Sunday, October 23, 2016

History: The Year is 1890

I've uploaded year 1890 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Wounded Knee Massacre -- It is a massacre in every sense of the word. Unarmed women and babies slaughtered by US troops and they get 20 Medals of Honor for it and a promotion.

Chicago Wins the World's Fair -- They have no clue how they are going to put together a World's Fair. I also recommend a novel, "Timebound" where a time traveler goes back to the Fair to stop a murder.

The Sherman Anti-Trust Act -- This is government protecting us from the bad guys, and taking years and years to do so.

Notable Births -- Fokker, Ho Chi Min and Eisenhower.

In Other News -- Chicago World's Fair, Psychology and Rubber gloves to protect the surgeon... not the patient.

The Wounded Knee Massacre

Men, women and little children are going to die today who shouldn't have died and US soldiers will die mostly in "friendly fire" incidents and receive medals that they should have returned. Different people tell different stories about what happened, so if you have heard a different story, then it is different. Here is one account. The Ghost Dance Movement is popular amongst the Indians. It is based on Christian ideals of faith in God, honesty, good works, and hope for Heaven. It also predicts the return of Jesus very soon. The Ghost Dance itself is a circle dance familiar to all Indians. However, warriors now wear Ghost Dancer shirts in the belief that they will block bullets. The new regional commander of US forces thinks that the Ghost Dance stands in the way of Indian assimilation into civilized society. The general policy of the US government is to turn the Indians into farmers whether they like it or not. The warriors don't like it, so... in the process of rounding up resisters, the Lakota Indians are funneled toward Wounded Knee Creek. Exactly what happened next is unclear, but either a deaf Indian didn't understand that he was supposed to disarm, or someone tripped over his own feet, but a shot rings out. Then more shots are fired. US reinforcements show up and chaos reigns. There is no plan. Just shoot men, shoot women, shoot babies. Shoot anything that moves including your own men. There is a word for this type of fighting. Actually, I can think of several words, but children under 40 might be listening. There is a body count.... minimums. At least 18 little children dead. 44 women. The rest is a mix of boys and men. Maybe 300 in total for both sides. The regional commander, General Miles rips into the Colonel James Forsyth and immediately relives him of command. In the end, the Indians will bury their dead at Wounded Knee. Colonel Forsyth will be promoted to Major General and 20 (count them) 20 Medals of Honor will be awarded for conspicuous bravery, and distinguished gallantry while gunning down little children. I don't know what to say. Most Americans at the time were OK with the massacre. I think I'm going to throw up. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Perhaps it was the following morning when the saying went out:
"Those who were wounded at Wounded Knee have been brought here, and they are lying right now in the church, filling it up,"
so my mother and I hurried to the church.
People kept going there to look on, but as for me, I only went that once; I didn't like them, so I didn't go again. Smelling of blood, looking so dirty, they were spoiling our church; they were yelling so hard now, when really it was their own fault for being intractable.
--A mixed-blood woman and informant named Emmy Valandry.[6]

Chicago Wins the World's Fair

The World's Fair in Paris was marked by the construction of the Eiffel Tower last year. To many artists the tower is a wrought iron atrocity, but to the people of Chicago, it represents a challenge. Competition for the 1893 World's Fair has been fierce. New York is the natural choice and it is backed by New York financiers, but Chicago wants it bad. Chicago is the largest city in the United States, although they won't know it until the Hollerith tabulating machines process the US census. Chicago has built its first steel-framed skyscraper... the tallest in the United States... ten stories tall! (I get dizzy just thinking about it.) Yet the city is considered unsophisticated by New York standards, and perhaps it is. Yet when the voting comes in, Chicago wins! The citizens are ecstatic, but the organizers are worried. They have NO EARTHLY IDEA how they will make it happen. It is supposed to be a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the discovery of the New World by Columbus. (One year off. Close enough.) At its center will be the world's first Ferris Wheel. They will also introduce the belly dancer to America, moving pictures, and Krupps' artillery exposition featuring "The Thunderer" which can hurl a projectile 15 miles. They call it a peacemaker. The buildings will be stuccoed and painted white. With electric lights keeping it lit at night the buildings will gleam, so they will call it "The White City". [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK. That all sounds very happy, but by July they still hadn't picked out the exact site. (They finally selected Jackson Park.) It was a miracle they got it built at all, and they made an impact. I have mentioned before that a serial killer was preying on young women who came to Chicago. As early as 1890 the Chicago Tribune was printing a warning to women that REAL classified ads for stenographers DO NOT include phrases like "must be blonde" or "please transmit a photograph". I'm drawing most of my information on the serial killer from Erik Larson's book "The Devil in the White City," but if you like romance mixed with time travel, check out the novel "Timebound" by Rysa Walker. A teenage girl must go back in time to the Chicago World's Fair to prevent a murder and fix the time line. As one might guess, she runs into the Chicago killer, Dr. H. H. Holmes, who had already murdered around 200 women and burned their bodies into ash in his basement. [12] [13]

The Sherman Anti-Trust Act

This law should be named "The Sherman Lack-of-Trust Act", but you can usually trust businessmen to look after their own best interests. Specifically, US Senator John Sherman of Ohio has been worried that Standard Oil is killing competition and circumventing state law. Ohio state law prohibits corporations from owning stock in other corporations, so Standard Oil set up an umbrella organization that holds several corporations in trust. In other words, the Standard Oil Trust manages multiple corporations... sort of like a real estate management service that keeps an eye on your apartments, collects rents, mows the lawns and calls a plumber when needed. But the Standard Oil Trust is seen as a legal dodge. They have been lowering prices to the consumer, and killing competition. (Are they really? Who knows?) The Sherman Anti-trust Act makes monopolies, and conspiracies between corporations illegal. Senator Sherman assures the public that the Act, "...applies old and well recognised principles of common law." Of course, one wonders why one needs a new law if it is simply a restatement of old laws. In two years Ohio will break up the Standard Oil Trust and Standard Oil will become a holding company based in New Jersey. 21 years from now it will finally be broken up into multiple companies. That will be a long wait. [14]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This is a tricky subject. If I open a business and offer a product that is better and costs less than my competitors, am I bad? Should the government do something? In the 1980s the Japanese were accused of dumping below-cost computer memory onto the American market. Certainly the memory chips cost less than what American companies could produce them for. America was once home to several major electronics firms, but a slump in the market caused American companies to put their efforts into more complex semiconductor chips with a larger profit margin. When the memory market became profitable again, Japan and Korea were well positioned to take advantage, but the American companies needed to retool to become competitive. This is an old story. Large, well-established companies don't want to retool, so they demand that government do something. President Reagan imposed an 100% tariff on the Japanese televisions, computers, and other items in retaliation. It was a bold stroke that came too late. So what should have happened? Nothing. No help. My sense is that American companies were expecting the US government to protect them from foreign competition. Because of that expectation, they got lazy, killed their own innovation and locked themselves out of their own market. Passing yet another law won't protect a business from the big bad guys. All a law can do is to punish them after the fact... long after you are out of business. [15] [16] [17]

