Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2010 February 1

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February 1[edit]

U.S. utility patent expiration[edit]

When does/did a U.S. utility patent with a priority date of November, 1991 expire? 17 or 20 years, or something else? (talk) 00:59, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

See Term of patent in the United States. Comet Tuttle (talk) 04:53, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

How do I avoid this economical Tsunami[edit]

I am a US citizen, but I feel my nation is headed for economic and fiscal collapse. I are particularly worried about hyperinflation as a result of our current situation of rapidly increasing debt levels. But as a citizen, I have found it is quite difficult to just leave and go somewhere else--it seems quite difficult to move to and legally live in another country, as such I find my future is rather tied to the US future, which I consider a bad thing. What steps can someone take if they find themselves in a nation that is on the verge of an economic collapse? XM (talk) 01:48, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

XM, I share your concern, as I think any intelligent and well-informed person must. You might consider emigration to Canada. If you are well educated, you can probably qualify. See this site. For personal reasons, I have chosen not to emigrate, although if the U.S. economy were to collapse, times could be very hard in Canada, since its economy is so closely tied to that of the United States. Indeed, the economic crisis would probably be global in scale. We can't foresee the future, so we can't be sure which steps now would be most helpful in the (unknown) future. For example, hyperinflation seems likely to me, but other outcomes are conceivable. If we look back in history, the two things that are most likely to assure a person's survival or well-being in a time of upheaval and calamity are 1) practical skills that will always be in demand and 2) strong community and family ties. If your concern is to preserve wealth, there is really no way to avoid risk completely. In a time of social and financial disorder, all assets are at risk of loss of value and/or theft. However, if you are mainly concerned about the U.S. dollar becoming worthless, you might try investing your savings in tangible assets, particularly things like useful tools, greater energy efficiency (if you own a home), land, perhaps physical precious metals (as opposed to stocks and such), and so on. The most useful skills, I think, are those involving food production (e.g., farming, gardening, livestock raising), shelter construction and maintenance, and production of other necessities such as clothing and footwear. Medical skills will of course also always be in demand. The community dimension is very important, I think, because you could be the best gardener and carpenter in the world, but it will do you no good if you live in a community where others are desperate and will steal what you have made. Some people concerned about future disorder think that the answer is to have a stockpile of weapons and to know how to use them, but I think that this is foolish, because if a number of others have weapons and know how to use them, and they outnumber you, then that game is over. Far better, I think, to work within your community to build preparedness and interdependence. You might be interested in the Transition movement. Here is the home page of Transition US. Marco polo (talk) 02:29, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Seconding Marco Polo here. DJ Clayworth (talk) 15:31, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Indeed, if you believe the U.S. is headed for "economic and fiscal collapse," gold would be a logical thing to buy, since gold is the ultimate doomsayer's investment. You should note, however, that gold has already appreciated something like 400% since the early 2000s, so you may have already missed the boat on that one. Granted, there are still people out there who think (like you) that we are heading for an even greater collapse and believe gold prices will triple again. The problem with gold is that it really has little value other than as an alternative to currency -- unlike, say, a share in a corporation, which actually does something. If you wind up wrong about the economy and currencies don't fall apart, all you're left with is a shiny gold bar you can hope to trade to someone who still believes in impending doom. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 02:48, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
You need to do the appropriate research and figure out for yourself what you want to do, if anything. Investing in gold, as Mwalcoff suggested, could work in your favor in a collapse, but if the economy rebounds, you'll lose the majority of your investment. Remember, that we don't have any more of a clue about what's going to happen than you do. Incidentally, I think giving financial advice on a reference desk is fairly irresponsible. Falconusp t c 03:02, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Gold is a very tricky thing to hold. On the one hand, it is likely to soar in dollar terms in a hyperinflationary scenario. On the other hand, you can't eat it, and in desperate times, the real demand for gold is likely to drop. Which is to say, at a certain point, gold is likely to peak in terms of how much stuff with practical value it will buy. At that point, it would be smart to sell the gold and buy, say, a greenhouse. Of course, it will be impossible to know when you have reached that point, except in retrospect. If there is a global financial collapse, you might have trouble finding a buyer for your gold, and it might not buy as much as it did when you bought it. There is also the danger that you will be a target of thieves if gold is still valuable and you are known to have it. Note that I am not giving advice, just sharing my thoughts on the matter. Marco polo (talk) 03:03, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
OK, let's be realistic here. The U.S. isn't Zimbabwe, and the risk of it going into true hyperinflation anytime soon is basically zero. The worst you could really expect is maybe 20%, which is bad, but not starving-kids-in-Africa bad. With that in mind, I don't think investing a large portion of your savings in gold is smart, and I certainly don't think disconnecting from the grid or stockpiling weapons is smart either. The US isn't going to default anytime soon, and even if it did, the economy is large enough that you wouldn't need to worry about it collapsing into anarchy. The prudent thing to do (as always) is to be financially responsible, live within your means, and save money for retirement by investing in a diversified portfollio. Buddy431 (talk) 03:35, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

China would have to suffer hyperinflation too, because they peg their currency to the U.S. dollar. The advantages of them doing so are great enough, and they are so large, that they have been and are likely to continue to intervene in the U.S. economic-markets (currencies, commodities, and futures on both) so inflation is very unlikely. If you want to worry about something, have a look at the commercial bankruptcies lined up this year if the U.S. Treasury's mortgage refinance program doesn't start helping a lot more people make their payments. According to Davos, that's the greatest source of financial risk at present. Call Tim Geithner and have him get the Comptroller of the Currency to start busting some banker balls if those re-fi's don't start coming through. (talk) 03:28, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

America is one of the easiest – if not THE easiest – countries from which to pack up and leave (full disclosure: I did so in the Summer of 1980). Assuming you have some skills, any hesitation is your own doing. And, if you are truly concerned with real hyperinflation (see Buddy431’s apt comments, above), and not just a rise in prices, that shouldn’t bother you too much. But, bear in mind that if true hyperinflation does set in, you are not going to be both comfortable and isolated from the impact just about anywhere in the world. Canada, for example, is perhaps the most exposed to the US economy of any nation on earth, and would surely have an extremely rough time. DOR (HK) (talk) 05:36, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Which countries is it possible to move to from the US please? I've known Americans who wanted to emmigrate to Europe, but could not. Emmigration is probably easier if you marry a local or have a PhD, but apart from those. (talk) 13:06, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

You can invest overseas without moving overseas, which would offer some protection from a collapse of the US dollar (as others have said, the US dollar won't hyperinflate, but it could well show a sizeable drop relative to the Euro - of course, the opposite is also possible, particularly with the current problems in Greece). As always, a diverse investment portfolio is a good idea - part of that means having investments in various currencies. You could just open a savings account denominated in Euros (consult an accountant for advice on the tax implications of moving your money around), that would go a long way towards protecting you. --Tango (talk) 09:59, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Have you considered moving to Costa Rica?
Sleigh (talk) 10:20, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
If you truely believe that the US economy is going to totally collapse, then you ought to join the self-sufficiency or survivalist people and grow your own food and eventually clothing. You are very fortunate in the US in having a huge supply of cheap land - I envy that. Unfortunately due to land prices, it is probably impossible to buy a small farm in Britain unless you are rich. (talk) 13:06, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
If you are thinking that hyperinflation is coming and qualify, you should think about a fixed rate mortgage. If it does happen, that way you would get an essentially free house. Googlemeister (talk) 14:28, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
If emigration is your favored response to this situation, you may find that it is difficult unless you have some skill or qualification to offer. You are right that it is extremely difficult for a US citizen to gain legal permanent residence in almost any European country without exceptional skills or marriage (or other family ties) to a citizen of that country. The skills and qualifications bar also exists for other English-speaking countries, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, but the bar is lower than for European countries. Even most developing countries require either some kind of skill or enough personal wealth that you will be a net asset to the local economy if you want to be a legal permanent resident. Without skills, money, or family ties in another country, legal emigration is indeed very difficult. However, I question how valuable it would be as a solution to the difficulties the United States may face. The entire world's financial system is premised on the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency, and its collapse through hyperinflation would certainly create a global financial crisis. Do you really want to be a foreigner (particularly a foreigner from the United States, which may be blamed for the resulting crisis) without strong local ties when that hits? Don't you think locals are going to look after their own families and communities first? Why would they want to support you? For that reason, it might make most sense to stay where you are, or perhaps move to a place in the United States with a strong local economy where you think you could build community ties. As for those who dismiss the idea of hyperinflation in the United States, it is true that the United States is not Zimbabwe. But then neither was Weimar Germany. In fact, Germany was the world's second-biggest and in some ways most advanced economy at that time. And yet it experienced devastating hyperinflation. The United States is clearly on a course whose most likely outcome is hyperinflation. It could change course, but so far, the US government shows no intention of doing so. The deficits only keep widening, and the U.S. economy remains dependent on an ever-increasing volume of debt. Obviously that's not sustainable, and we are close to a point of no return that leads either to default or hyperinflation. The US Constitution forbids default. I hasten to point out that the United States is not alone in this. Several European countries (including the UK) and Japan are in a similar situation. Marco polo (talk) 16:19, 1 February 2010 (UTC)


