Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 December 18

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December 18[edit]

A few questions about world trade.[edit]

How is Canada protecting it's economy?

What is so bad about Globalization?

What is so bad about NAFTA?

Why does Canada do so much busieness with U.S.A.?

Thank you for listening and PLEAASE answer.(Superawesomgoat (talk) 00:11, 18 December 2007 (UTC))

1. By exporting maple syrup.
2. It's round.
3. It rhymes with Have Ta.
4. It's the closest country they can smuggle booze into.
If you are NOT a student just trying to get answers for your homework (which, sorry, that's what this looks like to me), then write back and convince us otherwise. Saukkomies 01:11, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Wouldn't it be cool if there was an online encyclopedia with information on the economy of Canada, globalization, NAFTA, and the Canadian economic relations with the U.S.? -- kainaw 02:53, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
That would be just way cool! Bielle (talk) 04:32, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Ooohh! If someone knows of such entity, please let me know :-) Pallida  Mors 06:16, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Wow, that would be superawesome. But hold, once I ruminate a while: What would happen to all them frustrated referencedeskopedians, staring morosely at an empty screen, experiencing the gruesome pangs of bleakest Freudian existential fear, fossilising imperceptibly into antediluvian gargoyles whilst millions of ignorami tap furiously their query strings into the search box and disvover the blissfulness of gnorance. Shreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek. ´Tis the end of civiliization, as we knew it. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 20:36, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Hey, we could log in as sockpuppets with questions, and answer them with our regular account! ---Sluzzelin talk 23:45, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Tamo tigers?[edit]

What or who are the tamo tigers? (Superawesomgoat (talk) 00:23, 18 December 2007 (UTC))

Do you mean the Tamil Tigers? AecisBrievenbus 00:26, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Industrial Revolution[edit]

Did the lives of upper class in Britain change and when I mean upper class, I mean the ones in Britain. Please give more information than previous question about Industrial Revolution. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:07, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

As Marco polo has already dealt with this specific question in the second paragraph of his answer the first time you asked the question, I think you will need to tell us what other information you would like to have. Bielle (talk) 04:46, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree with Bielle that Marco polo's response was pretty good, but I also see how you might be wanting more information. I know that you are wanting to know about the British Upper Class specifically, but please allow me to compare what happened in England with the British Upper Class with that of Germany's Upper Class during the Industrial Revolution. It may give you some insight into why things happened the way they did in England by showing a contrast to another country.

Although England was the country that first started industrialization, Germany was not far behind. And when I say Germany, what I mean is the various and sundry German States that existed for most of the 19th Century. There was a difference, though, in how England and Germany approached industrialization, and it is a result of the differences in their societies and social values, and this is also reflected in the differences between the Upper Classes of England and Germany.

First let's talk about England. There were several groups of people in England during the time of Industrialization who made up the Upper Class. First, there were those people who were considered to be Peers, meaning that they had hereditary titles of nobility (such as Baron, Count, etc). It was possible for someone to have a title and still be poor, but he or she would still be considered Upper Class. Then there were people who were of the Upper Class who did not have a title (and thus were not Peers), but who owned large estates and were wealthy - these were called the Landed Gentry. The difference between the Landed Gentry and those who had Titles was that if someone from the Landed Gentry lost his lands and money, he would no longer be considered to be in the Upper Class. Finally, there were members of the Upper Class who had no land or title, but who were high ranking officers in the British military. Let's examine each of these three groups in regards to what happened to them during time of Industrialization.

The Military Upper Class saw several changes during Industrialization due to the increasing reliance of the Navy and Army on complex military technology. Men who were of lower classes managed to work their way up through the ranks because of their knowledge and training of particular types of technology. This eased the flow from one class to the next in the British military, but it must be stated that the British military never achieved the same egalitarianism that has been witnessed in many other countries, such as the U.S. and even Germany. Even today the highest ranking officers in the British military tend to have hereditary titles.

More change during Industrialization was seen among the Landed Gentry than any other Upper Class of Britain. Many of the people who were considered Landed Gentry had recently managed to make it up to that level of society, and still carried with them their personal history of how they managed to become rich. Typically these people were from the Middle Class, and made enormous wealth through business dealings, which they still managed after moving into the Landed Gentry Class. However, it must also be stated that there were many Landed Gentry whose families had held their land for hundreds of years, and who were not of "new money" like the recent members who'd migrated up from the Middle Class. So it is difficult to generalize about these people, since they came from such different background. The one thing they had in common was land and wealth.

Then there were the titled nobility, who were the most conservative to change during this period of time. The ones who did change the most were those who for one reason or another lost their wealth and lands and were forced to try to marry a son or daughter into a family of wealthy Landed Gentry or rising Middle Class merchant in order to keep themselves from the Poor House. Jane Austen and Emily Bronte have used this theme, as have others.

So as you can see, then, it is very difficult to state with complete authority that the Upper Class of England did "such and such" during the Industrial Revolution - they represented too much of a diverse background for such an easy and quick explanation. However, one may make some generalized statements about how England as a country industrialized, and this would yes include the Upper Class. Historically, the British Upper Class was concerned with the land - the land out in the countryside, not in the city. The Medieval cities such as London and York had their own Royal Charter, and were thus independent. No Lord or Peer owned a city - other than ultimately the King (who owned everything in theory). Thus, in England (and elsewhere in Medieval Europe) the general tendency was for the Upper Class nobiility to mind their own business of making money from their own lands out in the country. They became good at knowing how to raise sheep, cattle, horses, pigs, how to hunt, how to rotate crops, etc. This was considered the "proper" business of the Nobility in England. Minding shops, buying and selling, and all that other "Bourgeoisie" stuff was left to the lower classes living in the cities. Of course there were exceptions to this, but generally this is how it was prior to the Industrial Revolution.

