Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 January 19
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- 1 January 19
- 1.1 why don't French girls shave their armpits
- 1.2 Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev and the two letters...?
- 1.3 Piece of the Holy Cross: Actual Artifact?
- 1.4 The Divine Comedy
- 1.5 OGL and other free licenses
- 1.6 History
- 1.7 Josephine's cousins
- 1.8 Hebrew History
- 1.9 Spinoza and the unconscious
- 1.10 Scale from highly divided to relatively egalitarian
- 1.11 black rights
- 1.12 did the egyptians have the wheel?
- 1.13 World War II "Passwords"
- 1.14 German / Japanese Cooperation
- 1.15 Quebec / American Revolution
why don't French girls shave their armpits
- Different culture. I would be surprised to see a rational reason behind it. X [Mac Davis] (DESK|How's my driving?) 00:43, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- You need to check your facts. I doubt French girls shave their armpits and the rest less than your reference population. Keria 00:57, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
A better question is: why do other girls shave? Underarm hair grows naturally, so you need a reason for shaving it, not to leave it as it is. If you ignore it, you're not actively "not-shaving it". — Kieff 01:18, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- I believe the usual reason is that body hair is perceived as "masculine", since men have more than women, especially if facial hair is included. Thus, women shave to look "feminine". StuRat 04:22, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
- This might well be considered a cultural phenomenon. While arguably related to the subset of fashion practices, I believe this has to do with sexual taboos. Underarm hair, like breast development, occurs with increased hormonal activity at puberty and thus is a sign of sexual maturity. Some cultures consider it inappropriate for women, including adolescent girls, to display such features publicly (or themselves at all!). The French may be considered to be less inhibited than other cultures in viewing bodily functions, e.g. the pissoir (street urinal). -- Deborahjay 06:36, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
Nikita Khrushchev, Leonid Brezhnev and the two letters...?
Has anyone ever heard this story? Supposedly when Khrushchev was being removed from power in the USSR, he handed Brezhnev two sealed envelopes marked '1' and '2' and instructed him not to open them until things were going badly and he found himself in a political situation that he was unable to get out of - in which case he should open the first one. Some years later, the time came and Brezhnev opened the first envelope. Inside was a letter that simply stated "Blame everything on me." - he did and it saved his political career. Out of curiosity, he then opened the second one - which read "Sit down. Write two letters.".
That was the gist of it anyway, as I was told it - anyone know if there's any truth to the story at all? Thanks. --Kurt Shaped Box 23:43, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
- It sounds to me like a political joke! As far as the letters are concerned Brezhnev clearly disobeyed his former boss and opened the first one straight away, for the simple reason that the campaign of blame started virtually at once. Clio the Muse 23:48, 18 January 2007 (UTC)
- Thanks folks. I was pretty sure it wasn't intended to be taken seriously. --Kurt Shaped Box 12:56, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
It is a political joke, often told in different forms and settings. Here in New Zealand I've heard it as being a new cabinet minister being given three letters by his predecessor and being told to open one a year. The first said "Blame everything on your predecessors"; the second said "Blame everything on the international economy", and the third said "Make three letters". Grutness...wha? 01:03, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- George W. Bush better get started writing... Clarityfiend 07:16, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Piece of the Holy Cross: Actual Artifact?
There is a family heirloom in my family that I have seen that is a 'piece' of the wood of Jesus' cross. It is well packed behind glass, is maybe 5*5*10 millimeters, and it has a 'certificate' of authenticity or whatnot...I might add both look quite legitimate.
However, I highly doubt this whole thing is legitimate, and it is much more likely that this was a fake sold to someone way back in the family tree by an astute entreprenuer who realized that he could take advantage of people's religion. So, I ask, is there ANY way this is real? Searching ebay and google didnt show anything.
