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

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July 9[edit]

naming custom of Salva Kiir Mayardit?[edit]

Can anyone explain the naming custom in use for this person? He appears to be consistently formally referred to as "Kiir". --Cybercobra (talk) 03:48, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

You should ask on the Language Reference Desk. This is probably more likely to be answered by linguists than generalists. (talk) 11:40, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

The Bible[edit]

When you die ,do you sleep till Christ comes to get you? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:49, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Obviously this a religious question with different answers for different beliefs. See Resurrection of the dead for details on different beliefs on the matter. --Daniel 03:57, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
The question is headed "The Bible", so are you wanting specific references in the Bible to this matter? -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 04:15, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
The secular answer in No because Death and Sleep are mutually exclusive diagnoses and ancient Hebrew Bible writers should have known better. Cuddlyable3 (talk) 08:42, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
1 Cor 15: 1, 2 says "we shall not all sleep, but we shall be changed". I guess that passage answers the OP's question. --TammyMoet (talk) 10:02, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Really? "1. Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2. and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. or 1. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2. By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. Alansplodge (talk) 10:40, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Really? Does that answer the question or do you post it just because it's supposed to be good for us to read? Once = good, twice = better ? Cuddlyable3 (talk) 11:05, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I was trying to find the reference given without success. Sometimes the KJV can differ quite a bit from a modern translation - I looked up both just to be sure. Didn't intend to cause offence in any way. Apologies if I did. Alansplodge (talk) 16:02, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
The only "brethren" I know run the weird school down the road with the 12 foot high brick fences. Not my brethren. HiLo48 (talk) 11:24, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Have you read Schiller's "Ode to Joy" lately? Or heard Beethoven's 9th Symphony? -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 12:05, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Sorry my bad - it's verses 51 and 52. --TammyMoet (talk) 12:04, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
It seems there are contradictions, or at least apparent contradictions. Jesus said to one of the criminals, "Today you will be with me in Paradise." That suggests that your soul is immediately transported to wherever it's going, and that's certainly a popular belief, as in "My late [relative] is watching from above", or whatever. However, there's also a Bible-based belief that you're "asleep", or at least your soul is; to be awakened "when Christ comes to get you". I've seen countless tombstones that say, "He/She is not dead, but merely sleepeth" or some such. Consider this, though: Are you aware of the passage of time when you're asleep? Typically not. So whether your soul goes to Paradise immediately, or in a billion years when you're resurrected, how would you know the difference, practically speaking? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:03, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Should we be checking with Harold Camping on this? HiLo48 (talk) 12:08, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
See also Christian eschatology#Death and the afterlife. Rmhermen (talk) 14:55, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
And the doctrine of the Last Judgement. Alansplodge (talk) 15:54, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

One of the major complaints of protestantism against Roman Catholicism is that prayers for the dead is ineffective, that, according to the doctrine of sola fide judgement occurs at death, and that praying for the dead All Souls' Day is superstitious. μηδείς (talk) 03:25, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Which is odd, because Catholicism also teaches that judgement occurs at death. Purgatory isn't a place, in Catholicism, nor a way around judgement, nor a final destination: it is the purging as through fire which we pass through if we have already been judged and are already on our way to Heaven but have temporal punishment to work out still on sins which have already been forgiven, to make us perfect and pure for Heaven (since nothing impure can enter Heaven). I don't think Sola Fide really comes into this, except in as much as Catholicism separates the forgiveness of a sin from the consequences for your soul, in that you shape yourself through your choices whether or not the sins are forgiven. So someone can be completely forgiven, because they completely repented, and be destined for Heaven ('saved'), but their soul will still be in whatever condition they warped it into with their sins, if they don't work to reshape themselves. That's what penance is about, and purgatory if you don't finish the job on Earth, and praying for the dead, and indulgences: it doesn't affect the judgement, it doesn't affect whether you go to Heaven. This contrasts with the view I've seen argued by some Protestants (although I was never clear which groups specifically believe it: they claimed this was Sola Fide, but I know groups differ on that) that the sinful souls are simply 'covered' with Christ's blood, so that the Father 'sees' them as pure, rather than them being washed/purged to be actually pure. (talk) 13:45, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Prince Phillip[edit]

