Friday, July 31, 2015

History: The Year is 1616

I've uploaded year 1616 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Copernicus and the List of Forbidden Books -- Astronomers have been using a book published by Copernicus in 1593 about the Earth orbiting around the Sun rather than the apparent observational conclusion. The book is added to the List of Prohibited Books.

In Search of El Dorado... Again -- Sir Walter Raleigh has convinced King James to let him go on a search for the City of Gold. He is dying to go and it's going to kill him in the end.

Notable Births and Deaths -- William Shakespeare is dead and the tallest woman in the world is born.

Copernicus and the List of Forbidden Books

A short time before his death Copernicus handed his book to the Bishop of Culm who was also a family friend. The Bishop took the book to Nuremberg and published it in 1593. It theorized that the Earth orbits the Sun which was a radical notion, but few realized how radical the book was at the time. It was too technical so only astronomers bought it. Current observations of the heavens by astronomers have brought the book to the attention of the Church. The title has now been entered into the book of prohibited works called The List of Forbidden Books. Many books regarding the heliocentric model of the universe (the idea that the Earth, the planets and the stars orbit the Sun) will be included on the list. Years later the books will fall off of the List. By 1966 the List itself will become more of a suggestion than a rule. It will cease publication long before then. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The people veto embarrassing old laws by simply ignoring them. Changing the law itself becomes an afterthought. By 1742 two Franciscan monks began teaching from Sir Issac Newton's book on mathematics despite its being prohibited. Science and math books eventually fell off of the list as evidence in their favor mounted, but it took decades if not a century. In the Church's defense, the scientists couldn't PROVE their case with actual evidence. They didn't have accurate enough tools to do so. Modern day scientists have a similar problem accepting changes in their pet theories. Albert Einstein was working in a patent office when he published his paper on Special Relativity because he couldn't get a research position at a university. At the time, scientists were certain they had discovered all that could be discovered. In 1905 Einstein overturned everything, but it wasn't until 1919 that he could prove it with physical evidence. In turn, Einstein fought against Quantum Theory saying that "God does not play dice with the universe," and let's not dwell on the issues with String Theory! We all have our blind spots. Let's forgive each other and move forward. [4] [5]

In Search of El Dorado... Again

Sir Walter Raleigh is determined to find El Dorado, the City of Gold, even if it kills him... and it will. He has been detained in the Tower of London for treason but he has managed to talk King James into letting him take an expedition to Guyana in South America to find the lost city of gold... and return with gold for the King, of course. King James extracts a promise on threat of death that Sir Walter will do nothing to upset the Spaniards. The King doesn't want trouble, but Sir Walter is 60 years old. How much trouble could he find? Plenty. By next year he will launch his expedition. His ships will be manned by thugs, so to keep them from mutinying, Sir Walter stays on board and sends his son to do the exploring. His son soon finds a Spanish town and the musket balls start flying. His son his killed and the expedition never finds gold. Sir Walter returns home a failure. Since any shootout with the Spaniards qualifies as a breach of charter... along with the previous treason, Sir Walter Raleigh will lose his head in 1618. As he takes that last long walk to the executioner, he will toss his hat to a bald man and say, "You need this, my friend, more than I do." [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Was Sir Walter Raleigh really guilty of treason? It's hard to say. He was part of Queen Elizabeth's crew of favorites so when King James took the throne, Sir Walter fell out of favor. During an investigation into a plot to kidnap the King, Sir Walter's name came up. I'm not sure he was part of the plot. He was certainly a prominent name so he was tried separately and sent to the Tower of London. But if the King really believed that Sir Walter was guilty, why send him on this expedition to find gold years later? Perhaps it was greed, but if I'm expecting to get gold from some get-rich-quick scheme, I'm not going to trust someone who tried to kidnap me years earlier. That is why I doubt that Sir Walter was guilty of anything more than being a starry-eyed fool in his old age. There is no city of gold despite what Nicolas Cage did in the movie National Treasure. It's fun to imagine, though. [8]

Notable Births and Deaths

  • The illegitimate son of King Gustav the 2nd of Sweden (that wonderful guy that historians love) is born. His name is Gustav too. [9]
  • "The Big Girl" is born. She will become the tallest woman in history at 8 foot 4 inches. [10]
  • William Shakespeare, the English playwright and poet dies from unknown causes... after a big night of drinking. He was 52. [11]
  • Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote, dies from cirrhosis of the liver. One can die of cirrhosis without hard drinking, but probably he was a drinker. [12]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1616, Wikipedia.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

History: The Year is 1615

I've uploaded year 1615 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Galileo vs. the Inquisition, Round 1 -- The Church is unhappy with Galileo's observation of the heavens and his discussion of a Sun-centered model of the universe, but they are allowing it for now. I discuss the balance of science and religious claims... mostly from a Jewish perspective but it applies across the board.

The Virginia Company and the Summer Isles -- Bermuda gets a formal British Colony instead of the accidental colonists from the Virginia Company.

Galileo vs. the Inquisition, Round 1

Galileo has been making observations of the heavens and coming up with a lot of questions. Copernicus had argued for a heliocentric universe where the Earth, the planets and the stars rotate around the Sun. Galileo agrees, but the Church does not. Tycho Brahe argues for a model where the Sun and Moon orbit the Earth but everything else orbits the Sun. Tycho's model works reasonably well given their imprecise measurements and their assumptions. They assume that the stars are close enough so that as the Earth changes its position in orbit, the stars should appear to shift position. No shift then no moving Earth. THEY SEE NO SHIFT! This shift is called parallax. You can see parallax yourself by looking at a tall building two miles away. Now walk a block to your left or right and notice how the building seems to shift it's position relative to the buildings behind it. With precise measurements you can estimate how far away the building is. If the scientists can't see parallax for the stars, that means the stars are an ungodly distance away, and no one wants to think about that. The Church allows Galileo to discuss the Copernicus model as long as he doesn't state it as fact. Currently, he can't even convince his fellow scientists. That will take some time. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I often jump between a modern mindset and a medieval one in order to accommodate my religious obligations. I know people who say that the universe rotates around the Earth. For a while they were teaching this medieval idea to the kids at their religious school. They stopped when the parents insisted that the school teach proper science. The clergy didn't put up much of a fight. I don't think they believed it either. (You can often tell what people really believe by watching what they do and not always by what they say.) For religious purposes, I count the years since creation as 5,775. Do I believe it? Hmmm... I can see a path there, but it requires too much hand-waving and leaps-of-faith, so no. Not really. Scientists measure the age of the universe from 10 to 13 billion years old. Their methods are not perfect, but they make sense to me. Even though they change the age of the universe from time to time, the bottom line is that is it definitely not 5,775 years... not even close. For an intelligent discussion about reconciling religious claims with scientific theory I suggest reading "The Science of God" by Gerald Schroeder. He gives science a fair hearing while treating religious claims as serious questions... including how old the universe is. [6]

