Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 July 11

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July 11[edit]

Colonies in Antarctica?[edit]

Do any treaties or laws prohibit settlement in Antarctica? (Not that it's likely.) 00:29, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Hard to say - one would need to read all the Treaties forming the Antarctic Treaty System to come up with an answer. DuncanHill 00:40, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

The only advantages to such colonies would have been to hunt native species, like penguins and whales which live near Antarctica. However, the high cost of such a colony, which would need to have all supplies shipped in (except food and water, perhaps), make it unlikely to be practical. Drilling for petroleum is also possible in the waters off Antarctica, but icebergs could be an issue. Oil wells on most of Antarctica wouldn't work because the glaciers on which the holes would be drilled are constantly moving. Wells would have to be dug on the few rocky outcrops. Still, the problem of transporting any oil would be a serious one, as pipelines on moving glaciers are also a bad idea. StuRat 15:34, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

political gender[edit]

How many female governors are there in the U.S.? silver bullet

Count'em yourself at List of current United States Governors. 02:45, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Someone's already counted, and they say seven. - Akamad 03:32, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Louis Dembitz Brandeis's relationship with Jacob Frank[edit]


The article on Louis Brandeis,, suggests that Brandeis was a Jacob Frank supporter because a bust of Frank was found on Brandeis's desk. There is no citation, however, and I was wondering where this information came from.

Thank you.

According to the book Great Jewish Men by Elinor and Robert Slater, Brandeis' mother was the descendant of followers of Jacob Frank.[1] Perhaps the bust was a family heirloom? Maybe a joke? GabrielF 03:43, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I couldn't find anything about a bust of Frank, the whole business with finding it while cleaning out his desk strikes me as an urban legend, however, according to a recent article in American Jewish Life magazine:

Amazingly, some of Frank’s followers went on to become leaders of the Prague Enlightenment, prominent attorneys in Poland, and shape-shifters of every kind. Adam Mickiewicz, considered Poland’s greatest poet, used Frankist themes in his work. Even Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis had a portrait of Frank’s daughter Eva on his desk in the Supreme Court — an heirloom he received from his Dembitz relatives, whose ancestors were followers of Frank.

A much more thorough discussion of Brandeis' intellectual connection to Frankism, including excerpts from a letter Brandeis' mother wrote about the sect at her son's request, is available in the 1999 article "A VOCATION FOR LAW? AMERICAN JEWISH LAWYERS AND THEIR ANTECEDENTS" by in the Fordham Urban Law Journal. A pdf is available at the authors website[2].
It seems clear to me that Brandeis' mother at least thought the whole idea of Jacob Frank being the messiah as absurd, and she even refers to the sect's "crazy beliefs", however, the family did seem to be inspired by some aspects of Frankism, particularly its rejection of dogma that it perceived as sophistic, its emphasis on utopian ideas and "the Jewish mission among other nations to bring about the world's redemption" (see Tikkun Olam). Frankists seem to have been particularly interested in restoring humanity to "the condition of perfection with which he was endowed when he came from the Creator's hand... again ... free from vice and sin." (quoting from Brandeis' great uncle).
I'm not an expert on Brandeis by any means, but I can definitely see how the story of the Frankist sect as told to a young Brandeis might have inspired some of his thinking about issues such as civil liberties and the role of individuals and government in society. GabrielF 04:45, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

There is no evidence that Louis Brandeis himself ever had anything to do with Frankism. Professor Gershom Sholem, the great authority on Jewish mysticism, did publish a Frankist ethical will from the 19th century United States (the sole documentary evidence of Frankism in the US), that was from one of Brandeis' matrilineal forbearers from the Dembitz family.

"Political" as noun[edit]

Is it acceptable to use political as noun in sociology? A neologism? 06:45, 11 July 2007 (UTC) I hope this is the place better suited for this question than the language RD. 06:47, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

The word political by itself is not a noun, but like many adjectives can be used as a noun in English. There is the well-known slogan The Personal is Political coined by Carol Hanisch. The adjective personal is used here as a noun, signifying "that which is personal", "all things personal". The slogan is often found in contraposition: The political is personal. Another example of this nominalization of adjectives is found in this saying attributed to Napoleon: From the sublime to the ridiculous is only a step (in French: Du sublime au ridicule il n'y a qu'un pas).  --LambiamTalk 09:55, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
What would you have "political" mean? I've heard it used as a noun for political prisoners. Isn't it best to use established language that is readily understood - or is that a bad thing in sociology? DuncanHill 10:00, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I think I should clarify. Problematic is both nound and adjective. Can you say political similarly? To make it further clear, if somebody says "the expasion of the political effected by the movement", do you think it is acceptable? In the given quote "the political" itself is adjective. It is the addition of definite article that gives it nominal quality.
But what is intended to be meant by "the political"? DuncanHill 10:45, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
In "the expansion of the political" I understand the political to mean: "the political domain", that is, the province of those things considered to be subject to political discourse and control. As an effect of the movement, some things became part of the political domain that were not considered political before.  --LambiamTalk 11:18, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
That would make sense. I would suggest that you use "the political domain" instead of "the political", as the former is more readily understood. Sociologists have a bad habit of making up words or usages, with no good reason. DuncanHill 11:21, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Lambiam is correct. In English sometimes words are implied, like when you say, "Sit down," the word "You" is implied before it. Similarly, you can use an adjective if the noun that follows it is obvious, for example, "This is of concern to the aforementioned," where the aforementioned is the person(s) or thing(s) previously discussed. Zahakiel 17:17, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
If the preceding (!) hasn't addressed the questioner's question, then perhaps s/he heard the noun "politico"? --TotoBaggins 20:51, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

This would have been an excellent question for the Language Ref Desk. StuRat 15:27, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Possession by ancestor spirits in mythology[edit]

