Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2010 June 3

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June 3[edit]

Jamaica (W.I)[edit]

What is the Jamaica(W.I) Appliances and Electronics retails market value?? I would like detail analysis if possible with different parishes in Jamaica. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Invinciblejz (talkcontribs) 00:17, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

This is just a reference desk.--Wetman (talk) 05:47, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
That doesn't mean we shouldn't try to answer. Ks0stm (TCG) 05:49, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
If such information is available, the best place to find it would be the Statistical Institute of Jamaica. They do not publish the data that you want on their website; however, they do present data on the total value of retail and wholesale trade, which suggests that they may have more detailed figures on specific retail sectors, perhaps broken down by parish. This page has contact information for the Statistical Institute. Marco polo (talk) 14:41, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

French Revolution[edit]

Supposing a Parisian man were arrested during the Reign of Terror on suspicion of dissent or something like that. If his wife or family tried to visit him in jail, would they be let in? And were such prisoners kept alone in cells or in big chambers, as depicted in the painting "Calling the Last Victims of the Terror at the Prison Saint-Lazare"? (talk) 00:30, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Is this the painting you are referring to?
Yes. (talk) 14:08, 3 June 2010 (UTC) (talk) 06:50, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Hello, with a thought for Antoine Lavoisier & André Chénier , I'd say : yes, families were allowed to see their imprisoned relatives, provided of course that they had some money to "grease the paw" of the gaolers with, & were not afraid to be emprisoned too. & yes, for lack of storage prisoners were crammed up in big halls & cellars, which allowed them at least to converse civilly & play adapted parlour games, like "the guillotine" : a chair was used as a sham decapitating device. Humor of courage & fatalism...& thanks for the painting. T.y. Arapaima (talk) 08:15, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
You mention Lavoisier and Chenier, would it have been the same for a poor or lower-middle-class person? (talk) 02:02, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

Derrick Bird[edit]

This cab driver allegedly went around shooting people at 30 locations in Cumbria, UK. Do the police on the beat or in police cars in that area carry firearms? How did he get to that many sites of mayhem without encountering armed law enforcement?Edison (talk) 04:12, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

