Friday, October 30, 2015

History: The Year is 1669

I've uploaded year 1669 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Genius of Pascal on 'Post-It' Notes -- Pascal's thoughts have been published by a friend. Pascal has already passed away. I talk about Pascal's Wager and the invention of Post-It Notes.

Tong Ren Tang Pharmaceuticals and the Gods of Medicine -- The largest Chinese Pharmaceutical company opens for business. I talk about supplements and how doctors should not be treated like gods.

The Genius of Pascal on 'Post-It' Notes

Blaise Pascal had been a brilliant mathematician and a bit of a playboy, but when he lost control of his carriage and was sliding toward oblivion, he underwent a dramatic change of heart and mind. He was transformed. Thereafter, he pursued a pious life with the same vigor that he had pursued a self-indulgent one. As the mood would strike him, he would write down brief thoughts on scraps of paper. His intent was to create a defense of religion aimed at convincing a person such as the man he once was. He collected over 900 inspirations, the most recognizable of which is Pascal's Wager. The logic goes like this: It is always best to follow God's commandments because if God exists and you follow His commandments then you go to Heaven, but if He doesn't exist then you have lived your life well and all you will have lost is the freedom to engage in certain activities of dubious value. After Pascal dies, one of his friends tidies up Pascal's notes and has them published under the title: Pensées (pawn SAY) which means "Thoughts". Pascal "Thoughts" will remain in print into the modern day. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In 1968, a scientist at 3M was working on a super adhesive glue but the sticky goo that he invented could barely hang on to anything. Dr. Spencer Silver had a sense that the goop must be useful for something so he became an evangelist for the glue that just wouldn't hold. Back in those days 3M believed in "business bootlegging"... the practice of looking the other way and letting researchers pursue their blue sky projects on their own time because project managers don't have a box on their spreadsheets labelled "Sudden, Freakish Inspiration." (Hewlett-Packard had a similar policy at the time.) After 5 years of looking for an application for his invention, Art Fry asked if he could use the glue on his bookmarks so they would stop falling out of his hymnal. Everyone at the church loved it and after some marketing tests, they named the product Post-It Notes and the rest is history. [4] [5] [6]

Tong Ren Tang Pharmaceuticals and the Gods of Medicine

Tong Ren Tang Chinese Pharmaceuticals is open for business. They are selling the basics for Chinese medicine. Over the years the family will sell the business to outsiders but the family will eventually buy it back. It will become the largest Chinese pharmaceutical company in the world. [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Frankly, I don't know much about Chinese medicine, but my doctor is a supporter of various non-medical supplements. (One should always use caution even with things recommended by one's doctor. My doctor recommended a supplement that produced a salty taste in my mouth. It wasn't dangerous but quite annoying. My wife takes the same stuff and she's fine. So... every body is different.) Having doctors prescribe medicine is actually a modern phenomenon. It started in the early 20th century when anti-biotics began curing diseases that had plagued mankind for centuries... including the Plague. Doctors became more than advisors. They became miracle workers and the M.D. became the norm. (Before the 20th century many doctors were NOT M.D.s) I'm glad for medicine, but disease is not an anti-biotic deficiency and doctors are not gods. I know too many doctors, personally, to believe that. Good people? Sure. Heroes? More than average. Gods? Forget it.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1669, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

History: The Year is 1668

I've uploaded year 1668 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Portugal is Portugal Again -- It's been something like 60 year but Portugal wins its independence from Spain. I summarize this ugly, personal war.

Newton's Latest Accomplishment Reflects Well on Him -- He invents the Newtonian telescope, the basis for most modern telescopes today. I also talk about my experience building a telescope and the life lesson I learned.

United by Consent: Leviathan and the Declaration of Independence -- Thomas Hobbes publishes his revised Latin version of Leviathan. It contains principles used in the Declaration of Independence.

Portugal is Portugal Again

After decades of Spanish domination and 28 years of war, Portugal is finally independent from Spain. Back in 1580, young King Sebastian of Portugal died in battle so the crown devolved to the King of Spain. Portugal had led the way in colonizing the East Indies but Spain has not been maintaining the Portuguese colonies. The Dutch have taken over resulting in disgruntled Portuguese nobles. When the King of Spain joined the 30 Years War and blocked the Portuguese nobles from government postings, the rebellion was launched. John the Restorer accepted the throne of Portugal, but he never lived to see the end of war. His heir, Alphonzo the 4th, has been side-lined due to paralysis. His brother, Peter, will be King. Thousands have died to get to this point. England has negotiated the Treaty of Lisbon between The Queen of Spain and the future King Peter the 2nd of Portugal. Portugal will struggle to relearn how to be an independent country. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It's complicated but this struggle went on through several Spanish Kings until the kingships were both regencies. The King of Spain was a child at the time of the Treaty of Lisbon, and the King of Portugal was disabled and mentally erratic so his brother, Peter, negotiated on his behalf. Peter didn't become King until much later but for all intents and purposes he was the King. It was a nasty war with a lot of personal vendettas settled in the midst of battle. The fact that the English negotiated this peace treaty is yet one more reason why the English enjoy such welcome in Portugal in the modern day. Portugal has been helped by England any number of times. They have also fought each other, but over all, its good.

Newton's Latest Accomplishment Reflects Well on Him

Issac Newton builds the first reflector telescope. It will forever more be known as a Newtonian Reflector. It uses a concave mirror at the bottom of a long tube to capture light. The light then bounces back up the tube and focuses on a smaller mirror near the top. The light is then directed at a right angle toward the eye. It makes sky viewing a lot more comfortable and it will make possible very large collection mirrors. Virtually all modern telescopes (including the Hubble Space Telescope) are variations on the Newtonian reflector invented this year. [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Grinding a mirror for a Newtonian reflector by hand is within the capability of almost anyone over the age of 14. However, it is tedious work, so the mirrors are usually made by grinding machines. Since I once lived near Mead Instruments in Irvine, California, I dropped by and bought a 6 inch primary mirror already made. I also used some leftover tubing from a construction site. (I asked permission.) And I built a reasonably sturdy tripod from scraps of wood. It still works. I had dreamed of building such an instrument since I was a little boy after my neighbor let me look at the moon through a tiny telescope propped up on the hood of his car. I kept putting it off until I just decided to make it happen. I got the job done. The next thing on my bucket list was building my own minicomputer, No kit. No microchips. Straight TTL logic, and a wire wrapper. My experience with the telescope taught me not to put things off until I have time. I never have time. I just have to make it happen, one step at a time, or decide I don't want it bad enough and quit crying about it. (And yes. The minicomputer worked. I failed the first time but I didn't give up. I learned from my mistakes and kept at it.) [9] [10] [11]

