Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2009 October 21

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October 21[edit]

LORD OF THE FLIES QUESTION[edit]

I know this kinda isn`t supposed to be here, But I just couldn`t resist asking who from a book published this year, movie or tv show reminds you of Ralph,Piggy and Jack from LORD OF THE FLIES respectively. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 173.52.23.55 (talk) 00:01, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

The judges on American Idol. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:21, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
This is post a homework question? --71.111.194.50 (talk) 08:21, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Possibly. It's definitely a request for opinions. "If you need advice or opinions, it's better to ask elsewhere." AlmostReadytoFly (talk) 14:38, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
I can see a teacher, trying to detect a student's understanding of characterization, asking them to find a modern example, and explain why, sure. As for an answer, we can't answer homework, but if you don't watch any modern TV or movies, do a search of various movies and TV shows of the past, as it sound like only the book needs to be one published this year. And, the "or" makes it sound like all three could be from the same TV show or movie. IIRC (and this was 25 years ago) Piggy was kind of slow but wise in his simplicity, sort of like a certain famou movie character from the mid-90s. that's all I'll give as a hint, and you're on your own on the others.209.244.187.155 (talk) 14:45, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Piggy was the clever one of the group. He was the stereotypical geek - thick glasses, asthma, no social skills, etc.. This sounds like an essay question to me, so even if we gave ideas it wouldn't really help the OP - they would still have to write the essay. --Tango (talk) 18:34, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Anatomy of a sonnet[edit]

There is a part of a sonnet which is often conventionally indented. It's the whole of the sestet, less the final couplet. Does that part have a name of its own? Marnanel (talk) 03:40, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

  • The Middle eight? Of course it depends on the type of sonnet, of which there are several (as detailed at sonnet). I suspect that this pattern is most common is English (i.e., "Shakespearean") sonnets, in which case you're looking at three quatrains and a couplet rather than an octet and a sestet - and it's the third quatrain that's indented. The third quatrain is usually the volta - a change in the theme or imagery - before the resolution of the couplet, so it makes sense in some ways for this section to be set apart from the rest. I don't know of any separate name for it however. Grutness...wha? 06:08, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Makes sense. Thanks. Marnanel (talk) 06:19, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Grapevine restraint[edit]

The (engl.) Grapevine Restraint was called "Polish Crouch" (Polnische Hocke) by the former East German Army. I assume that the origin of this term originates from an Ethnophaulism-like background: Not because it was used in Poland (at some time) but something like you can restrain a Pole in that way. To strengthen this "theory" I am interested to learn how this technique is called in other countries (also in an ethnophaulism-like manner?). Thanks for answers! --Grey Geezer 07:24, 21 October 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Grey Geezer (talkcontribs)

Christianity In Nagaland-India[edit]

No references can be found on how Christianity actually started in Nagaland-India?

It might depend on who's doing the looking. Have you asked anyone, or searched yourself? -- JackofOz (talk) 08:02, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
The article Revival in Nagaland has a reference. There is also the book History of Christianity in Nagaland, The Ao Naga tribal Christian mission Enterprise 1872-1972 by A. Bendangyabang Ao, published in 2002, Shalom Ministry Publication (Nagaland). --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 08:26, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Benjamin Franklin quote[edit]

The following quote is widely attributed to Benjamin Franklin.

"Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch"

But I noticed wikiquote claims this is misattribution http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin#Misattributed. Is there any scholarly reference to prove it is misattribution? --Nyol55 (talk) 12:32, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Is there any proof that he said it? Generally, the burden of proof for any proposition is on the person asserting that the proposition is true. DO you have any evidence, such as an actual text known to be written by Franklin, in which the quote appears? Without any such proof, we have zero reason to believe he actually said it. --Jayron32 13:16, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
This book and this site say that the attribution is doubtful, especially since the word "lunch" is anachronistic. Franklin's papers are searchable here. He apparently never used the word "lunch" in all of his voluminous writings. The quote is probably a modern invention, although it's conceivable that Franklin might have said (or supposedly said) something similar, using different language. Any witty phrase eventually gets attributed to Franklin, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, or George Carlin—and sometimes to more than one of those guys. —Kevin Myers 13:27, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Also to George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. 194.39.218.10 (talk) 13:31, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Yeah. Comic Steven Wright also gets more than his share of bogus attributions. He reports having seen a collection of his quotes on a web site where none of the quotes were actually his. He's embarrassed that most of the fake quotes are lame, and regrets that he didn't write the few good ones. —Kevin Myers 14:18, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Or as Yogi Berra is often quoted, "I really didn't say everything I said." — Michael J 14:34, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
If with the literate I am
Impelled to try an epigram,
I never seek to take the credit:
We all assume that Oscar said it.
--Dorothy Parker
BrainyBabe (talk) 06:55, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
The thoughtless grammatical construction "X is + gerundive phrase", compounded by the ridiculous sequence "is two wolves" should not pass critical muster even in a modern context.--Wetman (talk) 05:06, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
You never heard "Love means never having to say you're sorry? 99.166.95.142 (talk) 15:51, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