So, if the Nobility were busy conducting fox hunts and breeding swine, how did England manage to be the place where the Industrial Revolution sprang from? The answer to that is that it was NOT the Upper Class that was responsible for Industrialization in England - it came from a very particular segment of Middle Class society - namely the English Dissenters from primarily Northern England and Scotland. Upper Class boys were sent off to special Upper Class schools, where they were taught how to play a "good game of cricket", and to speak in the "proper King's English", and to dance and hold a cup of tea just so. This prepared them to succeed in the world they lived in. However, things were different for the English Dissenters, who were called this because they belonged to a handful of churches (including Baptists, Presbyterians, Mennonites, Congregationalists, and Quakers) that had declared independence from the official Church of England back in the days just after the English Civil Wars - thus they "dissented". These people were officially banned from attending the Upper Class schools. However, the Dissenters were very keen on education - they placed a very high priority on education (something they had inherited from their Puritan roots). So, since they could not attend the Upper Class schools, they attended schools that would allow them in. Many of these schools were located in Northern England and Scotland. The subjects that were taught in these schools were not how to play cricket or drink tea correctly, but involved mathematics, physics, engineering, science, and other more tangible subjects. The result was that these boys who graduated from these northern schools were the ones who basically went out and created the Industrial Revolution - NOT the Upper Class boys. And this is also why the Industrial Revolution started in Northern England, instead of in the South.

As the Industrial Revolution caught on and began to transform English life, the people who were perhaps the most resistant to its influences were those of the Upper Class who lived out in the countryside. And yet they could not stop the pervasive influences of Industrialization.

Now, for Germany.

Germany also had a similar situation as the British as far as their Upper Classes being mostly out in the country on some large estate. They also had chartered cities where no Lord owned the land, and where commerce took place. However, there was a very marked difference in what went on in the schooling of the German Upper Class boys from that which took place in England. Instead of sending their boys to Upper Class schools to learn how to drink tea, the Upper Class Germans sent their boys to Universities (of which Germany had a good supply) to learn the sort of things that the Dissenter boys were learning in England - namely: science and math. This has a lot to do with the fact that many members of the German Upper Class were Lutheran. Because Luther taught that a person needs to come to an understanding on his or her own about what the Bible teaches (instead of just believing what a Priest told you to believe), there was s huge emphasis placed on education among Lutherans (basically, this was the same thing with the Puritans, too). This education did not restrict itself to just theology, but also sought to provide an education in all the subjects of knowledge, since it was seen that all knowledge led one ultimately to God. If you're interested in finding out more concerning how German education was so radically different, see these Wiki articles on: Friedrich Schleiermacher, Wilhelm von Humboldt, and History of European Research Universities.

As these German boys graduated with degrees in Engineering, Chemistry, Mathematics, etc., they went home to their rich fathers and hit them up for money to start building factories and mills in order to put their education to work. This was quite different from what was going on in England, where the Upper Class was mostly against Industrialization. As a result, the German Upper Class was much more directly involved in how Industrialization developed. The Feudal attitude of the German Upper Class (carried over from Medieval times) towards the members of the lower classes who lived on their estates was patronizing, meaning that the Upper Class felt a responsibility towards the members of the Lower Class who lived on their land. So what happened a lot in Germany was that an Upper Class Lord would build a factory on his land, and then build houses around it for the people who lived on his land and worked in his factory to live in. He would also build a school, church, and maybe even a hospital for his workers. This was the beginning (in Germany at least) of the Company town.

In England, the Upper Class had nothing but disdain for displaced Lower Class workers. They did NOT want to build factories on their farms and sheep pastures, and they certainly did NOT want to build a town for people to come and muss everything up for them. This contributed to the overcrowding of the cities in England, something that for the most part did not take place in Germany. It is not that Germany was exempt of social problems during this time - quite the contrary. But they had slightly different problems than the British had.

In comparing what the British Upper Class was like before Industrialization to what it is like today in the modern Post-Industrial society of Britain, one may find that there are quite a few significant changes that have occurred. I do not want to address these things specifically, though, but have just strove to provide a foundation to build on when examining the subsequent changes that took place as the 19th and 20th Centuries unfolded. Knowing how the Industrial Revolution began in England, and why the Upper Class was not directly involved, is important in learning about the rest of what happened later, and that is whay I've tried to present here.

At any rate, I hope this background helps. Please keep in mind that I am speaking in generalities a lot, and so some of what I have written is perhaps a bit overgeneralized. However, I did this in order to enhance the underlying thesis of how the British Upper Class had distanced itself from the Industrial Revolution. And of course, I am doing the best I can here, and do welcome any and all comments, changes or criticism of what I have written. So fire away Clio! heh! -- Saukkomies 12:21, 18 December, 2007 (UTC)

