Monday, August 22, 2016

History: The Year is 1854

I've uploaded year 1854 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Third Pandemic and Unmarked Cesspits -- A local cholera outbreak is traced to a water well that was dug next to an unmarked cesspit.

Unleashing Democracy in Australia -- The Eureka Rebellion leads to the deaths of 27 men, a legislature, the vote for unlanded men and secret ballots!

The Charge of the Light Brigade -- Mistakes were made and so were heroes.

In Other News -- Ten Nights in a Bar Room, the Republican Party and Henry does NOT invent the light bulb.

The Third Pandemic and Unmarked Cesspits

The cholera pandemic has hit the United Kingdom. Experts of the time believe that miasma (my-AZZ-mah) or "bad air" is the cause of disease, but Dr. Snow thinks that contaminated water is the problem. He plots cases of cholera on a map and interviews survivors in his area. He notices that the sick all drank from the same water well. He inspects the water under a microscope, but sees no germs. Nevertheless, he convinces the townspeople to remove the handle from the water pump and shuts down the well. The deaths from cholera drop and the local threat is over. What was really wrong? The water well had been dug 3 feet from an unmarked and abandoned cesspit. Unfortunately, the townspeople didn't really believe that the water was the problem, so they started using the well again. (Palm to forehead.) Dr. Snow's work on water contamination as a source of disease will eventually lead to a revamping of London's sewer systems. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
My biology teacher told me that human waste is not dirty per se, but when a person is ill, many human germs will pass out of the body through human waste. So as a precaution (and I think this is a really good idea) we treat human waste as if it contains disease. In a crowded situation where we don't know who is sick and who is well, maintaining good sewage discipline is critical. Years ago my job entailed spotting abandoned cesspits. It was not easy. When a bulldozer would scrape an area down to natural soil, I would look for a circular stain or pieces of brick in a circular pattern. The old cesspits were lined with brick but so were cisterns that collected water for gardens. (In the old days people didn't use drinking water for their plants. They collected rain water.) I have uncovered cisterns that went down 20 feet or more. It is a long way to the bottom so use care. There is a joke that the grass is always greener over the septic tank. If that is true then the septic tank is full or damaged. Call a professional. Your water supply can always benefit from filters and sterilization, but avoiding the major hazards of sewage disposal in the first place will go a long way to keep you disease free in an emergency. [3] [4] [5]

Unleashing Democracy in Australia

27 men lie dead after a protest over licensing fees goes terribly wrong. The Eureka Rebellion is considered Australian's version of "the shot heard around the world." The recent Australian Gold Rush has put economic, social and political pressure on what has been a pastoral country. (Think sheep grazing on the plains.) But now boom towns have sprung up, and prices are soaring. This sort of economic, social and political pressure is familiar to Californians, but for Australia, it is 1775. They have submitted a new charter (or constitution) to the British Parliament, but it looks like the Big Boys will get the mine and the Little Guys will get the shaft. The governor wants the gold miners to pay their licensing fees, but it looks more like harassment as the regulators check licenses 6 times a day. The annual fee is not that much if you have found gold, but a miner will be arrested if he does not have his license on his person... not in his tent, not in his saddle bag, not tucked in his Bible but on his person. This amounts to harassment so the miners build the Eureka Stockade to keep the regulators out. It is considered a political protest, but the government sees it as a rebellion and sends out the troops. 30 minutes later 27 people are dead... mostly miners. Democracy can be a deadly gift. The new Australian constitution will be approved next year, which will give the country more autonomy, but after this incident the government will be forced to establish a legislature, grant voting rights to non-land owners, and issue a secret ballot! (Is nothing sacred?) [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... how was building a crude fort in Eureka, Victoria a political protest? Well... any time you lock out the government, the government wonders what you are doing. If you refuse to show your papers on demand... 6 times a day... you are in violation of the law. If you decide to protest your harassment, you have given the authorities an excuse to act. And if you take that protest far enough, civil discourse can come apart fairly quickly. I have provided examples in the notes, but when you refuse to submit to government demands, bad things can happen. If the police pull you over because you fit the description of a bank robber, do not jump out of your car and run for the woods. They will not be thinking that you needed to take a leak. My son was arrested for carrying a Nerf gun, all because there was a recent convenience store robbery and someone noticed him walking around the college campus shooting his friends with a TOY! [12] [13] [14]

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred. [15]
In every war mistakes are made. General Cardigan has been given the order to charge the guns. Which guns? Captain Nolan points to the guns down range about a mile away. Guns to the left. Guns to the right. Guns ahead. It is clearly suicide, but no one protests... or at least no one alive after this charge will remember anyone protesting. This is the British light cavalry. Fast horses. No armor. Sabers and a lot of guts. Their normal mission is reconnaissance and running down retreating infantry. General Raglan notices the Russians attempting to retreat with some naval guns. He sends an order to attack the guns. When the order finally reaches Cardigan, Cardigan does not see any guns except the ones down range... in the Valley of Death. Cardigan leads the charge and he doesn't look back. Captain Nolan seems to realize the mistake and tries to turn the brigade but the Captain is shot early on. Cardigan reaches his objective, engages the Russians and then returns. 110 are killed. 161 are wounded. Six week later, Lord Tennyson publishes his poem entitled, The Charge of the Light Brigade and they are made public heroes. [16] [17]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Cardigan and his light brigade were considered heroes, but the officers above them were considered goats. Nevertheless, they all escaped blame. My sense is that it was probably a misinterpreted order. Some experts claim that Cardigan would have lost more men if he correctly interpreted the order. Other say that the charge would have worked if the heavy brigade had followed in with them, but the leader of the heavy brigade said that it made no sense to do that and no one contradicted him at the time.

In Other News

  • "Ten Nights in a Bar Room" is published. It is the 2nd most popular book in America after Uncle Tom's Cabin. The story warns the public of the evils of demon alcohol. [18] [19] [20]
  • The Republican Party is formed. The Whigs are split North and South. They can do nothing on slavery whatsoever, so the northern Whigs form a new anti-slavery political party. [21] [22]
  • Henry Göbel invents the light bulb... NOT! Thomas Edison's patents will be challenged by the "Göbel Defense", but there is not enough evidence to prove that Göbel actually invented the light bulb, so the credit (and the money) will go to Edison. [23]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1854, Wikipedia.

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