Monday, February 29, 2016

History: The Year is 1741

I've uploaded year 1741 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Pamela's Virtue and the Gift of Fear -- The first modern novel (with a plot) was published last year. This is the sequel. It is a romance and a bit racy. I talk about rape and the Gift of Fear.

The Negro Conspiracy and the Irish Famine -- Several fires in New York cause a conspiracy panic. Several people are executed.

A Famous Backstabber is born! -- Benedict Arnold is born! His name means betrayal.

Pamela's Virtue and the Gift of Fear

The sequel to the first modern novel is published this year. Up until now, novels have been a series of short stories rather than a single unified plot. Robinson Caruso came close to being a modern novel, but it reads like a travelogue. Now comes the first novel with a plot line, "Pamela... or Virtue Rewarded" by Samuel Richardson. Richardson is a printer who is encouraged to write an essay on virtue. Instead, he writes a romance novel for young girls which includes real character development. Pamela is 16 years old and works as a servant in a gentleman's home. Her master makes a number of advances but she manages to keep her virtue... just barely. He eventually offers her marriage and she accepts. In volume 2, Pamela is making cookies and jams while trying to fit into English high society. The third volume is published this year. The series is hokey even for its time, but it is an instant best seller... and it is considered a little racy... which really helps sales. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Samuel Richardson made extra money writing letters on behalf of illiterate, love-sick girls, so he developed a sense for what worried them. Apparently, they were worried about rape. Women in general and young girls in particular were extremely dependent upon a man for shelter, and protection. Even with a presumed gentleman, a young girl could end up in a wrestling match until he came across with the ring. Nowadays, women have forgotten how to manage men. Look at any movie from the 1950s and you'll see forceful feminine models. Instead of crying at their desk when Mr. Jones offers to do things to her that no other man can do, she stands up and shouts, "Mr. Jones! You are a married man!" Without making a direct accusation, everyone knows he is being crude. On the other hand, rape is violence and entirely different. I suggest reading, "The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect us from Violence" by Gavin de Becker. We are all given small clues that we ignore but our instincts are telling us to run! He teaches how to listen to your instincts. It applies to men and women, and I believe his advice has saved my life at least once. [5]

The Negro Conspiracy and the Irish Famine

It is a Wednesday in March when the Lieutenant Governor's mansion located at Fort George catches fire. The fire spreads to a chapel and another building. It is considered an accident. The Next Wednesday, a fire at a captain's home, and the third Wednesday, a fire at a port-side warehouse. New York is in hysterics. They believe it is a conspiracy to burn the city to the ground and there are plenty of people to blame... like the Irish and the Negros. Manhattan has the second largest slave population of the 13 colonies at about 20%. (Number one is Charleston, South Carolina.) At the scene of the 10th fire, a slave is seen leaving so the investigation focuses on slaves. That is where Caesar and "Negro Peg" come into the picture. Caesar is a slave working at Fort George which is the location of the 1st fire and he is in love with "Negro Peg" who lives over a dock-side tavern. The tavern is a general meeting place for people who are drinking away their troubles. Well... they sure have trouble now. After the 13th fire there is a quick investigation and trial, 34 defendants are executed including the four white ringleaders. [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Did it really happen? The fires happened, certainly. Was it a negro conspiracy? I doubt it. It looks more like an accidental fire at the Lieutenant Governor's mansion. The two Wednesday fires afterward were probably a coincidence. After that, people panicked and blamed anyone who was different. They were already very fearful of a Spanish invasion and the flood of Irish Catholic immigrants was not helping. (The Spanish were Catholic. Generally the Irish were Catholic. See the connection? Me neither but it made sense to them back then.) Ireland was going through a famine after extreme cold and rain caused a massive crop failure. (This was not the potato famine. That was much, much later.) There were a lot of Ulster Irish Protestants already in the Colonies so because of all the fear, uncertainty and doubt about the Irish Catholics, the Irish Protestants started calling themselves the Scotch-Irish. The Scotch-Irish will become vital to the American Revolution and to the building of Washington, DC. [9]

A Famous Backstabber is born!

Benedict Arnold is born in Connecticut. He will become one of the bravest, competent and most trusted generals of the American Revolution. He will stand side-by-side with Ethan Allen at the assault on Fort Ticonderoga... and then resign his commission over a disagreement. His name will come to mean the very essence of betrayal when he attempts to sell Fort West Point to the British. George Washington's "Secret Six" spy ring will uncover his scheme before it goes too far. (His plan will include capturing Alexander Hamilton and George Washington as they arrive at West Point.) But Benedict Arnold will escape. For a while, Arnold will work for the British forces against his fellow Americans. He will die years later in England, suffering from the gout. Although he will have a stately funeral and resting place, his body will be exhumed in order for the church to make renovations. A clerical error will direct his body to a mass grave. His final resting place will be unmarked, and his memory unlamented. [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
So why would he do it? Benedict Arnold was a man of ability, driven by a need for praise. When he did not get what he thought he deserved, he felt betrayed and, in turn, betrayed others. But that is only a partial explanation. Benedict Arnold was a Major General of the Continental Army. That was a substantial recognition of his abilities. Perhaps more relevant was that he married his second wife, Peggy Shippen, a Crown Loyalist. She was also a looker, a socialite and she threw parties on a grand scale that put Benedict Arnold deep in debt. I'm not blaming his wife. Benedict was an adult, after all, but in his effort to please her, he exceeded his finite resources. It is sometimes the small things that trip us up... a need for praise, a desire to look better than we really are, and when the bill comes, we lie... just a little. Then we lie more and before we know it, we are selling little bits of our soul. [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1741, Wikipedia.

Friday, February 26, 2016

History: The Year is 1740

I've uploaded year 1740 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Benjamin Franklin Bans Newspapers -- When a publisher doesn't pay the post office, the post office often will refuse to accept the publisher's mail for delivery. Franklin is the postmaster.

An Enlightened Despot Takes the Throne -- Fredrick the Great is a modern guy and a King. He can just impose modern ideas! Power corrupts and absolute power is kinda neat!

