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.

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