Thanks! 184.108.40.206 02:07, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- True Cross contains a lot of detail about the dispersal of what was believed to be the cross upon which Jesus was crucified. Whether this really was the true cross, and whether any of the so-called "relics" that have circulated ever since are actually from that cross, are somewhat doubtful propositions, but you are free to form your own conclusions. JackofOz 02:30, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- Highly, highly unlikely, unless your family is of quite great means — alleged pieces of the True Cross are considered extraordinarily valuable relics. Of course only you can assess the likelihood that someone in your family would have the means to acquire such a thing inconspicuously, but I'm a bit doubtful. The certificate is equally worry-making: who would have issued it? St. Peter? ;-) I find it amusing you searched eBay, though. --220.127.116.11 02:31, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- Unless the certificate is in Aramaic or some contemporaneous language, on 2000-year-old material (papyrus?), I wouldn't put too much stock in it. Clarityfiend 03:03, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- There are a half dozen True Cross fragments on EBAY right now, along with pieces of the Crown of Thorns, in reliquaries with certificates of authenticity. Hey, if a few loaves and fishes could feed a multitude, why couldn't the True Cross furnish tons of wood? There are also secondary relics, which touched the True Cross. Edison 06:39, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- I think churches or cathedrals do have pieces of the true cross (can't remember where), but I don't think they are available for the public. I have some pieces of wood which claim to be part of the true cross, but the wood is polished; highly unlikely. | AndonicO Talk · Sign Here 11:15, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- I heard from more than one source that if all the pieces of the "True Cross" were gathered in one place you would end up with enough wood for dozen's of crosses. :) Flamarande 14:23, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
It would be interesting to do a carbon dating on the piece and find out when the tree it came from died. Of course, even if that was around 2000 years ago, that would only prove it was contemporary, not the actual cross. If it's 100 years old, though, you can put any doubt to rest. You could also analyze the type of wood, and find out if that was consistent with the wood used in crosses at that time. StuRat 04:18, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
The Divine Comedy
- Darn you edit conflicts! That was my answer! - AMP'd 03:28, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Hmmmm... It's a start but still can't find what I mentioned. Most of the literature mentioned there was just off-shoots and refrences to Dante's work. Perhaps it hasn't been done, i don't know, but I'd like to read a direct adaptation of The Divne Comedy in the form of a novel or similar. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 18.104.22.168 (talk • contribs)
- Even better: in the nineteenth century Gustave Doré made illustrations that enable you to do away with the words altogether. --Wetman 04:04, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- Do you mean a prose translation, such as Charles Eliot Norton's here?—eric 04:58, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- There is a more recent prose translation by Durling and Martinez (Oxford University Press, Paradiso not published yet). These are excellent, but they follow Dante's Italian even more literally than most verse translations. A prose translation of Dante doesn't exactly make for easy, novelistic reading. I'm guessing the asker would like something more like Tales from Shakespeare, which I've never seen. It's free verse, but the Birk-Sanders retelling, if you don't mind a creative shift of the story to modern America, might be nearer the mark? Wareh 15:01, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- There might have been something more like Tales from Shakespeare after all. I've found the following:
- Stories from Dante, by Susan Cunnington, with illustrations in color by Evelyn Paul (255 pp., editions published by T.Y. Crowell, 1910, F.A. Stokes, 1921, and Harrap, 1926). But this seems to consist of selections translated into English verse.
- Stories from Dante, by Norley Chester (a pseudonym of Emily Underdown), 227 pp., F. Warne & Co., 1898
- Stories from Dante Told to the Children, by Mary MacGregor, 116 pp., T.C. & E.C. Jack, ca. 1910?
- Some of these are available on the used book market. (Aside from prose narrative, there's Jimbo's Inferno the comic book, Dante's Inferno the newer film, not to mention the 1935 Spencer Tracy Dante's Inferno). Wareh 15:24, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- There might have been something more like Tales from Shakespeare after all. I've found the following:
OGL and other free licenses
What other free licenses (e.g. GNU, Creative Commons) can be mixed with OGL text in the same book without violating the terms of those other licenses? How does this change if the text under the other license is multi-licensed with OGL? 05:36, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Ruddyjohn 09:16, 20 January 2007 (UTC)–
Early 16thC Spanish Expansionism in New World Sub head. Maitime supply convoys;
Materials, men and animals carried. Shipwrecks.
Shipwrecks Sub sub-head (and my question) 1522 shipwreck of convoy in Gulf of Mexico. Spanish horses escape and swim ashore. They become ancestors of the Mustang. The now wild Mustang roams North and is domesticated by the Plains Indians which change in one or two generations from fairly peaceful, static, Matriarchies subsisting on fruits grains fish and small animal trapping to warlike, dynamic Patriarchies relying almost exclusively on the buffalo for meat and hides and the Mustang to hunt them, follow them in migration. The Mustang also trails their belongings as a pack horse and is , above all, a Warhorse. Without saddles or stirrups the Plains Indians become 'the finest light cavalry in the World' (Sherman)
Question: Is the above a reasonably accurate contraction of how the Plains Indians got mounted? Supplementary question -(I don't read Spanish)- Do reliable sources exist (archives?) confirming this or these shipwrecks. (Dates, Commanders, men and material lost, survivors etc.)
