Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 October 24

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October 24[edit]

$3000 in 1849[edit]

How much is the equivalent of $3000 (USD) in 1849 worth today? Obviously such historical calculations are going to be pretty imprecise, but if I could just have some sort of barometer, even in the terms of the 19th century (e.g. "a year's pay for someone of profession X", or "the cost of X number of horses" or whatever), it would be great. I'm just looking for the right order of magnitude here. -- 03:39, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

  • See The Inflation Calculator which can handle such calculations for any year from 1800 to 2006. "What cost $3000 in 1849 would cost $67483.88 in 2006." --Metropolitan90 04:24, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Related question: Is a barometer really that imprecise? Why do people refer to it metaphorically as if it's a very imprecise guage? --ffroth 05:34, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Maybe because they tend to get less precise over time. DirkvdM 09:58, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
A barometer can accurately measure atmospheric pressure at any given instant, but it is the change in measurements that is used in predictions. When used metaphorically, it is used to mean something that indicates changes - "a barometer of public opinion." This should be on the Language Desk, but I couldn't tell where that was with only colors to guide me. --LarryMac | Talk 14:43, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Coincidentally, for another thread I just now read in the slavery article that 1000 US$ in 1850 (close enough) is 38,000 US$ in present equivalent currency. So that would then be 114,000 US$, almost twice what that inflation calculator says. I suppose it's very difficult to compare. Probably depends on what you want to buy. DirkvdM 09:58, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Precisely - given its name, I suspect the calculator only adjusts for inflation. To get a better feel for the value of money, you also need to take into account the cost of living (that is, how much it costs to maintaing a similar standard of living). -- !! ?? 11:00, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Right. But those figures help me a bit. My figuring is that it was in the range of at least $100,000 today, but just wanted to make sure I wasn't totally in the wrong ballpark. That's close enough for my purposes. Thanks a bunch; I was having trouble finding historical converters that went back to the 19th century, but I obviously wasn't searching with the right terms. -- 12:38, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Tumbo, 3rd son of Shiva[edit]

I am looking for information on a Rom God (gypsy) called 'Tumbo'. I was told that the name means 'stupid' and that his incarnation is elicited by seducing the village 'idiot' during a specific time and in public. The child resulting is the incarnation of this God. In the DIVINE world, he is supposedly the third son of Shiva. Can anyone direct me to source information?BrianzXz 05:43, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Does this help? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Corvus cornix (talkcontribs) 21:11, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Help with an origami envelope[edit]

I have to make a guess as to whether this is the right desk to ask at, because the nice pictures with subcategory captions in the main reference desk page have been removed and replaced with a pretty ugly looking sidebar. Anyway, here goes.

I'm trying to fold this envelope, but I'm having a lot of trouble going from steps 7-9, mainly with doing step 8; I have no clue at all what step 8 is asking me to do. Can anyone help on this?

lvlarx 07:02, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

I wonder why you posted this on the Humanities page...

However I hope this helps. I have folded the envelope and wonder if you proceeded right from step 5. You fold the triangle down on the _.._.._ line and tuck in the squares at the sides like gussets.

Then at step 8 you take the two points at the bottom and fold them up so their edges lie along the sides of the envelope. The tips of the crane's beak and tail are the two points that lie together at the bottom at step 8. The little strips of the reverse colur are flipped over when you fold.

It's hard to explain: I hope the pictures help! SaundersW 14:29, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

This diagram, with a slightly different start, might help. This close-up of the finished product might help you figure out some of the folds. I couldn't find anything else online that might help with the folding process. 06:23, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

taxes for international travelers[edit]

I saw that you have to pay taxes only if you live more than 185 days in a country. But what happens if you live in three countries about 100 days in each? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:32, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Tax laws vary from country to country; there is certainly no international law such as the 185-day thing. In your three-country example, it may well be the case that country A requires you to pay no tax, B requires a pro-rated tax, and C requires a full year's tax. — Lomn 14:22, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Tax law does vary, but, assuming that you live in three countries with a 185-day tax free law, you would, in theory, avoid paying tax. You do have to be quite careful in doing such things, because if you're living off business income from one of those countries, or something similar, you may have to pay tax on it, regardless of your time in the country. There are some regulations to restrict the ways that you can do these things. You would have to consult a financial advisor in each of the proposed countries to be assured that it is legal/possible. Steewi 01:05, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Wouldn't work in the UK, for example, where they also treat you as resident if you stay over 91 days a year over a period of years. Wouldn't work for US citizens, either, who remain subject to US tax laws even if their tax residence is elsewhere. AndyJones 09:47, 28 October 2007 (UTC)




Is this really a religion - without starting a debate can someone with some knowledge of these things explain - ie clarify what it means when someone is described as a kabballist - (is the word related to 'cobblers' - joke?). 12:54, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

