Wikipedia:Reference desk/Humanities/Archive

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Humanities desk
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Welcome to the Wikipedia Humanities Reference Desk Archives
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February 21[edit]

Question about the questions on the reference desk [if that makes sense][edit]

Question moved to the Reference desk talk page --The Dark Side 01:24, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Ancient Chinese Measuring Instrument[edit]

All I could find are the units of measurement, rather then proof of the existence of the instruments. Does anyone know any instruments used over 1000 years ago by the Chinese? --The Dark Side 01:42, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

I found out that rulers existed during the Shang Dynasty (see here). Now what I need is a few web links to more formal sites (universities, museums, etc.). Not that Wikipedia isn't any good, but I need a few more sources for my research. --The Dark Side 01:58, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
It's probably in Joseph Needham somewhere... AnonMoos 03:12, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

"Asian" vs. "Asiatic" Russia?[edit]

I posted this query – about geography rather than language per se – on the Discussion page for European Russia. I need to know the accepted English-language term for the area of Russia that lies in the east and isn't considered "European". A Google search finds extensive usage of both "Asian Russia" and "Asiatic Russia" though I fail to understand the basis for distinction. -- Thanks, Deborahjay 10:13, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't honestly know if there is a generally accepted term for the Asian part of Russia, Deborahjay, though I believe 'Asiatic' is probably in wider use than 'Asian', a contention which would seem to be confirmed by a google search. If we think of this question in terms of political and geographical history then Asiatic Russia would seem to be the more correct usage, if for no other reason than that Russia was essentially a European power that expanded eastwards. Asian Russia seems to imply something quite different. I can offer no better explanation than that. Clio the Muse 12:14, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Asian russia is wrong - unless it's a sociological term applied to the russia experienced by asians (by analogy to 'black britain'). I've never heard that term used.

Asiatic russia is one term that is used, some people use the term 'siberia' to refer to all non european russia. See siberia - picture in red - for the use of the term in it's broadest sense. 13:58, 21 February 2007 (UTC) I don't recommend using the term siberia. In historical terms non-european russia (the empire) includes siberia and central asia. 14:04, 21 February 2007 (UTC) I tend to agree with the original above poster - in 'technical' documents asiatic is the term used nowadays. 14:22, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

I've also seen "trans-Uralian" meaning "on the far side of the Ural mountains" but a) that's a tad Eurocentric and b) I have no worthwhile supporting documentation. Khaighle 22:19, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Terrorist and Disruptive Activies Act 1985[edit]

If TADA lapsed in 1995, what happened to all the cases filed under the Act? Did the Indian Government allot a time period within which all cases were to be solved? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Illuminati87 (talkcontribs) 10:32, 21 February 2007 (UTC).


Lots of interest in this item in the press recently. Can anyone tell me - is the Niqab an item of political, cultural, religious or ornamenemtal clothing? I'm sure I have read that it is not a religious obligation.


See the Wikipedia article Niqāb. Wareh 15:18, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Cathedrale de Chartres[edit]

Over the statues of the Kings, Queens and Saints there are little figures. Who are these figures and what are their significance to this building that has captured the hearts of many. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 16:03, 21 February 2007 (UTC).

I believe the way you put it, it could refer to any number of collections of little figures. The pages linked under "Chartres" here are fairly helpful in providing identifications. Once you learn the architectural terms, the lists here explain a lot. Brief overview here. Wareh 18:54, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

WW II British counter-intelligence[edit]

Why were the British so successful in uncovering German spy rings? Was James Bond's father on the job? Did Sherlock Holmes come out of retirement? Clarityfiend 19:26, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

If you count his James Bond's writer as his "father", than yes. See Ian Fleming. Rmhermen 20:03, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

The reality, Clarityfiend, is, as always, far more prosaic: less James Bond and much more Alan Turing: a victory, in essence, of brains over muscles, of mathematics over martinis! There was also a degree of luck in acquiring early possession of an Enigma machine. On the more specific issue you have raised I think it important to understand that Britain in the 1940s was still a relatively homogenous society, with a high degree of patriotism and very little in the way of treasonable opposition to the national cause: it was practically impossible, in other words, for Nazi agents to build up effective spy rings, free of detection. On this particular dimension I would suggest that you look over The Double Cross System by J. C. Masterman, published in 1972. Masterman, among other things, shows how British Intelligence sucessfully made use of every enemy agent to feed misinformation to the Germans. You may also be interested in Bodyguard of Lies, by A. C. Brown, which again highlights the importance of deception and misinformation. Clio the Muse 20:17, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Cracking the Enigma codes was much much much more complicated than just getting hold of an enigma machine. In part it was due to an early computer Colossus (sp?) which was kept secret until the mid-1970s. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:20, 21 February 2007 (UTC).
See Cryptanalysis of the Enigma and Colossus computer.
Colossus had nothing to do with Enigma; it was for breaking the next generation of German ciphers. The principal Enigma-breaking machine was called a bombe. And to the best of my recollection none of this had much to do with catching German agents in Britain, as Enigma machines were only used for military communications. Being caught with an Enigma would immediately prove a spy's identity, after all.
I think Clio has given a good answer, and I second the recommendation for Masterman's book.
--Anonymous, February 22, 2007, 05:10 (UTC).

British Intelligence has a proud history extending back to Elizabeth I thanks to Sir Francis Walsingham. European nations, like France, were slow to allow their government/crown equivalent service, mainly because it was not in the interest of the wealthy intrigue merchants to surrender their collective hands cf Cardinal Richelieu. Winston Churchill met one of his body guards after they had trained in counter intelligence resisting German influence in WW1. DDB 21:47, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

February 22[edit]

Shi'a Muslims in Bangladesh[edit]

When I read the article about the Hoseini Dalon, I notice that it was a Shia shrine and they celebrate Ashurah there. Is this true that Bangladesh has its own Shi'a Muslims or they are just immigrants from another country? This question is for on Bangladeshis muslims. Thank you. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:10, 22 February 2007 (UTC).

According to the page on the Demographics of Bangladesh some 98% of the population are Bengali, with the remainder composed mostly of Biharis-who settled there at the time of the 1947 Partition-, as well as some tribal groups. Over 88% of the population are Muslim, mostly Sunni. The Shia make up 5% of the Muslim population, including some Bengali and most of the Bihari. The relative size of the Shia community is largely in keeping with the position over most of the Muslim world, where Sunnis form the dominant group. Clio the Muse 03:50, 22 February 2007 (UTC)


Is it relavent to take help of UN security council to solve the indo-pak conflict on the matter of jammu and kashmir. 06:10, 22 February 2007 (UTC)sandeep kaushik

The chief thing that the UN seems to have done so far on the matter is call for a referendum -- which has never yet been held in over 50 years... AnonMoos 06:31, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

I feel the UN is the appropriate body to deal with such things, but I also feel that it has a lousy track record over settling such disputes because it is politically compromised.

The new UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon might be able to do something special, but while I think the UN SG can mess up (like Kofi Annan) on issues, I don't think they can be effective.

There are many positive signs that are coming to position over this issue. The remarkable growth of India's middles class (Economy of India) is only going to have a positive impact on wishing to settle the issue. The worldwide condemnation of radical Islam allows internal politics of Pakistan (Politics of Pakistan) for moderates to have more say. The White House is still Republican, so US foreign policy can be strong over the issue. DDB 07:10, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Meeting in the Middle[edit]

I've heard several times that the two political main political views, Left and Right (If I can simplify it to that for brevity) eventually get so extreme that they meet in the middle. Like a cirle that on one side is the moderate republicans and democrats meeting and on the other is like Libertarians and Communists. Ok, theres the intro, now my question is what, if any, is the name of the center point between Libertarians and Communists meet. Can it really be true? Where does the philisophies meet on the whole size of government thing? Its hard for me to picture a medium between even those parts of their respective philosophies. Any ideas? 03:46, 21 February 2007 (UTC)moe.ron

Try Political compass. 04:04, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
Generally I see this argument presented as being between Fascism and Communism, rather than between Libertarianism and Communism (as far as I know, Libertarianism is rarely seen as being the extreme right - it is closer to anarchism than anything else).
The main crux of the argument is that Communism and Fascism may seem to be polar opposites (ie. Communism supports the belief that classes should be eliminated, and no person in society should have a higher status than another, whilst Fascism supports the idea that it is good and natural for the strong-willed (the Übermensch?) to rule over the weak). However, in practice, both ideologies seem to result in a totalitarian, autocratic society, where the individual is seen as less-important than the needs of the society as a whole. Thus, whilst the ideological principles may be quite different, the end result is the same. -- Chairman S. Talk Contribs 04:22, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I should also note that there are some distinct similarities between the ideologies of Communism (as opposed to strict Marxist-Leninism) and Libertarianism - both envision a society devoid of government, where people rule themselves. The difference is primarily in the economic systems - Communists generally believe that the means of production should be in the hands of the workers (thus resulting in a kind of communal economy), whilst Libertarians generally believe in laissez-faire capitalism. -- Chairman S. Talk Contribs 05:55, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
State of the art (see DDB's comment below) in this case might be found as a corporation operating successfully under an economic system of laissez-faire capitalism with the majority of stock holders being employees of the corporation and thereby representing the ideals of both capitalism and Communism in a sort of layered fashion. 11:25, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

The idea of analysis by dividing into polar opposites is typically western and described under Dialectic. However, Eastern philosophy diverges from such analyses. The 'middle area' may not actually be in a graphical middle or median, but is often referred to as the cutting edge, or as wiki calls it State of the art. DDB 05:44, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

Although perhaps not in the graphical middle or median what a multiple axes Political compass can do is to show where the cutting edge or State of the art is. 07:53, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

I have a hazy memory that this conceit of a political circle originates with the Girondins and Jacobins, but modern <wink> history is not my forte, I've not studied it for about 20 years and I had a really, really bad teacher that year. --Dweller 14:09, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

You're basically correct. The idea of "left" and "right" wings came from the French Legislative Assembly, where the more radical groups (the Jacobins and Girondins) would sit on the left, and the Feuillants (who were against removing the King from power) sat on the right, with Independents in the centre. -- Chairman S. Talk Contribs 06:50, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
That's something I've always wondered about. I understand the right vs. left distinction, I'm just wondering about the addition of the word "wing". To me, the addition of this word always seemed to imply a certain extremism, as opposed to being "right" or "left-leaning". Is this true? Is "left-wing" or "right-wing" meant to imply any sort of extremist or radical position, or would it be proper, rather than a contradiction in terms to describe someone as a "left-wing moderate", or a "right-wing moderate"? Loomis 22:44, 23 February 2007 (UTC)


1. Not so long ago, a submerged ancient Egyptian city was mentioned in the news. Underwater pictures were shown depicting the remains of this city; also, other similar submerged Mediterranean sites seem to have been mentioned.

My questions are: Was there a time within the last few thousand years when the Mediterranean was a lake? when the waters were a lot lower than now? If so, how long ago are we speaking of?

2. The following below is what several websites claim. Is there anyway of finding out what reputable scientists say about the following?

Several websites indicate that in India around Jodhpur and or Rajasthan an ancient city several thousand years old is found to be heavily contaminated by radioactivity and bodies strewn about as was the case in Hiroshima. Some of these sites also claim that such explosions seem to have occurred in Africa, siting huge layers of yellow-green glass as proof.

Signed, mnm_common

I had never heard about #2 before, but found this article. Sounds like utter, utter rubbish to me. The author of the article clearly knows little about atomic weapons in any case, and the idea that people thousands of years ago would have thought to enrich uranium in order to fashion it into a weapon is utterly ridiculous. You cannot create an atomic bomb by chance — it takes an immense amount of work and theoretical understanding (a reactor is a different story, as nature has made those a few times by itself).
Now you can of course have natural radioactivity, usually from uranium ore deposits that "breathe" radon gas, and a search on Google Scholar for "Rajasthan radioactivity" comes up with a number of articles on the subject, all referring to the radioactivity as natural and focusing on the radon decay series. I would not trust conspiracy websites to describe even the facts correctly, so I won't comment on the yellow-glass layers (there are, of course, ores of uranium which appear quite yellow and glassy, like carnotite, autunite, metatorbernite, torbernite, etc., though I have no reason as of yet to suspect that this is what they are referring to). -- 13:29, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
There is some evidence for a natural nuclear fission reactor at Oklo in central Africa about two billion years ago. Clarityfiend 17:10, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I alluded to that but I don't see any reason to think that has anything to do with this here. It would not produce effects similar to an atomic bomb in any case, and it is pretty rare in any case. -- 01:48, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I will ignore question #2, which others have already addressed. The answer to question #1 is that, no, the Mediterranean has not been a lake in the past few thousand years, but it was once, around 6 million years ago, a lake that dried up. See Messinian salinity crisis. Marco polo 18:53, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Regarding the Mediterranean-as-lake thing, you might also be interested in Black Sea deluge theory. Warning: rant ahead: as for the (very) questionable atom bomb stuff, I'm often perplexed and frustrated at how much fascination and attention pseudoscience gets when there are so many wonderful and bizarre true things in nature. It's like if something isn't complete balderdash, it's counted as boring, even if it's a lot more intrinsically interesting. Perhaps when you're telling someone an amazing fact like "the Earth's core is a solid sphere of iron almost as big as the Moon, and some scientists even believe that it's a single iron crystal!", it's best to tack on "but the government doesn't want anyone to know about it". Grr. --TotoBaggins 13:41, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

the mens role in the maori culture[edit]


I have a social studies project due on the 28th and one of my questions that I'm stuck on, I hope you can help me with.

It is "What is the mens role in the Maori culture?" I hope you can help me. If you could also include arts and crafts and the marae protocol in it that would be SOO awesome!


From Addie. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:21, 21 February 2007 (UTC).

Have you had a look over Maori culture? Clio the Muse 06:53, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
You can get a lot of insight into your topic by watching the movies Whale Rider and (if you are old enough to handle the disturbing content) Once Were Warriors. Wareh 15:16, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
I've actually taken a good look on the article on Maori culture. Unfortunately, it contains absolutely no information whatsoever with regard to gender roles, be they male or female. As politely and respectfully as possible, I'd humbly suggest that when directing OPs to wiki articles, one should at the very least examine the article first to make sure that it actually contains any information that would be of any help to the OP. Otherwise, by citing articles that are completely irrelevant to the OP's question, we're doing no more than leading the OP on a frustrating and fruitless wild goose chase, as well as doing great harm to the RefDesk's reputation as being a helpful source of information. All the above, of course, with the greatest of respect to all involved. Loomis 02:46, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

9/11: knives on board[edit]

Some of the 9/11 hijackers had knives. How did they get them through airport security? --Richardrj talk email 22:52, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

They did, apparently, trigger the security alarms and were duly searched; but at that time it was possible to carry 'utility' knives on board of aircraft. Have a look at this [1]. In retrospect it seems crazy, but 'the past is a foreign country:they do things differently there'. Clio the Muse 23:53, 21 February 2007 (UTC)
In addition, if you've flown both before and after 9/11, you'd notice that before, metal knives were provided for meals, whereas now, only plastic knives are provided. Loomis 00:46, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I realise that; but the hijackers didn't use the food knives to overpower people, they had their own. --Richardrj talk email 06:15, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Please refer to the answer I have given above. They were allowed to have their own knives at the time; and the seemingly innocent can easily become something deadly. Clio the Muse 06:51, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I know that - I was simply replying to Loomis' statement with a small observation. --Richardrj talk email 07:04, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I also realize that the hijackers used box-cutters, not food knives. However, due to 9/11, those in charge of security must have realized that even a comparatively blunt metal food knife can be used for similar purposes. Loomis 18:24, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Knives of any type are messy, and it is easy to cow someone who believes they have an out. Remember, the hijackings, to that date, resulted in a protocol of 'let them have what they want' as 'someone would pay for the safe return of hostages.' I believe the expectation was that the terrorists would land the planes and make demands. When one flight found out about the suicides, that mission failed. DDB 08:31, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

I thought there were knives hidden in the handles of their carry-on luggage? Corvus cornix 17:50, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Holocaust denial amongst muslims[edit]

I know three muslims (exchange students) and they each deny holocaust. They say almost every "true" muslim knows that holocaust is a lie because muslim media tells the truth to them while sionist conspiracy makes western media to lie to western people. I would like to know is there any official studies made about this, how many per cent of muslims denies holocaust? Please do not try to convince me that holocaust happened, because I know it did (even though my muslim friends thinks that this makes me a victim of zionist conspiracy). Nitsimagoi 00:12, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

This Channel 4 poll of 1,000 British Muslims asked if respondants believed the Holocaust happened. Here are the results:

Yes -- as history teaches: 29%
Yes, but it's been exaggerated: 17%
No: 2%
No opinion: 24%
Haven't heard of Holocaust: 23%
Don't know: 6%

Incidentally, when asked whether 9/11 was a US/Israeli conspiracy, "yes" wins over "no," 45% to 20%. -- Mwalcoff 00:27, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

I think, Nitsimagoi, that the percentage of Muslim people overall who deny the Holocaust would be very difficult to calculate. But there is some information on recent state trends in the page on Holocaust denial. In addition, you might find these links of some value [2] [3] Clio the Muse 00:31, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks! Link you gave told that holocaust denial is de rigueur (like a part of protocol) in the Middle Eastern media. So at least my muslim friends were right that muslim media gives very different information than western media. If given such information surely that affects opinions. What would you say about my quess that at least half of worlds muslim population denies holocaust or do not know what holocaust is? Nitsimagoi 00:54, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Keep in mind that these are British Muslims. How 23% of them can claim not to have heard of the Holocaust (as Britons, having free access to information like the rest of us) is beyond me. Add to that the 6% who "don't know" and the 24% who have "no opinion", and the 17% who believe the Holocaust has been "exaggerated", (a compromise claim made by most Holocaust Deniers, including such people as the President of Iran who often mentions that Israel should have been located somewhere in Europe, as it was the Europeans, not the Muslims who were responsible for what he obviously recognizes as some sort of massacre of Jews), and what you're left with is 29% who are open-minded enough to fully accept that it really happened. And these are BRITISH Muslims. Allah only knows what the number is in Muslim countries. Loomis 01:11, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Wasn't the state of Israel created partially because of Jews fleeing persecution in Germany during the Third Reich? How could you deny the existence of something when the consequences are the thing you hate the most? -Wooty Woot? contribs 01:27, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
The thinking is that the Holocaust was made up specifically in order to justify the theft of Arab lands and the creation of Israel. Again, not my opinion. --Charlene 09:16, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, Jews were flocking to Israel in the early 20th century because of the Zionist movement long before the Holocaust. Zionist#Before_the_Holocaust. The Jade Knight 02:18, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Seeing as people agree in groups to things they won't as individuals, I agree with the Muse. It is very difficult to put a number to how many muslims deny or accept the holocaust. The Mufti of Australia, Taj El-Din Hilaly has said in Arabic that the holocaust never happened, and in English, he has been quoted as saying that he did not mean that. I have taught students who have accessed racist literature from the internet and quoted it, claiming in effect that the Holocaust never happened. Australian public education is usually good at providing quality material that encourages critical thought, however, some communities work counter to such endeavours. DDB 02:26, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Here is an interesting article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. meltBanana 02:49, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Andrew Bolt blogged this on Iran's brave(r) artists DDB 04:59, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