No, police in Great Britain do not routinely carry firearms, and most are not trained and authorised to do so. Authorised Firearms Officers are a specially trained minority, and are only issued firearms for a specific purpose when responding to an incident involving armed suspects/perpetrators, occasionally during security alerts at airports and the like, or when on guard at certain MOD and other such sensitive establishments. Gun possession and crime is sufficiently rare in the UK that (I believe the reasoning to be) routinely arming police officers would likely result in more injuries and fatalities due to accidental or unnecessary discharges than the policy would discourage or counter on the part of actual armed malefactors. Note however that the policy in Northern Ireland (the part of the UK that is not GB) is different. Note also that the linked article has a See Also section of links to related topics that may well be of further interest. (talk) 05:28, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Cumbria generally is a pretty sparsely populated rural area - Whitehaven itself has a population of 25,000 but the other places are much smaller - and, although gun crime is a problem in some of the UK's main cities, a scenario like the one yesterday is almost unprecedented in such a quiet country area. Cumbria Constabulary is "the fifth largest force in England and Wales in terms of geographic area (2,268 square miles) but one of the smallest in terms of officer numbers." Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:37, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I would have thought that the incidents at Dunblane and Hungerford would have changed law enforcement in Britain.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 11:15, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
They certainly led to major changes in the law. There are several reasons why we have not gone down the "all police armed" route - not least because the police themselves do not want it. Our tradition of "policing by consent" does not sit easily with a paramilitary force. A routinely armed police force would lead to more criminals arming themselves in their day-to-day criminality. I suspect we also don't have any desire to see levels of gun-related violence anything like America enjoys. Incidents like this one are very rare - and to rush to arm all police just to deal with cases like this would be an idiotic over-reaction which would be very likely to lead to all sorts of negative unintended consequences. As we have seen far too often, most notably in the Menezes case, even well-trained specialist officers are perfectly capable of shooting unarmed innocent people and then lying to all and sundry about what happened. That's something most British people don't want to see any more of. DuncanHill (talk) 11:26, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Information on the current law in the UK is here. Ghmyrtle (talk) 11:32, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
The article on the Cumbrian killings fails to mention how Bird acquired a firearm.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 11:35, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
He had a license for it. Given that Cumbria is a rural area with a significant agricultural economy shotgun ownership is quite high. It's not out of the question that he was a sport shottist, hence the .22 rifle.
ALR (talk) 11:39, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
The case Duncan refers to is the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes.- Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.]
A number of observations were made on Newsnight last night, one of the most pertinent being that these events are in the order of a decade apart. Kneejerk reactions do not lead to good policy, as has been demonstrated by the legislative responses to both of those events. The unintended consequences of both have been significant. Yet neither has reduced the number of illegal personal weapons available.
What both of those indicated to the rational analyst was that the legislation in place at the time should have been adequate, but that it hadn't been properly applied. Neither of the protagonists should have been in possession of a firearms license and failures in the issue and monitoring systems were a contributing factor.
ALR (talk) 11:36, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
To go back to the original point, most UK police services operate Armed Response Vehicles to respond to incidents involving firearms. In a big city like London, they can be there very quickly, but in rural Cumbria it would probably be a different story. See also Police use of firearms in the United Kingdom. Alansplodge (talk) 12:23, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
So a gunman in Cumbria who did not run short of ammo and off himself (save the last bullet for yourself), or a terrorist with a wheelman, could likely have gone to far, far more sites and shot countless more innocents, like a wolf in a sheepfold? Perhaps hundreds? A madman in Texas at the Luby's Cafeteria similarly shot dozens of helpless unarmed citizens until he ran out of ammo, leading Texas to pass a law allowing citizens to carry firearms. In England, do private citizens own hunting weapons (rifles or shotguns)? Could such citizens have improvised a defense against a traveling murderer such as this? If a policeman had encountered the shooter, would he have been limited to hitting him with a billy club or "appealing to his better nature?"Edison (talk) 03:43, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
And of course, private citizens with legally held firearms never run amok killing innocents.... DuncanHill (talk) 07:55, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
The death rate from guns per capita is over thirty times higher in the USA than in England. (talk) 16:13, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Yes because Texas is obviously the model of societies where innocent civilians can feel safe. List of countries by firearm-related death rate.. I think the OP's question has been answered, this discussion does not need to spiral down into personal opinion of the benefits of gun ownership. Vespine (talk) 05:54, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
We have Gun politics in the United Kingdom. Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:48, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Cumbria is a rural place with lots of winding roads, and this guy was a taxi driver in his taxi who knew the area well. By the time he was found he'd driven some forty miles and there were 8 helicopters from the police force, air force and navy, as well as the traffic plod looking for him. Armed response would have almost certainly been in the area in under an hour. They were also looking for him. It's difficult to see how armed civilians would have made any difference. It's difficult to shoot someone you can't find. -- zzuuzz (talk) 08:23, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Meanwhile, back in the real world... Threat assessment and resourcing in policing is based on what crimes actually happen, rather than some speculative nonsense about terrorists taking random potshots at people. FWIW we've lived with terrorism in the UK for many years, we have a much more present awareness of it than you have in the US. Personally I've lost a couple of friends in the province, and I know people who were affected by it on the mainland. Terrorists, per se, do not wander around randomly shooting at people, they generally develop a target and attack it. More recently we've still got some trouble in the province and a number of incidents on the mainland that have a different focus.
I think the fact that Bird had licensed weapons answers the question of whether private citizens have personal weapons. Whether they've actually got the competence to take down a subject in a vehicle without taking down other parties, collateral damage, is pretty questionable. I know from experience how difficult it is to maintain a good enough level of competence with a pistol or revolver. Expecting someone without military experience to have the confidence and presence of mind to get close enough and take him down is pretty optimistic.
For a pair of beat cops in an area car, they may try to contain the target, but they're more likely to just maintain a watch until armed response arrives.
Lets bear in mind that we've only had three of this type of incident in the last 23 years, and inn only one of those has the shooter been vehicle borne. There is far more gun crime using illegal weapons, and that tends to be armed robbery, drug or people trafficking related, so essentially contained.
There are arguments for an against increased or reduced control over personal weapons, personally I'm an advocate for simplifying and relaxing our regulations, as they do nothing to reduce the availability of illegal weapons. The idea that enough people with the time and interest to maintain an adequate level of firearms competence to have a practical effect is barking, IMHO.
ALR (talk) 08:46, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for the responses. My concern was an apparent lack of ability to respond in a timely way to a heavily armed spree killer in rural Britain. How many "Armed Response Units" are there in Cumbria, or where was the nearest one if there were none? Edison (talk) 15:21, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Cumbria Constabulary employs 86 authorised firearms officers out of a total of 1200 officers [1][2]. Gandalf61 (talk) 15:35, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
They also called in armed officers from 3 other counties who would have responded very quickly. --Tango (talk) 16:12, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
As others have said, it's finding the spree killer than is hard. They had the armed officers available to deal with him had they found him. In the US, all police officers routinely carry firearms and a significant number of them end up getting shot with their own weapons (google finds dozens of news stories about such cases, although I can't find any statistics quickly). Since gun ownership in the US is so high, US police have little choice but to carry guns themselves, but it is very low in the UK so the risks from carrying guns routinely are generally considered to outweigh the benefits. --Tango (talk) 16:12, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
In addition to the above, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary who guard the Sellafield facility (which the murderer came as close as a mile to) are routinely armed with automatic weapons (I think either H&K mp5 or mp7s, I can't find a reliable source and I'm slightly reluctant to Google too thoroughly...); I don't know what practical contingency arrangements exist that would allow them to go off-site. It's worth noting that Cumbria, and particularly West Cumbria, is probably the most rural, lest well-roaded part of England (making quick deployment of any force difficult), and I'm not aware of any evidence of this individual having been anywhere near any unarmed officers either. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 16:04, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Doesn't England have far more "authorised firearm officers" than they do "Armed Response Units" which actually carry onboard firearms? Do they have 86 guns back at the station for the 86 officers qualified to use them? Fortunately, per the article on firearms regs, even private citizens licensed to own rifles are restricted in how much ammo they can accumulate, making a Va Tech or Columbine massacre difficult. Did Bird have on board more ammo than the law would allow him to purchase? Having the armed guards at a nuke installation go gallivanting away from the place when there are reports of shooting somewhere sounds like a terrible idea, and just the thing radicals/terrorists would use to make it easier to gain access to the plant. Edison (talk) 22:43, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Each firearms officer has his own weapon, so essentially yes to the first. It has to be borne in mind that each officer is likely to be based at a different station, and the geographic size and difficulty in moving around Cumbria would restrict the ability to consolidate all of them together. Also the shift patterns would mean that only a small number may be available at any one time.
Any experienced shottist could easily make their own rounds, but the number of shots that Bird appears to have taken are well within the ammunition limits. I would note that Columbine had a similar fatality level, even with the second antagonist, the VA Tech incident involved the majority of fatalities being inside a secured building, although
The CNP have limited jurisdictional powers outside the power generation sites, so they wouldn't be expected to go elsewhere, particularly not with their weapons, which are optimised for close quarters operations.
ALR (talk) 07:45, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
As observed above, all of this discussion is pretty moot as the challenge was tracking him down.

2 questions about J.D. Salinger[edit]

Hello, I missed Salinger in the last 4 decades, & am trying now to make up for it. Can somebody answer about those 2 items :

  • 1/ In the end of the '50, aged IO or about, I read a short story (translated in french , in the then somewhat well-read upper-middle class weekly "Paris-Match" ) written, I think, by Salinger . It depicted a young boy's angst in front of his baby brother, & a sentence ran (very approximately) like this : "I then suddenly saw that his milk & him were the same thing, that he was the milk , & the milk was him, & ..., & that we all belonged to the same being ...".

I have a confusing association of that short story plot ending with the fall of a younger brother in an empty swimming-pool, but I don't unravel it clearly from some individual longings I now know I myself half-consciously had at the time. So my question is : is that short story by Salinger ? & if yes what is its name ? & if no, does somebody know its whereabouts ?

  • 2/ I am reading now "A Catcher in the Rye" (&, hush, I find it has not aged along so well...). My question is : who is that Ring Lardner, which is young Holden's next favorite author after his brother D.B. & who wrote a short story (which one ? ) about a cop in love with a very cute girl that's always speeding, & which gets killed because she is always speeding...

Is it Lardner the father or the son ? And do we have to understand that this proclaimed addiction of a 1950 teen-ager (who otherwise says "I am quite illiterate, but I read a lot ") for a 1920 short stories author is a purely derisive Salinger's private joke ?

Thanks a lot for your answers . T.y. Arapaima (talk) 07:48, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

2. It was Ring Lardner (the father) who wrote the short stories. Our article notes that J.D. Salinger admired Lardner. The story in question is "There are Smiles", published in Round Up Gwinva (talk) 09:56, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
1. Maurice Sendak's illustrated In the Night Kitchen includes the lines:

I'm in the milk / And the milk's in me. / God bless milk / And God bless me!

