Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2010 September 7

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Humanities desk
< September 6 << Aug | September | Oct >> September 8 >
Welcome to the Wikipedia Humanities Reference Desk Archives
The page you are currently viewing is an archive page. While you can leave answers for any questions shown below, please ask new questions on one of the current reference desk pages.

September 7[edit]

"Impossible Symphony"[edit]

I vaguely remember seeing a score for an "Impossible Symphony" that really would be impossible to play — it had lots of notes that were approximately 1/256th notes, along with plenty of other bits that a human simply couldn't play. Googling "impossible symphony", I found very little; the only relevant image was this one, which doesn't look quite right, but is rather close. Any ideas? Nyttend (talk) 02:32, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

That is indeed an excerpt from the most famous humorous score, which looks like this at full size. (talk) 04:56, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Ah, we have an article about it, Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz. I had thought that we had such an article, but what little I remembered of it wasn't enough to find it with a search. Thanks much for the pointer! Nyttend (talk) 05:26, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Hundred twenty-eighth note may be of interesting read as an aside. --Jayron32 05:32, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
This reminds me of an anecdote told by Howard Blake in an interview in CounterPunch:
(Blake is talking to a young composition student) ...He replied that he had actually won the top prize at the Royal College for the best modern music piece. I congratulated him and said that that was marvelous and asked whether I could take a look. He came over to visit me and brought out a score from his bag – a typical Stockhausen-looking post-Schoenberg/Boulez type of thing – and I looked at it. In the first bar it had 19 hemi-demi-semi-quavers played by the entire viola section in the space of a crochet. I asked, whether he thought it was playable. He said, “no.” I asked whether he could sing it. And he said, “no.” I asked whether he knew what it sounded like, and he said that it didn’t matter what it sounded like. He had won a prize and that, in order to get a degree, this was the way one had to write. Then he said he wanted to write film music like me. He had won a very notable prize that was against his very nature and intelligence.
--Rallette (talk) 09:56, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
That says it all, really. -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 10:37, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

What a president once said[edit]

One of my coaches about a year ago told us a story about a president who wanted NASA to goto the moon (I think it was the moon). NASA came and told him its not possible, we don't have the technology to go there or something like that. The president said something like he doesn't care, just make it happen. Do any of you guys know the story? Sorry about being so vague, I just don't remember if it was the moon or not and who said it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:10, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Likely John F. Kennedy's famous "Moon speech", given at Rice University in Texas. The text can be found here: [1]. The relevent passage is "We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard..." (stress mine). The speech was given in 1962, at that point the U.S. space program had put its first person in space only 15 months before that speech (see Mercury-Redstone 3), and yet Kennedy's prediction would come through; Apollo 11 landed on the moon in 1969, in the same decade as Kennedy's speech. Your coach is undoubtedly talking about the Kennedy speech (Kennedy himself died in 1963, so he never saw it himself.) --Jayron32 04:38, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I would agree. Having a relative who worked for NASA back then, and from reading many first-person books and articles about the early U.S. space program, NASA's original plan was to slowly develop its program in a logical sequence, with the likelihood of reaching the moon in the mid-1980s or so. Then Kennedy came along (undoubtedly pushed by the Cold War), and the NASA guys rolled their eyes and essentially said, "What is he getting us into?" The breakneck speed that NASA had to work at to reach the goal led to rushed development and sloppy design, as evidenced by the fatal Apollo 1 fire. — Michael J 22:28, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I doubt that NASA thought that making it to the moon wasn't possible; they may have thought that it was risky and expensive. For an inspiring story about planning the Apollo program, check out how they settled on Lunar Orbit Rendezvous as a mission plan. For a while, the leading idea was a single vehicle that would thrust all the way to the moon and all the way back. Getting two vehicles to meet each other in the orbit of the moon was technically challenging, but it gave the mission two crucial pieces of flexibility: (1) they didn't have to take all of their fuel with them onto the lunar surface (which would have substantially increased the size of everything), and (2) they could build a specialized vehicle for landing on the moon. If it weren't for the efforts of a couple of people, and the intellectual honesty of NASA culture at the time, getting to the moon might have been harder or even impossible. Paul (Stansifer) 01:48, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Thank you for your help and replys. I think it was JFK and going to the moon, but I believe there was something about NASA saying with the materials they have its not possible and he said something to them. Do you guys have any ideas about this conversation? Thanks —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:43, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Have you seen the Article page:John F. Kennedy at the section: Space Program? It goes a long way in answering your question. When you find the exact reference and citation perhaps you could place it in at the appropriate spot? MacOfJesus (talk) 23:04, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Is There Symbolism[edit]

File:Logo_GrandNationalParty(KOR).png Is there a story behind the symbol? (talk) 04:32, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Lebanon, Syria and Iraq[edit]

Is this true that Lebanon, Syria and Iraq were full of forests? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:58, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Define forest. The all have trees, see Cedrus libani for the ubiquitous Lebanon Cedar tree which is also featured prominently on their flag. Unlike the current Western perception of these places, they aren't barren wastelands devoid of plantlife. --Jayron32 05:03, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes, Lebanon especially was full of forests. The Epic of Gilgamesh tells of the cutting of virgin timber guarded by Humbaba. Solomon sent to Tyre for cedar beams to roof the temple. Iraq had neither wood nor building stone; but it had grasslands in the Bronze Age that is desert today.--Wetman (talk) 05:50, 7 September 2010 (UTC)--Wetman (talk) 05:50, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Be aware that the word "forest" does not only refer to a wooded area. It can refer to royal hunting grounds (e.g. the New Forest in southern England) and unenclosed, sparsely populated areas. BrainyBabe (talk) 12:07, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

history greece[edit]

a greek prince in exile came to kalimpong, india , in early part of twentieth century. what was his name ? is he the same person who was in morocco for sometime, also ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cdpnkr (talkcontribs) 07:53, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

A Greek prince who may well have spent time in Kalimpong was Prince Peter of Greece and Denmark. I don't know if he also travelled in Morocco.--Rallette (talk) 10:34, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
If he's the same one I've heard about before, he was actually an expert on polyandry (not sure why it doesn't say that on his article), and might have travelled anywhere in the world where polyandrous customs could be found... AnonMoos (talk) 11:07, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

medicine chinese[edit]

is there some chinese herb , much akin to Indian 'Brahmi' , to boost human memory ? is there any such herb or medicine in ancient greek medicine also ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cdpnkr (talkcontribs) 07:57, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I wouldn't trust any answer that didn't link to a published peer reviewed study, or 10 that did the same. Shadowjams (talk) 08:14, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
(I don't know whether Cdpnkr is necessarily looking for scientific evidence. This is the Humanities desk, after all. Their interest may lie in the history of pharmaceutics). I don't know how trustworthy my answer is. It's not linked to Chinese or ancient Greek medicine, nor can it claim 10 peer-reviewed studies, but Salvia lavandulifolia was described as a memory booster by herbalists centuries ago, and one modern study seem to confirm. ("Sage Improves Memory, Study Shows"). ---Sluzzelin talk 08:20, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Traditionally, Ginkgo biloba is used to improve memory. In English herbalism, rosemary is also used to improve memory (Shakespeare wrote "There's rosemary, that's for remembrance"). In aromatherapy, basil and lemon are also reputed to have a positive effect on memory. Whether any of these herbs actually work is open to debate, but I think that's answering the question. --TammyMoet (talk) 10:29, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Mansfield Park: Modern novels to compare with[edit]