United by Consent: Leviathan and the Declaration of Independence

The English philosopher, Thomas Hobbes, has published his revised Latin edition of Leviathan. This is one of the philosophical texts that the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution will use to shape the Declaration of Independence. It is from this work that is derived the social contract aspect of governance. We join together as people for the purpose of governance. Governance is a contract between the governed and those who will govern. [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Of course, a contact requires that all parties stick to the contract. If there is a violation, one is obligated to point out the violation. Thus, the Declaration of Independence spells out the violations of the King. Here is a brief comparison between Leviathan and the Declaration...
The Greatest of humane Powers, is that which is compounded of the Powers of most men, united by consent, in one person, Naturall, or civill, that has the use of all their Powers depending on his will; such as is the Power of a Common-wealth: -- Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Chapter 10 [14]
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed... -- Declaration of Independence. [15]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1668, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1667

I've uploaded year 1667 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The First Modern Police Force and Equality Under the Law -- Paris establishes the first recognizable modern police force. I also talk about how equality under the law is the ideal but not the norm.

Do the French Have Better Blood? -- The French government provides dowries for Indian girls so that they can marry Frenchmen in the colonies but it doesn't work out. I talk about why the French think their blood is redder than anyone else's, and how blood figures into our cultural references.

Paradise Lost! The Republic Has Fallen -- John Milton publishes his epic poem. It is taken as an allegory of the recent British civil war and Cromwell is Satan. It's a hit with the public.

The First Modern Police Force and Equality Under the Law

King Louis the 14th of France creates the first modern police force by appointing Gabriel Nicolas to the position of Lieutenant General of Police. The current police organization is an uncoordinated mish-mosh of local police districts and the royal watch which consists of archers on the wall ready to shoot. (Don't start a riot.) The Lieutenant General is nominally a nobleman, but in fact, Gabriel was born to a poor family, married into a noble family and bought his way to higher office. (This is considered a normal career path.) He uses his royal commission to impose good order and discipline in a coordinated fashion and requires policemen to patrol their districts at least once every 14 days, wear clean uniforms and send him written reports. He also instructs detectives to solve crimes using stricter standards of evidence. This new organization becomes the first recognizable modern police force. The Lieutenant General is not winning a lot of friends, but the nobles are going along with the changes. For now, the police are fighting crime. In later years the police will be used to impose public policy. They will be disbanded during the French Revolution but return under Napoleon as the Prefecture of Police. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the modern day, the Paris police are known as "the archers". People still remember the police as men on the wall waiting to shoot anyone who gets out of line. England didn't have a modern police force until 1750. Before that time, policing, such as it was, was conducted by the sheriff, private armsmen, and those having an interest in general good order such as local citizens. The system worked OK for catching habitual offenders. After all, most locals knew who the bad guys were and the sheriff knew as well. The system didn't work very efficiently when the person committing the crime was a very important person. Now that I think of it... the system STILL works that way. Equality under the law is a very old concept that is remembered more in its violation than in its use. It didn't start with the American Revolution. It comes from the Bible:
Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly. -- Leviticus 19:15.[5]

Do the French Have Better Blood?

The French believe that "the Blood of France" can improve the Indians of the French colonies. That is why they have set up a fund to provide dowries for Indians girls. Very few French women want to sail to Quebec to marry men who hunt for animal pelts so Catholic nuns are commissioned to convert local Indian girls to Catholicism and to teach them French manners so that they will make proper wives for Frenchmen. It doesn't work. Although the local Indians are receptive to conversion, the nuns complain that less than 1 in 100 Indian girls can be taught French manners so the project is abandoned. France believes they are the pinnacle of civilization. War has destroyed most of Germany. Spain is on the downswing, and England has barely discovered tea. But Paris has an organized police force and nobles from every nation want to send their children to French schools. This will have a profound effect on the attitude of the next generation toward anything French. People are even using forks! Unfortunately, the King still eats with his fingers. You can't have everything. [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
When Cain murdered Able, Able's "bloods" cried out as if generations-unborn protested. A blood feud is considered a family obligation of revenge for the death of a family member even if that death is judged an accident. The Code of Hammurabi allowed for a blood debt to be paid with blood so that if a man accidentally killed a child, the parent of that child was allowed to kill the man's child. Even when the Bible outlawed such revenge killing, it understood that people still wanted a blood payment. They provided "cities of refuge," so that if a man could reach such a city, he was safe from a blood feud. In the modern day we still consider blood connections as part of one's nature. We say, "Blood is thicker than water" or "The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree" or "Like father, like son." When the Soviet Union would uncover counter-revolutionary elements, otherwise known as a spies, the spy would be shot. In addition, the spy's family would be rounded up and punished. In a literal sense, the government believed: "Blood will out". [8] [9] [10] [11]

Paradise Lost! The Republic Has Fallen

John Milton plunks down 5 pounds sterling and publishes his epic poem, Paradise Lost. Personally speaking, everyone hates him with a hot, hot hate because he supported Oliver Cromwell and his failed British republic, but they LOVE his poem. It is about Satan's rebellion against Heaven's yoke. "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven." It is seen as an allegory of the recent British civil war, its struggle with self-rule and its return to the monarchy. (Spoiler alert: Cromwell is Satan.) With London recovering from Plague and rising from the ashes of the Great Fire of last year. It all seems like Divine punishment, and then this decrepit old blind man, John Milton, comes out with a work of genius. They love it. It will remain a classic into the modern day and a source of some really great quotes. [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
  • The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
  • Here we may reign secure; and, in my choice,
To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.
  • What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; th’ unconquerable will,
And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield.
  • Who overcomes
By force, hath overcome but half his foe.
  • Ofttimes nothing profits more
Than self-esteem, grounded on just and right
Well managed. [13]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1667, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

History: The Year is 1666

I've uploaded year 1666 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Gravity of an Apple Falling -- Newton's Apple falls and he realizes how gravity works. Now he has to prove it.

The Great Fire of London and St. Paul's Cathedral -- Flour dust explodes and the fire becomes so hot that people are cremated where they lay. St. Paul's Cathedral is rebuilt. I talk about the Blitz of WW 2 and a novel by Connie Willis.

The (False) Messiah Converts to Islam -- People are still talking about the false messiah who converts to Islam this year. I talk about how desperate people must be to latch on to someone like this.

