(ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Discussions regarding actual culture and history of Earth.
User avatar
Sights
sinic
sinic
Posts: 235
Joined: Sat 04 Jan 2014, 20:47

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sights » Thu 10 Mar 2016, 21:34

I took the terms "symmetrical" and "asymmetrical" from a paper on the subject by Marshall Sahlins (which I admittedly read some time ago):

"Let us call the first a complementary or asymmetrical diarchy, referring in this way to the organic division of the sovereign powers, as between a war-king and a sacerdotal or peace-king. As they differ qualitatively, each is supreme in his own function. But in diarchies of symmetrical form, the one king is the functional image or twin of the other. If differing in rank, they are in all other respects the same in privilege, as they are in sovereign function. This is the Spartan kingship, admittedly more rare than complementary diarchies. Yet both types can be found, in diverse institutional expressions, among the ancient Indo-European peoples."

The fragment "If differing in rank" makes me think that, in the case of Sparta (and presumably among other mediterranean peoples), there were still differences between the two rulers, and hierarchical ones at that rather than simply matters of descent. I could be completely wrong, of course. I find Sahlins' wording a bit confusing to be honest.
Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 1225
Joined: Mon 19 Sep 2011, 18:37

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » Thu 10 Mar 2016, 22:33

I'm not sure why you think that. The quote seems pretty clear-cut.

The spartan kings theoretically differed in rank - one was considered senior to the other - but so far as I am aware they had the same powers, and each had the power to veto the other.
User avatar
Sights
sinic
sinic
Posts: 235
Joined: Sat 04 Jan 2014, 20:47

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Sights » Fri 11 Mar 2016, 00:57

Oh well, I probably overestimated the importance of them having different ranks. Thanks then, I'll look into the Spartan model more deeply [:)]
HoskhMatriarch
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1779
Joined: Sat 16 May 2015, 17:48

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by HoskhMatriarch » Sat 16 Apr 2016, 06:43

Does anyone know if most cultures have the concept of distinct languages? It seems a lot of languages don't have a name for themselves in themselves, just names for the group that speaks them (which is usually "the people" or something similar), although I could just be missing it.
No darkness can harm you if you are guided by your own inner light
Keenir
mayan
mayan
Posts: 2435
Joined: Tue 22 May 2012, 02:05

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Keenir » Sat 16 Apr 2016, 07:46

HoskhMatriarch wrote:Does anyone know if most cultures have the concept of distinct languages?
Yes; I mean, I doubt the Piraha and the Ancient Greeks are the only ones. (referring to other languages' speakers as "bent people" and "people who say ba ba" respectively)
At work on Apaan: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=4799
Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 1225
Joined: Mon 19 Sep 2011, 18:37

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » Sat 16 Apr 2016, 13:32

HoskhMatriarch wrote:Does anyone know if most cultures have the concept of distinct languages? It seems a lot of languages don't have a name for themselves in themselves, just names for the group that speaks them (which is usually "the people" or something similar), although I could just be missing it.
Yes, most people are aware of the fact that they can't understand what foreigners are saying, even though the foreigners seem to be able to understand each other.
HoskhMatriarch
mayan
mayan
Posts: 1779
Joined: Sat 16 May 2015, 17:48

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by HoskhMatriarch » Sat 16 Apr 2016, 20:42

Yes, but do they actually have a concept like "We speak English and they speak Russian" or is it just "foreigners say gibberish"? It seems like all the other languages are always grouped together under "gibberish" without distinction and the language that the group speaks is just equivocated with "human speech" without really having a name, which is a bit different conceptually than our modern ideas of languages and dialects.
No darkness can harm you if you are guided by your own inner light
Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 1225
Joined: Mon 19 Sep 2011, 18:37

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » Sat 16 Apr 2016, 21:51

HoskhMatriarch wrote:Yes, but do they actually have a concept like "We speak English and they speak Russian" or is it just "foreigners say gibberish"? It seems like all the other languages are always grouped together under "gibberish" without distinction and the language that the group speaks is just equivocated with "human speech" without really having a name, which is a bit different conceptually than our modern ideas of languages and dialects.
Not really. The only questions there are a) how many types of alien you encounter, and b) how much you have to talk to aliens who don't know about you much.