I don't know whether this was original with MS or quoted from an earlier source, as the OP's mention (above) would indicate. -- Deborahjay (talk) 08:59, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
 ::Thanks a lot folks ! Arapaima (talk) 09:02, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

How old may be that Penguin book ?[edit]

Hello, & out of sheer curiosity : does somebody know when could have been issued a Penguin book (JD Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye") I found in a swap-shop, absolutely brand new, ISBN O-14-023749-6, retail price on the sticker : £5.99 (now 0,20 euro !). On french books, printing year is usually found clearly on the last page, but on the lenghty Penguin 3rd page, I don't really find a printing date. If I compare this book withe some of the seldom-handled Penguins on my shelves, I'say : 25 to 35 years old ? Thanks a lot for your answers. T.y. Arapaima (talk) 09:17, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

All we can say for sure is that it was after Decimal Day - 15 February 1971. Are you sure there's no date in the first few pages? --Tagishsimon (talk) 09:24, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I checked on AbeBooks and the only listing with that ISBN number and a date had it at 1994. This page also lists 1994 as the printing year and I see the same cited elsewhere in the web. While I haven't found a truely authoritative source to back this up I'm guessing this is the year. ThemFromSpace 09:28, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Amazon also lists this as 1994. ThemFromSpace 09:30, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
(e/c)5.99 makes it sound like it is quite new, possible the 1990s. On the Penguin editions from the early 1970s that I own, the price is usually around 40-85p!. Anyway, unless someone has removed the title page, there should be a date in the colophon stating the year of printing. I have yet to see a Penguin edition without it. --Saddhiyama (talk) 09:32, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
In almost every book I own the printing year is on the first page (or second, depending how you count them - these pages have no numbers). I'm not sure what to call this part of the book - it isn't really a colophon, it comes before the front matter and it's too plain to be a frontispiece. Anyway, have a look for the dates there - usually "first published" and then "this edition". Edit: alright then, it is a colophon. I should read articles to the end. (talk) 17:26, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
It is the colophon. In most modern books it is placed on the back of the titlepage. --Saddhiyama (talk) 17:31, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks a lot folks ! Arapaima (talk) 09:04, 10 June 2010 (UTC)

how do I not talk so much?[edit]

I talk way the fuck too much, how do I condition myself not to talk so much? (talk) 10:09, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Whenever you catch yourself saying "fuck", get out a stopwatch and say nothing at all for 5 minutes. ;-) --Stephan Schulz (talk) 12:18, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Maybe focus on listening. Ask questions based on what the other person is interested in and let them talk. If you are listening well, you will be able to ask follow-up questions that will prompt them to talk some more. Then when you do talk, keep it brief and responsive to what the other person has said. Marco polo (talk) 13:47, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
another trick is to actively listen to yourself talk. most people who talk too much do it because they are unaware that they are talking too much. if you pay attention to what you say, you will quickly start to bore yourself, and that will lead you to become more selective in what you choose to say. --Ludwigs2 14:17, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, Ludwigs2. (talk) 14:34, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
It's not usually the quantity of talk that's the problem, it's the content. Specifically, people talking, yet saying nothing, is annoying. Some people feel the need to talk whenever there's a silence, and this is bad if they have nothing to say. One cure is to have some things ready to say for just such a silence, like jokes, interesting stories, current events, or odd facts. You might want to rehearse prior to any get-together where the need might arise. On the other hand, if there's no silence that "needs to be filled with talk", then don't interrupt to speak.
Another important thing to keep in mind is "know your audience". Don't talk to grandpa about the latest music video, maybe talk to him about his opinion on General Douglas MacArthur, instead. StuRat (talk) 14:58, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Talking a lot may be an asset - many people find it difficult to find something to say. You should consider for which job or roles it would be beneficial. (talk) 16:18, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
If you're serious, you might consider this or this or this. It might not be as painful as it sounds. Zoonoses (talk) 00:30, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

"Accessory before or after the fact"[edit]

An "accessory" is a person who aids in the commission of an offence of another person. But, who is an accessory "before the fact" or "after the fact"? Thank you so much. (talk) 11:35, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Someone who helps the perpetrator plan the offence, or at least is aware of it and does nothing to stop it happening, could be an accessory before the fact. Someone who becomes aware, only after the event, who the perpetrator was, but still helps them evade the clutches of the law or at least does nothing to alert the authorities, could be an accessory after the fact. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 11:47, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Dr. Samuel Mudd is an historical example of someone who was imprisoned for being an accessory after the fact.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 12:08, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
The important distinction is that helping someone "before the fact" is actually helping to commit the crime itself, while helping afterwords is only assisting the perp in getting away with it, not in committing the crime (although getting away with it may be helping them to commit future crimes). So, "before the fact" is often punished more severely.
There might also be different defenses used in each case. For "before the fact", you might argue that they "thought it was a joke", say when a friend asked for a lift to his g/f's house so he could kill her. For "after the fact", say after hearing gunshots and having the friend jump back in the car with a blood-spattered shirt, a better argument might be that you were afraid for your own life. StuRat (talk) 14:35, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

What Was the First Gun Invented For?[edit]

I was wondering, who invented the first gun, and what did they invent it for? Was it for use in hunting? Or was is made as a weapon or for self-defense? When was the first gun invented, and where? Thanks for the help! Stripey the crab (talk) 12:09, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

I did a Google and found a site called Important Dates in Gun History. It says the first known hand gun was in England in 1375, but does not say whether it was used for warfare, self-defence or hunting.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 12:22, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
An interesting fact is the first known person to be assassinated by a firearm was James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray in 1570. He was the regent of King James VI of Scotland.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 12:26, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Moray was Regent for James VI of Scotland only, Jeanne. James VI did not become James I of England till 33 years after Moray's death. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 21:04, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I knew that Jack. The Morays are not exactly strangers to me. I was only trying to identify King James to those who perhaps were not aware that James VI of Scotland was also James I of England. I have just linked his name which is what I should have done before. I'm afraid history was never my strong point and I've never had much interest in it. takes out tongue in cheek--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 06:42, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Heh. Removing James I's name makes what follows read rather oddly now. Your original version was not that bad; had you mentioned James VI before James I, rather than the other way round, I probably wouldn't have commented at all. Cheers. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 09:49, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I assume that by gun you mean a personal weapon, rather than a gun?
those articles should answer the question.
ALR (talk) 12:36, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Gunpowder was invented in the 800s in China. Our article History of firearms states that fire-lances, which were predecessors of true guns, were used for warfare in China as early as the 900s. The evidence indicates that the Chinese had invented primitive guns, likewise for use in warfare, by the 1100s. The technology later spread west via the Arabs to Europe. Marco polo (talk) 14:06, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Early guns were fairly useless for personal defense or personal use. They could not easily be carried around charged (the powder carried a risk of accidental discharge after being loaded, and was not sealed so quickly became damp and useless in the barrel), took a long time to load (muzzle-loaders), and were relatively inaccurate. They were mostly useful in massed barrage attacks in military contexts, though no doubt they seeped their way into the hunting world once they advanced enough to become more practical than bows and arrows. Cannon came first, and were invented for 'large target' operations - siege devices and inter-ship combat; long-barrelled guns (muskets and eventually rifles) came next, and were combat troop weapons (originally used en-masse from regimented lines (the massed guns offset the weapon's inaccuracy, and multiple lines offset the reload time - one line would fire, then deal with reloading while the second line took aim and fired). Handguns, I believe, were originally officer's weapons, used to keep troops in line - handguns are fairly useless for anything except close-combat situations with other humans. --Ludwigs2 14:15, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Note that the first handguns (hand cannons, really) weren't suitable for close-range use, since you needed to manually load the powder and ball, then hold something flaming to the opening in the back. Getting the enemy to stay still while you did this wouldn't be easy. The accuracy was also so low that they weren't very useful as long-range weapons, either. Until they improved the accuracy and firing mechanism, about the only places they would be useful is for executions or as a rich man's toy. StuRat (talk) 14:24, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
See this article: James II of Scotland.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 14:27, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