With sayings like this, where it's not long even clear who the original speaker was, it's also usually unclear what the original wording was. For example, my recollection is that when I've come across this one before, it's been about "dinner", not "lunch"; and that version can also be found on the Net. The wording quoted by the original poster is typical present-day informal usage (yes, Wetman, it is), but someone could have "modernized" an original version from an earlier century. See Gresham's Law and Murphy's Law for other examples of that sort of change. --Anonymous, 05:25 UTC, October 22, 2009.

Such evolution of quotes may be also explained through memetics. — Kpalion(talk) 09:33, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
I've read that quote years ago, but it was "Democracy is not excuse. It/Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for dinner/supper." It was unattributed. As for grammar, "democracy" is the singular.70.54.181.70 (talk) 19:44, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

What is on most maps this massive landform (one of the largest of its type in the world) is dissected by a dashed imaginary line?[edit]

What is on most maps this massive landform (one of the largest of its type in the world) is dissected by a dashed imaginary line?

This is not homework but I have looked all over the we. I thought maybe latitude and longitude and I would think it would be water but I am not sure. Does anyone have any ideas about this? Thanks for any direction or help you have to offer! —Preceding unsigned comment added by 138.162.128.52 (talk) 14:59, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Your question is very unclear. I'm not sure if you're looking for the name of a landform or an imaginary line. If the latter, I'd go for equator, Tropic of Cancer or Tropic of Capricorn. Or possibly Arctic circle or Antarctic circle. If it's a landform you're asking about, you'll need to explain better, or perhaps someone else will understand you better. --Dweller (talk) 15:02, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
This question was also asked a few days ago. Did you check out the answers there? Astronaut (talk) 15:24, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Also, I can't imagine a landform could be meant to be water. And, with too many of these, there is more than one (South America and African have the equator going through it, for instance.)172.166.225.140 (talk) 12:07, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

does anyone write with two hands? (simultaneously, for speed)[edit]

does anyone write with two hands, for speed? (simultaneously). Since just about everyone is s l o w e d way down by having to channel a sentence through a hand writing out all the letters, I'd think that at least SOME people would overcome that by forming letters with two hands (a pen in each). This doesn't require learning a lot of shorthand, but would only apply to ambidextrous people. I'm thinking of like writing an i with the right hand, then moving on to the t, moving on to the next letter etc, meanwhile the left hand dots the i, crosses the t, etc. Any precedent? 92.230.64.45 (talk) 15:48, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

I've never heard of that, but it wouldn't surprise me if somebody has taught themselves to do that. Some famous historical figure (I don't recall who) would write with one hand, but alternating between writing normally and mirror writing backwards so there was no need to move the hand back to the beginning of the line each time, thus writing faster (he, of course, also had to learn to read mirror writing - this was for his personal notes). Also, I have a friend that writes with two pens at once, holding them both in the same hand and switching between them to write different words in different colours (when taking notes in lectures to highlight keywords) - it doesn't seem to slow her down at all. So, if people can teach themselves to do things like that, I can't see why they couldn't use both hands to speed up writing if they wanted to. --Tango (talk) 15:58, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Tangentally related, James Garfield, one of the few true polymath, or likely genius, U.S. Presidents could supposedly write simultanously with both hands, in two different languages. He supposedly could translate an English passage into Latin with one hand and Greek with the other. --Jayron32 16:07, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Hey! We have a mirror writing article! And Tango, you were probably thinking of da Vinci. —Akrabbimtalk 16:12, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Tangentially to Tango's mention of a fellow's writing alternate lines in normal and mirror script, see Boustrophedon. Deor (talk) 16:38, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

"James Garfield, one of the few true polymath, or likely genius, U.S. Presidents" -- right, right, hence his being Garfield's namesake. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.230.64.45 (talk) 17:20, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

It's unfortunate that his doctors were lacking in the genius area, or he might have survived the assassination attempt. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:39, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

The simultaneous writing of Latin and Greek is also attributed to Branwell Bronte. However, when I tried to find a source for that, the first one to come up was this, which announces it to be a capacity shared by many mediums, as a form of automatic writing, so that doesn't seem too reliable (!), but it credits another source.
Our article ambidextrous is fairly useless, but you might enjoy this about [Henry Kahne], who could write with both hands, both feet and his mouth, simultaneously. Additionally, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer could draw/paint with both hands at once. And a related concept is Bi-directional text,and specifically Boustrophedon. Gwinva (talk) 00:31, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Literary device like a prolepsis.[edit]

