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

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March 3[edit]

Prussian regiment in painting[edit]

Attack of Prussian Infantry, June 4th, 1745. Painting by Carl Röchling (1855-1920)

Me and my friend are having an argument over this painting showing some Prussian troops in action. I am trying to say that they are just grenadiers, (as even the page Grenadier features the painting). He is suggesting due to the title that they are different type of infantry, such as Royal Guards, who wore similar hats. I am having difficulty finding information regarding the painting however, the flag especially might be helpful. Anything would be appreciated.

The painting is here: [1] (talk) 00:02, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Some better information here, though it does not answer the question: File:Hohenfriedeberg - Attack of Prussian Infantry - 1745.jpg. Attack of Prussian Infantry, June 4th, 1745. Painting by Carl Röchling (1855-1920). --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:08, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Which in turn takes us to Battle of Hohenfriedberg --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:10, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
And I wonder if they are the Prussian Dragoon Regiment Number 5 Bayreuth Dragoons - the essentials of the standard in the picture match that shown in the Dragoon's article. --Tagishsimon (talk) 00:14, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
There were certainly grenadiers present at Hohenfriedberg, according to this order of battle. (Prussian Grenadier regiemnst were named after their CO). The uniforms in the painting match this plate by Richard Knoetel of the 6th Grenadier Guard Regiment. This source has poor reproductions of the regimental colours (flag); it's possible one of the grenadier colours is similar. Gwinva (talk) 00:43, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
The 6th Grenadiers seems a good bet, given this miniature enthusiast's post here. Gwinva (talk) 00:55, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
and here we have an article on the grenadier guards: [2], complete with uniforms, flags, and Rochling's painting. No reference to the "6th" designation, though. Perhaps the "6th" I noted on Knoetel's painting is a plate number, not a regimental number??? Gwinva (talk) 01:00, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
This German site[3] lists the INFANTERIE-REGIMENT NR. 6 Grenadier-Garde and says of them; "4.6. 1745 Hohenfriedberg machte es in der Garde-Brigade im ersten Treffen links den letzten Infanterie-Angriff mit bei 184 Mann Ausfällen". Perhaps someone with better German than me could translate please? Alansplodge (talk) 18:11, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Succesful towns that look horrible?[edit]

In the UK, at least, the towns or cities that look unattractive are the ones that have high unemployment and high crime. Whereas the places that look attractive invariably have low unemployment and low crime.

Are there any examples of exceptions to this rule?

I'm wondering if a town that looks unattractive leads to the educated job-makers moving somewhere else. So the best way to lower unemployment and crime in the long-run would be to spend money on making it look nicer. (talk) 01:29, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

I suspect you have that backwards: places that have high crime and unemployemnt have no tax base and thus no money to spend on keeping things attractive. Bielle (talk) 02:13, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
It's often even more direct than that - crime makes things ugly. Graffiti, boarded up windows where a burglar has smashed them, drug paraphernalia scattered about, etc.. Even unemployment makes things ugly - you have groups of people with nothing to do hanging out in the streets dropping litter, etc.. --Tango (talk) 02:31, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
It is often the case in economies such as the United Kingdom that have lost much of their industrial base that the successful towns are the pretty towns (or vice versa), but historically the success of towns such as Birmingham rested on some very dirty industry and the cheap labor of impoverished workers. Birmingham was notoriously unpretty in the 19th century. Today, there are some very successful places in other parts of the world that owe their success to manufacturing, such as Dongguan, China. See this image. Marco polo (talk) 03:14, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
For a further example of Bille's point, see Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, which some time ago stopped using its streetlights because the city couldn't afford the electric bills. Nyttend (talk) 04:41, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm sure there are elements of confirmation bias and what you might call "disparagement by association". One hundred years ago Bradford was a very prosperous city, and had many fine buildings (it also had many slums). Since the middle of the 20th century, much of Bradford's prosperity slipped away (mainly because textile manufacture moved to other countries. It still has some of its fine buildings, but its popular image includes a number of negative features, but ignores its architecture. --ColinFine (talk) 08:55, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Obligatory link to Broken window theory. Is what you are seeing some form of (positive?) Feedback loop? As alluded to above if your town is boarded-up, got broken glass everywhere, grafitti etc. is that as tempting a place to open a new business as say somewhere that looks prosperous and clean/tidy? So more businesses (job creation) leave the area or fail to setup in the area, leading to more boarded-up shops, more likelihood of grafitti (I assume a maintained building has a much lower chance of being grafitti'd than an abandoned one) and again less desire for a new business to come in and setup its business. That said it'd be difficult to separate Cause and effect for something like this. 09:53, 3 March 2010 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Supporting Bielle's argument. Industries invest where they can make most profit - for whatever reason, and those reasons change over time. For example, access to supplies of coal and iron was vital to industrial development in the 19th century, when many UK cities developed, but now is not - steel production, and heavy industry generally, has moved to other parts of the world where costs of materials and labour are lower. Those original cities still exist - but in many cases have high unemployment, low investment in their city centres and environmental improvements, and many of the most skilled people have moved away elsewhere. Many large businesses now locate where there are good educational skills available, and an attractive environment - in terms of urban landscape, cultural environment, attractive countryside and so forth. But that only presents a very broad picture - there are many examples of highly attractive places in relatively deprived areas of the country, and equally many examples of unattractive places in relatively prosperous areas - particularly where there has been very large scale and rapid suburban development in areas of high housing demand (such as, from personal experience, Yate near Bristol- "the 45th worst place to live in the UK", according to the Idler book of Crap Towns). Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:55, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I agree completely with Ghmyrtle, and I want to highlight the work of academics such as Edward Glaeser, who says that the key factors determining the success of a modern city are its skills base, urban amenities and availability of housing. Glaeser blogged about the impact of the recession on cities here[4] He wrote about British cities in Prospect magazine[5]--Pondle (talk) 18:31, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

I would guess we have a lot of comments from our American chums above. But in Britain the effect may be more marked because 1) some places have pretty historic architecture, and other places don't. 2) The UK is a smaller place - its easier to move from one town or city to another. Thanks for the one counter-example given so far. This has wandered off topic - I asked about any connection between attractiveness and success for towns and cities, not what factors are associated with local economies. (talk) 00:45, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Many places in Continental Europe look like "bad neighborhoods" from a U.S. perspective with graffiti, fading concert posters and litter all around. But these are often middle-income places with low rates of poverty and violent crime. The link between urban ugliness and socioeconomic problems seems to be much more pronounced in the U.S. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 22:08, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