Notable Births

  • Anthony Fokker: He will design the Red Baron's Fokker Triplane in World War 1. (Those Fokkers were amazing.) [18] [19] [20]
  • Ho Chi Min: He will become the 1st President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and a major thorn in the side of the USA during the Vietnam War. [18]
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower: He will become the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War 2 and a very effective (if somewhat quiet) President of the United States. [18] [21]

In Other News

  • William James publishes "The Principles of Psychology". He is considered the first American psychologist. He prefers an introspective approach instead of the behavioral conditioning of his day. [18] [22]
  • Rubber gloves are used for the first time in surgery. Dr. Halsted of John Hopkins Hospital wants to avoid dermatitis. In other words... the gloves are there to protect HIM! [18] [23]
  • West Point hosts the first Army-Navy football game. Navy wins, 24–0, but Army will make a comeback next year, 32–16. [24]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1890, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1889

I've uploaded year 1889 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Nintendo Game Systems and the Perils of a Family Business -- Nintendo opens for business as a gambling card company. It will successfully change with the times, but A&P will not.

The Starry Night and the Difficulty in Diagnosing Mental Illness -- Vincent Van Gogh checks into an asylum. I talk about alcoholism and a study on how difficult it is to diagnose mental illness.

Diabetes Has Gone to the Dogs -- Animal experimentation and a recommendation for a novel.

In Other News -- Cordite, "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" and Adolf Hitler.

Nintendo Game Systems and the Perils of a Family Business

It is a card game played with hanafuda cards or "Flower Cards". The cards were forbidden by the Japanese government centuries earlier when they feared the influence of Christianity, clocks and gambling that the Portuguese sailors had introduced to Japan. The Japanese were mostly successful in containing the threats of clocks and Christianity, but gambling remained and went underground. Those looking for a secret game would rub their nose. Now with the westernization of Japan underway, the restrictions on flower cards has been lifted. A young entrepreneur opens a shop in Kyoto (key-oh-toe) and produces hand-made cards out of paper from the bark of mulberry trees. He names his business "Nin-ten-do" which is often translated as "Leave luck to heaven" but could also mean (in context): "The Temple of Legal Hanafuda Cards". Business is slow at first but eventually almost every household in the city owns a pack of his playing cards. Then business dries up, so he starts selling to the gambling houses. They have the custom at the high-stakes tables of opening a new pack of playing cards for each game. With firm contracts in hand, the company is on course to becoming a major gambling supplier. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The problem with a family business is that the following generations often lack the confidence and business sense of the "old man". Nintendo got lucky when the owner died without an obvious heir to the family business. His grandchild was in college, so the young man was selected. He fired all the old fogies and put men of his own age into the senior slots. He made a couple of bad moves, but mostly the company did well until he hit on the idea of using his distribution channels to market video games, and the company prospered. As an example of a family business failure, consider the A&P markets. By 1965 it was the largest retail chain in the USA. It was HUGE! But after "Daddy" died, his heirs were afraid to make the change to supermarkets. The A&P depended on customers making frequent, smaller purchases rather than what we would call "a full shopping". They were too big to be a convenience store and too small to be a supermarket. In business, the formula for failure is to own a larger-and-larger portion of a shrinking market. The A&P finally closed its doors in 2015 after 156 years in business. [3]

The Starry Night and the Difficulty in Diagnosing Mental Illness

The artist Vincent Van Gogh has voluntarily admitted himself to an insane asylum. Last December he was in a rage with one of his fellow artists, and for some reason used a razor to slice off his own ear. He has no memory of the incident. There is some evidence that he presented the ear as a gift to a maid in a brothel to bring healing to the deep scarring she suffered from a wound. This is a strong indicator of mental illness or the later stages of alcoholism. That is why Van Gogh checked himself into an asylum. Around the 1850s, asylums became more like hospitals, and funding increased. Thus Van Gogh has walked into a treatment center and not a holding cell. The grounds are beautiful and he is entranced by the view out his window. One starry night he paints a picture of that view. It will become one of his most memorable paintings, but he will call it a failure. He attempts to use abstraction to exaggerate the stars in the sky, but he is unhappy with the result. His friends are delighted. He will soon check himself out of the asylum and move to a town in the suburbs of Paris. Next year he will paint a Wheatfield with Crows, and then shoot himself at the age of 37. [4] [5] [6] [7]
The sadness will last forever.
--The last words of Vincent Van Gogh as he dies from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I have seen schizophrenia be mistaken for alcoholism and vice versa. Any accurate diagnosis requires a certain time free from alcohol. I am not a doctor, but I know that alcoholism in its later stages is a serious physical problem. A friend of mine in Amarillo was transporting a drunk to Lubbock to place her in a treatment center. She gave her a beer to make the trip. Someone asked why she would do such a thing. I replied for her. "Well... have you ever been to Lubbock?" That was a joke, but having a drunk go into cardiac arrest in the middle of Nowhere, Texas is not a good thing. Give the gal a drink. Regarding identifying mental illness, a study was done in the 1970's to determine how accurately a mental institution could spot a faker. Several students and Professor David Rosenhan complained of hearing voices and were admitted to an asylum. Then they acted normally and said that the voices had gone away. They spent an average of 19 days in an institution, given a prescription for strong anti-psychotic drugs and sent home with a diagnosis of "schizophrenia in remission". The director at another institution promised that he could catch the Professor's fakers. His staff spotted 41 possible fakers out of 193 new patients and 19 were considered actual fakers by at least one staff member. Professor Rosenhan had sent no fakers to them at all. ZERO! He published his results in the academic journal, Science under the title, "On being sane in insane places". [8]