Is there any specific reason that Phillip has never been given the title of "King" or "King Consort"? I'm on the other side of the pond, and know very little about the royals. I checked his article and was unable to find anything. Joefromrandb (talk) 04:14, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

See King consort for what you're after. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 04:17, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks, Jack!. Although I'm still not entirely clear. That article says that Queen Elizabeth created her husband a Prince of the United Kingdom 5 years after her ascension, but he has never been formally designated "Prince Consort" or "King Consort". Is there a reason he has never been designated such, or is it not customary? Joefromrandb (talk) 04:42, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Would his Greek birth possibly be a factor? Joefromrandb (talk) 04:46, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Doubtful his Greek heritage would mean anything. Albert was "Prince Consort" and he was from a small dukedom. Hot Stop (c) 05:00, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
It's just not the British/English/Scottish tradition. And it's in line with the deal that the wife of a knight, baronet or peer is Lady X, but the husband of a dame, baronetess or peeress is plain Mr X (unless he happens to have another title in his own right). I think I'm right in saying that there have only ever been 2 British "kings consort": husbands of Mary I of England - who was already King of Spain in his own right - and Mary Queen of Scots. And there's only ever been one prince consort - Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert. Mind you, there haven't been all that many female monarchs, and Elizabeth I never married. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 05:06, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I found this "The Queen will reportedly honor her husband with the title of Prince Consort, to be given on their 60th wedding anniversary in November this year." Alansplodge (talk) 07:30, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Another media beat-up. But it's from 2007, and it never eventuated. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 08:27, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I should have known better. I remember reading somewhere that HRH was a bit miffed not to have been given the Prince Consort title at the Coronation but I can't now find a reference for it. Alansplodge (talk) 10:23, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I think he's been feeling miffed ever since. Fifty-eight years of feeling miffed must eventually take its toll. Good title for a book, though; not too far from One Hundred Years of Solitude. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 12:01, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Sorry if I'm coming across as an uncultured Yank here, but why would he be feeling miffed if tradition doesn't support the bestowing of the title? Joefromrandb (talk) 12:37, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Phillip is known for his somewhat unconventional attitude to a lot of things. Sure, he toes the palace line most of the time and appears where he's needed and does what he's told, but he's also known for his brusqueness and inability to suffer fools, or people he regards as such; and for having a wayward tongue and a colourful and often offensive turn of phrase. He's not a great one for tradition and precedent; he respects them up to a point, but if he thinks something should be done differently, he'll jolly well say so. He's on the record for being upset at being the only father in Britain who can't pass his surname down to his children (he has one; they don't). He would prefer it if things were done his way, but that doesn't often happen. Apparently he felt it was not fitting that his wife was a Queen but he was a mere Duke (which he remained for the first 10-odd years of their marriage), and becoming Prince Phillip but not Prince Consort still didn't go quite far enough. He had to lump it, but he didn't have to like it. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 13:00, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Except that he was born a Prince of Greece and Denmark and had no last name himself. Rmhermen (talk) 14:49, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Except that he renounced all his Greek titles before marrying Elizabeth, and was naturalised a British subject with the name Phillip Mountbatten. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 18:56, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Except that he was already a British subject by descent from Sophia even before he was naturalized. Rmhermen (talk) 22:38, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Except that that is irrelevant to my point, except to the extent that you do acknowledge he was naturalised, whether he needed to or not. He did in fact go through some naturalisation process, and he did in fact formally and legally assume the name Phillip Mountbatten. Had he changed his mind about Elizabeth and married Mary Smith from Scunthorpe instead, she would have been Mary Mountbatten and their kids would have had that surname too. But he married a woman who has no surname, and their kids have no surname. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 23:23, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I mainly find it odd that he is upset that he couldn't pass down a name that he, himself, only acquired 20 months before his son was born. Rmhermen (talk) 13:48, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
But if he'd had it for 10 years before, that would somehow be different? That's a little like saying that a baby conceived on the wedding night only just scrapes in as legitimate and hardly counts, while one born 10 years after the wedding is fully legitimate. Or some such false distinction as that. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 19:53, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
I think it's reasonable to expect how attached someone is to a name would depend on how long they've had it as part of their identity. Particularly since in this case, the name was taken partially out of necessity rather then simply personal choice (if I'm Smith and decide I don't like that and take on the name Smath instead that's somewhat of a different thing). The legitimate child thing seems a poor example. A far better one would be if a couple meet in Vegas, get married that same day and then a few weeks later one dies in an accident. (A few weeks may not seem comparable to 20 months but then again with human relationships people tend to form bonds far faster then people tend to form bonds with more abstract things like their names.) While not guaranteed, it's not unreasonable to expect the other partner would feel far less grief then if it had been their partner of 10 years that died and it's also understandable that people may be surprised if the other partner does have that level of emotion. But I say this as a man who doesn't have kids and doesn't really care that much whether my kids if I have any have my surname. Nil Einne (talk) 23:15, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I wonder if the Queen has ever met this man. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 00:57, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

