Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2007 September 7

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Humanities desk
< September 6 << Aug | September | Oct >> September 8 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Humanities Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.

September 7[edit]


What South American capital city made it legal to run red lights between 10:00PM and 5:00AM to avoid carjackers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:38, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Rio de Janeiro, apparently, in 1999. They didn't repeal the law, so far as I can tell; rather, they said they would not enforce it. grendel|khan 00:43, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Great! Thanks so much —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:58, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

What flag is this?[edit]

What flag is depicted in this image? I couldn't find it on the list of national flags, or on What's the joke in the caption? grendel|khan 00:40, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Looks like the Flag of Chicago. ---Sluzzelin talk 00:51, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Why would the flag be supported by two little birds? DuncanHill 00:56, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Er, to keep it from falling down? --Anon, 01:08 UTC, September 7.
I do not wish to know that, kindly leave the stage............. I shall rephrase my question:- Is there any significance to the two little birds holding the flag? Are they in some way symbolic of Chicago? DuncanHill 01:10, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
No there's no significance. I'm guessing that there was a tattoo template of birds holding a flag, and then she wanted a Chicago flag in the flag space. While I have to cop to having lived about 60% of my life in Chicago, I've never encountered another city where the flag is so prominently used both officially and as a fashion statement. As for the joke, I think that the caption writer just couldn't come up with some thing funny to say (having looked at all the other captions throughout the 32 pics). Donald Hosek 01:48, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Maybe you have to read the preceding comment to understand it: "What we did on our summer vacation: took pictures behind your back".martianlostinspace email me 16:16, 7 September 2007 (UTC)


So I have been studying mythology lately, and one thing I have been wondering is what certain phrases used in the myths meant. Such as 'unable to bend Ulysses bow' and 'a chimearical scheme'. If you could help, my question is this, What do 'unable to bend Ulysses bow' and 'a chimearical scheme' mean, but put into todays saying? Thanks a lot! 02:29, 7 September 2007 (UTC)Katie

Hi, Katie. To begin with 'unable to bend Ulysses' bow' has the same literal meaning now as it did in the time of Homer. Penelope, troubled in her husband's long absence by unwanted suitors, finally agrees to marry the one who can bend and string Ulysses bow for an archery competition. The only person strong enough to do so is Ulysses himself, who comes home unrecognised. He promptly kills his rivals. To bend a bow like Ulysses simply means to be very strong. A Chimera in mythology is a monster made up of different animal parts. A 'chimerical scheme', which is of entirely modern usage, means something fanciful and unrealistic; a bit like Wikipedia! Clio the Muse 03:11, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
The story about Ulysses' bow is told in summary in our article on the Odyssey, and can be found in full (in translation) in The Odyssey/Book XXI (search for "string the bow"). Odysseus and Ulysses are, respectively, the Greek and the Latin names for the same character. Wiktionary also has an entry chimerical; the word chimærical with æ is an old-fashioned variant spelling.  --Lambiam 07:46, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
In "modern usage," to say that someone is unable to bend Ulysses's bow would be to suggest, in a conceit, that the person is a loud/likely contender who is nevertheless not the proper/chosen. Like the noble youths of Ithaca who derided the "beggar," the person acts like a big deal but lacks the necessary character for the task. Utgard Loki 15:16, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

William Peverel's family[edit]

At, the author suggests that William Peverel married Adelina, daughter of Roger of Poitou.

However, Adelina is not listed as one of Roger's children at

Furthermore, sites such as and suggest that Adelina is not the child of Roger of Poitou.

Rather, these sites show no parents for Adelina, wife of William Peverel (father); they propose that it was his son, also named William Peverel, who married Avice, daughter of Roger of Poitou.

Is it your opinion that the author of misassociated the father and son in regards to the families into which they married?

I recognize that and are subject to errors because, like wikipedia, their content is supplied by volunteers and hobbyists (non professionals).

Perhaps you have access to more fact-based information that could clear up this conundrum. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Xelaquetzal (talkcontribs) 02:53, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Mistakes do happen in medieval genealogy. By the way, to link to a Wikipedia article simply put the keyword in [[double square brackets]]: William Peverel, Roger of Poitou. Besides being concise, this has the advantage of turning red if the article doesn't exist. —Tamfang 04:07, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
I've copied the above question to Talk:William Peverel.  --Lambiam 07:58, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Indeed, the Poitou connection is just a random guess. The Complete Peerage is not sure about her parentage. You may consult for details or follow this link to soc.genealogy.medieval. --Ghirla-трёп- 14:05, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Melodic death metal[edit]

Who is the best melodic death metal band of all time? When answering this question, please adhere to the following strictures:

  • Do not send me a link to a group or category of several bands. I know how to find that myself. Just tell me who the best one band is.
  • Please provide a reason why this band is the best one.
  • Do not say Death (band). I don't care for them.

