Wikipedia:Reference desk/Archives/Humanities/2013 February 4

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February 4[edit]


Hi I have a few questions regarding the Holocaust and want to thank you in advance for offering your perspectives.

  • Immediately after the outbreak of the war, wouldn't the Jewish people of Poland have had an idea that they were now in an extremely precarious position? I mean, surely they must have read newspapers about how the Jewish people in Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland were being persecuted both via the law and through physical violence. I suppose what I don't understand is why more Jews didn't make prior arrangements to try to conceal themselves, i.e. by changing their names, removing mezuzahs from their doors or by just going on the run or altering their appearance so that they appeared less obviously Jewish. It seems that the vast majority of Jewish Poles didn't really do much to avoid falling into the trap.
  • Have any economists ever tried to calculate the total value of all of the assets expropriated from the Jews; for example, property, artwork, furniture, silver, clothes etc. Also, when the Germans paid restitution to the state of Israel, was it a fixed price for each victim.

Thanks very much for for taking the time to answer my questions. The first question is of particular interest to me because to me it just beggars belief. --Andrew 00:11, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

There was nowhere they could go. Soviet Russia was occupying Eastern Poland by Sept. 17th, 1939. Czechoslovakia to the south was already in German hands. A mass exodus would have been impossible. Plus, the local Poles knew who they were. Poland was also deeply anti-semitic before and after the war. See History of the Jews in Poland and [[1]]. Going on the run would not be an option, as most had families with young children to look after. What is 'obviously Jewish' in terms of appearance? Many were blonde and blue-eyed Ashkenazis. Sure, they could change their clothes, but the local people knew them intimately. Moving to a new part of Poland where people did not know you would have been very difficult, as accommodation and work would have been difficult to find in the middle of an invasion. And changing your names would probably have been treated with suspicion by the local authorities in the middle of a war. People had ID papers. To change the name, they would have to go to the authorities to apply for a change of name in order to get new ID papers. Simply doing that would reveal you to the authorities as being Jewish, so that would be pointless. There was not much they could do, except hope the war would end soon, with their families intact. The only Jews who could get out, were ones who left before the war, except for a few with connections. As for the second question, I cannot find any information on that. KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 00:51, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Poland treated the Jews harsher than the Nazis especially with rare pogroms. The Nazis didn't start the Final Solution until 1942 although there were many pogroms before then.
Sleigh (talk) 01:29, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Many of them lived in separate towns (shtetls), had little cash, spoke a different language, went to a different religious building to worship (and register life events), socialized with a different group. None of which is conducive to escape or hiding, even if they knew enough about what was happening elsewhere and predicted correctly that their land would be the next target. Rmhermen (talk) 02:06, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Just to add a little bit that's maybe already obvious, but many Jews did escape occupied Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Germany. But getting travel documents was difficult. The full extent of the Nazi's plans with occupation was perhaps unknown to the wider public. I think it's a really good OP question. My hunch is that most people didn't recognize the full extent to which the Nazi's were willing to go, and that the burden of leaving one's home, both legally and practically, was a large impediment. Shadowjams (talk) 04:24, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Very true. I visited Dachau in 2011, and we were shown a film about what was going on there during the war. After it was liberated, the local townspeople were invited in to see what had been going on there. There were women crying and fainting at the sight of piles of unburied bodies who had been beaten to death for various 'reasons', most notably in the showers. They hadn't known what was going on. Some certainly did know something - after all, they could see the passing transport trains carrying Jewish prisoners trying to get to the little tiny windows in these cattle trucks to get some air as they were so overpacked, but not the actual extent of it all. As I said above, some Jews did manage to escape being sent to the camps, by either having connections, or the money to bribe an official who would turn a blind eye. The journey out, however, was hazardous. Do you try your luck by staying and facing something you do not know much about, or do you take your family on a hazardous journey? That was the decision facing them. Of course, there were people like Oskar Schindler, Rudolf Kastner, and Chiune Sugihara, who helped to get thousands of Jews into safety. But that was never always guaranteed. KägeTorä - (影虎) (TALK) 06:07, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
In regards to this, I also want to add that some Jews escaped death during World War II by having certain abilities and/or talents which intrigued the concentration camp officials. I think that Jan Fischer's father (knew statistics), Simon Wiesenthal, and Alice Herz-Sommer (knew how to play music) would be examples of what I'm talking about. Also, in regards to Rudolf Kastner, his role is controversial due to him (and others) refusing to release the Vrba-Wetzler report sooner, which could have allowed many Jews to know what was coming to them and thus to escape in time. Futurist110 (talk) 07:23, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

