Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2008 February 21

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February 21[edit]


does marrying mother's sister become incest in many culture? (talk) 05:26, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

In western culture: a resounding yes. :D\=< (talk) 06:20, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Not disagreeing with the answer, but technically incest only occurs when the parties have sexual intercourse. If the marriage was unconsummated, I suppose they could argue it was not incestuous. -- JackofOz (talk) 08:17, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Isn't consummation a must in marriage according to common law, and grounds for annulment (rather than divorce). I might be wrong. Steewi (talk) 01:38, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
But legal marriage is by registration these days. Like land title. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 02:42, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
(ec) No, consummation is not a must, although it is gounds for an annulment. Marriage as we know it today (in Western culture) actually evolved rather haphazardly, and formalising it as a social contract became more of an issue from the 12th C. Here we see a shift from the traditional view that consummation was the defining characteristic of marriage, to an emphasis on the contract. When the church began taking control of it as a religious sacrament we see an interesting parrallel structure running. Religious marriage vows were legally binding, with or without consummation. But a promise to marry was equally binding if it had been consummated. Thus, if a man says to a woman "I want to marry you" and then beds her, they are legally considered married. You can imagine the situations that created! Clandestine Marriages R Us. (Like Marjorie of Carrick who kidnapped Robert de Brus and forced him to marry her). Interestingly, there were also legal pre-contracts which were binding regardless of consummation, or even the age of the betrothed (hence all these ridiculous arguments and manoeuverings of royals and nobles, leading to spats and wars as serial pre-contracts were argued over, and marriages dissolved once earlier precontracts were "disclosed"). But over and above these legal issues was the "marriage debt" one: couples might agree to abstain (or even leave their marriage unconsummated), but if one partner wanted it, and the other refused (or was unable) then the marriage could be annuled (even if it had previously been consummated). Hence you get the amusing records of "wise matrons" gathering around the bed of a gentleman to see how useful his "virile member" was. Of course, turning to the incest question: the degrees of consanguinity allowed varied throughout history, but they were frequently ignored to suit circumstances (and as conveniently remembered or discovered if one wanted rid of a spouse). (Sex counted as much as marriage when determining consanguinity: you couldn't have sex with a man then marry his brother, so again "disclosing" (I bet frequently inventing) earlier relationships also helped annull marriage with an unwanted spouse. So, we do see people marrying aunts and brothers-in-law and so on. But, that is all history, and not quite what the OP asked. But the answer to that has been given, and can also be found at Prohibited degree of kinship Gwinva (talk) 02:50, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
In those countries that have same-sex marriage or civil partnerships, if A and B (two men) marry and later divorce (or whatever the term is), is there any prohibition on A then marrying B's brother? -- JackofOz (talk) 04:52, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Now, that's got me. Diligently investigating that answer, I discover that marrying one's husband's brother is not forbidden, according to the Prohibited degree of kinship (which is good for religious requirements, not civil ones). So when did it change? It certainly was forbidden during the Middle Ages. Of course, Levirate marriage was acceptable in many cultures, but by the Medieval period was pretty much out. (Henry VIII had his first marriage annulled for this reason.) During the early Middle Ages marriage was forbidden for consanguinity to the 7th degree. But this is pretty ridiculous, (near on impossible in small communities) and had no Biblical basis, so the church decided to reduce it to 4 degrees, and 2 degrees of affinity (ie in-laws). (I'm not sure what forbidden affinity was before the 12th C). But I don't know when the spouse's sibling thing was dropped. An interesting aside: genetics was kinda understood, and people feared giving birth to "monsters" from consanguinious relationships. It didn't stop people, though. Can't remember who married the aunt, but Æthelbald of Wessex married his stepmother. Anyway... if it's no longer illegal to marry one's spouse's brother, then I guess there's no bar for same sex couples! But the same-sex idea was interesting... I couldn't find any legal requirements (for normal marriage) on the official UK sites (isn't that odd? Or am I just blind?) but the NHS mentions marriage is illegal to the 2nd degree, and the Church of England's restrictions are covered at Prohibited degree of kinship. New Zealand extends these prohibitions to civil union partners. Interesting. Genetics obviously has nothing to do with it, even though that rationale determines the degrees for marriage. Now, Australia is quite different. The NSW site indicates it is legal to marry one's aunt: a person cannot marry their parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister. However, (depending of course on the gender of the party) a person may marry their aunt or uncle, niece or nephew or ‘first’ cousin. So, at last, we find an answer to the OP's question. Move to Australia. Gwinva (talk) 07:45, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Excellent answer, Gwinva, and naturally I support your final recommendation. But just to clarify, I'm not sure why you called that "the NSW site". The Australian marriage laws apply uniformly throughout the country, marriage being a Commonwealth responsibility under s.51(xxi) of the Constitution. -- JackofOz (talk) 10:03, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Ah, that was purely a lazy error. I found the link from a NSW government site, didn't check the address of the second link (assuming it was the same site), and didn't bother looking up the other states (for the commonwealth uniformity reason I you mentioned). I apologise. But it does raise a couple of interesting points. Why does NZ have 32 forbidden relationships, and Oz only 6? And, if you were in NZ and wanted to marry someone on their extensive list of forbidden kin, it'd be simple to skip over to Oz on a NZ passport and marry there. Presumably the marriage would be recognised on return? A marketing opportunity there! Oz: Forbidden Marriages R Us. Gwinva (talk) 19:34, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
I do believe Kiwis don't even need a passport to enter Australia (that was certainly true at one point, but it may have changed). Of course we're a much more liberal (that's small-l) and egalitarian society here than NZ, which is why so many NZers move here. It may also reflect the practices of our beloved Tasmanians, often referred to jocularly as the hillbillies of Australia and whose intermarriages are the stuff of legend. (There, I've probably managed to insult 2 groups in one post. Any more?  :)  :) But seriously, I really have no idea why NZ has so many more forbidden relationships than Oz. Point (11) in the list of persons a NZ man may not marry is: “Sons' wife”. How very revealing. Apparently, if a woman wants to marry a man, she must simultaneously marry all of his brothers. But a man is not required to marry all his wife’s sisters. See, that’s the lack of egalitarianism I was talking about.  :) :) -- JackofOz (talk) 21:49, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Hmmm. You wonder if you've manged to insult NZers with your comment that Australia is "a much more liberal and egalitarian society than NZ". The second claim is likely to inspire a dreg-up-all-the-dirt you-Aussies-are-dreadful kind of argument. The first, well, that just raises the question of whether liberalism is a Good Thing. Or even if Australia is a Good Thing; which last is not an argument you're going to win easily. Gwinva (talk) 01:40, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
It's an argument I intend not to enter into, because I don't need to. Thanks, Gwinva. -- JackofOz (talk) 09:19, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
Of course, Australians who want their same sex relationship to be legally recognised via civil unions can't come here and do it since liberal and egalitarian Australia doesn't think same sex relationships should be recognised in such a way Recognition of same-sex relationships in Australia. They might be defacto partners if they're lucky, but thats it. Nil Einne (talk) 12:15, 27 February 2008 (UTC)
BTW, forgot to mention this at the time but Kiwis do definitely need a passport to enter Australia. They need a visa as well although they don't have to apply for it (i.e. it is usually granted on arrival although can be denied) [1]. However Kiwis living in Australia under the SCV are subject to the same limitations as Australian permanent residents including the inability to vote in many elections, the ineligibility for certain commonwealth government jobs like those with the tax department [2] as well as limitations on what sort of educational funding you can get. NZ residents basically have no advantage. On the other hand Australian residents (and citizens) have few limitations on entering and working in NZ [3] [4] AFAIK (not counting the same health and character requirements as in Australia or probably pretty much any country of course). There are also few job or other limitations on NZ residents that I know of (actually the only one I know of is you can't run for parliament or probably most other elections) so the same will probably apply to most Australian citizens or residents working here. Indeed they will also usually be considered domestic students at universities as far as I know [5]. I don't believe Australian citizens or residents living here can vote, but if they get a job they could probably successful apply for residence and can vote after 2 years. Nil Einne (talk) 11:27, 17 January 2009 (UTC)

