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

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November 25[edit]

Cost of items in 1849[edit]

what was the cost of everyday items during the year 184? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:38, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Where? -- JackofOz (talk) 03:43, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
And you did mean 1849, not 184, right? --Anon, 05:45 UTC, November 25.
  • Without a country or general geographic area, it's impossible to answer. - Mgm|(talk) 10:39, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Without knowing what the above mention it'll be tough to answer. BUT you could start by looking at article such as Retail price index or Consumer price inflation. I found this ( site that might be of use. Seems figures going back to 1849 are around for some countries, but how accurate they are I have no idea. It won't say 'bread was 1p then and £1 now though, at least not the RPI indexes i've looked at. ny156uk (talk) 11:36, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

A question about religion[edit]

If someone is an atheist but believes in God (but not Jesus, the Bible, etc.), they are no longer an atheist because they believe in God right? What are they called then?-- Penubag  05:21, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps Deist is the word you're looking for. —Kevin Myers 06:41, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Thank you so much for answering my question. i owe you. -- Penubag  06:49, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Or they might be a muslim or a jew or something. There are really quite a lot of ways of believing in God but not being a christian. Algebraist 12:21, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Religious Jews have a Bible, last time I checked. The questioner was probably asking about belief in God outside of established religions, implied in the "etc." part of the question. —Kevin Myers 18:12, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
The only general enough term I can think of for anyone who "believes in God" is theist, and, if it's one god and no others, monotheist. Of course these terms will also include the Christian believer. Wareh (talk) 17:56, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Were the founding fathers spoiled brats?[edit]

Were they spoiled brats?

I accept they fought for their rights under the English Constitution (representation in tax matters, due process, etc.) But before 1774, could the overbearing British be described as tyrannical? I see the American responses to the escalations in the conflict as always disproportionate in force.

Didn't they feel un-gentlemanly about not paying the tax? The burden wasn't terrible. They should have accepted it as a reaonable cost of Imperial victory and protection.

Discuss. (talk) 11:18, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Well apart from this sounding homework (and a poor question at that), this is surely opinion and cannot be evidenced with fact? One persons reasonable refusal to do something is another persons acting spoilt/being awkward for the sake of being awkward. It would seem that if the choices of not paying tax could be likened to other political stands. Such as in the Uk in around 2000 we had a fuel crisis. This was created by truck-drivers taking a stand against the taxation of fuel. This led to a relatively small group causing a rather large impact on the country. SImilarly things have happened at places like Woomera immigration facility in Australia. I've little to know knowledge of the founding fathers but presume that their actions were consider (to them) acts of defiance rather than being spoilt/unreasonable. ny156uk (talk) 11:32, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Dude, of course this isn't hw. Can you imagine this being a HW question? I'm sure opinion on this question can be evidenced by fact. (talk) 11:45, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Is it possible it's an exam question? Many such questions conclude with "Discuss". -- JackofOz (talk) 14:25, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

From a purely political point of view (leaving aside specifics of personalities and specific parliamentary measures concerning taxation, etc.), the colonials active in the agitations of the 1760's and the beginning of the 1770's often wanted one of these two things within the British system:

1) Direct representation in the Parliament in London, so that those in the British North American colonies could have an effective voice and vote on actions of parliament which affected themselves. -OR-
2) Some kind of institutionally-entrenched "constitutional" safeguards for certain colonial rights and privileges, so that these rights could not be cavalierly obliterated in future by a simple bare-majority vote of Parliament after the next change of ministries in London.

It seems to me to be a rather striking failure of political imagination that no powerful British politician even very seriously considered either one of these two possible reforms -- which meant that British politicians weren't offering the colonials any solution to their greivances other than to trust in the benevolence of future parliaments, even though the meaning of the crises of the 1760's and early 1770's was exactly that a large number of North American colonials had lost all trust in the British parliament.

