek has been abandoned. [5]

In 1911, Husserl claims there is a crisis in Philosophie als strenge Wissenschaft. He was inspired by Descartes.

In 1924, André Breton writes the Surrealist manifesto. Pablo Picasso follows up on his ideas.

In 1927, Sein und Zeit is the classical work of Heidegger.

In 1929, Emmanuel Mounier theorizes personalism. In 1939, Adorno continues his crtiticism of modern art. After the war, Hannah Arendt finds a dilemma in European society.

In 1947, Kojève is a famous disciple of Hegel. At the same time, Truman proclaims a doctrine on the ethics of peace and war.

In 1960, The Frankfurt School criticizes emancipation theory.

In 1967, Derrida becomes famous for his deconstruction, revealed in his book on Grammatology.

In 1970, Baudrillart writes La Société de consommation and predicts the rise of post-modernity.

In 1979, Paul Churchland speaks of scientific realism.

In 1998, Habermas writes Die postnationale Konstellation.

My question is : is the march of ideas perceived as an inevitable progress ? Have modern philosophers grown tired of their own ideas ? Where will the modern program go ?

Why do so many intellectuals appear to be pessimistic ? Can a single word change the course of history ? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 69.157.232.52 (talk) 09:50, 10 April 2007 (UTC).

I'm not qualified to speak on behalf of the general population of intellectuals. But I'd note that your last two questions are easily answered: First, intellectuals are not all pessimistic, but certainly understanding more causes one to see smaller flaws in otherwise successful concepts, and the nuance and clear understanding which they aspire to by definition (often, part of identifying and fixing those small flaws) are easily misinterpreted as pessimism by those who think the only true test of optimism is short sound bytes -- that is, in a sound byte world of 30 second commercials, any position more nuanced is easily dismissed as "not in agreement" by those who mistake subtlety for full-bore unacceptance.
And, second, the word "no" changes history, every day, in a million ways both big and small. One might even say that all words change history, if they are heard and heeded. Jfarber 10:06, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I cannot see any point at all in your lengthy list of publications and events, some connected, others totally disconnected, just as I cannot determine in what manner this intellectual 'Tower of Babel' leads to your final questions. If you want to know all about cultural and intellectual pessimism I suggest that you take the time to read Oswald Spengler's Decline of the West, or you might, as an alternative, reflect on the the words of Antonio Gramsci, the Italian Marxist, who said "I am a pessimist because of intelligence and an optimist because of will". Most intellectual introspection leads to pessimism. Only the will forces one into practical action. And does history turn on a word? No, of course it does not. Clio the Muse 10:49, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Why is this hard to say?[edit]

In the Saychelles

She sees

Sea Shells

She sells. DDB 10:15, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Our as-yet-unpolished article on Tongue twisters doesn't say where in the tongue-brain connection this problem might occur (is it muscular or psychological, or both?), but in a nutshell, the reason this or any tongue twister is "difficult to articulate properly" is that it it is difficult to switch so rapidly between and among "similar but distinct phonemes (e.g., s [s] and sh [ʃ]), unfamiliar constructs in loan-words or other features of the language." Jfarber 10:29, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks .. good ref :D DDB 11:18, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

It's Seychelles, too. bibliomaniac15 01:11, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Unfair exchange[edit]

Assuming that economics is a humanity subject:

The curent exchange rates mean that £1 (GBP) is worth roughly $2 (USD). Why, then, are most technology products (computer hardware, games, etc.) priced so the UK has to pay up to 50% more if both prices were converted into USD?

Example: I'm currently paying nearly £700 for a computer that costs about $1000 from American companies (but they won't ship abroad). 81.157.191.238 10:43, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Rip-Off Britain | Shinhan 10:57, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Yes, but why does it happen? 81.157.191.238 11:12, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

It is not solely the exchange rate you pay for. There is import duty, freight costs and a host of fees and charges that get paid for. You might find it cheaper to purchase the item in US dollars from a US based company, and pay shipping. However, as with all purchases, it is buyer beware. DDB 11:22, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

