Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2008 August 25

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August 25[edit]


In india what religion is older? Hinduism or Buddhism?

You'll probably find the answer in Religion in India#History. --Tango (talk) 03:17, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

You can say Buddhism is a child of Hinduism. It is much younger. --Omidinist (talk) 03:39, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

However, the religion that preceded Buddhism was different in many ways from modern Hinduism. In fact, modern Hinduism has borrowed heavily from Buddhism. I think that it would be more accurate to say that both modern Hinduism and Buddhism are descended from the same religious tradition, a tradition that really predates both of them as we know them. Marco polo (talk) 20:03, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I suppose that depends on your perspective. The impression I have from talking to a Hindu friend of mine is that they (at least a part of them) consider Buddhism to be a part of their religion. It's like if you consider their religious history as an evolving religion with a bunch of different prophets (like if you consider all the Abrahamic religions to be different parts of the same religion), only instead of throwing a big fit whenever a new one comes along (like in the Abrahamic tradition) they just accept them to varying degrees and keep it pretty loose under the same umbrella. I think us westerners can learn a thing or two from that. -LambaJan (talk) 20:22, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

The Sinking of the Lusitania[edit]

In the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, what is the first funnel to be collapse (first, second, third, or fourth funnel)?Aquitania (talk) 03:14, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

RMS Lusitania#Sinking says: "Along the way, some boilers exploded, including one that caused the third funnel to collapse, with the remaining funnels proceeding to snap off soon after." --Tango (talk) 03:26, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

In the sinking, when the water completely flood the boat deck, Lusitania's propellers still not exposed. Is the Lusitania's propellers exposed before the Lusitania slipped beneath the wave?Aquitania (talk) 05:22, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Happy Third Humanities Desk Anniversary![edit]

The Humanities desk has always been my favorite RefDesk, so I decided to pull up this little section dedicated to another year. It was created 3 years ago by an IP, and the first question was "Can anyone recomend a book on the history of toasters?" I've also created a chart of our top 20 Humanities contributors, excluding bots, using the past 50000 edits from now as a counter. As a result, the results may be skewed against our oldest users.

Contributor Edits First Edit
Clio the Muse 4097 03/23/2007 14:29
Xn4 1554 07/30/2007 02:37
JackofOz 852 03/26/2007 00:35
Lambiam 800 03/23/2007 15:12
Marco polo 747 03/29/2007 17:51
Sluzzelin 651 04/03/2007 05:14
Edison 629 03/25/2007 04:54
Julia Rossi 523 11/04/2007 04:32
StuRat 516 03/23/2007 15:34
Bielle 492 04/16/2007 05:37 492 03/23/2007 23:07
AnonMoos 474 03/23/2007 20:26
DuncanHill 472 06/23/2007 21:59
Corvus cornix 441 03/28/2007 19:17
Wrad 407 07/08/2007 22:36
Adam Bishop 385 04/10/2007 14:59
Dweller 369 03/23/2007 14:30
Geogre 362 04/08/2007 01:55
DirkvdM 354 03/31/2007 06:19
Mwalcoff 351 03/29/2007 23:16

Close up are Nil Enne, EricR, Kainaw, Wetman, Algebraist, S.dedalus, Saukkomies, SaundersW, A.Z., and TotoBaggins. Completely dwarfs my 56 edits here. Thanks to all who make the Humanities Desk so great. I look forward to more quality answers from you all! bibliomaniac15 03:40, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Note that many of us also contributed to the simple Reference Desk before it was split into different subjects, but I guess it would be difficult to count those edits. Adam Bishop (talk) 13:12, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Cool table. Not sure about the first edits though. They're all quite close to each other for most of them. For example, looks like this was Lambiam's first edit in May '06. Have I missed something? Zain Ebrahim (talk) 14:12, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Unless I'm much mistaken, this is the tool used to create the table (type "Wikipedia:Reference_desk/Humanities", or desk of your choosing, into the box). And, as Bibliomaniac15 points out, it only takes the most recent 50,000 edits into account (which takes it back as far as 23 March 2007). --Richardrj talk email 14:20, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
The ref desks are all loaded with edits. I'd venture a guess that the total number of edits in the Humanities desk alone is already at 100k. bibliomaniac15 20:46, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
The (unreliable) method of looking at the diff between first and last edits gives more than 100k. Algebraist 22:42, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
If you really wanted to be more accurate—about edits by individual people rather than accounts, the number for should really be more like 1,147. Wink wink. -- (talk) 01:33, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
My edit count is overinflated anyway, I edit my posts too much... :-P Nil Einne (talk) 20:33, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Raising the Chinese flag[edit]

When raising the Chinese flag, the soldier would throw the flag out while it is being raised. It is not done to other flags (Olympic, Greece, UK). Why? F (talk) 12:53, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

