Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2011 April 12

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April 12[edit]

French ban on face covering[edit]

I'm thinking about the French ban on face covering, which took effect today. It passed the National Assembly with a 335-1 vote, and their Senate 246-1 (albeit with 100 abstentions). I am not seeing much opposition to this on secular grounds as a religious freedom issue, and I find it curious that this would be the case (I don't know what the deal with those 100 abstentions is). In a number of other countries, this would seem unthinkable on religious freedom/personal expression grounds. Can somebody help shed some light on this? (talk) 00:16, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

The French concept of "laïcité" is just as concerned with protecting the public sphere from what is considered to be inappropriate religious influence as with protecting freedom of religious practice and expression... AnonMoos (talk) 00:20, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
This is a classic case of the sometimes conflict between "positive freedoms" and "negative freedoms". Positive freedoms are the freedom to do something, while negative freedoms are the freedoms from something. The Norman Rockwell painting series Four Freedoms covers this nicely. The conflict in this case is the distinction between the freedom of a person to practice their religion (a positive freedom) and the freedom of someone to not be coerced to practice a religion they do not believe in (a negative freedom). In the U.S., this plays out in the inhenerent tension between what is called the Establishment Clause and the Free Exercise Clause. In France, the country and the society at large have come down to have a greater support for the negative freedom side of things; they would rather see that people are not forced to endorse religious practices they as individuals do not agree with. There's a decent parallel between the situation in France and that in Turkey, a nominally muslim country which has had a policy of government enforced secularism since Atatürk's Reforms. --Jayron32 16:07, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Face coverings also threaten security, since, if people are allowed to keep their faces hidden at all times, their identity can't be easily determined. This would significantly hamper law enforcement efforts. Note that this isn't just a concern with terrorism, but with any other criminals, as well, such as bank robbers. Police won't have much luck finding robbers wearing burqas, if every else in the area is also wearing them. StuRat (talk) 19:42, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Then there's concern over a lack of integration into the larger society. Such an extreme in clothing tends to separate people, ultimately leading to tension and ethnic/religious conflict. StuRat (talk) 19:49, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Although one could argue that its the intolerance of the viewer of the face covering that is the real problem. It's not my problem if someone chooses to feel seperated from me because of what I wear. The could choose to not feel that way, and then there would also be no tension. This is part of the repression-revolt cycle; increasing the restrictions on people's positive freedoms doesn't reduce tensions, it increases them. That's why societies built on the principle of invioable rights to free expression/religion/press have less problems than those with oppressive regimes. If I punch you in the face, you shouldn't then be punished by the authorities for "having a face that deserves a punch". Likewise, if the religious beliefs of a person incite violence in others, its the perpetrators of the violence that need addressing, NOT the religious beliefs... --Jayron32 19:56, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
I disagree that it's entirely subjective. Communication relies on facial cues to read emotions, etc. Without those, it's difficult to form a relationship with anyone. How do women form relationships in countries where this practice is prevalent ? They take their burqas off when with children, other women, or related men. As for unrelated men, they tend not to form relationships with them. This would be a problem in the workplace, of course, but women in those areas tend not to work outside the home as much.
Your example is ironic, since, in many Islamic nations, one justification for covering the face is that when a woman shows her face, a man can't help but to rape them, and that it's (at least partially) the woman's fault. StuRat (talk) 20:07, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure that it's your responsibility to force women to have relationships with people they do not want to. --Jayron32 20:10, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Not my responsibility, no. But it is the responsibility of lawmakers dealing with immigration to ensure that they don't allow in large numbers of people who refuse to integrate with their society, as this will lead to the types of violence you have in Iraq and elsewhere. StuRat (talk) 20:13, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
This is the eternal dilemma about immigration, and we see manifestations of it in the US all the time, thanks to being such a "melting pot". The basic premise is "us vs. them", or "they're different from us." Conservatives sneer at the concept of "diversity". Liberals embrace it, or at least claim to. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:36, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
You can have many diverse groups living together in peace, so long as they all agree to a common code of conduct, including banning certain extreme forms of dress. Muslims would also be offended by nudists, for example, so the banning of that extreme, in public areas, is in their interest. StuRat (talk) 20:57, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Did the Muslims in France agree to this law, to this common code of conduct? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:58, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Probably the more conservative Muslims objected while the more progressive Muslims did not. I'm not sure where the majority of Muslims was on the issue. However, if it was framed as "ban public nudism and covering the face, or neither", I suspect that even many conservatives would vote for the ban. StuRat (talk) 21:04, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