For instance can a jew be a kabbalist - would this be recognised as a sect of judaism by other jews - or not/what? 13:53, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

We have an article on kaballah that may help. Kaballah has quite a long history before it became the new Scientology. Friday (talk) 13:56, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
I was wondering what a 'typical jew' (I think I mean proscribed jewish response - or whatever the equivalent is - can't think of the word) would think of a non-jew decribing themself as a kabbalist - disbelief, anger, curiosity, happiness? 13:59, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Kabballa is not a religion. It's a mystical area of study within Judaism. Traditionally, people had to be extremely knowledgable, married and 40+ (ie studious, mature and worldly wise) before they were allowed to study Kabballa's secrets. I've heard the analogy of Kaballa being like the roof on the house; trying to put the roof on (study it) before digging foundations and building strong walls (getting a good basis of study in more conventional Jewish learning) is doomed (at best) to being a waste of time. --Dweller 14:06, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, going back as far as the middle ages, the Christians (and others) appropriated kabbalistic teachings and symbolism. So you can't call it exclusively "Jewish" anymore (altho I've no doubt there are Jews who would dispute this.) The top of the article even links to other articles on non-Jewish kabbalah. Friday (talk) 14:08, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Kabbalah is Jewish mysticism. Christians have "appropriated" elements, which then however cease to be "Kabbalah", but instead qualify as Renaissance magic. dab (𒁳) 14:18, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the link to Renaissance magic from which another question arises - see below Wikipedia:Reference_desk/Humanities#spatula/scapula87.102.94.157 14:32, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Thanks - reminds me of 'new-agers' in the 80's all reading about Hinduism.. 14:27, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

To clarfiy, it's not a religion; it's a way of perceiving the world, the universe and God. Its deepest secrets can supposedly unlock the barriers between the "natural" and the "supernatural", which is one reason why down the centuries, it's attracted magical quackery and charlatans, as well as well-intentioned, sincere devotees. --Dweller 16:01, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

I am a practicing (Qabalist/kabalist/cabalist). Yes, Jewish tradition incorporates Qabala, and as a matter of fact a popular Sidur is "Tehillat HaShem" which relies on Qabalistic theory as developed by the "Zohar" (Book of Splendor). The Zohar was apparently written in about the 11th or 12th centuries and describes specific spiritual practices which are congruous to Jewish beliefs but are not prevalent in common Jewish practice. While Qabala is Mystical Judaism, it's departure from common traditions could be interpreted as a unique religion. The first written Qabalistic treatise is credited to the first century CE and is called "Sepher Yetzira" (Book of Formation). This book decribes 32 paths of widom or intelligence which create a map from the human mind to the throne of GOD, and formulate a tool for identifying phenomina in the observable and invisible universe. The secrets of the Qabala are encoded into the first four books of the Torah, but are withheld from Deuteronomy. The system is creditied to Moses who was learned in ancient Jewish mysticism, called Merkevah, Egyptian mysticism, and Zoroastrianism as learned from his father-in-law, a 'priest of fire' (see: Zarathustra). Christian mystics adopted the system after the 12th century, however "Renaissance Magick" is a bit broad since it contains other elements other than Qabala. Christian adaptation of Qabalistic material would be better pursued under the heading of ROSICRUCIANISM. (Source material: Christian Rosenkreutz, Fama Fraternitatis, Templars, Masons)BrianzXz 21:01, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Jewish people hearing about Madonna studying Kabbalah have the same eyes-rolling reaction as a Buddhist monk from Thailand must have when hearing about Jack Kerouac's interest in Zen. -- Mwalcoff 23:54, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Schattendorf Incident[edit]

What was the Shattendorf Incident? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Qurious Cat (talkcontribs) 12:58, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

The shooting of two people, one of them an eight-year-old child, in a demonstration in Schattendorf in 1927. See Austrian Civil War, third paragraph of that section.--Rallette 13:31, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

see here: The Schattendorf led to the July Revolt of 1927. The incident itself is also mentioned.-- 15:18, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

So would someone (anons can't do this) like to create Schattendorf Incident, and I guess also Schattendorf incident, as redirects to one of the above pages? --Anonymous, 22:00 UTC, October 24, 2007.
Thanks, that's better. --Anon, 01:59 UTC, Oct. 26.