What is it called when a story shifts ahead in time (not as an interjection but permanently)? A prolepsis or flash forward is by definition a 'temporary' scene interjected within the normal flow of the story. I believe the article for the film AI: Artificial Intelligence used to mention it (as having one of the largest such shifts in film), but the article has been changed hundreds of times since last I looked and I can't remember the name for it. Thank you. --66.188.84.217 (talk) 16:50, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Ellipsis (narrative device)? Recury (talk) 17:27, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
No, just where the story jumps ahead in time. I don't think an Ellipsis would be an accurate word for it because that's more of an implication of events than jumping forward. --66.188.84.217 (talk) 17:36, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Although, the more I think about it the more it seems you may be right, it's sort of the same thing from a different perspective, but I think there's another word for what I'm describing. --66.188.84.217 (talk) 17:42, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

fast forward?...Hotclaws (talk) 00:59, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Why does Jane Austen (and other 19th century authors) use a letter followed by a series of hyphens in lieu of some names and places?[edit]

I have run across this issue in multiple 19th century books including Pride and Prejudice and Wuthering Heights. Rather than give a specific name for an army unit, name a certain house, or even reference a real person, the author chooses to scribe a single letter (assumed to be the first initial to the alluded to item) followed by a series of hypens (creating a single straight line). An easy to locate example of this is in Mansfield Park when we first meet Fanny's parents in chapter 38. Mr. Price (Fanny's father) enters with multiple monologues dotted with the phrase "by G-----" (assumed to mean "by George"). Pride and Prejudice is full of this anomaly in each and every discussion involving the soldiers with whom the younger Bennet girls are so smitten.

Can you please explain this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.169.130.115 (talk) 16:55, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

I've seen the same thing with years ("19--"). I think it is done to avoid pinning the story down to specific real life times, places, people, etc., although I can't see why it would be necessary to do that for a first name as in your example. --Tango (talk) 17:33, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
In that instance, George stands for Jehovah, which would have been considered unacceptable language (blasphemous) in some circles.--Shantavira|feed me 17:41, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Why the past tense? I've seen comments on Youtube about how "these stupid atheists should just wait until they die and are judged by G-d and see who's laughing then." TomorrowTime (talk) 18:25, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Not writing the word "God" in full is common in Judaism. --Tango (talk) 18:29, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

For the specific example in Mansfield Park, Mr. Price is saying "By God," and the author uses dashes to avoid profanity. This is different from the noted frequent practice, in stories from that period, of using dashes to avoid specificity. John M Baker (talk) 19:07, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

I think it's rather more likely that the exclaimation "by George" comes from the oath "by Saint George" the Patron Saint of England. A little less blasphemous, but still a bit risque in polite society of the time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alansplodge (talkcontribs) 19:10, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
For the Love of Pete, you don't say!—— Shakescene (talk) 05:54, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
The OED suggests that By George indeed refers to St George, citing the earliest example from Ben Jonson's Every Man in His Humour, in which both "by George" and "by St George" appear.--82.41.11.134 (talk) 21:22, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Besides the obvious cases of what would be considered profanity, it was also used in names and dates as mentioned. Mostly because most older novels and stories often tried to create the illusion that the fiction was indeed reality (probably stemming from the origin of modern novels in epistolary novels such as the works of Samuel Richardson). To complete this illusion of reality, names and places could be concealed so as to give the effect that it is to protect living persons from being compromised. --Saddhiyama (talk) 19:59, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

I've observed the same thing in rather different works, too: for example, Dostoyevsky, writing half a continent and several decades away, will sometimes do this with the settings of his stories. Nyttend (talk) 22:02, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
His "secrets" were quite transparent to contemporaries: when he writes "Raskolnikov walked down Sennaya St., on the corner of K** Lane", the only choice is Konny Lane. Some "secrets" are unexplicable today but were evident then: the "canal" in White Nights is Yekaterininsky Canal (the only one that, indeed, was the canal in his days) etc. NVO (talk) 10:10, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Goshdarnit, I read the explanation somewhere recently, and I think on Wikipedia. It was fashionable in the 19th C to write slightly scurrilous memoirs and other non-fiction, in which the names of well-known people would be represented by the initial letter followed by a dash in order not to explicitly name them presumably avoiding libel). Fiction writers of the same period started using the same technique to add verisimilitude to their works, giving the impression that they were referring to someone famous enough to deserve having his name left out of the narrative. I don't know whether the people mentioned in the works of fiction would normally correspond to an actual person or not. Now I'll have to go and look for the reference... DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:36, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure a scandal sheet, in the 19th c., was a paper devoted purely to a series of nasty snippets of embarrassing information about people referred to only as Mrs. B----, or Mr. T--- H------, etc., apparently in the attempt to humiliate as many people as possible per inch, but we don't have an article on this type of publication. Maybe I've got the name wrong. There's a scan of the type of thing I have in mind here: [1] but it's almost illegible and isn't doing the thing with the dashes (perhaps because it's very early, 1709). 213.122.11.42 (talk) 22:54, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

