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.

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