My source says it is merely to make sure people see their flag. Nothing more. --ChokinBako (talk) 15:16, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
It is important never to let a flag touch the ground; see Flag protocol. --Wetman (talk) 18:50, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I think the question here is on why the courtesy did not extend to the other flags. That I can't tell ya, all I can say is that they are trained to do that pretty much wherever they raise the Chinese national flag. I don't know if the solidier would do the same when raising the HKSAR flag in Hong Kong (also to the same national anthem), but it would be interesting to know if the protocol is applied there too. You may also note that the flag is thrown the moment the song begins after the prelude. Maybe it's done for dramatic effect to complement the anthem.
It may also be because they don't want to impose local protocol to foreign flags as a matter of respect. --Kvasir (talk) 19:11, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Indeed I don't think the practice is that common in the world. At least I can't recall seeing anything like it before. Nil Einne (talk) 20:31, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
It is done to the HKSAR [1] and Macau SAR [2] flag. (talk) 22:30, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Viking Helmets[edit]

Where exactly did the myth of the viking helmets having horns arise from? I'd heard that it was from the ear coverings being tied up on the sides of the helmets, but I doubt this, as there was no actual 'uniform' as such, so not everyone would have been wearing them, and even if they were, their gear would not have been much different from that of the Saxons, nor that of most other peoples of Northern Europe, so it would not have stood out so much as to be a remarkable feature. I have a hunch that this was a 19th Century creation, when the vikings started to appear in romantic North West European literature. Does anybody have any ideas?--ChokinBako (talk) 14:00, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Viking tales were told by oral tradition because paper didn't arrive until much later. Artists absorbed the oral tales into the existing artwork. There are many cliches in art (including stage) to quickly identify people. The artists adopted the horned-Viking cliche to quickly identify a person as a Viking. Perhaps there was a popular story about a Viking with a horned helmet at the time. Once it began, it was impossible to stop. Try and tell everyone that your Viking isn't supposed to have horns. Be it a painting or an opera, it will fail. -- kainaw 17:19, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
The article Viking#Horned_helmets points some fingers. Cheers WikiJedits (talk) 17:47, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
As does our article on the horned helmet.--Shantavira|feed me 17:49, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Cease these snide ad hominem attacks immediately. My real name is Helmut and I never ever wear one in circumstances of protruding excitation. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 23:03, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm sure I read (long ago) a suggestion that the idea of Vikings in horned helmets came from a mistranslation of a kenning, something about skulls representing cups I think. I thought this was in the introduction of E. V. Gordon's Introduction to Old Norse, but I can't find it there, so I don't know where I read it. --ColinFine (talk) 22:50, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Diplomatic immunity for governors of provinces in Ancient Rome[edit]

I saw on a show (I think it was the onscreen commentary on the dvd edition of the series "Rome," dir. Michael Apted), that governors of provinces in the Roman Empire had diplomatic immunity. Is this correct, and how far did it extend? Could it in theory have saved Gaius Verres? It's been emotional (talk) 17:42, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

That is what our promagistrate article says. But if you were really incompetent or a blatant criminal like Verres, you could still be prosecuted. Adam Bishop (talk) 19:23, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
Ancient Roman magistrates and promagistrates were immune from prosecution while in office, but once they left office and became a private citizen again, they were open to prosecution again, including for acts committed while in office. --Nicknack009 (talk) 14:29, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Discriminative Discount?[edit]

Here in the UK, one relatively famous DIY store offers a 10% discount for people over 60 years of age. How is this lawful, surely it goes against every discrimination law there is? Kirk UK —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:25, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Yes, a bit like offering OAPs free bus passes.--ChokinBako (talk) 18:34, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure how much age is protected. I remember a news story a few months ago about it becoming more protected with regards to employment, but I don't remember the details. Discrimination is only illegal if it's on the list of protected groups, people under 60 may well not be a protected group! --Tango (talk) 19:18, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
I think the notion of 'protected groups' is a bit misleading, at least in most Commonwealth countries. I don't find strong evidence from a quick Google that it's used much in the UK either although this ref does [3] but only minorly and it's clear what it means. There isn't such a thing so much as a protected group as a form of discrimination which is illegal (in certain areas). In many countries, this includes race, religion, sex/gender, probably disabilty, probably sexual orientation and sometimes age. All 'groups' within these categories are 'protected'. It doesn't matter whether you are male or female, homosexual, bisexual, asexual or heterosexual or English, Scottish, Irish, South Asian, black etc etc etc. Age is perhaps the only one where there may be specific protection although this is likely to be only e.g. people under 18 may not be 'protected'. But even then, I suspect most legislation applies to all ages above whatever the minimum age is. Nil Einne (talk) 20:56, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
That's outrageous! And in my city, blind people get free bus passes! But seriously, why does it matter? Most elderly people are on a small fixed income. — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 19:45, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
According to this [4] there is legislation against age discrimination in employment and training, but it doesn't mention anything about legislation against age discrimination in other circumstances Nil Einne (talk) 20:56, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