It's "for religious reasons"[edit]

Seeks and other people of religious faith ofetn get special dispensation to do things others can not, like ride a motocycle without a helmet or ware hats in school etc etc. Now imagine I "make up" my own faith with some clause that I have to ware a hat on wednesdays. I'm told by the school that I have to take the hat off and the polieve tell me I have to ware a crash helmet on my mototcylce. I claim it's my religious. Would would this be considered as a valid reason? What requremests are needed to your religion to be acted upon by the wider societe?> —Preceding unsigned comment added by Delvenore (talkcontribs) 02:15, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Historically, it's been important to brainwash enough people into thinking you have special powers enabling you to talk to an invisible man who lives in the sky. Once a certain quantity of believers is reached, your actions stop being signs of psychosis and start being signs of literally being better than the folks who don't hear voices. At that point, you'll be a spokesperson for an "established" religion and be able to get away with all kinds of neat stuff. Matt Deres (talk) 02:23, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Matt, if you can't give a polite answer that doesn't ridicule everyone who disagrees with you, maybe you should consider not answering reference desk questions. DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:14, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Uh... I also think it is stupid that people can use their religion to bypass things that are normally required of people for safety reasons... but to group everyone who believes in a god as unreasonable nutjobs is pretty ignorant of you. (talk) 02:56, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Who said theists were unreasonable nutjobs? Nobody seems to have said that except you. That said, while "nutjob" is clearly a subjective term, "unreasonable" is entirely accurate. Religion is not based on reason, it is based on faith. It is entirely unreasonable. --Tango (talk) 03:01, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Well, every religion that receives serious consideration has an ancient history. You can't just make stuff up. Not plausibly, anyway. -- SortedButter (talk) 03:03, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Your questions are unanswerable unless you specify a jurisdiction. (And, no, heaven has no power here ...) (talk) 03:07, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

"Unreasonable" depends on the person. Believe it or not, some people who believe in a higher power can function as normal, reasonable human beings who have a grasp on reality and who don't believe they are superior to others who don't follow their beliefs. Oh, and just because it wasn't directly said doesn't mean it wasn't implied. (talk) 03:15, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Um, anyway, all of the above aside, different legal systems have different requirements for being designated as an officially sanctioned religion. An example of some of the differences in jurisdictional ruling on this for "arbitrary"/"modern"/"non-traditional" religions can be seen in our article on Scientology status by country, which is basically the situation described in the original post. As for what counts in each country towards its decisions, I think a more in-depth investigation would be needed to answer that, with a list of countries to know about indicated. In the US it is governed by part of the tax code which indicates what the IRS considers "a religion", which is then ruled upon by the IRS. Claiming it is your religion without your religion and its practices formally recognized by the state would probably not work, and even if the practices are recognized, it does not give you arbitrary leeway (in the US, for example, you still have to obey the law). --Mr.98 (talk) 04:28, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Mr.98, the IRS code applies only to tax issues -- it is far from dispositive as to religious status in all areas of U.S. law. Anyway, to the OP: you don't name a jurisdiction. In the U.S., there have been many Supreme Court cases dealing with your questions. See Employment Division v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872 (1990), just for one example. As for not wearing a motorcycle helmet (or whatever), the courts have often upheld laws that apply equally to all people but incidentally criminalize behavior dictated by a religion. As for someone just making up a religion to claim exemption from the law, see Theriault v. Silber, 495 F.2d 390 (5th Cir. 1974). You refer to wearing a hat in school; in the unlikely event that you were to sue the school, claiming a 1st Amendment right to wear the hat, your claim to belong to a religion that demands the wearing of the hat would be evaluated as a factual matter -- i.e., are you lying, or does your faith really demand that you wear the hat? The courts have found some such claims to be obvious BS; if that were true for you, your 1st Amendment claim would fail. Needless to say, it is entirely possible that you do, in fact, observe a religion that requires you to wear the hat, in which case your 1st Amendment claim would be much stronger. For the record, one source (Richard R. Hammar, J.D., LL.M., CPA, who is apparently a pro-religion legal advocate) states the following, with ample citations: "The courts have concluded that the following beliefs and practices are not religious: a federal law that prohibits the use of federal funds for nontherapeutic abortions; beliefs and practices that tend to mock established institutions and that are obviously shams and absurdities and whose members are patently devoid of religious sincerity; refusal to accept a social security number as a precondition to the receipt of government aid; the use of marijuana by an individual who claimed that marijuana “was the fire with which baptism were conducted by John the Baptist”; the consumption of marijuana by an individual who claimed that it extended and intensified his “ability to engage in meditative communication with the Supreme Being, to attain spiritual peace through union with God the Father and to search out the ultimate meaning of life and nature”; the consumption of cat food by an individual who claimed that the food was “contributing significantly to [his] state of well--being”; the sale of golden eagle feathers by an Indian in violation of the Bald Eagle Protection Act; deeply rooted convictions of Indian heritage; the promotion of a homosexual life--style; racist and antisemitic ideology; publishing and distributing the Bible by an organization without any church affiliation; a foundation engaged in the dissemination of religious and philosophical teachings of a Swedish theologian and philosopher; a church that denied the existence of God and totally relied on human reason; and a foster home controlled by two presbyteries." So the answer to your questions is complex and requires much more factual information. (talk) 05:29, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Hang on - it's illegal to eat catfood in the States? I can understand that eating catfood may not be admissible as a religious practice, but why would this come before the courts? Does Hammar give a reference? I think we should have an article on this case, if it's genuine. :) Tevildo (talk) 22:12, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

In the UK, there is a related current issue as to to whether Sikh children should be allowed to wear a ceremonial dagger or kirpan under their school uniform, which they claim is necessary for religious observance - see the views of one Sikh here. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:27, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

The problem lies in 'the right to practice your religion', since 'religion' is a placeholder term, and could be used to describe a any kind of rituals and whatnot, therefore, that sentence actually reads: 'the right to do anything we consider religion'. (talk) 11:54, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

