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.

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