To those who mentioned the purpose to avoid blasphemy, I have to disagree. This cannot be the answer to the question, since in Mansfield Park, one of the novels mentioned by the question, the Lord's name is in fact taken in vain without any atempt to disguise the expression.

To those who answer the question saying that it is the attempt of the author to avoid dating the manuscript, I must also disagree...as the same anomaly (an initial followed by an extended hyphen) is used in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, which is dated quite conspicuosly within the novel itself.

No...there must be a better explanation.

To the last answer given (15:36, 22 October 2009)...in Mansfield Park itself, your information is somewhat validated. In the reading of the newspaper article regarding Mrs. Rushmore and Mr. Crawford, the couple is referred to only as Mrs. R and Mr. C. Something of this nature is often alluded to when a letter of some sort is written by a character in a novel of this period, as well as in the character of Mrs. Elton in Jane Austen's Emma. Mrs. Elton often refers to her husband as "Mr. E" and others by a similar title. However, this type of talk is considered in the novel by Emma to be somewhat vulgar or inappropriate. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.169.130.115 (talk)

Origin of the word "sweetheart"[edit]

I remember reading a story about a noblewoman in medieval England whose husband died. She had his heart embalmed and carried it about in a casket, everywhere she went. She called it her "sweet heart and faithful companion". Can you point me at a source for this story please? --TammyMoet (talk) 17:38, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

If Scottish will do instead, see this about Devorguilla Balliol, wife of John Balliol, mother of King John of Scotland and founder of Sweetheart Abbey:

http://www.scotland.org.uk/guide/Devorguilla_Balliol —Preceding unsigned comment added by Alansplodge (talkcontribs) 19:04, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

That's probably the one. I do apologise to any Scots present, I had thought of changing it to "British" but didn't because that epithet wasn't relevant to the time period. Thank you!--TammyMoet (talk) 12:28, 22 October 2009 (UTC)T

What is the man-made wonder of engineering that required so many workers to complete that a town was built just to accommodate them?[edit]

What is the man-made wonder of engineering that required so many workers to complete that a town was built just to accommodate them?

I found Tongariro hydro-electric Power Development Project but I am not sure. Please direct me if possible. I did not see this question on here! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gijeanie (talkcontribs) 17:45, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Well I'm sure many construction projects in out of the way places involve work camps of some kind or another... Do you mean towns that were left afterwards? TastyCakes (talk) 17:49, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
(ec) Surely there are multiple examples of such projects... the Hoover Dam among them. -- Coneslayer (talk) 17:53, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
The pyramids in Egypt had small towns full of workers and their families. 99.166.95.142 (talk) 19:10, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm thinking of the Snowy Mountains Scheme, for which the temporary towns of Cabramurra and Khancoban were built for the (mainly migrant) workers. Both towns became permanent settlements. -- JackofOz (talk) 19:26, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Or any of the large number of company towns that sprang up in the coal mining regions of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Googlemeister (talk) 19:35, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
True. I was focussing on "wonder of engineering" and "so many workers". The SMS was certainly a wonder of engineering; and it required so many workers that huge numbers were recruited from many overseas countries (mainly European) - so many, that their numbers had a massive impact on Australia's post-war demographics, ultimately leading to us becoming one of the most multicultural countries on Earth. -- JackofOz (talk) 19:48, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Dutch John, Utah would fit your description, but I suspect that's not what you want. Nyttend (talk) 22:03, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
"Any large mine or dam or other engineering project built away from a major settlement." might be an appropriate answer. Seriously, there must be hundreds of such towns across the world. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 22:26, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

There are many, many examples of this worldwide. Twizel, New Zealand was built just to house the people who worked on the Waitaki River hydro scheme, for instance. Grutness...wha? 00:16, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

You mention Tongariro Power Scheme in your question, for which Turangi was laregly built. Are you looking for a New Zealand example? Twizel above, would be possible. Or Mangakino, for Maraetai. Or Otematata for the Benmore Dam. Or Tekapo for Waitaki. Or Cromwell for the Clyde Dam.... Or google for "hydro town" + location (eg NZ, Aust). (WDNHAAOE, it seems. Hydro town is red.) Gwinva (talk) 01:09, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Some of those existed long before the dam schemes - Cromwell was around during the Central Otago Goldrush, for instance. Grutness...wha? 05:44, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