For the most part, no matter where in the world we are talking, your religion would probably have to have a few million backers to get any kind of serious consideration. If you just want to wear a hat in school, convert to Judaism, where covering your head is a Jewish law. -Avicennasis @ 20:11, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
200.144, I refer again to Theriault v. Silber, 495 F.2d 390 (5th Cir. 1974). The word "religion" is not legally equivalent to "anything we consider religion." Avicennasis, the number of people in a "religion" does not affect the religious protection provided in the U.S., as shown e.g. by "conscientious objector" cases which often involve no religion at all but still may be decided in favor of the defendant via 1st Amendment precedents. (talk) 04:38, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Tevildo, I know you're kidding, but see "The legal definition of religion: From eating cat food to white supremacy," (2004), Touro Law. Review, 20(3), 751–801, by JM Ritter. The case is Brown v. Pena, 441 F. Supp. 1382 (D.C. Fla. 1977). (talk) 04:45, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks very much, I'll look it up. It'll be interesting to see the precise point at issue. :) Tevildo (talk) 22:05, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
OK, for those interested (possibly including the OP) - Mr Brown was fired for indulging in odd behaviour at work (including eating catfood), and tried to sue his boss for religious discrimination. He failed. The court came up with a definition of "religion" in this context - "the 'religious' nature of a belief depends on (1) whether the belief is based on a theory of 'man's nature or his place in the Universe,' (2) which is not merely a personal preference but has an institutional quality about it, and (3) which is sincere." Brown failed the test because eating catfood is a matter of personal preference rather than having an "institutional quality" - if there was a larger group of people who ate catfood for religious reasons, then he might have had a case. See [6]. I would imagine that a Muslim who was fired for insisting on eating halal meat would have a better chance, although there was a recent UK case where the dismissal of a Muslim chef who refused to cook bacon was held to be fair. These things are very jurisdiction-sensitive, of course. Tevildo (talk) 22:18, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
63, my understanding of the question was not how it was viewed from a legal standpoint, but how society at large would interpret the situation. Given OP's last sentence, which I interpret as "What requirements are needed to your religion to be acted upon by the wider society?" I would assume (from my limited experience} that people would more readily accept a "non-legal" religion with millions of followers over a "legal" religion with 3 followers. Unless a disagreement arose in which one party decided to take the other to court over it, I don't think the legal standing holds much sway over the average person. This is only my opinion, of course, and I could be wrong. -Avicennasis @ 05:40, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Iranian surnames[edit]

Is there a website where it shows all surnames from different religions and ethnic groups of Iran? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:32, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

This was interesting to look into. Our article Persian name says surnames are a relatively recent phenomenon in Iran and most are borrowed from other cultures - though apparently some people use the name of their town. That article also says that the same surnames are used across religious lines. You might check out the links here [7] (although some may be for given names). But my real suggestion is that you repost your question in a part of Wikipedia where editors active on Iran topics hang out - not only may they already know of such a resource, but they may also be able to direct you should the resource be in Persian or Arabic - which seems likely. You could try the talk page for WikiProject Iran or one of the Expert Wikipedians in Iran-related issues. Best, WikiJedits (talk) 17:17, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not an expert on the subject, but I wanted to point out that many surnames were derived from a person's place of residence. For instance, the modern day surname Shustar is a derivative of al-Tustari, which is, of course, Tustar, Iran. Sahl al-Tustari is an example of this. --Ghostexorcist (talk) 17:23, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

hijab summer olympics[edit]

How female Muslim olympians wore the hijab? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:34, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

This seeems to be one example. For others, it is a matter of keeping the hair covered. Bielle (talk) 02:55, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I've fixed your link - you don't need a pipe (|) in external links, just internal ones. Don't ask me why! Could you not find a version of that story that wasn't on such a racist website? --Tango (talk) 05:14, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I think Roqaya Al-Gassra is one of the more internationally-successful athletes to wear some version of the Hijab; the race she ran in at the Olympics was shown during the NBC coverage of the games in the U.S. Don't remember exactly what she wore, but you could probably find a photo... AnonMoos (talk) 07:25, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Less racist sources with pictures here and here. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:18, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Thanks for answering the question, but I agree with Tango about the site of Jihad Watch. There were too many racist and bad comments about Ruqaya. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:25, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
In respect of the site being racist: I didn't know. My "research" extended solely to finding a photo of a woman in hijab in an Olympic sport. I read the caption; that was it. If the question had been about the validity of same as a religious matter, I would have read more about the source for its reliability on the topic. A photo, however, either is, or is not, relevant. Bielle (talk) 20:26, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
And to Tango: thanks for fixing the link and especially thanks for explaining the problem. Bielle (talk) 20:30, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
What is the working definition of racism?--Dpr (talk) 02:28, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Debt and Countries[edit]

I was reading about national debt, and how staggering they tend to be. I was wondering what would happen to that debt, if a portion of a country decided to leave. Would they have to take their share of the national debt with them, or would a state declaring itself a brand new entity try to start with a blank slate?

Also, how is debt resolved in the case of a revolution or invasion? Would the uprising parties, which are new political entities inherit the debt of the state they overthrow? Or if a country is conquored would the conquoring country generally inherit their debt? Thanks (talk) 03:51, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Usually parts of a country can't just "decide to leave". They need the permission of the parent country and part of getting that permission would be working out details like that. Regions that unilaterally declare independence will usually face military action. If they do succeed in becoming a sovereign state it will be because of some extraordinary circumstances and there is no standard rule on what happens to the assets and liabilities of the two nations. For revolutions, you should probably read successor state. If the new government wants to be considered a successor state (which they usually would) they would have to accept the debt of their predecessor. In the case of invasion, I suppose the conqueror would be expected to take on the debt, but it is actually rather unusual to invade a country and merge it with your own. You usually install a puppet government or something. --Tango (talk) 04:51, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict) I think that your question must be considered in the context that a sovereign state, being sovereign, has the option of unilaterally negating its debt, though likely not without diplomatic and economic consequences. Though rare, this is not without precedent. See Government debt#Risk for more information.
In the case of secession by agreement, the matter of splitting or not splitting debt would be determined by the conditions of the agreement. In the case of secession by force, I know of no instance where the new state has assumed or been expected to assume the debt obligations of its parent. In the case of a failed revolution, the surviving parent state has no obligation to pay the debt of the rebel party. In the case of a successful revolution or some other systemic change in governance, the situation is somewhat more murky: for instance, Russia inherited and paid off all of the foreign debt of the Soviet Union after its collapse (source), yet Vladimir Lenin negated the debt of the Russian Empire after the Russian Revolution (source). In the case of invasion, the conqueror usually does not assume the debt of the conquered state, presumably because (as Tango points out above) occupation rather than integration is the norm. -- Black Falcon (talk) 05:18, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Just to be absolutely clear, Canada has no plans to bail the U.S. out of its national debt, although we do seem to have some spare gold laying around. Clarityfiend (talk) 05:29, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Though our article on the Quebec independence referendum, 1995 doesn't mention how debt would have been specifically allocated between the consequent entities, it should still serve as a recent and relevant example. This[8] article makes some guesses.NByz (talk) 05:56, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
See National bankruptcy for more info on this topic in general. Historically, the national bankruptcy of Hapsburg Spain was actually an instrumental event in the independance of the Dutch Republic from Spanish Hapsburg rule. --Jayron32 16:43, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Countries usually "borrow" money by issuing government bonds, which people around the world buy as a form of investment (and fund managers buy on behalf of their customers). These are generally considered one of the safest form of investment, since their security is tied to that of the country itself. However, in your scenario, the issuer of the bond has ceased to exist; the new country would not legally be liable for redeeming them. Depending on this new country's political aims, it may or may not choose to recognise the original bonds. Gwinva (talk) 07:37, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

