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

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October 2[edit]

What makes a country "independent"? (e.g. Curacao)[edit]

This Associated Press article about the Caribbean island of Curacao says near the bottom Curacao is an independent country [emphasis mine] within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the governor is the representative of the Dutch monarch. That sounds to me pretty close to saying that, say, Australia is an independent country that is a Commonwealth realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, with a shared queen. But I looked up Curacao in Wikipedia, and it seems to be more complicated than that. It says in the Politics section The Dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles came into effect on 10 October 2010.[32] Curaçao became a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with the Kingdom retaining responsibility for defence and foreign policy. The Kingdom was also to oversee the island's finances under a debt-relief arrangement agreed between the two. The article Politics of Curacao says Curaçao has full autonomy on most matters, with the exceptions summed up in the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands under the title "Kingdom affairs". Here and elsewhere Wikipedia conspicuously avoids calling it an "independent country". And Curacao does not appear in Member states of the United Nations, which says "In principle, only sovereign states can become UN members".

So how does one decide whether to refer to a country like Curacao as "independent" (or for that matter "sovereign"--"sovereign" is especially vague since it is used in referring to American Indian tribes and American states--there are degrees of sovereignty.) The statement with the Kingdom retaining responsibility for defence and foreign policy [of Curacao] sounds to me just like this statement from our article associated state in the table with reference to Palau, Federated States of Micronesia, and Marshall Islands, all of which are in the UN: United States provides defense, funding grants and access to U.S. social services for citizens of these areas under the Compact of Free Association.

So given that there presumably is no official definition of "independent country", where does one draw the line between "independent" and "autonomous", or "independent" and "not independent"? And where does the UN draw the line between sovereign enough to be a member and not sovereign enough? Duoduoduo (talk) 16:52, 1 October 2012 (UTC)

A starting point when it comes to defining an 'independent state' is the Montevideo Convention which states that a country must have a 1) population, 2) territory, 3) government, and 4) ability to enter into diplomatic relations with others. From my own studies, my teacher emphasised that the country would have to have control of its territory, so an occupied country won't be seen as independent. When it comes to the UN, the other countries have to vote on them becoming members. This is why Taiwan is unlikely to become a UN member, as the PRC will block it (and when Taiwan held China's UNSC seat, it blocked Mongolia's membership, as it considered Mongolia to be part of its traditional territory). Similarly, the problem for Palestine is that the US will block its independence from Israel (so long as Israel doesn't give the go ahead). Although the list of members of the UN is usually seen as the list of sovereign states, there is no legal requirement for states to be members of the UN. The famous example is Switzerland that for a long period chose not to be a UN member, although no one would contest the fact that it's an independent state.
I think that when it comes to actually assessing whether a state is independent or semi-independent, one has to look at the facts on the ground: Is it self-governing and in charge of its own territory, even if that territory is claimed by someone else? In a case such as Curacao, I guess that we just accept the treaty between the Netherlands and Curacao, i.e. so long as they consider themselves to be independent, but with the same King, we accept that as being their relationship. V85 (talk) 19:41, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Another factor, not unrelated to UN membership but still separate from it, is recognition by other countries. That is, recognition of the "Government of Curaçao", whatever that means, as legitimate and separate and autonomous and different from the Government of the Netherlands. Does Curacao claim this status, and does any other country recognise it? -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 20:19, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Britain has a consulate there, rather than an embassy, which I think means it doesn't recognise it as an independent sovereign entity. Our article says: "Curaçao became a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with the Kingdom retaining responsibility for defence and foreign policy." so that isn't surprising. --Tango (talk) 21:06, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
Britain has multiple embassies and consulates in Japan, so I doubt that actually has anything to do with it. The British Gov also has a High Commission, a Deputy High Commission, two High Commission Liaison Offices, and another Liaison Office in Nigeria, and no Embassy. Having an embassy in a country does not mean that they recognize the country as a sovereign entity, because I am pretty sure the UK recognizes Nigeria as an independent sovereign state. KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 06:32, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Maybe the deciding factor, when a country's defense is in someone else's hands, is whether the country can unilaterally cancel that defense agreement (as say Palau could) or whether it cannot do that unilaterally (as perhaps is the case with Curacao?). Duoduoduo (talk) 22:11, 1 October 2012 (UTC)
I don't think so, Monaco's defense is managed by France but I would call it independant. It's foreign policy is independent though, which allowed it to become a UN member. -- (talk) 09:40, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I agree, foreign policy is far more important than defense when it comes to independance. Plenty of small countries have agreements where a larger country provides their defense since it wouldn't be practical or efficient for them to maintain their own standing army. That doesn't stop them being independant. --Tango (talk) 11:06, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Sure, as I said countries like Palau are independent while revocably handing over their defense to a larger country. I assume Monaco is in that category--it could decide that henceforth France no longer is responsible for its defense (or is that not right?). But my suggestion was that a country that by law cannot revoke its defense agreement is therefore not independent. Comments? Duoduoduo (talk) 14:03, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
The article on Dependent territory is probably also relevant here, with many examples showing different degrees of "dependency". Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:54, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

creative common licensing for the work already in public domain[edit]