What about this piece of sublime perversity [4]. I have always known that working towards a particular political goal in an indirect fashion has long been a Machiavellian tactic-but this takes things to a quite absurd degree! Clio the Muse 00:11, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Here is some comparison information: a 1992 poll (by Roper/American Jewish Congress) of the general American public. 22.1% of Americans considered it possible that the Holocaust was a total fabrication; 12.4% "didn't know."[5] These groups should be compared to the British Muslims who said "no" and "didn't know."
What's harder to compare is the "haven't heard of it." But given the frequently reported shocking data about what the American public does not know about, I am hesitant to say that a good measure wouldn't come alarmingly close to the 23% figure. If you required two accurate sentences defining what happened, then above 23% wouldn't surprise me. Indeed, from the linked article, "About 95% of Americans report having heard of the Holocaust and about 85% say they know what the term refers to. But knowledge of the Holocaust is shallow, incomplete, and imperfect. In response to open-ended questions that asked people to actually explain what the Holocaust was, between 62 and 74% could supply a correct response, 8-13% gave vague or incorrect responses, and 18-28% reported that they did not know what the Holocaust referred to. Only 25-35% gave what were considered as fully correct answers"—for which "the Germans persecuted the Jews" would apparently count as "fully correct."
Note that when asking people whether they endorse some crackpot idea, it can be particularly hard to avoid biasing them towards "yes" just by presenting it to them. For example, Roper abandoned "Does it seem possible to you that the Holocaust never happened?" in favor of "Does it seem possible or does it seem impossible..." (The article I link to above has some information about further criticisms.) Wareh 16:51, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
I think that is a very useful contribution, Wareh; and as far as the Channel 4 poll of British Muslims is concerned I would recommend that this be treated with extreme caution: it may do no more than reveal the deficiencies of the British educational system. I have seen polls where a high proportion of respondents think that George Washington is still the president of the United States! Clio the Muse 20:16, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

When did the Ban Dihydrogenmonoxide joke begin?[edit]

Ban dihydrogenmonoxide or water has been around as a joke since before the sixties, I know this because I have seen an old april fools news story of the fifties, but I can't remember when or where. DDB 00:15, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Excellent. This has been tracked for years, I just noticed at the link. DDB 12:37, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Kalash symbols[edit]

Where can I find pictures of symbols that Kalash people use Tuohirulla puhu 00:47, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

  • If you look at the pics on that page, it's apparent Southern Cross-like designs are common in female face decoration, though I couldn't say whether this was specific to the group. "Kalash" is also the name of a symbol in South Asia that's apparently unrelated to the ethnic group.--Pharos 02:15, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Works under public domain[edit]

If a book was published in the nineteenth century, such as almost all Nietzsche's books, it means that it has passed into the public domain, right? Maybe the situation isn't the same in different countries, but is this the case for the US and Spain? My question is, am I able to make a copy of a book under the public domain, photocopies for example, without being out of the law? Thanks. --Taraborn 10:13, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Copyright law does vary from country to country, but in most places you're safe if the author has been dead for more than 70 years. In the U.S., anything published before 1923 is also public domain. So everything Friedrich Nietzsche published is public domain (although translations of his works into English are not necessarily so!). Yes, you can photocopy a book whose copyright has expired without violating any law. —Angr 10:33, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Anything published in the U.S. before 1923 is in the public domain in the U.S. Anything published outside the U.S. is not unambiguously in the public domain in the U.S. unless it was published before 1909. This table is a good reference — find what category the work in question falls into on the left and you will know whether it is unambiguously in the public domain or not. -- 12:44, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Anything published in Nietzsche's (I'm using N after this) life is in the public domain if you're in the US and if you're copying the original German. Translations may be in the public domain, but that depends on when the translation was made. Most of N's work was translated into English at least once in his life. It would be safer to use a translation that you know was made before 1909.
However, N wrote a few works that were not published until after his death. As says, if they were published after 1909 (and I believe some were published only after the Second World War), they may still be under copyright. Edited. --Charlene 13:07, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Yeah. Copyright in N's work would be expired by now, but any translation potentially retains its copyright if it was published by someone who died after 1936. Any posthumous writings first published in the last fifty years or so are debatable. Shimgray | talk | 12:19, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

AA 12 Steps[edit]

I need the 12 Steps from AA broke down so I can understand them better. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 16:58, 22 February 2007 (UTC).

Have you read our article on twelve-step programs? — Lomn 17:59, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

The Comanche Indians[edit]

What are some of the Comanche indians' bileifs? 21:11, 22 February 2007 (UTC)david

David, the page on the Comanche should give you a few clues. Clio the Muse 23:06, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Which cultures tell tall tales?[edit]

Hi, I am writing a play about the Silk Road, and I want to know which cultures around that (large) region would be especially fond of telling tall tales. David G Brault 01:06, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

It depends on your point of view. I've studied the stories of the Northwest Plains Native Americans and it was common to have a game in which men would see who could tell the tallest tale. I heard a similar sort of thing about Samoans while visiting the Polynesian Culture Center in Hawaii. But, going back to your point of view, a culture that tells stories about building a tower to heaven, two cities being destroyed by flames from heaven, a flood destroying the whole world, a baby surviving a dangerous trip down the Nile... those are some pretty tall tales. --Kainaw (talk) 03:14, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

The Italian (Venetian) Marco Polo told some whoppers. DDB 09:08, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Following the line above - look at Prester_John#Letter_of_Prester_John [6] - note that all the examples you've had so far are non-native - sorry87.102.6.2 13:54, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

TRB from Washington[edit]

The New Republic has long had a lead column called "TRB from Washington," which also appears in other papers including The Guardian of London, the Washington Times, and the Los Angeles Times. It is never revealed what "TRB" stands for. Anyone have authoritative info on what it means? Edison 04:25, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Tiny note. It's more usual to disambiguate The Guardian as the Manchester Guardian than the Guardian of London, although it now has printing facilities in London as well as Manchester. To be honest, you could have just said "The UK Guardian", since it is a national paper. Skittle 11:05, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
SBF claims that TRB was "originally created to supply a Washington, D.C., viewpoint when the magazine was based in New York" and that it stands for Brooklyn Rapid Transit backwards! --Anonymous, February 23, 2007, 06:20 (UTC).

February 23[edit]

History of community or economic development in Ohio[edit]

Is there a resource or link that lays out the history of community development or milestones in community development specific to Ohio? I'm wanting to find a timeline including legistative acts, creation of major organizations in the industry, etc. 15:37, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Fashion: shirt logos and the breast pocket[edit]

  • Why are shirt logos and breast pockets almost universally located on the left chest? Are they related? Paul_012 (talk) 18:23, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
The left side is easier to reach with the right hand. That is an easy reason for the pocket being on the left. However, this predates pockets on the left chest. I would look into why military medals are worn on the left side. My feeling is that the reason for that will be the same. --Kainaw (talk) 19:48, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Maybe because it's over the heart? Clarityfiend 21:46, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
  • Maybe medals are on the left as they could be obscured when saluting?hotclaws**== 12:20, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

February 24[edit]

Caste feuds[edit]

Why there are bad feelings between Reddys and kammas?

Let me start by saying that I (an American) had not heard of either caste before reading your question, and I have no basis for answering your question other than the Wikipedia articles on Reddy and Kamma and some background knowledge of Indian history. Hopefully, someone more knowledgeable than myself will come along to correct my speculations. But what struck me after reading about the castes is that they are both landowning castes that aspire to positions of local leadership in the South and particularly in Andhra Pradesh. This is a recipe for rivalry and resentment. Also, Reddys apparently function as village head men. They may have resented political control by the mainly Kamma Nayaks in Tamil Nadu and southern Andhra Pradesh during the 17th and 18th centuries immediately preceding British rule, and this resentment may have been passed down through generations to become a traditional aversion. Marco polo 14:22, 24 February 2007 (UTC)


Sir I'm a budding filmmaker and I'm presently trying to sell my film.My film, as the website has shown is about Learning.The Realm of Learning is a 17+ minute film .

I'm a teacher and I'm worried about the emphasis on Class-room teaching. I would like a fresh approach to learning which will be more proactive and involve the children and help open their minds . I would appreciate if you could email me some names of people who deal in Documentaries and ofcourse the Channels like Nat-Geo,Discovery etc. I've beeen trying to contact them through their web-site but have not had much success as of date. mY WEBSITE IS www.lesleyproductions.com203.94.238.112 10:39, 24 February 2007 (UTC) Thanking you Shirley

21 conditions of Comintern affiliation[edit]

I am trying to find a full list of the 21 conditions that parties had to agree to in order to join the Communist International after its foundation in 1919. The article here only has "highlights". Any ideas? I've tried google and the Marxists Internet Archive but without success. Mattley (Chattley) 22:59, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Okay, I found them in a previous version of the page, but still, if anyone knows an external site that might have a version of the document it would make a useful link. Mattley (Chattley) 23:22, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Mattley, this is quite a good page, not just on conditions of membership, but the overall history of the Third International [7]. There seems originally only to have been 19 conditions for membership, as laid down by Lenin. These conditions, moreover, are quite verbose in the original form; so they must have been streamlined at some point. Clio the Muse 00:00, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Old Monacle[edit]

My question is simple, my Father left me what looks like an antique monacle. However, on the small leather pouch is written what looks like, Pocket Amoptiscope or it could be Pocket Airoptiscope.

I have no idea and am curious as to what it could be. I've tried searching both words and came up empty handed.

Thank you for any help.

N. Brown 7:08 pm 2-22-07

An optiscope is a term commonly used for a magnifier - usually a two-lense one like you often see jewlers using. The "pocket" probably just means small. Anything preceding optiscope may indicate one lens since you say it looks like a monacle (which has one lens). --Kainaw (talk) 03:10, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
btw, it's monocle, from mono (1) and ocular (relating to the eyes). (Admittedly, it's confusing that the 2-eyed version is called spectacles.)  :) JackofOz 05:03, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Make up your mind, Jack! :--) Does the "o" relate to the "o" in "mono" or the "o" in "ocular"? I've never heard of a "double etymology" as you suggest. It actually kind of reminds me of how certain rabid femminists insist on respelling the word "history" as "hystory", the ridiculous assumption being that the "history" spelling is meant as some sort of sexist contraction of the words "his" and "story", when in reality, the word is derived from the Greek historìa meaning "a learning or knowing by inquiry, history, record, narrative," from historein, from histor "wise man, judge". The whole idea that "history" is somehow a sexist representation of a specifically "male" interpretation of past events, as is implied by the purely fictitious "his-story" etymology, is pure bunk. Loomis 19:18, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Maybe it is really monoocle. --Kainaw (talk) 19:42, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
And perhaps the "his-story" etymology is correct, in which case we should be spelling it "hisstory". Ah...womyn...can't live with'em, can't live without'em...but what can I do, I'm but a mere humyn mayle. :) Loomis 19:58, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
There was nothing contentious in what I said. The final vowel of prefixes like mono- is usually dropped where the next word element starts with a vowel. In any case, I didn't specify whether the o came from mono- or ocular. In this case it doesn't matter, because either way we end up with an o, not an a. That was my point. JackofOz 04:45, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

What was Bill Clinton's law specialization in?[edit]

I have been looking everywhere but can't seem to find what field of law Bill Clinton studied as well as what he practiced after graduation. The only info I can ever find is that he obtained a JD from Yale.

Do you mean "studied" or "practiced" ? dr.ef.tymac 16:30, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
If you mean the latter, check the book First In His Class : A Biography Of Bill Clinton by David Maraniss. It covers this, as well as some aspects of his law school days. Someone else will have to help you if you want more specifics, as I don't have a copy of the book handy, nor memorized. dr.ef.tymac 16:45, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
This article from the Washington Post (last paragraph) [8] refers to him as a constitutional lawyer. Does that mean he is one? "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is." Clarityfiend 04:31, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Oh, thanks for the good example of why his comment about the meaning of "is" actually was quite meaningful. --jpgordon∇∆∇∆ 16:44, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

youngest and oldest legislators[edit]

I'd like to do an article on the in each of the state legislatures Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Kentucky and West Virginia. Not sure how to research this.

thank you

Kris Spears Government Relations The Huntington National Bank 41 South High Street, (HC1244) , Columbus, OH 43287 Phone: 614/480-4465 Email: <Email removed>

Check it out online, but I can't provide a source, but you should be able to find something: the Democratic State Representative from somewhere in Mercer County, Ohio or Shelby County, Ohio (I think the placename begins with M, but all I can think of is "Mentor", and surely not that. I remember reading in my home paper (in Bellefontaine, Ohio) about him being elected at about age 19 or 20. Nyttend 06:35, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
You can try the clerks of the respective legislatures. The guy Nyttend is talking about, Derrick Seaver from Minster, Ohio, was elected at 18 back in 2000, I think, and served two terms but didn't run for re-election in 2006. -- Mwalcoff 03:01, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Text of patent and patent applications[edit]

Is the text of patents and patent applications subject to copyright? The question applies to US, UK, EP, ... patents and originates from here. Thanks for your help. --Edcolins 22:56, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes.--Wetman 00:24, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Wetman, Thank you for your response. Can you provide a reference?--Nowa 00:32, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Though I'm no IP lawyer, every instinct I have would seem to be that patents (but not necessarily patent applications) would definitely NOT be subject to copyright restrictions. The whole point of the patent system is to publically publish all aspects of the patent, in return for a temporary monopoly on the use of the patented item. It would only seem to follow that a registered patent and all of its details are surrendered to the public domain, and are therefore not subject to copyright law. Loomis 02:25, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
(In reference to U.S. law) Making something public does not void the copyright. For example, most cities in the U.S. have some sort of free newspaper. It is printed and put out for the public to freely consume however they like. However, the editors of the paper still retain a copyright on the content of the paper. Similarly, the author of a copyright application does not write the patent. They only write the application for the patent. That is original work that may be copyrighted. That does not mean that the public cannot view it. It means that some guy can't legally do a get rich quick scheme out of copying cool patent applications to a book and selling it. Getting into the DMRC age, it also means that nobody may host a copy of the application on their website without consent of the author. They do grant consent to the USPTO - which is a requirement of applying for a patent. Of course, big companies can afford to use lawyers to delay publication of their patents by the USPTO so nobody sees it coming until the patent is granted. --Kainaw (talk) 02:52, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
It's not that it "may be copyrighted". Anything that is created is automatically under copyright unless it falls under the public domain - e.g. created by the US government, explicitly released into the public domain, etc. Also, I hate to break it to you, but putting together a book of neat patents is about as far from a "get rich quick" scheme as is humanly imaginable. There are books like this dealing with patents from before 1923 (which would be in the public domain, of course); the writer of such a book would spend months (if not years) looking through old patents in order to find those that really are funny, only to produce a book that might on a very, very good day break even. --Charlene 07:21, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, "Subject to limited exceptions reflected in 37 CFR 1.71(d) & (e) and 1.84(s), the text and drawings of a patent are typically not subject to copyright restrictions." This would agree with Loomis's explanation. Paul_012 (talk) 08:25, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your response. I have created an article Copyright on the content of patents on this issue to gather this useful information. --Edcolins 08:58, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
The answer is that they are typically not copyrighted unless they have been specifically noted as such, and even then they are free to distribute in the context of the patent application. The patent if you recall is a publication of the USPTO, not the inventor. If you could restrict the distribution and reprinting of patent applications it would severely hinder the aspect of them which is freely available, which has been a staple of US patent law since the 19th century. Anyway I am impressed with how many people will readily give answers to questions that they don't really know anything about and haven't taken any time to investigate! -- 14:58, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

That's why we're all so grateful to have you to basically repeat my response! :--) Loomis 19:54, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

According to the USPTO:
A copyright or mask work notice may be placed in a design or utility patent application adjacent to copyright and mask work material contained therein. The notice may appear at any appropriate portion of the patent application disclosure. For notices in drawings, see § 1.84(s). The content of the notice must be limited to only those elements provided for by law. For example, "©1983 John Doe"(17 U.S.C. 401) and "*M* John Doe" (17 U.S.C. 909) would be properly limited and, under current statutes, legally sufficient notices of copyright and mask work, respectively. Inclusion of a copyright or mask work notice will be permitted only if the authorization language set forth in paragraph (e) of this section is included at the beginning (preferably as the first paragraph) of the specification.
If I read this correctly, it states that a patent application may be copyrighted. This does not apply to the patent, which everyone has already pointed out is a government publication and, therefore, in the public domain. --Kainaw (talk) 16:04, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

February 25[edit]

Clockwork Orange[edit]

Why is that movie so well critically acclaimed? The article doesn't seem to provide much information about this. Thanks. --Taraborn 11:27, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

You may find better answers at the Entertainment desk. --Charlene 11:47, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Wooops! I had a glitch in my brain and posted in the wrong desk :P Thanks. --Taraborn 12:49, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Why vote for an abstentionist party?[edit]

Sinn Fein's election manifesto from 2005 look like a perfectly normal statement of views from a left-of-center party. There's nothing in it that indicates what you think would be the most-important aspect of the party in the Westminster election: That if elected, they would not serve.

I know almost nothing about the politics of Northern Ireland, and I'm puzzled as to why people would vote for a party that refuses to take part in the House of Commons. Even if a voter were to agree that Catholics from Northern Ireland should not pledge allegiance to the queen, wouldn't it make sense for him or her to vote for someone that is willing to do so? At least that way, the constituency would be represented in Parliament. Perhaps from a Catholic's point of view, it's better to have no MP than to have a unionist one. But wouldn't it be better to have an SDLP MP than no MP, even if you prefer the views of Sinn Fein? -- Mwalcoff 00:18, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Mwalcoff, this is an incredibly complex issue, deeply rooted in the politics and history of Ireland as a whole and Northern Ireland in particular. Please look over the pages on Sinn Fein and the History of Northern Ireland, assuming you have not already done so. Essentially, those who support the Sinn Fein position, now the majority of the Catholic community in Northern Ireland, have denied the legitimacy of the British state and its right to maintain a presence anywhere in Ireland, effectively rejecting the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty. Therefore, they do not wish to be represented at the Westminster Parliament, nor to swear loyalty to the British Head of State. Some Catholic people have indeed voted for the less intransigent SDLP over the years, but in decreasing numbers as the politics of Ulster have radicalised. One of the chief aims of Sinn Fein is that those elected to Westminster constituencies in the North-or the Six Counties, to use their preferred term-should be allowed to sit in the Dáil in Dublin. However, the ongoing peace process has led to some modifications in aspects of Sinn Fein policy, especially in the recent decision to support the Ulster police service, always considered hitherto as part of an alien system of law. Clio the Muse 01:16, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
But, if Sinn Fein deny the legitimacy of the British state, why then do they stand for election to the Westminster Parliament? --Richardrj talk email 06:32, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Both to declare a political presence and to make clear the true extent of Nationalist dissent. Clio the Muse 06:43, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Without commenting on their politics, from my perspective I find much to be admired in the Sinn Fein's abstentionist position. Perhaps, though, this is due to the fact that I happen to live in a Province of Canada where the exact opposite position is taken by the anti-Canadian (in the sense that they want to separate, not that they hate Canada) Bloc Québécois. I find it terribly hypocritical that the BQ so actively participates in a Parliament that they don't recognize should have any authority over their constituents. Of course Quebec and Irish history are quite distinct, and so the comparison shouldn't be taken too far. Loomis 17:40, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't blame you for wondering why! Let's check this out first: the legal basis for British rule in Northern Ireland goes back to the Act of Union 1801. Britain and Ireland were merged. Since 1921, NI has been all that's been left over. SF probably say that this initial Act is illegitimate, and therefore so is the current British sovereingty in NI.

And this is where the oath of allegiance comes in: there is no alternative to swear oath of allegiance to HM QE2 to take you seat in the House of Commons. Don't swear it, you can't vote in parliament. The US President, for example, swears to "faithfully execute the office of President".

That's what makes SF different from the SDLP: the latter are nationalist - ie. catholic - but not republican. In NI, that means that for the meantime, they still recognise that British rule exists, and is legally sound. That would explain why they have always been basically loyal to the Police. SF weren't, until last month (NB - many protestants still doubt the reliability of their declaration of Policing Support).

For a catholic, SF are far more radical, and if you're radical, they represent you - far better than SDLP do. Suppose you support the IRA. Why would you not vote for a party (SF) who refused to call for decommissioning of their weapons until 2005? There is no major party more extremist a republican than SF. I don't imply all SF voters are IRA supporters, but no doubt some are.

The SDLP only stand in the North, but SF have a few members in the Dail. How can the SDLP claim to be nationalist, and not stand for election in the South? Maybe they can claim to be, but not as well as SF (in my opinion).