In regards to the first question, as KageTora said, it was very difficult for Jews in Western Poland to move somewhere else. As for the Jews in Eastern Poland, I heard that reliable info was hard to access in the Soviet Union, and in addition a lot of the Jews there thought that Nazi anti-Semitism was exaggerated and/or that the worst Nazi human rights abuses and anti-Semitism would soon be over. A lot of Jews in Eastern Poland (including many of my family members) thought and said that "we saw the Germans during WWI. They didn't do anything bad to us back then. Thus, we shouldn't panic too much about the Germans right now" or something along those lines. Also, as KageTora said, a lot of the Jews in Eastern Poland lived in small towns and/or in rural areas, and many of them had no family or relatives in the interior of the USSR who could help them move. Futurist110 (talk) 07:17, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Whether Stalin and the Soviet Union were actively anti-Semitic in the pre-war years is still being debated, however, the fact that "some 29 thousand Jews, or 1% of the total ethnic Jewish Soviet population, were arrested in 1937-1938" would not have made it seem a safe haven for Polish Jews, even before the Soviets invaded their country. See Stalin and antisemitism. Alansplodge (talk) 17:27, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Keep in mind that if a Jew realizes the severity of Nazi anti-Semitism, even the USSR (with all of its problems) would seem to be a better choice for him/her than Nazi Germany. My great-grandparents and three great-uncles of mine in Eastern Poland fortunately figured out what was going to happen to them if they remained where they were and thus fled to the interior of the USSR in 1941. Futurist110 (talk) 22:53, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
I've heard much in my family about relatives and family friends who lived in Eastern Galicia (then Eastern Poland, now Western Ukraine) that were faced with the same choice, and all reported that there was great confusion then (in the short "window" when it was possible to choose) about whether the Nazis or the Soviets were the lesser of the two evils. הסרפד (call me Hasirpad) (formerly R——bo) 23:44, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Jews could get out of Poland after the conquest if they had enough friends in high places. Noted Lubavich rabbi/Rebbe Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn got assistance from both the US State Department and Admiral Canaris, head of the German Abwehr, and travelled from Warsaw to Berlin to the US after the conquest of Poland. Per the article, "He (Schneersohn) gave the full support of his organizations to assist as many Jews as possible to flee the invading armies" while still in Poland, but it does not say how far they managed to flee. Edison (talk) 16:00, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Technology arms race in low-latency trading[edit]

I've read about expensive/drastic measures companies take to reduce the communication delay between their trading computers and the stock exchange's. I wonder what would happen if stock exchange rules are changed so that very low communication latency is no longer an advantage. Imagine that the transaction processing rules are changed by law so that any trading computer with a communication latency below say 100ms to the stock exchange is not significantly advantaged compared with any other trading computer whose communication latency is also below 100ms. Would that be effective in stopping the technology arms race? Would that create other problems, besides unhappy traders who previously had an advantage from low latency? Would that drive companies to stock exchanges in other jurisdictions where they can continue to play the low-latency game? -- (talk) 04:42, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