Benjamin Franklin Bans Newspapers

It's not censorship. It's business. Monkey business. A couple of years ago Benjamin Franklin was appointed Postmaster of Philadelphia because the previous postmaster, a man named Bradford, was a poor bookkeeper. What really happened was that Bradford was refusing to accept Benjamin Franklin's mail for delivery. Since Franklin is a publisher who does a lot of business through the mail, he was forced bribe local carriers into delivering his publications on the sly. Once Franklin took the position as postmaster, he was directed by the colonial powers to hire a lawyer and sue Bradford for money owed to the post office. Franklin has a lot of irons in the fire at this time. Little things. For example: he founds the University of Pennsylvania this year and he plans to publish the first popular magazine in the colonies. He offers the position of magazine editor to his lawyer, but Franklin's lawyer sells the idea to Bradford... the very man that the lawyer is supposed to be SUING. Franklin decides to publish his own idea so that he can take the credit even if he can't collect the money for it. Bradford is enraged, but Franklin is still Postmaster and since Bradford is also publishing two newspapers, Franklin gets permission to refuse for delivery all publications coming from Bradford... including any magazines. Coincidence? I think not! [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Benjamin Franklin founds a university, prints an almanac and a magazine and runs the post office! I feel like such a slacker! Regarding the blocking of publications by the post office, remember that publishing is a business. If a publisher bounces a check to the post office, the post office might not accept mail for delivery until the publisher makes the check good. Even though it is a PUBLIC post office, it is not a FREE post office. Bradford owed the money. Franklin may have been motivated by bad feelings, but the post office was justified in refusing service. The real crime (or near crime) was the unethical behavior of Franklin's lawyer! I'm not a lawyer but it looks bad when a lawyer is hired to sue someone and then takes money from both parties. Whether it is an actual crime, I'm not sure. I leave the answer to that question as an exercise for the student. [3]

An Enlightened Despot Takes the Throne

Frederick the Great (or "The Old Fritz") becomes the King of Prussia this year. He is in his late 20s and he considers himself a benevolent absolutist. (That is a nice way of saying that he is despot that intellectuals agree with.) He begins his reign by reforming the government bureaucracy. He grants freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and he founds the Berlin Academy of Science. He also starts a war with Queen Maria Theresa. (I thought you weren't supposed to hit the girl!) Maria's father has died so she has suddenly become the Queen of Hungary, Croatia, Bohemia and other titles too numerous to mention here. Her relevant title for this war is Archduchess of Austria. The Old Fritz wants the minerals of Silesia which is considered the jewel of Austria. Queen Maria has been having trouble consolidating her power, so her advisors want her to give up part of Silesia in exchange for King Frederick's support, but she refuses. Thus begins a life-long fight between Queen Maria and the Old Fritz. He represents change and she represents a centuries-old order and the end of the line. [2] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Over and over again, people want to elect someone who will just get things done! No arguing! But such a system requires an authority with enough power to impose those solutions AND maintain them beyond the life of the people we have entrusted with that power. We may trust the guy in power now but how can we trust the guy generations down the line? The strategy in US politics is to give a lot of power to a few people to get things done. To be fair, they might get things done, but with so much centralized power, it becomes vital to get your own guy in there to hold that office. That is why you see so many political fights, name-calling and just plain lies because the stakes are so high. Of course, the real solution is to spread that power out amongst a lot of elected offices so that even if the wrong guy gets in, the damage he can do is minimal. But then I hear, "How will we get things done?" The answer is, "Carefully, or not at all." If it can't be done by Federal government, then it will be done locally. It might not be very efficient that way, but then again, a large, centralized government is NEVER efficient. The only organizations less efficient than a large, centralized government are: an insurance company, a MEDICAL insurance company, or worst of all... a MEDICAL insurance company run by the GOVERNMENT.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1740, Wikipedia.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

History: The Year is 1739

I've uploaded year 1739 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Rule, Britannia! Britannia Rule the Waves! -- The public will pressure
the government into a war.

The Foundation of the Methodists -- John and Charles Wesley will lay the
foundation for the first Methodist chapel.

Clinton is Born! -- George Clinton will grow up to become an

Rule, Britannia! Britannia Rule the Waves!

Let's talk about jingoism, or patriotism-gone-wild. Remember that English-backed company that caused an economic collapse? Well... the South Sea Company is still around and the English are trying to make their money back. Spain has money tied up in the company too and this business relationship is now causing a conflict. Both countries want their money but neither one wants to look like a wimp. Recently, Spain felt compelled to limit English access in the Spanish Main (which is the Spanish Caribbean and the nearby South American coastline). As a result, smuggling begins. The Spaniards try to stop the smuggling by interdicting British shipping. The Brits send frigates to protect British shipping and otherwise cause havoc along the Spanish Main. (This sounds like the plot to a Horatio Hornblower novel.) Behind the scenes, the Prime Minister of England has been negotiating for a peaceful resolution to the situation, but public opinion has spiraled out of control. The Prime Minister is forced to break off negotiations and declares war on Spain. The crowd goes wild! A new song is composed to celebrate the strength of Great Britain! You'll recognize the tune the moment you hear it. It is in every movie that wants you to know that the next scene takes place in England: "Rule, Britannia! Britannia Rule the Waves!" [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is something in human nature that can be triggered using song, color and a turn of phrase. It is automatic and almost irresistible. Everyone knows this on some level. That is why people get nervous when a politician waves the flag so-to-speak, or a song becomes so popular that it stirs up feelings of love of country: "I just thank my lucky stars"/ "To be living here today"/ "'Cause the flag still stands for freedom"/ "And they can't take that away!...." Well... that song makes me cry, but I know darn well that they CAN take my freedom away. I know because I've seen it, but it is more likely that we will GIVE it away. It's easy. All I have to do is cast my vote to let someone ELSE take care of my problems... and then they will take everything else. How can I protect myself from patriotism-gone-wild? By knowing that I have that trigger inside of me and remaining an individual regardless. I can enjoy feelings of patriotism as long as I avoid following the herd during the next stampede. [7] [8]

The Foundation of the Methodists

John and Charles Wesley have followed their co-preacher, George Whitfield, into the fields to preach the Gospel to the coal miners. Whitfield is an amazing orator with a preaching style that taps into people's emotions. Wherever he goes, thousands come to listen. Tough men, hardened from years in the coal mines burst into tears, leaving white gutters down their faces where the coal dust has been washed away. John Wesley has a different style of preaching that is more educational. He also tends to stay longer in an area to organize the local community while Whitfield will speak and then move on. The foundation stone of the first Methodist Meeting Room is set in place this year in Bristol. It will remain the oldest Methodist chapel in the world. [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Methodists were getting a real boost at that time, but they were not universally loved. Whenever you have a new group espousing a new way of worship, you will have others who will object. In those days, the people would object strenuously, which became a problem for Charles Wesley. Some people were looking for him, so a local farmer's wife hid him. As the mob was searching for him, he wrote a hymn, entitled Jesus, Lover of my Soul. The title suggests the focus that John and Charles Wesley had been promoting. They suggested that Jesus and Satan were at war for one's soul. In the epic battle for supremacy, the common man could be thought to be a participant, the object of the war to win their soul for Heaven or for Hell. [10]

Clinton is Born!