--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 03:10, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Opeth, because they have a few nice quiet songs as well as badass death metal, they play in cool time signatures, and because of Mikael Åkerfeldt's voice (you can't even say his name properly without sounding demonic). —Keenan Pepper 03:45, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
I could give them a try. But I don't like anything too elaborate, symphonic, flowery, cheesy. Raw rock and roll is what I'm after. What song would you recommend? --The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 04:09, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Ghost Reveries has several great songs. Try "The Baying of the Hounds". 17:41, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Have you listened to In Flames? IMHO melodic death metal doesn't get much better. . .but that's just me. Zain Ebrahim 08:26, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

I'm afraid you're asking for opinions and if you read the terms of reference at the top of this page, that's not what this page is for. And even if it was, it would be a question for the Entertainment Ref Desk. --Dweller 12:47, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Humanities Reference Desk: History, Politics, Literature, Religion, Philosophy, Law, Finance and Economics, Art, Music, Society
And I'm sure there are plenty of reliable sources that might posit the greatest artist within this genre w/o editors having to resort to their personal opinions. --The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 12:51, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Also the terms at the top of the page make reference to debates, soapboxes and diatribes, not opinions. I'm not debating anyone.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 12:53, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
The funniest music I've ever heard in my life was My Dying Bride. I'm not really sure what "best" means in the context of death metal—if it's obliviousness to absurdity MDB takes the cake. --JayHenry 08:28, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Oliver Cromwell in the Caribbean[edit]

Sciences humaines.svg
WikiProject Reference Desk
Article Collaboration
This question inspired an article
to be created or enhanced:
Please consider contributing

Please tell me about his foreign policy and war on Spain. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Damballah (talkcontribs) 07:33, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

You can read all about these topics at Anglo-Spanish War (1654) and Oliver Cromwell. Enjoy! --JayHenry 08:25, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
If we are talking specifically of Cromwell's policy in the Caribbean, then the pages you have linked here, JayHenry, fall well short of even a partial answer.
To begin with, Damballah, on the assumption that you have read the Wikipedia page on the Anglo-Spanish War, ignore the statement concerning Oliver Cromwell's alleged belief that it was 'God's will that Protestant religion should prevail in Europe.' It is both fatuous and bogus. Whatever Cromwell's personal commitment to Protestantism may have been he pursued a foreign policy that was at once pragmatic and realistic, allying himself with Catholic France against Catholic Spain. In essence, by going to war with Spain he was seeking a return to a policy of commercial opportunism pursued in the days of Elizabeth I and subsequently abandoned by the Stuarts. Cromwell's attack on Spanish trade and treasure routes immediately recalled the exploits of Francis Drake and Walter Ralegh; and it is not by accident that printed accounts of their activities began to circulate in England at this time. There was, however, one small but important difference: alongside silver and gold a new treasure was becoming ever more important-sugar. This meant occupation of territory, a step beyond the casual piracy pursued in Elizabethan days. Here, in outline, was Cromwell's 'Western Design.'
The fleet sent to the West Indies in 1655 under Admiral William Penn was one of the strongest ever to sail from England, with some 3000 marines under the command of General Robert Venables, further reinforced in Barbados, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis. Although Cromwell had previously been interested in the possible acqusition of Hispaniola, the expedition's commanders were given the freedom to determine their own priorities in the circumstances they faced on arrival. Several options were considered, including a landing on the coast of Guatemala or on Cuba. Both were discounted, as Penn and Venables decided to attempt to repeat Drake's attack on Santo Dominigo on Hispaniola. However, the assault failed because the Spanish had improved their defences in the face of Dutch attacks earlier in the century. Weakened by fever, the English force then sailed west for Jamaica, the only place where the Spanish did not have new defensive works. They landed in May 1655 at a place called Santiago de la Vega, now Spanish Town. They came, and they stayed, in the face of prolonged local resistence, reinforced by troops sent from Spain and Mexico. For England Jamaica was to be the 'dagger pointed at the heart of the Spanish Empire.' Cromwell, despite all difficulties, was determined that the presence should remain, sending reinforcements and supplies. The Western Design's anti-Spanish purpose even survived the Protectorate itself, later to be revived in the raids of Henry Morgan. Clio the Muse 23:57, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Under Milk Wood[edit]