If you compare the 13 colonies in 1775 to various examples of oppressed nations throughout history, then you might conclude that the North American colonials really didn't have it so bad -- but people rarely decide either to revolt or submit based on such far-ranging pan-historical comparisons. What was far more important (and immediately relevant) was that there were significant irritants or friction points in the colonial-London relationship, and the politicians in London simply refused to offer any solutions to these problems which were acceptable to the colonials over the long term. Therefore if the colonials considered these problems to be important enough to revolt over, and judged that a revolt would have a significant probability of success, then there was a good likelihood that they would end up revolting... AnonMoos (talk) 16:14, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

I imagine that many people in the world today would revolt for the same reason that the US Founding Fathers did. No one could enjoy being taxed by a legislature that you had no role in electing, especially when you already had a local legislature in which you were represented. Some thought that a small tax was even worse than a large one, because people might accept a small tax and therefore accept the principle that a legislature not of their choosing could tax them. Taxation was not the central issue, of course: it was a flash point of the underlying constitutional question of sovereignty. Most Americans before 1775 were willing to share a king—but not Parliament—with the British. The American view was, "thanks but we have our own parliaments." This made no sense to the Brits, who had come to the conclusion that Parliament was the sovereign. But the Americans were effectively asking for sovereignty to be divided between Parliament and their provincial assemblies. The British thought that this was not logically possible; they could not foresee Commonwealth realms. With these irreconcilable visions of the British empire, conflict became inevitable. —Kevin Myers 17:20, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
I added "dicuss" myself because as you can tell my question is not much of a question. (talk) 17:53, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
“Rebellion is only treason in the third person — ‘their rebellion’ — never in the first person — ‘our rebellion,’” said Benjamin Franklin. — Michael J 01:52, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
I might be tempted to answer your question in the affirmative, 67.170, though I would not have chosen the same phrasing; I might say that that the level of tax being asked for was the minimum required for imperial defence; I might say that the British had gone to considerable expense in securing the Americas and had offered the colonialists valuable assistance as recently as the French and Indian War; I might even say that the decision to cast off British rule came when all other dangers had been removed. But, of course, I won't say any of these things, for I have no desire to be cast in the role of the 'tyrant' George(ina) III. Now, who would want that?! Clio the Muse (talk) 02:03, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
For many colonists, as I understand it, the good feeling toward Britain following the French and Indian War, which effectively removed a major and old barrier to westward expansion, was offset by the Royal Proclamation of 1763. Britain had of course invested quite a lot in fighting the French in North America, but so too had the colonists. The prize, for many colonists, both pioneer and land speculator types, was the trans-Appalachian land. In addition, for well over a century the Native American tribes had been playing the French and British off against each other, making it difficult for either to gain leverage against the Natives. With the French out of the picture, the west seemed to suddenly lie open. The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was seen, as I understand it, as essentially substituting the British for the previous French role in supporting the Native Americans and blocking colonial ambitions to the west. In other words, the assistance given to the colonists during the French and Indian War was not so much defensive as offensive. The colonies were little threatened by the French. It was the frontier that was being fought over. The French were defeated and the frontier was won -- but then withheld from the colonists. In short (and probably overly simplified), assistance in the fight, but unwillingness in sharing the prize. Pfly (talk) 04:01, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
The problem with this explanation is that the Proclamation Line of 1763 was moved radically westward by 1768 with the help royal officials from Sir William Johnson to Lord Dunmore to Thomas Walpole. While many colonists certainly resented the Proclamation, it was more than just future Revolutionaries who wanted Native American land. It doesn't appear to be an issue that fundamentally divided Royals and Rebels. —Kevin Myers 09:43, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Unifying Germany[edit]

Why did the national revolution of 1848 fail in the attempt to create a unified German state? Your page on the Revolution in the German states is, forgive me, somewhat fragmented, and does not appear to fully address this question. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:23, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

The real reason for the revolution's failure was that coercive military power remained in the hands of monarchs opposed to unification in most of the German states. While the revolutionaries had gained control of the government in Baden, this state was no match militarily for Prussia, where revolutionaries had briefly shaken but not dislodged the autocratic monarchy. When the Frankfurt Parliament offered the king of Prussia the crown of a constitutional monarchy of Germany, the king refused to accept their offer. He said that he did not want a crown offered by revolutionaries and opposed by his fellow monarchs. He also rejected the ideal of a constitutional monarchy. Within a few weeks, Prussian troops had overthrown the revolutionary government of Baden and mostly restored the conservative pre-revolutionary order. Marco polo (talk) 15:55, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