It seems to me that any immigration is a good thing (except in that the cases where immigrants are given government subsidies), in that they contribute to the economy by working. People often claim that they are worried about immigrants, usually mexicans, taking "our" jobs and doing them for less than we would do, which they see as a bad thing, seeming to think that if not for immigrants, US citizens would just be paid more... I suppose these people would think the same thing if mexicans came over and started working for free, doing all sorts of jobs that Americans would expect to get paid for. While these people claim it would be bad for the US economy, I would think that this influx of free labor would be a boon to the US, as we would get the productive power they would produce for free e.g. free roads built. Likewise with cheaper labor but to a lessor impact than free labor. Am I missing something here, or do most people just not understand ecnomics? XM (talk) 01:48, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

You are missing several somethings, I think, including an understanding of economics. First, you would have to change the labour laws . . . Bielle (talk) 02:26, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I advise you to ignore Bielle's blithe dismissal of your statements, all of which are powerful and arguably correct. It is of course complicated. There are costs, too; and I think trying to tabulate them is a mammoth and unrewarding task even for legal immigrants, which is presumably 1% as difficult as estimating them for illegal immigrants. Immigration to the United States#Economic is one article touching on all this, and Economic impact of immigration to Canada is another. Comet Tuttle (talk) 04:50, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I think the key point here is that arguments against immigration usually aren't primarily from an overall economic sense. Free roads might be great if you want to use the roads. Not so great if you are a person who used to build roads and are now without a job. (Also not so great if the roads are substandard or you have roads where you didn't want them.) For many people, there's more to having a great life and being happy with the way your country is proceeding then just the economy. In particular people usually want to be part of that economy, and not outside it. And while the OP may be happy to live in a communist country (or some variant there of) which will basically happen if everyone is forced to work for free, many people won't Nil Einne (talk) 09:12, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I think it goes something like this. White, slightly racist Americans without satisfactory employment look to immigrants and their upward mobility and think it should be them. What they fail to understand is that the immigrants started off lower and thus have more ground to make up. Also, immigrants by and large take jobs that these established Americans wouldn't. But all they see is the economic successes of these new citizens and are outraged that they, the ones who've been there the longest, aren't also getting wealthier. Vranak (talk) 16:40, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
XM, as are all other questioners, is quite free to ignore any response, blithe or not, but for a another responder to suggest that they do so, absent any specific error demonstrated, is outside the normally collegial bounds of the Ref Desks. If you, Comet Tuttle, have information that makes "free immigrant labour" viable, where the same immigrants get no government subsidies posited as a good thing by XM, (a) without substantive change to U.S. Labour Law and such niggling matters as minimum wage and (b) without food or shelter for them (or otherwise their work is not free and it is subsidized), I would be pleased to hear it. Bielle (talk) 19:47, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Vranak (talk) Cannot make heads of tails of this. 20:17, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
(Vranak: If you are referring to my comment immediately preceding yours, I refer you to the original question, my immediately following response and then Comet Tuttle's comment.) I hope that helps. If it doesn't, and you want more, please go to my talk page and I will try to be less obscure. Bielle (talk) 20:36, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
That's quite alright. Vranak (talk) 22:09, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Bielle, I was using the hypothetical example of free immigrant labor as a tool for explaining my question. If it would be a benefit to the host country if immigrants were flocking to it to do free labor, than it should be obvious that would also be a benefit if they were flocking to it to do cheap labor (though minus the cost of their labor, or more specifically the amount they consume in exchange for their productive labor). Issues like government subsidizes can make them immigrants have a negative effect, but that's the problem, it seems immigration can only harm a nation if for government interference, absent this, wouldnt all immigration be a positive thing economically? If I am correct in my economic analysis, why is every nation on earth opposed to, at least to the point of making immigration a hassle, people immigrating to them, even unskilled labor would necessarily have a positive impact. Basically my question is, why arent nations, or at least smart ones, opening their doors to allow anyone in (perhaps anyone without a criminal record anyway). Is it possible this was the situation in the USA earlier in its history and one of the reasons it grew so rapidly? XM (talk) 22:30, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

It's a simple matter of supply and demand increase the supply of labour and the price of that labour also drops (wages). Of course this is only a short term effect. Lower wages mean lower prices which is good for everyone. And in the long run more people working means a larger and more specialised economy which translates into higher efficiency and production which makes everyone more wealthy. The problem is the up front pain for the long term gain. In addition people from overseas who don't speak the language are often unable to work particularly well and end up needing government education assistance and/or welfare. (talk) 08:24, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Medical and legal questions[edit]

Why doesnt Wikipedia allow medical and legal questions? The advice given here can be very helpful on all sorts of issues many of which can greatly impact a person's life e.g. personal finance, career choices, but WP treats two topics with special rules. Why is this? Of course questions can be answered incorrectly but that is just a risk of any type of question/reference desk issue. The information here, on whole, is very useful in helping people make better choices or informing them of situations, why then would it not be useful, on whole, in the areas of medical and legal issues. XM (talk) 01:48, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

In a word: lawsuits. well, that's part of it. mostly we don't want to give advice that might cause someone harm. wikipedia is here to provide information, not advice. --Ludwigs2 01:59, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
It is completely possible for someone to list some symptoms, and have people give them a logical disease. The problem with that is that if we say it's probably gastritis, just take some Zantek, and then it turns out to be stomach cancer, the person who is taking over the counter antacids is allowing an incredibly dangerous disease to get worse because we weren't able to poke around the person's stomach and realize, "oh crap." Also, if I diagnosed anything on here, it would be incredibly irresponsible, because I am a student of French, not medicine (though if I said I was a neurosurgeon you would have had no reason to question me). In terms of legal issues, it's the same way, both because I have no clue (and you don't know who does), and also that even if I had every law that applies to me memorized, I have no clue about what applies to you, who for all I know may be writing from Iran. Essentially, while there probably isn't anybody here that would try to trip you up, we cannot advise you on issues that we may or may not know anything about over a distance from a short description on a reference desk. Falconusp t c 02:53, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Even if there were no fear of suits, only qualified doctors and lawyers can properly dispense medical and legal advice. Laymen trying to do so is based, at best, on anecdotal experience. And since few doctors and lawyers give away their services, it's unlikely any of us yokels is qualified. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:54, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

"I majored in Poli Sci as an undergrad and worked for public interest law firms. Based on one constitutional law class, I freely gave advice. The Sup. Ct cases seemed black and white to me. A few years later, as I sat in law school, I wished I could get in touch with the anonymous people. Years of practice later two things are clear: First, law is complex. Knowing a few cases or a statute iI was deluded, young and stupid Second, law is beyond the price range of people who truly need it. Some jurisdictions in the United States are allowing lawyers to address a single piece of the case so the price is more reasonable. There can be no justice without equal access to justice. 75Janice (talk) 04:19, 1 February 2010 (UTC)75Januce

But there are all sorts of questions that could result in harm to a person or even death. Why would there be any more legal liability if someone answered a legal or medical question and the person followed the advice and were harmed, than if the person followed the advice on a different type of question like skydiving or whatever? And in any case wouldnt it be the responsiblity of the question asker to decide if the advice is valid or the claims of the answerer's qualifcations are legitimate? XM (talk) 10:43, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

