Thursday, April 30, 2015

History: The Year is 1569

I've uploaded year 1569 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Mercator Projections Made Perfect for Nautical Navigation -- The shortest distance between two points is a straight line... unless you are on a globe. Mercator flattens out the globe so that you can draw a straight line on the global map.

Good God! The Saint Paul Lottery! -- Another first for England. I talk about Ben Franklin, cannons and the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

The Protestant vs Catholic Churn -- Lots of churn as the Protestants and Catholics fight it out.

Mercator Projections Made Perfect for Nautical Navigation

How do you sail a compass line course over the curvature of the Earth when all you have is a flat map to plot it? Answer... a Mercator projection. It is the globe of the world projected onto a flat surface. The features at the equator are exactly proportional but as the map goes north and south the land masses become distorted while the lines of longitude and latitude remain straight. This allows a navigator to plot a straight line course on a flat map rather than a curved-looking course on any other map. In the movies, whenever you see a navigator with a grease pencil and a straight edge marking the course of his ship, you know now that he is using some view of a Mercator map. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Unfortunately the Mercator projection does poorly at the north and south poles. This may explain why in the early years of commercial flight the airlines failed to realize that a polar route to certain destinations was a lot closer than flying over the Atlantic. Pilots of the past tended to think of sea navigation using the Mercator map. Once they viewed a polar projection, their error was obvious to see. The Mercator map is also the reason why people think that Greenland is so freakishly bigger than it actually is. [3]

Good God! The Saint Paul Lottery!

It's all for the public good, says Queen Elizabeth the 1st, as England's first lottery sells up to 400,000 tickets. It is held at Saint Paul's Cathedral and the Queen offers fine china and cash prizes. This is an experiment in raising money for the general fund and certain pet projects. It is advertised as being for the public good. It is probably doing someone some good. During the American Revolution, Benjamin Franklin will use a lottery to finance the purchase of cannons. The first public lotteries began in the Netherlands so the English word "lottery" comes from the Dutch word meaning "fate". [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Lest anyone think that Christians have cornered the market on gambling, the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah uses gambling directly. The driedle (DRAY-dill) is a spinning top with four sides. You put money in the pot, spin the top and depending on how it falls, you collect the money or put more in. WHY GAMBLE? In 175 BCE, the study of the Bible was outlawed by the Greek king. Nevertheless, Jews continued to study the Bible but they would also put out a gambling top and money so that if the authorities broke down the door, they would think that the Jews were gambling. Gambling was OK, but studying the Bible was not! After the Greek king was thrown out of Israel, part of remembering the holiday is to light candles, and play with that little gambling top. [8] [9]

The Protestant vs Catholic Churn

A lot is happening this year as the Protestants and Catholics fight for power.
  • The French Catholics beat the Huguenot Calvinists at the battle of Jarnac. Most of the Huguenots will live to fight another day. [10]
  • At the Battle of Orthez, the Catholics surrender to the Huguenots on condition that their lives be spared. Then the Catholics are massacred. [11]
  • The Rising of the Northern Earls against Queen Elizabeth the 1st (Protestant) attempt to place Mary, Queen of Scots (a Catholic) on the throne. It doesn't work. [12]
  • And other battles too numerous to list here.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It really didn't matter who was the dominant religion in a particular country. The nations craved stability. Unfortunately, the rule was that people of a country had to take on the religion of the ruler... generally speaking. It is not a strict rule yet, but it is becoming more and more the norm. Naturally, if you are the opposite religion to your ruler, you either leave or you go to war to change your leader. The rule on religion was supposed to homogenize the population and bring stability to the region but all it is causing is churn, churn, churn.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1569, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1568

I've uploaded year 1568 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The 80 Years' War in 'Those lands around there' -- High taxes,  religious differences and an absentee king causes the Dutch to fight for independence. The war will be so bad that rules will be set that remain in force today. I also talk about selling Stinger missiles to Afghan rebels in 1979.

Paying Off the Ottomans and the Price of a Christian Life -- The Holy Roman Emperor pays protection money to the Sultan. I talk about how that protection money is still demanded today from Christians held at auction and what to do about it.

The 80 Years' War in 'Those lands around there'

The Dutch are unhappy with their absentee ruler, Phillip the 2nd, the King of Spain. He refers to the 17 Provinces of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Flanders as "those lands around there." Taxation has been heavy and "those lands" have exploded into rioting, and destruction led by the Calvinists. Since the Hugonauts (who are also Calvinists), have come to a truce with France, they have some time on their hands so they pitch in to help their brothers in the Netherlands. William the Silent sends his brother, Adolf of Nassau, to lead an army north to attack the Spanish forces. After an early victory, the Spanish backlash is severe. The 80 Years' War is on. The war will wind down for a time as William runs out of money, but Adolf will earn a verse in the Dutch national anthem. It is the oldest national anthem in the world in terms of music. Japan has the oldest in terms of words. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
You are seeing the beginnings of the Dutch Empire. Dutch Independence is only the beginning. By the end of the 80 Years' War and the 30 Years' War which will run parallel to it in Germany, people are going to be so horrified at the chaos and destruction that they will set down some rules for warfare... rules that remain into the modern day such as... the military cannot turn over its weapons to a 3rd party and expect to be absolved from whatever those 3rd parties do with those weapons. Thus, the USA military could not give Stinger missiles to the Afghan mujahideen to use against the Soviet Union in 1979. That would mean war. But the CIA could fund the rebels and then "sell" them the weapons. See Operation Cyclone... otherwise known as "Charley Wilson's War". And things get murky when the military sells its surplus equipment to the police. I worry when the police look more like a military force than peace officers. [8] [9]

Paying Off the Ottomans and the Price of a Christian Life

Even though the Holy Roman Emperor has managed to stop the Ottomans at Vienna, the Turks have been kicking the stuffing out of Hungry. They remain a threat to Austria and with the civil war between Protestants and Catholics in progress, the Holy Roman Emperor has decided to pay a tribute of 30,000 ducats annually to the Sultan "as a gift" which amounts to over $4 million dollars. In a sense, he is paying protection money. A reasonable peace will reign for the next 25 years. [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Islam has the idea of dhimmi (DIH-mee) which means "protection". Non-Islamic religions can pay protection money or a "tax" to continue their religious practice. In the Middle East today the Christians are no longer willing to pay a "tax" to love Jesus and refuse to convert to Islam. When confronted by ISIS these Christians are executed. They need help, but not necessarily military intervention. Sponsoring a Christian family to come to the United States would be a substantial commitment but doable. Ransoming Christian girls who are being sold into slavery would be a good idea. Place an empty chair next to the church pulpit to remind the congregation of the Christian who is still suffering under oppression. Hash-tagging this one won't be enough. Your personal participation is required. I wonder what a Christian life is worth? According to ISIS, a 30-year-old Christian woman is worth $63. The price goes up as the age goes down. Know what I mean? [11] [12] [13] [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1568, Wikipedia.