I'm looking for any contemporary novels (about 1990 - present) that I can talk about in comparison to Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Specifically the novel's subject of the influence of morality and ethics at the cost of material gain in choosing a husband (or wife or partner...) Any suggestions for novels that discuss this subject greatly appreciated. Alan —Preceding unsigned comment added by Arri66 (talkcontribs) 10:34, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Was choosing a text yourself part of the homework assignment, or does the teacher say it's okay to get others to do this bit for you? We do sometimes help with homework, but we try not to do parts that your teacher wants you to do for yourself. I am not sure that I'd really call that the main theme of the novel, either... is that the aspect of the novel your teacher wants you to explore, or can you use other themes of the novel? -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 21:57, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
This isn't for a homework assignment. I am a librarian and was asked if I knew any titles on this theme. Besides how does one choose a text without asking people for ideas?? Arri66 (talk) 08:08, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Although our article doesn't mention any titles specifically applicable to your topic, the recently emerged genre of Chick Lit doubtless includes some. You might try browsing in a Bookshop that has a section devoted to it. (talk) 16:48, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Thanks, that was my feeling too, that many chick lit books do deal with that sort of theme but I'm trying to get one or two recommendations that will engage a young person. Arri66 (talk) 08:02, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Query as to name of British Raj Culture[edit]

(I am copy pasting a question from the talk page of British Raj)--Sodabottle (talk) 13:52, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

HI folks, I am trying to find the sociological term I once heard during lecture to describe the nature of bureaucacy in India during the period of the British Raj. It was something like "hadyamaki" or something similar. Does anyone have a hint of an idea on this? (talk) 13:42, 7 September 2010 (UTC)Terry In Perth

Panchayati raj? ---Sluzzelin talk 14:04, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Possibly Oligarchy, essentially the Indian Civil Service was very small and individual officers had a significant span of control.
ALR (talk) 14:07, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
The Indian or Anglo-Indian clerks had a particular name, although I cannot remember what it was/is. Edit: it was Babu (title). Perhaps the OP misheard a word such as hierarchy, hierarchical, hierarchic, hegemony, administrative, or Hydrabad. (talk) 15:25, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Amsterdam's flag[edit]

Is it just a coincidence that Amsterdam's flag and coat of arms have XXX on them? --J4\/4 <talk> 14:45, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Assuming the "coincidental" part refers to X rating, the answer is obviously yes. X-rating is much much newer than the coat of arms of Amsterdam or the flag of Amsterdam. You can read about some speculation on the origin of the crosses in those articles. ---Sluzzelin talk 14:52, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I just thought it was rather strange, given the prevalence of drugs and prostitution in Amsterdam. --J4\/4 <talk> 15:11, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
If you want to be a bit pedantic... The popularity of the XXX rating began in the early 70s. While the X rating had been around for a while, it didn't really mean "porn". It was not trademarked, so anyone could use it to mean "not rated". The porn industry was the main source of X-rated movies, so the public drew a relation between X and porn. Then, by the early 70's, film distributors decided to use XX to mean more porn than X. Then, XXX meant more porn than XX. Why they settled on XXX is not clear. However, the XXX rating was standard for porn by 1975.
What else happened in 1975? Amsterdam adopted a new official flag. Previously, Amsterdam did not have an official flag. The one that most people used was red, white, and black with two large gold lions on it. Between the lions was three X's in a vertical line. (It is the coat of arms.) The new flag was red, black and red with three large X's horizontally across it. So, this coincided with the new popularity of the XXX rating.
Now, this question appears to be based on an incorrect assumption that all of Amsterdam is similar to De Wallen. That is very far from accurate. One question that I do not know the answer to is: When was De Wallen legally set aside as a red light district? I am certain that it was long before 1975, which would leave very little room to claim that the new flag adopted in 1975 was specifically designed to increase tourism to De Wallen. -- kainaw 16:03, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
J4V4 - if you want to see a humorous parody version of the Amsterdam coat of arms, look at The Complete Book of Heraldry by Stephen Slater (ISBN 1843096986), page 242... AnonMoos (talk) 21:38, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
A bit off-topic but in the UK, beer was traditionally graded in strength for tax purposes by a system of "X" marks. Although this fell into disuse many decades(?) ago, it was common in British cartoons for beer bottles and barrels to be marked "XXX" to show what they contained. A beer called Wadworth's 6X is still being sold. Alansplodge (talk) 16:21, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
There's also XXXX. P. S. Burton (talk) 13:20, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

'Ethnic' restaurants and the people they employ - can they discriminate on race? (in a UK context)[edit]