When the Czech Republic and Slovakia "divorced," "Movable and divisible assets ans liabilities were divided... in a ratio of 2 to 1, according to population" ([9]). The Czech Republic has about twice as many people as Slovakia. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 21:57, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Belgium is an example of a country where this may become relevant at some time in the future and there has been talk about this issue. (I digress, but I can't wait until Easter to find out what the Plumber is going to propose about this!) In this article (in Dutch), a Belgian official is quoted as saying that the exact procedure has not been investigated yet, but that in any case it would be such that no investors would lose money, because then obviously the new states could never borrow again. (talk) 20:15, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

The Age of Enlightenment in Russia and Scandinavia[edit]

From my knowledge of history, here's my analysis: Russia has been known as the sleeping giant, given that there the Industrial Revolution began only in the late 19th century, and was backward until Soviet reforms (like the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar). Also, if I'm not mistaken, Scandinavia is part of Western Europe where the Renaissance appears to have been the most popular, so where did reform come in if during the Enlightenment? I'm not too sure about Scandinavia. Classicalfan2 (talk) 02:04, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Thank you for your analysis, but the Reference Desk is a place for asking questions. Do you have one? DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:11, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not able to follow your question. Please rephrase it? It's unclear to me what connection if any you are suggesting between Scandinavia and Russia. Russia was certainly influenced by the Enlightenment (see, e.g., Peter the Great and all of the Great stuff he did), but the economic and political inequalities that are generally implied by discussions of its "backwardness" (which is, before people go crazy, even the way that academics talk about it a lot of the time) persisted for a very long time (and were arguably not really addressed in a major way until the Soviet period—for better or worse). So you do get an Academy of Sciences and eventually a reformed officer class and things of that nature which are generally considered hallmarks of an Enlightenment-influenced nation, and you get some forms of participatory ruling (e.g. zemstvo) and the abolition of serfdom, but even most of these reforms come very late (e.g. 19th century), and the country itself is more characterized by its various "backwards" institutions, economic arrangements, the vast number of bitterly poor agrarians amongst the population, etc., than the tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of the population that is actively participating in anything that would look like the Enlightenment. So yeah, I would basically agree with your quick analysis, at least based in my limited knowledge of Russian history. Of course in all things historical there are exceptions, ways that you can claim they were never "really" backwards or never "really" became modern, but as a general heuristic, I think this model works fine. I don't know anything about Scandinavia and the Enlightenment, sorry. --Mr.98 (talk) 14:37, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
As mentioned above, Peter the Great imported Enlightenment thinking into Russia during the early 18th century. He moved the capital of the Russian empire from Moscow to the newly founded city of St. Petersburg mostly because the old, established boyar class in Moscow fought Enlightenment reforms tooth-and-nail. In Scandanavia, the Peter's contemporary Enlightenment ruler was Charles XII of Sweden, against whom Peter fought the Great Northern War. Charles XII was known to hob-nob with Enlightenment thinkers like Voltaire and sponsored such native Swedish Enlightenment thinkers as the mathematician and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. Charles ended up on the wrong end of the Northern War, which marked the transition in Baltic hegemony from Sweden (which has been the dominant force in the area since the Thirty Years War) to the formerly weak Russia. Charles spent some extended time in exile Ottoman Turkey before making a Napoleon-like return in an abortive attempt to lead a Swedish move to annex Norway. In the Baltic region (Scandanavia and Russia) the Age of Enlightenment was marked mostly with the fall of Sweden and the rise of Russia. --Jayron32 16:35, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
As far as I know Charles never met Voltaire. And even if Voltaire does very much admire him for being a hero, he also states that he the king is not a philosopher, he is a warrior-king. I think it would probably be more proper to use the Age of Liberty in Sweden as a good example of how the enlightenment ideas was ingrained in Swedish government a relatively early period, and that to an even bigger degree than most other countries. It was period of relatively high political freedom for most classes and a relatively extended freedom of press. In Denmark-Norway Frederick IV of Denmark did establish country schools on all the Crown land, and he also issued laws that eased the burden on the tenant farmers. But like with Charles XII it was only bits of pieces that showed some influence from enlightenment ideas, though enough to show that they had reached Scandinavia by this time. The real impact of the period however, both in Sweden and Denmark-Norway, did not occur until mid-century and onwards, where the enlightenment ideas had been absorbed to such a degree that they can be said to have been influential on all parts of government and everyday thinking.--Saddhiyama (talk) 09:54, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

The OP question is too incoherent to understand. Both the Renaissance and the Enlightenment were primarily cultural movements that concerned the elite of society; neither was directly associated with any serious reform anywhere in the world (the rationalism of the Enlightenment did inspire some revolutions, though). Still, comparing Sweden and Russia, I'd venture some kind of quick and irreverent overview. One common feature is that modernization and "Europeanization" was accompanied by the import of huge amounts of foreigners - German, Dutch, French, English and Scottish.