The Gravity of an Apple Falling

If an apple falls from a tree and there is no genius there to see it, do we get gravity? Young Isaac Newton is contemplating the problem of how the Moon orbits the Earth when he observes an apple fall perpendicular to the ground and he has an intuitive thought. The force that draws the apple to the ground might act further than the top of the trees. It might reach all the way to the Moon and beyond. His intuition will not become a mathematical principle until he publishes his famous work, Principia, in 1687. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Don't forget that while Young Isaac is contemplating the Moon he should be contemplating his mother's sheep! She is trying to train him to run the manor. He will become a much better administrator when he matures. The thing to remember is that his calculations (and many of the thoughts of scientists during this time) are the foundation of science that we use today. Even though Einstein turned physics on its head, and destroyed Newtons general idea of the cosmos, NASA still uses Newtonian physics (the formulas for gravity he put down in Principia) to send probes to Mars and Pluto and land people on the Moon. The reason the Moon orbits the Earth is because the Moon is falling toward the Earth at an angle. Gravity pulls it down, but because the Moon is also traveling very fast it keeps "missing" the Earth, flying past it and looping back. That is called an elliptical orbit. You can think of it as a ball circling around a drain or whatever you wish. Newton's formulas for gravity work well enough. We don't have to know why it works. It just has to work.

The Great Fire of London and St. Paul's Cathedral

A bakery on Pudding Lane catches fire and for those not aware of this fact, flour explodes. The winds build the flames into a firestorm so hot that it melts pottery. Last year the Great Plague of London killed over 70,000 people. This year the Great Fire of London will kill 6. Just 6 that they can identify but the fire is so hot that it is possible many remains are cremated on the spot. 70,000 homes in the inner city are destroyed. The suburbs are threatened but remain mostly undisturbed. St. Paul's Cathedral is fried to a crisp. They were thinking of rebuilding it anyway. It had been defaced during the recent civil war, and frankly, it had been deteriorating for some time. This will be the 5th rebuilding of the Cathedral and its going to last a long time. St. Paul's will stand into the modern day. The Nazis will actually target St. Paul's during the Blitz in World War 2, but it will remain standing as an inspiration to the British people. [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The author, Connie Willis, interviewed many survivors of the Blitz and captured their fear, hope and courage in two great novels: "Blackout" and "All Clear". The story centers around three Oxford historians traveling back in time to study St. Paul's Cathedral but something goes wrong and they are trapped in time during the Blitz. To maintain themselves they take jobs. One historian takes a job as a shop girl near Fleet Street. As the bombs fall, everyone finds ways to make it through. It is a tragic and beautiful story. In the epilogue of the second book, the author discusses the feelings of the people she interviewed and some of the surprises she had during the interviews. [4] [5]

The (False) Messiah Converts to Islam

This is so embarrassing and if it weren't so important I'd just as soon skip it. About a third of all Jews in the world have placed their hopes and dreams in a man who has declared himself the Jewish Messiah. He is a kabbalist... a Jewish mystic. They have also financed a ship to take him to Istanbul where the Sultan has promptly arrested him. The Sultan gives him the choice of conversion to Islam or death. The (false) Messiah chooses conversion to Islam. Some people believe this is just a ploy. Others convert to Islam along with him. The majority of his Jewish support collapses. He is no Messiah. [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I bring this up because it is an indication of how desperate people are for a way out of this madness. If you've been following the history segments closely you have noticed that, relatively speaking, the big picture has been getting better. The individual picture is a lot fuzzier. Everyone's perspective is taken from where one is standing right now. With hundreds of thousands of people dropping dead of disease, famine and war, it is no wonder that it looks like the end of the world to these people. However, this is the end for Messiahs for the Jews for a long while. Very strict laws are set forth and Jewish Mysticism is severely restricted in Jewish communities. Don't worry. It will be back. [9]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1666, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1665

I've uploaded year 1665 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Great Plague of London -- 70,000 to 100,000 people are going to die and this isn't the worst outbreak of the Black Death in the 17th century. It's just the worst for London. I also talk about Ebola, briefly.

The Government Control of Capitalism -- A New French Minister of Finance imposes strong central control over the economy and it works! It stops working after he dies, causing Adam Smith to recommend "Leave-me-alone" capitalism 100 years later.

The Great Plague of London

It is a sad commentary that the Black Death is such a normal part of life that it hardly rates a mention when thousands of people die, but this is a large outbreak so let's review. London has never been rid of the Plague but the number of deaths per year has varied wildly from a handful to tens of thousands. Over 100 deaths a week is considered an epidemic, but in April it reaches almost 400. By May, a really serious outbreak is in progress. The population of London scatter. All stray dogs and cats are killed on sight. Rubbish and dung are cleaned off the streets. Bonfires are set to "circulate the air". It does no good. By February of next year 70,000 to 100,000 will be dead. The images of horse-drawn wagons following a crier shouting "Bring out your dead", come from these times. It is believed that the plague was brought to London along with Dutch prisoners who were captured during the recent English-Dutch wars... but really... the Black Death never left. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is difficult to get exact numbers of the dead since there was no formal reporting system. Generally the system was a local affair and it worked like this...
"Hey! Who is going to go out and count the dead?"
"How about Bob? He's homeless and needs the work."
"OK, Bob. We'll pay you $5 a report. Go out there and find some dead people and tell us how they died."
Bob hasn't a clue. He's not trained to identify diseases, and the family of the dead are charged a fee when Bob comes around to count, so they have no incentive to tell Bob anything. And even though this outbreak is called "The Great Plague of London" this is nothing compared other outbreaks. In 1656, 150,000 people died in Naples. In Seville from 1647 to 1652, 500,000 were killed. One million died in France, and it goes on and on through the 17th century. Yet, in the modern day we worry about a Dallas nurse exposed to Ebola traveling to Akron to buy a wedding dress. That is a reasonable worry, but if we lived in the 17th century we'd all be crying like little babies. [4] [5] [6]