All suggestions,corrections, tips, reading lists, gratefully received. John Ruddy Username: RuddyjohnRuddyjohn 09:36, 19 January 2007 (UTC)—
- Sounds like homework? 惑乱 分からん 11:28, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- I don't think that the origins of the mustang can be traced to just a single shipwreck or to shipwrecks in general. Horses escaped from Spanish expeditions into the Southwest and from the first Spanish settlements in the region, both dating to the 16th century. See our article Mustang (horse). Also, the Plains Indians certainly hunted buffalo before they acquired horses. See American bison. Marco polo 15:30, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Many thanks. I'll get on to your suggested links. PS -and another request. Do you know of any material relevant to the TRANSFORMATION the taming of the mustang effected in these previously "static, pacific" matriarchies (or were they? Did female chiefs go on the warpath to protect fishing rights rround the shores of, say, Lake Superior) I do not wish to sound a trivial note but I'm stuck and can find no relevant,specific links. I may resume it thus:- "The Plains Indians before and after they got the Horse" Any suggestions? Many thanks in advance. Ruddyjohn.
- I think mustangs were "re-tamed" after they turned wild after escaping their former owners... 惑乱 分からん 14:42, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
> Please could you verify some info about the relationship of Naksidi Sultan > and Napoleon Bonaparte's Josephine. Were they cousins? Did they meet? > Also, what was the relationship between Naksidi Sultan and Selim 3 > (1789-1808) - details please? > Thanks in advance for your time. >
- According to our article about Josephine's cousin, Aimée du Buc de Rivéry, documentary evidence indicates that she was not Nakşidil Sultan, a wife of Abdülhamid I and the mother of Mahmud II. According to archival sources, Nakşidil Sultan came from a family from the Caucasus region, not from France. As a wife of Abdülhamid I (the brother of Selim III's father Mustafa III), Nakşidil Sultan was Selim III's aunt. Marco polo 22:01, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Contrast the difference between the way the Hebrews viewed history and the view held by most other ancient cultures. How do the words linier and cyclical apply?
- This sounds a lot like a homework question. The Wikipedia Reference Desk will not do your homework questions for you. However, if you have a specific problem you would like hints on how to approach, or need help on where to find information, try asking that! Skittle 17:04, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
I have tryed everywhere for information on this and can't seem to find anything on it.
- You'll find a lot on your topic here, for which I believe the main source would be Thorleif Boman's book, Hebrew Thought Compared with Greek. Wareh 18:44, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- Hmm. That doesn't seem to contain anything on history, and seems to be from a rather interesting point of view. Question Asker, don't you have any textbooks or notes to be working from? Skittle 21:10, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Spinoza and the unconscious
Did Spinoza in any way allude to the existence of what we might term an unconscious, or at least reject the notion that "consciousness understands the concept of it thoughts or it actions" (to me, the quotation is just nonsense, but that's what it says in my psychology book)? And while you're at it, did Descarte, Nietzche, Karl Marx, and Sartre express any opinion regarding the existence of the unconscious (or just any form of unconscious existing)? —LestatdeLioncourt 17:23, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- I don't think the idea of an unconscious (or subconscious) was developed until Freud.
- The poets and philosophers before me discovered the unconscious; what I discovered was the scientific method by which the unconscious can be studied. - Freud —Vranak
Well, Spinoza, advanced the concept of active and passive emotions, the former subject to rational understanding, in contrast to the latter. However, passive emotions can be made active by an understanding of underlying causes, anticipating aspects of Freudian analysis. Marx's concept of consciousness was material and historical in nature, leaving little space for sub-rational motivations. Of all the people you have identified, only Sartre lived 'post-Freud', so to speak, and he was specifically opposed to concepts of the unconscious, in the terms advanced by psycho-analyis. Emotions, for him, were not outside the control of our wills; and if we are sad it is because we choose to be sad. Responsible for our own emotions, we are also responsible for our forms of behaviour. To be conscious is to be free. Clio the Muse 00:59, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Scale from highly divided to relatively egalitarian
I am looking for the name of a scale/rating system from political science or other social sciences. It rates countries on a range from highly divided to relatively egalitarian in terms of social class differences - or perceptions of social class - and I'm just not phrasing my search terms correctly to get the name of the scale. I do remember that Chile and Brazil are rated as quite divided. Does anyone know the name of the scale or system, so I can continue my search? Thanks a million. - Mary S.
- This sounds like the Gini coefficient. See also List of countries by income equality. Wareh 18:39, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
ok, i guess i didnt do this right the first time, because i cant find my question anywhere, so here it goes again. does one of our (american) historical documents say something to the effect of negros being considered only 1/5 of a man? i thought i saw it somewhere a few years ago but i dont remember where & i couldnt find it anywhere online. Oahulani 18:37, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- The Constitution of the United States originally counted African-American slaves as 3/5 of a person for the purpose of calculating the number of electoral votes each state received. -- SCZenz 18:39, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
did the egyptians have the wheel?