The Virginia Company and the Summer Isles

This year Admiral Somers returns to Bermuda under a new charter. The Somers Isles Company is made up of the same investors as the Virginia Company but their charter is to colonize Bermuda... on purpose this time. A few years ago Admiral Somers had struggled against a storm to bring a properly supplied group of colonists to Jamestown but the Sea Venture was sinking. He wasn't going to make it to Jamestown so he drove his ship into the reefs of a nearby island to stabilize the ship and bring the colonists ashore. That was how the Virginia Company came to colonize Bermuda. A century before, Bermuda had been seeded with pigs by a Spanish captain. He was trying to provide food and a safe haven for lost ships in a storm. Admiral Somers finally made it off of the island along with the future Governor of Virginia and John Rolfe who would soon marry Pocahontas. The Admiral also he left a few people behind to maintain England's claim to Bermuda. The King of England has plans for Bermuda, and the Somers Isles Company is part of that plan. [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
One wonders why there was a need to establish a separate company, but the Virginia Company's original charter didn't extend to Bermuda. Of course, acts of God and such made it reasonable for the Virginia Company to maintain a colony there, even without a proper charter. The Somers Isles Company fixed that technical issue. It also helped later on when the Virginia Company was dissolved and the King took official control of the Virginia colony. Bermuda maintained a more independent existence. On a side note: some historians believe that Admiral Somers and the wreck of the Sea Dragon was the inspiration for Shakespeare's play, The Tempest.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1615, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

History: The Year is 1614

I've uploaded year 1614 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

What Do You Have in the Basket, Judith? A Rape and a Beheading -- Artie is a great artist but she is raped by a fellow artist. She takes him to trial. After the trial she paints a magnificent depiction of Judith beheading a barbarian. Nice.

Virginia Tobacco is the New Crack... and the New Money -- Pocahontas is rich! King James is rich! Everyone is rich growing tobacco. It's like selling crack without that messy prison time.

Welcome to New Netherland -- The Dutch are moving into the New World in North America. Nothing serious yet, but soon.

What Do You Have in the Basket, Judith? A Rape and a Beheading

A great female artist completes one of her best works... Judith Slaying Holofernes. Apparently, "slaying" means beheading... in full color. The artist's name is... well... let's call her Artie. Artie will wallow in obscurity for centuries because she had the temerity to accuse an influential man of rape and bringing him to trial. The earliest estimate for completion of Artie's depiction of Judith beheading the Assyrian general is 1614... which is two years after the trial concluded... so she began working on it shortly after the trial or perhaps during the trial ... and the torture. One modern author wrote in a satirical style that thumbscrews were "the medieval idea of a lie detector". Artie wasn't lying and she might have been killed had the local Duchess not intervened on her behalf. The Duchess was promised a painting in payment... and that's the way justice worked during the Baroque period in Rome. The actual verdict in the trial is lost to history. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Yes, I know. If the justice system is not Baroque, don't fix it. Moving on. From reading the court transcript, the rapist sounds a lot like Bill Clinton....
"I am telling you that not only have I not raped the said Artemisia, but I have never had sexual relations with her."

And here is Artie in her own defense...
"'I told him that I was feeling ill and I thought I had a fever. He replied: 'I have more of a fever than you do' ... when we were in front of the bedroom door, he pushed me in and locked the door. He then threw me on to the edge of the bed ... I tried to scream..."

You get the idea. She was a famous artist in her time, but years after her death, critics smeared her reputation by calling her a temptress or attributing her work to a man. I'm not sure how one can believe such foolishness but each critic is a product of his time. In the modern day, Artie is held up as model for feminists. That works for me. She survived the rape and proved her worth in the art world. She slayed the barbarian and carried his head away in a basket just like Judith. [6] [7] [8]

Virginia Tobacco is the New Crack... and the New Money

King James the 1st has been toying with the idea of banning tobacco as a vice, but now he is convinced that tobacco is the greatest substance in the world because now he can tax the hell out of it! It seems that the English, and just about everyone else, will pay any price to get their fix. The King of Spain, fearful that the price might drop out of the market, begins funneling Spanish tobacco exclusively through the port of Seville. He is squeezing off the supply. Scarcity pushes the price sky high. Back in Jamestown, with an uneasy peace with the Indians in place, the new husband of Pocahontas, John Rolfe, is planting acres of tobacco. The Virginia product is inferior, but everyone is paying through the nose for it. If crack had existed at the time, tobacco would be the new crack and the new money. It's as good as gold. Pocahontas is rich! Now the poverty-stricken are gathering up discarded cigar butts, grinding up the tobacco and wrapping the result in small papers. Mark the date on your calendar, folks. Cigarettes are born. [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The first cigarette vending machine is created around this time as well. I only saw a brief mention of it but you dropped a coin in the kitty, opened the box and took your smokes. It seemed to work on the honor system like an office snack rack. Just a warning, now. This tobacco mania is going to touch off something really terrible, and the people won't realize they've done it until it is well and truly done. In a couple of years, during harvest time, a Dutch pirate ship will sail into a Virginia port to sell their ill-gotten goods and a few slaves. The farmers will want to get the harvest in. They need the labor and at 1000% profit on tobacco they won't think twice. They won't think once. They are going to do the unthinkable.