Monday, April 27, 2015

History: The Year is 1567

I've uploaded year 1567 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Mary, Queen of Scots, Gets the Boot but not the Axe... Yet -- Mary had a problem with her husband until her husband blew up in a terrible "accident" with a lot of gunpowder. She will have to abdicate and her son will take the throne.

Pirates One, Emperor Zero, Money Worthless -- The new Emperor of China will have to do business with the pirates because he can't stop them anyway and he is going to do something so incredibly dumb with the economy that it can only be excused because everyone before him did it too.

Mary, Queen of Scots, Gets the Boot but not the Axe... Yet

This second marriage has not been a happy one for Mary, but she is a Catholic and that means marriage until death. Fortunately, for Mary, her husband's current residence blows up and kills her husband, King Henry, the Earl of Darnley. Henry is found dead in the garden... from strangling. Some suspect murder. To be fair, her husband was a bit of a hothead. He had her previous lover strangled to death in front of her while she carried her lover's child. In a previous meeting with the nobles of Scotland, Mary had discussed what to do with the King, and perhaps some means other than divorce should be used. KABOOM! Before the dust settles, Mary marries the guy suspected of the gunpowder plot. This is a little too much for the Scottish nobles. She is forced to abdicate and her 1-year-old son becomes King James the 6th. All of this in one year. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
King James is the same king who commissioned a translation of the popular Bible that is still in use today. Mary, Queen of Scots escaped to England since she was a cousin of Queen Elizabeth the 1st. Unfortunately, amongst the high aristocracy, having one too many queens around becomes a political problem often solved with an axe. Elizabeth had Mary arrested and moved from place to place for 19 years until Mary became a threat to the Crown. Mary, Queen of Scots, got the axe at the age of 44. Since this was a horrifying event in history, it was only natural that Monty Python would poke fun at her death. I watched the skit and I am shocked... at the realism. It's almost as if was there! [3]

Pirates One, Emperor Zero, Money Worthless

The old Chinese Emperor is dead so all coins issued in his name are eventually invalidated as new coins are minted with the new Emperor's name. As one might imagine, there is a lag time, often lasting years, during which the country has two types of money. This works a bit like musical chairs. When the new Emperor finally invalidates the old money, the music stops and anyone holding too much of the old money is suddenly broke. Many merchants will follow the old Emperor into death when they lose everything. Combined with the restrictions on sea port commerce, pirate-smugglers are doing a brisk business. Realizing he cannot stop the smuggling, the new Emperor lifts the ban on commerce with pirates. Like every Emperor before him, eventually he will restore the ban and it will work as it always has... that is... it won't work at all. [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Everyone is breaking the law. In the modern day one cannot go through the day without breaking at least one law. It happens so often that people are trained to break the law even when can obey it. Sensible religions and governments encourage individuals to police themselves because Inquisitions are messy and policemen are expensive. But when people are taught to ignore that feeling of "I'd better not do that," they are made vulnerable. The old Soviet Union used to arrest people and find something to charge them with later. There was always something. When almost everyone is breaking the law, the government can control the populace more cruelly than any religious threat of Hell. Hell is in the afterlife. Jail is right now. [6] [7]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1567, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1566

I've uploaded year 1566 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Reformed Christianity and the End of the World As We Know It -- Iconoclasts are people who throw down idols and the Reform Christians (or Cavinists) take that literally as they destroy church images in 1566. A modern day Calvinist wrote the book, "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It."

Yo, Ho, Ho... Pieces of Eight and the US Dollar -- The new King of Spain is minting new coinage that will eventually become such a common coin of commerce that the US dollar will be based upon it.

Suleiman the Magnificent is Dead -- From many standpoints he earned the name "magnificent" but he wasn't always a nice man.

Reformed Christianity and the End of the World As We Know It

Despite any laws supporting religious freedom, there is a war going on between the Catholic establishment and Protestant radicals. Currently, (Catholic) Spain is running the Netherlands. As the (Catholic) Church of Saint Lawrence nears completion, Reformed Christians (or Calvinists) rise up to deface the church images and throw down the statues they perceive as objects of worship prohibited by the Bible. Even though the (Catholic) Council of Trent has prohibited the worship of images, apparently the Calvinists think the edict does not go far enough because the Council of Trent does not prohibit the images themselves. The word "iconoclast," comes from the Greek, meaning "image breaker" and the Reformed Christians take that literally. Ten thousand men with torches move north as the Eighty Years' War is ready to kick off... almost. The property damage to Catholic Church property will be severe but unlike similar demonstrations in France, the loss of life will be less. It will not be zero, though. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The original Reformed Christians (or Calvinists) were not wild-eyed peasants. A large contingent of them were noblemen [6]. John Calvin was a scholar who studied the Scriptures with a view to detail that appealed to the nobility. His followers had a reputation as being "purists" or "puritans" meaning those who adhered strictly to the tenets of their religion regardless of which religion they were following. Thus there were Catholic "puritans" as well. Over time the Puritans became a distinguishable religious group. In the modern day, one distinguishable Reformed Christian is James Wesley Rawles, the author of "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It." He calls himself a "five point Calvinist," and he is a past guest of The Survival Podcast, Episode 1242. [7]