For example, would a Chinese restaurant be allowed to employ only Chinese-looking staff (at least those that serve the customers, as opposed to those working in the kitchen), or an Indian restaurant the same with Indian-looking staff? I'm thinking about calling up for a bar job at an oriental restaurant but don't know if I should bother because I'm white, or is that a form of discrimination or what. I imagine that Italian restaurants have no problem employing white British staff.--Querydata (talk) 15:38, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Note that the Ref desk doesn't provide legal advice, with this topic falling under the employment law category. However, employers cannot discriminate on the basis of race or appearance.
However there are clauses around the immigration acts for a very limited set of circumstances where the only suitable candidate would require immigration approval. The example sometimes used relates to Bangladeshi, and sometimes Indian chefs cooking specific styles.
So for a bog standard bar job there should be no restriction.
ALR (talk) 15:42, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
If I assume correctly that US laws wouldn't be too different than UK laws, an employer can choose whomever they like from the collection of qualified applicants for a position and as long as decisions are based on qualification (or at least they can be explained that way), the employer should not be at risk. I'm an American dentist and it's rare to see a male dental assistant. So if one applies and doesn't get the job, as long as one didn't say to him that the reason he didn't get the job was because of his gender, what would be his legal options if the employer can show that the assistant he or she did hire is at least as qualified as the male applicant, despite being a female (in that that wasn't a factor). DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 16:02, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
In the UK all the Chinese and Indian restaurants I've come across are small family-run establishments. No doubt they find it quite easy to recruit from within their own circles. Larger restaurants or those without a local ethnic community no doubt need to advertise. I recently ate the large and lavish Sea Dragon Chinese Restaurant in Coonabaraban, New South Wales (recommended), and didn't see any Chinese staff (but no doubt they were doing the cooking; I hope so).--Shantavira|feed me 16:35, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
(Had connections problems so EC with all below) This clearly depends what country you're referring to. But even in countries with strong anti-discrimination laws, I would imagine it may be possible for a restaurant to discriminate based on how someone looks (not necessarily the race per se) if they can successfully make the argument it's essential for their atmosphere (somewhat similar to the way a movie company may only hire someone who 'looks Chinese' for a character who's supposed to be Chinese) but I'm not aware of anyone actually having tried that and expect even if it has happened it's a rather rare and risky thing to do. In any case other then what's already been mentioned, note that some restaurants may set things like the ability to communicate in a language other then English or test your knowledge of their food, ingredients, culture etc when it's relevant to the job which technically anyone could meet but is less likely for e.g. a non Chinese person to meet if the language is Cantonese or Mandarin and the food Chinese of some sort. This is of course only general comment, not intended to apply to any specific situation Nil Einne (talk) 17:05, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
FWIW, the last time I saw a job in a Chinese restaurant advertised in the Job Centre (several years ago - I haven't looked for a job in a Chinese restaurant since, TBH), there was no mention of race. However, it was clearly stated that 'applicant must speak fluent Mandarin Chinese'. --Kurt Shaped Box (talk) 16:42, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
That would now be vulnerable to challenge under the relevant acts.
ALR (talk) 16:56, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Really? I can easily see that being directly related to being able to do the job. Your head chef speaks fluent Mandarin, but only broken English. All the recipes (and the labels on most of the ingredients) are written in Mandarin, etc. -- (talk) 20:02, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
In practice it should be fairly simple for an employer to demonstrate compliance, but essentially all of the points you mention can be mitigated for. The employer needs to show that the cost of mitigation exceeds the business value of the role, rendering it unprofitable to employ someone. Essentially one gets a mandarin speaker or doesn't hire anyone.
It does come down to a job by job comparison, a business owner can't stipulate that for all employees as most don't need Mandarin.
ALR (talk) 08:00, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
I remember a meal I had in a Chinese restaurant in Manchester about 10 years ago - I think possibly the Little Yang Sing, though I wouldn't swear to it, where one of the waiters was definitely European. But surely the sign of quality of an ethnic restaurant is not the ethnicity of the staff but whether they get good custom from people of the same ethnicity? -- Arwel Parry (talk) 21:12, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
When I see a restaurant of a particular ethnicity employing someone of a different ethnicity, I wonder about the authenticity of that particular ethnic cuisine, and I wonder about whether the owners and managers are more interested in profits than they are in providing a genuine experience of ethnic food. See Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Miscellaneous/2010 April 26#Certified ethnic cuisine.
Wavelength (talk) 17:05, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
You may wonder that, but it's not a factor that an employment tribunal would consider as having substance were it challenged. Lets face it, how realistic are the restaurants in question anyway?
A Chinese in the UK bears very little resemblance to eating in China, Hong Kong or Macau, an Indian doesn't compare to eating in Pakistan, India or Bangladesh. Personally I was quite badly caught out in a Thai place in San Francisco. I, along with some work colleagues, ordered Thai style as we would expect in Thailand, or the UK, and ended up with three times as many main meals as we expected. All of which were far bigger than a Thai meal would be anyway.
The immigration point I mentioned above does appear to be limited only to chefs given the style of cooking and the paucity of adequate quality training in these styles in the UK. In that instance is the ethnicity of the chef germane to the service provided? In the generic example, bar staff, the ethnicity really doesn't affect the service.
ALR (talk) 17:26, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Someone mentioned that many ethnic restaurants are family-owned businesses for which there are probably only rarely job openings, and family members might well be given priority. Also, being fluent in the native language might be a requirement, which would tend to narrow the range of applicants. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:36, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I believe that "ethnic" restaurants are a specific exception in the UK employment law, which seems to be backed up by this:
Genuine Occupation Qualifications and Requirements
For some jobs it is possible to require that an applicant be of a particular race. This however is limited to areas such as personal welfare services, jobs as actors or models or jobs where a person of a particular race is required for reasons of authenticity – for example work in a Chinese or Indian restaurant.
I suppose in some establishment the difference between waiters and actors is not that great -- Q Chris (talk) 21:21, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I understand that has been challenged in a couple of Industrial Tribunals and is now in quesiton. the main argument being that the places affected aren't particularly authentic anyway.
ALR (talk) 08:00, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
In New York City it's not at all uncommon to find a Mexican restaurant run by Chinese people barely able to speak English (let alone Spanish), and vice versa. This was less common in upscale establishments, but common enough otherwise. One of the things I liked about living there was seeing things like that. Pfly (talk) 13:17, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Why not call up the Chinese restaurant and find out?
If they do hire you, it might be a perfect opportunity for you to study Searle's Chinese room!
Any time anyone says anything to you in any language, just do whatever seems best to you at the time. With practice, you may even start to get it right in Mandarin Chinese! ;) Wikiscient (talk) 19:58, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
My understanding is that acting & modelling, and waiting tables in a restaurant (i.e. being visible to customers), but not cooking in a backroom kitchen, are the main areas in which racial discrimination is not illegal in the UK. Race counts as a "genuine occupational qualification". From the Race Relations Act:
5. Exceptions for genuine occupational qualifications. -
(1) In relation to racial discrimination [F8in cases where section 4A does not apply]—
(a) section 4(1)(a) or (c) does not apply to any employment where being of a particular racial group is a genuine occupational qualification for the job; and
(b) section 4(2)(b) does not apply to opportunities for promotion or transfer to, or training for, such employment.
(2) Being of a particular racial group is a genuine occupational qualification for a job only where—
(a) the job involves participation in a dramatic performance or other entertainment in a capacity for which a person of that racial group is required for reasons of authenticity; or
(b) the job involves participation as an artist’s or photographic model in the production of a work of art, visual image or sequence of visual images for which a person of that racial group is required for reasons of authenticity; or
(c) the job involves working in a place where food or drink is (for payment or not) provided to and consumed by members of the public or a section of the public in a particular setting for which, in that job, a person of that racial group is required for reasons of authenticity; or
(d) the holder of the job provides persons of that racial group with personal services promoting their welfare, and those services can most effectively be provided by a person of that racial group.
BrainyBabe (talk) 12:24, 12 September 2010 (UTC)

how to start accounting or being the least bit organized[edit]

man, I'm about six feet under. Feet of papers, that is. I need your help.

I'm an artist, I'm creative. I have way, way better things to do when I have 2-3 clients and maybe 15 hours of work per week than working to get another 5 clients to make it a full time thing. But there is no way I can schedule 8 people all in my head. Do invoices, etc, etc. I can do 2-3 clients while being an artist, but I gotta get professional or my wife will leave me.

So, how do I be an accountant and shit?? I don't even have 1 binder. I don't have, like, these calendar desk mats people use. HELP. What are the basics? Where do I start??

Excel? A, um, board on the wall to pin stuff to? How does that even help?

I am lost and confused. Although I am not asking for legal or medical advice, I would like some of your answers or references for how I can start to get organized. Thank you. (talk) 15:58, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

For the financial side of things, talk to other artist friends who use a bookkeeper, get a reference for one that they like, and try that out for a few months. On the non-financial side of things, find someone who manages artists and have them take you on as a client in return for part of the money you earn. If you are chronically, hopelessly disorganized, then getting human help like this may help you — after working with the manager for a while, you may learn more about organizing your time and your projects. Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:15, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
First of all, thank you for the suggestion. I believe it is an excellent follow-up should all my personal attempts fail. But perhaps with some help here, they need not fail... :) Is it really that hard to get organized? Can't someone learn to do it, as someone who doesn't cook, or swim, or drive, or anything else can learn to do one of these activities with online resources and some gentle guidance? (talk) 17:26, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
If she's the one insisting on this, how about getting your wife to act as your manager (that might be more diplomatic than "assistant" (-: ). Of course, only you would know whether your relationship is likely to survive such an arrangement. Rojomoke (talk) 17:35, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
(Multiple Edit Conflicts) This is probably too big a subject to cover in Ref Desk answers. Speaking as a professional (if unemployed) Office Administrator myself, I have two suggestions:
1/ Take a short course (maybe an Evening Class, to avoid interfering with your workday) in basic Office Administration - local Adult Education establishments might be running such courses.
2/ Advertise in your local newspaper (or newsagent's window, or whatever) for someone with relevant training and experience (maybe someone retired from full-time working, or married to a full-time breadwinner) to come and do it for you part time - I'd guess around 8 hours a week (say 2 half days) would be sufficient. Once they've got your admin routines up and running, you might be able to learn enough from them to take over, or you might find your now more efficient business will begin to generate enough income and further work to keep them or someone else on permanently and with increased hours.
Of course almost anyone can learn to do this stuff if they have the self-discipline, but you have to learn it from someone who already knows, and you can't afford to screw it up or you and your business will incur a lot of financial hurt.
Note that you will almost certainly have to employ an Accountant to prepare your annual returns, or the Taxman will make mincemeat of you, but so long as you find out how properly to keep the very simple records needed, their task will be very much easier (and therefore cheaper). (talk) 17:40, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Despite being mundane and boring, filing is the bedrock of running a small business. Without it you will waste hours or days trying to find things. I suggest getting several lever-arch files. Keep everything in the files in date order. In one file keep all paperwork that records your income. In another keep all reciepts, invoices, bills, and other evidence of your outgoings. In another keep all letters or notes about telephone conversations, copies of important emails, contracts, and so on. Keep these files up to date by filing away paperwork in them as soon as you get it or have dealt with it. Also have a calendar on the wall that you write future appointments and reminders to do things on particular dates. A whiteboard or something to write to-do lists on is useful too. You can go through the first two files and add up the figures to get your total gross income and total expenditure. If you do a lot of business with each customer, then have a dedicated file for each customer where you keep the correspondence between you.
You should also have a file for your invoices, where you keep a copy of every invoice that you send out. When you get paid you move the invoice to the 'income' file. Looking through this invoice file tells you what payments are overdue. (talk) 23:15, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Joint portraits of William and Mary[edit]

