Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 August 25

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August 25[edit]

Recent NYtimes Article[edit]

ON green CEO or executive directors. Does anyone remember seeing this? I read it and put it aside but now cant find it!! Lots of googling to new avail. If anyone remembers this article, or something similar can you point me in the right direction? (or help me brainstorm more search terms, I have used green, environment, CEO, executive director, officer...)


Ebenbayer 02:11, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

How long ago was this? Last week? Last year?  --Lambiam 03:06, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Here's one about the Energy Security Leadership Council, a group of CEO's supporting alternative energy: [1] --Sean 03:42, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Here's another one, "Companies Giving Green an Office", from July 2007. [2]. Search for "global warming managers" and you'll find more related articles. -- 04:06, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

property rights on banned things[edit]

Hi. I wonder if a person still enjoys certain property rights on things which are banned. For example, if person X breaks into person Y's house, and steals all his millions of dollars in narcotics and unnecessarily powerful weapons, would person X faces theft charges, or possession of stolen property in addition to the possession of illegal banned things? --Duomillia 05:21, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Whether they would actually face such charges is one thing, but sure, it is theft and illegal, even if the person originally enjoying the goods was possessing them in contravention of the law.  --Lambiam 11:56, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Person X would be charged with breaking and entering, as well as possession of narcotics. I don't think a DA would try to get them charged with possession of stolen property; it would be conceptually confusing for a jury. Person Y would probably be liable to be charged for narcotics as well if they reported the theft. This is one reason why illegal things are often stolen—they can't be reported as stolen without self-incrimination on behalf of the person reporting it. -- 12:02, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

OKAY im confused ,please answer this!![edit]

The slaves came from the Gold Coast which is Ghana and the Slave Coast. (togo benin and western nigeria) The people who settled in Benin came from Niger because the Edo people came from Niger Area(so they have Nigerien ancestry) and the 1st people that settled in Togo came from both Ghana and Benin. So they both have Ghanaian and Beninese descent. Just read the history of Benin and Togo you know what im talking about. I just confusing about togo and benin, So the people of benin have nigerien descent and the togolese have beninese and ghanian descent. it's just confusing so help!!!!!!--arab 07:04, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Everybody everywhere came from somewhere else. Not only in Africa; look for plenty of examples in Europe. There is a constant stream of migrations going on, like billiard balls caroming on a pool table. It is mainly meaningful to ask for someone's ancestry with respect to a specific migration. As you move back in history it gets more and more diffuse, through migrations and through intermarriages. Also, do not confuse geographical designations with political entities. It is not as if the area that is Togo was deserted before the Portuguese came, upon which people from the areas that today are Ghana and Benin moved in. It is rather meaningless to say that these people were of "Beninese and Ghanian descent". Was Hannibal of Tunisian descent, Archimedes of Italian descent, Euclid of Egyptian descent, and Heraclitus of Turkish descent? Togo has quite arbitrary geographical boundaries that have no ethnic or tribal relevance, and no relevance in any sense at all in the period you're interested in.  --Lambiam 11:45, 25 August 2007 (UTC)


How have America's military and political actions in the Middle East region helped or hindered Iran? --Longhornsg 07:59, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Operation Ajax--Funnyguy555 13:04, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