Many years ago I read a novel which included the possibility of technologically recording a person's thoughts and personality so that their accumulated wisdom would not be carried to the grave. These uploads would then function as virtual advisers to a living person. People being the angels that they are, sometimes an upload would effectively obliterate the native personality and steal their body. The author named this process after legends of possession by ancestor spirits in some body of mythology, but I cannot recall which myth cycle or the name for the term. Searching yields plenty of links about Shinto, voodoo, and a bunch of New Age "interpretations", but nothing that looks correct. Does anybody have an idea what this might be called? Or, possibly, the book I am partially remembering? -Eldereft 07:44, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Did you read Mind transfer in fiction? Maybe that helps you remember which book you read about it... — Shinhan < talk > 10:56, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Some good reading material there, thanks, but nothing shakes loose. -Eldereft 20:38, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Even today belief in possession by ancestor spirits as an actually occurring phenomenon (rather than having a legendary and mythological status) is found among more than a few cultures (e.g., such diverse groups as the Warao, the Sakalava, and the Venda). It is usually beneficial: the ancestral spirits provide valuable guidance on life-changing decisions. Do you have any remembrance of the geographic and historic origin of these legends that might narrow down the search?  --LambiamTalk 11:11, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately, it was a science fiction novel set in an indefinite place and time, with the ancestor possession pretty much thrown in as 'here is a similar legend'. But the possession was distinctly not beneficial even in the myth. -Eldereft 20:38, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

In the Star Trek universe there was a biological mechanism (Trill (Star Trek)) to pass the memories of earlier hosts on to blend with those of the current symbiont host. Dax (Star Trek) was one example. StuRat 15:21, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Napoleon on St Helena[edit]

I am researching the last part of the life of Napoleon, specifically his time on St. Helena. You have a little information on your Napoleon page, though not as much as I would have wished. If possible, can I have some more specific details on his actions and attitudes during those six years. How was he perceived in Britain and France at the time and did he ever hope to return to Europe? Hope and Glory 10:31, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Ah, Napoleon on St. Helena, most definitely an island too far! When he was told by his British captors that was where he was bound he said "Go to St. Helena-no!-no! I prefer death" But to St. Helena he went. Lord Liverpool, the British Prime Minister of the day, explained the reasons for sending the troublesome Emperor so far from Europe-"There is only one place in the circuit of the island where ships can anchor...At such a distance, and in such a place, all intrigue would be impossible; and, being withdrawn so far from the European world, he would very soon be forgotten." But he was not forgotten, by the British least of all.
In exile, Napoleon set himself two tasks: to persuade his former enemies to grant his release, and to create an image of himself for future generations of Frenchmen, an image based on Christian concepts of martyrdom. He failed in the first but suceeded in the second, creating a myth that was to become the basis for the Second Empire. His memoirs were, in fact, a quite cynical exercise in political manipulation, and he went so far as to tell an aide "If Jesus Christ had not died on the cross, He would never have been worshipped as a God." He concluded his account of his career with an accusation and a plea "I am dying prematurely murdered by the English oligarchy and its hired assassins...I wish my ashes to rest near the banks of the Seine in the midst of the French people I have so dearly loved."
In a sense the creation of the 'Napoleon myth' was the Emperor's last great victory. Even the themes he anticipated were later taken up by his countrymen in a romantic vision that overlooked the tyranny and militarism of the First Empire. By 1840 he was being compared to Prometheus, chained to a rock (St. Helena), where his blood was drunk by the vulture of Albion;
Jesus by his strength
Saved the pagan, lost in sin.
Napoleon saved France;
Like Jesus he was sold
After odious sufferings,
Jesus died on the cross;
Napoleon at St. Helena,
Has suffered like Jesus.
In 1840 the singularly unheroic Louis Phillipe arranged for Napoleon's remains to be returned to France, to be re-interred at Les Invalides. Some 600,000 people watched the procession through Paris, with cries of Vive l'Empereur! and A bas les Anglais! While he was still alive, though, the chief preoccupation of the government of Louis XVIII was to ensure that he remained in the south Atlantic, and that there would be no repetition of the Hundred Days. The Duc de Richelieu, Louis' chief minister, even went so far as to ask his agent on St. Helena if the barrels leaving Napoleon's house at Longwood, were being checked! Some of the fear was justified, because there were indeed genuine plots to rescue Napoleon, including one from Brazil and another from Texas, where some four hundred exiled soldiers from the Grand Army dreamed of a resurrection of the Napoleonic Empire in America. Believe it or not, there was also a plan to rescue him using a submarine!
Despite his complaints and his petulance, Napoleon was not too badly treated by the British, and was more or less free to live his life in the manner of in English country gentleman in quite comfortable surroundings. When he was a boy, William Makepeace Thackery, the writer, stopped at St. Helena on a voyage from India. His servant took him to Longwood "We saw a man walking...'That is he', said the black servant, 'That is Bonaparte, he eats three sheep every day, and all the children he can lay his hands on.' " Napoleon received many visitors, to the anger and consternation of Richelieu "This devil of a man exercises an astonishing seduction on all those who approach him."
In a uniquely British way, Napoleon was transformed in the public mind from a monster to a hero, no doubt a direct expression of discontent at the reactionary post-war government of Lord Liverpool. In 1818 The Times, which Napoleon received in exile, in reporting a false rumour of his escape, said that this had been greeted by spontaneous illuminations in London. There was some sympathy for him also in the political opposition in Parliament. Lord Holland, the nephew of Charles James Fox, the former Whig leader, sent over 1000 books and pamphlets to Longwood, as well as jam and other comforts. Holland also accused the government of attempting to kill the Emperor by a proceess of slow assassination. Napoleon knew of this, and based his hopes for release on the possibility of Holland becoming Prime Minister, Richelieu's greatest fear.
Napoleon also enjoyed the support of Admiral Lord Cochrane, one of the greatest sailors of the age, closely involved in Chile and Brazil's struggle for independence. It was his expressed aim to make him Emperor of a unified South American state, a scheme that was frustrated by Napoleon's death in 1821. For Lord Byron, amongst others, Napoleon was the very epitome of the Romantic hero, the persecuted, lonely and flawed genius. At quite the other extreme, the news that Napoleon had taken up gardening at Longwood appealed to more domestic British sensibilities, which had the effect of humanising him still further. When news of his death reached Europe in early July 1821 the French Foreign Minister noted that this caused a far greater sensation in London than in Paris. Ironically, it was the British who were the first to adopt a myth, later exported to France, where tragedy was destined to be refashioned in the shape of farce. Clio the Muse 02:27, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
"How far from St Helena to the Gate of Heaven's Grace?
That no one knows - that no one knows - and no one ever will.
But fold your hands across your heart and cover up your face,
And after all your traipsings, child, lie still!"
Strikes an appropriate note at this point. DuncanHill 09:50, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Very! You clearly possess the Romantic sensibility, Duncan. Clio the Muse 00:09, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, I don't know about that, but Kipling certainly knew how to write a line that will stick in your head forever - and A St Helena Lullaby has stuck with me since I was 10 or 11. DuncanHill 23:09, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Just as If, a good bit of the Barrack Room Ballads and Mandalay have stuck with me! Clio the Muse 02:21, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

