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

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October 25[edit]

Fleetwood Mac Everywhere song[edit]

The fleetwood mac music video for their song everywhere is said to be based on a real life event, can somebody shed any light onto what this event was, thanks --Hadseys 00:17, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

It was based on a poem, The Highwayman. -- Escape Artist Swyer Talk to me Articles touched by my noodly appendage 00:30, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Divorce in Protestant Christianity vs. The Christian Bible[edit]

I've been reading the Christian Bible over the last little while and was surprised by many things. One in particular I found striking.

As can be expected from all sacred texts, the Christian Bible has its share of ambiguity: What is the role of Gentiles vis-a-vis early Christian Jews? Who is ultimately responsible for Jesus' crucifixion? The Romans? The Jews? What about the Eucharist? Was the bread and wine REALLY Jesus' body and blood as some contend? Was it transformed in some sort of supernatural way as others do? Or as others believe, was it mere symbolism?

It's no surprise that the Bible abounds with endless ambiguity.

However one of the most unambiguous of positions taken by the Christian Bible is Jesus' position on divorce. In each Gospel, in clear and in no uncertain terms, Jesus firmly states that Divorce is a sin in that it (almost) inevitably culminates in what Jesus considers to be adultery; that is, marriage is the permanent bonding between husband and wife, and should they divorce and find other mates, their relationship with those other mates would be no less than the committing of adultery against the first.

What I don't understand, then, is how Protestantism managed to find a way around what would appear to be one of the clearest and least ambiguous of Jesus' teachings.

I'm hesitant to ask this other favour, but I must. I would greatly prefer to get a wide spectrum of opinion and conjecture as to the many possible answers to this question, and as such I would humbly request that Clio the Muse take a pass on this one, and leave this question for other editors to reflect upon. Serinmort 06:57, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Mark and Luke are unambiguous that any remarriage after divorce is adultery (Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18), but Matthew allows a little leeway on the grounds of cheating (Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9), and I don't think there's any reference to divorce in John, so it's simply not true that divorce is unambiguously disallowed in each gospel. How protestants, or any other believers, rationalise the discrepancy is a matter for them, but I don't see it as a problem for any but the strictest literal fundamentalist. --Nicknack009 07:38, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I realize that the method of rationalizing anything is a matter for those doing the rationalizing. Still, all rationalizations have at least some surface logic to them. Even the most heinous of crimes are committed with at least the thinnest veneer of rationality. Take perhaps the worst of all, Nazism. Even the Nazis clothed their absurd racial philosophies with scientific pretense. Not to compare the two in the slightest, but the Protestant Reformation was certainly not without rationale, and when it comes to Divorce, I'm not really concerned with the validity/invalidity of that rationale, only the substance of it. It's true that Matthew allows a little leeway on the grounds of cheating, yet from what I understand of Protestant Divorce, cheating isn't a pre-requisite for Divorce. (I confess I haven't gotten to John yet...I suppose I was being a bit too presumptuous there :). Still, in the case of, say, domestic abuse, no Minister would deny a Protestant Divorce to a battered wife despite Mark, Luke and even Matthew. And if Divorce isn't mentioned at all in John, I can't see how anyone with the least bit of rationality could take that ommission and stretch it so far so as to say that the entire Bible now condones Divorce, despite the previous three Gospels.
I'm neither Protestant nor Catholic, and I'm not taking sides here. As I said, sacred texts like the Torah, the Christian Bible or the Koran abound with ambiguity. Yet having read a bit of all three, I'm hard pressed to find any teaching in any three of these texts to be as unambiguous as the Christian Bible's position on divorce. I don't know any Protestant Ministers personally, and so I've come here to see if any of you could tell me, based on actually experience or conjecture, just how a Protestant Minister would respond when asked why, according to his faith, and despite Biblical accounts of Jesus' condemnation of Divorce as a sin akin to adultery, Divorce just isn't any sort of sin at all, and no obstacle to being a good Christian. Serinmort 11:58, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

It's a fascinating departure from the Jewish attitude to divorce - that is, it may be a (far from ideal) necessity for all sorts of reasons. I wasn't aware that Jesus had preached against divorce. Do any of the Gospels cite Jesus' rationale, explaining this difference? --Dweller 12:31, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