Oleksh Rozumovsky[edit]

In the context of Ukranian history who was Oleksh Rozumovsky? S S Septimus 13:17, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

could this be Alexey Razumovsky? 13:46, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

editing an entry[edit]

Hi, I'm trying to make a few changes to the entry on me (Sidney Wade) but when I hit the "edit" button on the biographical section, what comes up is the "Work" section for editing. How do I gain entry to the biographical page to edit it? Thanks, SidneyWadeSidneywade 14:19, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

The edit link you are hitting (indeed the only "section edit" link on the page) is for the Work section. You would need to use the "edit this page" link at the top. However, it is very much frowned upon to edit one's own entry. If there are factual discrepancies, you might want to post an entry on the Talk page and request that somebody verify and make the changes. --LarryMac | Talk 14:27, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

The section edit links identify the section by sequence number, not name. When you click on the link and it brings up the wrong section, that means that you were looking at an out-of-date copy of the page: someone has edited it to add or delete a section, which changes the numbering. So you need to do whatever you do in your browser to ignore any caching and force the loading of a new copy of the page. (In Firefox on Linux, View->Reload or control-R.) Then the numbering will be correct and the section edit link will do what you expect.

This happens most frequently on pages that are frequently edited, like the reference desks. --Anonymous, 22:07 UTC, October 24, 2007.

Happens on some static pages, too. Pages with many images are usually the culprits. Hover over the link to see what section it applies to. BTW, the Wikipedia cabal "frowns on" many things. Just go for it! —Nricardo 04:45, 25 October 2007 (UTC)


From the page Renaissance magic - a link to Spatulamancy - divination using shoulder blades..

I'm aware of the term scapulimancy - (looks like a redirect or merge is in order..)

But.. Is the term Spatulamancy even correct? eymology of spatula says 'spoon' - is this a spelling mistake, or is the term in proper use? 14:40, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Spatulamancy is indeed divination through the shoulder blades of an animal. Etymologically Spatula comes from the Latin feminine for Shoulder-blade.
Scapulimancy is divination by means of the cracks made in a shoulder-blade when it is put in a fire.
A small difference but an important one. (Still begs the question how you read such dividations...) Lord Foppington 16:23, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Mmmh the article scapulimancy makes the distinction between pyroltic scapulimancy and just plain old scapulimancy.. I'm in no position to make changes here..
The interpretation of pyroltic scapulimancy is well describe by the way - try oracle bone, as for the other.. no idea. 19:26, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
It sounds not unlike extispicy, but rather less messy! Xn4 21:03, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Confederate armory[edit]

Can anyone tell me anymore about the confederate armory in Richmaond? 15:09, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

The subject is from an early enough era that Google book search allows you to view the full text of a number of vintage books which discuss this armory. See "A Short History of the Confederate States of America" (1890) By Jefferson Davis, page 119[1]. The establishment of the armory is discussed in "The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union" ... By John Sheldon Moodey et al pages 491-492 [2]. See also "Jefferson Davis, Ex-president of the Confederate States of America" By Varina Davis, page 374 [3] . The machinery came in large part from the arsenal at Harper's Ferry which was burned by the federal government, as related in "The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government" By Jefferson Davis, page 317 [4]. The burning of the Richmond armory when the city was facing capture is related in "History of the United States of America Under the Constitution" By James Schouler page 606 [5]. A good overall discussion is in The ordnance of the Confederacy" chapter in "The Photographic History of the Civil War in Ten Volumes By Francis Trevelyan Miller, Robert Sampson Lanier" [6]. There is a tabulation of all armaments issued from the armory. There is also the interesting calculation that it took, on average, more than a man's weight in bullets to kill each soldier slain. There is a photo of the armory after its burning on page 307 [7]. You can find other facts about it in other books from Google books. A visit to a library will add more recent coverage from civil war histories. Edison 15:36, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

A legal question[edit]

What is the difference between mens rea and specific intent? I am writing an article called Settled insanity and am getting confused. Thanks! --Mattisse 17:04, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

As mens rea says, is one of the two required elements that need to be proven in common law jurisductions to establish that a criminal offence has been committed. It is the mental element ("guilty mind") - the other required element is the "guilty act" (actus reus).
The level of mental volition required varies from crime to crime - it is often broken down into could be intention (i.e. intending to do something wrong - compare malice aforethought), knowledge (of what you are doing), recklessness (as to whether you are doing something wrong) and negligence (that is, breaching a duty of care - sometimes limited to gross negligence).
Specific intent is a special sort of mental element required for certain crimes in certain jurisductions (as opposed to a "basic intent"). Intent here just means the mens rea required for the crime in question - it does not necessarily mean intention (although that may be the level of the "specific intent" required).
"Specific intent" can also mean a specific intention (i.e. the intention to do something in particular); or an intention in addition to some other mental element; or a state of mind that can be negatived by voluntary intoxication (i.e. the fact that you are drunk can be taken into account in working out whether you have the necessary mens rea, as opposed to a "basic intent" that cannot be negatived by intoxication, even if the mens rea is not actually present). I presume this is what you are thinking of, in the context of settled insanity? -- !! ?? 18:58, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes. Thank you. I will have to think about what you said so I can grasp it! Thanks! --Mattisse 22:51, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Motorway cult[edit]