The Government Control of Capitalism

Adam Smith's "Wealth of Nations," will be published in 1776. He will promote laissez-faire (lah-say-FAIR) capitalism, which roughly means ('leave us alone'). The reason "Leave-us-alone" capitalism will become popular in 1776 (and why Adam Smith uses FRENCH to describe it) is because of what is about to happen in France right now. The French Minister of Finance has been spending most of his time spending the wealth of France. After a spectacular multi-year trial, he is sentenced to life in prison. (He deserves it.) As a replacement, the young King Louis the 14th turns to the one man who warned him of the embezzling nobility... Colbert (kohl-BEHR). The new Minster makes the nobles pay the taxes on the books thus balancing the tax burden so that everyone pays something. He sets tariffs to favor local sales of farm goods and improves the local roads to make it easier to sell in town than shipping out of town. The fisheries improve under his direction and when he dies, France will be well on its way to financial independence. You'd think he would be the hero of government regulation of the economy, but you'd be wrong. His special genius is proof positive than any centralized, well-working economic system can eventually be undermined by a gray, mindless bureaucracy willing to use it for its own purposes. [7] [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Alexander Hamilton was another strong central government control freak who loved to tinker with the economy and he had a talent for it. Like Colbert, he was unique, but once he let go of the reigns, the system cycled out of control. In 1811, the charter of the First Bank of the United States was no more. The Second Bank of the United States was established in 1816 during "The Era of Good Feelings". We were all one big happy family again. What could go wrong? By the time Andrew Jackson took the Presidency, he was well aware what could go wrong. Jackson killed the Second Bank of the United States and in the process, our national credit went into the toilet. The term "wild-catting" comes from this time when a bank note often came from an unknown bank "out there amongst the wild cats." You'd think we would have learned, but now we have a Third Bank of the United States called the Federal Reserve. To kill it would hurt more than you can imagine. If we were sensible, we could arrange a soft landing for it, but you can forget that noise. Like the Second Bank of the United States, it won't go down without an ugly, expensive, painful fight. [11] [12] [13] [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1665, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

History: The Year is 1664

I've uploaded year 1664 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Surprise! New Amsterdam becomes New York -- The English take New Amsterdam without a fight. I also talk about the origin of insults that came out of this time such as Dutch Courage, Dutch Treat, Dago and Yankee. I sort of like Yankee, but it's an insult, nevertheless.

The English Colony Mix and Match -- I talk about how the 13 colonies are not fully formed as they will be before the American Revolution even though the names are being thrown around left and right.

Slavery for Life and Uncle Tom's Tragedy -- Maryland makes negro slaves slaves for life. I also talk about the strange reversal of the message of Uncle Tom's Cabin. Uncle Tom was a black Jesus. I also provide a link to a free audiobook of same.

Surprise! New Amsterdam becomes New York

Well... Dutch trade in New Netherland had been going well until four English frigates came over the horizon. The English want a piece of the action so they are taking New Netherland away from the Dutch. The English are surprised at how quickly the Dutch governor surrenders. They rename New Amsterdam to New York after the Duke of York, but nothing has really changed. The existing government institutions are Dutch and all correspondence and trade is in Dutch which requires a Dutch interpreter. The English and the Dutch must cooperate with each other to get things done but it is an unhappy marriage. If you ever wondered where insults such as "Dutch Courage" or "Dutch Treat" come from, it is from these times of bad feelings. And what the Dutch call the English is hilarious. In fact, the New Englanders like the insult so much they start calling themselves by the same name: Yankees. By next year the Second Anglo-Dutch War will begin, but in the New World, life will go on. The English and the Dutch are going to be living with each other for a very long time. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. Where did the term "Yankee" come from? In English, the name John is a common name, but in Dutch it is pronounced "Yan". The diminutive form of Yan is Yanke or Yankee. It's like calling someone John-boy or Johnnie. The Spaniards are also well known in the New World and have been at war in the past with England so they are prime targets for insulting names. The patron saint of Spain is Saint James, but in Spanish his name is pronounced roughly like Santiago or San Diego. If you shorten up "Diego", you get "Dago" and thus you have a derogatory reference to Spaniards and Italians. It doesn't speak well for us as human beings. Does it? We still hurl names at each other as if it matters. One day a man named his two sons, "Winner" and "Loser," but all he proved was that a name is not one's destiny. "Loser" became a detective in the NYPD and he is known as "Lou" to his friends. His brother, "Winner," went to prison. Names do not matter. It is the character within that counts. [6] [7] [8] [9]

The English Colony Mix and Match

At this point, the original 13 colonies of the American Revolution are still forming up. Many of the names of the colonies are in use and recognizable but the actual regions they describe are changing and will continue to change. For example, Maine receives its royal charter this year, but within a year Maine will be absorbed into the Massachusetts Bay colony. Currently there is a New Haven Colony, but that will be absorbed into the Connecticut Colony. There is also an East and West New Jersey. There is no North and South Carolina yet. It's just the Province of Carolina. The Province of Pennsylvania will be established in 1681 and the Georgia Colony will be established in 1733. [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
When I was researching this segment I vaguely remembered that Florida was out there as a British colony at the time of the American Revolution, but it had remained loyal to the King. It is easy to see why. It was a very late addition, so it hadn't experienced British rule for very long. It had been a Spanish colony most of the time. Quebec was in a similar situation. Having once been a French colony, it didn't have all the build up grievances against the British yet. It had plenty of grievances. Don't get me wrong, but not enough for rebellion. It was just bad timing. The other British colonies that remained loyal to the King during the American Revolution were the British West Indies, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Bermuda. [12]

Slavery for Life and Uncle Tom's Tragedy

The Maryland legislature has passed a law that makes all negro slaves within its borders slaves for life. Any slaves brought into Maryland will henceforth be declared slaves for life and their offspring shall be slaves for life. There is also a provision that punishes a white woman for marrying a slave by making her a slave for life but Lord Baltimore has that part of the law repealed when his white servant marries a slave. He does not want to lose her to the slave owner, but everything else in the law is OK with him... apparently. It's now the law and this is why I don't equate "following the law" with "doing the right thing". Sometimes the law is the wrong thing... like this time. [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is a biblical argument that always comes up regarding paganism and slavery. Many of the African slaves in the 1600s were not following Christianity so it was argued that lifetime slavery for pagans was justified. Yet the Maryland law made no mention of any biblical reasoning and there is no provision for a slave that converted to Christianity. In 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe made the argument in her book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" that most slaves ARE Christian and that the slave masters were tormenting a modern messiah. She set Uncle Tom as a Jesus figure... always turning the other cheek and helping his fellow man. In other words, he was the perfect Christian. I don't want to spoil the ending of the book for anyone but Jesus died in the end to help everyone else. Right? (Spoiler alert: Uncle Tom dies in the end helping everyone else. The guy is a flippin' hero!) So... when you hear of someone being called an "Uncle Tom" think again about what is being implied. Someone is being accused of being Christ-like. Doesn't anyone read Uncle Tom's Cabin any more? I've provided a link to the audiobook that you can download and listen to FOR FREE. Please. [15]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1664, Wikipedia.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

History: The Year is 1663

I've uploaded year 1663 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Boyle's Law and a Problem of Gravity -- There is a relation between the volume and pressure of a gas. With this information piston engines and medical syringes are possible. I also talk about why gravity is so perplexing to scientists even today.

England Protects It's Trade and National Interests -- England places stumbling blocks to foreign trade making English products more appealing. I talk about tariffs and national interests.

