Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2010 April 11

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April 11[edit]

Daughters of Rebekah[edit]

Is the International Association of Rebekah Assemblies identical to the "Daughters of Rebekah"? A chapter of the latter organization was founded in Ansonia, Ohio in 1894, but I don't know how widespread this group was; we don't have an article on it, and Daughters of Rebecca is a redirect to the entirely unrelated Rebecca Riots. I notice that there's an external link at the International Association article for a Daughters cemetery symbol, but there's no source given for saying that they're the same group. Nyttend (talk) 01:11, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

A bit of googling would suggest you're right: the IARA is just an umbrella organization for the various DOR groups. This history of the Idaho Rebekahs says the movement began in Baltimore, Maryland in 1851 as an honorary degree whose recipients were known as "Daughters of Rebekah", and was formalized into its own lodge system from 1868. The existing IARA article could use an expansion to clarify its history, plus a redirect from Daughters of Rebekah. I'll see if I can make a start. Karenjc 18:22, 11 April 2010 (UTC)


Most contries have policies which accept immigrants. In rare cases it seems that native peoples are overwhelmed and at risk of job, resource and political displacement by immigrants due to the very policies which native peoples have allowed. Examples range from displacement of American Indian culture by European settlers and the displacement of workers from Turkey in Germany not to mention the displacement of indentured servants and others by African Americans as the result of civil war. Does the Wikipedia have a list of such displacements? (talk) 03:43, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

The Holly And The Olive?[edit]


Is the left branch Holly? (talk) 04:50, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

It looks more like holly than the right branch does. Check out holly. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:53, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Looks more like (a conventional representation of) oak to me, with rounded leaf-lobes and yellow acorns. Holly would have pointy leaves and red berries. —Tamfang (talk) 06:46, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
See "The 1839 National Arms and Seal" about halfway down this page. I have no idea why the modern group uses a white oak (?) branch rather than the original live oak branch, unless it's to distinguish the seal from the current state seal. Deor (talk) 10:07, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
By the way, a properly-formatted link to the image description page would be File:Republic-of-texas.png, and you can look at other emblems derived from the same historic source at File:Republicseal.jpg, File:State Seal of TexasFixed.svg, File:Seal of Texas.svg, or File:State Seal of Texas.png , and a photo of the floor mosaic is at File:Floor of Texas capitol.JPG... AnonMoos (talk) 10:14, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Cargo Cult cooking and manufacturing[edit]

Are there any articles that mention the following instances in reference to Cargo Cult as being merely imitations of the real thing?

  • Many flea market based hardware vendors sell a drill chuck key that looks like a standard steel drill chuck key but which is poured from pot metal.
  • Street vendors sell food dishes that attempt to duplicated food dishes made from the right ingredients in the right proportions but which lack the right ingredients and proportions.
  • Costume jewelry. (talk) 05:24, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't know the answer. But if I saw a reference to 'Cargo Cult' in a discussion of any of these I would certainly question it, if not delete it outright. --ColinFine (talk) 09:02, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
None of those are good examples of cargo cults. They are signs of incompetence, fraud, or possibly bad taste, but that is not nearly the same thing. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 09:09, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Presumably invoking the meaning expressed in the article as "From time to time, the term 'cargo cult' is invoked as an English language idiom to mean any group of people who imitate the superficial exterior of a process or system without having any understanding of the underlying substance". So "Cargo cult programming" is mentioned in the classic Jargon File, and we even have a Wikipedia article on it -- but's questions would appear to refer to more simple imitation... AnonMoos (talk) 10:26, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

The people who make a wear costume jewelry do not misunderstand what jewelry is. Cargo cults are not distinguished by their imitations, but by their misunderstandings. So a cargo cult lemonade stand would consist of something that superficially looked like a lemonade stand, with its operators hoping that money would accumulate into a large glass jar they had set out, but sold no lemonade, and was in an area with no possible customers. --Mr.98 (talk) 14:24, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Online poker in the USA[edit]

I thought online poker was illegal in the US, so how do the poker sites mentioned (green tick/check) here operate in the US? Thanks (talk) 10:21, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