This is a very interesting dissertation, Saukkomies, but-and please forgive me for saying so- much of it seems wide of the question! Also, and again I have to beg your pardon, but your understanding of the British aristocracy, and the British class system in general, is awfully one-dimensional. Yes, you are right: it is overgeneralised, and by more than a bit! I rather suspect, though, that your view of the aristocracy as fox-hunting and tea drinking boobies is one peculiar to Americans in general.
The causes for the onset of the Industrial Revolution in Britain are complex and manifold; but it was in part inspired by one thing much of the aristocracy and the bourgeois held in common-a healthy interest in profit, and innovation in the pursuit of profit. Industrial production and the growth of cities would hardly have been possible without the British Agricultural Revolution, which involved long standing changes in land management, ethusiastically adopted by sections of the aristocracy. Similarly changes in the transport system were often a consequence of upper class initiative. The greatest example here is that of Francis Egerton, 3rd Duke of Bridgewater, who employed James Brindley to improve canal transport because he was looking for a quicker way to transport the coal from his mines (yes, his coal and his mines) to Manchester with greater efficiency.
Bridgewater's coal leads to yet another reason why the Industrial Revolution took of in the north rather than the south, which has nothing at all to do with the presence of dissenters and the absence of nobility. Quite simply, the major sources of energy-coal being the most important of all-were all in Northern England, Wales or Scotland. You will find investment and innovation by the nobility in all sorts of areas, from coal, to mills, to railways. The growth of cities was of huge benefit for landowners, with rents incresing dramatically, as indeed was their effects on the demand for agricultural produce. The dispute between the landowners and the city-based bourgeoise was not over the rate of expansion, or over industrialisation itself, but over the question of relative profits. The Corn Laws had the effect of redistributing profits away from the urban bourgeoisie towards landowners; hence the great political struggles of the 1840s.
Finally, Eton, Rugby, Winchester and the other great English public schools taught much more than how to drink tea or play a good game of cricket. Or, if they did, these activities must have appealed greatly to the new middle classes, who, as the nineteenth century progressed, were more than anxious to push their offspring through their doors! Clio the Muse (talk) 02:28, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
"Instead of sending their boys to Upper Class schools to learn how to drink tea, the Upper Class Germans sent their boys to Universities..." I find that hilarious, Saukkomies! Young English gentlemen might go straight from school into the Army or the Navy, but if they didn't then they were most likely to go to Oxford or Cambridge or else into business. In the days of primogeniture, eldest sons would one day get the lion's share of any family land and money, but in the mean time they were expected to do something useful, while younger sons knew they had to make their own way in the world, and that usually meant finding a profession or a trade. If the British ruling classes had been as impractical (by comparison with the Germans) as Saukkomies would have us believe, then no doubt the British Empire would have been a poor thing and the world would now be talking German! Xn4 04:09, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Ouch and double ouch! Actually, I sort of expected those responses. After I showed what I'd written to my wife, who went to Oxford, she basically told me the same thing that Clio did. So that is why I inserted the caveat about the whole thing being a generalization. Yes, it is indeed true that I did paint the British Aristocracy as a bunch of "fox-hunting and tea drinking boobies", and that most likely reflects my anti-Aristocratic American sensibilities about things. However, in response to what I was outlining in my general thesis, I am basing the points I covered regarding the Dissenters and their connection to the North of England on several sources, one of which is: "The industrial revolution, 1760-1830" by Thomas Southcliffe Ashton, which was first published in 1948 by Oxford University Press. I am not conveying my own ideas here - but perhaps I'm presenting them with my own particular flair, which I cannot help but do, I'm afraid. But I'll stand by my analysis: England's Industrial Revolution was made possible due (among other things such as yes the Agricultural Revolution - and the silver taken from the New World on Spanish ships) to the more Applied Science pedagogy that the Dissenters were exposed to in Northern English schools. Oxford and Cambridge did teach science, but they neglected the applied sciences, which were regarded as being too "bourgeoisie" by many Aristocrats to muddy their hands in. As per the comment that we would all be speaking German, this is apparently discounting the ingenuity that the early engineers in Northern England were capable of. They were remarkable men, and should not be overlooked or brushed aside. To neglect the fact that they were Dissenters and had gained their knowledge by going to schools in the North that would let them in is to be blind to the real reason that the Industrial Revolution began in the North. In mentioning Egerton and Brindley, I again reiterate that what I was presenting was a generalization, and there will be of course exceptions that can be found to counter it. However, the sheer amount of industrial development that took place in the North was not due only to the fact that there were resources available. Textile mills could have been built in many places in England - and eventually would be. But the start of Industrialization began in the North due to the presence of the Dissenters more than anything else - from what I have read this is convincing to me to keep my stand on this. -- Saukkomies 00:58, 19 December, 2007 (UTC)

Karl Marx Young and Old[edit]

Is there truly an intellectual break between the work of the young and the old Marx? S. Shape (talk) 06:54, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Do I detect traces of the 'epistemological break', the shade of Louis Althusser? I hope not! You must remember, S Shape, that with Marx theory always went hand-in-hand with practice, though, in the course of time, one element of the partnership became more important than the other. What this means is that the young revolutionary, the Marx of The German Ideology and before, gives way in Das Kapital and other mature works to the ponderous critic of the capitalist mode of production. He had believed in his early life in the imminence of revolution, a belief sustained by political developments in Europe. More settled historical conditions produced a more sober and cautious prophet; but there is no 'break', Althusserian or otherwise; merely a process of consolodation, development, and-dare I say it-disillusionment. Clio the Muse (talk) 01:17, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Examples of Conflict/Irony in "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"[edit]

I have tried to google conflict/irony in the book, but all that has been showing up are websites offering to sell me papers. I am not going to buy a paper to find what someone else has written, I am just looking for some examples of Conflict/Irony. Any help would be well appreciated.


