Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 October 1

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October 1[edit]

blend, puree ...[edit]

When did liquidation come into use as euphemism for political murder? —Tamfang —Preceding signed but undated comment was added at 01:42, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

The Russian word likvidirovat means to settle affairs or debts, and its further meaning of kill or eliminate came in at about the time of the October Revolution of 1917. Someone has suggested that Lenin was the first to use it. The new use of the word was picked up by newspaper correspondents in Russia and thus spread into other languages. Xn4 02:27, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
The Bolshevik connection seems to be confirmed by the Supplement to the OED. There is a cite there from 1924 that might be in this sense (the relevant OED definition is "to put an end to, abolish; to stamp out, wipe out; to kill", and it isn't clear which of these sub-senses is meant); then there's one from 1930 that clearly is about killing, as well as one from 1932 for "liquidation" meaning killing; and all are in connection with the USSR.
The 1924 cite (from the Yale Review) reads: "In this way the 'Labor Opposition', the 'Workers Pravda', and a few other recalcitrant groups were all 'liquidated'." The 1930 cite (from the Economist): "Only in 1929, when the growth of the Socalist section of agriculture was enabling the State to become independent of the supplies of the Kulaks, could the government begin to 'liquidate' them." And the 1932 one (from the Week-end Review): "The Russians... took starvation almost as a matter of course, just as they... take as a matter of course the liquidation of unfortunate individuals with contra-revolutionary idealogies."
--Anonymous, 02:41 UTC, October 1, 2007.


How do I find the dates of the following events?

Germanic barbarians threaten Rome. Beginning of Pax Romana. Marcus Aurelius authors Meditations. The birth of Christ. Augustus defeats Egypt at Actium. Julius Caesar murdered. Civil War begins in Rome. Hannibal crosses the Alps. The Etruscans control Rome. 04:08, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Type each of those into a Google search engine. That should do the trick. Wrad 04:10, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

It's all here... see the articles linked below. Xn4 05:05, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

  1. Germanic barbarians threaten Rome: several occasions are listed at Sack of Rome
  2. Beginning of Pax Romana: see Pax Romana
  3. Marcus Aurelius authors Meditations: see Marcus Aurelius
  4. The birth of Christ: see Jesus
  5. Augustus defeats Egypt at Actium: see Battle of Actium
  6. Julius Caesar murdered: see Julius Caesar
  7. Civil War begins in Rome: see Roman civil wars
  8. Hannibal crosses the Alps: see Hannibal
  9. The Etruscans control Rome: see History of Rome

Winter works[edit]

Are there any similarities between Shakespeare’s The Winter's Tale and Ingmar Bergman’s film Winter Light (other than the titles)? This isn’t homework; I just saw both works recently and am trying to compare them. --S.dedalus 04:45, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

After reading the film's summary, I don't see any similarities. Wrad 04:58, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I can’t think of a link between the two plots. But I was thinking of perhaps there is a similarity between characters. On the other hand perhaps I dreamt it. Thanks :) --S.dedalus 05:13, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

need help figuring out what this jazz song is....[edit]

I have been super impressed with all the great answers I've been getting on the reference desk lately, so maybe you guys can help solve a mystery that has been bugging me for months (years?). I have an mp3 on my computer of a jazz song I love, but there is no information in the ID3 tags and I have no idea who it's by or what it is. I uploaded a 30-second snippet to zshare here - [1]. Any takers? Calliopejen1 05:16, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

I can't imagine this would be any help, but just in case... The solos (not in the clip I don't think) are by a sax, a trumpet, and a piano. Calliopejen1 05:18, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

How Do I Build Credit?[edit]

