Wikipedia:Reference desk archive/Humanities/2006 July 28

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Chinese resturants[edit]

I notice there are a lot of chinese resturants all over the place; and chinese food is probably the second most common food to order out besides pizza (not that I know this officially, it's just a guess). And I notice that all of the workers in these resturants are usually genuine Chinese. Where do all these people come from? Is it all the people who left China because it became communistic? Or is it just a coincidence? --Jonathan talk 00:40, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't know what Chinese Food Resturants you go to, but from the 3 or 4 I've been too, there were probably 6-10 Asians. They're pretty much all Mexican. Then again, I'm in Texas, so that explains it. I wonder if Chinese resturants in New York have a bunch of Canadians working in them. schyler 00:45, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
There are always Asians in them in Toronto (whether they are specifically Chinese or Japanese or Vietnamese or whatever, I don't know). Adam Bishop 02:31, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Actually most of the ones in the Southern U.S. are staffed by Central/South Americans and owned by Asians (usually, but not always.) --ColourBurst 04:55, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
See the articles Overseas Chinese and Chinese Migration. The Chinese have a long history of overseas migration, for a variety of different reasons. In the 19th century, a lot of Chinese emigration was prompted by gold rushes in the United States and Australia. In the 20th century, war and famine were among the main causes: not communism as the sole reason, but almost certainly related factors. In the late 20th century to now, I would think that business and education are the driving factors behind Chinese migration. --Canley 04:12, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I've been to probably well over 100 Chinese restaurants in Australia over the years, and I don't recall ever seeing a non-Chinese person working in one. JackofOz 04:55, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, if you look at the historical reasons for immigration a lot of it has to do with strife and opportunity. Almost all of the groups who immigrated over to the U.S. are like this. Many of them operate restaurants (those who can afford to do so) because it's relatively easy versus say a retail or manufacturing business, and the potential is decent (everybody needs food). In fact, many of the original pizzerias were operated by Italian Americans, while most modern pizza establishments are operated by conglomerates. --ColourBurst 04:55, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
It's often to do with exploiting cheap labour brought from the homeland. In some cases, Chinese restaurant owners will bring their extended family and neighbours over to work very cheapily. It's easier to negotiate such things if they are socially and culturally already connected. This can result in areas in the West where almost all the Chinese restaurants are run by people from the same particular connected group of villages and towns in China. It's not just in places like New York City - I know the area around Marbella, Spain and many of the Chinese restaurants there are both owned by and staffed with Chinese from the same small region. In other cases, people in China unconnected by family or village may sign up to work very cheaply (possibly as indentured servants) just to have the opportunity in go to the US. Bwithh 05:13, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
You have to consider that one fifth of the world population are Chinese. So it makes sense that they form a major proportion of immigrants anywhere, without there having to be a special cause for it. Also, if there already is a community of some ethnic group somewhere, that will make it easier for new immigrants of that ethnic group. And Chinese are known to help eahc other out (or is that a myth?). So once the ball started rolling, it was an invitation for even more migration.
Buy the way, the pizza vs Chinese food comparison is interresting. I can imagine that in the US pizzas are sold more than Chinese food, but here in the Netherlands that is the other way around - pizzas are on the rise, but Chinese/Indonesian restaurants have been all over the place for at least decades. Even more ubiquitous than fast food joints (FcDonalds and the like), unless you also count traditional chips 'restaurants' and wall outlets like FEBO. DirkvdM 12:15, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Note that, at least in the US, both Chinese food and pizza have become so "Amercanized", that they bear little resemblance to the original. Pizza in Italy typically only had cheese and tomato sauce (although tomatoes originated in America, too), the idea of topping them with everything but the kitchen sink is an American idea, as was home delivery. Chinese food in China had been much healthier, but in America much more meat and grease was added. Fortune cookies were also invented in America, by Chinese immigrants. I wonder if the American versions of these items have propagated back to Italy and China yet. StuRat 17:15, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Probably, if only to feed the US tourists there. :) I wonder if there are any Pizza Huts in Italy. DirkvdM 18:05, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
That being said, the last time I went to Italy (a few years ago) you could get all sorts of toppings on your pizza. However, they're sold by weight and the toppings are very different. --ColourBurst 19:47, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Having Pizza Huts in Italy is like Australia importing eucalyptus oil from the Soviet Union. Amazing, but true. JackofOz 13:01, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Not really. American pizza is so different from Italian pizza that the two don't really compete. Going out to a sit down dinner with an Italian pizza and a bottle of wine doesn't have much of anything in common with home delivery of a pizza with everything and a 2 liter bottle of Pepsi. Calling them both the same thing is about like calling filet mignon and a hamburger the same thing. StuRat 19:19, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
Who called them "the same thing"? I was making what's commonly known as an analogy. I'm world-renowned for my crappy analogies, and it's good to see I'm maintaining my quality.  :--) JackofOz 00:35, 2 August 2006 (UTC)