Is there such a thing as a cult or religion that worships motorways or roads? Keria 18:17, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Mankind? DirkvdM 19:09, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
It's hard to see long flat surfaces as gods, though I rather think the modern world would quickly collapse into barbarity without them. However, in the UK we have a revivalist body, the Campaign for Better Transport (better known as Transport 2000), which believes zealously in railways. I've noticed that as the religion of global warming gathers pace, the demonization of the car is beginning to cross the Atlantic. Xn4 20:01, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Some people might feel that NASCAR and other motorsport fans could be so described, but as for specific organized worship of roadways themselves, I doubt it. Also, be careful of describing anthropogenic climate change as "religion", lest you anger the all-mighty prophet: Al Gore, Inventor of the Internets...and because by so describing climate predictions backed up by numerous peer-reviewed studies and relying on this thing we call science you insult religion. Now then, I believe I was in the middle of selling you some carbon credits and beachfront property in Arizona. Interested? 23:06, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
And Gore even got a Nobel Prize for his little film. Scientists the world over make this impressive report, for which they justly receive the Nobel Prize, and then he makes a flawed documentary about it and gets to share the stage with them. Worse even, the media put the spotlight on him as if the IPCC didn't matter. They're the ones who did all the work. DirkvdM 07:34, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm afraid there's little hope of angering the mighty prophet Al Gore, but ever since climate predictions began they have always been backed up by any number of peer-reviewed studies. Oddly enough, we have no record of these climatologists ever getting it right. Our global cooling article reveals that temperatures were falling around the world from the 1940s to the 1970s, leading to predictions of a new ice age. Alas, like the equally inconvenient medieval warm period, that fails to help the current theories of global warming caused by industrial emissions. So perhaps there is an insult to religion in comparing it unjustly with climatology. Xn4 05:05, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
What, you expect scientists in this difficult field to always get every detail right? The main prediction was that climate change would take place and that globally there would be warming. Which is exactly what has been happening for the last decades, the last decade even so severely that we need only a very limited number of measurements (we only get one per year) to have (as good as) certainty that the Earth is warming up. Statistically, that is quite impressive to say the least considering the chaotic system that's being researched. So it's happening at an incredible speed. And still you claim that the prediction has not come true? What planet are you from? DirkvdM 07:34, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I know it's shocking that science has self-correcting mechanisms and is subject to changes based on new technology and evidence, but there it is. Also, I fail to see how noting past variability in the paleoclimate record, accounting of course for sensitivity to both known and unknown events, automatically invalidates concern about current anthropegenic forcing caused by significant CO2 emissions. All the science is rarely ever "in" but the overwhelming consensus is that the globe is warming. It's undoubtedly true that the models do not have a perfect representation of the climate. All models are wrong, but some are useful. Existing models have reasonable skill in forecasting observables such as global temperatures over multidecadal timescales, when fed modern instrumental forcing data. If you don't buy all the predictions, fine, nothing wrong with a healthy dose of skepticism, but that skepticism should be tempered by a firm grasp of the relevant science and dismissing people's concern over disruptive and preventable change based on the 1970's "global cooling" strawman is asinine. However, this is not the place to discuss this, so I'll refrain. 15:07, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Los Angeles? -- 23:20, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps we're addressing this in the wrong place, but the climatologists' change of tune (from predicting a new ice age to predicting cataclysmic global warming) isn't based on "self-correcting mechanisms... new technology and evidence", it's based on a real change of direction. Between the 1940s and the 1970s the world was getting cooler, and now it's getting warmer again. If the biggest factor in climate change is human CO2 emissions, then there are some mysteries still to be explained. Many of the scientists stress lack of certainty about the causes of global warming, and I gather there's a strong case for a lot more research into the historical variations in solar radiation. (Isn't it odd how heretical it is to say these things, nowadays?) Xn4 00:03, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I'd suggest burning you at the stake for your heresy but the resulting pollution and particulates would conflict with my environmentalism...ah well, guess you're off the hook for now. A final point: I think there is often some conflation between what scientists are actually "saying" and what the media "reports"; driven as they are by sensationalism and being generally dismal in accurately reporting and covering current climate related issues. Disclaimer: I've never even seen An Inconvenient Truth and am too much of a progeny-less fatalist to be too invested in the issue. :) 14:26, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
You're spot on with "...some conflation between what scientists are actually saying and what the media reports". What gets into the news is the spin of non-experts on the scientists' research, and not least the spin of politicians who see the thing in political terms. Xn4 22:22, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I have seen it and was just irritated by exactly the sort of inaccuracy that you mention. That opens the road for criticism, which will make people mistrust the poor scientists who had nothing to do with it. DirkvdM 18:00, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Don't play the martyr and use argumentation instead. After all, this is science we're dealing with here.
Anthropogenic global warming is something that has been researched and affirmed by the vast majority of the world's scientific community - see IPCC's fourth assessment report, which also addresses the variation in solar radiation (it's a minor factor compared to CO2 and methane). Afaik there was never such an in-depth research into that ice age theory. The fact that there is a theory that may explain something doesn't mean the theory is correct - it has to be tested first. The global cooling is something that was observed and for which some possible explanations (theories) were suggested. Global warming is something that was predicted and then observed. Quite a different thing. This is a theoretician's wet dream - you predict something and hey presto it happens. It means you've got a very strong case. But it isn't proof yet. So after that, the biggest scientific collaboration ever was started, which led to four reports over 15 years. Can you point to anything anywhere near that having been done for the global cooling theory? DirkvdM 10:11, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
You seem to be confusing "ice age theory" with what you call "global cooling theory", Dirk. Global cooling is an undisputed part of the historical record. It was happening, most recently for about thirty years, and isn't happening now. It's a factor in understanding and explaining climate change. Xn4 21:19, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
That goes against what the global cooling article says. It says it's a mere hypothesis (not a theory, sorry, I also used the wrong word) and that there was never any significant scientific support. Let me restate what you don't seem to get. That hypothesis was based on observations. Global warming was first predicted and then observed. Something very essentially different because it gave huge credibility to the theory. DirkvdM 09:32, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Alas, Dirk, our global cooling article has been infected by the search for clever formulas of words to conceal the truth. It might not matter much if only Wikipedia editors indulged in misleading us in such ways, but the IPCC does it too, and Gore's film An Inconvenient Truth takes the tendency to new heights (or depths), as confirmed by a recent judgement of Mr Justice Burton in the English High Court, which identifies nine significant errors in the film. As of today, the Wikipedia global cooling article says, "In the 1970s, there was increasing awareness that estimates of global temperatures showed cooling since 1945." For "estimates", please read "measurements": we needed no "estimates" for the previous thirty years when we had reliable and comprehensive world-wide recorded measurements. The same article says a little later "By the time the idea of global cooling reached the public press in the mid-1970s, the temperature trend had stopped going down..." Remarkable, isn't it, that this article can concede that "the temperature trend" had been "going down" (in fact, it had been doing so for some thirty years), and yet in the same sentence it can refer to "the idea of global cooling", rather than "the fact of global cooling"? There is a word for this kind of writing, but I'll let it hang in the air. Xn4 23:41, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Everyone disagrees with you, including the largest collection of scientists that ever cooperated on a single subject, yet you are sure they are all wrong and you're right. Isn't there a word for that?
As for Gore's little film, see my comments above. "For 'estimates' read 'measurements'". Of course, what do you think the estimates were based on? And, sigh, once again, indeed, the measurements came first. It was an hypothesis. Global warming is a confirmed theory - the predictions preceded the measurements. This all-important distinction seems to be beyond your grasp.
And then you question the wording in a Wikipedia article. Try the real thing instead. I don't expect you to read the thousands of pages of the full IPCC report, but at least read the summary. Then come back again. Stop dabbling in pseudo-science. DirkvdM 08:18, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
To assume that those who disagree with you must, ipso facto, be ignorant, doesn't help you, Dirk. If you'll study the history of the world's climate (as well as the present climate change forecasts, which you're well informed on), you'll find that global cooling, as part of the cycle of climate change, is a fact and not an hypothesis. You'll also find that the period from the 1940s to the 1970s was a time of falling temperatures. We need to understand that, not go into denial about it. Do also read my previous post. Xn4 22:58, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
... disagree with the vast majority of the world's scientific community ... You can' read, can't you? DirkvdM 14:42, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
On this point the disagreement with the scientific community is yours. Your second remark will get no reply. Xn4 18:32, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

