Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2011 March 2

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March 2[edit]

PhD thesis/science article being cited[edit]

It is certainly more common that a science article gets cited than a PhD thesis. However, how often do PhD thesis are cited? Quest09 (talk) 02:16, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

In what field(s)? I ask because I imagine the answer will differ a lot. In the humanities it is extremely uncommon unless the thesis is not turned into a book (and turning a thesis into a book is an expected practice), though there is considerable lag time between the thesis and the book, which can account for theses being cited probably more than in the sciences. In the sciences, it is common to turn the thesis into an article, which is then the thing to be cited (or even the other way around — write an article, submit it as part of the thesis), and the lag time is a lot less (months not years), so you'd expect far fewer citations of theses, a priori, I believe. --Mr.98 (talk) 02:48, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
I was thinking about PhD in law. However, the question is valid for every science. I suppose the proportions apply to each relationship. Quest09 (talk) 02:56, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
I wouldn't hazard to guess about law. I don't think it would be the same answer for every field — they each have different dynamics of citation and publication, what a thesis means to them. My experience leads me to think that citations of theses are fairly rare in the hard sciences these days, though it is not uncommon for maybe three or four citations in a history book to be from dissertations. I'm not sure where law would fall on that spectrum — it's a somewhat more odd field as it has somewhat separate academic vs. professional sides. --Mr.98 (talk) 04:47, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
In theoretical linguistics, Ph.D. dissertations get cited all the time. Some people's dissertations are so influential that they remain the author's best known work well into the author's career as an academic. —Angr (talk) 06:36, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
As I understand it, in maths and science you often publish several papers while doing your PhD. Your thesis would, in large part, be made up of already published material so people wanting to cite that material would cite the first version. --Tango (talk) 18:34, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
That happens in linguistics too, but people are more likely to cite the dissertation because it's the more refined, more fully developed version. What appears in your diss isn't usually an exact copy of the previously published paper, but a revision of it. —Angr (talk) 18:43, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

If you are serious about the question, nowadays it is feasible to perform a quantitative study using open access literature databases such as MEDLINE or CiteSeerX. See also Open Archives Initiative. (talk) 12:08, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

You could also try Google Scholar, which I'm sad to say finds quite a bit more stuff than the open db's currently do. (talk) 21:09, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

That's because Google Scholar uses a number of proprietary literature databases. But as far as I know, there's no literature database in existence where the user interface lets you count the total number of references by type of cited article (PhD thesis or not). Unless you have serious money to get access to those proprietary databases, your only option is to use open access databases. (talk) 09:10, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Continuation of Arctic Convoys when alternatives existed[edit]

During World War 2, from September 1941 onwards the Allied Powers could transport supplies to Soviet Russia via the Trans-Iranian Railway, and Soviet shipping could also transport supplies from the USA to Vladivostock until August 1945. Despite this, the Allies chose to send 78 Arctic convoys between August 1941 and May 1945 to deliver supplies to Russia's northern ports instead. This was in some senses a more direct route, but did that convenience (and the relatively undeveloped nature of the Iranian and far east Soviet rail links) really justify the loss of eighty-five merchant ships and sixteen Royal Navy ships, and the commitment of many more merchant ships and warships, when the merchant ships were desperately needed for the Battle of the Atlantic and the warships in many other theatres of battle? Or were there some other factors that made it seem worthwhile? Our article mentions the continuation of the convoys being increasingly for symbolic reasons and at Stalin's insistence, but was that all? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 02:25, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

