Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2008 June 12

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Humanities desk
< June 11 << May | June | Jul >> June 13 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Humanities Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.


June 12[edit]

people from Arab cities[edit]

What do you call people from Abu Dhabi, Algiers, Amman, Baghdad, Beirut, Cairo, Moroni, Djibouti city, Kuwait City, Khartoum, Manama, Damascus, Nouakchott, Rabat, Tunis, Riyadh, San'a, Doha, Mogadisho and Muscat? In Arabic, I mean like for example Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.64.52.208 (talk) 01:56, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Well not all of those cities are Arab or Arabic-speaking, but the ones that are would follow the same pattern as Tikrit: Ammani, al-Jaza'iri (for Algiers), Baghdadi, al-Qahirati (for Cairo), Kuwaiti, Dimashqi (for Damascus), Rabat, Tunisi, Riyadhi, Sanaa'i, Dawhati (for Doha), Muscati. I'm not sure abou Abu Dhabi, it would probably be th same since it ends in a long yaa. (Or would any of these take -iyya endings?) Adam Bishop (talk) 03:17, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
-iyya is feminine or abstract. The "-i" suffix is known in Arabic grammar as the "nisba" suffix, and in traditional Christian Bible criticism as the "gentilic" suffix... AnonMoos (talk) 05:35, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

cloths[edit]

<moved here from talk page> Julia Rossi (talk) 03:19, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
did the viking's wear leather sandles —Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.3.200.159 (talk) 19:20, 10 June 2008 (UTC)

They used to wear shoes, according to this and this. What makes you think they wore sandals? --Dr Dima (talk) 06:28, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
The Vikings mostly lived in climates that are cool or downright cold for most of the year. Sandals would not have been very sensible and therefore wouldn't have been worn much. Some Vikings were basically merchants, and some of those traded along the Mediterranean or Black Seas in warmer climates. No doubt one of those Vikings wore sandals at some point, but they were probably an exception. Marco polo (talk) 17:06, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
There is an interesting article on the net, here, discussing the extent to which the Varangians (Vikings) in Byzantine Empire have switched from their traditional clothes and footwear to the local ones. --Dr Dima (talk) 17:26, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Child porn conundrum[edit]

This issue was raised in my legal ethics class. We were discussing sex and the law and the subject came to child pornography. One of my students asked me if viewing child pornography was illegal. Of course, I said yes. But then he asked how anyone could prove that someone looked at child porn. And I said that a law enforcement expert would have to look at the pictures and verify that it is indeed child porn. But here's the problem... wouldn't that guy technically be breaking the law too? But in order to charge him, someone else would have to verify that he looked at child porn, ad infinitum. How does this work? --Goon Noot (talk) 04:38, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

I think generally you need a law that acts against something related, like making it illegal to acquire the pornography rather than looking at it. You could also consider the idea that officers of the law get a certain amount of leeway in performing otherwise illegal acts directly associated with doing their job - after all, if you didn't make these distinctions, you'd have to charge an executioner with serial murder! Confusing Manifestation(Say hi!) 05:45, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Well, don't the officers need to "acquire" (confiscate) the child pornography in order to determine its illegality?

It seems like many of the child pornography laws are based on thoughtcrimes, and because of the huge amount of emotion in the topic, there really isn't any chance of reform, is there?--Goon Noot (talk) 06:01, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

It's not a condundrum if you look into it. There's a false argument in the original query by the student with an "if...then" clause. The person carrying out the law (enforcer) is not acting "above the law" ie, using or acquiring something illegal for personal use and without the law being applied to them, but is carrying out the law: enforcing prohibition and is trained for that job. The latest sting in Australia netted a former Australian Federal Police (AFP) officer and a former Perth sports administrator with a nice explanation here[1]. So it's more than if you look, then... it's who's looking and for what purpose, and from what position (or as sociologists would say, what space: the personal, the public or from authority). Julia Rossi (talk) 06:58, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Is it any more of a thoughtcrime than conspiracy charges? No illegal action may take place but yet you can be charged with a crime (like planning to kill your wife and purchasing a gun legally). And I don't see why the level of emotion regarding the laws makes this particular crime a thoughtcrime. James Brady being wheeled out to promote gun control seems quite emotional. Families of murder victims pleading for the death penalty seem quite emotional. The fact that people today react with strong emotions says nothing about the prospects of legal reform. Try bringing a Constitutional amendment barring slavery in the early 1800s and there would surely be plenty of emotional outbursts (or giving women the right to vote, etc).--droptone (talk) 11:35, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

There are plenty of similar instances - for example the police are allowed to confiscate illegal drugs or guns in the course of their duties and it's not against the law.