Oh please help! For the last year I've been searching with an increasing sense of desperation for any work of literature comparable to Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas with its metaphors, rhythms, made-up words, and internal rhymes. And well, all of it:

"To begin at the beginning:
It is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black, the cobblestreets silent and the hunched, courters'-and-rabbits' wood limping invisible down to the sloeblack, slow, black, crowblack, fishingboat-bobbing sea. The houses are blind as moles (though moles see fine tonight in the snouting, velvet dingles) or blind as Captain Cat there in the muffled middle by the pump and the town clock, the shops in mourning, the Welfare Hall in widows' weeds. And all the people of the lulled and dumbfound town are sleeping now."

If you can name anyone else who writes like this, or with a style comparable to that of ee cummings or Joyce, I will be eternally grateful. Thanks so much! 08:13, 7 September 2007 (UTC)MelancholyDanish

A number of American English exam papers refer to comparisons between Thomas' style and Emily Dickinson's "Because I Could Not Stop For Death", but I'm not sure how comparable they are. Might help though. SGGH speak! 10:28, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Look Homeward, Angel is in the same general ballpark, but Thomas's style is his own style. Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory is somewhat close as well, but not in Thomas's own style. Utgard Loki 15:13, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Kublai Khan[edit]

1. who were the several Europeans that visited Kublai khan? 2. where did Kublai Khan get born and where did he die? —Preceding shawn comment added by (talk) 10:32, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

The second part of your question is answered in our article on Kublai Khan. I don't understand the first part of your question.--Shantavira|feed me 12:31, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
I think the OP means 'who were'. In which case Marco Polo is the obvious one. Algebraist 13:06, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Not to be confused with Marco Polo. :) DirkvdM 18:46, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
What? I always assumed they were the same guy! Algebraist 19:24, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
There were three of them: Marco, Maffeo, and Niccolo Polo. --Ghirla-трёп- 13:54, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

who else than Marco Polo.

John of Montecorvino arrived in Khanbaliq within several days after Khubilai's death. His predecessors included Giovanni da Pian del Carpine, William of Rubruck, Simon of St Quentin, Ascelin of Lombardia, André de Longjumeau, etc., but they visited the courts of Khubilai's ancestors, uncles or cousins rather than Khanbaliq. --Ghirla-трёп- 13:51, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Why is Lyon no longer called Lyons?[edit]

Is there any particular reason (particular, that is, to the case of Lyon or of names of places in France) the English name Lyons is no longer used (much) for the city of Lyon?--Rallette 10:40, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