Welcome to New Netherland

The Dutch East India Company has surveyed the region in the eastern part of North America. Henry Hudson has also been that way and a fellow named Adriaen Block who is calling the region "New Netherland". The New Netherland Company is formed to exploit the fur trade and continue with commerce. No thoughts of colonization yet, but that's coming. The New Netherland colonies will include a place called New Amsterdam. In the modern day it will be called New York. [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
One might wonder what the Dutch East India Company was doing so far west. They had been commissioned to seek a Northwest passage to China and the East Indies. Henry Hudson had been sent there for the same reason and that is where the name "Hudson Bay" comes from. The idea was that if one could sail south and through the Straits of Magellan to reach the East Indies, why couldn't you sail north and do the same thing? Well.. it's all blocked off with a giant floating block of ice. That is why and no one has a submarine yet that can travel below the ice... at least nothing well-documented. The first reliable account of a submarine test will be conducted in 1620 by the English. It won't be until 1958 when the USS Nautilus will reach the north pole by going under the ice and 1960 when the USS Seadragon will travel the Northwest Passage under the ice. [14] [15] [16]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1614, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1613

I've uploaded year 1613 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Romanovs Take Power. Our Troubles are Over! Right? -- The Russian nobles talk a 16-year-old boy into becoming Czar. It took some talking. He was not an idiot. His dynasty will last until 1917.

Pocahontas Is Lured into Captivity and the English are Lured into Peace -- The English catch Pocahontas and she catches her Englishman and gets married. Peace ensues.

The Globe is Burning -- Shakespeare's Globe Theater catches fire when a cannon misfires during the performance of a play.

The Romanovs Take Power. Our Troubles are Over! Right?

After years of chaos, famine, cannibalism, and the death of the Czar of Russia what else could go wrong? These are the Times of Troubles. After a series of really bad leaders they have won some real battles and kicked out the Poles. Recently, Poland had convinced the people to take a Polish royal as their new Czar, but the Russians insisted that he actually show up in Moscow. He never showed. The great defender of Russia (general winter) kept him away. The nobles have decided to choose a Czar through in indirect succession. Michael Romanov is related to Ivan the Terrible though an uncle... sort of. Even though the legal justification for the succession is a little shaky they ask Michael to be Czar. Michael is 16-years-old but he is not an idiot. He knows what happened to recently failed Czars but they convince him that Russia really needs him. The Romanov dynasty will last until 1917 when Nicholas the 2nd will abdicate and then the Bolsheviks will murder all those who could make a claim for direct succession... and even those who couldn't. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
As you can imagine, the person really running things in Russia was not a 16-year-old boy. The nobles were using Michael as a figurehead, but eventually Michael's father was found in a monastery. He was made the head of the Orthodox Church and took the name of Patriarch Philaret. Philaret was the real power behind the throne... but there was no throne. The Romanovs were boyars which were lesser provincial princes. They were not high nobility so Western European aristocrats didn't want to marry with them at first. In time, the Romanovs married with various German noble families which is really strange since, historically, the Russians and Germans fought some terrible wars against each other. On the other hand, during World War 1, the main language spoken in Westminster Palace was German. The English royal family changed their name to Windsor because their previous name was so obviously German that everyone was getting nervous. [5] [6]

Pocahontas Is Lured into Captivity and the English are Lured into Peace

Jamestown has been fighting with the Powhatan Indians in what will one day be known as the Virginia colony. Pocahontas is now 17 and well known to the people of Jamestown. When Captain Argall hears that she is away visiting relatives, he makes a plan to kidnap her and use her as leverage against her father, the Chief of the Powhatans. The Captain conspires with the local tribe to lure her onto one of his ships. Once she was aboard, they refused to let her go but the other Indians were allowed to leave with some trinkets and a copper pot. She stayed with the English for a year, learning about Christianity, converting and taking the name of Rebecca, a significant name from the Bible. Rebecca was the mother of two nations. Pocahontas is no more. Rebecca will meet her new husband and marry him next year. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Stories about Pocahontas are always a little suspect. After all... there is the tourist trade to maintain. Then there are the movie residuals and plush toy sales. Heck. I'm focusing on her story because she is smack in the middle of what is going to be the 1st successful English colony in North America. But let's look at this situation carefully. She didn't stay on that ship the whole time. She wasn't being held in jail. She knew the countryside like the back of her hand. Are we to believe that within the year that she was held in captivity that she had no opportunity to escape? I'm calling BS. She was there on behalf of her father to work out a peace deal between the Powhatans and Jamestown. They were doing this the old fashioned way... through a bond of blood, marriage and children. She married the man who brought tobacco seed to Virginia and tobacco leaf to England... John Rolfe. The Powhatan plan worked... while the Chief lived, anyway. [12] [13]

The Globe is Burning

During a performance of Henry the 8th, a cannon misfires. The famous Globe Theater catches fire and burns to the ground. According to one account, no one was hurt but one man's pants caught fire. He was put out when someone doused him with ale. The theater will be rebuilt next year. This will be the second time the theater will be rebuilt. The first time was when there was a dispute regarding the land lease. The landlord believed that he would own the theater at the expiration of the lease. The theater owners disagreed so they hired a carpenter, disassembled the theater and reassembled it across the Thames River making it bigger and better. Once the theater is rebuilt it will remain open until 1642 when the Puritans will finally shut it down. [14] [15]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The general location of the Globe Theater has been known but the exact location of the building was not found until 1989 when part of the foundation of the theater was discovered in a parking lot. The rest of the theater's foundation is located under an existing building so there are no plans for further excavations any time soon. [16]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1613, Wikipedia.

Monday, July 27, 2015

History: The Year is 1612

I've uploaded year 1612 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Killing a Man Twice... in the 17th Century and the 20th -- Edward is burned at the stake... twice... probably out of compassion. In California a death row inmate was sent to the gas chamber twice, probably out of compassion.

Witches Are All Wet and Lights are Magical -- The dunk test is first used on accused witches. I talk about why witches are being found at this time and how technology is often indistinguishable from magic.