But if the products are being manufactured in China (I assume) , why does the US pay less than the UK even including taxes, etc. on technology products? 81.157.191.238 11:42, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't know, but I guess that a manufacturer might subcontract to a manufacturer of a nation like China, but still incurs fees unique to their US base. Of course, maybe international trade is not fair, but skewed in favour of multinationals who profiteer for no reason other than to be evil. DDB 11:49, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Similar questions have been asked here before. There a number of reasons why the list price might be higher in the UK. These include the fact that UK list prices typically include VAT, which can add something like 15% to the price, whereas taxes are not included in the US list price, but are instead added on, sometimes only for purchases within the same US state or at a brick-and-mortar store. Other factors contributing to higher UK prices would include the substantially higher minimum wage, which increases the labor costs of wholesalers and retailers, higher land costs and rents, and much higher taxes on gas/petrol, which increase the cost of shipping. My guess is that higher taxes in general boost costs all along the UK supply chain, from importers to wholesalers. While taxes and higher minimum wages increase retail prices, however, they also result in better public health results (infant mortality, life expectancy, etc.), possibly better-maintained infrastructure, and lower rates of poverty in the UK. Marco polo 15:16, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
What Marco say is pretty much on the ball. Other things to consider are the economies of scale that US companies enjoy. This is diminished in the internet-age but a product bought at a company that sells 10,000 units per year (py) compared to one that sells 1,000 PY can offer the product at a reduced cost per-unit. Additionally there can be factors such as brand/impression. A product that is considered 'luxury' in the UK may not be luxury in the US (and vice versa). Brand names can remain the same but be considered different in other nations. This can also have an effect on price. It may be that the Uk market is willing to pay more and that there is a price-monopoly which has allowed the price to increase. Market forces have a strong affect on the cost of an item, as does all of the factors that Marco notes (though whether there is any evidence that increased taxes = improved services is obviously hotly debated politically and economically). ny156uk 20:32, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Monk's Haircut[edit]

Why did/do monks shave the middle of their heads?90.241.10.194 11:11, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

While it does not fully explain why this became a requirement, our article Tonsure has information on this.  --LambiamTalk 11:38, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The origin of the clerical tonsure is uncertain, but it is thought to have derived from the Roman practice of shaving the heads of slaves. To proclaim themselves the slaves of Christ some early monks adopted the custom. By the sixth century the practice was being copied by the secular clergy, though it was modified to leave a ring of hair around the crown. The shaved area grew smaller with the passage of time. You will find some additional information in the Catholic Encyclopedia. Clio the Muse 14:52, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Mystics[edit]

I have researched hundreds of christian mystics and I found that many had one point in common : they all had a Eucharistic hunger [6].

In fact, many believe that communion is like the bread of angels. Pope Benedict agrees : he recently wrote a letter called Sacramentum Caritatis on the topic.[7]

Marthe Robin is problably one of the most famous people to have lived this way : she didn't eat anything for 50 years ! [8]. Alexandrina da Costa also did the same thing. [9]

My question is : why do all these mystics act alike ? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 69.157.232.52 (talk) 11:43, 10 April 2007 (UTC).

The answer is that they do not. Please read Mysticism and Christian mysticism for some in depth material on this subject. You might also consider reading St Teresa of Avilla by Herself and the Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. Clio the Muse 14:39, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
See Breatharianism as well, if it may do you please. [Mαc Δαvιs] (How's my driving?) ❖ 14:46, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

'ends'[edit]

Is the 'ends' which Utilitarianism seeks to achieve the 'greatest hapiness for the greatest number? -and if so, can it be challenged that this can never be achieved because it fails to take account of a)all individuals hapiness (for some is overriden), and b)becuase all hapiness is judged on the same scale, i.e no one's preference counts more than any others?86.1.13.36 12:42, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Have a look at a related question asked just a few days ago.  --LambiamTalk 13:00, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I have had a look but i still dont really understand what ends utalitarianism is trying to promote?

Please read the relevant article again and the additional information provided under 'Utilitarianism' on my talk page. This really cannot be reduced any further than it has already. However, here it is once more in the simplest possible terms: a collective 'good' is not compatible with human rights and individual concepts of justice. One is abstract; the other concrete and specific. Clio the Muse 14:24, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Thank you clio!

Wow, some major university must be assigning this paper (or maybe one teacher, who has also taught students how to use wikipedia and the ref desk?) -- this is the third separate request for info on this topic we've recieved in just a few weeks! Jfarber 15:01, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
It's for a jurisprudence course. Unfortunately, the quality and helpfulness Clio's first response triggered a Bandwagon effect. Word got out, and now the Me toos are climbing into the life raft for free help. Expect future iterations of this very same question with an associated increase in slovenliness and urgency, as the deadline approaches. dr.ef.tymac 16:09, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Largest organized crime organization[edit]

My question is simple. What is the largest organized crime organization, in the world? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 194.239.172.228 (talk) 13:40, 10 April 2007 (UTC).

Do you mean largest in terms of number of members, revenue, geographical range , etc. ? I suspect that on the large end they are difficult to distinguish from insurgencies, as insurgents often use crime to fund their organization (like the Taliban and opium) and criminals often claim some type of revolutionary purpose to justify their crimes (like the Symbionese Liberation Army). I would expect that the largest criminal organizations would be involved in illegal drug production, like the Medellin Cartel, although this would depend on whether you include low level workers, like farmers, who could be considered members of the organization or victims of it, depending on your perspective. It's also sometimes difficult to distinguish one large criminal organization from many smaller ones. Is the Mafia one organization, or is it composed of many, like the Gambino family ? StuRat 15:36, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Street gangs might also be looked at as large examples of organized crime. Edison 17:13, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
If we can trust the intelligence reports estimating the membership of the Russian Mafia at 100,000 members, this may well be the largest.  --LambiamTalk 17:17, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Thunder Spirit - Native American legend[edit]

