Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2012 January 21

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January 21[edit]

Crazy (purely philosophical viewpoint)[edit]

i heard that mentally ill or crazy people didnt know their condition, so how can i be 100% sure that i am not crazy? (this is a repost from science desk) MahAdik usap 01:24, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

The Rosenhan experiment showed that it's rather difficult to prove that one is sane, let alone insane. While that experiment wasn;t really about if people are sane or not (it was more about diagnosis, treatment, and hospital conditions), it did prove that even people generally considered sane, once labelled insane, couldn't do much to prove otherwise. Basically what I'm saying is you can't really know for sure, because even professionals have troubles figuring it out. Mingmingla (talk) 03:44, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Maybe I'm talking out of my a** here, but it seems to me we're all at least a little bit insane, at least some of the time. We all do things that we immediately, or soon enough, realise were dumb, dumb, dumb. What could possibly have possessed us to act that way? In that moment, we were for all intents and purposes insane. But the next moment, we're right as rain again, making good decisions again. The so called "insane person", likewise, is not insane all of the time. Many or even most of their decisions may well be perfectly OK, but perhaps they're prone to making crazy decisions more often than is considered "normal". Just exactly where the dividing line is between sanity and insanity, and who decides where it is, and how often and under what circumstances it's moved, and how much of your time you have to spend on the wrong side of the line, and over what period, to be classified as insane - those are questions that would make anyone crazy.  :) -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 04:53, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Stupidity does not equal insanity. Royor (talk) 06:43, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Philosophically, I doubt you can be 100% sure of anything. (I'm 99.99% sure there's some article about this somewhere.) Clarityfiend (talk) 08:54, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I doubt the answers above are on topic. This is not about insanity from a psychiatric or psychological perspective. It's about discovering if you are a brain in a bucket or connected to the Matrix. For more on that, search for the same question and pertinent answers on the Sci RD. (talk) 13:42, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Relevant links ideas in the philosophy of the mind: dream argument, brain in a vat, simulation hypothesis, evil demon, solipsism. I don't think there's really any sure-fire way to distinguish between false and real states. The best you have is some combination of skepticism, Occam's razor, and some faith in your inductive abilities. --Mr.98 (talk) 15:06, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Question on this direction are sometimes self-deceiving: how can you know if you are trapped for ever into a perfect simulation of reality? Well, you can't, if the simulation is perfect and you never leave it. (talk) 15:45, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
It is not universally accepted that there is such a thing as "mental illness" - see the work of Thomas Szasz, R D Laing and anti-psychiatry. --TammyMoet (talk) 17:39, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Yes, and it's also not universally accepted that there is such a thing as evolution. However, nearly everyone with relevant expertise in the area knows it exists, and the opinion that it does not is not generally considered a scientific view. Overdiagnosis and overmedicalising of normal variation is a separate issue, just as epigenetics and punctuated equilibrium do not argue against evolution. This says nothing to whether some 'ultimate truth' exists in which mental illness doesn't exist, but even on the humanities desk we should be careful not to misrepresent the scientific consensus. This is, of course, a completely appropriate topic for philosophers and those who have never encountered serious mental illness. (talk) 23:31, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

I'm surprised no one has suggested simply going to a doctor and asking to be assessed for any potential mental illnesses. ("Crazy" is not a medically defined term.) -- Mwalcoff (talk) 07:01, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

We're talking about a society where anyone caught with a tiny packet of plant sap will instantly get sent to a fancy facility designed to keep him in a cage and teach him to obey gang authority absolutely as a matter of life and death in the name of reducing crime, but people who want available treatments to be free of the compulsion to obtain such sap are put on long waiting lists or required to pay more than they have handy. Everyone is crazy. Maybe Jesus was sane, so in another fine public mental health intervention they nailed him to a cross for it. Some people can delude themselves into feeling good about themselves and thinking they're sane by putting on their suits and ties or facial cosmetics to distinguish themselves from savage tribes who wear ridiculous costumes and cover their women under veils, but it is all a delusion. Wnt (talk) 07:44, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

American philosopher Philip K. Dick (known more as a science fiction writer) argued throughout his work and in his lectures that empathy for others represented the difference between sanity and insanity. Author Gabriel Mckee summarizes Dick's definition of insanity as "the inability to view one's fellow human beings as other individuals, even if it is often conventionally accepted". In an interview (loosely paraphrased transcription) Dick illustrated this point:

