Saturday, 4 July 2015

Men of Yore: Richard Chancellor

This is intended to be a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity.


Richard Chanellor (1553)

Richard Chancellor (died 1556) was an English explorer and navigator; the first to penetrate to the White Sea and establish relations with Russia.

Chancellor, a native of Bristol, acquired geographical and maritime proficiency from the explorer Sebastian Cabot and the geographer John Dee. Cabot had always been interested in making a voyage to Asia through the Arctic, and for this purpose King Edward VI chartered an association of English merchants, the Company of Merchant Adventurers in 1552–1553, with the Duke of Northumberland as principal patron. They hoped not only to discover a North-east passage but also to find a market for English woollen cloth.

Sir Hugh Willoughby was given three ships for the search, and Chancellor went as second-in-command. Their orders from the King included behaving peacably towards any people they met and keeping a regular journal. According to Howarth contrary winds delayed the expedition seriously but they eventually arrived off the North Cape as autumn set in, and were separated by a violent storm; Willoughby, with two ships, sailed east and discovered Novaya Zemlya but died during the winter with all his men on the Lapland coast some distance east of Murmansk. The bodies and journals were discovered by Russian hunters in the spring. Meanwhile, Chancellor noted and named the North Cape and with his ship Edward Bonaventure called at the Norwegian port of Vardø, the last town in Scandinavia before the inhospitable arctic coast of Russia; here they met Scottish fisherman who warned them of the dangers ahead. However continuing eastwards they found the entrance to the White Sea and after obtaining directions from local people dropped anchor at the port of Archangel.[1] 
When Tsar Ivan the Terrible heard of Chancellor's arrival, he immediately invited the exotic guest to visit Moscow for an audience at the royal court. Chancellor made the journey of over 600 miles (over 1000 kilometres) to Moscow by horse-drawn sleigh through snow and ice covered country. He found Moscow large (much larger than London) and primitively built, most houses being constructed of wood. However, the palace of the tsar was very luxurious, as were the dinners he offered Chancellor.[2] The Russian tsar was pleased to open the sea trading routes with England and other countries, as Russia did not yet have a connection with the Baltic Sea at the time and the entire area was contested by the neighbouring powers of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Swedish Empire. In addition, the Hanseatic League had a monopoly on the trade between Russia and Central and Western Europe. Chancellor was no less optimistic, finding a good market for his English wool, and receiving furs and other Russian goods in return. The Tsar gave him letters for England inviting English traders and promising trade privileges.

When Chancellor returned to England in the summer of 1554, King Edward was dead, and his successor, Mary, had executed Northumberland for attempting to place Lady Jane Grey on the throne. No stigma attached to Chancellor, and the Muscovy Company, as the association was now called, sent him again to the White Sea in 1555. On this voyage he learned what had happened to Willoughby, recovered his papers, and found out about the discovery of Novaya Zemlya. Chancellor spent the summer of 1555 dealing with the Tsar, organising trade, and trying to learn how China might be reached by the northern route.

In 1556 Chancellor departed for England, taking with him the first Russian ambassador to his country, Osip (i.e.Joseph) Nepeya. They left Archangel in autumn; the fleet was Willoughby's ships (relaunched), the Philip and Mary and the Edward Bonadventure. In October/November the fleet tried to winter in Trondheim. The Bona Esperanza sank, the Bona Confidentia appeared to enter the fjord but was never heard of again, and the Philip and Mary successfully wintered in Trondheim and arrived in London next 18 April. The Edward did not attempt to enter, instead reaching the Scottish coast and being wrecked at Pitslago on 7 November. Chancellor lost his life, although the Russian envoy survived to reach London.