We have a History of firearms article, but it is not very detailed on the "why" part of the subject. --Saddhiyama (talk) 15:19, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

As I say above, I think that the article clearly indicates that they were used for warfare. Marco polo (talk) 15:29, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
The first handguns used in Europe were used in battles. The handgun was a short barrel with a touch hole on top of the barrel at its base attached to a short wooden pole which was used as a handle. The short barrel of at least an inch calibre was almost filled with blackpowder and used to fire a stone ball by touching a slow match to the touch hole while the handgun was held under the arm and pointed towards the target. The handgun was inaccurate and could not be aimed. The barrel was designed to hold the blackpowder not to guide the stone ball accurately. The smell of burnt blackpowder and report of their firing scared horses and other troops. The handgun was first used in Europe before 1380 (a Mongol handgun from before 1368 looks very similar). One handgun stone ball could kill a knight wearing coat-of-plates however plate armour started to be introduced from 1400 onwards to defend against longbow arrows and crossbow bolts. Handguns were very cheap to make but the blackpowder was prohibitively expensive. This was the type of handgun used by the Bohemians from their warwagons during the Hussite Wars 1419-1434.
Weren't they called "hand gonnes" when they were first used?-- (talk) 20:48, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

The arquebus was introduced in 1410, a smoothbore muzzle-loaded long barrel of around 0.6 inch calibre attached to a wooden stock. The touch hole was moved from the top to the side of the barrel and a flash pan was added to hold blackpowder primer. A manual matchlock (later replaced with a triggered matchlock with a spring added to move the lock back when the trigger was released) meant that both hands remained on the stock and the arquebus was fired from the shoulder. At first, the barrel was supported on a rest and a lighter arquebus called a caliver was introduced in early 1500s that could be fired without a rest. Arquebuses were inaccurate and had an effective range of 100 yards. A lead ball was used as ammunition. One arquebus lead ball could not kill a knight through plate armor breastplate (except at point blank range).

Rifles were first used for hunting. The military preferred smoothbores because blackpowder quickly fouled rifle barrels and muzzle-loaded rifles take longer to load than smoothbores.
Sleigh (talk) 14:20, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

How many Bs make five?[edit]

I heard a British speaker say, with regard to his time in public school, "I learned how many Bs make five." What does this mean? A search on this, and variations such as "how many bees make five," returned answers such as "A bee, a bee and a half, two bees, and half a bee" but no explanation of the phrase. Is this a grammar or diction exercise, and was it a basis for the Eric the Half-a-Bee song? (talk) 14:44, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Sadly, it looks like the British speaker failed to learn the saying correctly. Google has much more on how many beans make five. It seems to indicate that the person is good at maths / puzzles. The puzzle itself is, allegedly, a couple of hundred years old [3]. The Urban Dictionary alleges it's a shibboleth to determine what social class a person is from [4]. --Tagishsimon (talk) 15:03, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I've always understood it as a reference to understanding that interactions and transactions between people and within organisations in the real world often require a degree of unofficial give-and-take or mild bribery: e.g. "How many . . . ?" "Four for the company and one for my trouble." or ""How many would you like to make it?" (talk) 15:28, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
'Tis far more likely that this non-British listener failed to hear the saying correctly. Thanks. (talk) 15:08, 3 June 2010 (UTC) Fiddle de dum, Fiddle de dean; Eric the half a bean.
On a related matter, how strong is a piece of ling? DuncanHill (talk) 16:04, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Might he be varying the saying for ironic effect, to imply that he never got A marks? (talk) 17:43, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
  • Someone who knows how many beans make five will probably also know their onions, how the cookie crumbles and which side their bread is buttered. They won't have come down with the last shower or have been born yesterday, and, if a grandmother, won't need instruction on sucking eggs. DuncanHill (talk) 08:00, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
And will know where massively useful things are as well. --- OtherDave (talk) 13:18, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

where did Fox argue the right to lie?[edit]

