Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2009 December 23

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December 23[edit]

Concentration camp Wester-Faengle[edit]

I read that Valaida Snow "was held for 18 months between 1940 and 1942 at Wester-Faengle, a Nazi concentration camp."[1] I have never heard of that camp before, and a Google search for "'Wester-Faengle' without 'Valaida'" does not yield anything else (apart from this novel). According to our article, two biographies even "contradict the assertion that Snow was held by the Nazis". Does anyone know more about this concentration camp? — Sebastian 01:07, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Nothing on either of the references at List of Nazi-German concentration camps. Very odd. --Tagishsimon (talk) 01:17, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
I wonder if Wester-Faengle was an internment camp for alien or enemy civilians, such as the British ran on the Isle of Man, as opposed to a concentration camp for those the Nazis saw as enemies of the German race because of their race, politics or "social deviancy". The Wikipedia List mentions that there were over 1,500 of the latter, most of which were destroyed, so Wester-Faengle might have been too small to show up on many lists. But that's just semi-informed speculation on my part. —— Shakescene (talk) 01:34, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
One of the list refs, [2] lists 1634 camps, with no obvious match for this name. --Tagishsimon (talk) 01:44, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Thanks - I didn't think about the subcamps. Somehow, few people seem to talk about them, as evidenced by the fact that that's a redlink, and that there no article on de:Außenkommando, either. (We do have lists, most of which are very plain, such as List of subcamps of Auschwitz. The only one with a relevant lead is List of subcamps of Neuengamme.) I think the "1,500" is a double error/misunderstanding: The original reference speaks of 15,000, but that seems to refer to all subcamps, including the small camps created ad hoc for the local population. I would be surprised if they had kept Ms Snow for 18 months in such a camp. — Sebastian 02:31, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Goebbels' Diary for May 20, 1942, refers to the American journalists who were transferred from Germany and Italy via Lisbon. (The Goebbels Diaries, edited & translated by Louis P. Lochner, Doubleday, New York 1968) —— Shakescene (talk) 01:49, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Are you saying that Goebbels mentions Wester-Faengle, or are you merely confirming that the Nazis did capture Americans? — Sebastian 02:31, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
I was using that as a possible hint about dates because both the journalists' return and Valida Snow's were in 1942. I was wondering if they'd been part of some larger exchange of Axis and Allied civilian internees. (Of course Valida Snow might have returned in a different month or in different circumstances.) —— Shakescene (talk) 10:26, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Ah, I see! That's an interesting observation indeed! — Sebastian 10:39, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Update: Based on the above, I had been thinking that Wester-Faengle may have been a camp in Denmark. But that doesn't seem very likely either, because, as our article Frøslev Prison Camp says, that camp was built only in 1944 "to avoid deportation", which seems to indicate that they had no camp there before 1944. — Sebastian 03:33, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

"Hitler's Black Victims: The Historical Experience of Afro-Germans, European Blacks, Africans and African Americans in the Nazi Era" by Clarence Lusane mentions Snow and begins in great detail about how her history is vague and confused, but based on that name Vestre Fængsel seems most likely. meltBanana 03:44, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
I think that's it - thanks! I'll add that to her article and I'll create a redirect for Wester-Faengle. — Sebastian 04:17, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Confirmed in the ITS Catalogue of Camps and Prisons in Germany and German-occupied Territories, vol. 1, p. 49 (Arolsen, July 1949), with a variant spelling: Vestra Faengstel. I've created a REDIRECT page for that spelling and documented the instance on the Talk:Vestre Fængsel page. -- Deborahjay (talk) 07:32, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Cooking polenta[edit]

Dear Wikipedia, can polenta be cooked in a microwave? If so, on high or a lower power? How much time per ounce? Can polenta be eaten raw? Is it okay to merely warm it? (talk) 03:35, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Are you talking about preparing polenta from scratch (cornmeal and water) or about serving prepared polenta, which hereabouts comes in sausage-shaped packages? The former needs a stovetop and a lot of stirring. (Google "polenta recipe" for plenty of them.) The latter is ready to eat, but is more palatable when hot. A microwave will work; a frypan with a little olive oil in it is better. PhGustaf (talk) 03:59, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Traditional copper polenta pot
Actually the wiki article reports a reference where they explain how to do it in a microwave. But nothing is like the traditional way. What is important is to use a heavy pot with round bottom, and a long wooden spoon: mixing becomes harder when the thing gets more solid. --pma (talk) 09:12, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Polish-Czech Border[edit]

How was the Polish-Czech border changed with the Dunajec River dam? (talk) 04:18, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