There's a specific building where the fiber optic trunks come in around 40something's street... and all you say above is true. But what rule/system would the exchanges put in place that would fix it? Shadowjams (talk) 05:07, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Something like scheme that Lgriot outlined below (batching of orders and randomizing priorities within each batch, but probably using batching intervals shorter than 5 min.) The idea is, as Lgriot pointed out, not to execute orders to in a strict first-come-first-served basis. -- (talk) 12:50, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Btw, 100 ms... laugh... you should be thinking more like 10 ms. Most fps work at < 30 ms. Shadowjams (talk) 05:09, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
100ms is just an example figure. The idea is to make the latency "requirement" very easy to meet, for all players, particularly those who can't afford to do what the big players do and those located on other continents. -- (talk) 12:50, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Actually it's now down to microseconds, not milliseconds. This is achieved by ("co-")locating the trading computers in the same physical building as the "stock exchange". (It also means the trading engines have to avoid use of virtual memory.) Considerable efforts are made to ensure that no individual trader has an unfair advantage (e.g. some exchanges talk about individual cable lengths within the building all being the same length for different co-located traders, as even a slightly longer piece of optic fiber theoretically might put someone at a disadvantage of some microseconds). Putting in a 100ms delay wouldn't achieve much, since that would still be too fast for any human decisions to come into play. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 06:15, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
All correct, Demiurge, I also have seen this (in my own professional environment). There are groups now in the US that are trying to shave off 50 nano second "reaction time" in their trading systems. To kill the arms race, you would have to stop giving execution priority to the first-arrived-order, so, maybe an auction every 5 minutes, where each order has a random priority? However, this is like F1 car racing, which helps to fund research in car reliability, security, and efficiency, the fact that there is a demand somewhere means that there is research and development in that area, and we may all benefit with faster network technology in the not-so-farway future. --Lgriot (talk) 10:45, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
As far as I can see, there is not much regulatory enthusiasm for bringing an end to the latency arms race. There is considerable regulatory enthusiasm, by contrast, for making problems like these less likely; large numbers of trades being executed at the wrong prices, exchanges being unexpectedly unavailable, or a company losing half a billion dollars in one hour due to that company running a rogue algorithm. (The Flash Crash attracted a great deal of attention too.)
I can imagine that deliberately running transactions in a random order, rather than based on the time of their arrival, would probably meet a lot of resistance, too. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 13:24, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

See also High Frequency Trading: Time is Money, about microwave being used instead of optical fiber in some places, due to being (the piece says) milliseconds faster. --Demiurge1000 (talk) 22:29, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

What would happen if stock price information is released only after an artificial delay?[edit]

What would happen if stock price information is withheld from everybody, including parties to transactions, until a predetermined amount of time has elapsed? How would that affect algorithmic trading, particularly high-frequency trading? What can we expect to happen if the delay is, say, 2 seconds? One minute? Five minutes? Would it make a significant difference if price information is updated only at predetermined points in time, say every N seconds, as opposed to continuously being released after an N-second delay? -- (talk) 05:46, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

At the moment it wouldn't work, because you choose the price that you set on your order based on the price that is available at the exchange. You wouldn't blindely send a buy order for IBM at $195 if the current price is $203, right? That would be stupid, no one would take your order, so you would never end up owning any shares. And then when the price is released, minutes later, you know it is 203, so you send another order at $203, but by the time you have sent it, the price has gone up to 205, so you still end up not getting any shares at all. Trading blind (I mean without knowing what is the best price on the market) is bound to end up in very very frustrated investors. Can you clarify what you are thinking about? --Lgriot (talk) 11:12, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't really do much trading, but as far as I understand it, you order "best price" and put a limit on it. So if a share is trading at US$203, you order 10 of it for whatever price you can get, but not above (say) US$ 210. The broker then used to go to the trading floor and call for 10 shares - if he gets an offer below US$210, he would buy them, if not, you end up empty. Nowadays it's all computers, but the principle is the same. --Stephan Schulz (talk) 19:56, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Only non-advanced traders would trade at best price (or specific strategies). Others, who try to achieve a really good price for themselves, would set a limit on their order. This also means they do not allow anyone to know what they would really be ready to pay (this is a poke game, you can't give away your ultimate price). Best price trading is like saying you don't really care how well you are doing, + you always pay the spread --Lgriot (talk) 09:15, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Art/Chinese Brush Painting[edit]

How is alum used in mixing watercolor paint and preparing paper or silk for painting on. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:47, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

You may find this source very helpful. (talk) 15:46, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Mizrahi and Sephardi Jew denser city[edit]