  • Neither country felt the Renaissance very much in the 16th century; instead, Sweden was busy with Gustav Vasa's Lutheran Reformation and Russia was busy with Ivan the Terrible's Orthodox terribleness. Both were nasty, but had a certain centralizing and nation-building effect.
  • In the 17th century, both countries were despotic and militaristic; Sweden fit in the Western Baroque culturally, whereas Russia didn't, but the Baroque period is hard to describe as modernization anyway. Something less visible, but perhaps decisive in the long run, was that Russia also managed to develop the so-called "second edition of serfdom" along with other Eastern countries, whereas Sweden managed to stay out of this trend.
  • In the 18th century both countries had their enlightened absolute monarchs and some cultural rationalism, but the difference became obvious: Sweden also had a long period of parliamentary rule, where rationalism flourished and truly fit in the picture, while Russia couldn't dream of such a thing because the Europeanization was only on the surface and the cultural rationalist trends had no connection with the majority of the population.
  • In the 19th century Sweden was gradually liberalized and modernized, and so was Russia; but Russia's initial condition had been much more backward and the pace of change was also a lot slower: e.g. Sweden grew more and more parliamentary, while Russia finally abolished serfdom. Since Russian intellectuals were about as progressive and "European" as Swedish ones, if not more, the gap between intellectuals' progressive ideas and the real social conditions was much more dramatic in Russia. Also, the Napoleonic wars were the end of warring for Sweden, while Russia spent the century in constant wars. Sweden lost its possession Norway peacefully, Russia had to collapse militarily and socially in order to lose (some) of hers.
  • In the 20th century Sweden stayed out of the wars and became social-democratic, and Russia was in both wars and became communistic. In the 60s, Sweden became culturally hippie, while Russia only saw a certain thaw and a wave of optimistic free-thinking. Just as welfare statism declined in Sweden, so communism fell in Russia. However, Sweden is still relatively socially mild, orderly, democratic and peaceful, while Russia is socially severe, chaotic, authoritarian and engaged in military conflicts. Intellectuals are inconspicuous and modest in Sweden, and something between a priest caste and an exile colony in Russia. But both countries are still cold and have the letter "s" in their names.-- (talk) 13:31, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Should mention that Catherine the Great of Russia was attracted to certain aspects of Enlightenment thought, yet also presided over the final tightening down of Russian serfdom... AnonMoos (talk) 14:19, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Given that Marx's masterful post-Enlightenment work Das Kapital was largely ignored everywhere EXCEPT Russia after its publication in 1869, it's clear that there were plenty of Russians heavily influenced by the Enlightenment. Marx was the great philosopher of "human"-ism (to coin a word) -- he founded a philosophy founded upon (non-transcendant) individual human experience as the basic unit, as opposed to some transcendant extra-temporal principle. Russians recognized the greatness of the work decades before any other large group of people. (Alas, the resultant movement was hijacked by despots.) On another subject, the stories of Gogol in the mid-19th century describe an urban culture that doesn't seem any less post-Enlightenment than the narratives of Hawthorne, Flaubert, Hugo, James, Dickens, etc.; Gogol's Russia seems very "modern" relative to its time. The Decembrists had their share of post-Enlightenment thinkers as well. To observe a truly behind-the-times culture (no value judgment intended), one might look at the Empress Dowager's China, which had the resources to build a navy (and thus prevent the cannibalization of China in the ensuing decades) but instead stuck to the traditional business of palace-building and so on (... for which they ended up with Mao and the Cultural Revolution, the latter a great blemish on the history of the human race; but I digress). (talk) 02:18, 6 March 2010 (UTC)

About 19 century churches[edit]

Abuses of 19 Century Churches in England Lal Mani (talk) 10:49, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

What particularly do you want to know? --TammyMoet (talk) 12:00, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Some of them have been shockingly neglected, and have roofs in desperate need of repair. DJ Clayworth (talk) 14:10, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
During rainstorms, the congregation looks heavenward and sings "Holy, Holy, Holy". ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 15:16, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Those of any architectural merit get Listed building status, which gives them legal protection and access to funding. Alansplodge (talk) 16:30, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
On a hunch, this is one of the things the BNP get het up about, particularly when obsolete churches are sold to "non-indigenous" persons. Their website probably has lots of information on the subject. Tevildo (talk) 22:19, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Or maybe the OP wants to know about abuses done in the name of the church such as witch trials etc —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:32, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Helen Duncan and Jane Rebecca Yorke were the last people convicted under the Witchcraft Acts, in the mid-twentieth century, but that had nothing to do with the Church of England. Witch-hunts continue around the world, but not, in the literal sense, in England. BrainyBabe (talk) 20:33, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
The last person executed in Great Britain due to religion was Thomas Aikenhead (but that was in Scotland, not England). AnonMoos (talk) 14:26, 5 March 2010 (UTC)


I read that during the war some guy flew to england to make peace and was disowned by germany, then he spend his entire life in prison. Why did they treat him so bad when he trieded to make peace? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Lirvaerif (talkcontribs) 14:41, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

That was Rudolf Hess, Hitler's deputy. He didn't want peace - he wanted Britain to join Nazi Germany in the war against Soviet Russia. He thought he could persuade Douglas Douglas-Hamilton to overthrow Churchill's government. Gandalf61 (talk) 14:59, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Instead, he became a guest at the Tower of London. Alansplodge (talk) 15:31, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
...and at Maindiff Court, Abergavenny. Ghmyrtle (talk) 22:41, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
In fairness, he may have just been in the early stages of madness. A few years later he was clearly in the late stages. (talk) 16:16, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
This article[10] says that Hess was put on trial at the insistance of the Soviets. He was the Deputy Fuhrer, so it's not surprising that he wasn't going to get away scott free. Alansplodge (talk) 17:40, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Stalin had a real paranoid obsession with Hess, considering him to be a limb of some multifarious deep-reaching conspiracy to establish a separate peace between the UK and Germany, leaving the Soviet Union to face the Nazis alone. If not for the legacy of Stalin's suspicions, there would have been no reason for Hess to be locked up for so long... AnonMoos (talk) 17:51, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
He was kept isolated in a prison with a population of one until he supposedly strangled himself with an electric cord at age 93. There are of course conspiracy theories about his death. Edison (talk) 19:59, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
And there's a theory that it wasn't even Hess who died in Spandau, but a look-alike. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 20:10, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
There's a conspiracy theory for everything. Although, coming up on what would be his 116th birthday, there's a good chance he's expired by now anyway. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:08, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The curious might explore the works of the late radio personality Mae Brussell. Brussell believed that nobody whose name had ever appeared in the media ever died a natural death. If she had lived long enough, she'd have written an exposé about the suspicious death of Jeanne Calment. PhGustaf (talk) 22:25, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

