Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2010 December 13

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December 13[edit]

The Big Bang Theory[edit]

Hi all. Pausing the video in the starting of The Big Bang Theory I have discovered this image. What is the story behind it? I guess the photo is in public domain. Thanks. emijrp (talk) 02:30, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

According to this (fairly interesting) website, the picture is apparently of a routine amputation during the American Civil War. The soldier in the picture, oddly, is looking at the camera; the operations were also usually performed while the soldier was conscious because medical science had not progressed to the point while anesthesia was in common use. Xenon54 (talk) 02:44, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Actually, by the 1860s chloroform and ether were quite common on the battlefield and were used in the majority of surgeries and amputations. Some soldiers requested not to use them, out of fear that the anesthesia would kill them (and a lingering "moral" argument that one should "face" surgery directly), but that was comparatively rare. This photo was clearly staged in one way or another — remember that photos at that time were not quick affairs, but required everyone to pose for a few minutes, and in any case, this is not exactly a "natural" pose for anyone involved. --Mr.98 (talk) 12:46, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Surely they were aware that you could use heavy doses of whiskey or other forms of ethanol as an anesthetic... Googlemeister (talk) 15:22, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
The doses required would have too many complications (vomiting, uncontrollable behavior, alchohol poisoning, etc.). Just giving someone a little bit would only make them tipsy, and possibly less compliant when the physician starts cutting. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 18:43, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Of course booze was used in this fashion for quite a long time. But true anesthesia — which did exist by the late 19th century — was really quite a step up. It's one of the truly horrifying aspects of medical history that there really wasn't any until the 1840s or so. For a while surgeons resisted it because they had built up a "moral" culture around the idea of surgical pain (you still see some of that today, I might add, in some of the "natural birth" advocates), but thank goodness that didn't last for too long. Surgery is one of those cases where unambiguously the modern condition is better than the pre-modern one, in my opinion! --Mr.98 (talk) 23:45, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I wonder if that image [1] is in the public domain, if so we should maybe get it. WikiDao(talk) 02:57, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
It should be PD considering its age. Why not ask over at the Ref desk on copyright just to be sure. I agree it would be good to use in a relevant article.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 12:23, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Definitely PD in the United States if it is truly from the Civil War period. PD-because-of-age can be complicated, but there is really no doubt that anything before 1890 is in the PD in the United States. --Mr.98 (talk) 12:41, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Obviously a staged photo as this is simply not how amputation was done. First a tourniquet was applied. Then an assistant pulled back on the flesh. Then the surgeon used scalpels to cut the flesh so that enough remained to cover the stump after surgery! Then cut through the muscles, ligaments, etc. Then a linen "retractor" to protect the flesh, all before employing the saw.[2] The old sawbones weren't all hacks. Rmhermen (talk) 15:50, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Getty Images has it here with the title "Vintage image of Civil War Reenactment". --Sean 22:02, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Anesthesia was known by the American Civil War, but not always available or used in frontline improvised hospitals. Amputations were often done as a lifesaving operation, without anesthesia, and in therefore with maximum swiftness, while assistants held down the agonized patient. Alcohol is not an anesthetic. Edison (talk) 01:53, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
I'll just chime in with my usual reminder that a lot of what is said above assumes a context of Western medicine as practised in Europe and European colonies. Anaesthetics were known to and used in Chinese medicine for at least the last 1500 years. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 13:18, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Issue with research project and annonymity....[edit]

Hello, I am doing a project in my college level antrhropology course. The topic of this research is interaction between domestic (American) students and international students. Since the interviews i do with students obviously will have different points of view, related to their nationality, should i create a Chinese fakename to keep a Chinese student anonymous? I want their identity safe but i wonder if it is important to say that they are Chinese. It seems odd to call said person "Jason".

Additionally: if i SHOULD create a Chinese "cover name", how would i go about this and make it sound reasonable? I imagine that since I am American it is difficult for me to understand Chinese naming conventions, and I don't want to tell my readers that I interviewed Jay Chou .....


Thanks for your response in advance! 137.81.118.126 (talk) 02:51, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Could you anonymize your students by, for example, using Latin letters for the non-American students and Greek letters for the American students or maybe letters and numbers? It would be truly anonymizing, and it would allow you to use two distinct systems to keep the groups seperate. --Jayron32 02:59, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Is this somewhat alluding to the idea that a "fake name" is not truly anonymizing? To my knowledge it is done in quite a few legitimate, world-known anthropological writings.... 137.81.118.126 (talk) 03:02, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

I didn't allude to anything. I was just throwing some ideas around. You'll find I never allude. I state. --Jayron32 03:03, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Assuming that you haven't interviewed Jay Chou, I can see the rationale behind giving fake names, but I think you'd have to make it clear in your writeup that you were using pseudonyms, and on that basis, you could just call them 'student A', 'student B' etc, as already suggested. I'd think that otherwise you might be seen to be applying stereotypes, and you risk accidentally using a name of a real student. Perhaps you should ask the college teaching staff about this though? ...and try not to misspell anthropology if you are studying it ;) AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:06, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

