Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2009 January 5

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Humanities desk
< January 4 << Dec | January | Feb >> January 6 >
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.


January 5[edit]

State Canvassing Board[edit]

can anyone tell me when and where the Minnesota State Canvassing Board is meeting on Monday, January 5th, 2009 to deal with the Senate election? I can find lots of references that they ARE meeting, but not when or where. Can anyone help? EdwinHJ | Talk 04:21, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Room 10, State Office Building.[1] Map here. Please note first source says 1:00; second says 2:30. There will be real-time coverage on second. Kablammo (talk) 08:55, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Arabs, Jews, and basically the entire Middle East[edit]

I can't keep all the groups straight, who hates who, which group operates in which territory and such like that. But I would like to at least know some basics about why nobody in the Middle East seems to get along with anyone else, even their own neighbors who are often the same religion/ethnicity/etc. So, if you want to direct me to an easy to understand article on the subject that kind of sums it all up in a straightforward manner, that's fine. Or if you want to try to sum it all up yourself, take your best shot. Where do I even start? Is it all just religious fanaticism? Why do the Jews and Muslims not get along? Did something happen way back in the day to set it all off or what? I realize that I'm asking a lot but I'd at least like to know the very basics of that area of the world. Thanks, Dismas|(talk) 04:35, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

It's because they both want the same land, pure and simple. They actually got along fairly well long before the Partition of Palestine. StuRat (talk) 05:42, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
It's definitely more complicated than that and simply not true that they always got along in the past. Here are a few relevant articles: History of the Arab–Israeli conflict, Antisemitism in the Arab world, Anti-Arabism, Islam and Judaism. —D. Monack talk 05:49, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

As religious communities, Jews and Muslims got along reasonably well during a number of historical periods (though by no means all of the time), and Muslim authorities occasionally favored Jews over Christians, because Jews weren't any kind of military threat. But such Muslim tolerance of Jews was always predicated on Jews understanding and accepting a secondary status in society as dhimmis, and not directly challenging Muslims in any public way.

However, when European style romantic nationalism started entering the picture in the late 19th century, Arab nationalism and Jewish nationalism were naturally incompatible. There was temporary hope of some kind of accommodation in the Feisal-Weizmann agreement, but that was shot down in flames when the British decided to honor the Sykes-Picot agreement rather than keeping their promises to Feisal of the Hashemites. According to Bernard Lewis, both ethnic nationalism and religion-based anti-Semitism were European-based imports to the middle east; in particular, bigoted Frenchmen were very influential in stirring up the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840, arguably the first significant incident of "modern" style anti-Semitism in the middle east... AnonMoos (talk) 10:55, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Just to complicate things further: Iran-Arab relations and Anti-Iranian sentiment. My take is that the whole thing is hopelessly muddled and definitely resistant to reductionist approaches. The fundamental and current causes of conflict in the middle-east seem to change depending which lens(es) any given "expert" is viewing it through; be they geo-political, religious, colonial, ethnic, racial or otherwise. One interesting perspective, that I've been seeing the conflict in terms of recently, is the popular sentiment in many Arab countries regarding the Palestinian/Israeli Troubles and how that relates to those countries governments' (many of which have a somewhat tenous grasp on power at home) response towards Israel. However in the end, fair or not, my particular perspective, time and time again brings me back to, "religion poisons everything." 161.181.153.10 (talk) 02:15, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Really? Bernard Lewis would draw the conclusion that "Nationalism poisons everything". Modern-style fundamentalisms weren't really a significant "macropolitical" factor in the region until the beginning of the 1980s (i.e. only after at least thirty years of things already being royally screwed up on the Arab-Israeli front)... AnonMoos (talk) 04:27, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, really. A fair enough point regarding "modern-style" fundamentalism's place in the timeline of the current regional conflict between Israel and neighbors as a somewhat recent flashpoint. I don't think your conclusion of what Lewis would conclude and my conclusion are mutually exclusive. Regardless, I meant my last statement as a more general comment on endemic problems and the root causes of said problems. I consider religion an important and inescapable "macrosociological" factor in the region's troubles. Finally, I disagree that reading Lewis obviously suggests the stated conclusion in the first place. Respectfully, 161.181.153.10 (talk) 01:17, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
From the mid-1950's to 1977, the predominant political orientation of those in power in Egypt, Syria, AND Israel was secularist socialism (note: "secularist" means something quite different from "anti-religious"), and during that period three bloody wars were fought. Maybe "socialism poisons everything"... AnonMoos (talk) 03:16, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Ha ha, well I hope the U.S. GOP party doesn't get wind of that, they might use it as part of an attack on the Democrats as socialists or something. I completely get the point you're trying to make, but I still think you're missing the forest for the trees. Maybe as a compromise: "people poison everything"... 161.181.153.10 (talk) 19:21, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
OP: "But I would like to at least know some basics about why nobody in the Middle East seems to get along with anyone else."
Saki, c. 100 years ago: "Some places produce more history than can be consumed locally." BrainyBabe (talk) 23:53, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Are there any historical cases of attempts to verthrow a state government (not federal) in the US?[edit]