Is it possible to license my art work, which is currently in public domain, under creative commons? Will it prevent others from for-profit implementations? Should I prove as it is my work? --V4vijayakumar (talk) 04:09, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Good question, wrong noticeboard. Take this exact same question, and ask it again at Wikipedia:Media copyright questions. --Jayron32 04:12, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
thanks. --V4vijayakumar (talk) 04:15, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

About Indian independence fighter in INA malaysia[edit]

Could I please get the currnet deatils about Mrs.Janaky Athi Nahappan, Malaysia? Who fought for Indian independence through Indian National Army of Subash Chandra Bose. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:16, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

We have an article about Janaky Athi Nahappan. Looie496 (talk) 06:20, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Did communist forces use civilians as cannon fodder in Menglianggu Campaign?[edit]

Just mentioned an excerpt form Xin Haonian in zh:人海战术 says "during the Menglianggu Campaign, in order to eliminate the 74th Reorganized Division led by Zhang Lingfu, the communists forced landowners, rich farmers, their children and nakesd women to be their cover."(在孟良崮戰役中,為了消滅抗日名將張靈甫的整編第74師,中共竟逼迫地主、富農及其孩子和裸體婦女在前面做衝鋒掩護。) but I cannot find such saying anywhere else in the Chinese and English article of Menglianggu Campaign. Can that claim ever be true?--Inspector (talk) 06:07, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

"nakesd " ? StuRat (talk) 07:10, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

The role sounds like what would be called "human shields", not "cannon fodder"... AnonMoos (talk) 10:34, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

We have an article; Human shield. Alansplodge (talk) 12:10, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
That is right. But the Human shield article says nothing about even the Chinese Civil War.--Inspector (talk) 13:02, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
True; but I thought it might be useful if the article is updated. A quick look at Google didn't give any useful information in English unfortunately. Alansplodge (talk) 14:36, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps if it will be better to ask among those who studied this area. But I would like to know what is the westarn view about the tactics employed during the battles in Chinese Civil War?--Inspector (talk) 05:41, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

I studied a lot of mid-century Chinese politics, war and military affairs, and this incident is not one I’ve come across. Still, it may have simply been under-reported in scholarly works. More to the point, my first thought is “who is the source?” That will often tell you all you need to know about the likely accuracy of a one-off report. ADD: The source is a pro-Nationalist (KMT) newspaper in Shanghai, in 1946. That puts it in the grey area between heavily censored news and deliberate propaganda. DOR (HK) (talk) 09:26, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Any links to this source?ADD: wait a minute, the Menglianggu Campaign took place in May 1947, and "The source is a pro-Nationalist (KMT) newspaper in Shanghai, in 1946." You mean by 1946 the date when the newspaper started? --Inspector (talk) 03:16, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
As always, with material like this, there is a difference between reporting something as fact, and reporting that a source claimed it as fact - and if the source is a pro-KMT newspaper, you'd need very strong grounds not to going with the latter option. Even better, find a less partial source, and use that instead. If you can't find one, then ask yourself whether the claim actually merits inclusion. AndyTheGrump (talk) 03:24, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Karaite Judaism vs. Fundamental Christianity[edit]

What's the difference between the two? What are the similarities? As far as I can tell, they both seem to worship the Bible - the former the Hebrew Bible, the latter the Christian Protestant Bible. (talk) 13:40, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Leaving aside the obvious differences between Christians and Jews, I think that if you honestly believe any group committed to the literal truth of the Ten Commandments can really be said to worship a book, you have not understood these religions. AlexTiefling (talk) 13:42, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
The article to read is Fundamentalism which explains fundamentalist strains of all religions in broad terms, and will help the OP to fix the misconceptions they appear to be working from (if indeed, they are interested in fixing their own misconceptions). --Jayron32 14:00, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Given some of the OP's other edits, they may well not be. AlexTiefling (talk) 15:06, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Sorry. I'm using a public computer. (talk) 15:21, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Not sure whether Karaites are very meaningfully "fundamentalist" but they're strictly scripturally literalist -- applying the sola scriptura principle in a more thoroughgoing way than Protestants have traditionally done, to the degree that they've sometimes been considered effectively a different religion than Rabbinic or "Rabbanite" Judaism... AnonMoos (talk) 14:05, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