It probably wasn't. Hypothetically, the line remains where it always is, regardless of what happens around the line. --Jayron32 04:47, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Encyclopædia Britannica says: "In March 1975 Czechoslovakia and Poland modified their border along the Dunajec to permit Poland to construct a dam in the Czorsztyn region, southeast of Kraków.". Many of our pages use this reference. Should we change our articles? (talk) 05:54, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Well, there ya go. Looks like you've answered your own question. --Jayron32 07:11, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
No, I mean, what does the boundary look like before and after? (talk) 08:29, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

I found the text of the treaty in Polish and Czech Slovak, alas without the attached maps. If you don't speak any of these languages, here's a summary: Czechoslovakia ceded 24.9439 ha of land between Lýsa nad Dunajcom (Poprad County) and Sromowce Wyżne (Nowy Targ County) to Poland. Poland ceded 24.9439 ha of land between Wojkowa (Nowy Sącz County) and Lenartov (Bardejov County) to Czechoslovakia. Additionally, Poland agreed to pay Czechoslovakia the cost of the operation (expropriation of inhabitants, lost roads and telecommunication lines) and in the future, pay for any damages caused by the dam. — Kpalion(talk) 09:44, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Additionally, please note that after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, this part of the former Polish-Czechoslovak border is now a Polish-Slovak border, not Polish-Czech. — Kpalion(talk) 17:15, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Milling dandelion seeds? (And other flowering seeds of umbelliferae]][edit]

The common American dandelion is all over the place. And I have seen similar flowering plants that have been confused for dandelions.

Is there an easy way or simple handheld device to harvest dandelion seeds and strip them of their feathers (the fluff that helps them fly) so only the seeds are left behind?

Are the dandelion seeds edible? If they can't be eaten, can the seed be used for feeding chickens and livestock?

What about other similar plants, like the flowering feathered seeds of the salsify? Dexter Nextnumber (talk) 06:27, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't know about the rest of your question but as far as feeding chickens, there should be no problem from a feed standpoint. I think the problem would be that common dandelion seeds are very small. They wouldn't be all that filling for the chickens. And I also think that you'd be able to get a lot more seed (overall mass rather than number of seeds) out of some other plant. Dismas|(talk) 07:22, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Yeah, most of the dandelion is quite edible; dandelion greens can make part of a nice salad; dandelion root makes an ersatz coffee called Dandelion coffee, dandelion flowers can be used to make Dandelion wine. All that said, I agree with Dismas on this, the seeds may technically be edible, but given the low yeild per area of dandelion seeds, and the high labor inteniveness in collecting them, your probably better off eating just about every other part of the plant. --Jayron32 07:28, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
I was thinking of a handheld device (or maybe something somewhat larger) that you could point at the dandelion, and it would suck all the seeds off the head, pluck or grind the 'fluff' off (some people call 'em dandelion feathers), and deposit the seeds in a bag you can empty later. I wouldn't be too surprised that this sort of thing has already been patented.
As for the false "giant" dandelion, I think that some people confuse salsify or goat's beard with giant dandelions, just because the way they go to seed, looks so similar. Dexter Nextnumber (talk) 09:10, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
I, for one, have never heard of such a device but the question remains, why do it? Granted, physicists and such are always doing things just "to see if we could" but for something like this, someone would likely want a better (read: profitable) reason. And so far, it doesn't look as though there's any profit in doing so. Let's take the cotton gin for example. You have a plant which is already desired for the fabric made from it. There's a huge economic incentive to make things easier, quicker, etc. There isn't a similar economic need or base to build on for dandelions. Nobody currently uses the 'feathers' for anything. And the seed, while probably good for you, isn't produced enough by the plant per acre especially when you could get the same or better products from some other seed like corn, soybeans, etc. Dismas|(talk) 12:20, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

a weird question from a first time poster[edit]

There is no question here we can answer. It's either a request for medical advice, or an open discussion. This board is appropriate for neither.
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

i have this problem....probably described best as sehnsucht.....and this permanently causes me a feeling of unease,restlessness,and sometimes depression....i honestly am a nice and well mannered person,yet strangely i feel more at the rest and peacefull,the closer i get to things of abstract evil (reference the movies event horizon (with sam neil in it) and the chronicles of riddick (specifically the necromonger religoin) on wikipedia for an easier understanding of what abstract evil im mentioning),its like a strange love of the dead...i once played land of the dead,road to fiddler`s green on the xbox...and honestly when the game started,i felt strangely at peace when the dead made there characteristic sounds......

i have personally done as much studying as i can,and continue to due o nthe exact nature of this kind of abstract evil....but i desperately need to be pointed in the right direction,what is the name of this thing i seek,what is it`s embodiement?

