Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 July 30

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July 30[edit]

Food booth[edit]

Can someone please take a look at Food booth and slap some sense into the following:

   Food booths of various kinds and construction have been in use 
   in various parts of the world since at least classical antiquity, 
   and probably well before that.[citation needed]

Replies here or on the content itself are welcome. Thanks for any input you can provide. dr.ef.tymac 00:45, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

The prose is awful; the history is worse! Is there anything to be done with it? It might be best to cut out the cancer, dr.ef.tymac. Clio the Muse 00:53, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree. The paragraph as it is serves no purpose: it's devoid of useful information. A.Z. 01:10, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Well, uhhmm, yeah, it's pretty much pure crap on a stick *L* -- but that's why I came here, hat in hand, beseeching the indulgence of those who might have pity ... oh well, boring irrelevant topic anyway. I hereby stand admonished for attempting to foist my apathy off on others. Thanks ^_^. dr.ef.tymac 04:23, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
I completely disagree, dr., how can the history of eating be irrelevant or boring? Not easy to find, perhaps, sources, references or other knowledge on the history of food booths from antiquity through the middle, enlightened, and industrial ages, and all the way into the late 20th century. Yet we've seen them in Hollywood interpretations. Can anyone help out the good doctor ef. tymac?---Sluzzelin talk 06:16, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Forgive me for shooting from the hip; I meant no offence, and did not intend to wound. I was only commenting on the structure of a particular sentence, and the historical conjectures it contained. The subject itself is, I am sure, worthy of record. Clio the Muse 07:18, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
But we know it's true, even from prehistory! Adam Bishop 08:02, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
To Clio the Muse surely you know no apology was necessary, your assessment was well-taken, entirely appropriate, and delivered with the clarity, artistry and precision of a master surgeon. It also gave me quite a chuckle :). dr.ef.tymac 11:28, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
To Sluzzelin (and Clio) hmmm, my second admonition of the day. Yes, the topic itself has its place, I should not have been so glib. The point is, I am not a food historian, and I didn't bother consulting one (through references or personally) before adding the content.
Instead, I just threw a {{fact}} tag at the end of some pretty weak conjecture and told myself "I'll get to it later".
Had I been motivated enough to actually do the research (instead of just waiting a week and leaving my garbage on the RefDesk for someone else to clean up) I suppose this travesty could have been avoided.
Considering that I myself have admonished others here to "do your own homework" ... I think I can say I have learned a valuable lesson today ... (don't start WP articles on boring crap subjects!) <--- just kidding! (I haven't really learned anything) :P.
Thanks Clio, Sluzzelin, and everyone who commented on this thread. Regards. dr.ef.tymac 11:28, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

(Unindent) Modern historians do believe that the Romans had food stalls; remains were found at the Chester Roman Amphitheatre of wooden structures containing chicken legs, beef ribs and cheap items of pottery which historians believe were used to sell fast food and souvenirs (Daily Telegraph source). Laïka 08:15, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

It's hopeless, though. We've got yet another case of what Wikipedia has always done poorly and the only case where I will agree that AfD didn't scale. We have twenty articles in twenty combinations of words on a single thing, or else we get a trivial iteration broken into an article, and then we have competing truths and unseen discussions. So, were people selling food out where the crowds were? Oh, probably. Was it going on at the Dionysian revels? It had to be. People didn't go to a tragedy with an ampora on their backs. Was it going on at the Coliseum? Sure. Was it going on at mystery plays in the Dark Ages? Well, probably not there, because it was Lent. You get the idea. The subject is a trivial branch on an ill defined master topic. Furthermore, food booth, food stall, vending, vending stall, vending booth, mercers, food preparation, all have a claim on the information, and yet this one particular combination of words is the one? I'm sorry, but the splatter of information has never been pleasing or inspiring to me. (We can reason from inference that "food stalls" existed everywhere we have references to crowds eating, and that's every public event in history, just about, unless we know that there was a central provender there.) Geogre 15:33, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm ... so my guess is you'd AfD this kind of thing as inherently irredeemable? If that's your point, I might be more inclined to agree with you if this kind content couldn't be merged, renamed, redirected, folded, stapled or otherwise molded into shape at some other node in the WP graph.
Moreover, the (contemporary urban) concept of "Temporary Food Service Establishment" doesn't strike me as inherently frivolous or particularly ill-defined, at least not if one considers the byzantine and voluminous regulatory infrastructure one must navigate in order to establish one.
However, this seems to hinge on how one defines trivial iteration broken into an article ... I suppose from some perspectives, "Food booth" is no more substantial than "Plan B Reformed High School (Tehachapi, CA)" ... if that's your viewpoint, I wouldn't say it is entirely without merit; if that's not your viewpoint, and I've misrepresented it, lo siento mucho. I'll treat you to a burrito next time I see you at the Food truck. dr.ef.tymac 16:51, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
My view is that we have to rationalize to some degree. I also think we inevitably do rationalize and employ hierarchies, but we're always whistling in the wind. Because there are a dozen ways to say "beer" and five hundred ways of saying "drunk," we can form coalitions, Rouge strikes, etc., and set up a logical organization, but then, because of the entropy we're built on and build out of, we will discover that "staggered" and "wheat juice" have sprung up in the midst of our cleaning.
It is absolutely not the case that I think the information is undesirable. It is my view that, because we resist (we're a resistant bunch) at all points any imposition or limitation of our freedom to write whatever the heck we want wherever it occurs to us to write it, we end up in hopelessness. It's not the information's fault, nor even the authors' faults, but rather the inherent paradox of our freedom coupled with our desire to be concise and clear. It's a push-me-pull-you (hope that's blue) that can weary us all.
As for my doubts about this topic, they're merely that finding the proper home is going to be darned near impossible. Americans rarely say "food stall," or as rarely as they do "vendor" or "vendor cart" or "concession stand." I would imagine that no one dominant term exists in British usage, and I can only whimper at the idea of what terms would be in use in the subcontinent and other current or former Commonwealth nations. That's what's hopeless.
Besides, I'm assured that "many famous people went to Plan B High," so it's a notable place. Geogre 17:45, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Hapless page[edit]