Why are joint portraits of William and Mary so rare? I had expected to find a lot of photographs of joint portraits of a married couple who reigned together but I found none. Can someone show me photographs of such portraits? Do they even exist? Surtsicna (talk) 16:38, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Yes. Don't forget that they only ruled jointly for 5 years. Ghmyrtle (talk) 20:27, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I presume you are aware of the article page: William and Mary -- MacOfJesus (talk) 21:24, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes I am. Why? The article doesn't contain a joint portrait of them. Ghmyrtle, thanks but that's not what I had in mind. I was thinking of something like File:Felipe of Spain and MariaTudor.jpg. Mary I and Philip's joint reign was a year shorter than William III and Mary II's but Wikimedia Commons has a portrait of them together. Surtsicna (talk) 21:38, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
In those days a portrait meant sitting still for hours a day for at least a few days. William was not the sort of guy to put up with very much of that. Looie496 (talk) 22:49, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Not only that, but, if they ruled, jointly, for only 5 years until Mary died, then it may indicate that she was already unwell. They were probably, "walking on egg-shells" with Parliament, the last thing on their minds was that! MacOfJesus (talk) 10:19, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

I demand my money back[edit]

One almost hackneyed expression I frequently read on sites where people comment on movies is "to walk out of the theater and demand one's money back". I've always assumed this was just a figure of speech, an exaggeration, but it stroke me that I don't know that for sure. Is this more than just an expression? Can you in some theaters really walk out of a movie mid-projection and demand your money back? Or at least, was this possible in the past? TomorrowTime (talk) 19:35, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Well, there's nothing stopping you from demanding your money back. Whether they'll actually give it to you or not is another question. A theater with good customer service might consider it, especially if there was some fault on their end which caused the film to be unwatchable (e.g. technical glitch, advertising the wrong movie, etc.). They'd be less likely to do so if the reason was simply "I didn't like the movie". -- (talk) 19:57, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Clearly a technical fault is rather a different situation. I was once in a cinema where the projector broke halfway through the film and couldn't be quickly fixed. They sent someone in to aplogise, gave everyone their money back, and a voucher for a free film. Warofdreams talk 15:23, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
You can walk out of a movie as you like. There is no restriction that demands you remain in the theater. You can also demand your money back. It doesn't mean that you will get your money back, but you can demand it. I used to manage movie theaters. My decision on giving a refund was based on how polite the person was and how much of the movie the person sat through. For example, if a person started cussing in the theater, stomped out of the theater, and started screaming about a refund, I would just call the police and let the person know that the person on the phone was a police officer who is more than willing to come by and handle the complaint. Similarly, if someone watched the entire movie and then decided it wasn't good and wanted a refund, I wouldn't allow it. If a person left the theater within the first 30 minutes or so and politely asked for a refund, I had not problem giving one. -- kainaw 19:59, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I only walked out of a movie once, decades ago, and it was very early in the presentation, so they refunded. It's similar to if you complain about food in a restaurant, they might give it to you. The decision might be geared on the question of whether they ever want you back in their establishment or not! ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:11, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
People can demand and get refunds. I never have, but my friend has (he was upset the movie was too vulgar... it was some comedy from about a year ago). I suspect timing and complaint have something to do with the success rate. Simply saying it "sucked" after sitting through the whole thing probably won't get you anything, but leaving early and saying that you felt you were deceived into thinking it would be something it wasn't would be more likely met with success. Being politely outraged is probably what you're going for. Matt Deres (talk) 20:17, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
If demands don't work, you can always up the ante with "Don't you know who I am?".  :) -- Jack of Oz ... speak! ... 21:08, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Rumor has it that if you tell George Clooney that you saw "Batman and Robin" in the theater, he will give you your ticket money back. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 21:54, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
I've asked for refunds at least twice at first-run cinemas after deciding 10-20 minutes into a movie to leave. I just told them, "I'm not enjoying this at all", and they had no problem giving the refund. This was in Canada. I've also walked out farther into a movie or at a discount cinema and in these cases I would not ask for a refund. --Anonymous, 23:10 UTC, September 7, 2010.
My personal impression is that businesses are generally quite a bit more customer-friendly in North America than they are in Europe. I've walked out of movies in Europe, but the only time I asked for my money back was when I went to see an American movie that was advertised with its English title and no mention of being dubbed in German, which it was and which I can only bear on television. There was no problem. As 140 pointed out above, technical glitches, but also being dubbed or other things objectively making the experience less enjoyable regardless of personal taste are instances where I might demand my money back. Not liking the movie would not be such an instance. I should have read the reviews! Matt Deres's example of excessive vulgarity might fall in the first category, particularly in the U.S. (Though again: Matt's friend should have read the reviews). I read that a New York premiere of Privates on Parade had dozens of people demanding their money back.
I'm curious though. Could you return a book at Barnes & Noble saying that you just didn't like the first 20 pages? Again, inconceivable where I live (with the possible exception of a tiny bookshop where I'm a regular customer and have a personal relationship with the staff, but I've never tried it there either).
I'd be surprised if you weren't able to return a book. I'm not sure where you're from (you didn't sign - naughty!), but in Canada it would be no big deal to return a book - it's no different than returning a garment or other item. I buy most of my books through Chapters online and have returned a few of them at the nearby brick and mortar branch. They ask if there was something physically wrong with the book and then cheerfully hand me my money back (well, they don't hand it back, they reverse part of the charge on my credit card). Never any hassle. Matt Deres (talk) 23:48, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Sorry, I forgot to sign. Here (Switzerland), the large bookstores often seal the books in plastic. Once it's opened, it will have to look in mint condition in order for them to even consider a refund. One reason they might accept, is having received it as a gift but already owning the book. Even then, it's more common for the large bookstores to offer you a gift certificate or a book of equal value, nstead of cash. And little chance of anything if the book looks like it's been handled and leafed through. ---Sluzzelin talk 23:58, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Ugh. One reason I prefer to buy books at bookstores rather than online or by mail order is precisely that in a bookstore you can read some of the book and decide what you think of it. --Anonymous, 13:44, September 9, 2010.
Yes, I was imprecise. Of course there is always at least one display copy for each book which you can leaf through to your heart's content while sitting in one of the shop's comfortable armchairs. The book you buy is sealed. ---Sluzzelin talk 15:55, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

In the theatres I've attended, passes and 3-D are not refundable, and all others are refundable before 20 minutes have passed, otherwise it's manager's discretion, based on why the refund is requested. Aaronite (talk) 03:21, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

If you choose to see the movie, it's not the theater's fault and you DO NOT deserve a penny back if you do not like it. You CHOSE to see a bad movie. (talk)Dave —Preceding undated comment added 07:38, 8 September 2010 (UTC).

