Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2011 February 9

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February 9[edit]

pilgrim(s) in an unholy land[edit]

What is the source of the line "I am a pilgrim in an unholy land" (or perhaps it's "we are pilgrims..." ? It's used in "Lincoln Lover" in 2006, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in 1989, and as the title of lots of blogs. I doubt such a nice turn of phrase comes originally from such a lame movie; is it biblical, or from some other source? (talk) 00:08, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

I've looked through Google's web, book, scholar, and news archives and I don't see anything earlier than Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (and not really that many things after it, though it's also a song by the Riverboat Gamblers). And lame movie? Nah, Temple of Doom was lame; Last Crusade is practically Oscar material in comparison... Matt Deres (talk) 00:35, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Wild stab in the dark: In one of Marsilio Ficino's letters [1] he says: Cur animi, cum divini sint, tam prophane vivunt? Quia domum regionemque habitant prophanam. "Why do souls, which are divine, live in such an unholy way? Because they inhabit an unholy house and land." Probably not what Professor Jones was quoting, though. Marnanel (talk) 00:50, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Maybe an allusion to Exodus 2:22? --Jayron32 06:44, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
That was a nice Marsilio find, Marnanel.--Wetman (talk) 12:33, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks to everyone for your help. It almost sounds like a blend of Ficino and Exodus, and much too erudite for Hollywood. Thanks again. (talk) 15:43, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Playwright Tom Stoppard is as erudite as they come and he is said to be the uncredited writer of most of the dialogue in the film. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:40, 4 August 2016 (EDT)


Hey. I always hear all these things about how China is going to become or already has become the most influential country in the world. I've been wondering, both today and with an eye toward the near future (=next ~100 years), is it better to be an American citizen or a Chinese citizen, all other things being equal? Thanks. (talk) 02:27, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

That's calling for a speculative and value judgement. Not the sort of thing the reference desk is set up to answer. I imagine either will be something of a Curate's egg. --Tagishsimon (talk) 02:31, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
I suspect that, in the timescale you describe, and with continuing economic and political trends, it will depend less on citizenship, and more on your position in the relevant society. Of course, ' with continuing economic and political trends' assumes a lot, so the real answer is nobody knows. AndyTheGrump (talk) 02:32, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
If we look at the present, there are many metrics that are fairly easy to compare. Taking figures from the United States and PRC articles mostly at random, the United States has a Per Capita GDP of $47,000, while the PRC's is $7,500 (and that's taking Purchasing power parity into account. Nominally, the PRC has a per capita GDP of only $4300). Per Capita GDP is a crude but often used measure of quality of life in comparing different countries. You could look at life expectancies: 78 years in the U.S. vs. 73 in China. Infant Mortality is 6 per 1000 births in the U.S., 23 per 1000 in China. Looking at HIV/AIDS in the United States, it appears than about 0.2% of the population is infected in the U.S. (580 000 of 300 000 000), while the number may be more like 0.1% in the PRC (~1 000 000 of 1 000 000 000, see HIV/AIDS in the People's Republic of China). Some of these numbers can be extrapolated into the near and medium term future without too much trouble, though others are harder to track and predict. I don't think that anyone really has a handle on what things will be like for either country in 100 years.
That being said, you might find The Next Hundred Years an interesting read. If I recall correctly, Mr. Friedman predicts that the United States will be mostly prosperous for the next hundred years, while China will have some severe political fragmentation. Obviously, this is nothing more than a reasoned guess on his part, and he can't hope to predict any specifics, but it really is a pretty good read. Buddy431 (talk)
Some relevant articles in order of interest: Dynastic cycle, Social cycle theory, Globalization, and Infinite regress. schyler (talk) 03:07, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Since the OP is asking about citizenship, not residency in the US vs China, or working in the US vs China, or studying in the US vs China then I think it is relatively clear that US citizenship is more valuable since it confers more rights - a US citizen can travel freely to a larger part of the world than a Chinese citizen. US citizenship would also attract protection backed by the largest military force and largest economic entity in the world. A Chinese citizen in China is subject to the full force of the arbitrary, immature and politically influenced Chinese legal system, whereas a US citizen in China would be protected to some degree. The US legal system is generally regarded as relatively more mature and less arbitrary comapared to the Chinese one, and in any case consular protection by China is probably less powerful than that by the US. Both the US and China have negligible social benefits by general Western standards, so that factor can probably be discounted. US citizenship is not exclusionary, so you can be a dual citizen. By contrast, a Chinese citizen (except one from Hong Kong) loses Chinese citizenship upon acquiring another. So if, for example, you would be interested in being an EU citizen as well, it is better to be a US citizen than a Chinese one. All in all, US citizenship is probably more valuable. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 10:43, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

