Thursday, February 11, 2016

History: The Year is 1729

I've uploaded year 1729 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Eating the Poor and Eating the Rich -- A satirical essay from Jonathan Swift suggests the poor should be eaten. I talk about the "Eat the Rich" movement.

Benjamin Franklin Does NOT Discover Electricity -- I discuss the idea that somehow Franklin could not possibly have discovered electricity.

Science and Math -- Short and long scales of the definition of billion and the Brightest Comet ever seen.

Eating the Poor and Eating the Rich

There is an on-going problem with the Irish poor that screams to be solved. Jonathan Swift (an Irishman) steps forward with a modest proposal to buy Irish children and slice them up "as we do roasting pigs." Yes. It is the duty of every Irishman to eat the poor... at least the children of the poor. This is satire as much as Gulliver's Travels is. Jonathan Swift uses false argument such as an appeal to authority, "A very knowing American," and he offers his real proposal as if he were Br'er Rabbit begging Br'er Fox not to throw him into the brier patch. Here is a paraphrase (modified so as to make it immediately comprehensible): [1] [2] [3]
Therefore let no man talk to me of other proposals: Of taxing absentee landlords at five shillings a pound: Of buying only clothes and furniture of our country's manufacture: Of utterly rejecting foreign luxury items: Of preaching against pride, vanity, idleness, and gambling: Of promoting savings, wisdom and sobriety: Of learning to love our country and teaching love for the foreigner... even the Swedish: Of letting go of our animosities and factions, [...] Lastly, of putting a spirit of honesty, industry, and skill into our shop-keepers (the grasping, cynical opportunists). Therefore I repeat, let no man talk to me of these proposals, until he has at least some sign of hope, that there will ever be a sincere attempt to put them into practice. -- Paraphrased from A Modest Proposal. [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Yes. When it comes to government debt, I always say, "Whatever we do, let's not talk about decreasing government spending!" Of course, that is exactly what I want to talk about. It is a rhetorical tactic. In 1729, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (roo-SO) was 16-years-old, but years later he said, "When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich." This idea was used in the Occupy Wall Street protests where people carried signs that read "Eat the Rich." It was odd watching celebrities join the protests when I knew they were very rich. Jean-Jacques Rousseau is worth studying as a philosopher but as a human being he was not a pleasant fellow. In fact his wife called him "An interesting madman." I think some of his ideas are wrong, but his influence in American education today is undeniable. [6] [7] [8] [9]

Benjamin Franklin Does NOT Discover Electricity

At this time Benjamin Franklin is busy buying an existing newspaper and renaming it, "The Pennsylvania Gazette." He and his business partner will turn it into the most influential newspaper in New England. His experiments in science will come along soon enough. For now, the English scientist, Stephen Gray, is methodically testing various materials for the conductivity of electricity and finding a number of good insulators. [10] [11] [12] [13]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The idea that Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity is utterly ridiculous. There is a myth that in 1752 he flew a kite with a key tied to the string while in the midst of a summer lightening storm. It is a good story but too dangerous to be true, or at least not survivable. Franklin did propose that lightening was a form of electricity. He also proposed the idea of positive and negative poles of electricity. Electricity had been well known as a phenomenon for centuries. Reading the Bible carefully, an engineer will soon realize that the Ark of the Covenant was a very large (and extremely expensive) capacitor. The very word "electricity" means "of amber" and came into use in the mid-1600s. People had realized that rubbing amber against certain types of material produced static electricity and a shock. They actually used the word electricity, so the idea that somehow Franklin discovered it is just so much rubbish. [14] [15] [16]

Science and Math

  • A Billion is a Thousand Million: A Harvard professor introduces the short scale for numbers in use in the modern day where a billion is a thousand million rather than the long scale where a billion is a million million. [17] [18]
  • The Largest Comet Every Seen: In terms of brightness, the largest comet ever seen from Earth is Comet Sarabat in 1729, but other comets would have seemed brighter if Earth had been closer when the comets approached the Sun. [19] [20]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1729, Wikipedia.

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