There has been a gradual shift over the past century or so from "conventional English" names of less prominent European cities to the local forms of those names (in writing, with the closest possible pronunciation using English phonology). Commonly used convential English place names, such as Rome or Munich remain in use for more prominent cities, but perhaps through increasing travel, English speakers are more likely to know the local forms of more obscure place names than the old conventional English forms. Examples include Regensburg rather than Ratisbon, Livorno rather than Leghorn, Speyer rather than Spires, and Lille rather than Lisle. Arguably, Lyon is nearly as prominent as Munich or Cologne, but the demise of "Lyons" suggests another factor. While the pronunciation of Lyon in French is fairly easy for an English speaker to approximate (apart from the nasal vowel), the German pronunciation of München or Köln is much more difficult. This may have promoted the survival of the conventional English names for those places. On the other hand, conventional English forms may have fallen out of use for places that have declined in relative importance and hence are less part of everyday English discourse, in the way that Rome still is. For example, in late medieval and early modern times, there would have been direct trade between England and "Leghorn" or "Lyons", which would have supported the use of an Anglicized name for those places. Now those names seem quaint, fussy, and provincial. Marco polo 13:57, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
(After edit conflict, my version of the same point.) In general, there has been a trend towards using current foreign-language forms (and pronunciations), away from the traditional English forms that have evolved over a long period of usage by English-speakers. Obviously, if you want to read Tristram Shandy aloud ("I could...sometimes not so much as see even a Lyons-waistcoat, but this remembrance...would present itself") or hear the voice of Thomas Gray in a letter ("The houses here are so high, and the streets so narrow, as would be sufficient to render Lyons the dismallest place in the world, but the number of people, and the face of commerce diffused about it, are, at least, as sufficient to make it the liveliest"), you have to treat it as an English word (pronounced like the noun lions). People often act as if it as a sign of respect towards foreigners to copy their spellings and pronunciations (usually imperfectly). But I see it the other way around: Lyons is such an important place in France, that we even have a special word in the English language for it. This puts Lyons is the company of Caesar, and France itself. If English speakers use Latin & French pronunciations for "Caesar" and "France," surely it would be felt as gross pretension & a demotion of familiar & important ideas to the status of exotica? To instance the trend: Wikipedia has an article on Chalkidiki, not Chalcidice, which is the name under which the place has had the kind of importance for centuries of English speakers that they continued to speak of it (and change their pronunciation of it together with the phonological changes of their native words) & put it in their encyclopedias. Wareh 13:59, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Yes, the combined insistence of two kinds of localists: foreigners who don't understand the demotion they are pressing for and aggressive English-speakers unfamiliar with the larger world.--Wetman 17:22, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
That assumes you agree with the idea that something needs to have an English word to be important or familiar. Many people would disagree. Note also that language is continually evolving. I question whether you can say that evolving towards more accurate pronounciations and spellings is somehow a less worthy evolution then other aspects of the evolution of language. If anything, I would argue it's part of a continuous trend. Traditionally most English speakers didn't bother at all to try and preserve spelling and pronounciation of foreign names and so you got some very odd spellings and pronounciations for 'exotic' names. These evolved to slightly more accurate spellings and pronounciations over time until eventually we reached where we are today. Nil Einne 00:28, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
It is not only English speakers who use "localised" names of foreign cities. For Example the French call London "Londres" and Edinburgh "Edimbourg", and to Italians Munich or Munchen is "Monaco". SaundersW 12:46, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Futurism and Fascism[edit]

Sciences humaines.svg
WikiProject Reference Desk
Article Collaboration
This question inspired an article
to be created or enhanced:
Please consider contributing

Benedetto Croce, the Italian philosopher, saw the ideological origins in Fascism in Futurism. How accurate is this?John O'Glen —Preceding unsigned comment added by John O'Glen (talkcontribs) 11:44, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

You can see this at (validity of the site not attested) for a discussion of D'Annunzio and his substantial influence on the early fascists. They certainly are related, if not nearly the same. It amazes some people to find out just how tied to an art movement fascism was. Utgard Loki 15:12, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Italian futurism was one of the early influences in Italian fascism — it was one of the main branches of Italian fascist thought, but that being said it was just one of a number of branches. The others don't all immediately to mind — I took a poli sci class on fascism as an undergrad with a total lunatic years ago, where I had to read all about it. I think one of them had to do with corporatism and the another had to do with the Actual Idealism of Giovanni Gentile). You might try looking at Italian fascism and seeing if that is helpful at all. Note that the National Socialists in Germany did some things quite differently than the Italians, so you often have to forget about them for a moment when thinking about Italian fascism, as hard as it can be. But yes — futurism is a major theme in early Italian fascism in particular, and many of the concerns of the futurists — but not all! — can be seen in some of the behaviors and philosophy of fascism in practice, in Italy and abroad. -- 20:15, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

I wonder if anyone has every dipped into Filippo Marinetti's wonderful Futurist cookbook? It contains such meal plans as salami immersed in a bath; coffee flavoured with eau-de-Cologne; and for desert, pineapple and sardines! He once suggested to Mussolini that pasta be banned because it made the Italians lazy. Sorry; this is utterly beside the point.

Anyway, Futurism and Fascism, the terrible twins. Or are they? Though he broke with Mussolini politically in 1920 Marinetti went on to support his regime, claiming that it had fulfilled Futurism's minimum programme. In 1929 he even became the secretary of the Fascist Writer's Union, and remained loyal to Mussolini up to his death in 1944. You may remember, 24.147, from your studies with Gregor, that he attributes Mussolini's success in taking power to his adoption of a 'Futurist style', which, so he claims, served as a 'fundamental organizing and moblizing instrument in the Fascist armarium.' (The Fascist Persuasian in Radical Politics, 1974) At a superficial level this may be true, as the Fascists certainly relished action as an end in itself, and adopted some of the more extrovert aspects of the 'Futurist technique'. Yet, look again; look at the manifesto of the Futurist party which Marinetti published in early 1918, calling for the eight hour day; equal pay for women; expulsion of the Pope and the King from Italy; nationalisation of land, to be distributed among war veterans; high taxation on wealth; easy divorce and free love. Not much in the way of Fascist ideology there!