It matters to me because there are many other people across the world who are on a 'small fixed income' so why should someone benefit financially because of their age? If a shop offered a discount for people between twenty and thirty years of age, would that be acceptable? In the UK, age can no longer be specified in job advertisements neither can years of experience so how can being above a certain age qualify someone for a financial discount? I understand the restrictions regarding insurance as apparantly discrimination laws do not apply to 'areas of risk' but should teh fact that someone has been alive for more years than someone else entitle them to financial gain via a discount? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:24, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

I see it not so much as a financial gain, but the lessening of a financial burden. Seniors often also qualify for reduced public transport costs, reduced utility costs, etc. I imagine this is dependent on production of a "seniors card", the issuance of which is not only dependent on age but is also means tested. Would you say that the age pension should be available to anyone at all, regardless of age, who chooses not to work anymore? -- JackofOz (talk) 21:38, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
"If a shop offered a discount for people between twenty and thirty years of age, would that be acceptable?"
- Yes why not? A business has to attract its desired customers without detracting other customers. Under your hypothetical situation I would think it's very probable there would be a backlash and so the benefit of increased sales to 20-30 year olds would be offset by loss of sales from those who feel hard-done-by for not getting the discount. The same could be true of OAP (or student) discounts - but it seems that people don't begrudge reduced prices for people who are - statistically - more likely to live in poverty and on limit means than virtually everyone in society. (talk) 14:17, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Does that mean I can't sue Club 18-30 ? Darn. Gandalf61 (talk) 14:33, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Even if such discounts were illegal, something like Club 18-30 might not be since there is a practical reason for the discrimination - people often have a better time when surrounded by people their own age. The same as it's perfectly legal for insurance companies to discriminate against young drivers since they are statistically more likely to have accidents. Or, it's perfectly legal for a health spa to only hire female cleaners to clean the women's locker room. Discrimination is generally only illegal if there isn't a good reason for it. (IANAL, YMMV, etc., etc.) --Tango (talk) 17:52, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
Would it be discriminatory to hand out free balloons to children under 9 only? Is it discriminatory to pay OAPs state pensions? Why can't I, being of the male persuasion, get any free lipstick samples? Bessel Dekker (talk) 01:32, 27 August 2008 (UTC)

Movie Name[edit]

Does anybody know the name of the black and white (though modern) movie about a barber in the USA who ends up getting convicted for the murder of the wrong man (i.e. he killed someone, but the guy he killed actually killed the guy he gets convicted for killing, while his wife gets convicted for killing the other guy, etc.....)? Very complicated but entertaining movie. I thought it was called 'The Barber', but our article refers to a totally different movie. Can anyone help?--ChokinBako (talk) 19:15, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Sounds like the Coen Brothers film The Man Who Wasn't There. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 19:18, 25 August 2008 (UTC)
That's the one!! Thanks!!--ChokinBako (talk) 22:09, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Marguerite de la Roque[edit]

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I read an amazing story about this French noblewoman, who was marooned on an uninhabited island off the coast of Canada in 1542. I would love to find out what happened to her when she returned to France. When did she die, did she ever remarry, did she have other children, and did she regain control of her inheritance? Thank you so much!

~Jessica Kathleen —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:32, 25 August 2008 (UTC)

Her entry in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography does not mention what happened to her afterwards, although one of her historians identifies her as the source of the tale, which suggests she survived a while at least. It seems that Jean-François de La Rocque de Roberval was her relative (uncle according to this account). I only had time for a very quick search; it shouldn't be hard to find some more. Gwinva (talk) 00:22, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
This book claims she lived in Nontron and became a schoolmistress. WP doesn't seem to have anything on her, although she is mentioned briefly in Bonne-Espérance, Quebec (which is so unwikified it reads like a copyvio). Her story was originally told in Heptameron by Marguerite de Navarre, and also by André Thévet, who may or may not have met her. The story was novelised in 1975 by Elizabeth Boyer as Marguerite De LA Roque: A Story of Survival, in 2000 by Charles Goulet as The Isle of Demons and in 2002 by Joan Elizabeth Goodman as Paradise: Based on a True Story of Survival (did you read one of these?), and made into a play by Robert Chafe called Isle of Demons. Looks like she deserves her own WP article... Gwinva (talk) 02:33, 26 August 2008 (UTC)
If you've got a spare 675000 Euros, you can buy her old house: Chateau de la Mothe. Gwinva (talk) 04:14, 26 August 2008 (UTC)