Anybody know why Hap redirects to Apis (Egyptian mythology)? That article does not mention it. I'd like to make it a dab page, since among other things, there are a bunch of people with that nickname. Clarityfiend 05:14, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

The Apis Bull is also known as Hap, Hep, Hapi, or Hapis; so hence, I suppose, the redirection. The name Hapis does appear in the first sentence of the article; so not so hapeless! Clio the Muse 05:57, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. That makes me a Hapi camper. Clarityfiend 14:44, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

The Apis/Hapis is a Greek thingie. Άπις (aspiration) would be "Hapis," and apparently the alpha was aspirated sometimes. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be a dab page, though, because "Hap" is not only "happenstance" (a Wiktionary redirect) but also "Happy" in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and "Hap," a poem by Thomas Hardy. There are three items, in addition to whatever you'd had in mind. Geogre 15:02, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Oh, also in the dim mists of time, as a freshman, I wrote a paper on Apis that I've never forgotten. What was fascinating to me is that Serapis is the only absolutely proven instance of the pure creation of a deity. To those who say "Man created the gods," there is no such instance in history except Serapis. The Egyptian Apis got blended, very consciously, with the Hellenic god to create a new god, and the people who did it knew quite well that it was their synthesis. Excepting the emperor cults, which the people seemed to believe were civic rather than religious duties, I had not then run across anything so cynical and yet believed, possibly by the very people who did the creating. It was a good case study in the differences between Hellenism's understanding of religion and the mystery religions of Egypt and beyond. Geogre 15:08, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Are the others, like Sulis-Minerva, not sufficiently documented then? Skittle 15:16, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Going from my research skills at 18, no. I was hunting furiously, too. I knew that other syncretes had occurred, but none that I could find were involving such invention of the Greek graft onto the Egyptian stock. I.e. they had to invent their Greek branch, I thought. Geogre 15:24, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

American artist who put things in little showcases[edit]

I have forgotten the name of an American artist I once read about. I have tried googling, but can't seem to think of the right search to make. He (I seem to recall it was a he, but if you think a she matches the description, then I may be wrong) was active I think sometime around the second quarter of the 20th century. What I remember about his art is that he made these sort of collage showcases, with all manner of curious items in them. One detail that may distinguish him from others who have done similar stuff is that he was known to sneak into galleries exhibiting his work and alter pieces he was not quite happy with, which was irritating to the owners. Anyone know who I'm thinking of? --Rallette 11:43, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Sounds like Joseph Cornell to me. 12:01, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks!--Rallette 15:16, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the wonderful Joseph Cornell. Assemblage is a better word to use than collage. Our article is a little short and undergrad in tone, but there has been a stream of retrospectives and publications in the last decade that really canvas the whole range of his work, so do have a look in a big library Mhicaoidh 11:01, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Nuremberg Trials[edit]

Can the Nuremberg Trials of the major Nazi war criminals be justified as anything other than victor's justice? Simon Dickson