I am 18, just graduated. Both of my parents have bad credit so I am on my own as far as paying for college. I need to build my credit. I cannot get a credit card, because I have no credit. I cannot get any loan, because I have no credit. Should I open a checking account or get a pre paid credit card? Are there other steps I should take? I don't know what to do or who to ask, someone please help!! Tell me everything and anything you know about building credit, please please please!!!!? —Preceding unsigned comment added by SammySam414 (talkcontribs) 08:39, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Most retail stores have some kind of credit card. Just ask the service desk for an application. Clem 10:03, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
When I started college, there were credit card companies with tables set up on campus to sign up freshmen for their credit cards. They'd take anyone. Once you get a card though, the tough part is not using the card too much. If you pay it off in full each month, you'll be doing yourself a favor by not building up interest. Dismas|(talk) 10:10, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
According to this site a pre-paid credit card does not help you build good credit. This makes sense, because you put money on a pre-paid card in advance and you can only spend the funds that you have put on the card - it's not really providing you with any credit at all. So the term "pre-paid credit card" is an oxymoron. Gandalf61 10:34, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
I will be a lone voice here, but I don't think credit is a good thing. I go back to the now archaic idea that you should actually be able to pay for things that you buy (as opposed to hoping that you can pay for them later). I worked my way through college. I saved up my money until I could buy my house and car outright. Before then, I rented an apartment and bought cheap used cars (rusted out junkers, one for US$150). This was good because I should not have been buying items at that time which I really couldn't afford. Credit makes people think they can afford things which they really can't. The Western, and particularly American, concept that you should buy something as soon as you can possibly get somebody to lend you the money to cover it is very dangerous, in my opinion.
However, some people use credit ratings to judge people for purposes other than lending them money, like whether they are trustworthy to hire. I think this practice should be illegal, but do admit that this means establishing a good credit rating is important.
There is a considerable cost, however. I refuse to pay a bill if I am not satisfied with the service. One example would be the Nextel cellular phone I once had. They promised me one plan, then put me on another, far more expensive plan. They consistently overcharged me every month, and no matter how many times they promised to correct the error, they never did. I just refused to pay. This hurt my credit rating, but I was able to make my point. In my case, since I don't borrow money, this effect on my credit rating didn't matter. For those of you who borrow money all the time, this course of action isn't available to you, leaving you at the mercy of any company you deal with. StuRat 13:09, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Even if you don't buy things until you can pay for them, it's still desirable to have a credit card and a good credit rating -- in particular, if you ever want to rent a car. Also, for most of us, if we ever want to buy a home, a mortgage is the only way to do it. --Anonymous, 16:50 UTC, October 1, 2007.
  • I have run into the rental car problem. Some will allow a huge cash deposit, like $10,000, instead of a credit card. As for the house, I don't agree. Most people could afford to buy a house outright if they saved a bit more, waited a bit longer, and bought a bit smaller of a house. After that, all the money spent on paying off mortgage interest could go towards other things, like saving for retirement. StuRat 23:59, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
  • Yes, it goes into paying your rent while you're "waiting a bit longer". --Anon, 14:11 UTC, October 2.
I doubt very much that "most people" in the UK could ever save enough money to buy a house outright, unless they lived in a tent for 25 years. DuncanHill 00:03, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Indeed. A simple bit of calculation comparing the rent that must be paid with the amount of interest paid on the mortage generally yields the answer. Of course, this is complicated by variable interest rates, but since my landlord is paying their mortgage with my rent, I imagine my rent would go up if the interest rate skyrocketed. It's not like buying a car or suchlike; you have to live somewhere, and that will cost money. Skittle 15:57, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
This question (or a variant of it) comes up quite often. These are my thoughts based on my experience in the UK, where I have worked for both mortgage providers and credit-card issuers. A "good credit rating" is a combination of several factors. Banks will look for evidence of reliability and trustworthiness. Some of the things looked for include:- Being registered to vote. Having a current account (checking account) that has been well-managed (ie no unauthorized overdraughts or bad cheques issued). Paying bills (eg electricity, gas, water rates) on time. Having an income that is sufficient to repay the credit requested & stability of that income. Absence of "adverse" reports - eg you have not been taken to court over debts. There may be other factors based on the particular bank, or the local financial market. You may be able to get more specific advice from an organization such as the Citizens Advice Bureaux (or local equivalent). If you are a student, you may qualify for preferential treatment from some banks (they are hoping for your long term loyalty), and your college or university may have a financial counselling service which could also give more specific help. Best wishes. DuncanHill 13:59, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Can someone please clarify this for me: suppose the questioner, who identifies themselves as age eighteen, takes out several credit cards, yet never uses them. Is s/he, in ten years time, likely to be able to take out a larger mortgage than would be the case had they not taken out credit cards, because it appears to the mortgage supplier that they have a perfect record in paying credit card bills (which - of course - never existed?martianlostinspace email me 12:22, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Hard to answer exactly - a lot will depend on individual mortgage provider's policies. In my experience, if a person has "excessive" credit available (even if never used) it could impact adversly on their ability to borrow further. One or two credit cards, well-managed, will tend to enhance credit rating, many cards may impair it, as banks will be suspicious of a person with "too many" credit agreements. DuncanHill 12:35, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
I am pretty sure the hypothetical person would have no payment history, not perfect. --LarryMac | Talk 14:18, 2 October 2007 (UTC)


am reasearchin on the impact of technology on communication has developed since the use of things like telex to nowadys where we have things like voip.the ups and downs of technology on communication.does wikipedia have anything on this googling doesnt help much.or if anyone knows a good link. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:42, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