China may have a bright future but sometime within the next few decades it is going to have to transition to a less rigid political system and an economy driven by internal demand, and those changes are not going to be easy -- in fact there is a significant possibility of a major catastrophe along the way. The idea that China can continue to grow at its current rate indefinitely without any bumps and bruises is pure fantasy. Looie496 (talk) 18:29, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

What makes you think it's pure fantasy? --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 19:05, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
One major disadvantage to US citizenship that I heard about is that the US government expects you to pay income taxes, regardless of whether or not you earned that income in the US or not, and regardless of whether you live in the US or not. I am not sure if it was a true statement, but I could see the IRS trying to get their claws into you like that. Googlemeister (talk) 14:32, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
AFAIK, if you're a U.S. citizen living and earning money abroad, you have to file an income tax return (Form 1040), but if you're already paying income tax in the country where you're living and earning money, you don't have to pay again in the U.S. unless your income is above a certain level, which is relatively high (like $200K or something). But IANAL and this is not legal advice to American citizens abroad! Pais (talk) 14:40, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Paying a few extra dollars in taxes seems like a small matter compared to not being thrown into jail arbitrarily because people who work for the government don't like what you have to say. Just saying that if we're talking trade-offs between Chinese citizenship and American, it seems like a small matter indeed. --Jayron32 17:46, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
If you live in China sure, but my example would only apply to people living outside their country of citizenship. Googlemeister (talk) 19:32, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Slightly off-topic and dangerously OR: As an American who has lived and worked in Asia for the past 30 years, I would offer this: foreigners are not as readily accepted as equals (citizens) in Asia as in America. In a nutshell, there are plenty of Chinese-Americans, but no American-Chinese. DOR (HK) (talk) 09:21, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Another perspective on that could simply be that Americans choose to assign labels to "foreigners" based on superficial characteristics at a finer level of detail than the Chinese. It's hard to say which approach is nicer. HiLo48 (talk) 17:57, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company[edit]

Which level of government has control over and/or funds the Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company (or is it a private company)? Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:14, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

This link (2nd para. after bullet points) mentions a contract with the Brussels-Capital region. Dalliance (talk) 10:00, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Reconciling one's idols with one's ideals[edit]

I am looking for essays, book passages, studies even, on the following phenomenon: You feel great admiration for a public person (artist, politician, writer, anything really, but someone famous you don't know personally). As you read more about this person, you find important biographical elements that clash with your own moral fabric, with your own ideology, if you like. Part of the "problem" may be explained away with different times and different environment, or other reasons. In any event, I'm looking for notable literary or scholarly examples discussing the strategies of reconciliation (they may also only focus on one example and needn't make any general reflections on this topic). Many thanks in advance. ---Sluzzelin talk 04:37, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Though our article has only a little blurb, much has been made about Charles Barkley's position on athletes as role models. This seems like somewhat related to your inquiry. --Jayron32 06:42, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
The October issue of the Bible-based publication Awake!, entitled Whom Can You Trust has relevant information. These include headings such as "'A Widespread Crisis of Confidence'" and "Is Trust Possible." I would be happy to e-mail you the PDF, if that is agreeable. The earliest issue available online in November's, so just one month late. Sorry. Let me know on my talk page. schyler (talk) 14:36, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
I have not read the article, but I would be pretty wary about the Jehovah's Witnesses' ideas about who you can trust. (Let me guess — they include thousand year old writings about the nature of the universe?) --Mr.98 (talk) 23:40, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
To be fair, it probably says you can trust what the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses says the Bible means, rather than what it seems to mean when you personally read it, and even then you should only be trusting one specific 20th century translation, otherwise you might be tricked! ;) (talk) 10:27, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Anthony Julius's T. S. Eliot, Anti-Semitism, and Literary Form is a book by an admirer of Eliot on the poet's anti-semitism. There's an article about it here[2]. There are also a lot of books by former communists who discovered how awful Stalin was. Homage to Catalonia and more abstractly Sartre's The Search For Method comes to mind. --Colapeninsula (talk) 18:02, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