Appeals to Science and God -- a few honorable mentions this year.

Boyle's Law and a Problem of Gravity

Sometimes it pays to come in second or third rather than first. Richard Towneley is an astronomer who shares a passion for experimentation with his physician friend Henry Power. Together they test how a gas reacts under pressure by carrying a barometer up a hill. Power concludes that the volume of a gas is related to its pressure. (This is why a balloon expands when you blow air into it.) Towneley published Power's conclusions in a book last year and Power finally publishes this year, but Towneley had shown Robert Boyle an early draft of his book and discussed the conclusions with Boyle. Boyle then repeated those experiments but credited Towneley for the idea instead of Power. More importantly, Boyle used a better setup for his experiment. (Read as: "Experiments down in the lab are more fun than walking up a hill.") That is why it is called "Boyle's Law" in the modern day rather than Towneley's Law or Power's Law. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
You can't have a piston engine without Boyle's Law. You also can't have a compressor, vacuum pump, or for that matter, a syringe to take a blood sample. Those little vials use Boyle's Law and a vacuum to suck the blood in. It seems obvious in the modern day that a vacuum can exist even though nature (and most scientists of the time) abhor a vacuum. Most scientists believe that force must be conveyed through a medium. Thus, if I push a chair, it moves because I conveyed a force THROUGH my arm to the chair. The question is... what medium conveys the force of gravity if I remove everything between myself and the Earth? (This was the question that H. G. Wells explored in his novel, "First Men in the Moon" and the mysterious substance, Cavorite, which blocked gravity.) Gravity has no apparent medium for conveying its force. Thus gravity cannot be blocked by blocking the medium. Scientists are still looking for the hypothetical "graviton" that conveys the force of gravity. They haven't found it yet. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

England Protects It's Trade and National Interests

England farmland is not being fully utilized so the Act for the Encouragement of Trade is made part of the Navigation Act. It requires all English ships to touch base in England regardless of their final destination. This allows England to monitor (and thus tax fully) all goods shipped in English bottoms (that is, English-flagged ships). All commodities such as sugar, rice, and tobacco must be unloaded before it is taxed and then reloaded to be shipped to its final destination. This adds a lot of time and and expense to all non-English goods shipped to the English colonies. This tends to make English goods the better buy by making foreign goods too expensive. This also encourages smuggling. [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Oddly enough, making foreign goods and commodities more difficult to buy is a normal function of government. Aside from crass protectionism, it can serve the national interests by making sure that certain critical products are made in your own country. It would be wonderful if we could be a great big friendly family of nations, but nations don't have friends. They have interests and interests change over time. So if your country is counting on buying the production of another country for its critical needs... like say... parts for your missile defense system then you have sold your security to that other country. You had better remain very friendly to that other country or soon you won't have parts for your missiles, or diesel for your tanks, or food for your troops and civilians. Protecting critical industries is important to the survival of a nation. That is different from "Look for the Union Label" or "Buy American". Tariffs can force foreign car companies to relocate their factories to America and hire American workers, but tariffs also raise consumer prices. And they allow domestic businesses to remain lazy and not make hard choices (if that is their problem). [13]

Appeals to Science and God

* Robert Hook discovers something he calls "cells" in cork. [14]
* English Parliament appeals to God to prevent a harsh winter. [15]
* Robert Boyle finds a scientific reason for the Thames freezing over: It's cold and the tide pushes ice to shore and it builds up bit by bit. [16]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1663, Wikipedia.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

History: The Year is 1662

I've uploaded year 1662 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Act of Uniformity Produces Political Correctness for Religion -- In an attempt to bring Anglican, Puritan and Presbyterians together, the Anglicans create a rift and eject 2,000 clergy from the fold. I talk about the origins of political correctness.

Say Bye-bye to the Dodo Birds... and the Indians -- This year marks the last sighting of the Dodo bird. I talk about how extinction times are calculated and how feral pigs not only destroyed the Dodo bird's food supply but in New England, feral pigs ate the emergency food supply agriculture-based Indians as well. That and other reasons will cause a reduction in the number of Indian tribes that base themselves primarily on agriculture.

The Act of Uniformity Produces Political Correctness for Religion

In an attempt to bring Anglican, Puritan and Presbyterians together, a small conference was convened last year to revise the Common Book of Prayer. While they agreed to the revisions there was dispute about a change to the liturgy so uniformity of observance by negotiation failed. Now there will be uniformity by law. The revised Common Book of Prayer is designated as the official prayerbook. It is mandatory that it be used and all bishops, ministers, deacons and anyone else they can think of, must take an oath to follow this Act of Uniformity. Because of this final demand, 2,000 clergy refuse to take the oath. This is known as "The Great Ejection" as the Anglican Church achieves unexpected uniformity of thought by summarily ejecting all dissenters. Portions of this law will remain in force into the modern day ("modern day" being defined as 2010). [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Political correctness was a term used by socialists in the early 20th century to disparage overly zealous communists who strenuously advocated the straight Communist Party line even when it made them look like asses. But the socialists expected some people to step out of line and their plan to deal with them was public shaming. I'm not saying that all politically correct maniacs are communists, but the general tactic of bringing people into line through social shaming and legal pressure has now become the political correctness the socialists condemned. Socialism has its virtues in small groups (like small churches for example) but as the groups get larger the normal social pressure to conform (which is often helpful to those who WANT to fit into a group) becomes a dictatorial power and then you've created a modern version of the thought police. George Orwell's "1984" and "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess both need updates but it is the natural tendency of government to force the masses to conform. (It makes governing easier... though not always better.) It was true in 1662. It was true in 1920 and it remains true today. [4] [5]

Say Bye-bye to the Dodo Birds... and the Indians

No one has realized it yet but the last sighting of the Dodo Bird occurs this year. (FYI, you can never know when your last sighting will be until you account for the location of every bird.) The Dodo only lives on the island of Mauritius east of Madagascar. The island was largely ignored until 1598 when several Dutch ships lost their way in a storm. They landed on the island to care for their sick and injured. They named it Mauritius after Maurice, the Prince of Orange and colonized the island in 1638. The Dutch East India Company requires a report of everything the sailors find so a description of a large bird with shortened wings is sent back to the home office. They also make some Darwin-like speculations about how a flightless bird that cannot swim could possibly be found in such isolation. The colonists have stocked the island with pigs and goats which are competing for island resources with the Dodo. At some point, (probably 1690 [6]) the last of the species will go extinct. The Dutch will abandon the island by 1701. It is just too difficult to maintain a colony there. [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... a good book to read about how scientists can calculate approximately when a species goes belly up is "Dinosaur in a Haystack" by Stephen Jay Gould where the author demonstrates statistically that the dinosaurs were killed off right around the time that a big asteroid hit the planet. (Some people had suggested that the dinosaurs had been dying off well before that time.) To prove his case, all he had to do was to find one particular dinosaur bone at one specific layer in the strata... somewhere on the frickin' planet. It is a beautiful demonstration of logic and perseverance. (Spoiler alert! He finds it.) Regarding the Dodo bird's competition for resources on the island, some scientists suggest that the Dodo bird had already suffered a catastrophic reduction in population prior to the arrival of man, probably due to a storm, but feral pigs were a real environmental problem. In 1662 in Virginia and New England, feral pigs were eating the "natural" roots that the Indians would use as an emergency food supply if their "natural" crops failed. Thus their "natural" agricultural system was slowly collapsing while the European mono-crop system was prevailing. Feral pigs were one of the reasons that America looked a lot like Europe by the 1700s. [10] [11]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1662, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