Question regarding a trademark[edit]

Sparknotes' logo is a registered trademark. Boston College runs a weekly program called Sparklunch, a blatant ripoff of the Sparknotes name, complete with a ripoff of the logo. link here

My question is, could sparknotes seek any recourse against BC, or would they be immune because Sparklunch is a non-commercial endeavor? Just curious because BC seems to have a knack for ripping off logos for 'creativity's sake' (talk) 06:47, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Being non-commercial would not help. It's a fairly dangerous practice; I imagine they would claim it was parody, but I doubt a court would uphold that, personally (parody usually has to be making specific fun of the specific trademark holder in question in a very limited context). SparkNotes would probably not be able to get any real monetary damages from BC other than legal fees (unless they could allege they had lost money somehow), but they could certainly make them cease and desist. I am not a lawyer etc. but that's what it looks like to me and my limited knowledge of trademark law. If I were at BC I'd probably get them to rename it—it's a frivolous trademark violation, it is really unnecessary. -- (talk) 13:53, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
On the assumption that a SparkLunch is a gathering of students to study over lunch (presumably using SparkNotes) I doubt SparkNotes would sue. Not that I am a lawyer of course. Boston College might get away with it on the grounds that lunch is a different domain from study notes. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:25, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
The reason they could sue (or demand they desist) has nothing to do with whether it poses a real commercial threat; if you don't maintain a trademark vigorously (if "Spark" becomes synonymous with "study-related", in this case) then you can lose it. See Genericized trademark and Trademark dilution. --Panoptik (talk) 00:00, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Is "Ethnic Cleansing" a word of approval for genocide?[edit]

Obviously, cleansing is no bad thing, is ethnic clensing an approbatory word for genocide or does it condemn - I'm asking about connotation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:03, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

EC does not necessarily connote genocide ... EC can be established by exiling those to be "cleansed". Despite the cleansing -> good thing connotation, I think the majority would connote EC as a bad thing. --Tagishsimon (talk) 10:27, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

We have an article on ethnic cleansing. The term entered English during the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s, where it was used as a euphemism for the murder and expulsion of enemy ethnic groups from captured territory (not only genocide as such). In origins it was a term of approval, but like many euphemisms it has acquired the negative connotations of what it refers to. (See "euphemism treadmill".) It's most likely that someone using the term today is using it to condemn. Gdr 10:45, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I think perhaps the expression "the murder and expulsion of enemy ethnic groups from captured territory" limits the meaning too much. The Balkans have been a patchwork of different ethnicities for hundreds of years, and in many cases of ethnic cleansing the "enemy ethnic groups" who were being massacred or driven out were citizens of the same country as the forces attacking them, while the "captured territory" had merely been captured by forces representing a different ethnicity - sometimes also the lawful national forces, so "captured" isn't then quite right. In the case of Kosovo, many (but not all) of the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians who were driven out of Kosovo or killed in the late 1990s were citizens of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and were subject to conscription into its army. The forces of Yugoslavia who were doing the ethnic cleansing in Kosovo were instructed also to destroy any documentary evidence they found of ethnic Albanians' birth, citizenship, land ownership, etc. Xn4 12:49, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
"Ethnic cleansing" is a euphemism for the neutral expression or "whitewash", "Population transfer"; it consciously applies the positive connotations of "cleansing" to forced deportations. Compare Newspeak in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. --Wetman (talk) 15:27, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Lost poem on the "Lewis Carroll" page[edit]

Hey there!

I'm quite embarassed about this, bit it seems that I've lost a poem... :D I'm quite sure that it could be found at the end of the biographical part of the Lewis Carroll page.

It was a very short, 4-lined poem, concerning the loss of childhood and the wish to have just one more day of it. I remember that around the poem was some text regarding that Carroll wrote it at the age of 21.

I didn't only search the Lewis Carroll page for it, but quite a big number of related pages, such as the Alice Liddell oder the Alice in Wonderland pages, as well as external websites.

It may be that I'm just blind or desperatly looking the same wrong page over and over again, so if anyone has a clue where my lost poem has gone I would be very thankful.