Thunder Spirit was mentioned in article under "honey locust" tree; stating according to native American legend, Thunder Spirit was able to recognize his son because of his ability to sit comfortably on locust branches despite the thorns. I have been unable to find this story or further info on this particular legend of Thunder Spirit and his son in a locust tree. Can anyone helppoint me in the right direction? Thanks.Jsc680 17:31, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

This is a Cherokee legend, Jsc680. There is some information here [10], though not much. Clio the Muse 18:02, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Where in Russia do "the Russians live", and why are those other parts Russian?[edit]

Hello,

once more I have a couple of questions, this time yet again involving Russia and ethnic differences

1. Where do the "Russians" live, in Russia? I mean : people who speak Russian fluently and use it all the time in their daily life (I know that this is a rather vague question, but for instance : Grozny would not be on my map, Moscow would). Maybe this is a decent criterion : where more than half of the children go to school in Russian. I did find this map but it just makes all of Russia "Russian" [11] I am not asking you to give me a map (or make me one lol :) ) but for instance, Irkutsk, Samsara,.... which of these major cities are "typically Russian".

2. How come some parts of Russia, that have been part of the Russian empire for a long time, have become separate parts of the Soviet Union and now independent nations (like Armenia, Georgia,..) while others were always part of Russia "itself". I mean : the Yakut people or the Altay are pretty much unheard of in the Western world.

3. In fiction like Goldeneye or 24, "Russian separatists" (speaking English to each other) are often a handy way to get some villains. But apart from Chechnya, what other parts of Russia are reasonable candidates to become independent? (I mean : where lots of people are in favour of such a thing, and where an independent nation would actually be able to survive on its own)

Thanks!Evilbu 19:08, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The heart of old Russia was, and still is, in terms of culture and language, the lands of the Grand Duchy of Moscovy. Georgia and Armenia were incorporated into the Russian Empire only in the nineteenth century. Both had a long history of separate statehood, and quite different cultures and languages from Great Russia to the north. The Communists gave some legitimacy to their specific identities by recasting them as constituent republics of the Soviet Union. From there it was but a short step to full national independence. The Yakuts and Altay, and many other such nomad and semi-nomad groups, have a cultural identity, but one that falls well short of modern notions of statehood. In Siberia, I would imagine-though I cannot say for certain-that the dominant language in the cities is Russian, unlike the hinterland. The fear in Moscow is that the granting of independence to Chechnya would have an avalanche effect, though I do not know which would be the second peeble to start rolling. The real danger lies, it might be said, in the central paradox of Russian history: Russia was an idea before it became an Empire, and an Empire before it became a Nation. Clio the Muse 19:39, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure that I'd characterize Clio's response as particularly accurate or informed.
  • There are two Russian words for Russian -- Russkiy for the ethnicity (a very specific ethnic group) and Rossiskiy for the nationality. Russkiy are spread across all of Russia, making up the vast majority of the population in all but a handful of ethnic pockets. Moscow is the capital; although it's the center, it's not accurate to say that Muscovites are the real Russians. All major Russian cities (population over 1 million) are almost entirely Russian (both linguistically and ethnically), with the lone exception of Kazan, where Tatars make up a solid 40 percent or so (yet, still less than the Russians).
  • Grand Duchy of Moscow isn't really the historical center either. It's an historical center maybe, not as important as the Tsardom of Moscow, but also not really any more important than Kievan Rus, or Vladimir-Suzdal, or Novgorod. St. Petersburg was the dominant center from Peter the Great to Lenin; indeed of the four best-known Russian novels Crime and Punishment and Anna Karenina are both set there; The Brothers Karamazov in Staraya Russa and only War and Peace largely in Moscow.
  • I'm not sure how the "cultural identity" of the Yakuts or Altay is somehow "well short of modern notions of statehood." Statehood is a political construct. Perhaps you meant nationhood; I'm sure Stalin might agree.
  • The Yakuts and the Altay, for example, are both Turkic (not Slav). The only real reason they're not viable as nations is their small numbers. Through policies of forced-immigration, the Yakuts, for example, only make up around half of the population of Yakutia. It is their size that's the issue, not the validity of their culture.
  • The difference between Chechnya and Armenia is primarily arbitrary classification. Chechnya was classified as an ASSR; Georgia and Armenia as SSRs. Again, the reason is one of political history, not one of cultural validity.
  • Clio is right on one thing -- the domino effect fears. If Chechnya separated, Russia believes it could damage already uneasy situations in Dagestan, Ingushetia, and even Georgia's Abkhazia. Tatarstan also is cited as a potential breakaway, although less likely because it would be an enclave. --JayHenry 03:23, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, JayHenry, that's a useful expansion of the main points under consideration. I appreciate your critique, and the depth of your knowledge, but I think I should add a word or two in my own defence. I was perhaps being over subtle, but I deliberately choose the Grand Duchy as the heart of 'ethnic Russia', before the acqusition of the Khanate of Kazan by Ivan IV. I did not really mean to imply that Moscovites are the 'real' Russians, if by this you mean the citizens of the city of Moscow. Clearly, that is far from being the case. It was not my intention, moreover, to go over the whole course of Russian history. You are quite right that Kievan Rus, Vladimir-Suzdal and Novgorod the Great all made important contributions to the formation of what we understand today as Russia, in linguistic, political and cultural terms. But it is it really accurate to say that Moscovy (Grand Duchy and Tsardom) was not any more signficant than these earlier states? A large part of the territory of Kievan Rus would later fall to Moscovy, though the western part would, for many centuries, came under the control of the Lithuanians and then the Poles. Though eventually reunited with Russia, the western parts of the Ukraine had formed their own unique indentity in the interval. Vladimir-Suzdal was indeed the most powerful Russian state to emerge out of Kievan Rus; but after the destruction of the city of Vladimir by the Mongols, and the political fragmentation that followed, Moscow became increasingly important, particularly after the Metropolitan moved his chair there in 1321. Novgorod was also of great importance, but gradually fell under the influence and control of Moscovy, to the point where it was annexed outright by Ivan III in 1478. Control of the old territory of Novgorod gave Moscovy access to the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea, the very area in which Peter the Great was eventually to lay the foundations of his 'window on the west', the future setting for some of the great novels you have identified. My essential point is that Moscovy, as an evolving political construct, subsumes, either in part or in whole, all of these earlier state structures.