South Sudan[edit]

I know it's *very* early days with this new country, but has there been any official suggestion (e.g., from the British Government or Southern Sudanese leaders) that South Sudan would be likely to join the Commonwealth? They have a British colonial history (Anglo-Egyptian protectorate until the 1950s IIRC) and their main trading links are likely to be with Kenya and Uganda, both CoN countries, so they're almost certainly eligible. TIA, Grutness...wha? 08:54, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Are they a chance to win any medals at the Commonwealth Games? HiLo48 (talk) 09:08, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
(e/c) It's definitely eligible. According to this not-particularly-reliable source, the Commonwealth have been assisting the creation process. If so, I suppose that would make them more likely to join. Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 09:10, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
See South Sudan Launches Bid to Join Commonwealth from 05 July 2011. Alansplodge (talk) 10:21, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for all that. HiLo, they could probably give the Kenyans a scare in the middle-distance running events! Grutness...wha? 11:50, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

When is Tu B'Av this year?[edit]

So no one has listed the days for this holiday each year. When is it this year? Also, are girls expected to exchange dresses for this holiday? Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie | Say Shalom! 13:14, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Tu B'av this year? Monday the 15th of August, I believe. Will I get an edit conflict answering this? Never heard of the dress-switching thing being done nowadays, but if there are any weddings in my area this year on the day, I'll mention it to my sisters. Good idea! Eliyohub (talk) 15:25, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

The Euro convergence criteria[edit]

1. Inflation rates: No more than 1.5 percentage points higher than the average of the three best performing member states of the EU.

How do they define "BEST"?

  • Does it mean closer to zero?
  • Or does it mean the smaller the better?

Now if for some reason, some EU countries experienced a very serious deflation such as -50%, would their less than zero inflation numbers be used as the baseline?

Is there an optimal inflation rate for a given situation? -- Toytoy (talk) 13:30, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

I bet if that happened the legislation would be reworded very quickly. -- (talk) 17:14, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm guessing closest to zero without going under. Deflation is bad too. In the US, the Fed is supposed to minimize inflation and maximize "full employment" (often defined as 5% unemployment) but they pay interest on excess reserves now, so it's not like they actually care about unemployment any more. (talk) 17:50, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I always believe that there has to be an optimal amount of inflation or deflation for a society to function well. Maybe it's 0.5% now in Germany and 0.75% in Spain. It may even be -0.1% in La La Land. It could be zero. It could be very close to zero. But it may not be exactly zero. I just don't know if there's an economic theory that deals with this.
As a result, many countries may have inflation well above the optimal value. It would be nice if they try to reduce inflation. But the goal is not to eliminate inflation (zero, exactly), but to make it close to the theoretical optimal value.
Anyway, I think it would be very difficult just to control it. We can forget about anything better than BAD. -- Toytoy (talk) 08:20, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Google Scholar has quite a few works on the "optimal+rate+of+inflation" optimal rate of inflation. There doesn't appear to be much consensus, beyond that it should be fairly close to zero. The Friedman rule is influential; applying this would require that the optimal rate of inflation is slightly negative, but there are numerous downsides to deflation in a real-world economy. This textbook has what appears to be a fairly thorough approach to the question. Warofdreams talk 12:39, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Careful, one cannot trade-off inflation for unemployment. See Lucas Critique. Also many economists argue for the benefits of positive but small rates of inflation. (the inflation article presents these arguments quite nicely). Jabberwalkee (talk) 04:52, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Practical implications of the lack of no-fault divorce in New York State?[edit]