Tiberias is the only city that has dense Mizrahi and Sephardi Jew population. Is there any other cities in Israel that has dense population of Mizrahi and Sephardi Jews? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:05, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

Where did you get your statistics from? Futurist110 (talk) 08:41, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
Note - as has been mentioned on this Ref Desk in the recent past - that the noun "Jew" used as an [attributive] adjective is offensive; the correct word in English to modify population is Jewish. The Israel Central Bureau of Statistics website in English offers a "Social Survey Table Generator" that creates reports by sorting two topics and two variables you select from menus. Among the demographic categories are "country of origin" and "year of immigration." Note that this is fairly useless to distinguish Sephardic Jews as their origins go back 500 years to the expulsion from Spain to countries where their descendants may not have remained for five centuries. It's likely that among Jews emigrating from Balkan countries to Israel are a higher proportion of Sepharadim than Ashkenazim or Mizrachim; speakers of Ladino would be the best indicator ("language" is a sort option). However, none of this will help when looking at third-generation native-born Israelis (of whom there are many), as "country of origin" only goes back one generation. "Ethnicity" is not a sort variable; did you think it would be? However, if you find other valid sources of comprehensive data about the demographics of Israel, it would enrich Wikipedia if you would add this to a suitable mainspace page. -- Deborahjay (talk) 13:12, 8 February 2013 (UTC)
I think the OP is referring to the article Tiberias, in the section Modern Israel, it mentions that the Jewish who came to the city where mostly from Arab world. --Donmust90 (talk) 15:43, 8 February 2013 (UTC)Donmust90

Lenten season[edit]

Can an unbaptized individual observe Lent? (talk) 21:09, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

They can on their own, certainly. Do you mean to ask if the Catholic Church or some other organization includes them in Lenten activities ? StuRat (talk) 21:15, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes. (talk) 21:28, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Anybody can observe anything they wish. No one is going to stop you from following any specific set of actions relating to a religious observance like Lent. For example, if observing the various "Lenten fasts" interests you, feel free. It isn't like there's a Catholic Police Force that's going to storm your house and force you to eat meat on Friday. --Jayron32 21:26, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Beware if the Pontifical Swiss Guard buys black helicopters. StuRat (talk) 21:55, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
rumour has it, the Pope himself has a helicopter pilot's licence ;) ---- nonsense ferret 22:13, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
So, does the Catholic Church or some other organization includes such people in Lenten activities? (talk) 22:03, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
which activities? anyone is allowed to fast, observe sacrifices, attend church, and pray just as much as they want. What is not permitted of a non-bapitised person would be to receive the sacraments of the eucharist or reconciliation which are generally part of the Lenten activities for members of the Catholic Church ---- nonsense ferret 22:12, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
What we have is in article Catechumen... AnonMoos (talk) 22:28, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
In many areas there are charity fund-raising events of the "eat soup for lunch and donate money" type, that anyone is welcome to participate in. Searching Catholic websites should show some of them. Anglicans/Episcopalians, Methodists, and I'm sure many others organise them. Or just give up smoking or chocolate, tidy the house, keep your temper... It's a good season to question what you really do and don't need in your life. Itsmejudith (talk) 22:32, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
If the question is about taking part in an Ash Wednesday service, marking the first day of Lent, then an unBaptised person is indeed free to receive the ash cross on their forehead during such a service in a Catholic church. Such a person should take care not to go up for Communion later in the service, since that would be viewed as spiritually dangerous (and disrespectful) from a Catholic point of view. But anyone is free to be ashed. (talk) 22:55, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Some of us feel free to be half-ashed. Deor (talk) 23:59, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
I am not Catholic, but in the churches I've been in, you couldn't take communion unless you were a member of that specific congregation. So this restriction is not just a Catholic thing. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:26, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
We Anglicans are a little more laid back (at least in England) and are happy for anyone who takes Holy Communion at their own church to join in. A visiting Italian student had been with us several months before he realised that we weren't Roman Catholics. But if you hadn't been Baptized it wouldn't be appropriate. Alansplodge (talk) 01:52, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Bugs, that sounds downright un-Catholic. A Roman Catholic has a right to take Communion in any Roman Catholic church in the world. They don't ask for a membership card at the door. Nricardo (talk) 02:40, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
I've never heard of any Catholic church being as exclusionary as Baseball Bugs describes. There are no questions asked. If you front up for Communion, you get it, and if it's the case that you shouldn't have been there, that's a matter between you and your god. The only case I've ever heard of anyone being refused Communion is the Rainbow Sash Movement. I'm sure there's canon law about refusal of communion, but it seems to be very rarely invoked. -- Jack of Oz [Talk] 02:40, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
There was the somewhat notable example where the late Cardinal Basil Hume was reported to have written to the former Prime Minister Tony Blair, then an anglican (reportedly), to ask him not to present himself for communion in any Catholic Church in the United Kingdom as had become his habit when attending mass with his family. I understand he later converted ---- nonsense ferret 04:00, 5 February 2013 (UTC) See for example ---- nonsense ferret 04:02, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
By congregation does Bugs mean denomination or local parish church? No Catholic priest is going to ask you to drop your pants and present your tattoo. But bishops do write letters admonishing priests not to administer the sacraments to notorious apostates like remarried divorcees and politicians who advocate abortion. μηδείς (talk) 04:44, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Huh? The way you put it, you make it sound like the Catholic church is engaged in politics and private affairs. Sneazy (talk) 05:57, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
See closed Communion, which should obviate the need for further discussion of Communion in this thread. (talk) 07:37, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
May I add an external link (as I had already gone to the trouble of looking it up); "Members of churches with whom we are not yet fully united are therefore not ordinarily invited to participate in Holy Communion." United States Conference of Catholic Bishops - Committee on Divine Worship. Alansplodge (talk) 13:56, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Well-stated. There are no communion police. It's just on the honor system. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 14:45, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