George Clinton is born... not the other Clinton. He is born in New York to Irish immigrant parents. He will become a brigadier General for the Continental Army. He will also be elected to two political offices at the same time... Governor of New York AND Lieutenant Governor. He will decide to resign his position as Lieutenant Governor. He will also serve as Vice-president of the United States under Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I remember George Clinton best as one of the anti-Federalists. When the Constitution of the United States was drafted, a long discussion and debate on ratification of the Constitution began. That debate went on all across the country in pubs, churches and in the newspapers. The Federalists were arguing for a strong Federal government and opposed the Bill of Rights. They felt that if our inalienable rights were written down that people in later years might think that those rights came from government and not from our Creator. (Imagine that!) They also feared that people might think the Bill of Rights are our only rights. (Outrageous!) The Anti-federalists opposed the Constitution until the Bill of Rights was added to the negotiations. George Clinton opposed the idea of a President because he felt that one day a President might collect enough power to be declared a king. (Hmmm...) Frankly, both Federalists and anti-Federalists were right. People have forgotten that they are born with inalienable rights bestowed upon us by our Creator. And while people can dream up rights willy nilly, they seem to think of rights as being granted by the government. The problem is that any blanket right granted by a government can also be rescinded by a government. School-age students are no longer educated in basic civics and they are no longer critical thinkers. I am a critical thinker but I had to teach myself. How did I do that? I studied the Great Books. If you want to know how critical thinkers think, read what they wrote and try to figure out why they wrote it that way.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1739, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

History: The Year is 1738

I've uploaded year 1738 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Dear Sister... I Believe in God and 13 Principles -- Benjamin Franklin has 13 principles that he practices one a week for a 13 week cycle. I talk about pragmatism and Alcoholics Anonymous.

French Forced Labor and Shovel-Ready Jobs -- French subjects are forced to contribute 14 days a year to road construction. I talk about modern forced labor.

More Major Events -- King George III, Ethan Allen and cuckoo clocks.

Dear Sister... I Believe in God and 13 Principles

Jane Franklin Mecom is in despair. Her crazy brother, Benjamin Franklin, has abandoned Puritanism and rejected Calvinism. He believes that good works are more important than prayer! But Benjamin Franklin assures his sister that he has not abandoned God. He has written a collection of devotionals that he consults daily. And even though he has rejected the many mystical ideas promoted by formal religion, he is more than happy to let Jane pursue her own religious ideals. All he asks is that she extend him the same courtesy. Benjamin Franklin has also put together a table with 13 principles listed down one side and the days-of-the-week across the top. His table of 13 principles is printed on 13 pages. He focuses on one principle a week in turn until the 13-week cycle is completed. (Wash. Rinse. Repeat.). He is not a fanatic. He is creating a good habit. Benjamin Franklin's list will vary slightly over the years, but there is nothing magical about his principles. Anyone can do it. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Benjamin Franklin was practicing something that 20th century philosophers called "Pragmatism." Pragmatism is non-doctrinal. In other words... whatever works... do that. Don't worry about whether it fits into a greater systematic structure. What you are looking for is an immediate and practical result. This is the basic principle behind Alcoholics Anonymous. People of conflicting religions can meet to solve their common problem because they never focus on doctrine. They only focus on what works for them. "Take what you need and leave the rest." They are like shade-tree mechanics who check the gas, replace the battery, and change the spark plugs. They get the car started and in most cases that is enough. If more is required, they get the car going enough to limp to the nearest master mechanic. Do what works. That's all that matters. The philosophers that made this idea popular were William James and to some extent, Karl Jung, but don't read their books. They are not very practical. (I wish I were kidding, but I am not.) Read the books that make use their principles. [5] [6] [7] [8]

French Forced Labor and Shovel-Ready Jobs

The French director of Bridges and Highways has come up with a brilliant idea to improve the roads in France. He requires each subject to devote 14 days a year toward road building and maintenance. This scheme works in the sense that French roads will become the best in the world. For French subjects it doesn't work very well. The French word for this requirement is "corvée" (KOR-vee) meaning "drudgery". The 14-day forced labor requirement will become one of the grievances that sparks the French Revolution. After the Revolution, the forced labor requirement will return. French citizens will be required to work 3 days a year on behalf of the state for the privilege of voting. (Sigh.) [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
From time-to-time we hear of our obligation to "give back" or "you didn't build that" as if the roads were built by forced labor rather than paid professionals. The United States promotes volunteer programs such as the Peace Corps or AmeriCorps, and as long as they are volunteer programs, then I have no problem with them. However, I object when someone suggests that citizens be REQUIRED to participate in such programs as a condition of their citizenship... or be forced into the military. That is forced labor and without an obvious need it is always resented. Even with an obvious need such as during the Great Depression, it has never worked out. A work relief program called the W.P.A. meant more than "Works Progress Administration". People of the time said that it meant: "We Poke Along" or "We Piddle Around" or "Whistle, Piss and Argue." And there is the classic Soviet Union joke, "As long as they pretend to pay us, we will pretend to work." [12][13] [14] [15]

More Major Events

* King George the 3rd of Great Britain is born. He is will be the King on the throne during the American Revolution. [9]
* Ethan Allen is born in rural Connecticut. He will lead the Green Mountain Boys, and join in the American Revolution but he won't make any furniture whatsoever. [16]
* The Cuckoo Clock is Introduced in Germany. It is probably not the first cuckoo clock, but it is close. [17]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1738, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

History: The Year is 1737

I've uploaded year 1737 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Best of All Possible Worlds -- The word "optimism" is used for the first time and for good reason.

Walking All Over the Delaware Nation -- The Indians are defrauded out of their land by the Penn brothers.

Major Events -- Ben Franklin becomes postmaster.