@Sturat: For the record, it is my belief that the practice of requiring women wearing hair and/or face coverings is among the most barbaric and obnoxious practices in the world, and that it is an overt act of oppression by the males of societies that enforce those standards against the females of those societies. I believe that if the practice ended tomorrow, and that if women in those societies where it is enforced were treated as equals to males in every single way, the world would be a better place. However, I also don't believe that it is the role of the government of a nation, especially an ostensibly democratic nation, to bring about that change via the law. All that does is replace one form of oppression with another. You can't eliminate an evil by committing the identically same evil. Anytime one adult tells another adult "this is for your own good", he about to do something oppressive and unacceptable towards them. Enforcing religious intolerance in the name of enforcing gender tolerance isn't progress. --Jayron32 20:44, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
There are other similar examples, such as the government of India banning the Caste system practiced there, and, of course, in the US, the banning of slavery following the US Civil War. The choice seems to come down to banning such things or allowing them to continue forever. StuRat (talk) 20:52, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
No, i think you are drawing connections and analogies which don't apply here. One can enforce laws which state that women must be treated as equals in all facets of public life, such as access to education, and the workplace, and the like. Forbiding someone from actively restricting the freedoms of others is quite different from forbidding them from making their own decisions regarding their own beliefs and actions regarding themselves. There are ways to end the practice of veiling, but passing laws making the women who wear veils criminals isn't it. Laws that ended slavery forbid oppression from others. This is a law supposedly saving a person from themselves. Fundementally different sorts of laws. --Jayron32 21:11, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
In this case the oppressor would be the male Imam or other religious leader who forces all women attending his mosque to wear them, or perhaps the husband who does so. StuRat (talk) 21:22, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
So who do you fine for breaking the law? Fining an Imam for preaching what his religion tells him is a core belief? That's state sponsored repression of basic religious freedoms. There are other ways to do this... --Jayron32 01:33, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Some "basic religious freedoms", like Pilgrims hanging people for witchcraft, or women being stoned to death for adultery under Sharia, need to be suppressed. StuRat (talk) 19:25, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
I've sometimes heard Muslim women who wear the full covering say that they feel "safe" being covered, because they're not exposed to the leering eyes of other men. I've worked with Muslim women who wear just a head scarf (not a face covering), and it becomes such a part of them that seeing them without it is slightly awkward, because it's as if they were undressed. In short, a law abolishing the face covering stands a good chance of stripping away a woman's dignity, and whatever "reform" it was trying to impose basically backfires. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:53, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
I don't think there are any laws against a scarf that doesn't cover the face. StuRat (talk) 22:28, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
That's just a transitional effect. For example, in Victorian times, women all had their ankles covered, and they probably felt exposed when fashions first dictated that they show them, but, in short order, that became the new normal. StuRat (talk) 21:01, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Even so, it was voluntary. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:46, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Having spoken to several American Muslim women myself, I can't remember any who felt it was oppressive. In particular, one woman said that it's a way to get men from looking you up and down; she said that it's hard for Westerners to get it, because in the West it's usually considered rude to stand there staring at people, but that in places like the UAE and Saudi Arabia that's perfectly normal. And most American Muslims who choose to wear a hijab and/or a veil do so of their own accord; trying to tar it with one brush doesn't work. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 22:23, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Are you male ? If so, then the women who are the most oppressed probably wouldn't be allowed to talk with you, making any observations biased towards those who are not oppressed. StuRat (talk) 22:26, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Yes, I am, and at a university no less. My point was simply that there's more than one side to it, not that it's never used that way. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 22:56, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Yep, I'm pretty sure the oppressive males don't send their daughters off to co-ed universities. StuRat (talk) 23:18, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Especially not ones in New England, not too far from Boston. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:04, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
It is worth remembering that it is cultural as much as it is practical. When I went to school in Ottawa, there were lots of girls, mostly Somali I think, who would wear a hijab and skin-tight jeans at the same time. --JGGardiner (talk) 23:09, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
(I can't count all the indenting colons.) Re the gradual unveiling of Western women's legs, it was not so much the young women who were discomfitted at the changing fashion, but the older, more conservative me. Hence the old joke, "Is this the way to Wearham?", parsed by the New York Times here. BrainyBabe (talk) 15:13, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