Killing a Man Twice... in the 17th Century and the 20th

Edward Wightman sometimes engages in debate with the local Puritan ministers. He has also written books from which he is glad to recite at length in the public square. Edward came to the attention of the Bishop of Litchfield probably because Edward offered an opinion on the the disposition of the soul of a recently departed official. Edward gave testimony to the Bishop and sent a written defense of his religious position to everyone he could think of, including King James the 1st of Great Britain. King James takes his title of "Defender of the Faith" seriously... really, really seriously. Edward's fate is sealed. Now he has been tied to the stake in the public square and is being burned to death... a second time. The first time, he felt the flames and witnesses thought they heard him recanting, so they pulled him out of the fire. They wrote up a formal retraction letter but he refused to sign it. That is how Edward ended up burning at the stake... twice. Nothing remains of him today except for a small plaque in the public square acknowledging him as the last man to be burned for heresy. 17th century England is done killing men and women for religious dissent. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In 1992, Robert Alton Harris was executed by the State of California for the murder of two teenage boys. Harris was taken to the gas chamber, and strapped in but at the last minute a judge issued a stay of execution. Harris was taken back to his cell while public officials worked this out. This wasn't a pardon from the governor. It was a delay issued by a lower court judge to consider whether capital punishment using the gas chamber was cruel and unusual punishment. Within the hour the question went to the Supreme Court which vacated the stay. The lower court issued a 2nd stay and a 3rd. After the 4th stay the Supreme Court ordered that no more stays be issued. On that 1st walk to the gas chamber, everyone was professional, including Harris. We follow procedure and discipline ourselves so that we don't become the same as the monsters that we are putting to death. My own memory of the Harris execution is that he broke down the 2nd time that he had to take that walk. Killing a man twice, regardless of how it is done, has to be cruel and unusual. An old proverb comes to mind: "Those who will be kind when they should be cruel will one day be cruel when they should be kind." [8] [9] [10] [11]

Witches Are All Wet and Lights are Magical

This year a new test is used to find suspected witches. They are dunked in the water. If they float, they are witches. If they sink, they are not. (There is a modern notion that this test caused death in either case but a rope was tied to the subject so that they could be pulled out if they sank.) The Witches of Northamptonshire were tried for various bewitchings. Their crimes were not sensational but this new method of testing witches began with them. A few weeks later the Pendle Hill Witch Trials got started. Out of the ten accused, only one was found not guilty. One woman openly confessed that she had bewitched a man. She was hanged along with all the others found guilty. While it looks bad in England, it's a whole lot worse in Europe... especially Germany. Lots of people are going to die, many of them professing their guilt and grateful for being caught. [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... what's really going on here? King James the 1st was pressing the local authorities to make sure that everyone was going to church and taking communion. Communion is a significant Christian religious ritual and it was considered a crime if you refused to participate. In the midst of this crack down some folks were pointed out as witches. At the time witches were local healers, herbalists, seers and makers of joint pain medicines. Today we call these people therapists, life coaches and moonshiners. While these professions have nothing to do with magic, in the 17th century it was difficult to distinguish between a love potion and distilled alcohol. Franz Mesmer won't be born for another 100 years, but people can still be mesmerized and hypnotized. They just don't know what to call it yet so they call it witchcraft. As Arthur C. Clarke said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." For most people in the modern day, an electric light is magic. They have no idea how it works. They just flip a switch and it works. Simply because their jaws don't drop every time they turn one on makes it no less magical from a Clarke perspective.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1612, Wikipedia.

Friday, July 24, 2015

History: The Year is 1611

I've uploaded year 1611 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The King James Bible is Published -- King James commissioned a new translation of the Bible without commentary. It is published this year and the lack of commentary becomes an interesting marketing decision.

One of the Greatest of the Great Becomes King -- King Gustav the 2nd Adolf takes the throne. He will perfect the strategy of combined arms and otherwise kick the snot out of anyone who looks at him sideways.

The King James Bible is Published

The English-reading public has been using the Geneva Bible, so-called because it was translated by several English bishops and scholars after escaping to Geneva to avoid punishment and death at the hands of Queen Mary the 1st. With illustrations and notes, the Geneva Bible was the first Study Bible, but its uneven translation style and Calvinist commentary has reduced its usefulness to the emerging Anglican Church 50 years later. King James the 1st called for a new translation from the original. This time the translators have produced a conservative translation with English phrasing that won't go out of style in 50 years and it omits the notes and commentary that the Anglican bishops found objectionable. Just from a marketing standpoint, when you include commentary you necessarily limit your audience because some people who might have agreed with your translation, will be put off by the opinion you include next to the main text depending on whose commentary you decide to include and whose commentary you leave out. Because of the decision to leave out ALL commentary, and the careful guidelines used in the translation, the King James Version of the Bible will remain in use across a wide readership into the modern day. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I think including commentary is important. When I was a teenager I read the Bible straight through and I could see why it kept people's interest but I didn't see anything in there that would "launch a thousand ships" so to speak. As an adult I read a Bible with extensive commentary in the footnotes. I didn't always agree with the commentary but the footnotes pointed to questions that I hadn't realized needed answering before. These scholars have been pouring over these texts for thousands of years. I'm interested in what they have to say whether I agree with them or not. Of course, some commentary is included to present a single point of view. (I'm Jewish and this certainly happens in Jewish circles.) So there is a place for a straight Bible translation without commentary and the texts should be re-translated every 20 years or so because the English language drifts over time. For example, where the King James Version reads "Thou shalt not kill" that was an accurate translation into the English of the 1600s. In modern English it should be rendered "Thou shalt not murder" because the word "kill" has changed its meaning over the last 400 years. It is because of these sort of misunderstandings that we need to tweak up our translations from time to time. [2] [3] [4]