We have an article Southern District of New York Action Against Online Poker Players... AnonMoos (talk) 10:50, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
The online gambling companies operate from other countries and sell their services online to US gamblers. They accept international payments using credit cards and online payment systems, and the countries they operate from are happy that they continue. One US law-enforcement technique has been to prosecute managers and owners of these companies as they pass through the US - this was the case for the executives of BetonSports (a British-registered company which operated from various Caribbean countries). A second strand was the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, part of the SAFE Port Act. That makes it a crime for US companies (like banks and credit card companies) to "facilitate" online gambling by people in the is. It's due to this that Mastercard and Visa have begin to decline charges by such gambling companies. The ongoing US restriction on online gambling has led Antigua, the EU, and I think some other parties to take the US to the World Trade Organisation, where they've won a ruling which says the US laws restrict foreign countries' access to the US gambling market, protecting it for US gambling concerns (chiefly those based in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and on various riverboats and Native American reservations). I don't believe any of the originating countries will extradite someone to the US based on a request for breach of US gambling laws. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 20:08, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Would it be true to say that the gambling section of the Safe Port Act is merely to project the interests of the established American casinos? Because that's how it seems from this side of the pond. (Oooh, I can hear the CIA file being opened on my internet address). (talk) 08:05, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

From the U.S. legal point of view, gambling is basically a matter for the individual states, and each state regulates gambling how it sees fit within its own borders. (The federal government is mainly involved when gambling crosses state lines, or is mixed with organized crime activities.) To be fully legal in the U.S., an on-line gambling operation would have to be officially taxed, licensed, and subject to regulatory oversight in each and every separate state which it accepts bets from. The U.S. is not about to abandon state-by-state supervision of gambling (which is in part Constitutionally-based) just because of a WTO ruling (which can be easily presented as "pro-vice" within the U.S. political context). AnonMoos (talk) 10:01, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
From what little I know about it, the WTO sees the above as an excuse for protectionism. (talk) 14:23, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

How do some online gambling companies keep on in business in the USA, when the senior staff of one or two foriegn gambling companies have been arrested and imprisoned when setting foot on US soil? Why dosnt the US government close down the ones still operating in the US? (talk) 20:30, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Are there online gambling companies based in the US? Can you give an example? --Tango (talk) 20:33, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

The website at the top of this question says some are still operating in the US. Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker, Cereus, Cake Poker, Bodog, Everleaf, Merge, Yatahay, WSEX, First Fidelity, Legendz, and Betraiser. I suppose that might or might not imply that they are based in countries outside the US, but still opwerating in the US as the US government is unable to block their websites, and that they cannot extradite the company execs to the US. Or maybe they are operating openly in the US, but the US only imprisons execs from foriegn countries. (talk) 23:29, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Chief Rabbi of Yugoslavia, 1938[edit]

...was Dr. Ignaz Schlang, according to the popular Yiddish-language illustrated weekly, Yidishe Bilder (1938, No. 1). The Encyclopedia Judaica (16:874) notes that a Chief Rabbinate was instituted in Yugoslavia in 1923, and that between 1924 and 1941, Dr. Yitzhak Alkalay served in that post, and no mention of any Ignaz Schlang. It's possible that there were two chief rabbis as in today's Israel, but my leads have fizzled out. Suggestions? -- Deborahjay (talk) 12:59, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

It looks like the BCS spelling of the names is Ignjat Šlang and Isak Alkalaj.
On page 27 of this PDF it says: "Before WWII there were many rabbis in Belgrade. The chief rabbi for the Sephardic community was Dr. Isak Alkalaj, and for the Ashkenazi community Ignjat Slang."
I also found this page which calls Dr. Alkalaj the "Supreme Rabbi" (vrhovni rabin) and Dr. Šlang the "Chief Rabbi" (nadrabin). --Cam (talk) 18:45, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

What goes on a person meditating?[edit]

What are people thinking at, when meditating? I know that some are counting, but which are the options? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Quest09 (talkcontribs) 17:24, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

