Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2009 September 12

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September 12[edit]


the following symbols are widely used in internet communication after a sentence. but I exactly don't know the meanings. plz tell what to the following symbols mean:

  1.  :)
  2. (:x
  3.  :-)
  4.  ;):P (sometimes also :-P)
  5.  ;):D WikiQuestionnaire (talk) 01:17, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
See Emoticon and the lists linked from there. Algebraist 01:20, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Or just type :-) into the search box.--Shantavira|feed me 07:22, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Help identifying a sci-fi story...[edit]

Shot in the dark, but here we go:

Purchased this paperback book at an American supermarket sometime in the 90's. The plot involved (at least) 2 major interstellar warring factions, both of which had mech technology. You had to "die" to become a mech pilot, as your brain was basically grafted in. I can recall one side considered this a tremendous honor, and would hold elaborate ceremonies before executing their best soldiers in front of their peers and relatives. Doctors then would rush over and prepare the body for transfer. For the other side, their mech pilots were criminals or soldiers who had been mortally wounded, and required various psych-drugs to keep fighting.

I also recall a female commander of some sort masturbating in her private quarters in orbit while watching prisoner interrogations via some sort of camera robot on the planet below (yes, I did actually buy this at a supermarket). The only other certain detail is that I passed the book to a friend of mine (who I'm no longer in touch with, or else I'd ask him!) and he bought the entire series - so there's more than one?

I also recall the winning side's recruitment of some sort of tremendous whale or jellyfish-like aquatic aliens with incomparable psych powers, who played a pivotal role in the final space battle by mind-controlling the enemy commanders. However, I'm not as certain that the preceding plot snippet is from the same book - it may be another scrap of sci-fi memory that time has seen fit to combine.

Any of that sound familiar? Be my hero! Thank you! (talk) 07:32, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Just a note that if no one comes up with the answer here, you might want to repost your query to the folks at the Usenet group rec.arts.sf.written, who can usually answer questions like yours in a matter of minutes. If you don't have a newsgroup provider, the group is accessible via Google Groups here (but you'll need to create a GG account to post your message). Be sure to include "YASID" ("yet another story ID") in the message header. Deor (talk) 11:40, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Thank you for that, I'll be sure to do so if it doesn't work out here! (OP on a different conn) (talk) 13:04, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
It doesn't sound familiar, but can you post the answer here if you get it from somewhere else, because that book sounds crazy but amazing! Prokhorovka (talk) 14:52, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
(OP) Just went ahead and posted that on the Usenet group listed. Will be sure to post here again if they find it! (talk) 23:25, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
I hope you didn't use the phrase "sci-fi" when you did, as that's offensive to a large segment of the SF community. Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 06:24, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
By chance, I did not. But I find the thought of anyone taking offense along those lines as both laughable & sad. There is so much more to life than being offended by literary genre classification. (talk) 06:57, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
A lot of people tend to pronounce it "skiffy", which offends science fiction devotees, who feel that the intentional pronunciation marginalizes the genre. Who then was a gentleman? (talk) 07:01, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
This excludes those devotees for whom that is the prefered pronunciation, I suppose. Algebraist 11:39, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
I've heard that true aficionados prefer "S.F." to "Sci-Fi" anyway, as with "Trekkers" vs. "Trekkies". Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots 11:30, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
As far as I know, no-one uses "S.F." It's "SF" or "sf". Algebraist 11:39, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Just to clear up some of the above: members of the 'SF Community' (which has a cultural continuity stretching back to the 1920s) generally prefer SF/sf, pronounced "ess-eff". Some of the eldest may still use stf ("ess-tee-eff"), short for the older term Scientifiction, a portmanteau name coined by Hugo Gernsback, who founded the first English-language magazine devoted to the genre. Sci-Fi (pronounced "sigh-fie") was originally coined as a (non-disrespectful) pun on Hi-Fi by prominent SF & Horror Media Fan Forrest J Ackerman. However, for some reason Sci-fi became popular with journalists and others who often mocked the genre, and it consequently fell out of favour with Fans, who thereafter mainly applied it to poor-quality TV and Film works (or written derivatives thereof) which exploited SF trappings with no intellectual vigour, and regarded its use to refer to written SF as a giveaway that the user was an ignorant outsider. In recent years, Fans have taken to using "Skiffy" (rhyming with "jiffy"), supposedly a doubly ignorant mispronunciation of Sci-fi, amongst themselves as an ironicism. The post-Star Wars boom in (mostly media) SF has created a large genre viewer- and readership who have little cultural contact with the original SF Community, and are therefore excused from caring about any of this. (talk) 20:16, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Harlan Ellison detests anything but "science fiction" EVAUNIT-666 20:22, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
Partly, no doubt, a legacy of the period in which "SF" was redefined by some to stand for "Speculative Fiction". (talk) 14:15, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
Aren't they all taking themselves rather too over-seriously? The very term "science fiction" is oxymoronic, and all its derivatives bear that burden as well. I'm with 61.189. (This is not a comment on the quality of the writing.) -- JackofOz (talk) 21:38, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
How is it oxymoronic? I see no incompatibility between the two words. --ColinFine (talk) 23:07, 14 September 2009 (UTC)
I'd have thought it was obvious. But since it's not, science is about establishing what is the case, whereas fiction by definition is about what isn't the case. -- JackofOz (talk) 08:11, 15 September 2009 (UTC)
And (good) Science Fiction is (frequently) about exploring human reactions to aspects of what might be the case, sometimes as a metaphor for what currently actually is the case. However, best not to drift further off topic into a debate ("How does one define SF?") that's been raging for decades. (talk) 14:11, 15 September 2009 (UTC)

