Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2012 August 2

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August 2[edit]

Olympic Tie[edit]

What is the procedure for determining a winner in an Olympic tie? In regards to this, I had two "Olympic ties" in mind:

1. A tie for selecting the host city of a future Olympics (ex. instead of having Sydney win 45-43 over Beijing for the 2000 Olympics, the vote ends up 44-44). 2. A tie in an Olympic competition (ex. instead of having Michael Phelps beat Milorad Cavic by 1/100th of a second in 2008, have their swimming times be exactly even (50:58 vs. 50:58).

Thank you very much. Futurist110 (talk) 01:22, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

For the second example, both contestants usually receive the medal in these cases. In swimming, for instance, this happened during Swimming at the 2000 Summer Olympics – Men's 50 metre freestyle where Anthony Ervin and Gary Hall, Jr. both swam the distance in 21.98 seconds and tied for gold (while the person with the second best time, Pieter van den Hoogenband in 22.03 seconds, consequently only received bronze, instead of silver. Silver wasn't awarded for this discipline at all that year). ---Sluzzelin talk 01:48, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Thank you very much. What about a tie for determining the host city of a future Olympics? Futurist110 (talk) 02:41, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
I couldn't find any clause for this event (see "Host City Election - Fact and Figures", for example, "If only two cities remain in contention, the one that obtains the greatest number of votes is declared elected"). Maybe they just keep voting until someone switches or abstains. So far it doesn't seem to have happened (see "Past Olympic Host Cities Election Results"). ---Sluzzelin talk 03:56, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
A quote from the IOC's 2018 Host City Factsheet reads that "if after the first round of voting, no city obtains the absolute majority of the votes cast, as many rounds are held as necessary for a city to obtain such majority." So if two cities remain in contention, and they still end up in a tie, I'd assume the IOC members would still keep on voting. Zzyzx11 (talk) 03:59, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
If the tie comes in a swimming heat and requires breaking to determine which swimmer qualifies for the next round (e.g. if there's a tie between 8th and 9th place and 8 places in the semi-final available) there will be a swim-off - the tied swimmers swim again with the fastest taking the qualifying place. - Cucumber Mike (talk) 06:21, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
What if there's a swim-off tie? Another swim-off? Futurist110 (talk) 07:18, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, they keep swimming until one drowns out of sheer exhaustion... --Xuxl (talk) 08:24, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
And in the synchronised swimming, if one has a heart attack and dies in the pool, all the others have to follow suit. -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 08:32, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Or swimsuit. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:14, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
The Phelps analogy applies to swimming, but there is an entirely different way of deciding ties in other events. Just one example, fencing plays off for bronze. Gymnastics throws out the lowest score of each gymnast then re-calculates. 69.62.243.48 (talk) 22:53, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't really understand what you mean by your fencing example. Do you mean that in fencing, as in many other sports at the olympics and elsewhere (e.g. most world cups), they let the losing semifinalists compete to determine who get's the bronze medal rather then awarding two)? I guess you're correct this is nominally a form of tiebreak (of course so is the gold medal match), which some sports also use for high places usually when it's important for other reasons. (Note some sports which do normally award two bronze medal system use a repechage system to determine which 2, effectively a more complicated way of 'tiebreaking' for the bronze medal. The form of repechage used, usually where anyone who lost to a gold medal match competitor has a chance to compete for the bronze under the assumption one of them must be 2nd or 3rd best, but by nature that means it can only begin once it's determined who will be in the gold medal match. Therefore I think it's considered it will take too long particularly if you want to be fair to the atheletes i.e. give them time to recuperate, to get the last two to compete for the bronze.)
However it doesn't sound like what the OP is referring to since they seem to be referring to tiebreakers required when there is an unexpected tie during normal competition (i.e. it shouldn't always and arguably usually be required). The bronze medal playoff is a normal part of play which is always required baring some unusual occurence like a disqualification or injury leading to a walkover. The tiebreaker used in fencing (or is it only epee?), as perhaps made famous by one of the female epee semifinals, is a form of sudden death but with random preference. One fencer is randomly assigned preference and if they can survive one minute without getting a (sole) point scored against them, they win. The other fencer has to score a sole point before the end of the minute. Sudden death with extra time is fairly common in sports with two team or inviduals competing for points, although usually without preference. Some other sports like badminton where a winning margin of 2 points is normally required eventually allow a one point margin, effectively a sudden death (at least when you can score without service). Boxing goes to countbacks if the boxers are on equal points, then if that still leaves it unresolved the 5 judges push a button for who they think won the match. Archery have a one arrow shootoff where the closest arrow wins.
Nil Einne (talk) 16:22, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