Diabetes Has Gone to the Dogs

In animal experiments, a German and Lithuanian scientist remove the pancreas from dogs and notice that the dogs show signs of diabetes. The dogs die shortly thereafter. (Thanks a lot, Doc!) But years later, Canadian scientists will carry it further. They will gather insulin from the pancreas of healthy dogs and then inject it into the dogs without a pancreas. The dogs will live. Then the scientists will work out a method of generating insulin. In January of 1921, Doctor Banting, Doctor Best, and several others will produce insulin from a cow pancreas and inject it into a dying 14 year-old boy and save his life. The next month they will save 25 more lives. They will patent their method and give the patent away free of charge. Eli Lilly and Company will set up production the next year and they will save 25,000 living souls. These scientists are going to get the Nobel Prize and then spread the prize money around to their colleagues who will not be named, but deserve the recognition all the same. [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Animal experiments were the critical factor in this discovery and the cure. At that point, I don't see how they could have done it any other way without the loss of millions of human lives. I don't like hurting dogs or any animals for that matter unless it is necessary. I also understand that some regulation on the treatment and dispatching of animals for food or for experiment is needed. Certainly the Bible calls for never eating an animal "with it's life blood in it." That means: don't eat it while it is still alive. You kill an animal as quickly and painlessly as reasonable. No fooling around. Jews and Muslims have stricter rules that apply to them. That's fine. Most of us are too far removed from the reality of farm life. Meat doesn't come from the grocery store, teachers don't live at the school and human lives could not be saved without some animal experimentation. I recommend a novel that delves into animal experimentation that has gone too far. "The Plague Dogs" by Richard Adams is about two dogs that escape from an experimental lab and are mistakenly believed to be carrying the Plague. They scare the snot out of everyone across the countryside. It is at times tragic, comedic and the ending is fabulous. Adams is best known for "Watership Down", but "The Plague Dogs" is worth reading. [12] [13] [14]

In Other News

  • Cordite (Mark 1) is invented. This low-explosive is a smokeless substitute for gunpowder. It is extruded into cord-like filaments and used in shells and gun cartridges. Mark 1 will prove too corrosive and be modified several times. [15] [16]
  • Mark Twain publishes "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court". A machinist is knocked out and wakes up in 6th century Camelot. This is one of the first time-traveling novels. The next one will be H.G. Well's The Time Machine. [15] [17]
  • Adolf Hitler is born. He will become the leader of the Nazi Party and use the popular eugenics movement to murder millions of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and the handicapped. The rumor that his grandfather was a Jew is erroneous. [15] [18]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1889, Wikipedia.

Friday, October 21, 2016

History: The Year is 1888

I've uploaded year 1888 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Letters from Hell and Jack the Ripper -- I talk about the lack of public acceptance of police presence and detectives then and in the modern day.

Tesla and the AC Electric Motor -- I talk about the AC-DC Wars between Westinghouse and Edison which leads to the death of Topsy the Elephant and the Electric Chair.

Casey at the Bat -- I talk a little about the poem and the comedy rendition of Penn and Teller.

In Other News -- The Nobel Prize, the Great Blizzard and George Eastman produces the "Kodak" camera.

Letters from Hell and Jack the Ripper

Let's be clear. We are talking about one of the first modern serial killers. Before this time such killings were attributed to werewolves, or vampires, but today "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is the modern horror fantasy. People come to the city on business or pleasure or just to get away from the small town life. Soon, letters from worried parents arrive at police stations. The city offers anonymity and the new electric lights allow more activity at night. Newcomers are often met at the train station by a helpful stranger with an easy smile and a friendly offer. Most young people return home a few months later... a little sadder and a lot wiser, but a few end up in that back alley, or in the river. It's tough out there in the big city. No one really knows when Jack the Ripper started his rampage on the East end of London. Maybe it was with Emma Smith. In the early hours of April 3rd, she is viciously assaulted with a blunt object. Please don't make me tell you how. She slips into a coma and dies the next day. Other "women of the night" fall prey to the serial killer in various gruesome ways including defleshing their faces down to the bone. The Whitechapel Vigilance Committee is organized to patrol the streets. In a letter to the Committee postmarked October 15th, Jack the Ripper includes part of the kidney of Kate Conway. He says he has eaten the other part. The letter is not signed, but it has a return address of "Hell" and ends with "Catch me when you Can". He is never caught, and never identified. The official body count is 5, which is amazingly low considering the fear that the name "Jack the Ripper" still generates in the modern day, but this is the first case of a vicious crime turned into a feeding frenzy of fear by the mass media. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
After reading the accounts of the murders and viewing the photographs of the murder scenes, I was ill. There are several letters from people claiming to be Jack the Ripper, but the "From Hell" letter is considered authentic. A few years ago, the mystery writer, Patricia Conway, investigated the murders using modern forensic techniques including DNA sampling from a letter supposedly sent by Jack the Ripper. She is convinced that the murderer was an artist named Walter Sickert, but who really knows? In the late 1800s, detective work was in its infancy. People were against deploying plain-clothed spies to entrap the public. Frankly, even today with every TV crime show displaying modern forensic techniques, the public is not convinced. Take a look at old black-and-white episodes of "Dragnet" and you'll see Sgt. Joe Friday telling solid citizens that detectives are just there to HELP the public. "Just the facts, ma'am" was the motto of the show. They were not only teaching the public to trust the police. They were also teaching the police to round up the facts, and not just the usual suspects. [4]

Tesla and the AC Electric Motor

It's the war of the patents out there with Edison taking the lead. Nikola Tesla once worked for Thomas Edison, but Edison was not particularly good to his employees, seeing them as workmen implementing his ideas or as fountains from which to take ideas. There is nothing wrong with claiming ownership for the ideas of one's employees... unless there is a provision for sharing the wealth. Edison made a deal with Tesla that he failed to keep so Tesla left. Now Tesla has developed an AC motor with rotating magnetic fields. AC stands for alternating current. Edison has the patents for DC (direct current) motors and generators. The practical difference is that AC current can be connected by wire over long distances. DC can only be connected over short distances and requires expensive repeater stations. While this makes good economic sense for Edison Electric, the buyers would like something less expensive to implement... thus AC current. Westinghouse has been looking to buy the patents for an AC motor so he contacts Tesla and makes the deal. Look out America. Electricity is coming to your town.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Edison was very unhappy with George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. Tesla practically gave away that deal to Westinghouse just to make sure that his technology was adopted. (Don't worry. Tesla made money on the deal, but think for a second. What would you charge for selling an invention that you know will change the whole freaking world! Yeah. They don't make checks that hold that many zeros.) Edison was so angry that he started a campaign to show how dangerous AC current was. He actually electrocuted Topsy the Elephant to demonstrate the danger. (There is a video on YouTube. It is horrifying.) Edison also convinced the State of New York to develop the Electric Chair for capital punishment cases. (Collusion is such an ugly word. I prefer bribery and graft.) William Kemmler was its first customer. He had beaten his common law wife to death with the blunt end of an axe in front of her five year-old daughter. Somehow, with all the screaming going on, his neighbors noticed. He was found guilty of murder and he agreed that he deserved to die. OK. They strapped him into the chair and hit the switch. Zap! Quick and painless... just like Edison said. But wait! They heard a moan! My God! He was still alive! They cranked up the juice and fried him. I mean they cooked him... really cooked him right there on the chair! Edison's credibility was lost. His company, Edison General Electric eventually adopted AC current because just like gasoline... it's dangerous, but if you are careful, it gets you where you want to go at a much lower cost than other methods. [5] [6] [7]