Very true 76, but if the manager thinks that denying you a refund will prevent you from choosing to see other movies at his establishment, then he might give you a refund anyway. Googlemeister (talk) 19:33, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Unless, of course, you look like the kind of person who will take the refund, return, watch another movie, demand a refund, come back, watch another movie, demand a refund, etc... -- kainaw 01:42, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
I would anticipate that a manager of even humble intellect would quickly figure that one out. Now if he thought Waterworld was a good film... Googlemeister (talk) 13:23, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
  • Anecdata: when I lived on the west coast, the biggest movie theatre in town would grant an automatic refund to anyone who left a film within the first twenty minutes. No questions asked. → ROUX  14:09, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Life imprisonment for bedwetting?[edit]

It's become a fixture of various cop shows that a suspect can be branded as a sociopath by learning that he was a bedwetter as a child. Apparently this is based on a now-discredited (?) Macdonald triad of bedwetting, fascination with starting fires, and cruelty to animals. (The same is also mentioned as diagnostic for psychopathy, though I'd thought that was supposed to be something different). Question: About how many people are actually imprisoned or subject to civil commitment, because their parents foolishly trusted the secret of their bedwetting to the confidence of a therapist? Wnt (talk) 21:43, 7 September 2010 (UTC) Which cop shows? I watch just about everything and have never seen this come up,never mind become a fixture,..Hotclaws (talk) 02:22, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

I can't find any evidence that anyone has been committed merely for bedwetting. The theory, as you say, puts together bedwetting, animal abuse, and fire-starting as signs that point toward psychopathy when found together, but arson and animal abuse are both crimes, while bedwetting is not. On its own, bedwetting can have a variety of physical and emotional causes other than psychopathy, and doctors know this. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 22:12, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Having worked in a psychiatric ward at a hospital in Canada i can tell you from experience that is extremely difficult to have someone minor or adult permanently committed against their will. At least in Canada and I imagine the USA —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:47, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

In the UK, sectioning law is a very good safe-guard against indescriminate and ill-motavated interment. Two trained staff have to agree to the sectioning and must be reviewed after 10 days, with the patient. In the case of children a more controlled procedure is in place and their education cannot be neglected. Bed-wetting is a sign of deeper problems that need addressing, and I suspect that may be the reason for time-out. MacOfJesus (talk) 19:38, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

"Bed-wetting is a sign of deeper problems that need addressing, and I suspect that may be the reason for time-out" <-- Citation needed. Are you serious? That's Freudian psychoanalytic theory that's not at all an accepted diagnosis, let alone one to even suggest involuntary commitment. Shadowjams (talk) 09:10, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm reading the proposed situation differently to you. I'm referring to the situation in UK. What I'm saying is not a diagnosis, meant to be a pointer that suggests there is more to this than meets the eye. In the absence of OP coming in to clarify, we "have to" suggest reasons that may be helpful to the OP. MacOfJesus (talk) 13:36, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
bedwetting, fire-starting, and animal cruelty are statistical observations; people who suffer from extreme forms of psychopathy tend to show all three (though data collection is a problem, since a lot of it relies on self-report). The theoretical model is that the three signify a lack of impulse control and an inability to empathize with others. However, it's more useful as a descriptive measure than a predictive measure (e.g., if you have three suspects in a murder, look at the one with a history of bedwetting and fire-starting first)
This was indeed a major plot device in tv cop dramas, at least back in the 90's - Law and Order SUV coughed it up every other episode or so. it's a bit passé now, I think, though I don't watch enough television to know the current uber-cop way of detecting evil scumbags. --Ludwigs2 20:19, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

anti cow slaughter bills in india[edit]

im writing this essay on the cow slaughter bills im supposed to take a stand that goes against the bill .i couldnt think of any arguments in constitutional law . can u help here cuz directive principles of state policy do carry a lot of weight. moreover all the economic data available in india indicate there are too few cows .can i use right to livelihood and profession for butchers tanners craftsmen as a valid arguments. could any of u think of better arguments opposing the bill?Trustinday (talk) 22:01, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I'm afraid we aren't able to do your homework. Thinking of arguments against the bill is an exercise in logic- your teacher wants you to learn to use your own mind to construct an argument, and you won't get to learn what you need to know if we do the thinking- instead, we'll get all the benefit and learning. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 22:02, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
This pdf is actually “for” the bill. Maybe you could take a look at its arguments and try to come up with rebuttal for them? Royor (talk) 22:58, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
This is a very controversial topic. Please read this

also read my marvelous (but censored) article here .

Thanks  Jon Ascton  (talk) 03:35, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Prison boats[edit]

Is it right to use prison boats? What if there was bad whether and a wave struck and the ship sank? They'd all die. That can't be humane —Preceding unsigned comment added by Evlwty (talkcontribs) 22:25, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I don't know anybody who does that anymore (at least it's not mentioned in Prison ship). You could say the same thing about prisons on land. They could be destroyed by earthquakes or floods or tornadoes. There are no guarantees. Clarityfiend (talk) 22:40, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps the OP is worries about the relative risk of marine-based vs. land-based prisons. But perhaps the premise is false -- what is the risk of a ship-sinking wave hitting a prison boat? DRosenbach (Talk | Contribs) 23:47, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
For cost and practical reasons PSs are moored in shallow estuaries and docks. Deep berths are expensive. Offshore anchorage increases the costs of supply and ship to sore transport. Further, who wants to work in a prison that is bobbing up and down in open water? If one sank, I doubt very much if anyone would get their socks wet. --Aspro (talk) 15:32, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
It sounds difficult to secure. For a land-based prison you barely see it on the horizon when you run into the first no-trespassing signs, and obviously they're watching. But in many waterways there's no legal barrier to passage, and in any case it is hard to spot divers. And if they do manage to attach explosives, the effects are more serious than blowing up the outside wall of a land-based prison. And if they manage to snatch a prisoner away, they can stash him in any closed space beneath the water with a dozen air tanks a hundred yards away from the prison and you'd never find him. Dogs don't track under water. Wnt (talk) 16:41, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Oh, don't they? What are these then... Atlantic dogfish or something? [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7].--Aspro (talk) 17:11, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Didn't the US Navy train some warrior dolphins or sea lions or something that could find divers? Googlemeister (talk) 19:31, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Yes and as always Wikipedia has articles about that very thing U.S. Navy Marine Mammal Program. What's the sea looking like today like Rover? “Ruff” --Aspro (talk) 20:20, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Joking apart. UK prisons ships are category 'C' anyway, (prisoners are those who cannot be trusted in open conditions but who are unlikely to try to escape) so the expectation of inmates getting sprung by the criminal underworld is not considered very likely. OPs question fails from the start, as it is the product of a non sequitur, at least in the UK --Aspro (talk) 08:33, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
There was a prison ship in Belfast Loch called "The Argenta". This was used at the beginning of the uprising in Ireland. MacOfJesus (talk) 21:24, 23 September 2010 (UTC)

The Cold War[edit]

Who started the cold war? Soviets were mad after WWII since they lost a ton of people and America came out mostly unscathed, then sputnik happened and America got all petty and jealous. But who initially flexed their muscles? 5dos4 (talk) 22:41, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