The Best of All Possible Worlds

The word "optimism" is used for the first time this year. It is a new idea. Except for that one outbreak in Marseilles back in 1720, the Black Death has disappeared from Western Europe and will soon disappear from the Middle East. The Plague has not really gone, but the sudden reduction of the disease corresponds to the introduction of cake soap. Plague cannot be sustained in a world of personal cleanliness. The man who co-developed calculus believed that we are living in the best of all possible worlds. His philosophy is a declaration that living beings are constantly improving themselves through reason and invention. His name is Leibniz and he has already passed away, but his papers and letters continue to be published posthumously. He was a deist and he could not believe in a world without God, but that meant to him that God has created a world that is logical and can be understood. We are at the threshold of the Industrial Revolution, and with science and reason on the upswing, it seems as if anything is possible. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The history segments have mentioned the births of several critical figures of the American Revolution. They were growing up in the midst of that burst of hope. Disease had not gone away, but a tremendous pressure had let up. Inoculations were not only fighting disease, but they were also lending credibility to science. The American Revolution was more than the overthrow of British rule. It was an experiment in social change. The people who long for a government that will take care of them like a father takes care of his children, are longing for the world as it used to be: a world created by King George, King Obama, Queen Hillary. When we talk about returning to the Principles of the Founding Fathers, we are making an optimistic statement, a radical statement. We are expressing a belief that we need no king to create a world for us. We can do it ourselves. It is a radical idea and we are the radicals. [5] [6]

Walking All Over the Delaware Nation

The Indian tribe called the Delaware Nation is in a land dispute with the sons of William Penn. John and Thomas Penn have been selling land to colonists, but the Indians say it is their land. To solve the dispute the Indians agree to give the Penn brothers some land: along a northerly line easily walkable and going east to the Delaware River. The Penn brothers hire fast walkers who actually run the path and claim an area that amounts to over a million acres. The Delaware Nation appeals to the Iroquois nation for help but they decline, probably due to political considerations. The Delaware Nation is evicted. The land dispute will return in 2004, in the case of Delaware Nation vs. Pennsylvania, but the court case will be dismissed. It is simply impossible to adjudicate the case now. The Supreme Court refused to rule on the case. [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The court referred the Indians to the King of England. If someone is going to make a claim that far back, it makes sense to refer to the royal charter granted by the King of England. It looks like the Penn brothers defrauded the Indians, but the State of Pennsylvania is not going to give land to the Delaware Nation. It's like trying to get Manhattan back. If I do wrong I can be brought to court and made to pay, but my debts do not transfer to my children when I die no matter what I did. Anyone who had a claim on me, should have collected when I was alive. It might not be fair, but it is also not fair to punish my children for my misdeeds. [9]

Major Events

* Benjamin Franklin is made Postmaster of Philadelphia. The position of postmaster is a major political position at this time since you meet everyone and you hear everything that is going on.
* John Hancock is born. He will become a smuggler and merchant. He will sign the Declaration of Independence with a large signature so that King George the 3rd will be able to read it without his glasses.
* Thomas Paine is born. He will be the author of "Common Sense". He will also become a notable engineer.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1737, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1736

 I've uploaded year 1736 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Natural Rubber and Dandelions -- Rubber trees have been known to Europeans for years but they have not been studied scientifically, so when a French expedition comes to South America, one guy picks up a few plants and thus begins Europe's study of rubber.

The Watt and the Coulomb (KOO-lahm) -- James Watt is born. He didn't invent the steam engine but he improved it to the point where it boosted the Industrial revolution. And Coulomb is born. He comes up with the inverse square law for electrostatic charge.

'Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!' -- Patrick Henry is born. His speeches are famous but the quotes come from the recollections of others .


Natural Rubber and Dandelions

Several years ago, Sir Isaac Newton offered proof that the Earth is a sphere flattened at the poles and bulging at the equator but French scientists disagree so the French send an expedition to South America to take measurements. One of the French scientists takes an overland route and collects plant samples along the way. That includes a rubber tree. He is fascinated with the possible uses for rubber including a rubber syringe that he has seen the natives make. He also sends back bark from a quinine tree. Quinine has been used to treat malaria, and frankly, all of the plants he sends back are already known to Europeans. They simply haven't been studied in a systematic way, yet. The study begins now. It will be several years before a comprehensive scientific paper on the uses for rubber will be published, but it will be published in France. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Even though rubber trees came from the New World, 98% of natural rubber is now produced in the Old World. This is probably because there are fewer natural pests of rubber trees in the Old World so they grow more prolifically. However, the rubber tree noticeably changes the environment. It gets real quiet in the forest when the bugs and small animals have nothing to eat, so scientists have searched for alternatives. Synthetic rubber was invented at the beginning of the 20th century by the Bayer Company (the guys who gave you aspirin, and heroin). Most applications for rubber nowadays use synthetic, but it tends to crack under certain conditions so research has been devoted to extracting rubber from the sap of Russian dandelion plants. The advantage is the fast growth of the plants and it doesn't require a subtropical climate to grow. It is still in development so don't expect a commercial product any time before 2024, at the earliest. [5] [6] [7]

The Watt and the Coulomb (KOO-lahm)

James Watt is born in Scotland to a father who is a ship builder and carpenter. The key to his education is his father's workshop where James Watt will have his own workbench, tools and a small forge. In the years to come he will be asked to repair one of the early steam engines. After some experimentation he will notice how much heat is wasted and where. He will add a condenser and make modifications to conserve the heat where it is needed and move the heat away quickly when it is not needed. Later he will patent his system, but his poor business sense will force him to take on a partner. This partner will push Watt to add a mechanism to translate the reciprocal arm of the engine into rotational motion so that it can run looms and similar equipment. Later, Watt will patent a way to produce power on the forward and back stroke of the engine and after the invention of the pressure gauge, the modern steam engine will nearly be complete. He will turn what is essentially a weak vacuum pump into a powerful engine of the industrial revolution. Water wheels and windmills limit the locations for powered equipment (that is, equipment powered by belts). With a modern steam engine a factory with powered equipment can be located wherever it makes economic sense. [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Most people know the name "Watt" due to the light bulbs they buy. They are rated by watts of electrical power. The rating system was named in his honor in 1889. Another unit associated with electricity is named after a fellow born in 1736... Charles Augustin de Coulomb (KOO-lahm). He will come up with the inverse square law of magnetism similar to Sir Isaac Newton's inverse square law of gravitation. Essentially, as metal gets closer to the magnet the attractive force gets very strong very quickly and as you move the metal away, the force becomes weaker very quickly. (I'm simplifying the heck out of this. Do not attempt to build an electron super-collider based on this description.) The electrostatic force is measured in coulombs (KOO-lahms), named after the fellow who came up with this law. Just for reference, a fully charged alkaline AA battery contains about 5000 coulombs of electrostatic charge.

'Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!'

Yes. Patrick Henry is born this year in the Old Dominion... that is... the Virginia Colony. His father is a Scottish immigrant. His mother is a wealthy widow of a prominent family. He is born into the middle gentry... about the same level as George Washington. He will try to make it as a farmer with a wife and the six slaves given to him as a wedding gift from his father, but with the land played out, the yields will be poor so... after moving into a tavern, he will take up lawyering. In 1765 he will be elected to the House of Burgesses (the Virginian legislature) and jump in with both feet. He will give a rip-roaring speech against the Stamp Act. The tale of the speech will grow in the telling. The line that most people cite was probably not said exactly this way, but most people have settled on this....
"Caesar had his Brutus; Charles the First his Cromwell; and George the Third ....may he profit by their example. If this be treason, make the most of it!" --Patrick Henry, 1765.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
History can be fuzzy. In 1775 Patrick Henry made another speech that most people remembered more clearly than his "treason speech." The Virginia legislature was arguing about whether to mobilize their troops in defense of Virginia against the mounting British threat. Patrick Henry's speech in favor of mobilization was not written down at the time. It was reproduced years later after his death from the recollections of others. Memory tends to smooth out the rough spots. Most of the name-calling was edited out. Whatever he actually said, he swung the vote in favor of mobilization. Years later people believe he said the following...[12]
Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! --Patrick Henry, 1775.[13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1736, Wikipedia.

Friday, February 19, 2016

History: The Year is 1735

I've uploaded year 1735 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Our Divided Nature and Divided Thinking -- A scientist will introduce a new science that will change everyone's thinking. That means modern thinking as well.

Paul Revere is Here! -- He is born on New Year's day and become a local hero and great silversmith, but years later Longfellow's poem will turn him into a national celebrity.

Damning with Faint Praise -- Alexander Pope's poem introduces a new phrase to the English language.

Our Divided Nature and Divided Thinking

Is it animal, vegetable or mineral? This standard question is made the standard by Carl Von Linné. He is a Swedish botanist, zoologist and the father of the taxonomy... the science of classifying organisms based on their similarities and differences. He separates nature into three kingdoms: animals, vegetables and minerals. Then he subdivides the kingdoms into classes, and then orders, and families and so forth. This is a slightly different system from the one used by evolutionists in the modern day, but Carl has pointed the way. He will jolt the scientific world into a new way of thinking... a new way of dividing up the world. In the years to come, Charles Darwin will propose a theory of evolution that he would have difficulty expressing without the work done in 1735 because in this same year a French scientist will suggest that it took 2 billion years for the world to be created instead of the previously believed 6,000 years. It is actually more like 4.5 billion years but this is a start. [1] [2] [3] [4][5] [6] [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Western Thinking or Enlightenment Thinking is so new and radical that when I read the debates of ancient scholars, it is as if I have been transported to an alien world. The ancients were just as intelligent as we are today, but we divide the world differently now. Is it plant, or animal? Big or small? Hot or cold? Square or round? What color is it? We categorize objects and ideas into smaller and smaller groups until we can make assumptions based on similarities. This new process allows us to ask important questions such as: if birds have feathers and birds fly, why does a bat fly but an ostrich does not? If a Nazi and a Communist are both socialists, why is one called a right-wing fascist but the other is called a left-wing collectivist? Whatever the answer to these questions, the miracle of modern thinking is that it occurs to us to ask these questions in the first place! Enlightenment thinking has spread like a virus, but I assure you that when you get this virus, you are cured... mostly. [8]

Paul Revere is Here!

Paul Revere is born in the North End of Boston on New Years Day of 1735 according to the modern calendar, but they are not using the modern calendar so it is December 21, 1734. His father is a goldsmith so Paul will grow up being apprenticed to his father as a gold and silversmith. As he grows up under British rule he will become involved in a secret conspiracy to rebel against the British government (called the Sons of Liberty) and he will find ways to cause havoc and destruction, but let's leave that discussion for another time. The bottom line is that Paul Revere will do critical work for the American Revolution, especially when it comes to delivering messages fast and he will be able to explain the reasoning behind the messages because he will be closely involved with the leadership of the Revolution. After the Revolution he will remain a local hero and an accomplished silversmith until a famous poet turns him into a national celebrity. [6] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Of course, the famous poet was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He wrote The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere which is an exciting poem, but he takes some "liberties" with the actual story. At this late date, I'm not sure the details matter any more. Who cares that he borrowed the horse? Who cares what time he left? Paul's task was to get a message to John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British were coming by sea. Along the way, he made a lot of noise. Someone shouted that he should keep the noise down. He replied, "Noise! You'll have noise enough before long. The regulars are coming out!" He delivered his message and afterward was caught by a British patrol. They held him for a while and then let him go. He had to find his way back without the horse.
  • The following is the beginning of the Wadsworth poem, but it is the part that most people remember...
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, 'If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.' [12]

Damning with Faint Praise

A new phrase is introduced to the English language by Alexander Pope in his poem entitled, "The Prologue to the Satires." This is a satirical poem in praise of Alexander Pope's physician and an attack on his physician's foes. It reads in part...
Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;
Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike,
Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike;
Alike reserved to blame, or to commend,
A timorous foe, and a suspicious friend;
Dreading e'en fools, by flatterers besieged,
And so obliging, that he ne'er obliged;
Like Cato, give his little senate laws,
And sit attentive to his own applause; [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1735, Wikipedia.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

History: The Year is 1734

I've uploaded year 1734 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Burn, Baby, Burn: When the Government Licenses the News -- The new Governor is setting fire to the new newspaper because it is satirizing him. I talk about the need for unregulated ridicule of our leadership.

Daniel Boone is the Common Man -- He is born in Pennsylvania and he will lament the fact that the myth doesn't match the reality of himself.