History: The Year is 1661

I've uploaded year 1661 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Why the Bakers Bake No Bread -- The bankers of NEW Amsterdam are on strike, because they don't like the government regulation of the price of bread. They want BETTER regulation. God help us all.

'Our Lord of the Attic': Hiding Religion in Plain Sight -- Catholic worship is forbidden in Amsterdam but Jan Hartman renovates his 3-story residence to hold a magnificent church in his attic. I also talk about religious tolerance and Spinoza who is a Jewish philosopher living in Amsterdam at the time.

Why the Bakers Bake No Bread

New Amsterdam bakers have gone on strike. The Governor has set the price of bread and the quality for the price. It is difficult to understand exactly why the bakers are baking no bread, but it must be one of two reasons: 1) There is not enough profit in making bread at the prices the Governor has set, or 2) the Bakers are asserting their right under the Bakers Guild to negotiate a better formula for setting those prices. The strike goes on for two weeks until the Governor raises the price by 10%. Free market baking will not take precedence until 1801 when New York bakers will strike for the right to charge whatever the market will bear. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... this issue is more complicated than it seems. In the Dutch Old World system, bread was an essential, and bakers felt a duty to produce it for the community just as producing water and electricity for the community is an essential in the modern day. In fulfilling their duty as bakers they felt that the government owed them some commercial protection, locking out competitors and providing a reasonable profit. But the variable cost of grain and the unreliable money supply (essentially beaver pelts) made New World regulation nearly impossible so the bakers went on strike. They seemed to be striking for better regulation... not for free market prices. Oh no! Not that! In the modern day, I bake my own bread from scratch once a week. I'm not the best baker in the world, but no baker's strike (or trucker's strike or grocer's strike) would stop me from making what I need. I have developed skills over the years and I practice those skills just in case. And frankly, I like fresh baked bread.

'Our Lord of the Attic': Hiding Religion in Plain Sight

Jan Hartman has purchased a three-story residence in the city of Amsterdam and sets about to renovate the building. It was erected in 1629 and maintains the normal style of the Dutch residential architecture. It is not that old. One wonders what might need renovating, but what is happening inside this unremarkable building is a miracle in hiding the forbidden in plain sight. In the attic of this residence is being built a beautiful church named "Our Lord of the Attic". In Calvinist Amsterdam, Catholic worship is forbidden. Signs are everywhere warning residents to comply with the law, but it is an open secret that Catholics reside in Amsterdam and that they find ways to worship such as this small church tucked in the attic. More than 20 of these hidden churches will be built in Amsterdam and more in surrounding cities. [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It seems to me that these hidden churches could not have existed without the tacit approval of the local authorities. Certainly Jewish communities existed in Amsterdam, including a very important philosopher named Benedito de Espinosa, otherwise known as Spinoza. The German philosopher, Hegel, said, "You are either a Spinozist or not a philosopher at all." In 1661, Spinoza was almost 30 years old, giving philosophy lessons and supporting himself by grinding lenses. He was expelled from the Jewish community for heretical ideas but expelled might be too harsh a term. No one was talking to him. I've read some of his work. I found it tedious, but perhaps I don't have enough background to understand it. In any case, many people such as the Jews and Catholics were allowed in the Netherlands as long as they didn't make a spectral of themselves. Amsterdam was considered tolerant. What a world. [3] [4]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1661, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

History: The Year is 1660

I've uploaded year 1660 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

All Is Forgiven... Except for the Fines -- Charles the II is invited back to England to take the throne. He proclaims amnesty subject to the Parliament but the Parliament won't let go of the fines levied on their opponents during the civil war.

The First Professional Shakespearean Actresses Are Not Prostitutes -- The Puritans shutdown the theaters in 1642. They reopen them with an innovation. Women are allowed on stage. I talk about the problem with Japanese Kabuki theater when prostitutes were actresses, and the "audience participation" that ensued. Men taking women's roles followed.

All Is Forgiven... Except for the Fines

After the death of Oliver Cromwell and the forced resignation of his son, Richard, the Parliament invites Charles the 2nd to pick up where his father left off. The soon-to-be King issues an invitation to all who opposed his father, the previous King of England, to take an oath of loyalty, and all will be forgiven. Probably the most important part of the proclamation is that the military will get all of their back pay. The wording of Charles the 2nd's proclamation is somewhat vague. He allows that Parliament might decide to change some of these conditions and indeed it does. The Indemnity and Oblivion Act of 1660 does NOT forgive those directly involved with the beheading of King Charles the 1st. Also not forgiven are crimes such as witchcraft, murder, piracy, rape, and buggery (which is usually animal... uh... well... never mind). Whatever it is, it is not forgiven! Also not forgiven are any fines due the Parliament... which gives rise to a lot of resentment and a little ditty that summarizes how the public feels... [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
For where there’s money to be got
I find this pardon pardons not…
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The people wanted stability more than liberty. (Let's be frank. They still do.) The army privates at the time understood that a free republic was needed, but they were mostly ignored. It was the nobles pushing for a return of the king. Otherwise their precious institutions of privilege and special rights would fall. This is the problem with liberty. It takes work. Sometimes it takes a lot of work. When the American Revolution began, the majority of the colonists did NOT want to break with the King. They had their complaints but not enough to do more than throw a few boxes of tea into the harbor. It took a core leadership with a reasonable plan and the will to push everyone else forward. The Articles of Confederation and the Declaration of Independence weren't a full plan but they were enough to make a beginning. In the modern day some people think that we need a constitutional convention to put our country back on the right path, but the majority of people do not. Everyone has their complaints but not enough to do something about them... and they probably never will.