Anyway, abstention hasn't really lost them any influence. SF comprise 5/646 MPs at Westminster... on the rare occassion it votes exclusively on NI issues. In short, the British Government are able to get their own way on most legislative and executive issues for NI without any care for local opinion. No local politician has much influence (since they are NEVER in government at westminster) unless it's a really close vote (Blair wouldn't have won the Iraq vote without DUP support). The real influence for locals only really comes when an assembly is sitting (to meet in March, after elections).

Hope that helps, apologies for the length!martianlostinspace 18:05, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Martian, please forgive me for being so direct, but I think you might be a little confused on some of the issues here. Anyway, for the sake of clarity, let me correct one or two factual errors in your interesting submission.
1) The 1801 Act of Union did not 'merge' Britain and Ireland, but the respective parliaments of those countries, to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The 1920 Government of Ireland Act created a separate self-governing polity in Northern Ireland, which in 1927 merged into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
2) Failure to take the oath of allegiance to the sovereign would preclude sitting in Parliament at all. No seat obviously means no vote.
3) The SDLP were not 'always loyal of the police', as you will discover if you examine the history of Northern Ireland in detail, particulary the history of the Royal Ulster Constabulary and its reserve unit, known as the B Specials. Some sections of the party have consistently viewed matters in an all-Ireland dimension, and are thus just as nationalist in their own way as Sinn Fein.
4) Sinn Fein does not vote at all in the House of Commons, on any issue, because it practices, well, abstensionism.
5) To allege, as you have, that the British government gets its own way in Northern Ireland on most legslative and executive issues 'without any care for local opinion' is, quite frankly, a massive distortion of the truth. The Northern Ireland peace process might be likened to tiptoeing through a particularly dense minefield. Politicians from Northern Ireland have had a considerable degree of influence in the corridors of power, whether they attend Parliament or not, and despite their absence from office.
6) In the House of Commons debate of March 2003 Tony Blair won two motions on the coming intervention in Iraq, the first by a margin of 179 votes and the second-the main motion-by 263 votes. So, on neither of these divisions did he depend on the support of the DUP.
I hope you will understand that on matters such as this it is crucial to be absolutely precise. Clio the Muse 20:32, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I understand the the presence or absence of the 5 or 6 Sinn Fein MPs wouldn't make a difference in the British government's attitude toward the resolution of the Northern Ireland conflict. But wouldn't it still be nice to have an MP to question ministers about the closing of this hospital or that factory in the district? Do Sinn Fein MPs do constituent service? To me, what's so surprising is not necessarily that Sinn Fein boycotts Parliament, but that it doesn't even mention that in its election materials. The manifesto referenced above talks about education, health care, the environment, the EU -- stuff like that. So presumably, Sinn Fein voters care about those type of concerns as well. Wouldn't it make sense for Irish Catholics to find the political equivalent of shabbos goyim -- people who don't share the aversion to swearing loyalty to the queen but are willing to do anything else the Catholic constituents want? -- Mwalcoff 23:47, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
The point is that there are larger passions here than the ability to question this or that minister about the status of a local hospital. In Ireland history is neither academic nor remote. All the people who vote for Sinn Fein know exactly what its position is with regard to the Westminster Parliament. Indeed, the strategy of 'political absence', if it might be so put, was an integral part of the Irish struggle for freedom after the First World War. Politics in Northern Ireland has always been about mobilization of any given community or electoral constituency, as much as, if not more than, a focus on the more prosaic bread-and-butter issues. Politics, moreover, operates on a whole number of levels in the Province, and there are ways of getting things down-and making views known-without recourse to the Parliament in London. Indeed, by tradition, these domestic issues were long devolved in Northern Ireland, and are now largely the responsibility of the Secretary of State. Clio the Muse 00:47, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your responses. I wonder why Sinn Fein bothers writing such a long election portfolio for the parliamentary elections? Why don't they just say, "Our manifesto is that this election shouldn't be happening here?" And by the way, do Sinn Fein MPs do constituent service? If someone in Omagh isn't getting his or her old-age pension checks, can he or she call MP Pat Doherty's office to look into it? Would Pat Doherty's staffer call the government agency that handles pensions? Do Sinn Fein MPs even have offices and staffers and what-not? -- Mwalcoff 02:00, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Oh, yes, they do still deal with the mundane on a constituency level, so I imagine individual representatives have some form of clerical back-up. Things do get done, either through approaches to a variety of official agencies, like the Northern Ireland Housing Executive, or directly to the office of the Secretary of State, the source of all power. Overall, things have improved dramatically for the Catholic minority since the good old, bad old Stormont days. Clio the Muse 02:13, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
That's interesting -- I wonder what kind of response Gerry Adams' staffers get when they call the Roads Service to ask about when a road is going to be repaved. I just looked it up and found that Adams received nearly £50,000 in allowances, including £7,500 for "Cost of staying away from main home." Isn't it controversial that people who are boycotting Parliament get parliamentary funds? I wouldn't get any money if I didn't show up for work. -- Mwalcoff 02:28, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
He works, alright; he just does not do so at Westminster. By law he has the right to these allowances as an elected Member of Parliament, whether or not he attends. It has to be said, moreover, that a lot of basic political work is carried out at a constituency level, even when people do report to Westminster. Clio the Muse 02:41, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Sorry for interjecting, but the same hypocricy exists back over here in Canada. It's been said that "[b]y law he has the right to these allowances as an elected Member of Parliament". Yet he doesn't recognize this particular Parliament as having any legitimate authority over his constituency. Is an extra £50,000 really that relevant to the Sinn Fein? To be consistent in principle I don't see why he accepts this relatively irrelevant stipend rather than reject it. If Westminster is excercizing illegitimate authority over Northern Ireland, shouldn't he consider his compensation as illegitimate as well? If I was in his position, sharing his particular ideology, I'd certainly reject any such "salary" as a matter of principle. Still, being neither Irish nor British, I certainly hope that my statements on this matter meet the highest of those most crucial standards of precision mentioned above. Should they not, as a foreigner to this issue, I most sincerely apologize. Loomis 03:49, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

OK, sorry, maybe everything wasn't precisely correct, but SDLP have, in recent years, always been more supportive than SF. And maybe Iraq was an incorrect example, but take, say, religious hatred? As for the merging in 1801, Britain and Ireland became one political entity under one parliament (Westminster). Same thing. In practise, you will see Blair ignoring local opinion all the time. Water charges, education reforms, etc all come to mind.martianlostinspace 16:14, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Don't worry about it, Martian, and I apologize if I come across a little like the school maam! But Irish politics, as I feel sure you understand, have always been on a hair trigger: facts here are like bullets, more than any other country in the world. Clio the Muse 19:58, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Then there are the Exclusive Brethren. They're not exactly abstentionist, because they don't even permit their members to vote (let alone stand for parliament), despite Australia having compulsory voting. Nor do they allow their members to use computers. Nevertheless, the sect is increasingly involving itself in Ausstralian politics, encouraging the government to have laws which reflect its (the Brethren's) beliefs, and publicly advocating that people generally vote for parties that reflect its beliefs. How they do this, and how they maintain strong links with the political world and the media, without the use of email and the internet, thus breaking their own principles time and time again, is beyond me. JackofOz 01:51, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

What is this called in English?[edit]

Passevite or Passiergerät

What is the device pictured here called in English? In French it's a passevite, in German a Passiergerät. You put soft fruits or vegetables in it to puree them (e.g. to make tomatoes into tomato sauce or apples into apple sauce). —Angr 08:29, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Food mill. From a commercial website: Food Mill --Charlene 08:45, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I should add, though, that they are *very* rare. Most people use a food processor or (for apples) heat and time. --Charlene 08:46, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for the answer! As for their rarity, they may be rare nowadays, but they didn't used to be. I was curious because the articles on food mills in German, Spanish, French, Luxembourgish, and Walloon all link to each other, but not to the English. —Angr 08:51, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
You're absolutely right. Before the food processor became ubiquitous, a food mill was necessary for anyone who did any preserving or pureeing. And it does have its benefits (better texture, for instance). My mom had one but threw it out when we got a food processor - the slight improvement in texture wasn't worth the extra time it took to put foods through them. What took over two hours suddenly took five minutes. --Charlene 09:12, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

Charlene's got it right; definitely a food mill. It's still our choice of weapon for apple sauce because it handily separates the cooked apples from their skin (peel) and seeds.

Atlant 13:40, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

They appear to be widely available via the internet. The "Foley Food Mill" was an early and well known brand [9] [10] which is still available. They seem to be able to prevent the colander screen being clogged by peels as happens with a simpler ricer.Edison 15:39, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I think that the key in the Foley is that the presser blade (I made that term up) is inclined so that it is able to ride up over certain obstructions, so it can over-ride seeds and peel bits without forcing them through the delivery screen. Then, every so often, you turn the crank backwards and the normally-trailing, now leading edge of the blade scrapes up all the debris and parks it in a position on the tope of the bladewhere it won't further processed. So the drill, basically, is 1) supply raw material; 2) Crank forwards a few turns; 3) Reverse for a turn; 4) Repeat. Every so often, dump out the cruft.
(My wife has me well-trained at this.)
Atlant 14:34, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
" 1) supply raw material; 2) Crank forwards a few turns; 3) Reverse for a turn; 4) Repeat. Every so often, dump out the cruft." Sounds remarkably like a good process description of Wikipedia: Raw material, cranks, reverses, and dumping of cruft. Edison 17:09, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

surnames like Hitler being changed[edit]

Are there still people in Germany with the surname Hitler, or would they have all changed their name by deedpoll? What about for other dictators like Stalin? (I know Stalin wasn't his real name, but it may still have been someone else's name, so I'm wondering if they changed it). The Mad Echidna 23:13, 22 February 2007 (UTC)

In China, after the fall of the Qing Dynasty, many members of the imperial family changed their surnames from the (rather conspicuous) Aisin-Gioro to Jin (surname) - see e.g. Jin Youzhi, because of strong Republican and anti-Monarchist sentiments. Interestingly, in the last couple of decades, some distant members of the clan have switched to Aisin-Gioro because having a royal connection is suddenly hip. This creates an interesting situation where many people go around with the surname of Aisin-Gioro but none of them are members of the actual imperial family. --Sumple (Talk) 23:19, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
Stalin's original last name was Dzhugashvili, and both of his male children kept the name, though one had to change it when he was sent to prison. I am pretty sure at least one of his grandchildren kept the name, probably one of the sons of Vasily Dzhugashvili, but I'm only vaguely remembering from David Remnick's Lenin's Tomb, which has a bit about one of Stalin's grandchildren. -- 00:07, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
A more recent example: The Dutroux case is now considered so evil and infamous that more than a third of Belgians with the surname "Dutroux" applied to have their name changed --TotoBaggins
I don't think there's anybody left in Norway named Quisling. 惑乱 分からん 00:16, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

The name Hitler is now seemingly illegal in Germany, at least according to this site [11]. Although I have no direct proof on the matter, I would imagine that Dzhugashvili, a Georgian name, is still in use. I seriously doubt there was ever more than one Stalin, which, in any case is more of a nom de guerre, meaning 'Man of Steel.' However, not all people are ashamed of past associations, as we know from the career of Alessandra Mussolini. Clio the Muse 00:28, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

On the other hand, as a neo-fascist, it doesn't appear she'd mind past associations, anyway... 惑乱 分からん 00:52, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
On a different other hand, I'd be surprised if there weren't always Russians named Stalin, completely unrelated to Uncle Joe. Many Russian surnames are based on nouns for everyday things (just a few examples: Putin - path; Zverev - animal; Stolov - table; Kozlov - goat; Griboyedov - mushroom-eater; Pushkin - cannon; Volkov - wolf; Medvedev - bear). "Steel(e)" is a common surname in English, so I can't see why Stalin (from "stal") would not have been found in Russia. However, it's more than likely that most of these Stalins would have changed their names, for obvious reasons. It would be hard to establish a public career nowadays with such a surname. (Note: This is all conjecture, obviously. I can't claim to have actually heard of any Stalins other than the infamous one and his children; and I have no idea how to Google this without running into billions of references to you-know-who). JackofOz 01:00, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Sometimes you run across a name that makes you wonder if they've ever thought about changing it. The head of the Maryland ACLU is named Susan Goering, which may be the most ironic thing you read this week. The online Czech phonebook lists 35 people in Prague with the surname Gottwald or Gottwaldová -- Klement Gottwald was Stalin's crony in Czechoslovakia. There are seven Ceausescus in Sector 1 of Bucharest, Romania. There are hundreds of Castros in Miami. There are 29 Mussolinis in the Italian online phone book. -- Mwalcoff 01:51, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Amazingly, a quick check at the online whitepages of the US at [12] reveals an incredible 25 Hitlers [13] as well as 32 Stalins [14]. Apparently these names aren't as unpopular as one would have hoped. Loomis 03:12, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Man, that's weird. Here's a story about the Ohio Hitlers: [15]. They're an old pioneer family, some of whom live on Hitler Road and have relatives in the Hitler-Ludwig Cemetery. And how'd you like to buy real estate from Peter Hitler? Here's one guy who changed his name from Hitler to Granger. Can't say I blame him. -- Mwalcoff 03:37, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
I recall a WW2 story about someone who kept the name Hitler: he said, "Let the other guy change his name -- he's the one causing all the trouble." --Anonymous, February 23, 2007, 06:16 (UTC).
And Jack, on the fourth hand (?), I'm surprised you forgot the biggie (no pun intended) Leo Tolstoy: "Толстый" being the Russian for "fat" or even "fat man", Leo Tolstoy can properly be translated into "Leo the Fat Man". Loomis 03:27, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
I was waiting for that. I didn't forget, I left him out because I was talking about surnames based on nouns, not adjectives.  :) JackofOz 05:06, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Suuure Jack. I'm sure you were deliberately restricting yourself only to nouns. :--) I'm just teasing of course. But you mention "Медведев". Now "Медведь" is certainly Russian for "bear", but "Медведев"? "Bearish" perhaps? Sounds like an adjective to me! Of course I haven't been able to speak Russian competently in over a decade, so you're probably right on that one too. Loomis 05:59, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
The adjective for bearish is медвежий. Interestingly, медведь itself is derived from мёд (honey) and eсть (to eat), ie. a honey-eater. JackofOz 11:16, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks again, Jack! I had no idea. I can always rely on you to provide me with an interesting tidbit of information. Болшοй cπаcибο! Loomis 14:33, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Не за что! Btw (or perhaps that should be мп, from между прочим), because it ends in ο, cπаcибο is considered neuter when it's used as a noun, and takes the neuter form of the adjective, so that's Болшοe cπаcибο. (or, if you like, a big may-God-preserve-you)  :) JackofOz 01:04, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Should I take it then that the word "cπаcибο" was originally "cπаcибοг" with the "г" eventually dropped later in the evolution of the language? (Perhaps this discussion should be moved to the Languages RefDesk!) Loomis 09:12, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Almost. I think it's an abbreviation of "cπаcи Bοг" (meaning "cπаcи Bοг вам") into a single word. JackofOz 03:27, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Svetlana Alliluyeva, Stalin's daughter, uses her mother's maiden name. Corvus cornix 19:08, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for some very interesting responses. I was hoping for just this type of discussion. Keep it rolling while it's still on the current page. It's shame I feel that the ref desk only keeps q.'s active for about 5 days (although last week's stuff with about 2-3 weeks all at once was a fiasco). The Mad Echidna 03:39, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Jewish question[edit]

Is it true that the Jews are the most intelligent of all the people on Earth? 07:51, 23 February 2007 (UTC)Ecclesiasticalparanoid

This topic is always going to be enormously controversial, and many researchers wouldn't touch such a broad, sweeping generalisation. However, some people (see [16]) have suggested that Ashkenazi Jews have higher IQs on average than other ethnic groups. See Ashkenazi intelligence for more information. -- Chairman S. Talk Contribs 07:59, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

The Bell Curve addressed this issue in '94. Jews may not be the brightest people on Earth, but among them. DDB 09:05, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

It is important to note that there is significant controversy over whether intelligence is a capacity that can be accurately measured. (See, for example, our article on Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man.) While it may be true that Ashkenazi Jews achieve higher average scores on intelligence tests, these tests at best measure only a particular type of intelligence. Other kinds of intelligence may not be as susceptible to measurement. If they could be measured, we don't know whether Ashkenazi Jews would score higher, lower, or about the same as other groups. In any case, we are talking about averages. While some Ashkenazi Jews are geniuses, in conventional terms, others have substandard intelligence. It would be a fallacy to conclude, based on some Jews' strong performance on intelligence tests, that all or even most Jews are more intelligent than members of other ethnic groups. Marco polo 13:10, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

I've heard people cite the disproportionate numbers of Jewish Nobel prize winners as evidence of this generalisation, but I think it's probably more down to the importance of education in Jewish culture. So, not more intelligent than average, but perhaps better educated than average. --Dweller 13:21, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

But then you would want to consider the implication such a disproportionate number suggests in terms of ant colony cooperation or swarm (versus individual) intelligence if Nobel were known to be Jewish as well. -- Barringa 14:04, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Dweller. Also, because discriminatory laws and practices historically barred Jewish people from aristocratic privilege and the insider connections that often led to lucrative positions, an argument can be made that Jews were forced to "live by their wits". This may help to explain the high value of education in Jewish culture and many Jews' search for success through intellectual pursuits. Marco polo 14:25, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
The following is a witticism by the late Dave Berg, and as such is not meant to be taken as fact, but merely a clever response for whenever Jews hear this question. (I don't have the quote right in front of me, this is only going from the best of my recollection): "Many say Jews are smarter than Gentiles. That's absolute nonsense. We're not smarter, we're simply less stupid." He goes on to say: "While for the past millenium or so, much of the Christian World sent their best and their brightest to either go off and get themselves killed in battle, or otherwise join the priesthood and live a life of celibacy, the best and the brightest Jews were encouraged to become Rabbis and to sexually satisfy one woman to her heart's content, thus having as many children as possible." Hope nobody was offended, I just found the quote to be a rather clever witticism. Perhaps a better question should be: "Why are the Jews the funniest people in the world?" :--) Loomis 18:33, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
What does funniest mean? 16:12, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Ehhh, "most funny"... 惑乱 分からん 19:16, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, but to be more accurate, by "funniest" I didn't mean "most funny", rather I meant "least unfunny". --) Loomis 20:01, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't think any group of people is born more intelligent than any other. There's no doubt that Jews tend to be more educated than the population at large, but this is due to cultural factors. Jewish culture values education and "success." Basically, ending one's studies after high school to go work in an auto shop is not something that's done in most Jewish families. -- Mwalcoff 03:05, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Of course by necessity, the Israeli Jewish community must be an exception to this generality. Comprising 76% of a total population of 7.1 million, no economy could possibly survive with 5.3 million of its citizens dedicating their careers solely to being doctors, lawyers, accountants, Rabbis or garment manufaturers! I'm sure that Israel has its fair share of Jewish auto mechanics. I can only imagine the number of recently arrived, highly educated Russian-Jewish engineers who are now driving cabs or flipping burgers in Tel-Aviv. After all, how many hundreds of thousands of engineers can a country of 7.1 million possibly require? Loomis 14:27, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
But your arguement assumes that career type is a reflection of intelligence (refering to OPs question) rather than education or politics, which is simply not true. 14:56, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure why you're saying that. You seem to be misunderstanding the entire debate. Neither I nor anyone else here is arguing that Jews are naturally more intelligent than non-Jews. As Mwalcoff explained quite well, Jewish culture places a very high value on education, which in turn results in a highly disproportionate level of intellectual achievement among Jews. In other words, it's a matter of "nurture", not "nature". I was just wondering how differently Israeli society must function, given its uniqueness as being a society where the vast majority of the population shares in this education-oriented culture. Loomis 15:34, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Just to illustrate the sincerity of my point, if, hypothetically, a Jewish and a non-Jewish infant were accidentally switched at birth, I honestly believe that the non-Jewish-by-blood child raised by a Jewish family, immersed in Jewish culture, and encouraged to seek higher education, would be more likely to grow up to appear more "intelligent" than the Jewish-by-blood infant raised by a particular non-Jewish family that places little importance on higher education. Like I said, it's all nurture, and no nature.Loomis 15:47, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Different races have obviously different skin colours, face shapes, heights, muscle build, susceptibility to certain diseases etc. Why should the brain be specifically excluded from the effects of nature? I am not saying it is entirely genetic, but the exclusion of any genetic influence seems arbitrary (possibly politically correct?). 10:10, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