Yo, Ho, Ho... Pieces of Eight and the US Dollar

King Philip the 2nd of Spain began making changes to the coinage this year. The Spanish doubloon has been in use for a few years now, but the King introduces a silver coin worth 8 reals (ray-ahls). It will be called "pieces of eight" because the coin was often cut into pieces. One side of the coin has a cross stamped on its face making it easier to cut the coin evenly. The King also introduces a gold coin worth 16 silver reals (ray-ahls) which is half a Spanish doubloon. It's not really a new coin but it has its weight changed. These coins and the Spanish doubloon will be the coins of commerce for centuries to come. They will also serve as the basis for the US dollar, but that's another story. [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
With a new King of Spain, new coinage had to reflect that fact. The pieces of eight was changed in weight in 1598 and called the Spanish dollar. This was done to simplify the exchange into German thalers (which is where we get the word "dollar"). The Spanish dollar was used in the United States as legal tender until 1857. Since the dollar was based on a "pieces of eight" coin, you get the slang term for a quarter... "two bits". This term was still in use in the 1960s though the term was frowned upon. Some people still use a tune and rhythm but many forget the little phrase that goes along with it..."Shave and a haircut... two bits.". Once proper US coinage was available in 1857, using foreign coinage in commerce (and the terminology that went along with it) was frowned upon by the public... but perhaps not in barbershops. Collecting such coins was fine. [11]

Suleiman the Magnificent is Dead

The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman the Magnificent, is considered the greatest military leader of all the sultans. He ruled over a Golden Age of the Ottoman Empire meaning that he supported the arts. He conquered Constantinople, the last of the Eastern Roman Empire. It is now Istanbul. He threatened Vienna and although he was stopped by the Holy Roman Emperor, it was a close thing and an uneasy truce. He dies this year of a heart attack but his troops are mopping up the conquest of Hungary so they ship his body back to Constantinople in secret. He was 71. He is succeeded by Sultan Selim the 2nd... also known as "Selim the Drunkard." Looks like Central Europe is going to catch a break. [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Suleiman the Magnificent really was a great leader, but by modern standards he was not a very nice man. He had his eldest son, Mustafa, killed... mostly due to the intrigues of his favorite wife, Roxelana. Roxelana was not Mustafa's mother, and if he succeeded the throne, all of her sons would be strangled. By starting a rumor that Mustafa wanted to assassinate his father, it was a forgone conclusion what would happen next. Mustafa himself was strangled and that was how Roxelana's son, Selim the Drunkard, came to succeed to the throne. Roxelana was the daughter of a Ukrainian Orthodox priest. She was captured and made part of the Sultan's harem. She eventually became Suleiman's favorite and wielded a great deal of power of her own. [14] [15]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1566, Wikipedia.

Friday, April 24, 2015

History: The Year is 1565

I've uploaded year 1565 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Invention of the Pencil - After the discovery of graphite, people have figured out how to strengthen this brittle material with wood so that they can write with it. They are called pencils.

Stooping Over in Defense and Standing Tall in Victory on September 11th -- The Siege of Malta was more than a World War 2 event. Malta has been a critical focal point for centuries.

The Beginning of Modern Judaism -- The book that defines modern Judaism is published this year. It marks a change in the way people think.

The Invention of the Pencil

It was a dark and stormy night. A tree fell and exposed an outcropping of graphite near Borrowdale, England. It looked like lead, but it would leave a dark mark much better than lead. It was brittle so people experimented with wrapping various materials around the graphite to reinforce it. This year the German-Swiss naturalist, Canrad Gesner, describes carving wood strips to hold the graphite in place. We will have to wait until 1795 for a process to be invented that mixes graphite with clay and fired to vary the softness of the pencil. Now we can finally hold that Number 2 pencil in our mitts. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Just to be clear... there is no lead in pencils so you can't get lead poisoning from them. Pencils come in various hardness levels. The most common is the Number 2 pencil (using the USA numbering system) or HB pencil (using the European number-letter system). Drafting pencils are rated using the European system, from HB which is the softest to 10H which is the hardest. I prefer a 2H pencil for general work. The more clay added to the graphite, the harder the pencil. If you can imagine the end of the world as you know it, and you must create the most simple of things from scratch, how would you ever make a pencil?

Stooping Over in Defense and Standing Tall in Victory on September 11th

As Ottoman sappers dig tunnels to set explosives under the walls of the forts on the island of Malta, the Christian Hospitallers dig their own tunnels to meet them. It is hand-to-hand combat in the dark where the tunnels meet. The Ottomans catch the worst of it, but the Christians are outnumbered and the tide of Turks is relentless. No quarter is given and none asked for. If Malta falls, all of Christendom will fall. The Turks boast that they will capture the Pope, but the Ottomans shall not pass. Winter is coming. The Turks march on a fortified city, thinking to over-winter there. The city has one shot left and they fire their cannon at the advancing troops. The Turks lose heart not wishing to face more cannon fire. They return to their ships, leaving behind 10,000 Ottomans dead and perhaps 20,000 of their allies dead. On September 11th, with 9,000 Christians still standing, they have repelled the Ottoman Turks, held fast to the strategic stronghold of Malta and saved all of Europe from an Ottoman mass invasion. [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I thank Buck Sexton for dedicating a podcast to describing this critical battle. When people think of the Siege of Malta they think of World War 2. Malta was a strategic location for military logistics. A small British force held off the Nazis with six obsolete Gloster Sea Gladiators and several Hawker Hurricanes (think of the Battle of Britain) which were obsoleted by the Spitfire. These men cannibalized their planes in order to keep a few fighters in repair. They named three of their planes: "Faith," "Hope," and "Charity" after the three Christian virtues mentioned in New Testament but there were more planes than the three... all of them held together with bailing wire and a prayer. [6] [7] [8] [9] Optional comment: The science fiction novel Surface Detail by Iaim Banks imagines a series of battles in Hell, one of which is an ancient sapper fighting in the tunnels....
"There was a chorus of shouting starting further back in the tunnel and another rumbling sound. For a moment he thought it was the start of a cave-in, and felt a sickening pulse of fear run through him, even as another part of his mind thought, At least it might be quick, and that would be an end to it."[10]