What are the Closest Olympic Race Wins Ever?[edit]

Besides Michael Phelps's 1/100th second win over Milorad Cavic in 2008? Futurist110 (talk) 01:33, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

I gave one example for your question immediately above this one, where the difference was 0, as close as it gets at the Olympics. There might well be other examples, but a quick search only revealed athletes who tied for gold in gymnastics and pole vault. ---Sluzzelin talk 02:03, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
When did the ties for gymnastics and pole vault occur and who were the competitors? Futurist110 (talk) 02:29, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Thank you very much for your help. :) Futurist110 (talk) 02:50, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Sometimes, when the same time is recorded for two or more competitors, a photo finish decides the race. Examples include the men's 100 metres in 1948 (the first time it was used in Olympic history), women's road race cycling in 2000 (where it was used for the top three), Men's cross-country sprint in 2010 (Both Alexander Panzhinskiy and Nikita Kriukov were clocked at 3:36.3, but Kriukov won the photo finish). Gail Devers won gold at the 100 metres event in 1992 thanks to a photo finish analysis, though her time is also given as 1/100th of a second faster than Juliet Cuthbert's. I'm sure there are more examples. ---Sluzzelin talk 05:55, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
As I understand it, the equipment at Olympic standard swimming pools is actually capable of recording margins as small as 1/1000 of a second (which makes a draw pretty unlikely), but official results never show a margin less than 1/100 of a second. This presumably means that actual results are rounded out to the 1/100 figures that give the required official result. HiLo48 (talk) 00:30, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Tonight was the men's 50 meter freestyle semifinals. During the broadcast, they recapped the 2000 results when there was a dead heat for the finish: Two golds and a bronze were awarded. So, as recently as 12 years ago there was a swimming tie, which would be a closer finish than anything else mentioned. --Jayron32 03:17, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Jesus in Roman records.[edit]

I believe the Romans were good record keepers. I am wondering if there is any written records that make any reference to Jesus Christ while he was living? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 174.58.13.82 (talk) 01:35, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

You might be interested in Historicity of Jesus. But the answer appears to be no, at least so far as surviving records go. Scholars have intensively searched for any such records since the 18th century, but nothing was found from Jesus' lifetime. Roman historians have mentioned Jesus, but only after the New Testament was written. Someguy1221 (talk) 01:45, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Yeah basically if there even were any records from Jesus's lifetime they were either destroyed or not found yet. Futurist110 (talk) 02:01, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Do you imagine that there is some shelf with thousands of scrolls of vital statistics and census records from Roman times, documenting the lives of all residents of the Empire, carefully preserved over the millenia, and viewable at some archive? Have you heard of the fires in Rome, and the sacks of Rome? If there is data on someone from ancient Rome, they were likely a high government official, with a few inscriptions or statues or monuments remaining, or later civilizations preserved the writings of a very few leaders, philosophers, etc,. Even the early Popes, or governors such as Pontius Pilate have few solid documents (not counting pious fabrications). The routine administrative records relating to the average Roman subject were burned or rotted or were eaten by bugs. An occasional scrap of parchment got accidentally preserved in a bog or something, but very few first century Roman subjects have anything resembling modern vital statistics records remaining. Edison (talk) 03:47, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Right, but to understand how that applies, the OP needs to know that Jesus was "nothing special" at the time. That is, there were many comparable religious profits prophets at the time (John the Baptist was one), and only in the centuries after the death of Jesus did he grow to his current status. StuRat (talk) 03:52, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Is that why they've had associations with banks ever since? -- ♬ Jack of Oz[your turn] 05:07, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
He was often observed at the banks of the Jordan. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:08, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
In the case of John the Baptist, Christianity and Islam have agreed to profit sharing. Clarityfiend (talk) 05:49, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
If I started a religion where nobody claims to know the will of God, would it qualify as a non-prophet organization ? :-) StuRat (talk) 10:14, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
My thoughts exactly. Even Christianity itself was an oral tradition until ~70AD, and earlier historians who wrote about "Jewish troubles" never referred to Jesus, even vaguely, although as mentioned the records from that period are sketchy at best. What I do find shocking is that the search for records didn't even start until 1700 years later. Someguy1221 (talk) 05:05, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Jesus wasn't "nothing special" to the Romans: at the very least, I'd expect they recorded his execution ("III Aprilis: two thieves and a rabble-rousing preacher were executed"). --Carnildo (talk) 02:34, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
See the comment below by AnonMoos. I challenge you to demonstrate that any official Roman records from 1st century Palestine have survived. There are none. - Lindert (talk) 10:49, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Actually, such low-level records are most often preserved in Egypt, by dryness (not wetness) -- but more often private contracts and letters than official government records. Extremely few internal governmental files or working documents have survived from the Roman empire, so the fact that none has survived mentioning Jesus means absolutely nothing... AnonMoos (talk) 04:55, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Execution scene[edit]