A Google or Google Scholar search for the keywords "disillusionment hero worship" will get you a substantial amount of stuff that ought to be useful. Looie496 (talk) 18:22, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Thank you, everyone, for your replies. I was able to glean quite a bit from some of your suggestions. Just to clarify, I'm most interested in examples where the heroes eventually remain viewed positively (though perhaps more realistically than before) despite their disillusioning qualities. ---Sluzzelin talk 10:56, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
There is womanizing among male politicians of great stature. There are shady dealings among sports stars that slightly tarnish their images. There are allegations an American swimmer inhaled a burning herb with the use of a bong. 2:13, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I think most people still retain a lot of respect for Martin Luther King, Jr., even after they know about the allegations of plagiarism, Communist sympathizing, and adultery. Pais (talk) 14:49, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
My Google search for celebrity cognitive dissonance reported 338,000 results.
Wavelength (talk) 01:37, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks again, all of you! ---Sluzzelin talk 00:10, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

Einstein Religious Views Article[edit]

I read the Einstein religious views article and now I am confused. Did Einstein believe in God or did he not? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:00, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

The best we can say is sort of. By his own statements, he was mostly agnostic, that is he found his own belief in God to be indeterminate for the most part. In other statements, he seems to make clear that insofar as he believes in God at all, he believes in an impersonal God who may have created the universe in a general sense, or perhaps established the general framework of the Universe, but does not take an active role in it. In this sense, it his views may best be described as a sort of agnostic Deism. That is, he doesn't seem to take a firm position on whether or not God exists, but if God did exist, he doesn't believe that God takes an active role in working in the Universe. This view of God is actually explored rather well in fiction in Kurt Vonnegut's The Sirens of Titan, known as the Church of God The Utterly Indifferent, which just about captures the idea. --Jayron32 06:38, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Just to chime in with Jayron, the whole question is not "did he believe in God" but "what did Einstein think 'God' meant?" Einstein did not believe in the same concept of God that most Jews, Christians, or Muslims believe in. For Einstein, "God" really means something like "the higher order of the universe, the way in which all is assembled." He would not have seen "Nature" and "God" and "the Universe" as being terribly different concepts at all. When he says something like "God doesn't play dice with the universe," what he's really saying is, "the universe is too elegant and perfect to be arranged in such a haphazard fashion." He doesn't believe in an interventionist God. He doesn't believe in a God that is an embodied, all-powerful, human-like entity. --Mr.98 (talk) 12:28, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Richard Dawkins agrees with all the above in a section of his book The God Delusion. Dawkins discusses Einstein's disbelief at some length in order to debunk the arguments of certain believers that boil down to "A smart guy believed in God, so you should too." Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:27, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
long, irrelevant argument about Dawkins collapsed
Does it occur to him that the argument "A smart guy doesn't believe in God, so you shouldn't either" is equally invalid? Pais (talk) 17:37, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, which is why Dawkins uses logic not an appeal to authority. --Colapeninsula (talk) 18:03, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
So he uses one invalid form of reasoning instead of another. Okay. Pais (talk) 07:07, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
No, because he does not say "A smart guy doesn't believe in God, so you shouldn't either", he presents logical arguments pertaining to the matter. For what it's worth (very little), I myself don't agree with his arguments because I think he uses over-restricted and over-literal definitions of what "exist" and "G/god[esse](s)" mean, and is emotionally over-invested in the subject, but he does not use the invalid form of argument that you seem to suggest. Dawkins' professional areas of expertise are ethology and evolutionary biology, in which he can be considered authoritative: in matters of theology his opinions are neither less nor more authoritative than any other intelligent and highly educated adult who has pondered and studied the subject for a prolonged period. (talk) 08:34, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
In my second statement (of 07:07, 10 February 2011), I meant that it was his use of logic that was invalid, because you can't apply logic to matters of faith. Pais (talk) 15:09, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
That's not necessarily so. While it is true that, at some core level, faith must be self-sufficient, that does not mean that logic is not applied to religious views at all. The entire field of Theology basically is an intermingling of logic and faith. --Jayron32 17:41, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Sure, but in general theology proceeds from the assumption that God exists. But that's okay; even mathematics proceeds from certain assumptions that can't be proved with logic, and yet Dawkins presumably believes them. Pais (talk) 19:49, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
That whole issue of axioms generally causes enormous problems trying to apply empiricism outside the natural sciences... so treating God as a scientific hypothesis is simply a category error. As for Dawkins specifically, he often argues against a concept of God which is not the one most theists hold -- he talks about God having to be more complex than the universe to create the universe, for example, which shows that he's thinking of God in an essentially material sense and as a 'composite being' -- whereas theology of monotheistic religions tends to treat God as a spirit, perfectly simple. Similarly with his argument about 'not believing in Thor'/'even theists are atheists to a bunch of other gods' -- it doesn't work against anyone's actual beliefs, since monotheists tend to believe in a single absolutely infinite deity who is the source of all other being (having multiple of which is a totally incoherent concept) while actual historical polytheists tended to be perfectly OK with believing in everybody else's gods (and often equating them - Mercury - Odin, Venus - Freya, etc). So Dawkins' arguments are pretty good -- at refuting views nobody actually believes. (talk) 05:20, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
I've collapsed the above argument. There is really no reason to debate whether Dawkins is generally right or wrong here. The only Dawkins reference was somebody mentioning it as a reference to the above description of Einstein's beliefs, which is really quite independent of whether you think Dawkins in general disproves God or whatever. Ref Desk is not a general debate forum. --Mr.98 (talk) 17:22, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Armed bodyguards[edit]