If we are going by firsts then it is indeed the pyramids as mentioned by the IP-user, which had large cities placed next to them exclusively to accomodate the workers. The pyramids was incidentally also one of the original (and true) Seven Wonders of the World (New Seven Wonders of the World? Bah, humbug!). --Saddhiyama (talk) 09:33, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Panama Canal and many, many major engineering schemes throughout history have built small towns to accommodate workers. Astronaut (talk) 14:25, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
  • I can think of several coal mines that fit this description. --M@rēino 17:01, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
The OP's phrasing, "What is the man-made wonder of engineering that required so many workers to complete that a town was built just to accommodate them?" (emphasis mine) implies there was only one such case. But as others have pointed out there are numerous cases. Here's another: the town of Coulee Dam, Washington, built for the people working on Grand Coulee Dam. And Grand Coulee Dam is often cited as a modern "wonder of engineering". Another Washington example might be Richland, Washington, which houses the people working on the Manhattan Project at the Hanford Site. Richland was a tiny village before the government took over, evicting everyone and set it up as a company town. All the land and housing were government owned. I think the Manhattan Project counts as a "wonder of engineering", no? Pfly (talk) 09:10, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
A transparent allusion to the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Sleigh (talk) 17:18, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
Check out Hoover Dam.
Many early British factories were built within entirely new towns for their workers. 148.197.114.207 (talk) 19:27, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

What seperates two continents and has many names?[edit]

What seperates two continents and has many names? I found many ideas on this but need more assistance! Can anyone direct me? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gijeanie (talkcontribs) 17:49, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Water? TastyCakes (talk) 17:52, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Bosphorus/Hellespont? 99.166.95.142 (talk) 19:11, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
The Red Sea? —— Shakescene (talk) 20:13, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
The Atlantic Ocean, which is called Atlantischer Ozean in German. Googlemeister (talk) 21:09, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
My SWAG: "two continents" is separated by a space. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 22:13, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
A nickname for Istanbul is "The city on two continents". Obviously, Istanbul was Constantinople. Now its Istanbul, not Constantinople... Damn. Now that song's stuck in my head. -- kainaw 00:55, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Looks like we have an article on names of Istanbul. -- kainaw 01:03, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
It's nobody's business but the Turks...--Jayron32 02:37, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
"Con... stantinople... C, O-N-S-T-A-N-T-I-N-O-P-L-E..." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:06, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
It's nobody's business but the Turks'. 99.166.95.142 (talk) 15:54, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
  • The answer can't be Istanbul/Constantinople, because that city does not separate two continents. Quite to the contrary; it links them! --M@rēino 16:59, 22 October 2009 (UTC)


I would have to say THE PANAMA CANAL. In an attempt to validate my answer, I googled "panama canal names" and found multiple sites referring to many names of the Panama Canal and the zone surrounding it. Here is one in particular. http://www.angelfire.com/tx/CZAngelsSpace/PCZplaces.html I think this would be your answer. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.169.130.115 (talk) 21:03, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

The Panama Canal is completely within Panama. Panama is completely within North America. If the Panama Canal was along the border of Panama and Columbia, that answer could be valid. -- kainaw 21:09, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
The Panama Canal may be contained completely within Panama, but it still separates the continents of North and South America. A country is perfectly capable of being in 2 continents...a contiguous example is Russia (or the former USSR) which is on both the Asian and European Continents. Non-contiguous examples include all major first world countries. The US, besides encompassing a large portion of North America, also has territories in what is commonly referred to as the Oceanic Continent (or the Pacific Islands). Hong Kong (Asia) was for a long time owned by Britain (Europe). The Panama Canal's being completely within a particular country in no way voids its likelihood. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.169.130.115 (talk) 21:34, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
The other two classic examples of countries (both of them old enough to have several names) that straddle two continents are Turkey (which, even after 1923, has included part of Thrace on which part of Byzantium/Istanbul/Constantinople sits, in Europe) and Egypt [the former UAR] (containing part of Asia until the Six-Day War of 1967 and again after the Egyptian–Israeli Peace Treaty of 1979). I think there's also a fair amount of argument about whether Armenia and the former Republic of Georgia sit in Asia, Europe or both. —— Shakescene (talk) 05:33, 23 October 2009 (UTC)
Can you explain HOW the argument that Russia is on two continents means that Panama is on two continents? Panama is completely on the North American continent. The North American continent and South American continent are separated by the border between Panama and Columbia. If you want to rationalize that a few miles of land doesn't matter, then we can claim that the Bering Straight is a better example. How about the Pacific or Atlantic oceans? By rationalizing what the requirements of the question are, you can get just about any answer you like. I can claim that the answer is the Greenwich meridian line that "divides" Europe into two parts and Africa into two parts - just by rationalizing that the question is asking for something that separates two continents - not from each other, but each one into two parts. -- kainaw 21:30, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

What is one of the four largest cities within a familiar geographical shape found by a man with controversial religious beliefs?[edit]

What is one of the four largest cities within a familiar geographical shape found by a man with controversial religious beliefs?