The Gospels don't seem to condemn divorce so much as remarriage, although that's a bit of an academic distinction as a divorce that doesn't allow you to remarry isn't really much of a divorce. I suspect the answer your looking for is that theology doesn't usually start with the Bible and work out a position from there, it more often takes a position and then tries to use the Bible to back it up - which it usually can, if it ignores the bits of the Bible that say the opposite. And a good thing too - allowing divorce, like not stoning disobedient children to death, is sensible and humane. My opinion on the protestant reformation is that it was less a theological dispute than a war of independence in disguise. Organised religion is always politics. For a lot of the Middle Ages the Catholic Church was pretty much the Roman Empire in drag, and countries that wanted to be politically independent seized on Luther et al as their excuse to break away. If the issue was sola scriptura rather than political autonomy, I don't think it would have been so bloody. In England, of course, the disguise was weaker than elsewhere, and the excuse was (to bring us back on topic) a divorce. --Nicknack009 17:57, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Not a divorce, heaven forfend, but an annulment! Here in Sweden (the eastern part of which is now Finland) it was more about money – the king wanted to get his hands on church property and tithes. Anyway, I looked this divorce matter up on the Church's website (Finnish Evangelical Lutheran) and it seems they don't really have much of a theological argument in favour of allowing divorce, they just accept it as a fact of life that divorces happen and try not to alienate their paying members by making any kind of fuss. Rather unimpressive, theologically. --Rallette
Perhaps theologically unimpressive, but as Nicknack pointed out, all things considered, it's a good thing for certain of the harshest of canon to be relaxed in order to be more humane. Still, I can't avoid imagining the gargantuan hypocrisy of a divorced and remarried Minister preaching about how gays are destined for hell, the Jews killed Jesus, and even going waaaaay back to Genesis and the story of Noah's son Ham, purported to be the ancestor of the "Black Race", who, because he accidentally saw his dad Noah drunk and naked, was punished by God and all his progeny to be a slave to his his brothers Shem and Japheth in perpetuity due to some comparatively cryptic language in Genesis 9:20-25. They've relaxed the rules against divorce, if only they'd prioritize and give the whole "Christ-Killer", "Gays destined for eternal damnation", and "Blacks punished by God to be slaves to Whites". Thankfully, fewer and fewer hold such astonishingly hypocritical beliefs, yet not too long ago it was quite the norm. (I realize I'm soapboxing here a bit so I'll stop). But that, in a sense, is the essense of my question. Even what I consider the most abomidable of abomidable institutions, the institution of Slavery, whereby one human being OWNS another was rationalized as being in keeping with the values of the Christian Bible. If they found a Biblical passage to rationalize Slavery, I have no doubt that there must be, at the very least, some token Biblical rationale more forgiving of Divorce.
I can't possibly imagine Luther or Calvin simply and without any further explanation just lifting the ban on Divorce "because they felt like it". After all, a key aspect of Protestantism was its emphasis on allowing the masses access to the Bible (by translating it into the vernacular), and removing the intermediary that is the Priest so that they can construct for themselves a more personal, more direct, more informed, and I would say more intellectual examination of their faith. The relaxing of the prohibition on Divorce just strikes me as the exact opposite of everything Protestantism stood for: Following the word of Jesus rather than those of the paternalistic Priests and the often corrupt Pope who would literally "sell" free passes to sin to the wealthier classes in the form of indulgences. I'll stop ranting now, except to say that waiving the prohibition of Divorce just seems to go against the grain of everything I know about the Protestant Reformation. Rather, I would have imagined the Catholics to be far more likely to reverse the prohibition through the simple issuance of a papal bull. Now with the Pope being infallible, (and, once again, often corrupt) and the flock never having even read the Bible in a language they can understand, I would have imagined that the whole thing would have gone over a great deal more easily within Catholicism.
But again, is anyone aware of ANY prominent (or for that matter even unknown) Minister who might have explained how his faith had led him to conclude that Divorce is OK? I appreciate the cynics among you, you've probably got it down better than any of the rest of us. I'm just hoping to get a non-cynical view from a sincere Protestant adherent, as I've no doubt that there are plenty sincere and intelligent people of faith among us. Serinmort 07:44, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Luther explains the restricted set of circumstances in which he would allow divorce in On the Estate of Marriage (see Part Two). I suppose it does amount to "lifting the ban," if you mean "ban" strictly as a total prohibition. But I think you would probably consider Luther's scriptural arguments for those exceptions more earnestly careful of scripture, and less casuistic, than the kind of arguments contemporary Protestants must use to justify a much more permissive attitude (a lazy Googling turned up this essay, which may serve as an example). It is true that many Protestants of Luther's age (say, William Tyndale, who expressed himself on the subject of Henry VIII's divorce) took a much stricter line and saw such dissolutions as Luther allowed as grave sins. After writing the preceding, I notice this article (cf. another article), which I think you will find very interesting. One point it emphasizes is the Protestant reclassification of marriage from the category of sacrament (this is the real break with Catholic doctrine, and it's not scripturally outrageous) to the category of an ordinance like other ordinances. This would seem to be the basis of Calvin's willingness to put adultery and desertion in the balance with divorce (there are historical monographs on marriage in Calvin's Geneva, if you need to know more: ISBN 067400521X [review], ISBN 0802848036). Surely Luther and Calvin are not even close to approving of divorced preachers. Wareh 02:42, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Thanks Wareh! Now that's exactly what I was looking for!
And to Dweller: Though as Jews we may be noted for our tendency to be well educated and for excelling in so many other intellectual pursuits, one enormous exception tends to be our ignorance with regards to non-Jewish, and in particular Christian theology.
Though not based on Jewish Law proper, but rather upon the evolution of Jewish cultural norms as they developed in the Common Era, we seem to have developed a tendency to not only disagree with, or even reject Christianity from a theological standpoint, but to go so far as to shun it; a position I've always taken great issue with.
Certain Christian rituals and traditions which in no way violate any Jewish Law are often treated as if they were sacrelege; for example I wouldn't dare let my father see me "crossing myself" (Is that what it's called? When one reproduces the sign of the cross on one's body, lifting the hand to one's forehead, down to one's navel, and then too each shoulder?) he'd absolutely flip out, despite the fact that I would in no way be violating Jewish Law. I've even heard that there was a time when synagogues would frequently make use of pipe-organs and choirs, that is until it became a "Christian thing", and was therefore abandoned by Jews.
Unfortunately, though I reject it, a bit of my father's almost superstitious aversion to all things Christian has rubbed off on me, to the extent that I'd feel uncomfortable going out to a bookstore and buying a copy of the New Testament to proudly display on my bookshelf. Fortunately, however, I just recently came across a group of Gideons handing out little paperback Bibles and I seized on the opportunity to take one. Still, many friends and family members see it as rather odd for me to actually be interested in reading the thing.
Though Jewish and true to my faith, I've always been fascinated by Christianity, (and more recently, Islam as well) for purely intellectual reasons.
I'm doing some seriously rambling here, but to get to my point, most Jews seem to be seriously misinformed about what Christianity is all about. Dweller seems to be displaying the same misconception of Christianity as I always had; that is, that Christianity differs from Judaism little more than by the fact that Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah as prophesized in the Book of Isaiah whereas Jews do not.
In fact, as I've recently learned, it's far more than that. A great part of Jesus' teachings consists of a complete repudiation of Jewish Law. For example, I always simply thought that for some reason, Christians celebrate the Sabbath on Sunday, whereas Jews do on Saturday. I hadn't realized that Jesus indeed recognized Saturday as the Sabbath Day (Matthew 12:1-12, Mark 2:23-3:5, Luke 6:1-10, John 7:22-23), yet disagreed with supposed Jewish Laws concerning how it should be observed. I say supposed, because in the first three cases Jesus heals on the Sabbath, which for some reason was considered forbidden. This could not be a more innacurate representation of Jewish Law. From what I was always taught, it is not only permissible to break the Sabbath for health reasons, indeed it is commanded that a Jew enthusiastically break the Sabbath when serious health matters are concerned.
With regard to Jewish dietary law, though outlined quite clearly in Deuteronomy 14:3-21 that certain animals are forbidden for consumption, Matthew 15:11 is quite telling of the manner with which Jesus rejects Jewish Law: "It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man." Hello bacon!
Sorry for the rambling. I'll shut up now. Serinmort 09:27, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Nicknack says it's not divorce that's the problem, it's remarriage. Why? I believe Christianity regards marriage as a sacrament, so wouldn't you want people to be back within that sacrament? Finally, does the Gospel aversion to remarriage apply equally to widows/widowers? --Dweller 10:40, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

I was just commenting on what the passages from the gospels say - if you divorce and marry again, you're committing adultery, the implication being, if you divorce and stay single, that's okay. I have read that the very early (Roman) Christians were very keen on total celibacy, and that married people who converted were expected to abandon their marriages or at least the marriage bed.
Serinmort, as an atheist with a protestant Christian background, I think Christians are just as ignorant about Judaism. It seems to me that what Christianity repudiates is not Jewish law, but a caricature of Jewish law - as befits a religion that I think was probably originally a Greco-Roman cult based on exotic, and imperfectly understood, Judean material (like Mithraism was a Greco-Roman cult based on exotic Persian material), rather than an offshoot of Judaism per se. But that's probably soapbox territory. --Nicknack009 16:52, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Agreed on the soapbox comment. I'm sensitive to beliefs that differ from my own and as such I fear that some of my comments could potentially be rather insulting to certain Christians. If that is so I apologize. I'm not here to preach, just to discuss and learn. (Nicknack, let's be careful not to gang up on all those sincere and faithful Christians out there! No sarcasm intended.)
I'm just curious though, when you speak of Christianity repudiating a charicature of Jewish Law, are you speaking of contemporary Christianity and Judaism or the Christianity and Judaism that Jesus was purported by the Bible to have respectively preached and repudiated? Serinmort 17:10, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Both, really. The example you quote of healing on the Sabbath, for one. For the other, the churches I attended as a youth preached that, under Jewish law (the Old Covenant), the only way to be saved was to obey every rule in the Bible to the letter with no slip-ups, which God only told us to do to show it couldn't be done, thus demonstrating the need for Jesus's redeeming sacrifice. --Nicknack009 17:48, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Well there's certainly no ambiguity about the fact that pork is indeed unkosher, and that Matthew 15:11 is a repudiation of a bona fide Jewish Law, not a charicaturization. But that tends to be one of the few exceptions to the rule. For the most part, you're absolutely correct. In fact I was completely unaware (ignorant?) of the particular Christian teaching concerning Judaism you brought up; the teaching that according to Judaism, humanity's inevitable fallibility unavoidably leads to its inevitable damnation. As a Jew I find that notion not only untrue, but extremely foreign as well. The Christian concepts of damnation and hell simply don't even exist in Judaism. On the contrary, all of humanity inevitably ends up in Olam Haba, the Jewish variant of "heaven" or "paradise".
Rabbinical scholars contend that upon death, the soul of every human spends a period of time in what is known as Gehinom, very roughly comparable to the Christian notion of purgatory, for a period no greater than one year, to answer for one's sins during one's lifetime. The more righteous the person lived his/her life, the shorter the period. Gehinom should not be confused with the Christian concept of Hell. It is not a place of suffering and torture; rather, more like a court for one to answer for the life s/he led.
According to our teaching, Jews are actually given a rougher time and held to a far higher standard of righteousness. Far less is required of Gentiles, or more appropriately "Noachides". While Jews are required to abide by 613 rules, Noachides are only held to the Seven Laws of Noah. Indeed, Christians are highly regarded for their monotheistic beliefs, and enter "Heaven" as Righteous Gentiles.
I'm nonetheless very conscious of the condescension and even insult a Gentile must experience upon basically being told: "Don't worry, since you're not Jewish, far less is expected of you. You'll get into heaven in no time. Us Jews though, we'll have a much rougher time because so much more is expected of us."
I know I'd feel incredibly demeaned to hear that. So much so that perhaps I'd grow to hate those "elitist snobs" who apparently don't believe I'm capable of living up to their standards. I recognize the hurt this can inflict on one's self-esteem, despite whatever guarantee of heaven I might get in return. "They can take their heaven and go fuck themselves. I'd rather be a first-class citizen of Hell than a second-class citizen of Heaven." It's a dilemma my conscience has struggled with a great deal. Serinmort 00:41, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
I sort of know what you mean about feeling demeaned - I have a friend who's a catholic who gets quite upset that her protestant friends think she's going to hell - but my attitude is, if someone's religious beliefs make them believe strange things about what's going to happen to me when I die, that's their own problem and I'm not going to worry about it. As for your dilemma bout being "a first class citizen of Hell than a second-class citizen of Heaven", that reminds me of a thought that occurred to me while I was still (just about) a Christian. If to make us fallible and then condemn us to eternal torment by default for our fallibility is, as it appears, unjust, and an important part of Jesus' message is passive resistance to shame the oppressor ("turn the other cheek"), then if I believe in the afterlife set-up proposed and want to follow Jesus' teaching and example, then I must enter hell willingly. In the end, though, I concluded that Christianity, or certainly the brand of Christianity I was attempting to follow, put so many arbitrary constraints on a supposedly all-powerful and all-benevolent god's ability to forgive that it was nonsensical, and eventually came to the conclusions about the origins of Christianity that I mentioned above. --Nicknack009 09:28, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
This is a fascinating exchange we're having here. Unfortunately I'm having a lot of difficulty trying to understand your last post. Could you perhaps "dumb it down" a notch for this ignorant Jew to understand? :) I'm genuinely interested in what you're trying to say, I just can't follow it the way you phrased it. Serinmort 12:48, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
The theology says that (a) God created us, (b) we are inherently sinful and cannot live up to God's standards by our own efforts, and (c) that by not living up to God's standards we are deservedly damned. In other words, by being as our creator created us, our creator condemns us to eternal torment, which to my mind is unjust. A major strand of Jesus' teaching, according to the gospels, is "turn the other cheek" - i.e. shame your oppressor into changing his ways by taking whatever is dealt out, and not only not retaliating, but inviting more. If sending people to hell is unjust, then to follow Jesus' teaching I should willingly allow God to send me there, in the hope that he'll see what he's doing is wrong and be shamed into changing his ways. Bear in mind this is just a thought experiment, taking the rules of evangelical theology as true for the sake of argument. --Nicknack009 17:09, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Liberals versus Tories[edit]