The Cold war essentially originated about competition over who was to control Germany once World War II ended. The USSR dropped what Churchill called an "Iron curtain" over eastern Europe that finally fell in the late 1980s. Sputnik was about a lot more than "petty jealousy", it was about concerns that the USSR was working on putting nuclear weapons into orbit. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:50, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Just as a small pedantic point: the fear was not about putting nuclear weapons into orbit, the fear was that for the first time the USSR had the means (the rockets) to put nuclear weapons onto the mainland United States. The same rocket that put Sputnik into the atmosphere, the R-7 Semyorka, was also the first Soviet ICBM. Before 1957, the USSR essentially lacked the ability to actually shoot nuclear weapons at the mainland United States. (At most, some of its bombers might have been able to hit some targets, but only if they went on suicide runs, and they were vulnerable to being intercepted after being detected by the DEW Line.) Of course the USSR could deliver bombs to Europe, but that was a different matter. (One can understand the British interest in developing an independent deterrent when it is put that way.) --Mr.98 (talk) 23:41, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
It's hard to decide what the "first move" was in the Cold War. When the Soviets reneged on their promise (surely never believed) to allow free elections in Eastern Europe? When the Soviets failed to withdraw from Iran on time in 1946? When the Western-backed government of Iran tore up the oil deals made with the Soviets? When the U.S. dropped atom bombs on Japan in part (probably) to stop the war before the Soviets could grab a chunk of East Asia? -- Mwalcoff (talk) 23:27, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)There was certainly a cold war brewing well before World War II, in fact the coincidence that Germany was at war with both the US and the USSR put a bit of a hold on what was already happening prior to World War II. In the U.S. the First Red Scare dates from 1919-1920. At the end of World War I, the U.K. and U.S. led an allied invasion of Arkhangelsk to support the Whites during the Russian Revolution, see Entente intervention in the Russian Civil War. The major Western democracies did not really get along with Russia during the 1920's and 30's, though most of the tension at the time was between USSR and the U.K. rather than the U.S; still the seeds of the cold war clearly predate World War II. The scramble for Europe during the last days of the war was a symptom of the existing tensions between Communitst USSR and the Western democracies, NOT the cause of them. --Jayron32 23:35, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
The origins of the Cold War is a topic of much historical debate amongst scholars. The article is good overview — most scholars put its origins long before World War II. It shouldn't be thought of as something that "someone" started. It is rather a series of evolving conditions which divided the world into essentially three major groupings of power (First World: US and allies; Second World: USSR and allies; Third World: non-aligned and neutral countries). All of your generalizations are not very helpful (the Soviets were not "mad" so much as "nervous"; America was not "petty and jealous" so much as "afraid"). If you want to understand history, you have to work to put yourselves into the perspectives of the people who actually lived then, and not regard their attitudes in a flip fashion. Otherwise you'll never come close to any kind of real historical understanding. They were no more dumb, gullible, devious, evil, what have you than the people you see around you today. --Mr.98 (talk) 23:38, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
(ec) We have a whole article on this: Origins of the Cold War. Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:40, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Merely a C20 rehash of The Great Game. --Tagishsimon (talk) 23:43, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Except the Great Game was based more on resources than on security. The difference is important. --Mr.98 (talk) 23:45, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
My comment was flippant. But the UK feared for the security of its Indian empire; I'd argue that security was a major driver; competition for resources seems secondary to this. --Tagishsimon (talk) 23:50, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
Security of resources is different, and provokes different reactions, than security over the nation. I'm not trying to say that the Cold War was a fundamental break in the old "international rivalry" category, but it did represent something a bit different than what had come before. You don't threaten world annihilation to protect your resources, as an example. You do see that happening in response to the so-called "existential threat". What made the Cold War unique was the way in which security predominated over everything else (and became an argument for economic hegemony, rather than the other way around). If you wanted to say that the Cold War was the Great Game with nukes, anthrax, and VX gas, OK, but that's a pretty big change to throw into the mix. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:30, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

From the U.S. perspective, one of the first hostile Soviet measures was when Stalin blatantly and massively violated his previous solemn promise to hold free elections in Poland. From 1948-1950, there were a series of events which were perceived as communist aggressions, including the Czech coup, communist victory in the Chinese civil war, Berlin crisis, etc., with the crowning blow being the invasion of south Korea... AnonMoos (talk) 00:34, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

Depending on your criteria it started with Operation Unthinkable (a British plan to attack the USSR with the USA after WWII) or the Berlin Blockade (an attempt by Stalin to get the USA, Britain and France to surrender West Berlin).-- (talk) 16:00, 8 September 2010 (UTC)

United States Code and half mast during wartime[edit]

Has the United States Flag Code ever stated that the Flag of the United States is to be flown at half-staff during wartime?--Rockfang (talk) 23:35, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

Please clarify your question. Are you asking if the code ever call for the flag to be flown at half-staff during wartime for that reason alone, or if the code has ever explicitly stated that it should or should not be flown at half-staff during wartime on a date in which it would normally be flown at half-staff during peacetime? -- (talk) 11:39, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm "...asking if the code ever call(ed) for the flag to be flown at half-staff during wartime for that reason alone."--Rockfang (talk) 12:04, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
The Flag Code has been pretty much the same forever. But check out the Flag Code Amendment Act of 2007 which suggests lowering the flag to half mast when a member of the armed services dies in action. APL (talk) 17:34, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Thank you both for the responses.--Rockfang (talk) 07:38, 9 September 2010 (UTC)

Freud in modern Psychology[edit]

I realise that different schools of psychology will have different views, but overall what is Freud's position in the modern psychological community? How are his theories (not those of his students or followers) viewed by psychologists today? I've read conflicting accounts (mostly from unreliable sources, saying things like Freud was a genius/no Freud was a madman) (talk) 23:45, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

I have a friend who's taking a beginning psych course and leaning toward Freudianism, and I told her Freud is not looked upon favorably today (but I'm not sure on that) and I'd do some research and get back to her tomorrow (I haven't taken psych in a looonng time). So basically how could I summarize this into a fair criticism of Freud that would be supported by modern psychologists/what should I tell her? So far I've got something about pop psychology and an analogy comparing Freud to Newton as Psychoanalysis is to Quantum Mech. but I'm not sure this is right and I need more (talk) 23:45, 7 September 2010 (UTC)