Aside from the Civil War and the early days of the Republic, are there any instances of the people attempting to overthrow their state government (not the federal government)? For example, if the Illinois legislature fails to impeach Blagojovich and the people of Illinois rise up to overthrow the government in Springfield. Has anything like that ever happened or come close to happening? 216.239.234.196 (talk) 15:13, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

John Brown (abolitionist) seemed to try to violently overthrow the state of Virgina. See John Brown's Raid on Harpers Ferry. This was right before the Civil War, though. StuRat (talk) 16:21, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I can't think of any clear examples of this; the closest would be attempts to secede from the state government. The only successful state secession is West Virginia. See secession in the United States for more. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 16:44, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Dorr rebellion... AnonMoos (talk) 17:45, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Cool! 216.239.234.196 (talk) 18:37, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Perhaps also of interest: there was a successful violent overthrow of a large city government in the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898. --Sean 20:10, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Is the Whiskey Rebellion too early? Adam Bishop (talk) 21:01, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

The Kentucky legislature in the late 1960's early 1970's invoked the right of a people to abolish a government and institute new government, by placing on the ballot a call for a new constitution, to disregard the provisions of and replace the 1890's constitution, which in its text nade revision almost impossible. The voters did not approve the revolution. Edison (talk) 04:20, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Apparently there was an attempt to overthrow the government of Louisiana in 1874: [2] and [3]. AnyPerson (talk) 03:28, 9 January 2009 (UTC)

Minorities candidates in Bangladesh general election 2008[edit]

How many candidates were Hindus, Buddhists, Christians and Indigenous peoples and which political parties had these minorities and how many did they had? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.64.54.212 (talk) 15:40, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

tallaghts oldest public house[edit]

what is the oldest public house in tallaght county dublin ireland? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 193.120.116.185 (talk) 18:00, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

portsmouth history[edit]

I am trying to find pictures of buildings, ships and such like in and around the city of portsmouth, particularly from the 18th and 19th centuries, but so far this has been rather difficult. Is there anywhere I might be able to go to, to find this sort of stuff? 148.197.114.165 (talk) 19:11, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

A few at American Memory [4].—eric 20:07, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Which Portsmouth? --LarryMac | Talk 20:30, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
My first port of call would be the city library. Also local museums.--Shantavira|feed me 08:58, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

American Electoral Question[edit]

I've dabiled with volunteering to protect voter integrity for my political party in both primary and general elections. My knowledge is superficial. My training was directed at teaching us to spot issues for other lawyers who were well versed in state law to respond. My state permits people to register to vote when they renew their driver's license. The information is guarded with due regard to privacy. Yet when I engage in canvassing, the party has a list, including names, addresses and telephone numbers of voters. One of the most important details clearly visible is the party affiliation. These lists are not stolen items. Indeed, when I attended a political training, the instructor asked the purpose of the party. To everyone's surprise, he said that maintenance of the party rolls was the legal reason for the party. Independents raise different issues.

In my state, the counties and not the state itself run the elections.