NFL cross-ownership rules[edit]

In the NFL, during last year's ownership controversy over the St. Louis Rams, one of the issues was the cross-ownership rules: NFL rules prohibit NFL owners from owning non-NFL teams in markets where there is already an NFL team. In this particular case, Stan Kroenke had to secure a special exemption from the NFL in order to purchase the St. Louis Rams, because he also owns the NBA's Denver Nuggets, MLS's Colorado Rapids, and the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, which cover the same geographic area as the Pat Bowlen-owned Denver Broncos.

What is the point of those cross-ownership rules? They're different sports and different regions, so where's the conflict of interest? So Kroenke owns the Nuggets. Considering it's a basketball team in a different city, why should that make it "bad" for him to own the St. Louis Rams, a football team?

SeekingAnswers (reply) 05:04, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

One issue I can see (i don't know that this is the major one) is the potential for owners to wish to move teams to markets to consolidate their ownership in one city. While it seems unlikely that Kroenke would move the Rams to Denver, given that there is already a team there; lets take a slightly different tack. Lets say that Clayton Bennett, the principal owner of record for the Oklahoma City Thunder, was buying the Rams instead. He'd have a strong likelyhood of wanting to move the Rams to Oklahoma City to consolidate his interests in the same market. If instead, William DeWitt, Jr. were to buy the Rams, it'd be much better, since DeWitt already owns the St. Louis Cardinals, so there's no impetus to move the team. The NFL as an organization tries to very closely manage franchise moves and relocations, the painful memory of the Colts move to Indianapolis, as well as the Al Davis-led L.A.-hokey pokey (you take the Raiders in, you move the Raiders out, you move the Raiders in, and you shake them all about) has made the rest of the NFL very tight on moves and things like that. The Art Modell led move that led to the Baltimore Ravens was contingent upon the Browns getting an expansion franchise within a short time, AND on the new franchise being given the rights to the history of the old Browns. There was also the debacle over the Patriots ownership during the Kiam-Orthwein years. The league forced Victor Kiam to sell basically over complete mismanagent of his finances; Buddy Orthwein (a St. Louis native with ties to the Busch family) was brought in as a caretaker owner. While there was speculation he would move the team to St. Louis, there was actually no such intention; Orthwein was basically owning the team only as an interim owner until local New England ownership could be found. They ended up with Robert Kraft, owner of Foxboro stadium buying him out. The NFL, more than any other league, protects its product with careful and highly restrictive ownership rules. They require majority ownership in a single person (one individual must own 50+% of the team outright, exception being the Packers, who are publicly owned) and carefully manage team sales between owners and team movement. --Jayron32 05:48, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Interesting; that explanation about owners wanting to consolidate their interests in the same city actually makes a lot of sense, now that I think about it. It even explains why the rule has the qualification "in markets where there is already an NFL team" rather than outright prohibiting ownership of any non-NFL teams. To use the same person you used for your example, suppose that Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clayton Bennett was buying the St. Louis Rams instead. Since Oklahoma City is not an NFL city, that qualification to the rule means that Bennett would not be prohibited from buying the Rams. And that makes sense, because if Bennett wanted to move the Rams to Oklahoma City, that would not create competition with any existing NFL team there. On the other hand, in Stan Kroenke's case, if he were to bring the Rams to Denver to consolidate his sports interests into one city, this would create competition between two franchises (the existing Denver Broncos and our hypothetical "Denver Rams") within the same city, which would be against the general interests of the NFL owners, which explains why the cross-ownership rules are written with the aforementioned qualification. —SeekingAnswers (reply) 01:58, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
The NFL says it is to encourage owners to focus on developing those franchises but also to protect confidential league information and avoid conflicts of interest. There are issues like national and regional broadcasting rights where an owner could have competing interests even if their teams were in different cities. On the other hand, back in the 70s the NASL suggested it was to limit the already small pool of potential owners for other leagues. It looks like we don't have an article on NASL v NFL but it is discussed here. --JGGardiner (talk) 09:07, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Here's the exact wording from a 2004 resolution appended in the NFL Constitution[1]: "the membership wishes to avoid conflicts of interest, protect confidential information and encourage owners to promote and develop NFL and club business" --JGGardiner (talk) 23:07, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
This is a little different, but over a century ago, there was nothing to prevent the same person from owning more than one major league baseball team. In 1899, the same brothers owned both the St. Louis team and the Cleveland Spiders, and they moved all of Cleveland's good players to St. Louis. As a result, the Spiders finished 20-134. (See 1899 Cleveland Spiders season.) For obvious reasons, such an obvious conflict of interest is no longer allowed today. I do wonder if there's a possibility of wanting to prevent owners from neglecting one team to focus on another, but obviously this hasn't been a problem for super-rich owners such as Paul Allen, owner of both the NBA's Trail Blazers and the NFL's Seahawks. Kansan (talk) 21:06, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Just FYI, that same year of 1899, the same thing happened with Brooklyn and Baltimore, as they merged ownerships while continuing to field 2 teams. The best players went to Brooklyn, which won the league championship. See 1899 Brooklyn Superbas season. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:13, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Maybe not in the big sports leagues, but in Atlantic League baseball the same person owns both the Bridgeport Bluefish and the Long Island Ducks, so that still hasn't entirely gone away. And it's not too uncommon for owners to have franchises in different sports; Jerry Reinsdorf (NBA's Bulls and MLB's White Sox), Carl Pohlad (MLB's Twins and NFL's Vikings), and unfortunately Jim Dolan (NBA's Knicks and NHL's Rangers) to name 3 recent/current examples. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 21:39, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

