Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2008 September 27

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September 27[edit]

Gone With The Wind[edit]

Is this book appropriate for a ten year old who is a very advanced reader? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:19, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

I don't see why not - I read A Clockwork Orange when I was 11. DuncanHill (talk) 00:21, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Classics like that are often good way of extending children's reading, as the norms of the time prevented too many "adult themes" being discussed explicitly. (Although not all classics, of course: Lady Chatterly's Lover would not be so ideal!) As I recall, Gone with the Wind is fairly traditional in nature/content, but it's many years since I read it (as a young teenager). If you are at all concerned about books, why not read them yourself first? But do encourage your child to read classics: they are excellent for challenging young readers, as they offer vocabulary, grammar and structure that are not always found in modern works. Mixing styles as well as genre is important in developing literacy. Gwinva (talk) 02:11, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

You should be aware, though, that the book, fine as it is as a work of literature, is very racist, much more so than the film. Margaret Mitchell was an admirer of Thomas F. Dixon, Jr., author of The Clansman. Emma Dashwood (talk) 06:02, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

There is nothing so beneficial to a young, "very advanced reader" than a challenging book. -- (talk) 14:36, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I would say let them read it but make sure you discuss it with them. If they do not bring up the racism by themself, you may have to bring it up as the views are rather insidious throughout the book. Perhaps either read the book first or at the same time as them. (talk) 17:00, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
I started reading it to my 13-year-old sister and she seems to be enjoying it, and she's not even that much of a reader (bright girl, just doesn't have the patience or motivation). When I think it's necessary, we talk about the racism and stuff. Also, because of the time it was written, most of the sexual/adult content is more alluded to or euphemised than explicitly stated, so sometimes my sister goes, "Huh?" and I have to clarify for her, which can sometimes be awkward, so just be prepared for that. (On the other hand, it might go right over the kid's head and you won't have to worry about it at all.) As far as the reading level itself goes, while the length can seem daunting, it's written in fairly ordinary language, and isn't particularly tedious or overly wordy or dry for the most part, so an advanced-level ten-year-old shouldn't have too much of a problem with it, in my opinion. Essentially, it depends on the individual kid.
As one final comment, leaving all objectivity behind, Gone With the Wind is far and away my favourite book of all time, and I highly recommend it-- if not now, then definitely in a few years. :) Cherry Red Toenails (talk) 18:01, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
You've got to take your kid's attention span into account. War and Peace is not much longer than GWWW. BrainyBabe (talk) 20:46, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Thus I recommend Crime and Punishment. I tried to read it in middle school as a punishment. haha --mboverload@ 22:54, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Co-Pilot Lt. Robert L. Hite Dead or Alive?[edit]

Is Co-Pilot Lt. Robert L. Hite, the Doolittle Raider, alive? He would be about 99 years old. In the article it says he is the last raider who was captured and still alive. Also, if he is alive, does anyone know how I could contact him?-- (talk) 04:21, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

According to this, he was alive in April. His page on the Doolittle Raiders site seems to indicate he's still alive. You might find some contact information there. Gwinva (talk) 05:03, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Start with a look here it looks like he is in Arizona

Good books on basic economics[edit]

Hi! I have a slightly broad question to ask. During this financial upheaval that the US economy is suffering through, I (like many other people I imagine) have been glued to news-sites and other places offering commentary and discussions on the current crisis but also more general economic theory (and much of this on Wikipedia). I've found it very interesting, but I also have a strong feeling that I'm missing a bunch because I never studied economics.

So, I would like to educate myself. I would be very interested to hear about books that introduce these topics including the basics, but goes into at least some depth into what different economic theories have to say on different issues, and how they explain how the world works. I'm a pretty smart guy, I've studied some mathematics so I can read graphs fine, but it doesn't have to be too complicated. I want like an "Economics for Dummies for people that aren't that dum". Also, it would be nice if it written somewhat neutral (you know, "The Xians have A to say on this issue. The Yians disagree and think B is a better course of action"), as I would like to make my own mind up on many of these things. I know these different theories could fill a library, but as I said, I'm looking for the basics.