May I ask to what general extent in the United States, voter register information is private? Where do the parties acquire the voter registrations rolls with details of elections voted (but not the actual vote result). For instance, the press recently reported that Caroline Kennedy neglected to vote in several important primary and general elections. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75Janice (talkcontribs) 19:34, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Data about party affiliation, address, and elections voted in for each registered voter are public records in most states (not sure about phone no., though). AnonMoos (talk) 23:29, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
In a state with a closed primary that would be true. But how do they find out in states with open primaries? Rmhermen (talk) 00:25, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
In Texas, when you voted in a party primary, you were handed the ballot appropriate to that party, and a "DEMOCRATIC", "REPUBLICAN", etc. was stamped on your voter registration card, indicating that you were not supposed to engage in certain activities incompatible with your partisan status during that election cycle (such as signing a petition for a third-party candidate to be included on the ballot). There must have been some central record of which primary you voted in, or otherwise how could they exclude invalid signatures from ballot-access petitions? AnonMoos (talk) 04:21, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I have served as an election judge in Maryland, which has closed primaries (you have to state party affiliation prior to the election in order to vote in the party's primary). When you appear at a Maryland voting precinct, your affiliation is already in the poll book (the printed version, or the more common electronic version). There is no requirement about what you do outside of the voting booth. In fact, I would think a limit like the Texas one would be incompatible with your first amendment rights. The party might try kicking you out, but I doubt it. Wouldn't a ballot-access petition be directed to the state election authority, and thus allow for any eligible voter's signature?
The party organizations aren't directly involved in it at all, as far as I'm aware. The local precinct poll-worker handed you your ballot and stamped your card, and state elections officials were tasked with going over the signatures on ballot access petitions to make sure that those who signed had not also previously voted in a party primary that year. It's very hard to see how the Democratic and Republican parties can meaningfully "expel" anybody. At most, they can refuse general election support to a candidate who won the party primary (see David Duke), but this is obviously irrelevant for ordinary voters... AnonMoos (talk) 20:16, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

can you tell if someone is lying?[edit]

as soon as Cheney's interviewer mentions they have just 30 seconds (signaling that the interview questions are over) Cheney's face immediately changes 180 degrees. Does that signal that up until that point he has been carefully lying through his teeth? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 79.122.29.166 (talk) 20:23, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