One of the Greatest of the Great Becomes King

The Swedish Empire starts today. Gustavus Adolphus is one of the greatest military strategists of all time and that man has just become the King of Sweden. If you'll recall, Sweden broke away from the Kalmar Union when the King of Denmark dealt unethically with Swedish rebel leaders during a truce and killed them all. One of the sons of those rebel leaders became the King of Sweden and from generation to generation the crown has finally come to King Gustav. He will be competent and he will know how to wield power, especially military power. He is known best for the strategy of combined arms where two or more types of combat arms are used together so that as your enemy tries to defend itself from one type of attack, it is left vulnerable to a different type of attack. For example: as you are beating the heck out of your opponent with cannon fire you mount a cavalry charge... which can be a little hard on the cavalry unless you do it right. King Gustav can do it right. [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
King Gustav is going to have to do a lot of things right because we are getting close to the kick off of the 30 Years' War where 8 million people are going to die in various horrible ways. Civilians are not exempt. The King of Sweden is going to figure heavily in how that war turns out. If King Gustav had lived longer we'd be speaking Swedish right now, Europe would look a whole lot different than it does today and we'd all be drinking pale beer with unpronounceable names. I became interested in King Gustav after reading a science fiction novel entitled "1632" by Eric Flint in which the King is one of the main characters. The story is about an entire West Virginia coal mining town that is suddenly sent back in time to 1632 and dropped into the German countryside during the 30 Years' War. It's funny as heck and the King becomes a hero in the book so I'm pretty much pro-King Gustav now. [7] [8] [9]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1611, Wikipedia.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

History: The Year is 1610

I've uploaded year 1610 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Galileo, Jupiter's Moons and Pluto's New Horizons -- Galileo improves the telescope and discovers 4 moons of Jupiter. I talk about Pluto, it's moons and the fact that Pluto is smaller than all of those 4 moons that Galileo discovered.

Judge Dread is Judged Illegal: Common Law vs. the Parliament -- This is all about judicial review and the fact that the people acting as policemen cannot also act as judge and executioner (or collect fines, etc.) The job of a judge is also to review the law itself.

Galileo, Jupiter's Moons and Pluto's New Horizons

Galileo has made improvements to his telescope, increasing its magnification to 20x. He turns his scope to the moon and is surprised to see imperfections in a heavenly body. Then he turns his scope to the planet Jupiter... a "wandering star" which is what the word "planet" means. Jupiter resolves itself into a disk. He notices three smaller stars near it and over the next few nights he realizes that these are moons. Soon a 4th moon resolves itself. These will be called the Galilean Moons. Galileo's daughter is only nine years old, but she can recognize her father's deep interest in the stars. She will enter a convent at age 13 and take the name of Sister Maria Celeste, as in "Mary of the Heavens". She will help her father with his work. Years later these heavenly observations will upset Church officials, but Galileo is a very smart man. He can tap dance with the best of them. In the modern day when the space probe Galileo reaches Jupiter it will count 67 moons, the largest being the ones spotted by Galileo and his little telescope. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The New Horizons space probe reached the frozen world of Pluto in mid-July of 2015. It was launched in 2006 after Pluto was found to have a large moon that they named Charon (usually pronounced Sharon). Charon was the mythological ferryman who would take souls across the River Styx into Hades. The moon is so large that one can say that Pluto and Charon actually orbit each other in a waltz. While New Horizons was on its way, 4 more moons were spotted. For a dwarf planet, Pluto has quite a number of moons, but the really amazing thing is that Pluto is smaller than any of the 4 Galilean moons. That is why scientists argued that Pluto isn't really a planet. They finally settled on calling Pluto a "dwarf planet" because Pluto is round and the scientists wanted to keep the public off of their backs. [9] [10]

Judge Dread is Judged Illegal: Common Law vs. the Parliament

The bottom line is that you can't have the policeman also be the judge and the executioner all in one body. Here is what happened... Doctor Bonham is examined, fined and jailed for practicing medicine without a license in London. The College of Physicians is the body designated by Parliament to judge London physicians and they are authorized to levy fines. But Doctor Bonham points out that he was certified in Cambridge so London had no right to fine him, Judge Coke sides with the doctor, but he also makes a persuasive argument that will echo down the ages. The judge points out that one should not be the judge and jury in one's own case. The College of Physicians acted as a judge of physicians and also benefited from the fines levied without a separate and impartial review. Even though the Parliament set up the law that way, common law and reason takes precedence. This is the beginning of judicial review... the idea that the judiciary has a role in reviewing laws against a higher authority such as the Constitution because leaving that determination to Congress or the Administration alone is too much like the fox guarding the hen house. [11] [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Judge Coke's decision led to the US Supreme Court decision in Marbury vs. Madison on judicial review. That is... the Supreme Court has the right to review the constitutionality of the laws passed by Congress. That may seem obvious today, but during the formation of the USA, it was not obvious. The Founding Fathers understood the problems of legislation and administration of government, but the role of the judiciary needed some fleshing out. The Supreme Court took the opportunity in Marbury vs. Madison to assert their authority of judicial review. Essentially, they said that their judgement was not limited to whether the law was correctly executed by the parties involved but also whether the law itself was constitutional. In the case of Marbury vs. Madison, Marbury sued for his rights as defined in the law, and Madison was wrong for blocking Marbury but the law itself was unconstitutional, so Marbury got nothing because it was a bad law. [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1610, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

History: The Year is 1609

I've uploaded year 1609 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Free Coinage and Managing the Amsterdam Money Monster -- The Amsterdam currency is out of control. To control it they establish the first central bank. I talk a little about the Federal Reserve.

Admit You Are a Witch and Get a Pardon for Free! -- 7,000 Basques, mostly children, are put on trial for being witches. Most will be pardoned... most.

The Law of 'the Freedom of the Seas' -- It's an important principle of the modern day which had its beginnings here. I also talk about the USS Liberty Incident.