I think we should clear up that Wikipedia probably has zero legal liability for medical/legal advice. That's what the disclaimer at the bottom of each page is about. It is an ethical issue, and it is something built into the rules of using Wikipedia itself, not just the Reference Desk. See Wikipedia:Reference_desk/Guidelines/Medical_advice#Why.3F. --Mr.98 (talk) 14:10, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
This is kind of a meta-question, and should probably go on the Talk page. — The Hand That Feeds You:Bite 20:11, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Patent law[edit]

What would be the implications if our nation shifted patent and copyright laws to expire after 5 years? e.g. books become part of the public domain after 5 years instead of after 70 years after the death of the author XM (talk) 01:50, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

For those who don't want to have to figure it out, XM seems to be American. So by "our nation", he means the US. Dismas|(talk) 13:46, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
There would be little incentive to write anything or to invent anything, since the patent would expire before much revenue was derived. The result: less invention and creative work, stultification. Edison (talk) 02:21, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
The first U.S. copyright laws (passed by a Congress which included a number of the same people who wrote the U.S. Constitution) established a basic copyright term of 14 years, with a possible renewal for another 14 years if the author was still alive at the end of the first 14 years. I think a large number of people would agree that while 5 years might be too small, copyright terms could still be substantially shorter than the current ever-expanding standard (which keeps Micky Mouse out of the public domain) without any meaningful "stultification" setting in... AnonMoos (talk) 04:31, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Wouldnt the first 5 years of a new product be the most profitable? XM (talk) 10:44, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Sometimes, yes, for established authors etc, but it can often take five or even ten years before a work from a new author becomes well-known. In the case of pharmaceuticals patents, the development of a new drug can take ten years before generating any income at all. Dbfirs 11:02, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
The problem with 5 years for a patent is that it can take about that much time to get a product to market. So you're requiring the development time to be upped considerably.
In practice, any date is arbitrary. What you want is for a balance between the good aspects of monopoly (incentive) and the bad aspects (stagnation). 5 years is probably too short; 90 years (current copyright law) is almost certainly too long. 14-17 years is a nice compromise, I think; 20 is fine, too. 10 is probably on the short side. I actually like the renewal requirements of earlier copyright law—it made it so that long copyright terms required some effort, that intellectual property couldn't just lay fallow and unused and expect to be preserved. --Mr.98 (talk) 14:06, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I don't remember where I saw the study, but the vast majority of copyright-based revenue occurs in the first ten years after a work has been published, with most of that during the first year. By the time of an author's death, their works usually have little to no monetary value, with the typical author's copyrights going for $500-$1000 (source: a Baen Free Library newsletter). --Carnildo (talk) 02:36, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Twenty-Ten Redux[edit]

I know this has been covered tons of time before, but now a month in, what is the most common way of naming 2010? In Vancouver, host city of the Olympic Winter Games, Twenty-Ten is uncontested as the name. Is this true elsewhere? Aaronite (talk) 02:34, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

I think twenty-ten is settling in pretty heavily, due to its convenient length and similarity to the most common ways of saying the years before 1999. What will happen to 2000-2009 is another story. —Akrabbimtalk 03:05, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
In the UK I would say "two thousand and ten". But perhaps that will change as we get further into the year. "Twenty-ten" sounds rather ugly and improper to me. (talk) 11:44, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm in the UK and I hear both with significant frequency. I'm not sure which is more common. --Tango (talk) 11:49, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
On the basis that you don't often hear mention of the year "one thousand and sixty-six" in the UK, I'm actively promoting "twenty-ten". Not that anyone takes any notice, mind you. Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:53, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I also promote 20-10 on the basis of the 1812 Overture, which nobody ever calls "The Eighteen Hundred and Twelve Overture", or "The One Thousand, Eight Hundred and Twelve Overture" , but "The Eighteen Twelve Overture". On the other hand, nobody ever says "Twenty-Oh-One: A Space Odyssey"; it's always "Two Thousand and One ...". -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 12:25, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Er. Two Thousand One. We Americans don't use the "and". (talk) 16:43, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I kinda say both, on a whim. That's Canadian English for you, half-American, half-British. Aaronite (talk) 18:48, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Oh yes, I was forgetting that. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 17:57, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

I think 20-10 is settling in in the UK. There was a similar process of settling in for the 19s too. Some early 20th century texts, even novels, refer to "nineteen hundred and..." --Dweller (talk) 13:02, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

In South Africa we've been calling it twenty-ten for years already, ever since we won the World Cup bid. It has become so prevalent that in conversation "twenty-ten" more often than not refers to the tournament itself rather than the actual year. Zunaid 12:52, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Was Bamiyan always part of the Kabul-Shahi[edit]

According to this historic map of Central Asia in AD 600, the province (or is it an independent kingdom?) of Bamiyan was part of the Kushano-Hepthalites. I'm a bit confused here because, as I understand it, the Kushano-Hepthalites is just another name for Kabul Shahi. That is, a Kushano-Hepthalite dynasty centered at Kapisa or modern day Bagram (and during later times at Kabul).

Weren't Bamiyan (and other provinces like Jaguda) independent from the Kabul-Shahi? ExitRight (talk) 02:38, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

After looking around a bit, i would place very little faith in that map. "The Kushano-Hepthalites" seem to have been made up on Wikipedia. If an author mentions a "Kushano-Hepthalite" kingdom, they mean a kingdom that existed in the region once ruled over by the two earlier empires, not that there was one single kingdom. There were no Kushano-Hepthalites. That "anyone can edit" thing strikes again.—eric 06:25, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Eric. Thinking about the term Kushano-Hephthalites (which I always seem to misspell) that way clears up a lot of confusion for me. That pretty much suggests to me that Bamiyan must have been a small independent kingdom and that eastern Afghanistan consisted of these other independent "Kushano-Hephthalite" principalities around AD 600 ExitRight (talk) 02:32, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

french composer[edit]

Who is the De Gouy in J B Arban's trumpet instruction book, the author of 4 duets? He would not be the baroque composer, Jacques, but a composer of the nineteenth century. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Haiku1 (talkcontribs) 05:07, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

What makes you think it's not Jacques? Too modern? According to the program notes for a 2007 George Mason University concert, Jacques wrote the "Bolero" duet featured in Arban: "Bolero is a trumpet duet in the Jean‐Baptiste Arban’s Method book for cornet. Although few of De Gouy’s pieces survive today, it is known that his first pieces were psalms published in settings of Airs à quatre parties sur la Paraphrase des pseaumes de Godeau in 1650.",%20Lee%2012.11.07.pdf —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:09, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Comparison of Samoa and American Samoa[edit]

According to the Wikipedia articles Samoa (or Western Samoa as it used to be called) has a culture more influenced by New Zealand and Britain, while that of the nearby American Samoa is more influenced by America. Is there any data available about how they differ in their recent crime rates and other indicators of quality of life? On the other hand the cultures may just differ in their favoured sports, and Samoa is likely to be exposed to a lot of American films and TV, like anywhere else in the world. (talk) 12:39, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