I would like to note that some of the best known lines in Russian, by Pushkin and Lermontov, are based on Napoleon's exile and death. The opening of Pushkin's grand elegy "To the Sea" (1824) is as famous in Russian as the opening lines of Kubla Khan are in English. This is the epitome of Russian Romanticism, which was born out of the Patriotic War of 1812, the turning point of Napoleon's career. Not suprisingly, Napoleon's image was probably even more important for Russian writers than it was for his compatriots. --Ghirla-трёп- 20:22, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Farewell to you, unharnessed Ocean!
No longer will you roll at me
Your azure swells in endless motion
Or gleam in tranquil majesty
Sigh! Clio the Muse 00:09, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Pushkin is even less translatable than Kubla Khan. Poetry is akin to magic: attempt to analyze or rationalize it - and the spell is broken. --Ghirla-трёп- 13:17, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Of course; this is a sad approximation, at best. I will learn Russian; I promise I will, and soon! On the subject of the untranslatable, Ghirla, are there Russian editions of Robert Burns? I confess that there are aspects of his poetry that even I cannot understand! Clio the Muse 23:02, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Samuil Marshak made a name for himself translating Burns. In the Soviet Union, his works were held up as a standard to which all translators should aspire. I'm not interested in either Burns or Marshak, so I'm afraid I can't offer any meaningful comment here. --Ghirla-трёп- 08:49, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, my father told me that Burns was popular in the old Soviet Union. I cannot imagine just how a lot of the poetry, written in eighteenth century Scottish dialect, would translate into another language. Clio the Muse 22:37, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Thank you, Clio, what wonderful information! Do you have some books you could recommend that would help me take this further? Hope and Glory 13:33, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

I would suggest the following:

  • The Emperor's Last Island by J. Blackburn.
  • Napoleon and English Romanticism by S. Bainbridge.
  • The Legend of Napoleon by S. Hazareesingh.
  • Napoleon and the British by S. Semmel. Clio the Muse 00:09, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
I incorporated parts of Clio's reply into the article Napoleon I of France. --Ghirla-трёп- 20:44, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

duc d'Enghien and Mohiloff[edit]

I am looking for a black-and-white image of the execution of Louis-Antoine-Henri de Bourbon-Condé, duc d'Enghien that features his dog, Mohiloff. There are a number of good full-color images available (e.g. e.g.)--surely there exist some black-and-white etchings or engravings patterned after these? Cyrusc 15:46, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Couldn't you just get one of these images and use an image editor to make them monochrome? Nyttend 18:25, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
What's the behind the name? Does it have anything to do with the town of Mahilyow? --Ghirla-трёп- 20:57, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
I've googled a bit and found out that the dog takes its name from the Ukrainian town of Mohyliv-Podilskyi, where the Duc's prospective wife discovered it. --Ghirla-трёп- 13:22, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Charnock the Alchemist[edit]

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Does anyone know anything about Thomas Charnock, the Elizabethan alchemist? Janesimon 15:53, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Have you tried a Google search for his name? In less than a minute it returned: (click on "view full biography). If you want more detailed information than a biography, you might want to ask more specific questions :) Zahakiel 17:06, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for that 'helpful' information. You may have a subscription to the ODNB: I do not. I repeat: does anyone know anything about Thomas Charnock, and by this I mean details of his life as well as his writing? There is nothing useful on google. Janesimon 17:46, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I do not have a subscription, but it may have opened for me because I am on a more public terminal. In any event, the point was that the information is easy to find if you spend a little time on it. I am sorry my efforts were not as useful to you as I had hoped. Someone below has already indicated that they can send you the info. from the ODNB site, or I may have offered myself. Zahakiel 18:15, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
For your information, there is indeed some quite useful information, including brief biographies, among the 1080 sites returned by simply googling on the name. But since you apparently have looked through them all, and anyway are too arrogant to appreciate attempts at help, you can go find them yourself. Have a good day. 18:11, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I'd be happy to e-mail you the ODNB bit if you'd tell me where to send it. --Fastfission 18:12, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Please do not use Wikipedia as a channel for blatant copyright violation. 18:41, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Ease up — if it is a copy for scholarly research then it usually falls under fair use. I don't think a 600 word article sent to one person is exactly going to break the bank. -- 21:28, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
It's possible that your local library allows you to view it from home, depending on where you live. [3] But then, you might live elsewhere. Skittle 18:52, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I'd also point out that going to the library and looking in books is often helpful. You can use to find books with promising info and then check to see which are available at local libraries. Inter-library loan can even get you books from non-local libraries. Donald Hosek 19:06, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

