Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2008 December 1

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December 1[edit]

More Fops Please[edit]

After reading the above question regarding 'gay' stereotypes--and subsequently reading both Fop and Dandy

I'm thoroughly confuzzled! Both pages use Beau Brummell and the Scarlet Pimpernel as prime examples of their referent.

What, if anything, is the difference? (talk) 01:58, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

There is also Macaroni (fashion). As far as I remember (from reading a book about the Regency period, the title and author of which I forget...) there isn't really a difference except time period. Fop and dandy (and macaroni) are names for the same time of thing in different generations. Adam Bishop (talk) 02:03, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Not gay, but extravagant-on-purpose were the Zoot suits and their wearers – see also Metrosexual, among others and Bling. What they seem to have in common is vanity, disposable income and an affinity with the city. Julia Rossi (talk) 10:24, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
And believe it or not, we don't seem to have an article on the dark side of vanity, Pimp style, but mostly there's a touch of this[1] or this[2]. Julia Rossi (talk) 10:41, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
A recent BBC drama on the life of Beau Brummell [3] contrasted the bewigged, powdered, and painted fops who wore brightly coloured clothing and knee-britches in an 18th C style with the dandy style promoted by Brummell - no wig, no powder, trousers, and dark clothing. The two groups were depicted almost like the Mods and Rockers of the day - even down to brawling with each other in the street. Whilst I can't vouch for the authenticity of the street-fighting, the programme made clear the distinction between fop and dandy which I had previously thought were largely interchangeable terms as far as the Regency period was concerned. As opinion rather than verifiable fact, I would suggest that in contemporary usage describing a man of today as a fop would generally be perceived as pejorative - there is a suggestion of decadence, foolishness and effeminacy - whereas to call a man a dandy would be a more neutral term). Valiantis (talk) 02:40, 6 December 2008 (UTC)

Barbara Ehrenreich[edit]

Is that Barbara Ehrenreich on the cover of her book? Gridge (talk) 02:32, 1 December 2008 (UTC).

I don't think so. Her picture is on the back cover of that same book, in the lower left hand corner; long hair, different nose, slightly different facial proportions. The cover credit on my edition is "Gilles Peress/Magnum Photos" but does not identify the subject. Harrowing read, by the way. Antandrus (talk) 03:08, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. Gridge (talk) 16:17, 1 December 2008 (UTC).

Senator's terms[edit]

On what day in January 2009 are the U.S. Senator's sworn in for their new terms of office? (talk) 02:56, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

January 3 - which in 2009 will be a Saturday, I think; I believe unless it's on a Sunday, they are sworn in on that date.Somebody or his brother (talk) 03:00, 1 December 2008 (UTC)


I've been doing some research into Alma Moodie for her article, and I came across the word "tousch", apparently meaning a kind of special acclamation at a concert, reserved only for the most worthy of performers. I'd never heard of "tousch", and all my searches have failed to come up with references to it. I've tried various spellings, but no luck. The exact context goes:

According to Reger’s wife Elsa, Reger sent Alma to Meiningen where he had indeed engaged her to play the Brahms concerto with the Meininger Hofkapelle on 9 December 1913. ... The same program was given at Eisenach on 6 December and Hildburgshausen [sic; it's spelled Hildburghausen] on 7 December. Now, her reception as a young prodigy virtuoso was unambiguously triumphant. At Meiningen, she wrote back to Louis D’Hage in Rockhampton, the members of the audience stood on their chairs and shouted ‘bravo’—this despite Reger’s warning that the audience was too aristocratic and the ladies too frightened of cracking their gloves to clap. Finally, the ‘tousch’ was given, a rare acclamation which, Moodie told D’Hage, had not been given since von Bülow’s time (thirty years earlier).