i could go on for many,many pages and books worth of material describing what i seek,but not knowing what it is,or what it`s called....this is the subject of my sehnsuct,(if i speleld that word correctly),

so i post on here to see if there is possibly someone more knowledgeable than me in this feild,who can tell me what it is i seek based on the description i give...please help me,and please dont shun me abruptly,if you cant answer me,then just say so please without being abrasive,i happen to be very sensitive...

and please dont tell me it is something as simple necrophilia,because ive researched that myself,and my issue,my sehnsuct,is far more complex than that

thank you very much for any help given ^^ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:23, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Wikipedia, unfortunately, cannot provide any personal medical advice. If you have concerns about your psychological condition, --Jayron32 07:24, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

need i repeat myself?im using a concept of emotion,not a psycological condition,since when was an emotion a psycological ocndition?i thought i clicked on the philosophy category in the reference desk section,i figured someone here would understand based on the category the nature of my communication,philosophical thought and context.......if i was asking for psycological advice i wouldve been very direct.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:31, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

if i were more defensive i might be tempted to perceive that as a dismissive insult....but i conede that i may confuse people at first....just veiw this from a philosophy standpoint please —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:33, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

See a doctor. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 08:02, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

-.- could you aleast be somewhat empathetic and tell me of a nice article to read, (please nothing insulting).......i suppose if i had of wanted to discuss philosophy i shouldve looked somehwere else than the reference desk,humanitys,philosophy section in wikipedia....well,names arent everything i suppose... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:13, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

We are being empathetic. You said yourself it was a problem, and you yourself mention depression. See a doctor. Comet Tuttle (talk) 08:14, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

empathetic?you sound like an automated answering machine..your being biased towards veiws not in your native comfortability by automatically associating two unrelated and standalone words like depression and problem to literally means "psycological problem"....depression is also another word for sadness,which isnt a disorder in and of itself....i dont feel like embarassing you tuttle by bringing up a dictionary link on "sadness" for the other two of you,less answering machine,more freindlyness

for god`s sake,you can feel sadness at a breakup of a relationship,and thats not a medical can feel angry from an insult,thats not a disorder.... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:26, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Please try to understand that the Reference Desks are not a discussion board, and the questions that you are asking are not ones that we can help you with here. If you want to talk on-line about your feelings, you need to find a chat room. If you are concerned or worried by your emotional state then you should talk to a medical professional. Gandalf61 (talk) 12:57, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
You might like Weltschmerz and Melancholia, especially the illustration on that page. (talk) Martin. —Preceding undated comment added 13:04, 23 December 2009 (UTC).

wow,thanks guys,i honestly didnt exactly know how this thing worked,and ty for the book suggestions,ill get right on it,will probab;y help me with the book im working on ^^,lol,maybe ill figure out someway to get a mention of it on wikipedia when it`s finished,here is hoping :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:08, 23 December 2009 (UTC)


Which country has had the most stable (least variable year over year) rate of growth in GDP net inflation over the past 25 years? TheFutureAwaits (talk) 09:02, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

I don't know, but at least traditionally, stability of this nature is associated with developed countries, so that may be your best bet. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 13:14, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Stability is a quality that would be difficult to quantify in a way that allows meaningful comparisons. In any case, China is certainly the first country that comes to mind when thinking about steady growth over the last 25 years. Certainly no developed country had steady growth through the recessions of the early 90s and the early 00s, the former Soviet bloc had a severe contraction in the early 90s, and other developing countries in Asia and Latin America had recessions during the financial crises of the late 80s and/or 90s. Other countries that might have shown steady growth comparable to China's might be India and a handful of African countries such as Uganda, Tanzania, and Mozambique. Marco polo (talk) 16:43, 23 December 2009 (UTC)


same graph with log axes and growth
China has consistently had high growth, but the rate of growth hasn't been stable. This graph shows China's GDP from 1952 to 2005. Stable growth would result in a straight line. That is not a straight line. I expect developed countries have much greater stability. Yes, their rate of growth is much lower, but it varies much less. --Tango (talk) 16:56, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Ok, I've got some numbers (from here) so we can quantify things. I've got GDPs for France, Germany, the UK, the USA, China and India for 1987 to 2006 (I have far more numbers, but that selection should do for now). If we look the growth each year for those and take the standard deviation we get 1.3% for France, 1.8% for Germany, 1.6% for the UK, 1.3% for the USA, 4.1% for China and 2.2% for India. As we can see, the emerging economies show greater variation than the developed ones. If we look at the ratio between standard deviation and mean (which you could argue is a better definition of stability) then France, the UK, the USA and China are all very similar, India is significantly more stable than any of them and Germany is significantly less stable. --Tango (talk) 17:15, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Well done, Tango! Marco polo (talk) 17:19, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Point of information: stable growth would result in a straight line only on a logarithmic axis. In the case of the example you have given, stable growth would result in an exponential curve.
Excellent point. Apologies for making such an elementary mistake! --Tango (talk) 20:28, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Beit Chabad in Mumbai (Bombay) India[edit]