--Devol4 (talk) 10:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

As your teacher probably told you, a simple definition of irony is a difference between what's expected and what's there- it could be a situation when the author says one thing but means something different, or a situation that turns out to be completely different from what it appears to be, for example. So just grab a piece of paper and run through the events of the novel in your mind- or flip back through the novel- and make a list of situations in which Twain says something when he clearly means the opposite (there's lots of them in this book), or a situation in which someone turns out to be other than what they seemed. A lot of the stuff that made you laugh in the book will be your cue to look for an example of irony there. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 13:19, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Conflict is particularly easy in Huck Finn. Think about Huck and Jim, Huck and his father, Huck and that family of feudin' folk. The whole section with the feudin' folk is chock full of irony—Huck is an "uncivilized" guy falling in with "civilized" folk who end up spending a lot of their time acting like murderous savages, etc. -- (talk) 15:52, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Just finding examples and writing them down is not going to help.Did you read the book and find and understand what is being asked here?hotclaws 22:13, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Is cream cheese and lox kosher?[edit]

How is kosher spiritual? The food seems so unhealthy and unrefined!
by Mrs. Dinka Kumer

If "Kosher" means having cream cheese and lox for breakfast, Cholent with kishke for lunch, and schwarma and falafel for dinner, then this would not be the most healthful diet to choose on a daily basis. ...

August 1, 2007
Something to Nosh On: Here's the Skinny on Jewish Delis
by By Sewell Chan of the NY Times

Clockwise from top left: A nice pastrami sandwich, challah, cream cheese and lox, herring, latkes and kishka.

Can you see the food at the upper right corner? It's "cream cheese and lox". I guess meat shall not be eaten with any dairy product within a time limit and fish is a kind of meat. How can a Jewish restaurant serve cream cheese and lox which is certainly not kosher? Isn't it a bad idea? -- Toytoy (talk) 13:26, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

It depends on the clientèle. Your second reference strongly suggests that the typical deli customer base is not primarily made up of kosher-observant Jews. Given that, there's no (secular) reason for the entire menu to have to be kosher if other items are going to improve profits. I imagine this is the same market force that puts chicken nuggets on most Chinese buffets. — Lomn 14:47, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Also, your first reference seems to state that cream cheese and lox is kosher (and Google appears to back this up) -- the non-kosher note there is to point out that while CC&L can be kosher, use of non-kosher ingredients makes the end result non-kosher. — Lomn 14:50, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Our article on Kosher foods says " fish are considered to be parve (also spelled parev, pareve; Yiddish: פארעוו parev), neither meat nor dairy" and "Fish is considered parve (neutral) and may be eaten at both meat and dairy meals". Gandalf61 (talk) 15:10, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Plate armor worn during the American revolutionary war and napoleonic wars[edit]

Was plate armor used during these wars at all? By whom? (talk) 15:32, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes. I don't know about anyone else, but Napoleon's cuirassiers were still wearing plate on the torso. Algebraist 15:36, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Breastplates stayed in use longest with the French cuirassiers, who were still wearing them on active service in August 1914, in the early stages of the Great War. You can still see them being worn by all ranks of the British Army's Blues and Royals, on ceremonial duties only. Xn4 03:41, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

British constitution[edit]

Why is Britain the only country in the world never to have had a written constitution? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:40, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

This implies a vagueness in the term "written". Britain does not have a single written document called the Constitution. Instead, there is a notion of a Constitution comprised of many documents. Those documents are written. It is also implied that unwritten traditions are considered part of the Constitution. Because they are traditions, they are not defined in written text on a document. This leads to the common "unwritten Constitution" phrase. I believe the actual proper term is "uncodified constitution" - but I could be completely wrong. So why? This allows for a very dynamic process. You can change one document without changing a whole constitution. Of course, you can do that with any amendment to the U.S. Constitution. So it is basically a semantic argument. -- kainaw 15:50, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Is Britain "the only country in the world never to have had a written constitution"? It's a big world. The claim seems most unlikely to me, but I am no scholar of worldwide constitutional practices. --Anonymous, 17:51 UTC, December 18, 2007.
I find it highly unlikely that any country has a truly "unwritten" Constitution. I believe the OP is mixing "uncodified" with "unwritten" - a common mistake. As such, other countries currently have uncodified constitutions, such as Australia. The clarifier "never to have" in the question may give it strength. Australia began with a single document and evolved into multiple documents. So, assuming that this example uses "unwritten" to mean "uncodified", the question is about the existence of a country that currently has an uncodified constitution that is not derived from a codified one. -- kainaw 17:57, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Could you explain what you mean by Australia having an uncodified constitution, and that she began with a single document and evolved into multiple documents, Kainaw? I'm only aware of one document that is "the Australian Constitution", although all our laws and many other things proceed from it. -- JackofOz (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 00:48, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
There is the "Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia" - the original constitution. Later, the "Statute of Westminster" and the "Australia Act 1986" were both adopted as "constitutional." They are not part of the Australian Constitution, but have equal constitutional authority - which creates an uncodified constitution. Please correct me if I've got this wrong. -- kainaw 05:07, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm no constitutional lawyer, or any kind of lawyer, so this is just educated opinion. All of our laws must have constitutional authority, and that includes the 2 you mention. By "constitutional authority", I mean that they must receive Royal Assent after being passed by both houses of parliament; they must be on a matter the Constitution permits the parliament to make laws about; etc. All laws on the statute books therefore have equal constitutional authority. Some laws are of much more interest to constitutional experts than other laws, and again they would include the 2 you mention. One could describe them, in a sense, as "constitutional documents", I suppose (but don't quote me). However, they are not part of the Constitution per se. The only laws that could be said to be "part of the Constitution" are those that actually amend the Constitution, such as the ones passed in association with a successful referendum. But even there, those laws sit outside the Constitution proper. They certainly impact the Constitution, but the Constitution in its amended form then continues as the sole ultimate authority for the way our country operates. If these 2 laws are part of the Constitution, then every law that has ever been passed and is still on the statute books could also be said to be part of the Constitution. That's my take. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:21, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
It is a bit of a stretch to claim that "every law" is part of the constitution. The constitution (according to Constitution) is "a system for governance that establishes the rules and principles of an autonomous political entity." A law against speeding does not set a system for governance. Only laws that set the system of governance are considered part of the constitution. The Statute of Westminster set up a system of self-governance for Australia. I don't know the particulars. I just know it was the first step of the British Parliament in getting out of messing with Australian affairs. Then, the Australia Act 1986 finished the job (as far as I know). Both of those are very clearly "constitutional documents" that are not part of the Australian Constitution. Looking at Constitution, it uses the same documents as an example of why the Australian Constitution is uncodified without explaining it in detail. -- kainaw 02:13, 20 December 2007 (UTC)
The Constitution contains various provisions that allow Parliament a certain degree of discretion. For example, s.7 says there are to be six senators for each state “unless the Parliament otherwise provides”. The Parliament has so provided, twice. The number was raised to 10 in 1949, and again to 12 in 1984. Would you say that the laws increasing the number of senators were part of the Constitution? I wouldn’t. They certainly have more than a little to do with the way our country is governed, but that in itself does not make them part of the Constitution. It’s arguable that these particular laws had a much greater impact on ordinary people than either the Australia Act or the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act.
There are other examples. Take s.29: "Until the Parliament of the Commonwealth otherwise provides, the Parliament of any State may make laws for determining the divisions in each State for which members of the House of Representatives may be chosen, and the number of members to be chosen at each division." NSW, Victoria, Queensland and WA did in fact pass one such law each. They ceased to have effect when the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1902 came into force. Would you say that these four state laws, which at the time had more than a little to do with the way our country is governed, were part of the Australian constitution? Again, I would disagree. -- JackofOz (talk) 02:26, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