In this article, an NFL spokesman says the policy exists to prevent two NFL owners from competing with each other for sports dollars in the same market. That could presumably cause discord among NFL owners. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 22:26, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Dominick Elwes[edit]

How and why did he suicide? Kittybrewster 09:49, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

The Telegraph ran a story 11 years ago on this. Neutralitytalk 11:05, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Infant hygiene in artic environment[edit]

How did indigenous people who lived in artic environments maintain a hygienic environment around an infant in an era before contact with more modern European technologies. How did they deal with dirty "diapers" (or whatever the equivalent clothing would be). An infant soils the "diaper" at least ten times a day and spits up constantly. Maybe I'm just naive and unimaginative, but I can't see how one could deal with this in a perpetually frozen environment. Did they have enough extra clothing (only animal skins, presumably) available to constantly change "diapers" and other clothing? Did they have enough fuel to melt and boil snow/ice to clean and disinfect "diapers" daily and then dry them for reuse? With my kids, I had a hard enough time maintaining a hygienic environment with a washer, dryer, bleach, etc... Sally Anne (talk) 14:43, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

This article says moss liner with sealskin wrapper. I guess the moss is disposed of. If the sealskin gets messy, you can leave it in the snow overnight until the mess freezes and then scrape it off. As the sealskin is already very water resistant (maybe they have to keep it oiled with the light fraction of blubber oil) it'll not readily take lasting poopy stain. (talk) 15:43, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
There are also fewer germs around when you are living in a very cold climate. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 01:35, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
87 has one of the correct versions. Take a look at amauti to get some idea of where the kids were. This says "moss and soft caribou skin" and this says that "Dried grasses and mosses" were put in the bottom of the amauti. Then this under the section "Historical Clothing" has a very good explanation as to what they did. However, as the amauti was not really used from Cambridge Bay through the west I'm not too sure what was done even though children are packed. I must admit that I was really surprised when I first came up here and women would pull naked kids out of their amautis. Oh and in case anyone was interested rabbit, caribou and foxes as well as moss for sanitary napkins. I guess this caused a bit of a problem when the fur trade began. Trapping foxes was women's work and all of a sudden the fur trade wanted fox fur making man's work. And we are not always frozen up here. Part of June through to September are above freezing. CambridgeBayWeather (talk) 23:51, 15 April 2011 (UTC)
I would just add to this that, before the advent of cheap and common washing machines, tumble driers and disposable nappies, this was a problem faced to some extent by nearly everyone in cooler countries (like Britain). From the 'respectable' poor upwards, the solution was typically to dress the baby or child in many layers, but not to use trousers. The top layer over the child's front top-half would often be an apron or bib, semi-permanently attached, which could be removed and washed/dried relatively quickly and easily, being replaced by a clean one. In this way, you needed very few outfits for a child and several aprons/bibs. The baby/child wore a long or short gown (depending on age and time period) and nappies which typically had an cheap, absorbent layer under a more 'containing' layer or two, so that once again very little needed to be changed and washed. If a disposable, absorbent material was available locally, as with dealing with menstrual flow, I'm sure it was frequently used. The gown/dress meant the clothes were unlikely to be soiled by leaking, and it was quick and easy to change the child. 'Breeching', when a boy-child was dressed in his first pair of breeches (shorts) was a rite of passage that surely followed a child being securely toilet trained.
