Wednesday, July 27, 2016

History: The Year is 1836

I've uploaded year 1836 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Faraday Cage and EMP -- I talk about practical reasons for such a device.

Remember the Alamo! -- I talk about the one guy who leaves the Alamo.

In Other News -- Milton Bradly, Thomas Crapper and the strike anywhere match.

The Faraday Cage and EMP

With amazing foresight, Michael Faraday discovers that a static electric charge remains on the surface of a metal rather than traveling through it. He lines a room with foil and measures the amount of electric charge inside while hitting it from the outside with an electrostatic charge. He uses one of the oldest tools invented for measuring electric charge, the electroscope. Essentially, a non-conductive material is suspended by a fine thread of silk. Any static charge near it will pull the non-conductive material toward it. A similar effect occurs when your hair passes near a static charge. He proves that static charge is neutralized within the room. This discovery will have practical applications well into the electronics age such as reducing electronic interference, blocking radios waves and protecting electronic devices from the dreaded electromagnetic pulse or EMP. The electroscope will remain in use into the modern day measuring radiation dosage. My jaw is dropping. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
An EMP attack from North Korea seems unlikely, but a massive solar flare could do it. In 1859, such a flare fused telegraph wires. In 1989, a solar storm knocked out power across Quebec. Another barely missed the Earth in 2012, so it worrisome. Major electronics in 1989 were VERY EXPENSIVE and carefully shielded. Today, a sudden surge would destroy televisions, smartphones, GPS devices, most radios (except the ones with tubes), and the electronic ignitions of modern cars and trucks.... the trucks that will NO LONGER deliver spare parts nor groceries. You will need a small Faraday cage: a metal can, well sealed, insulated on the inside and grounded. You can store a small radio or electronic parts there. Shielding for larger areas gets expensive because it usually involves lots of copper. A more PRACTICAL use for a Faraday cage is to protect the modern credit card from thieves. A card can be activated when waved near a proper reader, Thus, a thief can wave a portable reader near your wallet and accomplish the same thing. You can buy a Faraday wallet for less than $20, or you can make one out of duct tape and aluminum foil. Regarding the effects of power lines, and wireless utility meters, I don't worry, but if YOU worry, building a Faraday cage is within the means of most people. You can at least surround your bed at night for peace of mind and store a few essential electronics underneath the bed.... just in case. [7] [8]

Remember the Alamo!

General Santa Anna is here and he has brought his army. The Republic of Texas has declared its independence. Their fortunes, their lives and their sacred honor are at stake and they know what it means if they fail. Col. William Travis is holding the fortifications at the Alamo, but he is having no better luck than Mexican General Cós had last year during the Siege. With forlorn hope (which is no hope at all) he draws a line in the sand. All who are willing to die with him shall cross it. Even Jim Bowie, almost dead from tuberculosis, has his bed carried over the line. One man remains... "Moses" Rose. Up to this point he has fought bravely alongside Jim Bowie which has never been a safe place to stand, but Rose says that he is not yet ready to die. He escapes westward through the town of San Antonio which is separate from the Alamo in these days. The defenders resolve to sell their lives as dearly as possible. Three days after Rose clears the wall, a cry goes up. "The Mexicans are coming!" It is March 6th, 5:30 in the morning. Travis shouts, "We'll give them Hell!" The Alamo cannon fire hits the Mexican troops with a sickening slap. Travis delivers two blasts from his shotgun and receives one to the forehead in return. It is a slaughter until the north wall is breached. The Texans fall back. Jim Bowie lays on his death bed and asks for no quarter. None is given. It is too late for that now. Former Congressman Davey Crockett is left to defend the chapel. He had told his constituents that if they insisted on going to Hell, he was going to Texas, presumably for an honest fight. He has found one as he and six of his men are the last to fall. "Remember the Alamo!" becomes the battle cry at the Battle of San Jacinto a few weeks later. Santa Anna is going to pay and Sam Houston is going to collect. [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Could the Alamo defenders have surrendered? Unlikely. Santa Anna needed to show resolve by crushing all opposition, ruthlessly. The wolves behind him would have taken him down, otherwise. Regarding Rose, he was Jewish as am I. I find him an embarrassment today although I think I would have been OK with him at the time. Like my father who fought in Korea, he had done his duty. If wanted to set down his musket, given a fair choice, that was his business, but I worry about the lesson it conveys today. It tends to paint Jews as weak and weakness draws enemies closer in... until the hammer falls. It is a mistake in tactics and I tell my fellows so. Regarding the Battle of San Jacinto, it was the major victory, but it would not have sealed Texas Independence alone. Fortunately, General Santa Anna was found the day after the battle hiding in the marshes. With his surrender his army was forced to capitulate. Later, Santa Anna was criticized for calling for liberty, but resorting to a dictatorship. He replied that, "A hundred years to come my people will not be fit for liberty. They do not know what it is, unenlightened as they are, and under the influence of a Catholic clergy, a despotism is the proper government for them, but there is no reason why it should not be a wise and virtuous one." I am not sure how the Catholic clergy held them back. As I recall, a Catholic priest led the Mexican revolution, at least at first. He was correct that a certain amount of rational decision-making by the people is required for a properly run democratic republic, though. [12]

In Other News

  • Milton Bradly is born! In his "checkered" life he will no doubt be "gaming" the system soon. [13]
  • Finally, strike anywhere matches that don't explode are invented. Don't strike them, though. They use white phosphorus and that is ... toxic. A less toxic formula will be found later. [14]
  • Thomas Crapper is born to everyone's relief. He will not invent the modern toilet but he will make the discussion of modern plumbing more acceptable as a topic. [15]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1836, Wikipedia.

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