Free Coinage and Managing the Amsterdam Money Monster

Amsterdam has a problem with success. Years ago, King Charles the 5th of Spain manipulated the money supply to increase the value of his gold-based treasury by 50%... and totally hosed the Spanish Netherlands which used silver coins for its commerce. This may have sparked the Dutch Revolution because the first thing the rebels did was to institute free coinage laws. In essence, any person can show up with his bullion and the mint turns it into coins for a small percentage or even free. No questions asked. Naturally, that turned the Netherlands into a sinkhole for all the "don't ask me where I got it" precious metal in the world. Dutch law compels their banks to accept foreign coins as legal tender, and as Gresham's Law suggests, good money pushes out bad. Whenever new coins are minted, they disappear and every crap foreign coin is used in its place. Amsterdam needs to control its legal tender, so the Bank of Amsterdam is born. It's primary mission is to pull foreign coins out of circulation and to issue notes on deposits based on the actual metal content of coins and bullion. With the metal content certain and safe in the vault, suddenly bank notes are more valuable than coins. The Bank of Amsterdam is one of the first central banks ever established (if not the very first). [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There are good reasons to establish a central bank such as maintaining the currency standards and easing government spending fluctuations that disrupt the market. If that was all a central bank did, I would have very few complaints, but there are ways for bankers and government officials to abuse such a system, just as King Charles did. Was the Bank of Amsterdam like the US Federal Reserve System? Well... it didn't start off that way. It was a deposit bank. You deposited your gold or silver for a fee and received a receipt. Bank money represented actual deposits: real bullion or coins IN THE VAULT, no fractional banking. That is a far cry from what the US Federal Reserve does today. For a good explanation on what the Federal Reserve is doing, read, "The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve" by G. Edward Griffin. While the creation of the Federal Reserve was a conspiracy in the real sense of the word, at one point the author takes a ride into "Federal Conspiracy Disneyland". Nevertheless, I can recommend this book because he labels clearly when he goes beyond analysis into hair-raising speculation. I appreciated that. [4] [5] [6]

Admit You Are a Witch and Get a Pardon for Free!

7,000 people are charged by the Spanish Inquisition with practicing witchcraft. This is the largest group of witch trials that have every happened before or ever will. The vast majority of those on trial are children who have willingly admitted to witchcraft... often under torture... but willing. Most will be pardoned. A few will die under torture and a few will actually get burned at the stake. These are the Basque Witch Trials. The Basque area had a reputation for the occult long before this time but even the Christian priests are getting a little nervous. They weren't expecting this many accused. The Inquisition will give up on this witch hunt after a few years. The Protestants are having their own witch hunt in the north and they will stay with it a little longer. No one is covered in glory here but a few good Christians will risk their lives to put a stop to it. [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The system went like this. (Try not to shiver.) If you were willing to admit you were a witch, you were pardoned, but you had to point out other people who were practicing witchcraft. (This sounds a lot like hunting for Communists in the 1950s.) Surprisingly, to the Inquisition, mostly children came forth to admit their witchery. I don't know why, but the children had a strong fear of being possessed and misled by Satan. There is one story about 40 children who were so fearful of Satan that they would sleep at the Rectory and be blessed by the priest for protection. One night, the priest forgot to bless them and they were taken by Satan to endure a terrible ritual. Is it true? The hysteria is certainly true. Children can really work themselves up into a frenzy so that things seem real, but no. I don't think Satan grabbed the children or anyone else. I have a difficult enough time figuring out what happened in the Book of Job.

The Law of 'the Freedom of the Seas'

The law book "Freedom of the Seas" is published by the Dutch jurist, Hugo de Groot. He makes a natural law argument that travel through the seas is free to all without interference. It begins with the idea that a nation with no ill-intent is free to travel to another nation to engage in trade. Since that occurs over land, how much more natural would it be to travel over the sea to engage in trade? And since the sea is like the air in that it is common to all, therefore, travel through the sea without ill-intent should be free to all. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Freedom of the Seas is one of the fundamental principles that we defend today as if it has been obvious and true since the beginning of time. In fact, it was not always obvious which is why so many countries engaged in privateering at the time (which was government-sanctioned piracy). This book spelled the beginning of the end of privateering. It is also the reason why ships are 'flagged' by a specific nation. The Freedom of the Seas applies primarily to merchant craft but during a war, even merchant craft of warring nations can be targeted. Thus, there is an advantage to be flagged from a nation that is NOT at war. It is no guarantee but it can be helpful to merchants. A flag provides less protection to warships. Warships in a war zone might find themselves targets even if they are flagged from a neutral nation. Warships make other nations nervous even when they are not at war with each other and mistakes can happen. A good example is when Israeli planes hit the USS Liberty in international waters in 1967 during the Six-Day War. Israel said it mistook the ship for Egyptian. People are still arguing about that one. Let the meltdown begin. [15]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1609, Wikipedia.

Monday, July 20, 2015

History: The Year is 1608

I've uploaded year 1608 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Old Bushmills Irish Whiskey and the Sins of Our Fathers -- A whiskey distillery opens. I talk about who and why it opens, and who and why others are not opening it. Can you say, "The Beginning of the Troubles?"

The Only 'Nada' they Found was in the word 'Canada' -- Quebec is founded. I also talk about the Louisiana Purchase.

The Check is in the Mail... and in the Netherlands -- The beginning of the modern checking system and my thoughts on creating money using 3rd party checks.

Old Bushmills Irish Whiskey and the Sins of Our Fathers

King James the 1st of Great Britain has granted a license to distill and bottle Irish whiskey to Sir Thomas Phillips. Sir Thomas will use the waters from a tributary of the Bush River and thus the name Bushmills Distillery will become the name although no record of the name appears at this time. Any number of such licenses were granted to various members of the English and Scot-Irish community during these years in order promote competent people into critical industries for efficiency and quality purposes, but there are other purposes, unsaid but obvious: Out with the old bosses and in with the new bosses... the King's bosses, that is. The Old Bushmills Distillery will remain in operation into the modern day. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The modern label on the whiskey bottle boasts: "Original Grant to Distil 1608" and that is true enough. I'm not sure how many bottles were distilled though. Sir Thomas Phillips had some problems negotiating his land rights, fishing rights and tithes. It was clear how tenuous his hold was over his lands. Although it was not said, it looked like he was being used by the King as a moving target to flush out anyone resentful over the recent confiscation of Irish tribal lands ... uh... I mean... the efficient redistribution of the productive resources of Great Britain. This was the Ulster Plantation coming into being around 1606 and resentments between Irish Catholics and Ulster-Scot Protestants are often dated from this time. However, please don't blame the Bushmills Distillery of today for what happened back then. Our present generation has enough answer for without having to answer for what our fathers did yesterday or 400 years of yesterdays... for good or for bad. [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