While the difference between Jews and Christians is pretty obvious (happy to elaborate if necessary...), I think a more interesting question would be the difference between Karaites and Sadducees... I don't know that myself. --Jethro B 00:40, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Don't think there's any real historical continuity between the two, but both vehemently rejected the "Torah she-be-`al peh"... AnonMoos (talk) 08:52, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Historical Violence[edit]

So I've read information in the past that addressed that we live in the most peaceful time in history. I couldn't find a solid article here that addressed violence today in comparison to violence in recent or even ancient history. Does that exist, or where would I find more good sources comprehensively looking into violence rates in the past. Thanks Chris M. (talk) 14:02, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Not fully comprehensive (since comprehensive historical information often just isn't available), but see The Better Angels of Our Nature for a prominent recent book... AnonMoos (talk) 14:29, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
(Edit Conflict) A quick Google under "Do we live in more violent times?" has New Scientist - Steven Pinker: Humans are less violent than ever as the first result. Alansplodge (talk) 14:33, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
It should be noted, I suppose, that Pinker's conclusions are considered fairly controversial. He more or less ignores the World Wars, for example, as anomalies to the general trend. More than a few people have taken issue with that sort of thing. --Mr.98 (talk) 15:29, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I suppose once you dismiss a few tens of millions of deaths as anomalies, you can come to any conclusion you want.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:19, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Even if you count them, they aren't as significant, relative to a global population of billions, as you might think. StuRat (talk) 18:50, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
It also depends on what you call 'now'. Now in the XXI century we enjoy one of the most peaceful times of humankind, but in the last 100 years not so. The compelling reason to define 'now' in a more limited way is certainly that that is what matters to us. OsmanRF34 (talk) 19:42, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
List of wars by death toll could give one a start. Collect data by years, compare to world-wide population during those times, and see when the greatest proportion of the world population died in wars. An idea on methodology. The incompleteness of the Wikipedia article is probably a hindrance, but if one could get the data from better sources, I'd think that's how one would do it. --Jayron32 19:59, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I think that focussing on big wars may be missing the point slightly. With or without war, many premodern societies generally had higher levels of violence in day to day life, whether as a function of disputes or feuds or punishments... bobrayner (talk) 20:24, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

A Winged Horse[edit]

My understanding is that Pegasus is the name of the winged horse ridden by Bellerephon, child of Medusa 'n' all that. My question is did the Greeks have a word for a generic winged horse? People nowadays just call any horse with wings, 'a pegasus' but I'm curious if there exists a word that the Greeks may have used. (talk) 16:36, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Presumably they just called Pegasus the ancient Greek equivalent of a "winged horse". If there were more than one, they might have had a name for them collectively, like Gorgons for Medusa and pals. StuRat (talk) 18:41, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Pegasus is the name of a mythological winged-horse character. A theoretical word formed from ancient Greek roots meaning "winged horse" would be something like Pterippos πτεριππος... AnonMoos (talk) 19:26, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Not one word, but Apollodorus calls him "hippos ptenos". Adam Bishop (talk) 21:52, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
"hippos pteros", I should think, as with the Pterosaurs. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:06, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Πτερος is the noun meaning "feather" or "wing" suitable for forming compound words, but Πτηνος is the adjective meaning "feathered" or "winged" suitable for use in multi-word phrases... AnonMoos (talk) 08:42, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Was there more than winged horse in Greek mythology? Alansplodge (talk) 12:04, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

I assume you're trying to ask if there was more than one winged horse. There were two, Pegasus and his twin brother Chrysaor. I don't know of any others in the standard canon. --Jayron32 12:33, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, sorry the "one" was missed out somehow. However, our article on Chrysaor says "often depicted as a young man". The carving of him at the Temple of Artemis (Corfu) also doesn't show any equine attributes, although admittedly you can't see anything below his hips. This site says: "KHRYSAOR (or Chrysaor) was a son of the Gorgon Medousa. He was usually represented as giant, but may also have been conceived of as a winged boar, just as his twin brother Pegasos was a winged horse." Alansplodge (talk) 17:15, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Criminal law in a US private bill[edit]