I think we should either answer questions or not, as the case may be. I do not think it's a good idea to snipe at other users. I am quite happy to supply some information on Charnock, not taken, I have to stress, from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. If you wish to pursue the matter further, Janesimon, I would suggest either The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age by Frances Yates, or Mystic Metal of Gold: Essays on Alchemy and Renaissance Culture edited by S. Linden. There is also a useful article entitled Base Matter into Gold by Jonathan Hughes in the August 2005 edition of History Today. And, if you are really serious, you should consult Charnock's own notes! If you have neither the time nor the inclination for this then there are some pertinent extracts in Alchemical Fragments Copied from Thomas Charnock's Own Handriting by Elias Ashmole.

Charnock was born in about 1524 and died in 1581. He spent most of his life in Comberwich, a small village near the port of Bristol in the west of England. His unpublished notebooks are useful, not just for an understanding of Elizabethan attitudes towards alchemy in general, but for the insight they give to Charnock's life and thoughts. Apart from the usual preoccupations of his profession, he also had an amateur interest in Atlantic exploration, and in his study he had an astrolobe, maps, a globe and other navigational instruments. He rather quaintly described the difficulties he found in trying to decipher Medieval English texts on alchemy, which were "as harde to my understanding as yff I had harde one rede a booke off the language off the natione which dwell in the fourth parte off the worlde named America."

His uncle, also called Thomas Charnock, had been an alchemist, as well as the confessor to Henry VII. Thomas' interest in the subject appears to have been stimulated when he inherited his uncle's books while in his teens. Although he married in 1562, and had two children, he preferred the life of scholarly solitude, made clear in the preamble of the treatise he wrote for Elizabeth I. He says that his pursuit of the philosopher's stone has in large measure been impeded by 'worldly necessities', and that the said stone is reserved for men who have the gift of 'solitariness.' He took this seriously enough to ask Elizabeth to allow him to carry on his experiments in the Tower of London, or another 'solitary place.' This was probably stimulated by the hostility of his neighbours, which forced him to barricade himself in his cottage. His appeal to the Queen was ignored.

His work was tiresome and demanding, requiring him, amongst other things, to keep a fire burning at a constant temperature. Quite often he would wake up in the night, troubled that things were not going well. Concerns over servants, fires, and the cost of fuel were steady preoccupations. He was also pursued by fairly constant bad luck "God send me better fortunre or else I am clean discouraged and will turn from philosophy to husbandry and go and get me unto the plough." When England went to war with France in 1557 the local Justice of the Peace, who seems to have been a personal enemy, made sure that poor Thomas was forced into service. In frustration, he took a hatchet to his equipment, smashing glasses and pots alike. Nothing daunted, he was back at his experiments seven years later.

It seems obvious from the hostility he engendered locally that his neighbours had deep superstitious fears, which Carnock did much to encourage, describing himself as a magus as well as a philosopher, who had mastery of "dark and misty terms." After his death it was reported that no-one would live in his former cottage, which was "troublesome and haunted by spirits and that its owner had a reputation as a troublesome person and a conjurer."

Charnock himself was always aware of the ambiguity of his art, warning that Roger Bacon, the founder of English alchemy, had come dangerously close to to the occult, and had ultimately been unsuccessful in his quest for the stone because the Devil was his familiar. His own search for the stone proceeded in the face of one failure after another. Even so, he kept his fires burning for three years constantly, which "brought him more joy than any worldly goods." Though he constantly bemoans the frustrations of his quest, he warms any independent reader not to be deceived by surface appearances, and that he deals in allegories and veiled truths. His victory, if it can be so described, was in simple perseverance; in the pursuit of a 'truth' that remained constantly elusive. In his notebooks he might be said to have penned his own epitaph;

Here Charnock changeth to a better cheere

For the sorrow that he hath suffred many a year. Clio the Muse 00:42, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Clio, your reply is now perpetuated in mainspace as Thomas Charnock. --Ghirla-трёп- 22:14, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Ghirla. I may add some more detail to this in time. The painting you used to illustrate the page is wonderful! Clio the Muse 23:45, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
...although slightly anachronistic :) --Ghirla-трёп- 23:47, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
I have amended the article slightly, to say he lived in Combwich, not Comberwich, as that appears to be the correct form of the name - explained better on the talk page there. DuncanHill 23:51, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Duncan. It was originally known, I believe, as Comberwich, which is near Stockland on the Severn estuary, some forty miles from Bristol. Clio the Muse 00:33, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Statistical agencies[edit]

I am looking for the central statistical bureaus or agencies of the countries American Virgin Islands, French Guiana, Iraq and the Federated States of Micronesia. Does anybody know, whether those countries have such institutions and what their names are? -- 18:03, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

I think the American Virgin Islands are covered by the US Census: [4]. Abeg92contribs 20:33, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
The first two are not countries in the common sense of the word. The American Virgin Islands are a territory of the United States, while French Guiana is an overseas department of France. The relevant central statistics bureau for the latter is that of France, the INSEE. Depending on what your interests are, the INED may also be relevant. For the US, I don't think there is a single central institution, but for agriculture there is the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Apparently the US territories are also in its province, as evidenced by this information on the census of the Virgin Islands.  --LambiamTalk 20:34, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for stating that territories are in it's province. StuRat 14:42, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

Khadijah and Muhammad[edit]