Was the political struggle over the Third Reform Act in 1884 a foretaste of of later battles between the Liberals in the Commons and the Tories in the Lords? 07:27, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it certainly was! Joseph Chamberlain, the great Birmingham radical, described the Lords' intransigence over the extension of the franchise in the Reform Bill as 'the Peers versus the People.' With the possibility of a dissolution of parliament, and a huge demonstration in Hyde Park in July, organised by the Liberal radicals, it was the political harbinger of the much more famous battle in 1910 over the People's Budget. But under pressure from Queen Victoria, amongst others, Lord Salisbury, the Tory leader, decided to reach a compromise with the government of William Ewart Gladstone, allowing the bill to pass, along with the Redistribution of Seats Act, which addressed some of his concerns over electoral bias. The extension of the franchise was a significant step in the democritisation of England, which meant that the question of the power invested in the unelected House of Lords would one day have to be addressed and settled. Clio the Muse 02:15, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Bess Meyerson[edit]

How about a page on this fascinating woman? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:48, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Are you perhaps thinking of Bess Myerson? If you're thinking of someone else, you can request the article at Wikipedia:Requested articles. - BanyanTree 11:40, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
  • I have added a redirect from Bess Meyerson, since the spelling of her last name is a little unusual. --Sean 13:31, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Black heads of state[edit]

Excluding hereditary monarchs and tribal leaders, who was the first black head of state? 10:02, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

What do you mean by "black", "state" and "head of state"? By excluding hereditary monarchs and tribal leaders, are you limiting yourself to modern nation states? Does the person have to be elected?
Would you count someone like the Roman emperor Septimius Severus? Or Alara of Nubia (the first king in his dynasty and hence - one assumes - did not inherit the throne)? Or Toussaint Louverture? -- !! ?? 11:10, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Toussaint Louverture is the closest of those three to what I meant, yes - modern nation-state, and not ruled by a monarch. I am aware that the Caesars were "hereditary" only in a rather tenuous sense, but I wouldn't really consider berbers to be black anyway, so I don't think Septimius Severus cuts it. Since you raised the issue, yes - let's define it as an elected leader. 11:23, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Having been born in Africa doesn't necessarily make you black, any more than having the name of Scipio Africanus does. See Race and ancient Egypt. Corvus cornix 21:23, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
As I said, define "black". Septimius Severus is generally considered to have at least some Berber ancestry (our article says that he "came from a distinguished and wealthy local berber family"), but that may not be sufficiently "black" for you, I suppose. I guess there is no guarantee that a King of Nubia is "black" too (or, indeed, that at least one Pharaohs is not black, for some value of "black"). Shrug. -- !! ?? 23:55, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

If Norman Schwarzkopf became U.S. President, would he be called the "Blackhead of State"? :) -- JackofOz 00:07, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

taxes for international travelers[edit]

If you live more than 183 days in one place, you pay taxes there, but where do you pay taxes if you live about 120 days in three different countries?? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:24, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

This has been asked before (see above). The rules for tax residence differ from jurisdiction to jurisdiction - some tax their citizens, whether they are resident or not; some may continue to consider you to be resident, even if you only visit foe 120 days; some may tax you pro rata, or only on income earned during your visits. See also tax exile and perpetual traveler; the cruise ship The World is an example of a way of trying to avoid being resident anywhere in particular. -- !! ?? 10:48, 25 October 2007 (UTC)


its sort of a riddle,an ancient expression with pentecostal origin.what is it —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:06, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Happy Shavuot? Really, I think you'll need to give us a bit more information. --Dweller 12:19, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
"If you're born once, then you die twice, but if you're born twice, you die once." - Nunh-huh 15:28, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Lloyd George Protest[edit]

Today Prince Charles will unveil a new statue in front of the Houses of Parliament of David Lloyd George, a former British prime minister and war leader. The Daily Mail, in reporting this, says that the honour has been condemned by some left wing pundits and anti war campaigners, including Harold Pinter and John Pilger, who intend to protest at the event, because Lloyd George talked of of "reserving the right to bomb niggers". While he was still prime minister britain bombed insurgents in Iraq and other such places. Did he use those words and is the protest then justified? Qurious Cat 11:17, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Hey, man, I'm sorry for posting this twice, but you've got a SERIOUS problem. For a start its really, really slow and each time I got an error message. It was only when I checked did I see that that my question had appeared. I see from the above that others are having the same problem. What's wrong? Qurious Cat 11:22, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

I deleted the double posts. You're right, editing Wikipedia is terribly slow these last few days. I once even lost an edit, so I advise you write in a text editor or something first and then copy that here, in case something goes wrong. And then when you get an error message or it's terribly slow, open the page in a new window (top left of the page) and you might see your edit has already come through. If you want to help prevent this, you might give a donation. The conspirationist part of my brain even suspect that it's done deliberately to give people an incentive to donate. :) DirkvdM 11:41, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
You can also simply right-click and copy your edit to your clipboard as I always do. Just in case something goes wrong, all you have to do is refresh the browser, right-click again and paste. Dirk's just being overly European about the whole thing with his complicated method. It may be less efficient, but then again, if it wasn't for people like him, the text editor he's speaking of would be without work and unemployed. :-) Serinmort 12:21, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I always have an editor window open for the various things I am working on, sort of like a Wikipedia sandbox. Concerning efficiency, in the Netherlands it is standard to work 32 hours per week. In the US that's about 50% more (58 hours per week - is that about correct?). But the GDP per capita is in the US only about 12% higher. So now who's less efficient? DirkvdM 10:22, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Have you tried googling that? I don't know about the reliability of those sources, but there are 20 hits. There's one link to Wikiquote talk page, where there is a short discussion on this. And David Lloyd George#Later political career (1922-1945) also mentions it. It appears to be genuine. DirkvdM 11:46, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

It was 1934, for goodness sake! As the man said, the past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.