The Beginning of Modern Judaism

Joseph Karo escaped from Spain in 1492 to Portugal but then had to escape to Turkey. He has published his book, The Prepared Table. (Most Jews know the book by it's Hebrew name but it's a mouthful so check the footnotes. [11]) It is a digest of Jewish Law, rulings and Spanish Jewish customs arranged by subject. The book will receive some criticism from the German Jewish community so Rabbi Karo republishes the book with notations where Spanish practice differs from German practice. This act of humility will gain him almost universal acceptance. This book is going to be a best seller and it will guide baseline Jewish practice until the early 1900s when Rabbi Israel Kagan publishes his collection updates and additions entitled "Clarified Teaching". [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is difficult to exaggerate the monumental influence this book has had on the Jewish community... all Jews, everywhere and not just Orthodox Jews. (FYI, Alex Shrugged is an Orthodox Jew.) Something fundamental is changing in the human mind and it's probably due to how our brain categorizes information In other words... this book is designed so that you can look things up rather than reading the book in its entirety. Most people just want to know what they are supposed to do and that is why this book is so special. It boils down lengthy religious discussions to answer the question: "So... what do I do about it?"

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1565, Wikipedia.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

History: The Year is 1564

I've uploaded year 1564 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Surprise! The Battle for Absolute Power -- Ivan the Terrible gets his backside kicked in Lithuania so he abdicates his throne. They beg for him back and he returns on the condition of being granted absolute power.

Rats and the King Rodent of Christmas --  Weird rat formations are found and naturally they are considered a bad omen. In fact they creep into "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" ballet which is performed every Christmas.

Oh Baby! A Lot of Famous People are Born -- Galileo Galilei and William Shakespeare to name two.

Surprise! The Battle for Absolute Power

When the war between Livonia and Russia became grim for Livonia, the leadership was dissolved and various duchies were scooped up by Lithuania as per treaty. At this time Lithuania is massive and includes Poland and most of Ukraine. The hope in becoming part of Lithuania was to become so large that Ivan the Terrible would back off, but instead, he has occupied much of Livonia. (FYI... Livonia had a piece of paper to protect them but not Lithuanian troops.) Now Ivan's armies are attacking cites in Lithuania proper. This is a critical error for Ivan. In a surprise attack, Lithuanian forces hit the Russian forces marching near the Ula River. The Lithuanians are vastly outnumbered but the Russians are totally unprepared for battle. A few days later the Lithuanians hit the second of the two Russian armies. Believing that the main host of the Lithuanian army is upon them, the Russians retreat, relinquishing their conquered cities. It is a resounding defeat for the Russians. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
One of Ivan's advisors defects to Lithuania at this time so Ivan's paranoia is at its height. His mental condition was never too stable under the best of conditions. With this defeat he has come unglued and abdicates his throne. The boyar court begs Ivan to return, and he agrees but only on the condition that he be granted absolute power. The court loves this idea. Centuries of oppression under the Russian secret police have just begun. [2]
Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
-- Lord Acton [3]
Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat.
-- Donald T. Regan, Chief of Staff under Ronald Reagan, cracking wise at the Girdiron Dinner. [4] [5]

Rats and the King Rodent of Christmas

Rats are found joined at the tail in a bizarre linkage called a "rat king". This collection of rats is joined in various ways. Sometimes their tails are simply tangled together in some foreign substance such as hair or frozen together in ice. Other times their tails are knotted together, either in a tangle or so damaged that scar tissue forms. The phrase "Rat King" existed before this rat phenomenon was discovered. It usually referred to an elderly man who lived on the efforts of his children. Naturally, these rats are seen as an evil omen and old-man parasites are not well-loved either. [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This is like a report of "ball lightening." No one believes it until they see it. Some of these rat kings are on display in museums. A rat king appears in a famous ballet that even children of the modern day will know. "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" ballet is performed every Christmas. It is a fantasy battle between a nutcracker given as a Christmas gift and a seven-headed mouse. My memory of the play does not include any multi-headed mouse but in the original play of 1892 the evil omen of a multi-headed rodent would be obvious to all. I'd like to say that people still believe in omens but I don't want to jinx it. [7] [8]

Oh Baby! A Lot of Famous People are Born

Galileo Galilei
Born in Pisa. Using a telescope, his observations of Jupiter will convince him that the Earth orbits around the Sun. He will come under scrutiny of the Church but he will avoid the worst charges with a lot of CYA memos. [9]
William Shakespeare
Born in Stratford-upon-Avon. He will become one of the greatest poets and playwrights in history. Some people believe he didn't actually write all those plays but this is a fringe hypothesis. [10] [11]
Christopher Marlowe
Born in Canterbury. He will greatly influence Shakespeare and become one of greatest playwrights of the Elizabethan Age. He will also become a spy and die under mysterious circumstances... or perhaps he faked his own death. [12]
Paulo Miki
Born in Japan. He will become a Jesuit and crucified in Nagasaki. He will deliver a sermon from the cross, forgiving his persecutors. The Pope will saint him in 1862 along with several others crucified that day. [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Galileo will also conduct experiments in gravity using cannon balls rolled down a ramp. My son recently built a metal forge similar to the one discussed in the TSP forums. He cast a hand-sized cannon ball, ground and polished it to a mirror finish. I suggested that he reproduce Galileo's experiments and his eyes lit up. (He is a geek like his father.) Galileo showed that formulas used to calculate the path of a cannon ball suffered from too much academic theory and not enough experimentation. Air friction errors must be taken into account when calculating where a cannon ball will land. That's called military R&D and that means money. That was probably why Galileo did the experiments. A man has to eat.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1564, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

History: The Year is 1563

I've uploaded year 1563 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Council of Trent Outlaws Idol Worship but not PBS -- Fine lines are made but those lines don't matter if the people cannot distinguish between them.

The Godly Puritans and the Need to Follow our Oaths -- The word "Puritan" is first used. I talk about how oaths are not mission statements and that we should take fewer oaths and observe them like the Ten Commandments.