Marinetti, a great self-publicist, but not much of a politician, joined Mussolini in the formation of the Fasci italiani di combattimento in March 1919, though, as the movement grew, the Futurists remained a small and isolated element. More than that, some of his clownish antics, like the so-called 'Battle of Via Mercanti', did more harm than good to the emerging movement, which was almost destroyed in the elections of November 1919. The kind of direct action, the energizing myth favoured by Marinetti was bringing Mussolini no political benefits whatsoever. What did was the emergence in 1920 of rural Squadrismo, a reactionary force that represented everything that Futurism did not. It was this turn towards rural conservatism that caused Marinetti to resign from the party in a mood of disgust. Of this Mussolini said that Marinetti was "an eccentric buffoon who wants to play politics and whom no one in Italy, least of all me , takes seriously." Fascism was carried to power on a wave of brutish reaction, not in a Futurist carnival. Clio the Muse 01:12, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Russian art in the 1920s[edit]

What impact did the New Economic Policy have on Soviet art? John O'Glen 11:56, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Won't answer your question completely, but you can start with New_Economic_Policy#Results_of_NEP, which might at least be some background work. martianlostinspace email me 16:12, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

It was a time of relative freedom, though opportunities for self-expression were still determined by one's attitudes towards the legitimacy of 'Soviet power.' Marc Chagall was to leave Russia in 1921, having been accused of being insufficiently commited to 'socialist values' and clinging to 'bourgeois ideals.' It was the time of Proletkult, a rather misguided attempt to discover a truly 'proletarian' art. It also saw the high tide of Constructivism, embracing both the poetry of Vladimir Mayakovsky and the architecture of Vladimir Tatlin. It was also the high water-mark of the whole of the Russian avant-garde. In writing some of the greatest authors of the twentieth century emerged, including Isaac Babel, Mikhail Bulgakov and Yevgeny Zamyatin. Zamyatin was even able to publish abroad We, his brilliant and prophetic novel, which was to influence both Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, though the book was not allowed to circulate in Russia itself. Freedom, limited as it was, ended with the 'proletarian cultural revolution' that began in 1928 with the emergence of Socialist Realism. Forced into silence, Isaac Babel was to say in an exercise in 'sef-criticism' that the "Party has denied us the right to write badly." But deny this right then all right is denied. Clio the Muse 02:16, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

If you mean the effect on the art itself, not the artists, then keep in mind that the interbellum was a time of change around the world (out with the old, in with the new), so any changes in the USSR might as well be caused by that (although one could argue the the NEP was itself an exponent of that). For example, atonal music got a 'second wind' around that time (another misguided attempt). Which makes me wonder, how was atonal music viewed in the USSR? Nicely egalitarian or decadent western? The article says "In Nazi Germany, atonal music was attacked as 'Bolshevik' ". But that need have little to do with what the Soviets themselves thought of it. Ironically, the egalitarian aspect is in keeping with the communist ideal, but it could also be seen as democratic (all the notes get an equal say), which was not in keeping with the totalitarian reality. DirkvdM 06:34, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
Music? Well, in January 1936 Stalin walked out of a performance of Dimitri Shostakovich's opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. The day after an editorial appeared in Pravda, thought to be by Stalin himself, with the heading 'Muddle not Music.' Shostakovich, it proceeded, had written "an ugly flood of confusing sound...a pandemonium of creaking, shrieking and unadulterated cacophony." In the most menancing touch of all the reviewer added that "things could end very badly for the composer."
The Nazis were, indeed, in the practice of condemning all cultural innovation as 'Bolshevism.' (Not just them, though: in reviewing Ulysses H. G. Wells described Joyce's novel as 'cultural Bolshevism'!) However, while the subject matter may have been different, the aesthetics and techniques favoured by the Nazis and the Communists, especially in the phase of Socialist Realism, were remarkably similar: vulgar, monumental and diminishing. Clio the Muse 01:00, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
I don't know that piece (I can't stand the way operas are usually sung - I can only just bear the performance of Tres Picos I'm listening to now because it's Spanish) and the article doesn't comment on its syle. Is it atonal (to me opera always sound atonal :) )? And what do you mean by 'diminishing'? Shostakovich is rather on the edge, sometimes brilliant, sometimes unintelligible. Btw, this use of the word 'Bolshevik' by the Nazis is ironic - the word means 'majority', so they condemned the majority. :) DirkvdM 06:55, 9 September 2007 (UTC)