According to nigger, In the United Kingdom, "nigger" is now established as a derogatory and often "criminal" word, but as recently as the 1950s it was widely regarded as acceptable in Britain for black people to be referred to as niggers. Modern sensitivities about racism and policital correctness in thought and word and deed were some way off in the 1930s - I dare say that you will find an awful lot of people using the "n-word" in those days, if you look hard enough. And are we sure he said "nigger" and not "negro"? -- !! ?? 12:26, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Surely the problem is not George's use of the word 'nigger' for the subject peoples of the British Empire but rather his insistence on Britain's to indiscriminately slaughter those peoples if it found it expedient? This was, after all, back in the days when deliberate targetting of civilians was widely considered an outrage. Algebraist 13:46, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I would make the same point: that was then; this is now. The protest about the statue is motivated by the current British government's overseas entanglements, and has little to do with Lloyd George (the only Welshman to become British Prime Minister; Prime Minister at the end of the First World War; proponent of the People's Budget). Heaven knows, he was no saint - as the affair of Maundy Gregory shows; but then there are statues to all sorts of dubious figures in London - perhaps a better place to start would be Bomber Harris. -- !! ?? 14:30, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I saw the letter from Pinter and Pilger in the Daily Telegraph. Lloyd George does not happen to be one of my political heroes, but I felt moved enough, had I been in London, to have trotted along to Westminster to pay my respects to the old goat! The protest is ridiculous, a way of reappraising the past in the light of contemporary concerns. If we are to vet our statesmen for the things they said during their lives and times, then take down every statue in London, every statue in Washington, every statue across the world, to be replaced by-what else?-momuments to Pinter and Pilger! Lloyd George was one of the most significant figures in British history, the founder, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, of the Welfare State, including, for the first time, provision for the elderly in the form of old-age pensions. Himself at one time an anti-war protestor, he went on to be a superlative Minister of Munitions and an inspiring Prime Minister during the Great War.

As for the remark in question, I wonder if the two Ps have even bothered to consider the context, or, indeed, the meaning and significance of the phrase in question. It was recorded in 1934 in the diary of Frances Stevenson, his second wife, the only source we have for these words. Lloyd George, of course, had been out of power for twelve yeras, and not in a position to bomb 'niggers', or anyone else for that matter. It has been taken by some, clearly those with less subtle intellects than Pinter and Pilger, to be an ironic reflection on the stand of the British government during the disarmament talks sponsored by the League of Nations in 1932. The German delegates had called for an end of aerial bombardment during conflicts, but Britain argued that this option should be retained. I personally welcome the Welshman to the pantheon, and will go along to give him a passing nod this weekend! Clio the Muse 01:18, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

On the British bombing of Iraq in the 1920s, I seem to remember that one target was Kurdish rebels who were out for independence, and Winston Churchill, the Colonial Secretary at the time, was the most gung-ho member of the British cabinet. He made an infamous remark supporting the use of poison gas against "uncivilized tribes" which was far more extreme than anything Lloyd George said. So if LG is to be pulled down, Churchill should go first.
On nigger, I know one or two old people (white people, that is) in the UK who still use it without any self-consciousness, but they are over eighty. I've also heard much younger black people using it. The title of Agatha Christie's book Ten Little Niggers (UK title) wasn't changed in the UK until 1985. When I was a child, I learnt the jingle from other children Eenie, meenie, minie, mo, catch a nigger by his toe, if he hollers, let him go, eenie, meenie, minie, mo, and remember not knowing at the time that nigger was supposed to be a bad word, except that if you used it around grown ups, some of them disapproved of it. I haven't heard that jingle for a few years, I suppose it's died out, now. Anyway, I support the point that one really mustn't moralize about people's use of words in a different age. The world moves on. Xn4 01:29, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
The "catch a tiger" substitute (mentioned at Eeny, meeny, miny, moe) is still common in the U.S. It's the only version I heard growing up in the American South in the 1970's and 1980's; I only learned what it replaced through a more or less adult conversation like this one. Wareh 13:51, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I always heard it as 'catch a tinker' and 'if it squeals' not hollers. But then I suppose that is offensive to either Irish Travellers or travelling salesman. And the tigers one is clearly incitement to animal cruelty. Although I'd like to see someone try catching a tiger by the toe (perhaps a travelling insurance salesman?). On the original question, I understand there are people who get offended by everything, but to read Pilger et al's letter made me laugh (bombed Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, coincidence they chose to highlight those three?). Anyway I could rant on all day. Cyta 15:32, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Our version was 'catch a knicker', thus avoiding offending anyone while amusing us with a 'naughty' word. Unless they misheard us, but that never occured to us at the time (as we didn't know that such offensive words existed). (And if you look at the article, I'm quite proud of the early examples it includes that use a variety of words) Skittle 22:01, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Czar Nicholas in London[edit]

I hear Czar Nichlas I visit London in 1844. What is known of visit and purpose? S S Septimus 13:37, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Following the signing of the London Straits Convention, Nicholas visited Vienna and Berlin in 1841 and London in 1844 to persuade those governments that "the downfall of Turkey was imminent" telling the British Government "In my Cabinet there are two opinions about Turkey: one is that she is dying; the other is that she is already dead". See [1], ultimately these events led to the Crimean War, see also [2]. Foxhill 23:22, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

An interesting and largely forgotten story, a pity, really, for Queen Victoria made some remarkably insightful observations about Nicholas in correspondence with her uncle, Leopold, King of the Belgians.

Anyway, the whole thing came about in a fashion unique to Nicholas. He governed Russia in the manner of a military command, whose subordinates had always to be on the alert for the sudden appearance of the commander-in-chief. He saw no reason why he should not conduct state visits in the same precipitate style. He was also motivated, in part, by fear of assassination, a prospect that had haunted him ever since the suppression of the Polish uprising in 1831. On a visit to Prussia in 1834 he even wrote to his son and heir, the Grand Duke Alexander, with a testament full of advice on how to govern Russia in the event of his death. He was less apprehensive in 1844 though all those connected with the visit, apart from Victoria, her chief ministers, and the Russian ambassador, were only told to expect a 'Count Orlov'.

The said 'Count' arrive at Woolich on 1 June, with the minimum possible notice. Accompanied by Prince Albert and Robert Peel, the Prime Minister, he visited Viotoria and Buckingham Palace and then at Windsor. Victoria later recorded her impressions in a letter to Leopold;

He is certainly a very striking man; his profile is beautiful, and his manners most dignified and graceful; extremly civil-quite alarmingly so, as he is full of attentions and politeness. Bur the expression in his eyes is formidable, and unlike anything I ever saw before. He gives me and Albert the impression of a man who is not happy, and on whom the weight of his immense power and position weighs heavily and painfully; he seldom smiles, and when he does his expression is not a happy one.

The visit itself, of just over a week, was largely trouble-free, though there was a small demonstration at Ascot, where he attended the races with the Queen, when leaflets were handed out among the crowds, describing him as a greater tyrant than either Caligula or Nero. Victoria was in continual anxiety that anti-Russian feeling would lead to an assassination attempt. However, the only incident of any note was when a Polish emigre who tried to bribe a footman to allow him entry to Windsor Castle when the Tsar was in residence. Generally, the Nicholas left a good impression among the people invited to the functions he attended. After he left on 9 June Victoria recorded her final impressions;

He is stern amd severe, with fixed principles of duty which nothing on earth will make him change; very clever I do not think him and his mind is an uncivilized one; his education has been neglected; politics and military concerns are the only things he takes great interest in; the arts and all softer occupatiosn he is insensible to, but he is sincere, I am certain, sincere even in his most despotic acts, from a sense that that is the only way to govern.

