Wednesday, October 7, 2015

History: The Year is 1655

I've uploaded year 1655 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

A Massacre in France and Russian Military Assertiveness -- An outrageous massacre of people who refused to attend Catholic mass. The modern Pope apologized this year for it. And I talk about the Russians and their shouldering of the USA in Syria and other places.

The Rings of Saturn and a Titanic Discovery -- I talk about the discovery of Saturn's rings and its largest moon, Titan. I talk about why it is difficult to view the rings from Earth and the Cassini-Huygens space mission.

A Massacre in France and Russian Military Assertiveness

In an attempt to bring the Protestant Waldensians of France into compliance with Catholic practice, the Duke of Savoy has ordered them to attend mass or sell their homes within the next 20 days. Given that it is winter time and Savoy is a mountainous region, it is obvious that the Duke wants them to "choose" to go to mass, but they "choose" to quit their homes instead. The Duke sends out troops to find them. Eventually, the troops catch up with the Waldensians and on Easter Day the French troops do more than slaughter 1,700 men, women and children. They rape the children, and impale the women on poles lengthwise like shish kebab. There is a more detailed account in the notes if you must know who-did-what-to-whom. It is ugly. In 2015, Pope Francis will enter a Waldensian church and apologize for this unspeakable atrocity. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Peace of Westphalia that ended the 30 Years' War also placed limits on the pretext that a nation could use to invade another country. Internal conflict within a nation could no longer be used as an excuse. In the modern day, Russia sometimes ignores this convention in order to increase its influence in neighboring countries. Thus in 2008 when a province of Georgia (the nation) broke away, Georgia (along with US "advisors") used military force to quell the rebellion. Russia said that the people in the province were Russians so Russian tanks jumped the border and invaded. By challenging US influence Russia demonstrated that they were willing to use military power to protect their interests and that US allies could not depend on empty promises. This applies to the current conflict in Syria as the Russian Air Force shoulders aside the USA. Allies who are depending on the USA to intervene when other nations become aggressive must be rethinking their assumptions, and they should. The USA should not mislead other nations by taking half measures or making promises it is unwilling to keep. [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]

The Rings of Saturn and a Titanic Discovery

Christiaan Huygens (KRIS-tee-an HOY-gehns) puts his whole heart and mind into everything he does. He invents the pendulum clock in an attempt to solve the longitude problem in navigation. He designs (but does not build) a gunpowder-fueled piston engine. He is a genius and when he sets his sights on astronomy he does amazing things as well. Years ago Galileo had noticed that the planet Saturn had two ear-like bulges at its sides which he could not identify. Lenses at this time are not very good so Huygens grinds his own precision lenses. When he turns his telescope toward Saturn he not only identifies the bulges as rings but he also discovers Saturn's largest moon, Titan. Everyone is glad to know about Titan, but it will be some time before anyone believes him about the rings. After all, rings around a planet are ridiculous. Years later, Giovanni Cassini will discover additional moons, the dark spot on one of the moons and divisions between the rings. [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] [19] [20] [21]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I believe that we do not know anything for certain, but everything probably. -- Christiaan Huygens (1673) [22] Since Saturn is tilted 27 degrees off axis the rings will seem to disappear during its 29 year journey around the Sun. Thus astronomers have a better or worse view of the rings (or edge-on view) depending on when they turn their telescopes toward Saturn. In the modern day, several space missions have flown by Saturn. In 2004, the Cassini-Huygens space mission consisted of Cassini orbiting Saturn to get better pictures of the planet, its rings and its moons while the Huygens probe landed on Titan. The probe had a number of problems but landed successfully and continued sending data for 90 minutes after landing including closeup pictures of the surface. Titan has several large free-standing lakes of liquid methane and ethane. (The "No Smoking" sign is on.) I doubt there is much oxygen on Titan so there is no chance of an explosion. A gas such as methane won't burn unless it is mixed with a certain percentage of oxygen. However, if you do get that percentage, watch out. [23]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1655, Wikipedia.

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