hi..i want to know how to do meditation...can we practice it on our own or do we need any instructor for that...what are its benefits? thank you.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:05, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Instructors can help, but they cannot force you to meditate. No matter how you do it, it is simply a matter of clearing your mind. Stop thinking about things. This is very difficult for most people. So an alternative is to focus all your thoughts on one mundane item - such as a small object sitting in the room with you. As for benefits, see Health applications and clinical studies of meditation -- kainaw 13:23, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Transcendental Meditation the book was a major help for folks in the 1970's, but meditation, as Kainaw says, is a simple enough practice, and it's as venerable in the west as the east. Eastern methods of controlled breathing and the like are very efficacious at inducing the meditative state, although many people prefer something more meaningful or spiritual. Utgard Loki 15:09, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
These were the instructions I was given:
You may want a minimal ritual that sets the mood for you, like lighting a candle. Then sit down with your feet on the floor in front of you and your back comfortably upright and your hands open in your lap. Start a timer for 30 minutes, and close your eyes. Now be quiet, saying a word in rhythm with your breath, the same word over and over. If you lose concentration, simply recall yourself to the word. The objest is not to DO anything, just to BE. When the timer sounds, let yourself return to the world and sit quietly until you are ready to start doing again. It's a discipline that is used in many faiths: thisis a page on Christian meditation. SaundersW 16:21, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
I was taught to meditate by starting off lying down in a still, dimly-lit room. Then I'd begin at my head and say to myself, "Your head is starting to relax, your head is relaxing, your head is relaxed". Then you work down through all of your body to your feet. Then you can let your mind wander to where it wants to go. Corvus cornix 16:40, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
A similar technique I learned is to lie down on a firm bed without a pillow, but with a slight support in the lower back and a somewhat bigger one in the neck (once you start to relax you'll notice why and why it is important to get the size and position of the support right). Then tense up (or what's the word?) first the muscles in your toes, then in your feet and up and up, letting muscle tension flow up your body up to your neck and then down your arms until you let the tension flow out of your fingertips. Then, following the same route, relax first your toes, then your feet, etc. This should take about a minute (maybe two). After this, your body will be relaxed and you can 'concentrate' (not really the right word) on relaxing your mind, the difficult bit. If you do this often, it will become ever easier to reach a certain state, until after a year's practise or so you can completely relax almost instantly. Which probably saved my life once, when I was stuck halfway up a cliff, looked down and panicked. I 'anchored' myself against the rocks, closed my eyes and started meditating. Haven't a clue for how long, but when I opened my eyes again, I was capable to rationally concentrate on the right way to get out of my predicament (making sure not to look down again). A book I can recommend, even though it is not specifically about meditation, is Siddhartha (novel). Btw, reading about meditation is no help at first, but when you learn to meditate, you might on occasion think 'Ah, so that's what they meant', which will be a hint that you're on the right track. Which is also the reason you'll get ever better at it - you have to 'recall' the state you're supposed to reach and the more you've experienced it, the sooner you'll recognise it. Because the thing is, every time you start to meditate you need to remember the state you want to reach. Also, keep in mind that meditation isn't hard - it's supposed to be quite the opposite. But that's the hard thing - making it easy. :) Once you're in the meditative state, it's so obvious, but when you start a new meditation session it isn't. Odd as that may be. DirkvdM 19:08, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
There is a guided meditation here which I tried having had no experience of meditation before. I found it very effective and I believe it's quite a common way of going about it. --bodnotbod 21:56, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Deikman, an academic researcher [1] [2] did an experiment in the 1960's in which subjects meditated by focussing on a simple blue vase, with remarkable results, reminiscent of meditation by religious persons. The person meditating can become depersonalized. [3] Edison 00:52, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
Not that I would want to push religion (far from it), but I can imagine that believing in one absolute and absract entity gives one a great focus-point for meditation. That may be why meditation is so often associated with religion. DirkvdM 06:42, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

thank u ...i want to know how can it be effectively used to overcome anxiety and social phobia... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:20, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