Burn, Baby, Burn: When the Government Licenses the News

The new Governor of New York has ordered issues of The New York Weekly Journal to be burned. Governor Crosby contends that The Journal has been undermining confidence in the government and disturbing the public peace. He offers a reward of 50 pounds (over $10,000) for anyone who will reveal the identity of this wicked and vile publisher. The Journal started publishing late last year to offset the government licensed: New York Gazette. The publisher of The Gazette, William Bradford, is not a terrible man, but he doesn't want to rock the boat. The publisher of The Journal is John Peter Zenger, one of Bradford's former apprentices. The public LOVES Zenger's satirical rants against Governor Crosby. Zenger is finally caught and held in prison without charges. He is put on trial for sedition and libel. Truth is not a defense against libel at this time but Zenger's lawyer, Andrew Hamilton, argues that it is the public that is being libeled by Governor Crosby. After 10 short minutes, the trial is over. John Zenger goes free. He will continue publishing The New York Weekly Journal until his death. His wife, Anna Catharina Zenger, will continue publishing the newspaper. She will be the first woman to publish an American newspaper. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The lawyer who won the case in 10 minutes lived in Philadelphia. From Zenger's defense we get the phrase, "It would take a Philadelphia lawyer to get him off." Americans liked seeing the aristocracy taken to the woodshed. They still do. In the modern day we see the media ignore or explain away much of the foolishness of our designated leadership. I recently heard one Presidential candidate bark like a dog on camera! It made me laugh but I wonder why I didn't hear more about it. The American people expect fair-and-balanced ridicule of our leadership. It cannot come from a single source, nor be quickly disposed of in 20 seconds of coverage by the network news. It must be raw, unsanctioned ridicule of everyone. We should never force civility at the point of a gun (which is what a law is). Convincing our fellows to be civil through reasoning is fine and if ridicule turns to violence, I'm OK with self-defense in kind. I am not OK with licensing the news, nor passing laws to enforce kind speech. [5] [6] (Optional): My favorite source of unsanctioned ridicule is The No Agenda Show. [7]

Daniel Boone is the Common Man

Daniel Boone is born in Pennsylvania, and he will grow to become a legend in his own time... the icon of an American frontiersman. He will carry a rifle made in Pennsylvania but it will be called a "Kentucky Rifle" because he will use it while tracking his way through the wilds of Kentucky. Frankly, everything beyond the Cumberland Gap is considered "Kentucky". That includes Tennessee. During his explorations he will establish the town of Boonesborough. (Catchy name!) It will be one of the first towns to be established beyond the Appalachians. During the American Revolution, the government will be short on cash so they will offer certificates backed by land grants. Mostly, those grants will be for land west of the Appalachians. Despite Boone's efforts Kentucky will remain "a dark and bloody country" for years and years. After the war, those land grant certificates will be redeemed for pennies on the dollar and Daniel Boone will lose a lot of money on land speculation in Kentucky. [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is difficult to separate the myth from the man, Daniel Boone. He led the exploration of the Cumberland Gap through the Appalachian mountains, but the path was already well known to the Indians. They traveled through the area often which is how it came to the attention of Dr. Thomas Walker. He was the one who gave it the name, Cumberland Gap to honor the Duke of Cumberland, the youngest son of King George the 2nd. Many others had traveled through Kentucky, so while we can give Daniel Boone credit for blazing the trail for new colonists, he was not the first. He was only the best remembered.
"Many heroic actions and chivalrous adventures are related of me which exist only in the regions of fancy. With me the world has taken great liberties, and yet I have been but a common man." -- Daniel Boone. [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1734, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

History: The Year is 1733

I've uploaded year 1733 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Rum and the Right to Tax the Colonies -- The Molasses Act places a tax on the American colonies without representation.

The Saint John Insurrection -- A slave rebellion goes on and on and on.

Important Events -- A better loom, a hypnotist and the largest bell in the world.

Rum and the Right to Tax the Colonies

A revolution begins with small things. A British tax on French rum, sugar and molasses is not intended as a big money-maker for the government. The point is that French rum is 60% cheaper than British rum and the British plantations of the West Indies are screaming for help. Thus, a 9-pence tax (almost $8) per gallon is imposed on French rum and a smaller tax is imposed on French molasses and sugar. This makes everything made with sugar more expensive, and encourages a strange philanthropy amongst the American colonists. They send empty ships to the French West Indies flying the white flag to beg the French to release British prisoners from the terrible dungeons rumored to be located there. Oddly enough, the ships return loaded with cheap French rum, sugar and molasses but very few redeemed prisoners. The Molasses Act will fail in its goal to save the British plantations of the West Indies, but the British Parliament will have taxed the American colonists without representation and the American colonists will have circumvented British authority. It is a small thing, but from molasses the American Revolution will take root. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There was no protest of "Taxation without representation" and it was the Golden Age of Piracy. The colonists participated in so many illegal deals that it all seemed normal. Also, the American colonies were a dumping ground for British criminals and ne'er-do-wells. While there were many honest people living in the American colonies, a strong underground economy existed. Governments forget that when a tax is raised too high, it becomes profitable for citizens to take the risk of circumventing the tax. Then the government spends more money enforcing the tax. The tax must be raised again to cover the additional expense. This makes it even more profitable for a certain level of criminal. While the activity is ILLEGAL, many people may not see it as immoral. For example: buying cigarettes in a low-tax state and selling them in a high-tax state for a profit is illegal, but for the smoker, a cigarette is a cigarette. The unintended consequence of the higher tax is that normal, law-abiding citizens will become accustomed to breaking the law, or supporting those who do. That makes it easier to break further laws and to defy authority.

The Saint John Insurrection

In the modern day, St. John is part of the United States Virgin Islands, but in 1733, it is Danish territory. The Danes are absentee owners living in St. Thomas while letting overseers run their plantations. Many slaves are escaping into the woods, so additional laws are passed to allow cruel discipline in order to prevent runaways. This includes whippings and dismemberment. The slaves were once part of the ruling class in Africa. When they fell out of power, their neighbors sold them into slavery in the Danish West Indies. This produced a large class of slaves with a sense of privilege. As the cruelty mounted, the slaves made a plan for rebellion. They regularly delivered wood to the local fort, so they hid knives in the bundles. They attacked and took the fort. The Danes don't have much of a military force in place so the rebellion goes on until the next year when a larger and better armed force will arrive to put down the rebellion. The Saint John Insurrection will be one of the earliest and longest slave rebellions on record. [7] [8] [9]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, the slaves who rebelled were largely from the ruling class in Africa. They had conquered their neighbors, took their women, and sold the men into slavery. That was why, when they fell out of power, their neighbors felt perfectly justified in selling the previous rulers into slavery. If these former rulers deserved death then they would have been tried and their lives taken. Selling them into slavery was exile. Their neighbors were making sure that the previous rulers didn't return to cause trouble. This was a normal process for the world at the time. However, when slavery and exile turned into death and dismemberment, they may have felt that the punishment exceeded the crime and they rebelled.