I'm sorry to be rude but this is disapointing. Keria 23:36, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

I think Cargo cult is the closest thing to what you’re thinking of. --S.dedalus 00:43, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
We did wander spectacularly off the point of your question. Please forgive my asking, but is there a reason to believe there's a cult or religion that worships roads? Xn4 00:55, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
It was more of a hunch than anything well thought out really. Seeing the amount of time some people spent on the road in their daily pilgrimages, how there is so much of a car cult, of having a car makes a lot of people feel good, how aggressive they can get when an alien approaches their praying vessel, how they sometimes approach a near-trans state at the wheel, the hypnotic zooming scenery of the highway mass and how all the commuters get united in their voyage all in the same direction, all this made me think of a religion and I was wondering if there might be some proper road aficionados who would have taken it to that next level. It also evoqued Will Self’s latest Book of Dave and one of his earlier short story about a drug-induced quasi-mystic experience at the wheel of a Volvo. It made me think of Botton’s aesthetic of the motorway service station (although I haven’t read it). So I wondered if there might be a cult, religion or philosophy of the road and motorway (which really doesn’t have to do with polluting since the road is only a flat surface and the pollution is very contingent, there might soon be tons of vehicles that don’t exhale CO2 or we could go back to the animal cart). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Keria (talkcontribs) 14:46, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance? 19:13, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Would you be satisfied with a patron saint/god of roads? —Tamfang 19:57, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

