Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2008 January 4

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January 4[edit]

Ursula K. Le Guin recommendations[edit]

I dedicated a large part of my misspent youth to the great masters of science fiction. Many hours (and visual acuity points) were lost to Stanislaw Lem, Philip K Dick, Philip José Farmer, Olaf Stapledon and others. However, for unknown reasons, the marvelous (or so I hear) Ursula K. Le Guin were omitted. I mean to rectify that. Normally I would go to my trusted Encyclopedia of Science Fiction for recommendations, but alas, I have just moved and it has either been misplaced or put in storage. Either way, I turn to you, my fellow reference desk dwellers, a fount of information such as the world has never seen. Where should my quest begin? A Wizard of Earthsea? Left Hand of Darkness? I am yours to command. (talk) 12:33, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

I would strongly recommend all four books of the Earthsea Trilogy - I read one as an eleven year old, and recently read them all. I found them interesting, exciting and thought-provoking. DuncanHill (talk) 12:37, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
For four read five, since 2001. On the science fiction front, her best novels are probably the Left Hand of Darkness, the Dispossessed and the Lathe of Heaven. </OR> Algebraist 12:56, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
The article on The Lathe of Heaven intrigues me... Seems vaguely phildickian, no? Although Earthsea seems good too... I think I shall be greedy and read both. So it shall be! To the bookstore! (talk) 13:07, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Speculative fiction, set in the post-apocalyptic future, may or may not fall within your definition of SF. I was entranced by Always Coming Home. BrainyBabe (talk) 14:17, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Like Duncan, I enjoyed the Earthsea books as a child, especially the first, A Wizard of Earthsea. If you want something more mainstream, try Orsinian Tales. Xn4 16:59, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
I cannot recommend the short story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" highly enough. It's actually not even a story, but more like a prose poem. Corvus cornixtalk 17:45, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
“To light a candle is to cast a shadow. . .” Start with A Wizard of Earthsea. Who need Lord of the Rings when there are books like that! There’s something almost Bergmanesc about that book. --S.dedalus (talk) 22:40, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Justice Potter's birthday?[edit]

In the Potter Stewart article: Born January 26, 1915. (Used to be Jan 23; Jan 26 since July 28, 2007)

However, there are also some other sources [1] that stated Justice Potter was born on January 23.

Blackmun, thurgood marshall, potter & brennan.jpg

Blackmun, Thurgood Marshall, Potter & Brennan, JJ

Brennan, potter, thurgood marshall & blackmun L.jpg

Brennan, Potter, Thurgood Marshall & Blackmun, JJ -- Toytoy (talk) 17:03, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

This would be an excellent point to make at Talk:Potter Stewart, and/or be bold enough to change the article yourself to correct the error without further ado. -- JackofOz (talk) 20:43, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
I was not very sure yesterday because I did not have a complete picture of his grave. But I find this today. -- Toytoy (talk) 17:14, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

How do you draw a supply / demand curve for public radio and non-profits?[edit]

I am trying to figure out what the supply demand curve looks like for these - the two examples I am specifically interested in are public radio, and non-profits - let's say a homeless shelter that runs on donations. Thank you.

Basically, they look the same for any good. Supply can be supposed to be an increasing function, and demand a decreasing one.
The caveats: it is clear that the examples you are posing mean strong externalities. In this case, demand and supply mean private marginal benefits and costs. Social benefits/costs (the real ones for the whole society) are different: see externalities. Hence, the point of intersection between private curves gives the competitive equilibrium, while the intersection between the social curves relates to the efficient outcome.
The preceding paragraph refers to private provision. One price for all, different quantities provided by/to different agents. Public provision implies, in turn, that one quantity is serviced to all demandants, who may contribute with different payments. If this is the case, public demand is then the vertical (rather than horizontal) sum of individual demands. I notice the corresponding articles are somewhat incomplete in regard to this topic. Pallida  Mors 18:58, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks - do you think you could point me to some more resources on this, I'm not really understanding it - how can a good that is given away for nothing and supported voluntarily look the same on the curve as one that is sold? Thanks.
Sure, sorry for the delay in answering again! Let us say that the idea is that, like we economists like to say, there are no free lunchs. Hence, a good is in general not given away just for nothing: maybe you don't expect a monetary reward, but you invest time and effort and are willing to receive something for it. Take the ordinate scale of such "supply" curves to represent the reward given to such suppliers. Same analysis for "demand" curves. Take it as a stylized analysis of something that is not enterily free, but rather an activity of people that have to deal with a bunch of additional activities and decide how much of the first activity to "supply" based in a type of cost/benefit analysis.
For bibliographic support, most of basic microeconomic handbooks cope with externalities, giving enough insights into the concepts I have described above. Public goods' coverage may not be that complete.
For relatively intermediate material, you may consult Varian's Intermediate Microeconomics; Pindyck and Rubinfeld, Microeconomics; and Mankiw, Principles of Microeconomics (this last one just for externalities). More advanced treatment of the topic exists. But no graphs. Just formulas :( Pallida  Mors 14:40, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Is it true that USA let a lot of Japanese WW2 war criminals go free/covered up war crimes in return for money?[edit]

I heard that Japan looted many of the countries that they invaded. Stole gold, diamonds, riches etc. Is it true that they used this loot to bribe USA big wigs not to bring certain political figures like Hirohito to trial, and covered up their war crimes? (talk) 21:17, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Btw, here's the source video where I got this info from, (talk) 21:19, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, a number of Japanese were put on trial for war crimes, see International Military Tribunal for the Far East; China also held its own tribunals against the Japanese, as did the Russians (see Khabarovsk War Crime Trials). It seems unlikely to me that mere "loot" alone would be effective enough as bribery materials, as you'd have to bribe a lot of officials to get away with it and it only takes one to screw up something like that, but I don't really know. More interesting to me is MacArthur's secret granting of immunity to Unit 731 scientists in exchange for biological warfare information. -- (talk) 22:04, 4 January 2008 (UTC)
Yamashita's gold, a controversial page I've had on my watchlist for months. Draw your own conclusions. - Carbon [Nyan?] 05:36, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Witness information[edit]

Can the personal details of a witness in a UK court be disclosed to the court, for example, if they have a job, or are claiming any benefits, if they have any qualifications etc? (talk) 22:36, 4 January 2008 (UTC) Phillipa

Such questions might come up under cross-examination, though in the case of an expert witness relevant qualifications will be set out in their witness statement. The court can direct a witness to answer any question, but it won't usually do so unless there's some possible relevance to the matter in hand, the witness's evidence or credibility. Xn4 00:04, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

For a common assault case, with a non expert witness, are these sort of questions common? (talk) 00:15, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

It depends. If the other side knows something about a witness which would tend to discredit that person's evidence, then it may come up. It would be unusual for being unemployed to be relevant to someone's credibility in itself, but if (say) a witness were fraudulently claiming benefits, or if a witness had been sacked by the defendant and had a grudge against him/her... Xn4 00:29, 5 January 2008 (UTC)