Any help anyone can give me with this would be much appreciated. Over to you. -- JackofOz (talk) 03:49, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I swear I've heard the word being used as an acclamation, but I can't remember where that was. bibliomaniac15 03:51, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
There is the German term der [4] Tusch (I thought it to be onomatopoeic, but it stems from the French touche). This is basically a drum roll, but other instruments can be involved and is a marker for the audience that some highlight is about to happen / has just happened. A sort of orchestral exclamation mark. You may typically associate those with a circus performance when the band plays a Tusch at moments of some particularly tricky and spectacular points in an artistes performance. I have never heard it used in English, but this is a reference to a historic event in Germany, so it may have been used in the context. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 07:45, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
The dictionaries I checked translate "Tusch" with fanfare or flourish. The German Wikipedia article on "Tusch" has interwikilinks to the English article on Sting (musical phrase) (but see also Sting (percussion)). I agree with Cookatoo, that a "Tusch" (in German) is usually one of two things:
---Sluzzelin talk 15:21, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I see. Thanks for those bits of information, folks. So, what could this mean in the context? She played her concerto, then they started clapping, then they stood on their seats and shouted 'bravo', then came the Tusch. She'd have been returning to the stage to acknowledge the applause, leaving, returning, leaving ... until she left and didn't seem to be coming back. This might have been the audience's cue to let her know that they weren't finished with her yet, and even louder noises were now called for. The audience drumming on the floor with their feet is the image I had when I read "drum roll". While it's certainly not an everyday occurrence at the concerts I go to, I don't think I'd call it "rare". But times and manners vary; if the ladies at Meiningen were terribly conservative and stuffy by the standards of today (or even of those days, going on Reger's crack-glove comment), then a 30-year gap between occasions of audience drumming might well happen. So, I'm interpreting the Tusch as audience noise. Is this reasonable? Or could it mean that she'd signalled to the conductor that she was coming back to perform an encore, and he decided an appropriate introduction was called for under the circumstances, so he got the drums and trumpets to herald Alma in with a fanfare, drum roll and cymbal clash? He wouldn't have done this on any old occasion (I've never encountered it), so he must have had a special reason to do this. Exceptional levels of audience applause would be such a reason. What I'm trying to get at is: was the Tusch a statement by the audience, or by the orchestra, or both? Or is there not enough information to be sure? -- JackofOz (talk) 20:18, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I thought about that too. I have never heard Tusch (remember I'm always talking about the German word used in German, not "Tousch" used in English) used for audience behavior. Nor could I find anything in German music dictionaries or online. The Tusch can trigger audience behavior by signalizing "applause!" to the audience (as in the circus). I'm leaning toward your last interpretation (conductor deciding to give the orchestra a cue for performing a Tusch much to the audience's excitement). ---Sluzzelin talk 21:48, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I've never heard of a Tusch being a drum roll... or any percussion performance for that matter. (The circus thing, for me, is just a Trommelwirbel.) Nor have I ever heard about it as coming from an audience; it's not a word I'd use or understand in this context. A Tusch is a fanfare, especially by wind instruments. Have a look at "Tusch" at youtube, e.g., here. --Ibn Battuta (talk) 10:03, 3 December 2008 (UTC) PS: Not quite the same as this one at any rate...
OK, fanfare it is. Thanks, all. -- JackofOz (talk) 22:50, 5 December 2008 (UTC)

How do I demonstrate that animals do not have religion[edit]

How do I demonstrate that ( schools of )dolphins do not have religion and cannot form religious cults? (talk) 11:22, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