I removed mention of armed security from Ishmael Khaldi#Edinburgh University Incident. None of the references say the security team were armed and, personally, I doubt Scottish (or British) law would permit personal security to carry weapons. However, would someone like to confirm that my feelings on this are true - that armed security is not allowed under the law? Astronaut (talk) 07:06, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

It's possible, but unlikely. Civilian bodyguards are not permitted to carry firearms in English/Welsh or Scottish law (although some individuals do carry personal protection weapons in Northern Ireland - see here). Some police officers - from the Diplomatic Protection Group, for example - do go armed at times as part of their duties. Permission is also sometimes granted for foreign protection officers to carry arms when on duty in Britain as part of an official visit - see this article - although this does not appear to be standard practice. So if Mr. Khaldi was being protected by official UK or Israeli state security staff, it's not impossible they might have been armed. Without a source, though, I agree the article should not assert it as fact. Karenjc 14:00, 9 February 2011 (UTC)


Which would be easier to bend into a different shape, a staple or a pin, both of around 25mm in total length, I suspect the pin is slightly thinner, but am not sure, as they are within a sealed box. Also what could I use to do so, given that I have no metalworking implements at hand, could a pair of scissors do it? I tried on one of my smaller pins, with no effect. Or, could they cut a thinner metal wire into easier to bend segments of the same length? (talk) 10:48, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Most scissors are not designed to cut metal, and doing so may be bad for the blade. We really wouldn't be able to help tell you if a pin or a staple is easier to bend if we don't know the thickness of either, or the metal they are both made of (though they are probably both some kind of steel). Googlemeister (talk) 14:28, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
The thickness of staples varies enormously, but they are designed to bend (which is why many of them have a rectangular section) whereas pins are not.--Shantavira|feed me 17:02, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

crossbow and archery equipment[edit]

Under UK law, are crossbows and archery equipment classified as firearms? Googlemeister (talk) 14:30, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

No. They're not mentioned in the Firearms Act 1968, which seems to be the modern foundational act - see Firearms_Act#United_Kingdom_legislation for more acts. Crossbowas are a controlled weapon, as set out in Laws_on_crossbows#United_Kingdom, notably in the Crossbows Act 1987. Not sure about bows & arrows. --Tagishsimon (talk) 15:07, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
That is awesome. I seriously would have expected there to have been a Crossbows Act 1387, but 1987? Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:21, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Modern crossbows are a serious law enforcement issue in some countries - they are also controlled weapons in eastern Australia. Pistol crossbows cannot be imported - see here for example. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 19:02, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Someone killed his father with a crossbow recently in Toronto (in a library, no less). I don't know what kind of laws we have about crossbows here, but that was certainly unexpected. Adam Bishop (talk) 22:55, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
(Be careful what you allege about living people, eh? The victim's son was indeed arrested and charged with the murder, but as far as I can find out, the court case is still pending. --Anonymous, 06:22 UTC, February 10, 2011.)
Are crossbows really quiet enough? I'd think, though obviously quieter, the swoosh and twang would still be well above a stage whisper. (talk) 19:51, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
According to this blog, they're in use by the special forces of a number of countries. Alansplodge (talk) 22:36, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Interdependence quoted by Tom Harris[edit]