Private Law 95-10, signed by US President Carter in late 1977, directed the Postal Service to forgive some debts and the Treasury Department to repay money that had already been paid on the debt. It contained a provision stipulating that no more than a certain percentage of the amount repaid could be devoted to attorneys' fees, and the subsection concluded with "Any person violating the provisions of this subsection shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be fined in any sum not exceeding $1,000." Imagine that someone had violated these provisions: what would the charge have been? Is there some part of the US Code that gives a default name to crimes that aren't named by the statutes that create them? I don't remember seeing any kind of criminal law in a private bill before. 2001:18E8:2:1020:81A9:10F5:10B3:3C4A (talk) 17:04, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Possibly Contempt of Congress. Certainly it would only have bound the parties affected, who would be on notice of it.--Wehwalt (talk) 17:16, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
It has nothing to do with that. Shadowjams (talk) 02:18, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
They can just say "You are charged with violating statute X, subsection Y, of ...". Even when crimes have names, they often include a variety of offenses, so it's important to specify the exact sections under which they are charged.StuRat (talk) 18:45, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Who are these "they" that can charge you with things? I seem to remember Al Gore saying his crimes were unpunishable because there existed "no controlling legal authority" to prosecute them. μηδείς (talk) 20:05, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
What? Shadowjams (talk) 02:18, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Let me know if you're still confused. μηδείς (talk) 14:54, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
The "they" would be the executive branch, and everyone else down the line. Shadowjams (talk) 20:22, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Also, that Gore reference is so far afield of the original question I don't see how it even came to mind as relevant.Controlling legal authority in that instance was a reference to an indication it was illegal, not that they couldn't find a prosecutor. There is an issue of who prosecutes the executive itself. For that there's the Saturday Night Massacre, and the independent prosecutor, but again, none of that has any reference to this question at all. The central confusion in the OP's question is either an assumption that private laws cannot carry criminal penalties (they may), or that the lack of codification means a penalty cannot exist (it does not). Shadowjams (talk) 20:29, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Unless the law (or another law) specifies that a certain prosecutor can bring a certain charge, it is pretty much a joke, which was Gore's point. They had declared certain campaign acts illegal, but no one was empowered by law to prosecute them. StuRat's "solution' immediately below is entirely novel--we'd need a ref to a law which allows such prosecutions by the legislative branch. Bills of attainder are expressly forbidden, so I don't expect he's looking to the Constitution. μηδείς (talk) 21:15, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, whatever the specifics of the Gore case, your point is exactly why there's a constitutional debate over the legality of an independent prosecutor. Even bills of attainder would be enforced by the executive. And yes, unless Congress is given some power expressly or implicitly (e.g., contempt) they don't have enforcement power. And there's no way, absent that constitutional power, Congress could write itself in as the enforcer of a particular law (the special prosecutor statute some might argue does this, but that argument's for another day). Shadowjams (talk) 04:47, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
While contempt of Congress has recently been interpreted to mean refusing to testify before Congress, provide requested documents, or lying to it, and historically included bribing Congressmen, is there any reason they couldn't interpret it more broadly, as violating any law which they pass and choose to enforce directly ? StuRat (talk) 03:08, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, absolutely. That's a basic separation of powers issue. It's so basic I can't even offhandedly think of a case that would demonstrate it, but I suppose I can pull out an old hornbook if you really think it could be. Shadowjams (talk) 04:59, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, the special prosecutor who can go after anyone for any reason seems to be such a violation, but that was allowed. Then we had the House Un-American Activities Committee, which, while not officially a court, certainly acted like one. What exactly would be the procedure to bring such a thing up before the US Supreme Court, since it doesn't start out in the lower courts ? StuRat (talk) 05:54, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
The special prosecutor statute is fraught with constitutional issues. It's perhaps one of the largest constitutional debates about separation of powers still going today. That statute, incidentally, still appoints an executive official (see Saturday Night Massacre). The tricky part is whether or not the President can fire that official. As for Congressional hearings, which McCarthy's committee was one, those are the things that are within Congress' power. Namely, Congress has the constitutional ability to hold hearings, and do other things to make legislation. And in exercising that basic fact they can call witnesses, subpoena people, etc. But that doesn't give them general executive authority, and no matter how bad congressional committees can get, it's nothing like making and then enforcing your own rules. Shadowjams (talk) 22:22, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
Aren't we talking about judicial authority, versus executive authority, if they are to try people directly for violating their laws ? (The issue of arresting people is more of an executive function, but they could either arrest them with the 1700 member United States Capitol Police force, or try them in abstentia.) StuRat (talk) 06:18, 7 October 2012 (UTC)
When cardiac surgeons work on a patient who's mysteriously not there, they're operating in abstentia.  :) -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 19:14, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Would those be ab(dominal) stents ? StuRat (talk) 22:39, 8 October 2012 (UTC)
Well, if Congress passes a law and doesn't pass the responsibility for trials onto anyone else, then it would be up to them to press charges. It's not very practical, but is possible. They generally only preside over impeachment trials. StuRat (talk) 21:23, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
If you look at most indictments they list the statute itself, or actually more technically they list the code. There's no necessity to have a law in the code. Specifically see U.S. Code#Uncodified statutes. Private laws are not codified, but they still have the same force of law. There's no need to talk about Contempt of Congress (which is quite different) or worry about who would prosecute (the U.S. Justice Department). Shadowjams (talk) 02:18, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