How much time do you have available for this research? You could easily spend years on the topic. But why start with the telex? I'd start with the telegraph. For starters, you could read our articles on Communication, Communication technology and Telecommunication – and of course McLuhan, and follow some interesting pointers. If you're interested in the impact on organizations, here is an entry point.  --Lambiam 12:21, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps the biggest change brought about by technology is that one-to-many communication is now available, free, to anyone with access to a computer, whereas before it was only available to those with access to write in a newspaper, rent a billboard, or broadcast on radio, TV, or the movies, usually at considerable expense. Another rather negative result is that kids now seem to be learning IM-speak instead of proper English, leading 2 hrd 2 undrstnd shrtcuts, iynwim. :-) StuRat 12:47, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

herman melville[edit]

how to pronounce this name? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:41, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

how to read this name? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:44, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

In IPA: /ˌhɜrmən ˈmɛlvɪl/.  --Lambiam 11:42, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
It's entirely phonetic (said like it's spelled), with the exception of the silent E at the end. So, it's "her man mel vil". StuRat 12:33, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
...Except that the second syllable is not normally (at least in England; is the US different?) pronounced like the word 'man', but rather with a schwa, as in Lambiam's IPA. Algebraist 13:45, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Good point, perhaps "her men" would be better. StuRat 14:28, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Hmmm ... not really. -- JackofOz 21:55, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
You prefer "he men" ? :-) StuRat 23:52, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Hermun perhaps suggests the schwa? Skittle 15:51, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

net and gross income[edit]

I think I understand the difference in net and gross income. If you raise a herd of cattle and sell them at auction then what you receive is gross income but what you have left over after deduction the cost of raising the cattle, paying lenders such as those who might finance the cattle drive to market, or paying your hired hands, trail boss and cook is called net income. Is net income then the same thing as profit and if so, can loss then be referred to as net expense? Clem 09:43, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Both net income and profit have several definitions, depending on the author. Especially for profit, a distinction is made between "net profit before tax" and "net profit after tax", but just "profit" usually means "net profit after tax", which is also the usual meaning of "net income". I think that the term "net expense" is mainly used for activities that, although they may generate some income, are not supposed to operate at a profit, thus avoiding the negative connotation of the word "loss". So then it would be a bit strange to call the loss of a for-profit company "net expense".  --Lambiam 12:00, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
So then a church, for instance, that opens a thrift store to supply the needy and less fortunate with donated goods and therefore open to profit may actually sell at such low prices to accomodate the needy that in addition to some expenses could be considered operating at a net expense rather than at a loss? Clem 15:31, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
It is a rather theoretical example in the sense that all charitable thrift stores I know of actually try to make a profit by selling goods donated to them, so that the profit can be used to support the needy. A better example would be a soup kitchen run by a church, like here, that has some income by soliciting donations. They may try to break even, but if the total expenses do not exactly match the donations received, the terms "net income" and "net expense" seem preferable over "profit" and "loss".  --Lambiam 16:17, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Theft of a legend[edit]

King Arthur is a Celtic and British hero, turned into a kind of English icon (think of Edward III and his round table at Windsor). I was wondering how this came about and what the implications were for the relations between England and the other nations of mainland Britain? 11:37, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Hello. Interesting question. As our article (King Arthur) alludes, his origins are shrouded in mystery. The Celtic roots are given strong credence by Welsh claims for Arthur's origins (which would make his "Englishness" rather silly) but there are strong arguments for Arthur's origins lying elsewhere in Britain. In terms of time contemporaneous to Arthur (assuming he existed and assuming we know when, which we don't) "Englishness" is an anachronism, as "England" didn't exist. However, the geographical area Arthur lived in was Britain, a sizable chunk of which (including some of the regions with credible claims for being his roots) are within England. So, it's not entirely inappropriate. Then again, the English are (sweeping claim here) very loose about the English/British terminology, as, apart from the borderlands, most English people aren't really too fussed about the overlaps and exceptions between the two terms. It's more the other British peoples who are understandably keen to ensure that people remember (to give one silly example) that the Olympic team is "Great Britain and Ireland", while the English man in the street may well erroneously refer to it as the "England" team, something a Scot would be horrified by. --Dweller 11:47, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Great Britain and Northern Ireland, please. Algebraist 13:41, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
eeek! I can't believe I made that mistake... not been "GB & Ireland" since 1924. Perhaps, as I'm English, that proves my point eloquently! <blushes> --Dweller 15:24, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Some modern interpretations see Arthur as a Romano-Briton, which is neither the Celtic or English version. Rmhermen 14:14, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Interesting point Dweller, about the English being lose in their terminology and true, to a certain extent. I might however offer a few thoughts from another point of view. While this is traditionally seen as English arrogance, it is not helped by left-wing types who think any expression of English national identity is wrong, and attempt to impose a more inclusive 'British' identity. Look for instance at the make-up of the British-Irish Council, with representatives of Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland and the United Kingdom. What started as English arrogance is nowadays as likely to be a result of a politically correct attempt to remove England from the map. No wonder people get confused. Anyway, mildly paranoid rant over!Cyta 14:51, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