However, the unrespectable poor (less concerned with appearances to outsiders than surviving) commonly dressed untoilet-trained children only on the top, leaving the bottom half naked even in a British winter in tenements with no central heating, and little money for fuel. Jennifer Worth vividly describes half-naked children in miserable London tenements in the 1950's, with the mothers considering it less work, and more practical, to clean the floor than to change, wash and dry clothes that often. She makes it clear that the children left their families' tenements, went out into the shared, exposed areas, even sometimes went out onto the street, wearing nothing but warm tops and jumpers. Just a little context. (talk) 20:20, 17 April 2011 (UTC)


What is the symbolism of crutches in the artwork of Salvidor Dali —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:17, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Pictogram voting delete.svg Please do your own homework.
Welcome to Wikipedia. Your question appears to be a homework question. I apologize if this is a misinterpretation, but it is our aim here not to do people's homework for them, but to merely aid them in doing it themselves. Letting someone else do your homework does not help you learn nearly as much as doing it yourself. Please attempt to solve the problem or answer the question yourself first. If you need help with a specific part of your homework, feel free to tell us where you are stuck and ask for help. If you need help grasping the concept of a problem, by all means let us know. --Jayron32 15:58, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

not a home work question, i am just curious, i cant seem to find out what it sybolises. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Anton19821 (talkcontribs) 18:34, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Do a Google search for Salvador Dali crutches, and see what you come up with. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 21:12, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Here's one from that search:[2]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:08, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

The great poet named Zhao Gu[edit]

"There was a great poet named Zhao Gu (趙嘏) and another lesser poet by the name of Chang Jian (常建).", according to this article. How come we have an article about the lesser, but not about the great one? — Sebastian 15:59, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Because no one's made it yet. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 17:01, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Well, duh. Obviously, that's not why I'm asking. I was hoping to get a reply from someone interested in the topic. Admittedly, my question was just a 磚, but I have often experienced that the knowledgeable helpers here collaborate to make a nice 玉 out of it. (That, btw, is the context in which I remember 拋磚引玉 being used, not in the "making someone believe he gains something" way described in the article. This is why I was interested in this in the first place.) — Sebastian 04:19, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
I was being a bit facetious, sheesh ;) The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 04:47, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Anybody here who is interested in Chinese poetry? — Sebastian 05:33, 17 April 2011 (UTC)

Can a final judgment of a court in one system be overruled by that of a court in another system?[edit]

For example: In Country A, there are three judicial systems: 1. courts of justice, 2. administrative courts and 3. constitutional court(s).

If the supreme court of justice rendered a judgment (which, in fact, should be final and cannot be appealed). Or if the appeal court of justice rendered a judgment and the parties do not appeal it (causing it to become final).

Can such judgment be amended or overruled by any court of the other two systems, i.e. when the constitutional court finds that the said judgment or the proceedings concerned are somehow unconstitutional, or when an administrative court finds that the case is subject to its jurisdiction rather than that of the courts of justice, then can the constitutional court or administrative court rule that the judgment in question is to be revoked or renewed, etc.?