It seems to me that the better question might be how have America's actions in the Middle East helped or hindered America?! They have certainly aided Iran by no direct process; they have, however, indirectly and unintentionaly, provided the political context for the the victory of Shi'a radicalism and a militant form of Iranian nationalism. Even more seriously, by knocking out the regime of Saddam Hussein the United States has removed the one effective political counter to Iran in the whole region, adding greatly to the power and prestige of the present regime, headed by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. What follows, I have to sresss, is a brief essay on realpolitik as it is applied to international relations. It is not an attack on the United States, a defence of Saddam Hussein, or a justification of Islamic militancy. Insofar as Clio has a view it is this: the history, the politics and the religious tensions in the Persian Gulf region are enormously complex. It is, or should be, the one place on earth where all wise men fear to tread.
First, a brief word or two on the nature of Shi'a Islam and how it applies to Iranian politics. Iran is the one country in the world where attitudes and outlooks are dominated by millenarian form of Islam, known as the Twelver School. Central to this is the idea of a Mahdi, a messiah to come at the end of time and rule the world with justice. Muhammad al-Mahdi, by Shia tradition the twelvth Iman, was withdrawn from the visable world in the ninth century, though he remains poised to return, transmitting his wishes in the meantime to the faithful through deputies. In practical terms this has meant that all temporal authority is viewed as illegitimate, except when endorsed, as part of a temporary arrangement, by Shi'a theologians. This need for a balance between secular of theocratic rule was recognised in 1503 by the Safavids, though in practice it has been difficult to achieve. Even so, the Iranian constitution of 1906 made provision for clerics to oversee parliamentary enactments. Though this was never implemented the idea remained latent and powerful. It gave Shi'ism a powerful political and revolutionary focus that simply did not exist in Sunni Islam. In helping to overthrow Mohammed Mossadegh in the 1953 Iranian coup d'état, the CIA not only destroyed a legitimate and democratically elected government, but it also encouraged a counter-response, with an outcome in the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
With the support of the United States, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, emerged from the 1953 coup more absolute than ever. He began a programme of westernisation and modernisation, aiming, in his own words, for 'the Great Civilization.' For most Iranians, though, he was little better than a foreign-sponsored puppet, whose oppressive and brutal security apparatus, SAVAK, was built up with American and Israeli aid. The secular political opposition, including the Communist Party, was destroyed. In the end only the Muslim clerics were left as a channel for national discontent, a discontent expressed in the most uncompromising form by Ruhollah Khomeini.
It was the writing of the man we now know as Ayatolla Khomeini that led in 1963 to the first great public protest against the Shah. Sent into exile, Kohmeini continued his criticism, drawing on all of the established Shi'a traditions, theology and scholarship. His interpretation of how government should be conducted in the absence of the Iman was to provide the political and theological basis for the Islamic Revolution. The Shah was ignoring both the clergy and the Constitution of 1906. His government was therefore not merely wrong; it was blasphemous. The only government that could be relied upon to be truly Islamic was that under the supervision of the ulema, the general body of the Muslim clergy.
The success of the Revolution, and the return of Kohomeini, saw a clear deterioration of the American position in the region. The whole event was carried forward on an explosion of anger, directed fist at the westernising practices of the Shah, and second against the United States for sustaining his regime for so long. This found early expression in the Iranian hostage crisis, which served to demonstrate the military and political impotence of Jimmy Carter's presidency. The political chaos within Iran also provided the opportunity for Saddam to to begin the Iran-Iraq War in 1980, an act of opportunist aggression. Here the United States initially maintained a position of neutrality, though this changed when the Iraqi offensive faltered. Fears over an Iranian advance was to lead to U.S. support for Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, including the supply of chemicals, which were used in attacking Iranian troops. Support did not stop when it was discovered that Saddam was also using chemical weapons against parts of his own population.
The war stopped with an uneasy peace, a militant Islamic state on one side of the divide, and a secular Arab dictator on the other. But Saddam was an unpredictable Frankenstein monster, as the United States discovered during the First Gulf War. Saddam's aggression against Kuwait, the cause of the war, had been helped on its way by previous massive U. S. arms sales to Iraq. The war concluded with the 1991 uprisings, when the Iraqi Shi'a in the south rose in revolt, although this was suppressed because George H. W. Bush and his coalition partners offered no support.
Thereafter American policy in the region, and Iran-United States relations was characterised by a deep sense of confusion, perhaps nowhere more evident than in George W. Bush's Axis of evil speech, which failed to draw any distinction between the different degrees of 'threat' presented by Iran and Iraq. As I have already indicated, thses two powers, with deep mutual hostilities, held one another in check. The game was changed out of all recognition by the Second Gulf War, conceivably one of the most misguided steps in the whole War on Terror strategy pursued by the White House. With Saddam gone Iran is immesurably stronger, with support across the region; from the Shi'a militias in Iraq to Hezbollah in Lebanon. The weak Iraqi democracy is in no position to withstand Iranian pressure, and any American withdrawal will only make the position worse. President Bush now has the wolf by the ears: he does not want to hold on, but he dare not left go. It's impossible to predict what may come. Clio the Muse 02:30, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
The reaction to US support for the shah seems like a good example of one extreme leading to the other. If you push people too hard in one direction, you'll likely see them move in the opposite direction. I've heard the suggestion that the present Iranian movement should run its course. It will start to disgust people, which will cause increasing support for the countermovements (which there must be - Iran is a fairly 'modern' society). Most importantly, this will come from the inside and will therefore stick. This is a very important lesson for the US. Btw it's too late for Iraq. Both the US leaving and staying will have unacceptable consequences. So in retrospect (?) they should not have gone there in the first place. Then again, a solution from within may take a long time. No easy answers. DirkvdM 08:56, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Not directly addressing the question, but the thread somehow led me to the article on Kermit Roosevelt, Jr., the puppetmaster behind Mossadegh's overthrow. I had listened to a radio segment on him a couple of years ago, and was now delighted to find the bit on how he nearly blew his cover at the Turkish embassy in Tehran:
"When playing tennis and making some frustrating mistake he would cry out, "Oh Roosevelt!" Puzzled by this, his friends asked him about this interesting way of expressing his annoyance with his game. He explained that as loyal member of the Republican party back in the States, that every Republican had nothing but scorn and hatred for Franklin Delano Roosevelt and that he despised the man so much that he took to using FDR's name as a curse."
---Sluzzelin talk 11:05, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Strange to hear Kermit described as the puppet master rather than the puppet! I am sure his girlfriend is the sort of strong woman Clio would respect as well. Cyta 08:11, 27 August 2007 (UTC)
Adorable Miss Piggy, Evita to Kermit's Peron! Clio the Muse 23:58, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