And back on topic, yes the King Arthur thing is wierd, especially as it seems likely if you go down the Romano-British explanation, it was the Anglo-Saxons he would have been fighting. And even before the existence of the English state, their was a sense of an English people, see Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. I think the patronage of King Arthur, and the also non English Saint George at the same time was to as much with Courtly love and chivalry as it was with national identity. It's a shame they didn't pick the much more impressive, much more English and much more real Alfred the Great Cyta 14:51, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

We aren't even sure there was a historical Arthur, so perhaps there can be one of him for everyone, as with Father Christmas. My favourite is the Arthur (or 'Wart') of T.H. White's The Once and Future King. Xn4 23:38, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
There can indeed be an Arthur for everyone, though there is-or was-a particular Arthur for England! Arthur has not only helped to define England, but also to justify and promote a wider imperial mission, rather ironic in the circumstances of history. The really important text here is not so much that of Bede as Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae-The History of the Kings of Britain. We have to understand that Britain, in the sense that Geoffery uses it, has two meanings-it can refer to those areas that subsequently became England, or it can refer to the whole island.
Geoffery's History, it might be said, emerges as part of a process of absorbtion and assimilation; one that began with the Norman Conquest, and was to incorporate, to claim for itself, native traditions, like that of Arthur of the Britons. It was Geoffery's task to fill in the gaps in history, to root the Anglo-Norman kings in a deep past, one that would justify both their presence and their pretensions. It really does not matter that it is pseudo-history; it served a direct political purpose; uniting the Angles with the Normans, and both with British and Celtic legend. And Arthur was a particularly appealing antecedent, for he had been king of the whole Isle; not just the conquerer of the Saxons, but of the Scots and the Irish. When Arthur is crowned at Caerlon, so Geoffery tells us, he is attended by the kings of Albany and Moray; of Wales and of Cornwall.
This was excellent propaganda for an ambitious English monarch. Edward I was later to use it in justifying his claim on Scotland in correspondence with Pope Boniface VIII. Arthurian pretension was to be employed in this fashion time and again, becoming particularly prevalent during the reign of Henry VIII. Henry, of course, had good reasons for seeking deep anchors, considering the weakness of the Tudor claim to the throne of England itself. In this regard his 'Welshness' was useful in conjuring up the legend of Arthur and the even deeper legend of Brutus. He was to use these tales, in the same manner as Edward I, in asserting his regal rights over Scotland. But the whole thing was to find its final and most definitive expression in the person of James I, himself a Scot but with a single-minded determination to be British. He was the second Arthur, ready to reunite a divided Britain. But by that time Arthur, as a political symbol anyway, had served his purpose and run his course. And now, I suppose, England is beginning to emerge, once again, from the 'deconstruction' of Britain. Let Arthur sleep and Alfred awake! Clio the Muse 01:17, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
And no doubt Henry VII was thinking on the same lines when he named his eldest son after King Arthur. Xn4 04:43, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes there so easily could have been a historical King Arthur, what would we have called the mythological one? Cyta 13:00, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
There could well have been two historical King Arthurs. Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was the rightful heir of Richard the Lion-hearted, and would have succeeded him, were it not for the evil King John. Corvus cornix 16:59, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
That could happen any day, if something happened to Queen Elizabeth II. Prince Charles has the forenames "Charles Philip Arthur George". I understand that the convention is that an incoming monarch can use any of their given names as their regal one. So if/when he comes to the throne, he could be King... Charles III, Philip, Arthur or George VII. --Dweller 13:22, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
I believe Charles has said he's likely to choose George. Xn4 20:08, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm not surprised. Charles is an ill-omened name for an English king! Clio the Muse 22:09, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

economy of nauru[edit]