First of all, 81.156, I certainly understand exactly what you are driving at, and the concept of the 'Unwritten Consitution' has a meaning and resonance in British history, regardless of the fact that some parts are contained in statute, and thus 'written', and others transmitted by custom, precedent and convention.

However, it is not quite true to say that Britain has never had a written constitution, in the sense that all of the elements have been contained in a single defining document. After the execution of Charles I in 1649 the Commonwealth of England went through a variety of constitutional experiments, all of which failed. In the end some kind of political balance was restored when Oliver Cromwell was created Lord Protector in 1653. His rule was based on a new document, The Instrument of Government, which, as the Wikipedia article says, was the first codified and written constitution in the world. This was replaced in 1657 by the Humble Petition and Advice, which must therefore rank as the world's second codified constitution! Clio the Muse (talk) 00:59, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Modern swords?[edit]

Are there any modern swords? I don't mean swords re-made, and modeled after swords from the past, like katanas, but new designs. Maybe that use newer technology like molded rubber grips. (talk) 15:45, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

I heard about this on a Modern Marvels episode... there aren't any modern swords with the exception of exhibition swords. The technology topped out and then was rendered obsolete. The closest thing to a modern sword there is is the Marine Corp sword, but even that is designed for no purpose other than to be aesthetically pleasing. Beekone (talk) 17:05, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Knives, on the other hand, remain in wide use by military personnel, and there are hundreds of new designs for the things. See Ernest Emerson for a Featured-quality article on someone who's made a career of designing new bladed weapons. GeeJo (t)(c) • 18:10, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
There are also entrenching tools that have been designed for secondary use as weapons. --— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 18:16, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Ah yes, in the 80s the KGB apparently perfected their 'Throwing Shovels' - practical and deadly! Lord Foppington (talk) 18:22, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Isn't the Marine Corp's sword just a mameluke sword? (talk) 18:49, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

The officer's sword is. Not the NCO sword. -- kainaw 19:28, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
(ec) It appears that the Marine NCO sword is distinct from the mameluke officer's sword (and it's "Corps", not "Corp"). — Lomn 19:29, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
The point being that despite our advances in computing and micro-whatever we're not applying our sciences towards swordcraft anymore. Beekone (talk) 19:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, yes. I wouldn't consider that sword modern though, or even better than existing swords. (talk) 19:46, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
I follow, I follow. I guess it's the most prominent example of a sword still in use today, the most recognizable for Americans. Beekone (talk) 19:51, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Uh, hello, lightsaber? Totally awesome, totally modern, (totally fictional). -- (talk) 23:22, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately, lightsabers are from a long time ago. — Lomn 16:54, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

I'm not really sure if I understand this question correctly, but my initial reaction is to ask if there are no fencers among you? I have used both a Foil and an Épée in competitive fencing, and both weapons seemed entirely modern in design! Clio the Muse (talk) 23:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

in particular, most modern foils have a pistol grip. This was developed well after the era of foils as actual weapons, but if you really wanted to kill someone, a "live" foil with a pistol grip would be an excellent choice. -Arch dude (talk) 02:38, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Interesting. Do those pistol grips offer an advantage over a more traditional hilt? (talk) 15:38, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I believe so. Clio the Muse (talk) 01:33, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