In the article on Khadijah, I read that she was 14 years older than Muhammad. However, her article gives her birth year as being 565 AD, while Muhammad was born in 570. What's correct? Nyttend 18:24, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Additionally, Muhammad's birth year is uncertain.  --LambiamTalk 19:56, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I am not sure why the time of the year would matter. The stated birthdates are 5 years apart, while the text says there is supposed to be a 14-year difference. Perhaps --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ was making a small joke and  --LambiamTalk was just tagging on. I supect that, "additionally" or not,  --LambiamTalk's answer is likely the correct one. Bielle 16:33, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
The day of the year could make a difference of almost two years. Consider the case of two people born in consecutive years. If the first born was born at the end of their year and the second born at the beginning of their year, they may have only a few days between their births. However, if the first was born at the beginning of their year and the second at the end of their year, they would have almost 2 years between their births. StuRat 14:39, 14 July 2007 (UTC)
There is also considerable uncertainty about Khadijah's birth year (and year of death). The German and French Wikipedia give 555 (de:Chadidscha bint Chuwailid, fr:Khadija bint Khuwaylid), and the Arabic Wikipedia gives 68 (lunar years) before Hijra on the Islamic calendar, which it equates with 556 CE (خديجة بنت خويلد). The Turkish Wikipedia says the date is uncertain but may be conjectured to be 555 (tr:Hatice). Other online sources give 565 ([5], [6], [7]). I don't know what these sources base their dates on, and I can't say whether one is less plausible or even downright wrong.  --LambiamTalk 22:55, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
There was at least a 10 year difference between Muhammad and Khadijah. If someone really wants I could pull out an old textbook and cite this. At any rate, I'd go with the earlier date. The Jade Knight 00:40, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Question concerning Roman administration of Gaul?[edit]

Was there a Senate or other assembly in Late Roman period Gaul?

Are there other examples of a Provincial "Senate" or other local administrative bodies?

I have found a reference under the Wikipedia definition of "Curia":

"During their expansion, the Romans exported the model to every city that gained the status of Municipium, so that it had its own Senate and its own officials charged with local administration (although they weren't usually elected but nominated by the central government;"

Any links or advice would also be appreciated!

--Bshaheen 19:39, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Curia is the article you need. For what I know, there were no provincial senates (if you don't consider the Sanhedrin to be one). Under the jus Latii (which was granted to many foreign colonies, especially in Gaul), the main unit of local self-government was the municipality. Each of these was governed by the local senate, properly known as Curia. At first their members were elected by the popular assembly. As the civic life was extinguished following the reign of Constantine the Great, the curia came to be dominated by rich landowners (usually those who possessed twenty five jugera or more). The local senate, or curia, concerned itself with the matters of municipal finances, police, roads, bridges, and public buildings. If the municipium was large enough, the curia had the charge of "heavy, and sometimes ruinous, expenses for the amusement of the populace, prescribed by opinion and custom, if not by law". During the late empire, the curial class was largerly hereditary and shared a lot of responsibilities. You will find their outline in Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire By, by Samuel Dill. The classical treatments of the subject include Theodore Mommsen's The Provinces of the Roman Empire, and A History and Description of Roman Political Institutions, by Frank Frost Abbott. They are available on Google Books. --Ghirla-трёп- 14:11, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Another goddamn speeding ticket[edit]

I live in Arkasnas and I got a speeding ticket. I pleaded not guilty, and have a court date.

Two questions: I am disqualified from testifying in court because I am an atheist. Does this mean I can claim I am unable to defend myself & therefore am not afforded a fair trial?

Also, do I have the right to demand a jury trial? Section 2 of Article 3 of the US constitution says "Section 2 specifies the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts and requires trial by jury in all criminal cases, except cases of impeachment." XM 20:12, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

"Do not request medical, veterinary or legal advice. Ask a doctor, veterinarian or lawyer instead. " --LarryMac | Talk 20:14, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
This is not advice, but a comment. You could show up, say you want to testify, announce that you are an atheist when they call you thus forcing them to (a) let you testify anyway in which case your question is moot or (b) let them disqualify you and then sue the state in Federal court. We do have a Fourteenth amendment after all. GabrielF 20:27, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, the Fourteenth Amendment pertains to race. He would be covered by the First Amendment, which prohibits religious discrimination. Abeg92contribs 20:30, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
No, the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply only to race. It says:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

IANAL, but my understanding is that the whole purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was that before it, the bill of rights only applied to the Federal government. If a federal court infringed on his rights he would be covered, but not if a state court did it. Basically, the former states of the confederacy used this loophole after the civil war to prevent blacks from voting, so the point of the 14th is that it forces the states to follow the rest of the constitution. GabrielF 20:41, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I think these types of questions are okay to ask and be answered here, but it must be noted that nothing here is actual medical, veterinary or legal advice. If you want to be sure ask a lawyer, as nobody here makes any guarantee of validity of advice. With that out of the way, I do think that you will be allowed to defend yourself, but you could look around for a good First Amendment lawyer. On your second question, I do not think trial by jury is required for minor offenses such as speeding tickets, but I many be wrong. Abeg92contribs 20:29, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Definitely consult a suitably specialized lawyer, but I'm wondering if this might not be your chance to national fame, by making it very clear in court that you "deny the being of a God", and if you're thereby denied the possibility of testifying for that reason, fight this possibly unconstitutional denial of the right to a fair trial all the way. Anther thing I'm wondering, is how appropriate it is for an atheist to use the word goddamn. It appears somewhat incongruous to me to thus appeal to an entity whose being you deny.  --LambiamTalk 20:47, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Note that the article pointed to says, regarding the ban on atheists testifying, It is rarely enforced, since it would almost certainly be thrown out if challenged in court.. In other words, there's probably nobody who would care. Regarding "goddamn", well, I use the term "fucking" as a curse, even though I think fucking, in general, is a good thing; and I might refer to someone as an asshole even though, all things considered, I'm glad we each have one. Curse words rarely connote their literal meaning... --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 20:58, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Maybe I just like the goddamn Irony :-). If I ask to testify but then point out that I can't because of the constitution, what happens? I mean, I can say I wish to testify, but doing so would violate the constitution, which I am unwilling to do. What happens then? Also, I know a jury trial wouldn't be required, but could I demand one? Also, I understand comments here don't constitute legal advice or whatever. I am sick of being treated as a 2nd class citizen because I don't believe in god XM 21:09, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Demanding a jury trial: It depends on the jurisdiction. Many jurisdictions specifically designate "traffic court" for quickly handling people in your exact situation. The offenses adjudicated there customarily cover minor penalties and therefore defendants are considered to have waived their right to a jury trial by the mere act of filling out the little ticket stub (read it closely, it's a very common tactic). Moreover, unless driving is designated as a "right" in your state's constitution, you may not have a right to demand a jury trial at all. This is one reason why state DMV offices go through great pains to indoctrinate people with the whole "driving is a privilege" bit.