Yes. Anyone disagree? --Dweller 15:18, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
People can justify anything they want... it depends on who is doing the justifying. Can you be a little more specific about the question? Zahakiel 15:19, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Well, Nuremberg was victor's justice but that doesn't mean that's all it was. To put it crudely, those guys had it coming, and what else were you going to do with them?--Rallette 15:54, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Given that they had defense attorneys who put up good arguments, to the point that most defendants were found not guilty of some charges, and some defendants were found not guilty of all charges, yeah. Gzuckier 17:47, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Gzuckier -- if you look at our article on the Nuremberg Trials, you will see some details of the objections to the trials, but I think the best defense for them is that several of the accused were acquitted (demonstrating that these aren't "show trials", or at least making that case very hard to prove) and that several defendants (including men convicted and sentenced to prison and death) felt that the court was entirely justifiable. This is, in the end, a matter of opinion and anyone is free to criticize Nuremberg, but its judgments can be justified and are by many. Jwrosenzweig 22:08, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

This is a subject over which I have always had mixed feelings: was it justice or was it vengeance; in the circumstances of the time was there any alternative to vengeance? My sense of unease has been amplified, somewhat, in reading the newly published After the Reich: From the Liberation of Vienna to the Berlin Airlift by Giles MacDonogh. War crimes did not end with the fall of the Nazis. It's not just the usual stuff over which most of us have some awareness, like the mass rape of German women of all ages, but the dreadful crimes inflicted, for instance, on the Sudeten Germans by the Czechs, quite as appalling, in many cases, as those on the Nürnberg indictment. Some of men at Nürnberg were acquitted, yes, but they should never have been there in the first place. Hans Fritzsche was merely a substitue for Josef Goebbels, and where was the justice in that? Alfred Jodl was executed, though any of the Allied commanding officers could have been hanged for similar crimes. And even Julius Streicher, a hateful man of low intelligence, was essentially executed for 'crimes of expression'. The suave and persuasive Albert Speer was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment, whereas Fritz Sauckel was hanged, even though he only serviced the apparatus created by Speer, to whom he was subordinate. Speer's 'confession', properly considered, was never more than a series of abstractions and generalisations; he was never to admit his personal guilt. Rudolf Hess was considered mentally unfit to stand trial by the British, though he was brought to Nürnberg to allay Soviet suspicions that he was being deliberately withheld. He was not even in office when most of the crimes were committed, though that did not stop him serving out his natural life in prison.

Consider also the hypocrisy of the whole process. The bombing of civilian targets was dropped from the indictment in June 1945, because the Allies, particularly the British and Americans, were far more culpable than the Germans. Consider also the 'crime of waging aggressive war.' Well, the Soviets had attacked both Poland and Finland in 1939, the first in partnership with the Germans. Any German defence should, therefore, have allowed full discussion of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, but this was specifically forbidden. Russian prosecutors, moreover, were instructed to shout down any attempts by the accused to question the moral credentials of Stalin's dictatorship.

Yet I suppose in the end the trials, imperfect as they were, had a cathartic purpose, more than anything else. The crimes were so awful that something had to be done, and seen to be done. It was Herman Göring who said in October 1945 that "the victors will always be the judge and the vanquished the accused." A year later, though, he admitted that the process had served a wider purpose. Shortly before the verdicts were delivered he told the prison psychiatrist that once the German people learnt all that had been revealed at the trials they would lose all sympathy for Hitler, "He has condemned himself." In the end that is probably the chief justification for an imperfect process. Clio the Muse 00:47, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Actually, as the article points out, normally each side prosecutes its own citizens for war crimes, win or lose. In the case of WWII, the complete collapse of Germany, and its unconditional surrender, that was impossible and in that case the victors assumed responsiblity for such prosecution. Gzuckier 14:34, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

The trials were expressly intended not to be victor's justice. For many wars, an excuse is that the others did something sometime in the past. That was also the case with WWII, namely WWI (for which the Germans had been very severely punished). There was a strong desire to end all this feuding, so the trials had to be fair. And that had to be plain to the people, which is why they were so heavily 'televised' (what is the cinema news equivalent of that word?). It may very well be, though, that some people were put on trial just so they could be acquited, which would demonstrate the fairness of the trials. Actually, that would have made so much sense that I'd be surprised if they didn't do that. DirkvdM 06:22, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

By comparison with Combatant Status Review Tribunals, I should say Nuremberg was pretty good justice. In the words of Sabin Willett, "In a wiser past, we tried Nazi war criminals in the sunlight."[1] Xn4 02:51, 5 August 2007 (UTC)