Casey at the Bat

I don't really follow baseball, but I can rightfully say that baseball saved my sanity in 1978 because I had lost my job and I would have gone crazy if I couldn't have listened to the baseball game on the radio. The famous poem, Casey at the Bat is first published in 1888 in the San Francisco Examiner and thereafter recited by various artists. My favorite rendition is by the comedy-magic duo: Penn and Teller. Penn reads the poem while Teller is suspended above the stage in a straight jacket. The rope is tied to the chair where Penn is sitting. Hopefully the suspense won't kill Teller, because if he can't release himself before Penn finishes the poem, Teller will fall head-first to the stage and his certain (well... probable) death. (Spoiler Alert: He makes it.) [8]
The sneer is gone from Casey's lip, his teeth are clenched in hate;
he pounds with cruel violence his bat upon the plate.
And now the pitcher holds the ball, and now he lets it go,
and now the air is shattered by the force of Casey's blow.
Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
the band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
and somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
but there is no joy in Mudville — mighty Casey has struck out. [9]

In Other News

  • The "Merchant of Death" reads his own obituary. Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, finds his own name in the obituaries, labelled as "The Merchant of Death". It is a mistake, but he plans for a better obituary by changing his will to establish the Nobel Prize for Science, Literature and PEACE! [10]
  • The Great Blizzard kills over 400 across the US east coast. This is the blizzard that every TV weather guy and gal measures the next snowfall prediction. It is a bad blizzard, but there were worse ones before this. Much, much worse. [11]
  • George Eastman produces the "Kodak" box camera. He also introduces "roll film" which will inspire the creation of the motion picture camera. No BS. This guy will be a major player in the future. [12] [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1888, Wikipedia.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

History: The Year is 1887

I've uploaded year 1887 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Big Die and the End of the Range Cattle Era -- A VERY bad winter in the Western USA causes a 90% die-off of open range cattle.

The Second Scientific Revolution Has Begun -- Two scientists prove that the ether that was supposed to carry light waves does not exist... yet light travels.

IBM and the Growing Problem with the US Census -- Hollerith invents a card punch and sorting machine to handle the US census. I talk about collection of data to find people.

In Other News -- Dunlop tires, Bosch ignition and Pearl Harbor.

The Big Die and the End of the Range Cattle Era

"It would have been all right, if it hadn't been for the weather"
--An old rancher, remembering the Hard Winter of 1887. [1]
Last year it was an unusually hot, dry summer followed by a deadly cold winter. Record-breaking snowfall has heaped almost 4 inches in San Francisco and 7 inches in the hills. (It has snowed there about 6 times in the last 150 years.) Of course, Krakatoa blew it's top and spread volcanic ash throughout the upper atmosphere, dropping global temperatures. The change has hit the cattle industry in the United States hard. Normally, cattle in the West are allowed to free range across everyone's property. If you want cattle to stay off your property, you must put up a fence to keep them out. But when the foliage died off last summer and the waterholes dried up, the stress on the cattle was severe. Then a hard winter followed with very little forage left. One rancher in Montana reports 20 to 40 degrees below zero and heavy storms for 6 days. He projects a 25 to 40 percent loss of his cattle. In fact, about 90% of the open range cattle will not make it through the winter. Those that survive will be thin and frostbitten by roundup time, so it will be difficult to get a good price. Many ranchers will go out of business, and while the practice of raising cattle on the open range won't stop, it will no longer be the preferred method. [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Texas is an "open range" state to a limited extent... which is a contradiction in terms. The general rule is that livestock are allowed to range at large, and fences are meant to keep livestock out of areas where property owners do not wish them to be. But the exceptions are so many that one should not depend on the general rule. Some counties do not allow open ranging. Federal highways do not allow open range livestock. Although the winter of 1887 marked the year when the practice was greatly reduced, the weather was not the only reason. The invention of barbed-wire made it cheaper to fence cattle in rather than hire cowboys to round up strays. More railways meant pressure on cattlemen to keep stray cows off the tracks. The additional fencing resulted in the Fence-Cutting Wars of the 1880s and 90s and some really great westerns in the 1960s and 70s. Open ranging remains a controversy into the modern day with some ranchers believing they have carte blanche to range their cattle on public lands. This leads to accusations of overgrazing, and so it goes. [6] [7]

The Second Scientific Revolution Has Begun

Something fundamental in the way scientists view the Universe has just changed. The basic assumption about light and gravity is that they are carried along like waves on a pond. Scientists have assumed that some medium like water must exist to carry those waves. By tradition they call this invisible medium "the ether." Since (presumably) the Earth is traveling through this ether, it should be possible to measure our relative speed in relation to it by measuring the time it takes for light to travel in a vacuum, going in perpendicular directions. There should be a difference if the ether exists, but when Michelson and Morley take their measurements there is no difference. They have proven that the photons do not require an invisible medium to convey them through a vacuum.... Oh dear God! This is like primitive man suddenly realizing that the Earth is not traveling on the back of a giant turtle. What is holding it up? If light is not a wave then it must be a particle, but it doesn't act like a particle. It is going so fast it should drill holes through everything! And what about gravity? How can that possibly work if there is not an underlying medium? The Universe has just taken a flying leap into the void. They must rethink everything. [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
At this point Albert Einstein is about 8 years old so no help there. Even though I've given the impression that Michelson and Morley have shaken the foundations of science... that is a judgment looking back in time. They did not enjoy immediate, widespread acceptance, and why should they? They upset the delicate balance of centuries of pet theories, and the prestige of academic leadership. You can't just throw that all away for truth and beauty. Can you? To be fair, it always takes time to verify findings and then figure out what it all means. I remember the great disagreements over String Theory. With several competing String theories, which one was right? Supergravity eventually pulled it all together, showing that the competing theories were actually different aspects of a larger idea called M-theory. I'm not going into an explanation, but in academic circles there are fads, competitions and even petty jealousies. The fellow who came up with Supergravity had been working in obscurity for years, struggling to find grant money, and trying to convince the all important graduate students to join him in his struggle. Such decisions can be career-killers. He was finally vindicated, but watching him interviewed on a TV science show, it seemed like a bitter victory. [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