One of the things I've noticed is that many people equate insanity with extravagant behavior–shouting, impassioned violence, and so on. But if something is done very calmly and dispassionately, this is rational. "Rational" and "dispassionate" are somehow synonymous, and a person who speaks in a calm, modulated voice is, ipso facto, a rational person. This is a typical Anglo-Saxon fallacy; you won’t find this confusion in Greece or Italy or Spain. This is beautifully illustrated by the Gestapo. Himmler once delivered a very important speech, a major policy speech, to the Gestapo and SS, cautioning them that they must never enjoy the death of the Jews in the camps. They must never get emotionally excited by it, but must view it all calmly and without feeling. What Himmler was really saying was this all must be done as if it were rational: scientifically, not as the result of hate or passion. Therefore, I'm sure that to the people who did it, it seemed a rational thing they were doing. But they were making the same error. It’s not sane at all. If you remember the film Zorba the Greek, there was a great deal of behavior which, from the conventional standpoint, would be called pathological: people dancing around crazily, swilling wine, breaking things. The book was even more that way: he cut the widow's head off, for instance. It was all extravagant, grotesque, hysterical, bombastic–it was not crazy. Being crazy very commonly can be typing up a list of names and turning them over to the officer at the end of the hall. And this can be even more crazy because it is done in such a dispassionate way. This is what first led me to the thought of the machine-like quality of pathology and of the "inhuman." What’s lacking is a sense of perspective, a sense of proportion. If you pick up your instructions that morning when you go to work and it says "Twenty people will be gassed today," and this is typed out, and it's all spelled right, and it's on the right order form, and this seems fine to you, then what we have here is not just an insidious pathology, but almost, in a way, the very heart of true pathology. What we have here is a lack of an emotional grasping of a situation. We have here a purely mechanical mind; a metal sphere rotating without any contact with the earth or other humans.

However, your question about knowing whether one is mentally ill or not is identical to the philosophical question Dick asks about whether one can know if they are an android or not (see Themes_in_Blade_Runner#Deckard: human or replicant? ) It is probably the same question couched in science fiction terms. The bottom line is, there is no way to know, but a life lived with empathy is no different from Dick's definition of sanity. Viriditas (talk) 10:38, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

Tahitian Dogs[edit]

Was there a specific breeds of dog native to the island of Tahiti or the other islands of French Polynesia? --KAVEBEAR (talk) 04:11, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

If you mean 'native to' in the sense of not being brought over by Polynesian settlers, no. There were no land-based mammals in Polynesia prior to human settlement. The dogs on the island would be descended from whatever the Polynesians brought with them. Whether they would have been a 'distinct breed' would probably depend on how many were brought, and how long they were genetically isolated - a 'breed' of dog isn't a clearcut, objectively-definable thing. Even deciding if a 'species' is real can sometimes be difficult. See the question as to whether the dog is a separates species from the wolf for a classic example of this ambiguity. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:28, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
All animals came from somethere else. Since the Polynesian settlers were considered natives also, obviously I was talking about their dogs. I found the answer myself. It was the Uri-Mahoi. Does anybody know if this species/breed is extinct or not?--KAVEBEAR (talk) 06:28, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
The only references I could find to Uri-Mahoi seem to originate from The Naturalist's Library: Mammalia, Volume X, Dogs (Edinburgh 1840) by Lieut Col Charles Hamilton Smith (p.210). He also gives the English name "Poe dog". BTW, don't be too hard on AndyTheGrump; biologists make a distinction between indigenous plants and animals that find their own way to a location and those that are introduced by human activity. Dogs usually fall into the latter category. Alansplodge (talk) 09:11, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Poi Dog[edit]

Why was the group Poi Dog Pondering named so? Was it after the Hawaiian Poi Dog?--KAVEBEAR (talk) 04:53, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

According to the second sentence of the linked article, the group was founded in Hawaii.--Cam (talk) 15:06, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I don't think it was named after the dog. It was named after the fact that the members of the group are of mixed ancestry (hapa) like the dog, and espouse an eclectic range of styles and instruments. Viriditas (talk) 00:59, 24 January 2012 (UTC)

Marginal propensity to consume at very high income[edit]