I am without a clue on this! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gijeanie (talkcontribs)

Do you mean "founded" by a man? TastyCakes (talk) 17:52, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
  • Your question is too vague to be properly answered. "Familiar", "found", and "controversial" all need to be defined better. Also, the lack of punctuation and poor phrasing make it unclear where the modifiers apply: does the man have controversial religious beliefs, or do the citizens? Did the man find the city, or the shape? If those terms and phrases are left vague, I could argue for just about any city on the planet: Mexico City, Provo, Pittsburgh, Naples, etc, etc! --M@rēino 18:19, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Give us some context. Where did this question come from? --Tango (talk) 18:27, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Amarna? 99.166.95.142 (talk) 19:12, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Providence, Newport, Portsmouth and Warwick, Rhode Island, founded by Roger Williams? He founded Providence (1636) and the colony, but not the other three towns that originally formed Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. Or how about (e.g.) Salt Lake City or Provo, Utah founded by Brigham Young? How familiar the shapes are really depends on who and where you are. —— Shakescene (talk) 19:22, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
The OP might be stabbing at Philadelphia, PA, USA. William Penn was certainly controversial, even before he decided that Cheese Whiz was appropriate on steak sandwiches. 19:25, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Or maybe Alexandria - Alex the Great certainly had some weird stuff with Egyptian religions going, and you will probably find enough Alexandrias to form any geometrical shape.... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 20:01, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Nothing wrong with a little harmless, recreational fun, but User:Giljeanie has posted three of these confusingly-worded riddle-me-this posers in a row. —— Shakescene (talk) 20:11, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

if gore won the election in 2000[edit]

Would that mean that the vice-presidency would have been the highest-held position for a Jewish person in the United States?--99.179.21.44 (talk) 20:31, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

That would depend on how you defined highest-ranking, but if POTUS is #1 and VP is #2, then yes. Lieberman was the first Jew even on a ticket, iirc. ~ Amory (utc) 20:49, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
¶ Since the three branches of the United States government are co-equal (although each can be dominant for different purposes or at different times), Jewish Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States would at least in theory (if not in all the protocol tables) rank as high. As I recall, Louis Brandeis was the first Jewish Justice, followed by, among others, Felix Frankfurter, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas (who was almost nominated Chief Justice), Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Although never Vice President, Judah P. Benjamin was arguably the second-most important man in the Confederate States of America, actively advising President Jefferson Davis and executing many of his policies (in addition to his duties as, successively, Attorney-General, Secretary of War and Secretary of State of the C.S.A.), after Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens had withdrawn from active participation in government.
¶ I'm not sure how far Jews have ascended in the leadership of the other co-equal branch, Congress, although for many purposes, every United States Senator is equal to every other Senator, every U.S. Representative equal to every other Representative, and every Representative equal to every Senator. Barney Frank, presently chairman of the House Banking Committee, would be considered by many to be a good candidate for Speaker. Rahm Emanuel, presently Chief of Staff to the President, was Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, ranking below the Speaker, the House Majority Leader and the Majority Whip among Democratic leaders in the House.
¶ And if Sen. Barry Goldwater (R.-Arizona) had been elected President in 1964, he would have been the first President of Jewish ancestry (although not religion, as his parents had converted to Christianity.) —— Shakescene (talk) 21:13, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Henry Morgenthau Jr., secretary of the treasury, was, for one week in 1945, first in line to the presidency. At the time, the Constitution had no provision for replacement of the vice president after a VP takes over for a dead president. Next in line at the time was the secretary of state. Between the resignation of Secretary of State Edward Stettinius, Jr. and the appointment of James F. Byrnes to replace him, Morgenthau was "a heartbeat from the presidency," as they say. By the time Nixon resigned, the succession law had been changed to put the speaker of the House and president pro tem of the Senate ahead of the secretary of state, so Henry Kissinger -- constitutionally ineligible to be president anyway due to his foreign birth -- was never "next in line." Nonetheless, secretary of state is often considered the senior member of the cabinet behind the president and VP, so you could make the case that Kissinger was the highest-ranking Jewish person ever in the U.S. government. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 23:21, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Not sure if the list of Jewish associate justices was intended to be complete, but Benjamin N. Cardozo was missed as another... --Jayron32 02:33, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
[That's why I put in "among others", because I thought there was a strong possibility that my list (off the top of my head) would not be exhaustive.] —— Shakescene (talk) 08:41, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
If they had recounted all the votes in Florida (i.e., the Supreme Court had not stopped the recounting), Gore would've won. See the media recount article for details. Imagine Reason (talk) 22:19, 25 October 2009 (UTC)