I think I have your line of thought, Tamfang... are you onto the goddess Asphalta, a winner in the Create-a-Goddess competition at ? Xn4 23:45, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Montrose's Highland War[edit]

Please account for the rapid success of the Marquis of Montrose in the Highland war of 1644 to 1645 and the ultimate reasons for his downfall.

Is it right to say, as some sources have, that Alisdair MacColla, Montrose's second in command, was a brave but stupid man? Was he negligent in failing to defend the passes into Kintyre in the campaign of 1647? Thanks. Donald Paterson 18:27, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

First of all, Donald, Montrose had, at the core of his army, a regiment of professional Irish musketeers, superb soldiers brought to Scotland by Alasdair MacColla in the summer of 1644. Beyond that he had the support of the anti-Campbell clans, headed by the MacDonalds, who provided a source of continual recruitment of men who, while not subject to the discipline of regular soldiers, were long-practiced in the arts of war. To the east he also had the support of the royalist Gordon clan, who provided almost all of his cavalry. So, a hard core of trained troops, supplemented by tough and adaptable irregulars, both of horse and foot, made for a formidable combination. This was a time, moreover, when the Scottish army was in England, fully engaged in the Civil Wars as allies of Parliament. The forces raised to meet Montrose in the field were simply not adequate to the task: Lowland troops with little in the way of military training, hastily raised, and just as hastily destroyed, at Tippermuir and Aberdeen. The Scottish government responded slowly to the crisis, and though it brought troops back from England, they did not come in sufficient numbers and were given too many tasks, often divided in the face of the enemy. The mixture of regular forces and local levies also continued to be a serious weak spot, the occasion for further defeats at Inverlochy, Auldearn, Alford.
It might be said that the chief reason for Montrose's downfall was also the chief factor in his success: the reliance on irregular Highland clansmen, who concentrated and dispersed at will. The royal army was also fighting two wars at the same time: Montrose's war on behalf of the King, and the MacDonalds war against the Campbells. For a time the two elements came together; but after the battle of Kilsyth, and the occupation of Glasgow, they came apart, never to be welded together again. Montrose, with a greatly reduced force, pressed on towards the Borders, while MacColla and the clansmen returned to the hills. But there is another factor accounting for Montrose's final downfall, one that is not often given proper consideration: he was an intuitive rather than a disciplined commander; and when it came to the importance of military intelligence, his intuition was simply not enough. Often he simply did not know where the enemy was, which brought him close to disaster on several occasions. At Philiphaugh in September 1645 he was caught napping-literally-by a large force of Covenanter cavalry. The magic was gone. It would not return.
The myth that Alasdair MacColla was 'brave but dim'-and it is a myth-is largley the work of George Wishart, Montrose's pastor, who later compiled a memoir, De Rebus, celebrating the one and denigrating the other. MacColla was not perhaps a great commander, but he had proved himself in both Ireland and Scotland. He was skilled enough to lead his own lengthy campaign in the western Highlands from 1645 to 1647. In the end he failed because the force at his disposal was not strong enough to cover all eventualities. He was caught in an impossible position, having to defend the long Kintyre Peninsula against a threat from both land and sea. The passes into Kintyre were defended; they were simply not defended, nor could they be defended, in sufficient strength. Clio the Muse 22:57, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for such such a great answer, Clio the Muse. Are there some books that you could recommend on this? Sorry to be a nuisance. Donald Paterson 16:00, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, Donald. Go for Montrose by E. Cowan, Highland Warrior: Alasdair MacColla and the Civil Wars by D. Stevenson and A Land Afflicted: Scotland and the Covenanter Wars by R. C. Paterson. All good stuff! Clio the Muse 02:23, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

The Purges[edit]