What basis was there for uniting what was, after all, more political sentiment than reality? The German Confederation was as much a framework for division as integration; a collection of states and statelets, divided by more than they were united. A common language was certainly one argument in defence of political unity. So, what, then, was to happen to those areas of the Confederation and the wider Habsburg and Hohenzolleran lands that did not speak German at all? If one looks also at the debates within the Frankfurt Parliament itself it's possible to detect a whole series of supplementary political issues which divided 'Liberal' opinion far more than it united; issues over the franchise; issues over legal, religious, civil and economic rights. There were, beyond this, all sorts of questions arising over the proposed structure of the new Germany; over the relationship between the national authority and the local state. How, and in what manner, were Austria and Prussia, the two most powerful states, to surrender part of their autonomy, and would this mean losing control of their armies? Was the new Germany to be a radical democracy or a conservative monarchy? If Austria was excluded on account of all of its non-German possessions would this not simply mean an unacceptable increase in Prussian power? Would a Prussian Germany not simply be a Protestant Germany? Do we not, in the end, despite all of the subsequent lamentations about a great lost opportunity, simply have a Gordian Knot? To cut through that did one not need another Alexander? Clio the Muse (talk) 03:33, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Edith Stein[edit]

Is it true that Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross may have been betrayed by elements within the Catholic church? Chaz B. (talk) 13:58, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

This is what we know for sure, Chaz. Edith Stein, from 1936 onwards, repeatedly asked to be transferred to the safety of Carmelite foundation in Bethlehem. However, one Pater Herman Keller, a Benedictine monk, previously acquainted with Edith while she was based in the convent in Cologne, was already in Palestine. We now know now just how dubious an individual Keller was. He was known at the time to have denounced the Archabbot of the Bendedictine monastery at Beuron, Edith's spiritual counsellor and patron, to the Gestapo. It was subsequently discovered that he was an agent working at one and the same time for the Abwehr, the Sicherheitsdienst and the Egyptian government. He was also well-connected with Hitler's ally, Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. Might he have been responsible for the decision to refuse Edith access to Palestine? It's possible, though it is a matter not subject to any test of proof. Although a refuge was found for her in Echt in the Netherlands, ultimately she was to be no safer there than in Germany. Clio the Muse (talk) 02:29, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Thank you very much, Clio. Chaz B. (talk) 19:52, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Napoleon's war in Spain[edit]

Why did Napoleon attack Spain? Why Spain had to fight with mostly guerrillas and the British army when during the XVIII it still had some noticeable power? In other words, where did the Spanish army "go"? :) --Taraborn (talk) 14:24, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Napoleon's big difficulties in Spain began when he tried to depose the hereditary Spanish monarch and place his own brother on the Spanish throne instead, and this particular cynical imperialistic maneuver was widely and violently rejected by the Spanish people. I'm sure this is detailed in the relevant Wikipedia articles... AnonMoos (talk) 15:31, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
That has nothing to do with my question. --Taraborn (talk) 19:28, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Peninsular War#Invasion by stealth (February–July 1808) might help. Basically the Spanish forces were spread out in peacetime stations, and around a sixth of the Spanish army - probably the most prepared sixth at that - was in Denmark. Sizable numbers of troops were captured early in the campaign, by which time the French controlled northern and central Spain. This map shows the early part of the campaign and the this the later. You'll see that the surviving Spanish forces were concentrated in Galica, Andalucia, and Valencia. As the article says, the popular revolt retook a number of locations from the French, and the Spanish victory at the Battle of Bailén was a major blow. So, while there were a lot of guerillas, there were also sizable regular Spanish armies in the north-west, south, and south-east of Spain. The victory at Bailén was, unfortunately for the Spanish, rather against the run of play in 1808-1809. The Spanish were defeated, in no particular order, at the battle of Medina del Rio Seco, at Burgos, Tudela, Medellín, and Valls, at the battle of Alba de Tormes, at Espinosa, María, and Somosierra, at the battle of Almonacid, and probably worst of all at the battle of Ocana. The Spanish armies were, as the list suggests, regularly beaten, but they kept fighting, and sometimes they did win. Hope this helps, Angus McLellan (Talk) 23:37, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Hi, Taraborn. First, why did Napoleon attack Spain? The simple answer is imperial ambition; for the invasion of Spain came at just the point where the French war, hitherto largely defensive in nature, turned into one of opportunist expansion. After his victory over the Allies in the War of the Third Coalition Napoleon started to consider other projects, including joint action with Austria and Russia against the Ottoman Empire; and from thence through Persia on to British India. In the end politics and circumstances threw Spain into the path of his ambition instead. Angered by the British seizure of the Danish fleet at Copenhagen in 1807, he decided to take similar action against Portugal, a long-standing ally of England. Free passage across Spanish territory was given by Manuel Godoy, chief minister of Charles IV, and effective ruler of the country. But as more and more French troops crossed the Pyrenees, Spain and its huge world-wide empire became the greater temptation. A dispute over the throne between Charles and his son Ferdinand gave him the ideal excuse to interfere directly in Spanish politics, getting rid of the Bourbons altogether. In relation to this he wrote;

If this thing were going to cost me 80,000 men I wouldn't do it; but it won't take 12,000; it's mere child's play. I don't want to hurt anybody, but when my my great political chariot is rolling, it's as well to stand from under the wheels.