I've read that there was a time, circa 1980, when the per capita income of Nauru was the highest in the world. Were these benefits shared to a reasonable extent, so the average person would have been well-off, and was this money actually reflected in a high standard of living (as opposed to having money, but not enough consumer goods available)? 12:41, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Looks like it. From the article: An increased standard of living since independence has had some negative effects on the population. Nauruans are among the most obese people in the world, with 90% of adults overweight. Nauru has the world's highest level of type 2 diabetes, with more than 40% of the population affected. Other significant diet-related problems on Nauru include renal failure and heart disease. Life expectancy has fallen to 58.0 years for males and 65.0 years for females. Lanfear's Bane 12:54, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Microsoft/aQuantive deal, Google/DoubleClick deal[edit]

Which banks acted as advisors, or financed these deals? - 13:02, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Football Factory-Best English Film ever??[edit]

Isnt it the best movie ever made in England? Or at least the most influencal english film? If americans films like "Gone with the wind" or "The Godfather" have such a long articles,shouldnt article about this legendary film be much longer? 13:49, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Be bold!. Why not expand the article - as long as the information is pertinent and factual, i.e., avoid words like 'legendary'. Lanfear's Bane 14:00, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

I dispute the question on 2 counts:-

The first is really just my own opinion: that the Football Factory is not the best movie ever made in England. It is nowhere near that. Danny Dyer's perfomance is dire (sorry) as in most films in which he features. I don't deny it has some interesting points but obviously my taste differs massively from the original poster.

The second is that I don't think you can call the film influential. With the benefit of only a few years since its release, aren't we too close to it to see if it has been influential. What has it influenced so far? I haven't seen a great change in either the process or output of British filmaking recently.

Let me add, however, that I do not dispute the original poster's right to an opinion and have no wish to start a fight (although a lively discussion never goes amiss). 11:51, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

schopenhauer and eastern religions[edit]

From the article on Schopenhauer:

If I wished to take the results of my philosophy as the standard of truth, I should have to concede to Buddhism pre-eminence over the others. In any case, it must be a pleasure to me to see my doctrine in such close agreement with a religion that the majority of men on earth hold as their own, for this numbers far more followers than any other. And this agreement must be yet the more pleasing to me, inasmuch as in my philosophizing I have certainly not been under its influence (emphasis added). For up till 1818, when my work appeared, there was to be found in Europe only a very few accounts of Buddhism, - .
– ’’The World as Will and Representation’’, Vol. 2, Ch. 17

But then the article says this, which appears to contradict the above: As noted above, he appreciated the teachings of the Buddha and even called himself a Buddhaist. He said that his philosophy could not have been conceived before these teachings were available.

Can anyone resolve this contradiction for me? I'm wondering whether he got ideas directly from Buddhism, or reached agreement independently. I know that one quote is from Schopenhauer himself, the other an unsourced comment (the first sentence of the second quote has a reference in the article, but the second, critical, one does not), and that must be significant. Even so, I'm loath to take it as discrediting the latter in favour of the former (Schopenhauer may have been overstating his independent achievement).

Also, can anyone tell me the difference between Schopenhauer's Hindu influence and his Buddhist influence? What did they each contribute? Thanks in advance, 14:05, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Unfortunately, 203.221, I cannot check the source for Schopenhauer's description of himself as a 'Buddhaist' because it's tied to a subscrption only article. I will say, though, that whatever he may have called himself, I do not think that he, or his work, can really be fully understood in such terms. There are overlaps, certainly; but there are still more differences than similarities. The second comment does not square with Schopenhauer's own statement on the matter, and should really be discarded, unless some convincing evidence is forthcoming.
I think it is not all that meaningful to look for separate Buddhist and Hindu influences, but to to look at overlapping sources, like the Upanishads, the Vedas and the teachings of the Mahayana branch of Buddhism in particular. The chief link here, the chief point of contact, is the illusory nature of the world of perception, a world of the ephemeral, contrasting with a more deeply rooted truth. There is a common emphasis in both systems of belief, moreover, on notions of 'release' or 'liberation' from the bonds of the ego, from all material desire. The escape from existence is the escape from suffering. Schopenhauer specifically relates his own doctrine of the denial of the will with the Buddhist notion of Nirvana-"Denial, abolition, turning of the will, is also the abolition and the vanishing of the world, its mirror"; for the world is no more than "the self-knowledge of the will." Philosophy has reached its limits and nothing but mysticism remains. Clio the Muse 00:06, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the highly informed answer, Clio. I only wish there were more philosophically inclined people here for you to debate with, like there are for historical matters. 04:47, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

Pollution in Victorian Britain[edit]