Since WP is not the place for this kind of advice, let's get to the bottom line here. What do you want to do? Do you want to: 1) prove a righteously indignant point and pursue every legal claim you possibly can; or 2) just rant and vent some steam; or 3) get this over with without having to pay much money or lose much time. If it's (3) ... (if I were you) I'd just pay the ticket and not try to make any kind of "statement" while doing it. If it's (1) I'd hire a lawyer and not waste time here on WP. If it's (2) ... have fun. dr.ef.tymac 21:24, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Just a point: if you took the fourteenth amendment route, you would certainly not be able to resolve it quickly. To actually test it, you would have to go through a whole matter of courts, and in the end, if you won, all you would be winning is the ability to go through another trial about your speeding ticket. Whoop-eeee. --21:26, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Not to mention that your penalties and points for the underlying unresolved traffic offense would still be accruing for as long as you chose to pursue your constitutional claim. You might actually find your driving "privileges" revoked (or worse) if the trial court jury turns out to be unsympathetic toward your "Thomas Paine" strategy for protesting a speeding ticket. dr.ef.tymac 21:47, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
I was definitely not suggesting that the original poster make a federal case (literally) out of his traffic ticket - I was just commenting on the Arkansas constitution. If XM wants to get out of a traffic ticket, ranting about being an atheist will probably not be helpful. If you are actually serious about challenging the law on constitutional grounds, you should contact the Arkansas ACLU. Maybe they are looking for someone with standing. The thing is that you have to have standing to sue, which means that you need to demonstrate that your rights were violated. I doubt you'll have a case if you announce that you wish to testify but won't because it would violate the constitution, the court has to prevent you from testifying because of your beliefs. Even if you were prevented from testifying, I'm still not sure that would give you standing to sue - what if the state were to argue, for example, that your rights were not violated because you could have been afforded due process without testifying? This seems like a reasonable argument given that most people who get traffic tickets don't testify.
Interestingly, the Arkansas constitution was challenged in Federal court in 1982 and survived - the court threw out the case arguing that ordinary taxpayers did not have standing.[8] What would be great is if a state employee wrote an open letter to the governor denying the being of God. The governor would then be forced to either publicly ignore the constitution or fire the person, inviting a legal challenge. GabrielF 00:32, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Several states (Massachusetts, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas) have similar requirements to believe in God in their constitutions (with some, like Pennsylvania, demanding further that you believe that He will institute "a future state of rewards and punishments"), but they were all nullified in 1961 by Torcaso v. Watkins. I'd look for a different defense. --TotoBaggins 21:29, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

  • I was curious about that Pennsylvania one, so I looked it up. What it actually says is that if you have the indicated religious belief, then you are protected from discrimination on religious grounds as regards holding public office. It doesn't say that if you don't have it, then you aren't protected. The actual wording is: No person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this Commonwealth. --Anonymous, July 11, 22:52 (UTC).
Good catch! I am more familiar with the NC constitution, which does bar atheists, and I see the TN constitution says "No person who denies the being of God, or a future state of rewards and punishments, shall hold any office in the civil department of this state.". --TotoBaggins 06:57, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Even if Article VI isn't good enough (and it might not be per se), the Establishment Clause would wipe such a State constitution clause off the table. No sane judge is going to try to enforce that kind of requirement on you because they know that they'll get reversed on appeal. (At least for now, the establishment clause is incorporated on the States by the 14th Constitution).
As far as a jury trial, that's up to how the law is phrased in Arkansas. For such a matter such as a traffic ticket, you generally don't have a right under the federal constitution to a jury trial. See Blanton v. North Las Vegas (1989). –Pakman044 21:41, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Regarding a jury trial, a speeding ticket is usually a civil infraction rather than a criminal infraction, so you probably won't be able to demand a trial by jury. You'll want to consult a lawyer specializing in your state's traffic laws to verify this. --Carnildo 22:26, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Errr ... you might want to consult a lawyer yourself, Carnildo, or at least re-evaluate the accuracy of whatever source you used to supply that information:
  Arkansas Motor Vehicle and Traffic Laws:
  § 27-51-201 (a)(1) No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed 
  greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions ...
  § 27-51-201 (g) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to relieve the 
  plaintiff in any civil action from the burden of proving negligence upon the part of 
  the defendant
  § 27-50-305 (a) Any person violating any of the provisions of this act shall be guilty
  of a misdemeanor, unless the violation is by this act or other law of this state 
  declared to be a felony.
Can you give a specific example of a jurisdiction that classifies traffic offenses as "civil infractions"? dr.ef.tymac 22:52, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, the Traffic ticket article says that's mostly true for the US, so if that's wrong it needs to be fixed. In Canada most traffic offenses are not criminal, they're in a category called quasi-criminal (has to be that way: criminal law is federal jurisdiction while traffic laws are provincial). This exhausts my knowledge on the subject. --Anon, July 11, 23:00 (UTC).
Ahh. I can't vouch for Canada, but the portions relevant to the U.S.A. make some generalizations that could stand to be clarified and referenced ... but basically Carnildo's point makes sense considering non-moving violations and the various differences for what constitutes a "minor offense" ... including speeding. I concur, but the article and its related cousins sure could use some work :/ dr.ef.tymac 23:35, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
In my experience (U.S.), traffic violations are criminal matters, not civil. Carnildo's answer errs, though, in assuming that a civil matter can't be tried to a jury. Under the Seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution, a litigant in most civil cases has a right to a trial by jury if s/he demands it. That even applies to the atheists.  :) JamesMLane t c 02:24, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
JamesMLane, it sounds like you are conflating "civil case" with civil infraction ... these are distinct concepts. That is, a "civil case" involves a non-state plaintiff pursuing a cause of action against a defendant [9]. In contrast, for purposes of Carnildos point, a "civil infraction" is a matter pursued against a defendant by the state (typically, a municipality acting under municipal ordinance) [10][11].
Although serious traffic offenses are indeed "criminal" matters, (typically codified under a state penal code), Carnildos point is correct since not all traffic offenses are "serious" (constituting either misdemeanor or felony charges). (Note: the external links provided here reference the American Bar Association). dr.ef.tymac 08:11, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