where did Fox News go to court to defend it's right to literally lie in it's news casts - specifically what is the brief / written document or oral argument in which this explicit right is argued. Best would be to link to the actual source material. Specifically, which sentence argues literally the right to (in Fox's words) lie/prevaricate/etc in news casts? Thank you. (talk) 14:56, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Here is a link to a PDF of the legal appeal from the Fox affiliate. You might also want to take a look at our article on Jane Akre. Marco polo (talk) 15:40, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
In case you do not want to read the whole article, here is a very brief synopsis: Two reporters for a local station owned by Fox wanted to do a huge whistle-blower story to get Monsanto into tons of trouble. The local station asked for documentation to back the story. The reporters and the station fought for a long time. The reporters were fired. The reporters sued the station for being fired and claimed that by now not airing their story the station was airing a lie (by omission of truth). The reporters used an FCC policy as the basis of claiming that the station was committing a lie. The station (actually the owners, Fox) stated that FCC policy is not Federal law. Therefore, it is not a Federal crime to break an FCC policy. Therefore, there was no point in wasting tons of money and court time arguing about omission of the story. The reporters claimed it a victory that Fox argued that it is legal to lie in the news. -- kainaw 18:03, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Hi, OP here - thank you for the synopsis but I had some trouble following it, maybe because when you wrote "by now airing their story" did you mean to write "by not airing their story"?? If so, is the only "lie" refusing to air a report some of your reporters made? Also, your synopsis seemed to say that reporters fought with their own company to the point of getting fired. Why would any employee do that? I don't understand this part, I don't see Microsoft programmers fighting Microsoft to the point of getting fired, etc. Is it one of those "journalism" things? Thanks. (talk) 18:43, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
The employees alleged that each of the 80+ times that the Fox station "asked for documentation", as Kainaw put it, the station was editing their report to make Monsanto look good, avoiding the truth of their findings. It's an "integrity" thing, the reporters allege, not just a "journalism" thing — to make up a cartoonish example, suppose you worked at the Washington Post and did a lot of work for a year on a story that showed that President Richard M. Nixon had illegally obstructed justice, but your editor rewrote your story so it said that Nixon was a really legal guy who was enthusiastic about tiny radios and locksmithing. The reporters would try to raise hell internally to try to get the real story published, to the point of getting fired, yes. Comet Tuttle (talk) 19:15, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I suppose to be fair we could also paint it the other way, and compare the reporters to UFO cranks trying to get the paper to publish a story about aliens they have convinced themselves are concealed in Area 51. Which would still be a matter of integrity, if they are sincere. (talk) 19:36, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I was trying to be neutral and not claim that their story was real truth or Michael Moore-style truth. I've never seen the story that they wanted to run and I don't know if it was ever published. However, the claim that Fox News argued that they have the right to tell complete lies on air is not entirely true. They claimed that an FCC policy is not a law and cannot be applied as a law. -- kainaw 21:48, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Just to be clear, this is not Fox News, the network, but a news program on a local Fox-affiliated television station. So hopefully the OP isn't trying to link this to the blustery infotainment of Fox News. Adam Bishop (talk) 22:13, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I seriously doubt that the OP is trying to link this to Fox News. It is much more likely that the OP read in a blog somewhere that Fox News is so evil that they went to court to get the right to lie about the news. Luckily, the OP came here validate that claim. -- kainaw 22:17, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

is there any way to "own more than 100%" of a company?[edit]