You'll find some answers (though probably not all of them!) at Meditation. --ColinFine (talk) 17:28, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I actually found none answer. Not even something about the counting.-- (talk) 17:33, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I think the idea is to suspend logical thought. There are many ways to do this. Counting might be one, since it requires just enough brain power to distract you from complex thought. Repeating a certain word or phrase (mantra) until it loses all meaning might be another. And then there's contemplating a question that has no answer, like "Can God create a boulder so large that not even He can move it ?". StuRat (talk) 17:43, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
One cannot stop thinking. In meditation one tries to reduce fretful thinking and prepare one's state of mind for thoughts that are observed with a degree of detachment, even if with an awareness that they are one's own thoughts, and that their implications are personal. Techniques are supposedly available for escaping from concern with one's material well-being and for seeing with clarity one's thoughts. Bus stop (talk) 17:55, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
that's not strictly true. The goal of meditation is to recognize (viscerally) that thought is a tool not an essential part of your being. In the early stages of a meditation practice, thoughts will always occur: this is because the mind gets bored, and because it's bored it manufactures problems or worries, and thoughts enter to try to deal with the problems or worries that the mind manufactured. For instance, sometimes when I meditate I will suddenly find myself wondering what I'm going to have for lunch - a totally trivial worry that only cropped up because the mind was looking for something to do. there are any number of ways of addressing this, usually by giving the mind something truly simplistic to occupy itself with (like counting breaths, reciting mantras, scanning the body), or by stepping back and examining the thoughts as objects that arise rather than becoming immersed in them. after a while, though (it could be a very long while, if you have a heavy mind), the mind realizes that it doesn't need to have problems or worries, so it stops making them and thoughts stop arising. then you get moments of nice clarity where you are not doing anything except sitting. very refreshing. --Ludwigs2 19:45, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
It depends. There are various methods, like counting. See shikantaza for a method that aims toward not "thinking" at all. But, I think that most people who meditate are mostly thinking about how much longer it will be before they can stop, or, in close competition, daydreaming. Pfly (talk) 09:52, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Percentage of non-white blood in American whites?[edit]

European Americans have been living with many different races in the US for a long time, therefore I suppose that miscegenation must have occurred. So, what's the average percentage of non-white ancestry in "European Americans" nowadays? --Belchman (talk) 18:20, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

How could such a thing be known? Bus stop (talk) 18:32, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
If, for the sake of argument, you date the beginning of serious European settlement in America to the Mayflower landing in 1620, that's only 11 generations back. Each current living American, if you go back 11 generations, has 2048 9th-great-grandparents, any of whom might have been of another race, or might have had children by someone of another race, or might themselves have ancestors who were, or who had children with, someone of another race. Your "European Americans" would not be racially homogeneous in 1620 anyway, since interracial relationships appear in written history thousands of years before the colonization of the Americas. And if you go back far enough, we all come from the same place. "Miscegenation" is ultimately a meaningless term, whether you ignore its offensive baggage or not. Karenjc 19:36, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
We don't know what his political views are so no need to critize them. He could be using this in an anti-racism argument for all we know. Anyway see White_American#Admixture. Human beings have no "races" anyway, there are very very few species that do. Just arbitrary characteristics shared by some groups.-- (talk) 20:06, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Ahem... I didn't criticize anyone's political views as far as I can see, just offered some statistics and pointed out that "miscegenation" can be viewed as a loaded term, as stated clearly in the lead section of our article Miscegenation. Karenjc 13:45, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
I'm aware that "human races" don't make much sense scientifically, but certain haplogroups and other traits can be traced. For example, I remember reading somewhere on Wikipedia that most Argentines had a tiny bit of Amerindian blood. I don't see how can this be offensive to anyone but a racist, sorry. --Belchman (talk) 20:49, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
And thank you for your replies :) --Belchman (talk) 20:51, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
Minor quibble, I'd have said 15 to 16 generations, using a generation length (average age of mother at birth) of 25 years rather than 35. So that's 32768 or 65536 ancestors! FiggyBee (talk) 01:32, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
There are some companies who will carry out a DNA test to trace an individual's ancestry through many generations. The genetic genealogy article might help you search for the kind of companies that provide this service. I have no idea if this is likely, but if one of these companies has tested a statistically significant sample of "American whites" you could ask them directly if they would be prepared to release statistical data to you. Astronaut (talk) 20:39, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
It's unlikely that the for-profit companies would share such data with you. Better luck would be books by population geneticists that look at this sort of thing—Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza's work might have something on this. In any case, this is really more appropriately a Science Desk question, if you are concerned about genetic measurements... --Mr.98 (talk) 01:42, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
I guess you are right - I should have posted this in the Science Desk - since people here think that this kind of thing can't be known or would be very difficult - certainly, it would be very difficult if you did a "social" study - but actually it's very easy to discern non-European genes in a European population - obviously, using a genetic study. --Belchman (talk) 10:48, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Well, even that is difficult, to be honest. There aren't generally European and non-European genes. What there are are certain genes that are statistically higher in pre-defined populations. So you say, "these people, we are going to call them 'white Europeans', and these people we are going to call 'Asians'" or whatever. This is hard to do with modern populations in many cases because from the beginning you are applying non-biological categories your groups (you are screening out people who are not fitting into your 'white Europeans' category cleanly, e.g. people who obviously look half-white and half something else). So it's problematic, because you're inferring historical genetics from modern populations, and then using that as a model for gene flow. It doesn't make it impossible to draw meaningful conclusions, as some on here would suggest, but it does mean one has to be tentative about the conclusions, and to be aware that there are no "pure races" of any sort. What this kind of research can tell you is about probabilistic measures of gene changes in populations... that's profoundly different than saying that it tells you about how "white" or "Black" people have mixed or something along those lines, which is applying very out-dated "pure-type" racial concepts, which don't have any place in biology. It's one of the reason that these "find out your heritage" tests are often quite bunk. They give people a probabilistic account of some of their genetics, which of course people then take and interpret with entirely non-scientific social categories... the whole thing gets very murky. --Mr.98 (talk) 14:50, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
I've already said that I know that the concept of "human races" doesn't make much sense scientifically, that's why I used inverted commas in "European Americans"... To clear things up a little, I came up with this question because of this statement from our article Demographics of Argentina "As it is, since Argentines have mainly European genetic admixture, the non-European signal, which is easily discernible at the genetic level, is also easily masked". --Belchman (talk) 16:46, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Define "white" please... Spanyards carried moorish blood, Eastern Europeans - turkic and mongolian bloods, Italians amalgamated all the races of the Empire etc. NVO (talk) 06:16, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Not all European Americans have been living with many different races in the US for a long time. My mother's parents both came to America from Finland in the early 20th century. Researching the genealogy is quick and simple--my maternal blood relatives in America are all Finns--or Swede-Finns to be precise. My paternal side is quite different, having come to American Virginia in the 17th century (as an aside note that "serious European settlement in America" did not begin with the Mayflower landing in 1620--serious colonization in Virginia predates the Mayflower by at least a decade). Who knows what "races" (or, perhaps better, "ethnicities") are involved in my paternal line and took place in America. One reason why the question is not easy to answer is the lack of accurate genealogical data across the board. There are many paternal lines like mine, which go back many centuries in America but despite decades or research by dedicated genealogists contain major gaps. I can trace my line back to about 1780 with certainty. The century of so before that is almost entirely lost in terms of primary sources. Was there miscegenation during that period? Maybe. No one knows. This kind of uncertainty is not uncommon, which would make it very difficult to answer the question with confidence and accuracy. Pfly (talk) 10:22, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
Defining what "white" is, is slippery. Even the darkest-skinned native of India is typically considered to be "caucasian". I think what the OP might be asking would have more to do with the basic traditional race groups, which could more generally be characterized as "Indo-European", "African", "East Asian" (i.e. "Oriental) and so on. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:09, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

