Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/Humanities/2006 July 22

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Raw materials for medieval siege weapons[edit]

  • I have being trying to find, what raw material was widely used in middle ages in the construction of siege weaponry like ballista and battering rams?. Was there an specifical kind of wood to build them?
  • And how about medieval asian siege weapons like Hwacha and Fire Arrow;
  • what raw material was used to build those siege weapons?,
    • and since Hwacha is korean, is there any evidence that Pinus koraiensis was used as raw material to build that weapon?--HappyApple 06:24, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Unless you were lucky enough to be having a siege by a major waterway, the besieging army would travel by land. There is no way you could take these weapons a long way over land, so they would have used whatever trees they could obtain locally. Obviously they would have preferences, like oak, since its denser than many woods. Blacksmiths attached to the army would have made fittings. After the siege, the stuff would have been burned or left to rot. Or so it seems to me. Notinasnaid 08:13, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, they used whatever they could find. As an example, during the Siege of Antioch during the First Crusade, wood was brought by ship from Europe, since they happened to be near a port. During the Siege of Jerusalem, though, they had to use whatever wood was available, and there were no vast forests of very strong kinds of trees there like there was in Europe. I can't think of a good example of a European siege where better wood was readily might also want to look at siege engine though. Adam Bishop 15:48, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
You guys are all concentrating on one material, but there were two more they needed, at least: leather and rope. They'd bring the ropes (hempen) with them, if they could, and make leather on the spot. All of those weapons were tortion devices for most of their history. Oh, and iron was nice, when they wanted wheels, but that would have been purchased from sutlers on site. Geogre 16:27, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Ok, it can be said that ropes and leather was bought during the trip? Or they bring them from home. And what kind of leather was used for those machines? Was there any preference? such as leather from any particular animal?. But, the question regarding the wood, remains unanswered, although oak could be a particular preference for the construction of siege machines in western hemisphere, how about Asia?. Can be said that pine or bamboo was used in the construction of ships and siege weapons like chinese Junks (ship) or korean Panokseons? Unfortunatelly in siege engine there isn't information regarding raw materials used. How about materials like sulfur used in trebuchets or oil and iron, where did the cruzaders or middle age armies found it?, Did they mined it?.--HappyApple 21:13, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Telephone Protocol[edit]

I'd like to know what is proper telephone calling etiquete. I need to know from what hour to what hour is propper to call somebodies home. Is it Ok to call before 8 am? Is it OK to call after 10 PM? What is the proper hours you can call someones home?

Personally I think 9am is the earliest time you should call someone's home, and 9pm the latest. --Richardrj 07:09, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
These answers depend on what person you are calling. Close friends, business partners/fellow workers, family, etc all warrent different replies.--droptone 07:24, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
I usually don't answer the phone if it rings after 22.00 h. In the morning, I'd say 09.00 h sounds good. Although that also depends on the day of the week (working day, a possible morning-after). DirkvdM 07:40, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
9 until 9 sounds good unless you know that they have a night job (don't phone until 2 pm in that case). Obviously, you can ask a friend if they have a different rule. Don't forget to allow for time zones! Oh, yes, telemarketers prefer to be called at 3 am. Notinasnaid 08:09, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
It largely depends. Close friends and family are usually understanding. Regular friends probably around 8-10 PM or 8-9 AM. --Proficient 10:11, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
In the U.S., it is illegal for debt collectors to phone you before 8 am or after 9 pm, presumably because doing so is annoying and intrusive. With that reasoning in mind, calling outside of those hours should be reserved for people you know well. Though personally, I would not call other than a relative or close friend before 9 am without a good reason. Crypticfirefly 00:45, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Are you married to this person? If so, it's probably okay to call whenever you want (unless it isn't).

I have $1000,000 to give away[edit]

I only have two choices: either a) I can give it all to one person, or b) I can divide it equally between 100,000,000 people so that they all get exactly one cent each.

Which of the two choices would result in the greatest increase in the sum of human happiness?

If these conditions were relaxed, what would be the best number of people to divide the $1M between to provide the greatest sum of human happiness.

(It is of course a philosophical question about utility theory. Strictly according to what little I know of this theory, the answer should be b). But I'm not so sure. )

(This has a practical application. If I succeed in business and make a lot of $$$, then I could leave it in my will to a few people who will be very grateful to me, or I could selflessly leave it to Oxfam when the recipeients will have no idea who I am.)