Maybe what I should have said was "I notice that all of the workers in these resturants usually appear genuine Chinese." I wanted to know whether they really were. Thanks for all the answers, I guess the reason there are so many Chinese is because of all that immigration, and that China is the most populated country in the world (or is it India yet?). --Jonathan talk 16:20, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Traditionally Chinese restaurant proprietors have tended to hire Chinese, or other orientals, because of cost, availability of staff (many of whom would have some family or geographic connection to the proprietor) & because they actually know what the food is meant to taste like. In the UK it has been reported that due to the booming Chinese economy, cheap eastern European labour & other factors a lot of Polish workers have been taken on at Chinese restaurants in the kitchens: with the result that the food isn't as good. AllanHainey 11:29, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Origin of the phrase "Blackmailer's Charter"[edit]

Who originally referred to the Labouchere Amendment as the "blackmailer's charter"? Google reveals only that it was thus called by "one commentator" (in Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885); I see that this phrase was used in the film Victim. Is there an earlier reference? Does anyone know who originally dubbed it that? grendel|khan 01:39, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Information Management Systems[edit]

Dear Shantavira Thanks for you answer and maybe you are right I should not have asked this question on this side cause this is after all an encyclopedia. I just want to mention that your answer is like someone asking what is an apple and you telling them an apple is an apple. Ofcourse I know that an information management system will manage information, a document management system will maage documents and so forth. Just so you know, I checked the definitions before asking that question so I know what they are. What I asked for was the difference between those systems and that is because I use some of those systems and sometimes find it difficult to understand if one would call the other an information, document, record or database management system. I mean in documents, you have information and those documents are also called company records so this is where the confusion for me stems from. Thank you

(The above is a comment on an earlier question.) When asking about straightforward definitions, it's probably a good idea to mention that you've consulted the relevant articles, if only by linking to them, otherwise you'll probably just be directed there for an answer. This is not my area of expertise, so I can't expand on it, although I agree there is likely to be considerable overlap between the different systems.--Shantavira 08:50, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
A database management system is a system for storage and retrieval of data. The most popular database management systems today are relational databases, which typically allow the user to search for data using SQL queries. Examples: Oracle database, Mysql. The data are typically stored as low-level data types, such as integers and text, but storage of large binary data objects (blobs) is also possible. A document management system is a system for storage and retrieval of documents, such as word-processor files, pdfs, images etc. A document management system will often use a database management system as a back-end, storing the documents in blobs, and keeping keywords etc. for searching the files in separate tables. Example: A system for organising standard operating procedures in a large organisation. As far as I know, an 'information management system' may mean a lot of different things, and is not a term I would choose if I intended to convey a precise technical concept without qualifying information. I was not familiar with the term 'record management system'. A record usually means an entry in a database table. However according to our article, it appears to have a well-defined meaning on the java platform. --vibo56 talk 14:59, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Cyanide and Happiness[edit]

I was just curious why articles on the popular webcomic "Cyanide and Happiness" has "been deleted, and should not be re-created without a good reason."

Plenty of other webcomics have web pages and I cannot seem to find a reason why the page was delted.

If someone could give a clear answer it would be helpful.