Chancellor had found a way to Russia, and though in time it was superseded by a better one it remained for years the only feasible route for the English.
He died at Pitsligo Bay on 10 November 1556 .[3]

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Chancellor


An Englishman who actually tried to improve relations between England and Russia?  Surely this is a joke?!  Everyone knows that Englishmen have never aspired to better relations with Russians!
  • In the 19th century they were at war over the Crimea;
  • In the early 20th they were involved in court intrigues (cf. Rasputin and all that jazz) trying to cause havoc in government;
  • In the mid 20th century there were Cold War shenanigans;
  • And now there are trade embargoes and lord knows what going on in Ukraine 
Well Richard Chancellor is proof that relations between England and Russia need not always be bad.  The same goes for other countries (or indeed any group of people, countries are just groups of people who self-identify as a community).  Peaceful co-existence is preferable to war-filled existence when it benefits both sides.  Chancellor set out to make contact and establish peaceful co-existence with Ivan the Terrible in the form of trade: English wool in exchange for Russian furs.  If only we had a man like that now then we in the West would be opening up trading opportunities rather than trying to provoke Russia into open warfare.


[End.]

Friday, 26 June 2015

Men of Yore: Henry Cavendish

This is intended to be a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity.



Henry Cavendish. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Henry Cavend

Born: October 10, 1731
Nice, France
Died: February 24, 1810
London, England

English physicist and chemist 
 
The English physicist and chemist Henry Cavendish determined the value of the universal constant of gravitation, made noteworthy electrical studies, and is credited with the discovery of hydrogen and the composition of water.

Early years

Henry Cavendish was born in Nice, France, on October 10, 1731, the oldest son of Lord Charles Cavendish and Lady Anne Grey, who died a few years after Henry was born. As a youth he attended Dr. Newcomb's Academy in Hackney, England. He entered Peterhouse, Cambridge, in 1749, but left after three years without taking a degree.
    
Cavendish returned to London, England to live with his father. There, Cavendish built himself a laboratory and workshop. When his father died in 1783, Cavendish moved the laboratory to Clapham Common, where he also lived. He never married and was so reserved that there is little record of his having any social life except occasional meetings with scientific friends.

Contributions to chemistry

During his lifetime Cavendish made notable discoveries in chemistry, mainly between 1766 and 1788, and in electricity, between 1771 and 1788. In 1798 he published a single notable paper on the density of the earth. At the time Cavendish began his chemical work, chemists were just beginning to recognize that the "airs" that were evolved in many chemical reactions were clear parts and not just modifications of ordinary air. Cavendish reported his own work in "Three Papers Containing Experiments on Factitious Air" in 1766. These papers added greatly to knowledge of the formation of "inflammable air" (hydrogen) by the action of dilute acids (acids that have been weakened) on metals.
Cavendish's other great achievement in chemistry is his measuring of the density of hydrogen. Although his figure is only half what it should be, it is astonishing that he even found the right order. Not that his equipment was crude; where the techniques of his day allowed, his equipment was capable of precise results. Cavendish also investigated the products of fermentation, a chemical reaction that splits complex organic compounds into simple substances. He showed that the gas from the fermentation of sugar is nearly the same as the "fixed air" characterized by the compound of chalk and magnesia (both are, in modern language, carbon dioxide).
    
Another example of Cavendish's ability was "Experiments on Rathbone-Place Water"(1767), in which he set the highest possible standard of accuracy. "Experiments" is regarded as a classic of analytical chemistry (the branch of chemistry that deals with separating substances into the different chemicals they are made from). In it Cavendish also examined the phenomenon (a fact that can be observed) of the retention of "calcareous earth" (chalk, calcium carbonate) in solution (a mixture dissolved in water). In doing so, he discovered the reversible reaction between calcium carbonate and carbon dioxide to form calcium bicarbonate, the cause of temporary hardness of water. He also found out how to soften such water by adding lime (calcium hydroxide).
    
One of Cavendish's researches on the current problem of combustion (the process of burning) made an outstanding contribution to general theory. In 1784 Cavendish determined the composition (make up) of water, showing that it was a combination of oxygen and hydrogen. Joseph Priestley (1733–1804) had reported an experiment in which the explosion of the two gases had left moisture on the sides of a previously dry container. Cavendish studied this, prepared water in measurable amount, and got an approximate figure for its volume composition.

Electrical research

Cavendish published only a fraction of the experimental evidence he had available to support his theories, but his peers were convinced of the correctness of his conclusions. He was not the first to discuss an inverse-square law of electrostatic attraction (the attraction between opposite—positive and negative—electrical charges). Cavendish's idea, however, based in part on mathematical reasoning, was the most effective. He founded the study of the properties of dielectrics (nonconducting electricity) and also distinguished clearly between the amount of electricity and what is now called potential.
    