As far as the Yakuts and Altay are concerned, yes, you are right, nationhood is a far better word than statehood, though I was attempting to avoid any attempts at political comparisons between them and the Armenians and the Georgians. I'm not quite sure that I accept the validity of your point that the difference between Chechnya and Armenia is entirely one of 'arbitrary classification.' Both as a state, and as an historical concept, Armenia has far deeper roots than Chechnya. Cultural validity, on the other hand, is a quite separate and distinct construct. Clio the Muse 08:11, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Wow what a lengthy discussion( thanks!) So I guess (in short) you'd say : all of Russia is predominantly Russia (the Caucasus as well?) But how many of those major cities (like Vladivostok, Samara, Irkutsk, Jekaterinburg have a long slavic history, like for 700 years?) Would it be alright to say that Russia is in fact a bit like the United States?Evilbu 10:12, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

It would be safer to say that nearly all of Russia is predominantly ethnically Russian. I do think that there are some enclaves, particularly in the Caucasus, where ethnic Russians do not form a majority. You would need to look through statistics on nationality for each subdivision named after a non-Russian ethnic group. In some such subdivisions, ethnic Russians are in fact the majority; in others, however, a non-Russian ethnic group predominates. It just happens that no big cities have ethnically non-Russian majorities. As for your question about the ethnic geography 700 years ago, essentially, the Russian people had not yet acquired their current ethnic identity, which is distinct from those of the neighboring Belarussians and Ukrainians. In 1307, I think that the ancestors of present-day ethnic Russians, Belarussians, and Ukrainians would have identified as something like "Russkiy". That said, the Russkiy of 1307 were confined to an area west of the Urals that probably excluded the lower Volga basin, the steppes just north of Caucasus (and the Caucasus itself), much of the Black Sea coast, and the Arctic north. Also the area along the Gulf of Finland was probably predominantly occupied by Finnic-speaking peoples. Vladivostok, Irkutsk, and Yekaterinburg were outside of this area and did not yet exist, except perhaps as the sites of pre-Russian villages. As for Samara, I am not sure, but you should refer to the article for the history of that city. Finally, Russia can be compared to the United States in some ways. Of course, it is different from the United States in many others. Ethnic Russians define themselves by language, ancient traditions, and a presumed shared ancient ancestry. There is no comparable dominant ethnic group in the United States. White Americans are not really an ethnic group as such, nor are White Anglo-Saxon Protestants, or WASPs, really. WASPs in any case are not numerically predominant in the United States, and the United States is not formed around an ethnic kernel in the way that Russia is. Until recently, Russia has not absorbed successive waves of immigrants as the United States has. Finally, apart from some Indian reservations, and perhaps the bayous of Louisiana, the mountains of New Mexico, and perhaps South Texas, the United States lacks ethnic groups who have long historical roots in a rural region that they dominate. Ethnic minorities in the United States tend to be newcomers, dispersed across urban regions, and tending toward assimilation, whereas in Russia, most minorities are ancient and rooted in a distinct rural region. Marco polo 14:19, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Which version of this painting is better?[edit]

Our version of Oath of the Horatii is pretty small; it comes from the ARC before they got better scanning equipment. I've found two versions of the painting which appear to be better. [12] looks good to me, but it's only 154k. [13] is slightly larger in dimension, and is 1157k... but it's yellow and doesn't look as good to me: kind of blurry at full size. My laptop's screen is pretty burned out, so I was looking for an opinion on which would be a better version to upload to the Commons. But they both look better than any of our three versions. grendel|khan 19:09, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

The first, grendel, looks far better than the second on my computer, as the second seems to make the colours in David's painting look washed-out. Clio the Muse 19:15, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I'll go with that, then. Thanks! grendel|khan 19:19, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

A list of Social ranks in the medieval age[edit]

I realize ofcourse that this question of mine may not be so easy for you to answer, but i wonder if you guys can help me figure out SOCIAL RANKS in medievaltime.