If you're shipping a truck from the U.S. Eastern Seaboard to Russia, then to send it through Iran, the cargo ship carrying it has to go all the way around Africa, and the truck has to be unloaded and put on a train for several hundred miles before it ever even gets to Russia. To send it through Vladivostok means that it has to travel by train across the U.S. to the west coast before being loaded on a ship, and then transit through choke points highly vulnerable to Japanese naval attack -- and that route would have violated the implicit Japanese-Soviet truce. AnonMoos (talk) 02:51, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Does doubling (tripling) the length of the journey from the USA mean that it instead becomes worth the risk of the truck (and the ship transporting it) ending up at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean? I'm not sure I understand your second point - Soviet ships were not vulnerable to Japanese naval attack until a state of war existed, and the Soviets importing supplies for their own use would not seem an act of aggression against Japan. Not all of the supplies would've originated on the U.S. eastern seaboard anyway. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 02:58, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
What about the Suez canal? (talk) 04:26, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
The Suez route wasn't a practical option prior to the invasion of the Italian mainland. This is an interesting question though. I'm sure that the limitations of the trans-Siberian railway may have been a factor, but I wonder if one reason for keeping the convoys running was to tie up a significant part of German resources - the logistics of maintaining anti-convoy operations may have been a real drain on manpower etc that could otherwise have been better used elsewhere. Much the same thing has been said about the allied bomber campaign - it wasn't the direct military effect that mattered, so much as the consequences for German military resource allocation. Someone (possibly Stalin) described WWII as a 'battle of factories', and in such circumstances where you fight battles is less significant than the effect such battles have on your enemy's ability to continue the fight elsewhere. It probably isn't much comfort to some poor sailor facing U-Boats off northern Norway to realise that he is there in order to divert enemy resources from Kursk or Rome, and that whether he actually gets through is of secondary importance, but war is like that... AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:46, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Russia's life-saver: lend-lease aid to the U.S.S.R. in World War II By Albert Loren Weeks (available in part in Google Books) gives comparative statistics for the various routes used: 8.4 Mt to Soviet Far East (Vladivostok, Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky), 4.2 Mt via Iran, 4 Mt to NW Russia via north atlantic (Murmansk, Archangel, Severodvinsk), 0.7 Mt to Black Sea (via Mediterranean), 0.4 Mt via Arctic Ocean (I think this means westward from CONUS to Archangel in the summer). The same source says most liberty ships were US registered, but for those that were Soviet this article says the Japanese did not always respect their neutrality. The trouble with putting more to Vladivostok is the Trans-sib - it's a double track most of the way with no alternate (so a problem halts everyone), with antiquated signalling and horrible weather, and the only land conduit for internal traffic (minerals, coal, wood) from eastern and central siberia. Plus such a long route requires many times as much rolling stock to properly service it. (talk) 05:04, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Baikal Amur Mainline notes the Soviets' fevered attempts later in the war to built this alternate to the eastern transsib, picking up the efforts of Bamlag and Amurlag the decade before. (talk) 05:11, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
A Liberty ship had a capacity of about 10000 tons DWT. It could carry e.g. 440 light tanks or 2800 jeeps, with a crew of around 40 people. A standard freight car can carry maybe 20 tons. So you need several 100 train car loads to move the load of one ship. Bringing that over a long-distance train connection through very undeveloped territory is very hard. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 13:11, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Many thanks to everyone for the thoughtful answers to my question. I think my view of the situation was confused by my Anglocentric background. The Arctic Convoys are (rightly) famous, in part due to books like HMS Ulysses, but I was totally unaware of the massive volume of Lend Lease supplies that reached the USSR via Vladivostock and the trans-Siberian railway - as much as the Arctic route and the Iranian corridor put together. I might try to find the time to add these comparative figures to the relevant articles. I do appreciate how a land corridor and working railway was not the immediate solution to a problem - the Americans requisitioning every single railway locomotive of a particular capability in the USA, just to service the Iranian corridor, is pretty telling as to how difficult this could be, especially since the locomotives themselves would then have to be shipped out there too.

Andy has a point about the conflict-in-being - almost a version of fleet-in-being really. Stalin complained a great deal about the Western Allies' lateness in opening a second front by landing at Normandy, and significant efforts made to push convoys through the Arctic route may have partly compensated for that. Germany did use almost all of her small surface fleet in threatening the Arctic Convoys, although maybe they couldn't have operated anywhere else effectively anyway, given the earlier sinkings of the Bismarck and the Graf Spee by the Royal Navy. Equally, RAF, RN and Fleet Air Arm all used a fair proportion of their strength in dealing with the Tirpitz. It's related to this that, although 58 merchant ships sunk is a horrific toll, Germany also lost 30 U-boats in the process.

In the end this risks being a "what if?" history question (the hundreds of U-boats participated in the Atlantic theatre instead, the Stukas participated on the Eastern Front instead, the Royal Navy warships and all the merchant ships were used elsewhere too), but it does make clearer to me the balances made between the different methods of supplying the USSR. It must have been a great relief to the Soviets in 1945 when the trains moving back from west to east were no longer empty but instead carried their voluminous armies for the Invasion of Manchuria. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 03:01, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

This is clearly a 'what if' question, but one might well expect the Allies to have asked the same question at the time - there may even be records of such discussions, though I'll leave it to those more familiar with military history to suggest where. Following up on the question of Arctic convoys tying up the German surface fleet, it is perhaps possible they also helped divert part of the U-Boat fleet from the Atlantic convoys too - of particular significance as the concentration of forces ('wolf packs') became more necessary in anti-convoy operations. This is all speculation though, and it would be nice to know what the thinking at the time was. AndyTheGrump (talk) 04:15, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Romantic movies with non-stereotypical portrayal of scientists[edit]

Are there any romantic movies with non-stereotypical portrayal of scientists? I just discussed this with a Physics major friend and we both can't recall any. Just curious. --Lenticel (talk) 04:49, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