Thanks. -- 10:07, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Isn't there some happy medium? Because giving one person $1MM would make that person really, really happy, but giving 100MM people 1 cent wouldn't make any of them any happier.--Anchoress 10:18, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Oh for a second I thought that said 1,000. Well, I'd say give the million dollars to someone who needs it, and then maybe they can give some of that to other people who need it. That's the better solution. Giving a 100,000,000 a cent each isn't going to do shit. (sorry for the vulgarity) 12:18, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

No one needs a million dollars. Philc TECI 17:38, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Depends on who you give it to. To someone in a rich country 1 million is enough to live in reasonable luxury off the interest, giving them the option to stop working and enjoying life to the full. More than that would be wasted on unnecessary luxury goods.
A cent won't be much to such a person. But most people in the world live in poor countries. So if you distribute it evenly, to most people one cent will be much more, to some even like what a dollar would be to a westerner. Still not much, but it will still be appreciated by most people. However, if one of those people gets that million, that would be like giving 100 million to someone in a rich country, which would be a waste of the money.
So if the million goes to someone somewhere in between, to whom it would be like the equivalent of 50 million to a westerner, then most of it would be wasted. So I'd go for option b.
Of course there is also the administrative cost of giving 100 million people a cent, but I assume we are supposed to ignore that. DirkvdM 18:13, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
By the way, do you have a million to give away, as the header says? In that case ignore what I just said and give it to me. :) DirkvdM 18:14, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Give $i,ooo to each to small charities,that way LOTS of people benifit.hotclaws**==( 08:22, 23 July 2006 (UTC))
Jus give it all to Make Poverty History Philc TECI 00:41, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps giving 100 people 10,000 dollars each would be a solution. --Proficient 07:34, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

In Africa you can buy an innoculation against common but deadly diseases for around $10. My guess is that you could make 100,000 people extremely happy by doing that. My recommendation would be to give it to one organisation who does this sort of thing well and let them do the innolulations.

In other words, for the utility theory part of this, the amount of happiness brought by $N is not dependent only on the value of N but also who is getting it. DJ Clayworth 17:34, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Give it to the Wikimedia Foundation! Think how much good Wikipedia and Wikibooks could do in Africa if they were available there; with a million bucks, they could be. If people in poor countries could learn real job/survival skills, they could dig themselves out of poverty, and we'd see results in our own lifetimes. NeonMerlin 05:12, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Peope who made the most (and least) contributions to human happiness?[edit]

Who are the top five people who have made the greatest increase to the sum of human happiness in all time?

I ask for the top five because I want to include other people apart from the religious leaders who I expect will be proposed.

I think these may include people who have done things in subtle and non-obvious ways, where the chain of causation is long, slow, and not obvious. For example the people who were responsible for initiating the building of the sewage system in London in the 19th. century must have saved a great many lives that otherwise would have died of typhoid, cholera and so on.

Similarly, who are the people who made the greatest reduction in the sum of human happiness over all time?

Thanks -- 10:33, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

There's a good case for Alexander Fleming or Stanislav Petrov, but my choice would be Norman Borlaug. Of course, happiness is such a difficult quality to qualify, any answer is going to be subjective. Ziggurat 10:56, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
There's a huge difference between reducing misery and adding to happiness. Adding to lifespan also does not equate with increasing happiness. I think the single thing that has given the most happiness to the most people is reading, so I nominate Johann Gutenberg for making books accessible.--Anchoress 11:33, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Is this another one of those "Hitler" games where a question is asked and the challenge is to see how long it takes for someone to finally bring Hitler into the discussion? (sort of like the "six degrees of Kevin Bacon" game?) Well, I guess I'll be the sucker this time and submit that Hitler was most certainly one of the people to have made the least contributions to human happiness (or rather, the largest contribution to human unhappiness). Loomis 11:40, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
In terms of number of deaths the Great Leap Forward and the following Cultural Revolution had a larger impact, so Mao Zedong is a candidate, as should be Stalin with the Great Purge and the collectivization policies. --LambiamTalk 13:40, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, I think Stalin is pretty high up there. He managed to make things miserable for people far and beyond those immediately effected by his policies (who were pretty miserable as well, of course), as the effects of his many policies were very long-term. --Fastfission 15:07, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
As for unhappiness, I think whoever decided to turn the guy who sought to reform Judaism into the figurehead of a whole new religion probably ranks up there, although I guess a lot of people have been made happy too. And whoever came up with the idea that women are the property of their fathers and husbands. Whoever came up with the idea of land ownership made millions and millions of people unhappy for a looooong time, and whoever decided that monarchs were God incarnate.--Anchoress 12:12, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