As Foxhill says, the chief, indeed, the only purpse of the visit, was political; even the socialising was political. Nicholas hoped to establish a firm understanding with the British on the Eastern question, the issues arising from the continuing decay of the moribund Ottoman Empire. There was some basis for his optimism: both powers were concerned by the ambitions of the French July Monarchy, particularly in relation to Egypt. At Windsor Nicholas had openly said "I highly prize England; but for the French choose to say about me, I care not at all-I spit upon it." But in the end the visit only deepened mutual misunderstandings: Nicholas thought that he had obtained the friendship of Victoria and agreement with her government; for the British it had only been an 'exchange of views' on matters of mutual interest, from which no firm bond had emerged. Much suspicion of Russian motives still remained. Clio the Muse 00:46, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Deja vu dreams?[edit]

This should possibly be at the Science desk, but I find Humanities always garners more numerous and interesting responses, so here goes: what's the term for those dreams you get where you picture a scene, then days/weeks/months later you experience the exact scene as in your dream (often accompanied by the immediate realisation that you've dreamt the exact scene before)? More importantly, what causes them and have they been studied in any great detail? What does it imply about the nature of time? Zunaid©® 13:50, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

I actually tried to study this. I'd dream of a situation weeks before hand, then I find myself reliving it and I actually be able to know what was going to happen next; only a few seconds then my prediction would go wrong - like I'd seen some sort of alternate situation that was close to the one I was in but the outcome would be different. Anyway, I recorded these occurrences over a few months and tried to see if there was a pattern (correlation between moon phases, temperature, weather etc), but there was none. I think they still call it Deja vu (french for already seen), just over a longer period of time. Think outside the box 14:49, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Recurring dream --Dweller 15:10, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
No, not a recurring dream, this is many different, unconnected dreams that later actually happen in reality. Think outside the box 15:19, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Definitely not a recurring dream. Its a bit eerie, like a fore-telling almost. Hmmm, I can't recall having deja vu's that deviated from the dream, they seem to be pretty exact in my case. They are generally about very mundane things e.g. I once dreamt of a driving past a roadside scene with trees along one side and a signpost and farmstall on the side of the road. Months later we went on holiday and we drove along a stretch of road with exactly the scene I had pictured. I seem to have abstracted it one layer further though: sometimes in the dream itself the dream-me realises that he's seen this scene before, then when I relive it for real, I not only realise that I've seen this before, but I realise that I realised that I had seen this before. Weird. I haven't had such dreams in a couple of years now, I wonder if it goes away after a few years or a certain age? There must surely be research out there, and probably a good few theories too. Anyone else experienced this? Can we push to win the refdesk thread of the week award? :P Zunaid©® 15:43, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Interesting. I thought I was unusual for having these. I guess Tyler Durden was right and I'm not a snowflake... Dismas|(talk) 10:30, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Let me try a somewhat scientific (statistical) approach nevertheless. After you've had a dream, how many situations do you find yourself in over the next few months (say 100 days)? Depends on what you call a situation, but let's say 10,000 (100 situations per day). Now how many dreams have you had in your life? Let's say 1 per day over 30 years. (Notice I'm using very conservative estimates.) That would be 10,000. So there are 100 million possible dream/situation combinations. Now comes the tricky bit. How many possible situations are there? Again, it depends on what you call a situation, but if there are less than 100 million then pure coincidence is a sufficient explanation (assuming this happened to you once). If there are more, it could still be coincidence, but the chances decrease as the number rises. Let's say there are 10 billion possible situations, then the chances are 1%. Small, but still possible. You need to come with something better than that to support any new theory about the nature of time.
Of course, there are many more situations of the magnitude of driving past trees, a farmstall and a signpost (how many of those are there?), but that means you have to adapt the numbers on both sides of the equation, so the result is still the same. And you say it happened more than once, so you need to adapt for that too. But I just wanted to hand you the basic reasoning. Working the actual numbers here is impossible because they are not available. Which is why you can't draw any conclusions. (Conclusions based on lack of knowledge would bring you dangerously close to religion.)
For a more everyday illustration, long time ago, when my father bought a new car I noticed there were lots of those cars around. They appeared to have come out of nowhere. Of course they had 'always' been there, but there was no reason for me to notice them (very un-boyish, I was not 'into' cars at all).
But maybe a better approach is this: you see what you expect to see. That's how your mind works. This is needed for everyday 'survival' - if you fully analyse everything then you won't get anything done. So your mind makes shortcuts. So if two things are sufficiently similar then you (for the moment) assume they are the same. And a remembrance of a dream is a vague recollection at best, so it's easy to make links when you're open to the possibility.
I'm not saying that there is nothing out of the ordinary at work here. It's just that when I can explain it with something ordinary, then that makes more sense. DirkvdM 11:13, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I realize that it's not something that seems normal to everyone and that the more scientific among us will try to find a scientific explanation including figuring out rough statistical odds. But when I have these dreams, the reoccurence in real life includes the exact dialogue of the dream, hand movements, people's reactions, etc. They aren't simply everyday things. Dismas|(talk) 11:22, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
What Dismas said. It's not about statistical odds or human beings trying to make a vague recollection fit into a pattern (as we are wont to do). It is EXACT, even the deja vu-within-deja vu that I get is exactly as it occurred in the dream. That roadside farmstall scene was exact to the last detail. Dusty gravel along the sides, a stand of trees on the right (not e.g. a row of trees along the road), the farmstall, the sign, everything...and so too have been the other dreams (which for the life of me I can't recall now, years later. I should have kept a journal). I've spoken to quite a few different people and they have these same dreams, so it doesn't seem like a rare phenomenon. Zunaid©® 12:32, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

INFO: Googling for "deja vu dreams" brings up this page which briefly mentions the phenomenon and calls it precognitive dreams, and apparently between 18 and 38% of people have had them. Googling for "precognitive dreams" brings up a WHOLE lot more. Have to go, I'll catch up with this on Monday. Zunaid©® 12:32, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

You would certainly get less interesting answers on the science desk. Your dreams say nothing about the nature of time, but they say plenty about the nature of the human mind. Precognition is impossible (don't say that nothing is impossible, because then it is possible that some things are impossible), so whatever is happening as regards your dreams, it isn't that you're seeing into the future. If we reject the mystical explanation, what's left is psychology and biology and philosophy.
A human thought, or dream, is the most ephemeral and insubstantial thing in the universe, and the universe is made of nothing but human thoughts and dreams. I half remember a story where someone asked the wise old man when the universe will end, and he answered "When I die." We half remember everything, but especially dreams. It's not surprising that the hints and images and latent suggestions in our dreams conform to our waking reality, because our waking reality is a dream (that's an epistomological statement, not a mystical one) and our lives are a half-remembered dream. The box we think within is our skull, and there's no getting outside it.
"Deja vu dream" is an appropriate name, because the same force is at work in both. We extrapolate, we fill in the gaps. We see what we want to see, and only what we want to see, because we can't see anything else. We impose order on the chaotic world, bravely, futilely. We believe what we know, and our delusions are our certainties. --Milkbreath 12:53, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
A problem with taking this to the science desk is that hard proof that such dreams exist is hard to come by. In order to prove it, a person must have a dream, write it down in detail, ensure everyone else reads what they wrote, and then wait to see if what they wrote actually happens, and then convince everyone that what happened would have happened even if they weren't waiting for it to happen. I unwittingly did something similar. Shortly after High School, Danzig released their first album. I was listening to it with a friend. That night, I had a dream about visiting a record store I've never seen with some guy I've never seen. I flipped through the CDs and found a Danzig CD, "Lucifuge" and asked the guy I didn't know if he'd listened to it. The next day, I detailed the dream to my friend and he said I was being stupid. Danzig only has one CD and it isn't named Lucifuge. A few years later, after joining the Marines, I was in a record store in Los Angeles with another Marine that I knew and I flipped through the CDs and found "Lucifuge". I asked him if he'd listened to it and suddenly remembered the previous dream. I called my friend to ask if he remembered me telling him about it and he said that he didn't remember me every mentioning anything about a dream about a Danzig CD. Now, when I relate this to someone, there is no proof of the dream. I could just be making the whole thing up. So, you can see that you must document the dreams in detail in such a way that others are certain that you wrote down the dream before the event happened. Then, with proof, there may be interest in scientific study. My opinion... we have dreams in which we relive an event from our past. Why not have dreams in which we relive an even from our future? Time is basically the same in both directions. So, don't be bothered by dreams about the future. Be worried when they stop - because it may mean that there's no future to dream about. -- kainaw 13:26, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Wow! You guys are like the "precogs" from Minority Report (film). All I have to say is, you better hope the U.S. Government isn't reading this, or you'll soon find yourself kidnapped and hooked up to elaborate machinery, being used to predict future terrorist attacks. Be careful. 14:05, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