How did the Victorian's deal with the problem of pollution? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:17, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

For one example, see The Great Stink, Joseph Bazalgette and the history of the London sewerage system. Gandalf61 15:31, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
The sewage problem had to do with human excrements, which is probably not what the questioneer meant. DirkvdM 18:27, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Human waste is one source of pollution. Our pollution article says "Water pollution causes approximately 14,000 deaths per day, mostly due to contamination of drinking water by untreated sewage in developing countries". In developed countries we take for granted the benefits of waste treatment technologies pioneered by Victorian engineers such as Bazalgette. Gandalf61 20:11, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
As for air pollution, build chimneys and let the poor live downwind. DirkvdM 18:25, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Dickens deals with the stories of dustmen who took rubbish away from people's houses ,sorted it and made fortunes and crossing sweepers ,who made it possible to cross streets which were full of horse dung.--hotclaws 09:40, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

In terms of air pollution, I don't think the Victorians did much at all. London suffered terrible smog as recently as 1952, and I can't imagine the Victorians were more environmentally aware. Cyta 13:02, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

The prevailing wind in Britain comes from the south west. Thus, the eastern sides of towns and cities were often the poorer areas, such as London's East End, because all the smoke from chumneys swept over them. I do not think the Vics did do anything with pollution - areas with factory chimneys and hence smoke declined in value (or were on cheap land in the first place) and that is where the poor lived. A good example is the state of rivers - the Thames in London was heavily polluted not just with sewage. Only comparatively recently, after the pollution was cleared up, have fish returned to it. Similarly with other rivers in the industrial north. 20:44, 5 October 2007 (UTC)

There were other towns than London. "... Another problem which contributed to Bradford's deteriorating environment was smoke pollution. as early as June 1807 the Improvement Commission struggled to control this problem by imposing a minimum chimney height of 90 feet on Richard Fawcett's new mill. ... In 1844 Smith commended the efforts of Bradford's millocracy to lessen the smoke nuisance but regretted that many ignored the town's bye-laws and, consequently, ' ... volumes of dense smoke were seen pouring out all over the town'." (Firth, Gary (1997). A History of Bradford. ISBN 1 86077 057 6. )
One way to 'deal with' the pollution was to move out of town, as Sir Titus Salt did in 1850, building first his new mill, and then houses and public buildings for his workers, at the new town of Saltaire. --ColinFine 21:24, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Populations of Colosse, Ephesus, and Rome circa 60 AD[edit]

What was the population of Colosse at the time Paul wrote Colossians? What was the approximate number of people in the Colossian church then? What was the approximate number of Jews in the Colossian synagogue then? And as a comparison, what was the population of Ephesus and Rome circa 60 AD? 15:36, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Karl Barth estimated the Jewish population of Colossae as 'at least 500 tax-paying Jews', and J. D. G. Dunn says "we may have to allow a total Jewish population during this period of as many as two or three thousand". There were also Greeks and Phrygians. At the time of Strabo, which was a century before, Colossae was described as "a small town". There are various estimates for the population of Rome at different times, but we know that at the time of Paul (and for much longer) it was the biggest city in the world. The middle range of the estimates would put its population then somewhere between one and two million. An interesting article by Whitney J. Oates from Classical Philology (Vol. 29, No 2 (April 1934), pp. 101‑116) on the estimates for the population of Rome is online here. Xn4 22:23, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
So, based on Xn4's evidence, we can think of a population of perhaps 10,000 for Colossae at that time. The article he references estimates Rome's population around the same time at 1.25 million. The estimates that I have seen for Rome's population are closer to 1 million than to 2 million. As for Ephesus, our own article states that it was second only to Rome in the late republic and that it had 400,000 to 500,000 inhabitants in A.D. 100. (That said, Alexandria was probably larger than Ephesus, as it was considered the empire's second-largest city.) Marco polo 01:37, 2 October 2007 (UTC)


I am studying the Old Testament and I have a question, 1) Sharing a commom meal was one way to seal covenant?