I hope its pretty clear that that "spelling" is more a typo than anything else, but 2 points for actually seeing it, i didnt :P

Anyway, I am considering discussing this with the professor, but seeing as it is Sunday night, i thought id get a head start on the situation. Your mention of avoiding stereotypical names is well noted, because even if i do this with american names, there are many which are so stereotypical that we automatically choose. Tim, Sam, Sally, John, Jim, Ben, Sarah, etc..... Having student A,B,C, and Student α, β, γ seems to make sense. If i take this method, i have two questions.

1) Should i refer to them as Student D, Student β, etc, or simply D or β in place of the name?

2) Should I discuss the issue of pseudo names within my paper itself?


137.81.118.126 (talk) 04:08, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

1) Either system seems fine 2) Probably not, since you are using letters rather than names like "Billy" or "Chang" its is plainly obvious you didn't happen to find some bizare part of the world where everyone has a letter as a name. However, the advice to contact your professor seems best. These kind of questions can be answered quickly by him, and as he is likely working in the field right now, he may have ideas about established practices. --Jayron32 04:17, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

I'd start with 'student D', and maybe just use 'D' later, where you needed to refer to him/her again: "Student D is a female Science student from mainland china, in her early twenties. When I asked D about how she got on with other students, she replied..." (assuming this is the style of interview you are using - you probably get the idea). And yes, you should discuss why you haven't used real names in the paper: anthropological research often involves such issues, and showing an understanding of them will look good. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:23, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

That is precisely what i was getting at, the discussion of the issue, not just the mention of its implimentation. Thanks alot everyone, your reflection on this is very helpful.

137.81.118.126 (talk) 04:31, 13 December 2010 (UTC)


..... I'm thinking about being frank and open about the situation and actually mentioning the Jay Chou thing, just as a proof of how easy stereotyping can become.....


137.81.118.126 (talk) 04:47, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Hmmm, yes. Except you then run the risk of overdoing the 'anthropologist' stereotype, who stumbles blindly into his/her fieldwork without a clue what is going on, and after a heroic struggle involving strange beasts, mysterious diseases, and frequent misunderstandings, emerges clutching the Golden Fleece an exemplary exposition of the complexities of human cultural experience. (see Clifford Geertz for the archetype). Try not to overdo the reflexivity... AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:56, 13 December 2010 (UTC)


An extremely valid point.... Im just trying to relate this to the anthropological texts we've read as well. So i want to show my knowledge of the situation, but if i over extend it it can look bad, almost like i'm explaining something to a small child.... i vaguely get the golden fleece thing though, haha.... ill try to illustrate my points concisely then without listing the actual stereotypes in question etc etc

137.81.118.126 (talk) 05:10, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

It's always difficult to know where to pitch your writing at. You don't really want to write for your professor, as he/she probably (hopefully?) knows more about the subject than you, so you think you don't need to explain anything. But as you say, you aren't writing for a small child either. I was told that the best person to bear in mind is 'an educated outsider': maybe in your case a fellow student who's studying Ancient Greece rather than anthropology (and knows about the golden fleece ;) ). Explain why you're identifying people the way you are, but remember this isn't the topic of your paper, so you don't want to get side-tracked. Mostly though, with a topic like this, you need to let the people you are studying speak for themselves, so if they seem concerned about anonymity, it will show through anyway. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:31, 13 December 2010 (UTC)


What i really love about this project is it really does make us think like anthropologists, after reading a few books and some criticisms of their authors. So far i have 1.5 pages, 3 paragraphs for my paper (double spaced) The first para explains what i am looking at, with second para talking about viewpoints causing complexities, and third para explaining the anonymity issue. I am now at the "meat" part of the paper and i think it is intended to be a 5 to 8 page paper...... I think i covered the details surrounding the issues "enough" but not too much.... or at least i hope ^_^; Thanks again!