What happens if I tell the judge I can't testify he proceedes to allow it, and I remind him that he took an oath to uphold the Arkansas Constitution, which I will have in my hand? XM 03:44, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Does contempt of court ring a bell? Clarityfiend 04:15, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Have you ever met a judge or been in a court? Honestly call up a lawyer and pitch this idea at them if you want to hear someone laughing themselves to death. If you are looking for a way to get off or to make life easier for yourself, this isn't the way to do it. Now the odds are that the cop who issued you the ticket won't show up in court anyway, so maybe you'll just get off automatically. Or maybe you'll have to pay a fine and go to traffic school one afternoon. It's not a big deal. -- 13:39, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
What if Rosa Parks just took the easier way out and went to the back of the bus? Someone has to stand up and fight this tyrany XM 18:33, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
What tyranny? That portion of the constitution has been nullified, so you're allowed to testify. If you tell the judge you're an atheist, and he says you can't testify, then you have a case. But he's not going to do that. --TotoBaggins 20:06, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
And if I politely remind him of his oath & obligation to uphold the Arkansas Constitution? XM 20:47, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Then he will politely (or as politely as an Arkansas judge can manage) remind you that that portion of the Arkansas Constitution is inoperative. DuncanHill 23:00, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
And you don't get chills down your spine hearing the phrase "that portion of the Constitution is inoperative"? 00:46, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
Not when it is a portion which persecutes people for their religious beliefs or lack thereof. DuncanHill 00:50, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
More to the point, it isn't inoperative because a tyrant declared it inoperative on a whim, but because it violates the Federal constitution. (and I'm not sure that is the right word because it is inoperative by convention, not because it has been struck from the books). I have no idea how a judge would respond if challenged to uphold an (federally) unconstitutional article of the state convention. Duncan might be right in a traffic court where they are just trying to get things done quickly, but I'd imagine if it was a high-profile thing like a capital murder trial that the judge would be forced to uphold the state constitution. Keep it in mind if you decide to kill somebody XM. It might delay your execution by a couple of years. :) GabrielF 13:41, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
GabrielF -- Don't be ridiculous. No judge in his right mind is going to intentionally violate the federal constitution in order to uphold the state constitution. The judge would know (or would be reasonably expected to know) that that particular provision is unconstitutional ... it is "illegal", if you will. A judge cannot and will not enforce an illegal provision. It is tantamount to the judge saying, "I know this is illegal, but I am going to do it anyway." That won't happen. Furthermore, no lower court judge wants to get reversed by a higher court judge -- much less, affirmatively invite the reversal. Don't be silly. Whether it is a death penalty murder trial or a traffic ticket, no judge will willingly, knowing, or intentionally violate the federal constitution -- which he knows supersedes the state constitution. (JosephASpadaro 20:47, 13 July 2007 (UTC))
XM ... this has been a very interesting discussion above. Yet, still -- as one editor posted above -- what is it that you want? What are you trying to achieve? What is your goal? That information would be helpful. My impression is that you believe a legal dilemma exists and that you would like to "prove a point". (I could be wrong, but your comments above about Rosa Parks, etc., lead me to believe this.) However, no legal dilemma exists, in fact. The "point" that you are trying to prove (that that particular section of the Arkansas Constitution is invalid / unconstitutional) has already been proven (i.e., someone beat you to it). So, clarify what you want here -- what's your goal? Thanks. (JosephASpadaro 09:31, 13 July 2007 (UTC))
Also -- in your original post, you state: Also, do I have the right to demand a jury trial? Section 2 of Article 3 of the US constitution says "Section 2 specifies the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts and requires trial by jury in all criminal cases, except cases of impeachment." As an aside ... that which you have quoted deals only with federal courts ... and not state courts (such as the State of Arkansas courts). Your speeding ticket is surely not a federal case, and the federal court system has absolutely nothing to do with it. Your speeding ticket is within the state court system (not federal) and, as such, the US Constitution provision that you quoted is wholly inapplicable. (JosephASpadaro 09:38, 13 July 2007 (UTC))

Play based on Macbeth[edit]

What is the name of the French play in part based on Shakespeare's Macbeth?