The Only 'Nada' they Found was in the word 'Canada'

Quebec City is founded this year by the French explorer Samuel de Champlain. He was encouraged by the trappers and local French land holders to establish a trading post along the Saint Lawrence River. The site he selects will become Quebec City. (The word 'quebec' is an Indian word meaning "where the river narrows".) Samuel has ambitious plans and will establish Fort Saint-Louis at what will one day be called the Upper Town. Despite the fort, the trading post will be poorly defended against a concerted assault. They will manage to defend the city, but lose control to British forces. Many people in Quebec will retain their allegiance to France when Canada becomes a British dominion (meaning an independently controlled part of the British Empire.) Quebec will remain a formidable political and cultural center within Canada into the modern day. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Samuel de Champlain used the name 'le Canada' to refer to the region. Very likely the name Canada comes from kanata, the Indian word meaning settlement or land. So what is this "soupa de merdia de toro" about the Spanish word 'nada' in name 'Canada'? There is a theory that the Spaniards marked their survey maps of the area with the words "acá nada" which translates as "here nothing" but actually means, "No gold found here." This theory sounds suspiciously like a put down so I'm discounting it. New France extended from Québec, Canada down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. President Thomas Jefferson used taxpayer money to buy much of that land from France for a little over a quarter million in today's dollars. That was called "The Louisiana Purchase," and while it was probably unconstitutional for Jefferson to do it, it must have looked like a good deal for both sides. (It was.) The 13 states of the United States needed room to expand. French territories were in the way of that expansion which meant an eventual war. Since Napoleon needed cash and he couldn't hold the territory, it made more sense to sell it outright rather than wait for the USA to just take it. [14]

The Check is in the Mail... and in the Netherlands

The Dutch Republic uses the first recognizable checks this year called "drawn notes". The actual term "check" won't be used until 1706. The idea of using a financial instrument to facilitate international transactions has been around since the 1st century, but because of the ongoing war in the Netherlands, people with a ton of money (meaning a lot of heavy coins) are trying to protect that money. They have deposited their coins with "cashiers" who protect those deposits for a reasonable fee. The fee is a percentage of the money being held so there is competition to attract biggest depositors by offering better services. Some cashiers are allowing clients to write a note to draw cash from a client's account. The client writes a note directing the cashier to pay a certain amount to the payee listed on the note. These drawn notes are used locally instead of internationally, and are the beginning of a modern checking system. [15]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
A check need not be a piece of paper. I saw a man write out a "check" on the back of a closet door. Naturally, his bank charged an extra processing fee but they honored the "door" check. You can create your own money using third-party checks. Banks discourage this practice but if I write out a check to you to pay my debt, you can sign that check over to a 3rd party to pay your own debt. If you do so, you are using my check like money. As long as each 3rd party accepts my check as reliable payment, my check can be passed back-and-forth all around town like real money. I'd like to say that banks don't want you to do this because they don't like the competition but in fact, they trying to reduce fraud. Some banks still allow 3rd party checks, though. My bank allowed me to do it last week! [16]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1608, Wikipedia.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

History: The Year is 1607

I've uploaded year 1607 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Story of John Smith, Pocahontas and the Gullible Public -- Come on! Pocahontas is 11 years old! Get real. Even the actual story (rather than the Disney version) has problems with it.

Spain Stiffs the Banks. Have a Nice Day -- Spain stops paying their creditors at Genoan banks and Genoa responds by trying to save their banks. I talk about Spain today and various bank and government strategies to save banks at the expense of their depositors.

Harvard is Born... The Man, not the University -- Harvard University is named after the man who is born this year.

The Story of John Smith, Pocahontas and the Gullible Public

OK kiddies. Gather around while I tell the story of Captain John Smith and Pocahontas, the Indian Princess. Do you want the short story or the long one? OK... here is the short story: John Smith is a smooth-talking storyteller who thinks the public will believe almost anything he can shovel out the door for his own benefit. The long story is a little better. The Jamestown colony needs to work. If no one works, no one eats. Captain John Smith is holding the whip and none are too happy about it. Luckily, Chief Powhatan is willing to help the colony with an initial gift of food. He sends the food along in a cart with his favorite daughter, Pocahontas. (Unlike the Disney version of the story, this girl is 11 years old and Smith is close to 27. Not much romance potential there.) During the summer, a drought reduces crop yields so the Chief doesn't have enough food to be giving as gifts. Smith threatens the Chief and they come to an agreement but the deal falls apart when Smith can't deliver the goods for the trade. Pocahontas slips away and they never see each other again. Later on, Smith is injured in a gunpowder accident and goes back to England. The End. The Disney story is better. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
So... where did that BS about the Indian Princess saving the brave Englishman's life come from? It's a story that John Smith either made up or mixed up with a different adventure he had in Hungary when he was captured by Turks. (Sarcasm on.) My daughter-in-law is visiting Turkey right now and she mixes up Turks and American Indians all the time! (Sarcasm off.) John Smith could always use some help at court. Pocahontas was living in England at that time and could use some social credibility as an Indian Princess rather than as a heathen girl following her new husband around England like a puppy. The Chief (her father) was trying to make peace with the English and Pocahontas could be that link. They all turned to Smith who came up with this story that tied them all together in a noble fashion and made Smith look pretty darn good too. What really happened? No one really knows, but John Smith wasn't that bad. He was a bit of a smooth-talker but it ain't bragging if you can do it and more often than not, John Smith did it... often to the benefit of all. [6] [7]