137.81.118.126 (talk) 05:44, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

That sounds about right. Good luck with the paper... AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:51, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Thank you very much. I consider this topic now closed. Thanks again to all who have given input, you make this place great! :)

137.81.118.126 (talk) 05:54, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

3D in China?[edit]

Hey, I noticed the 3D TVs have started appearing here in the 'States, but you still need to wear those awful goggles to make out the 3D, and the company claims it's "working on" a way to ditch the goggles. However, I was in China about 3 years ago and in a certain airport (Beijing or Hong Kong, I think) I saw a display screen showing various advisories (don't leave luggage unattended, be ready to get searched, check in at the appropriate time, etc.). One of these involved a cascade a falling coins (why, I do not remember). I vividly remember that the cascade was in pretty good 3D, my mother even remarked on it; we were not wearing the glasses, obviously. What was this? How was it done, and why does it not exist here? Thanks. 24.92.70.160 (talk) 03:36, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Just a personal suggestion.... this seems to be a technology based question. Maybe youll get a faster response if you post it in Computers and IT?
137.81.118.126 (talk) 05:57, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Displays with lenticular lenses can be Autostereoscopic. They're suitable for were you can be reasonably sure the subject will be standing within its narrow viewing angle. The idea has been around for a long time and been demostraited a number of times.--Aspro (talk) 13:27, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
"Lenticular screens" is a very old technology which can provide 3d without glasses. but moving slightly closer or farther nullifies or reverses the 3d effect. Russians showed such movies in demonstrations in the 1940's. I would rate them at several time the headache and neckstrain potential of 3d with glasses to isolate the images to the correct eyes. Edison (talk) 01:49, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Donaghcloney, County Down[edit]

Would anyone know exactly how far the Northern Ireland village of Donaghcloney, County Down is from the town of Lurgan? I did a Google and some say it's 2 miles away, while others give it a distance of 4 or 5 miles. I need the info for an article I'm currently working on. Thanks.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 09:56, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Google Maps driving directions says it is 5 miles. 212.123.243.220 (talk) 11:11, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Bing Maps[3] says 5.5 miles and that it should take 13 minutes to drive or 1 hr 46 mins to walk. Alansplodge (talk) 11:27, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks everybody. Now I'll add it to the relevant article.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 12:03, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I suspect that some sources give the distance from the nearest points in those two places, while others go from the center of each town. I suppose you could also measure from the most distant points in each location, but I don't know if anyone would actually do that. StuRat (talk) 00:01, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
If you follow my link to Bing Maps above, you'll see a little flag on the main junction in the centre of Lurgan. Donaghcloney is a bit too small to have much else except a centre! Alansplodge (talk) 01:33, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
It also contained this guy here.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 14:59, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

The hand in the coat[edit]

Why is the hand there?

I have noticed a common detail at many portraits of XIX century people: in many of them, the subject of the portrait placed his hand inside his coat while posing for the artist. Is there some reason for this? MBelgrano (talk) 12:42, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

This distillation of an academic article about the subject seems to imply that it was just a visual custom at the time, quite old, and associated with being "manly boldness tempered with modesty." I see it as somewhat like smiling wildly is in modern photography — something everyone is encouraged to do just because everyone does it, and whose contrived nature becomes clear when you juxtapose it against other time periods when it was not the custom. --Mr.98 (talk) 12:58, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
By the way, in modern pop culture, it is by far most often associated with Napoleon. There's a Wikimedia Commons category commons:Category:Hand-in-waistcoat with a lot of pics... AnonMoos (talk) 13:09, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Additionally, it gives the subject something to do with their hand rather than just have it hanging limply by their side. Dismas|(talk) 16:58, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
But why would that be the only other option? His other hand is hooked into his belt. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:18, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
It wasn't the only option. It was one of many, which is why you won't see it in every male portrait from the 18th and early 19th centuries. --Saddhiyama (talk) 20:25, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
That's what I mean. Dismas seemed to be suggesting that if it wasn't tucked into his jacket, he'd have no other choice than to have it hanging limply, which we agree is not the case. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:44, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Ah, I see. I thought you were posing the question to the ref desk in general, instead of to Dismas in particular. Sorry about that. --Saddhiyama (talk) 21:13, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I didn't mean to suggest that it was the only thing that they could do with their hand. I just meant that it was something to do with it. Dismas|(talk) 04:31, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
It's really not much more contrived than the modern Grip & Grin photograph. 72.10.110.109 (talk) 22:09, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I don't know about that. People shake hands and smile all the time, whether they're posing for a photograph or not. Presumably, 18th & 19th century soldiers didn't commonly stand at attention while gazing in the distance with one hand in their partially unbuttoned jacket. Well, maybe Napoleon did. —Kevin Myers 02:12, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
And don't forget the Al Bundy "hand down pants" pose: [4]. StuRat (talk) 23:57, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Federal Reserve Banks private or public[edit]

Are the twelve Federal Reserve Banks private or public entities?Smallman12q (talk) 13:32, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Public, and chartered by Congress, but with considerable independence.

"The Federal Reserve System is not "owned" by anyone and is not a private, profit-making institution. Instead, it is an independent entity within the government, having both public purposes and private aspects.

"As the nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve derives its authority from the U.S. Congress. It is considered an independent central bank because its decisions do not have to be ratified by the President or anyone else in the executive or legislative branch of government, it does not receive funding appropriated by Congress, and the terms of the members of the Board of Governors span multiple presidential and congressional terms. However, the Federal Reserve is subject to oversight by Congress, which periodically reviews its activities and can alter its responsibilities by statute. Also, the Federal Reserve must work within the framework of the overall objectives of economic and financial policy established by the government. Therefore, the Federal Reserve can be more accurately described as "independent within the government."