IBM and the Growing Problem with the US Census

International Business Machines does not yet exist as a company, but the founder, Herman Hollerith does. He is an intense and meticulous man, born of German immigrants. He graduated as an engineer, but he was hired as an census assistant by his former professor who is working for the government on the US census. The department has been handed an impossible task... the tabulation of data from the USA census... seven years ago. Yes. They are still working on it. They fear that population growth will soon require the NEXT census to start before the PREVIOUS census is compete. That is why Hollerith's old professor has come to him for an answer. Hollerith works out an ingenious system called the Hollerith Code, a series of holes punched into cards to encode data. Each card represents a record filled with basic data. Then he builds a sorting machine that "reads" the code on the card, sorting for specific criteria such as marital status, age, number of children, etc. This produces new stacks of cards that can be sorted in additional ways. He puts in a bid for the next census. What took 7.5 years to process, he will complete in 2.5 years. He calls his business the Tabulating Machine Company which will be renamed IBM. Hollerith will lease these machines rather than sell them to allow closer control over their usage. He likes control. So does the government. In a few years, the Nazis will be delighted with IBM. Without those sorting machines they will never be able to sort out the so-called "Master Race" from the undesirables. You can guess what will happen next.
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Let's put aside the issue of the Nazis for another time. After the attacks of 9-11 there was a consensus that we should NOT perform mass arrests, but there was a desire to sort out the sheep from the goats. Several credit card companies came forward, suggesting that they already used a customer's buying patterns to identify when a card is stolen. Often one of the first things a thief will do is to buy two tanks of gas and pair of sneakers. The card is shut down when that happens, but they suggested that other patterns can be seen in the data like whether a customer is preparing for a trip, or is sick or pregnant, or possibly a terrorist. I recall a few short years ago when the government issued criteria to identify domestic terrorists... like... if you protest when you are asked to provide identification, or if you pay in cash rather than a credit card. One should be able to avoid credit card debt without fear of being wrestled to the ground as a possible terrorist. We provide a lot of information about ourselves on Facebook and even in email. Apparently, NOT participating is a red flag, so the only way to avoid the notice of my government is to lose myself in the clutter of normal usage.... like a good sheepdog. [17] [18]

In Other News

  • Dunlop tires for all your tricycle needs. John Dunlop develops the first inflatable tire. He mounts it on a wooden disk for his kid's tricycle. [19]
  • Robert Bosch adapts a magneto ignition system to a stationary engine. Ten years later he will adapt a similar magneto system to fire the spark plugs on a vehicle. [20]
  • The US Navy signs the lease on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. It begins as a coal and repair station. [21]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1887, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

History: The Year is 1886

I've uploaded year 1886 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Automatic Copyright -- You no longer have to register a copyright to claim it... in a few countries.

A Totally Useless Metal is Discovered... Germanium -- This is the beginning of the semiconductor industry, but they don't know it. They don't know a lot of what is coming but they think they know everything.

In Other News -- The Benz motorcar, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and a serial murderer takes his first victim.

The Automatic Copyright

It is called the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and for every signatory country a minimum automatic copyright protection is granted without the requirement of registration. It is enough that I publish a work or perform it or display it. I don't have to run down to the copyright office and fill out a form in black ink (not blue ink) nor pay a fee. I also do not have to apply for copyright protection in several countries simultaneously. While this all sounds reasonable, the number of initial signatories to the agreement is small: Belgium, France, Germany, Haiti, Italy, Liberia, Spain, Switzerland, and the all important... Tunisia. The United Kingdom also signs but will not actually implement the convention until 100 years later. The United States will be a late signer and even later implementer of the convention. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
While the general idea of an automatic copyright is admirable, and even necessary in the modern day, it assumes that all published works will remain significant and commercially viable for decades after the author's death. This is almost never true. While we would all agree that credit should be given where credit is due, what actually happens is that every artist is assumed to be guilty of a violation unless he can prove his ideas came from his own creativity. This proof usually comes from a creative diary, or prior art that can be fixed to a certain time. If I write a book, I must footnote everything, and not simply write out my thoughts. Otherwise, I can be accused of plagiarism when "great minds think alike". In the history segment I can't always lay my hands on an exact citation. Will jack-booted thugs knock down my door and arrest me? I'm not sure. Since there is nothing new under the Sun... oh... wait... is that phrase under copyright? I know Let's Roll!® is a registered trademark of the Todd M. Beamer Foundation! I'm totally hosed. [2] [3]

A Totally Useless Metal is Discovered... Germanium

The Periodic Table of Elements is a controversial arrangement of known elements that predicts the properties of undiscovered elements and suggests that certain groups of elements have similar properties. A few years ago the Russian scientist, Dmitri Mendeleev, predicted an element similar to silicon with very specific properties that he called eka-silicon. No one paid attention. This year, miners find a vein of silver with unknown impurities. After the German chemist, Clemens Winkler, separates out the impurities he finds "eka-silicon" and names it neptunium... after the planet Neptune, but the name has been reserved, so he settles for "germanium" (ger-MAIN-ee-um) after Germany. He finds that germanium is a poorly conducting metal of very little commercial value, so it will sit on the shelf for about 60 years until World War 2 when someone will need a SEMICONDUCTOR for a pulse radar detector. Production of germanium will jump from a few kilograms a year to 40 metric tons, and it will build from there. These "poorly conducting" metals are called "semiconductors" and will be used to make diodes, transistors and CPUs for your computer. They will also make possible the miniaturization of electronics that turn a computer that is as big as a house into a smartphone that fits into your pocket. [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
CAUTION: there is some selective editing of history going on here that is almost unavoidable. Some very important events are occurring in quick succession. When you look back on these key events, the whole narrative looks like "The March of Progress"... that picture of a monkey turning into an ape, then primitive man, and then modern man. It gives the impression that progress is inevitable, but that is total BS. (Bad Science.) Look around you RIGHT NOW! What is the inevitable plan for the next 100 years? How about the next 30 years? We can see general trends, but what are the specifics? 30 years ago could anyone have predicted the iPhone? I remember entering a binary instruction using flip-switches to start my computer! (That was the IMSAI 8080 running at 2 Mega-Hertz with 64K of memory. You saw Matthew Broderick using in IMSAI 8080 in the movie "War Games".) What was the plan that led us inevitably to a computer in our pocket running a quad-core CPU at 2.23 Giga-Hertz? We ignore the missed opportunities, the blind alleys, the "better" technologies that never caught on, and the lame technologies that were made good enough. (I'm looking at you, Ethernet.) The people of the 1880's thought they had the puzzle all figured out. They just had to fill in a few of the missing pieces. They had no idea what was coming. None. [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