While not answering your question, it's possible whales do form religious cults. They seem to commit mass suicide an awful lot. Also a lot of cats thing they're God Nil Einne (talk) 12:02, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
The first step is to define "religion" and "religious cult". --Tango (talk) 12:53, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
You could ask the IRS if they have any dolphin religions registered[5]. This article[6] discusses the concept of what is a religion in US law. James Madison called religion "the duty which we owe to our creator, and the manner of discharging it", which is rather vague. There is some question in US law of whether religion requires a belief in God, but in 1965 in United States v. Seeger the Supreme Court suggested a religion is "a given belief that is sincere and meaningful [and] occupies a place in the life of its possessor parallel to that filled by the orthodox belief in God". This would seem to suggest both belief and practice are involved (so it's not merely taking your dog to church, your dog must have some beliefs about god, morality, eschatology, transcendence, or similar). Philospher Daniel Dennett thinks animals have beliefs at least in some minimal sense.[7] Therefore it would appear hard to show that animals do not have religion, if they are capable of both belief and religious practice. Of course, the definition under US law is only one definition of religion, and you might say that a dog's relationship with his or her owner is analogous to that of a human being with God. --Maltelauridsbrigge (talk) 14:46, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Perhaps one of the most common features associated with religion in humans is elaborate death rituals. That is, instead of simply discarding their dead, a formal burial, cremation, etc., is often performed. The problem is, I don't see how this would be possible for dolphins. Perhaps if they always beached their dead on a particular beach, that might qualify. StuRat (talk) 14:55, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
That still leaves the problem of definition, unfortunately. After all, non-religious humans also take part in elaborate death rituals. Algebraist 15:34, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
I'd argue that the elaborate death rituals of religious humans have rubbed off on those who aren't. If no humans were religious, I'd imagine human body disposal would be much simpler and based mainly on hygiene requirements. StuRat (talk) 23:51, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Elephants surround and seem to comfort each other as they die.[8] Anyone know about dolphins? Maybe whale mass-beachings?
Whale beachings mainly seem to cause death, not be the result of death. StuRat (talk) 23:51, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Yes similar to cult mass suicides. Those that do it are probably rather miffed at the humans who stop them going to whale heaven Nil Einne (talk) 09:35, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

I have heard miscellaneous birds outside start to twitter in what seemsed a very reverent manner when the sun came up in the morning. It seemed they might be sun worshippers. Edison (talk) 06:19, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Presumably to have a religion you have to have a conscious mind (spelling), do other animals have what we could call consciousnous (again spelling)? Without that i doubt they could formulate what I would consider a religion - which would be presumably the believe in a higher-power/that sort of thing. (talk) 15:40, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Prophets for profit[edit]

Isn't the tax-free status of churches in the US incompatible with the separation of church and state ? That is, if churches enjoy the benefits of taxes, like roads to bring their flocks in to be shorn, without paying their portion for those benefits, doesn't that amount to a state-sanctioned subsidy for the church ? StuRat (talk) 15:02, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Have you read Establishment Clause of the First Amendment#Financial assistance? Algebraist 15:09, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Walz v. tax commission of the city of New York seems to be the most relevant Supreme Court case. Algebraist 15:15, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
That seems quite relevant, but also quite long. Do we have a summary ? StuRat (talk) 15:37, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
There's no Wikipedia article as yet. Google has some summaries, such as this. Algebraist 15:42, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Re: the section header -- Due to a settlement document signed by the IRS to end an IRS-Scientology legal battle, Scientology gets special extra tax breaks which no other religion is entitled to (see [9]). AnonMoos (talk) 19:54, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

The original purpose of separation of church and state was not to stop a certain religion from becoming powerful within national government, but rather to prevent government from becoming influential in matters of religion. Hence, the tax break. Now, to be fair we should also agree that any recognized religious leader or institution that participates in political affairs should lose that tax-free status. DOR (HK) (talk) 05:19, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Not sure that's entirely true; Thomas Jefferson, at least, was stronly skeptical of any influence by organized religion on government... AnonMoos (talk) 11:14, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

The United States Establishment Clause uses the term "establishment" and does not specifically state separation of church and state. Reading quite a few Supreme Court cases, I saw no principled explanation for the differences in accomodationist vs. separtist holdings. The New York Times ran an insightful and disturbing series on this very topic within the past two years.75Janice (talk) 02:16, 3 December 2008 (UTC)75Janice

Librarian looking to help[edit]

How does one get involved as a volunteer on the reference desk?LibraryPix (talk) 15:26, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Reply to questions when you've got an answer. That's it, really. The reference desk follows the general wiki principle of collaboration; anyone with something to contribute is free to do so. For more detail, there's Wikipedia:Reference_desk/Guidelines. -- Consumed Crustacean (talk) 15:31, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
You could also contribute to the rules, by letting us know what a real Reference Desk (in a library) does in the following situations:
1) When asked to give a medical diagnosis, legal opinion, or other professional advice.
2) When asked a matter of opinion.
3) When asked something you know the answer to personally but can't find a source to verify (AKA, "original research"). StuRat (talk) 15:43, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Welcome to the Ref Desk. Whenever I've asked a Real Life Reference Librarian for help responding to a question here, I have been very favorably impressed. Here we often just go with references which are available free online, You have acess to lots more online databases, such as Proquest and other premium databases. You also have many expensive reference books readily available. I look forward to your input. Edison (talk) 21:13, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