The First Professional Shakespearean Actresses Are Not Prostitutes

In 1642, the Puritan-led English Parliament closed the theaters. After all, there was a civil war going on and the theaters were places of subversion. Were they really places of subversion? Yes, but any public place would have been a place of subversion at the time. And all public places except churches were associated with vice such as gambling, prostitution, and the worst vice of all... Shakespeare! (Shudder!) Now that the civil war is over, the theaters are reopened with an innovation. Women are now allowed on the stage as actresses in England and Germany. Before this time all the women's parts were played by boys, despite what Gweneth Paltrow will do in the movie Shakespeare in Love (1998). (Do not take your history lessons from movies!) [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Well... this was not the first time women were on stage. In Japan, during the beginnings of Kabuki theater, prostitutes filled in as actresses for the play. Most Kabuki plays are love stories and with prostitutes on stage the ticket sales were brisk. There was always a satisfying ending for the audience, but the play rarely finished, if you know what I mean. The wives were not too happy with the whole idea so men began taking the women's roles which made Kabuki theater more reputable thereafter. [9]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1660, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1659

I've uploaded year 1659 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Devil's Acre Sprouts a Clockwork Orange -- One of the greatest English composers is born this year. His work is incorporated in modern music today such as the movie, A Clockwork Orange. I talk about the book and government-out-of-control mind-control.

The Virtue and the Problem with 'Starting at the Bottom' -- Young Isaac Newton returns to the family manor to become a shepherd and he sucks at it. I talk about the virtue of starting at the bottom.

Unconfirmed But Interesting... -- A few things I'm not sure actually happened, but I wish they had happened.

Devil's Acre Sprouts a Clockwork Orange

The famous English composer, Henry Purcell, is born this year in a region of England that will becomes known as Devil's Acre. He will begin his first musical composition at 9 years old (though this cannot be verified). He will become one of the greatest composers England has ever produced. Certainly most modern people will hear adaptations by Jethro Tull, The Who, and recognizable background music for movies such as A Clockwork Orange. After his death in 1695, Henry Purcell will be buried next to the organ in Westminster Abbey. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I read the book "A Clockwork Orange," in my careless youth. The author, Anthony Burgess, said that he never intended to write a classic. As a writer, he was simply indulging an inappropriate fantasy. He seemed a little sheepish as he admitted this, but otherwise unrepentant. After all, no one was forced to buy the book. For those unfamiliar with the story, a futuristic England has created a class of cynical, drunken, raping, violent youths on their way to prison after decades of "government-can-solve-all-your-problems" programs. In an experiment to keep these youths out of prison, the state gives a young "volunteer" named Alex the mind-cure for violence. Soon he can no longer rape. He cannot even raise a hand to defend himself. Later, this experiment runs into difficulties, so instead of "curing" these violent youths, the state hires them as policemen to beat up on rival gang members. Problem solved! The movie is visually interesting... I mean... uh... the rape scenes are artfully done. (Oh crap!) The music is great but the book itself is a study in government-gone-wild. It is frightening because you know it could happen. [4]

The Virtue and the Problem with 'Starting at the Bottom'

Young Issac Newton has made very few friends at school. He outshines the other students so that no one wants to draw a comparison between themselves and this brilliant boy, so Issac has returned home to the family farm to learn to manage the manor. His mother gives him an easy job as a "grazier" which is a shepherd for all practical purposes. Unfortunately for the farm and for Isaac's income potential, he is not a very attentive shepherd. Instead, his active mind pushes him to build various types of waterwheels along the local streams. His sheep drift onto the neighboring property, causing damage to Issac's reputation and his pocketbook. [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I see the value of starting "at the bottom," but for people with an obvious talent, you should start them in areas where they can indulge their interests. Once they are hooked (or once they realize that this stuff is harder than it looks) it is easier to demonstrate how starting "at the bottom" is better. When I was 10 years old I worked with my father on weekends cleaning toilets and waxing floors. My father was teaching me how to be a man and I was glad to work alongside my father. Years later, I was a successful computer engineer, but one day, at the doctor's office, the toilet overflowed. It was after hours and the doctor was in a panic, but I knew what to do. I found the custodian's closet, pulled out the mop and bucket and cleaned up the mess. The doctor thought I was a hero, but it seemed natural to me. My father taught me that every job is a good job when your fellows say, "Thank God you were here." Optional additional point: A 10 year-old working as a janitor may seem wrong, but in some neighborhoods it is a real virtue if you don't want your kid to become a gang banger, or a prostitute. So next time you hear of an employer being fined for "putting underage children to work," ask if the parents were working alongside their children. If the parents are supervising, then shut-the-F-up. They are trying to save their children. Stay out of their way.

Unconfirmed But Interesting...

* The first check is written in England. (It was for 400 pounds.)
* Tennis is forbidden during church services in New Netherlands. (No serving during services!)
* No 'Fat Tuesday' for French monks eating meat and drinking wine during Lent. They go to prison. [7]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1659, Wikipedia.

Monday, October 12, 2015

History: The Year is 1658

I've uploaded year 1658 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Swedish Army Walks on Water -- The Swedish Army walks across the ice when the Baltic Sea freezes and attacks Copenhagen. I talk about how a cash-strapped country like Sweden could run a military adventure like that and I talk about Russian oil prices and their military adventures.

The First Roosevelt is Born in America -- They began as Dutch Calvinist colonists of New Amsterdam. I talk about the Progressive Era and how it began with the best of intentions.

The Swedish Army Walks on Water

The Baltic Sea has frozen over so that the Swedish Army can walk across the ice from Holstein, northern Germany all the way to Denmark. The Danes are totally surprised and had the Swedes pressed the attack, they could have taken Copenhagen immediately. Copenhagen has fortifications but the city has grown dramatically over recent years so the fortifications are not fully in place. Fortunately for the Danes, the Swedes decide on a formal siege with everyone in their proper place. When the Swedes finally attack, the Danish fortifications are ready so the losses for the Swedes are enormous. Copenhagen will manage to hold out because it is next to the strait with the busiest traffic between the Baltic Sea and the Atlantic so they are getting plenty of supplies. Eventually, the Swedes will win some concessions over disputed lands. Sweden is at its peak of power this year. It's all downhill from here, but it is going to be a gentle slope. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is actually amazing that Sweden had as much power as it did at the time. It's population was relatively small and one wonders how it could maintain an army beyond its own borders. Taxes were paid "in kind" meaning that you could provide the equivalent value in chickens, cattle and grain. (You can feed a soldier with a chicken but it is difficult to pay a soldier with a chicken, especially on the road.) Also, becoming a nobleman in Sweden was fairly easy if you had the money or a needed talent. If you'll recall, in 1280 the Swedish nobility was created when the King offered a noble title and life-time tax exemption for any subject who provided a son as a knight for the army. (Bring your own armor, and horse, of course) The main exports for Sweden were lumber and copper. After Spain began using copper coins, Sweden's copper mines provided most of the money for Sweden's military ambitions. In the modern day, oil exports provide that boast for otherwise cash-poor countries. In case no one has noticed, oil prices have gone up since Russia has stepped up their military involvement. Russia is a net exporter of oil so higher oil prices means more money for its military ambitions. [5] [6] [7]