The Council of Trent Outlaws Idol Worship but not PBS

With the Protestant Reformation breathing down their necks, the Pope called for a special Church Council to resolve many of the controversies at hand and possibly generate a counter-Reformation. After 18 years of debating and politicking, the final resolution has come. It is a complex and wordy document, but it defines what the Catholic Church will become into the modern day. One thing that stands out in contrast to the modern day impression of the Catholic Church is its prohibition of worshiping statues and images (essentially, paintings). They state that Catholics shall NOT worship images or statues. These images are only representations of the saints and of Christ. The Church decrees that anyone who is still worshiping these images should stop doing so immediately. A collective sigh of relief can be heard, but it's not going to be enough to stop the Reformation and reunite the Church. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
So... when people fall to their knees before a statue of the Virgin Mary they are not worshiping the statue itself. They are remembering her virtue and using her image as a mental focus to make that connection with God. (I'm being deliberately vague here. Fill in the details on your own.) This is what is happening amongst informed Catholics. What is happening amongst the less informed Catholics I'm not so sure. I'm convinced that their hearts are in the right place, though. There will be no resolving this issue here. The miracle of the Council of Trent is that it happened at all. Those so-called indulgences looked a lot like bribes for a "no-hassle" pass. Almost every church and synagogue (or PBS station) does this on some level but there is a fine line between having your business sponsor the local church picnic (or the latest episode of NOVA) and outright paying for a business introduction. I'm leaving it up to the members of the church (or your local affiliate) to decide where to draw the line.

The Godly Puritans and the Need to Follow our Oaths

The word "puritan" comes into use in England in the 1560s. It is a mildly derogatory word at this time that means "precise". It does not describe a particular church but rather a type of personality within the church that insists on following church rules and rituals precisely. Many of the Calvinists escaping French persecution fall into this category. These people call themselves "Godly," but in time, like so many other groups, they will embrace the word "Puritan." A full theology will be developed by 1666 and after much turmoil, the Puritans will separate into factions. One faction will travel to the American colonies on the Mayflower looking for religious freedom. [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Remember that the Jesuits were also a group that embraced the insult that people hurled at them. Jesuit means "one who speaks of Jesus a little too much for comfortable conversation." These are not terrible insults. They are meant to bully people into conformance. They are saying, "Hey! You aren't fitting in well. Get back in line!" But telling system-followers that they aren't following the system is laughable. It's almost as ridiculous as being taught the Constitution by teachers who think it means Redistribution. We want the Constitution taught, plain and simple... and followed like our public officials pledge to do but are so careless in its execution. Right now we rattle off oaths as if they were mission statements. In fact, oaths are a personal set of commandments. If you aren't ready to carry them out like they were the Ten Commandments, you shouldn't raise your hand and pledge that you will.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1563, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

History: The Year is 1562

I've uploaded year 1562 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The French Religious Wars. Remember the Alamo -- The Hugonauts take one in the neck, and they bring it right back to the French Catholics. A lot of people are going to remember this one... just like the Armenians remember genocide and Texans remember the Alamo.

The Witchcraft Act: You'll Swing but You Won't Burn -- The laws are changed to require actual proof of damages before a witch is hanged. I also talk about the Salem Witch Trials.

Book Burning and the Black Legend of Spain -- The Mayans have their books burned for backsliding into idolatry. I also talk about the Black Legend of Spain and how propaganda works.

The French Religious Wars. Remember the Alamo

The Hugonauts (HEW-go-nots) are Calvinist followers. This is a grassroots movement of Reformationist Christians that are a little more intellectually driven than the Lutherans. France is officially Catholic and the clash with the Reformationist groups is causing unbelievable friction. That friction is caused in part by the Hugonauts, themselves but when 80 Hugonauts are massacred, out come the pikes, the swords and the muskets. It's war and everyone is invited. Even the English get into the act on the side of the Hugonauts. In a few years, when the dust settles, 2 to 4 million people will lie dead. (You know it must have been bad when you can't pin down the number of dead any more accurately than that.) The Hugonauts are going to remember this massacre and in the modern day there will remain people who refuse to forget. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I was watching a movie and in the midst of a sad explanation of how small town pettiness had made a man's life miserable, he finally revealed the reason why he could never gain acceptance. His great, great, great grandfather was a Hugonaught. This was said lightly, because it all happened so long ago but it was not really a joke. The Armenians still remember the Armenian Genocide even though every person on both sides who was actually there is now dead. Jews remember the Holocaust. Texans remember the Alamo. Believe me. Texans really, really remember the Alamo. It's not a joke.

The Witchcraft Act: You'll Swing but You Won't Burn

On a lighter note... practicing witchcraft will get you the death penalty but only if someone is actually harmed... someone other than the person accused of witchcraft, of course. Queen Elizabeth the 1st of England is easing up on those who are accused of witchcraft. Her father, Henry the 8th, did not require proof of actual damage in order to put a witch to death. Reading the reports of the time, it is apparent that even an 80 year-old woman who mumbled to herself as she walked along could be hanged if her mumbling was associated with a crop failure or bad butter. Good thing she didn't question Global Warming or she'd be in real trouble. [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The other virtue of this law is that witches are not burned unless the damage caused by witchcraft is accompanied with a conviction of high treason. This small mercy will be carried over to the future American colonies. Contrary to everything I've assumed since childhood, not a single witch was burned in the British colonies. That includes the time of the Salem Witch Trials. Many of the accused certainly died... usually by hanging, but not burned. [6]

Book Burning and the Black Legend of Spain

The Mayans need their heads straightened out about Christianity because there is too much idolatry going on so Spain sends Bishop Diego de Landa to get the job done. Up to this point, the Mayans got a pass for their backsliding because they didn't know any better... until now. The Bishop is having none of it. He accuses several people of murdering a man in their deadly pagan ritual but when the dead man shows up alive, the Bishop is not deterred. Idolators are given the chance to disavow their beliefs or die. He puts idols to the flames and burns the Mayan books. Only a few of these books will survive into the modern day. He will be recalled to Spain next year and put on trial. He will be acquitted of all charges in 1573. Nevertheless, this black mark will be added to the so-called Black Legend of Spain. [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Black Legend of Spain seems like propaganda. That doesn't make it incorrect but if every bad decision I made appeared in headlines but every good decision appeared in small print, your general impression of me would be distorted. For example: President Gerald Ford was an athlete who was considered nimble on his feet, but the comedian, Chevy Chase made his name on Saturday Night Live with his impression of President Ford as a bumbling fool. Thereafter, the Media would lie in wait for any misstep as President Ford walked off Air Force One, or bumped into a supporter at a fundraiser. So... it's OK to criticize this book-burning bishop from Spain for his religious zeal but remember that there was someone in 1562 that put this note into the bin marked "Bad Spain" for safe keeping.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1562, Wikipedia.