Does the marginal propensity to consume decrease as income rises into the millions per annum, in populations where it's been studied? On a related note, do economists typically count the philanthropy of billionaires as "consumption"? NeonMerlin 05:43, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Well Marginal_propensity_to_consume#MPC_and_nature_of_country states "The MPC is higher in the case of poor than in case of rich people. The greater a man’s income, the more of his basic human needs will have already been met, and the greater his tendency to save in order to provide for future will be...", which is unreferenced, but responds to your question that MPC would decrease as income rose into the millions. Oh, this is also why those that argue that cutting taxes for the rich or giving the rich more money will stimulate the economy through trickle-down economics are largely misguided, as increasing the spending power of the poor does far more due to stimulate the economy through this effect of the MPC (though often it's as much to do with greed and self-interest as truly being misguided). --jjron (talk) 16:58, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Siege of Antioch - positions stephen of bios & anonymous author gesta[edit]

I try to understand which position stand stephen& anonymous. I think i had found stephen of bios - between st. paul gate to dog gate where the north france stand but i quite not sure where the anonymous stand - he described that he was where the building started to bullied the castle but other described show he was near to gate of duke. someone can help? thanks -- (talk) 06:00, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Hmm...good question. As you say, Stephen of Blois was between Bohemund and Raymond of Toulouse, who was encamped at the Dog Gate. The author of the Gesta Francorum was presumably always with Bohemund, outside the Gate of St. Paul. The gate of the Duke, where Godfrey of Bouillon was encamped, was on the other side of Raymond's camp, so I don't think the author of the Gesta would have been there. This is according to Thomas Asbridge in The First Crusade: A New History, pages 152-153; I can't see the endnotes so I don't know what sources he used, but the author of the Gesta does mention that Bohemond was at the Gate of St. Paul. Adam Bishop (talk) 10:18, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
but on 4 march, ships arrived so Bohemond Raymond went to st.symeon. The anonymous said (i think near bridge gate) the turkish attack them and more than a thousand knights or fot soldiers killed, while stephen said "we lost more than 500 of our foot-soldiers--to the glory of God. Of our horsemen, however, we lost only two" -- (talk) 10:36, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
i fount it but the picture still not clear "The crusaders decided the best use of this new resource was to build a siege fort outside the Bridge Gate. About 60 knights and many infantry were sent to the port to accompany the craftsmen and their materials on the road to Antioch. But the Turks in Antioch had got word of it. They sent out a party through the other gate, who ambushed the cavalcade, killing two knights and 500 infantry. Then when the group reached the city, the Turks sent out a sortie through the Bridge Gate, and there was a battle in front of the gate. Surprisingly, the crusaders won. Despite the loss of 1,000 men, the crusaders considered it a marvellous victory: God was on their side again." - the attack happen when Bohemond cameback at the bridge bride. "When, however, they were returning to us with those mariners, the Turks collected an army, fell suddenly upon our two leaders and forced them to a perilous In that unexpected flight we lost more than 500 of our foot-soldiers--to the glory of God. Of our horsemen, however, we lost only two, for certain.

On that same day truly, in order to receive our brethren with joy, and ignorant of their misfortunes, we went out to meet them. When, however, we approached the above-mentioned gate of the city, a mob of horsemen and foot-soldiers from Antioch, elated by the victory which they had won, rushed upon us in the same manner."
stephen said that 2 attacks hapen: Dog gate & bridge gate, those 2 on the "princes" when i look on the map its strange - something happen but i dont sure what-- (talk) 11:00, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

What map are you looking at? Adam Bishop (talk) 14:11, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
from the book - googlebook - Victory in the East: a military history of the First Crusade 252 - i cant see in your book so a look for pther books. also:[1] - i think i got it - maybe stephen saw on the attack in dog gate and this way the number of the death eople is less, while anonymous frist was near to the bridge and then go up to the camp where another group waited to them.-- (talk) 15:13, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I can't see that page, but can you see the map on page 266? Does that help? Adam Bishop (talk) 19:06, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

are baby tigers dangerous?[edit]

this baby tiger next to a dog is adorable:

But (at the time of the photo, at that very age) is it any more dangerous than that dog next to it? Any chance it would attack you, if it did would it be any more lethal than a baby dog doing it?