American Samoa is sadly missing from the Human Development Index, so that rules out a quick comparison of quality of life. But other differences are more easily seen. Samoa was once a New Zealand dependency, and remains politically and socially close. Law, government and government entities (such as police) followed British Commonwealth models (adapted to suit the Samoan culture), and these remain. The NZ government continues to provide aid and development initiatives to Samoa [1], and remains Samoa's greatest trading partner. 40% of tourists in Samoa are NZers. (See Economy of Samoa.) Also influencing Samoan culture is the fact that there are 131,000 Samoans living in NZ; the population of Samoa itself is only 179,000; inevitably, there is a great cultural exchange between both countries. American Samoa looks to America. Gwinva (talk) 00:33, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
As a weird measure of cultural connection, consider the connection of each nation to forms of football. Residents of American Samoa play American football, and their representation in Div. 1A football and NFL football is WAY out of wack with their population (see American_Samoa#Sports, they are sort of like the Dominican Republic is for baseball, producing a large number of top-flight football players out of proportion to the population. Samoa on the other hand, plays primarily Rugby Union and, like American Samoa and American Football, is far more successful at THAT sport than their small population would account for. So, just on sports, there is a CLEAR distinction between cultural connections. --Jayron32 02:45, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
It's perhaps worth remembering that Samoas and American Samoas have fairly different options when it comes to immigration. New Zealand has various schemes which allow Samoans to live and work in NZ either temporarily (seasonal workers) [2] or permanently [3]. These combined with other options for immigration (like family migrant schemes) and the strong historic and cultural ties (and other associated things like Samoans studying in New Zealand), means there is a lot of migration, usually from Samoa to New Zealand emphasised perhaps by Gwinva's 131,000 Samoans living in NZ figure. This also happens in Australia to a lesser extent I believe (there's no real specific option for Samoans to come to Australia, although there is the semi backdoor way that if they obtain New Zealand citizenship they would usually be able to then immigrate to Australia if they desire). American Samoans aren't generally treated specially in NZ when it comes to immigration but as American nationals they can of course live and work in the US and then take up American citizenship eventually. In terms of the sport comments above, there's of course the infamous (association) football match Australia 31–0 American Samoa but I also came across this less well known counter example in American football [4] [5] Nil Einne (talk) 10:58, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Successful people reared in rural surroundings?[edit]

The book Five Arces And Independence by D M G Kains, published in 1973, says on pages 5 and 6 that Who's Who In America shows that "the majority of the men and women in its pages were reared in rural surroundings." Is that still true for the current edition of Who's Who In America? (talk) 13:28, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Five Acres and Independence was originally published in 1940, and at that time, such a statement was probably true—anyone in Who's Who then would almost surely have had to been born in the 1920s at the very latest, more likely in the 1880s and 1890s, a time in which there were still many more Americans living in rural areas than urban ones. However even by the 1930s and 1940s, America was rapidly becoming urbanized, a process accelerated by the Great Depression, among other things. World War II, the Great Migration, changes in the economics of farm labor (increased mechanization and consolidation into large holdings), and other "migrations" rapidly accelerated this trend.[6] As of 2006, roughly 81% of United States citizens lived in urban areas (p. 29). So let's say that most people in Who's Who today were probably born between 1950 and 1970—that gives them a much higher chance of being born in an urban area than a rural one. Of course, I have not (like our 1940 author did) ascribed the prevalence to whether they were born in an urban or rural area. It would take a somewhat different type of analysis to see if that was the case. But I think our author's numbers are not surprising given the time they were published; if they are just a reflection of where people were born at the time, they would make sense, but would no longer be even remotely true. The graph on this page illustrates what I am expressing fairly well—just remember that anyone in Who's Who has got to have been born some time before the actual time you are looking at! --Mr.98 (talk) 15:27, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Just a note on the various Who's Whos — they make money by selling their lists to direct-mail marketers, and some of them have made money by letting people simply purchase their entries. I may be reading too much into the original poster's question, but I would challenge the premise that being in Who's Who is a meaningful benchmark of success. Comet Tuttle (talk) 18:35, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I think it depends on which one it is. If we are talking strictly about Marquis Who's Who, the standard one, then being in it does represent some success (there is an application process and more to it than just being vanity), though the criteria is not extraordinarily high. --Mr.98 (talk) 19:04, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Leaving a will contingent on an act of chance[edit]

Would it be legal under English law to leave a will which is contingent on an act of chance? For example, suppose that I own a business and have two children. I don't want the business to be split up on my death, but I'm unable to decide which of my children should inherit it, and don't want to have to make the decision myself. Could there be a clause in my will instructing my executors to toss a coin to decide who inherits the business? If it helps to avoid the will being thrown out for being perverse and unfair, I'll leave the "losing" child a sum of money equal in value to the business.

I'm aware that Wikipedia doesn't give legal advice - I'm only asking out of pure curiosity, and only asking about English law because that's where I live. So I welcome any interesting thoughts on the situation in other jurisdictions. --OpenToppedBus - Talk to the driver 16:00, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

This isn't really a legal question - more a matter of common sense. As I understand it, a will can contain any stipulations that a person cares to make. The problem would be adjudication after the fact. Wills with bizarre stipulations can be (and often are) challenged legally, on the grounds that the bizarreness of the stipulation speaks to an unsound state of mind that nullifies the will. In the above case it would be far better (IMO) to stipulate that the value of the business be shared, but control of the business fall to one child or the other (then leave the choice of who gets control up to them). keeps the business whole, and obviates any squabbles about fair distribution. --Ludwigs2 16:55, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
It is a legal question. There are legal restrictions on the kinds of things you can stipulate in your will (eg. the Rule against perpetuities). While wills can be discarded due to the testator not being of sound mind, I don't think just having a clause like this in it would be enough to prove that. I don't know of any rule against random components in wills, but I can't be sure there isn't one. The OP needs to hire a lawyer if they want a definite answer. --Tango (talk) 17:08, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Which is why it's best to discuss one's will with the relatives to get any issues ironed out, since there's no guarantee it will be carried out. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:59, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Thanks all for your thoughts. I'm not after a definitive answer - it was just idle curiosity. --OpenToppedBus - Talk to the driver 17:47, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Details of Catholic polity[edit]

As a Presbyterian, I don't understand very much of the details of Catholic polity on the parish level, so I have two different questions:

  • Who owns the property associated with a single parish? I get the impression that the parish doesn't have complete control of it, but I don't understand whether the parish owns it but has to have changes approved by the diocese (somewhat like my own denomination does), or if it's the diocese, or if it's the bishop himself somehow. I'm writing an article on a church in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati using a historic preservation form that lists Archbishop Bernardin himself, not the archdiocese, as the owner. However, the form was put together by architectural historians, not canon lawyers, so I'm not sure that it's accurate in this respect.
  • Who pays the pastor: the parish or the diocese?

I'd welcome any articles that point me to the answers, but I don't know where to look. Nyttend (talk) 16:16, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

I did a quick look around wikipedia, but found nothing. this might make a good addition to Episcopal polity. My sense is that (pardon the odd analogy) Catholics follow a corporate model, whereas other Christian faithss lean towards a franchise model. Catholic priests are payed a salary by the Diocese and have a lot of guaranteed benefits, regardless of the size of their congregation, but all property is owned by the Church, which generally means it's handled by the diocese. Assumedly the Vatican could dictate financial expenditures (In fact, excommunication of a priest - which happens infrequently over doctrinal disputes - is as much a financial punishment as a spiritual one) but I don't get the sense they like to micromanage. The general idea with a priest is that they are 'provided for' so that they can pursue spiritual and religious matters. look at this link, which might be a good starting place for more information. --Ludwigs2 18:14, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Our article about the corporation sole may answer some of your question about property ownership by dioceses/bishops. - htonl (talk) 20:27, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I've searched for a supporting reference for this, but have failed. As such, this is only what I have been told by priests and people involved in Church matters: the only collections a Catholic priest is allowed to keep for himself are those at the Christmas and Easter services (Midnight mass, Christmas day, the Easter vigil and Easter day). All other offertory collections go into the communal pot, and the priest and parish are given resources from that as the diocese sees fit. There may be other collections other than the offertory collection for things like a building fund (if central money is unavailable or not enough. This might happen more in wealthy parishes) or charities. There's also Peter's pence that goes to Rome, but I've always been a bit vague about that. (talk) 00:45, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Communion in Christian Churches[edit]

Searching for a list of christian churches which don't celebrate communion198.103.167.20 (talk) 16:53, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