It was an adventure, nothing more, one which cost him not 12,000 men, not even 80,000 men, but much, much more.

Although both the monarchy and the government had effectively been kidnapped, and Spain was without any central leadership, including military leadership, resistance, which began almost immediately, was aided by the fact that Spain was less of a nation in the modern sense, and more a series of regions and localities, united solely by their loyalty to the crown. The various local juntas which sprang up to resist the French all maintained, or attempted to maintain, regular forces to some degree or other; and where they could not wage a 'large war' they opted for a little or guerilla war.

To some extent this latter aspect of the struggle-the guerilla war-has tended to overshadow the conventional war, particularly among foreign historians. Looking at the matter purely in a Spanish context there were many who had a poor opinion of the efforts of the partidas, supported-and idealised-in the main by the Liberals, much as the International Brigades were by a later generation. Conservatives-and regular officers-tended to be much more critical, with every justification, of the guerillas, one even describing their actions during the 1811 siege of Saragossa as little better than those of 'thieves and bandits' who should be 'exterminated.'

Despite the defeats detailed above by Angus conventional Spanish forces continued to operate throughout the war, though their effectivness was limited as the French occupied more and more territory. By 1810 often the most Spanish generals could do, apart from continuing to garrison the towns they still held, was to launch small harassing actions. After the fall of Tarragona in 1811 the entire Army of Catalonia was reduced to operating after the manner of the guerrillas. Similarly in Andalucia General Ballesteros led his regular division on raids and skirmishes into French controlled territory for most of 1811 and 1812. But there was a two-way process at work: as the army adapted itself to guerrilla tactics, the guerrillas were increasingly subject to military control and organisation. The answer to your concluding question is that the Spanish army did not 'go' anywhere; it simply adapted to circumstances. Clio the Muse (talk) 01:43, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Thank you very much to both for your awesome responses, especially yours, Clio :) --Taraborn (talk) 08:44, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Bank of England on Inflation[edit]

Why is the Bank Of England so dead set at keeping (what I assume is) retail price inflation at 2%? Surely as long as wage inflation is matching it there is no problem.

Should they not be more concerned with growth?

Is this just because of Government targets and therefore Brown's fault? Was inflation such a focus before independence?

Thank you for any insight. I'm interested simply because, anecdotally, I feel cost-of-living has gone up far more than 2% a year, and far more with respect to wages, and yet the only thing the Bank cares about is the cost of a basket of shopping. Caffm8 (talk) 14:25, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