Yours sincerly, Sven —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:43, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I couldn't see anything obvious in the edit history, but that page has been hacked about so much it's difficult to find anything. Carroll wrote quite a bit on that theme. My own suggestion would be:
I'd give all wealth that years have piled
The slow result of life's decay
To be once more a little child
For one bright summer-day
which is the last verse of "Solitude".--Shantavira|feed me 13:08, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

That's EXACTLY the one I was looking for, thanks alot!! I didn't know that it's an excerpt of a longer poem, good to know! Thanks again, you certainly made my day! (though I wonder where you found it..?) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:16, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

It's in my Complete Works. I think all Carroll's stuff is out of copyright, so you might find the whole poem if you Google it, otherwise I'll give you the other nine verses.--Shantavira|feed me 13:21, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the offer, but I already found it and enjoyed reading! I guess it's time that I get my own "Complete Works", for Carroll has grown to be one of my favourite writers/poets in english language. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:36, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Turner Collection[edit]

I've been reading up on the Turner Collection, a group of important mathematical books that included copies owned by Issac Newton. It was housed by Keele University until they secretly sold it for 1 million pounds to an American to help fund their library. Where did the Turner Collection go? Was it split up? Zidel333 (talk) 14:38, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Readers may be interested in John Fauvel, "The Turner Collection, Keele, 1968-1998:a study in university management of historical textbook resources" —Preceding unsigned comment added by Wetman (talkcontribs) 15:19, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
I've already looked into that source, considering its the first ghit for Tuner Collection that has to do with books themselves. And, that link does not specify where the collection went. Zidel333 (talk) 17:26, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Why is Nutella so expensive? Can I make it at home from hazelnuts (filberts)?[edit]


I wonder what the reason is that Nutella is so expensive everywhere? Secondly, I have a whole lot of hazelnuts (filberts) at home and also a food processor (blender), can I somehow make a nutella substitute with these ingredients? It doesn't have to be perfect...

Thank you! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:45, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I think it would be very hard to make but Tesco's chocolate hazlenut spread is just as good ann much cheaper. -- Q Chris (talk) 15:11, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Nutella is not just hazelnuts. Indeed it is 87% something else. Anyway, you could end-up with a different paste, that could also be quite tasty. Since hazelnut is quite dry, I would try to mix it with something more oily. Mr.K. (talk) 20:33, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
One reason it is expensive is that it is often imported, depending on what country you're in. Also, outside of its primary market, Europe, it may be considered a niche product; see economy of scale. Of course there are many similar products on the market, some better tasting than others. Here are some examples of homemade recipes: [6] [7] [8] Dforest (talk) 05:56, 27 February 2008 (UTC)

The Anglo Scottish Wars[edit]

I got a good answer to one question so let me risk another, this time on the wars between England and Scotland. I would be interested to know why Edward I's campaign of conquest against Scotland from 1296 onwards was such a failure when that against Wales was resoundingly successful. What strategic factors were at work? In what way did Edward's intervention in Scotland affect England's long term strategic interests? What might have happened if England and Scotland had remained on friendly terms? Above all-and this may require a high degree of speculation-was Edward the kind of king England could have done without? Many thanks. Hamish MacLean (talk) 16:50, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Hello again, Hector. The short answer is that Edward's Welsh War was ruinously expensive, especially when it came to the construction of castles, absolutely essential to ensure that the conquered territory could be held. Indeed, it was so expensive that the last of Edward's great bastilles, Beaumaris Castle on Anglesey, was never completed. Remember, too, that North Wales, the last fragment of the conquest, covers a relatively small area. If needs be troops could be rushed from Chester and Dublin to aid local garrisons under attack. So, Edward went to war in Scotland with his treasury all but empty. His armies could certainly win battles, but they could only be kept in the field for a short campaigning season. Given the size and the geography of Scotland, the garrisons left to hold the country in the gaps between offensives were vulnerable to attack, with little or no possibility of external support. Edward, moreover, had no money to build new castles, as he had in Wales, confining himself to repairing those he had taken from the Scots. But these were often recaptured, in some cases with considerable ease.
Edward's intervention in Scotland came at the worst possible time. Scotland had, in fact, for many years prior to this been a friend and ally to England. Alexander III, last king of the Canmore line, had even participated in the Welsh Wars. But Edward began his abortive northern campaign at the same time as he was at war with France, ensuring that his two antagonists would become firm allies, a serious long-term threat to English security. Edward's thoughtless aggression also retarded British unity by centuries.
In responding to your final point I would say that Edward's was a reign of two halves. Take away the war in the north and he is, on balance, one of the greatest of English kings, lawmaker and father of the English Parliamentary system. Sandwiched between an inept father and an even more inept son he stands tall indeed. But, I agree, we could have done without his bad-tempered ambition! Clio the Muse (talk) 02:12, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
It's also worth considering the massive differences beteen the two nations, and the different approach Edward took to the wars. Wales was a military conquest; Edward marched in with an army, subdued the populace and enforced his authority througha military infrastructure. His approach to Scotland was quite different. As Clio said, England and Scotalnd had had friendly relations, such that when Alexander III died without heir Scotland turned to Edward for assistance in good faith (not because he was their overlord but because he was their friendly high-ranked neighbour, and as a king was fit to judge on kings, just as an earl can judge earls etc: trial by your peers kind of idea). Edward responded by suggesting a puppet king, and began a system of introducing his political allies in places of power, and his own English administrators: a political takeover, as it were. Once the Scots realised this, there was an uproar, Edward marched in with his heavies, and suddenly Scotland realised they were in the midst of a war: Edward would be content with nothing less than direct rule. They weren't going to take it lightly. Now, enter the main differences between Wales and Scotland. Clio mentioned the size of Scotland, which is a major issue, as was the fact the geographically it was hard to conquer (the marshes in the lowlands, the highand line, the Cheviots etc) which made campaigning difficult for Edward, and provided the Scots with a real heartland to defend. But there were other major issues. Scotland had a well developed central government and local administrative structure (David I had a lot to do with this), and the people were (compared to the Welsh at least) pretty unified, and used to centralised government, and centralised revenue-gathering. It was certainly pretty stable, and was undoubtedly envied by the more volatile states in Europe. The structure was in place for quick and easy mustering and levying of an army (kind of like a feudal structure, but not exactly); you can see this by looking at how quickly William Wallace et al raised armies. Scotland also had international clout: they were able to call in favours from France, Norway, petition the Pope (through the strong Scottish church which was recognised as independent from England's) and so on. The towns had trading links with the low countries, which brought economic interests in maintaining independence (hence Berwick-upon-Tweed's great run in with Edward).
And, on top of all that, the Scottish people were generally focussed on ousting Edward: there were not too many petty squabbles and in-fighting to distract people from the main cause. There really were very few collaborators. (Wales was divided: half the English army in the Welsh wars was Welsh). So, in all, Edward bit off more than he could chew, particularly when added to the mix of his other expensive military aspirations. It's hard to imagine his countrymen were keen to apply themselves greatly to the conquest of another country. As to whether he's a king England could do without: an interesting question. Pre Edward, the nations were friendly allies; after his "invasion" they were deadly enemies, at each other's throats for centuries to follow. A truce of sorts developed when when James VI inherited the throne of England, but the Acts of Union 1707 was a political disaster for Scotland and ensured that the animosity remained. So, is Edward to blame for centuries of hate, warfare and reiving? Who knows? Certainly, the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France was instituted because of Edward. Who knows how the French wars would have gone had that not been in place? Gwinva (talk) 03:42, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Thank you Clio and Gwinva. Hamish MacLean (talk) 17:34, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