I suppose the Indiana Jones movies might be 'non-stereotypical', but Indy is hardly your typical archaeologist (he shaves, for a start). If you want to see scientists portrayed as more rounded characters, you are probably better off looking at TV series - even CSI and its spin-offs seems to make the scientists vaguely human - though it doesn't do much for an accurate representation of forensic science. Sadly, the typical Hollywood blockbuster has little time for character development, and male characters in 'romantic' movies are usually portrayed as socially inept, rather than technically proficient. Stereotypes make the script-writing simpler. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:05, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Of course it depends on which clichés or stereotypes Lenticel is thinking about too. It could be argued that Indiana Jones is a very stereotypical Adventurer Archaelogist. ---Sluzzelin talk
Yes, that stereotype goes back at least as far as Professor Challenger (don't you love the name ?), in The Lost World, published in 1912. StuRat (talk) 05:47, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Maybe Something the Lord Made, although they are more doctors/inventors, than scientists, and romance is only a small portion of the movie. You might also consider non-fiction, such as the portrayal of scientists couples like Marie and Pierre Curie, or Marie-Anne and Antoine Lavoisier, or this biography on Albert Einstein and his first wife: Mileva Maric: [1]. StuRat (talk) 05:29, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Archaelogists aren't scientists.
Sleigh (talk) 11:01, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Our archaeology article disagrees with you: "Because archaeology employs a wide range of different procedures, it can be considered to be both a science and a humanity". Gandalf61 (talk) 11:18, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Archaelogists don't use the scientific method so they aren't scientists.
Sleigh (talk) 12:05, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
What on earth makes you think archaeologists don't use the scientific method? —Angr (talk) 12:08, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Possibly because they don't conduct experiments, but then neither do paleontologists or cosmologists. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Colapeninsula (talkcontribs) 12:38, 2 March 2011
They don't conduct experiments, but they can still test their hypotheses, e.g. by acquiring additional data. —Angr (talk) 12:45, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Proof, possibly? Although granted, I don't remember the movie well enough to be able to say with certainty if it fits the romantic movie criterion. TomorrowTime (talk) 12:21, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

I don't know what the question means by "romantic movie" - one featuring a love affair? A romantic comedy? One full of adventure and swashbuckling, like Arthurian Romance/Romance (genre)? Or something following that classic Romantic text Frankenstein?
Sean Penn's portrayal of a mathematician in 21 Grams isn't very traditional, and it's certainly a film about relationships including romantic relationships. --Colapeninsula (talk) 12:38, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Young Frankenstein. (talk) 23:55, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

A Beautiful Mind (film)? --Dweller (talk) 15:05, 2 March 2011 (UTC) Weird Science's depiction of the lead "scientists" definitely isn't stereotypical!!! --Dweller (talk) 15:06, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

If you can count mathematicians as scientists, I would go with Goodwill Hunting. Googlemeister (talk) 16:42, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
There was a reason the words "Good" and "Will" were separated in the title of Good Will Hunting - Matt Damon's character was named Will Hunting. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 18:51, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Solaris is (among other things) a love story between two scientists, and the fact that they're orbiting an alien planet and one of them is dead goes some way toward avoiding stereotypes, so there's one film for you – two really, since there's also the Tarkovsky original. Another way to escape the usual image of the scientist would be to look among historicals. In Angels & Insects the hero is a Victorian naturalist, and in the Patrice Leconte film Ridicule the heroine is an 18th century Frenchwoman given to conducting experiments in physics. --Antiquary (talk) 19:06, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Creation, about the Darwins? Adam Bishop (talk) 21:21, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Hmmm... the examples here are interesting especially the real life ones such as the Curies and Lavoisier. Well it would be interesting if somebody would do a romantic comedy about scientists.--Lenticel (talk) 00:58, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

A couple more: Splice, a horror about two geneticists in a romantic relationship that comes under strain as they produce freakish creatures. Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley play the leads, wear cool clothes, listen to various critically-acclaimed rock music such as Holy Fuck, and rebel against their corporate masters. Also sort of romantic is Jeff Goldblum in The Fly (1986 film). Less convincing: Keanu Reeves as a motorbike-riding physicist in action movie Chain Reaction (film). --Colapeninsula (talk) 10:00, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
Long time since I saw it, but Altered States might qualify. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 18:45, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Local Hero was pretty romantic and had a (female) marine biologist, IIRC. Until the End of the World had some scientist characters, and a nerd like me might find it romantic, but perhaps it's not a "date movie", if that's what you're looking for. Roxanne was fluff but had a female astronomer or some such. (talk) 08:09, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

Agora (2009) is a historical drama film centred on Hypatia, "a female mathematician, philosopher and astronomer in 4th century Roman Egypt who investigates the flaws of the geocentric Ptolemaic system and the heliocentric model that challenges it." The writers inserted some spurious romantic interest to make a block-buster biopic style of film. "Surrounded by religious turmoil and social unrest, Hypatia struggles to save the knowledge of classical antiquity from destruction." Directed by Alejandro Amenábar, starring Rachel Weisz, with love interests, of a sort, from Max Minghella and Oscar Isaac. "The story uses historical fiction to highlight the relationship between religion and science amidst the decline of Greco-Roman polytheism and the Christianization of the Roman empire." BrainyBabe (talk) 11:14, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

How much of the Fairtrade premium makes it back to the growers[edit]

And why is this information apparently so hard to find? On the Fairtrade article there is one example which the Economist found which was 10%, but surely there is some broader data than that? (talk) 09:26, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