It would be a pretty short list, as the Eucharist, or Holy Communion (as opposed to the broader concept of "Communion" as in "Fellowship" or whatever) is a fundamental Christian ritual. Jesus said, "Do this in remembrance of Me." Not much ambiguity there. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:57, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I can't remember the reasons why, but (if I remember rightly) the Quakers traditionally didn't, and the Salvation Army seems to consider itself a church (not just a Christian parachurch organisation) but doesn't celebrate any sacraments. Nyttend (talk) 17:12, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Seconding the Salvation Army. Historically I think it's down to its roots in the temperance movement (grape juice wasn't an option back then) but if I remember the theological justification is that they have "gone beyond the need for such symbols". DJ Clayworth (talk) 19:24, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
He also commanded his disciples to wash one another's feet[7], but most churches consider that a symbolic command. I can imagine a church taking a similar attitude towards the mass. Marnanel (talk) 17:33, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
The litmus test would be the Unitarian. If they do it, that pretty well covers it. Quakers might have a specific issue with it somehow. The Salvation Army is not a conventional church, but they might have specific concerns also. But generally almost all Christian churches do Communion, though not always every Sunday; some do it only once in awhile. One major difference between Catholic and at least some Protestant sects is the use of wine vs. grape juice, as Protestants were traditionally believers in temperance or even prohibition. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:38, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Our article Eucharistic theologies contrasted has some info about how different denominations treat the thing. It says Quakers consider all life to be sacremental, and so don't need a special ritual for communion. If there are any Friends here, it would be interesting to hear more about how they treat this. Buddy431 (talk) 18:12, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
The Latter-day Saint church -- which some may consider out the "traditional" Christian fold uses water only, much in line with their prohibition of alcohol.-- (talk) 17:45, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
The LDS is not a conventional Christian denomination, for sure, but they do the communion. Why they would eschew even grape juice is hard to say, but the point is that they do the ritual. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:02, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
In a great many churches (by which I mean denominations/sects here), washing of the feet is seen as symbolic but performed probably once a year on Holy Thursday. Probably most Christian denominations' theology see Eucharist as more important than foot-washing...e.g. the Reformed and similar Evangelical or Presbyterian (i.e. no hierarchy highe rthan presbyter) churches identified only two ordinances/sacraments as necessary to be orthodox: Baptism and the Lord's Supper--e.g. here and [8]]. -- (talk) 17:43, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Back to Bugs' comment — I assume you mean the Unitarian Universalist Association. There are some within the UUA who consider themselves Christians, but as you can see on its website, the UUA calls itself a "religion with Judeo-Christian roots", so as far as I can see, the organisation as a whole doesn't think of itself as a part of Christianity. I assume that's what the OP wants; if we're going by any other definition of "Christian" than "those who say that they're Christians", we're in a much more confusing situation of defining "Christian church". Nyttend (talk) 18:13, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes. Unitarian is the opposite of being dogmatic. I've often heard (as both praise and criticism) that "you can believe anything you want." Or not, as atheists sometimes go also. But with a de-emphasis of Christianity, it's not surprising they would de-emphasize Communion. When the OP says "churches", we're treating it like "denominiations", but there are many small independent Christian churches in America. Most if not all would be conservative-leaning, so it's likely they would do Communion, though maybe with grape juice or some other non-alcoholic instead of using wine. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:41, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Another Christian denomination (although very tiny) that doesn't celebrate this sacrament (as far as I know) is the Reformed Presbytery in North America — they believe that only a minister may officiate at the Lord's Supper, and if I remember rightly, they don't have any ministers right now. If there were RPNA ministers now, as there were just a few years ago, they would definitely celebrate it. Nyttend (talk) 22:24, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
They might celebrate having finally gotten a minister. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:59, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Little People in Little Houses[edit]

What's the main reason why little people are not living in houses that are built for their proportions? If I were a little person, I would want that and to equip it it like appliances and furniture. --Reticuli88 (talk) 17:09, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

What kind of little people? Nyttend (talk) 17:12, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

not children --Reticuli88 (talk) 17:14, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Yes, but you still must be more specific. Nyttend (talk) 17:27, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I would think he means midgets and dwarfs. And if they had enough money, they probably would do so. As a practical matter, custom-designed houses like that would be tough to resell. Wilt Chamberlain had a house built to his proportions. I wonder who owns it now? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc?carrots→ 17:35, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Some Youtube outtakes from Fellowship of the Ring show the director and actors banging their heads on the ceiling. Why would little people want to isolate themselves from the rest of the world in this fashion? --Wetman (talk) 17:39, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I could imagine pieces of furniture being scaled down, but I would think they would keep the dimensions of the house itself "normal". One dilemma, though, could be stairways. The TV series called "Little People, Big World", or some such, might provide some insight. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:44, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
It does. They also isolate their own children if the children are not also short. There are many conveniences that can be added to the home. There is no need to make simply make the entire house smaller. -- kainaw 18:40, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Not to mention the horrible resale value. Prokhorovka (talk) 19:11, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Well if they could find other little people to buy the house, there's no reason that the price would need to be low. However, finding a little-person buyer would be improbable. Vranak (talk) 20:20, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Low priced houses can sometime be gotten from a short sale. Googlemeister (talk) 21:10, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
That's my shtick. Suddenly there's an epidemic! ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:23, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
"Little People, Big World" does bring up a few issues relevant here. First, the children of little people are not necessarily the same sized. In the case of the show, three of the kids are "normal" sized/average height. Second, the little people in question have to live in a "big world" every other place they go—they have to be able to use hotels, restaurants, stores, etc. that are not built to their height. So they have already a wide arsenal of ways to approach this issue (lots of steps and stands). Third, they do have considerable interactions with "average" height people, and having a house that none of them could enter or use would prohibit them ever having such people over to it. And, of course, lastly, as has been pointed out, there are just not enough "little people" to be an effective force on a housing market. Obviously if one had some wealth they could get a custom-made home, with no care to selling it in the future, but as with all homes, that would be the exception and not the rule. --Mr.98 (talk) 23:41, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Conversely, I saw a show about an exceptionally tall family who had a custom-built house with tall kitchen benches and cupboards, high ceilings and windows, but regular sized doorways because if they didn't have to duck their own doorways, they'd forget and bash their heads everywhere else. Just throwing that out there. :) FiggyBee (talk) 13:55, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
Short People are just the same as you and I (Video) - Randy Newman. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 19:49, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

where whites and asians get marry[edit]

When white and asian get marry would they usually get marry in the USA. The white and asian spouses have to known each other for a long time and fall in love to be able to get marry. The thing is white spouse grow up in USA so if they meet a asian spouse in oversea the thing is how will they get contact. asian-nation said white and asian usually get marry in home country though.-- (talk) 17:26, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

If they live in the United States, they will, most likely, get married in the United States. If they live in France, they will likely get married in France. If they live in Botswana, they will likely get married in Botswana. So, all you are asking is: "Are there more white/Asian couples living in the United States or Asia?" -- kainaw 17:29, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, in many cases, the Western spouse is still a citizen of their native country (Canada, Britain, US, etc) thus eventually they plan to return to Canada, US, etc. to work and live out their lives...Since incomes are on average higher in Western countries (except for Japan/Hong Kong), perhaps they make a decision based on economics to leave Asia. Also some Asians, not necessarily all, proactively wish to live abroad and leave their home country, etc. -- (talk) 17:36, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
In my community, there are tons of mixed marriages (I'm in one myself). They live where they will eventually work. Being Asian or white aren't entirely relevant. Being employed and having a place to live are more so. Follow the money. Also, White folks are far less comfortable in Asia than are Asians in the West, I suspect, so I think that might be part of it too. Just observationally, anyway. Aaronite (talk) 18:45, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
[citation needed]. WP:NOR. Come on, people. Comet Tuttle (talk) 19:21, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Source or no source (and Aaronite claims to have experience in these matters...) it's a very interesting viewpoint, and one which I hadn't thought of myself. ╟─TreasuryTagTellers' wands─╢ 21:51, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Urgh. The user who posted this question has, in the past, been directed to things like, which has databases where one can research research racial marriage statistics. They seem to be uninterested in the actual, factual answers to their questions, since they refuse to actually look at the facts when given them. Instead we are entreated to hundreds of subtly different questions about mixed race marriages and their prevalence. They have been given the references and data before, and it hasn't stopped the questions. At this point, WP:NOTTHERAPY is starting to look like the only explanation for this. --Jayron32 05:18, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I don't know how to use They have many divisions I don't know how to look for each one.-- (talk) 21:48, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

All the whites and Asians I know got married in the UKhotclaws 00:05, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

lottery taxes[edit]