While channel flipping the other day I saw a scene in a movie where a guy was about to be executed, and the guards pulled down his pants, stuffed cotton balls into his anus, and changed him into a great big white diaper. Supposedly they do this to ease cleanup by minimizing the damage of him pooping himself when he is executed. Apart from being rather disturbed at the scene, it provoked some questions on actual practice. My question is 1) Do they really stuff cotton into the anuses of those about to be executed? 2)Do they really make them wear diapers? and 3) If they do both of these things, why bother with the cotton? It seems redundant because without the cotton, all that happens is that the convict messes their diaper during execution. Rabuve (talk) 01:37, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

I might depend on the method of execution, but I don't think it's a normal part of preparing the condemned in most places and with most methods. 203.27.72.5 (talk) 02:27, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
I question the accuracy of the OP's account. This does not square with any account I've read of executions. Maybe in some country they do that as an additional means of humiliation, like in some countries making the family pay for the bullets used to execute their family member, or demolishing the family home to punish the family of a killer. You should provide a better source for such an odd claim. They expect loss of bowel and badder control when a person is put to death, and someone gets to mop up. Edison (talk) 03:35, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
I'm not recounting an actual even I saw. As I said, it was a scene in a movie and I am asking whether or not they really do or did this kind of thing. Rabuve (talk) 06:28, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
I remember that scene, it was from Ted Bundy (film). I am not sure if that actually happened, but I think the purpose of it in the movie was to show the total humiliation of Ted Bundy after all those scenes where he had been shown raping and killing women. --Saddhiyama (talk) 09:24, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Adult diaper mentions "execution diapers" worn by some prisoners, although it's not very well sourced, and there's no indication whether it's compulsory in some jails, or what. Velma Barfield is recorded as wearing an adult diaper at her execution, for example. There was a Straight Dope forum thread on the same topic, where nobody could find any evidence of cotton plugs.[1] --Colapeninsula (talk) 11:48, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
What a coincidence! I just now finished watching a documentary on You Tube entitled "Death Row Women". One of the death row women interviewed was Lynda Lyon Block. She discusses this very same thing that the OP cites. Namely, that when she is to be executed (via electric chair, in the state of Alabama), the procedures call for cotton to be placed in the anus and for the criminal to be dressed in a diaper. The You Tube link is here: [2]. The part of the documentary where this topic is mentioned begins at about the 16:47 mark in the film. Thanks. Joseph A. Spadaro (talk) 02:18, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
That seems really strange, surely cotton wouldn't do much to stop anything? Vespine (talk) 06:22, 6 August 2012 (UTC)
It might stop murders. It sounds like more of a deterent than the 2000 Volts anyways... 112.215.36.175 (talk) 09:23, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Maps of Past Congressional Districts?[edit]

Does anyone know where I can find high-resolution, colorful maps of past United States congressional districts?

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:Pagecgd112_ga.pdf&page=1

I know that the U.S. has a National Atlas, but I am unable to find colorful high resolution maps like the one above (except this is for current congressional districts) for past Congressional districts.

Thank you. Futurist110 (talk) 02:28, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Not online but if you have access to a big library you can find this:

The historical atlas of United States congressional districts 1789-1983

Kenneth C. Martis, author and editor
Ruth Anderson Rowles, cartographer and assistant editor.
Dewey: 912/.13287307345
Publication Details: New York : Free Press ; London : Collier Macmillan, c1982.
Identifier: ISBN 0029201500; BNB GB8316858
Physical Description: xiii,302p. : maps(some col.) ; 35x50cm.