130.88, Speer's prison memoirs strongly suggest that Hess was not insane or delusional, at least as of the early 1960s. Speer does mention examples of Hess's apparent malingering; and like many Nazis he was paranoid and thus "delusional" in that sense. To the OP: Whatever "peace" Hess was or wasn't promoting, his activities in Germany included crimes AGAINST peace: signing decrees persecuting Jews (so "treat[ing] him so bad" is not a sympathy-inducing complaint) and willingly participating in German aggression against Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. The latter involved "planning, preparation, initiation, or waging a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing." The charge of "Crimes against Peace" was meant to "pin-point those people who were responsible for the intentional planning of inhumane actions. It describes actions considered to be those of aggressive war." (Source: Claiming to want to broker peace did not absolve him of his crimes. As for the length of his imprisonment, if in fact it was unjust the USSR (according to all reliable sources) was responsible. (talk) 05:25, 4 March 2010 (UTC)


A few years ago I came across a website in which you could find novels by adjusting a lever according to the content or genre of the fiction, like adventure story, love story, etc. Does someone know this site, or the likes? Thanks in advance. --Omidinist (talk) 15:44, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't know the specific site you're looking for, but there are many sites that will suggest books. Swiss Army Librarian has a good list of these. Gobonobo T C 17:53, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I might add that by adjusting the lever, you could determine the percentage of, say, adventure, or love, in the story. Thanks anyway, Gobonobo. More help, please. --Omidinist (talk) 19:09, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

looking for artist/painting name[edit]

I do not have an image of the painting, but it involved a woman in a white dress playing a piano or perhaps an organ, and an older woman sitting on a bench or pew and sewing or knitting. Perhaps it was in a church, but not sure. I saw it on the internet, but I do not remember where. Any ideas? Googlemeister (talk) 17:21, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Possibly The Concert by Johannes Vermeer (although the second woman is standing rather than sitting) ? If not, there are other similar paintings featuring keyboards in the list of paintings by Johannes Vermeer. Gandalf61 (talk) 17:29, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
No, I don't think it was a Vermeer. It seemed a more modern style, maybe post-impressionist. Googlemeister (talk) 17:41, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I recall seeing an Italian painting like that, but I think the woman was standing, perhaps singing. (talk) 18:28, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Hmmm... reminds me of the Delacroix portrait(s) of Chopin and George Sand. Except Chopin wasn't a women nor wore a white dress. --Kvasir (talk) 18:35, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Style was closer to Gauguin then Delacroix. Googlemeister (talk) 19:14, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I've never answered a question at the reference desk before, so I hope I'm doing it properly, apologies if not, but I think the answer is 'Overture to Tannhauser', aka 'Young Girl at the Piano', aka 'Portrait of the Artist's Mother and Sister', by Cezanne. An image of the painting: (talk) 07:34, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm not the OP, but it looks like you got it right. Congratulations, and we hope you stick around :) --Richardrj talk email 08:48, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Wow, that's the one! Props to 81. Googlemeister (talk) 14:27, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

finance: Surrogate debt definition[edit]

O Wiki gods
Here I stand again
at your altar
seeking thy wisdom
pray, o merciful ones
what is this surrogate debt
whose definition the interwebs contain not?

'tis not in the books
it eludes journals too
perhaps i could find it in the annual report
if you gave me a clue!

--ReluctantPhilosopher (talk) 18:41, 3 March 2010 (UTC)`

I'm no finance expert, just a general all-around genius, but if I had to guess I would say "surrogate" debt is debt a group will answer for that did they not sign. For example, perhaps a company has been acquired by a bigger one, which as part of the acquisition process takes on all the daughter company's debts, continuing to honor its new "surrogate" debt. Is this what the context implies? (talk) 19:45, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. Actually one example my classmates told me is of is a company taking a piece of property on lease, and agreeing to make payments in the subsequent years. But I can't wrap my head around what kind of debt is it, and how is it different from regular debt. And I can't find any proper definition. I should have asked my prof before but i thought it was a minor thing - it's 2:00 am now and my assignment submission is due at 8:00 am :/ ReluctantPhilosopher (talk) 20:35, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Also, can anyone tell me how non-interest bearing liabilities - both current and non current - should be treated while calculating LongTermDebt-to-Equity ratio and TotalDebt-to-Equity ratio? thx --ReluctantPhilosopher (talk) 20:53, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
"Non-interest bearing liabilities" are probably not "debt" at all (for example, paychecks due tomorrow are not "debt"), and so wouldn't figure into D/E of any kind. If by chance they are in fact 0%-interest loans, then they would be included a) in total debt, and b) in long-term debt if long-term. (talk) 05:33, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I think he's talking about pure discount liabilities (although, if a firm has any truly non-interest bearing debt, it's important to consider it in D/E measures, and that would be done at face value = market value = book value! Easy.) I'm pretty sure that most analysts would use the discounted debt figure when calculating either Total or Long Term D/E for current or non-current pure discount liabilies (The one netted with the contra "discount on..." account).NByz (talk) 08:27, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

I expect that "surrogate" is just being used here in its ordinary sense of a thing that acts for or takes the place of another; a substitute. John M Baker (talk) 23:03, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

what on one's person counts as a status symbol in Southern Germany? (man's)[edit]

I mean things like shoes, watches, designer bags, etc. What, in order of importance, counts as man's status symbols in Bavaria (Southern Germany). Be as detailed as you can, with respect especially to any specific brands of special importance. This is not homework, but thank you for any help you may have. (talk) 19:19, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Having shoes would definitely be a status symbol, or at least not having shoes would tend to lower your social status. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:06, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I am an American who lived in Neu-Ulm for several years. Your IP indicates you are from Germany. I can't think of anything that would differ from the rest of Germany. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:09, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
And what would those things be? (talk) 15:13, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
In southern Germany your status is determined by the size of your Lederhosen. ;-) DJ Clayworth (talk) 23:11, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
its not the size of the lederhosen on the man, its the size of the man in the lederhosen. --Jayron32 20:09, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Typesetting in the 1960s[edit]

The typesetting. It appears too perfect for its day.