On the other hand I was reading about a case during the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad. A policeman had confiscated a barrel of illegal whiskey and afterwards taken it home to share with a few friends. The local judge found out and fined him and confiscated the whiskey. Then the policemen arrests the judge for posession of illegal whiskey and locks him up, hauling him before a judge of a different jurisdiction. DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:57, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

So should we stop law enforcement people from risky high-speed car chases of reckless driver, fighting with brawlers, kidnapping kidnappers, spying on spies, killing murderers, and robbing robbers of their ill gotten gains? Edison (talk) 19:08, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

This is what Wikipedia has to say:
To enable a LEA to prevent, detect, and investigate non compliance with laws, the LEA is endowed with powers by its governing body which are not available to non LEA subjects of a governing body...Usually, these powers are only allowed when it can be shown that a subject is probably already not complying with a law.
So should we stop law enforcement people from looking at child pornography, risky high-speed car chases, fighting with brawlers or spying on spies? Not if it's done within their ambit. Kidnapping and robbery are crimes and and killing murderers is a tough one. Zain Ebrahim (talk) 21:04, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
It is important to note that many of the legalities of child pornography are based on the production and possession of child pornography. An investigator assessing the nature of the evidence is not in possession of the child pornography. Rather the legal entity who confiscated it is in possession, and is exempt from that part of the law under the assumption that it is investigating possible crimes of the originator of the evidence. Were the investigating officer to make copies of the illegal pornography for their own 'use', s/he would be putting him/herself at risk of charges, in a similar way to the policeman with the whiskey in Clayworth's example. There have been some police officers charged with possession of child pornography, arrested during sting operations, including one recently in Australia, although I think that police officer obtained the pornography from the internet, rather than from police-internal evidence. Steewi (talk) 00:41, 13 June 2008 (UTC)


So is viewing child porn legal, as long as the person viewing it does not "possess" it?--Goon Noot (talk) 06:06, 14 June 2008 (UTC)

It's almost impossible to look at an image which is not publicly available without possessing it in the process. If someone borrows it in paper or video form to look at it, they are in temporary possession. Even if they pass it on or give it back, they have still possessed it. And when an online image is viewed, it is temporarily downloaded to the computer, so the operator possesses a copy at that point. Even if they don't save a copy to the hard drive, in viewing it they have possessed it. --Karenjc 20:13, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
I'd say Goon noot, your argument there is similar to your student's. For the sake of argument, it doesn't take the position, aim and stake of the role into account. See syllogism for premises. Some ethicists argue that when a person murders, say, they have forfeited whatever rights they had to "innocence. That's why laws are particular about the conditions, circumstances, reactions, culpability and degree, so that say, LEAs have to show the reasonability of their actions when a suspect is killed. It takes more thinking than a simple logical progression, otherwise you can end up saying, the cop was speeding/killing/watching porn so I can too. Julia Rossi (talk) 02:42, 16 June 2008 (UTC)
In the United States, at least, the relevant federal statute, 18 U.S.C. 2252A, does not criminalize viewing child pornography. Possession of child pornography is illegal when there is federal jurisdiction (e.g., through the use of interstate commerce). There are a number of related crimes, such as knowingly receiving or distributing child pornography. John M Baker (talk) 18:11, 17 June 2008 (UTC)
Recently in Australia there was some controversy over a photographic exhibition in Sydney.[2] I think the police were advised not to press charges.--TomDæmon (talk) 01:38, 19 June 2008 (UTC)

The most powerful earthquakes...[edit]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Reference_desk/Science#The_most_powerful_earthquakes... Moved

Number of state legislators in the history of the U.S.[edit]

Any guesses as to the approximate total number of state legislators there have been in the states of the United States since their statehood? --Michael WhiteT·C 17:32, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