"The twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, which were established by Congress as the operating arms of the nation's central banking system, are organized much like private corporations--possibly leading to some confusion about "ownership." For example, the Reserve Banks issue shares of stock to member banks. However, owning Reserve Bank stock is quite different from owning stock in a private company. The Reserve Banks are not operated for profit, and ownership of a certain amount of stock is, by law, a condition of membership in the System. The stock may not be sold, traded, or pledged as security for a loan; dividends are, by law, 6 percent per year."

http://www.federalreserve.gov/generalinfo/faq/faqfrs.htm#5

-- Paulscrawl (talk) 18:58, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Thanks for the faq link. What does it mean that they are self-financed?Smallman12q (talk) 19:49, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Sort of. They make revenue on interest on the loans they make to other banks. But they can also literally make money out of whole cloth. In older times this was called "firing up the presses" or Debasement (which is different, but has the same effect). The modern term is Quantitative easing. The Fed controls the money supply, which is basically the main job of central banks all over the world. Thay are very different from a commercial bank. --Jayron32 20:34, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Could they accurately be described as an unregulated monopoly with immense power over the US economy? Edison (talk) 01:45, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
No, it's somewhat regulated now by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Ginger Conspiracy (talk) 07:37, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
It is absolutely regulated by Congress and the Federal Reserve Act. They are private in the sense that they pay private sector salaries though, which allows them to attract considerable talent at all levels, not just the top. Shadowjams (talk) 10:00, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
How does paying a competitive salary make them "private" in any way? Many government departments around the world benchmark their remuneration against equivalent private sector salaries to attract and retain the best (or at least, as good) talent. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 13:23, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

This is not a simple question. There is a sense in which it is public and a sense in which it is private. In all of the significant ways it is private. Imagine a corporation (like Walmart, for instance). Now imagine that the Chairman of Walmart is appointed by the United States President. The truth is that the appointment of a chairman or members of the board is not really enough to say that it is a "public" entity. They still act in the interest of its member banks, rather than the public interest. Greg Bard (talk) 01:31, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

lifestyle forum for living better?[edit]

Flame me if you want, but if I buy a $500 coffee machine that runs like a champ for the next seven years, and the control version of me just keeps buying instant like a chump, I both save money and have a higher quality of life. Is there a forum devoted to all the things this is true for? (shoes that don't deteriorate, etc etc etc). Thanks. 82.234.207.120 (talk) 13:47, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

I am sure there are thousands, but Lifehacker springs immediately to mind, although it's not strictly a forum. Skomorokh 15:25, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
In Britain there is Which?, which publishes many reports comparing the merits of groups of consumers goods, and moneysavingexpert.com Apparantly Consumer Reports is the American equivalent of Which? 92.28.245.105 (talk) 16:47, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I would expect that Consumer Reports has compared coffee-makers to each other, but not to instant coffee. They tend to start with the assumption that you already know you want a given type of product, so they only do comparisons within that category. StuRat (talk) 23:49, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Neal Stephenson blurb[edit]

The "Biographical Info" section on this page about the speculative fiction author Neal Stephenson reads as follows:

Neal Town Stephenson issues from a clan of rootless, itinerant hard-science and engineering professors. Born on Halloween 1959 in Fort Meade, Maryland – home of the National Security Agency – he grew up in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and Ames, Iowa, before attending college in Boston.

He began his higher education as a physics major, then switched to geography when it appeared that this would enable him to scam more free time on his university’s mainframe computer. When he graduated and discovered, to his perplexity, that there were no jobs for inexperienced physicist-geographers, he began to look into alternative pursuits such as working on cars, agricultural labour and writing novels.

His first novel, The Big U, was published in 1984 and vanished without trace. Zodiac: The Eco-thriller is his second novel. On first coming out in 1988 it quickly developed a cult following among water-pollution-control engineers and was enjoyed, though rarely bought, by many radical environmentalists. The highly successful Snow Crash was written between 1988 and 1991, as the author listened to a great deal of loud, relentless, depressing music. …

Neal Stephenson now resides in a comfortable home in the western hemisphere where he spends his time – when not sidetracked by his computer, rollerblading or parenting – attempting to make a living out of writing novels and the occasional magazine article.