First and foremost in central europe; France, Germany, and the lands around this regiuon, and England ofc. to ME, these three countries, and especially France is the heart and centre of Medieval europe.. probably becoz of the crusades and these countries' part down in Jerusalem. And ofc, Rome is an important region as well, coz here was the pope, the bishop of thius and that and many important ranks in socialitiy.

So, can you help me get an idea then of social ranks and say who is "higher" than the other, and who is lower, and who is mediocre and so on - MAKE A LIST, from top to bottom, highest to lowest ! :)

we have :

Peasant, Baron, Duke, King/Queen, Chancellor, Bishop, Pope, Count, Steward, Mayor, a mere nobleman, General, clerk, clerics and various church-people, Knight, squire

(GENERAL: interesting to figure out how high he could stand in the social - outside and away from battle) (A LORD can be many things i guess, so maybe it shouldn't be in the list..) (A SQUIRE is a knight's apprentice and servant, he did not stand high in the social, right ?)

who is considered the highest, the most powerful, the most influential, the most respected, the most looked up to, the finest and so on... kind of like that. and I must say, maybe not all of the ranks i mention excisted at medieval time, or at the same time, but still one shud get an idea of what is higher and lower than the other.

Krikkert7 19:18, 10 April 2007 (UTC)Krikkert7

It was common in the middle ages to divide society into three. I don't think Wikipedia has any good articles about this, but try Estates of the realm for a look at the French system. There is no way to rank everyone without dividing them into their separate roles, as clergy, nobility, and everyone else. For clergy, there was the pope, then bishops and archbishops, archdeacons, and parish priests. But there were also powerful monasteries, where some abbots had as much influence as archbishops or bishops. Clergy was similar throughout Europe, but for nobility, it was different everywhere, even within France or England. Try reading through nobility, English nobility, Peerage, French nobility, Peerage of France, German nobility, etc. Adam Bishop 21:15, 10 April 2007 (UTC)


Royal and noble ranks might answer some of these questions. − Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 21:24, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

In addition to the information that you have already been given by Adam and Twas Now, Krikkert, you should look at the page on Feudalism, and the links to lord, vassal and fief. Also the page on manorialism and feudal society give good general background information on the social hierarchy of Medieval Europe. Now, if you will please bear in mind that I am talking about the practices existing in western Europe during the early Middle Ages, the whole social structure should be conceived of as a pyramid, with the king at the top and the peasant at the bottom. In theory all land was owned by the king, and was distributed to the senior nobility, earls, barons and, from the later Middle Ages, dukes in return for military service. In receiving these grants, the nobles pledged loyalty to the king, becoming his vassals by placing their hands together, which the king grasped in his. A vestige of this still remains in the modern day in the gesture of prayer. The senior nobility would, in their turn, grant fiefs to their subordinates, nobles of a lesser magnitude, who would also enter into vassalage. The pyramid broadens out the further down one goes, to the peasants at the bottom, existing in conditions of servitude known as serfdom, not quite slaves, but very close to that abject state. There is also the pyramid of the Church, which existed in both national and supra-national terms. Senior churchmen would hold land of the king, and were, in some cases, under direct military obligation, just like any other noble. In England, the Prince-Bishops of Durham are a classic example of this, charged with defending the norther border against the Scots. But churchmen were also under vassalage to the Pope in Rome, which could, and did, lead to serious conflicts of interest. Some of the titles you have touched on, like Chancellor, Steward and so on were senior political offices, held usually by members of the nobility, or those in the highest rank of the church. Chancellors, in particular, were most often churchmen, because they possessed the education that the lay nobility lacked. It is also worth pointing out that knighthood was often a specific honour granted by the king under certain conditions, and not all nobles, even the most senior, were automatically knights. Edward the Black Prince of Wales, son of Edward III, and heir to the throne of England, only received his knighthood on the battlefield of Crecy in 1346. Anyway, I hope this is all reasonably clear, but let me know if you require any further clarification. Best wishes. Clio the Muse 23:04, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