Hi... I believe New York is the ONLY state in the U.S. that still doesn't have no-fault divorce. You can convert a "separation agreement" into a divorce after two years, but, if I understand correctly, it has to be an AGREEMENT. You can't unilaterally get a divorce merely by claiming "I'm outta love".

My question is, what are the practical ramifications of this (now) unusual law? What difference (if any) will one note when studying marriage breakups in New York State when compared to no-fault jurisdictions? Does it affect the negotiations? I'd love if there are any family lawyers, individuals with personal experience, or people who can provide sourced answers to this question. It always intrigued me.

Oh... and now with New York introducing gay marriage, I suppose married gays will find themselves in the same situation?

Note: NO MORALITY DISPUTES, please. And no one I know in New York is getting divorced, so I don't need any legal advice. Eliyohub (talk) 18:12, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

There are some surprising differences. Start with PMID 11458631. (talk) 18:24, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
I'd expect that many would go out of state to get divorced. So, NY would appear to have far fewer divorces, but in reality there would be little difference. StuRat (talk) 18:31, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
  • Also, note that as the article New York divorce law states, New York legalized no-fault divorce last year, so while this was a vexing legal issue for many years, New York is now in conformance with the American norm. --M@rēino 03:16, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Having recently witnessed a New York divorce on the part of a person I know well just prior to the no-fault law, I can say that the requirement of a separation agreement (when the party that wants the divorce can't prove infidelity, abandonment, or unusual cruelty) means that the party that doesn't want the divorce (in my experience the party that benefited financially and in other ways from the marriage) can in effect extort a large payoff from the party that wants the divorce, approaching the total net worth of that party, in order to obtain consent for a separation agreement. (In this case, the party facing this extortion rejected my advice to establish residency in New Jersey, which would have been an easier commute to his job, in order to obtain a no-fault divorce. A more rational individual would, as StuRat suggests, have moved to a different state if possible.) Marco polo (talk) 18:54, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
Well moving will often have other implications and problems. More to the point, it may not be practical for those living in slums or otherwise not very well of. It's often said certain laws (particularly those relating tax) hinder most those who either lack the knowledge or financial resources to get around them, this may very well be one of those cases. Of course such people may not be able to hire divorce lawyers nor may they have much to negotiate about except perhaps children. Nil Einne (talk) 23:01, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
New York isn't known for its slums... --Tango (talk) 23:18, 12 July 2011 (UTC)


Are there any examples in history of a powerful female keeping a male Harem? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:39, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Dunno, but keep in mind that the purpose of a harem is to produce many offspring. A female having many husbands won't be able to reproduce any faster than if she had just one husband. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 18:45, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Dunno either, but it may be possible to regard harems as cultural symbols of male dominated sexist power structures (see James Bond to late and current political figures). As the number of powerful women is sparse and history is frequently documented by males it may be impossible to get an objective record. As an Austrian, Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel does, not necessarily justifiably, come to my mind. --Cookatoo.ergo.ZooM (talk) 19:43, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Another purpose might have been providing numerous sex partners for the harem owner's pleasure. Variety is the spice of life. Few harem owners were strict Catholics. Edison (talk) 19:46, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
You guys might want to read the harem article that has been linked numerous times to find out what they were and what they were for. Anyway, I don't know the answer to this, but I would imagine probably not...and holy crap, don't even bother searching for "male harem" on Google, what a disaster. Adam Bishop (talk) 19:56, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Maybe not quite what you were thinking of but Catherine the Great of Russia could almost be a candidate. In Legends of Catherine the Great we learn that "Rumors of her private life had a large basis in the fact that she took many young lovers, even while in old age" - although the horse thing wasn't true apparently. Alansplodge (talk) 20:23, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Also, the wording in that article is inaccurate, as she did not take many lovers at once. During her reign she had many lovers, but she had each for some time, one at a time, before replacing one for another. --Saddhiyama (talk) 20:33, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Oops - sorry Catherine. Alansplodge (talk) 20:36, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