I don't understand what you mean by "changes 180 degrees", and I cannot download the interview to check for myself. (I can't say that I am disturbed about that; I might then have also been forced to listen to the exchanges.) It is not, I am certain, that his head does an Exorcist spin to face backwards. Most changes that signal "truth" or "lie" are extremely subtle, especially in a practised public speaker such as Cheney is. If you mean that he goes from a tense state to a relaxed one, that is possible even if the content is all lies, all truths or a mix; he would just be signaling relief that a stressful situation was about to end. ៛ Bielle (talk) 20:51, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
There are many things that people claim are things that indicate someone is lying. It is very easy to prove all of these claims false. Actors lie. That is the job. When an actor is acting, it is all a lie. So, do you believe that when the director calls "cut", all of the actors' faces turn 180 degrees? Of course not. So, such a claim that it indicates lying is just speculation - and bad speculation since it is impossible for a face to turn 180 degrees all by itself. -- kainaw 21:06, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I don't think lying and acting are the same at all. The difference is intent. If you are trying to entertain the audience, you aren't likely to feel the same type of stress and react in the same way as if trying to deceive. Watch a child intentionally lying and one pretending and you will likely notice a very different expression on their faces. StuRat (talk) 22:09, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Acting is different from lying since the actor feels absolutely no guilt or shame about the lie. They share the fear that someone will "catch them" but professional actors get over that. You can't definitively say someone is lying, but there are a lot of clues, most of them cultural and some of them specific to the liar. Failure to make eye contact in an American is definitely suspicious. Inappropriate changes in inflection or pacing, apparent nervousness, and certain body movements are also red flags. There are many things to look for but none of them are consistent or absolute, and they all hinge not on lying, but on the reservations the person has about lying. SDY (talk) 01:08, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I dont think Cheney feels any guilt or shame — chandler — 11:18, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
It's also extremely subjective. Different people have different facial reactions to lying, and if they're good at it (and you can't get a much better liar than a politician in my opinion) they can work through their own body language so they have the ability to appear more genuine when in fact they are lying. On the other hand there could have been any number of reasons why Cheney changed his facial expression during the interview, from the interviewer reminding him of something that's stressing him out to his piles playing up. So in short, no it's extremely difficult to tell if someone is lying. -- roleplayer 21:17, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I caught Condoleeza Rice apparently lying, as she was saying yes while shaking her head "no" (or was it the other way around). This also implies to me that she was being forced to lie but felt bad about it, and the truth found it's way out. StuRat (talk) 22:05, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Was the questioner fishing for a "no" answer? Or driving at some sort of point? She could be shaking her head to indicate that the point the questioner was driving at was wrong, misguided, depressing, etc, but she answered the literal question with a verbal "yes"? ( "I say you're crazy! Are you honestly saying you're sure you're not crazy?" [Shaking head] "Yes. For the last time, yes!" )
It could even just be simple body language to indicate that her "yes" answer was depressing. ( "Is the world going to hell in a hand-basket?" [Shaking head]"Yes, yes it is. All is lost. We're all doomed." ) APL (talk) 15:15, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I watched the linked video and have a possible and -- I think -- more probably interpretation. First, his mood doesn't shift as radically as you say, though he does seem more relaxed. It's no secret that Cheney has an antagonistic relationship with the media and doesn't like appearing on camera. To me, he's simply relieved to be through with a tough interview and is probably thinking that this is the last TV interview he'll ever have to give. Nothing in his demeanor indicates to me that he was necessarily lying. —D. Monack talk 04:53, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Not about Cheney but not exactly OT, there's a video/still technique in photography where the camera keeps going just when the subject is off-guard. Photographer Lewis Morley famously kept snapping after Salvador Dali thought the shoot was over, and what appeared in those shots was a vulnerable, possibly insecure old man behind the previous "mad artist" persona. Another example was a documentary of bad-boy actor Steve Berkoff who dropped the monolithic storm when he thought the thing was over. They tried to do the same with post-pm Tony Blair to less effect imo. That kind of division intra-self is always interesting. Don't know if you'd call it lying exactly but if it's there to be seen, that's the way to find it. Julia Rossi (talk) 09:40, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
I haven't seen the interview mentioned by the OP, but I remember from earlier interviews with Cheney that he has a tell. When he lies, he averts his eyes: [5] (3:40) 194.171.56.13 (talk) 10:46, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Most politicians would have no trouble internally with what you might think of as a lie because they normally believe what they are saying is the right and correct thing to say. So there is no point in looking for tells. You are better off closing your eyes while they talk or even just reading what they have said and not even listening so you aren't persuaded by their manner. Use your intelligence rather than switching it off and relying on tells, they're far better at that game then most people will ever be even with trying. Dmcq (talk) 11:15, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
In the case of Cheney, many of his claims about WMD in Iraq have been proven to be false. However, when he's forced to comment on those claims, he merely says "I was given bad intelligence" or "we were mistaken". Thus, to establish that he intentionally lied to the public to justify the war, we need to rely on nonverbal clues. StuRat (talk) 20:32, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

We're being a bit mean on politicians (and public figures in general). The difference is not lieing - being different to who 'you really are in private' in public is not lieing, that is managing your persona for a given audience. Everybody in the world does that. You act different infront of your friends than your parents, or different when with work-colleagues. It's not lieing. You do it to meet expections, to fit into the social group. Infact not doing it would be considered by many to be foolish and a sign of someone lacking social-skills. The politician has it harder as their every word is scrutinised for indepth meaning by the media, and they have to maintain a political-unity with their party publically, even if privately they are fighting hard within the party to change a stance they disagree with. 194.221.133.226 (talk) 15:25, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

There is a difference between "putting a good spin on things" and the type of outright lies that have come from Cheney. StuRat (talk) 20:35, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

Is it possible to see anything relating to Nazi Germany on tourist trips to Germany and/or the surrounding countries?[edit]

I know that Germany does have strong laws prohibiting the promotion of anything to do with Hitler, the Nazis and the Third Reich. But is it possible for tourists today to see anything relating to the Nazis from a realistic historical perspective whilst visiting Germany, or is this just impossible due to the laws that exist in modern Germany? I'm just wondering this as an outside observer and I'm not a neo-Nazi sympathiser myself or anything. But I do think that it's something that some tourists would potentially have an interest in - it's a valid historical topic after all which must have left some physical artefacts in existence...