There are many different "fair trade" organizations and certification authorities. Each can set their own rules on what they consider "fair", and it will vary by product and market. --Sean 14:55, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Fair enough (no pun intended), but surely we can find an average, or at least a national average? And isn't there one official FairTrade, at least per country? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:51, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

I've been wondering this too, since it seems to me I should be able to deduct this amount from my taxes as a charitable contribution. Ariel. (talk) 21:39, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
No you can't, since the growers are not a registered charity. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 21:42, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
As to who certifies Fairtrade products, our articles FLO International, Fairtrade Mark, and FLO-CERT should help. In the UK the Fairtrade Foundation is the relevant body. DuncanHill (talk) 17:53, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
The FAQs on the Fairtrade Foundation website include a link to a document with this eplanation:

What is the Fairtrade premium, and can I be sure it goes back to the producers in developing countries?

Every time you buy a product carrying the FAIRTRADE Mark, the producer organisations, will have received the guaranteed minimum Fairtrade price plus an additional social premium to invest in their communities for the future. These payments are laid down in the published Fairtrade product standards and are not dependent on the retail price of the final finished product – in fact retail price fixing is against EU and UK competition law. To ensure they get the better deal, the farmers’ organisations are paid at the point when they are selling their produce for export – this ensures they receive the stable and agreed price promised to them. The international Fairtrade system monitors and audits the product supply chains to make sure the producers are genuinely getting the money, and that the farmers, workers and their local communities are benefiting from the investment of the premiums. You can find lots of examples on our website of how premiums are being spent by producers involved in the Fairtrade system

DuncanHill (talk) 17:58, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
This chart compares Fairtrade prices for cocoa with open market prices, and in the notes at the bottom says the Fairtrde price is made up of the Fairtrade minimum price of $2000 a tonne plus the Fairtrade premium of $200 a tonne. Where the New York price is $2000 a tonne or more, then the Fairtrade price is New York price plus the $200 a tonne premium. There are links to some more charts here. DuncanHill (talk) 18:07, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Skip bombing[edit]

Why didn't skip bombing (amazing photo in that article) result in all the bombs detonating as soon as they hit the water? The article seems to mention this happened sometimes, but I'm surprised that it didn't happen all of the time. Our articles bomb, aerial bomb, gravity bomb, and detonator are all silent on what caused the detonation of a WW2 gravity bomb; I had assumed it was "contact with something hard". Comet Tuttle (talk) 11:44, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

The skip bombing article says they were set off by a time delay fuse.--Shantavira|feed me 12:22, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Suppose the article fuze deals with those aspects of how a bomb works.--Aspro (talk) 16:58, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
I totally missed that on my reading. Thanks, Shantavira. Comet Tuttle (talk) 17:27, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
And contact fuse is what causes the detonation of an aerially dropped bomb. I'll add mentions of it to a couple of the articles above. Comet Tuttle (talk) 18:00, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Worth noting that the design of such fuses could still have significant failings (although for a variety of reasons) nearly forty years later; the majority of the bombs dropped by the Argentine forces in the Battle of San Carlos (1982) failed to explode. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 19:13, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
That was because the Argentine pilots dropped their bombs at too low an altitude for the bombs to arm themselves - a little spinner on the front has to turn a certain number of times before the fuse is activated. The pilots must have known that, but they also knew that flying at the correct hight would make them more vulnerable to the ships' anti-aircraft weapons; so they traded away the likelyhood of the bombs going off for a marginally safer ride. Alansplodge (talk) 16:53, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
The bombs weren't adjustable for the planned height? Ironically enough, most of the bombs that failed to explode were 1000lb British-built versions. Wait, wouldn't skip-bombing involve releasing the weapons from a similarly low height? --Demiurge1000 (talk) 00:59, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm not making this up - it's well documented. I refer you to Argentine air forces in the Falklands War#Armament; "Thirteen unexploded bombs hit British ships without detonating as they were dropped from very low altitude and there was insufficient time in the air for them to arm themselves." "Many of the Argentine bombs in the campaign failed to explode when they hit the British ships. The failure was probably caused by releasing the bombs from such a low altitude that the fuse-arming-delay time exceeded the weapon’s short time of flight; thus the fuse failed to arm and the bombs did not detonate." Also Sharky Ward's book Sea Harrier Over the Falklands. There were quite a number of US Mark 82 bombs too; "HMS Ardent..was hit by nine 500lb bombs". Alansplodge (talk) 18:03, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
My question was serious, not a suggestion that you're making anything up. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 23:50, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

See also proximity fuze. (talk) 08:15, 4 March 2011 (UTC)

Is the jewish butchery (Kosher slaughter) cruel?[edit]