French handwriting affectation[edit]

(not sure if this is humanities or language)

My brother received his first letter from his school-appointed, female, teenage, French exchange-partner, and we noticed what we took to be a strange affectation in her handwriting. She adds an extra 'arch' to the letters n and m. Now, this is such a bizarre affectation (rendering all ns as ms and ms as weird things), that we wondered if it was some current French fad. Anyone know? (She also capitalised all Hs when addressing the letter, even in the middle of words, so she might just be odd...) Skittle 10:58, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

Do you mean like the ns and ms in this image? That's pretty much standard in cursive writing. -- Chairman S. Talk Contribs 11:05, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
No, not like that (I have seen joined-up-writing before!). She has put deliberate extra arches on the ends, over and above anything needed to link the letters. And she printed the address on the envelope, and did the same thing there. Skittle 11:33, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Maybe it's a personal thing of hers, (for whatever reasons) rather than a French thing... 惑乱 分からん 12:08, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
That is, of course, possible. It's just that it's such an odd thing (actually writing one letter as another!) that I wondered if there was some fad behind it. I mean, teenagers often develop deliberate affectations in their writing, such as loops instead of dots over their is, altering the height of letters, extra, but this seemed very strange. Was hoping some french wikieditors, or people who were good friends with such, might know. Skittle 12:13, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps you could request her permission and copyright clearance and scan an example, and post your question on the french wikipedia as well, along with the sample image. Absent the scan, you could just ask for links to sample images of handwriting and compare/contrast. Just a thought, it's kinda difficult to answer without actually seeing what you mean. dr.ef.tymac 16:58, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Hmm, maybe I should try the French Wiki, although my French isn't that good. It really isn't an ambiguous or complicated difference, she literally prints 'Lame' instead of 'Lane', 'Friemd' instead of 'Friend' and something that looks a bit like 'I'rm', but literally an m with an extra arch, instead of 'I'm'. Just thought it could be a playground thing in France :-P Skittle 22:56, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
So well, how old is the mademoiselle? More exact than "teenage"? Anyway, maybe your brother could just ask her: "Pourquoi est-ce que ta maníere de êcríre est tellement bizarre?" ,unhhmm, or something... ;) 惑乱 分からん 03:16, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, pretty much resigned myself to that solution, although it seems a bit rude! She's about 15. Skittle 21:01, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Never heard of such an extra arch or it being linked to different ways of rendering letters in different languages but on that subject I heard the French would write the number seven (7) with an extra horizontal line accross the middle whereas in UK english seven would be writen like in its printed form (like this: 7) which could confuse some international readers. Keria 20:22, 23 February 2007 (UTC)

I believe both 7 and Z with horizontal lines in the middle are realtively common variants across Europe. 惑乱 分からん 23:14, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
The "7-with-a-line" (there really SHOULD be a name for that) is to avoid confusion with the number "one" (1). When written, many people will make that hook-thingy on top of and to the left of the one rather large, looking for all the world to these "new world" eyes like the number 7. Bunthorne 03:57, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
What about "Barred seven"? 惑乱 分からん 14:42, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
It is common in mathematics for the 7 to have a line through it (to differentiate it from 1 as Bunthorne said), the zero has a line to differentiate it from the letter O, the Z has a line to differentiate it from the numebr 2, and often a 1 will have no hook on top and a line on bottom to diffreentiate it from a lower case L. None of those are hard-fast rules, but are steadily becoming common to avoid confusion. --Kainaw (talk) 04:22, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Well I'm British and I adopted the "barred 7" back in the early 1970s when I was still in secondary school, and I've used it ever since. Given the state of my handwriting when I write numbers, it's very useful to have a means of checking that it really is 7, not 1 or 2! -- Arwel (talk) 16:29, 24 February 2007 (UTC)
Just to add to the anecdotal evidence, my father (an American) puts lines through his 7s and Zs. Though this probably has a lot to do with him being an engineer. Dismas|(talk) 11:43, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
In Britain, it's relatively uncommon to put a line though a 7 (I don't), but certainly not unknown (my mother does), but I think it's almost universal on the continent. I've never seen a British person put a line through a z, however. Incidentally, many Europeans (but not British people) write a 1 which very much resembles an inverted v, with both strokes being of more or less equal length. I work in a British university with many foreign students, and I would say the majority of European students do this. It can be confusing until you get used to it. -- Necrothesp 15:42, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
"More or less equal" sounds exaggerated to me, maybe it's the impression from someone used to 1-lined 1's. Perhaps the top slant is slightly longer than half the "stem", also depending on the spped of handwriting... 惑乱 分からん 17:17, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I wouldn't call it an exageration. Took my ages to work out what the symbol was my lecturer was writing. Thought it was some sort of triangle, representing something he hadn't made clear! This was in thermodynamics, and he kept introducing new symbols without explaining, so it added serious confusion! Skittle 21:01, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm American, but I write the barred-7 and barred Z, although as a physicist it was something I picked up for clarity. When I studied in Germany I started doing a more hooked 1, which meant I really needed to distinguish my 7's. I could never do the 1's so extravagantly as the Germans, though. An inverted V is really a good description for a traditional German 1 in my experience. It was usually less exaggerated in my physics courses than elsewhere. — Laura Scudder 21:22, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Reasons for Variations in Price Elasticity within a demand curve[edit]

I understand the general concept and the mathematics behind differences in price elasticity within a single curve, as shown below: Price elasticity of demand and revenue.png

But what are the reasons behind the different ranges of price elasticity with regard to demand for a good? i.e. Why is the demand for some goods more elastic at places and more inelastic at others?

Thanks, Harwoof 13:15, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Most likely volume, but I have no siteable reference right now. -- Barringa 14:25, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

What i've learned in my economics courses is that there are multiple reasons. i couldn't remember all of them without finding my old notes but i can remember some: How often you need to buy the good is one example i remember, for instance, people may buy toilet paper in bulk when it's cheaper and buy less of a quantity when it's more expensive. another example i can think of is goods that are luxuries tend to be more elastic than nessecities. but then again i can barely remember the difference between price elasticity and demand elasticity so maybe i'm just full of hot air right now. Amirman 20:24, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Another factor might be the ability to pay more. Just about everybody could afford to pay twice as much for bread, but lots of people would be shut out of the housing market if houses suddenly became twice as expensive. Thus, even if they still wanted to buy a house, they would be unable to do so. Also, you only need a certain number of some items, like artificial hearts, so price changes won't make you go out and buy a dozen. A perception of quality also comes into play there, so people aren't likely to buy a discount artificial heart unless that's all they can afford. Those same people might very well stock up on discount toilet paper. StuRat 18:56, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

What are the dates of these paintings?[edit]

Does anyone know the dates of these paintings? It's probably between 1876 and 1879, since that's when the artist did most of his work. grendel|khan 17:12, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

The dates of the paintings are all stated as unknown so its probably impossible to find out, given the century they were made in. --K.Z Talk Vandal Contrib 04:29, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
A Polish colleague suggests you contact* the staff of the Jewish Historical Institute (Żydowski Instytut Historyczny; ŻIH) in Warsaw, which holds a collection of paintings by this artist. (* Be sure to scroll down that page for e-mail addresses per department.) -- Deborahjay 23:41, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Good idea! I've sent an email. grendel|khan 15:39, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Tunkalow Parzen[edit]

What is 'tunkalow parzen' and what does it mean? I know it has something to do with when you die, someone weighing you in a balance to see if you are found wanting. Other questions I was looking for on Wikipedia about this subject are: what are you found wanting? On a balance you are weighed against something; What are you being weighed against? Who is weighing you? What happens if you are tried and found wanting? Thanks,

P.S. I heard about 'tunkalow parzen' from the movie, The Lady Killers with Tom Hanks. I heard about the balance thing from my dad but that's all he could tell me.

The term 'tunkalow parzen', used in the movie The Lady Killers with Tom Hanks, is simply a matter of deep Southern-styled jargon, that would most likely be recognizable only to many Southerners, namely African-American church-goers. Mrs. Munson stated "You don't want to be tried and found wanting. Many, many done tunkalow parzen." Her meaning is that when Judgement day comes, you don't want to be held accountable for being poisoned by worldy things, because "Many, many have taken a low poison," that leads to want, temporal and spiritual, [money, love, power, the glory of Christ, entry into the Pearly Gates, to sit in the choir of Angels, etc.] 02:57, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Most likely it's misspelled. Maybe it's cited correctly in the quotes section on its Internet Movie Database entry, try searching for it if you find the correct spelling. 惑乱 分からん 03:20, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Try googling "Weighing souls": there's lots of material on the Internet. --Wetman 03:27, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

It comes from the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament, chapter 5, verses 1 to 31, that part dealing with Belshazzar's feast. Belshazzar, king of Babylon, presides over a drunken feast with his courtiers, during which sacred gold and silver vessels looted by Nebuchadnezzar, the former king, from the temple in Jerusalem are brought out to be admired. No sooner does this happen than a hand appears, writing the following text on the wall of the chamber-mene, mene, tekel, parsin. None of Belshazzzar's court are able to make sense of this, so he sends for the prophet, Daniel, an exiled Jew. Daniel tells the king that his profane use of the sacred vessals was blasphemy. He then interprets the mysterious text:

This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed in the scales and found wanting; PARSIN, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.

It's a prophecy of impending doom; hence the expression 'the writing is on the wall'. Belshazzar, deficient and wanting in the eyes of God, is slain that same night, becoming the last king of Babylon. Clio the Muse 03:30, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

In Ancient Egypt, the god of the dead (Osiris?) would weigh your heart against a feather to see if you were a good person. Corvus cornix 21:57, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

You are quite right, Corvus, to identify Osiris as the supreme God of the dead, but it was not he who weighed the hearts. The feather was that of the godess Ma'at, the personification of order and truth. The scales themselves were managed, by the time of the 18th dynasty, by Thoth, in the form of a baboon, and later by Anubis, the god of embalming. If the heart was shown to be false it was swallowed by the demon, Ammut. Clio the Muse 01:35, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Canada vs United States[edit]

What are the pros and cons of moving from the United States to Canada? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:53, 25 February 2007 (UTC).

Socialized medicine would be a pro, and colder weather is a matter of opinion. (Please avoid double posting, thanks.) Dar-Ape 05:02, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Our leaders are only half-wits, not nitwits. And your chances of getting shot will decrease. Clarityfiend 05:46, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Socialized medicine is good for some people and not others. If it was great for everyone, we wouldn't have so many Canadians in our hospital paying a lot (since they have no health insurance) for medical treatment. As one lady I talked to put it, socialized medicine is for the healthy, not the sick. Answering the question though, I found the beer better, the air nicer, and the fishing a dream. The cold and the huge biting insects were terrible. --Kainaw (talk) 05:49, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
It depends on who you are, what you do and what your likes and dislikes are. One obvious con is the paperwork, time and expense involved in gaining permanent residency to Canada. BTW, Canda has single-payer heath care, not socialized medicine, and there are, of course, both positives and negatives to it. -- Mwalcoff 05:53, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Pros: 1) Universal health care means that you do not lose access to health care when you lose your job. 2) You are no longer part of an aggressive imperial power, nor does as large a share of your taxes go to killing people in faraway lands. 3) Canada's retirement system is much better funded and more likely to be somewhat intact decades from now, whereas the U.S. system is nearly certain to be bankrupt or inflated into insignificance. 4) If you are lesbian or gay, you can marry your loved one and enjoy the same state benefits as heterosexuals. 5) You have a better chance of seeing your values reflected in government if you are not a social conservative and/or economic libertarian. 6) If global warming goes into overdrive, the climate is likely to remain bearable in most parts of Canada. Cons: 1) Universal health care can mean that you have to wait for nonessential medical procedures. 2) You are no longer a citizen of the most powerful military nation in the world, assuming that offers some psychological or other benefit. 3) Jobs tend to pay a bit less, the tax bite is a bit higher, and career opportunities are more limited in some fields. All in all, a slightly lower average standard of living (though also a lower rate of poverty). 4) There are no really huge cities, such as New York or Los Angeles, and Canada to some degree lacks the excitement and cultural richness that big cities offer. 5) If you are a social conservative and/or economic libertarian, you will be unhappy with the rights afforded to gays and lesbians and with the larger role of government. 6) It can be quite cold in winter. Marco polo 15:13, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
No huge cities ? How about Toronto ? Just how large of a city do you want ? StuRat 18:51, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I agree with your 5th "con" point, Marco. I'm a Canadian and I definitely consider myself a social conservative, yet I'm definitely not unhappy with the rights afforded to gays and lesbians. (I'm assuming that your economic libertarian remark related solely to your remark about the larger role of government, as I can't see any possible connection between economic libertarianism and gay rights). Loomis 18:40, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
And I would definitely make the lack of really huge cities a con pro, not a pro con. But to each his or her own. JackofOz 23:48, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
I believe he did. Perhaps one of us misread his post. Loomis 23:59, 26 February 2007 (UTC) (Oops. Silly me. I meant to say I would make it a pro, not a con. Fixed above. Thanks, Loomis.) JackofOz 03:31, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Loomis, you are a Canadian social conservative. Almost all American social conservatives are against gay rights. -- Mwalcoff 00:11, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
"Against gay rights"? When someone says it is OK for gays to work, vote, drive, go to the movies, have friends, go to the library... but not adopt children - how is that "against gay rights"? I personally believe that the right to adopt children and get married should be afforded to all people - of course there are people gay and straight (and bi, tri, whatever) that shouldn't be allowed to adopt. However, when someone is against gay marriage or gay adoption, I feel it is wrong to say they are against gay rights. They are against one or two rights but not against others. --Kainaw (talk) 17:15, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure most people would take "gay rights" to mean things like government recognition of same-sex partnerships; protection from workplace discrimination on account of sexuality; laws against anti-gay hate crimes; freedom to be gay in the military; gay adoption rights; and things like that. Most American social conservatives are against those sorts of things. I'm not saying they're against gay people. -- Mwalcoff 01:04, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
They may not consider themselves to be against gay people, but if they support the denial to gay people of marriage, adoption and similar rights that straight people take for granted, they may as well be against gay people. JackofOz 03:34, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not so sure I agree. Though I'm certainly for the recognition of same-sex partnerships, protection from workplace discrimination on account of sexuality, and laws against anti-gay hate crimes, I believe there's an extra dimension to the last two that's being overlooked. With regards to gays in the military, think about how men and women are segregated. Why do you think they do this? Because if women soldiers bunked together with males they's inevitably get raped? Of course not. It's because a female's right to privacy includes a right not to be forced to live in close quarters (which involves of course nudity, public showering, etc.) with others who are sexually oriented towards women (i.e heterosexual men and gay women) as respectful as they may be towards her. By extension, men too have the very same right to not be forced to live in close quarters with others who are sexually oriented towards men (i.e. heterosexual women and gay men). It's not a matter of anti-gay discrimination, but a matter of privacy.
Similarly, it's my belief that every child deserves to be adopted by a couple consisting of a mother-figure and a father-figure. But I don't consider this to be anti-gay either, as I'm equally against the right of single people, whatever their gender or sexual orientation, to adopt children. Let's please not instantly assume that every law that even tangentially restricts the rights of gays is by definition "anti-gay". Often the primary motive for these laws has nothing to do with sexual orientation. Loomis 11:47, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Info on WWII-era Swedish journalist Sven Horta (?)[edit]

I have a reference (in Yiddish, of all things!) to an article printed in the Swedish press (newspaper or magazine) on January 21, 1946. Partial information indicates that the publication's name is "Ny Tid", the article's topic relates to the wartime rescue by a German officer of a Jewish woman from Latvia, and some association with Frankfurt am Main.
The query: the article was written by a Sven Horta or Harta -- what might be the name of this journalist? --Thanks, Deborahjay 08:49, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm a little puzzled by your question, Deborahjay. Have you any reason to suppose that the journalist's name was not Sven Horta or Harta? At this remove of time it might be very difficult to track down this individual, unless he had some special renown. However, you might try contacting Ny Tid directly, which I think is a weekly Swedish-language magazine, published in Finland since 1944, not to be confused with the current Norwegian publication of the same name. I'm sorry, but I do not myself have any contact details. The other possibility is a now defunct organ of the Norwegian Communist Party, also of the same name (this gets so complicated!), published until 1939, and again for some two years after 1945. Clio the Muse 15:23, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
The initial question is to clarify the spelling of the name. I mentioned the Yiddish source (i.e. the letter alef unmarked by a kamatz vs. patakh vowel) as indicating why it's impossible to discriminate between "o" and "a" in the provisional spelling that requires confirmation, for the sake of (a) correct recording, and (b) further inquiry. Also: due to our unfamiliarity with the Swedish-language press, it may be that a journalist of this name is well known to cognoscenti, hence the query here. -- Deborahjay 02:54, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
The homepage could be found at (featuring articles from the magazine in Swedish). The staff could be reached at red(at) (red is a Swedish abbreviation of redaktion, staff), Questions could probably be asked in English, Swedish or Finnish (and quite possibly in other major European languages). By 1944, (likely still in 1946), the magazine was published by Finnish People's Democratic League, an umbrella organization for all non-Social Democrat left-wing politicians in Finland, with strong communist tendencies. 惑乱 分からん 15:52, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Although a Norwegian magazine would likely not write anything in Swedish, so the Finland-Swedish magzine seems more likely to me... 惑乱 分からん 15:57, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, 惑乱 分からん, for the gentle hint (besides helpful indications of directions for inquiry!) that it would've been more correct had I indicated: Swedish language press...! -- Deborahjay 03:00, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Documents specified as public domain yet bearing restrictions: free or non-free?[edit]

First off, I'm not asking for genuine legal advice, just a better understanding of what the law (in the United States, at least) is likely to be.

Anyway, recently I've been seeking material to reuse under the GFDL. Some works (such as this one) specify that they are "in the public domain" but go on to stipulate things like "This FAQ ... copyright 2003 ... You may copy and repost this ... but the content of the document ... must remain unchanged". Now, which is legally binding? If the work is in the public domain, the extra restrictions are apparently not valid, and yet if the work is still copyrighted why would the author explicitly state it was in the public domain?

So, anyway, am I right in assuming that works that attach additional restrictions would not be considered to be in the public domain after all, or is the view taken that the author's explicit statement of entry into the public domain (even if the author apparently misunderstands the concept) negates any erroneously stipulated restrictions?