Well, this surely can be none other than Ubu Roi by Alfred Jarry. Merde! Clio the Muse 22:13, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Je dirai même plus: Merdre!  --LambiamTalk 23:44, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Now, now. Ubu Roi may be the only play not based on Shakespeare written after the 17th century. (I prefer Pere Ubu, myself -- a well named band that lives up to its titling.) Geogre 03:00, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Sartre, Existentialism, and Atheism[edit]

Sartre's page claims that atheism is foundational to his existentialism. I take this to be correct, as it is from this that he then derives anguish, forelorness, despair, and other existential concepts.

However, does he ever give an argument to support his atheism? I suppose taking it as a basic is legitimate, but an argument would make the position much stronger. Llamabr 22:52, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

I'm afraid there is no substitute here to ploughing directly into the core works of Sartrean philosophy. You could be bold and climb the heights of Being and Nothingness, though I think it best if you begin with the foothills; and here I would recommend Existentialism is a Humanism, followed up with some of his literary work, certainly Nausea and possibly The Roads to Freedom trilogy, as well as the play No Exit. And remember always that existence preceeds essence! Clio the Muse 02:54, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
The thesis is entirely incorrect. For Sartre, existentialism demands atheism, but it is absolutely not true that existentialism is atheist or that is is necessary. The first existentialist was Soren Kierkegaard, after all, and there remains a strong Christian existentialist philosophy. Existence preceding essence does not negate essence; it merely makes essence individual and therefore refocuses morality onto the individual and the development of the self. Geogre 03:02, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, indeed; and I, too, have read Fear and Trembling, and am thus quite aware that a Christian existentialism preceeds an Atheist existentialism. But the focus here is on Sartre. Clio the Muse 03:14, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, Clio. In fact, I've been through both Being and Nothingness, and the more recent Existentialism is a Humanism, (which I've always read as Existentialism, and Human Emotion). I've also been through both Fear and Trembling, and Kierkegaard's Either/Or (which I think is a nicer intro into christian existentialist ethics). I'm familiar with the consequenses of atheism on existentialism, particularly for Sartre, but not with an argument for it.
It may be that, if Kierkegaard is right, there can be no argument for the existence of god, since arguments depend on reason, and faith necessarily involves a suspension of the rational. If atheism is a brand of faith, perhaps the same doctrine applies? Llamabr 10:49, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
What more can I say? You are, of course, quite right, Llamabr, and in seeking you have found! Your comprehension, as well as your reading, is clearly greater than I had assumed. Clio the Muse 23:40, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
For Kierkegaard, it is not merely that reason depends upon the organization of the subjective and therefore is incapable of dealing with the objective, but also that the only proof or disproof of the objective is through experience. I'm not sure that Sartre's atheism differs from that too much. (I prefer Concluding Unscientific Postscript for an introduction. I love Either/Or and Fear and Trembling, which focus on the time after acknowledgment of the object (or not), while Postscript addresses the issue of the "leap of faith" and objectivity. The Sickness Unto Death is necessary as a pre-text for that argument, but it's really difficult stuff in comparison and very, very Kantian.) If you make your leap of faith and find the void, you either failed to escape your subjectivity or have your own existential proof of the lack of an object. It's just that you fall back to the atomic individual and the purely bounded subjectivity. For me, I've never been entirely convinced by Sartre's proceeding from the chaos of unmeaning in the object to any scale of ethics. I see him licensing Camus and Nietzsche's conclusions more than an ethical society's. Geogre 12:41, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

Do Ipods store any mp3 files?[edit]

I don't own an ipod yet, and I want to know if there is a way to get any music files onto an ipod (like if you bought a CD and want to get the music from the CD onto the ipod), or if only mp3 files from the itunes store will load onto the ipod.-- 23:43, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, iPods do store regular MP3 files that you can rip from a CD. iTunes does not sell files in the MP3 format, but in the AAC format using Apple's FairPlay Digital Rights Management GabrielF 23:57, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Out of the box, the iPod will want you to use iTunes to manage your music library. I rather like it, others do not. It'll rip CDs into your choice of MP3, AAC (unprotected), AIFF, WAV or Apple Lossless (the last three if you don't want any loss in sound quality, with Apple Lossless offering non-lossy compression). Note also that some EMI music in the iTunes Music Store is availabe at a slightly higher price with a higher bitrate and no DRM. Other labels are expected to follow. Donald Hosek 00:19, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Note that you can put mp3s, etc., onto an iPod but not copy them off (this is for copyright reasons). So if you put a song onto an iPod (with iTunes), and then delete the original file, and then have an iPod crash, you out one song. -- 00:40, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Not quite accurate. You can't use iTunes to transfer files from your iPod to a computer, but it is incredibly easy to circumvent this limitation.GabrielF 00:42, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Each update of iTunes and the iPod software seems to attempt to block off another way of circumventing this, so I don't know how "incredibly easy" it is, but whatever. -- 13:36, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
For Macs, the software is called Senuti and I'm pretty sure it keeps up to date with all the updates. Can't speak for PCs. --Richardrj talk email 13:41, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
Maybe this has changed since the last time I checked but it used to be the case that you didn't need any software on the Mac as long as you knew (or could google) a bit about UNIX. If you mount the iPod as a hard drive, which you can do through iTunes, you won't see the music files in the Finder. This doesn't mean that they don't exist however. Apple simply made the music files invisible in the Finder. You can set the Finder to show hidden files (most free utility apps have this feature) or use to access them. My understanding was that Apple didn't want to build this feature into the iPod but they also didn't want to go to any great lengths to prevent you from doing it yourself. GabrielF 13:57, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
How this is a humanities question is beyond me, but whatever. Dismas|(talk) 13:37, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
What's the procedure for questions that have already been answered? Move to the Computers desk? GabrielF 13:57, 12 July 2007 (UTC)
In short: an iPod will do this, but you're probably better off going with another, more open brand. Consider something by Creative—both Apple's iPod and Microsoft's Zune have been known as headache players when it comes to moving files around. The Jade Knight 00:34, 13 July 2007 (UTC)