It shouldn't be too hard to make a list of social ranks for particular systems of titled peerage. Of course, being the very top of the upper class, you'll be looking at a very small portion of the population. Even the "bottom" of the peerage and below, things like Esquire, Gentleman, Yeoman, gentry, etc, was still a small number of people in the upper class. Sometimes peasants are described as the bottom social class, but at least peasants had jobs and homes, usually. Compare tenant farmer with villein. Even these people were better off, and often fewer in number, than landless, jobless, vagabonds (the wikipedia page doesn't say anything about the pre-modern use of the word unfortunately). During some periods of history, the number of vagabonds in England outnumbered most other "social classes". Of course, there were worse things than vagabondage, like slavery. There are many terms for the various shades of meaning of class among these middle and lower classes. Making a list of social rank in those groups, the bulk of the population, would be trickier, but perhaps more interesting. Pfly 02:10, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorting out the order of precedence between a mixed bunch of Royalty, Peers and Bishops is an everyday task for those responsible for organising Royal events in the UK. Debrett's Peerage is the usual authority on these matters. It's also an essential reference book for people wishing to ensure they know their "Your Eminence"s from their "Your Highness"es and their "Your Grace"s from their "Your Royal Highness"es"! --Dweller 10:57, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Medieval: Lord and Sir[edit]

What decided if one was called a LORD ?

and waht decided if one was called SIR ?

ALL noblemen were called LORD in the medieval age, and all noblewomen were called LADY, is it that simple ? was there any other way one could get to be called LORD?

And as far as i know, ONLY KNIGHTS were called Sir in the medieval times, right ? In order to be called Sir, one simply had to be Knighted ? or was there other ways ?

Krikkert7 19:24, 10 April 2007 (UTC)krikkert7

Well, the way we use "lord" and "sir" right now is not really the way they used those words in the middle ages. People were not called "lord" or "sir" as titles the way we use them today. Now when someone becomes a knight, for example if they are a member of the Order of the British Empire, they can be called "Sir", but they are not literally a medieval knight. "Sir" is derived from the word "senior", meaning "older", or as a noun "an elder". A lord today, as in the House of Lords, also no longer refers to the same thing as a medieval lord. A lord was just someone who owns land, no matter how big the piece of land was, or anyone with any kind of authority. It is a translation of the Latin word "dominus". Anyone from the Pope to the lowest lord of a manor could be described as "dominus". But you would have to own land to be a lord, and only the nobility owned land (or, people became nobles only because they owned land), so a peasant or a merchant wouldn't be called "lord". This is a very simple explanation, so I hope it makes sense. Adam Bishop 21:05, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
In Shakespeare, people are called "sir" without it being any kind of honorific, if I remember correctly. -GTBacchus(talk) 05:06, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
There's a huge difference between calling somebody "sir" and calling somebody "Sir + firstname". You can call any man sir, as in "my good sir" or "Sir, would you please sit". The style "Sir" used before the first name was only used by knights (and later on baronets). Knights were historically not always knighted by kings; a sovereign could permit certain individuals (generals, for example) to bestow knighthoods on worthy men. This changes from decade to decade and king to king as well. I don't believe there is any time where the construction "Sir + lastname" was used. Sir Geoffrey Parker is Sir Geoffrey, never Sir Parker.
The rules about how to use the style "Lord" and who can use it are somewhat convoluted and vary wildly depending on what specific time frame you're talking about. The rules derive from peerage laws passed by Parliament, traditions, and royal decrees and warrants. Sometimes "Lord" is used with a first name, such as "Lord Peter Wimsey", sometimes (more commonly in olden days) with a surname, and sometimes it's part of a title, such as "Lord Langdon", and the three aren't interchangeable - if Steven Robertson has the title Lord Langdon, you can't call him Lord Robertson or Lord Steven without someone noticing and probably laughing at you. (Frustrating, I know.) The right of an individual to use "Lord" as either a style or as part of a title in historic times generally derived at least indirectly from a royal warrant. --Charlene 07:03, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
This is not my area of expertise, but I would point out that not all landowners in the Middle Ages would have been considered "lords". There were yeoman peasant freeholders. That is, there were peasants who owned some land and were not serfs. Nor were these peasants considered "lords". Their status was higher than that of serfs, but much lower than that of the nobility. Marco polo 14:27, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

As above, Debrett's Peerage guides the reader as to the correct form of address for every rank to be found in the UK. --Dweller 10:58, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

  • Well, hang on again. There is no "medieval period" where an answer is practical. In 1100, "leofard" would have gone to just about any commander or head of family/head of household, and leofdi (loaf holder), or "lady," would have gone to any woman serving at the meal (i.e. the older woman, the wife, but not the daughter), but by 1500 the peerage system has kicked in, and we start to get specific honorifics in specific occasions. In other words, the English language and English usage has always been sloppy with these terms, but there was, for a while, an attempt at nailing them down to additional meanings relating to peerage. Hence the "anyone is a lord, but only some are Lord Anyone" and the "anyone is a lady, but only some are Lady Anyone" paradox outlined above. Utgard Loki 17:51, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

Copyright information[edit]

I'm looking for a copyright expert to help me with some questions. I'm writing a book, and I will be taking chunks from the Wikipedia and also from other books for my content, but I'll be translating and rewording everything differently. I "think" I'm allowed to take chunks from Wikipedia as long as I use the gnu licence thingy? But what are the guidelines for taking chunks from copyrighted books. How much do I have to change or reword for it to be legit? Whom should I consult on this?