"Conflicting accounts" is probably a good way to sum it up. There are some that think Freud is still great, at least in some kind of adapted form. There are many who think he was a crackpot, or at the very least, wrong in important and often unscientific ways. It also depends on what you define as the "modern psychological community", as there is a big divide between the academic research psychologists and those who are involved in clinical treatment (the latter are more favorable to Freud; the former generally not, though there are some who have worked to fit Freudian concepts in modern psychological or even neuropsychological models). A book I read awhile back which painted a pretty good picture of psychiatric training and practice of about 10 years ago was T.M. Luhrmann's Of Two Minds: The Growing Disorder in American Psychiatry (Knopf, 2000). We also had a discussion on this a couple years ago (where you can see me in my pre-account guise saying more or less what I've written here) which might be useful. And here is a more recent discussion on the same topic, with more long-winded blathering from me. Hrm.
I don't think the Freud to Newton analogy works. There are no practicing Newtonians. There are practicing Freudians. Additionally, from Newton you can proceed stepwise to Einstein, and from there to QM. There is a logical progression, more or less. With Freud it is more of a complete break; you go from Freud to the Behaviorists, who were explicitly against everything Freud stood for, and from there to the Cognitive Scientists, and so on. Freud is not "incomplete Behaviorism," Behaviorism is not "incomplete Cognitive Science," in the way that Newton is "incomplete relativity" or "incomplete quantum theory." This is getting a bit beyond our discussion here, but the fact that the psychological sciences are/were not cumulative in the same way that the psychical sciences are is sometimes advanced as an argument against how well grounded they are, or at least for the placing of them in the "social sciences." But this is a topic of considerable debate.
Anyway, what's the real harm? She just started the course. She'll probably learn something more and decide that Freud doesn't quite cut it. Or she'll decide Freud is great and perfect (something I have heard people who appear to be reasonably intelligence and well-educated say). I think pointing out that there are really mixed opinions on Freud is probably as good as you'll do. The clinicians say, "well, it seems to work, so it's good as therapy." Most (but not all) of the researchers say, "it's pseudoscientific junk and can't be tested." But there's no harm in learning it. Personally I think the best tonic against taking Freud too seriously is taking him serious enough to actually read his major works. Totem and Taboo is a crazy, bizarre evolutionary argument. The Interpretation of Dreams is Freud making stuff up as he goes along. Civilization and its Discontents is very interesting cultural commentary, but not a great insight into the brain itself. --Mr.98 (talk) 23:48, 7 September 2010 (UTC)
It's been said that the four most influential scientists/intellectuals from the mid-19th century to the mid-20th-century were Marx, Darwin, Freud, and Einstein. Comparing the current legacies of the four, Darwin and Einstein are looking pretty good (since they each came up with several major theories which have turned out to be basically correct, though of course with subsequent amendments and refinements by later scientists), while Marx's and Freud's legacies are looking a little wilted and shopworn (though both still have their vocal defenders). AnonMoos (talk) 00:21, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't know about that. While their end results may have turned out to be a bit wrong (or entriely wrong), both Freud and Marx are uber-important for the revolution they set off in the scholarly world. Both Freud, in terms of clinical psychology, and Marx, in terms of political economy, essentially founded major fields of study out of whole cloth. While actually Freudian psychology and Marxist politics have been largely debunked in terms of their content, they are still critically important for leading the way. Think of it this way: I wouldn't drive my corvette down a dirt path that has just been hacked by machetes through the jungle; but the fact that there is a nice paved road to drive on means that someone had to hack that path in the first place. Likewise, had it not been for Freud and Marx, then entire fields of study may have taken much longer to develop in their modern forms, even if the actual product of Freud's and Marx's work has been debunked. --Jayron32 00:39, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
The question though relates to what I said above about comparing psychology to the physical sciences. It's not clear that you need Freud to get to modern cognitive science in any way. It's not clear that it developed into modern cognitive science. Marx's theories of economics are still important today (as I understand it), but his theory of history is essentially a complete non-starter. Einstein and Darwin have science that is "hard" enough to serve as the base of future theories and work. Does Freud? I don't know. There's a strong argument to be made that psychology does not "progress" in the same way that physics does, one theory building on the next, in part because nobody ever agrees on a baseline consensus of "what is correct." (I believe this is explicitly discussed in Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions.) To use your metaphor, it's a question of whether Freud hacked away the brush that led to where you are now traveling, or if he hacked away brush in a totally different direction, one that is not at all where you are ending up. None of this is to discount whether Freud was historically important, mind you. You can still make a huge argument for Freud's influence even if you think his underlying theories are bunk. --Mr.98 (talk) 00:58, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
I don't agree that Kuhn is correct. :) (talk) 10:37, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
(EC) I agree with the preceding respondents. You may also want to have a look at our Psychoanalysis article, which further discusses some of the criticism Freud has been met with. I think you are quite right in saying it seems commonly understood that his ideas (the specifics of them, at least) are culturally/academically/clinically out of date and out of favor. And his work certainly is wide open to accusations of "pseudoscience" (though to be fair that's largely due to the nature of the material, and perhaps also just an artifact of the way much of "science" in general was understood and practiced at the time).
But I also remember Ellenberger's classic The Discovery of the Unconscious making a good case for Freud's lasting claim-to-fame as a "discoverer of the unconscious" (in terms of the lasting impact of that discovery on a very wide range of academic disciplines, on our entire culture really – I've even heard it said that Freud is to be credited with completing the "Copernican Revolution").
Certainly worth being taught in psych classes today, anyway. Why would you want to convince your friend not to learn about this...? Wikiscient (talk) 01:11, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Here is my attempt at a summary: (1) Freud was a pioneer in directing attention toward issues that modern psychologists think are important. (2) Nearly everything Freud said about those issues was wrong. Looie496 (talk) 01:16, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
lol! :) Wikiscient (talk) 01:20, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
The important thing is that none of Freud's theories have been experimentally verified (as far as I am aware). So although they seem plausible, seductive, and appealling, they are not true. Nevertheless, Freud was a pioneer in his day. (talk) 08:49, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
My limited knowledge of Freud and psychoanalysis agrees Mr.98's comments above - and even Looie496's pithy comment. Just to put a bit of context in here, though... the kind of stuff Freud did, appearing to make up entire theories out of whole cloth and hand-waving away any serious scientific backing was very much the way social sciences were done in the 19th and early 20th century. My background is more to anthropology and sociology than psychology, but it's shocking for a modern reader to read through early "social science" texts and suddenly realize that a) there is no use of ANY actual evidence or first-hand experience and b) theories are built up out of nothing more than what sounds good to the writer. You get these grand theories of ancient matriarchal societies and symbologically driven mythologies and what went on when man was in a state of nature and on so - all built up on tales from sailors about what "Orientals" and "Savages" did for religious ceremonies - and worse. That Freud at least made some attempt to measure his success in treating his patients gives him a bit of a leg up on many of his contemporaries. Matt Deres (talk) 14:04, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Freud was instrumental for a number of reasons:
  • He introduced the concept of mind, in the sense of internal mental structures and processes that are neither spiritual in nature nor related to obvious physical disease. we take that for granted these days, but at the end of the 19th century there really was no adequate way of conceptualizing mental symptoms (hallucinations or other distorted perceptions, aberrant actions, compulsive behavior, etc). Physicians were reduced either to casting them as unknown physiological issues or as moral issues.
  • He introduced the idea of the unconscious - basically that some thoughts, behaviors, and etc were not subject to direct conscious control or open to rational investigation. 19th century philosophy was rationalist: it pretty much believed that anything 'mental' was a matter of reason, and could be moderated by proper applications of reason. Freud demonstrated otherwise.
  • He introduced the idea that human personality was 'developmental', i.e. that one learned or became a full-fledged human. 19th century philosophy, again, generally held that being a fully-rational human was an inherent part of human nature, a kind of mental homunculus theory in which people were fully rational from the get-go and only needed training and knowledge.
