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.

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