Tuesday, February 23, 2016

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.

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