21 grams[edit]

Does the life force in humans have a discernible weight? - Kittybrewster (talk) 10:35, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

This appears to be a science question, not humanities. --Anonymous, August 25, 2007, 10:50 (UTC).

Not until ghosts can haz cheezburger.hotclaws 10:58, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

The expression "life force in humans" sounds hardly scientific to me. It's a fine folklore or ancient traditions question, so it fits perfectly here. --Taraborn 15:46, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
The 21 grams is supposed to be the weight of the final breath. Many, many, many cultures have associated the breath with the life force, from ancient Hebrews to the Romans ("spirit" = "breath"). The film 21 grams explains, I think, that that is the amount of weight a body loses at the moment of death. Well, that is bogus, as each particular body would have to vary, and other things are lost besides breath. Geogre 12:11, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
This goes back to actual zany experiments by one Dr. Duncan MacDougall, who believed he was measuring the weight of the human soul (not breath or life force) leaving the body as the patient was dying. Different patients gave different results, but for the first reported on the measured weight loss was "ascertained to be three-fourths of an ounce". Another conclusion of the good doctor was that "this substance ... weighs about one and one-fourth ounces per cubic foot".  --Lambiam 13:02, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Sorry. I was just saying what is lost at death. Air is heavy, as we all know from our own nation's Mr. Wizard (even humanities geeks). One's weight loss at the flicker of death would be air volume, but then other things could go out after the loss of muscular control. Geogre 13:35, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
That's very delicately put, Geogre! I've seen a little death, and the passing of water happens as often as not. Xn4 22:33, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm reminded of this. -- JackofOz 12:07, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Ward Office in Japan[edit]

What is a Ward Office in Japan? What sort of a directory is kept there? I read in a handbook on Japan that the directory is now available in Korean as well. Something to do with census? Thanks for any clarification. Chakkshusravana 16:08, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

The wards of Japan are the administrative subdivisions where local administrative issues are handled, including family registration (which implies Japanese citizenship and includes registration of residence). Possibly the directory refers to that, but the wards also maintain a second separate "stand alone" residence registration for Japanese citizens, and furthermore an alien registration. Without further context I can't be sure.  --Lambiam 17:51, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. With that article you linked, things at once became clear. Regards. Chakkshusravana 17:57, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Mozart's laughter[edit]

Some people say his laughter was rather... well... ridiculous. Do we have any solid evidence for that fact or is it just an urban legend? --Taraborn 16:21, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