In Other News

  • The Benz motorcar is patented. It is a 3-wheel horseless carriage with a rear-mounted engine, using a trembler coil and a dripping evaporator for a carburetor. (I'm surprised it doesn't burst into flames.) Daimler produced a 2-wheel version last year that looks like a motorcycle. [11] [12] [13]
  • "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" by R. L. Stevenson is published. The civilized Dr. Jekyll struggles with the evil animal-self of Mr. Hyde living within. [14]
  • Dr. Holmes buys a pharmacy from Mrs. Holton. He will become the famous serial killer stalking the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 with a body count reaching upwards of 200. He starts with Mrs. Holton who takes an "extended vacation" and is never seen again. [15] [16] [17]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1886, Wikipedia.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

History: The Year is 1885

I've uploaded year 1885 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Chinese are Massacred -- White miners beating up and killing Chinese miners in Wyoming. It's really bad.

Pasteur and the Rabies Vaccine -- French doctors saving lives. That's good. I talk about how these guys would be arrested today.

In Other News -- Bicycle playing cards, the popcorn machine and Dr. Pepper.

The Chinese are Massacred

Chinese miners have done reasonably well financially in the USA and Australia. They are not getting wildly rich, but they are supporting themselves. They work hard, and they work for less money. In Wyoming, the trouble starts when the Knights of Labor (an early labor union) initiates a miners strike against Union Pacific Coal. After 2 weeks, the company replaces the white workers with Chinese. The Chinese population in Rock Springs, Wyoming soars but after the passage of the Chinese Immigration Exclusion Act the local chapter of the Knights of Labor want the Chinese booted out of town because they are driving down wages. (To be fair, everyone's wages are pretty low.) Several white miners arrive at pit number 6 and tell the Chinese miners to move off. A fight ensues and one Chinese miner is killed. A work stoppage begins and by that afternoon, 150 white men are marching on Chinatown. Shots are fired and the Chinese attempt to flee. Chinese people are beaten, robbed, shot and burned inside their homes. Troops are called in and when the Chinese are escorted back to town a week later, bodies remain out in the open eaten by dogs. The property damage alone reaches almost 4 million in 2015 dollars and no one is prosecuted since (according to the Grand Jury) no witnesses saw anyone commit any crime. The Federal government will make restitution for the property damage... eventually. [1] [2] [3]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Given that a miner's wages in those days was darn near slave wages, it is easy to see why union miners might get riled up when some miners continue to work during a strike. Racism was also part of it, but there was the observation that the Chinese kept to themselves. From my personal perspective, this seems fine, but I've seen people get upset when certain ethnic groups seem clannish. Skin color is an easy identifier, but how one dresses is also a factor. Prior to the anti-Chinese riots, most Protestant clergy were pro-Chinese, but one prominent clergyman was not. His complaint was that the Chinese were not converting to Christianity; they dressed in an odd fashion and they wore that pigtail called a "cue". At first this seemed laughable to his fellow clergymen, but after the Chinese Exclusion Act that prohibited Chinese immigration, the pro-Chinese clergy could no longer get traction. It is that same feeling you get when you shout "But it's against the Constitution!" ... and all you hear are crickets. It is the correct argument, but no one seems to care, and you know something is fundamentally wrong. [4]

Pasteur and the Rabies Vaccine

I'm not a doctor but rabies is usually caught when you are bitten by an animal that is carrying the disease. The animal seems crazed and often furious. This is when a bite can occur. As the disease progresses there is a need for water, but the patient seems fearful of any water you might offer him. (Due to muscle spasms in the throat, they often fear choking.) Thus rabies is also called "hydrophobia" which means "fear of water". Prior to this year the disease is almost always fatal. In fact, some people simply kill themselves if they are bitten whether they actually present symptoms or not. That is how fearful people can be of this disease. Dr. Louis Pasteur and another French doctor administer a rabies vaccine to a nine-year-old boy who has been mauled by a rabid dog. The boy lives. Thus, there is a method for saving an individual from death from rabies. However, the vaccine must be administered BEFORE symptoms occur. Afterwards... well... the chances of survival AFTER symptoms present themselves are low even in the modern day. [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
This is a medical miracle that is critically important, but Pasteur was using live virus that was weakened considerably. Exactly how considerably and how exactly he did it, I'm not going to say. The procedure seems sort of crazy to me but heck... it was Pasteur... and people were going to die anyway so they were willing to try anything. If he tried this today he would be arrested. In fact, many medicines that we think of as common would never have made it to market in today's environment... like aspirin... for example. When you look at all the drug interaction warnings, the possible side effects and possible aspirin poisoning, it is a wonder that a pharmacy would sell it to you at all. But by 1899 Bayer was selling aspirin like it was going out of style. It has since met competition from other over-the-counter drugs that work in a similar manner, but even these have their warnings on the label. Every body is different so use care. Even natural products can produce side effects. FYI, the word "natural" is not the same as "safe" or even "good". [7]

In Other News

  • Bicycle playing cards are introduced. [8] [9] [10]
  • The popcorn machine is invented. A peanut roaster is modified to automatically pop popcorn. [11] [12]
  • Dr. Pepper is patented. I've been to the Dr. Pepper museum in Waco, Texas. The Texas Ranger Museum is better. [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1885, Wikipedia.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

History: The Year is 1884

I've uploaded year 1884 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

The Fabian Society's Incremental Socialism -- Socialism needs a middle ground between violence and passive resistance. The Fabian Society is incremental, disguising the wolf in sheep's clothing.