Heh, I really enjoyed the-lengthy-response to my question on life in Stalin's Russia, so i would like to get the ball rolling with another. What were the main factors determining the shape and progress of the Great Purge. and does the whole thing stand comparison with Mao's Cultural Revolution? Come on now, guys! Mr. Crook 19:11, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Are you writing a book? Bielle 20:06, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
There is lots of useful information available in the two articles you linked to; all the answers you need will likely be found there. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 21:00, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes, that is an apt an interesting parallel between two sets of political events, seemingly so different, but aimed at at the same purpose; namely of eliminination of all obstacles on the path of supreme power. In the Purges the whole tone was set by the trial of Georgy Pyatakov, the former supporter of Trotsky and member of the Left Opposition, and the leading representative of what might be referred to as new forms of Soviet managerialism. It was this class, represented at all levels of the state apparatus, from local Soviets up to the Central Committiee, that was the object of Stalin's 'Cultural Revolution', as he, Vyacheslav Molotov and Nikolai Yezhov, head of the NKVD, hinted in speeches from February 1937 onwards. The theme was consistent: there were 'wreckers', unnamed and unspecified, who were to be found everywhere, in every branch of the economy and society, overlooked by complacent Communists. Most worrying of all, for the majority, compliant and conformist, was the suggestion that not all werckers were to be found among the ranks of the former Opposition.

Once on his feet Moloch began to feed, and to feed on the apparatus of the state itself; where 'enemies of the people' were discovered at all levels, and in all areas. The whole thing was quite subtle, in that the press campaign was essentially directed against a privileged elite, long a source of resentment among ordinary people, but one beyond criticism. Now they knew who the 'bullies' were, the people who had made their lives intolerable; now they could hate and be free in their expressions of hatred; against the old bosses, whose power had supported a lifestyle of dachas, banquets, cars, expensive clothes and luxury goods. There was no need for a Chinese-style Red Guard; the people themselves channeled all the hatred that was necessary against targets that were acceptable. The whole atmosphere of the times, known generally as 'the year 1937', even when it gave way to 1938, was anti-elitist, anti-specialist, anti-managerial, the very same things that were later to be features of Mao's Cultural Revolution. In October of the year '37 Stalin proposed a toast to the 'little people'; for "Leaders come and go, but the people remain. Only the people are eternal." But the people were only there as stage extras, to serve a greater purpose; and the purpose was Stalin's; and the purpose was Mao's. Political power comes not from the barrel of a gun; it comes from fear; it comes from hate. Clio the Muse 00:11, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

America and Americas[edit]

Would it be true to say that the United States has traditionally viewed the emergence of nationalism in Latin America as a threat to its own political and cultural dominance? —Preceding unsigned comment added by TheLostPrince (talkcontribs) 20:18, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

I think that it is certainly a defendable thesis. 22:35, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
Not so fast... I think the U.S. certainly welcomed the independence movements of the early 19th century. The Monroe Doctrine, as later interpreted, seemed to say that Latin American independence from European powers allowed the U.S. to dominate Latin America. -- Mwalcoff 23:15, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

There is a long standing tendency in the United States to equate its system of government as better, purer, more moral than almost any other. Nowhere is this more evident in the realationship to Latin America; nowhere more so that in the attitude towards Cuba. You see, the problem with Cuba is not so much that it is Communist, though that is bad enough, but that it 'broke ranks'; it developed a national alternative to the American model, casting off the suffocating blanket of the Monroe Doctrine. How else is one to explain the hostility, the prolonged and unreasonable embargo? How else is one to explain the resentment towards Cuba, a country with whom the United States has never been at war, and the friendship towards Vietnam, Communism and Conflict notwithstanding? It was all part of a process encapsulated in the words of Woodrow Wilson wnen he said in realtion to the US's most immediate Latin neighbouur "I will teach those Mexicans to elect good men."

The assumption of the Monroe doctrine was that America was the voice of, well, America; of the whole of the Western Hemisphere. Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and before then Juan Peron, were actors who had been historically miscast; on the wrong stage, playing the wrong parts. American policy was based on a failure to undersatnd that other people, other nations, may have a different set of priorities, a different set of values and a different set of aims. For Cuba, so long the subject of oppressive forms of imperialism, so long the plaything of the Platt amendment, the truly important thing is national self-worth, defined in distance from the United States. It is not Communism, a shabby and failed experiment, that has kept Castro afloat for so long; it is nationalism born of a deep-rooted sense of resentment; resentment against the arrogance and condescension of the northern neighbout.

At its worst this arrogance was most acutely expressed in the power of American mult-nationals, not just in Cuba but across the Continent, a power often greater than that of the national parliaments. The United States before and after 1945 freely criticised imperialism across the globe, while attempting to maintain its own suffocating hold on the Monroe Protectorate. Latin American nationalism, wherever it is found, and whither of the left or of the right, was almost bound to define itself in distance from the United States. Washington was simply unable to accept that resentment of its policies had local causes; it came rather, from 'outside forces'; first from Nazism and then from Communism, attempting an ideological breach of the Monroe Curtain. The fact that Argentina refused to break diplomatic relations with Germany in 1941, perfectly proper for a country determined to maintain both its independence and its neutrality, was not a sign of the vigour of its politics, of its rights to self-determination, but evidence that it was a Nazi satellite. Castro did not come on the stage as fully formed Communist, but as the leader of a peasant revolt against an unpopular and American and mafia sponsored dictator. Perceived as a tool of Communist conspiracy he became a tool of Communist conspiracy. He was placed beyond the limits of the legitimate. The problems will only end when the Americas, all of the Americas, find their own freedom in their own way. It cannot and should not be imported. Clio the Muse 01:38, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