The giggle produced by the persona Mozart (played by Tom Hulce) in the movie Amadeus was rather... well... ridiculous. As it is generally accepted that movies portraying historical characters meticulously stick to well-researched and well-established historical fact, and that no self-respecting director would even move an inch away from that under the guise of artistic freedom, this must be equally true as the historical fact that Salieri caused Mozart's death.  --Lambiam 17:34, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Actually, as I recall, and someone else can recall better, I'm sure, Schaffer got that from a letter from one of the people offended by Mozart, but it was a single line. He was supposed to have a grating laugh. Well, that leaves a lot of room for interpretation. Geogre 21:08, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
More actually, it's a sad commentary on modern life that, for most people, the sum total of their "knowledge" about Mozart is the film Amadeus. Schaffer never intended the play as an accurate biography of Mozart. He knew as well as anyone else that there is no evidence that Salieri poisoned Mozart, or even tried to. Who knows what other historical inaccuracies he introduced? And who knows how far Forman's film diverged from Schaffer's play? (these are rhetorical questions, btw). My suggestion is to love the movie (as I do), but please look elsewhere for the truth about Mozart. -- JackofOz 21:58, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
By no means that applies to me, of course, since I have not even watched the film. That's why I asked whether it was or wasn't an urban legend. only because many ordinary people said that but I couldn't find any reference in more serious sources, such as Wikipedia. Thank you to all for confirming my thoughts. --Taraborn 13:23, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
I'm assuming you read the subsection Mozart#Rumours_and_controversies, particularly the sentence beginning with "Shaffer's play attracted criticism for portraying Mozart as vulgar and loutish, a characterization felt by many to be unfairly exaggerated, but in fact frequently confirmed by the composer's letters and other memorabilia." The paragraph then mentions two canons with coprolalic lyrics. I've seen at least two other ones ("Beym Arsch ist's finster" and "Difficile lectu mihi Mars" - allographic word play on "leck Du mi im Arsch") And I've seen letters to his friends and relatives ending with vulgar and puerile valedictions. Geogre's suggestion sounds possible, perhaps Mozart's laughter was remarkable enough to find its way in a letter or two, and if I ever find anything, I will certainly let you know. Without going out on the highly speculative Tourette limb, and only judging from my own experience with humans, it is certainly not difficult to imagine an annoying laugh following the reported compulsion to address bodily taboos in speech and writing. But of course we'll never know what it sounded like. What we do know, is the sound of laughter and merriment as expressed in his compositions. ---Sluzzelin talk 14:07, 28 August 2007 (UTC)
Thank you very much. --Taraborn 08:40, 30 August 2007 (UTC)
I still strongly recommend that you see the movie when you get the chance - but for its cinematic merits (after all, it didn't win the Best Picture Oscar for nothing; and neither did F Murray Abraham, who won the Best Actor award) and as a source of great music played beautifully, rather than as a source of historical accuracy. -- JackofOz 12:04, 31 August 2007 (UTC)


If my nephew is getting married by a justice fo the peace on Monday, and we just found out yesterday (8/25/07) what is the proper amount of money to give as a gift?



Regalbobg 16:24, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Whatever your income and closeness dictate. If you have a lot of nephews and not much money, not much. If you have a small number of nephews and nieces, and you're rich, some more. JP weddings are normally a sign that the couple don't expect much ado. There is no correct answer to this question, however. Utgard Loki 17:09, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

A book named "THE GENIE"-a reply[edit]

Hello Somebody had answered my question which i had posted here earlier. sorry for this late reply. you have asked whether i remember any character or place i am searching for. i know this sounds stupid but i dont remember a single place or name but i only remember that the book was a work of fiction in which there was a genie having a sexual relation with a human female almost as a ritual. please somebody say the author. thank u.