Under the topic "interdependence" a quote was given by Tom Harris. I would like to know who this Tom Harris is. There are a number of different Tom Harris references in wikipedia and elsewhere, so would like to know for sure who this one is specifically, please. Thank you. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:47, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Almost ccertainly Thomas Anthony Harris. --Tagishsimon (talk) 14:57, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Correct information about the marriage and exile of a princess?[edit]

Is the information about the exile and marriage of Princess Adélaïde of Orléans in the English version of wikipedia correct? None of the other language versions say anything about her being married in America - on the contrary, they do not even mention that she ever was in America, and points out different locations for her exile. Is the information of her marriage and exile correct, or what does these differences mean? Can anyone tell me where she spent her exile, and if she was or was not married? If the information on English wp is wrong, should I remove it? --Aciram (talk) 19:43, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Given that the source for this information seems to be the website for a bed and breakfast in Upstate NY (hardly the most reliable of sources)... I would say the information should at least be challenged if not removed... I would suggest that you raise the issue at WP:WikiProject Royalty and Nobility or WP:WikiProject France. Blueboar (talk) 22:05, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Sartre quotation[edit]

Can you identify the source of this Sartre quote? It goes something like "Did I dream all of this? I remember vaguely the hideous reality"? I came across it in a comic by Robert Crumb. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:30, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

It's from Sartre's Les Mots, translated by Irene Clephane as Words: "Yet did I dream all this? I remember only vaguely the hideous reality". [3] --Antiquary (talk) 21:12, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
     Wonderful! Thank you! (talk) 21:28, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

What is the source of a quotation about wit and humor?[edit]

What is the source of "What is the difference between humor and wit? Humor is when something is unexpectedly inappropriate; wit is when something is unexpectedly appropriate." (talk) 20:40, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

US Military Bases on Foreign Soil[edit]

Is it the case that US Military Bases in foreign countries are technically US land? If so who has legal jurisdiction over this land? --CGPGrey (talk) 21:23, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

I very much doubt this is true in most cases. I'm sure it was never true of US bases in Britain for example. AndyTheGrump (talk) 21:25, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
The United States does not have absolute sovereignty over U.S. military bases in foreign countries. Issues of jurisdiction vary from country to country and base to base and are governed by status of forces agreements. Typically, U.S. military courts have jurisdiction over legal issues involving only U.S. military personnel, but courts in the host country may have jurisdiction over cases involving nationals of the host country. However, in some countries, such as Iraq, the United States has status of forces agreements shielding its military personnel from local jurisdiction even in cases involving nationals of the host country. (See U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement.) Such agreements are usually controversial in the host country. Marco polo (talk) 21:51, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Depends upon the treaty that the two countries signed. See our Extraterritoriality article, and this link. By the way, as our embassy article notes, it's a common misconception that a US embassy in a foreign country "is on US soil". Comet Tuttle (talk) 21:52, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Good to know. I'm glad to have cleared up that misconception. Thanks. --CGPGrey (talk) 22:04, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm surprised the Extraterritoriality article doesn't mention this case. i.m.canadian (talk) 12:35, 14 February 2011 (UTC)
US embassies and consuls on foreign soil are considered US territory, and embassies have US Marine Corps guards. Corvus cornixtalk 19:30, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
As the citation above mentions, your first statement is incorrect. Please cite sources on the Reference Desk when trying to provide answers. Comet Tuttle (talk) 21:29, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
I'm sorry, what citation are you referring to? Corvus cornixtalk 02:47, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
My reference to our Embassy article. Comet Tuttle (talk) 19:55, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
The status of embassies and consulates are covered by two Vienna Conventions; Di consular relations.
These grant certain powers to the visiting nation with respect to visiting staff, locally employed staff, visiting nationals and others. Inevitably US embassies try to throw their weight around when it comes to actually complying with some of the obligations, an interesting one being the payment of traffic related fines.
ALR (talk) 13:07, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
See Diego Garcia, for example. ~AH1(TCU) 02:57, 12 February 2011 (UTC)
Diego Garcia does not contain either an Embassy or a consulate... Vienna doesn't apply.
ALR (talk) 03:59, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Underage rape[edit]

In countries where adults having sex with minors is illegal, have there been any cases of an underage person raping an adult? And what was the outcome of the case; was the adult guilty of an offense even though it had been completely against their will? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:41, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