Thank you —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ornellamunn (talkcontribs) 15:45, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Presumably you want to know if, in OT times, people would seal a covenant by means of a meal. I also presume you want to rule out occasions of celebrating a covenant by means of a meal. I can't offhand think of any examples in the OT whereby a covenant was sealed with a meal. However, I can think of some which were sealed with a sacrifice (of an/some animal/s), two of which involve Abraham - The binding of Isaac and The covenant of the pieces (many names for each, apparently no Wikipedia articles yet... must fix that) --Dweller 16:00, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Done one... one to do. NB See Covenant (biblical). --Dweller 16:03, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, and let me put an interesting twist on your question: Was the covenant with God ever imagined as meal shared by God and man? In God's covenant with Jacob, the fact that "Jacob took the stone he had used for his pillow, and set it up as a pillar, pouring oil over the top of it" (Genesis 28:18) has been read in this light ("the covenant-making feast, at which the clan and the deity were commensals, followed the appeal to the covenant-guarding object"[2]). This basic idea of laying a banquet for a god or spirit is still familiar at some modern gravesites; the kind of worship at altar or pillar described in the Genesis passage was later condemned by the Israelites' law and prophets (see, for example, Hosea 10). Wareh 16:05, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Once the Tabernacle was fixed at Shiloh (and later relocated and upgraded to a full-blown Temple at Jerusalem) ad-hoc creation of altars was forbidden, in favour of centralised worship. --Dweller 16:09, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

De Heretico Comburendo[edit]

Why did Henry the fourth introduce this measure? was it only because he was worried by religious dissent?Essex teen —Preceding signed but undated comment was added at 15:55, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

In brief, see De heretico comburendo. Clearly it was largely a response to Wyclif's Bible and the activities of the Lollards. In England in the Middle Ages (as in other European states) church and state were closely related, and rulers relied on the church for administration and law as well as moral authority. Xn4 21:38, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

The reason for the introduction of this rather extreme measure at that particular point in English history is really quite simple: it had a little to do with religion and a lot to do with politics! You see, Henry IV had only two years before the introduction of De Heretico Comburendo deposed his cousin Richard from the throne of England in highly controversial circumstances. There were other people, moreover, who had a claim to the throne just as good if not better than he did himself. He was thus open to challenge and was to spend virtually the whole of his reign defending himself against conspiracy, plot and treason in all of their many forms. The one thing he needed was support, the support of the church above all. So, on the advice of Thomas Arundel, Archbishop of Canterbury, worried by the growth of Lollardy, Henry decided that the flames would have to be lit. Rather burn heretics than lose the crown of England. Clio the Muse 22:17, 1 October 2007 (UTC)


Does a copyright end when the author dies? Clem 17:26, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Not generally. The duration of copyright varies depending on the jurisdiction, but in most cases it lasts from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author. This section of the copyright article gives more information about that. - Eron Talk 17:32, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
In the Netherlands, it ends 70 years after the author has died. Internationally, the 1886 Berne convention is most important, which now covers almost the entire world. But because the US kept refusing to participate in that, in 1952 an adaption was made especially for them, Universele Conventie voor Auteursrecht in Dutch, can't find an English source. This is what the © sign originated from. But when the US finally joined in 1989, that became obsolete. DirkvdM 18:40, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
That's the 1952 Universal Copyright Convention. Algebraist 19:32, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Some (previosuly Nazi-occupied) Western European countries also extend the copyright duration to compensate for the occupation period, when compensation for use of copyrighted works were not made. Asav 16:09, 3 October 2007 (UTC)

Using national flags to represent languages[edit]

What's up with using the flag of a nation to represent a language, for example on this McDonald's video game language selection page? As an American it offends me that I have to click on the flag of the UK, and if I were a Brazilian Portuguese speaker I wouldn't want to click the flag of Portugal.

So obviously this isn't the correct thing to do, but what are the alternatives? Do any languages have flags of their own other than the Francophonie (and constructed languages like Esperanto and Lojban)? —Keenan Pepper 19:06, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