This material is credited as an "[e]xcerpt of the biographical blurb from a book jacket". Does anyone know which one? If you could include an ISBN and page number in your response that would be ideal, as I intend to cite it in an article. Any help appreciated, Skomorokh 15:24, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Snow Crash. Here is the page courtesy of Google Books. Note that the text you quoted isn't complete. It's a little mangled. Comet Tuttle (talk) 18:35, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

List of dances in India[edit]

Why assam floc k dances are not included in " list of dances in india" —Preceding unsigned comment added by 218.248.12.34 (talk) 16:09, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Many questions of the form "Why is xxx not included in Wikipedia?" may be completely answered by "Because nobody has yet had the interest or time to put it in". Many other questions of that form may be answered by "Because there are no reliable sources for this information, so it may not be included in Wikipedia".
If you have reliable sources for Assam folk dances (which is what I am guessing you meant), please write about them in Wikipedia! --ColinFine (talk) 00:32, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Party affiliation statistics for career federal civil servants in US.[edit]

Are any statistics available that relate to the party affiliation of US federal employees? I am really only interested in career employees, not political appointees. If that is not available, I would be interested in party affiliation of public sector employees in general. ike9898 (talk) 17:04, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Not likely. Only statistics would be of subset of complaints against unauthorized political activity of Federal civil servants covered by the Hatch Act of 1939 that are also covered by the Freedom of Information Act -- see the enforcing Office of Special Counsel's Policy Statement on Disclosure of Information from OSC Files -- Paulscrawl (talk) 23:36, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Jesus in a manger[edit]

Where in the bible does it talk about Jesus, the baby child, being in a manger?--LordGorval (talk) 17:07, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Isn't that in Luke? Googlemeister (talk) 17:16, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
See http://www.multilingualbible.com/luke/2-7.htm. -- Wavelength (talk) 17:16, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