In the US, if a person was to win a lottery payout of $100M, and used $90M of it to start a charity, would he have to pay taxes on all $100M, or just the $10M he kept? Googlemeister (talk) 20:20, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

That's a tax question, which is pretty close to being a legal question. I think there are limits on what percent of your income you can give to charity, in part to prevent the wealthy from putting all their money into "foundations" and not having to pay any taxes at all. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:22, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
From, "Generally, you can deduct cash contributions in full up to 50% of your adjusted gross income." Depending on the recipient, that cap may lower to 30% (or perhaps lower). So no, the hypothetical lottery winner won't pay taxes on the $100 million, but neither will he pay taxes only on the $10 million he keeps. It'll be somewhere in between. — Lomn 21:33, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
That assumes that the only tax will be income tax. Most states (and many counties/cities) have gaming taxes as well, which are not income taxes. Part of any winnings are taxed. What remains is considered income and is taxed. So, if the person had less than $90M after the gaming tax, it would not be possible to donate $90M to charity. -- kainaw 21:35, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I don't see how they could be taxed on anything but the full amount. They get the $100M. That's income. Then they donate the $90M. The $100M was income whether they gave away $90 or $90M. Dismas|(talk) 07:12, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
No. As Lomn notes, they can possibly donate up to 50 percent of it to charity, which knocks roughly 50 million off the federal taxable income. That's not to say that the resident's state will allow all 50 million to be deductable. But for sure the entire 100 million need not be considered income. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 07:32, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Ah, yes. Thanks for pointing that out. I mis-read it. Dismas|(talk) 13:21, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Pre-modern Jews who speak and read a foreign language[edit]

I'm not sure if this is best placed in the language desk or not, but I read a paper on the Kaifeng Jews in which the author commented their Bukharan Judeo-Persian liturgy does not necessarily point to their home of origin. It might just mean they received the texts from Bukhara and originated somewhere else. Therefore, according to this mode of thinking, it is at least plausible that the Jews derived from places elsewhere and spoke and read Judeo-Persian because that was the dominate religious language of the local Jews. Now I know there are comparative examples of this that happened in the past. For instance, Hellenized Jews living in the Holy Land during the Second Temple period read from Greek texts. Imagine if very little information about these Jews survived to present day. Some scholars might suggest they were from Greece and relocated to the holy land.

After having said all of that, are there any more recent examples of of Jews living in an area and reading and speaking a language not native to them? By more recent, I mean anytime after the second temple period to present. I would appreciate several examples of the following:

  1. Native Jews that accepted the language of a concurring power (like the Greek-ruled Jews of the Holy land)
  2. Foreign Jews who relocated from another country and accepted the language of the locals.

Thank you.--Ghostexorcist (talk) 21:23, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

I don't quite understand the question, but Jews have usually adapted to the local language whenever they have moved around, speaking it or a Jewish dialect of it, with some exceptions, such as Jews who continued speaking Yiddish after moving from Germany to Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages. If you were to trace a typical Ashkenazi Jewish family over the past three millenia, it might look like this:
    • 1000 BCE: Speaks Hebrew
    • 600 BCE: Adopts Aramaic during the Babylonian Captivity
    • 100 BCE: Adopts Greek after moving to Alexandria, Egypt
    • 100 CE: Adopts Latin after moving to Italy
    • 850 CE: Adopts Old French after moving to France
    • 1000 CE: Adopts Jewish dialect of Old High German after moving to Germany. The dialect evolves into the Yiddish language.
    • 1300 CE: Maintains Yiddish after moving to Grand Duchy of Lithuania
    • 1920 CE: Adopts Polish after Polish independence
    • 1940 CE: Adopts Russian after moving to Russia
    • 1990 CE: Adopts English after moving to USA
    • 2010 CE: Adopts Hebrew after moving to Israel, completing a 3,000-year cycle
Of course, people don't suddenly change languages after moving. Most likely, the parents would continue speaking the old language at home and the children would adopt the new language, as happens all the time in immigrant families. Note that Hebrew would have been used throughout the period above for religious purposes. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 00:32, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Great job Mwalcoff -- just a few notae bene for others who'd appreciate some clarification:
  • The cycle is not completely closed, because modern Hebrew does differ from Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew -- but the overlap is so considerable that a virtually complete mutual comprehension could be established, if not directly, then with elaboration by the parties involved.
  • While Hebrew has been maintained for prayer by those who pray in Hebrew (primarily Orthodox + Conservative), many do not speak Hebrew fluently, and may merely know how to read and write prayers and biblical verses without possessing a complete understanding of grammar, vocabulary, etc. DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 03:19, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
They also spoke Judeo-Arabic in Muslim-dominated places. Adam Bishop (talk) 05:38, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I think you mean in Arab-dominated places. Jews in Turkey or Iran generally haven't spoken Judeo-Arabic. —D. Monack talk 01:16, 4 February 2010 (UTC)

Islam and images[edit]

For centuries it was forbiden for Islamic people to use images, hence all the beautiful patterns on mosques. But now images are widespread, television and photographs are used by even the most devout. What was the reason for this? Did it just gradually happen, or did a cleric issue a command allowing it? How do they explain why it was forbidden in the past but is OK now? (talk) 21:55, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Aniconism in Islam is somewhat helpful, although it could easily be expanded. --Saddhiyama (talk) 21:58, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
To give the very basic and very summarized version: Islam is a fiercely montheistic religion. There is God, and only God is worthy of worship and veneration. If you think back to the pre-Hebrew sort of polytheism as exemplified by the story of the Golden calf, people used to create objects and worship the objects as gods themselves. Or if you think of the position of Pharoh in Egypt, that they elevated people to God-status. In Islam, since only God is worthy of worship, if you create images (especially images of religious figures like Muhammad), then people will worship the image, and not God, or worship Muhammad and not God. See Depictions of Muhammad for a discussion of the matter. --Jayron32 02:31, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Quotes from the article I linked: "Neither is the representation of living beings in Islamic countries a modern phenomenon or due to current technology, westernization or the cult of the personality.", "Potent rulers like Shah Tahmasp in Persia and Akbar in India, patrons of some of the most beautiful figurative miniatures in arts from Islamic countries, migrated during their life between an extravagant 'figurative' and an extremist 'aniconic' period." & "It is equally important to stress that, wherever it surfaced, Islamic aniconism is partially due to the special historical relationship between images and Muslim identity. In the early days of Islam, for example, it was critical to distinguish the customs of the nascent Ummah from those of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and pagans." So there has not been a gradual attempt at moving away from aniconism, instead it has fluctuated in various Islamic countries through history, based on local historical phenomena. And while it is true that tv, books etc has in many ways made the ban on depictions obsolete, it has also helped giving rise to modern fundamentalists like the Taliban, who favor a literal interpretation of ban of depictions of living people. --Saddhiyama (talk) 09:17, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
"the Taliban, who favor a literal interpretation of ban of depictions of living people". That is odd since on a tv documentary I saw last night, and which prompted the question, I saw Taliban fighters using the video camera on a mobile phone / cell phone, and allowing someone to film them for the documentary. Also Osama Bin Laden has often appeared in videos in the past. Are they just hypocrits? (talk) 13:44, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I'd say no more than a Christian soldier ("Thou shallst not kill") or any politician who swears by God ("Thou shallst not take the name of the Lord in vain"). In other words, there is always a cultural context in which certain actions are more or less acceptable than one would expect from a naive literal reading of an out-of-context piece of text. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:58, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually, it depends on the translation as to whether the 10 commandments says "You shall not murder." or "You shall not kill." so not a very clear cut example. Googlemeister (talk) 21:48, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Conservative Christians that I know assert that "kill" refers to "murder", or more specifically to an "illegal" taking of life. It can come down to the "greater sin" axiom. If someone breaks into your house and threatens to kill your family, and you gun him down, you've committed a sin by taking his life - but it would be a greater sin to allow him to take your family's lives. That viewpoint is basically the moral justification for war. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:19, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
...which jives really well with the "other cheek" philosophy of some ancient guy involved somehow ;-). But that's actually pretty much my point: One must contextualize such statements. Just as Christians and Jews have found ways to interpret inconvenient passages from their scriptures and don't feel hypocritical, so do members of other religions. And then, of course, there is the fact that the 10 commandments were given in Exodus, quite a bit before the murder of the Midianite women and children in Numbers 31. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:55, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Ten Commandments#Killing or murder should in theory offer some help here but it doesn't really explain much other then to say some people say kill, some people say murder; and some people say murder must be right because the bible sanctions killing sometimes. Ideally I would have hoped for some analysis of the history particularly in the earliest known biblical texts and the etymymologies of the words they used. The Conservapedia bible of course uses murder (or would if they get around to it [9] [10] [11]), you can see their arguments here [12] Nil Einne (talk) 14:17, 4 February 2010 (UTC)
"I was unaware of those key differences between the Gospels" - it's a bit scary to hear that from the head honcho of the project... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:55, 5 February 2010 (UTC)
back to the point: traditional islam still holds that images of God or his prophets are taboo, basically on the assertion that any such image will lead the faithful down unfruitful paths. This is taken to extremes by fundamentalist muslims, and is more-or-less ignored by moderate, modernized muslims (much the way that 'thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain' is scrupulously followed by fundamentalist christians and ignored by moderate, modernized christians). the problem is that Islam has no control of non-muslim publishers, and can't really do anything about secular depictions of God or Mohammed. I think the proscription against making formal, elaborate pictures of religious figures will persist in big contexts - you won't see them in mosques, or major civic works - but they will probably be bandied about loosely in small ways. --Ludwigs2 00:10, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
I thought the ban also applied to any living thing. (talk) 11:20, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Images of humans and animals are only prohibited in sacred places like mosques. In secular art, at least among non-fundamentalists, there's no problem. (Gardiner's Art Through the Ages, Thirteenth Edition, Chapter 13) A. Parrot (talk) 23:48, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Why is my analogy unpopular?[edit]