Would there be any way to "own more than 100%" of a company, for example such that if all of the outstanding shares are valued at $1 million dollars, then you have $1.1 million dollars, because you "own" 110% of the company (it is okay if it is not really "owning" but rather some kind of complex derivative), and if the outstanding shares double in value, putting the market cap of the company at $2 million, then you can monetize $2.2 million instead, with the same 110% ownership... ? I realize it is a long shot, but I know options can be quite leveraged, so I thought maybe there is some kind of financial leverage with this effect... naturally I am only talking metaphorically when I say "own". THank you. (talk) 15:35, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes. See short selling. It involves selling borrowed shares, but the person you borrow them from still effectively owns them (and profits if the share price goes up). So, if you own 100% of the shares and then I borrow 10% of those shares from you and sell them to you, you will effectively own 110% of the shares. Your extra profit comes from my loss (since I effectively own -10% of the shares, so lose money if the share price goes up). --Tango (talk) 16:07, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
For securities lending, I thought that you needed to borrow the shares from a third party though. Googlemeister (talk) 16:13, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Ok, so the OP owns 100% of the company, you borrow 10% of them from him, sell them them to me and I then sell than back to the OP. It makes no difference. --Tango (talk) 19:29, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
It still strikes me as preposterous that you can own 110% of a company, any more then you can own 110% of an apple pie. Hypothetically, if you own an apple pie (100%) and you agree to let your brother short sell 10% of the pie so that you can buy it, you still do not have more then 100% of the pie. That would be like him borrowing $20 from you so that he can pay you the $20 he owes. It might make sense if he borrows the $20 from a third party, but from you? Googlemeister (talk) 19:50, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Well, I guess it depends on your definition of "owner". The person that the shares have been borrowed from still gains or loses money (either from share price changes or dividends) as if they owned the shares (since the borrower has to pay any dividends and they can make the borrower give back the shares if they want to sell them), so they do effectively still own that portion of the company. Here's a reference if you want one: [5]. The only difference is that the person the shares are borrowed from no longer has the voting rights of the shares. [6] --Tango (talk) 20:37, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure Tango's scenario only applies if you fail to cover and if the shorts sold exceed the company's value. In reality, this almost never exceeds even the company's float. There are somethings where you can "own" more than 100%, like when a bank lends money and expands the money supply, but that's not exactly the same thing. Insofar as you can "own" more than 100% of a company's stock, it's more akin to currency supply than it is to actual ownership. Shadowjams (talk) 04:02, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
One other thing. I think in some circumstances the short owner can actually vote, although those regulations are beyond complicated and I could be wrong. The other is that the first link Tango provides only says that your downside risk is beyond 100%. That's not the same as owning 100%. There are lots of ventures where your downside risk can be beyond 100%.... like running a business as a partnership. Shadowjams (talk) 04:04, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
You are confusing your percentages - whenever you quote a percentage you need to specify what it is a percentage of (unless it is obvious from context). The article I linked to says the downside risk is greater than 100% of the amount of money you started with - not 100% of the market capitalisation of the company. It doesn't mention the scenario I describe because it is an artificial scenario and is very unlikely to actually happen. --Tango (talk) 15:24, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
(TWO e.c.'s.) Sorry, but Tango's description of short selling is wrong. "...the OP owns 100% of the company, you borrow 10% of them from him, sell them them to me and I then sell th[em] back to the OP." When someone borrows something, what has been borrowed is (usually) returned. When shares are borrowed, the shares themselves are returned (not their monetary value or any other substitute). Repeat: the SHARES are borrowed; the SHARES are returned. Tango's description nowhere mentions the return of the shares by the borrower to the owner who lent the shares (or alternatively to the brokerage holding them in street name); he refers to a "sale", which is not logical (I borrowed my neighbor's hammer, then sold it "back" to him?). As for owning more than 100%, the fact is that you can own 100% of a company's STOCK and still NOT own the company ... specifically, if the company is unable to fulfill its obligations to lenders; in that case, the value of the stock falls to nothing, the company still exists, the lenders own the company (to be broken up and sold or continued after restructuring), and you own nothing. (talk) 04:13, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Three little things. Shares and stocks are the same thing. If I remember right, Delaware uses the term "shares" but other states use "stock". I know of no difference between the two. Second, the confusion comes from the notion that the person who loaned the hammer/shares is an owner while the person who borrowed the hammer/shares is also an owner. Only one gets "ownership", for whatever that means. Dividends, voting rights, etc., they don't get duplicated.
Finally, if you own 100% of the shares you own 100% of the company's equity; creditors are not "owners" in any traditional meaning of that term. Yes creditors can force dissolution (in the real world almost always receivership or bankruptcy first), but they're not owners. For discussion of that you might want to google for look at deepening insolvency and/or zone of insolvency. There can be different classes of stock, and so you could own a majority of shares and not have voting rights, or better dividends, but at the point you own 100%, you own it all. Shadowjams (talk) 04:28, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Leo Bloom: Max, you can only sell 100% of anything.
Max Bialystock: And how much of Springtime for Hitler have we sold?
Leo Bloom: 25,000%.
--- OtherDave (talk) 14:21, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
You only return the shares when you close the position. I'm describing the situation between the short position being taken and it being closed. When you take a short position you borrow shares and then sell them. That's the way it works. There is nothing stopping the person you borrowed them from (who wouldn't even know you had borrowed them - their broker worries about that) buying them. --Tango (talk) 15:24, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Stock lending is a misnomer - in fact, title to the borrowed shares is transferred to the borrower, just as if the borrower had bought the shares. The borrower then (usually) transfers title on to a third party in settlement of a sale already made to that party - that is the "short sale" part. At some future date (either fixed in advance or at the option of the lender) the borrower has to return the same quantity of the same shares to the lender. But title to the shares always passes with the shares - during the duration of the "loan", the third party will appear on the company's register as the beneficial owner of those shares, not the lender. So if the lender originally owned 100% of the company's shares, and then lent out 10%, then during the duration of the loan they only own 90%. If they bought back those 10%, then they own 100% again - but now the borrower has no shares with which to close out the loan. So the short answer is - no, you cannot own more than 100% of a company. You can, of course, use derivatives to create a financial exposure that is more than 100% of the value of the company - but that is not ownership. Gandalf61 (talk) 19:41, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
The OP is clearly talking about ownership in a purely financial sense - owning shares such that you could sell them for more than the market cap (assuming the share price stays the same during the sale, which it obviously wouldn't). Under the scenario I describe, the person in question could sell 110% of the shares in the company (he sells 10%, demands that 10% back under the loan agreement, and then sells 100% - he wouldn't know that was going on, though, since the broker would handle it all, all he'd know is that he had told is broker to sell all the shares he owns in the company which, as far as he is aware, is 110% of them). Similarly, if the company paid out a total dividend of a billion dollars then he would receive 1.1 billion dollars. Apart from votes, he owns 110% of the company for all intents and purposes. --Tango (talk) 21:07, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, no, he doesn't own 110% in any sense whatsoever. Onership means legal title. He can't vote 110% of the shares of the company. He doesn't appear on the company's register as owning 110% of the company. The company doesn't pay dividends on 110% of its shares - it pays dividends on 100% of its shares, and any additional dividends are paid by the borrower and called "manufacturd dividends" (stock lending would be made illegal if it implied unscrupulous investors could make a company pay dividends on more shares than it had issued !). He can't sell 110% of the company's shares in one block - how could that trade be settled ? He can only sell more than 100% of the shares if he sells in two or more trades, in effect selling shares to himself and then selling them on again. This BBA guide to stock lending may make things clearer. Gandalf61 (talk) 23:30, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
The dollars he gets from the loan agreement that replaced 10% of his shares when the company pays a dividend are exactly the same colour as the dollars he would have got from the shares themselves had he kept them. What difference does it make if they are "manufactured"? A dollar is a dollar. The only way in which he doesn't have 110% is when voting. The value of his brokerage account is 110% of the market cap of the company. He gets 110% of any dividends. The OP made very clear what sense of ownership he was talking about: money. Not votes. --Tango (talk) 23:37, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Ownership means legal title, not economic exposure. I could bet on the company's shares so that I gain or lose $110 for every $100 change in the company's market cap (much simpler and cheaper than your implausible scheme of lending shares and buying them back again), but I wouldn't own any part of the company. I could bet on the company's dividend so that I receive $1.10 for every $1 of dividend, but I still wouldn't own any part of the company. There is no generally accepted sense of ownership in which it is possible to own more than 100% of a company. You are making up your own language here. Gandalf61 (talk) 23:57, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
No, the OP is making up the language, as they are perfectly entitled to do in their own question. The OP had a good sense to put the word "own" in quotes to stop ridiculous pedants. I wish I had done the same. I have answered the OP's question. I really don't care what the generally accepted senses of ownership are; I care about what the OP wants to know. I have used the word "own" in the way the OP very clearly defined it. --Tango (talk) 00:02, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Then we should inform and educate the OP by correcting their misunderstanding, as several other editors have tried to do above - not reinforce their error by making up answers to fit. "We expect responses that not only answer the question, but are also factually correct" - Wikipedia:Reference desk/Guidelines. Gandalf61 (talk) 00:17, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
The OP has no misunderstanding. They know they are using the word in a non-standard way, hence the quotes. I was careful to say "effectively own" not "own" and I am sure the OP understood the distinction, given the similar care with which the question was asked. --Tango (talk) 00:29, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Tango is wrong about this. If A owns 100% of the stock, lends 10% to B, and then B sells the borrowed stock back to A, A now has 100% of the stock plus an IOU for 10% of the stock. The only way for B to redeem the IOU is to buy 10% of the stock from A, and then return the loan. At that point, A has 100% of the stock again. If B does not buy stock from A, and so does not redeem the loan, A has 100% of the stock plus a worthless IOU. In neither case does A have "110%" of the stock, nor can he sell his position for "110%" of the market capitalization (which is specifically what the OP asked about). As for Shadowjams comments: 1) I was using STOCK and SHARES to mean the same thing, so what is your point?, and 2) my response specifically decscribed a conditional situation (corporation unable to satisfy debtors; equity owners now "own" nothing at all, or i.e. "own" something with zero value), and given that condition, it was accurate. Your entire post seems completely irrelevant. (talk) 03:07, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
I am not wrong. I have never said A would own 110% of the stock, I have said A would effectively own 110% of the stock (for all intents and purposes except voting). Holding an IOU for shares with very low credit risk (which such IOUs have) is effectively the same as holding the shares themselves (except with regards to voting). It's the same idea as money creation - when a bank lends money to someone, it increases the money supply, nobody quibbles about the difference between a £10 note and a bank balance of £10 - they can both be used to buy £10 worth of goods and services, so they are effectively the same thing. In your first scenario, A doesn't just have 100% of the stock; A has 100% of the stock plus money equal to 10% of the market cap, since he's just sold 10% of the stock. He can then sell the other 100%, and will (assuming the share price stays constant, which we all know it wouldn't really) then have money equal to 110% of the market cap (exactly what the OP wanted). Your second scenario can't happen - B has a contractual obligation to return the shares when demanded, so if A makes that demand and then puts some shares up for sale, B has to buy them (or be in breach of contract, but B's broker wouldn't allow B to do that). --Tango (talk) 12:48, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Leaving the diversion into the mechanics of stock lending, and returning to the OP's original question, the correct answer is as follows. Yes, it is possible to gain leveraged exposure to a company's share price that is more than 100% of a company's market capitalisation. You don't need complex derivatives to achieve this - an enormous bet on the company's share price will suffice, if you can find someone else to take the other side of that bet. No, this in no sense means that you "own" more than 100% of the company. Economic exposure and ownership are completely separate and distinct concepts - you can have either one without the other (an uncovered bet has exposure without ownership; a fully hedged seller of single stock futures has ownership without exposure) - so you should try not to mix them up. Gandalf61 (talk) 09:24, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
Tango, seriously, it's time to admit that you were wrong and move on. LOOK at what you have descended into!: "Your second scenario can't happen - B has a contractual obligation to return the shares when demanded, so if A makes that demand and then puts some shares up for sale, B has to buy them (or be in breach of contract, but B's broker wouldn't allow B to do that)." WOW! Why not just describe whatever dream you had last night and use it as a definition of "reality." DUDE -- deal with it: YOU WERE WRONG. It HAPPENS. (talk) 08:33, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I am not wrong. Everything I have said has been factually accurate. Yes, it's using a slightly non-standard definition of ownership, because that's what the OP wanted. That doesn't make it wrong. This is a reference desk, we are here to help people find information they want. We are not here to provide them with the information that you think they should want. --Tango (talk) 20:16, 6 June 2010 (UTC)