O.K., I see it. According to the Wycliff version it says:
And sche bare hir first borun sone, and wlappide hym in clothis, and leide hym in a cratche, for ther was no place to hym in no chaumbir.
I realize this is old English, however I am still interested in the modern words for "wlappide" and "cratche". Apparently "cratche" is manger. Is that correct?--LordGorval (talk) 18:06, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Regarding wlappide, here is a quote from this etymology site: LAP (3), to wrap, involve, fold. (E.) Doubtless frequently confused with the word above, but originally quite distinct from it. M.E. lappen, to wrap, fold, Will. of Palerne, 1712; 'lapped in cloutes' = wrapped up in rags, P. Plowman's Crede, ed. Skeat, l. 438. β. This word has lost an initial w; an older form was wlappen; thus in Wyclif, Matt. xxvii. 59, the Lat. inuoluit is translated in the later version by 'lappide it,' but in the earlier one by 'wlappide it.' γ. Lastly, the M.E. wlappen is a later form of wrappen, to wrap, by the frequent change of r to l; so that lap is a mere corruption or later form of wrap. See Wrap. Looie496 (talk) 18:22, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
EO doesn't agree that "lap" and "wrap" have the same origins,[5][6] but they are certainly used in in an "overlapping" way. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:28, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
And "cratche" is probably a transliteration of "crèche", which nowadays is used specifically to mean "nativity scene" or "manger scene", and which means "crib", "manger" or "stall".[7] The word crèche derives from the Germanic word from which we also get "crib". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:24, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I've never heard crèche used for a nativity scene. In British English a crèche is a place to leave small children while they are not needed by their parents. DuncanHill (talk) 01:21, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
I have; and the usage you're suggesting would be more like a basket, i.e. for leaving the child on the doorstep of an orphanage with a note asking them to take care of junior. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:21, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
No, the thing you leave babies on church doorsteps in is called a basket (orange boxes are also traditional, but hard to get hold of nowadays). A crèche in British English, is called day care on Wikipedia (day care centres in Britain are places to put old people while you don't need them). DuncanHill (talk) 02:31, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
There's that expression again about not needing them. It sounds like a process of abandonment. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:43, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Come on Bugs, you know my way with words by now! I'm English:- irony, sarcasm, and black humour are all to be expected. DuncanHill (talk) 02:51, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Sure. I'm just confused about whether you're abandoning junior/senior for a few hours, or forever. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:55, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
While they are not needed = temporary. When they are not needed = permanent. A crèche (which I feel is still foreign enough to be italicised) is what we also call a nursery - you drop the baby off while you go to work; a day care centre is a place where old people go in the day time. DuncanHill (talk) 02:59, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
OK, I dig. Just don't drop it off too hard. And in reference to abandonment, for a moment there I had a flashback to an old cartoon panel that postulated the origin of Baby Oil. Eek. OK, I've only ever heard "creche" used in reference to the nativity scene, and not very often at that. In effect, the nursery that we call day care and you call a creche is symbolically a crib, which is also used in American English by an adult in reference to his own apartment, or flat as you would say. Meanwhile, "the house" is where I live, and "the home" is where my parents live while/when I don't need them. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:13, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
See here[8] and here{http://www.sussex.ac.uk/childcare/1-2-2.html] Bugs. Alansplodge (talk) 09:08, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Now, where I grew up, crib is a light meal between breakfast and mid-day! DuncanHill (talk) 03:28, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Interesting. Since this[9] is a Corn Crib, something like it that holds something else could be a Corn-ish Crib. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:42, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
They do grow sweetcorn in Cornwall, to feed it to the cows. They used to grow corn to make wheaten bread :) DuncanHill (talk) 03:49, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
You have Wheaten Bread, we have Wheaton Illinois. :) So, just how is the term "corn" used in the UK nowadays? And what does it have to do, if anything, with Cornwall? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:58, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
He's just trying to confuse - and succeeding! Corn in the UK is any food grain; wheat barley etc. Corn (US) is "sweetcorn" if humans are eating it - a fairly recent innovation - and "maize" if livestock are. The "corn" in Cornwall comes from the name of the ancient Cornovii (Cornish) tribe. See Cornwall#Etymology. Alansplodge (talk) 09:20, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Not trying to confuse - just playing with words! The root corn, as in Cornovii and Cornubia (an old name for Cornwall) means a horn, and probably is a reference to the Cornish peninsula (which looks a bit like a horn). See Philip Payton's Cornwall: A History, Chapter 4. DuncanHill (talk) 12:56, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
And although "cratche" suggests "cradle", that word has a different origin.[10]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 19:28, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Some of my Jewish friends in college thought that the term "Dog in a manger" was anti-semitic, because they had only heard the term "manger" in relation to the birth of Jesus. I explained that the phrase referred to a "spoiler," in the sense that the dog could not eat the hay, and his presence was preventing the hungry cattle from eating the hay. One then questioned whether the animals were gathered around Christ at the Nativity not because they were worshipping Him, but because they wanted to eat the hay He was lying on. I had no ready answer. Edison (talk) 01:40, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Here's EO's info about "manger".[11] Basically a manger was a food container for the livestock. Given your colleagues' misunderstanding of what a manger is, how much stock would you put in their further analysis of the situation? In fact, there's nothing in the Bible about any animals being near Jesus, beyond the mention of shepherds tending their flocks. Manger scenes typically combine various elements with a considerable degree of artistic license, including the fact that the number of wise men is not known (the gifts were three), and that the wise men came not to a stable as the shepherds did, but to a house. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:40, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
And to summarize: Matthew talks about the wise men, Luke talks about the sheep men, and Mark and John jump straight to Jesus' adulthood, skipping all the boring stuff about the Virgin Birth, carpentry lessons, and sparking with Mary Magdalene. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 03:49, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
"Manger" was and is the common and typical term for a box hay, corn or other dry feed is placed in for horses or other animals to consume. Here are refs where it is discussed simply as an agricultural fixture:from 1805, from 1899, from 2000. Mainstream Christianity has had nativity scenes since Francis of Assisi in December 24, 1223, which included hay and "ox and ass," presumably along with Joseph and Mary, sheep and shepherds gathered around a statue Jesus in the manger. There is no reason to assume the stable and its manger at the inn were there just for travelers to use for birthing purposes. They would have been there for the shelter and feeding of animals. It is not any great leap or synthesis to posit animals in a facility operated for the keeping of animals. The "cave stable" was discussed early on by Justin Martyr(103-165) and other early church fathers, besides the mentions in the canonical books of the Bible.Edison (talk) 15:28, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Wait, wait. "The stable"? Nobody mentioned a stable yet. Stables are part of the window-dressing caused by seeing the story through European eyes, just as when the Heliand tells the story it has the angels appearing to the more familiar stable-hands instead of shepherds. Marnanel (talk) 00:10, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

So, can someone also tell me what chaumbir means as a modern definition?--LordGorval (talk) 23:58, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Punishment for sexual traitors in 1944-45 after WWII ?[edit]