Important Events

  • The Flying Shuttle Loom is patented by John Kay. It makes weaving faster, and eliminates one laborer. [1] [10]
  • The First Mesmerizing Hypnotist is Born: Franz Anton Mesmer's theory of "animal magnetism" will later be called hypnotism. [1] [11]
  • The Largest Bell in the World weighing over 222 tons will be cast in Russia. The Tsar Bell will never be rung. [1] [12]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1733, Wikipedia.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

History: The Year is 1732

I've uploaded year 1732 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Skittles Arrive in New York and Texas -- Skittles is a game called ninepins. It is an early form of bowling.

Poor Richard's Almanac and Modern PR -- Benjamin Franklin prints his own almanac, and it is not only filled with proverbs. It also contains a prank and a running joke.

George Washington and So-called Presidents Day -- I talk about the basic facts of his birth and the fact that there is not really a president's Day as a Federal holiday.


Skittles Arrive in New York and Texas

Ninepins is a bowling game from the Middle Ages with its origins in Germany. A version of this game called "skittles" is played in Great Britain. Sometimes it is a lawn game. Other times it is a tabletop pub game played indoors. Ninepins is brought to New York by the Dutch and played for the first time this year. By 1895 the game will be standardized after being outlawed in Connecticut. The game will be replaced by the 10-pin bowling game when a machine for resetting 10-pins is developed. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
A quick search of the Internet shows a tabletop version of ninepins available for less than $10. The only place that ninepins is played seriously any more is in Central Texas. The game came to Texas along with German immigrants. You can still find it played in Fredricksburg (the hometown of Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz) and New Braunfels. Personally I've never played the game, but I was intrigued that such an ancient game remains popular here. Fredricksburg and New Braunfels are popular tourist destinations. [4] [5]

Poor Richard's Almanac and Modern PR

The word "almanac" comes from the Arabic word meaning "calendar." Such calendars have grown from a simple list of religious reminders to include the phases of the moon, information on bloodletting and predictions from Nostradamus. Print shops love almanacs because like any calendar, you need a new one every year. Thus they are a steady source of income. Benjamin Franklin has been printing two popular almanacs, but he has had a falling out with the authors so he writes his own under the pen name of Richard Saunders. Along with the normal information expected in almanacs, "Poor Richard" provides his thoughts on life in the form of proverbs. Some of these proverbs are original, and others are well-known but reworked. [6] [7]
* Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
* He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.
* Haste makes waste.
* No gains without pains.
* God helps them that help themselves.
* None preaches better than the ANT, and she says nothing.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Franklin knew what to do to get free publicity. For example: He predicted the date and hour of death of his main competitor, Titan Leeds. It was a prank, and Leeds responded by calling Franklin a "conceited scribbler," a liar and a fool. Thus Leeds mentioned Franklin and Poor Richard in his own almanac. The exchange became a running joke. When Leeds finally died, Franklin, in the name of Poor Richard, claimed to be receiving letters from Leed's ghost. This was outrageous... and thus quite popular.

George Washington and So-called Presidents Day

Adjusting the date to the Gregorian calendar, George Washington is born on February 22, 1732 into a Virginia plantation family of "middling rank" as they put it. He will live at what he later calls "the Old Mansion" where Pope's Creek meets the Potomac. They will move to Ferry Farm in 1738. He will receive an elementary school education, and then his father will die. His mother, Mary, will push him hard to succeed and he will listen carefully to her guidance. Many of the stories about his youth have no documentation, or are recollections that are misremembered by relatives or are simply wrong. He could not possibly have skipped a silver dollar across the Potomac, but other rivers were possible. The story about the cherry tree came from Parson Weems who was looking for inspirational stories about George Washington. The story was known and the relatives never denied it, but actual hard evidence is lacking. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
There is NO FEDERAL HOLIDAY named "Presidents Day". There is Washington's Birthday which is celebrated the third Monday of the month of February. Individual states have named this holiday variously, "Washington and Lincoln's Birthday," "Presidents Day," and even "Washington and Jefferson's Birthday." FYI, Jefferson's birthday is in April but who cares? If you can switch around a man's birthday celebration so that it gives you a three-day weekend, then the actual month is meaningless. I don't like celebrating a day just for any President, because frankly, I despise some Presidents. (I'm looking at you Woodrow Wilson!) Also, I remember when holidays used to be celebrated in the middle of the week. When that happened, we were forced to discuss WHY we were celebrating. When such holidays fell on a Monday or Friday, we just partied. [13] [14] [15]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1732, Wikipedia.

Monday, February 15, 2016

History: The Year is 1731

I've uploaded year 1731 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Last Execution for Witchcraft in Europe -- I talk about the possibility that menopause was mistaken for possession back in those days. Yes. I told my wife I was going to write about this.

Franklin's First Public Library and Libraries Today -- It is a subscription library so I talk about how modern libraries have become mostly a subscription library hidden by a layer of government.

Significant Events -- Martha Washington is born and Independence Hall is built.

The Last Execution for Witchcraft in Europe

Catherine is 68 years old, and she has been making her way through her old age by begging and spinning wool. It is rumored that she is a Huguenot (a type of Calvinist) and a witch. The local bailiff investigates and notices that she is missing several toes on her left foot. Catherine explains that she was sleeping in a barn when two men and a woman set upon her and cut off her toes. The bailiff recalls a hunt in which he shot a fox in the leg. It screamed with a human voice and when he searched for it, it disappeared. He now believes that Catherine is the fox that he shot. He puts her on trial and people give testimony to her many crimes of sorcery. Nevertheless, the judge is not convinced so she is suspended by her arms until she confesses to flying on a broom and similar feats of magic. She is sentenced to strangulation by a rope and her body is burned at the stake. Catherine is the last woman in Europe to be executed for witchcraft. In 1782, Anna Göldi will be suspected of witchcraft but she will be executed for non-lethal poisoning. Normally people are not executed for failing to murder someone, so Anna will be exonerated in 2008. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Brace yourselves. I'm going to talk about menopause. In the 1500s and 1600s, 50% of the women who were accused of witchcraft were age 50 or above. Women going through menopause were often suspected of witchcraft. During the transition to menopause, a woman's mood swings will vary from general grumpiness to severe mood disorders. (See your doctor.) I am told this can be caused by water pressure on the brain to severe hormonal changes. As long as a husband knows what is going on he can generally resist strangling his wife in her sleep. It is easy to imagine the more severe cases being mistaken for possession, and even the women going through it might have believed that was exactly what was happening. Without information it must have been frightening. These severe mood swings do not happen to all women. My sense is that it doesn't even happen to the majority of women, but it happens often enough to cause worry. Once again, see your doctor. [5] [6] [7]