This document is a 1966 letter from US Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, written to Chief Justice Earl Warren. I ran across it at our Miranda v. Arizona article. What surprises me about the letter is that, although it is a piece of essentially routine correspondence, it appears to have been professionally typeset. I think I recognize New Century Schoolbook font. And this was in 1966, twenty years before people had LaserWriters and Macintosh 512Ke computers on their desktops. How was this document created? Did they really have and use typewriters with proportional letter spacing and nice fonts? Comet Tuttle (talk) 19:52, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

The letter was apparently done on an IBM "Executive" model typewriter. Unlike most typewriters, the Executive offered proportional spacing. It even had a split space bar that provided both em and en spaces. PhGustaf (talk) 19:59, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
With this type of typewriter, the characters were on a rotating ball, not on individual keys. It was simple to change the ball to get a different font - for example to type with characters recognizable by optical character readers. One was not stuck with having to use Courier 10. --Xuxl (talk) 20:29, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
No, the one with the ball was the Selectric. The Executive used good old swingy type arms. This[11] is an entertaining first-person report concerning the operation of this typewriter. PhGustaf (talk) 20:38, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I'm familiar with the Selectric and its rotating ball, which you'd switch to italicize; but surely the Executive used a single font. Were different fonts available? "Here's the Century Schoolbook model, and here's the Garamond model for only $40 additional." Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:36, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Somewhere in my Googling to answer above I found references to interchangeable keys for the Executive and proportional spacing for the Selectric, but decided they were peripheral to the discussion. I don't know what set of fonts were available to an Executive user. I do know that an Executive with a carbon ribbon could produce the sort of copy in the illustration above, and that the things were buggers to work with. PhGustaf (talk) 00:18, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Just speaking anecdotally as someone who has gone through a lot of old government documents — in the files I have seen, this kind of text/font/whatever pops up most predominantly in the mid-1950s, whereas before this you have much more commonly the chunkier, poorer-spaced typewriters. I'm not sure how well that synchs with when these particular models were developed or not, or is just a question of adoption, but definitely by the late-1950s you have basically this exact typeface and style in very, very common use throughout the US government. --Mr.98 (talk) 01:07, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

If you look more closely at the letter, you'll see that although the characters are not all the same width as on a conventional typewriter, there are only a small number of different widths. As I recall, the Executive had just two widths of character -- most lower-case letters were narrow (but "m" and "w" were wide) while most upper-case letters were wide (but "I" and "J" were narrow). And the narrow characters are 2/3 the width of the wide ones. In other words, the carriage moved with a rack and pinion just like a conventional typewriter, only it moved either 2 or 3 steps at a time, depending on the character. --Anonymous, 03:07 UTC, March 4, 2010.

The article and source I cited say that the Executive provided four different character widths — two, three, four or five ticks of the very small space actuated by the backspace key. When answering a question, it's usually better to look stuff up than to make stuff up. PhGustaf (talk) 03:59, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
I plead guilty to not looking it up, but not guilty to making it up. I said "I recall". Anyway, thanks for the correction. --Anon, 05:37 and 05:54 UTC, March 6, 2010.

private detectives[edit]

Are private detectives actually legal? Basically they stalk people right? Can anyone be a private detective or do you need a license? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 701-DENT-SSU (talkcontribs) 21:50, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

You may find our Private detective article informative. --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 21:58, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
There is nothing illegal about "stalking" in the colloquial sense of that word. "Stalking" is a crime only if it matches the elements of whatever statute defines "stalking," and presumably private detectives would know how to avoid being culpable for ALL (as opposed to some) of the elements (which is necessary for behavior to be criminal). A person being harrassed but not legally "stalked" could seek a restraining order (or its jurisdictional equivalent), which again would depend on the elements of the statute establishing the authority for the court to issue the order. (talk) 05:44, 4 March 2010 (UTC)

Lord of the Rings[edit]

In Lord of the Rings, why Gandalf ask the eagles to fly Frodo to Mount Doom? CaptainKoranger (talk) 21:58, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