What about Diana, Princess of Wales? According to her former butler Paul Burrell, she did have a harem of sorts. Does she qualify? Eliyohub (talk) 10:25, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

Questions about British parish churches[edit]

1) I went into a parish church (in England) recently, and it had a flame burning, and a colourful Virgin Mary statue. Does this mean it was a Catholic church, or could it have been a "high church" variant of a Church Of England church? 2) I also saw a colourful statue of the Virgin Mary in another village church. They seem very rare in CofE churches - I've never noticed one before apart from the previous mention. Do they have any significance regarding the variant of CofE that the church was? 3) Why do mediaeval churches have such high ceilings? Everyone takes them for granted, but what is the reason? You do not see such high ceilings in mediaeval dwellings as far as I know. 4) Why are the windows so high up, so that you cannot see outside apart from the sky? (talk) 19:24, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Part of 3) and 4) is to make the feel church special, because it was a special and central aspect of life, not just any other building. That shows a theological and doctrinal stance, where the church is a high-and-holy place - it's quite unlike the places and practices of congregations that meet in a home church or a humble place like a meeting room. The high ceilings, the tall windows casting rays through stained glass, and the echoing stone surfaces give a church a sense of numinousness, an effect that would be particularly profound on people who, as you say, otherwise lived and worked in low buildings of wood, daub, and brick. This effect is mostly lost on we moderns (perhaps excepting the grandest cathedrals) because we're used to large impressive secular structures like sports stadiums and shopping malls, which have all the architectural exuberance but none of the numen. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 19:39, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
See Anglo-Catholic for the denominational issue. Most English parish churches don't observe such practices as reservation of the Host, but it's not entirely prohibited. Tevildo (talk) 19:42, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
In addition to Finlay's explanation for #3, medieval churches are built like that partly as a show of technical skill; they built them like that just because they could. Our Gothic architecture article has some information about height and vertical space. (Not all medieval churches are Gothic, but that is probably what you are thinking of.) Sometimes this backfired though, like the collapse of various spires of Lincoln Cathedral. Adam Bishop (talk) 19:46, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, some of it just just "showing off". Whether it's showing off to God (look how pious we are), to the congregation (look how imposing God and His works are), or to other cities and their rulers (mine is bigger than yours) is another matter. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 19:51, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
1 & 2) You're right that it is unusual to see High Church artefacts in country churches - the extremes of the CofE (both Low and High) are more often seen in urban or suburban parishes. Country folk usually get a more middle-of-the-road Anglican experience. 3) Some secular medieval buildings were built to impress with high fancy rooves - Westminster Hall and the Guildhall spring to mind. The wealthy would have a Great hall and even prosperous farmers might live in a hall house that had two storied wings and a tall central hall (partly because there weren't any chimnies and they could keep a roaring fire going without filling the place with smoke). Alansplodge (talk) 20:09, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Did the burning flame, with candles and a rack, mean that the church I went into was Catholic? (talk) 21:59, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Quite likely, but one way to be sure is to see if there was a photo of the Pope in the vestibule. If yes, it's a Catholic Church; if not, and it was otherwise more or less indistinguishable from a Catholic Church, it was an Anglican High Church. Another obvious method is to check the signage out the front, which should clearly identify what sort of church it is. -- Jack of Oz [your turn]
Hmm.. in England, although Anglican churches have to have a signboard by law, it will very often just say "Parish Church of St Whoever in the Diocese of Whatever" whereas a Roman Catholic church will clearly identify itself. BTW my CofE church has all the candles etc that you describe and it's not as High Church as some. Alansplodge (talk) 07:21, 10 July 2011 (UTC)
If the OP went into Walsingham parish church, he/she would have had just cause to see statues of the Virgin Mary! --TammyMoet (talk) 08:22, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