Monday, April 20, 2015

History: The Year is 1561

I've uploaded year 1561 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

UFO Watch: Battle Over Nuremberg -- This is the first UFO report in the local news with art. I also talk about the likelihood of intelligent life close by. Short answer: zip.

St. Basil's Cathedral Spires Are Up... St. Paul's Cathedral Spire Burns Down -- I mention this because both Cathedrals are iconic in the modern day for different reasons.

The 4th Battle to Bring Peace to the 17 Tribes... Yada, Yada, Yada -- Video games are made about this battle but it seems too idealized to be real in detail even though I have no doubt that the battle took place.

UFO Watch: Battle Over Nuremberg

Several apparitions appear in the midst of the sun. The people of Nuremberg witness globes of blood-red and cylinders fighting for hours and moving out beyond the sun and returning. They aren't sun spots. Whatever they are, the people have only a limited number of explanations for them. Many interpret this display in the sky as signs from God to repent their evil ways. Others ignore these signs. This isn't the first modern UFO sighting but it's pretty close. It does come with art, though, and it's reasonably spectacular. Something happened that day. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Do I believe in UFOs? UFOs don't require belief. Do I believe that there have been aliens visiting the Earth since ancient times? No. I do not. Could there be such beings? In the theoretical sense, yes. Practically speaking, it doesn't matter. I've heard the argument of an infinite number of monkeys typing out Shakespeare to explain how aliens could exist somewhere in the Universe but I'm not "somewhere." I'm here. There are not an infinite number of monkeys within the region of stars close enough to make communication practical, so the chances of intelligent life being randomly created right here are just about zip. The fact that I exist tells me the chances are not zero. They are just very low without Divine intervention. A Star Trek "Prime Directive" doesn't explain how alien spacecraft can be landing everywhere for hundreds of years and yet not one of them thinks to land on the front lawn of the White House. There is some other explanation that doesn't involve alien races that think that human beings are delicious.

St. Basil's Cathedral Spires Are Up... St. Paul's Cathedral Spire Burns Down

Ivan the terrible commissioned a new and magnificent cathedral to be built to commemorate his victory over Mongols of Kazan. The result is St. Basil's Cathedral. It's distinctive bulbous spires remain iconic representatives of Moscow but right now the spires look more like helmets. These will be replaced by the familiar bulbous spires before the century is out. This cathedral will also remain the tallest building in Moscow for several decades. In this same year, the spire of the famous Saint Paul's Cathedral is hit by lightening, catches fire and collapses. Repairs restore most of the church but the spire will not be rebuilt. The cathedral will be destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666. St. Paul's will be rebuilt and remain standing into the modern day even through the Blitz in 1940 when Nazi Germany specifically tried to destroy St. Paul's. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Many legends surround St. Basil's Cathedral. One suggests that the designer was blinded after the cathedral was completed to prevent him from creating anything as magnificent. One can almost believe this. Ivan the Terrible wasn't called "terrible" for nothing and he was insane, so maybe it happened, but probably not. The image of St. Paul's Cathedral became the symbol for British defiance against the Nazis. There are many inspiring stories about the Blitz. I read a two-book series by Connie Willis based on first-hand accounts. The story revolves around time-traveling historians who come back in time to document the Cathedral but accidentally get caught in the Blitz. The two novels are "Blackout" and "All Clear". [8]

The 4th Battle to Bring Peace to the 17 Tribes... Yada, Yada, Yada

In one of the bloodiest battles in Japanese history, Uesugi Kenshin (oo-eh-soo-geh ken-shin) often called the Dragon, squares off with Takeda Shingen (tah-kay-dah shin-gen) often called the Tiger. The Tiger's forces are substantially greater than the Dragon's and he is primarily a military leader. The Dragon has a great reputation in battle but his primary skills are in administration. His province is an economic powerhouse. This will be the fourth battle in this bloody war and the Dragon will use a new tactic of rotating his warriors from front to back as they grow tired in battle. This keeps the men in the front of the battle fresh. He also foils the Tiger's plans for an ambush. By tradition the Dragon and the Tiger come to grips: up close and personal. It is probably a myth but a statue of the two locked in battle remains on the spot to this day. This is a failure for the Dragon but he is able to retreat with his troops in good order. [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This battle is too idealized to believe the chroniclers. For example: in order to avoid the ambush, the Dragon's forces would have had to traverse a mountain path at night in the heavy fog they reported (and still exists in the area) with his troops carrying heavy gear and without the Tiger's sentries noticing all the noise, so I'm calling BS on most of the details of this account. This epic struggle has been made into video games galore which is why I mention it now. I'm watching an Japanese cartoon based on characters from this battle and battles to come. There is even a Pokemon video game named Pokemon Conquest based on this battle where the player attempts to bring peace to the region and unite the 17 tribes. [12]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1561, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1560

I've uploaded year 1560 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Tulip Arrives in the Netherlands -- I thought tulips came from Holland! They do but first they had to arrive in Holland.

Inviting in the Invaders -- When you are in a war with the big boys you need big friends. Unfortunately nations don't have friendships. They have interests, so you better be sure you are willing to pay the price.

The 'Pirates of the Caribbean' is not a Disneyland Ride -- There is a fine line between piracy and government-sanctioned attacks on the logistics of one's enemies by third parties. In other words... officially piracy.