Obviously dogs are domesticated and grow up to be quite tame as a rule, whereas tigers grow up to be obviously dangerous. But are they dangerous as babies? Just curious :) -- (talk) 11:53, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

It's pretty small and pretty helpless. It's of note that domestication in part means "acts like a juvenile it's whole life." Dogs differ from wolves largely because they act like puppies. Baby forms of most mammals are pretty harmless (with the exception of the fact that there may be a parent around). If you are not talking about mammals, though, all bets are off. Baby snakes can be just as poisonous as their adult forms, for example. --Mr.98 (talk) 15:01, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Anyone who has cats knows that they don't always keep their claws sheathed (hence the need for declawing). When trying to grab something, it's just instinct to stick their claws into it. Biting, on the other hand, usually only happens when they are angry. So, assuming tigers are the same, and this one isn't declawed, I'd think getting slashed accidentally would be a real concern. StuRat (talk) 19:11, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Declawing is considered animal cruelty in most of the world, so I doubt it has been. If it's about the size of a cat then its claws are probably about the size of a cat's, so there is no more need to declaw it than there is to declaw a cat. --Tango (talk) 20:38, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Did you see the size of those paws in the pic ? Looks to me like there are some rather large claws in them. I can't see how declawing is any more cruel than castration or spaying. StuRat (talk) 02:55, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Because it is cutting the tips off all their fingers and toes. Because it interferes with their ability to climb and sit securely on high places, as well as their ability to mark their territory without spraying, which are all actually pretty important for a cat's mental well-being, and you certainly don't want a cat more likely to spray. I'm sure the reasons why it is considered a cruel procedure that most vets will not perform, in most countries, is included in our declawing article. If the conditions you would like your cat to live in are not possible when it has claws, then you need to not have the cat, or keep it in other conditions. In the same way, if that tiger will be dangerous to have in the house with its teeth and claws, the appropriate action is not to amputate its fingers and toes, and pull out all its teeth, but to find a different place for it to live. (talk) 12:54, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Since my family adopts abandoned pets which otherwise would be gassed, and we couldn't have them if they destroyed the furniture, your argument boils down to the cats preferring death over being declawed. They seem perfectly happy to me, so I'm not sure what you're all upset about. I, for one, would much rather live without my toenails and fingernails than die, even if the toes and fingers were chopped back a digit, and people use their fingers far more than cats do. Your argument seems similar to the anti-circumcisionists'. StuRat (talk) 21:03, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Frankly any parent who refuses to care for a child because it isn't circumcised is not a fit parent and so should not be allowed to take care of children in the first place. So I don't think your circumcision argument helps at all. Nil Einne (talk) 03:10, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
You seemed to have inferred some argument I never made. The only point of comparison with circumcision is that it's removing a functional body part, and some people object. However, any argument that it's deeply immoral seems misplaced. StuRat (talk) 04:54, 24 January 2012 (UTC)
My cat is extremely domesticated, totally dependant on humans for almost all its needs. It would never harm a person deliberately. It's also very clumsy. I have a large scar on my leg from when it misjudged a leap onto to my lap one summers day when I was wearing shorts, and used its claws to "save" itself. It's those claws that do the damage, even in "harmless" play. Other cats have thick fur to protect themselves. Humans don't. HiLo48 (talk) 21:11, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Agreed. It you have a cat with claws, you're going to get scratched eventually. StuRat (talk) 02:55, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Salt and silver[edit]

How does one restore a silver salt spoon which has spent too much time sitting in salt? Kittybrewster 14:21, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Unfortunately this book doesn't help. --ColinFine (talk) 16:04, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Salt corrodes silver (which is why silver salt dishes have glass liners). You may not be able to restore the lost silver, but it may be worth trying to replate the spoon if the corrosion hasn't eaten into the body of the spoon too much. Ultimately it will be worth seeking the opinion of a silversmith. --TammyMoet (talk) 17:37, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I feared as much. Silver doesn't like rubber bands either. Kittybrewster 18:52, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I've always thought that silver was about the worst possible choice for utensils. It's soft enough to bend out of shape, reactive enough to tarnish or dissolve and give food a bad taste, has a high enough thermal conductivity to cause you to burn your hand when picking up a spoon left in hot soup, and is expensive to boot. About the only worse material I could imagine is uranium. StuRat (talk) 19:06, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Silver is expensive and pretty. People tend to overvalue expensive and pretty things. --Jayron32 19:53, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
That seems a rather recursive statement. Kittybrewster 20:18, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
It only is if you confuse expense (what you pay for something) with value (what it is worth). People often do that, though the two concepts are surprisingly only very tenuously related. People overvalue things which are expensive. That is because they place more value on the cost of an item than they should. Silver is considered valuable merely because of its expense, in lieu of other measures of its value, such as its utility. --Jayron32 22:53, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Silver utensils have more utility than lumps of silver hidden under the mattress. The benefit is that if you run out of money, you can sell the family silverware to buy food, then eat with your hands. Franamax (talk) 21:42, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Better yet to sell the silverware to buy durable stainless steel utensils, buy some food, eat it with the utensils, and still have some money left over to start saving for some little luxuries - like silver utensils :) . -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 21:54, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