The Bank of England no longer relies primarily on a retail price index for tracking inflation. Instead, it relies on the Consumer Price Index (CPI). While the CPI is currently at an annual rate of 2.1%, the former official inflation index, the Retail Price Index excluding mortgage interest (RPIX), is at 3.1%, and the RPI including mortgage interest stands at 4.2%. Like the U.S. Consumer Price Index, the UK CPI is adjusted using a technique called hedonic regression [1]. This adjustment takes into account the likelihood, for example, that if steak becomes too expensive, a percentage of consumers will buy ground beef or even ground turkey instead. The RPI does not take this substitution into account. The UK CPI may also understate the real impact of inflation by underweighting some expenses. For example, as the graph on page 21 of this document shows, the CPI weights housing costs at only 10%. In fact, most households spend considerably more than 10% of their budgets on housing. Some economists have criticized the use of hedonic adjustments because they tend to mask real price increases that are a sign of inflation. Governments have an interest in understating inflation mainly because it allows them to minimize expenditures keyed to inflation but also because a government gains political points for keeping published inflation low and because the central bank has more leeway to lower interest rates when the published rate of inflation is lower than the real rate at which prices are rising.
Now, to answer your questions more directly, central banks tend to target prices rather than wages at least partly because targeting wages would make central banks seem to be the instruments of employers, who have an interest in minimizing wage increases, regardless of prices. In fact, as you observe, prices have been rising more quickly than wages. If the Bank of England were to ignore price increases merely because (median) wages have not risen quickly, it would be sanctioning a redistribution of income from employees to employers, a decline in the standard of living, and an erosion in the purchasing power of the pound, which would reduce its reliability as a store of value and an instrument for saving. The primary responsibility of a central bank is to defend the value of its currency. That said, the pound has been rising steadily relative to the dollar and some other currencies, and so its buying power does not seem to be in jeopardy abroad. On the other hand, there has been a steady inflation of asset values in the UK, particularly in real estate values. This inflation in asset values has facilitated a rapid increase in speculative lending, leveraged on what seem to be inflated asset values. The Bank of England, and other central banks today, are anxious about leaving interest rates low enough to allow asset bubbles to continue to inflate because of the danger that asset values will rise so far beyond incomes that insolvency spreads, and along with it the dangerous credit crunch that has destabilized financial markets since last summer. So, central banks face a dilemma: either they keep interest rates moderately high and stop the dangerous inflation of bubbles, with a risk that a serious recession could result, or they lower interest rates and allow asset prices to resume their inflation, with the danger of an even more serious financial crisis further down the road, which could bring a repeat of the conditions in the 1920s and '30s that brought depression.
While the Bank of England might have felt more pressure to lower interest rates if it had not gained independence from the government, it would still have faced this dilemma. Marco polo (talk) 15:36, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
So the Bank can't really do anything to ensure that prices stay inline with wages since the only thing they can do is adjust interest rates and this leads to asset inflation? What do various people suggest is done about it? Do the government try to do anything (such as lower individual tax burden maybe)? And is there a different index that the government use to measure these factors?
Or is the issue of the low wage inflation less important to the economy than other factors? Caffm8 (talk) 16:01, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
I forgot to mention yet another scenario, namely that the current credit crunch and wave of insolvency is already too far gone to avoid a deep recession and that keeping interest rates as high as they are will only further deepen it. Nobody, not even a central banker, has perfect knowledge of the economy's state or how best to safeguard it. As to what the Bank of England or government can do to keep prices in line with wages (without price controls, which could cause serious economic distortions), that is beyond my depth. Presumably, if someone knew, they would have proposed it. Cutting the tax burden would force the government either to cut services or to run a deficit, which tends to cause wage and price inflation.
There a couple of processes at work that current central banking theory and practice struggle to grapple with: 1) The days of national economies and financial systems that can be controlled by a single nation's central bank (the Bank of England in the case of the UK) are over. We now have a global economy and financial system that largely lies outside the control of individual central banks. Only concerted action by the world's central banks and financial regulatory institutions could hope to control the expansion (or contraction) of credit and the movement of prices globally. 2) The world's economy has increasingly become dependent on the ever-increasing expansion of credit and debt at a rate that now exceeds the growth of the real economy. However, debt cannot expand faster than economic output indefinitely without an eventual bout of debt failure and insolvency, such as we are seeing this year. It is hard for me to see an alternative to a painful cure of the global economy's addiction to ever-expanding debt (through a possibly severe recession), which would allow the economy to return to a sounder footing. Still, I hope that I am wrong and that an alternative will be found. Marco polo (talk) 23:17, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for that, very interesting. I suppose it's obvious that in a global economy inflation can't match wages because you can't increase the cost of your services just because prices you pay for things go up, unless of course your selling your services to the people who sell the things your buying.
Cutting the tax burden and increasing the deficit is I suppose what Thatcher did, and we all know how well that turned out.
Rather grim picture you paint though, dark times indeed. Caffm8 (talk) 00:22, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Do you any evidence that Thatcher increased the deficit? I thought the statistic showed that in 1987/88 the budget was in a surplus (public sector debt repayment). This after eight years of tax cutting--Johnbull (talk) 00:39, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

I know next to nothing about Economics, but I do watch the News... and I think I'm correct in saying that when the British Government devolved the power to set interest rates to the Bank of England, their remit was to do so with control of inflation as their only ambition. Therefore, they're not supposed to worry about unemployment, international trade, currency valuations etc. All of those things may indirectly affect inflation in their turn, but they're supposed to remain somewhat myopic. However, reminding everyone of my initial disclaimer, I may have misunderstood (or misremembered). --Dweller (talk) 11:45, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Book in universal history[edit]