I already am on file with the government for several reasons (no, none of them are nefarious) so I don't really care much anymore about what they investigate. "It's not paranoia if you know they're watching". Dismas|(talk) 16:25, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Kainaw, that's exactly the kind of thing I'm thinking of. It seems so mundane at the time yet when it happens it is exact to the last detail. p.s. I've already dreamt of my death, twice. The one is unlikely as I was in a platform game ;) but the other is a distinct possibility. It gives me the chills because it seems plausible and seemed very "real" in my dream. But I have had dreams after that one, just not recently. Anyway, home time :) catch up on Monday (unless I get shot while hiking). Zunaid©® 14:53, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

This happens to me often in conversation - I'll be with a group of people and then realise I've dreamed this before. I can never speak, always just know what people will say before they say it. I tried writing my dreams down and it succeeded once. I dreamt I was walking back to the dressing room after a Gaelic football match, and my friend say "What did you think of my contribution?" and I said "yeah, very good". I wrote this down. About 2 weeks later, this friend turned up ages late to a game and only played about 2 minutes at the end. As we walked back to the dressing rooms I gradually tuned into the fact that I'd heard this conversation, and that my friend's next line was ... the breath caught in my throat and he said "What did you think of my contribution?" and I gulped "yeah, very good". All true. EamonnPKeane 15:12, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Here's why there's little evidence for precog dreams: the only evidence that would work would be making a record of the dreams in as much detail as possible, and noting down if/when they come true. Turns out that people have trouble doing that, for some reason they can't make a record of the dream on waking, but when they get to an event, something in their mind goes "Hey, I dreamed that weeks ago". It may be a peculiarity with the way the mind predicts the future (in that it won't let you see the prediction until it comes true), or it may be that the "prediction" doesn't happen until after the event. So, if you want to prove to yourself that you're predicting the future: first make detailed notes of your dreams - what happens, the words people say, the season, anything; then whenever you find yourself in a "I saw this in a dream" situation, record the details (in detail!); compare the records and consider the possibilities of obvious prediction (a situation that often happens to you, an event that you'd expect if you thought about it, phrases that your friends often use, a place you always go at that time of year, etc), coincidence (non precise predictions may fit easily into fairly random events), or genuine precognition (exactly predict some unpredictable future event, like winning thousands or more on the lotto, or seeing New York hit by an asteroid). --Psud 18:11, 28 October 2007 (UTC)
And of course, publish your records in a very public place and tell all your friends and family so that you'll have witnesses when things do happen. This has been really interesting so far. So we know that it isn't all that rare; there are quite a few people just here who have had such dreams. Just a couple of questions to move the discussion along:
  1. To those who have such dreams: is it always about mundane things such as conversations, scenes etc.? Has any "exciting" dream come true (disaster, accident, crime, wet dream etc.)?
  2. Is there any pattern to your dreaming? Has it come and gone with age? Are they haphazardly spaced or do you dream them fairly regularly?
  3. Judging by the exactness of the scene/conversation to the last detail, it seems we really do somehow see into the future. Would anyone like to venture a theory about how these dreams come about? Sci-fi, religion, hell even a scientific explanation will do ;)
  4. As above, but w.r.t. to the nature of time and the potential for time travel?
Looking forward to the replies... Zunaid©® 07:44, 29 October 2007 (UTC)
In my experience, there is no difference between the dreams that eventually happen in the future and dreams about things that have happened in the past. They are very mundane and memory of the dream (when the future event happens) is triggered by something such as noticing a red car drive by and suddenly remembering a dream about it and the next one or two events afterwards. But, they happen so quick that it is not possible to run and grab someone and say "Look what is going to happen!" I usually prefer dreams about the past anyway. I recently re-lived in a dream my very first play as a running back. The ball was tossed to me and I froze for what I felt was a good 10 minutes, but was only a second. Then, I ran for the corner, got a block, and ran as fast as I could for the endzone because I was very scared of being tackled. Everyone was happy about it, but I was still scared from the whole event for a while afterwards. I believe that everyone has these sort of dreams - reliving events in the past and future - but is very rare for a dream to be transferred to long term memory. -- kainaw 17:22, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

What happened to the monks[edit]

What happened to the monks and nuns after Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:57, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Actually, most of the institutions dissolved by Henry had less than a dozen monks or nuns in residence. Even the largest had barely fifty. In 1536, when the Dissolution began, there were only 12,000 monks and nuns in all, a population that had been in rapid decline for some time. Henry, contrary to popular perceptions, was not completely oblivious to public opinion. He knew the measure would be unpopular and took steps to appease hs critics. It is true that most clerical land went to the government, but a proportion was handed over to the Court of Augmentation. The income generated was used to fund schools and colleges, thus taking up the educational function once practiced by the religious houses. It also paid pensions to the evicted monks and nuns, at such a rate as to enable them to live a modest rural lifestyle. Only a few monks opposed closure to such a degree that violence had to be used against them. Most accepted the pensions and lived their lives out in peace. One abbot in Shropshire even bought his old monastic lands, declared himself a Protestant, beginning to live as the local squire! Clio the Muse 23:52, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
As a small illustration of Clio's comments, I've done some work on the Augustinian priory at Beeston Regis, Norfolk. The last Prior, Richard Hudson, and his four canons all subscribed to the Act of Supremacy 1534 and were granted pensions. Hudson himself became Rector of Newton Flotman. Xn4 00:44, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Truckle/trundle bed (history of)[edit]'s "word of the day" on 10/12/07 was truckle. Within the explanation of its origin, it was stated that a trundle bed was the smaller bed of the pupil, stored under that of the master's. Is this related to the practice of having a boy sleep in the locked room of a single man to serve as watch-dog? I remember seeing in the film version of The Decameron such a situation. Also, wasn't there a murder of a political figure in the Middle Ages that was witnessed by the boy unbeknownst to the assassin? Was this a practice in Scotland during the time of MacBeth? LShecut2nd 14:07, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

There's a quote in the diary of Samuel Pepys' diary from the 1st May 1662 - "To bed all alone, and my Will in the truckle bed" - which supports that having a boy Valet sleep on a truckle bed was common in the 17th Century. (Will Hewer is the servant Samuel mentions in the extract by the way).
The earliest known use of the word "Truckle Bed" (according to the OED) comes from the statute of Magdalen College, Oxford which also agrees with your point of a pupil sleeping in the same room as a master in a smaller, lower bed.
As regard to the murder and Macbeth I don't know. But there is a line on a trunkle bed in Shakespeare: "There's his Chamber, his House, his Castle, his standing-bed and truckle-bed" (Merry Wives of Windsor IV.V.6) Lord Foppington 16:30, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

searching for article describing neocon 'plot' to affect a permanent Republican Presidency and Congress[edit]

Somewhere I read this article, but I've been unable to find it again. It was attributed to the American Enterprise Institute and to notable members of that organization, i.e William Kristal, Paul Wolfowitz and others. I have scanned my file of New Yorker essays, which I thought might have been the source, looked at the AEI website to see if any of their publications sounded familiar, and reviewed "Truthout" publications. Can anyone point me in another direction, or find the article? It wasn't long, just a couple of pages, if I remember correctly, and I believe I saw it within the past year. 14:33, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Well, there's Karl Rove's dream of a "permanent Republican majority" if that's what you're referring to. Wikipedia doesn't have an article on the idea but if you Google it you can find a large number of references. -- 15:20, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Note: I assume you mean 'effect' instead of 'affect'. The latter would imply there already is such a thing. DirkvdM 11:19, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Are you looking for the Project for a New American Century? AecisBrievenbus 11:24, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

The progress of "economics."[edit]