Thank you.

--Aristitleism (talk) 16:28, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

There's no way to answer this in the abstract, I don't think. Different legal systems work differently. Do you have a specific country in mind? --Mr.98 (talk) 16:36, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
I just think of the general legal principles. However, in my mind there are France and Germany. --Aristitleism (talk) 16:45, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
The relationship between two autonomous legal systems is either one of comity or of non-comity. AnonMoos (talk) 17:46, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

So, if, according to the example above, the constitutional court or administrative court accepts the jurisdiction of the courts of justice, even their judgment(s) are wrong, it will not overturn the said judgment(s)? However, as I have studied, the principle of judicial comity applies to the event when a person has been judged by one country, then he will not be judged by another country on the same grounds (excepting certain circumstances, such as the offences against security as provided in the Japanese Penal Code). I don't think this principle would be applicable to the courts within the same country, even they are subsidiary to different systems. --Aristitleism (talk) 01:38, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

When you said "France and Germany" I presumed that you were referring to the interaction between the two separate systems of France on the one hand and Germany on the other hand. From your latest post it seems clear that you are interested in the interaction between different court systems in a single jurisdiction. If that is so, then I guess the question is, are you asking for a normative or positive answer? If you are interested in how it actually works in real life, then the answer has to be "it depends". In different countries, different courts work differently according to their rules on appeal and hierarchy of the courts. Different courts which are not in the same hierarchy often do not have overlapping jurisdiction, and the country's laws will usually provide for, ultimately, whether decisions by one court (Court A) can be appealed to another court (Court B). If there is no possibility of appeal from Court A to Court B, then Court B has no jurisdiction over the case and cannot overturn it even if the judges privately (or even, if they are allowed to do so, publicly in a different judgment) express the view that it was wrongly decided.
Let's suppose, hypothetically, that the case of Aristitleism v PalaceGuard008 is decided by Court A of Danubia one way, but the judges of Court B of Danubia would have decided it a different way had the case come before them. Drawing on your original question, let's canvass three possibilities. First, that the laws of Danubia provide that the judgments of Court A are final and no appeal or review from them to Court B are possible. Secondly, that the laws of Danubia provide that the judgments of Court A can be appealed to Court B. FInally, an exotic possibility, that the laws of Danubia provide that Court B has an independent power of "review and supervision" over Court A, such that they can "pick up" a case already decided by Court A even in the absence of an appeal, and overturn or modify the decision.
  1. In the first case, if no appeal or review is possible, then the case is outside the jurisdiction of Court B and for Court B to purport to disturb the decision would be beyond their power (ultra vires) and not effective under the laws of Danubia.
  2. In the second case, the case lies in the appellate jurisdiction of Court B. This means that it lies outside Court B's jurisdiction until an appeal (or application for review) is submitted to it. Unless and until the parties appeal to Court B, it would similarly be ultra vires for Court B to purport to disturb the decision. Note also, that in some jurisdictions there are also rules about the basis on which Court B can disturb the findings of Court A. For example, it may be allowed to look only at findings of law and not of fact.
  3. In the third case, the case lies in the "review" jurisdiction of Court B, so that even if the parties do not apeal (or apply for a reivew), it can "pick up" the case and review, and, to the extent allowed by the law, overturn or modify the decision.
Whether one or more of the above cases apply to any given "court system" such as those to which you referred above depends on the particular systems and the laws of the particular country. There are probably arguments for and against subjecting the decisions of any particular court to appeal or review. I can't comment on France or Germany, but in most common law systems the third case does not generally occur. There is often a "peak" appellate court (a supreme court) to which most cases can be appealed (or at least, the parties can apply for leave to appeal to this court). However, there are exceptions. Perhaps it would be helpful for you to read the various articles on court hierarchies in different countries to learn the specifics of such countries, for example, Australian court hierarchy, Judiciary of France, Judiciary of Germany, Courts of the United Kingdom and the articles linked from there and Courts of the United States. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 06:09, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Iran's HDI[edit]