This may be a case of bolting the stable door, because we've all moved on, but scanning past this just now, it suddenly struck me I'd forgotten to mention one pretty important factor: that of military leadership. Robert the Bruce was an extremely able tactician, strategist and commander. Concentrating (military wise - politics discussed above) on guerilla warfare and ruthless chevauchees into England, he avoided any repeat of the Falkirk disaster, and made it impossible for the King Edwards to press home the English advantage of numbers and resources. The English learnt from this, and copied the tactics in their Hundred Years' War, so ultimately England did gain something from it all. Gwinva (talk) 21:12, 26 February 2008 (UTC)

is there any modern-day no-man's-land?[edit]

Are there any places that are "no man's land", not under the authority of any country and therefore not subject to any laws, so that you can do whatever you want there? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:57, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

How about Sealand? (talk) 22:49, 25 February 2008 (UTC)
As a matter of law, I don't know of any unclaimed land. I believe there are some abandoned man-made structures outside territorial waters where the jurisdiction is arguable, but see United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, there are plenty of parts of the world which are uninhabited and which in practice have no law enforcement. Xn4 18:11, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
The Korean Demilitarized Zone? --Kurt Shaped Box (talk) 18:23, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
There used to be white spots on the map on the borders of Saudi Arabia, including directly south of Kuwait, which were listed as belonging to no country, but those white spots seem to have been filled in in the most recent maps. Does Western Sahara qualify? Corvus cornixtalk —Preceding comment was added at 18:57, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
I believe there was some uncertainty about frontiers in Arabia in the days when it made no practical difference to anyone where a line ran. There are two villages in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, one subject to North Korean control and the other South Korean. In the rest of the zone, the principle of Fay ce que vouldras is limited, not least by land mines. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Xn4 (talkcontribs) 19:08, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
See Neutral territory with links to Arabian neutral zones. Wikipeditor (talk) 19:13, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
But those two zones, the Saudi-Iraqi neutral zone and the Saudi-Kuwaiti neutral zone are no more, having been partitioned. Xn4 19:20, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Antarctica, perhaps? And hasn't the US government once refused to acknowledge any judicial sovereignty over Guantanamo Bay Naval Base (which of course doesn't mean you can do whatever you want there)?
If you want a place that may be under control of a country's authorities in practice, but not de jure, here are two neighbouring states, each of whom insists on a different borderline, with their claims overlapping in this big, desirable coastland, their bone of contention, seemingly leaving out an adjacent small, landlocked territory. If you do whatever you want there, and either government complains, you might try saying “but you said this is your neighbour's!” Wikipeditor (talk) 19:11, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
See Antarctic territorial claims - the whole continent is subject to one or more such claims. In the Hala'ib Triangle, our article states that Egypt has control. Xn4 19:15, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the "triangle" 90ºW-150ºW, 60ºS-90ºS appears to be claimed by no nation.
The article Antarctica confirms this fact. Pallida  Mors 19:55, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
It seems you're right and I take "whole" back. There is indeed an unclaimed area. And another oddity about Antarctica which I've just learnt is that most nations recognize none of the claims on it. We can also notice that very nearly all of the continent falls into my earlier description of "parts of the world which are uninhabited and which in practice have no law enforcement". So this may be where the OP is looking for. Xn4 21:48, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Guantanamo Bay is Cuban sovereign territory, as acknowledged by the US court when it refused to exercise jurisdiction over it. The US claims it is continuing to lease the territory, while Cuba refuses to recognise that the lease is continuing.
As to the original question, are we asking about terra nullius, or neutral territory? The two are related but different. The unclaimed wedge of Antarctica would be terra nullius, but the whole of Antarctica would be neutral territory, due to suspension of all territorial claims under the Antarctic Treaty. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 22:03, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
I find it amusing to discover that Argentina lays claim to pretty much the same region of the continent as Britain. Some things never change. --Kurt Shaped Box (talk) 22:33, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

The original poster asked about places not under the authority of any country "and therefore not subject to any laws, so that you can do whatever you want there". The second part doesn't follow from the first. Some countries claim jurisdiction over their citizens' actions no matter where they happen to be: for example, the U.S. requires its citizens to file income tax returns no matter where they live, and essentially prohibits them from spending money when in Cuba. This sort of thing is mentioned briefly in the article on extraterritoriality. Of course, a country's ability to enforce such laws may be limited when the person is a dual citizen or a permanent resident of another country, but if a U.S. billionaire set up a household in the unclaimed part of Antarctica in order to avoid paying a fortune in U.S. taxes, I think the FBI would be happy to send agents after him. (Although what would happen if he resisted arrest, I don't want to think about!)

It might be different for a person who was not a citizen of anywhere, but there are significant practical difficulties with that; follow the link.

The other sort of place that's outside of any national jurisdiction, of course, is international waters. But again, leaving national laws behind is not so easy.

This is, of course, not legal advice! I assume we're speaking entirely hypothetically. --Anonymous, 00:52 UTC, February 22, 2008.