Year a bust (art) was made[edit]

What year was this bust of William F. Friedman made? I called the museum it is being shown in but all they could tell me is that it was made by Richard Nachman. I found a page regarding that person here.--Rockfang (talk) 20:46, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

what's a word for something that's sneakily but cleverly pretending it's something it's not?[edit]

what's a word for something that's sneakily but cleverly pretending it's something it's not? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 86.128.188.124 (talk) 21:13, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Disguise? If you give us some context, we might be able to give a better answer. --Tango (talk) 21:33, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
That's an IP with exactly 2 edits, the first of which was reverted. "Sneakily but cleverly pretending it's something it's not"? Well, it can't be a sockpuppet, because they ain't clever. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:46, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Doppelgänger; although it's most commonly used for people, you could reasonably use it for something like a product that resembles a well known brand ("it wasn't until I opened the box that I realised I'd bought 500 cans of Croca Cola, a doppelgänger for real Coke"). Doppelgänger specifically implies deception, so it may be more appropriate than simply saying "a look-a-like". -- Finlay McWalterTalk 21:38, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Coatracking. See Wikipedia:Coatrack for the Wikipedia context. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 21:44, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
I think mimic and simulant also fit except maybe not implicitly "sneaky", for that I probably like doppleganger better too. Another word i like which might fit in some contexts is clandestine, that implies sneaky and clever, but doesn't imply it's pretending to be something it isn't, but it certinally could be. Vespine (talk) 21:56, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Snake in the grass. Vranak (talk) 21:57, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
Nihilartikel fits for some things, too. Then there's "Wolf in sheep's clothing", as well. Ther are numerous terms, and the context will be important in deciding which one is best. Grutness...wha? 00:19, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
In the field of encryption, it is called steganography. -- kainaw 00:48, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Impersonator or malware. Clarityfiend (talk) 01:57, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

People sometimes make claims in job applications that are strictly speaking true, but are worded so as lead the reader to assume they mean something that isn't true. Such as "I have a great deal of experience in customer relations". That would be assumed to mean something like "I have extensive experience in serving customers", but it might just refer to the fact that they've been a customer on many occasions and in many different places, and have participated in the process only from the customer's side of the counter. That's what I'd call disingenuousness or dissembling. -- 202.142.129.66 (talk) 03:08, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

To dissemble is to put on a concealment in order to mislead. Oh, I see that was said, just above. Sorry, I didn't see that. Well, that's my own definition. It's different than a dictionary definition. Bus stop (talk) 03:34, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

I'm surprised that no one has suggested counterfeit, which in many contexts would seem to be the usual word. Deor (talk) 10:43, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

How bout camouflage, chameleon, masquerade or obfuscate. 60.50.166.248 (talk) 11:04, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Imposter --Xuxl (talk) 18:12, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Manipulator, deceiver, wolf in sheeps clothing, smiler with a knife under the cloak (from Chaucer). Try looking up some of the words given in Rogets Thesaurus. That gives many other words - far too many to list here. 92.29.50.51 (talk) 21:07, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
On a related note to the original question, if a person pretends not to be interested in something he or she secretly does want, that's called accismus. 71.161.59.133 (talk) 22:39, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
If you truely mean some-'thing' then it would counterfiet, imitation, ersatz. 92.24.69.180 (talk) 22:47, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

No confidence in presidents?[edit]

To quote from the current In the News section: "President of the Marshall Islands Litokwa Tomeing loses a vote of no confidence in the Legislature and is temporarily replaced by Ruben Zackhras." I know that prime ministers in many countries can face votes of no confidence, but I've never heard of a system in which a president could face such a vote. Are there any other countries in which the position of "president" — either with this title or one that would more reasonably be translated "president" than "prime minister" or another term — is vulnerable to votes of no confidence? Nyttend (talk) 22:06, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