I would say Barry Manilow is one of the top five people who have made the greatest increase to the sum of human happiness in all time, because he writes the songs that make the whole world sing. --K

Does the change have to be intentional, because if it doesn't Muhammad and Jesus have probably killed billions through the misenterpratations of their works, extremist views on their intentions, and holy wars. So could possibly be nomiated for the most unhappiness, but also as founders of the two leading religions, could possibly have brought the most happiness to the world. Philc TECI 17:36, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

I have a lot of sympathy for the view that Johann Gutenberg has made the biggest contribution, since without learning from printed books none of the other people mentioned would have been able to do what they did. On the other hand if Mr. Gutenberg hadnt invented movable type, probably someone else would have done.

Although I am not religious, I do think that Jesus in turn is responsible for creating the culture, including the protestant work ethic, that allowed a stable society were the good people mentioned above could prosper. Although there has been some religious conflict, the good in my opinion far outweighs the bad, since without Christianity we would be living in a barbarous world of Viking-like feudalism, where might is right. Or a pre-Christian Roman style society perhaps.

As I understand that Christianity was in part based upon Buddhism, then it could be that the Buddha is the greatest human, since he set off the whole idea of being eithical in thought and action rather than selfish power and dog-eat-dog.

No Chinese yet? They are always forgotten. Gutenberg may have done western civilisation a lot of good, but his Chinese counterpart (if there is such a person) did this much earlier in a huge country, so the total number of people who benefitted from it must be much greater.
Also, one has to keep in mind that a lot of famous people are accredited with stuff that was really the result of the work of many. I don't know how much Gutenberg contributed, but there must have been work done by others that he built on.
As for another country with a huge population, the Russian revolution dragged Russia out of the middle ages, thus stopping a misery that had lasted centuries. But who is one to ascribe this to? Lenin may have been an important figure, but he also caused a counter-revolution that was not necessary for this purpose.
Buddha is indeed a good choice because he gave people who are in need of some religion (apparently a lot of people) a less destructive alternative. And considering (again) the number of followers and how long ago he did this the total impact must have been huge. DirkvdM 18:31, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Crediting the Russian Revolution for spreading happiness would be funny if it weren't sad. While nobody things that Tsarist Russia was any walk in the park, the October Revolution did not improve the fortunes of Russians very much in either the short or long term. --Fastfission 00:19, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps not on the short term, but certainly in the long one. The Russian empire was one of the most worst countries of the world until WWI. We can say all we want about the crimes of Russian communism, but they developed that country, provided education for the masses, and got rid of the whole medievial legacy of Tsarist Russia who which still had serfs until the October Revolution! And like or not Stalin defeated Hitler. Not that this excuses in any way the millions who perished in the communist purges, the Gulags or in Siberia. Flamarande 00:44, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
They went from bad to bad, arguably bad to worst. Serfdom had been abolished by Alexander II, by the way. Stalin defeated Hitler almost in spite of himself; he was a lousy military dictator. I think it is beyond question that there are a million ways in which the Russians could have ejected the Tsarist rule without becoming Leninist and eventually Stalinist, much less inflicting it on to neighboring countries ruthlessly. The October Revolution was, in the end, a great tragedy — faced with the possibility of freedom after so many centuries of servitude, the Russian people went from one type of slavery to another. --Fastfission 14:59, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Serfdom was abolished in the 1860's, half a millennium too late! And the Tsars 'forgot' to industrialise. The question is if the situation for people improved. Before 1917 there was one revolt after the other. After that there were none. It took just two things: distribute the wealth more evenly and create more of it. Socialism did the first thing and industrialisation did the second. It took Russia just a few decades to go from the middle ages to being the first space travelling nation. Quite an achievement. And it wasn't a fluke. It took the mighty US ten years to even just catch up. And they needed a Nazi and the death of the chief Soviet engineer to achieve that. The first decades of the Soviet Union were probably the greatest economic boom of the 20th century. After that, inefficiencies in the system finally brouht it to its knees. It was a ladder that needed to be climnbed and then thrown away. Alas they chose to dive into the deep end of the pool of capitalism, throwing the people before the wolves. But that's a different story. DirkvdM 18:35, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Eh, yes, they were very late in abolishing serfdom, but let's not pretend the rest of the world was in a state of wonderful freedom. The U.S. didn't abolish chattel slavery until the 1860s itself, and many other countries were later than it. Anyway, as I said, nobody here is saying life under the tsars was good, the question was whether the October Revolution really improved things much. I think there is a plausible argument that it didn't — that even under Lenin, to say nothing of Stalin, life for Russians did not substantially improve. Socialism did not distribute wealth evenly, it simply impoverished everyone (that's not the same thing). Industrialization was done under the yoke of slavery and at the end of the gun barrel. Anyway, if you'd like some nice, non-hysterical references on Russian and Soviet history, I'd be happy to provide them, but selectively trolling Soviet history for accomplishments, and forgetting at what cost they came, is ridiculous. I'm not a fantatical anti-Communist (and I haven't argued that the alternative they needed was capitalism), but it is pretty clear that the Soviet Union was a period of intense repression, hardship, and economic mismanagement, with a body count far larger than Nazi Germany. David Remnick's Lenin's Tomb is a wonderful book if you want to get a better understanding of life in the Soviet Union, but hey, it's up to you. Or you can live in a fantasy world where the only way to industrialize is to kill a few million people first, or mistake a few technological developments for general prosperity. --Fastfission 21:17, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
True, in Western Europe inthe 19th century there was also a lot of poverty, although there, it was a result of industrialisation. In the USSR it was (at least in part) because of the Tsars. In both cases the end result was a considerable economic improvement. Except that in the USSR they had the option to learn from their predecessors. I suppose that's why it went so fast despite the 30 million lost in WWII. Being a communist or not has nothing to do with assessing this. At least it shouldn't, but I suppose that's where the problem lies. People tend to first look at which conclusions they want to reach and then come up with the argumentation. I just try to counteract that, in the process trying not to lean too far to the other side. It's a tricky balancing act.
Anyway, the question was if things improved for the people after the revolution, and they certainly did. Like I said, there was an end to the revolts, and that is a pretty strong hint. That's the voice of the people themselves, not outsiders with preconceptions. DirkvdM 08:05, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
  • All the people who made the internet possible;happiness=Wikipedia and I can listen to the Arizona Diamondbacks on my puter;unhappiness=spam--hotclaws**==( 08:26, 23 July 2006 (UTC))