There are actually manufacturers out there who make swords that incorporate modern technologies. I'm talking about swords that are not meant to be "wall-hangers", too - but rather swords that are built with the idea that they will be capable of being used as weapons in real combat situations. One such manufacturer/distributor is Museum Replicas, based out of Atlanta. They specialize in selling newly made swords from history that are as authentic as possible, but they also carry a line of "Fantasy" swords that are more along the line of what you were asking about. However, it's been my experience, as someone who has a small sword collection, that your best deals are to go to fairs, conventions, or festivals where there may be merchants selling swords in booths. I have purchased swords at very cheap prices by going on the very last day of the event - as the merchants are actually packing up their goods - and then casually asking about a sword I'd scoped out earlier to see if the merchant might consider selling it at a discount. This is a good strategy, because at this point the merchant has usually figured he's sold everything he's going to sell for the event, and the prospect of serendipitously selling one more item at the last minute is usually a very good incentive to drive the price down drastically - sometimes just dollar or two over his cost. The thing about buying swords at these events though is you have to be very sure that what you're getting is worth it - test it out a bit - the balance should be good (just above the handle), it should not have any play in the connection between handle and blade, and the dealer ought to be able to tell you what the sword is made of. For more info about all this, go to Bladesmith. -- Saukkomies 20:17, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, I checked out the site, but I didn't see anything there that was a "modern" sword. Even the fantasy section didn't have anything. (talk) 15:38, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
I'm still confused what you're looking for, because this sword seems to me to fit the bill - it incorporates old technology with new. -- Saukkomies 20:17, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
The way I understood the question was that modern technology was applied to the sword to make it more practical than anything that had been used before the weapon fell obsolete to gunpowder. The last practical adaptation of the sword that wouldn't have been inented by someone in past times (i.e. pistol grip) is the bayonet (sp?), and even that could be classified more as a spear. Light saber though, that was a good call! If it could be done a light saber would be extremely practical,probably enough to replace guns.... until someone invents a laser gun of course. Beekone (talk) 16:18, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Yea, modern technology applied to a sword. Rubber grip perhaps, pistol grip, light weight materials, saw tooth back maybe, etc. If anyone could build a lightsaber, yes that would be a good weapon. I can't imagine how it could be done though, besides using a plasma window, but it would take an incredible amount of energy, and the heat of the plasma would prolly burn you if you held it close. (talk) 18:35, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Oh, a working light saber is impossible without considerable training and ability in using the Force. Nothing outside of mitachlorian induced psychokenesis can control it. Beekone (talk) 19:11, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Not necessarily. and also General Grievous64.236.121.129 (talk) 20:24, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
point conceded. Can't believe I forgot about Grievous. Beekone (talk) 23:56, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Materials is a good point. Most swords are I presume still made with steel (probably stainless). Would titanium be better perhaps? I presume some of the stuff used by knife makers such as Ernest Emerson would be applicable but not all and there would be a lot of stuff exclusive to swords. But given the limited use of swords in this day and age for real life purposes, I don't know if anyone has really done that. Nil Einne (talk) 11:25, 21 December 2007 (UTC)

Cultural Relations[edit]

I was thinking about Palladianism. I guess it was brought to Britain by travellers. I wonder what qualifies as a cultural relation. Surely travelling qualifies. Were there any significant relations before mass travel and if so can it´s impact (if any at all) be noticed today?--Tresckow (talk) 16:32, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Absolutely. Though travel was not on the scale it is today, tourism was still popular, especially for the upper classes, particularly young males, see our article on the Grand Tour. Artists moving from country to country brought ideas with them, not only about architecture but fashion, new inventions etc. Lord Foppington (talk) 18:19, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
No doubt rich travellers did take up Palladio's ideas, but his own four volumes on architecture, I Quattro Libri dell'Architettura (1570), copiously illustrated, were influential with other architects and builders, who were less likely to travel overseas than their patrons. Xn4 03:20, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Palladian revival in the 18th century was undoubtably spurred on by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington, who went on three Grand Tours between 1714-1719, carrying with him Palladio's work. When he returned his patronage saw architectural works on Palladianism published more frequently, William Kent's 'The designs of Inigo Jones' (1727) and Isaac Ware's translation: 'The four books of Andrea Palladio's architecture' (1738) - as well as Colen Campbell's 'Vitruvius Britannicus' (1715-1717) Lord Foppington (talk) 08:55, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Differences between abaya, burqa, and jilbab?[edit]

What is the difference between an abaya, a burqa, and a jilbab (in style and cut, parts of the body covered, garment material, context of usage, geographic distribution of usage, etc.)? I've been reading the articles, and the distinction is not at all set out clearly there, especially between an abaya and a burqa. I asked this question on the talk page of the abaya and burqa articles two months ago, and nobody ever answered the question. Also, it would be nice if whoever answers this question could add that information about the differences to those three articles. —Lowellian (reply) 16:25, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Also, if I'm understanding the articles correctly, abaya and burqa are singular, but jilbab is plural, with the singular form being jilaabah? Shouldn't the "jilbab" article then be moved to the title "jilaabah" for consistency and according to Wikipedia:Naming conventions (plurals)? —Lowellian (reply) 18:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