To permanately end terrorism by Extremists[edit]

What would need to happen in order to end terrorism by Muslim extremists from the Middle East and Asia, short of completely annihilating the USA? What exactly are they after?--Emyn ned (talk) 16:03, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Killing the enemy will not end violence. A new enemy will be chosen. The only way to end war of any kind is to kill all humans. Then, we only need to be concerned with minor scuffles between animals and insects - especially ants. Those little buggers really get into violent encounters. Honestly, if you want to have a rather enjoyable read on this topic, try TH White's The Once and Future King. Much of the book is spent trying to figure out what to do with an army (or a few knights) when they aren't needed for combat anymore. -- kainaw 16:07, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I wasn't trying to say that they should be killed. I was thinking, if we (USA, Europe) gave them what they want or met their demands, what would they be? Also, how will it change our world? --Emyn ned (talk) 16:10, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Power? The thrill of violence? The religious reasons given are generally just excuses, as is made obvious by the fact that the vast majority of Muslims don't support terrorism. --Tango (talk) 16:46, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
You are placing logic in a completely illogical situation. There are no demands that must be met. If anyone were to meet any demands, there would be new demands. If everyone we consider a terrorist were killed, there would be new terrorists. Humans fight just to fight. There is no logic. Just look at the justifications for fighting - they never make sense. So, as I said, the only way to stop the fighting is to kill all humans (not just the terrorists, all humans). -- kainaw 16:46, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
That's an overly simplistic explanation, if not completely wrong. As they say, war is a continuation of politics by other means and terrorism is no different. Virtually all terrorists groups have political goals. Whether it's the PLO trying to establish a Palestinian state or the IRA trying to win independence from Great Britain or Christian terrorists trying to stop abortion, it's all about politics. (talk) 18:04, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Ok, I see your point. Thanks for answering. --Emyn ned (talk) 16:57, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Well, first of all, Islamic terrorists aren't a homogeneous population. Different groups have different agendas, some of which are contradictory. Just look at Iraq where you have Sunni terrorists fighting Shiite terrorists. (talk) 18:04, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
The problem with attempting to claim that the members of a terrorist group (or any group that participates in violence) have an agenda is that the members usually do not have an agenda. They are just there to fight. If the leaders with their agenda go away, the fighters will join some other group so they can keep fighting. Due to an unfounded belief that humans are somehow special, people have always tried to claim that war (of any kind) is caused by something that can be fixed. The simpler explanation is that war is a common result of humans being alive. Not all humans participate in war, but humans naturally divide themselves into groups and humans naturally see the world as a zero-sum game. So, the groups naturally fight. Try to find a single year in the history of humans in which there wasn't combat going on somewhere in the world. It hasn't ever happened. There are always people looking to fight and always somewhere for them to fight. -- kainaw 19:01, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Oh, I don't think you can get a suicide bomber to strap a bomb to his chest unless he believes that he was dying for a greater cause. (talk) 19:24, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
They do it "for the greater glory of Allah" or similar, not for some real world cause - it's simple religious indoctrination. --Tango (talk) 19:31, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Religion is a factor, but it really isn't that simple. There are other motives. A good movie to watch about this is Paradise Now. Wrad (talk) 20:03, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Kainaw, you can't seriously believe that things can never improve from where they are now. Things are much better right now in some parts of the world than in others. If we could just reduce the rate of terrorism (and hunger, and disease...) in the rest of the world to the rate in, say, western Europe, it would be an enormous improvement. There's evidently no barrier to that in human nature. Educate people, raise their standard of living, and they'll stop killing each other. The evidence is everywhere. And what's this about "an unfounded belief that humans are somehow special"? Humans are obviously special, among extant species, in all kinds of ways. You seem to be saying that we'll never be rid of war because humans are just like other animals, but not many animal species wage war in the first place. (Single combat, sure, but that's not at all what we're talking about here.) -- BenRG (talk) 22:17, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
A lot of terrorists are from western Europe. They often go to training camps in Pakistan, and similar, but they are frequently citizens of the countries they are bombing. --Tango (talk) 22:41, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