In most places, statutory rape (what you're calling 'underage rape') only applies to supposedly consensual sex - it's called rape because minors are not considered legally competent to consent even if they agree to the act. when a minor commits forcible rape on an adult (which does happen) the minor is guilty of rape, and there is no statutory rape charge against the adult (since there's no question of the adult coercing the minor into the act). --Ludwigs2 21:53, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Ludwigs, you completely miss the question. The guy knows about statutory rape - any time an adult has sex with a minor, regardless of consent. Ah, but rape is sex too: what if a minor rapes an adult. That's sex. So, did the adult just commit statutory rape? Moreover, you miss that the OP has a devious, devious mind. Obviously no prosecution would ever charge, say, a college student who was raped by a seventeen year old high school student, with rape (by the adult - who was in fact, for real, not just statutorily, raped). But then it becomes a defense! "Yes, we had sex but - actually, he raped me." What?! "Why didn't you report it". "Well, to be honest, I kind of liked it." Now what, - Ludwigs - Now what. Maybe there isn't enough evidence for a rape conviction of the youth, but this would be enough to get off the hook for statuory rape (by the adult) if the two simply say it was actual rape by the minor... This guy, the OP, he's a devious guy.... (talk) 22:58, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Sorry about all the asterisks - this thing kept getting flagged as "potentially disruptive" and I couldn't commit the edit. ANyone who is able can feel free to change them back to rape, sex, and devious respectively (in my desperation), deleting this note. (talk) 23:00, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
109's comment de-asterisked. AndrewWTaylor (talk) 13:15, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Obviously there has. Googling 17 year old rapist yielded this case on the first page of results. As our Statutory rape article notes, there is presumed coercion in a statutory rape case, whereas if a minor rapes an adult then obviously the adult is not coercing the minor. Comet Tuttle (talk) 21:55, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Comet Tuttle, I think you show a shallow legal understanding "there is presumed coercion in a statutory rape case". Not at all. It's that, legally, a minor cannot give consent, and therefore did not. Can you give consent by raping the adult? No, you can't, because you are underage. In fact, in a rape by a minor, the adult has also had sex with the minor despite a lack of consent on the part of the minor -- the minor's active raping of the former notwithstanding! Therefore, in fact, what must happen legally (I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice) is that the two rape each other! The younger rapes the older in fact, while the older rapes the younger (who cannot consent to the sex they just had) in law. Obviously no one would actually prosecute the older for htis... or would they? U-S-A. (talk) 23:05, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
in the part of our statutory rape article where it talks about two underage teenagers having sex with each other who are in an intimate relationship (boyfirend/girlfriend) it says : "n some jurisdictions (such as California), if two minors have sex with each other, they would both be guilty of engaging in unlawful sex with the other person (misdemeanor instead of felony).[13][14] Most jurisdictions, as previously stated, consider the act itself to be prima facie evidence of guilt, as any consent between partners, even if freely given, does not meet the standard of law as it is given by a person the law has defined as being incapable of giving consent. The accused in these cases normally has no defense." So, obviously justice is not only blind, but stupid. (talk) 23:07, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
Did you read the first paragraph of Statutory rape before typing all that, where it notes that coercion is presumed because a minor can't give consent? Can you cite a single case that agrees with your convoluted, ridiculous premise? Please cite sources here on the Reference Desk when attempting to answer a question, rather than ranting based on the belief that you have brought here without reading what others have posted. Comet Tuttle (talk) 23:30, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
I think it's a shame that after asking a question obviously looking for a global answer ("In countries where...") the bulk of the above answers talk about Statutory rape, a pretty much uniquely American view of things. Even the Statutory rape article clearly emphasises this right at the top. HiLo48 (talk) 09:03, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Basically this question is asking about a form of necessity defense. --Anonymous, 06:33 UTC, February 10, 2011.