(edit conflict) Jurisdictional issues in Antarctica are certainly complicated, as can be seen from the investigations of the death of Australian Rodney Marks in an American base within New Zealand territory. This, of course, is further complicated by the fact that Christchurch, New Zealand is the "mainland" base for most Antarctic organisations. Gwinva (talk) 00:56, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

This would´ve been an interesting exemple some years ago: Moresnet--Tresckow (talk) 01:33, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Note that the U.S. does not recognize territorial claims to Antarctica. On the topic of "no man's land," the U.S. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency officially describes the old demilitarized zone between Israel and the Jordanian-occupied West Bank as "No Man's Land." Of course, Israel now controls the tiny territory, but the U.S. government doesn't officially recognize it. The West Bank itself could be considered a "no man's land," since it is not claimed by any sovereign state. Israel has never annexed it. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 04:17, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm surprised we don't have a List of uninhabited and unowned islands. But then, I suppose that as soon as the existence of such places is publicised, someone comes along and claims sovereignty, so they don't remain unowned for very long. -- JackofOz (talk) 04:44, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Precious little is unowned, apart from ferae naturae, but we do have the Category:Uninhabited islands. Xn4 22:39, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

Somalia is the one country often cited as not being under the thumb of any monopoly provider of law. The Anarchy in Somalia article might be worth a read for you. скоморохъ 18:02, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

WRT Somalia, see failed state, because that term generally covers anarchy in the negative (not utopian) sense, and that generally means that you can do whatever you want, especially if you have more firepower than the other guys. WRT areas of the world that do not fall under a recognised state, or have disputed boundaries, you can add to your list the triangle (interesting that it is another triangle!) between northern Kenya and southern Sudan; we don't seem to have an article on it. WRT jurisdiction over the high seas, Canada is concerned by the melting of the Arctic Sea and thus the freeing up of the Northwest Passage; they claim it as territorial waters but the United States disagrees. BrainyBabe (talk) 21:41, 24 February 2008 (UTC)


I’ve spent nearly my entire life studying “classical” music and despite that I’ve never develop any great love of Mozart. Bach, yes, Schubert and Ravel, yes, Charles Ives and Luciano Berio, certainly, but my admiration for Mozart is still limited to Symphony No. 40, Don Giovanni, and some of the violin concertos. Mozart just seems so unimaginative; in some ways I appreciate Haydn more. Can anybody give me some specific examples of true genius in Mozart? Not just feats he performed during his lifetime, real instances where he transcended his time and style? (Besides Leck mich im Arsch I mean. :)) --S.dedalus (talk) 19:01, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Unappreciate of Mozart? :) Just kidding. Well, I'm confused because you cite composers that came after Mozart who most certainly benefited from the 'musical ground' that he broke. In what ways do you think Mozart is unimaginative? For his operas, check out Marriage of Figaro, Magic Flute, Cosi Fan Tutti; also check out "Dissonant" Quartet, K. 465 which showed Mozart experimenting with dissonance that would pave the way for the Romantic Period. Mozart probably made a greater use of the orchestra in many of his concerti than other composers. If you look at the concerti of pre-Mozart composers, you will hear the differences - the orchestra becomes less filler and more participatory. I hope I didn't undersimplify things too much. It's a complex question. :) --KeithatET (talk) 19:23, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
The final act of The Marriage of Figaro is pure genius; it's not just wonderful music, but the way the different voices keep their own personality in the ensembles while forming a perfect whole always suggests a kind of utopia to me. The Fantasy in C minor K457 is a great piano piece. David Šenek (talk) 19:59, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Mozart is a bit of a problem, and I can sympathise with you, S.dedalus. As a pianist, even knowing Mozart’s reportedly supreme keyboard skills, I can tell you that much of his piano writing is quite unpianistic. It often requires very awkward fingering, and the slightest blemish in the player’s technique will stand out far more than a similar blemish in a lesser composer’s writing; and will detract from the music itself. However, I think that this has a lot to do with his individual approach to music, where the melodies and harmonies were supreme, and the technique has to be subservient. (Mind you, he didn’t have the slightest difficulty in playing these pieces – if others did, I imagine he would say “that’s their problem”.) That is, you have to find a way to overcome the apparent difficulties in order to find the music within - and it’s there. But he was a human, not a god, and some things he wrote were quite ordinary, even dull. On the other hand, when he was “on message”, he was really there like nobody else I’ve ever heard. Listen to anything to do with the clarinet – the Clarinet Concerto, obviously, but also the Kegelstatt Trio, and best of all, the Clarinet Quintet (when I go to heaven, I will have the Quintet played to me 24/7, and in the Benny Goodman recording). Listen to the Sinfonia Concertante for oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon & orchestra (not the one for violin and viola, although that's ok too). Listen to the 27th Piano Concerto, or the 20th; and the 21st – the slow movement (“Elvira Madigan”) was the basis of Neil Diamond’s Song Sung Blue). Listen to the Concerto for 2 Pianos. As for opera, that was his true metier – but listening through a whole opera from this era with all its boring recitatives (yes, BORING! – no apologies to purists from this quarter) can be quite challenging. However, I echo the sentiments above about Marriage of Figaro and The Magic Flute. Cosi Fan Tutte and The Abduction from the Seraglio have sublime moments – "Soave sia il vento" and "Hier soll ich dich denn sehen" respectively, for example. He didn't write many songs, but a few of them are wonderful - Abendempfindung would do justice to Schubert (and if you can find one of the Elisabeth Schwarzkopf recordings, there's no better interpreter). Listen to the short motet Ave verum corpus, written in the last months of his life - a finer distillation of pure serenity never existed. And the Requiem bears repeated listening – despite its fame (enhanced via Amadeus) its gifts were not apparent to me the first few times I heard it, but I later discovered them. There’s also the Jupiter Symphony, written a month after the 40th. So much more, but try these for starters. One other thing about Mozart is the simple little turns of phrase he employs, just 3 or 4 notes that turn an otherwise ordinary melody into something very special. Listen less for the grand gestures but more for the simple phrases. -- JackofOz (talk) 22:46, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Dedalus! You have "sinned against the light". (But then, "Who has not?", as your namesake replies to Mr Deasy.) The great Artur Rubenstein appeared in a documentary toward the end of his life. With that very Kegelstatt trio mentioned by JackofOz playing as background, he said words to this effect: "After all these years, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumman, ... they're all just so much noise. Ah, but Mozart..." And he then silently gestured along with those sublime and Elysian strains, wrought out of the silence by the Master over a game of skittles.
Try any of the last ten piano concertos. Try any of the string quintets, or the best dozen of the string quartets, or the best dozen of the symphonies (including the little G minor, and the last four). Try any of the five violin concertos, or the best ten of the violin sonatas. Try the quintet for piano and winds. Take your time! When you've done all that, come back: there'll be more advice for you.
(You are young, Dedalus: but you will learn.)
– Noetica♬♩Talk 05:02, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Ah, HA! I've bided my time, and now my hour is at hand. You made me cop it sweet elsewhere re "rarefied", Noetica, so I can't go past without alerting you to the correct spelling of Rubinstein's surname. Happy weekend.  :) -- JackofOz (talk) 05:19, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't have much to add to Keith, David, Jack, and Noetica's selection. I particularly like some of his string quartets, but then I'm a sucker for string quartets. The Commendatore's "Don Giovanni, a cenar teco m'invitasti" still sends goosebumps across my skin every time I hear it, and I do think that practising Mozart piano sonatas and studying their architecture can be useful mental exercise, but that's just me.
When you say unimaginative, do you mean his predictability and lack of surprise? Most composers generated their own clichés, but maybe Mozart's sound a bit more obtrusive, and even the way he sidesteps them has become clichéd. Also, melody and phrasing dictate his music in a fashion that doesn't allow as much room for interpretation compared to some of the other composers you mentioned.
In your defense: I know a violinist who loathes Mozart. Of course she is capable of recognizing his genius, but (paraphrasing) she can't stand the mannered, almost retentive way everything always works out so neatly, perfectly, and pedantically. Noel Coward famously compared Mozart's music to "piddling on flannel". ---Sluzzelin talk 05:39, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Ahhhhh... he got me. (Clutches heart, winces heavenward.) Yes, Rubenstein. I half-thought at the time I wrote that something was wrong, but when the link turned up non-red, I thought alles in Ordnung war. From JSTOR I see that the same mistake occurs in many journals; and at Amazon.
As for Noel Coward, he may know intimately what voiding his bladder on flannel feels like; but his remark leaves the cognoscenti high, dry, and unedified.
– Noetica♬♩Talk 06:03, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Always trust your instincts, Noe. This allows me to yet again mention my distrust of redirects; they serve a good purpose, but one thing they fail to do is educate editors who make common errors. The very best of us (and of course I include Noetica in this) can make typos, which we usually notice and correct; but a person who sincerely believes Artur/Arthur Rubinstein spelled his name Rubenstein, and links it without clicking on the link, could go through their life never knowing how wrong they were. What a tragic waste of human life that would be! -- JackofOz (talk) 06:32, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
To avoid such tragic waste of life, we need some fancy computer code attached to these redirects which causes a bright neon message to repeatedly flash "You idiot! You got it wrong! I'll redirect you, but don't be such an idiot next time!!" perhaps? Gwinva (talk) 07:09, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Best idea I've heard all week, Gwinva. You deserve the credit, so why not propose it wherever such proposals are proposed.  :) -- JackofOz (talk) 09:49, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Yes, great idea. Maybe a message that appears when you save an edit that includes a link to a redirect or a disambiguation page. That may help to give the poor Sysiphuses who work on Wikipedia:Disambiguation pages with links the hope that they will one day complete their work. David Šenek (talk) 14:34, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
I don't really care for much of Mozart's work, but his clarinet pieces are sublime. I think we need to remember that Mozart matured much like any other artist. Had he lived longer, who knows? (talk) 11:53, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Excellent thanks for all your help! I just made a trip to the music library and got some scores and recordings of a number of the pieces you suggest. This should keep me busy for a while! Cheers, --S.dedalus (talk) 22:59, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Britain and the first world war[edit]