The answer to your question is opportunity. Terrorism, as it is referred to now, cannot end. It's been around since before the establishment of the USA. But, if opportunity is spread, the numbers of volunteers will fall. This happened in Northern Ireland and I think it serves as a good example (albeit a small one) of conflict resolution. There are still a small number of Irish Republicans (estimated at around 100) still targeting police officers and the Loyalists aren't very active either. The large majority of the general public (>90%) refuse to support any form of political violence there. This was not the case twenty years ago. Removing volunteers requires the removal of public support, which is small in the Islamic world but high in certain areas where the terrorists are strongest. Support can be removed by creating opportunity through investment and non-partisan media controlling the airways. How this can be done is anybody's guess. Donek (talk) 20:04, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Yes, terrorists exist because there is nothing else to do that provides the same acceptance. Many of them come from countries or areas where there are few economic opportunities and where terrorists are glorified by the public. People want to be accepted, if you have no job and your life seems to have no future, you will obviously be more easily persuaded to blow yourself up for some cause. Wrad (talk) 20:19, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Step 1: Stop classifying all terrorists as Muslims and all Muslims as terrorists (cf Timothy McVeigh, Red Brigades, Red Army Faction and Japanese Red Army). Step 2: Stop classifying the problem as one of “Muslim extremists from the Middle East and Asia” vs. the USA. (cf November 2008 Mumbai attacks) Step 3: Stop assuming that there is some unified organization that will define objectives and negotiate a settlement, as should be obvious from the previous two examples. Step 4: Reread kainaw‘s post about (il)logic. DOR (HK) (talk) 05:31, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

To end hunger all over the world..[edit]

Hypothetically, say the USA alone decided that it will end world hunger right now, all by itself and it had unlimited funding (also pretend that the worldwide credit/mortgage crisis didn't happen). What would USA do first? How will it attack this? What will need to happen? And, after every impoverished country has the food, resources and knowledge to feed itself, how will this benefit the USA in the short and long run? --Emyn ned (talk) 16:15, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

By your last two questions, it appears that you have mistaken this reference desk as a discussion forum. This is not a forum to discuss topics. This is a place to get references. If you want a reference on a specific topic, please ask. If you want to discuss hypothetical situations, please use one of the millions of discussion forums available on the internet. -- kainaw 16:48, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I am not here to "discuss" this. I want to know exactly what has to happen in order to end world hunger. Assuming my teacher is right, we have the resources (USA, Europe) to do this. But when I asked him, "OK, How?", he had no answer. Aside from politcal and other hurdles, what is the first thing to do? --Emyn ned (talk) 16:55, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

As Tango says below, it is a problem with warlords, terrorists, corrupt governments, etc... It is not a problem with food production. How do you get rid of all warlords, terrorists, and corrupt politicians? Kill all humans. If there are just two humans left, at least one will try to steal from the other (but I suspect they'll steal from each other). -- kainaw 17:05, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
There is plenty of food in the world, the problem is getting it to where it is needed, which is a political problem. There is no obvious solution - invading the whole world and putting it under a totalitarian regime that ensures food gets to the right places would work, but I doubt it's a very popular solution. A less drastic form of world government might also work, but it's rather difficult to implement such a plan. --Tango (talk) 16:50, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Ok, so all political issues aside worldwide, hypothetically. If there were no poltical issues whatsoever (which I know is impossible), what would be the first logical step in order to end world hunger? Ship extra food to the impoverished countries or send seeds and farm equipment? And once this is all done, I wonder how the world would change specifically? --Emyn ned (talk) 18:34, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

