Monday, September 7, 2015

History: The Year is 1640

I've uploaded year 1640 to the TSP Wiki...

and for the sake of redundancy's sake...

Here are some one liners...

The Origin of the Bayonet -- I talk about how fire rate determines when a bayonet charge will be successful and how the British used muskets during the American Revolution instead of the new Ferguson rifles. Big mistake.

OMG! No Smoking in Church! #IsNothingSacred? -- I talk about how the Pope prohibits smoking, and how modern rabbis did so too but no one checked to see if people obeyed. Sometimes we pass a law or use a hash tag and think we have solved a problem. We should check back to see if we really have solved the problem.

Silver Prices Have Dropped by One Third - I've talked before about the drop in silver prices due to inflation, but with the Chinese yuan and the stock market dropping like a rock, I am opening up the subject for discussion once again.

The Origin of the Bayonet

A flat-bladed knife about a foot long and a long handle has been around since the 1590s. Soldiers carry it on their belt. It is made in the town of Bayonne, France and thus the name "bayonet". This year soldiers have come up with a great idea. After firing their muskets, they shove the handle of the knife into the barrel and charge upon the enemy. In most instances, a charge with bayonets unnerves the other side and they are cut down mercilessly. By the 1660s the British will be using the bayonet. A ringed bayonet that leaves the barrel open to be fired again will be introduce in 1689 after a particularly gruesome defeat under enemy fire. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... running toward the enemy with a plugged barrel seems crazy but at that time, reloading a musket took 30 seconds. After the 1st volley, a soldier could run across the field and stab his opponent in 30 seconds. But as technology and tactics increased the rate of fire, armies would fire a volley, take a few steps forward and fire again until they were close enough for a charge. This took amazing intestinal fortitude. Rifles took 10 minutes to load but by the time of the American Revolution, the new Ferguson rifle fired 6 shots a minute and could be loaded from a prone position. The British, didn't like this innovation so they stayed with the musket to their sorrow. With all this innovation, why did World War 2 soldiers carry a bayonet? Because a bayonet is up-close and deeply personal. [5] [6] [7] [8]
"It is the cold glitter of the attacker's eye not the point of the questing bayonet that breaks the line."
-- George S. Patton. [9]

OMG! No Smoking in Church! #IsNothingSacred?

Smoking addiction is getting out of control. Soldiers are selling their weapons to buy smokes. Pope Urban the 8th has threatened to excommunicate anyone who uses snuff in church and he has prohibited his priests from smoking cigars during mass. Pope Innocent the 12th, who will succeed Pope Urban, will prohibit smoking entirely. Leaders should not issues orders that will not be obeyed. It weakens discipline. Centuries later, Pope Pius the 9th will have a tobacco factory built. Times change and then they change again. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Rabbis of the distant past ruled that smoking is a pleasurable and healthy practice. Modern rabbis decided correct this embarrassing ruling in various ways. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (of blessed memory) took the same approach as Pope Urban and prohibited smoking in holy places such as synagogues and houses of study. Other rabbis prohibited smoking outright, but there is an unspoken rule that a rabbi should not issue a ruling that the laity will not follow. It doesn't fix the problem and it creates a flock of sinners who were not sinners prior to the rabbi's ruling. I asked an Orthodox rabbi if they checked to see if the prohibition against smoking was followed. Did it make a difference? Apparently no one thought to check. This is common in life. We pass a law, or make a pronouncement and we think we have done our job. We hardly ever go back to see if what we did was effective. Passing a law is not quite as useless as using a hash tag or wearing a ribbon to solve problems, but it sure is close. [15] [16]

Silver Prices Have Dropped by One Third

In the last 100 years the price (or actually the value of what silver can buy) has dropped by one third. That is what has happened as silver has flooded the world market. Yet no adjustment for inflation has been made by government for taxes. Taxes remain fixed at a certain weight of silver so the amount of silver they take in has remained the same but the buying power of that silver has effectively dropped. In simple terms, if I owed the government 12 silver dollars in 1540, and today I owe 12 silver dollars, then the government can only buy 8 silver dollars (in 1540 dollars) worth of stuff with my 12 dollars due to inflation. [17]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Recently (August 2015) China made an adjustment to the yuan, making goods cheaper for US customers, but it has increased the effective interest rate on the loans that the US Federal government takes out. That requires a little explanation. Yes... you can get a flat screen TV cheaper now. However, US Treasury bond interest rates have gone up as investors flee to the bond market. China is also selling off the US Treasury bonds it is holding. In a sense what they have done is make it more expensive for the USA to borrow money by devaluing the yuan, crashing their own stock market and ours, and not incidentally, making us dependent on cheap Chinese goods. Don't get me wrong. I love paying less for the stuff I buy, but this feels too much like a Nigerian princess offering me a deal I just won't believe. I believe someone is trying to fleece me. [18] [19] [20] [21]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1640, Wikipedia.

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