Sorry if I haven't made this clear enough. :) GarrettTalk 09:51, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

If it's in the public domain, that's the end of it. No restrictions. But in the event of a dispute, it would be a court that would decide whether or not it was public domain or not. The most likely scenario is you use it, no one disputes it, the end. If the person who wanted to place restrictions on its use were to object and take you to court, it would be up to the court to decide if his description of the item as "public domain" trumps what I think is his obvious intent (by stipulating restrictions) that it not be placed into the public domain at all. Courts are capricious things, but I suspect they'd go with intent, especially on the page you linked, which includes a copyright as well as the restrictions. - Nunh-huh 12:03, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
"Public domain" followed by a copyright notice should be interpreted as copyrighted. There are multiple uses of the term "public domain", and it's a bit of a stretch to assume it automatically means copyright even when that's directly contradicted by the next sentence - if the author is not aware that 'public domain' is a specific term of art with copyright, he may just be using it to signify that the contents of the document are available to the general public and generally known. Shimgray | talk | 14:22, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Yeah, I thought as much. I'd rather take the stricter approach. Ah well, back to Google I go. Thanks. :) GarrettTalk 19:49, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Good and Evil[edit]

What is your guys' opinion on good and evil? Do you think it really exists or is it just point of view? (I, myself believe its just point of view) PitchBlack 00:38, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

This is not a factual question! But take a look at our article on the subject: good and evilKieff | Talk 01:10, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I suspect that our ideas of good and evil are evolutionary adaptations to the human lifestyle. There have been some actual scientific testing done on some of these ideas...albeit in a limited way. Take for example, the classic 'Iterated Prisoners dilemma' game. An experiment was done where computer programmers from around the world were invited to write computer programs to play this game. Thousands of programs were submitted - some exceedingly subtle and sophisticated - and they were set up to play against each other millions of times and in all possible combinations. Time after time, no program could consistently beat one of the simplest (called 'tit for tat'). The simplest program worked by assuming the other player was "playing nice" - and if they didn't play nice, it would punish them once then go back to assuming they were nice. This corresponds closely to ideas of friendliness and forgiveness that we humans would identify as "good". No other strategy - no matter how 'evil' was able to beat that combination. It turns out that this 'goodness' is the optimum strategy for that particular game. It would be dangerous to extrapolate to any kind of universal truth - but the results are compelling. But in the end, we believe that the definition of "good" is those things we hope everyone will do - and the definition of "evil" is those things we hope they won't. That tends to be a self-fulfilling thing. Is there something innate about the universe in this? Perhaps not - "good" could just the set of things that worked out best for human societies during our evolution. These might be quite arbitary things that just happen to be optimal for loose tribal societies. If we were 'loners' then maybe our ideas of good an evil would be radically different. We know that other species - with other lifestyles - do things that we find morally repugnant...but their evolutionary pressures are different. SteveBaker 03:52, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Good and Evil is very simple concept to understand. My enemies are Evil and my friends are Good. 09:29, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Good to know you're always right, huh? 惑乱 分からん 15:55, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
I can prove it to you. It's easy. I'm not the kind of person that hates good people. Therefore if my enemies are good then I would not hate them. Of course I hate my enemies. Therefore the logical deduction would be that my enemies are EVIL. 09:29, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, 220, your proof sinks into a bog of hopeless relativism. Evil seldom, if ever, defines itself as such. Now, I know you are not Adolf Hitler, but, for the sake of argument, let us assume that you are... Clio the Muse 07:02, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

You may find some interest in Friedrich Nietszche's Beyond Good and Evil, a work of considerable analytical power, which penetrates right to the source of all moral concepts. Here are two of my favourite aphorisms-What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil, and Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups. The latter might best be illustrated by Arthur Miller's play The Crucible and Henrik Ibsen's An Enemy of the People. In Ibsen's play a doctor takes a principled stand against the collective 'good' of his local community, earning much hatred in the process, but he continues to defend the truth notwithstanding, because '...the strongest man in the world is the man who stands most alone.' Clio the Muse 16:07, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

The concept of good and evil is an expression of the western dialectic DDB 19:27, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

But there is also a Buddhist dialectic, DDB: and while there is indeed no absolute division in eastern philosophy between good and evil, such concepts do exist. I am reminded of one of the sayings of the Buddha, quoted in the Dahammapada-'Overcome anger by love, evil by good. Conquer the greedy with liberality and with truth the speaker of falsehoods.' Clio the Muse 00:47, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Excellent points Clio. I often, and often overstate the Western Dialectic because it does underlie so much of western thinking. Court practice where a judge hears a 'for' and 'against' argument and weighs judgement. Politics where two parties argue the same issues from different perspectives. Science, where theories are tested for contradiction and so on. Western religious expression fits into the thinking, with heaven and hell, much more so (IMHO) than Eastern philosophies. DDB 08:58, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

End to Poverty[edit]

Poverty 'Cannot' be measured by the LESS THAN 1$ CRITRIA. This is because various factors are responsible for poverty and hence it differs from place to place.All those DRASTIC measures going to be taken or supposedly undertaken are merely semi-Utopian ideas with no effecive solution, all they provide is temporary relief.

What is needed is to battle and strike poverty in multiple dimensions, simultaneously. Poverty is a part of cycle that has its ground in Crime, Corruption, Military Growth,Unemployment and what not. Having read it in (Wiki) an article, it is both cause and effect. We need to strke at its core. Gandhi said that mother Earth has enough to satisfy man's needs but not his greed. In the present situation , lot of people fall into two extremes. Either they have scarce of their needs(Poverty) or they are in a state of Prosperity having most of everything, much more than they actually require.

All possible solns. according to me are not applicable for the present scenario. It really bothers me that They Can Start A War For No Reason.....Cant they end poverty?....

According to a report World's military expense sums up to 3 Billions Dollars Per Day!!! A fraction of it will end poverty for sure.

How is it possible to end all these problems with effectiveness without compromise on anything. I want to know the possible End of Poverty...for sure Sidforu 16:14, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Would 3 billion dollars a day really end poverty? Sure, it's an outrageous sum for military expenses, but it would only add up to 50c/day for each individual... (But economical mathematics have always baffled me, anyway...) 惑乱 分からん 17:22, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

This is a very complicated issue and all I can do is offer a personal opinion, from the perspective of a cynic and a pessimist. The elimination of poverty is an impossible ideal. As a goal it is worthy of pursuit; but the faster one runs the faster it runs away. Clio the Muse 17:27, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't think poverty can be measured in terms of money - poverty of the mind leads to other forms, as does poverty of action. Just give people money doesn't mean that in 1 year time they will not still be in poverty. Nevertheless you make some interesting points about the madness of the modern world. 19:15, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Equity arguments tend to guarentee poverty. The Cycle of poverty may be broken by wealth creation. It may sound crazy, but the secret to wealth is savings. Investment and spending allows others to acquire, and they in turn, spend money too. Attempts to prevent exploitation of the poor may have the effect of maintaining poverty. So Nike might own factories in Malaysia, yet pay one basketballer more than the combined earnings of all their Malaysian workers. The Malaysian workers also benefit from the deal (although nowhere near as much as the basketball player).

Military spending is not relivant to poverty. Admittedly, broke third world nations will blow their budgets, as the Soviet Union did throughout its life, but the poverty issue is unrelated to the military, which is a necessity. In fact, in some cases, military is one of the few things propping up some poor nations from anarchy. DDB 19:24, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Some people say that there is always an upper class and a lower class, and that they always fight. Maybe this is expression of the dialectic? In any case, one definition of poverty is "being" in the lower class. Another definition is that poverty is the struggle between the classes. In some ways, today's poorest individuals have better quality of life than the wealthy classes in certain historical periods. To suggest that the poverty is an absolute state is a bit absurd. Poverty is not only the lack of economic resources. It is also the social condition which traps individuals into their lifestyle. I guess you need to carefully define poverty before you try to solve it. But clearly handing out money is not a solution, even if you handed out millions of dollars per person. The problem is described in economic terms, but it is more than that. Nimur 03:30, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Like unemployment, instead of 0%, some reasonably low level, like 5% poverty, should be the goal. The only way to achieve 0% unemployment or poverty would be to ensure that everybody keeps their job no matter how incompetent they are and is given money no matter how quickly they waste it. One approach for such people might be to provide them with a home and food, but not any cash, since they will spend it on drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, tobacco, gambling, or whatever, as quickly as they get it. As for getting down to 5%, the poor need free education (including college), free medical care, free child care, free transportation, etc., to raise themselves up to the level of everyone else. This might be possible, but extremely expensive, within rich countries. However, it seems permanently out of reach for poor, and especially war-torn, countries, where those kind of funds will never be available. Population control may be needed in such countries, as their current population already outstrips the natural resources in that country, and further increases in population can't be supported. A realistic goal might be to bring the population down to match the meager resources of such nations. Unfortunately, rather oppressive measures would be needed, like only offering food to those who agree to be sterilized. StuRat 18:17, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

name this logical fallacy[edit]

A man who has only one penny is definitely not rich, but poor. Giving a poor man a penny will not make him rich, he will just stay poor. Therefore, no matter how many pennies you give a poor man, that will never make him rich. Fin. NoClutter 17:38, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

It appears to be a form of continuum fallacy; you might also be interested in the article on the paradox of the heap. Carom 18:01, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

It sounds like communism or, possibly Stalinism. DDB 19:06, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Does it? Mattley (Chattley) 19:18, 25 February 2007 (UTC)
And all these years I thought communism was an ideology. Shucks, it's a logical fallacy! − Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 04:24, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Mattley, you think it more Maoism? Maybe an expression of UN policy? DDB 19:38, 25 February 2007 (UTC) My apologies folks, bad day, and I needed to tease. My responses are not serious, here, and Carom's answer is very good, as is toto's ;) DDB

Mao, Stalin, Communism, the UN? It has nothing to do with any of these; for, in truth, this is the Robin Hood approach to social inequality! Seriously, folks, the question should not be looked at politically or historically, but in terms of simple logic, as NoClutter has indicated in describing the fallacy in the first place. And as such I can think of no better response than that already given by Carom. Clio the Muse 20:28, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Thanks Clio, I was beginning to wonder if I'd missed something...Carom 00:25, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Carom's answers are more to the point, but you might find Zeno's paradox relevant as well. --TotoBaggins 00:07, 26 February 2007 (UTC)


now a days leaders are really lead or guide ? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by G.R.Srithar (talkcontribs) 17:45, 25 February 2007 (UTC).

Sometimes leaders as such are really just a person representating of the beliefs of a society or group - rather than taking a active role in directing the group. I can't actually name a leader alive today.. 19:13, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

In Australia, John Howard is Prime Minister, yet he takes on issues that may not be popular because he feels they are important. He has been reelected many times as PM.

The political opposition in Australia are populist, and have not been in government since '96, although every state and territory has that party in government.

I think it is a case of Howard leading, not merely guiding. DDB 19:34, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Maybe, but where is he leading us to? I think it's truer to say that he tends to create issues where there were none previously (GST; children overboard; ...), in a ploy to polarise the electorate and thus keep himself in the spotlight where he can adopt the mask of an avuncular, trusted, statesman-like figure. To misquote Oscar Wilde, for a political leader there's only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about. See, he's even got me doing it now. JackofOz 23:46, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Personally, I think rule by consensus is not such a bad thing. Bush, for example, led the US into the war in Iraq, whereas had he followed popular opinion and gone after bin Laden instead, the world would be a much better place now. StuRat 17:40, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

wikisource: "to the very sage and illustrious the dean and doctors of the sacred faculty of theology of paris". The meditations are dedicated to the dean of the (very Catholic) faculty of theology of the University of Paris (Sorbonne). C mon 09:15, 26 February 2007 (UTC)


What can you guys tell me about the 5 Hells of Taosim? Responses on my talk page would be greatly appreciated, thanks!100110100 02:06, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, I can tell you that there are ten! Have a look here for the details [17]
However, for people who may have some passing interest in the matter, but have not the time, or inclination, to read all of the details on the linked page, here they are in brief. The whole structure bears some resemblance to the circles of hell depicted in Dante's Inferno.
1) The entrance where the dead are judged according to their actions in life.
2) The Great Cold Hell of thieves and murderers, ruled over by King Ch'u Chiang.
3) The Hell of Black Ropes, ruled over by King Sung Ti. For the unfilial and disobedient.
4) The Great Hell of the Lake of Blood, ruled by King Wu Kuan. For those who cheat in commercial dealings.
5) The Inferno of Great Lamentation, ruled by King Yen Lo. Here moral suffering takes the place of physical torture. Punishment takes the form of the empty remembrance of lost earthly pleasures.
6) Ruled by King Pien Ch'eng. For Blasphemers.
7) The Hell of Pounded Flesh, ruled by King T'ai Shan. Among other things for those who cause others to quarrel.
8) The Great Hot Hell of King Tu Shih. For undutiful sons and those who disrespect their elders. Also, and rather whimsically, for women who hang out clothes to dry on house tops, because the Chinese believe that this interferes with the flight of departed spirits through the air.
9) Ruled by King P'ing Teng. For executed murderers and incendiaries.
10) Ruled by King Chuan Lun. Here those who are to be reborn are handed over to the Spirit of the Winds.
Clio the Muse 09:02, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Sponsoring H1B visas[edit]

Can any company or non profit organization sponsor H1B visa? What are the conditions that employers must meet to qualify to do so? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 03:27, 26 February 2007 (UTC).

Did you read H-1B visa? It covers sponsorship requirements, and points you to further information. --TotoBaggins 16:36, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Indian Subcontinent[edit]

I noticed that some people from either Pakistan, India or Bangladesh look like black people. Is it that some people were born to a black parent and a Indian parent?, like, for example, a guy would have a Indian blood by speaking the language, but his face says that he has a black blood. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 04:08, 26 February 2007 (UTC).

Black blood by speaking the language? I've never heard of that effect of speaking a language. Seriously, you seem to be confusing a few different concepts. The reason that many people from the subcontinent look like "black people" is that they are indeed black people. That doesn't mean they're negroid. I'm sure there are many Indians etc with mixed ethnicity, some of whom have African descent through one of their parents. On the whole, this isn't the case, though. Africans (or people descended from them) don't have a monopoly on black skin. JackofOz 05:00, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Most people living near the equatorial regions have darker skin tones. They may not necessarily be of African descent. Each race has its signature feature.Illuminati87

The above responses are quite accurate. I'd just like to elaborate on the fact that there's much more to being "Negroid" or "Black of African Descent" than mere skin colour. Other factors such as extremely tightly curled hair, as well as certain distinctive nose and lip features are actually far more distinctive of race than dark skin alone. As an extreme example, I recall encountering an Albino man who, despite lacking entirely in any skin pigment, was clearly of Black-African descent, as he later confirmed. By contrast, though many individuals of Sub-Continental descent may have extremely dark skin, have you noticed, for example, the quality of their hair? Though it certainly varies from extremely straight to wavy, could you possibly see any of these people growing '70s style Afros? Of course not. Loomis 14:52, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Black skin is related to life in equatorial regions, Polynesians and Amerindians being exceptions. Australian Aboriginals are not African. DDB 19:26, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

I believe the dominant theory is that one of the first migrations out of Africa essentially followed the Southern coast of Asia to Australia, which, at the time, was connected to Asia. This explains why many Negroid features may be seen be those in Southern India, Melanesia, and Australia. Later migrations brought Caucasians to India, and the current population is a blend of the two groups, with those in the North remaining more Caucasian and those in the south more Negroid. StuRat 17:36, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Armenian position on arms control[edit]

What's the official position of the Armenian goverment on arms control? 05:54, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

You will find some pertinent information here [18]. Clio the Muse 06:13, 26 February 2007 (UTC)


Are Certificates of Social Work offered anywhere? A response on my talk page would be greatly appreciated, Thanks!100110100 06:21, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

As far as I can tell, certificates are for Social Service Worker, which isn't quite the same thing as Social Worker. Basically, Social Service Workers do most things normal Social Workers do, but can't call themselves "Social Workers," and can't be licensed without jumping through hoops. Social work#Qualifications for social work probably explains it better than I can. Seiran 07:17, 26 February 2007 (UTC)


how were convicts selected to be transported to Australia on the first fleet? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Walkp1 (talkcontribs) 12:00, 26 February 2007 (UTC).

Check out the convict era of Western Australia. − Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 13:14, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

The page highlighted by Twas Now in fact only deals with Western Australia, a late comer to the penal system. The main areas of transportation had been established many years before this settlement, in the area of New South Wales in eastern Australia. The pages you need to refer to are Convictism in Australia and the History of New South Wales. North America had been the original destination for those sentenced to transportation, and it was only when this outlet was closed by the American Revolution did the authorities turn to Australia. Legislation permitting transportation to New South Wales was passed by the British Parliament in 1784, followed by a similar measure in the Parliament of Ireland two years later. The first transport left from England in August 1786, containing over seven hundred people convicted of a variety of offences, landing at Botany Bay in January 1788. From there they sailed on to Port Jackson, where a permanent settlement was established on 26 January, now celebrated as Australia Day. You will find a full list of the names of the transported on that first voyage here [19]. Clio the Muse 18:23, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Selection was different depending on gender. Not as many females are jailed as males. Clio and Twas Now have addressed the salient points. My Great Great Great Great Grandmother, Sarah Jane Thompson, an illiterate Irish lass, came to Australia following her parents who had been convicted of counterfeiting eight years earlier, in 1812. She was 18yo. Clearly her parents had been transported together. DDB 19:15, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Looking for an early Christian personage[edit]

I recall reading about an early Christian, most likely a church father, who commented that when he was in heaven, he would enjoy looking down on the torments of the unsaved. Does this ring a bell with anyone? Or is it apocryphal? Thanks! Bhumiya (said/done) 17:30, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

It was Tertullian, who wrote in De Spectaculis 'The greatest joy of Heaven is watching the torments of the damned in Hell, a spectacle far more pleasing than any on Earth.' Clio the Muse 18:36, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! Bhumiya (said/done) 21:56, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
The quote above is quite reminiscent of another noted philosopher, though this time a pagan: What is best in life? To crush one's enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.  :) --TotoBaggins 23:41, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Well Conan obviously vanquished Wikiquote:Genghis Khan and plundered the quote from him as that is who it is usually ascribed to. meltBanana 00:30, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Church Pews[edit]

How did the church pew get it's name? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:25, 26 February 2007 (UTC).

It is thought to come from the old French puie, for balcony, which comes from the Latin podia, the plural of podium. Clio the Muse 19:37, 26 February 2007 (UTC) Clio is correct. It has nothing to do with the Chinese saying "Man who farts in church sits in own pew" DDB 10:17, 27 February 2007 (UTC)


who conqured the aztecs?--Rsivad 21:28, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Smallpox. 21:43, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

More or less correct, but see Aztec#Population decline. --Wirbelwindヴィルヴェルヴィント (talk) 22:04, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Smallpox and population decline? Is it perhaps no longer fashionable to suggest that Hernan Cortes in particular and the Spanish in general had something to do with the fall of the Aztec Empire? Disease, even diseases alien to a population group, have been present throughout history; but they have seldom, if ever, caused the fall of major civilizations by themselves. In truth, the Aztecs were brought down by a combination of factors. It would be wrong to exclude Spanish firepower and, most important of all, the alliances Cortes was able to form with those who resented the domination of the Aztecs, which includes important groups like the Tlaxcalans, who at times made up the bulk of his army. I think it safe to assume that these allies were as much effected by smallpox as the Aztecs. Beware always of the mono-causal. Clio the Muse 23:23, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Masturbation and shame[edit]

Why does society tend to frown on and attach shame to masturbation? Thanks. 22:19, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Probably because it's a sin in the Bible. --Wirbelwindヴィルヴェルヴィント (talk) 22:23, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Because it is non-productive sex and Christianity, in general dismisses non-productive sexuality, like sex with a form of contraception, with a same sex partner or oral sex (see Religion and sexuality). C mon 22:27, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Wirbelwind; Your answer would only hold if was referring to Western Society. As someone with foreign characters representing your name I would've assumed you would've considered whether the act in question is considered shameful in other cultural contexts.--droptone 23:13, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
I considered the fact that he said society, and not societies, leading me to believe that he meant an English speaking society, which generally refers to the West. Perfectly logical, really. --Wirbelwindヴィルヴェルヴィント (talk) 23:35, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
If non-reproductive sex is forbidden by Christianity, wouldn't it follow that post-menopausal sex and sex between infirtile married couples should be likewise forbidden? Loomis 23:53, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

I've discussed this issue with my wife, and she says she can't help me. I think the issue gets out of hand, sometimes. (joke over) I don't think that the basis of social rejection of onanism is entirely religious. I think there is a very deep cultural reason for it. I know of no culture that celebrates the practise. Even the liberal counterculture of sixties revolution labelled 'wankers' an insult. It is interesting that, while individualism is celebrated, masturbation is not (publicly). DDB 05:17, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Outside judeo-christian societies masturbation is found often in association with creation myths - eg egypt - amun created the world by masturbation. 14:55, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I've also heard someone say that sex is multidimensional in that it is not just a reproductive act or for that purpose alone but rather recreational and a way of "proving" love for or acceptance of another person and if no one else is around then for one's self. After all, given enough time most persons beyond puberty will have wet dreams to reset the chemical balance if orgasam does not occur by other means. In other words why wake up to messy bed sheets when you can have a large collection of stimilating video and only have to throw a towel in the wash instead? 09:26, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

This is a good question and I would expect that sociologists have come up with a good answer. In 1994 Joycelyn Elders was forced to resign as surgeon general after saying she thought masturbation "is a part of human sexuality, and perhaps it should be taught". This statement caused an outcry, but what was the content of the outcry? When conservative groups called for her resignation, what rationale did they give opposing masturbation? Did they say that it should be the parents' decision whether or not their children masturbate? --Cinematical 14:58, 27 February 2007 (UTC)


Is there a type of mental disorder where a person can copy a rembrandt painting perfectly, but not remmber there own name? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 22:46, 26 February 2007 (UTC).