Would it have been posssible for Britain to keep out of the first world war? What do you think would have happened if Britain had kept out? Would this have been a good thing or not? (talk) 19:02, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

I think such things are always possible. As for what would have happened, that's a different matter. I don't think Germany could have held its new territory for long, wouldn't have suffered quite as humiliating a defeat, and Hitler may not have come to power out of popular angst. It's all guesswork, though. We don't really know. You could go so far as to say that France, after suffering its own humiliating defeat, would have created its own Hitler. Wrad (talk) 19:20, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Germany would have had control of the sea, for one basic difference. France could have been starved into surrender through a blockade, just like Germany was. The prospect of someone else controlling the sea would have been extremely distasteful to Britain, so I would conclude that no, it wouldn't have been possible for Britain to stay out of the war. Not to subscribe to the theory of inevitability in history, but really, the events of the previous hundred years would need to have been entirely different as well. Adam Bishop (talk) 20:19, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
This depends quite a bit on how far back in time you want to go. See for instance the Entente cordiale article, and follow to the First Moroccan Crisis. Meet me in Morocco. :) There are thousands of how- and what-ifs. Some are more easily sketched out than others. My answer to your question would be to research these articles and, through developing a more thorough understanding of the English-French, and other country-country relations of the time, to see for yourself what possibilities might open up. It is quite possible to imagine a war not at all a world war. At the same time, ponder the possibility of a Bolchevik revolution happening earlier, freeing up German units for the front at an earlier time. The possibilities are endless and endlessly interesting. (talk) 22:33, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Since at least the late 17th century on, Britain saw its main interest in continental Europe as preventing any one power from gaining or keeping an overwhelmingly predominant position there -- whether Louis XIV ascending to the throne of Spain, Napoleon or Hitler conquering most of Europe, or Kaiser Willie trying to conquer most of Europe... AnonMoos (talk) 22:31, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Just wondering. I started writing my comment before you, but mine was finished after. How come I had no edit conflict? (talk) 22:34, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
I agree with AnonMoos - As long as Britain saw itself as safe, it was going to support the underdog against whoever looked to be strongest. That policy got thrown out the window when Germany decided to contest the seas. When they started building a navy to (try to) equal Britain's, they ensured that the next war would have them on opposite sides, and the war would not, could not, end with the question undecided. It could only end with one side's destruction. ...and we all wait for The Muse's view... -SandyJax (talk) 22:54, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
The long-standing British policy of opposition to a uni-polar continental situation was certainly the primary determining factor in Britain's siding with the Allies, as the other editors have stated. But it should also at least be mentioned that Germany's invasion of neutral Belgium, which was basically required in order for the German Schlieffen Plan to work, was what largely tipped the balance in favor of Britain entering the war. AlexiusHoratius (talk) 23:05, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, I simply have to express a view, if only to please Sandy!