Yes, such cases exist. The age of consent in the UK is 16. Here is the case of a 15-year-old boy convicted of raping his teacher. The boy was convicted and sent to prison. The teacher was not charged with any offence, and successfully sued her employers for endangering her. Karenjc 10:18, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
And here is a 13-year-old boy who beat and raped a 20-year-old woman, again with no suggestion that his victim encountered any legal difficulty because of their respective ages. The law may sometimes be an ass, but not always, it seems. Karenjc 15:29, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

I can answer this I think, my credentials; I work in law enforcement in the UK, so this is my area of expertise :) First up it is important to understand that whilst law is a set of objective criteria our application of the law is subjective, and influenced by society and public perception. It is true that objectively under law it might seem that an older individual being forced to have sex with a minor could be prosecuted for statutory rape. However there are two caveats. The first caveat is a legal one, which is that most stat. rape laws are worded to presume coercion because a minor is legally not able to give consent, the important word is "presume" - if it can be proven that coercion did not take place (as in the example we are discussing) then stat. rape does not apply. The second consideration is public perception; you would have trouble believing a woman could rape a man. Similarly it is usually tacitly assumed in society that it is men that mostly abuse children. So a male child having forcible sex with an adult is much much more likely to be seen as rape than sex with a minor. I challenge you to find a reverse example where a female child physically forces a man to have sex with her (there is actually one example I know of in the history of crime, bonus points if you know it :)). The combination of these distinctions means that the right course of action happens :) --Errant (chat!) 22:42, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

I would imagine that the reason the adult rape victim has not committed any offence is the lack of any actus reus on their part, as they have not engaged in a voluntary act (it is not the status of "having sex" that rape generally requires, it is the voluntary act of penetration). Proteus (Talk) 22:57, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Proteus is correct. Strict liability offenses require a volitional act. When a crime requires neither an actus reus nor a mens rea, it is called an absolute liability offense. These offenses, sometimes called regulatory offenses, tend only to impose a civil penalty or fine. An example of an absolute liability offense would be certain environmental laws concerning chemical spilling. The prosecution need not prove a prohibited act, but the existence of a prohibited circumstance: spilled chemicals. No one cares how it happened and liability is imposed based solely on evidence or admission of the spill. An adult raped by a minor would not be guilty of statutory rape because of the lack of a volitional act. Gx872op (talk) 16:06, 11 February 2011 (UTC)
Errant, no bonus points here but I am thoroughly intrigued. What case are you referring to? Karenjc 17:30, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

Odd State Names[edit]

Rhode Island's full name is The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations and MS, KY, VA and PA are the "the commonwealth of". Are there any other states with odd, full names? --CGPGrey (talk) 21:55, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

This link has a related list of what the states used to be called before statehood. Also a little related: you will enjoy our article List of U.S. state name etymologies. Comet Tuttle (talk) 22:01, 9 February 2011 (UTC)
The article on the Northwest Ordinance notes that along with Michigania and Illinoia, Jefferson proposed such state names as Chersonesus, Sylvania, Assenisipia, Metropotamia, and Polypotamia. --- OtherDave (talk) 02:27, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

But as far as current names are concerned, there are only the five that the original poster mentioned. Well, unless you consider the name "Washington" odd in view of the fact that it was changed from the originally proposed "Columbia" for the specific reason of avoiding confusion with Washington, District of Columbia. Or the name West Virginia odd in view of the fact that Virginia extends farther west. Or that sort of thing. --Anonymous, 06:38 UTC, February 10, 2011.

Note: It is MA that is a commonwealth; not MS. (talk) 14:52, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Where is East Virginia? -- (talk) 11:48, 11 February 2011 (UTC)

In effect, Virginia is "east Virginia". Virginia seceded, and the western portion seceded from Virginia, i.e. it rejoined the Union. They had to call it something, and West Virginia was as good as anything. There being a war on, they didn't have much spare time to ponder a more creative nickname, such as "Almost Heaven" or "Greater Wheeling" or whatever. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 08:25, 12 February 2011 (UTC)

Mürur tezkeresi in Arabic[edit]