Searches for books with "Genie" in the title show no possible match. I suspect the title was different, which leaves us little to search on.  --Lambiam 14:52, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Fidel Castro just died?[edit]

I have just heard that Fidel Castro has died - is this true or a rumour?? --AlexSuricata 19:50, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

No one here can say for sure at this moment, but probably it's a rumor. See Fidel_Castro#Premature_death_rumors and [(unreliable source - do not use) here]. ---Sluzzelin talk 20:17, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Cool section. A.Z. 20:29, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Muslims of Spain[edit]

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I would like to know something of the impact on the Muslims of Spain of the completion of the Reconquista in 1492.Philip the Arab 22:22, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Philip, this question badly needs the Clio treatment. Although it's Saturday night, she may drop in. I can say briefly that the Reconquista of Andalusia (see also Al-Andalus) had a huge impact for those Muslims who failed to convert to Christianity. Despite some initial promises of tolerance, their position got more and more painful and because they couldn't practise their religion, those who wanted to do so had to leave. No doubt if young most such migrants had more adventurous lives than they would have had at home in Andalusia, but especially for the older ones it must have been as heartbreaking as every such mass migration is. In Alan Whicker's words, "If you're twenty, there's a good life waiting for you somewhere. If you're sixty, weep."
You'll also find a little useful material in the articles Granada, Alhambra decree and Caliph of Córdoba. I can add that even today, more than five hundred years on, in the mosques of Andalusia which were converted to churches Muslims are still prevented from saying prayers after their own religion. If that impact can still be seen now, think back five hundred years to a more violent age. Xn4 23:13, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
Two more articles which will help you: Moors and Spanish Inquisition. Xn4 02:13, 26 August 2007 (UTC)
Timeline of the Muslim presence in the Iberian peninsula is also informative, as is Francisco Cardinal Jiménez de Cisneros. --Ghirla-трёп- 14:18, 31 August 2007 (UTC)

Clio's getting tired, Xn4, but how can she possibly avoid giving this question at least a little of her 'treatment' after your fanfare!

It's an interesting topic, Philip, one that uncovers what might be considered as the first serious act of 'ethnic cleansing' in all of European history. The Moors of Spain were to be the victims of a state policy that had as many racist as religious overtones.

As Xn4 has indicated, the surrender of Granada in 1492 was accompanied by a treaty, allowing the Spanish crown's new Muslim subjects a large measure of religious toleration. They were also allowed the continuing use of their own language, schools, laws and customs. But the interpretation of the royal edict was largely left to the local Christian authorities. Hernando de Talavera, the first archbishop of Granada after its fall, took a fairly tolerant view. This changed when he was replaced by Cardinal Cisneros, who immediately organised a drive for mass conversions and burned all texts in Arabic. Outraged by this breach of faith, in 1499 the Mudejar rose in the First Rebellion of Alpujarras, which only had the effect of giving Ferdinand and Isabella the excuse to revoke the promise of toleration. That same year the Muslim leaders of Granada were ordered to hand over almost all of the remaining books in Arabic, most of which were burned. Beginning in Valencia in 1502 Muslims were offerd the choice of baptism or exile. The majority decided to accept this, becoming 'New Christians', of very great interest to the newly-established Spanish Inquisition, authorised by Pope Sixtus IV in 1478.

It is important to understand that the Converts, though outwardly Christian, continued to to adhere to their old beliefs in private, a conduct allowed for by some Islamic authorities when the faithful are under duress or threat of life, a practice known as taqiyyah or precaution. Responding to a plea from his co-religionists in Spain, in 1504 the Grand Mufti of Oran issued a decree saying that Muslims may drink wine, eat pork and other forbidden things, if they were under compulsion. There were good reasons for this; for abstinence from wine or pork could, and did, cause people to be denounced to the Inquisition. But no matter how closely they observed all of the correct forms, the 'Morisco' or Little Moors, a term of disparagement, were little better than second-class citizens, tainted, it might be said, by blood rather than by actions.

Despite all of these pressures some people continued to observe Moorish forms, and practice as Muslims, well into the sixteenth century. In 1567 Philip II finally made the use of Arabic illegal, forbidding the Islamic religion, dress and customs, a step which led to the Second Rebellion of Alpujarras. This was suppressed with considerable brutality. In one incident troops commanded by Don John of Austria destroyed the town of Galera east of Granada, after slaughtering the entire population. The Moriscos of Granada were rounded up and dispersed across Spain. Edicts of expulsion were finally issued by Philip III in 1609, against people who were now perceived to be a threat to the 'purity' of the Spanish race. Clio the Muse 04:01, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

Clio's reply goes to Islam in Spain. --Ghirla-трёп- 14:32, 31 August 2007 (UTC)