In addition to the article closed communion, we also have open communion, which says "Most Protestant Christian churches practice open communion.", and which also says "Closed communion may refer to either a particular denomination or an individual congregation serving Communion only to its own members." Duoduoduo (talk) 15:17, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

Is the metal in a U.S. penny worth more than $0.01?[edit]

Isn't metal pretty valuable? But then again if the metal in a penny were worth, say, 2 or 3 cents, everyone would be taking huge quantities of pennies to the scrap metal company to double or triple their money.. so it must not be the case, right?-- (talk) 22:34, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

There have been several times in the past when the metal in U.S. coins was worth more than their face value. Not sure if it's true of the penny right now, but it's illegal in the U.S. to melt down current U.S. coins. It's certainly true that the government's expenses in salaries and materials to mint and distribute pennies is more than 1¢ (and has been more than 1¢ for a number of years). AnonMoos (talk) 22:41, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
This site will be of interest to you. It is true that it is illegal to do so. The Mint is presently exploring alternative materials, but the last report just asked for more time to look at the issue.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:43, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
AnonMoos, your second sentence is not true. Please cite references here on the Reference Desk; it reduces errors in answers like yours. It's only illegal, as of 2006, to melt down pennies and nickels, not "current U.S. coins". During the silver boom of the late 1970s (here's a story about the Hunt Brothers trying to corner the silver market) it was common to melt down U.S. half-dollars, quarters, and dimes minted in 1964 and before; this was not illegal. Tarcil (talk) 17:54, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Still do, actually. Given high silver prices, many coins are worth more as metal.--Wehwalt (talk) 19:55, 5 February 2013 (UTC)

There is talk about doing away with the penny because of the cost, but the next higher coin is the nickle, and it costs considerably more to make a nickle than it does to make five pennies. 22:45, 4 February 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by RNealK (talkcontribs)

By the way, Canada is starting to phase out pennies now... AnonMoos (talk) 23:49, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

If some were to ignore the laws about defacing currency would it not, then, be very profitable to melt down pennies and nickels in an underground/illegal setting? I'm surprised no one is doing this--Are there reports of people doing this? Or are the labor/equipment costs too high. It doesn't seem like you would need much except some metalworking equipment and hot fire and someone to sell the metal to who, presumably, wouldnt know where it came from. -- (talk) 23:42, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