Like, for example, the Fuhrerbunker cannot be visited or seen by tourists in itself and is at a relatively obscure location with just a signpost, according to the article. And what about the Auschwitz concentration camp (yes I know it's in modern day Poland); can that be visited by tourists?--Witticism (talk) 21:24, 5 January 2009 (UTC)

Auschwitz is open to the public. bibliomaniac15 21:48, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Dachau concentration camp is open to tourists. It's depressing as hell, but people still go. I don't know about others. --Moni3 (talk) 21:49, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Sachsenhausen concentration camp is open to the public, and conveniently situated for a day trip from Berlin. DuncanHill (talk) 21:51, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
Berchtesgaden has a few sites. I stayed at the General Walker Hotel several times; originally the Platterhof, it has been demolished. The Obersalzberg bunker system was open twenty years ago, but it just a bunch of empty tunnels; the Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest) is open as a restaurant; you need to get a guide to explain the history as there are no plaques. --—— Gadget850 (Ed) talk - 21:58, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
I took a school group to Berlin last year, and there are in fact quite a few places where you can see historical information about the Nazis available for tourists in and around Berlin. The Topography of Terror based in the former headquarters of the Gestapo at Prinz Albrechtstrasse is open to the public, and openly displays pictures of Hitler and the Swastika among its visual displays. The Story of Berlin Museum in Kurfürstendamm covers the Second World War extensively. There are displays at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche showing exactly what happened to the church and why. The Jewish Museum in Berlin is a building I would recommend anyone to visit, and the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a pretty powerful place. In short, go to Berlin, although I'm fairly sure there are more places dotted around Germany. -- roleplayer 22:36, 5 January 2009 (UTC)
List of Nazi-German concentration camps may be of use; the individual entries tell you what is left (or provide links) and there are several scattered across Germany. You can also visit the site of the Wannsee Conference near Berlin, which is now a memorial. --Maltelauridsbrigge (talk) 11:15, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
Place of Hitler's Bunker in 2007.
Both the en and the de Wikipedia state that the Führerbunker was largely removed 1988-98 (just prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall) during construction works for a housing development. It could not be blasted as the walls and ceilings of the main bunker had a thickness of 3.5 / 4.5 meters (I happen to live in a city where WWII flak towers remain standing, partly for the same reason). There is a large information board since 2006 with relevant historical information in German and English. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 16:00, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
In France you can see many things related to the Occupation and the Resistance. In Oradour-sur-Glane there was a famous massacre (the villagers were locked into the church which was set on fire); it has been left exactly as it was, there is a visitor's centre and it receives thousands of visitors a year. There were many other similar shootings and massacres, in Cotignac, for example, and usually there is at least a plaque. Tourist information offices and websites will be able to help you. If you wander around Paris you will come across plaques stating that a Resistant was shot at that spot. There is a museum of the Resistance in Limoges. In Normandy, you can visit the D-day landings beaches and a D-Day museum, while at Dieppe there is a Canadian cemetery and other memorials to the abortive Allied raid there. Itsmejudith (talk) 16:31, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
My parents visited Auschwitz when they were in Poland about a year and a half ago. It's open to the public and apparently quite a moving place to visit. Steewi (talk) 23:27, 6 January 2009 (UTC)
In the Czech Republic there's the former ghetto and concentration camp at Terezin and the ruins of the town of Lidice destroyed by the Nazis. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 01:16, 7 January 2009 (UTC)
Does the Soviet War Memorial (Treptower Park) count? AnyPerson (talk) 03:38, 9 January 2009 (UTC)