Line of Descent from David[edit]

There were two monarchies in history that claimed descent from King David, Ethiopia and Georgia. Do any of these monarchies have a direct genealogical line of descent in their tradition from David down to the present? David IV of Georgia is called the 78th descendant of King David so there must be some line to go by.--The Emperor's New Spy (talk) 18:05, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

The Wikipedia articles Origin of the Bagratid dynasties and History of Armenia (Movses Khorenatsi) has some information; apparently Moses Khorenatsi has geneologies for the Bagaratid (Georgian and Armenian Royal Dynasties) going back to Adam, so that may give you some place to look for that. The Wikipedia article on the Bagrationi dynasty of Georgia also cites Sumbat Davitis-Dze and others as being a source for that genealogy. Some leads to follow. The article Solomonic dynasty has information on the Ethiopian dynasty, but it is sadly lacking in background and references. --Jayron32 18:25, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
When we're talking about lines of descent from Adam, most scientific scholars dismiss at least parts of those as fiction. So, the question comes up as to whether any genealogies from David to now are reliable. StuRat (talk) 18:56, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Probably not any more so. Claiming "decent from David" isn't much more reliable than how many Germanic and Norse dynasties claimed decent from Odin, with the exception that David was probably an historical figure. Genealogies of David after the Babylonian Captivity are covered at Exilarch and Davidic line, the last article contains the salient line "In general, the validity of such claims — as that of most claims to royal descent after a considerable passage of time — is difficult to check."--Jayron32 19:09, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I understand the original question to be "is there a list of descendents in order", i.e. do these families have an entry for someone in each generation, or do they just have a legend saying "King ___ who founded this dynasty was the xxth descendent of Azariah son of Amaziah, but we don't know the names of everyone in between"? If I understand it correctly, the original question really isn't asking about the historicity of these accounts. (talk) 20:54, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Yes, this isn't a question about the historic truth behind the Davidic line. It is asking if there is a complete line in cultural reckoning?--The Emperor's New Spy (talk) 20:56, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
At Wikipedia no, but above I gave what Wikipedia articles indicate to be sources that likely do, themselves, have such a list. You would probably start looking at those original historic sources, or translations thereof, for such information. --Jayron32 21:27, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Here's a third monarchy that claimed descent from King David. --Dweller (talk) 21:50, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Jayron32 wrote - "Claiming "decent from David" isn't much more reliable than how many Germanic and Norse dynasties claimed decent from Odin, with the exception that David was probably an historical figure." I can understand where Jayron32 is coming from. However, interestingly enough, I actually have a friend whose family throughout the generations kept a family tree with their descendants, and it goes all the way to David. Of course, it could be fabricated, but I don't think that's likely. A lot of families keep family trees throughout the generations, and his family is one of them. It's pretty interesting. Anyway, I don't know much about the actual question, but if you're wondering about the alleged descent from David as written in the Bible (and hence the alleged descent from Adam, as that can be traced in Genesis), then Books of Chronicles gives that whole thing. Of course, whether you want to believe it or not is up to you - I'm just offering it if you want to see it from a Biblical standpoint. Hope it helps. --Jethro B 00:35, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

I think it is highly likely that it is, at least in part, fabricated or, at least, contains innocent mistakes. You're talking about over a 100 generations spanning thousands of years. Do you really think it's going to be flawless? Do you think nobody had an affair and pretended the resulting child was their husband's? Or that there were no gaps when nobody was filling it in and then it got filled in afterwards with someone's best guesses? That they were descended from David isn't really in doubt - when you're talking about someone that long ago, either they have no living descendents or almost everyone (at least everyone with European/Middle-Eastern descent) is their descendant (see identical ancestors point). --Tango (talk) 11:43, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
This chart shows the direct line of descent from Adam to HM Queen Elizabeth II via King David and Kenneth MacAlpin. Another branch connects Abraham to George Washington. This pedigree works through the royal houses of Ireland and Scotland culminating in the House of Stuart, from whom the House of Windsor is descended (a little indirectly). This must be a different route than that taken by the pedigree preserved at Hatfield House that connects Adam to Queen Elizabeth I of England,[1] from whom the Windsors are also descended related (apparently they're only descended from Henry VII in the Tudor line). Alansplodge (talk) 16:19, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I couldn't find a text copy of the Hatfield pedigree online, but this modern chart connects both Alfred the Great and William the Conqueror to King David via Joseph of Arimathea. Apparently the Hatfield chart includes King Arthur, and I think Elizabeth would have wanted to have her line to include the Saxon kings of England. If anyone can find it, I would be very grateful. Alansplodge (talk) 16:59, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
  • I don't think any Wikipedia editor would be able to answer this type of questions any time soon. The relevant article is Descent from antiquity, but it was recently vandalized and a major authority on the subject was driven from Wikipedia by a rabid admin. --Ghirla-трёп- 05:28, 6 October 2012 (UTC)
    • "Vandalised" would be a strange way of putting it. That article, and other related articles, were full of speculative fluff. Through history, millions of people have had reasons to claim descent from Great Ancient People; taking all these claims at face value is silly. bobrayner (talk) 20:35, 8 October 2012 (UTC)