Are there any modern time equivalent books to Toynbee's "A Study of History"? (talk) 15:53, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Universal history is pretty unpopular these days—the idea that you can find simple models that can apply to civilizations and cultures vastly distant in time and space has been roundly criticized since Toynbee's time. That being said, you can sometimes find what might be called semi-popular books which do such a thing, Guns, Germs, and Steel being one such things. I've always thought Keegan's A History of Warfare had a wonderful pre-postmodern sensibility to it; the book could have just as easily been written in the early 1920s (barring, of course, the achronological implications) rather than the 1990s, as he happily groups all civilizations under common rubrics in making vast, sweeping claims about the nature of warfare from the more "primitive" of societies upwards to the most "advanced". Even though that this is not very fashionable, when done right it can be very compelling, and certainly quite fun to read. -- (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 18:02, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
The field of historical sociology has not entirely given up sweeping comparative studies. For example, Michael Mann's Sources of Social Power. Then, there's Big History, which from its somewhat advertisement-like Wikipedia article I suspect of being a fad. Wareh (talk) 18:10, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Alternatively, could someone suggest a comprehensive book of world history or an encyclopedia of history? (talk) 22:28, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
Have a look over The New Penguin History of the World by J. M. Roberts. It may just be what you are looking for, though it was originally published some thirty years ago. Clio the Muse (talk) 00:08, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm somewhat uncomfortable recommending a book I haven't read yet, but Civilizations by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto is supposed to be good. Random Nonsense (talk) 01:03, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Nice suggestions, thank you all. (talk) 14:14, 26 November 2007 (UTC)


When did the legal age to smoke cigarettes become 18 years old ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:03, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

If you mean in the UK, it was 1st of October 2007, [2]. And of course that's the age to buy cigarettes rather than smoke them, or more specifically the age at which people can sell cigarettes to. Caffm8 (talk) 17:12, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
If you mean the United States, it is a state-by-state issue. In states the minimum it is 19 years old. By 1998, no states had anything less than 18 as the minimum age. -- (talk) 17:57, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
In the US is it just regulating the sale, the purchase, or the physical act of smoking? Caffm8 (talk) 18:20, 25 November 2007 (UTC)
It depends. In some states, if I recall, they regulate possession, which is included in the physical act of smoking, obviously. In California it is a minor offense (you get basically a ticket) to possess tobacco products if you are under age, at least it was about 7 years ago (I knew someone who got in trouble for it). -- (talk) 19:09, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Ah, See Smoking age Caffm8 (talk) 18:29, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Riots and Shakespeare[edit]

I do not understand. What is the connection between Shakespeare's Coriolanus and the French riots of February, 1934? (talk) 18:50, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

According to this [3]: Early in 1934, when the French socialist government was close to collapse, a new translation of Coriolanus was staged at the Comédie Française in Paris. The production was perceived as an attack on democratic institutions. SaundersW (talk) 19:03, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Is this in reference to a specific passage that you don't understand? A new translation of Shakespeare's Coriolanus by René-Louis Piachaud had been mounted by Émile Fabre at the Comédie Française in December 1933. In January 1934 Camille Chautemps resigned, and was succeeded by Edouard Daladier, following the Stavisky financial scandal, and in that context, the production of Coriloanus was interpreted as right-wing propaganda against democratic institutions, particularly the Daladier government. Deladier (stupidly) fired Fabre and replaced him as general administrator of the Comédie Française; rioting started during a 4 February 1934 performance, and the theatre had to be closed. Fabre was reinstated the next day. The immediate precipitant of the riots of 6 February 1934 was the dismissal of Jean Chiappe. Daladier resigned in the wake of the riots. Coriolanus reopened in March 1934 without incident; its incendiary character was completely predicated on the political situation in which it was presented. - Nunh-huh 19:20, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

It might also help you to know, 86.148, that the Daladier government was reacting to an anti-parliamentary interpretation that had been placed on Coriolanus by the right-wing pressure group, Action Française. In the growing heat engendered by the Stavisky Affair members of the group appeared in the theatre in force, cheering on the play's denunciations of political leaders. In Action Française, the movement's newspaper, praise of Coriolanus was used as an excuse to attack French democracy; to hurl accusations of corruption and villainy against the republic and its institutions in the light of every fresh revelation about Stavisky. Circulation shot up as Action Française urged people to come and protest in large numbers at the Chamber of Deputies, the first time in history, so far as I am aware, that Shakespeare contributed towards a major political riot-and a French one at that! Clio the Muse (talk) 23:58, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