The Tulip Arrives in the Netherlands

Persians have been cultivating the tulip since the 10th century. After the conquest of Constantinople, tulips were introduced to the city and the Turks wear them in their turbans. The ambassador from the Holy Roman Emperor to Constantinople sends a few of these magnificent flowers back to Vienna. He names the flower "tulip" because he mistakes the Persian name for "turban" as the name of the flower. "Tulip" sounds good to him, and the flowers look like small turbans so the name sticks. This year the tulip arrives in Holland for the first time and will eventually reach Britain in 1578. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I use to think that tulips came from Holland. Holland came into the picture in the 1600s when certain varieties of tulips from Holland became so scarce that it created a craze called Tulip Mania. This was similar to collecting Beanie Babies or Tickle-Me Elmo dolls except that some folks would sell their house to buy a single tulip bulb. By 1637 tulip bulbs became an investment, but it was crazy... like a race car driver investing in a salad dressing company and expecting to make millions! (Actually, Paul Newman's company has made $400 million to date with "Newman's Own" on an investment of $40,000 and the motto: 'Fine Foods Since February' but like an investment in tulips... markets can be fickle.) When the market for tulip bulbs fell, people holding that bag of bulbs lost everything. Tulip Mania remains one of the most significant economic bubbles in history. [8] [9]

Inviting in the Invaders

Livonia (which is present day Estonia and Latvia) has gotten itself into a real pickle. It started a war with Ivan the Terrible and Ivan is now beating the tar out of them so they have run to Denmark for help. The new King of Denmark is not very experienced in foreign affairs so he agrees to buy a large portion of Livonia from their Catholic bishop for 30,000 thalers (rhymes with dollars) which is over $425,000 dollars. (FYI: the word "dollar" comes from the word "thaler.") The King of Denmark then appoints his Lutheran brother as the 'Catholic' bishop. (Insert favorite explicative here.) Livonia needs cash but all they are doing is drawing outsiders into this war. Ultimately, Ivan the Terrible will lose, but Livonia will be trampled by foreign aristocrats trying to salvage something from a losing investment. [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The general rule is that foreign armies that come to help, end up helping themselves. This is why protestors shouted 'No blood for oil' during Gulf War I. Given the history of war it was reasonable to assume that oil would be part of the spoils of war. It didn't happen but US forces remained in Saudi Arabia. US forces have yet to leave Afghanistan despite promises from President Obama. To be fair, he probably doesn't want all those people murdered on his watch as we leave. I understand the reason why we went into Afghanistan. I don't understand why we didn't leave once it became apparent that we hadn't found Osama bin Laden. Limited objectives turned into nation building and nation building is never ending. The USA is still in Europe. When will the Marshall Plan end? I think Europe is on its feet now.[13]

The 'Pirates of the Caribbean' is not a Disneyland Ride

Piracy in the New World is due to economic pressure and the official monopoly that Spain and Portugal exercise over this massive and rich region. The terms for that monopoly were renegotiated a few times but those chickens are coming home to roost. Smuggling is rampant and Queen Elizabeth the 1st of England is having Spanish ships waylaid for their cargoes of gold, silver, tobacco and sugar. This is a dangerous business and there is a fine line between piracy (which is private robbery) and privateering which is a war on the logistics of one's opponents by third parties. In other words... official robbery. With France at war with Spain as well, the Spaniards must watch for French Corsairs along the coasts... especially those hitting Havana right now. This is just the beginning. Piracy in the Caribbean won't get to extreme levels until the mid-1600s. [14] [15] [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Regarding the Disneyland ride, I've never seen rape, pillage and murder seem like more fun! Hoist the Jolly Roger! The movies make the Disney story look a little more frightening, but there is still the air of frivolity about it. Yet when Somali pirates are boarding freighters and luxury yachts off the African coast, all of a sudden pirates are the vicious murderers and thieves that they really are. These freighters are not allowed weapons because of restrictions at their ports of call. This means warships must accompany them as escorts. This is expensive but how does a port distinguish between a merchant plying the seaways for trade and a warship looking for opportunities to attack coastal towns? In the 1500s, there was no way. [17] [18]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1560, Wikipedia.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

History: The Year is 1559

I've uploaded year 1559 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Scientists Discover Sex... Scientifically -- Anatomy as a science is just getting started so a couple of scientists are figuring out what parts go where and why. Why didn't they do this before? The way people figure things out is changing. The human mind is changing.

Teresa of Ávila Meets the Choir Invisible and Lives -- Christian mysticism is being defined. I also recommend the book, "Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East".

A Hurricane Hits the Pensacola Colony -- Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, I must be from Spain!

Scientists Discover Sex... Scientifically

The study of anatomy has always been hobbled by religious prohibitions against damaging the corpse which was once a vessel for the soul. As the Renaissance has progressed, dissection of corpses for study and practice for surgery has become more common, especially in Italy. Realdo Columbo and Gabriele Falloppio have written papers regarding various aspects of a women's reproductive system. The Fallopian tubes are named after Gabriele Falloppio who describes them but does not realize what function they serve. He also coins the word "vagina" and has already developed the first condom made out of linen and tied on with a pink ribbon. The condom is designed to prevent syphilis, and the color of the ribbon is chosen to appeal to a woman's color sense. Columbo and Falloppio will also discover the clitoris. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It seems unbelievable that scientists have waited until now to classify and understand sex after generations of scientists have been born without much study at all. There is something changing in the way people think. As literacy increases and people write things down, it frees the mind to think of other things. Body modesty is a secondary consideration in a world where one uses chamber pots or the woods as one's personal outhouse. Women's fashion consists of rather elaborate nun suits, but what most people don't realize is that women are managing to "flash" the guys by using strategically placed slits down the sides of their garments. Is anyone shocked? Spare me. The so-called sexual revolution was no revolution. It was part of yet another pendulum swing from excessive conservatism to excessive liberalism. None of this was approved of in the 1500s but it happened nevertheless.