Some people told me the killing by itself isn't causing pain to the animal, but I have heard that some countries want to make it illegal. I'd like to know if there was a true scientific research, and what was its result. Thanks in advance! [There are probably grammar mistakes; sorry about that :)] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:30, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Shechita is the article on Jewish ritual slaughter, though it doesn't offer any information on whether the animal feels pain, or on controversies around the practice. Legal aspects of ritual slaughter has some info on shechita. It is banned in Switzerland, Sweden, and some other countries. It's a murky issue because opposition to various forms of ritual slaughter (not confined to one religion) is often proposed from anti-semitism, anti-islamic feeling, or even opposition to Santeria, rather than concern for animal rights. PETA claim it is cruel[2], but you may say "they would". --Colapeninsula (talk) 12:49, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
For additional context, PETA also believes all pet ownership is cruel and should be avoided. SemanticMantis (talk) 16:32, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Professor Schulze and Dr. Hazem of the University of Hanover have done some comparative studies . They employed EEG to determine brain changes. The section Scientific data on traditional slaughter, religious slaughter and religious slaughter with preliminary stunning starts on page 16. Benefits of religious slaughter without stunning for animals and humans. There may be follow up on google scholar but I haven't looked. --Aspro (talk) 13:20, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Temple Grandin is a leading figure in animal ethics, and specifically an authority on humane animal slaughter. See her web page here [3] for detailed discussion of Shechita and Halal ritual slaughter. SemanticMantis (talk) 16:32, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
One thing to keep in mind is that captive bolts fail to stun the animal about 5% to 10% of the time[4]. And when it does fail the animal experiences severe pain. Ariel. (talk) 21:42, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Thank you all very much! So are there no jewish\islamic communities in Sweden? And why don't anyone inform them about Hanen's research? (if the shechita is the same as the islamic slaughter, and the islamic one isn't causing much pain, then...) 12:29, 4 March 2011 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

By the way, Jewish animal-slaughtering is almost exactly the same as Muslim animal-slaughtering and vice-versa... AnonMoos (talk) 05:35, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

That is not true. Jewish shechita is far more stringent. Ariel. (talk) 11:05, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
I meant in the methods by which the animal is killed (as opposed to accompanying rituals). AnonMoos (talk) 13:18, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
So was I. It's actually Muslim animal slaughtering that has more stringent accompanying rituals (they require a blessing, Jewish does not). Jewish slaughter has far more restrictions and exact details on the actual slaughter. Both are done with a sharp knife, so in that regard you are correct, but Jewish slaughter prescribes exact details on the manufacture of the knife, the cutting motion, the location of the cut, how the animal is held, etc. Ariel. (talk) 21:18, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

De facto UVF leader[edit]

Who was the de facto Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) leader while Gusty Spence was in prison? I know it had a Brigade Staff, but somebody had to have been in charge during Spence's absence. Thank you.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 14:56, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

As Spence wasn't in solitary confinement, there's no reason he couldn't have been in full charge of the UVF while in prison. Indeed, his article claims that he became commander while in the Maze. Warofdreams talk 17:20, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
It wouldn't have been hard to smuggle out orders from the Maze, that's for sure. I wonder who his second in command was though, the man who made sure his orders were carried out?--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 17:34, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

recent movements in middle east and the role of western countries[edit]

Hi, I live in Iran and there are a lot of anti-western comments about the recent democratic movements in middle east and north of africa. they say that western countries are causing these "conflicts" to sell weapons in order to be able to stand against the recent economic crisis. they even claimed that Britain has sold weapons to libia last year. I personaly don't believe these claims, but since I see no other alternative explanation for this BIG SUDDEN changes, I also think I'm being brainwashed. so how much are these claims true( or false)?--Irrational number (talk) 16:44, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