Recently the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize in Economics were announced. With due respect to the winners, my response was apathy. What difference has all the economic theories since Adam Smith really amounted to? Is the problem that the "science" is not really a science? Or, perhaps, the human factor is not a constant. We in the U.S. have been living under the "trickle down" idea where the rich are made richer so that the people beneath them will benefit. It has been more like "piss on" than trickle down. People who have played by the rules often end up in poverty, even though they have been college-educated and worked hard.Is the problem that governments follow only those economic ideas of a select few who have only their own interests in mind? "Economics" originates from "house-keeping." Yet, there were high-level economists who, a decade ago, argued that national debt was a good thing. Citizens have gone into debt in order to buy houses and cars. Is debt good for the nation but bad for the individual? Why is third-year algebra taught in high school but nary a course in personal finance? Gore Vidal once suggested that those in control want to keep the educational system right where it is, in order to easily manipulate those who have been educated enough to be good workers, but not so much as to be good thinkers. Forgive me for my rambling, but one thought led to another. I have to ask these questions,because I was educated in the Arts and Sciences, yet am unable to fathom what I see happening. LShecut2nd 15:30, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

I have no answers to your questions, but you may find some meagre comfort in the fact that it's not really a proper Nobel Prize.--Rallette 18:42, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
It's not referred to as "the miserable science" for nothing. Economics does lend itself to absurdity. My favorite is when Carter proposed the entirely rational policy of a gas tax that would be entirely refunded back to consumers, with the sole purpose of reducing gas consumption and dependence on foreign oil sources. (This works because consumer demand drops as the price of a good increases, regardless of the change to consumer wealth.) Then the opposition screamed, "You want to raise taxes!", and it all went away. Oh, there are some knee slappers that would make you weep. - BanyanTree 22:11, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
It's not clear what some of the above has to do with economic science (vs economic rhetoric). But tell me, if Carter's fuel tax was to be refunded to consumers, how could it have any effect, other than to encourage people to carry more cash? Or do you mean it would be transferred to the People in general (in which case the word "refund" is a fraud)? — The epithet dismal science, by the way, originated in a diatribe of Thomas Carlyle against those who refused to consider the intangible spiritual benefits of such institutions as slavery. —Tamfang 22:59, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I'll let Robert H. Frank give details. - BanyanTree 01:44, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Of course (in a 'modern state'), in principle all taxes (minus overhead) are transferred/refunded (whatever) to the people in some way or another. Only if it were given back to the same people in the same proportions would it not be effective. DirkvdM 11:35, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, economic theories are pretty vague. The reason is that it is exceedingly difficult to experiment on societies, so the theories can't be verified. A good example is communism/state socialism. This turns a society completely upside down. The number of variables is staggering. Yet the number of experiments has been pathetically low (in the dozens at most). And that is probably the best argument against such experiments. Getting all the variables right would be an astonishing coincidence. Or an incredible insight. One might say economics has more to do with gut feeling than with science - but gut feeling can be a good guide. The problem is whose gut feeling to follow. The best strategy would be to keep as many things as possible equal, change just one thing and see how that works out. But that takes an enormous amount of time, and sometimes people aren't patient enough for that. Especially when they are being suppressed, as was the case with all (?) instances where state socialism arose. Actually, given the pathetic state those countries were in when state socialism was introduced, some did surprisingly well, but I suppose that has mostly to do with people wanting to build a better world for themselves, after all the misery they had been through.
But economics also works with hard numbers, expressed in money. But a major problem there is that one cannot assume the participants in a society to behave rationally. Take the free market. The basic idea is that a manufacturer who produces the better products will grow because the (rational) buyers buy his products. But then we have commercials. These are effective because people are influenced by them. But commercials are basically manufacturers saying that their products are better. Well, they would, wouldn't they? So commercials are the worst source of info on the quality of a product. Still, they work. Boy, do they work. They pretty much dominate the buying behaviour of consumers. So where's the rationality here? Still, the system has brought us an incredible amount of progress. One might argue that socialism (the state playing Robin Hood) made sure of that. Giving workers buying power gave a huge boost to the economy. At least, that makes sense to me, so one can say useful things about economy. But it's still largely a crystal ball. I'm sure there is a much better system, but how are we going to find it? Certainly not by not looking. We should just be very careful with what we try. So be conservative, but not too conservative. DirkvdM 11:44, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

U Boats and Ireland[edit]

Is it true that U-Boats werre refulled during World War Two in hidden coves on the west coast of the Irish Republic? 15:47, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

This says not, although U-1206 was sunk by a lavatory.[3]
However, the British did consider using military force to gain access to the Treaty Ports, which were only handed back to Ireland in 1938; and there was Plan W if Germany invaded Ireland. -- !! ?? 17:14, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

It's almost impossible to explode myths like this, which keep surfacing, submarine-style, regardless of the facts. However, I always lead the forlorn hope, so let me try to shoot this down, once and forever!

Eamon de Valera's obduracy over British use of the Treaty Ports, which would have greatly increased the security of Atlantic conoys, was a source of considerable resentment. It is almost certain that the U-boat story was invented at this time as a way of discrediting the Irish government and their policy of strict neutrality. But the simple fact remains that in 1939 Eire had tiny stocks of the type of diesel fuel used by U-boats. More than this, the country was suffering from an acute shortage of fuels of all kinds. The suggestion that Ireland would give assistance to the Germans to sink the very ships that carried the little oil it did receive is absurd to a quite extreme degree. There is, moreover, not a trace of documentary evidence; there are no eyewitness accounts and no German sailor has ever made such a claim, though plenty have spoken of their vessels refueling in Spain, supposedly another neutral country. U-boats did operate in Irish waters-one landed a the crew of a Greek tanker they had sunk-though this was a dangerous practice, in view of the British bases in Ulster. It did not happen; it could not happen. Let the story die. Clio the Muse 23:25, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

It seems incredible that the British would return the Treaty Ports in 1938 and then require them again a year later... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:51, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Well there was this war, see... Skittle 21:56, 28 October 2007 (UTC)

Feminist critique of Sociology[edit]

I was wondering if anyone knows of any online articles or journals that talk about women being excluded from sociological theories/research or ignoring gender differences. My essay is on whether theories are neutral. --Stacey talk 15:56, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Quiet, woman, can't you see the men are talking? I'm just kidding, but seriously Clio, even if she doesn't have an answer, will at least have an interesting opinion on this matter. Beekone 16:38, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure, Beekone, for this is really quite far from my chief areas of concern in feminism: but, what the hell, I'll do my best! Stacey, your terms of reference are a little unclear to me. Are you suggesting that theoretical models themselves disallow a feminist perspective, or that there is some process of practical discrimination at work against women in the field of sociological research itself? Beyond that I really do not want to anticipate your conclusions, but it would seem obvious to me that there is no such thing as a 'neutral' theory, which always begins with a particular perspective or set of assumptions. After all, as Louis Althusser might have said, we are all guilty of a particular reading! I do not know of any online articles that might be of help, and I am reluctant to suggest a specific set of texts, because I think from a past encounter that you are a sociology student, and should be weighed down with reading lists. I can tell you, though, that I personally found Barbara Littlewood's Feminist Perspectives on Sociology (2004) quite useful, as well as Feminist Sociology: Life Histories of a Movement (1997) ed. B. Laslett and B. Thorne. I wonder if you have perhaps gone beyond these? So, off to the library! Clio the Muse 23:01, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Well I'm having trouble understanding the question myself so I need to see my tutor! The question is "Theories are neutral. Explore this questions from a feminist perspective." I was going to talk about how there has been a lack of research done on gender, therefore suggesting it isn't important and then talking about how when studies have been done, women have been presented in a stereotypical way. I have come across B. Thorne! I have an article from Social Problems called The Missing Feminist Revolution in Sociology, which I have so far included. --Stacey talk 17:38, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
Sounds to me like the idea the question is leading you towards is that sociological theories are, from a feminist criticism perspective, not nuetral. So, maybe pick a theory from sociology, ideally one that's easily susceptible to criticism from a feminist perspective and do a little deconstruction on it. Does the theory reflect patriarchal, phallocentric, male-dominated, etc. worldview/perspective/biases? If so, how? Also, if yes, why might this be (which is where you might talk about lack of gender research, or opportunities for females in the discipline, or the general insenstivity and ability to listen and communicate of men, or whatever)? From what you've conveyed that sounds to me more like what they are looking for. As for research, I suggest getting on JSTOR or equivalent, plugging in some relevant search terms, and seeing what you come up with. Finally, don't forget that an interesting and suitably narrow thesis is where it's at. Cha-ching, A+. Azi Like a Fox 18:42, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Wife of the neurologist Dr. Moritz Benedikt[edit]