Why is Iran ranked as having a high HDI? Surely it's actually low like other poor, third-world countries. -- (talk) 21:12, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

What's HDI?
And maybe it would help if you told us what source you were looking at? HiLo48 (talk) 21:20, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
HDI here would probably be Human Development Index. A source would be nice, though. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 21:25, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
What made you think that Iran was a poor third-world country? Iranians of my acquaintance take pride in the long history of civilisation in their native country (much longer than any of the main English-speaking countries). Dbfirs 22:08, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
They also have one of the most repressive dictatorships in the world. Dictators generally don't care about the welfare of their subjects and thus don't tend to invest significant amounts of money into it. -- (talk) 22:50, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
That's not true by any stretch of the imagination. They have an elected President, and universal adult suffrage. Yes, Iran also have leaders who are unelected, and the people don't enjoy all of the same rights that those in the U.S. do. There is widespread corruption, and the economy suffers from unemployment and high inflation. However, if you think Iran has a repressive dictatorship, you probably want to steer clear of places like Sudan, or Myanmar, or Equatorial Guinea, or... Buddy431 (talk) 23:27, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Belarus has an elected president as well, at least in theory. Saying that and actually having one are two different things. There are definitely some personal liberty issues in Iran, no way around that. But yes, Achmadinejad definitely doesn't compare to Omar al-Bashir or Than Shwe, both of whom are engaged in genocide at the moment (as an aside, evidence of Than Shwe's efforts is his forcing the name Myanmar on the country; that's a very racially charged name that intentionally excludes non-ethnic Burmese).The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:54, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
But in Belarus, Lukashenko is essentially president for life, taking power in 1994 and not looking back, electorate be damned. Ahmadinejad will be term limited out in 2013, and everyone expects that he will leave his position willingly and peacefully. The election to replace him won't be open or fair by Western standards (candidates must be approved by the Guardian Council), but there will be real competition, and there probably won't be too much outright fraud or intimidation. Iranians can influence the government and public policy through the ballot box, which is a lot more than can be said about many nations. Buddy431 (talk) 03:45, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

I suspect that one thing in Iran's favor is that the ruling class doesn't believe in ostentatious displays of wealth, so can spend more tax dollars on education, caring for the poor, etc. StuRat (talk) 22:17, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Here's the UN HDI profile of Iran. You can see the country ranks highest in health, with an above-average life expectancy, below-average infant mortality and less than 5 percent of the country "undernourished." For all the bad stuff about Iran, they seem to have a good healthcare outreach system. See this article about how even Americans have taken notice. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 22:21, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Iran's recent leaders have invested significantly in healthcare, such that life expectancies, infant mortality rates, and other indicators of health have improved dramatically in the last 20 years, or so. Insurance is provided for most (73%) of Iranians by the Social Security Organization (Iran). Though its sanitary system is underdeveloped by Western standards (and sewage disposal is indeed becoming a problem in urban areas), Over 90% of Iranians have access to safe drinking water. Iran is also the only country in the world with a legal kidney trade, and there is no wait list for those who need a kidney transplant (in fact, it's often said that there's a waiting list to give a kidney). Iran is not a third world country. Buddy431 (talk) 23:37, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
It is more or less in the same zone on List of countries by Human Development Index and List of countries by GDP (PPP) per capita which is one of the bigger indicators. --JGGardiner (talk) 23:04, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
The index only considers income, education, and lifespan, where Iran does well. It ignores areas where Iran does poorly, such as personal and political freedoms. StuRat (talk) 19:32, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Capitalization in Arabic and Asian languages.[edit]