Representation in the Dutch Senate and House of Representatives?[edit]

Do the special municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba get any official representation in the Dutch Senate or House of Representatives? (Or anywhere else in the government of the Netherlands, for that matter?) --CGPGrey (talk) 18:51, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

I don't believe so; looking around the best information I can find is at Caribbean Netherlands which indicates that the "National Office for the Caribbean Netherlands" provides all liaison between the islands and the National Government; but I can't find any information to indicate direct representation in the States-General of the Netherlands. However, the States-General article lists a connection to the template "National Legislative Bodies of the Americas" indicating some connection there. Of course, the States-General doesn't appear to be elected from single member districts, rather via party list proportional representation, so I don't know that any elected representative has a specific single constituency they represent. --Jayron32 19:06, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
That is correct, members of the States-General do not represent any region or district any more than any other. They each represent all people that voted for their party, wherever they may live. However, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba don't have enough voters to significantly influence the outcome of the elections. Together they have about 13000 people that can vote, while the mainland has about 12.7 million, which is about 0.1%, i.e. 0.15 out of 150 seats in the Dutch House of Representatives. The Dutch senate is chosen indirectly, i.e. they are elected by the (directly elected) representatives of the 12 provinces and by the respective Island Councils of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. The weight of the votes is proportional to the number of inhabitants they represent. - Lindert (talk) 19:32, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

UN conventions and Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands[edit]

If Denmark signs and ratifies United Nations conventions do they automatically include Greenland and the Faroes or do these two "autonomous countries under the Danish Crown" have the responsibility/competence to sign separately? The specific instance I'm concerned with is the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities but answering the general principle would be useful too. Roger (talk) 19:16, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

There are examples when conventions do not effect Faroe or Greenland when they are for Denmark (the EU treaties are examples), but I have the feeling that in the case of Denmark the situation is: if the UN don't mention it, its Faroe, Greenland and Denmark. I checked the Dutch treaty database (not much of an authority in this case, but in my experience quite reliable); and they include Faroe and Greenland (see here)... L.tak (talk) 19:35, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
And the authoritive source! NOrmally (so: unless mentioned otherwise), they do include Faroe and Greenland. See the historical information section of the UN Treaty base. L.tak (talk) 19:41, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
As to the general principle, neither Greenland nor the Faroes appears in the list of Member states of the United Nations, nor on the list of sovereign states. Also, there is this document submitted by Denmark on behalf of Denmark and Greenland [VERY LARGE PDF] detailing Danish actions under the Convention on the Law of the Sea relating to Greenland. So barring very special circumstances, the details of which would fall under WP:CRYSTAL, the Danish signature is the one that commits Greenland and the Faroes to participation. ☯.ZenSwashbuckler.☠ 19:41, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I am a little confused. What does the Dutch treaty database have to do with Denmark? μηδείς (talk) 20:03, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Let's mark call it resolved; we have the -very large pdf- of the Danish government and the short summary of the of UN Treaty series. (The Dutch treaty data base says the same. That is; as I said, not an authoritive source; but they simply record every treaty of interest to the Netherlands and they are good at it; that's why I sometimes go there in case of doubt; only later I found the more authoritive UN-source, that;s clearly a better one...). Rgds! L.tak (talk) 21:05, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Interesting! Kind of like NOAA being responsible for the Boxing Day tsunami. μηδείς (talk) 21:52, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Thanks everyone. Roger (talk) 22:55, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Bruce Coville Story[edit]

For the class that I'm teaching I want to have the students read a short story by Bruce Coville about people that live in a giants teeth but I can't find it anywhere on the internet or libary. Does anyone know what the story is called and where I can buy a copy of it? Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:20, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Search "giant's teeth bruce coville" at amazon. μηδείς (talk) 20:01, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Last Will and Testament[edit]

What percentage of the USA population dies intestate? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:00, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Here and here and here are some starts. I found these using Google and Google scholar using the phrase "Americans die intestate". Its a start for you. --Jayron32 20:06, 2 October 2012 (UTC)