To make things worse, we also have articles Djellaba, Jellabiya and Galabeya, which are all local variations on the same basic thing, but the style and cut, parts of the body covered, garment material, context of usage, geographic distribution of usage, etc., are all subject to local variations, and the influence of fashion. Also, these words sometimes swap meanings, like English chicory and endive. Therefore it is as hard to give any definite answers as it is to answer the question how long Western women's skirts are. Only if you focus on some specific narrow and non-urbanized region, is it possible to say something concrete.
I don't know if the information about singulars and plurals is correct, but if it is, then jalabib is the plural of a plural. The general rule for the names of Wikipedia articles is that we should preferentially use the form that is the most common one in English texts. Google reports about 434,000 English pages for jilbab against 13 for jilaabah.  --Lambiam 00:07, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
I think jilbab is the commonly used word (sing and pl) in Bahasa Indonesia - usage gets a bit mangled in borrowing, especially between singular and plural (see yesterday's discussion on the Language Desk). My friend's use of jilbab is simply a hair covering, while an abaya covers the whole body except the face, and a burqa (burqah) covers everything except the eyes (and may have a meshed eye covering). Original research, no back up. Steewi (talk) 02:31, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

I don't really want to get sidetracked by a singular/plural discussion. My main question here is about the differences between the garments. Thanks for the info, Steewi — though it seems to contradict some of the information elsewhere (for instance, the jilbab article says that a jilbab is a long coat, not a hair covering), which is not to fault Steewi, as the articles themselves are confusingly-written. Could more people with knowledge of the subject chime in, please, about the differences between the garments? —Lowellian (reply) 20:20, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

As I wrote above, it varies from place to place. The same name will be used in one place for a piece of garment that covers most everything, and in the next place for just a simple shawl. If you say: how are these terms used, specifically, in Kandahar, there may be more definite answers. However, they may (and very likely will) be totally different from answers you get from Egypt, Indonesia, Somalia or Thailand.  --Lambiam 21:01, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
In Malaysia tudung meaning headscarf is usually used to refer to the headscarf and of course hijab used to refer to the dress requirements in general. None of the other words are commonly used AFAIK. You may want to read Islam in Malaysia for further info on the specifics in Malaysia. Also hijab and List of types of sartorial hijab both have brief descriptions of the types and names give in various countries although both are largely unreferenced Nil Einne (talk) 11:05, 21 December 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Nil Einne. That list of types of sartorial hijab article is useful. It'd be nice if we could get more references into these articles. —Lowellian (reply) 04:10, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Sex scandals[edit]

Sex scandals are the small change of the English tabloid press, particularly the 'kiss and tell' story, where women cash in on the reputation of rich or influential former boyfriends. I imagine this is a fairly recent thing though I would be interested to know of any past examples in English history of the gold digging mistress. Ta. Theodora B (talk) 19:10, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Emma, Lady Hamilton comes to mind. Corvus cornixtalk 19:14, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Anne Boleyn was involved in many sex scandals during her time. -Yamanbaiia (talk) 19:20, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Thank you both for such a quick response. I am thinking, though, of women who cashed in, or attempted to cash in, on former liaisons with men in the public eye. Emma Hamilton and Anne Boleyn do not really qualify as 'kiss and tell' mistresses. Theodora B (talk) 19:25, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
The courtesan Harriette Wilson wrote her memoirs and sent the draft around to the rich and notable men mentioned in them. Some paid her off, but the Duke of Wellington famously replied "Publish, and be damned!". SaundersW (talk) 21:25, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
A. Conan Doyle's A Scandal in Bohemia is a Sherlock Holmes story revolving completely around this idea. I don't know that you'll find anything much earlier than the Victorian Period on this, though maybe a few in the Romantic period. Lower classes were kept on a pretty tight leash much earlier. The closest parallels you might find in early literature would probably be married women who flirt with famous knights because they are so famous, as happens in Lanval and SGGK. Chivalric codes, however, demanded that such affairs remain secret. Wrad (talk) 21:28, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

This brings to mind a paper I wrote as an undergraduate on social and sexual mores in the Georgian era. Harriette Wilson was certainly one of the people I touched on, and her attempts to extort money from her former lovers with her Interesting and Amorous Adventures. It was all rather sad really: her looks had faded and her annuities had stopped. Her book was little more than a desperate attempt at a pension scheme.

Sally Salisbury also deserves a mention here, for the simple reason that the 1723 An Account of the Tryal of Sally Salisbury is the first example of hack reporting of a sex scandal, demonstrating that the public had a taste for this sort of thing.

Margaret Leeson, whose real name was Peg Plunkett, published her own autobiography, Memoirs of Mrs Leeson, Madam, in 1795. Her clients included the high and the even higher; bankers, judges, merchants and noblemen, the Duke of Rutland being the highest of all.

She had the example before her of Fanny Murray, whose lovers had included Beau Nash, John Wilkes, Sir Francis Dashwood and the Earl of Sandwich. Her autobiography, Memoirs of the Celebrated Miss Fanny Murray, published in 1759, is particularly revealing, because she attributes the beginning of her 'downfall' to being raped by the disreputable Jack Spencer, grandson of Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough.

Julia Johnstone's story was just as unfortunate, though her social origins were quite different to those of Fanny Murray. The grand-daughter of Lord Carysfort, she was seduced by one Colonel Cotton, by whom she had several children before being abandoned. Thereafter she moved in with Harriette Wilson and, impressed by the success of her memoir, wrote her own Confessions of Julia Johnstone. But poor Julia was far too priggish, and her sexual secrets too tame, to cash in on the public mood.