I realize that there might be a thousand books that qualify, but if any of the very smart reference-desk people have a personal favorite, I'd very much appriciate to hear about it. (talk) 06:50, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Try this one. This is about describing economics as a broken "science". The book is called "Debunking Economics" by Steve Keen.

website: (talk) 07:11, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

I read The economic Naturalist and found that was both interesting and an introduction into the tools and theories of economics, thought it's more of a pop-science style book than a reference/learning book. ny156uk (talk) 15:03, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

I highly recommend Steven Landsburg's The Armchair Economist (Freedom Press). You can find this easily on Amazon. It's an easy read. Each chapter is a short story illuminating an economic reality. It gives the reader a very good intuitive grasp of economics and economic thinking. Wikiant (talk) 15:12, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

I would only suggest that you refine your search. General economics books will be all supply and demand, taxation, optimal allocation etc. etc. Make sure that the book you eventually do get is on "Monetary Economics" or "Monetary Policy" to get an idea of what these Fed and Treasury folks are talking about. Also, books on the banking system would be good. "Economics" generally refers to the study of how people allocate resources; it's very general. (talk) 05:43, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

But the OP is asking for a general economics book, not just one on monetary policy. I would recommend the books by Richard Lipsey such as Positive Economics. --Richardrj talk email 07:45, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

There's a good series of business books called "The Essence of..." and they have editions on both macroeconomics (which is probably what you want) and microeconomics. Each book is about 150 pages or less, pitched at the intelligent lay person with no background in the subject, but in a very different style than the famous "...for Dummies" series: no jokes or cartoons. BrainyBabe (talk) 20:50, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

bridge collapse memorial[edit]

Recently, I saw a few news reports about a memorial in the works. The memorial is to those who perished in the I-35W Mississippi River bridge collapse. If this is this true, where can I learn more? Where can financial contributions be sent? (talk) 12:06, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Try Google. You'll get your answer much faster if you search first, ask second. -- kainaw 01:26, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Actually, a remembrance garden is in the works. Please forgive me for any typos. Where can financial contributions be sent? (talk) 23:26, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Here is a site about the garden, there is a link there to a site with information on donations. AlexiusHoratius 23:34, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Thames Williamson[edit]

I'm looking for more info on Thames Williamson, author of Problems in American Democracy and Stride of Man (bibliography here). Google found very litlle biographical results. I got that much:

Thames Ross Williamson (1894 - after 1984)
Author of The Woods Colt (a novel of the Ozark hills), specialized in juvenile fiction and wrote dozens of novels (under five pseudonyms) in the 1920s and 1930s.
He spoke 10 languages and was fond of writing his books in dialect.

If you want to up your article creation counter that one might be up for grabs. (talk) 16:48, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Another titbit. It seems he went to Harvard:[1]. Fribbler (talk) 17:37, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Variously occupied, as a tramp, sheepherder and college teacher, according to Webster's Biographical Dictionary: A Dictionary of Names of Noteworthy Persons with Pronounciations and Concise Biographies, William Allan Neilson, ed. As a college teracher he was an Assistant in Economics at Harvard, 1919-20, and Assistant Professor of Economics and Sociology at Smith College. He translated Christopher Columbus' Journal.--Wetman (talk) 22:22, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

P G Wodehouse[edit]

Not sure if this is a Humanities question, but apparently P. G. Wodehouse was born in Guildford, Surrey. Does anyone know any more details than this? -- SGBailey (talk) 20:35, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

p11 of P.G. Wodehouse By David A. Jasen (which is readable, in parts, on Google Books, linked from the PG Wodehouse article) says "1 vale place, Epsom road, Guildford", the address of mother's sister, birth unexpected when visiting from Hong Kong. If you search Google Maps for "wodehouse, guildford" you find some user-created content which says that address is now 59 Epsom Road, and which shows a photo. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 21:54, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
The Russian Wodehouse Society (who'd have thunk) say of that address "1 Vale Place was part of an isolated block of four houses built around 1860, but has now become 59 Epsom Road, and may be identified by a commemorative plaque."(here). BBC says he stayed there a year. -- Finlay McWalter | Talk 21:58, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks -- SGBailey (talk) 22:12, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Signature laws[edit]

I was wondering if there are any laws at all in the United States pertaining to signatures. A Google search with results such as "e-signature" and "digital signature" cut out didn't seem to reveal anything.--The Ninth Bright Shiner 22:09, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

There are many. Here is one. Type signature in the search box to see a lot more. -- kainaw 23:35, 27 September 2008 (UTC)
Thanks! I'll look through those, but I was thinking more along the lines of laws regarding the form of a signature. For instance: does it have to be in any particular language? Need it have any semblance of legibility? Need it be anything more than an "X?" Thanks for your help.--The Ninth Bright Shiner 05:27, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
The specific code I linked to (assuming the link worked properly) states that a signature is assumed to be valid until proven otherwise. So, regardless of language, legibility, or anything else, it is assumed valid. I know that mine is not legible, or even apparently English. I sign my name many times every day, so I just make a C followed by a wavy line. I saw my mom's signature a couple years ago. She has to sign her name a lot also. I found it funny that she has the same signature that I do - a C followed by a wavy line. -- kainaw 22:42, 28 September 2008 (UTC)