It's a physically very large book as some of the maps have to be detailed. For Congressional districts after 1983, you may have to do with back editions of 'The Almanac of American Politics', or Congressional Quarterly's 'Politics in America'. Sam Blacketer (talk) 09:12, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Thank you. To be honest, I remember when the National Atlas had high-resolution congressional district maps of previous Congressional districts (those between 2005 and 2007, such as the two maps in my link below) five and six years ago.
http://www.iqrealestate.com/CongressionalMaps/TX2.gif
http://nationalatlas.gov/printable/images/preview/congdist/pagecgd109_GA2.gif
Is there any place where the U.S. federal govt. or someone else keeps high-resolution colorful copies of these maps today? Futurist110 (talk) 21:56, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/redist/historical_congress.htm - I found some historical colorful CDs for Texas. Futurist110 (talk) 00:06, 6 August 2012 (UTC)

Adult Diaper Statistics[edit]

I guess my last question got me thinking! In stores in the health aisle, there is usually quite an array of adult diapers being sold, and I've always wondered just how often they get used in the general public. 1) About how many people in the general public actually use these adult diaper products? 2)How frequently are adult diapers used in hospitals? 3)How frequently are adult diapers used in nursing homes? Rabuve (talk) 02:29, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

(1)The article on Fecal incontinence says that 2.2% of the general population has problems with feces leaking out (presumable babies are not included in the calculation), with a higher prevalence in older people, and in the female population. "Up to 35%" of the population over age 60 has Urinary incontinence, again with a much higher prevalence among women. Ah, the joys of growing old.(2)It is hard to find stats on "what % of hospital patients use adult diapers." Many folks in hospitals have a Foley catheter collecting urine, so are not urinary incontinent while in hospital, or are there for reasons which have nothing to do with incontinence. (3) There might be a higher percentage of nursing home patients in adult diapers than in the general population, since some folks there have severe senile dementia and various ailments making them incontinent. Also, it has been alleged that nursing home staff may put residents in diapers for the staff's convenience because so many residents are incontinent. Edison (talk) 03:21, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Also, some meds and diets cause incontinence of one form or another. Then there are people who only occasionally suffer from incontinence, when their condition flares up, or, in the case of the general public, when they get food poisoning, the flu, etc. StuRat (talk) 03:44, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Observation, and not medical advice: Generally healthy and competent adults I've known who urinate frequently due to prostate trouble or diabetes, or who have a bout of diarrhea generally have not suddenly started wearing diapers, but have just stayed close enough to a toilet to run to it when the need arose. I guess after a very few episodes of having to change clothing, sheets, etc after an accident, they or their caretaker/spouse/partner would likely make a run and get some adult diapers, along with making arrangements for them to see a doctor and get treatment or medication to restore control. Edison (talk) 03:55, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Heyy :D[edit]

heyy , does any1 have any facts on the New Zealander Sarah Walker (Bmx rider) For Ma projet :) ...Fanks any ways :d — Preceding unsigned comment added by Zobo:D (talkcontribs) 05:58, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Try this - Sarah Walker (BMX rider). Futurist110 (talk) 05:59, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Also, if you intend to get a decent grade from your teacher on this project, you may want to use a more appropriate register. Learning which social environments are appropriate to use which language is a useful skill, and will get you very far in the world. --Jayron32 16:41, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

What is the basis of considering somebody a political philosopher?[edit]