If there were no political problems, there would be no mass hunger. The free market would probably do the job just fine (there may be a need for food aid sent to some of the absolute poorest, but most would be able to buy food if it weren't for political problems in their country). --Tango (talk) 19:25, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
That seems quite optimistic. While it is certainly true that food shortages are often connected with political corruption or unwise government policies, there are many other factors, economic ones being at the fore, and I wouldn't rely on the free market to address these. Warofdreams talk 00:53, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
If there was one peaceful world gov, the next step after distributing food would be to distribute birth control and/or embark on a massive sterilization program to prevent the third world population, no longer limited by starvation, disease, and war, from increasing to the point where even the world gov couldn't feed them any more. StuRat (talk) 19:55, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Let us start with a really simple one before we get to the more complex global problems:
Hypothetically, say the USA alone decided that it will end injustice in the Iraq right now, all by itself and it had unlimited funding. What would USA do first? How will it attack this? What will need to happen? And, after this dictatorial country has the food, resources and knowledge to free itself, how will this benefit the USA in the short and long run?
Having solved this in a jiffy, we (or rather, you, God´s own country) may now proceed to problem 2: world hunger. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 20:05, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

It is not just political, there are physical constraints which are putting up food prices beyond the reach of the poor. Modern agriculture depends on the energy from cheap oil and also a water supply, which is another problem. Farming the moon under an artificial environment, using a solar powered electromagnetic railgun to transfer the food to Earth and parachuting the food to ground where it is required would be one solution. The water could be obtained from comets. Once nuclear fusion works, massive quantities of seawater could be desalinated and return desert areas to agriculture, though this could be done with solar energy. But with fusion multi-story underground buildings with solar lamps could supply indefinite amounts of food, given virtually free energy. Later, replicator nanotechnology could produce food efficiently from dirt-but energy is the bottom line in food production, because indirectly we all rely on pure energy from the sun-until a sun can be created on earth. One other method would be to redirect rivers to desert areas across national boundaries, but whilst it might be politically acceptable for Canada to divert some of its massive water resources to the United States, It is less likely that Europe or Russia would do this for hostile Islamic states on its Southern border, though a big enough food crisis might make this situation viable.Trevor Loughlin (talk) 04:19, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Tango laid out the key to rephrasing the question. The next part is “what are the consequences of moving surplus food to places of scarcity?” The first one that comes to mind is the economic impact: where food is scarce, farmers earn more; add a significant amount of food to that economy, and farm incomes would go down. Next question: is that a desirable outcome, or would impoverishing farmers simply make matters worse? (When you get the answer, Emyn ned, call the World Bank and offer your services as their new boss.) DOR (HK) (talk) 05:39, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Will do. There is nothing wrong with dreaming big! Sometimes, miracles happen. --Emyn ned (talk) 14:15, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

it amazes me that no one has talked about food tariffs - the US and the EU both impose massive tariffs from imported food so the third world has very little incentive to produce food to sell (this problem is conpounded by the fact that they then dump tonnes of cheap, subisdised food on to the developing markets). Get rid of these and you'd solve a great deal of food shortage problems, and save the tax payers of these countries a pretty penny too... (talk) 16:38, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

(This isn't too proper an RD/H question, but ..) has a very good point, falling into the category of "stop doing many things that make world hunger worse." Ethanol policies are another one. US military activities, promoting arms races, destabilizing and invading countries and "defense" spending is another. The operations, e.g. Structural adjustment of the World Bank and the IMF of the last few decades could hardly be designed better to promote world hunger and prevent development in poor countries. The lot of the world's poorer countries would be helped by these "international loan-sharking institutions" (the late Jonathan Kwitny's felicitous phrase) not existing; of course if they were actually used to promote Marshall plan style development - dream on, that would be great. One of the great long-term benefits of the Bush years has been the weakening of these institutions.John Z (talk) 23:13, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Read the book "God's Men" by Pearl S. Buck. It has all answers to the world's hunger problem. As for the benefit part, the premise is that people would favour a government who provides them food (the book was published in 1951, so this might no longer be true). As for the part about benefitting USA, the book attempts to answer that too. Jay (talk) 13:08, 3 December 2008 (UTC)