To give some background on the actual play, it can easily be construed as anti-democratic. There are countless references within it to the problems the masses pose to the rulers of countries. The people are portrayed as a mob with fickle preferences, easily swayed by men of questionable character. It just ain't nice to the little folk. Wrad (talk) 21:26, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Male/Female Relationships[edit]

Wondering if there is any literature/research on particular female's tendancies to date men who are "jerks" (for lack of a better term). I'm not the victim nor the perpetrator of such a relationship, I was just wondering why some girls are attracted to "assholes" (again, for lack of a better term). If there is any information about this as to why or whatever, it'd be great.

Thanks!!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:44, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

Some research has been done on the subject, but not much. See this news article. And as with any type of romance subject, numerous websites are available to inform others of potentially bad relationship choices such as with the intention of naming and shaming abusive or cheating former partners. (talk) 00:09, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
I'm not an expert on the subject, but I do recall hearing about some research on that. The sociobiology/evolutionary psychology hypothesis, as I understand it, is in essence that aggressiveness and dominance are good qualities for offspring to have, making males with those qualities more desirable mates. However, those same qualities make them less desirable long-term partners and fathers, so that, as a biology-student friend of mine observes, 'women date schmucks but cheat on them with assholes'.
A quick search on turns up this promising find: and I'm sure there are other papers out there... Random Nonsense (talk) 00:58, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
A good introduction to the subject is The Evolution of Desire: Strategies of Human Mating by David Buss.--droptone (talk) 12:41, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

According to Dr. Drew, young women who date jerks do so because their father (or father figure) was a jerk. Without really thinking about it, the girl is attracted to someone like her father, even if she hated dear old Dad. And then she has a couple of babies with the jerk, and the cycle begins again. I heard it on the radio so it must be true. —Kevin Myers 01:36, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

See also article Nice_guy... AnonMoos (talk) 06:23, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

alot of women seem to be attracted to the badboy image. why? I dunno, if they dated ppl like you and I the world would be a much better place. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:29, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
What makes you think that we're all nice guys? :) GeeJo (t)(c) • 17:26, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Too easily trusting? There's your answer! Wrad (talk) 21:23, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Literature: Stone Angel 2[edit]

the theme of this book is pride and I want to know if there are any book whose theme is pride? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:38, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

...and Prejudice! Clio the Muse (talk) 00:01, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Pride is one of the great themes of literature as a character flaw. This stems from Ancient Greek theories of writing and especially drama, pertaining to works of Tragedy. The technical term for it in scholarly works is "hubris". Our article includes an (unsourced) claim that "It was considered the greatest sin of the ancient Greek world." You'll need to read the article to see how the definition of it was somewhat broader than our modern understanding. Notwithstanding this, hubris is the cause of the fall from power/grace/love/happiness of countless protagonists in equally countless works of fiction (especially drama) in just about any language you can imagine. The hubris article might help push you to various titles, but you'll be best off examining it in drama; it's a theme in many Shakespeare tragedies. --Dweller (talk) 11:59, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

All I ask was list some books whose theme was based on pride. please give me some names of the books whose theme is based on pride. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:11, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

...I could go on ... Corvus cornixtalk 19:15, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

Inheritance tax (US)[edit]

I'm writing a paper on the justification of the inheritance tax. I want to get my facts straight before I babble. If I inherit a large sum of income from my parents but my parents have a large amount of debt too. However, if the debt is larger than the income i receive than the income (meaning i lose money rather than gain anything) will i still be taxed on the income I "received"? -- (talk) 23:49, 25 November 2007 (UTC)

No. What you receive is the proportion of your intended inheritance that has gone through the process of probate, through which claims on a deceased person's estate are settled. Debts are settled before the estate is divided among heirs. If the debts exceed the amount of the estate, then the heirs receive nothing (apart perhaps from personal items of limited value, such as a wedding dress). Heirs are taxed only on the amount that they actually receive after an estate is settled. In the United States, only estates exceeding $2,000,000 are subject to this tax. See Estate tax in the United States. Marco polo (talk) 00:51, 26 November 2007 (UTC)
Also, inheritance taxes are taxes on capital, not income. AndyJones (talk) 08:26, 26 November 2007 (UTC)