As a reinforcement for the Light army, I'll add history's greatest scientist, Sir Isaac Newton. GTubio 14:48, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

But enlightenment of knowledge leads to unhappiness, hence through some study an amerindian tribe has been found to be that happiest people in the world. Ignorance is bliss. Philc TECI 00:40, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Did Hitler have children?[edit]

I was curious, since weird and unusual topics comes into my mind usually...did Hitler have any children? If not, why not? If he didn't then that is good because it would be a terrible thing for someone to have that name (I take this back if they're racist)

No, but he did have nephews, like William Patrick Hitler. Supposedly his nephews agreed never to have children. Adam Bishop 15:36, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
He only had only nephew - on his father's side - who was in the U.S. Navy in WWII. And the ones supposedly agreeing not to have children were Hitler's grand-nephews. Rmhermen 16:04, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
One of the "Book of Lists" (probably number 2) by Irving Wallace, Amy Wallace and David Wallechansky, it is stated that Hitler had a child by a French woman during WWI. When Germany occupied France during WWII, Hitler had his son found and placed him in a middle management type role in the administration. The Book stated that as of the mid 70s, Hitler fils (whose name was something like Albert) was working as a cleaner (I think). It's been a while since I have read the book so the memory is a bit hazy but if anyone wants to chase it up, that would be great. --Roisterer 03:29, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I heard he did like the children of Goebbels. Evilbu 16:15, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Off on a tangent -- movie buffs who read this question will of course think of a couple of Hollywood flicks. Hitler's Children was a successful 1943 Hollywood film about Hitler Youth rather than actual Hitler offspring. For Hitler clone children, there was of course The Boys from Brazil. Both films were based upon novels, but who reads books? --Kevin

I'm just asking, why didn't he? celibacy or something?

Maybe this explains it:
Hitler has only got one ball,
The other is in the old town hall,
His mother, she pinched the other,
Now Hitler ain't got none at all!
That was a song invented by the British during WWII to make fun of him and has absolutly no bearing in reality.
Really? You mean his mom really didn't steal one of his balls? Thanks for clearing that up!
Well someone very clever with a (notso) great sense of humour thought it was worthy enough to write it down here. Sarcasm can cut both ways u know? And please in the name of good education sign your statements. Flamarande 19:42, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
How are we supposed to know why he didn't had any children? Do you think we can ask him perhaps? "Hey Adolf, there is a guy who wants to know why you didn't had any children." The guy only married at the very last day of his life, commiting suicide with his wife Eva Braun on the same day. Some very (un)credible investigators suppossedly found "proof" that Hitler was once part of the homosexual scene. Others claim that he suffered from syphilis while others are sure it was Alzeimer. His own secretary said in the History channel that Eva told her that it was a normal sexual relationship. Perhaps he simply didn't want any children or was simply infertile. Nobody knows for sure and we simply don't have conclusive proof. Take your pick. Flamarande 18:36, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Poetry - Gary Snyder[edit]