Size of the academic papers[edit]

Perhaps one of the reference desk editors will be able to answer a question that has plagued me for some time and that would greatly benefit our article on academic publishing. What is the average size (pages/words/characters?) of an academic paper? Do they vary significantly from discipline to discipline? Are there several major 'schools' among the journals, or is it 'every journal for themselves'? For the record, I have seen various editorial pages of journals, even written academic papers :) - but when faced with such a simple question about academic papers 'in general' and outside my discipline, I had to concede I don't know the answer. PS. For another interesting tidbit, consider the size of newspapers, books and other publications - I am sure such information is encyclopedic and would benefit our related articles.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  17:29, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

I cannot tell you much. I can tell you that most undergraduate papers in the humanities hit "round" numbers, but with "twelve to twenty" being one of the great preferences. At academic conferences, most readings will be either :20 or :40. Well, most folks read about 2 minutes per page, so a presentation paper is often 10-20 pages, typed. On the other hand, a printed paper will usually run 1.5 typed pages per published page. Therefore, since most want 10-15 pages of journal space (assuming octavo), that's (surprise!) 15-20 pp typed. In scientific journals, there is generally no desirable size, except with Rapid Communications. In the cases of rapid communications, papers can be and are rejected for being too long, too deliberative (i.e. "You're just trying to publish your regular paper here because you think we don't demand as much peer review!"), and figures and blots and the like will do a vast amount to alter the pages occupied in the journal anyway. This rarely happens in the humanities. Geogre 17:35, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
That's really kind of general for giving a meaningful answer for the article in an "overall" manner. I've written a number of academic papers myself, for conferences, journals and so on... and it appears to vary by publication committee rather than by discipline (although that may also have a role). Some are 3-5 papers, some are 6-8, some are longer still... it depend upon the size of the publication in wich the papers will be included, and the number of entries that the publishers are expecting to accept. In terms of inter-disciplinary papers, you're probably going to find that most people know about their area, and little about others. Zahakiel 17:38, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
A paper in a humanities journal that's 1-2 printed pages? Other than Notes & Queries, I can't say I've ever seen such a thing. I've written undergraduate papers that short, but those are expositions and quick analyses, not generally at the professional level (which I would define as doctoral, where, theoretically, everything one writes is supposed to be destined for publication standards). Geogre 17:49, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
In history journals, I think the shortest I have seen is about 6 pages and the longest is about as long as a short book, 120 pages or so (and in the context of doing assigned readings for a class, I will say "hooray!" and "boo!" to these respectively). I guess for history in particular, there is no limit, but obviously your reputation and previous publications will help determine how much you can get away with writing (I mean, I couldn't write 120 pages in a journal). Adam Bishop 18:53, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
I've been working in computer science and medical research for 10 years now. Every paper I've worked on has been well over 10 pages. 20 seems nearer the average. Neither field is necessarily larger. It depends on the expected publication. Some ask for longer papers. Some ask for shorter. Then, there's the grant papers - not intended for publishing, but required to get money. They are usually very fixed to a specific page length. -- Kainaw(what?) 19:00, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Thinking specifically of history, and even more specifically of The English Historical Review and The American Historical Review, most of the 'heavyweight' main articles come in about twenty to thirty pages, about 17,000-20,000 words on average, without the inclusion of notes and bibliography. However, length does tend to vary from journal to journal. For instance, articles in The Journal of Contemporary History, though just as scholarly as those in the English or American Historical Reviews, tend to be considerably shorter. Those in popular journals, like History Today, are shorter still. Clio the Muse 22:51, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

See those teeny weeny pathetic little articles in History Today? That's you, that is. Rockpocket 07:04, 31 July 2007 (UTC) (showing his age)
More seriously, in the sciences article length can range from a page or two for brief communications to as much as 20 pages for review type articles. A few examples: Nature has articles that are 5 pages long and letters that are 4 pages. Cell has articles that are 55,000 characters, Science publishes research articles of up to approximately 4,500 words; reports of up to 2,500 words; and brevia, short contributions of about 800 words. Rockpocket 07:28, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
See this cool guy. That's you, that is, dressed up for a Saturday night out in Glasgow. And this is where your latest academic paper is going to be published. Clio the Muse 07:23, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Ha ha! Even now, 17 years later, that makes me chuckle. Rockpocket 07:30, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

All this talk of pages...what if you have pictures as we do in architecture? In my experience I can conifdently say we do 3500 to 5000 words, which fits a 20 minute time slot. Too short to stuff my wisdom into of course but might fit Beano. 10:39, 31 July 2007 (UTC) oops I mean Mhicaoidh 10:43, 31 July 2007 (UTC) that wasnt very professional was it