Thanks -Allen.

I think it was because it was voted to be deleted so many times at AfD that it was banned from being recreated altogether. That's the reason given in the history anyhoo. - THE GREAT GAVINI {T-C} 07:59, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

The reason why a page is deleted can be found in the discussions that happened before it was deleted: here is a discussion Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Cyanide and happiness (webcomic). There was a request for a review of the decision here. There is some jargon in the discussion: nn = "not notable"; mentions of POV and NPOV mean that the article was not written from a neutral point of view (perhaps it looked more like a fan page than an encylopedia article). You will observe that not one voice was raised in favour of keeping the article. If you need any more help intepreting it, please let us know. Notinasnaid 08:24, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Additionally, you can review Wikipedia's deletion policy to familiarize yourself with the include/exclude criteria we employ. There may be articles on other webcomics, but those have either not been discussed or have been discussed and found to pass our criterion. This article's fitness was assessed on Articles for Deletion and on Deletion Review, and the article should not be attempted again unless there have been substantial changes in the circumstances that led to its exclusion. Geogre 12:41, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Note: because webcomics are so easy to make, any webcomic has to be very, very good that it wins awards (PvP, Copper, Derek Kirk Kim's work), or is mentioned in newspapers and other such publications (Sluggy Freelance, PhD Comics), or syndicated (I guess Dilbert and Boondocks would go here, but they're not strictly webcomics), or is important in a non-webcomics sense (and even then it's probably going to be merged into another article). There's a lot of webcomic authors that want to try and use Wikipedia as a launch vehicle for their pet webcomic. It's not really what Wikipedia is about. (or as I like to say it, recognition is earned.) --ColourBurst 20:30, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Guomingdang and the CCP[edit]

What were the main policy differences between those two parties, and in short how did the CCP overpower the GMD in china?

On wikipedia somewhat different names are used for these parties; see Kuomintang and CPC. David Sneek 09:34, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Running unopposed for US Congress (Robert Wexler)[edit]

I saw the Better Know A District segment where Stephen Colbert interviewed Robert Wexler, a Democrat who has represented Florida's 19th district in the United States House of Representatives since 1997 (video clip). Wexler was said to be uncontested in the 2006 election, and the Wikipedia article Robert Wexler also uses that wording. (As a result, Colbert asked him to make certain statements that would lose him the election if he did have an opponent, and Wexler complied by saying that both cocaine and prostitutes are "fun thing[s] to do".) My questions are:

  1. Is Wexler really "unopposed" in the 2006 election in the sense that no other candidates will be listed on the ballot, even third-party candidates and independents? or is it simply that the Republican Party is not fielding a candidate against him?
  2. Why doesn't the Republican Party run a candidate against him? I realize that the district is heavily Democratic, but still; shouldn't both major parties contest every district in the country just on principle? After all, the point of an election for national office is not only trying to win a seat; it's also a way to air the issues and make your party's platform known to the citizens, even in areas where the majority is expected to support someone else. --Mathew5000 11:38, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
The term "unopposed" normally means that no other Republican or Democrat is running. I would rather not get into the whole issue about the U.S. being a 2-party system where both parties have the same agenda (money and power) and push out third parties and independents in a highly similar fashion to Chinese politics which we are supposed to believe is a totalitarianship. As for why the Republicans don't run a candidate, there are many reasons: They don't want to waste the money. No candidate there was able to raise his/her own share of the payoff to get the Republicans to back him/her. By giving the Democrats this seat without opposition, the Democrats will give the Republicans a seat somewhere else without question. The guy running may play both sides well, so he is just as much Republican as Democrat. --Kainaw (talk) 13:00, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

And this issue is really a subset of the general question "is it worthwhile to fight for a lost cause" ? Some say no, others say yes. In many wars one side continues to fight even after it is quite apparent that their side will lose, such as the Confederacy in the US Civil War. The primary benefit of fighting (having some possibility of winning) is now gone, so do secondary benefits justify the cost ? I had a High School teacher who ran in a state election just so the other candidate would not run unopposed, even though he had no chance of winning. He did get to participate in a debate, though, so got to voice his opinions. StuRat 16:58, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