I am looking for a poem by Gary Snyder. I don’t know its title and I don’t know where it was published. I had a copy of it several years ago and have since lost it. The first line of the poem contains the word “cicada” or “cicadas”. Other lines include the words “hills”, “mountains”, and “trees”. It is a fairly short poem, perhaps 10 lines. I don’t believe that it was an excerpt from a longer piece. I’ve tried browsing through actual volumes of his poetry to find it, but to no avail. Can you help me?

"Song of the Tangle" is probably what you want. --Kainaw (talk) 14:20, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Where in UK to invest £750000 in buy-to-let property?[edit]

This is a serious practical question. I can borrow £750000 at a reasonable interest rate to invest in rental property. It could be one or several properties.

There are a number of constraints:

The property(s) must be in mortgagable condition.

It must be in the UK.

The rents must be high enough to pay the mortgage, so I'm looking for at least a yield of 5% or 6% or more (in other words the total yearly rent must be at least 5% or 6% of the property price. )

I'd like to buy a property or properties that I would enjoy living in myself in the future.

Ideally, I would like to spend it all on one big house in the East Anglian countryside, that I would enjoy moving into myself after a few years. But the problem with this is that big rural houses like this would be almost impossible to let, and even when let the yield wouldnt be high enough.

So does anyone have any serious and realistic suggestions about where and what I should buy?

Thanks -- 13:55, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

  • Actually, the return needs to be rather higher. You need to allow for (a) unlet periods. It would be wildly optimistic to hope that it is let more than 10 months of the year. (b) running costs: fixing the roof or plumbing, advertising for tenants, legal costs of contracts, fixing broken furniture after the tenants. (c) the ultimate overlooked problem: the income you receive from letting (less a 10% allowance for wear and tear) is taxable. If we suppose annual running costs of 10% of rental and that you are paying tax at 25%, the figure seems to be to be interest rate / 0.9 / 0.9 / 0.75 (I may be doing this wrong but hopefully you get the idea). So a 6% mortgage translates into almost 10% rental return required. It's very hard to get this, except on scruffy flats in areas where property is cheap but demand is high. Probably nowhere in the south east of England at all. I don't think borrowing is an attractive way to start buy to let, but is becomes more interesting when compared with the rates obtainable on savings (which are also taxed, providing a more even basis for comparison). To match a 4% savings rate on the above argument you'd only need 4 / 0.9 / 0.9 = around 5% return needed. Notinasnaid 15:48, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Thank you for your comments. I am aware of your concerns as I have been investing in property for the last thirty years. You've made a mistake over tax, as mortgage interest and other expenses are deductable from rental income, so its easy to pay no tax at all.

I'd go for London. The housing market is most stable there in terms of long term upward trends and letting of almost any type of property is helped by the demand. When you're ready to move out to beautiful East Anglia (I'd recommend Norfolk for its charming people and scenery, though not if you like hill-walking!) you'd be truly unlucky if the prices there had risen faster than London. Also be aware that London itself varies enormously and there are pockets which are far better than even their immediate neighbours. Avoid the London congestion charge zone like the plague... and even worse, any areas which look likely to be sucked into it, which pretty much means anywhere on the circumference! Ken Livingstone needs a lot of money to pay for the Olympics. --Dweller 10:34, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

dry docked and hurt'en[edit]

i am recovering from a bad injury that may leave me with partial use of my right arm. i do not qualify for social security benefits as i have been unemployed for so long that my quaterly credits have run out. does anybody know of any private sector companys that have a hireing program for partially disabled people over age 50 ? 15:05, 22 July 2006 (UTC)thanks wikipedia-nauts15:05, 22 July 2006 (UTC)(Hobgoblin)

Skilcraft and Chicago Lighthouse are two organizations who hire disabled persons. -- 18:26, 27 July 2006 (UTC)
You don't qualify for social security because you have been unemployed for too long? What kind of reasoning is that? And a disability doesn't matter? What horrible country are you from? DirkvdM 18:35, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

USA, yep your SS will run out if you dont pay into the account with in so many quarters. go figure, (hobgolin)