Can anyone come up with a good estimate for the worldwide market size for diagnostic products for E. coli detection? Donek (talk) 19:49, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

That would depend entirely on the product and cost. If you had a one cent strip you could stick in any suspect food, and the color would tell you instantly if it's infected with E. coli, then you could sell maybe 100 billion such strips a year. If you're talking about a $1,000,000 E. coli diagnostic machine, then there may not be any market for it at all. StuRat (talk) 20:09, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I don't think the strip you refer to exists but I take your point. It's pretty cheap and easy to use. I'm not looking for possible sales of a particular product, just the current market for cheap diagnostic products. Donek (talk) 20:22, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Same question, same answer. Define "cheap." Are you thinking of "Cheap to the average Swiss banker," or "Cheap to the average Bangladeshi farmer" ?DOR (HK) (talk) 05:41, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Question withdrawn. Donek (talk) 19:25, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Wait Wait Wait!
Sites like [10] have the type of market research you're looking for. [11] [12] Here are some other reports, that focus on test strips in medical settings. They're pricey, but may be worth it for a serious investigation. [13] [14] Here are some examples of similar products.
Ah. [15] here is a rough estimate of the size. $1.67 billion by 2010 with 55% in the US and Europe. The "pathogen testing" sub-market represents $992 million. This article has plenty more report links to the exact market reports you're looking for.
If you're putting together a business plan, financiers understand that different products classes and types are going to have different price elasticities. They also understand that inserting a unique or new product into a market will typically increase the size of that market. Otherwise, when someone asks for "market size" they usually just mean "revenue per year currently allocated to addressing that want/need", regardless of product size, type, price, etc.NByz (talk) 19:32, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for the resource. It's a project we're doing for uni. I withdrew the question because we changed the organism to MRSA which has a market of about US$50,000,000. I should've explained why I removed the question but thanks for trying anyway.

There have been quite a few cases of that in one of our hospitals here in victoria, BC.NByz (talk) 21:40, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Chadian City[edit]

Apparently there's a Chadian city named Saigon. However, the only reference I can find about this locale is on maps. Does this place exist in real life or only in the mapmakers' imagination? DHN (talk) 20:03, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

I would suspect there are a LOT Of places in Chad which you can't find anything about on the internet. The fact that it has the name Saigon may seem to make people more likely to talk about it but then again, there's no Saigon anywhere else now so it's not so interesting as it may have been Nil Einne (talk) 20:32, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
N.B. Some things say Saigon, Biltine. If they mean Biltine Prefecture that doesn't exist anymore. So who knows if Saigon in Chad still exists either? It's possible they mean Biltine Department but that's bit odd since you'd normal specify the region I presume. Nil Einne (talk) 20:35, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Judging from the apparent irrigation canals there in the satellite view [16], I'd say it's a small farming community. And, judging by the name, I'd guess it was settled by Vietnamese fleeing the Vietnam War. StuRat (talk) 20:29, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
The official languages of Chad are French and Arabic. It used to be part of French Equatorial Africa. And the name "Saigon", with that spelling, was established for the Vietnamese city now known as Ho Chi Minh City by the French in 1862 (according to the Ho Chi Minh City page). So perhaps the Saigon in Chad was named during the French colonial era as well, perhaps after the capital of colonial French South Vietnam (Cochinchina). Then again, "Saigon" may be transcription from an Arabic spelling that just happens to have been rendered as "Saigon". This was my first thought after reading the question. Or perhaps it was founded by Vietnamese people, as StuRat said. Fleeing Vietnam for Chad seems an odd idea to me, but I know little about where Vietnamese people have fled to, or why. Maybe the French connection between Vietnam and Chad made it sensible for Vietnamese to flee to Chad.
But to respond to the original question, there doesn't seem to be much on the web about Saigon, Chad, although a search for it at NGA GNS works. I would guess that Google got its placename data for places like Chad in part from the NGA GNS database. I can't say whether it exists "in real life", but the US government seems to think so, whatever that is worth. Pfly (talk) 07:15, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
Standard Arabic doesn't even have a "g" sound (though it exists in some dialects, most notably Egyptian). AnonMoos (talk) 10:57, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
There are many languages spoken in Chad other than French and Arabic. According to Ethnologue, for example, the language of the Maba people had 250,000 speakers in Biltine Prefecture as of 1999. It seems quite likely that this is a local place name that is coincidentally the same as the former Vietnamese place name. The phonemes in the name are quite common ones among world languages. Marco polo (talk) 02:00, 3 December 2008 (UTC)