I have seen and read so much about a certain phenomena in the closing days of World War two; in the nations occupied by Germany, local women who hade sexual relationships with German soldiers where treated very badly by their own country-men when the war ended; they were beaten, had their hair cut and where terrorised in many different ways. They where considered to be traitors for no other reason than for having had sex with German soldiers. I am not here to discuss that matter in particular, but it made me wonder about a question I haven't been able to answer. In the occupied nations, there where also female personel from Germany, where there not? In that case, there would also have been sexual relationship between German women and local men? My question is: was local men, who hade sex with German women, harassed and treated badly and judged to be traitors, in the same way as local women who had sex with German men were? I have not been able to find anything about this issue. Thank you. --85.226.41.42 (talk) 19:04, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Without wanting to sound like I am doubting whether that happened or not (sexual relations between German women and local men), have you found any evidence that it did indeed happen? That would be your starting point. --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 19:23, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Although I'm unable at present to cite any references, I can confirm the OP's initial premise that there was some such victimisation of women who had (voluntarily) slept with occupying German soldiers; I recall (from reading relevant books and/or articles some time during the last four decades) seeing photographs of such women with shaven heads tied to, for example, French lampposts.
As far as the OP's speculative question goes, my estimation would be that:
a) there would have been relatively few women among the German occupying forces because the general ethos of the time was not to send women into combat zones, which occupied countries potentially were);
b) any such occupying forces women would be far less likely to sleep with the local men than the converse because they had plenty of their own compatriots to sleep with, and because that's not how the power relationships work - the "collaborating" local women were likely usually motivated by what they could get (money, food, immediate protection from rape by other occupiers, etc) from the liaisons; and
c) local men who did succeed in sleeping with occupying women woud have probably been regarded with some respect, as having "got one over" on the enemy. Like it or not, attitudes about sexual activities by men and women are not even-handed now and were far less so sixty years ago. 87.81.230.195 (talk) 22:34, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Histories of various countries' military occupations would be the place to search first. Double standard most likely applies: it certainly did in the case of US-occupied Germany. See discussion of US GIs in Germany and policies towards their German women lovers: from Ike's widely ignored no-fraternization order of 44 (fraternization is a good search term to use for KageTora's suggestion, BTW) to full acceptance with the War Brides Act of Dec 45. World War II Occupation of Germany: American Fathered Children -- Paulscrawl (talk) 19:40, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Many young men in the occupied territories were either prisoners-of-war or had been deported under forced labour schemes. "They're either too young or too old"! Alansplodge (talk) 23:32, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

See Dutch (nl) wikipedia bijltjesdag for image: nl:bijltjesdag. 93.95.251.162 (talk) 14:52, 14 December 2010 (UTC) Martin.

Local women who had relations with German soldiers were badly treated in Norway. 3000 Norwegian women married German occupants during the war. Many of these lost their citizenship and were expelled because they were regarded as Germans after the war. They have an article in both the Norwegian and German wikipedia, no:Tyskertøs, de:Tyskertøs. No instances of female occupants marrying Norwegian men during the war come to mind. --NorwegianBlue talk 21:14, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

French Military in First and Second World Wars[edit]

When people refer to the French military being somewhat lacking in battle, I believe they are referring to their conduct in the First and Second World Wars, but what events are specifically intimated? What retreats, losses etc are being referenced? Thanks. 92.11.32.186 (talk) 19:36, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

Their shocking defeat in the Battle of France in the Second World War and maybe the French Army Mutinies (1917) for the First? Clarityfiend (talk) 20:14, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
The event most people cite as the nadir of French military reputation is the Evacuation at Dunkirk. The very fact that France fell so fast in the face of the advancing German military makes people think, because of the recency effect, that the French military has historically been poor. That's far from the truth. For most of the history of Europe, France was the preeminent power militarily and socially and economically. I have read some books (read them in college, since sold, forget the titles) that the downfall of French hegemony was the French Revolution; though it produced Napoleon, it sowed the seeds of its own defeat by causing a major demographic shift. The arguements goes like this: Since the French Revolution destroyed all social order, it also elminated the Catholic church as a major social force. Without the catholic church's proscriptions against birth control, during the 19th century, French population figures did not keep pace with the rest of Europe; basically there was a lower overall population growth in France during the 1800's than in other countries. In the era of the Mega-war, where millions of conscripted soldiers were needed to fight gigantic battles on huge fronts, France loses out simply because of this sort of trend. Take it with a grain of salt; but it is one argument. Just remember that prior to the late-19th and early 20th century mega-wars, if someone claimed that the French were "surrender monkeys" or somehow militarily weak, they'd sound quite uninformed. Nowadays, the reputation for France being weak stems from the fact that France quit NATO because it didn't enjoy being the puppet of the U.S. Now, whenever France doesn't acede to US demands for support in its various wars, propaganda is used to make the French seem less "manly" or something like that. --Jayron32 20:27, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
The correct term is Cheese-eating surrender monkeys. As for "manliness," US history textbooks contained the iconic image from a newsreel of 1940 of a "Frenchman weeping" after the military defeat. Edison (talk) 01:25, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
I think I know the footage you're talking about. It's in a British documentary about WW2 that is currently showing on cable channels in the U.S. right now. Shadowjams (talk) 09:57, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Reminds me of something that was said during the 6-day Israeli/Arab war in 1967: "As soon as France heard there was a war, they surrendered." ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:45, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
The two main wars that France waged after World War II, the First Indochina War and the Algerian War, also ended in defeats for the French. France's last war with another major power before World War I, the Franco-Prussian War, also was a humiliating defeat. France successfully prevailed over poorly armed African and Asian tribes and minor polities during the late 19th century. However, not since the time of Napoleon have the French been able to prevail on the battlefield against major powers unassisted by Britain or the United States. Jayron's demographic theory is an interesting one. Another explanation might be that the Revolution and the Napoleonic defeats left France with an elite less committed to military dominance than the elites of its main rivals, Britain and Prussia. Marco polo (talk) 20:57, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
I used to hear that the Napoleanic wars so decimated the population that "the average Frenchman was a foot shorter than before". It might be that they just got tired of warfare. Unfortunately, they were stuck where they were and couldn't move the entire nation to, for example, the Caribbean region. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:19, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Not disagreeing with anything above, but basically it was only in World War II that the French put up a poor fight. The most important reason, in Winston Churchill's view, is that the French suffered worse losses than anybody else in World War I -- the proportion of French men in the relevant age cohorts killed was considerably higher than even for Germany. A second cause was the pathetic political system of the Third Republic, which in the years prior to World War II cycled through changes of government at a rate of about one per year, making decisive leadership impossible. Looie496 (talk) 23:11, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Don't forget that in 1914, the French Army spoiled the German Schlieffen Plan almost unassisted. The small British Expeditionary Force may - or may not - have prevented the flank of the French line being turned, but the First Battle of the Marne stalled the German advance until 1918. "Our hats we doff / To General Joffre" was a British popular song of the day. Alansplodge (talk) 23:18, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
Even before World War I, there was the debacle of the Franco-Prussian War. Corvus cornixtalk 23:27, 13 December 2010 (UTC)
The main fault of the French in WW2 was "old-thinking". That is, they were still thinking in terms of massive forts anchoring a static front, which was largely how WW1 was fought. However, due to the new mobility of armies as a result of airplanes, tanks, and supply vehicles, the forts of the Maginot Line could be largely bypassed, rather than attacked directly, as the French had expected. If they had instead put their efforts into creating their own highly mobile forces, and then used them (with Britain) in an attack on Germany, when Hitler defied the Versailles and Locarno treaties by re-militarizing the Rhineland (in March, 1936), the French would have had a quick victory. StuRat (talk) 23:41, 13 December 2010 (UTC)