No, this is not a Language Desk question (I think). What was an Ottoman mürur tezkeresi (internal passport) called in Arabic? (I'm trying to make sense of the Hebrew name - תזכורת מרור, as I found it in a newspaper from the 1880's.) Ratzd'mishukribo (talk) 22:06, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Google translate translates "תזכורת מרור" to "Reminder of the bitter herbs", if that is any help at all. Albacore (talk) 01:09, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
"Murur" can be "passport" in Arabic, and "tezkeresi" looks like it should be "tadhakarat" in Arabic, which can be "ticket". "tadhkir" is "reminder", which matches the Hebrew version. I guess "مرور تذكرة" is the equivalent? Adam Bishop (talk) 03:11, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Hmm, further Googling suggests "تذكرة مرور", the other way around, is a traffic ticket, but that's obviously modern Arabic. The same words can easily mean "passage certificate" or something similar. But which order is the equivalent of the Turkish passport? I'm not sure...I don't even know enough about Turkish grammar to make a comparison. Adam Bishop (talk) 04:06, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Oh, and from playing around with Google Translate for the Hebrew, it must be a transliteration of the technical Ottoman term, which happens to turn into meaningful Hebrew words. It's sort of a coincidence that "mürur" looks like "bitter" in Hebrew ("מרור") and Arabic ("mareer", "مرير")...I say sort of, because the Arabic words actually come from the same root (according to Edward Lane's Arabic-English lexicon), so I guess they do in Hebrew too. I don't know how a verb having to do with passing over things is related to an adjective meaning bitter, but I'm sure it made sense, once upon a time. Adam Bishop (talk) 04:22, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Thanks Adam Bishop, your answer seems to be correct. I forgot to mention that, in context, it seems to be a transliteration, though, again in context, it is possible that the similarity to "מרור" is intentionally stressed.Ratzd'mishukribo (talk) 19:46, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Please, don't use Google Translate to answer Reference Desk questions, for obvious reasons. Comet Tuttle (talk) 21:27, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
The '-si' looks like a possessive suffix, so it is literally "mürür [its] tezkere" - presumably "travel its ticket" i.e. "travel document". This is the usual way to express attributive relations in Turkish. --ColinFine (talk) 22:29, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

I should mention that I made a mistake in the original post - it should say "תזכרות מרור", thus it is the plural of "תזכרת מרור", which fits the above suggestion "تذكرة مرور" exactly. Ratzd'mishukribo (talk) 19:02, 14 February 2011 (UTC)

"pressure from bond markets"[edit]

I was reading an article in the Economist that said "western governments are uunder pressure from the bond markets to rein in spending". I am tring to understand what this statement means, how is this pressure exerted? Any help is appreciated,I am largely ignorant of macroeconomics, Thanks -- (talk) 23:56, 9 February 2011 (UTC)

Bond markets buy and sell bonds. If a government needs cash to do something, they float a bond, which requires someone to buy it. You then repay the person, along with some interest, for the value of the bond. If people who buy and sell bonds don't want to buy the government bonds, then the government needs to pay more interest on their bonds. This means the government can't use that money to do other stuff, like pay the police and army and schools. Insofar as several European countries have come dangerously close to defaulting on their bond obligations (i.e., saying "screw it" and not paying the bonds off), that makes investors REALLY nervous, making it harder for governments to sell their bonds. So, that means that the government needs to find ways to spend less money, to convince investors they aren't going to default, and thus will buy their bonds. --Jayron32 00:19, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
So let me see if I understand, Investors in government debt want a higher rate of return when they perceive a higher risk of default. So the bond market is basically functioning like a credit rating, it is dictating what interest rates governments can get on their bonds/loans, more credit worthy governments can pay less interest on their bonds because they are seen as less of a risk. Thanks! -- (talk) 04:15, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
In most cases the risk of inflation is more important than the risk of default. In the case of the USA, for example, it sells bonds in dollars but it also has the power to print dollars, so there is really no possibility of it defaulting. This applies to any country that maintains its own currency and sells bonds denominated in that currency. The problem in the Euro zone is that those countries don't have the right to print euros. Looie496 (talk) 07:54, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
Yes, but debasing your own currency to pay off bonds you would otherwise default on has roughly the same effect on the bond markets; since investors aren't going to buy a bond today if they expect it to be worth substantially less in the future because the government had to debase its currency to pay it off, which means they will demand higher interest rates to compensate, which brings us back to the fact that the bond markets can still put pressure to cut back on spending as an option over deliberatly debasing the currency. Even countries that control their own currency still can't get around that... --Jayron32 18:58, 10 February 2011 (UTC)
That's basically what I was trying to say. Thank you for saying it more clearly. Looie496 (talk) 19:07, 10 February 2011 (UTC)

Debasing your own currency to pay off bonds you would otherwise default on is much more likely to result in a slower and less complete reaction by the bond market than an out-right default. Some bond holders just won’t notice, or care. Note that the market as a whole may, over a period of time, act similarly, but the short-term result is likely to be very different. cf Devaluation and Credit risk DOR (HK) (talk) 09:30, 11 February 2011 (UTC)