You'd need to do it on a massive scale to make it profitable. But you can't just go to a bank with a million dollars and ask for 100 million pennies. Also, if it wasn't already illegal, they would soon make it so, when they figured out what you were doing. StuRat (talk) 23:54, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
Before the US Mint banned the practice in 2006, there were several companies that considered melting down coins for their metal value (hence the ban). (talk) 00:03, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Does this mean those machines that squash a penny and imprint some logo on it are now illegal ? StuRat (talk) 16:13, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
I wondered this too, as I've seen such a machine in the UK - I think to damage currency is illegal here, and I suppose that the criminal is the one who puts the coin in the machine rather than the one who makes or provides the machine - I guess. ---- nonsense ferret 16:55, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
As per WHAAOE, this article should answer your questions.Dncsky (talk) 18:50, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
From that article, it appears that you have to get permission from the Mint. Apparently they don't consider this old custom to be much of a big deal. You're paying a buck or so for something that comes out that used to be a one-cent piece but can't be used that way anymore. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 04:31, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
My father was warned to stop defacing the coin of the realm a long time ago after he'd used about ten thousand for another purpose where they were cheaper and better than the alternative. Dmcq (talk) 11:03, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
What other purpose ? StuRat (talk) 16:14, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
See [2] and make a guess. Dmcq (talk) 17:53, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Drilling holes in them to use them on necklaces ? StuRat (talk) 04:36, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
They already had holes, and as washers in a construction project. They had to be sorted as the composition varied over the years and you have to get the right metal for a job, but they were better made and much much cheaper than the imported alternative. Dmcq (talk) 07:08, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
I see. StuRat (talk) 17:09, 6 February 2013 (UTC)
  • It may not be common in the US, but it's a major problem in eastern India; see, for example, this report. The problem is sufficiently bad that small change in Kolkata can be exchanged for notes at about 10% over par.
This is reported here as affecting small-denomination rupee coins - one-rupee coins are in steel. India nominally has smaller coins, but these have more or less ceased to exist. The 25 paise was withdrawn in 2011 (as too small-denomination to be worth anything) when a law was passed explicitly targeting coin-melting. There is still a 50 paise coin but I believe this is pretty rare, and presumably suffers even worse from the melting problem - it's 80% the weight of a one-rupee coin, also in steel. Andrew Gray (talk) 18:02, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Relationships being redefined in France[edit]

Meaning parents, fathers, husbands, wives, etc. Where can i find details? Kittybrewster 23:19, 4 February 2013 (UTC)

You need to give us more. In what way do you think they are being redifined, and where did you hear this ? StuRat (talk) 23:43, 4 February 2013 (UTC)
The French parliament recently voted to allow gay marriage - the OP is undoubtedly referring to that. There is a BBC News article on it here. We, of course, have our own article on the subject as well: Same-sex marriage in France. --Tango (talk) 01:56, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
I think I was watching a politician on NewsNight when she made the statement. Kittybrewster 11:40, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
I don't get it. Why does allowing same sex marriages redefine relationships? And does this only apply in France? They have same sex marriage in Canada and I haven't noticed any change in peoples relationships. CambridgeBayWeather (talk) 13:35, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
It's not unique to France of course, but according to my dictionary, 'husband' means "a married man considered in relation to his wife", and 'marriage' is defined as "the formal union of a man and a woman, typically as recognized by law, by which they become husband and wife". These definitions must of course change if homosexual marriages are legalized. Likewise, one's 'parents' traditionally includes both a father and a mother, and this too is changed with allowing gay adoption (a necessary result of redefining marriage). - Lindert (talk) 14:16, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
Indeed, the point being that France is redefining or has redefined the words. Do that and the problems vanish. Kittybrewster 15:18, 5 February 2013 (UTC)
So it's nothing really to do with redefining relationships but just the way the meaning of words change over time. CambridgeBayWeather (talk) 00:24, 6 February 2013 (UTC)