Walter v. Lane [1900][edit]

I'm looking for the actual detail of the case - original records of some sort as a reference for a project on which I am working. I can't find any transcripts or rulings online. Are there any online? If not, are there any direct references to printed copies I could simply copy (it's not that important, I don't need to have seen it myself). It's a landmark case in IP law in the UK, but I've had no luck. Thanks. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 18:15, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Is the ref at Walter v Lane any good to you? --Tagishsimon (talk) 18:17, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I had an edit conflict to show I'd read that article. It's a start, but more would be better. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 18:20, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Some context might help. In my (limited) experience, references to case law is normally given in a fashion such as Walter v Lane 1900, A.C. 539 H.L., and lawyers &c will be able to use the AC539 index number to find the case in the Official Law Reports, published by the Incorporated Council of Law Reporting (or in republications thereof). The AC539 reference is based on the Oxford Standard for Citation Of Legal Authorities; It is not normal to give an academic reference pointing to this page in that book if one wants to cite the case or its results. Do you need a better reference than the ones the professionals use? --Tagishsimon (talk) 18:34, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

(Reply, but untended) OK, I see. What I've got is two issues. Firstly, the reference, for which your suggestion would be perfect, and some notion of the text of the ruling itself, to tie to it/quote from it. Since we've got the reference part, the question now becomes: is the text of the ruling online somewhere? Failing that, it is in a more mainstream book that I could request my county library? I could possibly lay my hands on the All-England or official Law Reports, but I'm trying to avoid that. Thanks again. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 18:42, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Do you have access to LexusNexus Butterworths? Does your library? That'd surely be the easiest way to get it. All-England or official Law Reports paper volumes second choice. Finding it anything other than summarised in a few short sentences of the sort we have in our article in another publication is, I fear, most unlikely. Is the context of your use such that providing that sort of summary and referencing it with the AC539 reference will not work? A Walter v. Lane 1900 google search will give you a range of short descriptions of the case from which you can synthesise your own. Apologies if I'm going off beam. And it sucks that the case report is not online, since it's surely in the public domain by now. --Tagishsimon (talk) 18:51, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
All good suggestions. Some LexisNexis stuff is available online using the computers in the library now I check (vaguely called "statutes, legal cases, law reports and more") which I think is a fair bet. - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 18:55, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Yup, if you can navigate through its interface, you'll likely get there. I had a look through Free Case Law Resources on the web and went into British and Irish Legal Information Institute but couldn't find it. Good luck. --Tagishsimon (talk) 19:00, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
If you don't have any luck with the above methods you can try the resource request. --Richardrj talk email 19:05, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

handguns in the b.w.c.a.[edit]

  • This question has been removed as it may be a request for legal advice. Wikipedia does not give legal advice or opinions because there is no guarantee that our advice would be accurate or relate to your situation and location. We simply cannot be an alternative to visiting your legal professional, so we implore you to try them instead. If this is not a request for legal advice, please explain what you meant to ask, either here or at the talk page discussion (if a link was provided).

It wasn't a request for legal advice, it was a request for information, which we are allowed to give. DuncanHill (talk) 07:40, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

See the talk page for a discussion about this post. Also, you can see the previous question and responses by looking in the history, or at this old revision. Buddy431 (talk) 19:13, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't participate on the RefDesk talkpage. I was one of the previous responders, and I object to the removal of my good-faith post without either warning or notification by the remover, to whom I have commenter directly on his talk page. DuncanHill (talk) 10:13, 5 June 2010 (UTC)

authoritarian and libertarian nations[edit]

which nations are authoritarian and which are libertarian? -- 19:50, 3 June 2010

Are you referring to widespread national attitudes or government structures? Any dictatorship is "authoritarian" in the second respect. New Hampshire is often considered to be rather libertarian within the United States... AnonMoos (talk) 19:54, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
China, North Korea and Iran would be considered authoritarian by many people. Perhaps Holland, Sweden, New Zealand might be considered somewhat more libertarian than others; if you want a few quick examples. --Tagishsimon (talk) 20:24, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Really (re Sweden)? Some people remember news articles of past years about how Swedish parents are very restricted in the names they can give to their children, and sometimes are only allowed to paint their houses in one of a few pre-approved colors. The popular perception of Sweden in the U.S. is much more as being a socialist country than libertarian... AnonMoos (talk) 20:59, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I'd agree there. Considering the examples, I'd say there is a bit of a mix-up between libertarian and liberal in the sense of far away from moral values based conservatism. That's possibly what those countries do have in common, but it is does not fit the common interpretation of libertarian./Coffeeshivers (talk) 21:10, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
"Moral values based conservatism"? Bit of an oxymoron surely? DuncanHill (talk) 07:39, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
There are a variety of Indices of economic freedom, usually published by libertarian leaning organisations, but they only rate one aspect of libertarianism obviously. Edit: See a similar thing was mentioned below. In terms of the above points, you clear need someway to weight each measure and ultimately it's going to be fairly arbitary. The US obviously generally has severe restrictions on recreational drugs, no recognition of same sex marriages nor any universal recognition of same sex relationships (but with recognition of opposite sex relationships), prostitution is largely illegal etc. Nil Einne (talk) 15:53, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
It's all relative. What do you want to use as a central point? --Tango (talk) 20:40, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Political compass (the chart at right)...basically, there is no real "center", just the four quadrants. Ks0stm (TCG) 21:40, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
This is how I remember all this being described in my history classes. Ks0stm (TCG) 21:40, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
There isn't a central region in those definitions, but there is still a point at the centre and it is pretty arbitrary where you put it. --Tango (talk) 22:19, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