The number has to be in the hundreds of thousands. My guess would be 400,000 plus or minus 100,000. (My method: Assume roughly 400 legislators per state, average term roughly 8 years per legislator, roughly 50 states for the past 96 years. The biggest assumption is the average term. These assumptions yield 240,000 legislators from 1912 to the present. Before 1912, the number of states progressively decreases as you go back in time. Of course, in 1783, there were only 13 states. So I think that doubling the number from 1912 to the present would yield too high a number, even though the timespan between 1783 and 1912 is greater than the timespan between 1912 and the present. I guessed 400,000 because it is somewhat less than twice the estimated number since 1912.) Marco polo (talk) 20:24, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
No your biggest assumption is 400 legislators. That is far too high. "The General Assembly has 253 members, making it the second-largest state legislature in the nation (behind New Hampshire)" from Pennsylvania General Assembly. "The Nebraska Legislature, with only 49 members, is the smallest legislative body out of the 50 states." from Wyoming Legislature. Rmhermen (talk) 00:19, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Then there's the ones that get reelected a million times. Wrad (talk) 00:22, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for the correction, Rmhermen. I should have done more research there! Still, if we cut my estimate by two thirds, we still end up with a number over 100,000. Marco polo (talk) 01:16, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
This is one of these questions which might appeal to a dedicated datahound, since each state undoubtedly hgas a list of all its legislators. Of course there would be a few doubtful cases, such as names included in one list but excluded in another from the early days of a state, or perhaps certain records destroyed before the original legislative journals were copied or reprinted, or rump legislatures for a seceded state which were not really elected but appointed by the Union army, or which never met because the capital was occupied by the Confederate or British army. Another question would be if Joe Jones who served in the 1828 legislature was the same person as Joseph Jones who served in the 1838 legislature, but for a given state it would be less than a weeks work to compile or find a virtually complete list. If Jones was in one legislature, out of office for a while, then reelected would he count twice. like US President Cleveland being the 22nd and 24th president? State legislator lists would makes as much sense as articles with exhaustive listings of bus stops, highways, locomotive Many states probably have the info on line, or someone at the state library could find it readily, as for Maine going back to 1820 when Maine became a state, with the library having a card file for earlier members of governing bodies.[3]. Edison (talk) 20:49, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

Welfare v. Money to poor people poll[edit]

I had heard somewhere some time ago about a poll that showed somewhere around 1/3 of Americans support "expanding welfare" or something to that effect. Meanwhile, another poll (or the same poll?) found that when the wording used was "giving more money to the poor," or something to that effect, support increased to about 2/3 of Americans. Does anyone know where I might find a source for this? --YbborTalk 20:00, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Never mind, looks like I found the source: http://web.syr.edu/~jmhorv01/review1.html --YbborTalk 20:11, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

daumier,honorelihograhs[edit]

20:25, 12 June 2008 (UTC)208.111.221.183 (talk)marriedlife huntingandfishing lawandorder publisedbyyourcompanyin1942

wouldlikeinformationonthese lithographs

dorothy

Take a look at these links [4][5] for information about Daumier lithographs. Please note however that this is not a company that publishes prints, it is Wikipedia, the encyclopedia that anyone can edit.--Eriastrum (talk) 21:07, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
Dorothy, you also might look into getting that keyboard's space bar repaired before it becomes an urgent matter... :-) -- Deborahjay (talk) 18:57, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

"Can't Find It On A Map"[edit]

I often hear about how X Percent of Americans (or sometimes a specific sub-set of them) can't find a certain country on a map. Often said country is Iraq. Here are several examples of this:

http://www.cnn.com/2006/EDUCATION/05/02/geog.test/

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/0502_060502_geography.html

My question is: What the heck are the showing people when conducting the survey? Is it a completely blank map of the world? A blank map of the middle east? A filled in map with names, and a time limit?

If it's a blank map, do you get partial credit for hitting a contiguous country, but not recognizing the precise shape of Iraq as opposed to Syria?