If you only talk to one alien people, you call what they speak alien-speak. If you talk to more than one type of alien, and it's important to you to distinguish between them, then you have to find more specific names for the different types of alien-speak. Similarly, if you never talk to aliens, or if you only talk to weak aliens who know a lot about you, you don't need a name for your own language. But if you might be an immigrant in an alien city among many types of people the aliens don't understand, you need some name to explain which language is yours and which isn't.

But the important thing here is that we're just talking about names for languages (and polities). This has nothing to do with the concept of languages. Once you understand that i) aliens don't speak like you, ii) aliens do speak and can understand each other, and then iii) different groups of aliens understand people in their groups, but not aliens from other groups... then you have the concept of there being many languages. Whether or not you bother to develop a sophisticated vocabulary to discuss the issue.

I'm not sure what statistics you have backing up your "always", anyway. Are you thinking remote amazonian tribes or something? Because the Greeks were aware of and named multiple languages by the time of Homer.
User avatar
Lambuzhao
earth
earth
Posts: 7142
Joined: Sun 13 May 2012, 01:57

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lambuzhao » Wed 20 Apr 2016, 20:41

Just took a gander at this -

http://qz.com/666153/megacities-not-nat ... ctography/

Interesting!
:wat:

Anybody read Connectography ?
User avatar
elemtilas
runic
runic
Posts: 2782
Joined: Sat 22 Nov 2014, 04:48

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » Thu 21 Apr 2016, 03:08

Lambuzhao wrote:Just took a gander at this -

http://qz.com/666153/megacities-not-nat ... ctography/

Interesting!
:wat:

Anybody read Connectography ?
Nope, never heard of it. I do remember learning about megacities (like Bosnywash and Sanlosdiego) ages ago in grammar school, though.

The only point I'd immediately disagree with is that we have yet to witness the date when either of those two megalopolises shall have outlived the particular nation they are part of.
Image

If we stuff the whole chicken back into the egg, will all our problems go away? --- Wandalf of Angera
User avatar
Lambuzhao
earth
earth
Posts: 7142
Joined: Sun 13 May 2012, 01:57

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lambuzhao » Fri 22 Apr 2016, 03:34

Indeed.
I felt that it was a little presumptive on the author's part to include Bosnywash, Sanlosdiego and Sao Paulo with megalopoleis that actually did outlast the various empires and nations that hugged them over time.
Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 1225
Joined: Mon 19 Sep 2011, 18:37

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 22 Apr 2016, 12:22

Lambuzhao wrote:Indeed.
I felt that it was a little presumptive on the author's part to include Bosnywash, Sanlosdiego and Sao Paulo with megalopoleis that actually did outlast the various empires and nations that hugged them over time.
It's also worth pointing out that:
a) large cities before the modern era were generally large because they were capitals of large nations (or at least large regions). A lot of that is simply that a vast percentage of employment in these cities was ultimately due to the presence of the court. Paris, for instance, is an order of magnitude larger than any other French city not because of any inherent superiority but simply because it's the capital of France. More generally, with some exceptions city sizes within a country tend to obey Zipf's law and have sizes exponentially proportional to their rank within the country.

b) as a result, many cities have risen and fallen due either to changes in international borders or to internal changes within the national political structure (eg the various Chinese capitals that grew and shrank depending on where a particular dynasty set down its court).
User avatar
Lao Kou
korean
korean
Posts: 5471
Joined: Sun 25 Nov 2012, 10:39
Location: 蘇州/苏州

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Lao Kou » Fri 22 Apr 2016, 13:06

Salmoneus wrote:Paris, for instance, is an order of magnitude larger than any other French city not because of any inherent superiority but simply because it's the capital of France.
Still, an inherent superiority doesn't hurt. [B)]
道可道,非常道
名可名,非常名
User avatar
eldin raigmore
fire
fire
Posts: 5632
Joined: Sat 14 Aug 2010, 18:38
Location: SouthEast Michigan

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by eldin raigmore » Sat 23 Apr 2016, 05:14