"They" are often wrong. For one thing, these changes are not very sudden. They have been building for many years, bubbling under the surface. The events in Tunisia was the spark, but hardly the cause. 17:05, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Government propaganda is often constructed on a foundation of a few out-of-context truths.EU arms exports to Libya: who armed Gaddafi?--Aspro (talk) 17:08, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Note that this is talking about arming Gaddafi, which would tend to suppress revolution, while Iran presumably is claiming that Western nations have armed the rebels, thus promoting revolution. StuRat (talk) 17:37, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
As I understand the OP, they are suggesting that "the West" is supporting the insurgency, presumably to sell weapons to both sides. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:50, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Right, but the article Aspro linked to doesn't mention that, only selling weapons to Gaddafi. StuRat (talk) 05:49, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
(E/C) I don't think the revolutionaries (whoever they are, exactly) have millions of Euros to spare. Nor do I see how successful removal of a dictator promotes future weapon sales. Perhaps the theory is that we're supposed to have sold weapons to both sides, carefully keeping a balance to prolong the conflict so that we can continue selling weapons. The rapid toppling of various regimes would therefore be explained by, um ... the revolutionaries being brave, noble and fearless and secret admirers of the Iranian government, according the the Iranian government and so naturally winning anyway. The other other thing the various EU countries behind this evil scheme failed to foresee was that sanctions against Libya, banning weapons sales, would be agreed by, um, the EU. (talk) 17:57, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
I see that the great majority of those UK sales, in terms of price (€26.1m out of €27.2m), are sales of "electronic equipment". Not sure what to understand that as. (talk) 18:01, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
The spark appears to have been the Wikileaks revelations, which included some rather damaging facts about many Arab nations, leading to protests and then revolution. Additionally, the Internet has now spread to such a degree that repressive regimes are finding it difficult to control the movement of information, such as when and where the next protest was scheduled, which is vital to repression of revolution.
Also note that these revolutions aren't necessarily democratic or in the interest of Western nations. In Egypt, for example, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is an Islamic fundamentalist organization, stands to gain power, and there is concern that Egypt may no longer honor it's peace treaty with Israel.
Finally, the idea that the West could solve it's economic problems by selling weapons is rather absurd, as that would be several orders of magnitude below the amount of cash needed to make a difference. They might as well argue that the way to solve their economic problems is by selling off potted plants in government offices. StuRat (talk) 17:41, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
The second paragraph is true. But the third is a non sequitur. Every little bit helps. And arms exports are, in general, not insignificant, if only for the reason that every petty dictator buys them. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 17:52, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Put another way, making a million dollars in weapons sales by causing a revolution, then losing a billion dollars due to higher gasoline prices, and maybe a trillion dollars if it becomes necessary to invade some of those countries to restore a stable government, makes zero sense as a strategy. StuRat (talk) 05:51, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
The internet might not have helped as much as we would like to think it did - see here: Internet Revolution? Mubrarak switched Egypt's internet off, which seemed to have the effect of making more people get angry and leave the comfort of their homes. (It might have a similar effect on me.) (talk) 18:35, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
They just waited too long. Had they cut it off before the movement started, they would have had more success. StuRat (talk) 05:53, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
It seems pretty obvious to me that these claims are silly. The USA has consistently preferred "low oil prices" to "representative government" or "human rights" for fifty years in its dealings with oil-exporting nations, as has been seen by its support over the decades of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, and many other examples. Revolts or revolutions that endanger US-friendly autocrats will, at minimum, cause a jump in oil prices due to uncertainty (this has already occurred) and, at maximum, could cause a new government to nationalize oil production, or even embargo oil sales to the US (yes, that damages both countries, but it's a possibility). Even if the US's clandestine services were as powerful and competent as they would need to be to cause multiple revolts and revolutions in the region, this could be very harmful to the US economy; so the claims you cite seem to defy reason. Comet Tuttle (talk) 18:11, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Israel gave up the occupied Sinai Peninsula in exchange for Egypt's recognition and statement of it's right to exist. If those are withdrawn, should Israel retake the Sinai ? This could particularly be an issue if an Islamic Brotherhood led government decides to arm terrorists in the Gaza Strip, which borders the Sinai. StuRat (talk) 05:57, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
I'm not sure how Egypt possibly not honouring its treaty (which doesn't seem too likely, commentators seem to be suggesting) or an Islamist party gaining more power makes it less democratic. It seems hypocritical to promote democracy on the one hand but then denounce the resulting, democratically elected regime just because it disagrees with your standpoint.
If the people of Egypt democratically decided they wanted to stop being friends with Israel (again, this does not seem to be the case), then that is part of their democratic right, and the decision is no less democratic just because Israel doesn't like it. In fact, if this were to happen (despite the slim chance of it actually happening) then Israel has no-one to blame but itself for antagonising everyone except for tyrants like Mubarak. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 18:48, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Being democratically elected is no guarantee that a government will be good, and no reason why Western nations should be friendly with them. After all, the Nazi Party came to power as a result of democratic elections, under the Weimar Republic of Germany. StuRat (talk) 06:04, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
An Islamic state where the people have freedom? Are there any in existence at present? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:19, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Bosnia. It has its problems, but it's a free country with a democratically elected government. Also, Indonesia. But then, those probably don't count in your eyes since they fail to reinforce your stereotypes. TomorrowTime (talk) 00:36, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
Are Bosnia and Indonesia actually Islamic states? They're not mentioned in our article on the topic. Qrsdogg (talk) 01:30, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
Neither of those nations are described as "Islamic Republic" in their articles. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:36, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
In addition, a government where laws come from God seems fundamentally incompatible to one where they come from the people. In the first case a group of religious "experts" would be used to determine the "will of God", (which, of course, turns out to be whatever improves the lives of the "experts") and what the people want is entirely irrelevant, if in conflicts. This seems to be how Iran operates, with a few symbolic and/or rigged elections tossed in, to appear democratic. StuRat (talk) 06:11, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
To clarify, my post above was a response to StuRat's post above: Also note that these revolutions aren't necessarily democratic or in the interest of Western nations. In Egypt, for example, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is an Islamic fundamentalist organization, stands to gain power, and there is concern that Egypt may no longer honor it's peace treaty with Israel.