The Battle for the Bottom -- It's the US Presidential elections and neither of these guys is good, but they are bad in different ways.

The Battle for North Vietnam -- France has invaded North Vietnam but they can't hold it. Sound familiar?

In Other News -- Huckleberry Finn, the steam turbine, and the Washington Monument.

The Fabian Society's Incremental Socialism

The socialist movement is split between violence and passive resistance. The nihilists engage in violent revolution because it is in man's nature to fight and in nihilism nothing is really good or bad, so blowing people up is just inconvenient. (WHAT?!) Count Tolstoy is a Russian aristocrat who advocates socialist passive resistance. His appeals are respectfully ignored. That leaves the middle ground: an incremental march toward socialism. The Fabian Society has formed in London for this purpose. Their coat of arms is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Their stained-glass window pictures a hammer and tongs in the hands of the Fabians as they beat on the Earth until it burns red. The motto etched into the glass reads, "Remould It Nearer to the Hearts Desire". Their arguments sound sensible at first. Nothing too alarming. Their goal is to beat down society bit-by-bit until it accepts REAL socialism. [1]
"Socialism means equality of income or nothing, and that under Socialism you would not be allowed to be poor. You would be forcibly fed. clothed, lodged, taught, and employed whether you liked it or not. If it were discovered that you had not character and industry enough to be worth all this trouble, you might possibly be executed in a kindly manner; but whilst you were permitted to live you would have to live well."
-- "The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Socialism and Capitalism" by George Bernard Shaw who joined the Fabian Society in 1884. [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Today most young people think that "socialism" is what you do on Facebook and Twitter, but a little over 100 years ago it meant the kindly and manageable release of undesirables and social misfits from the burden of their lives. ([Click here]) Hitler's idea of blending eugenics with socialism led to the death of millions and cast suspicion on family connections... as if there was an anti-socialism gene. In the modern day, people think that the UK represents socialism, but it is socialism-lite: Less money, equal misery and no shooting people in the head.... officially, that is. I've mentioned this before, but in 2010, Fabian Socialist Virginia Ironside was promoting the murder of handicapped children by smothering them in their cribs.... for the good of the child... you see. ([Click Here]) It is a nightmare on the installment plan. [3] [4] [5] [6]

The Battle for the Bottom

The US Presidential campaign has turned into a war of insults and accusations that have the virtue of being true. What other virtues the campaign had is a mystery. The Republican candidate is James Blaine... a swell guy who will gladly sell his vote to you... for the right price. (About 1.2 million in 2010 dollars. Pocket change.) The Mulligan Letters are found in an old book and scrawled across the bottom are the damning words, "Burn this letter!" The chant goes up, "Burn, burn, burn this letter!" Grover Cleveland is the Democrat contender. He is the "honest as George Washington" candidate... until it is revealed that he fathered an illegitimate child. He admits that he paid support for the child, but he is NOT the father. He says he was covering for his married friend since Cleveland is a bachelor. He did the honorable thing as any good man would. (WHAT!?) The cry goes up from Republicans, "Ma, Ma, Where's my Pa?" At this point the Republican candidate probably would have won if it hadn't been for an unfortunate remark by one of his spokesmen who said that Democrats were engaged in rebellion, drunkenness and "Romanism" meaning CATHOLICISM! Angry New York Catholics show up at the polls and 1,000 votes tip the state for Grover Cleavland. Democrats win the race to the bottom! [7]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Make your own connections to the current Presidential elections. There was no good choice or "lesser of two evils". Both candidates were questionable but in different ways. The win for the Democrats broke the 6 election losing streak.... the worst in US history. President Grover Cleavland went on to ignore the spoils system (mostly), leaving Republicans in their positions if they were doing a good job. He vetoed pensions for the military and the non-military disabled. When Texas was ravaged by drought he vetoed a bill appropriating money to buy seed for Texas farmers. With the Federal government well into the black he tried to lower taxes. He modernize the military for defense, but refused to intervene overseas. On the creepy side, he married his friend's daughter and the USA had a 21 year-old First Lady, the youngest in history. The people were OK with it.... but I think he DID have sex with that OTHER woman. [8] [9]

The Battle for North Vietnam

I have to mention this. France has found the resources of North Vietnam irresistible, and they see a way to trade with the Chinese covertly by sending merchants up the Red River to avoid the normal Chinese customs agents. Unfortunately the same river is crawling with pirates. To solve this and many other problems, troops have been allocated to the local French Commandant for merchant escort duty and protection. That would make sense if that is what he used them for. Instead he decides to invade North Vietnam and take Hanoi. But he doesn't have enough troops to HOLD Hanoi. The French become extremely disruptive to Vietnam and Taiwan and mainland China. While many of the Vietnamese collaborators are making money hand-over-fist, the consensus is that the French should take a hike. This is the Tonkin War. As you might guess, it will end in a draw with everyone claiming victory... and then the folks back home in France disavowing everything. It becomes a real mess and the Vietnamese people are disrupted to the point where the French, in their attempt to drag Vietnam into modern era, actually cause it to slide back. It's a lose-lose for everyone, but France will not give it up until the United States decides to lend a hand some time after World War 2. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]

In Other News

  • Mark Twain publishes "Huckleberry Finn". Critics will count it as his best work because he has taken the time to do it right. It illustrates to an uncomfortable degree the racism of yesteryear. It is still worth reading. [15] [16] [17]
  • Sir Charles Parsons invents a practical steam turbine engine. The previous steam turbine over-stressed 19th century materials, so Parsons split the steam into multi-ganged sections and reduced the energy hitting any single blade. [15]
  • The Washington Monument is completed. It was supposed to be several columns but they ran out of money. Once the outside was done, it took several years to build the inside ironwork and to touch up everything. [18]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1884, Wikipedia.

History: The Year is 1883

I've uploaded year 1883 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

Krakatoa is No More -- BAM! The volcanic island is no more. A new island is building today.

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses -- The famous poem is written by the Jewish poet for the Statue of Liberty. I talk about the persecution of the Jews, the US immigration policy and eugenics.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show -- I talk about BS biographies, 16 inch barrelled revolvers and BS biographies.

In Other News -- Borax, the cash register and guilty but insane.