I recommend checking out the article "List of indices of freedom". Gabbe (talk) 20:40, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

It's of note that if you interpret "libertarian" to be "minimal government restriction", one could make an argument that the line between libertarianism and general anarchy is pretty slim. (I'm not sure a thoughtful libertarian would dispute that point, but I could be wrong.) Under such a definition, Somalia from 1991 to 2006 was fairly "libertarian" in the sense that liberty was not denied by a state body. (Of course, liberty was not affirmed by it either, but therein lies the rub.) Some Libertarian economists have even argued that Somalia was better off under anarchy that it was under government, but I tend to be a bit skeptical that anyone would choose to live there if they had much of a chance to live elsewhere under such conditions. --Mr.98 (talk) 23:24, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

Ancient Mongol tax[edit]

before Genghis Kahn, was there any? (I assume he needed tax to pay for his postal system and possibly the army, if they weren't forced into it; also I read that one of his laws exempted priests from tax.) (talk) 20:05, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

I know Tibet had lots of taxes, and most monks were exempt. I also heard somewhere that Tibet and Mongolia used a similar social and political system at one time or another, but I don't know if Mongolia before Genghis Khan was much Buddhist. Rimush (talk) 22:04, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
Where you think about taxes between mongols.? I know that in China mongol rule adopted previous taxation systems that were already in place. (can be confirmed in most chinese history books about that period). ie Tax in pre-mongol china existed. (talk) 15:05, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

One vote makes a difference?![edit]

Last Sunday, Austrian Burgenland elected a new Landtag. This is not very interesting for the rest of the world, however one single vote made a subtantial difference there: Of 188,960 votes, all parties needed to win at least 4% or 7558.4 votes, and one managed exactly 7559, causing the strongest party to lose the absolute majority. Have there been other cases like this in history? --KnightMove (talk) 22:05, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Just speculating, but in small rural towns I wouldn't be surprised if elections (relatively) frequently come down to 3 votes or less (imagine, for example, elections in Frederick, Kansas or Gross, Nebraska), but on a larger scale, I would assume this is much rarer. Ks0stm (TCG) 22:12, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
I recall a short newspaper blurb about a sheriff's election in California from 15 years ago in which he won by one vote. "Fortunately, I voted for myself," he was quoted as having said. Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:24, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
It seems that every November, there is a story in the U.S. about some local election somewhere that resulted in a tie and had to be settled by a coin flip or some other game of chance. Since the U.S. has elections for districts as small as a precinct, let alone towns with fewer than 100 people, tie or one-vote-margin elections likely happen all the time. When I was growing up, the local school levy (in a community of nearly 100,000 people) passed by a margin of one vote. One problem is that, as we learned from the Bush-Gore election, elections in the U.S. often have a "margin of error" that might be greater than the actual margin. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 00:08, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't think the US is unique in that regard. In the UK, all votes are counted by hand, which pretty much eliminates the kind of systemic problems you see with electronic voting in the US, but it means there is a very real chance of the human being(s) checking a ballot paper simply misreading it. It is standard practice to have a recount if the final count is very close, but even with that there is a significant amount of luck in how extremely marginal seats go. --Tango (talk) 01:46, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
This happens fairly regularly in the UK's local elections, for example this year. Once you had recounts, the margin of error is close to, if not exactly, 0 (although some papers may have been spoiled). - Jarry1250 [Humorous? Discuss.] 07:32, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Oh yes, when I was active in UK local politics back in the 90s, I was at one election count where two candidates were exactly tied, after a recount, so they drew lots to determine the winner. Then they examined the spoilt ballot papers and argued over one where the voter had drawn a big "X" over the whole paper, and argued over which side of the dividing line between the two candidates the centre of the X was - that argument went to the High Court for a decision, which was that the paper really was spoilt and couldn't be counted for either side. -- Arwel Parry (talk) 22:46, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
See List of narrow elections. PrimeHunter (talk) 01:54, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Thanks! --KnightMove (talk) 03:39, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Harold St. Maur was elected MP for Exeter in December of 1910 by 4 votes, with his party going on to become the largest party, by 1 seat, which they needed to significantly rewrite the country's government, but months later the votes there were recounted, and his opponant won by a single vote on a technicality. However, by then the election victory had gained the Liberal reforms the support of king George V, and the intended changes went ahead anyway. (talk) 10:24, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
The above is not quite accurate. In fact the Liberals and the Unionists had the same number of seats in the December 1910 election, but in practice the Liberal government had a substantial majority because it was supported on all important votes by both the Labour Party and the Irish Nationalists. It would not have mattered if Exeter had gone the other way. In British elections, a single seat either way is not likely to have a big effect on who forms the Government, although potentially the fact that the Labour government lost a motion of no confidence on 28 March 1979 was caused by the Labour Party's loss of Plymouth Drake by 34 votes in the previous general election (this being the most marginal seat which might have gone Labour but didn't). Some years ago the Guinness Book of Records used to record the case of the Zanzibarian election of 18 January 1961, when the Afro-Shirazi Party won by one seat, after the seat of Chake-Chake on Pemba Island was won by a single vote. Sam Blacketer (talk) 20:53, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
In the United Kingdom general election, 1964, Labour gained a tiny majority of 4 seats in Parliament. The first Labour MP in Sussex, Dennis Hobden, was elected by 22,308 votes to 22,301 for the Conservative. The result was declared only after the ballots had been recounted something like 7 times. Arguably if 4 voters had voted the other way, Harold Wilson would not have been able to govern for over a year with that majority in the House. Sussexonian (talk) 20:56, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

History of the Identification Card[edit]

Hello I was just wondering when humans started using identification cards or photo IDs. I figure photo IDs came about after the camera was invented, obviously, so probably around the 1800's. What country started using them first? What sorts of information was on them? Who used them? Why are they the size they are? LorenLorenvf (talk) 22:51, 3 June 2010 (UTC)

Our very long article Identity document doesn't have any information about its history, though the first link in "External Links" is to some sort of collective blog about the history of ID cards. I'll raise the point on the article's discussion page. Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:21, 3 June 2010 (UTC)
It begins with black and white photos pasted into passports and blind-stamped by the issuing office. Right after WWI Britain began issuing formal passports that were required to be accompanied by a passport photo.--Wetman (talk) 03:34, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
This article on the history of the passport may be of interest. Ghmyrtle (talk) 07:24, 4 June 2010 (UTC)