Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2012 August 30

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August 30[edit]

Raymond of Cabannis and Philippa the Catanian[edit]

Recently while reading Nancy Goldstone's biography on Queen Joan I of Naples, I came upon this unusual couple. Raymond of Cabannis was a former Ethopian slave who rose to become Grand Seneschal of the kingdom of Naples and his wife Philippa was a Sicilian laundress who was appointed governess to Queen Joan when she lost her mother as a child. I have searched the Internet to discover more about these people but to no avail. They had four children who married into the Neapolitan aristocracy but apart from this fact I have not been able to find out anything else about them. Would anybody happen to have more information on the Cabannis family? Thank you.--Jeanne Boleyn (talk) 11:47, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

There seems to be a decent amount online about Raimondo de Cabanni and Filippa da Catania (Filippa la Catanese) but it's all in Italian.--Cam (talk) 16:50, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Cultural influences on relationships[edit]

What is causing young people to have relationships these days through peer pressure ? Is it cultural, media? 176.250.252.78 (talk) 12:41, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Could you elaborate? What sorts of relationships? Sexual, friendships, aquaintences? --Jayron32 13:20, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Girlfriend/boyfriend sort of relationships. 176.250.252.78 (talk) 14:32, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Young people have been forming girlfriend-boyfriend relationships for a long time. It didn't just start "these days". The Wikipedia articles titled Dating and Courtship have a wealth of information. --Jayron32 15:51, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
What country or area are you looking at? What evidence do you have to suggest that young people are doing this more than at other times? What evidence do you have to suggest that peer pressure is a factor in their decision-making? If you can answer these questions (which are implied by your first question), you may find you already have the answer to your second question. AlexTiefling (talk) 16:18, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
The OP's IP address geolocates to London. --Jayron32 16:44, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
The 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was a widely viewed cultural and media event in London which emphasised (amongst other things) the positive aspects of young people being in (apparently romantic) relationships. (See 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony#Frankie and June say...thanks Tim (21:52–22:09)) However, I would agree with Jayron's point - young people entering into relationships is a natural thing for them to do. One might as well ask to what extent, and in what way, cultural and media pressure is discouraging young people from doing so. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 19:57, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Indeed. 300 years ago in Western culture, it was common for people to marry by their 18th birthday. A generation ago, it was still uncommon for people to make it out of their 20s without being married. Today, people wait until their 30s to get married. I would say there is a prevalence today for people to delay long-term committements. --Jayron32 20:03, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
The often quoted idea that age at marriage in "Western culture" has been steadily increasing for centuries is probably inaccurate; see, eg, these figures. Colonial North America was unusual in having relatively early marriage. However, in northern Europe at the same time it was substantially later - comfortably over 25 on average - remaining relatively high through the following centuries and not dropping dramatically until the 20th century. In the UK, the lowest period of age on first marriage for both men and women is comfortably within living memory! Andrew Gray (talk) 12:56, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Romeo and Juliet? Sexual reproduction? Puritanism? Sexual repression? μηδείς (talk) 03:37, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Who in India speaks English?[edit]

It says here that India's second official language, English, is native for just 0.02% of the 1.2-billion population of the country. Who are they? Are they characterised as belonging to specific ethnic groups, social classes or immigrant communities, or specific cities and regions? --Theurgist (talk) 18:32, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

0.02% of 1.2 billion is 240,000 people. My guess is that some of these are children of people who have moved to India from elsewhere in the Anglophone world, and these would be concentrated in the major metro areas. There are some people of European/English decent who moved to India during the colonial period, and never left. I suspect their decendents may still live in India and would likely learn English at home. --Jayron32 18:36, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Just settling the exact figures: according to the list English is #44, with 178,598 speakers, or 0.021% of the total population, which is 1,210,193,422 people according to the 2011 census. --Theurgist (talk) 18:45, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
No, it isn't. 178598 divide by 1210193422 is .0001475, or 0.01475%. That's 1/3rd off from the 0.021% figure. If it has all three of those numbers in the article, something is wrong: either the math or the number. --Jayron32 19:01, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
I didn't do any math. I just copied the numbers from here and from here - without much thought, actually. Evidently, something needs editing. --Theurgist (talk) 19:07, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
That's why I said exactly that. --Jayron32 19:12, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
An English speaker counts for 50% more than everybody else, by gad. Clarityfiend (talk) 00:12, 1 September 2012 (UTC)
As a first language: almost no one. As a second language: those who went through decent schooling and went to a decent university, which is 9% of the population (much less than any one thinks, but India is mainly not English speaking). — Preceding unsigned comment added by OsmanRF34 (talkcontribs) 20:08, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Have a look at Indian English. It talks about "the relatively small Anglo-Indian community and some families of full Indian ethnicity where English is the primary language spoken in the home". Alansplodge (talk) 20:49, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Loads of people in India speak English, but most of them learn it as a second language and they wouldn't be as fluent in it as people in the West. AFAIK, people going to school in India have to learn 3 languages; Hindi, English and whatever language happens to be the main language of the state they live in. A boat that can float! (watch me float!) 08:01, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
People going to schools in India usually, but not always, learn Hindi[1]. I believe that in Tamil Nadu teaching of Hindi in schools is rare as it is seen as an "imposition from the North". -- Q Chris (talk) 10:42, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
Yes, see Anti-Hindi agitations of Tamil Nadu. It was because of this that English retains an official status in Indian government. Alansplodge (talk) 17:19, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
Mmm, that's interesting... I must have got confused. A boat that can float! (watch me float!) 14:06, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