I know Wikipedia dosn't offer legal advice, but I'm asking what kind of person should I consult to answer these kinds of questions? I live in Toronto.--Sonjaaa 19:35, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Usually, except in the context of reviews, you can't "take" chunks, be they large or small, from copyrighted materials without permission. Cheers Geologyguy 19:42, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
You might try talking to a lawyer that specializes in intellectual property.-Czmtzc 20:10, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
The GFDL, under which Wikipedia is licensed, says that you can create derivative works from it if they are also licensed under the GFDL. So if you release your book under the GFDL, and properly attribute the authorship of the derivative parts according to the stipulations in the GFDL, then you are home free — this is entirely the point of the GFDL, no lawyer required. However this means that someone else could take chunks of your book and turn them into their own book, also released under the GFDL. That's the entire goal of free content — to stay free, to not let people lock it up in a proprietary form, and to encourage other people to make more free content (i.e. content under a free content license, like the GFDL).
If, however, you want to release your book under different terms, then you have an entirely different issue on your hands. If you don't release your derivative work under the GFDL, then you are doing the same thing as borrowing material from any old copyrighted source — it might as well be Encyclopedia Brittanica. Which would be infringement, so long as it is not fair use. And a lawyer would be best to determine the latter point, and it is a hard determination.
Make sense? You don't really need a lawyer for this question, not at this stage. --140.247.250.146 21:18, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
I don't think Canada has the same doctrine of fair use as the U.S. An issue is how dramatic the transformation is involved in "translating and rewording everything differently". Imagining that someone had still held the copyright on Romeo and Juliet when Arthur Laurents wrote the libretto for Bernstein's West Side Story, and the librettist had been sued for copyright infringement, I don't think he would have lost. Even though West Side Story is normally labelled as "based on Romeo and Juliet", the transformation is so dramatic that it can no longer be considered a derivative work. I think that in general, if you extract ideas or information from a source that you could also have found elsewhere, and use that in the creation of an independent work, there is no issue with copyright; what is protected is not the idea but its expression. If you reuse "chunks", and some of the "expression" persists through your rewording, then you have a problem. Also, apart from the legal issue of copyright, there is the risk of accusations of plagiarism. If you're serious about doing this and publishing the result, you shoulod definitely seek the advice of a lawyer who specializes in intellectual property law.  --LambiamTalk 23:42, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
Hi Sonjaaa. To answer your question who should I consult, here is the contact information for CBA Pro Bono, someone there might be able to help you find pro-bono legal assistance. I'll just add if you are planning to translate excerpts of copyrighted works into Toki Pona (strictly for illustrative purposes), and that's what you meant by "translating and rewording everything", you might want to make that point clear. The way you phrase your question may give people the false impression you are deliberately trying to conceal plagiarism. Best wishes in your literary endeavors. Regards. dr.ef.tymac 00:33, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
In the UK you can usually quote up to 300 words of prose without express permission. (I'm a publisher and we do this sort of thing all the time.) For more than 300 words you need the permission of the copyright holder, who isn't always easy to trace. Contact the publisher in the first instance and to be on the safe side. Some of them don't reply, but as long as you can show that you made a reasonable effort to obtain permission you should be okay. Note that different rules apply to quoting poetry, and you almost always need permission.--Shantavira 08:19, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Follow-up: Hi Shantavira, just out of curiousity, are you familiar with whether the UK handles translation exemplars for language textbooks any differently? dr.ef.tymac 14:57, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Differences between human and other lifeforms[edit]

Are there, according to you, fundamental and qualitatives differences between us, Homo sapiens, and the rest of the biosphere? Or do we see us so much different from it only because of our anthropocentrism? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 62.48.110.205 (talk) 22:51, 10 April 2007 (UTC).

Humans are the only life form in our biosphere who believe they are more unique than other life forms. This makes them unique.  --LambiamTalk 23:03, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
The uniqueness also comes, I would suggest, from a knowledge of mortality, specific to the human race. Clio the Muse 23:28, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
But, Lambiam, it doesn't make them more unique, because there's no such thing as more unique. :) JackofOz 00:41, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
I think he means "more unique" in the same sense that some animals are more equal than others.--ĶĩřβȳŤįɱéØ 00:50, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

There are fundamental and qualitative differences between [insert any creature here] and the rest of the biosphere.--ĶĩřβȳŤįɱéØ 00:05, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure some apes are proved counscious of their mortality...