Maybe autistic savant? Clarityfiend 00:04, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
An artistic autistic savant, to be specific. StuRat 17:15, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Transportation challenges during last 2 winter Olympic games?[edit]

I am looking for numbers like projected vs. actual number of visitors in Salt Lake City and Turin. How overloaded transit systems and road were and what kind of alternative ways of transportation were explored (helicopters for instance). —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:38, 26 February 2007 (UTC).

US Church[edit]

Apart from the Irish, would it fair to say that French Canadian immigrants contributed in a significant way to the growth of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States ? Can the decline of the Church in New England be compared to the decline observed in Canada ?

Certainly, French Canadian immigration was the main source of growth for the Catholic Church in northern and parts of central New England in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. French Canadian immigration played a lesser role in some Great Lakes cities (such as Detroit). Elsewhere in the United States, French Canadian immigration was much smaller in scale than immigration from Catholic European countries or from Mexico. Even in New England, French Canadians were far outnumbered by immigrants from Ireland and Italy and, to a lesser extent, Portugal, especially in southern New England.
The decline of the Catholic Church in New England can be compared to its decline anywhere else in the contemporary Western world. Religiosity has fallen throughout the Western world, with the possible exception of parts of the U.S. South. The reasons for this decline are complex and controversial but may have to do with the expansion of education, the growth of challenges to authority figures and traditional morality that accompanied the emergence of mass youth culture, and the growth of state social welfare institutions (retirement income support, health care, etc.), which provide services once provided by churches. I think that it would be far-fetched to say that the decline of the Catholic Church in Canada has caused the decline of the Church in New England or vice versa. The bulk of the French Canadian migration to New England was complete three generations ago. The descendants of these immigrants, except perhaps in the St. John valley along the northern border of Maine, have become completely assimilated into the surrounding New England society. Few of them speak French or are in contact with their distant relatives in Canada. The decline of the Catholic Church in both regions can be better explained by similar cultural and social changes in both regions rather than by the influence of one region on the other. Marco polo 14:12, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Don't forget all the French-Canadians in New Orleans (Acadians became Cajuns). StuRat 16:29, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
The french contributed to both the Catholic and Huguenot churches in the United States. Our French-begun Catholic church no longer has much in the way of French ties, but or Huguenot church still says "French Huguenot" on it. --Kainaw (talk) 17:20, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Black models[edit]

Why most black or dark skinned models (at least in west) are not like normal negroid people, but by their facial features resembles more like caucasians? Why in model world caucasian-featured black people are seen more beautiful than negroid-featured black people? Is this more a symptom of white cultural imperialism or are caucasian features closer to universal instinct of beauty that most of people are born with?

I asked once professional photographer of models why they choose black people with caucasian features caused by race mix, and not pure negroid people, as models? She said that camera does not like flat nose and visible nostrils. For me that did not make sense so I asked what does she mean with that. She said I am not educated to this field so it could not be easily explained to me, and if I would closely observe hundreds of faces though camera like she have done, I would also understand it. So it remained mysterious to me what is this "taste of camera" that defines what kinds of models are chosen. Oceanmajor 22:09, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

She might be trying to say that the camera exaggerates these features. It is sometimes difficult to convey three dimensional information accurately in a two dimensional medium. It is often said that people look heavier on film than in person. This is sometimes said as "the camera adds 10 pounds". Naturally, the camera does not actually increase your weight, but according to this theory, you would appear heavier in the photograph/on TV than you appear in person. Johntex\talk 22:35, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Do you mean that if camera exaggerates caucasian features it still looks good but if camera exaggerates negroid features it ends looking good? This actually is not an answer, but just moves the answer further. Naturally the next question would be why caucasian features are resistant to exaggeration, why caucasian features keeps good looking despite exaggeration by camera, but negroid features does not keep? Oceanmajor 22:57, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

- :::Please keep in mind this is not what I am saying at all. I am merely taking a guess as to what your photographer friend may have been saying. I don't know for sure that a camera accentuates any "negroid" features at all. I am just drawing a parallel to an oft-cited claim about the camera adding on 10 pounds to the subject. Let's take a hypothetical example. If we could prove that a person's ears look bigger in a photo than they do in person, then it might be that small eared people would photograph better. Just a thought. Johntex\talk 23:06, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Perhaps there is more demand for such models by the viewing population. Is this demand evidence of sociological bias or racism? By catering to these trends, does the modeling industry propagate a stereotype of beauty? In a similar vein, why are so many models thin, when so much of the population is obese? Perhaps the mass media caters to stereotypes? All these are valid questions but they are difficult to answer in a scientific way. Perhaps this question belongs at the Humanities Reference Desk. Nimur 02:58, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I moved this to humanities desk 08:54, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Also, the camera 'likes' high cheekbones. This can only be scientifically tested by showing lots of photos to a wide mix of people wired up to scanners. --Zeizmic 03:02, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Also, I can't help but wonder what the questioner defines as "pure negroid people." Perhaps this is a stereotype as well? Maybe each individual's beauty and appearance should be measured without the constraints of social interpretations of race and ethnicity. Nimur 03:01, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Questioner defines "pure negroid people" as clearly visible antropological type that exists as the native and mainstream type of sub-Saharan Africans totally irrespective of social intrepetations and whether or not it is defined as a race. Oceanmajor 11:48, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

After getting the idea my digital camera could be used for lots of things I began using it to help work in my garden by taking pics of various beds from various angles so I could study them at work during break. To my surprize none of the photos had the anywhere near the same realism as seeing the areas in person and eventually I had to stop using my camera for this. I think it is the depth perception which even 3D shot I've seen can not faithfully reproduce. 09:14, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

I am not sure why everyone is dancing around this. I have read a number of black cultural critics (such as bell hooks) who have commented on the phenomenon the questioner has described. Most of these critics conclude that the cultural preference for Caucasian features is a manifestation of racism. The comment that "the camera doesn't like black features" makes no sense. It may be that photographers, who learn to photograph mainly white models, do not know very well how to adjust their cameras to photograph darker skin. But this, too, is a manifestation of racism in the selection of models. It is nonsense to suggest that black features are more three-dimensional than white features. By this logic, white features, including more prominent ears and noses, should be more difficult to photograph than black features. Marco polo 14:21, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

There seems to be a tendancy for black models to be north/east african - could be something to do with height to width ratio - ie thin - I suppose west africans don't often get to be 'supermodels' because they are so damn big. And west africans do look good on camera - to suggest otherwise is ridiculous - it's just that they are not stick like - that's why fashion rejects them. (generalisation) 14:31, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

I think it's mainly due to cultural preferences, but there is one exception, very dark skin does require significantly more lighting to be visible on film, and this additional lighting requires additional time and expense, so some photographers may prefer lighter-skinned models, for this reason. Also, if the model is holding something bright and shiny (say a trophy), that makes the contrast quite extreme, requiring additional work to correct on film. StuRat 16:19, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

I think that Grace Jones doesn't follow that mode. Corvus cornix 22:09, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Yeah but Grace Jones is really ugly! In my opinion anyway. But most 'supermodels' are chosen for distinctiveness rather than necessarily corresponding to sexual attractiveness. There are after all models like Alek Wek who are very distinctively african looking. But also when you ask people to name the most attractive black women, its people like Beyonce and Halle Berry who have mixed ancestry, i.e. look more White (or Caucasoid if you prefer). I don't know if this is social conditioning, i.e. whiteness as beauty being presented from a young age (I don't personally favour this), that in the West majority White populations naturally favour White people as its normal to be attracted to your own kind, or does everyone prefer White women? I've heard Western girls are very popular in the Middle East and Japan, maybe White girls are just hotter! I certainly wouldn't say this is racism whatever 'black cultural critics' say, I prefer (White) brunettes to blondes, is that prejudice? 08:31, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

17th century exclamations of surprise[edit]

Can anyone provide me with some elegant expressions of astonishment that might have been ejaculated by noblemen of Renaissance Europe? - I'm especially hoping for ones that make no mention of God et al.


Adambrowne666 11:41, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

I seem to recall a Shakespearean "Swounds", but sadly for your criterion, it's short for "God's wounds". --Dweller 11:53, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
More... all still fall foul of your criterion - Samuel Pepys uses "Lord!", "Good God!" and "God!" (each of them on several occasions) as well as "God preserve us!" and "Gad!" (once each) ([20]) He also uses "Zounds", which I presume is the same as "Swounds" and quotes a Frenchman swearing "Morbleu!". Numerically, "Lord!" is clearly his favoured expression. --Dweller 12:01, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

No offense, but isn't there a better word than ejaculated in this context? @_@ 惑乱 分からん 16:26, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

More ... bleu! Morbleu means "Mordieu" which is "par la mort Dieu" (God's death). Hint : try grepping "!" on gutemberg project's texts. -- DLL .. T 17:20, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, Adam, seventeenth century English noblemen in general were just as down to earth as the rest of the population in their use of certain forms of language, and expressions of astonishment do not, as a whole, tend to have a class or courtly dimension. Oliver Cromwell, to take but one example, could be especially crude in his forms of speech and the oaths he used. Most expressions of astonishment do make some oblique reference to God, like Steeth (God's teeth), Struth (God's truth), Zounds (God's wounds), Gadzooks (God's hooks-i.e the nails used in the crucifixion). There is also Marry (By Mary). Free of any blasphemous associations I suppose you could have fie!, a fairly mild expletive, or forsooth!, verily!, i'faith!, or alas! Charles II once accused one of his leading ministers of being a 'whore-monger'. But if you really want to know just how earthy seventeenth century noblemen could be in their use of language you could do no better than look over the poems of John Wilmont, second earl of Rochester. Clio the Muse 17:20, 26 February 2007 (UTC) I can't add to this, but know that these expressions are found aplenty in Alexandre Dumas, père's The Three Musketeers. DDB 19:20, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

A word I often try to drag back to contemporary usage is "sirreverence" also spelt "sir reverence". meltBanana 21:49, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks, all - all helpful and entertaining answers as always. I also wanted to thank all on the Humanities Desk for their help with a previous story of mine - I remember that Clio the Muse was part of the gang that so helped me build up a description of Tangier - the story's now finished (it's called 'Neverland') and is currently under consideration by an Australian anthology. Adambrowne666 22:48, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for that information, Adam, and I would be pleased if you could let me know if your story gets published. I would be sure to buy a copy of the anthology! Clio the Muse 22:58, 26 February 2007 (UTC)
How about "By Jove!"? Corvus cornix 00:44, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Doesn't "Jove" refer to "Jupiter"? 惑乱 分からん 02:43, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, but Jove <> God. Corvus cornix 18:52, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
What does <> mean? "More or less"? ;) 惑乱 分からん 21:36, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
"Is not the same as", "does not equal". Corvus cornix 23:45, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I thought so, but I had to crack a dumb joke... =S 惑乱 分からん 10:49, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Yes, I'll let you know, Clio, thanks - Adambrowne666 23:59, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

  • If you want to be scholarly about it, I came across a citation to a book that might be useful if you can find a copy: Swearing in English: bad language, purity and power from 1586 to the present (Routledge Advances in Corpus Linguistics) by Tony McEnery (ISBN 0415258375). Otherwise, I suggest The Elizabethan Insult webpage. Crypticfirefly 04:38, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks I'll look up the book in the library where I work, sounds great - and love the Elizabethan insults - so many of them are so beautiful - but really what I'm looking for isn't oaths or insults, but simple exclamations of surprise - By Jove is the right tone, but I suspect the wrong century. Adambrowne666 11:35, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
All of the Pepys terms are in the line of "By Jove", without resorting to what Pepys would probably consider an "ungodly" paganism lol --Dweller 11:51, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

non-Jewish immigration to Israel[edit]

is it even possible to immigrate to Israel if you are not a Jew? does it matter that i am an ethnic Persian? i am not a Muslim. If i had to convert i could see myself as going along with the morals of the Reform Judaism denomination. I have heard that the government is quite secular and i like that (especially with what's going on in the USA) I am interested in studying the conflict there as a sociologist. any info (personal or more objective) would be great, the Israel article only adresses immigration in a historical context as in immigration of Jews to Israel. Amirman 20:53, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

A great deal of official governmental information is available in English on the Internet, such as this site for the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prospective immigrants would do well to contact the Israeli Embassy in their home country, but before that, a pilot visit is advisable – and even before that, gathering reliable information available on the Web. If what you "have heard" about "the government [being] quite secular" is any indication, you've been seriously misinformed and may be in for some sobering truths. For example, just based on what you've written in your query: Israel does not have what the USA calls "separation of Church and State," and the Reform Judaism, being non-halachic, is not recognized in Israel. I'd suggest you read up, and come back here with more specific questions. As a sociologist or simply an interested individual can gain much valuable knowledge without the rather drastic step of immigration! -- Deborahjay 00:07, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