I don't agree that running in an election is tantamount to "fighting".--Mathew5000 01:00, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
According to the Florida Division of Elections, Wexler is completely unopposed in the general election, as are four other Democrats. Presumably, this is the result of squeezing Democratic voters into fewer districts through gerrymandering. -- Mwalcoff 23:36, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
The 19th is, at least superficially, a pretty strange looking district, however Googling about I haven't been able to find anybody claiming there was gerrymandering involved, and the legislature has been controlled by Republicans for some time now (they've been the ones accused of gerrymandering there for the last decade, apparently). --Fastfission 00:06, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Based on my religious viewing of The Colbert Report, most congressional districts in the U.S. are pretty strange looking. Also, the fact that this district is heavily Democratic is not evidence against gerrymandering by Republicans. If the Republicans were going to gerrymander electoral districts, one thing they would do is attempt to cram as many Democrats as possible into any district that already had a large majority of Democrats. --Mathew5000 00:19, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Thanks Mwalcoff for the link to the Florida Division of Elections web site. Chapter 3 of the 2006 Federal Qualifying Handbook (PDF) states what is necessary to get on the ballot for Congress. The fee is $9,726 for "party affiliation candidates" or $6,484 for "no party affiliation candidates". Alternatively, someone can get on the ballot without paying the fee by collecting signatures on a petition of 1% of the total number of registered voters of the district. A third way to participate in the election is to submit qualifying papers as a write-in candidate. This explains to some extent why there are no fringe candidates or protest candidates on the ballot in the 19th district: $6,484 is a sizeable amount to most people, and collecting that many signatures would be difficult. There may still be protest candidates planning to campaign against Wexler as write-in candidates. I still find it surprising, however, that the Republican Party is not running any candidate. You would think the Party could afford to put up $9,726, plus a few thousand more for a skeleton campaign, just to have someone on the ballot as a point of principle. Otherwise doesn't it look like they are saying that the Republican Party doesn't care about Republican voters in the 19th district? Even though everybody knows that a Republican candidate would not win in that district, aren't Republican voters pissed off that they don't even have an option on the ballot with which to express their preference? --Mathew5000 01:00, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
Well, theoretically any Republican in the district could try to collect the necessary signatures to get on the ballot. But the party organizations aren't going to waste any resources on a district they can only win if the incumbent is arrested for murder. I remember reading in 2004 that there was a chance the Libertarians might actually contest more Texas districts than the Democrats. -- Mwalcoff 04:53, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Criticism of emerging middle class during age of guilds[edit]

I once read a one-paragraph criticism of middle-class values that was written in the age of the guilds, i.e. 1300's or 1400's (maybe later?). It is remarkably well written and as accurate today as then; it focused on mind-set and attitudes. I don't know where it is from or how to find it. Please help. Thank you.

Erm - what are you looking for help with, the subject matter or finding this paragraph? In the latter case you'e going to have to be a lot more specific than that, there are millions if not billions of documents on our planet... — QuantumEleven 09:18, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Romanian Gypsies[edit]

I am reading the biography of Lee Miller. She was a photojournalist in WWII. She visited Romania shortly after the war. She wrote about the gypsys she met who owned bears. These bears gave her a fabulous massage by walking on her back. They were taught to be gentle but firm. The bears were taught to carefully sit on the customer's neck to relieve pain. The bears were prized assets. Romania ran bear hotels - where the owner and his bear slept side by side.

I'm researching an article on massage in the 21st century. This reference to the bears seems like a wonderful place to start on modern day massage.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

What sort of help are you looking for? Do you sources other than the biography you have? A google search revealed this reference in a chronology and a mention here. While you're at it, you might consider adding your knowledge to our small article on Lee Miller. --Bmk 21:28, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Mythological creatures with multiplying extremities/progeny/whatever[edit]

Here's the thing: I'm trying to name a fictional SPECTRE-ish organization, themed around the idea that no matter how many operatives you kill, they have so many "sleepers" that-- well, if you cut off one head, two will grow in its place. Which we all know is the Hydra. But Marvel Comics already has a SPECTRE-ish organization called Hydra.