Krakatoa is No More

Krakatoa is a volcanic island located in the strait between Sumatra and Java. The three volcanoes on the island have been inactive for over 200 years. They must be extinct. Right? As dawn approaches, the lighthouse keeper on the Java side of the strait feels a rumble under his feet. Fishermen on Krakatoa swim out to their boats and barely escape with their lives as ash and smoke billow into the sky. The forest bursts into flames. One of the three volcanoes has erupted. Weeks later a British freighter passes within 10 miles when the world is plunged into darkness. At 11 PM a ladder of light rises to the heavens. By the next morning the freighter is 30 miles away when the hammer drops. 8 cubic miles of rock that was once Krakatoa Island suddenly vaporizes. Ash and rock are thrown 17 miles straight up. 4 explosions are heard. The 3rd is the loudest sound ever recorded. 500 miles away, in Singapore, the noise is so loud that people cannot hear each other speak. 3,000 miles away the explosion is mistaken for distant cannon fire. People on Java, sheltering on a hill 155 feet high, are swept away in the tsunami. Thousands upon thousands are dead or drowning. This is not the largest volcanic explosion that ever was, but it is well documented. Instruments are recording the shaking and the barometric pressure fluctuates several times as the atmospheric pressure wave bounces back and forth. World-wide temperatures drop 1.2 degrees and will not return to normal until 1888. [1] [2]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, they had virtually no warning before the initial eruption in May and 100 days later the explosion occurred. Various comparisons have been made to thousands of atomic bombs going off all at once, but frankly atomic bombs could not have done that much damage in so short a time. One of the Krakatoa volcanoes is still active and the island of Anak Krakatoa (Child of Krakatoa) is rising from its ashes. Visiting the new island is considered extremely dangerous. Visiting the nearby islands is rated an 8.4 on the Idiot Scale. Can it happen again? Scientists say, yes, but not any time soon. I'd say Iceland is the more likely site for the next such disaster, but really, who can say? There has been many a scientist who has climbed a volcano and suddenly realized he had guessed wrong and paid for it with his life. [3] [4]

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses

The Statue of Liberty is not yet assembled but the head and arm have been on display since 1876. It is a gift from France, but they expect the United States to supply the site and build the pedestal upon which the completed statue will rest. The site chosen is Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor where a granite base already exists for a defensive gun battery. They rename the site Liberty Island, but fundraising for the pedestal has been slow-going. The famous poet, Emma Lazarus, is well known in elite circles as one of the good Jews. (God help me that is exactly how they thought about it.) Her Judaism did not loom large in her life until Tsar Alexander the 2nd was assassinated recently. The assassins were socialist nihilists, but riots ensued and the Jews were blamed. Lazarus took it personally. She sees America as a refuge for the Jews, so she submits a sonnet to honor the Statue of Liberty, and to draw attention to the plight of the persecuted. It is entitled "The New Colossus" in opposition to the Colossus of Rhodes. The Colossus is usually depicted with legs astride the harbor guarding its entrance from foes. The Statue of Liberty shall lean forward, breaking her chains and holding high the light of freedom. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Emma Lazarus will not live to see her poem mounted on the pedestal in 1903. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, the Colossus of Rhodes existed but it was not astride any harbor. Bronze is not strong enough to hold up such a structure. Regarding US Immigration policy, there was an obvious disconnect between the poem and actual policy. Emma Lazarus knew that the Chinese had been locked out, so she must have been reminding people that the United States was built upon the uncouth, the unwanted, and the unforgiven... like Australia. But even as the plaque was being mounted, the attitude toward immigrants was worsening. By the 1930s the eugenics movement was on parade and Hitler was getting in front to lead it. (He did NOT create it.) For a sense of the race attitudes of the time I suggest reading the science fiction novel, When Worlds Collide originally published in 1932. The movie is good but they took out all the eugenics stuff. The book makes it clear that white people are noble and deserve to be saved whereas everyone else is just part of a bad breeding program. The book is still in print. [18] [19]

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

Bill Cody was a little too young to participate in the War Between the States but he did work as a teamster for the 7th Kansas Cavalry, and was later contracted to provide buffalo meat for the Kansas Pacific Railroad. Thus he got his nickname... Buffalo Bill. Later he met a dime-novelist named Ned Buntline, who wrote the book Buffalo Bill, King of the Bordermen and 100 sequels which were almost total BS. The public was entranced by the American West so Ned accompanied his novels with a Wild West show including "Buffalo Bill" Cody and "Wild Bill" Hickok. This year Bill Cody organizes Buffalo Bill's Wild West. (There is no "show" in the title.) He parades out Indians and recreates famous battles of the west including Custer's Last Stand. Buffalo Bill's Wild West will become a real sensation in Europe and even perform for Queen Victoria. The Indian Sitting Bull will join the show for 4 months. He will ride his horse, and give a speech on the importance of education. He will be paid $50 a week but make a lot more posing for photos. Sitting Bull had led the fight against Custer. I guess there were no hard feelings. Annie Oakley will join the show and be billed as "Little Miss Sure Shot". Buffalo Bill will die a reasonably well-off man in 1917, leaving his wife $100,000 (about $10 million in 2015 dollars). [20] [21] [22] [23]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Ned Buntine was not a particularly nice man. He was a self-promoter, a heavy drinker and he would give lecturers on the evils of drinking... being quite familiar with those evils. Ned Buntine's name is also associated with the Colt Buntine revolver with a 16 inch barrel. The revolver became quite a popular after Wyatt Earp's biography was published. The biography was mostly BS including the description of the gun he used. Wyatt Earp probably carried a Smith and Wesson Model 3 with an 8 inch barrel. Nevertheless, Ned had special Colt revolvers made up to hand out to lawmen to keep the yarn alive. With a 16 inch barrel in his holster, I'm not sure how quick on the draw a lawman could be. Wyatt Earp's biographer said he had to make up all that stuff because Wyatt would only give clipped answers to his questions. It's not like today when an author would never dream of appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show and TOTALLY MAKE STUFF UP! [24] [25] [26]

In Other News

  • 20-Mule-Team Borax is born. The Harmony Borax Company builds a borax mill in Death Valley. The company will sponsor the TV show "Death Valley Days," hosted by the future President Ronald Reagan, who will also star in several episodes. [27] [28] [29] [30]
  • The cash register is patented. This is an anti-theft device to track employees with sticky fingers. [31]
  • The verdict of "Not guilty due to insanity" is changed to "Guilty, but insane." Queen Victoria is sick of assassins being called "not guilty". They certainly were trying to kill her. They simply were not responsible for their actions. This policy will remain in effect until 1964. [32]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1883, Wikipedia.