The only information on that website that I've found refers to a court (in)decision of what an acceptable conversion is. It seems that apparently converts to reform Judaism could be accepted into Israel under the Law of Return. I understand that Israel is a Jewish State but they've been fairly secular in that they grant basic freedoms and i am accepting of the Jewish laws that are in place. What i'm mostly concerned about is if I would experience racism since I am an Iranian born in Iran. Also how do Israeli's view inter-ethnic marriages and children as my wife is an American and we have a child? Amirman 01:01, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Deborahjay's comments are quite remarkable. With the exception of family law (which only applies to Jews anyway) and the right of return, by all other accounts Israel is dedicated to, in every other possible sense of the term, "Separation of Church and State". How else would you describe a state wherein non-Jews have the same right to vote as Jews, wherein there exists numerous exclusively non-Jewish parties represented in the Knesset, some of whom have been represented in Cabinet, wherein the Judicial branch of government allows non-Jews to be elevated to the Supreme Court of Israel, etc. To say that Reform Judaism is not "recognized" is a complete falsehood. Jews of whatever stripe are equally recognized as Jews, be they Hassidic, Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed, Agnostic or even Atheist. What Deborahjay is likely referring to is the fact that conversions conducted by Reformed Jews are not recognized as valid conversions in order to trigger the benefits of the law of return. In all other respects, Israel is an entirely secular state. With regards to your concerns about racism, consider the following: Each year Jerusalem holds a gay pride parade. How much more secular and accepting of diversity can a society possibly get? Deborahjay's remarks are, to say the least, drastically overstated. Loomis 01:38, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Readers unfamiliar with the situation in Israel may gather from Loomis's "definitive" statements ("every other possible sense", "complete falsehood", "drastically overstated") that he is qualified, reputable, reliable authority on what he writes -- whereas it's ever so likely that this merely reflects his (quite possibly unwarranted) utter confidence in the correctness of his views and the relative worthlessness of others. Here I would advise readers to continue following these topics, collect information from numerous sources (biased though they may be), and develop informed opinions. -- Deborahjay 00:07, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I think DeborahJay's comments were fair. Some religious affiliations in Israel are exempted from the otherwise mandatory military service, some public transportation in Israel is only for Hasidim, our article on Jewish view of marriage asserts that civil marriage does not even exist in Israel, and the main way that most of the world knows about the Jerusalem gay pride parades is because the city of Jerusalem fights them, there has been anti-gay violence at them, and opposition to them seems to be one of the few things both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can agree on. It's up for debate how right or wrong these various policies are, but they're certainly not the hallmarks of a secular state. --TotoBaggins 02:12, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
See Jewish state and state religion#Others. --Mathew5000 02:22, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't claim to be an expert on this by any means, but I have read that Israel has taken in non-Jewish groups in the past, such as refugees from Bosnia and Sudan. Whether that has any bearing on situations like Amirman's are beyond me. I can tell you it's extremely unlikely an Iranian person would experience discrimination on grounds of nationality in Israel, since many Israelis are from Iran. I would guess inter-ethnic marriages are very common in Israel due to the cosmopolitan nature of the population. -- Mwalcoff 03:17, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Sadly, I can't think of any city in the world where a gay pride parade wouldn't cause a good deal of controversy, but to use that as evidence that Israel isn't an open society is a stretch. On the contrary, the very fact that these parades occur, with or without controversy and indeed violence, is proof in and of itself of the secular nature of Israeli society. Being that the OP is Persian, how would you think the mere thought of a gay pride parade would go over in Tehran? As for intermarriage, my very good (Jewish) friend who was married to a non-Jew immigrated to Israel via the law of return and had no problem. Obviously their marriage was a civil one, or at the very least, not Orthodox. As for the 25% non-Jewish population, are you telling me that they're required to get married by an Orthodox Rabbi? That's absurd. It's true that certain Hassidim are exempt from military could equate them with American "concientious objectors", and the issue is a very contentious one among the vast majority of secular Jews who are required by law to serve in the military, and who resent the special priviledges granted the Hassidim. I still don't see how this makes Israel any less of a secular state. Remember that Israel is not run by Hassidim, but by secular Jews. What was the last Hassid you recall being elected PM? Loomis 08:52, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
It's a bit of a stretch to say that "With the exception of family law (which only applies to Jews anyway) and the right of return, by all other accounts Israel is dedicated to, in every other possible sense of the term, 'Separation of Church and State.'" If one is not a Jew, for example, one's rights to own property in Israel (and therefore, to live where one pleases, etc.) have historically been drastically restricted. Only after an Arab Israeli nurse (Adel Ka'adan) got a favorable Supreme Court ruling in 2000 that went against 50 years of very well-established discriminatory practice (and after years of further legal struggles and an additional Supreme Court petition, when the Israeli Lands Authority still prohibited his family from residing in the neighborhood of their choice), is it even possible to suggest that there is a legal basis for equality in this area, for example. A survey of other areas of life has justified many cogent portrayals (by concerned Israelis for concerned Israelis) of discrimination. Best-case argument: the 2000 Supreme Court decision marks a historic turning point, the legislative proposals it inspired to amend law to restore discriminatory practice will never be passed, etc. (Worst-case: One realizes that life for non-Jews in Israel is not on the verge of being as the Ha-Aretz editorial page thinks it should be—one of the "sobering truths" of which Deborahjay spoke.) Even in the best case, you're talking about a society with ingrained discrimination and significant resistance to stopping it. Everything egalitarian in Israel is complicated and threatened by the identity crisis of a "Jewish state." Wareh 17:52, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
"If one is not a Jew, for example, one's rights to own property in Israel (and therefore, to live where one pleases, etc.) have historically been drastically restricted". That's a fascinating assertion indeed. Can you provide me with any sources so that I can read up on it? Loomis 22:06, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I think Wareh is referring to the Jewish National Fund lands, which, according to our article, comprise 14% of Israeli territory and until recently were reserved for Jewish settlement. It is certainly true that there is sometimes a tension between the identity of a Jewish state and the ideals of a democratic state, especially when viewed from a multiethnic country like the U.S. or Canada. That said, Israel is hardly unusual in this regard: England is officially Anglican and does not allow Catholics in the royal family; Slovak is the only official language of Slovakia despite its sizeable Hungarian minority; Germany has long discriminated in favor of those with "German blood" in its citizenship laws. That's the kind of thing that happens in Old World nation-states, where the state (government) is based on a particular nation (group of people), whether they be the English, Slovaks, Germans or Jews. All things considered, I'd rather be an Iranian Gentile in Israel than be an Iranian in Iran. -- Mwalcoff 00:43, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Now that makes a lot more sense. Even if non-Jews are restricted from residing in 14% of Israel, I'd hardly call that a "drastic restriction on the rights of non-Jews to own land in Israel". I challenge you to name a more secular, egalitarian state than Israel. Otherwise, why is Israel expected to live up to higher standards of egalitarianism than any other country? Loomis 03:43, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I only meant to point out a major topic of Israeli public discourse: whether the nation is, or ought to be, a "state of all its citizens." "The JNF published a survey last week that shows that more than 70 percent of the Jewish public in Israel is opposed to allocating JNF land to non-Jews, while more than 80 percent prefer Israel to be defined as the state of the Jewish people and not the state of all its citizens."[21] I also clearly made the point that the argument is possible (though it is complicated by opinion statistics such as I've just cited) that the recent legal developments on the subject of JNF tenders (more on the Ka'adan case can also be read at Ha-Aretz) show a growing egalitarianism in Israel. In any case, the complexity of the situation and of Israeli opinion on the matter is certainly there, and relevant to the original question of non-Jews living in Israel. I don't believe I've applied a double standard, but I certainly did mean to suggest that some obvious differences derive from the uniqueness of a "Jewish state." Unfortunately, as Amirman originally suggested, I wouldn't be shocked in my lifetime to see 80% of the U.S. public expressing the opinion that Muslim citizens of the U.S. ought not to be regarded as real Americans, or something like that. (A) Thankfully I don't think we're at that point; (B) Arab Israelis don't really make a very good analogy to U.S. Muslims whose families immigrated recently; (C) the uniqueness of Israel is in no danger of becoming un-unique or very much like other nations that define themselves in very different (certainly not always better) terms. No one who peruses my links to Israeli debates could possibly come away with the illusion that Israelis uniformly perceive their nation to be a superlatively "secular, egalitarian state." Loomis seems to desire that Israel be in fact as un-unique and as similar as possible to other states; but a great portion of Israeli Jews do not desire this, opposing any policies that would undermine Israel's continued uniqueness into the future as the world's only "Jewish state." Wareh 14:34, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I would suppose, then, that you would be equally troubled by the fact that the French People choose to officially define their country as "The French Republic". Yet somehow, the notion of a secular Jewish state is far more disturbing to a great many people than the notion of a secular "French Republic", a Republic, I should note, that unlike in Israel, it's forbidden in many public places to wear something as simple as a hijab or an overly large crucifix. Loomis 22:32, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
See my "certainly not always better" above. There is, as John Vinocur put it, the "gratuitiously insulting embrace of France's immigrants as partners in the country's threadbare formulas of grandeur, equality and universality." But I am still struck by the unique differences between Frenchness, Americanness, and Israeliness (not the commonest of terms; am I to put "Jewishness" in its place?). Each can be more or less exclusionary (and threadbare). Your comparison of a "secular Jewish state" to a "secular French state" makes me think that perhaps you really want Israeli Jewishness to be Gallically universalizing, a cultural conformity that can be enforced on non-Jews, like a friend of mine who expounded to me with the warmest optimism the idea that non-Jewish Israelis could and must become "culturally Jewish" while remaining non-Jews. (If you do share this view, surely you're aware that on the other hand there are many Israelis who would have no truck with the idea of including non-Jews in any of these definitional concepts, as I've shown.) I am an observer of peoples and history, not a judge trying Israel in the court of nations, so I'm not really interested in the forensic arguments about standards of guilt and damning various countries. So I will continue to be more interested in and observant of the many extremely obvious things that make Israel (and each other country) utterly unique and beset by utterly unique challenges. My impression from talking to Israelis and listening to Israelis is that most of them are keenly aware of the difference of their national identity and situation, and indeed base every hope and plan for the survival of their unique and experimental nation on coming to clear terms with this recognition. Your comments seem more in the vein of the debates conducted on U.S. news channels than like the real and urgent discussions I read in the Israeli press. Wareh 03:39, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I live in the USA; it's not that comfortable being an Iranian in the USA right now. I like the middle-east but i also like free-speech.Amirman 02:52, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Israel does offer many of the benefits of democracy, though less so than the far more established countries (e.g. the USA and Canada) of your experience. Israel lacks a constitution, and its coalition system of parliamentary government often grants inordinate power and influence to minority parties (which are invariably Jewish and not Arab, due to the nature of coalition formation). Certain policies and practices oppressive to minorities (e.g. limitation of employment and opportunities to Arab citizens due to putative security concerns) are far more pervasive than the sort of harassment characteristic the post-9/11 Bush regime. In all: outside of tremendous strides particularly in the commercial/technological spheres, the country's shortcomings may be seen in some ways as common to developing nations, particularly those whose military spending far outstrips the budgets dedicated to the public weal (often referred to as the "social agenda"). -- Deborahjay 19:27, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Have you considered Canada? Canada has its share of ignorant rednecks but has fewer of them per-capita than the U.S. does. -- Mwalcoff 03:09, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm a canadian citizen. I'm just drawn to Israel. It seems hypocritical of me to study middle eastern societies and conflicts without fully experiencing life there first hand. i could read all the journals in the world but those are other people's observations. Amirman 15:05, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Have you considered other parts of the U.S., maybe a larger city? If religion is what concerns you, there's a mosque, two synagogues, a yeshiva, and a Mormon temple all within 1/4 mile of my house, not to mention various Christian churches. If it is food that worries you, there are at least three markets selling halal meat within 1/2 mile, and the best and most popular restaurant in the neighborhood is owned by an Iranian immigrant who serves traditional Persian food. People here aren't worried about whether you are Iranian, they are going to be happy that you are an educated person, speak English, and aren't throwing malt liquor empties on their lawn. Crypticfirefly 05:11, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
As i've said before, I'm not a Muslim but i do like Iranian food. I'm drawn to places experiencing conflict and poverty so living in your type of neighborhood might not suit me. For me, the "malt liquor empties on their lawn" is a kind of problem that i am interested in facing directly. I would just like to live somewhere where my ethnicity doesn't become an obtrusive factor to the society i'm studying. I like Halal meat because it's healthier but so is Kosher meat. That's another plus to living in Israel. Amirman 15:05, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I think you might be very happy joining us here in the [Western] Galilee. This is possibly the most ethnically diverse region of Israel, with its population roughly divided 50:50 between Jews (of many countries of origin) and Arabs (including Muslims, Christians, Druze and Bedouins) as well as resident foreign workers, immigrants from the FSU, and more. Communities live side-by-side rather than "integrated" for many reasons, but this does ensure some degree of cultural integrity. We're challenged by a host of problems ranging from underemployment to encroaching environmental pollution; while our standard of living may fall short of the national average (a misleading point in a country with a small upper class vs. a high percentage of its residents living below the poverty line), our quality of life has much to recommend it. And your "mixed" family is likely to blend comfortably within the multiethnic spectrum here. Do consider this! :-) -- Deborahjay 19:44, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
"a high percentage of its residents living below the poverty line"? Where on Earth are you getting these statistics? Loomis 22:57, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Where "on Earth" happens to be the mainstream contemporary nation-wide Israeli press, notably Yedioth Aharonoth (in Hebrew; on the Web in English as and Haaretz (English edition). I'm subscribed to both of these; you might prefer the more right-of-center national daily Jerusalem Post. (There are so many articles available on the Web I can't possibly cite them here; search Google on _"poverty line" israeli children_ for yourself.) They've recently reported extensively (notably in the aftermath of the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict), that one in four (or one in three) Israeli children lives below the poverty line. Many of them are from large families (Jewish ultraorthodox and Arab). Oh, and also the elderly, among whom are many thousands of Holocaust survivors. (You know, the type "too proud to accept blood money" i.e. reparations, and subsequently having to choose between buying food or medicine on their meager pensions.) It is not terrible to state these things. It is terrible that they exist, and terrible to try to whitewash or ignore them, let alone deny them. -- Deborahjay 23:32, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

WH Auden, Song of the Devil[edit]

Unable to find text of poem online,only audio recording, which leads me to think it is not because of copyright. If so, I would be grateful if someone could post it. 23:34, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

W. H. Auden died in 1973, so his poems are still protected by copyright. --Mathew5000 02:00, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Actually, Mathew5000 is probably right, but depending on where Auden secured his copyrights, this poem may not necessarily be protected. In the US, at least, copyright dates for works published between 1922 and 1977 are based on the publication date of the work, not the expiry date of the author(source); W. H. Auden lived between England and New York in that era, and without the text in front of me, I can't tell where he was publishing. In this case, the poem is generally cited as published in 1963, which -- again in the U.S. -- falls (just barely!) in that time period in which works needed to be renewed actively in the first 28 years in order to be able to retain their copyright for another 67 years beyond that (see source above; the Wikipedia article is not specific enough on this subject, as it probably does not need to be).
However, given the ways in which poetry gets collected and republished, the odds are excellent that it was republished/renewed as a copyrighted work in the years between 1963 and Auden's death, or at least before 1991. As such, though the poem is not necessarily too young to have entered the public domain, all signs point to YES. As a librarian, my professional advice is that the onus appears to be on you -- the likelihood of copyright is so overwhelmingly strong enough that you'd have to prove otherwise if you wanted to use the work as if it were in the public domain. Or, if you wanted to be lazy, you could and should assume that it's not safe to use, change, or adapt outside of the usual fair use allowances. Jfarber 17:08, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Of course, all copyright nuance aside, the only audio reading of this poem I can find online says directly below the links that "Poems are under copyright by the Estate of W. H. Auden" (source). Which pretty clearly suggests that Auden's estate renewed the copyright. And which, in turn, may explain why the audio is streamed, not downloadable, on that site. Jfarber 19:14, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
A question. Does the choice of which country's law to apply depend on "where Auden secured his copyrights"? Or does it depend on where the copy is made? For example, suppose an American author wrote and published a novel in the United States in 1960, and then never renewed the copyright. The novel would now be in the public domain in the United States, but still protected by copyright in Canada, the UK, and various other countries. So that if you now publish the novel in the UK without authorization, the author could successfully sue you for that in the UK even though the work is public domain in the US. Correct? --Mathew5000 19:29, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Cross-country copyright is often such a mess, even the lawyers who specialize in this have differing opinion. Some countries have very liberal copyright standards, others have such conservative standards that they essentially include and/or acknowledge ALL possible other copyrights in other countries. Also, there is some modicum of reciprocity in agreements between some countries, and I don't know the full details of what currently exists between, say, the UK and the US, or Canada and the U.S. My response assumes that the OP wants to make a copy in the US, as I specified; since I found the copyrighted materials alluded to (the audio) on a US-served site, I can say with some confidence my answer is corrent for those narrow, in-country parameters we defined. But I believe your specific assumption (can I get sued for publishing work in a country where its copyright has not expired) to be correct, Mathew. For a converse example, Project Gutenberg Australia is able to publish some texts which PG US cannot because those works are still copyrighted in the US; thusly, PG US protects itself legally. More here. Jfarber 15:01, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
I have a question, too. Is it not legitimate-or legal-for me to quote any given poem at length in the written form? Quite frankly, I do this all the time. Clio the Muse 19:35, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
It's hard to answer such a broad question, as legality here depends on all sorts of factors, including what you do with the quote, what written form you're talking about, and why you're quoting it. But generally speaking, as I understand it, "fair use" for quoting allows only a VERY limted amount of a poem to be used if you're publishing or distributing the result. Of course, as in the above, national standing -- both yours and the original texts' -- make a difference. In general, however, you cannot use a "substantial part" of a work -- "substantial" is usually described as anything important or essential to the meaning of the original, which can even include "the quotable line" -- without permission, unless you are operating under fair use parameters for criticism, review, or research. I like this as a source -- australian law summarizes easier than US law, sometimes, and they're pretty similar on this point. Jfarber 15:01, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Thank you for that useful clarification, Jfarber. Clio the Muse 11:09, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

February 27[edit]

Religious affiliation of Alfred Nobel...?[edit]

What was the religious affiliation of Alfred Nobel and of his ancestors? 08:53, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

His own religious views however are described in this article on (scroll down it's somewhere in the middle). He is described as a humanist and a skeptic. The article for instance reads "Nobel noted, for example, that it was unclear what caused people to form a conception of a God." He also wanted to be cremated ("Finally, it is my express wish that following my death my veins shall be opened, and when this has been done and competent Doctors have confirmed clear signs of death, my remains shall be cremated in a so-called crematorium." - see his will). So I'm guessing he wasn't very religious. His family is was very probably Lutheran (Church of Sweden), because if he would have been Jewish or Catholic in the predominantly Lutheran Sweden, this would have been noted in his biographies. C mon 09:16, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
What do you mean with "his family is", I wouldn't be surprised if his descendants aren't very religious at all. Sweden's population in general seems to be somewhat indifferent to religion. 惑乱 分からん 09:56, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
  • I think he meant family as in the one living in the same time period as him, not his descendants. _ Mgm|(talk) 11:04, 27 February 2007 (UTC)


what are the affects while taking rivotril and having relationships with a woman —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 15:21, 27 February 2007 (UTC).

Try reading ritrovil. What do you see in there that could be an issue? --Kainaw (talk) 17:17, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Stephen Harper's cabinet minister[edit]

I noticed that one of Stephen Harper's cabinet minister is wearing a pair of sunglasses who is sitiing next to Rona Ambrose and she is a woman. Who is she and why she is wearing a pair of sunglasses in the parliament building? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:27, 27 February 2007 (UTC).

Probably Diane Finley meltBanana 22:23, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
And if you follow the link, you'll see why. (Thanks, I didn't know either.) --Anonymous, Feb. 28, 2007, 05:32 (UTC).

Reinforcing WWII Bombers[edit]

For 40 years I have wanted to read about a military situation that reportedly took place in England. If you can find anything about the following, please let me know.

In a graduate class at the University of Iowa in 1966, a professor told us about the decision to reinforce bombers used in WW II.

As the story goes, to the best of my memory:

During World War II, the US Air force flew daily bombing raids over Germany. Many planes were lost. They built a life size model of the bomber. Each time a damaged bomber returned from a mission, they would mark up the model everywhere the returning planes were damaged. After a few weeks the model was all marked up. Engineers devised a way to reinforce the bombers everywhere that the model was unmarked.

I'm having a little bit of difficulty in understanding this, I must confess. What would be the point of reinforcing 'unmarked' areas? Indeed, what form would such random reinforcement take, and how exactly would this improve an aircraft's combat worthiness? I cannot imagine that there would be any specific pattern to combat damage. In other words, damage from flak and interceptor aircraft would surely be of a completely random nature? I realise this is not much help to you; but perhaps if you clarified some of these issues I might be able to trace something more specific. Clio the Muse 23:39, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Ah! I love this one, it seems so counter-intuitive at first. I believe the plane in question is the B-17, which had weight restrictions that would only allow for a certain amount of armor.

The way it works in the story is that the planes that made it back to the air strip had made it back to the airstrip. Therefore, they were able to make it back safely with the damage they had sustained. The planes that hadn't made it back were most likely hit in the unmarked spots. From this they could then put armor where it was most needed.Toko loko 00:08, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for that, Toko. You have made the whole problem considerably clearer. I can now see that some rough logic was indeed at work. Clio the Muse 00:42, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
that's a cool story Amirman 03:08, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

This story reminds me of a tale about Henry Ford, who would go to junk yards to see which parts of his cars had not worn down, and direct his engineers to make those parts more cheaply, since there's no point in them lasting longer than the rest of the car. Frankly, I think both tales are apocryphal, but they still make great bedtime stories for engineers. :) --TotoBaggins 01:42, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

This sounds like an urban legend, being taught as an illustration of "think outside the box." The infreence that areas not hit on planes that returned safely need extra armor because hits there must have caused the crash of the non returned planes is simplistic. Adding armor in general would decrease the range, ceiling and speed and decrease the liklihood of accomplishing the mission and returning. The version I heard decades ago was that they started marking on a chart where the bombers had been hit, with an eye to adding additional protection for the crew or essential systems, but stopped because they realized that they did not know where the downed planes had been hit. There might be large areas with were little hit but also were not critical to crew or plane survival. Edison 15:41, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

When did they stop making the Butternut candy bar?[edit]

Not gettin' anything on butternut, butternut candy bar, discontinued candy bars, discontinued chocolate, etc. etc. etc. Does anyone know/remember when they (whoever "they" are) stopped making Butternuts? --MattShepherd 19:39, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Maybe because the word has negative connotations?[22] Why don't you make your own?[23] Clarityfiend 07:02, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
That would be wonderfully relevant if I had asked why they stopped making them. What I need to know is when. --MattShepherd 15:56, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Oh...never mind. Clarityfiend 16:56, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Hugh Hefner wedlock with a Madisson[edit]

Tabloids are agog with news regarding a 60 year old irresponsible playboy getting married to a yng girl of 27 years old.

Thats accepted in western societies or is it moral degeneration.

What are the tolerance limits in the west or is it simply a work of sub-conscious mind that limits drawn by faith is crossed and exposed by only one set of fools and particularly the flourishing porn and sex industry in California and other parts of the US which is a money spinning business in the west and at the same time there is a justice system that tackles cases of pedophiles, rape victims..

How does the wedlock compare to that of the behavior of many arabs and muslim nations where people marry and have many wives? Which part of it is civilized society and worth according respect?

How does the dichotomy exist? IS it freedom or sheer abuse thereof? 19:57, 27 February 2007 (UTC)~

I will say that I can understand the motives of a young woman marrying a rich man, tottering on the brink of infinity. It sounds so mercenary; but who does not? Clio the Muse 20:00, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
Neither the man nor the woman is being forced into the marriage, therefore I don't see what the problem is. Corvus cornix 22:12, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure what the purpose of the soapboxing at the beginning of the question is for... As a matter of fact, I'm not really sure what the actual question is. Are you just looking for a comparison of views with regards to large age discrepencies in marriage as viewed by "western" vs. muslim societies? Dismas|(talk) 22:17, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

As this is a reference desk and not a chat room for celebrity gossip, I wanted to refer you to our article on Marriages of people you don't know but which nonetheless should not be accorded respect, but it seems it doesn't exist yet. Sorry! --TotoBaggins 22:28, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

I could be wrong, but I think the comparison illegitimate. On the one hand, you have consenting adults. On the other hand, you have situations where young females (in some instances prepubescent) are given in marriage. The idea that there is some equivalence in age to age terms is wrong. DDB 07:43, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

What we need is the best of both worlds, where I can marry lots of wives, who are also much younger than me.

Further, while 27 is a lot younger than 60, and while 27 is not even middle-aged, I would hardly consider a 27-year-old woman a "young girl." Crypticfirefly 03:16, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Yeah, you'd think he'd do better, maybe when he trades her in for a younger model he'll aim nearer 18. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 08:04, 1 March 2007 (UTC).
  • If it's legal,which this is ,it's tolerated.hotclaws**== 10:26, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Every immoral act is tolerated in the west as long as it serves their vested interests. Its clear foolishness a sick idiot showing the world his ability to f*** females thru the vision of the american dreams.17:01, 1 March 2007 (UTC)~

A formula I espouse when it comes to relationships between people of different ages is as follows:

[Your Age] / 2 + 7 = [Minimum Age of your Partner]


[Your Age] - 7 * 2 = [Maximum Age of your Partner]

As a 60-year old, Heffner's range is from 37 to 106. As a 27-year old, Madisson's range is from 20.5 to 40. However, many people disagree with the principle of this formula and view the actions of two adults as their own business, but I have also found that a person's inner 'gut reactions' tend to support the formula.

I've heard a similar thing actually called the 'Hefner formula' although for that the man was always older, half his age plus seven was the woman's age. Whether it was a minimum or an ideal is debated. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 12:13, 2 March 2007 (UTC).

Global literacy and Life expectancy[edit]

Hello all. I need statistic that show the changes in global literacy and life expectancy from 1950s up to this date.

Thank you in advance for your help! 21:11, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

I cannot find any information drawing a direct correlation between the two, although there is some quite interesting material on both changing patterns of life expectancy and changes in global literacy in the page on Measuring poverty. Clio the Muse 00:29, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Literacy rates are not global, anyways, they are measured in either a state by state basis, or through extraordinary UN effort. Furthermore, the literacy measures are not universally agreed upon and subject to local bias, favouring certain languages.

One sample of the difficulty facing the issue is illustrated by the extraordinary case faced by Ronald Reagan during his presidency. "In 1981, Terrell Bell convinced Reagan to appoint a commission to study excellence in education. The 1983 report of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, titled A Nation at Risk, started the drive for education reform with its conclusions, which included the claim that the nation was threatened by "a rising tide of mediocrity."" The reports conclusion was erronious, as every single ethnic subgroup had improved in the science studies, while the overall results had fallen. Math lesson for today, you aren't allowed to add rates if you wish to keep meaningful numbers.