In 2003 Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivkah הי"ד opened a Beit Chabad in Shelley’s Hotel, 30 P J Ramachandani Marg, in the Colaba area of Mumbai (Bombay) and at a later date it moved to Nariman House, 5 Hormusji Street, which was also in the same area. Can a user please supply me with the answers to the following questions: 1) What was the precise date that the Beit Chabad moved from Shelley’s Hotel to Nariman House? 2) How many rooms did Beit Chabad have in Shelley’s Hotel and on which floor of the building were they situated? Thank you. Simonschaim (talk) 12:10, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

I suggest you visit Chabad's website and contact their webmaster. Those are pretty specific questions. You might also want to explain why you want to know, as it may come across as a little odd. --Dweller (talk) 17:46, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Thank you. Simonschaim (talk) 05:13, 27 December 2009 (UTC)

Dutch ship timber[edit]

Where the wood-poor Netherlands got ship timber to build such a powerful sail fleet? Was it imported during the 16th century economic growth? (talk) 12:34, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Well, the Dutch Republic had lots of other things going for it, and trade is quite a good way to get stuff you can't produce natively. On the first, the Dutch were bankers to the rest of Europe, and could make lots of money just from that alone. Secondly, the Dutch did make stuff, wool fabric was a big industry. Thirdly, their colonial empire helped support their fleet building, as it provided them with sources of timber they could use without having to trade for it. --Jayron32 15:06, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Several Dutch cities were members of the Hanseatic League and Scandanavian was a source of ship timber. Eventually the Dutch rivalled the Hansa League itself. (talk) 15:46, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Tulips may (or may not) have been a very big deal at one time. PhGustaf (talk) 17:15, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
By the 16th century, the Dutch were selling fish, woolen and linen cloth, and craft manufactures including guns, all over Europe. They also profited from reselling the products of western Germany sent down the Rhine (wines, guns, other mechanical equipment, grains, hides) and the products of the Baltic countries (grain and timber) and shipping them to the Spanish and other European nations. (See Amsterdam Entrepôt.) Through trade, the Dutch acquired a large share of the silver that was flooding Europe from the New World during the 16th century. This lucrative trade allowed them to keep some of the timber that they purchased from the Baltic countries (Poland, Lithuania, Finland, Sweden) for shipbuilding. The easy supply of timber in the Baltic made it unnecessary for the Dutch to look farther afield for timber. Marco polo (talk) 17:17, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Marco polo's right about naval stores coming from the Baltic trade, which furnished England too. But it was Dutch capital and credit paper that captured American silver coming into Seville, rather than straight trade (been reading Fernand Braudel again last night).--Wetman (talk) 23:22, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I was making a bit of a short cut. After the Dutch revolt of 1568, there was of course little direct trade with Spain, and Spain accounted for only a fraction of direct trade before that date. However, it was profits from trade that allowed the Dutch to mop up more than their share of the silver that was sloshing around Europe in the 16th century, after spilling from the counting houses of Seville in Spain's profligate spending (and borrowing) for warfare and conspicuous consumption. In fact, during the 16th century, it was not Holland, but Genoa that furnished most of the credit for imperial Spain and reaped most of the profit in American silver, as Braudel himself explains. It was not until the 17th and 18th centuries that the Netherlands (and particularly Amsterdam) gained pre-eminence as a financial center. Marco polo (talk) 23:43, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

Does India provide citizenship to foreigners?[edit]

The People's Republic of China doesn't provide citizenship to foreigners because it has already too much people. Does India also not provide citizenship to foreigners? If India do provide citizenships to foreigners, what is its immigration requirement? (talk) 17:16, 23 December 2009 (UTC)

India certainly allows people to become citizens. Google will giv eyou the requirements, but here is a site to get you started. DJ Clayworth (talk) 18:00, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
The Nationality Law of the People's Republic of China provides a way for foreigners to become Chinese citizens. Does this not happen in practice? (talk) 19:16, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
I'm not at all familiar with Chinese immigration laws, but I hardly think that overpopulation concerns would be the determinting rationale behind them. The difference in terms on overpopulation concerns of having migrant laborers/refugees from neighbouring countries as resident non-citizens or accepting them nationalized citizens is marginal, issues like problems of uncontrolled expansion of urban areas is the same. --Soman (talk) 21:55, 23 December 2009 (UTC)