By doing it. It releases tension, which might help you deal with any anxieties yourself. DirkvdM 04:44, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

The Boyhood of Raleigh (Moved from computing desk)[edit]

The Boyhood of Raleigh (1871)

i have what i can only asume is a copy of millais picture :THE BOYHOOD OF RALIEGH .CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE ME ANY INFORMATION RELATING TO THIS PICTURE/ PRINT, THANK YOU —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:26, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

  • I can only assume you mean "The Boyhood of Raleigh" as in the header rather than as spelled in the question - please check your spelling, and please don't use ALL CAPS - it's not good nettiquette. A basic description can be found here [4] - also this question would be better asked on the humanities desk, so that's where I've moved it to. Exxolon 12:53, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

I must clarify, Exx: before this was moved, it was me who added this title and not the poster, as there was no title in the first place. Apparently I have mis-spelt from his/er original question! [5] "the boyhood of raleigh" (97,000 results) and [6] "the boyhood of raliegh" (500 results) seem to confirm this.martianlostinspace email me 16:01, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Here's the picture in question, and the artist: John Everett Millaismartianlostinspace. email me 16:07, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Denying the Middle Ages (the time period, not the stage of life)[edit]

Several years ago I seem to recall hearing or seeing on TV this crackpot "historian" who felt that the time between, say, Julius Caesar's birth and today had been artificially lengthened by two or three hundred years. I don't recall exactly what time period he'd decided was false; it may in fact have been pre-Middle Ages. Basically, his thesis was that the "real" year was only about 1750 or so and that an extra two hundred or three hundred years had been inserted into European history in the past. Any idea who this may have been and what might have led him to such an idea? Matt Deres 14:53, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Don't know but what about people outside Europe? Were they part of this conspiracy or did he just ignore them completely Nil Einne 15:06, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Oh, yes, that guy. I'm sure someone will come along with his name, but I was hoping that you were going to ask about the dissent to the term "medieval" and "middle ages" themselves. That is interesting, but the crackpot (who suggested, I think, that some medieval authority (church, of course) invented a leap of centuries to gain authority) isn't all that interesting. How he gets on TV is more of a story than he is. Utgard Loki 15:07, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
After a minute or two of Googling I came across this [7] about this guy de:Heribert Illig (de has an article about him we don't) and his crackpot Phantom time hypothesis which I guess is what we're talking about Nil Einne 15:15, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Or perhaps it was one of the ones in the see also since the German guy's stuff appears to have been ignored by the English speaking world (thankfully) Nil Einne 15:17, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
That description sounds like Illig...we used to have an article about him, apparently it has been redirected now. There are lots of others with similar views; Anatoly Fomenko is another good one. Category:Pseudohistory might have more as well. Adam Bishop 17:36, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
There's a bigger list of these crackpot theories at the disambiguation page New Chronology (to which I just added Phantom time hypothesis). Wareh 18:26, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the responses guys; Illig is probably the guy I was thinking of. That's some imagination... Matt Deres 20:18, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Anyone interested in the idea of "missing years" might also find interesting the notion of "prochronism" as discussed by Philip Henry Gosse in Omphalos (book) (1857) p125 available online at [8]. He sought to reconcile geology with the Bible by proposing that all the fossil animals never actually lived, so the world could have been created a few thousand years ago, complete with geological evidence of ancient plants and animals. By the same logic, it could have been created 5 seconds ago, complete with half-typed edits. Kinda fails for scientists due to lack of falsibility as a scientific theory, and never made the religionists happy either. But died-in-the-wool Bible literalists have to explain: if God created a mighty oak tree in the Garden of Eden, did it have tree rings inside suggesting a prochronic existence of many years, and if he created a fish did it have scales with rings suggesting previous prochronic existence. Edison 00:35, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

And literalists have no problem at all replying that Adam and Eve had tummy buttons, the chicken came before the egg, the first trees had tree rings, etc. After all, people have wondered these things for a long time; they have pat answers and see no problem :) 03:03, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
My resident Fundie says that God put dinosaur bones into the earth when he (God, not the Fundie) created it it 6000 years ago, so that people these days would have evidence for some contrary theory and therefore have to choose to believe in God. He (The Fundie, not God) is also diagnosed psychotic. SaundersW 12:26, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Eagles Song?[edit]