Teresa of Ávila Meets the Choir Invisible and Lives

Sister Teresa of Avila has an invisible vision of Jesus and later she will have a vision of an angel which will stab her with a spear. It is quite a painful experience. These visions will continue for two years and although her friends are worried for her, her father-confessor assures her that she is on the right track. She and her protégé John of the Cross, are writing down their mystical experiences which will become the basis for modern Christian mysticism. In her writings, she focuses on her personal insights and experiences in mysticism which makes her writings more approachable. [5] [6] [7]
For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God. -- Saint Teresa. [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Just FYI.... if you have read the Bible carefully you know that angels can be dangerous. I don't understand how some people can call their children "little cherubs". Cherubs are angelic warriors carrying flaming swords. For the purposes of this history segment, I read a few selections from St. Teresa's writings. I judge that she was experiencing something genuinely mystical. I can see why Christian mystics would follow what she has to say. As always, I warn that mysticism should not be pursued alone. Find someone to teach you, but before you do, make sure you are well versed in mainstream religious thought. You will need a baseline for comparison so that you don't go astray. It is easy to mislead yourself into strange and sometimes dangerous situations. I suggest reading "Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East" by Gita Mehta for amusing and at times frightening anecdotal evidence of pop mysticism gone terribly wrong. [9] [10]

A Hurricane Hits the Pensacola Colony

King Philip the 2nd of Spain has decided to expand the colonization of what will one day become the southern states of the United States. He has appointed a man named DeLuna to lead the expedition to colonize what will be Pensacola, Florida. However, due to problems with Indians in previous colonization attempts DeLuna leaves his ships anchored off shore and does some exploring first. That exploring will last two months. Remember when the Spaniards were hit by a storm and washed up on Galveston shore? This time a massive hurricane hits Deluna's ships while they are fully loaded with equipment, supplies and colonists. Most of them go right to the bottom. The survivors will carry on, but the handwriting is on the wall. This colony will fail. [11] [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is something to be said about being too cautious. DeLuna didn't want to get caught out by the Indians or French raiders but he was so cautious as to be foolish. Regarding hurricanes, modern day people don't realize how wonderful satellite pictures are. Despite the many failed predictions of the paths of hurricanes, the weather scientists are saving thousands of lives simply by publishing the pictures. Without satellite systems there is insufficient warning for any meaningful evacuation of the coast. And calling weather reports a "prediction" is misleading. Weather scientists can certainly say something intelligent about what a storm might do, but they are NOT making predictions as if they have a crystal ball. This is nature and at some level nature is unpredictable.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1559, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

History: The Year is 1558

I've uploaded year 1558 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Virgin Queen Takes the Reins of England -- Queen Mary dies of the flu and Queen Elizabeth takes her place. It is the beginning of a golden age for England.

The Livonian War and Ivan the Terrible -- Ivan is just being terrible but with a good reason. It seems a lot like World War I though.

The University of Jena is Established -- I may be silly here but I mention this because of a favorite book of mine by Eric Flint entitled "1632". The University of Jena figures in it prominently.

The Virgin Queen Takes the Reins of England

The Elizabethan Era begins as Queen "Bloody Mary" of England drops dead during an influenza epidemic at the age of 42. Her half sister, Queen Elizabeth the 1st takes the throne at age 25. Mary's husband, Philip the 2nd, King of Spain, will attempt to marry Elizabeth but she will rebuff him. Her reign will last for 45 years... long enough for Philip to send the entire Spanish Armada after her, but that is in the future. For now she will use her marriageable status as a political tool, which is how it is meant to be used at this time. Though she is crowned by a Catholic bishop, one of her first acts as Queen is to firmly establish the Protestant church in England which will eventually be called the Church of England. However, it's going to take a long time for England as we imagine it today to firm up. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Marriage for love was considered foolish at every level in that society from the average tailor to the Queen of England. The exception was in 1361 when Edward the Black Prince married Countess Joan. That was obviously love since she did nothing for him politically. From the historian's perspective, the Elizabethan Era was the beginning of real stability in England... a golden age. King Edward the 6th was not that stability and certainly Queen Mary the 1st was not. I imagine it took some time before Queen Elizabeth was called "Good Queen Bess" but it did happen. [5]

The Livonian War and Ivan the Terrible

Ivan the Terrible is the 1st Czar of Russia and he is prone to severe bouts of mental illness. There is nothing unusual about his actions now, though. Several years before, he had warned Livonia (which is present day Estonia and Latvia) not to enter into any military agreements with Poland-Lithuania, but they did so anyway. They broke the truce with Ivan the Terrible and "terrible" is what is coming at them now. The Livonian War will last until 1583... shortly before Ivan dies of a stroke. The Russians are going to lose this one but not before a lot of fighting gets done.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Ivan the Terrible's motivations could have been many but he was probably just angry that the Livonians broke the truce. He was making them pay for that. He lost the war because of the many armies arrayed against him. Aside from Poland-Lithuania, there was Sweden, Denmark-Norway, and even Transylvania jumped in later. The Livonians lost because these other countries tromped all over them while trying to "save" them. These other countries wanted to take advantage of the trade opportunities there which is what some historians believed was Ivan's motivation. Frankly, Ivan the Terrible didn't have many motivations. He was just terrible. This also reminds me of how World War I got started. Several countries saw some economic advantage in starting a war and everyone jumped in to grab a piece of the action. They soon found that they had grabbed a fistful of trouble. [6] [7] [8]

The University of Jena is Established

Jena is located in Germany in the province of Thuringia. The University will become one of the ten oldest in modern day Germany. Jena is a small town dying from the declining wine industry in the midst of the Little Ice Age. The University is a welcome opportunity for alternative income for the town. Jena will become a center for printing books on behalf of the University as well as other enterprises centered on the support of the University. During the 30 Years' War, the area will fall into chaos but for now all is well. [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The reason I am mentioning the establishment of the University is because of its prominent place in a popular science fiction novel by Eric Flint entitled "1632." An entire West Virginia coal mining town is uprooted and sent into the past and deposited in the year 1632 in Thuringia. The United Mine Workers of America become the core of a United States of Europe. It is a fun book and the start of a series of books, many of which I have read. Curse you, Eric Flint! There is also a strong historical theme throughout and Jewish characters reasonably portrayed. I'm recommending it. [11]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1558, Wikipedia.