Motion of no confidence#Presidential systems should explain everything. ~ Amory (utc) 22:17, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
A quick look at the Constitution of the Marshall Islands reveals that the president is elected by the legislature and can be removed from office with a vote of no confidence. I suppose he's called a president because he's also the head of state. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 22:49, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
What I meant was motions with teeth (such as this), not the ones that the motion of no confidence article cites, such as the symbolic ones against members of the US presidential cabinets. Nyttend (talk) 04:02, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
The constitution can probably explain it most clearly, but perhaps it is expected that a politician resigns if he loses a confidence-vote, even if it is not actually required. ╟─TreasuryTagChancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster─╢ 13:33, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
An interesting example is Spain where the Prime Minister is officially known as the "President of the Government of Spain" (note not President of Spain) based on the translation of the Spanish title Presidente del Gobierno de España (not Primer Ministro). However the position is commonly known as the "Prime Minister" in English because the position is akin to that normal for a PM (and so vunerable to a motion of no confidence) and head of state of Spain is of course the monarch. Nil Einne (talk) 21:58, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

Mocking murderers - Can they receive a harsher punishment?[edit]

In Argentina, the Justice sentenced Alejandra Ortiz (a woman) and Sebastián Rodríguez Vázquez (a man) to 20 and 25 years of prison respectively for murder (in a robbery, assault). Alejandra Ortiz mocked the victim's family all the time. Can the Justice, in that case, give her a harsher punishment for that?. Source to the case. [2] --Maru-Spanish (talk) 23:02, 21 October 2009 (UTC)

If you see the source, she is the red-haired woman. --Maru-Spanish (talk) 23:03, 21 October 2009 (UTC)
I'm sure it depends on many factors, including jurisdiction, but I don't see why not. Judges factor in a lot of things when handing down sentence and I'm pretty sure I've heard "lack of remorse" used when justifying a sentence. Vespine (talk) 00:33, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
In the US, the law decides what the maximum (and minimum) sentences are for a given set of crimes, but the judges (often? always?) get the discretion as to what to give you within that range (I believe). Lack of remorse can definitely get you the upper end of the range, and can affect your chances at probation later. No clue about Argentine law, though. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:55, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
(edit conflict) In a criminal case, the jury is instructed to examine mitigating and aggravating factors (in that order). The former can lead to a minimum sentence, and the latter a maximum. The court will look at items such as whether or not the victim was consenting, whether the offender was under duress, prior convictions, age, and yes, whether they "mocked" or "laughed" at the victims or their families. We have an article for Mitigating factors. ~ Amory (utc) 01:08, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Vespine, Mr.98, the Judges (three Judges in Argentina trials) ordered that she will never be paroled (she MUST be 20 years in prison). Maybe... that's because of her lack of remorse? --Maru-Spanish (talk) 01:04, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

Well, I neither know the law nor the case, but if someone seemed like a sociopath (and mocking your murder victims would appear to fall into that category), I would not be surprised if a judge did not give them a parole option, if that was up to their discretion. --Mr.98 (talk) 01:23, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
This is the reason we don't like to give legal advice here. I'm not saying this question is asking for legal advice, but the only people qualified to really answer this specific question are those 3 judges involved in that case. It is possible and seems likely that the lack of remorse played a part in the sentencing, however, none of us could say that even if she was remorseful and didn't mock the victims, she may still have got 20 years non parole because of any number of other reasons. I'm fairly certain if you were a defendant, any lawyer will tell you it is in your interest to appear remorseful, rather then lacking remorse. How much that actually plays a part in any trial very much depends on many other factors. Vespine (talk) 03:44, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Not really "legal advice", unless the OP is intending to commit murder and then mock the victim's family. That would not be the ideal way to find out the answer. Surely there must be some cases where the defendant's attitude cost him big time. Charlie Manson comes to mind, but he was going away for good, regardless. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:02, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
And, frankly, I think I was pretty up front about what I didn't know. I don't think anybody is going to be fooled into what I'm thinking I would be giving legal advice, even if this was something that could remotely construed as legal advice! (And, frankly, I disagree with your characterization that only the judges could report on this point. I am sure that anyone who was familiar with Argentine law and had followed the case would be able to make a plausible analysis of the sentencing. One can know a lot about what one is not directly taking part in.) --Mr.98 (talk) 12:29, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
As I said above, these factors are considered for most convictions (in America anyway). ~ Amory (utc) 13:16, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
You just jogged my memory, i'm sure I've seen a clip of exactly that happening. Someone was being sentenced for drug related offences and they said something flippant, so the judge increased the sentence on the spot and basically said something like "you want to keep talking?". It was a while ago and I can't really search for video clips at work, so this is pretty anecdotal, but if someone flexes their google-fu they might find it.. Vespine (talk) 05:07, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
That's a different situation. That's a judge on a power trip. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 05:57, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
That sounds like contempt of court. --Mr.98 (talk) 12:32, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
Judge: "Are you trying to show contempt for this court?" Mae West: "No, your honor, I'm trying to conceal it!" Yes, it's contempt of court, but she was already sentenced and the judge didn't have to do anything. He was just trying to show her who's boss. Power trip. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 13:19, 22 October 2009 (UTC)