It seems like people who are very anti-Iraq war always like to go out of their way to show their support for the individual troops that go over there. Essentially no one ever gives any criticism to the soldiers who fight the war. I recall a few times when I was at an airport or a concert and everyone but me started standing up and applauding for US soldiers. I started suggesting that to the same extent they would hold a Nazi solider accountable for the crimes of Germany in WW2, they should hold US soldiers accountable for the actions of the US. Obviously this wouldn't be an issue with people who do not opposed to the Iraq war, but when talking with those that are, they seem to become rather upset when I share this thought with them, even to the point they become physically aggressive. Of course I point out that I am not suggesting that the actions of the US and Nazi Germany are on the same magnitude, I just ask them why they don't view the soldiers proportionally to the actions of the government, that is not to the same degree as they would for Nazi Germany soldiers, but in the same manner.

People get very angry at this, but I point out that without the willingness of soldiers signing up for the military the war they oppose would not have been possible. But they just get mad. I this idea seems pretty rational to me, but I cant figure out why no one who is anti Iraq war has it, but more so how people who I suggest it to get very angry and emotionally upset with me. Is this just because of nationalism or is there some other reason this is occurring? XM (talk) 22:45, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Seems like a rational analogy to me, too. For what it's worth. Vimescarrot (talk) 22:55, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Why is it that whenever I mention this to anyone, I almost get punched? XM (talk) 23:00, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
  • The Nazis were involved in genocide. Do you or does anyone for that matter think the United States is involved in anything even remotely like that? Whether you think "nation building" is wise course of action is the sort of question that seems a legitimate criticism of US involvement in some hotspots in the world. But of course the US cannot be compared to Nazi Germany — not in any way. Bus stop (talk) 23:05, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
...that is a bit strong. Treatment of prisoners in CIA black camps and Guantanamo are big black spots. And what happened to the American Indians was pretty much genocide, and some of that premeditated. Rejecting this comparison completely is dangerous. It can easily lead to "let's roll out some more enhanced interrogation techniques and export prisoners to countries where they cut off genitals with razors - we are still better than the Nazis!" That sets a mighty low bar. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:23, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I agree with what you've said. You make entirely valid points. My response was only mindful of military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. You have addressed wider questions. Bus stop (talk) 23:34, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
  • (ec)There are two aspects here. The first is comparison to Nazi Germany. That is a big no-no. It tends to make further discourse impossible - once you moved someone next to Auschwitz, they have good reasons to stop being friendly. See Godwin's law. It's not necessary a logical reaction, but an understandable one. If I say "your mother is an animal and descended from the same ancestor as a swine", that's a strictly true statement, but will still very likely get me punched in the face. The second aspect is about the actual troops. Most Americans soldiers don't sign up to the military to go to foreign countries to fight wars. Many only enter because it's the only reasonable career path open to them. Others enter because they want to defend the country against real threats. Other may join because they need a highly organized life style to succeed, or because it's the family tradition. Once they are in, they don't have much of a choice. And they are somebody's children, brothers, sisters, parents. It's natural for all members of the community, even those opposed to the war, to wish the individual soldiers well. And for politicians, it's more more or less a necessity to at least pretend so, because of the large public sentiment. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:16, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
You can hate the war, but support the soldiers 100%, which appears to be the attitude of many bitterly opposed to the Iraq War (I have no POV on this coming from Australia) -- (talk) 23:17, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Yes, if you compare people to Nazis, that is going to bring up some repulsion, if they aren't actually operating death camps. I am opposed to the Iraq war (whatever that really means at this point—I opposed starting the war, anyway), but I don't find the analogy correct at least. The Nazis were an extreme case even amongst warmongers—in most cases you don't get Nuremberg trials after a war, and you don't hold the individual soldiers responsible for following the orders of their commanders, except in really quite extreme war crimes situations. This is in part because most people recognize, implicitly or explicitly, that individual soldiers do not, generally, know the full scope of their activities and are trained to follow orders (and if they did not follow orders, they would be pretty useless as soldiers). Thus we hold commanders (and politicians) much more responsible than the grunts (and did so even with the Nazis, except in the extreme cases, like those who ran the camps). I certainly don't think that lets the grunts off the hook, but it does mean that "I was just following orders" does, as far as I am concerned, get you out of everything but the very worst of it. I am much more inclined to blame those giving the orders (and creating the climate in which they are executed) than I am to the person on the field who acts them out in the face of battle. --Mr.98 (talk) 23:20, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
If only... --Stephan Schulz (talk) 23:25, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Well, in theory, anyway, yeah. --Mr.98 (talk) 23:27, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
Aside from the Nazi comparison, which will enrage 90% of the population: In the United States the stance always taken by antiwar politicians is "I support the troops but not the war". This blandishment is universal, because the right wing will immediately attack as an anti-American traitor anyone who criticizes US soldiers/sailors/airmen/Marines. Some of this is partisanship and an easy ideological attack on antiwar politicians; some of it is more honest: a stance that all soldiers are heroic, in that they have volunteered to be shot at and killed for the interests of the country as a whole. It isn't the choice of the private where he has been shipped to further the ostensible interests of the country. The aforementioned blandishment is a way for the antiwar politicians to say "Hey, entire Army? You're great; I have no problem with you; you are blameless. You've just been led astray by your stupid leaders." I agree that this blandishment is not entirely honest, just as the attacks about traitorousness are dishonest on the part of the right wing. Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:41, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
The reason that this has become a blandishment is in part because of the legacy of Vietnam, where soldiers were called "baby killers," spat upon, etc., when they came back from a war that they didn't start and had little say in how it was executed. It was (I think rightly) taken to be a pretty big betrayal to blame the common soldier for the faults of their generals and political leaders (especially in a war with a draft). --Mr.98 (talk) 00:55, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Your problem starts with "to the same extent they would hold a Nazi solider accountable for the crimes of Germany in WW2, they should hold US soldiers accountable for the actions of the US.". The truth is that a huge majority of Germans fighting in WWII were just fighting for their country. I'm old enough to have met several, and I don't hold them responsible for tings done to my family in the war. Most were not held responsible at various trials for the Nazi crimes unless they were directly responsible for them, which is exactly how it should be. Likewise the vast majority of US troops should not be held responsible for the political decision to start the war, no matter how much you may disagree with it.
A small number of US troops did' go beyond acceptable bounds on prosecuting the war, (such as those at Abu Ghraib) and were held responsible - by US authorities. DJ Clayworth (talk) 00:05, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Though there is an argument there that those particular soldiers, the "bad apples", were really just the end of a long causal chain, the "expendables" that had to be given up in order to shelter more higher-ranking officers, politicians, etc. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:55, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Two points:
  • If you put your life on the line, you generally get a free pass.
  • The soldiery is never going to be the most educated segment of society, so it falls upon those who are to voice opposition to what may be deemed a morally-questionable war.
Vranak (talk) 23:57, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I usually try to make it clear that I am not comparing the current US situation with Nazi Germany situation. Rather, the concept is why do people who hold German soldiers accountable for "just following orders" (if not legally then certainly morally) not also hold US soldiers accountable for their actions? Not to the same degree, but rather to a proportional extent relative to the degree which the person things the Iraq war is wrong. That is, they could think the Nazis were *very* wrong, and the US involvement in Iraq is less wrong and judge the soldiers according. Instead of having what appears to be a double standard, where German soldiers/commanders are for the most part condemned for their actions, where as US soldiers, instead of being condemned to a lesser degree are "supported 100 percent" even to the point that many people get angry at anyone who criticizes them? XM (talk) 00:00, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Are German soldier from WW2 condemned, in general? I certainly see people condemning those involved with attrocities, such as the Deathcamps, but I don't see similar condemnation of the general soldiers, any more than I see general condemnation of any country's soldiers in WW1. Mostly, people see them as not responsible unless they broke the Geneva conventions, or committed similar crimes. (talk) 00:09, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I agree with 86. I think part of the problem is that when you (XM) invoke the Nazi "I was just following orders" defense, this was not something that your garden variety Nazi enlisted man walked around saying. This was specifically a defense used by the Nazi officers who were on trial for war crimes at the Nuremberg trials. An example of a Nazi German officer whose reputation is pretty much untainted by the stink of Nazism is Erwin Rommel. He was on the losing side yet is still highly respected outside Germany — he and his division didn't commit war crimes. The vast majority of American servicemen are not committing war crimes in Iraq, and perhaps your argument is unpopular because you seem to be implying that they are. Comet Tuttle (talk) 00:11, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Comet Tuttle, (quibble) did you mean to say a "German officer", rather than "Nazi". I think it may well be unfair to call Rommel 'Nazi' in any context? (not a student of history myself so not 100% certain) -- (talk) 00:47, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
He was never a member of the Party, if that is what you are getting at. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:55, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
(ec)Yes, that's what I thought, and therefore exactly my point. -- (talk) 01:15, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Reference please? I'll strike my comment above pre-emptively and will believe you immediately if you can provide one. I had been under the impression Rommel had had to join the Party for political reasons at some point. Comet Tuttle (talk) 01:21, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
And since this is the Reference Desk, I'm going to provide one. I would tend to agree with 86 and Comet Tuttle that German soldiers aren't generally blamed for the things the Nazis did. Here and Here are a couple of book reviews for Myth of the Eastern Front, which I have not read, nor even heard of before now. From what I gather, the authors believe that German soldiers were responsible for many of the things they did, and that we shouldn't be glorifying them (I'm not sure that that's a common sentiment either, but whatever). I think that's being a bit harsh; they didn't even have a choice about fighting, while with a volunteer army U.S. soldiers today do choose to join (though not necessarily to fight, as has been pointed out). Buddy431 (talk) 01:11, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
I'm not going to pretend that every American solider who has done something wrong has been punished for it, but in at least some cases American soldiers committing misdeeds have been held accountable. See Lynndie England, for example. Your average American soldier in Iraq is not torturing inmates in a prison camp. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 00:43, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Actually we have an article about this exact topic, it is an informal fallacy commonly known as "playing the Hitler card", Reductio ad Hitlerum. The basic premise is insinuating that if anything shares "ANY" quality with Nazis that thing in effect is as bad as the Nazis. Which is exactly what I think you are doing with your argumen, in a subtly different way, but the effect I think is the same. Your argument in effect is "If you are going to support the troops, you should support the Nazis, they were just "troops" after all." The fallacy is of course that you are ignoring EVERYTHING else. The classic example to highlight this is Hitler was ALSO a vegetarian, so if you are a vegetarian you should also be a genocidal maniac. Vespine (talk) 01:30, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Your analogy is faulty here. The OP is saying (correctly or not) that there are certain actions which have been carried out by US troops, and that German troops were condemned for carrying out actions which were comparable at some level. If this is true, it is an inconsistency which does need explaining. Your analogy would only hold if people were criticising Hitler for not eating meat, and not criticising modern vegetarians for the same. Marnanel (talk) 14:34, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