The First Roosevelt is Born in America

Nicholas Van Rosenvelt (changed to Nicholas Roosevelt) is born this year in New Amsterdam (which is modern day New York). He is the 4th great grandfather of Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Nicholas will also be the first Roosevelt to hold public office. He will become an alderman. According to Theodore Roosevelt's autobiography, the Roosevelts came to America in the "steerage" of a sailing ship. "Steerage" usually means that like a sack sand, your body is there to provide weight so that it is easier for the pilot to steer the ship. They are Dutch Calvinists and will remain on Manhattan Island for the next 7 generations. [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Teddy Roosevelt is where we get the "Teddy Bear" which is named after him. He described his family on the Calvinist side as being very "stark". (I suppose his ancestors weren't a lot of laughs.) He tells the story of his great grandfather who, after attending church services as a boy, hopped on a wild pig. Wild pigs wandered New York at the time. The pig was quite unhappy having a boy riding him and went hog-wild through the congregation. His great grandfather received a very stern lecture for his disruptive behavior. Of course the Roosevelts have been quite disruptive in American politics. Teddy ushered in the Progressive Era, which promoted such horrors as eugenics, massive government regulation and our progressive school system. FDR gave us the social security pyramid scheme, and 9 members of the Supreme Court instead of 7. (He packed the court with his cronies by increasing the number of court Justices.) Of course it was all done with the best of intentions. The Progressive Movement began as an anti-government corruption movement and direct democracy. [11] [12]
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions."
-- Dutch proverb. [13]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1658, Wikipedia.

Friday, October 9, 2015

History: The Year is 1657

I've uploaded year 1657 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

A Humble Petition and the Lessons of Liberty -- The English Parliament wants to make Cromwell a king, but he is still trying to figure out how to make England a republic. So is John Locke. Locke's thoughts on this subject will become very helpful to the Founding fathers of the United States in later years.

Spanish Christians Suddenly Become Jews in England -- The expulsion of the Jews from England in 1290 is now ended by allowing Jewish Christians to practice their Judaism once again.

Coffee, Tea, Table Knives and Fingers. The Possibilities Are Endless -- A list of table manners and foods that are being introduced this century.

A Humble Petition and the Lessons of Liberty

Some members of the English Parliament want to make the Lord Protector Cromwell into a King so they have quickly thrown together something called "The Humble Petition and Advice." It is a second constitution for England, and it is designed to appeal to Cromwell, while limiting his power, and reducing the army. England is currently a republic, but most British citizens feel uncomfortable with the new arrangement. The British Civil War did not set out to create a republic and Oliver Cromwell had no plan for one. As a consequence, everyone is uncertain what to do. The old British institutions still serve a purpose and are maintained while Cromwell figures this thing out. He rejects the title of king and also rejects the idea of individual voting. That has always led to disaster in the past. Unfortunately he is going to run out of time. By next year he will be dead. His son, Richard, will take over, but the son is not the father. Richard Cromwell will be deposed. After that, the only thing certain will be chaos. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Oliver Cromwell was driven by God's will and watching for signs from the Divine. I'm not mocking him. I run my life in a similar manner, but I'm not trying to build republican institutions from scratch that way either. The Founding Fathers of the United States had concrete ideas on how to build a republic. They benefited from Cromwell's mistakes and from the ideas of John Locke who was in his mid-twenties when Cromwell was Lord Protector. [4] [5]
Freedom of Men under Government is, to have a standing Rule to live by, common to every one of that Society, and made by the Legislative Power erected in it; a Liberty to follow my own Will in all things, where the Rule prescribes not; and not to be subject to the inconstant, uncertain, unknown, Arbitrary Will of another Man: as Freedom of Nature is, to be under no other restraint but the Law of Nature.
-- John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government, Ch. IV, sec. 21 [6]

Spanish Christians Suddenly Become Jews in England

Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell has been trying to attract Jewish commerce and banking to England and thus deny the same resources to the Spanish Crown. He begins negotiations in 1655 by allowing one Jewish diplomat to come to England. Officially speaking, Jews have been forbidden from England since the year 1290. (Unofficially, Jewish advisors, spies and doctors to the king have been around the whole time.) This official exception for the purposes of diplomatic negotiations creates an uproar. Clearly Cromwell will never be able to allow boatloads of Jews to come to England. However, everyone knows that not all Spanish Christians currently in England doing business are actually Christians. Some of them are Jews who are practicing Christianity. Cromwell tacitly allows these Christian Jews to practice their Judaism in England (as long as its not too noticeable). This avoids an official debate and public spectacle of Jews arriving in England with their luggage. With a wave of his hand, the Jews have suddenly appeared! After 367 years of exile, the first Jew is allowed to buy land in England. [7] [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This requires a little more explanation. Some Christians from Spain were actually crypto-Jews or secret Jews. In 1492 the Jews had been expelled from Spain and later Portugal. The choices for those Jews were to leave, convert to Christianity or be burned alive. Many converted to Christianity but secretly maintained many Jewish practices and identity. So, in 1657, some Spanish and Dutch "Christians" were in fact Jewish and when given a chance to practice their Judaism more-or-less openly, they did so. Thus Cromwell created a Jewish community almost instantly. In the modern day these secret Jews still exist... mostly in Texas. They are no longer considered Jewish but they keep themselves separate from the Christians and marry only amongst themselves. I have met some of these crypto-Jews in Austin who have made their way back to synagogue and have now converted to Judaism. [11] [12]

Coffee, Tea, Table Knives and Fingers. The Possibilities Are Endless

* Coffee is served in France this year. [13]
* Chocolate drinks are served in England! [14]
* Tea was introduced to England in 1650. [15]
* Table settings are introduced so that you no longer have to "bring your own silverware."
* Table knives are blunted on one side because Cardinal Richelieu didn't like guests picking their teeth with daggers. [16]
* People will stop drinking directly from the soup bowl... eventually. [17]
* The King of France still eats with his hands in 1657.
* The 1st book on probability and game theory is published. [18]
* And the former Queen of Sweden has done something outrageous... again. [19]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1657, Wikipedia.