Tuesday, May 26, 2015

History: The Year is 1581

I've uploaded year 1581 to the TSP Wiki...


Here are some one liners...

The 'Single Whip Law' of China -- It's a silver debacle again but it's mostly about centralized corruption. I talk about the corruption in the UN Oil-for-Food program.

A Fireball in Thuringia -- A meteorite and a great SciFi book related to Thuringia and a West Virginia coal mining town.

Siberia is Conquered by Dummies and Clever Cossacks -- Yermak is a Cossack deputized to conquer Siberia. He bites off more than he can chew.

The 'Single Whip Law' of China

Corruption has plagued the Chinese tax system so they have passed a law that centralizes and consolidates those functions so that there is a consistent tax method across the land. The name of this new law is "The Single Whip Law." Single Whip is a marshal arts term. It is a stance that is leaning forward with an arm forward for defense and an arm held back to hide the striking blow. (Golly! Nothing implied by that. Is there?) Aside from the desire for efficiency, this law allows for the importation of silver from the New World and a change in how taxes are figured on domestic mining operations. This causes a dramatic increase in the taxes collected from Chinese mining operations, or at least the REPORTING increases because wildcat miners figure it is cheaper to pay the tax than it is to dodge the authorities. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Chinese government assumed that silver would never lose its value, but after the silver market fell, people were paying their taxes with devalued silver that wouldn't buy what it used to buy but did work great for their tax obligation. The Single Whip Law didn't stop the corruption either. It simply traded a lot of petty corruption for centralized MAJOR corruption. Remember in 1995 after Gulf War 1, the United Nations established the Oil-for-Food Program allowing Iraq to sell oil to certain approved companies in exchange for food and essential medical aid. This program turned into a kickback scheme that netted Saddam Hussein 10 billion dollars. UN officials and the various companies made out like bandits... because they WERE bandits. The subsequent investigation resulted in stern warnings to public officials, suspended sentences and a few missing people. I don't recall anyone at the UN being fired. [4] [5]

A Fireball in Thuringia

A mighty fireball streaks through the sky and crashes into the countryside of Thuringia which is a province in central Germany. Scientists on the scene find the meteorite. (There is a college nearby.) This event appears in the Catalogue of Meteorites and Fireballs and according to the charts it was verified as a single stoney object weighing 39 pounds. [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I mention this ball of fire from space because I'm reading a science fiction novel based on the premise that an entire West Virginia coal mining town of present day is suddenly picked up whole and moved to the countryside of Thuringia. They are also moved back in time to the year 1632. The heroes of the story are the United Mine Workers of America and two Sephardic Jews. (Those are Spanish Jews.) It is a survival subject since they must figure out how to maintain power for the town, work out defense and also figure out how to plant crops and eat. From a survival standpoint its a tricky problem. It is also a fun read: "1632" by Eric Flint. [9]

Siberia is Conquered by Dummies and Clever Cossacks

Yermak Timofevitch is a Cossack. He is also a rabble-rouser, a thief, and general nuisance. He is only good for one thing... conquering Siberia. Gregory Strogonof has been granted some land west of the Ural mountains but he sees great potential in the east. He just needs help to conquer it. Gregory gets the Tzar to pardon Yermak on the condition that he conqueror Siberia. Yermak gathers 800 of the best highway robbers, prisoners and ne'er-do-wells, arms them with muskets and sets out in 1579. It goes well until Kuchum Khan sets a trap for them. The Khan draws a heavy chain across the river, hoping to catch the Cossack boats and ambush them. The boats come down the river, but they aren't filled with Cossacks. They are filled with dummies. Yermak has already come ashore, outflanks the Khan's superior forces and drives them out of their capital city of Tobolsk. This is just the first probe into Siberia. It will take several years to reach the Bearing Sea. Before then, Yermack will die of drowning trying to escape an ambush by swimming the river while wearing his armor. [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Let's say that some of this sounds like BS. While it's true that most of the inhabitants in Siberia had little more than Stone Age technology, the Khan's 30,000 troops could do a lot of damage with bows, arrows, and spears at their disposal. While it is possible for a small force of 800 men to surprise and possibly take a city from such a large force, it is not possible to hold a city for very long. Only the onset of winter saved them. Yermak knew he had bitten off more than he could chew so he sent for reinforcements from Moscow. He also sent a boatload of furs to encourage the patriotism of his fellows.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1581, Wikipedia.

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