What does this classic factoid tell us, if anything about Americans? Is finding a country on a blank map a skill usually taught in school? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 24.218.24.148 (talk) 20:40, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Your second link provides links to the survey's findings, where you can download the full survey (I think - I haven't looked at it), and a test yourself section. Zain Ebrahim (talk) 21:20, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
The map in question is shown on page 24. It is a map of the Middle East and surroundings showing borders, and names of bodies of water, but not country names.  --Lambiam 22:33, 12 June 2008 (UTC)
I've worked as a substitute teacher in a large urban school district in California, and I've often come in to teach a social studies class in which the teacher has left me 30 copies of a blank map with a list of names on it, with instructions for me to have the students fill in the listed names in appropriate places on the map and to collect them and return them to the teacher's mailbox. So yes, this is a skill usually taught in school. Sometimes this is a quiz; sometimes it's a lesson plan if I come in when the students aren't quite ready for the quiz yet. arkuat (talk) 10:06, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
The leading geography textbooks in the United States include quizzes that require students to identify places on blank maps. So it is part of the curriculum, but this kind of skill isn't highly valued in U.S. culture, and so many students don't retain what they briefly learn. Marco polo (talk) 13:30, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
I've heard it said (but don't believe it myself) that the US Foreign Policy is the government's way of teaching geography to the Americans. Richard Avery (talk) 13:55, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
Seems to have failed then since most people still don't know where Iraq and Afghanistan is. I guess it's not surprising when your president didn't know Brazil is big and a leading presidential candidate doesn't know much about the borders of Pakistan/Afghanistan Nil Einne (talk) 12:30, 14 June 2008 (UTC)
The OP asks: "What does this classic factoid tell us, if anything about Americans?". Coupled with other factoids like "Fewer than x% of Americans have passports", it is sometimes used to suggest that Americans are less worldly-wise than us Europeans. Astronaut (talk) 11:06, 15 June 2008 (UTC)

Social Security fraud[edit]

I am researching "Fraud" commited against the Social Security Addmin. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 170.215.38.41 (talk) 21:22, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Good for you! Don't hesitate to post a question here if you have one we may be able to help with.  --Lambiam 22:28, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

How do libraries handle books classified based on different editions of the classification schedule?[edit]

How do libraries handle the situation in which different books in their collections were classified based on different editions of the same classification schedule (say Dewey)?

Do they continue to shelf the books based on the originally-assigned classifications, even though changes in the classification schedule would have given some books different classifications? Or do they periodically re-classify (& re-shelf) the books in their collections to reflect changes in the classification schedule? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.162.241.23 (talk) 22:51, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

My university library has books in different collections classified by no less than three systems (Library of Congress, Dewey and Harvard-Yenching) and probably more. If collections are merged, only one classification system would be used, but it is more likely that they would be kept separate so that the difficult job of reclassification is avoided. Thanks to the Library of Congress online catalogue, WorldCat and so on, finding the correct classifications for books in different systems is a lot easier than it used to be. Steewi (talk) 01:03, 13 June 2008 (UTC)
In a standard community library, there is a lot of turnover in the books. So, reclassifying a book isn't really necessary. It will be removed from the collection eventually. In the case where books are retained indefinitely, there is no harm in moving a book to a new stack. Anyone looking for it will find the current location in the catalog and easily find the book. -- kainaw 15:39, 13 June 2008 (UTC)


I've also seen some libraries use placeholders on the shelves for books that have recently been moved because of one reason or another. I don't recall if it was for reclassification, but sometimes libraries will put markers on the shelf directing people to different but similar topics. This is mostly done for countries other than the US who use older systems when dealing with national topics(government, history etc). They'll use the more indepth numbers given to to US for their own particular country, because that's likely where their collection will be focused, with a smaller section for the foreign US. I could also envision this being done in regards to religion, where Dewey, for example, gives a vast range for Christianity, but relatively small ranges for other religions. I think recently most editions have changed to give proper room for expansion, though.142.33.70.60 (talk) 18:54, 18 June 2008 (UTC)
I do not know when it was changed, but the old Dewey system that I learned in the 80's considered Religion to be Christianity and Judaism. All other religions went in Philosophy. So, it wasn't just relatively small ranges. Other religions were shoved right out of the religion section all together. -- kainaw 00:16, 19 June 2008 (UTC)