I know a full-blooded native Indian whose name is J. Smith and whose first language is English; he was adopted and raised by Anglo-Catholic parents. μηδείς (talk) 01:07, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

Kimveer Gill's journal[edit]

I read that his profile on VampireFreaks is no longer available, but is there any way to look at his journal entries? Maybe copies of the journal?. Thank you. Mark. Alabamaboy1992 (talk) 20:11, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Is there any link between the murder of the Afghan war lord and the World Trade Center attacks?[edit]

I'm sorry I can't remember the name of the war lord. Thank you. Mark. Alabamaboy1992 (talk) 22:00, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Probably not. Bin Laden's group had been gearing up for September 11th for some time. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing was organized by Al Qaeda some 8 years before. The leader you are thinking of is likely Ahmad Shah Massoud who was assassinated 2 days before the September 11th hijackings. That's just way too close in time for it to have had any effect on the event. The hijackings would have had to have been planned down to exacting detail, including the days and times of the flights, and tickets for those planes were purchased considerably ahead of time. There's no chance his death had causal effect on September 11th. Additionally Massoud was an enemy of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, so I don't think there's any reason to think he would have inspired anything of the sort by his death. --Jayron32 22:10, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Or both events were Al Qaeda acts and the timing was strategic. I don't think the question is only about one influencing the other. Tom Haythornthwaite 22:21, 30 August 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hayttom (talkcontribs)
Yes, it is the opposite causation from what Jayron implies. Massoud was killed by Al Qaeda because the date for 9/11 had been set. I remember reading of his death (and predictions that August in the NY Post that attacks were imminent) before 9/11. μηδείς (talk) 21:44, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

I would assume Massoud was assassinated right before 9/11 in the hopes of causing the Northern Alliance to collapse before the West intervenes in Afghanistan, thus making it much bloodier and harder for the West to overthrow the Taliban and remove al Qaeda from Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda's stategy in regards to this didn't work, as Western money, weapons, intelligence, and strategic efforts were able to hold the Northern Alliance together and help it out after Massoud's death and 9/11. Futurist110 (talk) 22:32, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

And why do it shortly before the attack? Wouldn't it be much smarter strategically to win the civil war over the Northern Alliance and then go to the 9/11 attack? You don't want to engage too many enemies at the same time normally. Obviously, this rationale is only valid if we assume their leader to be rational thinkers, what appears not to be the case. OsmanRF34 (talk) 23:02, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
Look at the link provided by Jayron. At least one FBI agent and one congressman familiar with the situation immediately assumed that Massoud's assassination was a prelude to attacking the United States. Obviously we'll never know what Osama was thinking, but it's possible they wanted us to have as little warning as possible. Someguy1221 (talk) 23:05, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
We won't know either whether these both guys indeed connected the dots. The Taliban and Al-Qaida had been fighting the Northern Alliance for a long time before this attack on Massoud. I don't see how could you see it as an exceptional case. Even the attack on the US is not that surprising, considering that they tried it before. OsmanRF34 (talk) 23:23, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't really understand what you mean by the first statement. While the Congressman only mentioned that they drew the connection quite a while after the attacks, so it's impossible to know if they really drew the connection at the time or whether it was just a minor thought that occured to them, one of many such thoughts that would have been ignored had it not been for the attacks. However the other cases the statements were from before the attacks, as the person died in the attacks, so unless the friends are either lying or misremembering what was said, we can be sure they really had these thoughts. Of course perhaps they always had such thoughts and would have often been sharing them with their friends (I say 'would have' because perhaps they weren't doing it when working for the FBI). Whether you want to say they 'connected the dots' or 'got lucky' is of course a bit arbitary, as it nearly always is although does depend on whether you believe their thesis is correct (the results were, doesn't mean the thesis was). BTW the article also mentions the possible reasons for his assasination in relation to the attacks, however it doesn't suggest the timing was on purpose. Nil Einne (talk) 19:21, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