Really all I can do here, all anyone can do, is to slip into 'virtual' history, a fancy built around the counter-factual. However, on the basis of at least some historical evidence, I would like to take a view different from the other contributors. Yes, it would have been possible for Britain to stay out of the conflict, just as it had in 1870, when France went to war with Germany. There is not a trace of evidence that the Kaiser was any more ambitious than Bismarck, nothing at all to confirm the supposition that he was determined on European conquest. Indeed, at the outset of the conflict Germany had no long-term war aims at all, and its military actions were just as defensive as they had been during the Franco Prussian War. In relation to Sandy's point about the 'underdog', it might very well be said that at that stage in the war it was Germany that was in this position, facing conflict on two fronts against what were, at least on paper, the two strongest powers in Europe.

What about the German Navy, Adam's point? Though they were certainly weaker than the Kriegsmarine, it is important not to underestimate the combined strength of the French and Russian navies. Now at war, Germany would hardly have wished to antagonise the British, and risk bringing in the Royal Navy; and one sure way of doing this would have been by a unilateral blockade of France. Look at the map; such a move would have been quite impossible in the face of English opposition. Germany most assuredly would not have control of the seas. Also, in contrast to Wrad, I do not believe the war, without British involvement, would have been a long one; and I also believe that the victor would have been Germany, not France. In any peace that followed the Germans would have had to take cognisance of the British view, which would surely have precluded any punitive treaty.

Let's look at some of the facts. The Triple Entente was not an alliance, merely an 'understanding', that loosest of diplomatic terms. Up to the very last minute the British cabinet was of the view that it would have been possible to remain aloof. Ah, but the invasion of Belgium made British entry inevitable, did it not? Well, no, it didn't. As late as 1905 the Foreign Office was of the view that the 1839 Treaty of London did not bind Britain to defend Belgium 'in any circumstances', and I stress this expression. There was even a possibility that Britain would simply stand back if the Germans moved through the peripheries of Belgium and paid for any damage caused, a view taken by the then Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George.

Such cynicism would have been an exercise in pure Realpolitik, I know, but it could have left Britain as the arbiter of Europe. We know that the Germans were desperate to keep Britain out of the conflict. In July 1914, Theobald von Bethmann-Hollweg, the German Chancellor, told the British ambassador in Berlin that, in return for his country's neutrality, that Germany would guarantee the integrity of France and Belgium. A victory would have left Germany the dominant military power in central Europe, but not necessarily in control of France and the Low Countries.

Let me say, in conclusion, entering into the virtual at its most pure, that it would have been better for Britain to have remained aloof. It would have saved the lives of a million men and ensured that the Empire was not weakened, as it was, by participation. A German victory would have saved the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, in many ways better than what followed, including the problems caused by an enlarged Serbia, which were to trouble the world for decades after, and have still not gone away. A defeat of Tsarist Russia without a prolonged struggle would not have created the misery that saw the victory of Communism and the emergence of Lenin and Stalin. Above all, we would never have heard of Adolf Hitler. Now, would that not have been better for us all?

Finally, this is a view, not a declaration of war; so no challenge will be accepted and no defence will be mounted. After all, I am a citizen of la perfide Albion! Clio the Muse (talk) 01:07, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

The real mystery, in my view, is not why Britain came in, but why America bothered to join in the war. The more I learn about WWI, the more I'm convinced it wasn't a war with "good guys" (Britain, France) and "bad guys" (Germany). Everybody seems to have had about the same interests. No one really wanted to create a big stir. No one was fighting for some grand ideal. But for some reason America had to butt in (I'm an American, by the way). It boggles my mind. We had no real reason to get involved. If we hadn't, I seriously doubt the Germans would have been as crushed as they were. Wrad (talk) 01:18, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Good for you; I'm glad I'm not alone! One might even argue that it was the Allies that caused the war in the first place! But there were good reasons for your country's entry into the conflict in April 1917, unrestricted U-Boat warfare being the most important on top of the provocation offered by the Zimmerman Telegram. I suppose if it had not the German Spring Offensive of 1918 may have been a success, knocking France out of the war. At the very least, both sides would have been fought to a standstill, with a neutral peace to follow. In other words, no Versailles and again (possibly) no Hitler. So, perhaps the USA should have stayed out after all! Clio the Muse (talk) 01:35, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War provides a refreshing view of WWI along the lines set out by the Muse, above. Well worth a read if you have a serious interest in this time. --Tagishsimon (talk) 01:21, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
She knows it, she has read it and she agrees. (She also knows the author!) Clio the Muse (talk) 01:35, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm sure she does. I got my copy for a fiver in a York charity shop, repairing to the pub opposite to demolish it. Good day. --Tagishsimon (talk) 01:40, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Were any of the major belligerants (sp?) better off for having joined in the fun? I think you can make a case for Japan having profited, but it looks to me as though all the others would have been better off if they had stayed out. -SandyJax (talk) 17:26, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
So britain should have joined in, the USA shouldn't, austria shouldn't, the russias shouldn't... Wouldn't it have been better if noone had fought anyone at all? Most wars would be better if noone on either side had fought. Does anyone had a time machine I could borrow to go back and tell them all that? HS7 (talk) 20:57, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
I used to genuinely believe that people used to have wars because they didn't realise that war was a bad thing, but that after WW1 most people realised but were forced into WW2 (thus making WW2 a Good War for those people forced into it). After WW2 of course everyone knew and now we didn't have any wars. I was horrified when I realised the truth. I blame my mother for hiding the newspapers. Skittle (talk) 00:18, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
The United States, Sandy, emerged in better economic shape than any of the other major participants. Of the minor participants Romania and Serbia more than doubled in territorial size, though they remained economically backward and politically unstable. Clio the Muse (talk) 23:40, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
The US came out better economically, yes. One thing I've noticed in history is that you always create your own worst enemy, at least indirectly. By joining the war, American heavily contributed to the crushing and humiliating defeat of Germany which created a nation ripe for the likes of the vengeful Hitler, who was determined to prove that Germans truly were awesome. WWI also saw the rise of (!) Russian Communism, which was strengthened even more in WWII. So basically, America introduced itself to 75 years of sworn enemies by joining WWI, whereas before it had no such enemies. Not on that scale. Wrad (talk) 23:51, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
That's similar to what we were saying about Edward Longshanks sparking centuries of Anglo-Scottish discord above. Fighting is enough to make long-standing enemies: you don't need to beat them. -Gwinva (talk) 01:07, 23 February 2008 (UTC)
I sometimes call it the "superhero principle". Would Lex Luthor be the cosmic villain he is if not for Superman? If you read the history of the series closely, the answer is no. Would Batman fight crime if crime hadn't taken away his parents? Nope. Would Venom be such an enemy to Spiderman if Spidey hadn't succumbed to its power at first? Nope. I could go on, but... Wrad (talk) 01:57, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