Article translation database[edit]

Is there a database of translations of articles? (Like "Index Translationum" does for books.) (talk) 20:27, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

What kind of articles do you mean? Wikipedia articles? There is a list of version in other languages on the left hand side of every article. --Tango (talk) 21:13, 1 December 2008 (UTC)
Versions as in not direct or cross-translations – you might find some are more brief, less developed or more developed than the English equivalent. Still useful though, Julia Rossi (talk) 22:14, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Resources on Gorky and God Building[edit]

Are there any good books/websites which give infomration about Gorky and Godbuilding? I have read that embalming Lenin was part of an attempt to resurrect him and others at some future date. Particularly in what Zizek calls mystical Marxist pantheism. ""bio-cosmism," the strange combination of vulgar materialism and Gnostic spirituality which formed occult shadow-ideology, the obscene secret teaching, of the Soviet Marxism. Repressed out of the public sight in the central period of the Soviet state, bio-cosmism was openly propagated only in the first and in the last two decades of the Soviet rule; its main theses are: the goals of religion (collective paradise, overcoming of all suffering, full individual immortality, resurrection of the dead, victory over time and death, conquest of space far beyond the solar system) can be realized in terrestrial life through the development of modern science and technology. In the future, not only will sexual difference be abolished, with the rise of chaste post-humans reproducing themselves through direct bio-technical reproduction; it will also be possible to resurrect all the dead of the past (establishing their biological formula through their remains and then re-engendering them - at that time, DNA was not yet known...), thus even erasing all past injustices, "undoing" past suffering and destruction. In this bright bio-political Communist future, not only humans, but also animals, all living being, will participate in a directly collectivized Reason of the cosmos... Whatever one can hold against Lenin's ruthless critique of Maxim Gorky's the "construction of God (bogograditelk'stvo)," the direct deification of man, one should bear in mind that Gorky himself collaborated with bio-cosmists. It is interesting to note resemblances between this "bio-cosmism" and today's techno-gnosis. - " --Gary123 (talk) 23:14, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

Excuse me? Emma Dashwood (talk) 07:01, 2 December 2008 (UTC)
@ Maxim Gorky there's this: Most controversially, he articulated, along with a few other maverick Bolsheviks, a philosophy he called "God-Building", which sought to recapture the power of myth for the revolution and to create a religious atheism that placed collective humanity where God had been and was imbued with passion, wonderment, moral certainty, and the promise of deliverance from evil, suffering, and even death. Though 'God-Building' was suppressed by Lenin, Gorky retained his belief that "culture"—the moral and spiritual awareness of the value and potential of the human self—would be more critical to the revolution’s success than political or economic arrangements. You might find links at the end of the article. Apart from the subject, and Slavoj Žižek's input, is there a question beyond the first sentence? Julia Rossi (talk) 08:20, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Poster in the West Wing (TV serial)[edit]

In the TV serial The West Wing, the character Toby Ziegler has a poster in his office (at least the first season) which looks lika a reproduction of an art print [17]. Does somebody know who the artist is? I have posted this question in the Entertainment Reference desk, but nobody knew the answer. /B****n (talk) 23:38, 1 December 2008 (UTC)

You could try and find out who the art director is (or for that matter anybody in the art department stands a chance of knowing) and trying to contact them by looking for their CVs or contact information on Google. It does depend on how strongly you want to find out - and you might not be able to get anybody's contact details. Another option is to go to the newsgroups and forums of the show and ask there - just in case someone noticed the picture and knows who did it. Rfwoolf (talk) 18:00, 2 December 2008 (UTC)