My point was that parts of this paragraph reads like a non-sequitur. "Not being friendly to Israel" and "Islamist political figures being elected" do not mean "undemocratic". There are many reasons why a people may choose not to be friendly to Israel, such as Israel's treatment of Palestinians, its hostile attitude towards its neighbours (justified or not), its secret nuclear weapons program, and historical territorial disputes. Indeed, just as western nations are (perhaps justifiably) alarmed at the prospect of an Islamist government in Egypt, it wouldn't be surprising that people find the influence of Judaism on Israeli law and government to be alarming too. However, none of these make Israel any less of a democracy than it is, and similarly, corresponding attributes in a future Egyptian government would not make it any less democratic than it is.
As to Sinai, Israel illegally occupied Sinai, and if Egypt traded recognition for the territory, that is only because it had no practical way of enforcing its legal right to the territory. It's like offering a reward "no questions asked" for the return of a wallet - you are not doing it because you are legally obliged to pay a thief to retrieve your wallet, you are doing it out of practical necessity because the contents of the wallet are more important to you than the money and you have no realistic way of finding and prosecuting the thief. If the thief returned the wallet but you withheld payment of the reward, they can't sue you for it since they had no title to the wallet in the first place. Likewise, for Israel to re-occupy Sinai would be just as illegal as the first instance, even if Egypt were to withdraw its side of the bargain. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 10:08, 3 March 2011 (UTC)
Israel occupied the Sinai as the result of winning the Six Day War. I'm not sure of the logic of saying that it's illegal for a victor to occupy lands won in battle, especially before a peace treaty is signed. Are all victors obligated to immediately return all lands won, as soon as fighting stops, even without a peace treaty ? Was it illegal for the US to occupy Japan following WW2, and would it have been, had no peace treaty been signed ? StuRat (talk) 06:09, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
StuRat, you seem to be referring to the pre-WWII notion of conquest and acquisition of territory by conquest. The right of acquisition of territory by conquest was extremely curtailed to the point that some legal scholars regard it as completely abolished following World War II by developments in international law, such as the UN Charter. No state has validly acquired territory after World War II by war or by conquest. If, as a reuslt of armed conflict or military action, a state occupies the territory of another, then it is subject to various obligations which are imposed on it by war law and international humanitarian law. For example, the US may attempt to justify its occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan as temporary and necessary to ensure peace and security in those countries, including the removal of threats to security of the US arising from those territories. Likewise, Israel may attempt to justify its occupation of say the Golan Heights as temporary and necessary to ensure peace and security there and to ensure against threats to the peace and security of Israel.
However, for Israel to re-occupy the Sinai Peninsula on the basis of an Egyptian withdraw of diplomatic recognition alone would be a far stretch. Withdrawal of diplomatic recognition, however provocative it may be in a diploamtic sense, is not a use of force and does not, per se, threaten Israel's peace, security and territorial integrity. Of course, the situation would be different if, for example, the new Egypt started launching rocket attacks at Israel, but that's not the situation you have been advocating.
To further clarify, a country has no right to hold territory purely as a "bargaining chip" awaiting the signing of a peace treaty. Even if no peace treaty is signed, if there is no justification for continued occupation of the territory, the occupying force has to withdraw. The reason occupation often ends with the signing of a treaty is becuase the peace treaty is usually a definitive sign that there is no further threat from the occupied state (or the state of which the occupied territory is a part).
For further reference, I think United Nations Charter, and the articles on Chapter VI and VII linked from that article may be of interest to you. Also see right of conquest (the former concept), international humanitarian law, military occupation and laws of war. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 15:56, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
No, I'm not talking about "right of conquest", I'm talking about occupying a territory until there is no longer a threat. I specifically mentioned the likely nature of the threat from a Muslim Brotherhood-run Egypt, that they might then arm the terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Under such circumstances, reoccupying at least a portion of the Sinai would seem to be justified. StuRat (talk) 20:08, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
You can't occupy a country just because you don't like their leader or they don't like you. Unless the new Egypt actually started attacking Israel (or, in the views of a minority of commentators, at least are so close to actually attacking Israel that it would be regarded as imminent and unavoidable), then you can attack them. Withdrawal of diplomatic recognition definitely does not come even close to this criterion. Selling arms to the people of the Gaza Strip to defend themselves against illegal use of force by the Israeli government would still fall far short. Even selling arms, supporting, giving cash to actual terrorists in the Gaza Strip and encouraging them to commit acts of terrorism against an Israel who is not illegally using force against the Palestinians (which I doubt is likely to be the case in the foreseeable future) -- even that would fall short of the justification for Israel to invade and occupy parts of Egypt, unless these terrorists were actually under the effective command and control of the Egyptian government so as to amount to a use of force by the government of Egypt. Long story short, you can't just go and occupy Egypt unless they have actually started attacking you, whether with their own forces or by agents who act as if they were their forces. I know you would find it disappointing that Israel can't just go around invading its neighbours because they don't like it, but I'm not making this up - please read the articles linked to above. --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 20:28, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
You keep making straw man arguments like "You can't occupy a country just because you don't like their leader or they don't like you". I've never said anything of the sort, so stop with that nonsense. Your standard for a casus belli would seem to have prevented the US/NATO attack on Afghanistan following the 9-11 attacks, launched from there, since you seem to think that helping out terrorists is never an act of war. StuRat (talk) 22:32, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
Israel has the right to protect itself. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:50, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
No one has the right to use violence to protect themselves. —Angr (talk) 13:11, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes they do. In the US it's called Right of self-defense (on a personal level). On a national level, defense is recognized by the UN Charter and international law as a legitimate casus belli. WikiDao 14:16, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
I meant morally, not legally. Not everything that's legal is moral. —Angr (talk) 14:49, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
So you meant "no one should have the right...". ;) WikiDao 15:07, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Angr, that's your opinion, and it's at odds with the opinions of most people in the world and most of the world's religions. In the case of Christianity, the Old Testament firmly supports the right to use violence, while the teachings of Jesus seem to be pacifistic. With a few exceptions, like the Quakers, most Christian sects have chosen to follow Old Testament teachings, in this regard (although I do question the use of the term "Christian", by those who ignore the teachings of Christ, but that seems to be the popular usage of the term, nonetheless). StuRat (talk) 21:04, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Of course it's my opinion, just as what you, Bugs, and PalaceGuard said before me are your respective opinions. I'll take your word for it the the OT "firmly supports the right to use violence", as I don't know everything written in the OT. I thought, though, that it was merely full of examples of people doing so - just as it's full of examples of people being less than exemplary role models (David ensuring Uriah's death so he could marry Bathsheba, Noah getting drunk and naked, etc.). —Angr (talk) 21:54, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