Spain Stiffs the Banks. Have a Nice Day

Spain has run out of money... again, so they have "suspended payments" to their Genoese creditors. This has caused what is essentially a bankruptcy of the banks of The Serene Republic of Genoa. (Yes. That is what it is called.) It's difficult to explain but there is not much difference between the "Serene Republic" and "Genoa, Incorporated." Genoa will protect these banks because most of the investors are Genoese old family aristocrats. Contracts normally due within the year are extended for 2 years with a remarkably small interest rate of 1.5 percent. Trading contracts called acientos are turned into juros which are perpetual debts with no final due date. By next year Genoa will put their national debt onto their collective Visa® and MasterCard®, making only the minimum payment. In the coming years, people will blame the aristocracy because of their CONTINUING investments in Spain. Unfortunately, the truth is not as important as the aristocracy's investments so the government will arrest these truth-saying disruptors of the public peace. Have a nice day. Even though this time is called "The Century of Genoa," this is a major hiccup. [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the modern day, Spain is about to do it again. Most people are focused on the economic disaster in Greece. When the New York Stock Exchange recently shutdown, I thought it was due to a Greece meltdown, but they said it was a technical problem with the network. If Greece stops payment on their national debt who will go down next? Spain is in the crosshairs along with Italy, Cyprus and Portugal. Bundesbank suggested in January of 2014 that before these countries look to European banks for help, they should first impose a levy on its citizens which... "corresponds to the principle of national responsibility, according to which tax payers are responsible for their government's obligations before solidarity of other states is required." Greece has stopped electronic funds transfers as of June 27th of 2015. Alpha Bank of Greece said it was due to a "technical problem." Sure... right... technical problem. Cyprus recently restored full banking services after 2 years of "technical problems" otherwise known as state control of financial transactions and an almost 10% levy on deposits. If you think your stash is safe in "safe" deposit boxes, think again. [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18]

Harvard is Born... The Man, not the University

The preacher, John Harvard, is born this year. He will move to New England and integrate into the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The Colony will start a small college for the education of its up-and-coming clergy which John will attend. When John dies, he will bequeath half of his fortune and his massive library to the college on the condition that it be renamed "Harvard College." [19]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is some controversy over whether John Harvard was really the founder of the University. Obviously if he made a deathbed contribution after the college was already going he was not "THE" founder but the college considers him "A" founder. It was a group effort with John Harvard making a significant contribution at a time they needed a big boost.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1607, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

History: The Year is 1606

I've uploaded year 1606 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Dutch Find Australia But Miss the Point -- The Dutch finally land on the coast of Australia but think it is part of New Guinea. They will miss the cape and the Strait of Torres.

Galileo Is Feeling the Heat -- He invents the thermometer, in part. He also creates a compass-like thing that helps aim cannons. You have to see it. Then it makes sense instantly.

The Magic of 'Secret Writing' is Made Public -- This guy's books on Secret Writing are finally published... long after his death. They are books are on cryptography. They will go on the list of prohibited books because it is feared that this particular type of cryptography requires some level of magic

The Dutch Find Australia But Miss the Point

William Jansz has been commissioned by the United (Dutch) East India Company to seek out opportunities for trade in the East Indies. He is also looking for gold which is rumored to be found in the area of New Guinea. The Company has already established a colony at Banten in northwest Java. His ship, the Little Dove, reaches the Cape York Peninsula in Australia but he believes that it is part of New Guinea. He tries to establish trade with the natives but something goes wrong and after several members of his expedition are killed, he returns to Banten... totally missing the Torres Strait which separates Australia from New Guinea. A few months later Luís Vaz de Torres sails through the strait that today bears his name. He notes it for Spanish maps but he doesn't see Australia. The Dutch will notice the difference between their maps and the Spanish the maps and eventually everyone will figure it out. The name, Australia, comes from the Latin word meaning "southern" but it won't be applied to the land in any official capacity until the early 1800s. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Well... what went wrong between Dutch and the native Australians? According to the oral history of the tribe, everything went great until the Dutch insisted that the natives do the hunting for them and then took their women. Arguments broke out and people died. The trade didn't go well because the natives took one look at the flour the Dutch were offering and threw it away. They didn't know what to do with it and didn't want to know. This reminds me of the time, during the opening days of the war in Afghanistan, when the USA would air-drop food packages to Afghan villages. Critics said that the Afghans didn't understand what they were supposed to do with the packages... and frankly... who, in their right mind, would want to eat peanut butter? Clearly, one month after the 9-11 attacks, as we bombed the Taliban, the United States military was not fully prepared with culturally correct food packages for Afghan citizens, but food is food. [6] [7]

Galileo Is Feeling the Heat

Galileo is one of several people who are said to have invented the thermometer. Frankly, many schemes have been used down the centuries to measure a change in the temperature. Galileo worked out some sort of liquid moving in response to the expansion or contraction of a gas. Still, it will be a few more years before drawings will be made and the thermometer will take the shape of a tube with marks to measure the change. This is why the credit for the invention of the thermometer is spread around. It was an incremental process of development rather than a single event. [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Many of the so-called inventions of Galileo are actually improvements on previous designs or engineering feats rather than inventions themselves. The telescope was one of his improvements, but he didn't invent the telescope. He also created a geometric compass (not a magnetic compass) to help the military perform ballistic calculations when aiming their cannons. It looks like a plumb-bob hanging next to a triangular scale. If you see it, you will recognize instantly how it works... which was the point of creating it. Most gunners had little or no math skills but they had eyes and they could be trained to count. By following the marks on the scale they could aim their guns to great precision. Of course, when making guns easy to aim so that any idiot can do it, one should use care. Idiots can be so d-mned ingenious.

The Magic of 'Secret Writing' is Made Public

Johann Heidenberg is long dead but his books entitled "Secret Writing" have been passed around privately all these years since his death. Reading them requires a decryption key and that key is made public this year. Two volumes of his secret books are published in Germany. People expect to see advice on magic and the occult but these two volumes contain advice on how to send secret messages that do not require trusted messengers. In other words... they are cryptographic messages. His books will soon be added to the list of books prohibited by the Catholic Church... probably because it is believed that part of the trick of secret writing involves magic. The books will remain on the list until 1900. [10] [11] [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I have never seen magic. Experts have looked at the methods of encryption used in these books and they are confident that no magic was used to encrypt these volumes. There is supposed to be a 3rd volume that contains occult secrets but the volume has never been found. If it is found one day, I doubt it will contain any workable magic formulas. Magic is fun to imagine and such imaginings remain harmless until one tries to do it. For example: it is fun to imagine myself as Superman... until I try to fly off of the roof of my house without benefit of parachute. That would not disprove the existence of Superman, but clearly, I would be eliminated as a possible candidate. [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1606, Wikipedia.