A horrible country indeed. Well, if you're from the northern US you can always cross the border and get permanent residency status in Canada. After a reasonable amount of time (a matter of a few months) you'll qualify for about $800/month in assistance as well as free medical care. Another great option (assuming you're white) is to try to emmigrate to any western European social democracy, they seem to offer the same sort of deal. Loomis 23:58, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Assuming your white? Did I miss the lynchings? Philc TECI 00:37, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
Don't worry, Phil. I was refering to continental Europe only. Not the UK. Not at all. I love England (as well as Scotland, NI and Wales,) but England in particular, for its culture of warmth, openness and tolerance. My first time taking the ferry from Calais to Dover, I literally got goose-bumps at my first sight of those beautiful white cliffs. It was odd, though I had never been to England, I felt such an inexplicable feeling of "coming home" (after spending a bit too much time on the continent!) If I was forced to live in some other country aside from my own, England would be at the top of my list.
My little remark was only meant as a jibe at those continental countries where that ugly spectre of racial and religious intolerance seems to be rearing its ugly head once again. The English people have always seemed to rise to the challenge and stand up for what's right when the rest of the world seems to be going haywire.
England just has a special place in my heart. I just intinctively know that whatever the calamity, the good people of England will always be on the right side, standing up for all that is good and proper, and stubbornly refusing to be lured into the den of the devil, no matter how tempting it may be. Take good care Phil. Loomis 02:16, 24 July 2006 (UTC)
Cheers loomis, your a really nice guy. Maybe it is a fair point to say that continental european countries have more problems with rascism, but I would probably say it's only the mediteranean ones, I dont know why, but spain france and italy seem to be the focus of it all, where as germany despite its somewhat more violent past, has taken a real turn for the better (though there is a general dislike the turks, which doesnt help my point), and from what I know is quite tolerant nowadays, and also that, though I may be mislead, apart from a few contreversial cartoons (which can be attributed to ignorance not rascism), nothing bad has come from scandanavia. But yeh, spain and france are quite bad, mostly dues to problems with terrorism from foreign countries, notably algeria, and a lack of any serious ethnic groups, which will stand up for themselves. Philc TECI 16:04, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Largest Singaporean corporations?[edit]

What are the largest corporations in Singapore, by revenue for the most recent financial year? Of course, more lists using other factors, such as market capitalization and net income, would help.

What are the major corporations in Singapore, in the computing industry (particularly dot-coms)?

--J.L.W.S. The Special One 15:57, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Vietnamese Superstition[edit]

When my dad was born, the left side of his body was paralyzed. It went away and his parents worked with him so there wouldn't be any adverse effects later in life. Nonetheless his left arm doesn't bend straight all the way and his left ear and eye are a little bit lower than his right eye and ear. When my dad was getting his hair cut, the barber (of Vietnamese descent) noticed the abnormality, and my dad said he might want to get it fixed surgically, since it has bothered him and my mom a long time (why, I do not know). The barber quickly objected saying that if your do anything surgical to your ears, your business may suffer (he is a business man). Somehow I think my dad is making it up to not do the surgery because he's scared. Am I mistaken and this is a legitimate Vietnamese superstition? Or is my dad just afraid? schyler 16:12, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't know about a Vietnamese superstition, but it does indeed seem like your dad may be afraid. --Proficient 11:57, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Hizbollah : surprises[edit]

Yesterday I saw Nasrallah on television saying they have surprised the Israelis, and they can surprise them again. I think by surprising he means the rockets hitting Haifa. As I understand it, Hezbollah did not target Haifa in the first days of this conflict, and I even remember that some did not take the threat to start attacking Haifa serious. But why was this a surprise, when I go through Wikipedia, it has been known for a long time that Hezbollah had Katyusha rockets, and this picture (on Wikipedia) [[1]] clearly suggest it gives them the possibility to attack Haifa? So what am I misunderstanding? Evilbu 16:20, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

I think the main "surprise" so far was hitting the Israeli ship. AnonMoos 17:56, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
That was the original "surprise", supposedly, in that they claimed that they hit the ship with an unmanned drone aircraft, but recent evidence seems to indicate that it was a conventional missile. User:Zoe|(talk) 19:32, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure it was Israel that originally claimed it was a drone. --Fastfission 00:17, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Weird, I remember reports that people were surprised to see Haifa hit (that hasn't happened before?) So you think Nasrallah was referring to the ship that was attacked? Evilbu 21:45, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