It isn't personality. Even spiders possess those, with some being timid, and others aggressive (I can't find the livescience.com ref right now). Mice have fear. Animals may be taught to talk, so that they sound like people (parrots) or convey meaning to people (Chimpanzees). While some people are very dumb, even the most intellectually challenged have communication skills in advance of the other animal kingdom wonders. Other creatures lie, Roosters will lie about seeing birds of prey to score with chickens (another livescience article). Humans have created a world in their minds, which isn't the same for all humans, but which follows rules known to all humans, but not animals. DDB 02:08, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

There are a number of reasons why the human species is "more unique" than any other species. Or to put it in a way that won't make grammatical purists see red, let's say that the factors making humanity unique (among all extant animal species) are objectively more significant than the factors making any other species unique. For example, humans are the only species in need of orthodontists. -Mathew5000 05:28, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Not that I'm seeing red, but there's nothing purist about requiring "unique" not to be qualified. Either there's only one example of a phenomenon, or there's more than one. It's more a mathematical issue than a grammatical one. JackofOz 06:12, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

Self-concsiousness or languagepossesion is something that some philosophers said made humans different from other animals in the biosphere. Another property is being a person. But not all humans have all of these properties essentialy. We all seem to lack self-concsiousness, a language when we are born. It is not also easy to tell what being a person really is. Personaly I am interested in the view that a person has a kind of first-person perspective where he or her can consider them selfs as selfs. Examples of such thoughts are: "I wish I could spell better" where the object of my thought are myself. But some philosophers, defenders of animalism, consider us to be humananimals essentially and persons contingently. They are especially thinking of humans in coma where only their vegitative functions work. So another way to explain the difference between humans and other lifeforms would be in terms of number of genes or maybe some special genetic sequences. But that view maybe only give contingent properties and not any essential difference. RickardV 07:24, 11 April 2007 (UTC)

rice has more genes than human :)
And then not the same sequence. What is problematic with this definition is that it reject other views on persons and people with Down Syndrome or other chromosome abnormalities. RickardV 06:34, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

A traditional Biblical approach is that fundamentally and qualitatively we differ from the animals only in our ability to discern good and evil and choose our path accordingly. --Dweller 10:52, 12 April 2007 (UTC)

The key functional difference, I feel, is the that humans possess culture to such an extent that it transcends physiology. Humans don't live in the wild- if they did, they'd probably live about as long as other animals of similar diet and body mass. Instead, we manage to live far longer. We are, in a sense, a race of cyborgs. Our machines are largely outside ourselves though. We wear clothes, build houses, write books, form governments, hire specialists- all to augment our natural abilities. Unlike other forms of life, none of us is anywhere near as smart as all of us.

Let me put that another way. Take dolphins, for instance. Dolphins learn a lot from other dolphins. It may be fair to say that any individual dolphin is capable of learning everything of general importance contained in the sum total of all other dolphins' knowledge.

Humans, on the other hand, are surrounded by thousands upon thousands of times more data than any individual human can possibly know. Much of that data is in the form of infrastructure. We have roads, not just stories about how to get from place to place. We have cars, not just ideas about internal combustion engines. We have telephones, not just the thought that it would be nice to be able to transport one's voice around the world without having to travel.

The fact that humans don't have fur is a testament to this fact. It's not that we don't live where it's cold. It's that our humanness has transcended our furriness through the use of clothes.

Humans, as "'cyborgs of culture'", further distinguish themselves from other lifeforms by creating non-essential information that moves towards being necessary over time. We create our world. The things we invent contain other hidden inventions. For instance, the airplane was also the invention of airmail, airpower, and eventually, globalism. There are other animals that use tools and solve problems. None has advanced to the point of changing their basic culture on a continuous basis.

You could use beavers and coral as exceptions to this, but neither would be apt. Beavers change their surroundings, sure. However, their mode of living stays the same. Coral builds itself up into reefs, making a space for later generations of coral. But this is the only way that operates. There is no meta-change taking place.

Humans are essentially different in another way. Humans exhibit a more profound differentiation external morphology between individuals than in other lifeforms. Humans are more individualized in their appearance than any form of life I can think of. Dogs, for instance, exhibit huge variety within the species. But one dog can still look so much like another that you can't tell them apart. Humans, on the other hand, have different enough faces that we are able to distinguish each other on sight. DeepSkyFrontier 09:12, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Weird Al Mona Lisa[edit]

there is a picture of mona lisa body w/ weird al head [14]Could you put that in the Mona Lisa page

[[Wrestling Maniac]] 23:42, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

I doubt if it would remain there long, as somebody would likely object. You might have better luck putting it on the Weird Al page, but only if we have the legal right to use the image. StuRat 04:57, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
It would be removed immediately. The Mona Lisa is a work of art which has been beloved throughout the Western world for centuries; Weird Al is a guy who's been singing for a few short years and is known in two or three countries. I don't think Weird Al would appreciate it, let alone anyone else. What's more, the Weird Al photo would be a transformative work and therefore under copyright. --Charlene 06:47, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Hey Weird Al Yankovic has been singing for a lot more than just "a few short years" and is definitely known in more than "two or three countries". --Candy-Panda 11:30, 11 April 2007 (UTC)
Weird Al Yankovic composed "My Bologna" in 1976 or 31 years ago. Mona Lisa was completed in 1506 or 501 years ago. Weird Al has been around for a few short years in comparison.