I know this might go better in the Entertainment Reference Desk, but this one gets much more attention so I thought I'd ask here. I seem to remember back in the late 70's or early 80's a song that I could have sworn was the Eagles, but I can't find it anywhere and I haven't heard it in years. The lyrics are "You're either going to have to stop what you're doing to me right now...or you're going to have to keep doing it all night long". I can sing that line and in my mind it's Don Henley singing it, but I googled that line and came up with nothing. Any help? --SGT Tex 17:41, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Is it, "Heartache Tonight?" (Even that is better than "Entertainment Tonight.") Utgard Loki 18:19, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, but no that's not the right song. Any other guesses? --SGT Tex 19:30, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
It's Sure Feels Like Love by Larry Gaitlin. He doesn't seem to have a page on WP, but you can Google the words "You're either going to have to stop what you're doing to me right now" (in quotes) plus the word "lyrics" to get the words (the spamblocker won't let me just give ya the page). Matt Deres 20:24, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Larry Gatlin. --Sean 20:26, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
That's it! Thanks!--SGT Tex 21:01, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Famous virgins[edit]

Where can I find a list of famous life-long virgins like Issac Newton and Thoreou? --Sade22 17:09, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Well you certainly can't find it here. See: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/List of virgins. But you might want to email[9] the closing admin and ask him/her if you can be allowed to peak at the deleted content. I've done that before, and most admins are cool about it.--The Fat Man Who Never Came Back 17:16, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
You could also try Googling Wikipedia for phrases such as "remained a virgin", which throws up a few suggestions.--Shantavira|feed me 17:30, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
Googling "list of virgins" gives some pages that seem to be mirrors of the deleted article (good riddance, btw). Skarioffszky 19:54, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
If anyone suggests the Virgin Queen, we should bear in mind the warning of the schoolboy essay which began "Queen Elizabeth I was the Virgin Queen. As a Queen, she was a great success." Xn4 01:32, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
"I knew her before she became a virgin" has been applied to Grace Kelly and Doris Day. -- JackofOz 01:37, 8 September 2007 (UTC)
I can provide a copy of our deleted list temporarily (sans any contents with WP:BLP problems - though you have to wonder how times have changed when assertions of being virgin could be an issue) if you like. Drop me a note on my talkpage of where in namespace you would like the contents moved to. Rockpocket 01:46, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Hesse-Darmstadt in the War of the Austrian Succession[edit]

Can anyone tell me the position of the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt in the War of the Austrian Succession? Was it neutral throughout the conflict, or aligned with Austria (and Britain) or Prussia (and France) throughout or during different parts of the conflict? Also, were any battles fought on the territory of Hesse-Darmstadt? Thank you. Marco polo 17:37, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

No need to answer. Hours of fruitless searching prompted the questions, but then it occurred to me to try the 1911 Britannica, which states that Hesse-Darmstadt was allied with Austria. Sorry for the distraction. Marco polo 17:50, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Augustus of Prima Porta[edit]

I am doing a short piece on the aforementioned topic and wanted to have any input that you have on it. Anything ... --Click me! 17:44, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Well, it's mentioned (with a picture) at Prima Porta Algebraist 19:19, 7 September 2007 (UTC)
You could try Augustus of Prima Porta. -- !! ?? 20:15, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I have already been to both pages. Thanks anyways. Any more information? Maybe some citations for the article Augustus of Prima Porta? User:Kushal_one -- -- 15:01, 9 September 2007 (UTC)

Canadian music awards[edit]

What's the organization that gives out awards based on album sales in Canada? (I'm thinking something like the RIAA) Smokizzy (talk) 18:15, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

Canadian Recording Industry Association. --Sean 20:30, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

What kind of careers are availible in Chinese Law?[edit]

I'm a US citizen interested in pursuing a law career in China either as part of the state or with businesses aligned with the state. There isn't that much information available on this career field so I'd appreciate general info. Are there American lawyers who work for the Chinese government? How does China select the foreign lawyers who represent them in international court? What are some businesses organizations or law firms that have operations with or in China? --Gosplan 22:57, 7 September 2007 (UTC)

I don't know much about this but as for the question "how does China select the..." I would presume you'd need to have vast experience with international law. As to how you get that, you'd likely start in the country you're a citizen of i.e. the US. In any case from a general sense, being able to speak and read Mandarin to a resonable degree may be essential or at least a major advantage Nil Einne 00:40, 8 September 2007 (UTC)