Monday, May 11, 2015

History: The Year is 1572

 I've uploaded year 1572 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Numbers that Don't Exist! Imagine That! -- Simple rules for negative numbers produces a complex problem for mathematicians.... imaginary numbers.

A New Star and a Star Trek Misstep -- A supernova reveals to the world that the sky can change. I also talk about modern missteps by astronomers that led Star Trek to report on speculative science that didn't pan out.

Have a Little Faith: We Will Get Through This... Eventually -- Massacres and hangings too numerous to list... all in the name of God... but let's not blame God for this mess. This is all on us.

Numbers that Don't Exist! Imagine That!

Counting was once a positive experience. Numbers are now a lot more complex. Math needs a few new rules and the Italian mathematician, Rafel Bombelli, has provided a few deceptively simple ones:
Plus times plus makes plus
Minus times minus makes plus
Plus times minus makes minus
Minus times plus makes minus
But what about the square root of negative one? This breaks the rule but in some calculations it is easier to imagine that such a number might exist until it is cancelled out later, saving us from thinking about what they really are. These placeholders are called imaginary numbers. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There are fundamental mysteries in math, physics and the universe that we ignore in order to move forward. We trust that someday we will understand it all. Example: A lot of money was spent finding the Higgs Boson because we trusted that the Standard Model of the Universe was mostly correct, but there are still holes in the Model large enough to drive a truck through. I'm sticking with the Standard Model, because it mostly works, but the Universe is not as predictable as I thought it was and it scares the heck out of me. (For more information, see "The Horizon Problem") [3] [4]

A New Star and a Star Trek Misstep

Aristotle said that the stars are unchanging but something has just changed. A new star called a "supernova" appears in the constellation Cassiopeia (cah-see-OH-pee-ah). It is that "W" in the northern night sky across from the Big Dipper. As a star exhausts it's fuel, it suddenly collapses, blowing off its outer layer of gas and producing a flash of brightness lasting from hours to days. This is a nova or "new star". A supernova is even more dramatic. A star will blow off so much material that the brightness will rival all the stars in a galaxy and last for months or years. This supernova will be visible to the naked eye until 1574. It will be known as Tycho's Supernova after the astronomer who will write a paper pointing out that this new star and the rest of the sky should be defined and cataloged. Soon, astronomers will notice stars that vary in brightness on a schedule. Eventually, these variable stars will be used to measure the size of the galaxy. [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Before we sigh politely at these astronomers dithering over what stars and novas might be, remember that modern astronomers once thought that quasars (KWAY-zars) were part of our Milky Way galaxy because they could not believe the kind of energy readings that they were getting and the distances they were seeing. In fact, the TV show "Star Trek" had an episode ("The Galileo Seven") where the Enterprise stops to investigate a quasar inside our galaxy. Quasars are not part of our galaxy but rather, early galaxies very, very far away, and amazingly energetic compared to normal galaxies due to the supermassive black holes at their cores feeding on star systems and dust. [8] [9]

Have a Little Faith: We Will Get Through This... Eventually

  • Dr, Who and the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre - Assassinations and mob violence kills a lot of Huguenots on this day. This event is also part of a missing episode of the SciFi show, Dr. Who. The Doctor shows up in the midst of the fighting. [10] [11]
  • The Spanish Fury - The town of Mechelen is mostly Catholic so the Protestants abandon it when the Spanish Army shows up. With no one to fight, the Spanish sack the city anyway, taking their pay out of the looting and rape. [12] [13]
  • Duke Thomas Howard is executed for conspiring to assassinate the Regent of King James of Scotland, in part for religious reasons. [14]
  • The Sea Beggars Land - The Dutch Calvinists that went to sea are called "The Sea Beggars" but they have landed and will fight for Dutch independence. They also hang and imprison a lot of Catholic priests. [15]
  • And various sieges too numerous to mention.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
You might be wondering, "Whatever happened to 'Peace on earth, good will towards men'? Well... it's not as if they haven't been trying, but the religious bureaucracy (the structure behind the Church itself) saw "reform" as a synonym for "dismantling" the power base of the Church, and in a practical sense, that was exactly what was happening. It is natural for a bureaucracy to resist change. When President Andrew Jackson tried to dismantle the Second United States Bank, the Bank fought back, or rather the people who benefited from the bank as it was, fought back. Once the charter lapsed in 1836, did the bank go away? No. It went private and discovered that without a government sugar daddy, it wasn't a very good bank and dissolved in 1841. [16] [17] [18]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1572, Wikipedia.

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