If you want to remove the darkening (see Tarnish), try this. Prepare an enameled cast iron or Pyrex pot, a piece of aluminum foil (about 15x15cm), a table spoonful of salt, and water (about 300ml). Boil water, put the foil and salt in the boiling water, then put the spoon in it and keep boiling the water for 5 minutes or so. Oda Mari (talk) 06:26, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Goddard's Silver Dip is used by the Queen apparently. Alansplodge (talk) 11:17, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
If you're referring to the Royal Warrant of Appointment (United Kingdom), it says that goods are not necessarily for the use of the grantor. But I think you're probably right in this case. Well, maybe not the Queen personally, but her household would use the stuff. By the gallon. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 18:53, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
Don't spoil my illusions. I'm sure HM spends many happy hours in front of the TV with a bottle of "Silver Dip" and a big pile of spoons. Alansplodge (talk) 20:34, 23 January 2012 (UTC)
No doubt. In between answering questions on the Wikipedia Reference Desk, and discussing social issues on talkback radio. -- Jack of Oz [your turn] 23:18, 23 January 2012 (UTC)

How do American film studios and music recording companies pressure the US government into basically violating international law?[edit]

How do American film studios and music recording companies pressure the US government into basically violating international law? What are their 'weapons' or methods of coercion? --Broadside Perceptor (talk) 18:02, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

Which violation of international law were you thinking of? Grandiose (me, talk, contribs) 18:09, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
See lobbying. --Tango (talk) 18:40, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Thanks but that article doesn't seem to answer my question about how they do it, or does it? --Broadside Perceptor (talk) 18:52, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
And you still haven't said which law they're supposedly breaking. Hot StopUTC 18:59, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
Presumably this refers to the Megaupload raids. Adam Bishop (talk) 19:02, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
And which law's been broken? Hot StopUTC 19:07, 21 January 2012 (UTC)


From what I have read on other sites, now that most people are convinced that the megaupload people were committing some crime, the concern seems to have moved to their having been arrested and charged with american crimes by the american state in spite of living and working entirely in another country. (talk) 12:11, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Note that there's nothing unusual or new about people being detained and extradited for crimes they committed in another country, even if they are legally living and working in the first country. That's one point of extradition treaties. As mentioned in the extradition article (linked previous), some countries may disallow citizens to be extradited, and some countries may require double criminality, and impose other limitations, but disallowing people 'living and working in entirely another country' from being extradited is not common. What it perhaps somewhat unusual (although has some legal history behind it) is that the persons involved were AFAIK generally not in the US when they committed their alleged crimes, although they apparently used servers in the US (which makes them unlike some other cases where the US has claimed using a .com or .net domain name is enough to bring it in to their jurisdiction [2]). See also Personal jurisdiction in Internet cases in the United States. Nil Einne (talk) 18:24, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
Thank you very much to all for the links. Any recommended source for me to read about how lobbying works? --Broadside Perceptor (talk) 18:40, 22 January 2012 (UTC)

Lost African statue[edit]

Many years ago, perhaps around the 1980s or so, I saw mention on the local South London news about a man who had traveled to London from Africa looking for a lost African artifact, some kind of statue of a man or a boy. It was rather large, the height of a 6-10 year old child, and black in color. Perhaps made out of wood, but I am not sure. He was sure it was located somewhere in South London, perhaps in an attic or garage or something. I have searched using google but I cannot find anything even vaguly related. I am hoping the reference desk might be able to uncover some information. Thanks for you help. (talk) 18:29, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

ISSN registration and ad hoc frequency[edit]

Could an online publication with an single-article issue irregular frequency register for an ISSN?-- (talk) 20:48, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

I am not sure I understand your question. The magazine has what? One issue or some issues in irregular frequency? I think ISSN is for series, independent of their frequency. (talk) 01:43, 22 January 2012 (UTC)
The later. Many issues with irregular frequency. Sometimes multiple times in one month, sometimes none for several months.-- (talk) 07:55, 23 January 2012 (UTC)