Samuel L. Gompers' middle name[edit]

What does the L stand for? I asked this at Talk:Samuel Gompers#Middle name three months ago but it's had no traffic. -- JackofOz (talk) 23:32, 27 September 2008 (UTC)

Are you sure about that L? There's no L on his grave, and after a few minutes of searching, I though of trying to find his birth certificate. Which I did, in something called "The Samuel Gompers Papers" on Google Books. The certificate (on page 7) does not mention a middle name, nor indeed is it on his marriage license, his census report or his application to become a US citizen. I'm pretty sure you're wrong about that L. (talk) 05:49, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
The American National Biography mentions no middle name. Looking around Google Book Search, I see that he sometimes signed his name using the then-common abbreviation of Samuel, which renders his name as Sam'l Gompers, which might make it appear that "L" was his middle initial. —Kevin Myers 06:05, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
Well, there appear to be schools named after "Samuel L. Gompers" in the Bronx, Richmond, CA and Philadelphia. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:52, 28 September 2008 (UTC)
The link for the Bronx gives the full name of the school. If you do a Google search for the full name as spelled there, you get only the one hit. If you remove the L, you get hundreds of hits. Conclusion: the article has the name of the school wrong. I did not pursue the other schools mentioned. --Anonymous, 01:52 UTC, September 29, 2008.
This is interesting. Before I came to Wikipedia, I'd read Gompers' name in various books. Although I never remembered what he was famous for, the name was always spelled with the L. When I checked the article, there was no mention of any L, which is why I asked the question there. The fact that he is often referred to as "Samuel L. Gompers", however incorrect it may be, suggests that more people than I are under that impression. I'll make a note in the article that he in fact had no middle name. Thanks, all. -- JackofOz (talk) 02:10, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
I read the article from the Bronx link and I see no mention of the full name. The only thing I've seen is that he is named after his grandfather, Samuel Moses Gompers. -- kainaw 03:21, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

(deindent) The school at 157 Ninth St, Richmond, CA, seems to be known by various similar but not identical names, so it’s hard to know which is the exact official name:

However, this appears to be the school’s website, and even it’s unsure – it refers to both "Gompers High School" and "Samuel L. Gompers High School". That makes 6 different versions of the name, but only one of them (from a seemingly authoritative source) has an L.

Same deal for the one in Philly:

  • the school’s website has it three ways: (a) Samuel Gompers Elementary, (b) Samuel Gompers’ School (note the apostrophe), and (c) Samuel Gompers Elementary School
  • this calls it Samuel Gompers School
  • this calls it Samuel Gompers Elementary School
  • this has it as Gompers Samuel School
  • and here’s a reference to Samuel L. Gompers Elementary School, Philadelphia, from a former student of that august institution, no less.

So, where does this leave us? I'm sure the L is, as previously demonstrated, incorrect. What I'm tending to believe is that maybe some people mishear the "ell" in sam-you-ell gom-pers as an L, and assume that was his middle initial. -- JackofOz (talk) 07:44, 29 September 2008 (UTC)

Kevin Myers has already hit the source of the "L": Compare Saml Adams. --Wetman (talk) 18:14, 29 September 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, those old abbreviations have thrown people off. Even Samuel Adams's recent biographer, not recognizing the abbreviation, thinks Adams signed his name "Sam" on the Declaration of Independence. —Kevin Myers 00:19, 30 September 2008 (UTC)
I thought "Labor" was his middle name. Edison (talk) 04:29, 1 October 2008 (UTC)

61 Google hits for "Samuel L. Gompers," and my own memory, suggest this is a valid initial. DOR (HK) (talk) 02:29, 2 October 2008 (UTC)

I get 647 hits with L, but 155,000 without. The L version does indeed seem to have developed a life of its own, as witnessed by your memory and mine, and the eponymous schools mentioned above. If you asked 1,000 people to name a famous person with the surname Gompers, I'd guess a significant number would say "Samuel L. Gompers". But even more would say just "Samuel Gompers". The question is, is the L version correct? The answer seems to be, no. -- JackofOz (talk) 21:05, 2 October 2008 (UTC)