Franklin's First Public Library and Libraries Today

A few years ago Benjamin Franklin established a club for moral improvement called the Leather Apron Club. (It was also called the Junto after the Whig Junto in Great Britain which consisted of the Prime Minister and his cabinet.) Each Friday they meet and a subject is brought up for discussion. Often someone will reference a book to support his position, so the club members decide to keep their books at Mr. Grace's home. This is not as convenient as they first imagined so they take back their books and Franklin organizes a subscription library. A membership fee of 40 shillings is charged (over $400 in modern money) for free access to existing books and 10 shillings a year (over $100 in modern money) to go toward new purchases. This is a lot of money so only 50 people subscribe initially, mostly tradesmen. Non-members can borrow books after leaving a deposit equal to the replacement cost of the book. This is the first subscription library in the British colonies and it will grow into the Library Company of Philadelphia. It will remain the largest library in the United States until the Civil War. In the modern day it will become a history research library, and open to the public. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The differences between a public library and subscription library have been blurred. A public library is usually funded by taxes, but that tax money is often spent on renting books from subscription services... essentially rental bookstores. A few books are purchased for the long term but to fill the need of the public, they will rent additional books for the initial surge. Ebooks and digital audiobooks are also rented. Libraries redirect their members to subscription websites. The library pays a fee to the subscription library so that public library members can have access to the subscription service. Thus, EBooks can be checked out and downloaded to one's Smart Phone. The big-building libraries are going the way of the dinosaur, so naturally the City of Austin, Texas is spending millions to build a shiny new library, opening in November of 2016. Apparently, those digital books take up a lot of space. [15] [16]

Significant Events

  • Martha Washington née Dandridge is born to a Virginia planter. As the wife of Pres. George Washington, she will be known simply as "Lady Washington." [17]
  • Independence Hall began as the Philadelphia State House constructed this year. [18]
  • Number 10 Downing Street is constructed this year. It is the residence of the British Prime Minister. [19]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1731, Wikipedia.

Friday, February 12, 2016

History: The Year is 1730

I've uploaded year 1730 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The First Synagogue in New York City -- This more than the first synagogue.

Turnip Townshend's Farming Innovation -- The Viscount leaves government to become a farmer. He rotates his crops using turnips.

Rape upon Rape... a Comedy -- This is a satire on corruption in the justice system. I talk about the problem in plea bargaining.

The First Synagogue in New York City

The first Jewish congregation was established in New Amsterdam back in the 1650s. They were refugees from Brazil with nothing more than the clothes on their backs so they couldn't do much more than consecrate a Jewish cemetery. Now, after decades of renting, they have built a synagogue on Mill Street in lower Manhattan. Over the coming years, the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue will move from building to building until 1897 when they will move into their modern location at Central Park West. It will become the oldest synagogue in the United States. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Well... the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue is more important to the history of Jews in America than I can easily explain to a general audience. If you have been following along in the history segment, you may have noticed that some Christians were experimenting with religion and were making some radical changes. But other Christians didn't like that much experimentation. A few reforms? Sure. Radical changes? Not so much. The same thing happened within Judaism. There were Jews who thought that some ritual reforms were needed, but that any reforms should be done in a careful and systematic way. In the early 1900s, the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue led the movement to slow down the experimentation within Judaism. Today, the rabbi of the synagogue is the tenth man to hold the position since the American Revolution. He is a Modern Orthodox rabbi which means he applies ancient Jewish tradition in a modern context. Thus the synagogue is maintaining its stance on change while being careful and methodical about it. [3] [4] [5]

Turnip Townshend's Farming Innovation

What would you do it you were sick of high political office and decided to retire? Well... you would plant turnips! Right? Charles Townshend is the 2nd Viscount Townshend and he is the British Secretary of State. He guides foreign policy, but it seems he can only reach compromise when he has the upper hand. He has been losing power to the British Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole, so he decides to pack it in and join the revolution... the British agricultural revolution. He returns to his lands in Norfolk and promotes a 4-crop rotation of wheat, barley, clover and turnips. He says that turnips are better in the ground than in the pot. This type of crop rotation is often called the Norfolk method. He didn't invent the system. It is Flemish in origin, but his name becomes associated with it. Thus he gets the nickname of "Turnip" Townshend. [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This happens a lot where a certain idea becomes associated with a prominent person who didn't come up with the original idea but because of his celebrity or energy in promoting the idea, eventually is thought to be the inventor. That happened to William of Occam and Occam's Razor, Benjamin Franklin and the discovery of electricity, and in professional boxing with the Marquess of Queensberry Rules. The 9th Marquess of Queensberry did NOT author the rules for boxing. He simply promoted them because he thought they were needed. The actual author of the rules was John Graham Chambers. Remember him? Neither do I. [9] [10] FYI, the Boston Massacre of 1770 was believed to be a reaction to the Townshend Acts of 1767 that punished the colonies for not complying with certain British laws such as the quartering of British soldiers. That was a DIFFERENT Charles Townshend... a grandson of "Turnip" Townshend. [11] [12]

Rape upon Rape... a Comedy

This play is a satire on corruption in the justice system. Henry Fielding will be known best as the author of the novel, "Tom Jones" but he has written several plays, many of them satires. "Rape upon Rape" is about two men who are accused of rape and then are raped by the system of justice. They come before Judge Squeezum who is corrupt, so they cook up a scheme to catch this corrupt judge by falsifying the evidence. In a sense, everyone is corrupt though some have good motives. Generally, the moral of the story is: "Two wrongs don't make a right." [13] [14] [15] [16]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Corruption is often born of good intentions. Men and women get processed through the justice system quickly if they agree to plead guilty to some lesser charge. Those who plead innocent slow the system to a crawl. Evidence must be collected. Witnesses must be interviewed. Lawyers must be consulted and everyone's schedules must agree. When little things go wrong, the trial is rescheduled. I've seen men wait a year... easy. If a prisoner can't make bail, he sits in his cell and waits. As he waits, he can lose his apartment, his car, his job and his wife when her bad situation is made worse without a husband. Plea bargaining speeds up justice for the guilty, but it can also tempt the innocent into accepting a bad offer just to make the pain stop. Eliminating plea bargaining would force the prosecutor to consider how good a case he really has. Criminals would go free for lack of evidence but fewer of the innocent would be punished simply because they declared their innocence. [17] [18]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1730, Wikipedia.