(sigh...) the whole argument is (and is intended to be) offensive. you could easily say "I think that American soldiers who commit serious crimes (be they normal crimes or war crimes) should be punished appropriately." Some people would disagree with that, but no one would be offended and no one would feel inclined to punch you over it. You're using a standard baiting tactic: state an opinion that is logically sound, but exaggerated, divisive, heavy-handed, and absolutist, all of which are designed to make the other person react emotionally rather than respond reasonably. Basically you make other people miserable so that you can get a nice little head-rush of intellectual superiority. Shame on you. --Ludwigs2 01:32, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

I joined the military for college money and had to do a tour overseas. So apparently that makes me a Nazi.
This discussion seems very troll-like to me. Check out the asker's talk page. They have a history of their questions and or comments being removed from the reference desk. For example, they were rebuked for literally telling a possibly mentally disturbed editor that they should kill themselves. I suggest we put a cap on this discussion.--Ghostexorcist (talk) 11:07, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Buffy Sainte-Marie caps it well. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 12:01, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

Firm diversification[edit]

What does the term entropy mean in the context of firm diverification?-- (talk) 22:58, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

Pictogram voting delete.svg Please do your own homework.
Welcome to Wikipedia. Your question appears to be a homework question. I apologize if this is a misinterpretation, but it is our aim here not to do people's homework for them, but to merely aid them in doing it themselves. Letting someone else do your homework does not help you learn nearly as much as doing it yourself. Please attempt to solve the problem or answer the question yourself first. If you need help with a specific part of your homework, feel free to tell us where you are stuck and ask for help. If you need help grasping the concept of a problem, by all means let us know. I googled "diversification entropy" which got many hits that seem relevant; and our article Diversification (marketing strategy) might help with the basics of diversification if you need help there. If you have more specific questions after referring to these links, please come back and ask the specific questions. Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:29, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

The question is "What is the Jacquemin-Berry Entropy Measure." I too have googled "diversification entropy" and get several journal article type papers. I can't figure out what exactly is meant when entropy is used in this context. It would help me understand if I had a clear cut definition. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:39, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

It's probably to be found in Jacquemin, A.P., Berry, C.H. (1979) Entropy measure of diversification and corporate growth, Journal of Industrial Economics 27(4), pp. 359-369.
And from a quick read of [13] it seems to me that researchers are assigning a numeric value to a company, based on an analysis of the way in which it is diversified (and various teams have different measures and different weightings for measures of diversity), and tracking that numeric value and comparing it with profitability over time. For whatever reason, they term the value "entropy", which I guess is to suggest that more weirdly diversified companies are somehow more chaotic than less weirdly diversified companies. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:34, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
(ec) In the article, they make it clear (at least to me, a non-economics person) that they are proposing it as a measure of corporate diversification, one model among many, but one they say performs well empirically. They use a lot of equations to define what their "entropy" measure is and why it is useful—I can't follow them there, though. Their main comparison is with the Herfindahl index, of which it is a variant. The argument is that their entropy measure—just a different equation—responds better to certain manipulations than Herfindahl does. They never really spell out what they intend it to do other than be a measure of diversification.
They defined Herfindahl as where is the share of either the ith firm or the ith industry, and the point of Herfindahl is that the industry is weighed against itself (and not some arbitrary weighing term). "The entropy (inverse) measure of industry concentration weights each by the logarithm of , e.g. " Clarifying, huh? It just looks like they've taken a standard measure of industry diversification and modified it a bit. Perhaps others can enlighten more, this is all over my head. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:44, 2 February 2010 (UTC)