My guessed answer to 4) - the windows would originally have been stained glass (I think) so you could not have seen through them anyway. Better to have them higher up so you got more light from the sky. The clear ones I saw recently must have been due to the stained glass ones being smashed in Cromwell's time. (talk) 13:12, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

They may have contained stained glass, but even the "white glass" used in plain windows was translucent and would not have provided a view. Warofdreams talk 12:05, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Did you mean translucent, WoD? That means it lets light through. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 12:11, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Yes, it allowed light through but diffused it. Glass which did not let light through would be less than useful! Warofdreams talk 12:30, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
Hence my confusion. I was stopped in my tracks by the apparent conflict of "translucent and would not have provided a view". Translucent normally means it does provide a view. Maybe it would have been better to use "but" instead of "and". -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 20:36, 11 July 2011 (UTC)
I see from the Wiktionary article that "translucent" is occasionally used as a synonym of "transparent" - is that what you're describing? I think my meaning is the same as the one in our article covering translucency. Warofdreams talk 00:51, 12 July 2011 (UTC)
I'm with you now. Thanks. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 19:40, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Even though glass in mediaeval days was not perfect (see History of glass), you could still see through clear glass even if it may have been optically distorted to a greater or lesser extent. The glass may not have been perfectly clear either - I think lead glass had a slight greenish tint - but you could still see through it. (talk) 14:32, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Glass in medieval England was predominately made around Chiddingfold in Surrey, and only white glass was made there. Warofdreams talk 15:10, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

The glass was not only translucent but also transparent. They had spectacles (see Glasses#Invention_of_eyeglasses) in mediaeval times, so you must have been able to see through it. (talk) 16:27, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Yes, in Venice, thin, clear glass was manufactured. It wasn't made in England at the time, and I don't believe that it was suitable for windows there, either. Crown glass was found in England, but also didn't provide a clear view of anything (see the picture in the article), while blown plate glass might have been imported from Rouen in small quantities, but wasn't made in England. Warofdreams talk 00:51, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

You could still see through it. You could see through Roman glass even. The photo in the crown glass article only looks blurred because the photographer has focused on the window frame rather than the outside scene. (talk) 11:52, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

But however transparent the glass, windows were made in small pieces held together with lead. So looking through to see the scene outside was much more difficult than with today's windows. And with church windows, that wasn't the point anyway. The point was to bring in light, especially coloured light, for the glory of God. Itsmejudith (talk) 12:07, 12 July 2011 (UTC)

Development of democracy in Germany[edit]

Was the Reichstag election of 1920 the first ever democratic election in Germany or its sub-states? (talk) 19:30, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

There were plenty of elections before that - there doesn't seem to be an article, but Template:German elections lists them all. But of course this probably depends on your definition of "democratic election"...what are your criteria? Adam Bishop (talk) 19:50, 9 July 2011 (UTC)
The first plausible candidate is the Frankfurt Parliament of 1848 - however, the franchise was restricted to "independent (selbständig) adult males", which probably wouldn't count as "democratic" by contemporary standards. Tevildo (talk) 19:55, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Found Elections_in_Germany#German_elections_1871_to_1945. I was considering the idea that democracy was very new in Germany, so the population were uncaring about throwing it away a few years later. But that idea is wrong. (talk) 21:12, 9 July 2011 (UTC)

Well, Germany only had real democracy from 1918/1919, even if they had elections before that date: before that, it was a monarchy with a not very powerful parliament, and the dominant German state Prussia had the utterly undemocratic Prussian three-class franchise. --Roentgenium111 (talk) 15:49, 10 July 2011 (UTC)

So the 1920 election was the first democractic election after all, and Germans only had democracy for a few years before voting it away. The introduction of democracy coincided with the great economic slump, so it had unfortunate connections in German minds. And the economic recovery coincided with fascism. (talk) 09:56, 11 July 2011 (UTC)