Tuesday, November 18, 2014

History: The Year is 1468

I've uploaded year 1468 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

A Little Short on Good Taste... the Washington Redskins -- During the Middle Ages dwarfs were mocked. I talk about labels such as "cretin", "colored" and "redskin".

Our Debt to Gutenberg and Gutenberg's Debt -- Gutenberg dies this year. I review the torment he went through as his partner sued him and put him out of business.

Making the Lawmakers Obey the Law -- Bottom line... you can't force restraint on lawmakers by simply passing a law.

A Little Short on Good Taste... the Washington Redskins

As the curtain closes on the Middle Ages, one can see two forces at work: overwhelming compassion and unspeakable cruelty. Here is a quote from an early 20th century historian...
At the wedding-feasts of Charles the Bold, in 1468, Madame de Beaugrant, the female dwarf of Mademoiselle of Burgundy, enters dressed like a shepherdess, mounted on a golden lion, larger than a horse; she is presented to the young duchess and placed on the table. As to the fate of these small creatures, the account-books [...] tell us of a dwarf-girl whom a duchess caused to be fetched from her home, and how her parents came to visit her from time to time and receive a gratuity. [2 dollars and change] The poor fellow perhaps went home well pleased and much elated about the court function of his daughter. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Parading people of unusual size in public was the "Reality TV" of the time. However, people realized that using certain words was cruel, so they changed the label of dwarfs to "Christian"... to remind themselves that everyone is God's creation. (My wife reminds me that they are now called "Little People"). Over time the word "Christian" became corrupted, so it comes down to us as "cretin". The label "colored people" has become an offensive phrase, yet, the NAACP is an acronym for the "National Association for the Advancement of Colored People". The label "Redskin" was not considered offensive at the time it was applied to a professional football team. If the label has become offensive now, changing the label will change nothing.[3] [4] FYI: I don't care what they call a football team. Just pick a name and stick with it. If "Redskins" isn't good enough, I vote for "Baby Seal Killers" for one season. People will go back to the Redskins fairly quickly.

Our Debt to Gutenberg and Gutenberg's Debt

Johann Gutenberg has died at 70 years old. He changed the world with his movable-type printing press, but the question is... did the people at the time realize this? Yes and no. The printing press became popular very quickly but the printing of the Gutenberg Bible required a large upfront investment: 3 years and 20,000 guilders [about 5.3 million dollars as of Nov. 2014]. Gutenberg's partner sued and seized the printing press and half of the Bibles. Gutenberg opened a small printing shop in Mainz but the town is sacked a few years later. He was finally recognized in 1465 for his achievements and was granted a small stipend and 2,000 liters of tax-free wine. Three years later he was dead. Did the wine kill him? Who knows? [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The problem with invention and innovation is that the innovator rarely makes the big bucks. It's the people who improve on the idea who make the money. Henry Ford didn't invent the automobile. He streamlined the manufacturing process to save money and make the automobile affordable for average people. Why? So that he could sell more cars. There are more average people than rich people. Nikolas Tesla licensed his patent for AC current generators FOR FREE to Westinghouse to make AC current the standard and beat Thomas Edison's DC current. Tesla succeeded and it is ironic that the man who promoted AC current has a DC-current automobile company (Tesla Motors) named after him. Apple Computers has made their name NOT on innovation but on building on technology that already exists and making it work better.[9]

Making the Lawmakers Obey the Law

The Council of Ten are the power behind the government of Venice. They pass laws in secret and although they will notify the Great Council, they are not doing so for their approval. This year the legislative body of the Great Council has passed a law restricting the Council of Ten. The Council of Ten will fail to notice until 1582 when their wings will finally be clipped. [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It's an age-old problem. If passing a law could restrain those who lack restraint, we could pass a law against stealing and stop all stealing. Laws don't stop the stealing. People stop themselves with a little help from their God, their community, and the law.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1468, Wikipedia.

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