See also A.N. Wilson's After the Victorians. His view is that Asquith took the British Empire into the war to put the question of Irish Home Rule on the back-burner; and the House of Commons was worried about the Berlin-Baghdad railway threatening British interests. He makes a persuasive, if unorthodox case. You might also like to think about Edward VII's francophilia; up until his intervention, British foreign policy had been based on the principle that Britain had no permanent allies, only permanent interests. He (the theory goes) tied us into the Entente Cordiale. Stir in Kaiser Bill's support for the Boers and naval race, and the British were only too happy to oblige! --Major Bonkers (talk) 15:26, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Ultimate fighting championship[edit]

Have there been any indians in the Ultimate fighting championship? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Garb wire (talkcontribs) 19:33, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Native Americans or people from India?--droptone (talk) 12:42, 22 February 2008 (UTC)


Is colonial background to political problems today in Kenya? Rose Biabizari (talk) 20:22, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

It's been mentioned in many news reports that the British took land away from highland tribes for commercial agriculture etc., and that after independence such land was not returned to the original owners, but predominantly ended up in Kikuyu hands... AnonMoos (talk) 22:21, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
See 2007–present Kenyan crisis --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:52, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, yes, there is a colonial background to Kenya's present day political crisis, which, I imagine, you may not be too surprised to learn, Rose. In a way it is a problem that repeats itself across colonial Africa, where the ruling powers favoured one local tribe or group over another. The worst example of what this can lead to is to be found in the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. And just as the Belgians favoured the Tutsi over the Hutu, the British favoured the Kikuyu over all of the other indigenous tribes of Kenya. In building the railway line from Mombasa to Kisumu on Lake Victoria in the late 1890s the colonial power established a key supply depot at Nairobi, immediately adjacent to Kikuyu land, later to become the colony's capital. This gave the tribe a crucial political advantage, both before and after independence. More schools were also established on Kikuyu territory than anywhere else in Kenya. So, the Kikuyu were well placed to become the dominant group in Kenya after independence. And as Kenya was a state before it became a nation a democracy was created on the basis of the politics of ethnicity, not plurality; a politics where the winner takes all and the winner holds all, or attempts to hold all. Clio the Muse (talk) 02:56, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

A Clio says, many colonial African states were left, when the colonial power departed or was ousted, with one ethic group with disproportionate power, and/or with an individual who wished to consolidate power for his own ends. The sad state of Zimbabwe is testament to that, due to the Shona supported election of the Robert Mugabe and Canaan Banana political partnership, though they later split. (yes, that was his real name, and as you might expect it was a newspaper editor's dream. So in typical African style, Banana passed a law banning people making jokes about it, presumably for the sake of his daughter Anna. I didn't work, though, and when he was later charged with sodomy, the media got their revenge with a bunch of headlines including "Man raped by Banana" and "Banana sex appeal dismissed" - that one by the BBC). I digress. The point is that similar stories (ethnic favoritism, not fruit-and-buggery jokes) with more or less violent consequences, are played out across post-colonial Africa, while autocrats fritter away the countries wealth. Rockpocket 03:25, 22 February 2008 (UTC)
Man raped by Banana! What a hoot! Clio the Muse (talk) 23:43, 22 February 2008 (UTC)

Template ghosting mystery[edit]

Moved to WP:VPT Xn4 20:59, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

ship explosion[edit]

±Bold textI have in my possession an obituary about my grandfather, that I never knew. However in the obit it describes him as "saving sixty eight lives" on August 28, 1907, the day the City of Trenton Ship was blown up in the Delaware River at Torresdale, Philadelphia, Pennsyslvania.

I have tried to reseach this by looking for newspaper articles in the Philadelphia Free Library and the City of Trenton, New Jersey library to no avail. Apparently there was nothing written about it or I cannot locate anything. Can anyone reading this article help? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lapperone (talkcontribs) 23:28, 21 February 2008 (UTC)

Are you sure the date is right? I found an article which seems likely to be the same even, but for August 28, 1901, not 1907. The citation is "River Boat Blown Up," Washington Post (29 August 1901), p. 1. "Boiler Explosion on the City of Trenton on Her Way from Philadelphia to New Jersey Resorts—Wrecked Craft Burned to the Water's Edge—Fears Entertained that Other Victims will Be Found in the Hold of the Boat—Many Cling to the Piano." I'll be happy to send you a copy; leave me a message on my talk page with your e-mail address. I found about 16 articles on the subject from various newspapers; apparently there was some investigation into the cause of it as it was suspected they were illegally racing the boat, or something like that. --Panoptik (talk) 23:45, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
see Philadelphia, PA Steamer City of Trenton Boiler Explosion, Aug 1901 and ELEVEN LIVES LOST IN STEAMBOAT EXPLOSION; City of Trenton's Boiler Bursts on the Delaware River., according to these articles the explosion occurred on August 28, 1901. Nanonic (talk) 23:47, 21 February 2008 (UTC)
Better still, email each other via the "Email this user" link, page left of the talk page to avoid being spammed to smithers. : ) Julia Rossi (talk) 03:37, 22 February 2008 (UTC)