Why do living organisms die? Is it possible for living organisms to live forever? I do recall there was a tree that lived for hundreds of years before it died. If a living organism has or is given an infinite amount of nutrients, then can it live forever? I know it sounds like science fiction, but can one defeat death if one were to remove all natural and unnatural causes of death? Or is death really inevitable and that there will always be some sort of unknown cause of death? Cell can't function anymore? Wear-and-tear? How do philosophers justify or explain death? (talk) 20:16, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Living organisms die because they get eaten, injured, frozen, attacked by their own species, etc. They also run out of food or water, get diseases, suffer organ failures, etc. For organisms that don't have biological immortality, senescence kills cells because the mechanism for DNA replication fails to copy a short segment every time, and when this process starts cutting off useful DNA instead of just telomeres, cellular mechanisms start failing. The primary benefit of this seems to be in preventing cancer, and it almost always works; cancer cells can only proliferate because some mutation disables the mechanism and makes themselves immortal. Nothing can live forever because the stars will eventually die due to the second law of thermodynamics, and the universe will suffer a heat death (which is actually the coldest possible death). Finally, whatever philosophers think about death is utter bullshit unless they have empirical evidence for their claims, at which point they'd be scientists. -- (talk) 20:50, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Oh. I'll take it as "There is no purpose in life" or "The meaning of life is to create a harmonious cycle of life or to behave naturally. Whatever that is supposed to mean is up to the individual." (talk) 21:08, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
I've unreddened and emblued your link (biological immorality), but its smirk-worthiness was lost in the process, damn it. Swings and roundabouts. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 20:59, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
"Biological immorality" was pretty funny, but I'd rather 140.180 pay more attention to fixing his last sentence, which is wholly unproductive. While we don't have a "philosophy of death" article as such, death and culture is a reasonable starting point. Mortality salience and existential psychology may also be of interest. Naturally, no single answer can be given to "what do philosophers think of death?"; there are innumerably many philosophical approaches. — Lomn 21:03, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Naturally, death scares the hell out of me! (talk) 21:11, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Note that many organisms could be "designed" to live much longer than they do, but short life spans are favored by evolution, as it allows for more generations, and hence more variation in a species, which permits it to adapt more quickly and effectively to it's constantly changing environment. Some organisms, like certain salmon, are programmed to die right after they breed. StuRat (talk) 21:16, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
That makes me feel better. Well, at least life has a purpose: to reproduce and help the population survive. Death, I suppose, is for a good cause. (talk) 21:20, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
That's an odd perspective on the whole thing. You're dead FAR longer than you'll ever be alive. Life is a blink of the eye, a drop in the ocean. That's not to say it's irrelevant or trivial or unimportant, though. The question is not whether death has a good cause, but whether life can be made meaningful and fulfilling. I can guarantee that death will come to you; but I cannot guarantee you'll have a meaningful and fulfilling life in the meantime. That's up to you. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 21:53, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
Although it's sad that good people have to die, it's balanced by the fact that bad people have to die also. If no one died, there would be no need to reproduce, nor any need to pass the torch to a new generation, as the old people would be around forever. Ugh. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 02:01, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
We inevitably die because we have sex. The two are even more closely linked than most people suppose.
Bacteria reproduce asexually by splitting. Each resulting bacterium has just as good a claim to be the original as the other one does, and every bacterium can be said to be as old as its species. With sex, though, that's all out the door. Two parents contribute their genes to make a new individual. Since the parents do not live on as their own descendants, the way bacteria do, they must inevitably die.
And the sad part is, that as a member of a sexually reproducing species you are doomed to die, whether or not you personally have sex. John M Baker (talk) 22:31, 2 October 2012 (UTC)
It strikes me that the reason that we die (insofar as it is a ``reason) is that there's no evolutionary pressure not to do so. Put the other way around, if there were good evolutionary reasons not to die, then we wouldn't. Evolution favors species that live until their reproductive cycle is complete, but otherwise, there's no pressure to live beyond that. (Infer what you like about ``meaning of life). (talk) 16:19, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Surely there is a selection pressure to remain fertile for longer, though? There is such a thing as biological immortality: some people think that lobsters could live indefinitely (assuming no diseases or predators), and might even become more fertile as they age. (talk) 16:56, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
Apparently staying fertile all your life is not in the biological interest of all species, as humans, especially women, don't. StuRat (talk) 20:33, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
There is a selection pressure to remain alive and infertile for longer in humans. See grandmother hypothesis. By promoting the survival of their grandchildren, grandparents promote the propagation of their own genes, even though they do not reproduce themselves. --NorwegianBlue talk 21:46, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
They don't all die. Some are immortal. KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 11:29, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
That link doesn't work for me. StuRat (talk) 16:23, 4 October 2012 (UTC)