Sorry I'm not of much help, DDB 07:35, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

It's fairly easy to determine when somebody is alive or dead (save for a few severe coma cases, perhaps), but determining who is classified as literate and who is illiterate is highly subjective. Some written languages must be far easier to learn than others, too. Those with an alphabet and words you can just "sound out" would be far easier than those with bizarre rules and those with a symbol for each word. StuRat 16:48, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

February 28[edit]

looking for a contemporary german artist[edit]

All I know is that one of his prominent works is a tree upside-down in a tank of water. Thanks! Toko loko 00:05, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Could this possibly be Joseph Beuys? But to be perfectly honest things in tanks-animals usually-reminds me more of Damian Hirst, English, not German. Clio the Muse 00:12, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

My first thought was the Dutch (not German) artist M. C. Escher's Three Worlds. ---Sluzzelin 00:19, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

I'm familiar with both Hirst and Beuys, it is by neither of them. However, when I saw the sculpture I immediately thought of Hirst because the color of the liquid was the same that he used in all of his stuff. I'm going to speak to my professor about it sometime this week if I can't figure it out. It was an oak tree upside-down in the tank, symbolizing the decline of German civilization or somethin'. Toko loko 04:15, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

One other possibility, Toko: Jennifer Steinkamp. I can tell you absolutely nothing about her, but this site makes reference to the form of art work you have described [24] Clio the Muse 10:54, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
So this is a "real" tree in a tank, not a painting or something? 惑乱 分からん 10:55, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
The description is a little ambiguous, with reference only to the 'projection of a tree upside down in the water', whatever that means. Not a real tree, though, I would assume, but some form of cinematic projection? To be quite honest, I really do not have a clue! Clio the Muse 11:04, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
I've now managed to find a slightly better description. [25] It was indeed a tree projected onto a wall, which then appeared upside down in the water. This was shown at an art exhibition some years ago in Istanbul. So it obviously is not the sculptor in question. The best I could do-sorry! Clio the Muse 11:19, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Unless Toko loko mixed up something... =S 惑乱 分からん 11:26, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
There's also Georg Baselitz's famous Der Wald auf dem Kopf (The Upside Down Forest). It seems as if you're looking for an installation, so I doubt this is it, though thematically it may be a reference to Baselitz or Kiefer. ---Sluzzelin 14:07, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

I found it! |"Much Was Decided Before You Were Born by Mariele Neudecker. That's the only picture of it I've seen and I wish I could find more. Thanks for the help folks! Toko loko 19:18, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Thank you for that: this has been driving me absolutely nuts! Could the alternative name for this be 'Piss Tree'? Seriously, there is quite a lot of info. on Neudecker on google. Apparently she lives in England now; Bristol, I think. It seems to me that there is something whimsically German about her art, echoes of nineteenth century romantics, like Casper David Friedrich-in an inverted way, of course. Anyway, Toko, my sincere thanks to you for drawing her to my attention. She is clearly worthy of some further investigation. Clio the Muse 19:46, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

I ain't too sure 'bout the whole "Piss Tree" thing but I certainly like what I've seen of hers. Still ain't one of my favorites but I might be going to an exhibition this Friday that has some of her stuff. I reckon I'll give her a little stub here on Wikipedia.Toko loko 21:03, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Yeah I like what I've seen of her stuff. I reckon I'll give her a little stub here on Wikipedia.Toko loko 21:00, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Sorry for the lame Piss Tree joke. I was, of course, nodding in the direction of the infamous Piss Christ. You must know this? Clio the Muse 22:59, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

No, but I'm actually writing my undergraduate thesis on Piero Manzoni's "Artist's Shit" and Wim Delvoye's "Cloaca", so I'm a big fan of art that involves feces and urine. I'm an economics major though so I don't know nearly as much as I wish I did.Toko loko 00:20, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

The First Fleet[edit]

How were convicts selected to be transported to Australia on the first fleet? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Walkp1 (talkcontribs) 09:33, 28 February 2007 (UTC).

This has already been answered above. Are you looking for some more specific information? Clio the Muse 10:40, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

My apologies I posted the question twice as I thought my first attempt was unsuccessfull. I have reviewed the information suplied by Clio the Muse however it only goes part way to answering my question. To put the question another way out of the thousands of convicted felons in British prisons (including the Hulks) how were the original 300 convicts selected. What criteria was used by the Authorities to select prisoner A instead of B or C. Was it the severity of their crimes or their ability to survive in a hostile environment or for that matter their skills i.e. carpenters or stone masons.

Hello again. There is no need to apologize; but for future reference please post follow up questions under the original heading.
There were actually over 700 felons in the first transport, as you will have seen if you followed the link I gave in my original response. Remember, transportation was not a new policy, but one that had simply been interrupted for several years by the closure of the Americas. There was no science to the selection process, and 'ability to survive a hostile environment' was the least consideration. By the mid-1780s British prisons-including the prison hulks-were severly overcrowded, a problem made considerably worse by the savagery of the penal system, which prescribed death for literally dozens of offences, some of a fairly trivial nature. While this was most often commuted to transportation, the backlog caused increased an already acute problem. William Eden, the Home Secretary of the time, estimated that alternative accommodation would have to be found for as many as an extra 1000 convicts after the loss of America, for whom there were no places in existing penal establishments; and this does not take into account those sentenced to transportation in Ireland. It was under this pressure that the government decided on New South Wales as a convenient outlet. Those selected to go were simply chosen at random from the backlog, including 21-year-old Mary Springham, who had been convicted of stealing some money and a snuff box, and was sentenced to seven years transportation, the average term for this kind of offence. Mary was joined by all of the female convicts from Newgate Prison, who had been sentenced to transportation. The youngest of the transported was a 9-year-old boy, who had stolen some clothes; and the oldest an 82-year-old woman, convicted of perjury. It was, in other words, simply a clean sweep, devoid of method or humanity.
I would be happy to tackle any further questions you may have on this subject, but you will get more in-depth information from The Fatal Shore: History of the Transportation of Convicts to Australia, 1787-1868 by Robert Hughes, Published by Harvill Press. Clio the Muse 18:12, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Thank you Clio the Muse. I will obtain a copy of "The Fatal Shore: History of the Transportation of Convicts to Australia, 1787 - 1868" before coming back with any more questions. The purpose of my research is to write a diary of a young convict transported on the First Fleet in order to highlight the savagery of the penal system that was part of the founding of Australia. The assignment of convicts to work outside the prison for free settlers and members of the NSW Corps is a subject I would like to explore in more detail especially the treatment of women prisoners when assigned to the less principled members of the colony.


WHAT COULD BLACK PEOPLE NOT DO DURING APARTHEID IN SOUTH AFRICA —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 11:52, 28 February 2007 (UTC).

They can't run for president. 11:56, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

They couldn't vote at all. Inter-racial marriages were forbidden. Most of them had to live in Township (South Africa) and couldn't live where they wanted. I rememeber vaguely that there were certain quotas, regulating how many Blacks could recieve higher education (a tiny group). Flamarande 12:18, 28 February 2007 (UTC) How about looking under Apartheid?

I agree; your first destination should be the page on Apartheid. The short answer to your question, though, is that they could do very little indeed, other than be second-class citizens, and, ultimately, no citizens at all. In essence, Apartheid was a systen of institutionalised racism, legitimised by measures like the 1953 Reservation of Separate Amenities Act, which allowed for access to amenities and community provisions, like health care, at highly unequal levels. Under the Population Registration Act people were classified in accordance with their 'race', or, to be more precise, their physical appearance. Failure to comply with the race laws was treated with a high degree of severity, and all black people were required to carry pass books, without which they were not allowed into certain areas of the country. But arguably the worst feature of the whole system was the attempt to 'alienate' black people from the country they were born in; effectively, in other words, to turn them into foreigners, with no civil rights or protection in law. The 1951 Bantu Authorities Act provided the basis for establishing a series of black 'homelands'-reservations by any reasonable definition-to which people were assigned in a quite arbitrary fashion. In terms of this act, any political rights black people had-including the right to vote-were restricted to their designated homeland, which could, in practice, be many miles from where they lived. Between 1976 and 1981 four homelands were created, denationalizing millions of black South Africans. One of these 'homelands', Bophutatswana, consisted of as many as seven separate pieces. Most of the 'citizens' of Bophutatswana, Transkei and elsewhere had never seen these places, but now needed passports to continue to work and live in South Africa itself. This new policy involved the forced removal of millions of people. The whole apparatus was intended to preserve the hegemony of the white minority, the Afrikaners in particular. If you would like to undertake some further reading on the subject I would suggest looking over South Africa: the Rise and fall of Apartheid by W. H. Worger and N. L. Clark, published in 2003 by Longman. Clio the Muse 14:19, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Stephen Biko wanted to be a lawyer, but it was illegal for coloured people to become lawyers, so he became a doctor. DDB 10:17, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Temporary user permit for controlled substances[edit]

Is there any such thing as a "temporary user" or "learner" permit for controlled substances such as cannabis in the U.S.A.?

This may sound like a dumb question, but here's the rationale. Some jurisdictions forbid posession of such substance, but also (sometimes) measures come up for vote to change the legal status. The problem is, if the people voting on the substance have never even tried it, and doing so may influence their decision (and there is not some serious risk of harm to self or others), how can it be acceptable to permit a vote that is (by law) required to be cast from ignorance, or required to be cast from experience gained only through unlawful means, or only through 'second-hand'? Either the law is legitimate without needing a vote (e.g., murder, child endangerment) or the vote should be based on full information. Anything else seems unjust and "staged" NoClutter 18:01, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Well, twelve states have legislation which permit the prescription and use of marijuana for medical purposes, and six people recieve monthly shipments of marijuana from the federal government, but beyond that, the answer to your first question is "no." You can find more information here. As to the rest of your question... Carom 18:15, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for bringing up medical use, but the question relates more to 'informed choice' rather than medical necessity, aka justification for people who have no claim of medical need. Your "no" is duly noted. NoClutter 19:40, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
It would be unfeasible to only allow those with direct experience to make decisions pertaining to that domain. There is no way to objectively define experience or narrow the domain. Should only business be allowed to vote on laws which affect busineses? or maybe only those people affected by businness, how do you define affected?. It would be great if we could all be strict empiricists, only making decisions based on experiments that we perform, but this is simply impossible. Your standard for what is a 'legitimate' or 'obvious without experience' could easily differ from someone else's standard. -- Diletante 18:52, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
You mix a bunch of issues, but you also seem to reinforce my point/question. To use your business analogy, the current situation is like saying "only non business owners are allowed to vote on business propositions, and if you try to start a business of your own to gain additional perspective, you will be subject to prosecution." Nowhere did I suggest that experience should be a prerequisite to participation, but I also don't think experience should be actively and officially prohibited either. You say empiricism is a great (although not universally attainable) ideal, why then is it unlawful to pursue certain types of experience before making a decision? NoClutter 19:40, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Urban stories about exotic foods[edit]

Is it true story or urban legend that there is this kind of food in Spain or somewhere else? It is made like this: Worm is put in jam. Worm then eats jam and gets full of jam. Then worm is dried to crispy stick that is full of jam. Then you dip that stick to sauce and eat it.

Another question. Are rats eaten by humans anywhere as normal food (not emergency food)? I have heard about tourist who ate unknown type of food in a southern country (I dont name the country here because it may be a false story and I dont want to insult the country). Bone was then stick at his throat or stomach. Doctor removed bone and told him that it was bone of rat. 18:57, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

For the latter, yes. There are many places where rats and/or mice are a normal meat food. Roadside vendors with roast-mouse-on-a-stick are common in Malawi, for instance. — Lomn 19:56, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Aren't mouses full of bacteria? They spread diseases, after all. 20:40, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
All animals are full of some form of bacteria or another. Consider that rats tended to carry the fleas which themselves carried bubonic plague during the Black Death. Bubonic plague kills approximately 2 people annually in the US. On the other hand, chickens (and many other common-to-US food animals) carry salmonella, a common disease-causing bacteria. The CDC reports approximately 40,000 cases and 600 deaths annually from Salmonellosis. Anyway, the solution is the same: cook the animal, kill the bacteria. — Lomn 21:46, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
Mice, I can understand; even the Romans allegedly ate dormice, at least until the practice was banned by the Senate in 115BC. But rats? Surely these are never been eaten, save in conditions of complete desperation? Penitenziagite! Clio the Muse 00:46, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Bon Appétit Clio! [26] (dig in, before it gets cold, [or banned])!NoClutter 01:35, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
Wow; I mean yuck, yes, yuck! Very tasty, I'm sure, but an experience I will eternally forego. Clio the Muse 01:46, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

re the worm story is not one I know. Once the jam is digested, it is converted from one state to another. I do know that a popular coffee (civet coffee) is from the defecation of certain monkees. DDB 05:35, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

rochester ny[edit]

rochester ny famous business people

Look in List of people from Rochester, New York. Clarityfiend 21:03, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

leonardo da vinci[edit]

was leonardo da vinci involved in any act of civil disobediance? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:55, 28 February 2007 (UTC).

He was accused of sodomy as a young boy, but got away with it due to lack of witnesses. I guess that sorta counts, doesn't it? Toko loko 21:16, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

He was, in fact, almost twenty-four at the time! Does that count as being a young boy? The accusation was made anonymously in April 1476 that he was having a homosexual relationship with Jacopo Saltarelli, an artist's model. He was acquitted after a fairly lenghty investigation, ostensibly because no witnesses could be found, though he was kept under watch by the Officers of the Night, a body charged with the suppression of sodomy, for some time after. However, while homosexuality was a clear breach of the law it can hardly be characterized as civil disobedience as such, which touches on overtly political acts. As far as I am aware Leonardo was involved in no open acts of disobedience or subversion. Clio the Muse 23:24, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Jesus and Julius Caeser[edit]

From time to time I've heard that "we have more historical attestation for the life of Jesus than for Julius Caeser" and similiar arguments. Is this true? 23:44, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

There is certainly more substantive material on the life of Julius Caesar, including his own writings. The evidence for the life of Christ, beyond the Gospels, is not quite as direct. Clio the Muse 23:49, 28 February 2007 (UTC)
It's not true at all. For Caesar we have, as Clio says, his own writings, those of his contemporaries Cicero, Sallust and Catullus, and later historians like Velleius Paterculus, Suetonius, Plutarch, Appian and Cassius Dio, allowing us to reconstruct a very detailed and precisely dated account of his life and career, with a tiny amount of contradictory material (basically, the various accounts of his kidnapping by pirates in his youth) and no impossible occurrences. For Jesus we have Mark and John, and the bits of Matthew and Luke that aren't derived from Mark, which contain a very sketchy account of the majority of his life and a reasonable amount of detail on his last couple of years, not precisely dateable and containing some serious inconsistencies (for example, Matthew dates his birth to before the death of Herod in 4 BC, while Luke dates it to Quirinius's governorship of Syria, which began in AD 6) and lots of impossible occurrences. The material on Caesar is considerably more substantial and reliable. --Nicknack009 01:04, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for that very useful amplification, Nicknack. I think though, for the sake of some degree of balance, we should also mention there are passing references to one 'Christus' (not Jesus by name) by such classical authors as Tacitus, Suetonius and Pliny the Younger. We also have two brief mentions of Jesus as such in Josephus' Antiquity of the Jews, though it has been suggested by some that these are later interpolations. But you are quite right in your central thrust: the evidence for the life of Jesus is at best fragmentary and shadowy compared with that for the life of Caesar. Those who wish to look further into this question might wish to consult the pages on the Chronology of Jesus and Historicity of Jesus. Clio the Muse 01:55, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

Atheism and the President of the United States[edit]

Hi there, everyone who's reading this. Three questions for you:

  • (1) Was there ever an avowing atheist running for US president since World War II?
  • (2) Would an avowing atheist – no matter which party – stand a chance making it through the next primaries?
  • (3) Would an avowing atheist have a chance getting elected next President of the United States?

I appreciate your answers. Moneyhoped 23:52, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Presumably some of the candidates of left-wing frings parties like the Communists have been atheists. I seriously doubt an "avowed atheist" would have a change of winning a major-party nomination, let alone the presidency, perhaps because the word "atheist" in America tends to mean someone who is not just irreligious but against religion. -- Mwalcoff 00:00, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Thankyou Mwalcoff. What if this candidate don't use the word atheist, and says the church does good things and she admires the church, but she just happen to not believe in God and that's why she doesn't go to church. Moneyhoped 00:08, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

I would think winning the primary would be the hard part, because there are many choices, so at least a few non-atheists are bound to be "acceptable". If an atheist survived the primaries, they might actually win the general election, provided the candidate from the other party was a total loser (and that's actually fairly likely). I'm also hopeful that given the choice between an atheist and a rabid televangelist, that most people wouldn't elect the Jim Jones protégé, but I could be wrong. StuRat 00:13, 1 March 2007 (UTC)
2 and 3 are most likely resounding no's. I remember a survey that showed that the majority of Americans distrust atheists above all other groups, and that 75% of those surveyed would not vote for an atheist candidate for office, even if they were the most qualified. There are also eight states whose constitutions disallow atheists from running for office, holding office, being appointed to office or to judgeships, sometimes even working for state agencies. Although the US Supreme Court struck down all laws like it (Torcaso v Watkins, 1961), they technically remain on the books, but unenforceable. (Note most of this was copied from an answer I gave to a similar question last month) Cyraan 00:13, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

I would certainly agree, on the basis of my observations of American politics, that it would be practically impossible for professed atheists to be selected to run for major office-with the exceptions that Mwalcoff has named-, let alone get anywhere near the Whitehouse. American politicians tend to have a much greater public reliance on God, if that's the right expression, than those in England, where open professions of faith tended to be greeted with a mood of slight embarrassment. Clio the Muse 00:20, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

There were some long and very thoughtful discussions of this topic on "The Volokh Conspiracy" weblog a couple of months back. I don't have a link handy, but that might be a good resource for further reading on this and related topics. Michael Kinsley also had a good New Republic column on this some years ago, which I believe was reprinted in his Curse of the Giant Muffins. Newyorkbrad 00:24, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Any minority group that a sitting vice-president can safely say should not even be allowed to be citizens has a near-zero chance of getting elected President, in my cynical opinion. --TotoBaggins 02:21, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Wow, I hadn't heard about that, and I always thought H-Dubya at least somewhat rational and level headed, well as much so as someone with the last name Bush could be. I kid, I kid, I had Jeb as my governor, and he's definitely the better half. Cyraan 03:35, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

Presumably for a person to be an atheist, and to declare it, affects nothing and no one in public office. However, while there is no religious duty for US officials, they need support from somewhere. It is ok not to believe in god, but to not endorse sunday school, which might be seen as benefitting the community? The issue of religion, including areligion is one the US people seem to want to keep out of their politics. When President Bush claims to pray, he does not claim to have televised messages from god. I seem to recall that Jimmy Carter believed in aliens as well as being staunchly religious. It is easy to ridicule anything, so polititians try not to tie themselves to whipping posts, which is what a statement about atheism tends to result as. DDB 05:27, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

One of my objections about the movie The Contender is that the avowed atheist is elected to the Vice-Presidency by the Congress despite her admissions on the topic (among other things). I found that highly unlikely. Corvus cornix 19:56, 1 March 2007 (UTC)

I can imagine that's just one of your objections to that highly unrealistic movie.


You could also mention the fact that the president, in his State of the Union address (in a room that looks the House chamber of a Delaware-sized state) asks the Speaker of the House to have the confirmation vote immediately after his speech, and he approves. -- Mwalcoff 00:29, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
And that the House of Representatives is called on to vote on the nomination of the Vice President, even though there is no such Constitutional requirement. Corvus cornix 16:54, 2 March 2007 (UTC)
Yes there is; section 2 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Nominations to the vice presidency must be approved by majority vote of each house of congress.--Mathew5000 21:44, 2 March 2007 (UTC)