Salmoneus wrote:Paris, for instance, is an order of magnitude larger than any other French city not because of any inherent superiority but simply because it's the capital of France.
This is backwards, isn't it? Aren't capital (and capitol) cities capitals, because they are biggest? Rather than big because they are capitals?
Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 1225
Joined: Mon 19 Sep 2011, 18:37

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » Sat 23 Apr 2016, 14:08

eldin raigmore wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:Paris, for instance, is an order of magnitude larger than any other French city not because of any inherent superiority but simply because it's the capital of France.
This is backwards, isn't it? Aren't capital (and capitol) cities capitals, because they are biggest? Rather than big because they are capitals?
No. Well, sometimes, if there's a pre-existing large city, it might become the capital of a new country. But generally it's that the influence of the court leads to population explosion. Or at least, even if the monarch begins by picking the slightly larger town, it rapidly outpaces its rivals thanks to patronage.

The most extreme examples are where capitals have been created by a government de novo. Brasília, for example, was founded only 55 years ago, yet already has risen to be the 4th biggest city in Brazil (2.5 million people). Abuja is likewise the 4th largest city in Nigeria, despite being created only in the late eighties - it's the fastest-growing city in the world (35% growth per year at one point - it's gone from 700,000 ten years ago to 3 million today). Astana has grown from under 300,000 when it was made the capital in 1998 to nearly 900,000 today (second-largest city). Islamabad was created in the 60s, and is now Pakistan's third-largest city (4.5 million) and the most economically developed.

However, the more developed the country, the smaller this effect, as a smaller percentage of total well-paying jobs are related to the government (and other cities have already become established). Hence somewhere like Canberra does not look like becoming the largest city any time soon.

A good mediaeval example may be Madrid. When the court moved to Madrid, it had 30,000 people, and Valladolid, the old court, had 100,000 - which collapsed over the next century to only 20,000. Now Madrid is an order of magnitude bigger than Valladolid. It has also by far outgrown larger cities like Cordoba, Seville, and Toledo.
User avatar
qwed117
mongolian
mongolian
Posts: 4277
Joined: Thu 20 Nov 2014, 02:27

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by qwed117 » Sat 23 Apr 2016, 20:01

Salmoneus wrote:
eldin raigmore wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:Paris, for instance, is an order of magnitude larger than any other French city not because of any inherent superiority but simply because it's the capital of France.
This is backwards, isn't it? Aren't capital (and capitol) cities capitals, because they are biggest? Rather than big because they are capitals?
No. Well, sometimes, if there's a pre-existing large city, it might become the capital of a new country. But generally it's that the influence of the court leads to population explosion. Or at least, even if the monarch begins by picking the slightly larger town, it rapidly outpaces its rivals thanks to patronage.

The most extreme examples are where capitals have been created by a government de novo. Brasília, for example, was founded only 55 years ago, yet already has risen to be the 4th biggest city in Brazil (2.5 million people). Abuja is likewise the 4th largest city in Nigeria, despite being created only in the late eighties - it's the fastest-growing city in the world (35% growth per year at one point - it's gone from 700,000 ten years ago to 3 million today). Astana has grown from under 300,000 when it was made the capital in 1998 to nearly 900,000 today (second-largest city). Islamabad was created in the 60s, and is now Pakistan's third-largest city (4.5 million) and the most economically developed.

However, the more developed the country, the smaller this effect, as a smaller percentage of total well-paying jobs are related to the government (and other cities have already become established). Hence somewhere like Canberra does not look like becoming the largest city any time soon.

A good mediaeval example may be Madrid. When the court moved to Madrid, it had 30,000 people, and Valladolid, the old court, had 100,000 - which collapsed over the next century to only 20,000. Now Madrid is an order of magnitude bigger than Valladolid. It has also by far outgrown larger cities like Cordoba, Seville, and Toledo.
Edo (Tokyo) is another good example. Also, take the US capital (Washington DC). Even though it's not the biggest city, it rapidly expanded after its creation.
Spoiler: show
My minicity is Zyphrazia and Novland
What is made of man will crumble away.
User avatar
elemtilas
runic
runic
Posts: 2782
Joined: Sat 22 Nov 2014, 04:48

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » Sun 24 Apr 2016, 14:14

qwed117 wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:The most extreme examples are where capitals have been created by a government de novo.