I think the surprise may have been due to the speculation that they may have acquired some missiles that could reach Tel Aviv. See this BBC article for details. Road Wizard 16:34, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Probably he is just blowing hot air for propaganda purposes... Adam Bishop 03:35, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

I have a related question. Iran is widely known to be a heavy supporter of Hezbollah. Does this mean that the arms we're talking about (such as the katyusha rockets) originate in Iran? If so, my question is a purely logistical one. How does Iran manage to ship these rockets? Iran does not border Syria or Lebanon. The only land route would take them through Iraq or Turkey. Iraq would be an unlikely route as it's crawling with US troops. Turkey wouldn't be that much better, as it's an ally of the US and Israel. Are the arms actually smuggled by land through one of these two countries? Are they brought in by air or by sea? Or does Iran merely provide a tonne of cash (which is a lot easier to smuggle) to Hezbollah, which in turn allows Hezbollah to buy these arms from a third party. If so, from where do these katyusha rockets originate? Loomis 13:50, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
The US does not control all of Iraq (because it is not actually crawling with US troops, and even if it was they still wouldn't control all of it). Adam Bishop 16:37, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Good point Adam. Just to clarify, I shouldn't have used the word "crawling", as this would seem to imply that I view the presence of US troops in Iraq in a negative fashion, which is definitely not the case. If only the US was in fact in control of any weapons that may be smuggled through Iraq, then perhaps the Hezbollah would have had no rockets to fire, (or none left at least) and this whole tragedy would have been averted, saving the lives of many Jews and Arabs alike. Loomis 21:49, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Hezbollah probably gathered all these rockets for quite some time and perhaps even built some of them. But if you really really want to know ask Mossad and not Wikipedia. Flamarande 18:49, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I hope you're right Flamarande, and that they'll soon run out, making the need for Israel to take any more defensive action unnecessary, and, as I just said above, saving the lives of many Jews and Arabs alike. Loomis 21:49, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I have read here and there that Hezbollah has hundereds ! of rockets. It is going to get a lot worse before it gets any better. Flamarande 21:53, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

A pity, Flamarande. If only they ran out we wouldn't be in this mess. Loomis 22:12, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Sculptor Sir William Reid Dick[edit]

I have a piece of sculpture done by Reid Dick, and I'd like to know who to contact (and how) to establish its value and to make arrangements to market it. Thanks! - Marion-- 16:43, 22 July 2006 (UTC)-- 16:43, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Where are you based? Azerbaijan? Brazil? Cameroon? ...  --LambiamTalk 21:28, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
I'd suggest any reputable art dealer or valuer. If the sculpture is difficult to transport I'm sure that any nearby dealer would be happy to visit you to value it if it is by a recognised famous sculptor. As you seem to be in California, U.S.A. I'd expect you to be able to find a suitable dealer in Los Angeles or one of the other larger cities in that state. AllanHainey 15:53, 24 July 2006 (UTC)


How does gravity affect space time between the event horizon and the singularity of a black hole?

Why don't you ask that on the science desk? AnonMoos 17:57, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

European cities and towns: good west end and poor east end[edit]

In Eric Hobsbawm (1962, 2005) The age of the revolution 1789–1848, chapter 11, it was stated “Urban development in our period [1789–1848] was a gigantic process of class segregation, which pushed the new labouring poor into great morasses of misery outside the centres of government and business and the newly specialised residential areas of the bourgeoisie. The almost universal European division into a ‘good’ west end and a ‘poor’ east end of large cities developed in this period.” I wonder why this geographical vector is invariant throughout Europe? – Kaihsu 17:38, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

I rather doubt that it is. In London, the eastern section was downstream, and closer to the docks. AnonMoos 17:59, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
I remember reading about this in old urban geography textbooks. It is said to be due to the fact that in Britain, at least, the predominant wind is from the south-west. So in the centuries when coal was used for heating, if you lived on the eastern side of town you would get everyones smoke pollution there, plus industrial smoke also. So the better-off would choose to live somewhere else.
I also remember seeing a diagram of the residential, commercial and industrial sectors of a typical UK town, and it did correspond rather well to where I was living at the time. Perhaps I've seen the same book you've mentioned. -- 18:29, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
Damn, you beat me to that answer by just a few minutes. I just wonder if it wouldn't have made more sense to put the industries at the eastern end of the town. Just east of the workers residencies, so they could walk there. In the middle ages the dirty industries were also placed outside the cities. And in Amsterdam indeed to the East, afaik. DirkvdM 18:41, 22 July 2006 (UTC)
That's interesting. In the U.S. many cities seem to have a "good" North side and poorer South side. Rmhermen 00:16, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
I think Hobsbawm's sentence is supposed to be "universally good and bad side, which were west and east in London." Generally, the US does follow the north/south pattern, and I suppose semiotics might have something to say about it. However, one of the critical factors in London is that the managers might want a quick jaunt to work, so the property values would be too high for the workers, but the workers had to adjust to the notion of "work" being some place far away (when, earlier, work took place at home, or one's work had a residence attached). The developers put the mills wherever they chose, but the poor were already located in the poor areas. In London, another factor was elevation, as being below the river's level would mean more disease and misery in general (e.g. Southwark). Geogre 02:19, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