Given much information about the scope of political philosophy, what is then the encyclopedic basis of considering a person to be of the discipline of political philosophy? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Bazooka mortar (talkcontribs) 06:36, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Philosophy is not a regulated profession like doctor, lawyer, etc. If you get a BA in Philosophy or a PhD in Philosophy that does not make you a philosopher. Normally if you start getting published, people referring to your work, going to conferences, this might make you a philosopher. Alternatively, if you pronounce "I am an amateur philosopher" then you are one. --80.99.254.208 (talk) 09:37, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Being called a political philosopher, or any kind of philosopher, is like being called a hero or genius: the motives of the speaker probably come into it. For instance, if someone agrees with you they may call you a "brilliant political philosopher", if they disagree they may call you a "hack writer" instead. If you've written a book on something vaguely resembling political philosophy your publishers will probably call you a "political philosopher" if they want to get it reviewed in philosophical journals, included as a textbook on political philosophy courses, interviewed by serious newspapers, etc, but if they're trying to get you on Fox News they may call you something less ivory-tower. If you're teaching on a political philosophy course, they will claim that you're a political philosopher, not an aesthetician or economics lecturer, because who wants to take a course that's not taught by an expert? Gradually, with time, all these sources may begin to agree, and then you're a genuine political philosopher. --Colapeninsula (talk) 09:47, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Philosophy is the study of the underlying structure of various aspects of human existance: scientific philosophy looks at the underlying structure of science (how it is organized, how people think in a scientific mindset, etc. etc.), and political philosophy looks at the underlying political structures that define how people are governed (the relationship between the governed and the government, the structure of the government, etc.) Any asshole can write (and with the internet "publish") a treatise on political thought, just as any asshole can disect a dead squirel and call themselves a biologist. It is general acceptance by the community at large as a political philosopher (exactly as it would be for a biologist or a plumber or a whatever) that determines what they should be called. So, people who have published works that are recognized as authoritative in the field of political philosophy are generally considered to be notable for being political philosophers, as opposed to just random assholes with crazy ideas. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was the former. Ted Kaczynski was the latter. --Jayron32 16:37, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

About accounting and :please tell me the relationship between the Audit risk and Materiality?[edit]

Hi,I am a college student majoring in accounting.Now I have a question about auditing. Please tell me the relationship between the Audit risk and Materiality? and it will be better if you can explain itLemonvivian (talk) ThxLemonvivian (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 12:22, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Will our articles Audit risk and Materiality (auditing) help? You can also try the first two links on this page. If that doesn't work, just post again saying what is the part that you don't understand. 184.147.118.54 (talk) 22:51, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Only normal profit in a perfectly competitive industry?[edit]

Why all firms earn only normal profit in a perfectly competitive industry? Thanks in advance--180.234.246.221 (talk) 17:22, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

There is no such term as "perfectly competitive industry". It is meaningless, just as "perfectly competitive sport" or "perfectly competitive school" would be. Looie496 (talk) 17:34, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Certainly, it's a theoretical construct, but then, so are ideal gases and perfect vacuums, they're still worth considering. Anyhow, this is a typical homework question, so I'm reluctant to give the full answer. Rather, I would urge the OP to consider incentives to enter and leave the market under different levels of profit. - Jarry1250 [Deliberation needed] 18:14, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
We did discuss the topic recently, so it is possible the OP is trying to follow the previous thread, rather than doing homework. --Tango (talk) 19:02, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
There certainly is such a term. See perfect competition. --Tango (talk) 19:02, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
True, though as a term there are three orders of magnitude more Unicorns. http://www.googlefight.com/index.php?lang=en_GB&word1=%22perfectly+competitive+industry%22&word2=unicorn --80.99.254.208 (talk) 07:03, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Do you have a point? --Tango (talk) 11:44, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Yeah but the hat covers it —Tamfang (talk) 04:40, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

Differences Between Colonialism and Imperialism?[edit]

The main difference that I can think of is that in colonialism there was a much greater transfer of the occupying country's population to the colonies, in contrast to imperialism, where (in most cases) very few of the occupying country's population moved to other parts of the empire. Are there any other differences? Thank you. Futurist110 (talk) 19:45, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

You could start with Colonialism vs Imperialism, Imperialism vs Colonialism and this randomly selected research paper. - Cucumber Mike (talk) 19:51, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
False dichotomy and incorrect use of terms. The currently preferred term in Academic literature to discuss the kind of imperialism that involved large scale ethnic movements with the intention of replicating the home society in the distant society is "settler societies." YMMV, but your terms are out of date with the current state of research, and poor at specifying the difference to be discussed. Fifelfoo (talk) 22:24, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Colonialism is more about establishing colonies for the mother country, while imperialism is more about exploiting a country's resources or people. --Activism1234 23:55, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Marriage in the United States[edit]