The obvious alternative, used on Wikipedia and elsewhere, is to use the name of the language involved. commons:Linguistic flags reveals only the flags of the francophonie and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries. Of course, both of these are the flags of international organisations, and not of languages per se. Algebraist 19:29, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
And if names of the languages are too long for your purpose, you can use ISO language codes instead. — Kpalion(talk) 20:02, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
As others have said, the main alternatives are to use the name of the language and/or the ISO code. The first may be inoffensive, as no one could really object to it, but it sidesteps the question of a suitable symbol. The ISO codes would puzzle most people.
National flags work rather well. The best thing about them is their high level of recognition, compared with any other kind of symbol available. You don't say you mind the English language being called 'English', and (after all) England is where it comes from. I don't mind sometimes clicking on the Stars and Stripes as an icon for the English language. It gets me there. Xn4 21:13, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
However, the content of commons:Category:Flags of languages is much more heterogeneous, with various attempts at combining flags with varying degrees of success. There are a large number of U.S. internet users who would not find clicking on a Union Jack to select the English language to be immediately self-explanatory, and it's been pointed out that the flag of England would be more suitable for this purpose... AnonMoos 22:22, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Those .gif files are very clever, flicking through several national flags in turn! Xn4 23:27, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
I haven't seen flags used to represent language alone, but have seen them used to represent language along with other things. In the case of McDonalds, for example, it would represent the menu offered, too, and probably US English vs British English. So don't pick that UK flag unless you want an ad asking you "leave your flat, grab your mate, take the lift, jump in your lorry and take the dual-carriageway to McD's for a McHaggis burger today !". :-) StuRat 23:50, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
There's at least one flag that represents a language. -- JackofOz 00:24, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
This falls under the category of "get over it". English originated in England. Portuguese originated in Portugal. The flags of these nations best represent these languages. —Nricardo 02:13, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
But then, as AnonMoos suggested, it should be the English flag, not the Union Jack, right? Also, in the case of Dutch, there's the problem that the language originated in a region that split between two countries, the Netherlands and Belgium. Luckily, an extra complication is that two languages are spoken in Belgium, and I don't see anyone using the Flemish flag for the Dutch language, so that solves that, however much it might piss off some Flemish. Are there any other similar cases? DirkvdM 07:55, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
There are lots of Hispanics in the USA who speak no English, and many official accommodations are made for them, as I understand. So, the U.S. flag wouldn't mean English to them. -- JackofOz 12:57, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Then by the same token, shouldn't Welsh, Scots Gaelic and Cornish speakers be offended by the use of the Union Jack to refer to the English language? Corvus cornix 17:02, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
By the same token, perhaps they should be, though nowadays nearly all of those groups are bilingual in English and their own language. No one speaks Cornwall Cornish only. It's a good point that the England English flag might be more appropriate for English (especially if Scots is a separate language, which a lot of people say it is), but then the St George's Cross just doesn't have the world-wide recognition that the United Kingdom Union Flag has. Xn4 20:28, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Wright Amendment Argument[edit]

I was writing a letter to Congress to repeal the Wright Amendment and was getting advice from my Histroy teacher. He says that there was a law (the Alger Hiss Law/Act) that stated that Congress could not pass a law specificially towards one person or company. Is this true and could I use it as an argument in my letter? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:15, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

The US Constitution disallows any Bill of Attainder, which would be an act declaring a person or group guilty of a crime and punishing them. However Congress is allowed to pass private bills, which affect one person, group or entity. I can't find anything relating these concepts to Alger Hiss, but I'm no expert. --LarryMac | Talk 19:37, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
The Hiss Act (which denied Alger Hiss his pension) was found unconstitutional in 1972 because it was aimed at a single individual (even though it was careful not to name him: it banned the payment of federal pensions to "anyone convicted of perjury relating to the national security of the United States"). It's just an illustration of the illegality of bills of attainder. - Nunh-huh 00:02, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Nunh-huh; would you mind awfully making your signature just a little bigger. I can't read it! Clio the Muse 22:05, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
I've reverted to the old signature; apparently the new one was doing quite unanticiapted things, depending on one's browser choice. - Nunh-huh 22:07, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks. The former was absolutely HUGE! Clio the Muse 22:10, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Sumer question[edit]

I have just read the following comment in an internet discussion (but cannot find a reference to it in wikipedia) and am curious - "Heck even the Sumerians knew we were descended from primates" - is this true at all? Thanks. --AlexSuricata 21:48, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

I would tend to doubt that, but I think it is true that some in the ancient classical civilizations (Greece and/or Rome) knew that primates are the animals most morphologically similar to humans... AnonMoos 22:15, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
Their beliefs about their ancestors most likely can be found in their religion, try Mesopotamian mythology, though at a glimpse I didn't find any god that could be considered primate---- Xil...sist! 22:58, 1 October 2007 (UTC)
I seem to remember there were sacred lemurs in Madagascar. Isn't there something about them in Enemies of Promise? Xn4 00:02, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Couldn't help noticing that "lemurs" contains "Sumer". (I'm funny that way.)  :) JackofOz 00:23, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
We're not descendants of primates, we are primates. (And Jack would then be a prime mate? - I'm also funny in all sorts of ways.) DirkvdM 08:00, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
Bless you, my son. Go in peace. Signed, His Ultra-Eminence the Most Reverend, Holy, Sublime and Serene JackofOz, Primate of the South-Western Quadrisphere. —Preceding signed but undated comment was added at 12:54, 2 October 2007 (UTC)
  • To be fair, we're both. --Sean 17:33, 2 October 2007 (UTC)