However, the more developed the country, the smaller this effect, as a smaller percentage of total well-paying jobs are related to the government (and other cities have already become established). Hence somewhere like Canberra does not look like becoming the largest city any time soon.


Edo (Tokyo) is another good example. Also, take the US capital (Washington DC). Even though it's not the biggest city, it rapidly expanded after its creation.
Washington is the odd capital city for several reasons. One is that, unlike the other capital cities, its boundaries are fixed by law. It can never grow (geographically) beyond its three boundary roads. Other cities can & do expand by occupying more territory. Also, it can not expand vertically, there being laws governing how tall its building may be built. It has huge tracts of parkland, about 20% of its area, and also a certain percentage of land taken up by Federal buildings. All of these things place certain limitations on its theoretical population growth.

It does, however, compensate by simply dumping the expanding population of bureaucrats into neighboring jurisdictions (MD, WV, PA, VA, DE, NJ & NY). If it didn't have those legal restrictions, one wonders how gargantuan it would have ended up in the post WWII era!
Image

If we stuff the whole chicken back into the egg, will all our problems go away? --- Wandalf of Angera
Salmoneus
MVP
MVP
Posts: 1225
Joined: Mon 19 Sep 2011, 18:37

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Salmoneus » Fri 13 May 2016, 13:36

elemtilas wrote:
qwed117 wrote:
Salmoneus wrote:The most extreme examples are where capitals have been created by a government de novo.

However, the more developed the country, the smaller this effect, as a smaller percentage of total well-paying jobs are related to the government (and other cities have already become established). Hence somewhere like Canberra does not look like becoming the largest city any time soon.


Edo (Tokyo) is another good example. Also, take the US capital (Washington DC). Even though it's not the biggest city, it rapidly expanded after its creation.
Washington is the odd capital city for several reasons. One is that, unlike the other capital cities, its boundaries are fixed by law. It can never grow (geographically) beyond its three boundary roads. Other cities can & do expand by occupying more territory. Also, it can not expand vertically, there being laws governing how tall its building may be built. It has huge tracts of parkland, about 20% of its area, and also a certain percentage of land taken up by Federal buildings. All of these things place certain limitations on its theoretical population growth.

It does, however, compensate by simply dumping the expanding population of bureaucrats into neighboring jurisdictions (MD, WV, PA, VA, DE, NJ & NY). If it didn't have those legal restrictions, one wonders how gargantuan it would have ended up in the post WWII era!
Exactly the same as it is now. The city is the size that it is - the fact that only some of the city is politically within the federal district has nothing to do with it. It's possible that the inconvenience may have slowed the growth slightly, but I doubt it - nobody cares that much about things like that when it comes to building houses.

As an extreme example, take the City of London. 1.12 square miles in area (2.9 sqkm); population about 7,000. It's the smallest legal city in the UK, and possibly the smallest capital city in the world other than the Vatican. But these legal boundaries (the extent of the independent authority of the Corporation) have not prevented the city (no capital letter) of London from growing bigger and bigger and bigger. The Victorians eventually recognised this with the creation of the County of London, with a population of around 4 million and 303 sqkm in area. But London continued to grow despite the borders of this new authority, so in 1965 we had to recognise that too by abolishing the County of London and legally recognising Greater London (1,570 sqkm, population around 8 million) - technically, the City remains distinct from Greater London (while the City of Westminster is a city within Greater London). And indeed, London has continued to leak a little, so Greater London (the legal entity) is actually smaller than the true Greater London Urban Area (1,740 sqkm, population around 10 million).
Now, the growth of London has been seriously impeded - but not by any legal or administrative boundaries. Instead, the limiting factor has been the designation of a Green Belt where further development is prohibited. This has forced what would otherwise be the suburbs of the city to remain disconnected from the city itself (the functional population of the city and highly economically integrated peripheral areas is around 14 million), and in particular has prevented major urban areas like Reading, Southend, Luton, and the (amalgamated) Medway towns (each area having between a quarter and a third of a million people) from being swallowed up by the London urban area as would have been the case in the US (where Washington has definitely become conjoined with Baltimore, and arguable has been or will be swallowed up into a single Boswash megapolis).