Do languages such as Arabic, Chinese, and Japanese capitalize characters like we do in English? If so, how? Thanks. BurtAlert (talk) 23:08, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Japanese doesn't, and Chinese Zhuyin doesn't either. In informal Japanese, you can write small vowels to represent trailing-off (i.e. はぁ), but there's no capitalization. In fact, if I try to enter my name in Japanese on my computer, and I accidentally type the first letter of my name with a capital, it won't convert it to katakana. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 23:20, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
The only alphabets which have a case distinction (as far as I'm aware) are the Latin, the Greek, the Cyrillic, some forms of the Georgian (but apparently not the form most commonly used today), and the Armenian. See Letter case... AnonMoos (talk) 23:27, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Note that your question is about scripts, not about languages. English and German use the same script, but have different capitalisation rules. Turkish used to be written with a form of Arabic script, and then did not have a case distinction; but when it changed to use Latin letters, it adopted the distinction. --ColinFine (talk) 23:48, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
In Chinese: Zhuyin is not a method of writing Chinese, it is a notation for the pronunciation of Chinese, as such it seems meaningless to talk about "capitalisation in Zhuyin" just as it is meaningless to talk about "capitalisation in IPA".
Chinese as written in Chinese characters has no concept of capitalisation, although sometimes text is bolded or, in some areas, underlined or otherwise marked to show that they are proper nouns or defined words. However, pinyin, which was intended by its designers to be a complete writing system, does have capitalisation, and is written in the Latin alphabet, and capitalisation rules are generally the same as in English. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 01:12, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
I was only using Zhuyin it because it's a script, and the only truly Chinese one that one could even think to capitalize (one obviously can't capitalize characters). Just making sure I had everything covered. The Blade of the Northern Lights (話して下さい) 02:01, 13 April 2011 (UTC)
Thanks guys, that's very interesting. BurtAlert (talk) 02:02, 13 April 2011 (UTC)

Well, Arabic doesn't have precisely capitalizations as in Latin script, but letters have different shapes if they are in beginning, middle or end of a word or stand alone. Likewise, Devanagari (and similar Indic scripts) letters have different shapes depending on where in a word they are placed. --Soman (talk) 03:01, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

Soman -- Arabic-script letters take on their "initial" form even in the middle of a word (when they occur after a letter which does not join to the left, such as alif, dal, dhal, ra, zay, waw), so their pattern of occurrences is quite different from upper-case letters in scripts that have them. Initial letters are also not visually prominent or "big" (in fact the isolated and final forms are the usually the most visually prominent), and of course no contrast is possible between words beginning vs. not beginning with initial forms. Arabic does have a way of emphasizing titles or headlines by putting them in a different script variation (such as Kufi or quasi-Kufi), but it wouldn't work to put the first letter of a word in Kufi, and the rest of the word in Naskhi... AnonMoos (talk) 07:05, 14 April 2011 (UTC)

What does it mean to be a Jew today?[edit]

Is it more of a cultural thing, fellow Jews living in enclaves, not necessarily worshipping? Are there still a considerable number of Jews who are waiting for their messiah? What today makes a Jew Jewish? Schyler (one language) 23:42, 12 April 2011 (UTC)

Who is a Jew? is a simple question with no simple answer. Some people who call themselves Jews are not religious but identify with Judaism more as a ethnic or cultural thing. But many others do still practice the religion fervently. According to Jewish law, anyone whose mother is Jewish is automatically Jewish and can return to practicing the Jewish faith at any time, even after leaving the religion. Other people must go through a conversion process and demonstrate commitment to the religion. -- Mwalcoff (talk) 23:47, 12 April 2011 (UTC)
Indeed - this is question that even many Jews can't easily answer themselves. There are a lot of Jewish groups nowadays that don't worship HaShem at all, e.g. Jewish atheism. I do know that there are a decent amount of Jews still awaiting the messiah; see Jewish Messiah#Present-day Jewish positions. Although most Jews that I know prefer the term "משיח", Translit. "Mashiach". This is because the Jewish and Christian ideas about the messiah are very different. People born of Jewish mothers (poor souls) are considered Jewish themselves. Matrilineality in Judaism is relevant here. :) One great book that I recommend to just about everyone looking into learning about Judaism on any level, is Milton Steinberg's Basic Judaism, which I'm sure your local library has a copy of. I've also heard good things about Hayim H. Donin's To Be A Jew: A Guide To Jewish Observance In Contemporary Life. (Sorry to throw a wall of text at you, but as Mwalcoff said, this is a complicated issue within Judaism.) I hope that helps and wasn't too confusing. :) Avicennasis @ 20:21, 9 Nisan 5771 / 13 April 2011 (UTC)