These memoirs and confessions came at just the right point in history. In the past revelations of this kind would have been impossible because of the social and criminal penalties attached. The Georgian period was not only one of far greater sexual licence but publishing was becoming ever more important, with a new public, literate and prurient, eager for scandal of all sorts. Clio the Muse (talk) 00:28, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

No line defines the gray area between "hot" memoirs and "hot" pseudo-memoirs: in 1702 the Chevalier de Mailly was given some papers— recognizably those of the adventuress and singer Julie d'Aubigny— to work into a "hot" memoir, which turned out to be too hot to publish, and the wife of a bookseller who gave him the raw materials took him to court over it. --Wetman (talk) 04:24, 19 December 2007 (UTC)


If christians believe in turning the other cheek, why did they start the Crusades? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:37, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Well, don't generalize all Christians into the historically contingent circumstances that led to the Crusades. But anyway, the short answer is, "because Christianity is a bit more complicated than just turning the other cheek" and "because the Crusades—like anything else—did not boil down only to direct interpretation of scripture." You could also throw in "because human beings are horribly flawed in many ways" if you wanted to. -- (talk) 23:08, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
The Pope at the time (Urban II?) confronted this issue. He used several of St. Augustine's arguments justifying certain types of Christian warfare. This doesn't really make the slaughter of the Crusaders look any better in modern eyes, however. Some Christians are just not as peaceful as others. Eventually, it became part of the Chivalric code to slay an unbeliever/heathen/infidel on sight when meeting one. No wonder so many Jews were slaughtered in Europe during the Crusades, eh? Wrad (talk) 23:19, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
"At the time?" The Crusades spanned two centuries, from 1095-1291. This is the same span as 1815-2007. Do you think that a single set of values can span that amount of time? Even if we grant that the world changes faster today, think about the difference between 1957 and 2007. -Arch dude (talk) 02:21, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
I don't think that was ever part of any chivalric code! At least, if the infidel was as chivalrous as you, it was perfectly alright to let tem be. Jews will killed during the first few crusades because, well, sometimes people are just jerks and were looking for any excuse to attack Jews, and some of the less intelligent members of society didn't quite understand why a Jew was different from a Muslim. But there was no code of chivalry saying all infidels had to be killed. There were military orders of knighthood but that is quite different from "chivalry". "Chivalry", the way you're probably thinking of it, did not even exist at the start of the crusades. Part of the problem was that French knights were going around killing each other, which is not very chivalrous at all. Urban wanted to find something else for them to do. Notions of chivalry, like going off to die in exotic land for the love of an untouchable maiden, came about due to the influence of the crusades themselves (and sometimes due to the imaginations of artists who never went on crusade...). Adam Bishop (talk) 02:04, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Here's exactly what the code I'm referring to said.
The Ten Commandments of the Code of Chivalry from Chivalry by Leon Gautier:
I. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches, and shalt observe all its directions.
II. Thou shalt defend the Church.
III. Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
IV. Thou shalt love the country in the which thou wast born.
V. Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
VI. Thou shalt make war against the Infidel without cessation, and without mercy.
VII. Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
VIII. Thou shalt never lie, and shall remain faithful to thy pledged word.
IX. Thou shalt be generous, and give largess to everyone.
X. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.
Commandment VI has the most relevance. Wrad (talk) 20:08, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Well, no crusaders ever followed all those, I can tell you that! And some of them certainly did not follow any of them! Adam Bishop (talk) 20:51, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Oddly enough, I don't see how you could follow them all. VI and III seem to contradict. Wrad (talk) 00:27, 20 December 2007 (UTC)

First of all, 69.205, the Crusades emerged as part of a defensive reaction to developments in the Middle East, specificlly as a response to an appeal from the Byzantine Empire for aid against the Turks, who had been on the offensive ever since their victory at the Battle of Manzikert. Second, on your wider point, Christianity has long harboured notions of the Just War, a concept first developed by St. Augustine in The City of God. There are some battles, in other words, that need to be fought, and some causes that have to be defended. Third, and perhaps most important of all, there are few religious doctrines observed in every degree; and Christians are no more perfect than any other set of human beings. Or, it it might be better to say, they are perfect in the recognition of their imperfections. Clio the Muse (talk) 23:24, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Yes, that's true. You can't exactly blame the church for the reactions of many of its members, especially at this period of time when religion was slowly becoming more personal and different ways of expressing devotion were being explored. Incidentally, the Sixth Crusade ended rather peacefully when Frederick II negotiated a truce which allowed Christian pilgrims to peacefully visit their Holy Land. Wrad (talk) 23:27, 18 December 2007 (UTC)
Who mentioned blame, or the church? But now that you mention it, what exactly did the church do again to keep its members from slaughtering non-Christians? We know it did not say: "Sorry, that is a matter of personal freedom of expression of devotion in which we must not interfere."  --Lambiam 23:40, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

Clio's answer sums it up perfectly, but we also have lengthy sections on origins in the crusade and First Crusade articles (though they are perhaps not very good and perhaps not reflective of the most current scholarship). Adam Bishop (talk) 02:04, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

As for the crusaders slaughtering non-Christians, didn't they also attack a few Christian cities along the way? Edison (talk) 16:10, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
Yes, in the Byzantine Empire mostly (although also in Hungary, which was Catholic). Mostly this was done because they were famished and the local merchants were extorting ridiculous amounts of money for bread, etc. That wasn't so much slaughter as two hostile groups fighting with each other, not so different from anywhere else in Christian Europe. As for the Empire, well they conquered it during the Fourth Crusade (along with Catholic Zadar), by design or by accident depending on who you believe. (But some of them refused to attack Zadar, and in COnstantinople some were more concerned with attacking synagogues and mosques, so they get an A for effort I suppose.) Adam Bishop (talk) 20:51, 19 December 2007 (UTC)