92.11.32.186 -- I don't think that WW1 plays a large role in the stereotype. Rather, it's that France suffered two large scale ignominious fairly sudden military collapses affecting its core national territory in the last 150 years -- the Franco-Prussian war of 1870, and WW2 in 1940 -- even though it was not obviously overwhelmingly inferior to its opponent (in broad strategic terms) in either case. AnonMoos (talk) 09:39, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

I agree with most of the above. The WW2 experience is the most salient, but it neglects not only a fierce and vengeful French resistance, but also that future leaders of France (Degaulle, was central, for example) were critical in many of the resistance efforts. Churchill seems to have been supremely disappointed that French leadership gave in as quickly as it did, but that says nothing about the French people of the time. Shadowjams (talk) 09:55, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
One thing generally forgotten on WWII (on top of the poor leadership of the French) is that after the Anschluss and the taking of the Czech lands + Memel, the German total industrial capacity was 3 times as large as the French total industrial capacity. It was already twice as large as the French I.C. before the Anschluss...
And my main point is that you have won the war in advance if you have 3 times as many tanks (which depends on your capacity to produce them). The real question is why didn't France move towards an industrical economy, rather than an mostly agrarian economy , in the 19th and the first half of the 20th century like Britain and Germany did? If they had, they would have been able to build a force capable of resisting the German panzers. With only 1/3 of the number of German tanks, they were very quickly flanked. --Lgriot (talk) 13:45, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
The Germans did not have more tanks than the allied forces during the invasion of France in 1940. The allied had more tanks and more artillery (the Battle of France article says 2439 German tanks, and most of those fairly light, and 7378 artillery guns vs 3254 allied tanks, with a considerable number of them being heavy tanks, and 14000 artillery guns), but the Germans had concentrated its tanks in panzer divisions, while they were spread out as support in infantry divisions on the allied side. And thus they lost their mobility and ability to counter the German spearhead attacks. --Saddhiyama (talk) 19:10, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Actually the French armour WAS concentrated in armoured divisions; Divisions Légère Mécanique, each containing a brigade of the excellent SOMUA S35 medium tanks and Divisions Cuirassée de Réserve with heavier infantry tanks. Two DLR's held their own against the panzers of the XVI Army Corps (Germany) at the Battle of Hannut and the Battle of Gembloux (1940) although with heavy losses. After the close-run defeat of the 3e DCM at the Battle of Sedan (1940) the French high command decided to dissipate its armour as you describe, because of Stuka attacks on large formations. The British had a single brigade of 84 infantry tanks in place at the start of the offensive; they gave Rommel a bloody nose at the Battle of Arras (1940) - he reported being attacked by 6 divisions. The 1st Armoured Division (United Kingdom) had just arrived in the SW of France in bits and pieces, most of it never came back. Alansplodge (talk) 22:26, 16 December 2010 (UTC)