Because then the journey would have been incredibly easy. See our article plot hole Googlemeister (talk) 22:01, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
And because Swiss Air had cancelled their usual commuter flight to Mount Doom. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:04, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I would guess it is because Sauron would have seen them coming if they were riding on eagles, and the hobbits would have a better chance sneaking in on foot. —Akrabbimtalk 22:06, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I can't remember the story, but I'm thinking I'm reading something wrong here. Don't the previous three answers all assume that the OP's question was "why didn't...." rather than "why [did]...."? --KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 22:17, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
Sure, because in the story, the eagles did not fly them to mount doom, so from the context, didn't makes sense and did does not. Googlemeister (talk) 22:26, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
(ec) Well, in that case, the answer would just be "he didn't". The two standard answers (from when I was active in the fandom, many years ago now) are (a) Gwaihir would have been too vulnerable to the temptation to seize the ring for himself - the same reason that Gandalf couldn't have taken it. It's debatable whether or not Gwaihir was a Maia, but, even as a mortal Eagle, he could certainly have wielded the power of the ring. (b) Sauron would have detected the Eagles approaching, and set up some proper defences to Mount Doom. (_This_ is the real plot-hole - there wasn't even a sentry post on the access road?). The essential point of The Quest was _secrecy_ - there was no hope of anything more conspicuous than Frodo and Sam getting into Mordor unobserved. Tevildo (talk) 22:31, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
According to Kevin Smith, walking was the theme of the movie. ---— Gadget850 (Ed) talk 23:02, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
The movie, perhaps. Don't get me started on that heap of excrement. Tevildo (talk) 23:03, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I don't think it's necessarily a plot hole that the road to Mount Doom was unguarded. Sauron was so fixated on wielding the Ring that it never entered his darkest dreams that someone would actually choose to destroy the Ring. Sauron had a failure of imagination. Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:10, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
True, of course. Supervillains have always liked big, red, unguarded SELF-DESTRUCT buttons in the public areas of their lairs - I suppose Sauron was just beginning a trend. :) Tevildo (talk) 23:25, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
I have read an interesting article on Sauron and his strategies which discusses, among other things, the destruction of the One Ring. (I cannot include the link here, though.) The Ring, which is always trying to return to Sauron and has betrayed many masters—including Frodo—in order to do that, "actually achieves its objective in the end: it prevents Frodo from tossing it into the Fire. A pity that Gollum just happened to be around the corner when Frodo finally claimed the Ring for himself." Indeed, the Ring's power increases steadily with its proximity to Mordor, and reaches its peak in the Sammath Naur, its birth place. Guarding the volcano was unnecessary, because it would be impossible for anyone to muster the will power to destroy the Ring once there, and it is only by accident that the Dark Lord was ruined. Yes, it is true that only Sauron can be blamed for his own downfall, but this is not because of a stupid cliché. He pushed his own luck too much, and he was guilty of bad construction practices: "If he'd had a guard rail in there, he'd be ruling Middle-earth right now." Waltham, The Duke of 05:56, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Tolkien makes it clear that Orodruin was an active volcano at that time, with frequent minor eruptions and lava-flows, so a guard-rail wouldn't have done much good. AnonMoos (talk) 13:42, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
In addition, I don't think Sauron expected anyone to try to destroy the Ring. I think I remember reading something (during the Council of Elrond?) to the effect that he judged others based on his own motives, such as his desire for power. Thus, he would expect someone who found the Ring to keep it and use it against him, setting himself up as a new dark lord. The idea that someone might actually want to destroy the Ring was inconceivable to him, so he wouldn't bother guarding the Mount Doom (although if he did think of it, he probably thought the massive armies of orcs would be enough). – Psyche825 (talk) 08:07, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
In 'The Hobbit' (following the storyline) Gandalf had no idea that the ring was 'the one ring' - he didn't learn that until fairly late in the first book of the trilogy, and by that time Sauron was mobilizing and the Nazgul were flying around, and simply winging it to Mount Doom (even assuming the eagles would have agreed) would have been a bit of a turkey-shoot - they'd have arrived to find every inch of MD covered in grumpy orcs. plus, no telling what influence the ring would have had on the eagles, the wizard, and anyone else as they got closer and closer to the source. speaking in literary terms, it would have mucked up the Norse questing-hero-saga mood of the story. Heros need to take risks and prevail against odds - the only difference between a hero and a bully is that a bully wins his battles too easily. --Ludwigs2 23:59, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
*growls* It's not a trilogy. It's one narrative, divided into six books, published in three volumes. It should also be noted that Frodo did _not_ succeed in his mission - Gollum (accidentally, as Men say, as Gandalf would say) did the deed. Apart from that, I agree with you. :) Tevildo (talk) 00:07, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
I believe I read an explanation some time ago, by Tolkien himself, on this very matter. It is not at the first place I looked -- Eagle (Middle-earth) -- but further hunting may turn it up. Anyway, I believe Tolkien said that the Eagles were not overly concerned in the affairs of men. Which raises the question, why would they then help out Sam and Frodo later? My best guess is that the threat of Sauron would be much more apparent at that later juncture, than when Frodo was safe in Rivendell, and they would be more willing to aid those who had already undergone such hardship and self-sacrifice. Plus, Gandalf the White was a more potent individual than Gandalf the Grey, and would hold more sway over the Eagles in his reincarnated form. Vranak (talk) 00:25, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Ahh -- [12]. Vranak (talk) 00:28, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Even if Frodo wasn't capable to toss the Ring into the lava, and Gollum wasn't there to fall by accident, it would have still been possible to destroy it: Sam would have had to jump to Frodo and toss him, Ring included, into the fire. Or, for more dramatic effect, have both of them jump. Can the Ring influence more than one person at the same time? And even worse, what if the fellowship hadn't broken, and Frodo had 8 people with him in there, aiming to destroy the Ring? MBelgrano (talk) 16:46, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Considering Sam's loyalty to Frodo exemplifies the very word, the prospect of tossing his great friend into a hellish pit of lava seems distinctly improbable. What use is saving the world from Sauron if you do something like that? Vranak (talk) 17:14, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
Victor Hugo said something along the lines of "What evil good can be". Googlemeister (talk) 17:36, 4 March 2010 (UTC)
What use is there for saving the world, if you must make a sacrifice for it? None, of course; unless you are a heroe MBelgrano (talk) 02:50, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Tit fucking, scholars, and doctors[edit]

I assure you, despite the headline, this is a serious question. Many of you are hopefully aware of a sexual act, predominantly heterosexual, called "tit fucking". Wikipedia has an article on this, of course, which was apparently created under the name "tit wank" (a British term for it) around 2005. In the time since, some "Mrs. Grundy" renamed the article to its current title, mammary intercourse, presumably because "tit fucking" sounds vulgar, while "mammary intercourse" sounds positively erudite. The trouble is, "mammary intercourse" is not really a term. It is obviously a word-for-word euphemism for "tit fucking". It gets around 3,000 Google hits, as opposed to the ~800,000 Google hits for "tit fucking" and ~110,000 Google hits for "tit wank". There is a Wikipedia policy (or guideline; I don't remember and have not found it in the last couple of minutes of searching) that an article ought to be given the name by which the subject is most commonly known; to me this means the article should be moved to tit fucking. However, if there is a scholarly or legal term for tit fucking then I would lean toward using it. The mammary intercourse talk page includes a thread indicating one editor was not able to find one. "Mammary intercourse" is not it. "Outercourse" is another euphemism and too overly general. Does anybody know what the tweed-jacketed scholars and the white-coated doctors call tit fucking? TimesYork (talk) 22:33, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

This isn't a question for the reference desk. Ask it on the articles talk page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Crockadoc (talkcontribs) 22:35, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
It's usually advertized (so I'm given to understand) as "breast relief", if that helps. The problem is, as it's not a paraphilia, it's unlikely to have involved the medical profession - I don't think Krafft-Ebing mentions it specficially, and he covers most of the bases as it were. I agree that this is probably better for the talk page or WP:RM, though. Tevildo (talk) 23:02, 3 March 2010 (UTC)


What religions were the pilgrims and the puritans? I think I remember that one of them was congregationalists, but I can't remember which one and I'm not sure about the other at all. -- (talk) 23:20, 3 March 2010 (UTC)

See our Puritan article. And, more to the point, our Pilgrim (Plymouth Colony) article. Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:31, 3 March 2010 (UTC)