I have always been told that the ancient Egyptians constructed the pyramids without the wheel to move the stones. I can't believe they didn't stumble upon the wheel. Please tell me if they had the wheel then. If you know.Tokeswithasmile 19:03, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- Wheel says that the wheel originated in modern Iraq and had made its way to Europe and India by the 4th - 3rd millenium BC. Ancient Egypt existed between about 3150BC and 31BC (though I can't find an exact age for the pyramids), so it would seem that the Egyptians probably did have the wheel. →Ollie (talk • contribs) 19:21, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- i believe they used wooden logs to move the large blocks of stone. Not precisely a wheel as we would think of it. 22.214.171.124 19:24, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- They would not have used the wheel to build the pyramids because they lacked suitable bearings. Even today, you would have difficulty making a wooden wheeled vehicle that could cope with the weight of those blocks. Far simpler to use rollers and a team of men to lug them around.--Shantavira 19:28, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- [after edit conflict] There is little evidence of the use of wheels in Egypt before the Hyksos introduced chariots, almost 1,000 years after the construction of the Giza pyramid complex. While the wheel may have been known in Egypt before the time of the Hyksos, the Egyptians would have had little use for it, since they did not have draft animals. Because most Egyptian settlements were near the Nile River, Egyptians relied heavily on water transport. Marco polo 22:29, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- Didn't the Egyptians use human-powered water wheels for irrigation? Clarityfiend 22:37, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
World War II "Passwords"
In this article about Mairzy Dotes, it states that the song was used as a password in WWII. My grandfather also said that the allied forces used "Mary Had a Little Lamb" as a password too. A soldier would ask "What did mary have?" and the other soldier would have to reply "A little lamb".
What I want to know is what other things were used as passwords by the allied forces? Also, did the Axis also have some form of passwords, and what were they? It would be nice if there was a list somewhere of such things.
Yet another question i have is... how did these password systems work? I somehow doubt soldiers and workers in every division knew what the other soldier was referencing... for instance what if an American used the Mairzy Dotes lines and the other soldier was from a country where that song wasnt played?
I would just like to know anything anyone knows about this whole idea of passwords. Any contribution at all is appreciated. I thank you. 126.96.36.199 19:33, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- I've seen the use of flash, with the reply thunder used in popular culture (Band of Brothers, I think), although I have no idea as the historical accuracy of it. →Ollie (talk • contribs) 20:03, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- The full code, flash - thunder - welcome is mentioned in our article on Shibboleths as being used by Americans during the invasion of Normandy, since the word "welcome" would be difficult for Germans to pronounce correctly. The shibboleth article has a large number of examples from various wars, all chosen to be easy for someone from the correct country to pronounce, but which would induce obvious mistakes when spoken by someone from the enemy nation. -ByeByeBaby 21:11, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- In The Longest Day, didn't they ask who won the World Series? And in some other movie, they used clickers. User:Zoe|(talk) 03:40, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
- Who won the World Series? Well, I hope American and British units managed to stay well apart! Clio the Muse 01:11, 21 January 2007 (UTC)
According to Faneuil Hall, During the Revolutionary War, a challenge question issued by Colonial soldiers was: "What sits atop Faneuil Hall?" If the swift reply were not, "Why, the grasshopper, of course", there would be trouble. -- AnonMoos 19:26, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
Got it units on the frontline during WWII had tens if not hundreds of thousands of frequently changed password and a replys used to stop infiltration by spies/enemy recon units or simply as identification during close combat. These passwords could be changed daily or even hourly basis, they were invented "on the spot" by officers working in HQs and sometimes could make hardly any sense (like password "umbrella!" , reply "bicycle"!) but should be easy to remmember and hard to mistake for an order ("duck!") or warning (granade!, airplane! etc). The pasword and reply was supposed to be known by all friendly soldiers moving around or standing guard in the area near you. Mieciu K 17:14, 23 January 2007 (UTC)
German / Japanese Cooperation