all of these concepts are firmly implanted in psychology; all that differs in modern psychology is the approaches used to getting at them. Freud was limited by the standards of his time. He lived in a sexually repressed, colonial, paternalistic society, and could never quite escape from the societal preconceptions he was raised with (though he started to near the end of his life). His particular version of psychology - called psychodynamics nowadays - is still around and still a fairly major (though no longer the largest) element in clinical psychology (strict Freudians are rare, but most therapists will use certain Freudian conceptions and practices in their efforts to help patients). It has far less impact in academic psychology, which went through a phase of Skinnerism that it never quite recovered from (basic black-box model which denied - for reasons of methodology - the importance of any supposed internal working to the mind). But I daresay that without Freud, there would be no psychology whatsoever. --Ludwigs2 17:03, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Well-stated. Freud was a pioneer and a visionary, and he did the best he could. I could make a parallel with Thomas Edison, who was a great inventor but wasn't always right (he favored DC over AC, for example; and thought the "talking machine" would never work for music). But regardless of their flaws, pioneers advance the science from where it was before, and for that they should be admired. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 17:19, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Don't think that the Edison-Freud parallelism holds up. Edison was for the most part a ruthlessly empirical pragmaticist, who tried out many thousands of things, and was wrong on the majority of them, but corrected most of his own mistakes. By contrast, Freud was something of theorizing bloviator, who seemed to love spinning out "just-so stories" and fanciful speculations at great length... AnonMoos (talk) 18:52, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
It is, incidentally, completely unclear whether Freud's version of psychology would have been better for the discipline than, say, that of William James (which looks far more like modern conceptions of the mind than Freud's) or the Pavlovians or many others. Freud was hugely popular in the early 20th century United States. Whether he did good things for science or not, or distracted more than he helped, is up for debate. I personally find that the people who think Freud was very "important" in this sense generally have not read much of him and are just cherry picking some of the rather broad things he said (and often did not originate) while ignoring the other 99% of his work, which is pretty nonsensical. --Mr.98 (talk) 22:57, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
Have you seen the article pages: Freud, and, C. G. Jung? -- MacOfJesus (talk) 23:39, 8 September 2010 (UTC)
I'm fascinated by the amount of anti-Freud sentiment that some people express - it's always well out of proportion to the problems with Freud's work. I can't think of any scholar that suffers the same level of abuse (except maybe Marx, and even with Marx the criticism is directed more at what others did with his theories than at Marx and his theories directly). Freud touched a collective nerve, and many people tend to act out when his name gets mentioned. I'm tempted to analyze that in Freudian terms (Freud as a threat to developmental complexes around the issues of rationality and self-authorship), but I'll refrain... Face-grin.svg
James' psychology wouldn't have held up as a separate discipline. it was really more of physicalized moral philosophy than anything approaching a proper analytic assessment of human mind. GH Mead might have done better a few years down the road, but Mead was clearly influenced by Freud so I don't know what his theories would have looked like without the Freudian precursor. --Ludwigs2 01:24, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
It's that damn science based medicine messing with armchair theories. Freud has his place, particularly in philosophy... take that for what it's worth... but the usefulness of psychoanalytic psychiatry in modern practice is an empirical question best answered with evidence based scientific method. Correct me if I'm wrong, but my impression is that the hostility to Freud is not some proper object of fascination, but instead progress. Shadowjams (talk) 09:37, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Very good comment, well said Shadowjams. (talk) 10:07, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
Ludwigs2 -- Considering that he wrote a number of books (perhaps most notoriously Totem and Taboo) which were pretty much total crap, but which he seemed to expect other people to accept as priceless pearls of wisdom, it's not too surprising that such things would eventually create a backlash. And that's not even mentioning that Freud got his start with Wilhelm Fliess's Cosmic Nose Theory, etc. AnonMoos (talk) 13:07, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
@ ShadowJams: Allow me to correct you, because you're wrong. first off, psychoanalytic theory is a part of psychology, not psychiatry (Freud did have an Md., but his interest was in the mind, not in the brain). I'm a great fan of science and scientific medicine, but scientists, unlike (I can't resist this joke, though it'll probably get me in trouble) science fanboys, know the limits of their fields. "evidence-based scientific medicine" is a neologism intended to make the actual practice of medical science seem much more determinate and rigorous than it actually is. In truth, psychiatric medicine is mostly a guessing game: there are a number of drugs they have developed that 'evidently' calm and stabilize patients with particular disorders - i.e., they produce subjective experiences in the patients that lead the patients to more socially normative behavior - but psychiatrists have only the dimmest understanding of why these drugs alter a patient's subjective experience, and their means of defining the disorders in the first place is largely a function of normative procedures defined by psychologists (see DSM IV). Most psychiatrists will tell patients explicitly that psychiatric medicines should be paired with psychological analysis of one sort or another (though psychiatrists tend to prefer brief therapy such as cognitive therapy).
Research into the brain and its functions has a very, very long way to go before it starts being able to understand the relationship of the physical brain to subjective experience. I understand the urge to reify physical medicine as the be-all-and-end-all, but that ideal is (currently) science fiction.
@ AnonMoos: Yeah, yeah... we all know the power of ad hominem arguments. let's try to avoid them anyway. Freud had the disadvantage of having to feel his way through the problem blindly, from scratch. Hindsight will show us plenty of things he did wrong; If that blinds you from seeing the things that he did right, that is unfortunate. --Ludwigs2 16:14, 9 September 2010 (UTC)
In psychology that may be true, but in anthropology he was following along a well-worn path of 19th-century "just-so story" fanciful speculations about the origins of human societies, at a time when the leading figures in anthropology were already trying to steer the field in a different direction -- and as a factual account of human origins aspiring to scientific accuracy, Freud's yarn-spinning is even less adequate than that of J. J. Bachofen over 50 years before. And Freud's general theories are often presented as an all-or-nothing proposition, which encourages many people to go the "nothing" route... AnonMoos (talk) 00:40, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
who's arguing with that? Look, AM, we're doing different things here: I'm trying to point out that Freud's theories were valuable, you're trying to point out that Freud's theories were wrong. If you think those two statements are mutually exclusive, then you misunderstand science. Think of Freud a bit like the way you think of Galileo: Galileo thought the sun was the center of the universe and that the tides were generated by the acceleration and deceleration of the Earth's surface as it revolved and orbited the sun, and he was influenced enough by his society that he recanted most of his theories under pressure from the Church. if you spent all your time disrespecting him for those stupidities, you'd miss the brilliant insights he had in other venues.
I understand why Freud ticks people off. Freud is the first (and strongest) challenge to Liberal ideology that the western world has seen. Galileo was the first (and strongest) challenge to Christian ideology, mind you, so this is not something special. However, the world is still deeply mired in Liberal ideology (the pretense that humans are rational, self-willed, self-determining individualists - Robinson Crusoe is the Liberal ideal), and so Freud's suggestion that we are not rational, not exactly self-willed, not self-detemining by nature, and not even fully individuals in the Liberal sense of the word, is bound to grate on peoples' nerves. But trying to toss Freud into the dung heap is not going to make his insights go away. a hundred years from now, when neuropsychology has made some decent inroads into understanding the human brain, I have no doubts that they will look back at Freud just the way we look at Galileo - as correct in principle but flawed in application and hamstrung by his society. --Ludwigs2 06:00, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Galileo did not create an all-encompassing ideology which claimed to putatively explain all aspects of human life, and when it came to things such as the movements of the moons of Jupiter he was a sober empirical observationalist (as opposed to a bloviating armchair theorizer). Galileo made a number of mistakes, but his basic revisions of Aristotle's laws of motion and acceleration were correct as far as they went, and stood until they were refined and expanded by Newton (while Newton's laws were further refined by Einstein etc.). In all these respects, Galileo is not really any better an analogy to Freud than was Edison... AnonMoos (talk) 14:26, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
  1. Thank you for not reading my post, but confirming it nonetheless.
  2. 'bloviating armchair theorizer' is an ad hominem attack that does nothing except display the irrational dislike you have for all things Freudian.
end of conversation - I cannot convince you of a point on which you are incapable of using reason. Please, feel free to hate of Freud to your heart's content; just keep it off wikipedia. thanks. --Ludwigs2 16:49, 11 September 2010 (UTC)
Laud him with whatever encomiums you will -- I just wish people would stop making pseudo-comparisons with figures such as Edison and Galileo, which obscure far more than they reveal... AnonMoos (talk) 03:04, 12 September 2010 (UTC)
@AnonMoo: All of the above criticism of Freud is pretty much valid. And Totem and Taboo was certainly ridiculous from our perspective 100 years later.
But whatever his faults (and he corrected some big ones with his theory in his lifetime), Freud was just absolutely brilliant. You should check out Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis (originally given to a med-school crowd). The basics are all there, masterfully elucidated, and even you may agree that there's still a lot of really great stuff in it. WikiDao (talk) 18:03, 11 September 2010 (UTC)