There are numerous examples in the Old Testament where God commands people to use violence. Here is one example: "And they warred against the Midianites, as the LORD commanded Moses; and they slew all the males." - Numbers 31:7. StuRat (talk) 22:04, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
See Third Wave Democracy and The Third Wave of Democratization. You might also read Sultanistic Regimes by Juan Linz. Iran and Iraq are discussed in that book as well as several other authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, both historical and current. Experts have thoroughly discussed the matter already. Gx872op (talk) 21:37, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Series of Shinkansen[edit]

Which series of shinkansen is this picture? --Posted on 18:20 on 2 March in 2011 (UTC) by Highspeedrailguy 18:20, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

It's an E3, see also the category on Commons. --Wrongfilter (talk) 13:23, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Nothing special[edit]

Discussion closed

Should everyone in the United Kingdom leave their country so the original inhabitants who were ran off or killed,have their homeland back? (talk) 18:22, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Whaaaaaaat?--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 18:28, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Although there is a certain sense of justice in the repatriation idea, this is not the way that any country or people resolves the ethical consequences of "unjust" military invasion from decades or centuries ago. The typical way it's resolved is by the victor saying "Too bad". Comet Tuttle (talk) 18:34, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
(ec) Depending on your definition of "original", the descendants of many of the original inhabitants are in the United Kingdom, and it seems quite redundant to deport all of these people and then re-import them again.
As for any original inhabitants who were killed - it's a terrible thing but we don't have any reliable way of resurrecting them so there are some technical difficulties with them "having their homeland back". --PalaceGuard008 (Talk) 18:36, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
We're still here, you know. We're quite a tolerant lot really. If you keep your head down and put up with the newbies, it really does get better! (From someone who has traced their ancestry back beyond the Norman Conquest, you know)--TammyMoet (talk) 18:43, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
The UK was first inhabited by humans over 10,000 years ago. All the original inhabitants are long dead... If you mean the descendants of the original inhabitants, then we're already here. Most (if not all) people in the UK today will have some ancestors that were in the UK 10,000 years ago. Either that, or nobody alive today has such ancestors (if the original inhabitants all died out). See Identical ancestors point for more information.. --Tango (talk) 18:49, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
We could also talk about cultures, rather than genes, and suggest reviving old cultures which have been unjustly shoved aside ... apart from the fact that these cultures, like the genes, were mostly assimilated rather than destroyed (despite the elitism of the Normans), and that nobody knows what the most ancient ones were like anyway (who were the Picts, really? Would the most original inhabitants have had a culture a bit like the Sami people?), and that the upshot would just be that we gave undeserved privileges to neopagans. (talk) 19:06, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
Something is fishy about the last paragraph of your Identical ancestors point article. Don't genes get mixed up so that you can pass on more than 2^23 different possible offspring? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:46, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
I am closing this discussion as it comes from the same user who keeps asking pointed questions about "Native Asian Americans" against whom he seems to have a grudge. The reference desk is not the place to air one's grievances. —Angr (talk) 22:09, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Reliable sources for closing of Air France ticket office[edit]

Hi! I found on a forum thread that an Air France ticket office in New York City closed after December 31, 2010:

But I need a reliable source. I tried searching the Air France website and and couldn't find any hits. Would anyone know a good place to look for RSes about ticket offices closing? WhisperToMe (talk) 20:15, 2 March 2011 (UTC)