So I'd like to find another mythological creature -- or anything with that '60s "SPY!" sound to it -- with the "smack it and it multiplies" gimmick. The whole thing is a send-up, so I don't mind an overt Hydra/this-group similarity... in some ways, that would be an asset. But for obvious reasons, Hydra is out. Can anyone pitch in here and bail me out? --MattShepherd 19:17, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

If it is comical why not try the Amoebas or Earthworms? Maybe Starfish. Nowimnthing 20:15, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Good ideas, but this is more a "sly wink" than an outright spoof. It has to be James-Bond-believable, if you know what I mean. --MattShepherd 20:33, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Wasn't Cerberus supposed to be like that? Three dog heads and hundreds of snake heads? Grutness...wha? 01:54, 29 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Not quite it perhaps but warriors springing up out of nowhere=dragon's teeth from Jason and the Argonauts?hotclaws**==(81.134.68.10 06:53, 29 July 2006 (UTC))
I like the starfish idea—you know the old story about fishermen cutting them up and throwing them into the sea, only to find out that this multiplies them. Their taxonomic class is pretty exciting sounding: Asteroidea. It's not quite James Bondish unless you had someone with an eyepatch explain this at some point. --Fastfission 02:53, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

2 questions about broad (UN) coalitions : USA involvement and tensions[edit]

Hello people,

I came up with this question when I watched the news about UNIFIL in Lebanon and MONUC in Congo.

1) The UN often sends peacekeepers into areas like Bosnia, Lebanon and African countries like Congo. I was wondering if the USA has participated in any of these peacekeeping missions since "Black Hawk Down" in Mogadishu, when their attempt to oust Aidid failed.

2)In a coalition like this, can't you have tensions between troops from different countries? For instance : MONUC consists of Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi troops. Also, both Armenia and Azerbadjian have had some troops in Iraq (I know : that was not a UN coalition). Isn't that a bit weird? Do those soldiers really drop their own background and act as nationless peacekeepers?

Thanks, Evilbu 19:35, 28 July 2006 (UTC)


At least for part one see Timeline of UN peacekeeping missions, seems the US is involved in United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti that started in 2004. Nowimnthing 20:20, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Regarding the second question, This PDF UN map shows that the MONUC deployments in Adikivu and Ituri eavh have a Pakistani infantry batallion and an Indian air-force squadron. That does seem strange. -- Mwalcoff 23:32, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Never thought of this and it seems strange. However, if it works, then the soldiers would get to know each other and mutual understanding (seeing the others are normal humans too) could be a great incentive for peace back home. DirkvdM 06:36, 29 July 2006 (UTC)

Who is Pappy Mason?[edit]

I know that Pappy Mason had something to do with the Mafia in NY back in the day, but does anyone else have any other information about him?

Doesn't seem to be too much out there, if you google you get a few mentions of him like this: [1] maybe you should start an article. Nowimnthing 20:25, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Try searching for "Howard Mason" aka Pappy, though that may not be the particular vile, low-life drug kingpin you are looking for.EricR 23:47, 28 July 2006 (UTC)

Location of Seas[edit]

How far is the Medeterrianin from Jerusalem, and how far is the dead sea from Jerusalem?

Well the Mediterranean curves so it depends which way you are going...directly west is about 60 kilometres from Jerusalem. The Dead Sea is about half as far, maybe 25 kilometres? Adam Bishop 22:17, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
While it doesn't have many roads mapped, you can to go maps.google.com and type in Jerusalem. Zoom out to the level you like and you can see exactly where Jerusalem is. --Kainaw (talk) 22:29, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
Using the Gmaps Pedometer, I can see it's about 56km from J'lem to the Mediterranean due west or about 51km as the crow flies to around Bat Yam. It's about 23km from J'lem to the Dead Sea near Qumran. -- Mwalcoff 23:25, 28 July 2006 (UTC)