The Monroe Curtain. Now why don't we have an article on that? DirkvdM 08:14, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Attendees of the Roman Colloseum[edit]

Did people in the Roman Colloseum do "The Wave"? Or, to put it another way, what is the history of the coordination of movement among thousands to create a kind of mass art or dance? Wrad 20:21, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

  • Audience wave says it was invented in the 1980s. That said, the Colloseum is still standing, so presumably The Wave could be performed there. --Sean 20:56, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Thumbs up or thumbs down; a sort of wave, I suppose! Clio the Muse 01:56, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Except that I've heard that it wasn't done like that. Can't remember what was done, but I remember thinking "how are people going to distinguish between those two signs at a large distance?". I suppose there will have been accompanying exclamations (like 'boo' or 'hurrah'), which were the clearest sign of the 'will of the people'. DirkvdM 09:55, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
According to QI it was simply the other way around.Thumbs down meant 'swords down', and thumbs up meant death. risk 14:16, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I thought the crowd waved scarves for mercy. 00:50, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Ah, but you see, Dirk, only one thumb counted, and that could be clearly seen from the arena. Caligula once gave the thumbs down when the crowd gave the thumbs up. Clio the Muse 02:40, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, but how could he know what the crowd was saying? DirkvdM 10:13, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
He could hardly avoid it! The imperial box stood towards the front of the arena, surrounded on all sides by the other specators, many of whom could be seen and all of whom could be heard. Clio the Muse 00:54, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, that's my point. He could hear all, but only see part of them. And in the Colosseum (not surprisingly big, considering the name :) ) I imagine he could only see a small fraction of the people well enough for this. DirkvdM 09:37, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
What came to be called the Colosseum began life as the Flavian Amphitheatre. It's believed the name Colosseum was given to a colossal statue of Nero which stood alongside, and that the statue then gave its name to the amphitheatre. Xn4 01:27, 29 October 2007 (UTC)

Single parent[edit]

Hi there, I am a single parent with high school education, driving as a taxi cab driver and have two kids, 6 and 4 years old. I need to know what are monthly payments to the City of Toronto local government, provincial Government of Ontario and federal government of Canada? and what are the social programs that are provided by the City of Toronto local government, provincial Government of Ontario and federal Government of Canada for me and my children? Please I need the answers immediately that way I can support my children easily. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:16, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

You have asked this question at least twice before. Please go back and see my answer to it from yesterday. -- Mwalcoff 23:42, 24 October 2007 (UTC)
I have gone to the Ministry of Community and Social Services for the Province of Ontario's website. The contact information for the Toronto Region is:
477 Mount Pleasant Road, 3rd floor
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1G1
Tel.: (416) 325-0500
If you call the main number, someone will be able to direct you to the proper places to find answers to your questions. We cannot do so here on Wikipedia Bielle 00:51, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Single parent[edit]

I am a single parent(widow-my wife died) from Bangladesh and I have a high school education, as you know my English is bad and I have two kids, one is 6 and other is 4. I need to know some things: what monthly payments to the local government of Toronto, government of Ontario and government to Canada and what are these social programs, i hear and who provides them? local government of Toronto, Ontario or Canada? what are these social programs name? Please, I need the answers now. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:27, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

In addition to all the other suggestions in the numerous forms of this question you have asked, there is also the Bangladeshi-Canadian Community Services group, located around Dawes Road and the Danforth in the east end. Their website is [8] and their telephone mumber is 416.699.4474. Someone there may have the information you need, or know how to access it, and they will also be able to help you with any language problems. Bielle 01:08, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Peter the Great[edit]

Did Peter the Great have any ambassadors to the court of King Louis 14th? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:46, 24 October 2007 (UTC)

Although I am not certain, it seems unlikely that Peter sent ambassadors to Louis XIV. The culture and conventions of diplomacy were not yet well established in Russia during Peter's reign. Peter's major diplomatic venture, the Grand Embassy of Peter I, purposely avoided France because of France's traditional alliance with the Ottoman Empire, Russia's foe. If I am wrong, I hope that I will be corrected. Marco polo 01:42, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
You are not wrong! Besides embassies at this time, Russian embassies in particular, were usually appointed for a particular purpose, and in a peripatetic form. A permanent diplomatic presence was still something of a rarity. Clio the Muse 01:49, 25 October 2007 (UTC)