To what degree did Germany and Japan coordinate their activies in World War II? Specifically, it seems that given Germany's situation in Russia in December 1941, bringing the US into the war at that time would be a horrible idea. Did Germany know about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor ahead of time? Did they agree to the attack? Did they encourage the attack? If so, why would they think an attack was a good idea at that time? And what was their reaction to the attack? Aepryus 21:57, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- I cannot find any evidence that Japan conferred with Germany prior to launching the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Nor were they required to do so under the terms of the Tripartite Pact. Under the terms of the same pact, however, neither was Germany required to declare war against the United States as a consequence of Japan's attack. Germany would have had to do so only if Japan had been attacked. Germany therefore used Pearl Harbor as an opportunity to declare war on the United States. Hitler may have chosen to do this in response to what he saw as an already existing alliance between the United States and Britain, as evidenced by such policies as the Destroyers for Bases Agreement and the Lend-Lease Program. As history shows, Hitler's strategic judgement was often lacking. Marco polo 22:55, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- Yes, I too have never come across any evidence that Hitler had advanced knowledge of, or in any way encouraged, the attack on Pearl Harbor. But it seems fairly clear that by late 1941, in view of the increasingly close relationship between Churchill and Roosevelt, that he had come to believe that war with the United States was inevitable. Although the decision to declare war, when he was under no obligation to do so, was in retrospect disastrous, it is also important to consider the strategic situation at the time. Although Zukhov had begun his counter-attack before Moscow a day or so before the Japanese attack, the full danger of the German situation in the east was still not clear by 11 December. Perhaps even more important, Hitler seriously underestimated the full capacity of the American industrial-military complex, and the country's ability to fight a full-scale war on two fronts. But arguably the most important factor of all was the fresh opportunity given to his U-boat arm, which was losing all momentum in its attacks on British shipping. War with the US greatly widened Dönitz opportunities for offensive action, beginning what was called the 'second happy time.' Clio the Muse 23:48, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Quebec / American Revolution
Since the British had just conquered Quebec in 1763, when the American's declared independence in 1776, why didn't the French in Quebec follow suit or join them? Aepryus 21:57, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- Britain enacted the Quebec Act to try to address the concerns of the French Canadians and to win their loyalty. Many of the rebellious American colonists, on the other hand, were strongly anti-Catholic. Quebec's Catholic clergy, who were the elite of the French Canadians and the most influential group in Quebec after the departure of the French authorities, by and large judged that they would fare better under the British than in a state dominated by the anti-Catholic Americans to their south. Marco polo 22:36, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
- But weren't the British anti-Catholic as well? --The Dark Side 02:20, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
- Note also that there's a sentence in the Declaration specifically bitching about Quebec, though not by name: "For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies". —Chowbok ☠ 02:32, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
- The British elite were anti-Catholic within Great Britain and Ireland, but the British government made a strategic decision to offer toleration to the Catholics of Quebec in order to win their loyalty at a time when inhabitants of English-speaking colonies to the south were becoming restive and resisting the government's attempts at imposing taxes and restrictions on trade. Most of the very Protestant elite of the rebellious colonies (in many cases not Anglicans but members of dissenting churches) were virulently opposed to Catholicism, probably more so than the British elite at that time. The griping in the American Declaration of Independence would have added to the concerns of the French Canadians. It was to accommodate the French Canadian desire to restore French civil law that the British abolished "the free System of English laws". This would have signalled to the French Canadians that the rebellious Americans would not be as accommodating as the British. The griping about boundaries also reflected the Anglo-American desire to expand into surrounding territories, which would have raised French Canadian fears of being swamped by the much more numerous Anglo-Americans. Marco polo 02:44, 20 January 2007 (UTC)
- As to the boundaries, the Quebec Act (1774) extended Quebec as far west as what is now Illinois. Several of the rebelling colonies had hoped to expand themselves into that area. I note also that the US Articles of Confederation preauthorized the admission of "Canada" (i.e. Quebec; there was no entity officially called Canada at the time) if it wanted to join the revolution. --Anonymous, January 20/07, 06:24 (UTC).
- There exists a tendency to link the Québecois people far too closely with France, when in fact the differences in ideology, culture, religion and mentality of the French and the Québecois were indeed quite disparate. Yes, the decade between the Treaty of Paris of 1763, ceding virtually all French North American territory to Britain, and the Quebec Act of 1774, was a decade of confusion among the Quéecois people concerning their allegiance. Nonetheless, as I've said, the Québecois and the French had enormous differences between each other. In simple terms, unlike the liberal, republican, anti-clerical French, the Québecois were a rather conservative, monarchist, devout Catholic group. Many looked to Atheistic Revolutionary France with utter disgust, and longed for an ancien regime type society. In fact, some, such as Georges-Etienne Cartier, went so far as to view the British Conquest as "divine providence", for it saved them from the decadence that they perceived in Revolutionary France. In fact, due to the above mentioned Treaty of Paris, the Québecois people we actually treated better, and their local laws were given far more respect than they had ever enjoyed under the French mercantilist colonial policy. Loomis 01:52, 23 January 2007 (UTC)