Cleopatra Thea and Cleopatra III[edit]

According to their respective pages, Cleopatra Thea who married the Selucid Alexander Balas, and Cleopatra III who ruled Egypt, have the same parents (Ptolemy VI and Cleopatra II) and were contemporaries. What, if any, is their relationship besides the shared name? -- Deborahjay (talk) 11:48, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

If they had the same mother and the same father, they would be sisters. Thea appears to have been 2-3 years older than III. --Jayron32 12:05, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

I got as far as drawing the conclusion that they were sisters, but as the pages are mute on this point I though perhaps some more information and editing might be in order. -- Deborahjay (talk) 12:08, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

I looked through Google and found this [1] which clearly states that these two were indeed sisters (the page is about their mother). Flamarande (talk) 15:35, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Education to work in corporate finance?[edit]

At first I intended to list my business/economics interests and ask what education would suit the most, but then I found the corporate finance article, which actually encompasses all such interests. So, at the bottom of that article there's a section on "related professional qualification" listing various degrees. But which of all those degrees is the best? Do different degrees (from the list) correspond to qualification for work in different topics listed, or do all the degrees listed qualify for work in all topics listed?

Thanks in advance for your input. Jack Daw (talk) 12:05, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

It somewhat depends on the country where you intend to work. I think that in the United States, the MBA would be the standard degree for this kind of job, though a CPA qualification would probably also help. Marco polo (talk) 18:06, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

two more USPHS songs[edit]

I've learned the United States Public Health Service has two more songs. They happen to be Anchor & Caduceus and Bicentennia. I'm trying to find the lyrics to both songs. If anyone out there has any more information, please let me know. Thank you. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:56, 12 September 2009 (UTC).

It looks like Anchor & Caduceus is a fanfare so it's unlikely lyrics could be written for it.--Cam (talk) 13:17, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Neoptolemus I of Epirus[edit]

Does any source give information to additional children to King Neoptolemus, besides Alexander I of Epirus and Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great? --Doug Coldwell talk 19:17, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Here's one: The first hit on this google books search is (page 187) Pyrrhus King of Epirus‎ by Petros Garouphalias (Stacey, 1979), ISBN 9780905743134. On the google search page you can read this text: 'Neoptolemus I had three children: Troas, Olympias and Alexander of Molossus... and ...of Epirus or else that Neoptolemus I must have had other children we do not.... Best, WikiJedits (talk) 14:54, 13 September 2009 (UTC)

Caster Semenya[edit]

If she was to run in a men's race or an open race against men, would she be any good? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:00, 12 September 2009 (UTC)

Not very. Her winning time in the 2009 World Championships in Athletics – Women's 800 metres would have put her 47th in the heats for the men's event. Algebraist 20:07, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Or to put it another way: very good. Based on the above, he/she would be the 47th best in the world. --Anonymous, 23:54 UTC, September 12, 2009.
It doesn't work like that. There were only 48 people that finished their heat. People don't run the same time every race, so you can't assume the slowest person that qualified ran faster than the fastest person that didn't qualify would have run. All the women in the women's final ran faster than the 47th and 48th place men in the men's heats. I suspect those men just had a bad day. --Tango (talk) 23:59, 12 September 2009 (UTC)
Actually, it can't just have been a bad day since apparently they both ran season's bests. Either they've had a bad season or they aren't actually good enough for the competition and qualified through some loophole intended to get more countries involved. --Tango (talk) 00:01, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
Looking at 2009 World Championships in Athletics qualification standards, it seems that Semenya would not even qualify for the men's event. None of the loopholes would apply in her case. Algebraist 11:29, 13 September 2009 (UTC)
My point was, if she beat the 48th-best time of the male contestants in the heats, that's still a helluvalot faster than most people can run. So it depends on what you mean by "good" at racing. You don't have to be Usain Bolt to qualify as "good" ... unless that is the level of "good"ness that the original poster had in mind. --Anonymous, 04:45 UTC, September 14, 2009.
A similar question came up in recent years when women's tennis was getting more attention than the men's game, and some boorish ex-star (John McEnroe, I think) asserted that even a top woman could not compete with a middle-of-the pack man. This caused a bit of controversy, during which one of the Williams sisters said, "well, he's correct". --Sean 17:14, 14 September 2009 (UTC)