It's because rich people carry more metal (coins, jewelry) than poor people, so the earth's magnetic field subtly deflects the rich people westward. No, don't listen to me. ;) --Bmk 04:36, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Maybe there is a more likely explanation. 19th century industries produced lots of coal smoke. Are the prevailing winds in Europe from the west as they are in North America? Coal smoke produces substantial deposits on everything downwind, which would make the western edges of towns preferable to the eastern ones. alteripse 14:22, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

That was already said by the anon. DirkvdM 18:36, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Should we feed this back to the Wikipedia (the encyclopedia)? What is the appropriate article to integrate this information? – Kaihsu 13:59, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Urbanisation? DirkvdM 19:26, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Added. – Kaihsu 20:38, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Just for the record, the Mann Model shows this effect (good old AS level geography). It was based on studies of towns in northern England, but Google doesn't seem to have any pictures to demonstrate it. --iamajpeg 11:10, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Attorney-General's Reference[edit]

I am curious as to this point in UK law. When the Attorney-General refers a question of law for the consideration of the Criminal division of the Court of Appeal after a trial of first instance in the Crown Court, who argues against the Crown? I would think that the defendant would have no interest in instructing a lawyer to do so, since the outcome can have no bearing on the original acquittal. --David Mestel(Talk) 21:00, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

Do these help? (I have not read them). [2][3]Kaihsu 15:58, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Thanks - it turns out that the Treasury Solicitor briefs counsel as Amicus Curae to argue against the Attorney-General. --David Mestel(Talk) 17:07, 23 July 2006 (UTC)

Hm, that is a cute set-up. – Kaihsu 12:16, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

Should we feed this back to the Wikipedia (the encyclopedia)? What is the appropriate article to integrate this information? – Kaihsu 13:59, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

I put this question to a criminal lawyer of my acquaintance, who queried its basic premise. Why does the question assume that someone needs to argue against the Crown? What if there are no interested parties? --Richardrj 21:05, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

It's a byproduct of the adversarial system. Common-law courts do not like to make significant decisions unless the relevant positions have been fully argued. See also reference question. --Mathew5000 09:46, 25 July 2006 (UTC)

Questions about white Rastafarians[edit]

If a white man chooses to become a Rastafarian, is it mandatory to assume a fake Jamaican accent? Rastafari interests me and seems to be 'calling' me but I've met several white Rastas who seem to me to be 'trying too hard' to sound like what they think 'Rasta should be'. I know about the importance of the Rastafarian vocabulary but is it essential to deliver it in a forced Jamaican accent say, if you're from Northern England? That just seems wrong and contradictory.

Also, what do black Rastas generally think of white Rastas? I've read accounts online of real hostility yet other people seem to have had no problems, even when in Jamiaca.

Thanks. -- 23:50, 22 July 2006 (UTC)

If you really want to become a Rasta does it even matter? They copy the accent because they want to and nothing else. They want to be really "original" and therefore they copy a accent, smoke some ganja, and grow their hair. I think that most of them eventually grow up. But hey if you wanna believe, then believe. By the way, have you ever heard about the spiritual rewards of Atheism? Please convert now. Flamarande 02:23, 23 July 2006 (UTC) Sorry, couldn´resist :).
FWIW, I've met several white rastas and not a single one of them would ever consider faking a Jamaican accent. Why should they? If you convert to Judaism you should suddenly start speaking in a stereotypical Jewish way already? Or start with usin-a da mock Italiano if you become Roman Catholic? It's silly. (BTW, FWIW, my country's best known rasta is white - the MP Nandor Tanczos). Grutness...wha? 02:42, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
Aw man, New Zealand is so cool. I can't even imagine a Rastafarian, Linux-using, US politician. —Keenan Pepper 03:45, 23 July 2006 (UTC)
     He skateboards, too.