Can any user please tell me the name of the wife and the date of marriage of the Austrian neurologist Dr. Moritz Benedikt who lived between 1835-1920. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:25, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

See Moriz Benedikt. Xn4 00:18, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
No, that article is about the journalist Moritz Benedikt, not the physician Moritz Benedikt! The German WIkipedia seems not to have an article on the neurologist. - Nunh-huh 07:49, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
An autobiography of Moritz Benedikt (the physician) has been scanned in by Google books: Aus meinem Leben: Erinnerungen und Erörterungen. Unfortunately, I can't find the actual name of his wife in it. They were married 20 January 1868 in his final Dozentenjahre, and she died 8 March 1905, shortly before the book was written. Therefore, he tells us, he cannot write much about her out of grief. The mention of his marriage is on page 126: "In meine letzten Dozentenjahre fällt ein glückseliges Privatereignis, meine Verlobung und meine Heirat (20. Jänner 1868). Ich habe mir ein Weib errungen, wie ein edleres und besseres nicht zu erringen war. Aber auch auf diesem Ereignisse lag ein Fluch meines Lebens; ich mußte mir mein Glück durch schwere Kämpfe und Opfer erringen. Die Geschichte meiner Verehelichung ist ein Ausschnitt aus der politisch-konfessionellen Geschichte Österreichs der damaligen Zeit . Ich habe jetzt nicht die Kraft und den Mut, diese Geschichte niederzuschreiben, da eben in den letzten Tagen (8. März 1905) mir meine edle Frau durch eine schmerzliche Krankheit entrissen wurde." You may have better luck than I did scanning for an actual name. - Nunh-huh 10:01, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
There is a place on the web - which I cannot find at the moment - that permits access to the archives of various Viennese newspapers (perhaps the Weiner Zeitung?) If you could find that and look at marriages on 20 January 1868 and the days following, you might find Frau Benedikt's maiden name. - Nunh-huh 10:18, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
I'm glad we now have the right Benedikt! That should be Wiener Zeitung. And I'll give you a quick translation of the passage Nunh-huh quotes - "In my final years as a lecturer, a very happy event in my private life occurred, my engagement and marriage, which came on 20 January 1868. I gained a wife who could not have been nobler or better. But this event also laid a curse on my life: I could only attain my good fortune through heavy struggles and great sacrifices. The history of my marriage is a part of the political-religious history of Austria at that time. I do not now have the strength and courage to write down this history, at this very time when so recently (8 March 1905) my noble wife was torn from me by a painful sickness." Xn4 21:50, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
The Wiener Zeitung online archive is at <>. Browsable, but sadly not searchable. And on browsing a bit, it seems it is easier to find what's playing at the theatre, what the atmospheric pressure is, and the current stock prices than it is to find marriages! - Nunh-huh 01:26, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Sliding average of economic growth[edit]

Is there anything that makes it inappropriate to calculate arithmetic averages of (economic) growth? If growth is 2 % the year 2000, 3 % the year 2001 and 4 % the year 2002 the average is 3 %. The problem is obviously that 1,02*1,03*1,04 = 1,092624 and that 1,03^3 = 1,092727. (The inaccuracy gets much bigger with more variables.) Is that a problem? I am thinking of drawing a graph with a sliding average of US GDP growth over the last 200 years, to show the development over time. Is it approriate to do that from a scientific point of view? Thanks. 17:39, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, it's way wrong. What you want to do is calculate the geometric mean: which will give you the number you seek. Donald Hosek 18:50, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
To put it another way, the average is correct if you first put everything in logarithms. —Tamfang 22:52, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

German short story[edit]

I'm trying to track down the name and author of a German short story set towards the end of the war. It concerns a small girl in Berlin preparing for an important celebration, a birthday or something, I can't remember exactly what, oblivious to the anxieties of the adult world. T Eulenspiegal 18:08, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Could this possible be Der Erstkommuniontag by Elisabeth Langgässer, from her collection Der Torso, published in 1947? It certainly fits your general description: the excitement and anticipation of a child set against the fears of the adults around her, and is set in Berlin in the final stages of the war. The event in question is, of course, not a birthday but first communion. Clio the Muse 22:28, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Yes, I think it might very well be. Thanks. T Eulenspiegal 18:57, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

The Needles[edit]

I recently came across this strange controversy: Was the rock known as Lot's Wife which might have been part of The Needles originally tall and thin or short and squat? --Filll 19:47, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

From the illustration in the article, it appears to have been tall and thin. Donald Hosek 16:41, 26 October 2007 (UTC)
The controversy is based in large part on the question of the accuracy of that illustration. --Carnildo 21:29, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

That is just it; there is another earlier illustration (see the section at the bottom of the article) that shows it as short and fat. Some claimed that all of the tall and thin illustrations were well after the collapse of this rock formation, but the one we have at the top of our article was before the putative collapse. Therefore...who knows?--Filll 21:44, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

Republican Presidential Races[edit]

Coming from somebody who generally has to fight against Republicans, I've found something kind of puzzling. It seems like, from what little I've been able to gather about him, Ron Paul stands for things most Republicans (or conservatives or Hannity type people) have been waiting for. From news clips of debates and other things, like I recently heard some GOP forum had banned RP people, it seems like Republicans don't like Ron Paul either. Does nobody like Ron Paul, or is the US two party system not really loyal to the idea of loyal opposition anymore? I'm confused, please help. I try to be a good patriot, but sometimes it's hard to be american. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:55, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

Dr Paul didn't get the memo that such ideas as small government belong only in campaign speeches, not floor votes. —Tamfang 22:49, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
Well, I don't know much about Paul (and am not a Republican) but a skim of his bio makes it look to me like alienated himself from the GOP party leadership himself — while he is aligned on many issues, he doesn't seem willing to play the political game as much as the GOP would probably like (the GOP in the last decade has rated loyalty much higher than ideological fidelity). So I wouldn't be surprised if he was marginalized for a reason relating to that, despite the obvious ludicriousness of such an approach to picking a national leader. -- 23:51, 25 October 2007 (UTC)
I think a line late in the article Political positions of Ron Paul is quite telling: "In order to restrict the federal government to its constitutionally authorized functions, Paul takes positions that are opposed by the majority of his colleagues." His strictly Constitutionalist ideology is unlikely to go down to well with more pragmatic politicians in his party, and he is a long way across the political spectrum from those in the Democtratic party. Rockpocket 19:47, 26 October 2007 (UTC)

SIngle Parent[edit]

I am single parent from Bangladesh and my wife died of bone cancer in that country so I came here for my children's education. one is 6 and other is 4. I need to know something before I come to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. What are the monthly payments to the local government of Toronto, provincial government of Ontario and federal government of Canada? and what are the social programs provided by the local government of Toronto, provincial government of Ontario and federal government of Canada? Please I need the answers immediately. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:48, 25 October 2007 (UTC)

My condolences on your loss. When you say "monthly payments", do you mean taxes? In Canada, municipal governments only collect property taxes. If you do not own property - i.e. if you rent - then you don't pay these taxes. (Your landlord pays and they are built into your rent.) Income taxes are paid to both the provincial and federal governments. However, there is an income threshold below which people pay little or no taxes, and tax rates increase as your income increases. It is impossible to say what your tax rate would be without knowing your income. As you ask about social programs, I assume that you would have a fairly low income and so you would probably pay little tax.
There are a range of social welfare programs adminstered by the three levels of government, and it is difficult to say what you would qualify for without knowing more about your situation. You could probably start by looking for information on the web sites for the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario. Social programs in Ontario are provided through the Ministry of Community and Social Services. The City of Toronto also provides some social services.
I hope these links help. Good luck. - Eron Talk 01:35, 26 October 2007 (UTC)