I'd be careful of commercial DNA testing as well, the errors on those things are massive, exciting though it might sound to hear you are x% African and y% Asian or whatever. As someone said, it all depends on how far back you go - back far enough all humans are African. Back even further, all humans are shrew like animals dodging being stamped on my fat dinosaurs! But on the original question I've certainly seen numbers estimated for how many African-Americans have European blood (essentially all, IIRC), so I assume someone could at least estimate. One thing to bear in mind is that under US law, one drop of Black blood classifies you as Black (One-drop_rule), so technically speaking all white Americans are pure blooded, there just might not be very many of them! (talk) 22:08, 13 April 2010 (UTC)


In the article, British_Asian#Communities, there are cities and searched them for the climate thet have and not all have info about climate. Where can I find info about these cities' climate? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sonic The Xtreme (talkcontribs) 21:40, 11 April 2010 (UTC)

Here's a link to the article you mentioned: British_Asian#Communities. StuRat (talk) 22:41, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
I sometimes use this site; you can use the search to find information about the communities. Intelligentsium 23:55, 11 April 2010 (UTC)
That article seems to sort of slide past the current issue that for various reasons many non-Muslims feel rather dubious at best about being lumped together with Muslims into some supposed single undifferentiated "Asian community"... AnonMoos (talk) 09:48, 12 April 2010 (UTC)
For non-British readers, the term "Asian" in the UK generally refers to those who are migrants (or descendants of migrants) from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka. As AnonMoos says, there's a tendancy to lump tham all together[2]. News items these days tend to specify exactly which Asian community they are taking about.
To answer the original question, there's an overview at Climate of the United Kingdom; we're not a big country, so there aren't huge differences but a few generalisations:-
  • The further west you go, the more rainfall you get.
  • The further north, the colder you get (but the east is usually cooler than the west).
  • The higher above sea level, the colder and wetter you get.
That's why Brits tend to go to the west coast for their holidays but take an umbrella (the sea is a bit warmer there too, but not much!). Hope that helps - was there any particular city? Alansplodge (talk) 18:03, 12 April 2010 (UTC)