Kant and Nietzsche's views[edit]

I cannot understand Nietzsche and Kant. It may be because of differences in manners of speaking arising through time. What were there views regarding what is right and what is wrong? Nietzsche is more interesting; of all the things I've read about him it just seems like he was a man who just put ideas and thoughts out in the open. Dd he actually believe any of the stuff he wrote? --Melab±1 23:38, 2 October 2012 (UTC)

Both Nietzsche and Kant are quite difficult to read in the original, and they are written not only in a different style, but you're reading them in translation and in a world that isn't necessarily asking the same questions they were asking at the time. There isn't a way to summarize Nietzsche and Kant's views on "right and wrong" (or even "truth and falseness"!) in a short paragraph that wouldn't do great injustice to the nuance of their thinking. If you are looking for a nice way to dive into their thinking — or at least give you enough understanding of what their big questions are — I've found the A Very Short Introduction series to generally be pretty good. They have Kant and Nietzsche editions. --Mr.98 (talk) 01:20, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I strongly recommend Walter Kaufmann's translation of The Antichrist It is not at all hard to follow if you have the wider grounding that is assumed, like a familiarity with Judaism, Christianity, Ancient Rome, and Buddhism. Nietzsches' basic viewpoint is that moral systems are tools meant to achieve ends: validation of power and success (master morality) or validation of guilt and suffering (slave morality). You can read this work in two sittings, it is well worth the effort. μηδείς (talk) 01:37, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
You may read Schopenhauer, who was the cerebral middleman between Kant and Nietzsche. The latter was strongly under his influence. --Omidinist (talk) 12:16, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
David Hume could out-consume Schopenhauer and Hegel. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 05:01, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
Can you suggest a specific work of Schopenhauer's to read in this light? μηδείς (talk) 22:39, 3 October 2012 (UTC)
I definitely suggest his main work, The World as Will and Representation. It takes time to read, but it's worth reading. The most comprehensive exposition of his philosophy in English is Bryan Magee's The Philosophy of Schopenhauer. --Omidinist (talk) 05:32, 4 October 2012 (UTC)
In Kant's first critique he develops the critical method including a form of argument he calls transcendental dialectic. In the second critique he then applies this method and argument within the topic of morals. Here's a very quick account of this: Kant sees a tension between rationalists (like Leibniz) and sentimentalists (like Hume). They both recognize elements of the nature of morality, but because they misunderstand the scope and character of these elements they end up in an irreconcilable paradox. Kant gives a third way. First ask: How can some course of action be imperative? Well, if something else is already imperative, then an action could easily be seen to be imperative. For example, say it's imperative that you be at home at dinner time and you are not currently at home, then it would be imperative that you have yourself somehow conveyed to home by dinner time. Because the one action is necessary to fulfill the given imperative, then that one action is imperative. Kant calls this a hypothetical imperative, in the sense of "hypothesis" as meaning suppostion: If you suppose some imperative then a hypothetical imperative can be implied. Now go to the world of morality. A moral imperative could also be hypothetical, but then it would be at least partly implied by some prior moral imperative. Since all moral imperatives which are hypothetical must rely on some prior moral imperative, then, if there are to be moral imperatives at all, there must be a moral imperative which is not hypothetical. There must a categorical moral imperative. Well, Kant asks, how could this be? He says a lot. But the answer he ends up with is something like: Since a categorical imperative can not implied by anything prior to it, it must be implied only by the internal constraints of being such an imperative at all. I.e., the Content of a categorical moral imperative consists only of what is implied by the Form of a moral imperative. This is why Kant's ethics is sometimes called Ethical or Moral Formalism. Kant then goes to look at what it is to be an imperative, i.e, discover its form. What he discovers is that imperatives are taken to be constraints on the will of human agents. And since categorical imperatives are not hypothetical but general in application, then they are not temporary or accidental contraints, but are general constraints on the human will, like necessary laws of human rationality. From this he develops what he elsewhere calls the Categorical Imperative, and which he construes in many different ways, one of them being: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law". He says this follows because if an agent took it as a maxim to act not in universalisable way, then the imperative taken to indicate this action could not be a general constraint on the will of a human agent, because not all such agents could act so, because its not universalisable! This is actually a really amazing topic. I'm so glad you asked about this, because I get excited just thinking about it. I mean, just step back a bit, here is an extremely intelligent and studied person giving us a reasoned argument as to what is right and wrong, as to how we as human beings should be acting: How could such a topic not be of high importance? And how could such a voice not command enough respect as to be worthy of being heard out? --Atethnekos (DiscussionContributions) 09:29, 8 October 2012 (UTC)