If anything has limited Washington's growth, it's probably its proximity to New York, and also, earlier on, to the port town of Baltimore, both of which would have attracted much of the roving labour in the region away from the capital.


Likewise, I doubt height restrictions have been significant: in almost every city, the vast majority of the population lives in low-rise sprawl, with the high-rises contributing only a small fraction of the total. Again, London is in the same position: it had official height limits until the sixties, and since then building has been restricted in a more complex way by sightline preservation and aviation protection regulations (because of London City Airport), as well as by technological issues (central London is built on soft, waterlogged clay, so unusually big and expensive foundations are required for tall buildings). There were no skyscrapers built until the '60s; by 2000, there were only 25 structures over 100m. Only 18 of those were actual habitable buildings, of which one was a hotel, one was a hospital, and only three were residential (the towers of the Barbican). But these limitations on vertical expansion had little impact on urban growth.

[fun tangent: building has now become exponential. There are now 67 skyscrapers (i.e. structures of 100m or more), and another 71 are currently being built...]
User avatar
elemtilas
runic
runic
Posts: 2782
Joined: Sat 22 Nov 2014, 04:48

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by elemtilas » Fri 13 May 2016, 18:43

Salmoneus wrote:
elemtilas wrote:If (DC) didn't have those legal restrictions, one wonders how gargantuan it would have ended up in the post WWII era!
Exactly the same as it is now. The city is the size that it is - the fact that only some of the city is politically within the federal district has nothing to do with it. It's possible that the inconvenience may have slowed the growth slightly, but I doubt it - nobody cares that much about things like that when it comes to building houses.
I guess what I ought to have clarified was how spread the actual city of Washington could become if it weren't for those statutory restrictions. In other words, other cities can expand by assuming more territory. DC can not. There is plenty of PG and MoCo that an unfettered Washington could theoretically absorb. But that's just speculation.
As an extreme example, take the City of London. 1.12 square miles in area (2.9 sqkm); population about 7,000. It's the smallest legal city in the UK, and possibly the smallest capital city in the world other than the Vatican.
Interesting bits about London. I was aware of the general history, but not the specifics!

As for the Vatican, that's another odd one. Depending on how you look at it, it could be a country without a proper capital city, a capital city without an actual country or a capital city whose country consists of identical territory. A citystate in the true sense of the word.

I've read that Malekeok, Palau is even smaller than Vatican City.

Quite possibly even smaller still was Brookeville, MD which hosted the US Government in exile for a day or so while the British occupied Washington and played at bonfires. Even now it's little more than a few houses clustered along a bend in the road.
Image

If we stuff the whole chicken back into the egg, will all our problems go away? --- Wandalf of Angera
User avatar
Xing
MVP
MVP
Posts: 5309
Joined: Sun 22 Aug 2010, 17:46

Re: (ACH) Q&A Thread - Quick questions go here

Post by Xing » Tue 17 May 2016, 09:31

Salmoneus wrote:
Exactly the same as it is now. The city is the size that it is - the fact that only some of the city is politically within the federal district has nothing to do with it. It's possible that the inconvenience may have slowed the growth slightly, but I doubt it - nobody cares that much about things like that when it comes to building houses.
Well summarised.

The geographic and the legal notions of a 'city' need not to have much in common. Legal boundaries are often more or less arbitrary. In some extreme cases, the legal city encompasses only a tiny fraction of the real city. As for the opposite extreme, vast areas of uninhabited land – deserts, forest, tundras or mountain ranges – might fall under the jurisdiction of a legal city.

I think the trend for the last century or so in many (or some, at least) countries has been to abandon the legal notion of 'cities', and instead opt for some unitary form of local government. This was done in Sweden in 1971. Prior to that, we used to have three kinds of municipalities/local political units: städer (≈cities, towns; larger, more urban settlements), (landsbygds)kommuner ((rural) communes) and köpingar (≈boroughs, small towns; an intermediate between the two others). By the latter half of the 20th century, this distinction had become largely obsolete, since most municipalities had both rural and urbanised areas, and whatever reason there might have been to have separate jurisdictions for urban and rural areas did no longer make sense.
Post Reply