I was reading a book by As'ad AbuKhalil a while back (I can't remember which one it was and I don't have it with me right now) in which he made the case that it was definitely connected to the 9/11 attacks. The Taliban knew both that the US would retaliate for al Qaeda's actions and that the Northern Alliance would be a natural ally of a possible US ground assault/invasion. The assassination was a strategic attempt to destabilize the Northern Alliance and thereby make them less valuable, and less effective, as a possible US ally.--William Thweatt TalkContribs 23:36, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Well, the link is there: both are enemies of Al-Qaida, and it was attacking both of them. Coordinating both attacks seems to be rather difficult, since the 9/11 required careful planning way in advance, and the Massoud's assassination was more of an opportunistic attack. OsmanRF34 (talk) 23:45, 30 August 2012 (UTC)
This might be conjecture on my part but maybe al-Qaeda was worried that if it kills Massoud too early the Taliban might get a bit of sense and decide that since they now defeated the Northern Alliance, there's no need for them to keep on helping and sponsoring al-Qaeda any further. Al-Qaeda thought that if the Taliban conquered all of Afghanistan maybe the Taliban would feel that they don't need any more trouble, especially with big powers like the U.S. (and al-Qaeda was very good at causing trouble for the U.S.). Keep in mind that the Taliban and al-Qaeda did have some tensions in the pre-9/11 era, and maybe al-Qaeda felt that the Taliban could eventually do a big political U-turn with them like they previously did with opium in 2000 and eventually kick al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan (without a safe haven, it would have been much harder for al-Qaeda to implement a successful large-scale attack against the U.S. on the scale of 9/11). Futurist110 (talk) 01:45, 31 August 2012 (UTC)
I don't think the Northern Alliance was that important to the US attack on Afghanistan. Yes, they were used as ground troops, but, had they been completely defeated by the Taliban prior to that, the US would still have won, it just would have required US/NATO ground troops. (Of course, either way, holding Afghanistan is far more difficult than conquering it.) But this might have inadvertently helped Saddam, as the US would have had too many ground troops committed in Afghanistan to invade Iraq. StuRat (talk) 08:31, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

Have you seen the article published recently in various American media about a Polish spy, Aleksander Makowski, and his revelations about his relationship with Massoud? Especially this fragment:

Makowski now thinks that Massoud held back intelligence about bin Laden and the 9/11 plot because of the CIA’s lack of interest. “I am aware of the fact that the development of modern Afghanistan doesn’t matter to the Americans,” Makowski recalls Massoud telling him in August 1999. He knew, however, that the United States was interested in bin Laden, and he feared that if bin Laden were killed, the U.S. would reach an accommodation with the Taliban. He decided to play it coy, Makowski says. “I will stall for time until I make sure they had stopped supporting the Taliban and are ready to support me instead," Makowski said Massoud had concluded.' In mid-June 2000, Massoud practically ordered his commanders not to cooperate with the CIA in hunting down bin Laden. Makowski thinks Massoud also avoided telling the Americans of bin Laden’s plan for the 9/11 strikes. “I think there is a very good case that he allowed this to happen,” Makowski told McClatchy, speaking of 9/11. Unfortunately, Massoud missed a key part of bin Laden’s 9/11 planning: Massoud’s own assassination, which took place on the eve of the Sept. 11 attack. CIA balked at chance to kill bin Laden in ‘99, Polish ex-spy says

Kpalion(talk) 11:20, 31 August 2012 (UTC)

To be fair, Massoud was simply worrying about his own interests, similar to how Ahmed Chalabi and other Iraqi dissidents exaggerated and/or lied about Iraq's alleged WMDs and nuclear program in order to increase the odds of an American invasion to remove Saddam. And StuRat, while the U.S. would have been able to overthrow the Taliban without the Northern Alliance, it would have been far bloodier for the United States and thus al-Qaeda speculated that it would be harder for the U.S. to invade Afghanistan if the Northern Alliance had already collapsed by that point. Of course, the Northern Alliance didn't collapse and even if it would have collapsed al-Qaeda greatly underestimated the rage of the American people at 9/11. Futurist110 (talk) 06:07, 4 September 2012 (UTC)