Sunday, October 23, 2016

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.

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