Largest mall[edit]

What's the largest mall in the world by number of stores? - Presidentman 19:11, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

If unleased store spaces count, then it would seem definitely to be the South China Mall. Cf. Wikipedia list and external list. Wareh 19:39, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
No, I mean in current number of stores, that is leased spaces. - Presidentman 20:11, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
It would still be the South China Mall, which has around 1500 stores. Pandacomics 03:08, 1 August 2007 (UTC)

Victorian Era[edit]

The phrase "Victorian Era" obviously applies to the UK. What expression is used for the same period in Europe or the US? -- SGBailey 22:13, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I have heard the term used in relation to America of the late nineteenth century, as well as England! There are so many diverse expressions in Europe for the same period that I simply cannot think of an umbrella term. Perhaps he is Victorian, and even him! Clio the Muse 22:24, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
He definitely is Victorian, I'm more doubtful about him, though not about his son. I, too, have seen and heard the word Victorian used in the US for the reign of Queen Victoria. Xn4 23:37, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
"Gilded Age" gets used in the US. Though that's properly more Edwardian in terms of years (end of Reconstruction to early 1900s, roughly), it had a lot of "Victorian" social trends. Maybe it just took longer to get to America?
"Gilded Age," from Edith Wharton, is really used for the days of Old New York and about 1900-1910. It's Henry James's America. We were Victorians, though. We even introduced more euphemisms and sexual prudery than our British cousins. We put skirts on piano legs. We stopped referring to a chicken part as a "leg" and had to call it a "drumstick." We of course did away with all our "cocks" and began having only "roosters," etc. Geogre 01:57, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
"Victorian" is less-used today except among collectors of decorative arts: "Victorian sofa" etc. Would you study "Victorian Ireland"? In France, decorative arts are covered by "Louis-Philippe" followed by "Second Empire", which extends stylistically to cover the Third Republic, so how useful is that? The trend is towards naming styles more directly: "Neo-Renaissance" etc.--Wetman 04:15, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Victorian Ireland? Well, I might study it if I was to consult Bigelow and Beer's Fiction, Famine and the Rise of Economics in Victorian Britain and Ireland or more directly in Swift and Kinealy's Politics and Power in Victorian Ireland ! Clio the Muse 05:52, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
I've got to agree with Clio. I know that there are attempts to escape anything that smacks of "Great Man" and "top down" epochs, and some people want to avoid what they see as the hubris of things like "medieval" (how dare we suggest that time is measured from Rome to the present and therefore valorize the Western tradition over all others), but I haven't seen any of the attempted evasions and renominations stick yet. ("Early modern" seems to be anything from 600 - 1900.) The interesting thing about "Victorian" is that it doesn't seem to have ever really been about the queen as much as coincident with her very long reign and her personal attitudes (as imagined from the black dress and headcovering). Geogre 12:31, 31 July 2007 (UTC)

Cult books[edit]

Could someone suggest some good non-fiction books on cults please? I’m looking for information in particular about the psychology and organization of these groups. Most of the books on the subject I’m finding are more interested in sensationalism and conspiracy theories than in an analytical and historical perspective. Thanks! --S.dedalus 22:27, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Quick hint: try browsing Google Print search engine.-- Piotr Konieczny aka Prokonsul Piotrus | talk  22:51, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Neat, thanks. I'll check that --S.dedalus 23:16, 30 July 2007 (UTC)
Hi S.dedalus, you might wish to ask User:Cesar Tort, who I know is a writer with an interest in such things. Tell him Rockpocket sent you and he'll sort you out with some good stuff ;) Rockpocket 01:22, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Thanks Rockpocket! Will do. --S.dedalus 23:23, 2 August 2007 (UTC)

I agree, most of the the stuff published on this topic is of a 'sensational' nature. For a slightly more detached and objective treatment I would suggest Cults and New Religions: A Brief History by Douglas Cowan and David Bromley. The authors focus on the development of eight of the 'new religions'. Clio the Muse 23:21, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

Great, thank you. Too bad it’s out of print, but I’ll get it with interlibrary loan. --S.dedalus 00:43, 31 July 2007 (UTC)
Diana Tumminia, "How Prophecy Never Fails: Interpretive Reason in a Flying-Saucer Group" Sociology of Religion 59.2 (Summer 1998), pp. 157-170. Your local public library can help you see it. Based on interviews with "Unarius Academy of Science"

. Compare the Wikipedia article, written by cult members. --Wetman 04:07, 31 July 2007 (UTC)