I've been looking for some supreme court cases that touch on the purposes of marriage. I remember somewhere reading that in an opinion once the court said that marriage is about relationships just as much as it is procreation, but I can't seem to find it. 1)Can someone direct me to the case I am thinking of? 2)Can anyone reccomend a good website for doing searches of supreme court opinions? Thanks. Rabuve (talk) 22:21, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Cornell University has a search engine for supreme court opinions. Plugging in "marriage" and "relationships" gave 60 results; about 10 of them are dissents. Still a big number to go through, but perhaps if you can come up with another keyword from what you remember you can narrow it down? 184.147.118.54 (talk) 22:57, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Traditionally in the U.S., defining and regulating marriage has been much more a matter for the individual states, rather than the federal government... AnonMoos (talk) 23:28, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
As I recall, there's nothing explicitly stated at all about marriage in the US Constitution. Marriage is a contract entered into under individual states' laws. Any Supreme Court cases would likely center on allegations of violation of the Equal Protection amendment, or something along those lines. That's not to say federal coercion doesn't come into play from time to time. For example, Utah had to disavow polygamy before it was granted admission to the Union. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 00:10, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
The Utah thing was congress setting conditions for a territory to be admitted to statehood. Congress has basically unlimited powers over territories, quite different from the federal-state relationship... AnonMoos (talk) 04:43, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Loving v. Virginia may be a case of interest to you. Shadowjams (talk) 06:11, 3 August 2012 (UTC)

Historical weather records[edit]

Are there any websites (or even books) where I can find records of the weather and temperatures on a certain date in a certain place? Say, San Francisco on July 4, 1860, just as an example? 69.62.243.48 (talk) 23:32, 2 August 2012 (UTC)

Weather Underground has historical records, but (at least for San Francisco, CA) these only go back to 1948 (17°C and dry). -- Finlay McWalterTalk 23:43, 2 August 2012 (UTC)
Do you only want San Francisco? Environment Canada offers historic weather data for major cities in Canada. The drop down menu goes back to 1840, but for most cities there's actually only data to the 50s or 60s, a few go to the 30s. 184.147.118.54 (talk) 00:17, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
Depending on how far back you're looking, the local newspaper for that date may be your only hope. This may involve a trip to a large library and spending some time with the microfilm machine. Zoonoses (talk) 03:37, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
NOAA has some good information online. Some is behind a paywall, some is not, but I did find this which has some data sets going back to the 1800s. --Jayron32 03:48, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
No, I'm not looking for just San Francisco, nor for just US. UK links would be great, as well as for any countries. Thanks for the links. 69.62.243.48 (talk) 04:19, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
There are very odd statements in the US about historical weather data. It gets hot or cold or there is some precipitation and US papers maunder about how "This is the most extreme weather since records were first kept in 1885" or some such year. That seems to date to the establishment of the US Weather Bureau, which has since had its name changed variously. Long before that, weather records were systematically collected and analyzed by Joseph Henry by the 1840's. Also, newspapers kept records of extreme weather. When there was on the US East Coast the Great Blizzard of 1888, the New York papers wrote authoritatively about weather extremes back to the late1600's. It is as if there was sudden amnesia when the Weather Bureau was established, and old records were to be expunged and forgotten and never mentioned.. It was not as if they suddenly started using perfect thermometers as opposed to earlier making random wild guesses as to local temperatures and precipitation and barometric pressure.. New York papers in the late 19th century criticized the placement of the "official thermometer" and noted reflection of heat from metal rooftops, and contrasted it with lower temperatures nearer street level recorded by sheltered thermometers. There is indeed archived weather data from the mid 19th century, but it may require a bit of digging. Edison (talk) 04:53, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
For ease of use, I go to climatestations -- here's their San Francisco page: http://www.climatestations.com/san-francisco/ They only have a handful of cities, all from the U.S., but since I happen to live in one of them, it works for me. They only post historical data in graphical formats, that I can see, which would make getting data for an exact date a matter of pixel-counting: I can't find any tabular data on their site, anyway. They say their data is taken from this site: http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/climatedata.html which is the same site Jayron suggested above, so I expect that would be the best place to look. And I don't know if 1860 was chosen at random or not, but I think it's safe to say that reliable and regular weather records for many cities in the American West won't go back that far -- the suggestions of consulting newspapers are probably best for dates that early, but that'll be slow work if you have a lot of dates to check. You might consider using the Library of Congress's "Chronicling America" search engine for newspapers from the U.S. in the 19th Century -- http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ -- not comprehensive, and less good than paywalled databases that a good research university probably has access to, but easier than hitting the microfilm reader! Jwrosenzweig (talk) 05:25, 3 August 2012 (UTC)
UK Met Office has some historical data at http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/stationdata/ The Armagh station's records go back to Jan 1853. Astronaut (talk) 13:10, 3 August 2012 (UTC)