Cavendish had the ability to make a seemingly limited study give far-reaching results. An example is his study of the origin of the ability of some fish to give an electric shock. He made up imitation fish of leather and wood soaked in salt water, with pewter (tin) attachments representing the organs of the fish that produced the effect. By using Leyden jars (glass jars insulated with tinfoil) to charge the imitation organs, he was able to show that the results were entirely consistent with the fish's ability to produce electricity. This investigation was among the earliest in which the conductivity of aqueous (in water) solutions was studied.
    
Cavendish began to study heat with his father, then returned to the subject in 1773–1776 with a study of the Royal Society's meteorological instruments. (The Royal Society is the world's oldest and most distinguished scientific organization.) During these studies he worked out the most important corrections to be employed in accurate thermometry (the measuring of temperature). In 1783 he published a study of the means of determining the freezing point of mercury. In it he added a good deal to the general theory of fusion (melting together by heat) and freezing and the latent heat changes that accompany them (the amount of heat absorbed by the fused material).
    
Cavendish's most celebrated investigation was that on the density of the earth. He took part in a program to measure the length of a seconds pendulum close to a large mountain (Schiehallion). Variations from the period on the plain would show the attraction put out by the mountain, from which the density of its substance could be figured out. Cavendish also approached the subject in a more fundamental way by determining the force of attraction of a very large, heavy lead ball for a very small, light ball. The ratio between this force and the weight of the light ball would result in the density of the earth. His results went unquestioned for nearly a century.

Unpublished works

Had Cavendish published all of his work, his already great influence would undoubtedly have been greater. In fact, he left in manuscript form a vast amount of work that often anticipated the work of those who followed him. It came to light only bit by bit until the thorough study undertaken by James Maxwell (1831–1879) and by Edward Thorpe (1845–1925). In these notes is to be found such material as the detail of his experiments to examine the conductivity of metals, as well as many chemical questions such as a theory of chemical equivalents. He even had a theory of partial pressures before John Dalton (1766–1844).
    
However, the history of science is full of instances of unpublished works that might have influenced others but in fact did not. Whatever he did not reveal, Cavendish gave other scientists enough to help them on the road to modern ideas. Nothing he did has been rejected, and for this reason he is still, in a unique way, part of modern life.

Source: http://www.notablebiographies.com/Ca-Ch/Cavendish-Henry.html#ixzz3dywiaZPO

Personality and legacy

Cavendish was a shy man who was uncomfortable in society and avoided it when he could. He conversed little, always dressed in an old-fashioned suit, and developed no known deep personal attachments outside his family. Cavendish was taciturn and solitary and regarded by many as eccentric. He only communicated with his female servants by notes. By one account, Cavendish had a back staircase added to his house in order to avoid encountering his housekeeper because he was especially shy of women. The contemporary accounts of his personality have led some modern commentators, such as Oliver Sacks, to speculate that he had Asperger syndrome, though he may merely have been anthropophobic. His only social outlet was the Royal Society Club, whose members dined together before weekly meetings. Cavendish seldom missed these meetings, and was profoundly respected by his contemporaries. However his shyness made those who "sought his views... speak as if into vacancy. If their remarks were...worthy, they might receive a mumbled reply, but more often than not they would hear a peeved squeak (his voice appears to have been high-pitched) and turn to find an actual vacancy and the sight of Cavendish fleeing to find a more peaceful corner".[10] Cavendish's religious views were also considered eccentric for his time. He was considered to be agnostic. As his biographer, George Wilson, comments, "As to Cavendish's religion, he was nothing at all".[26][27] He also enjoyed collecting fine furniture exemplified by his purchase of a set of "ten inlaid satinwood chairs with matching cabriole legged sofa".[28]

Because of his asocial and secretive behaviour, Cavendish often avoided publishing his work, and much of his findings were not even told to his fellow scientists. In the late nineteenth century, long after his death, James Clerk Maxwell looked through Cavendish's papers and found things for which others had been given credit. Examples of what was included in Cavendish's discoveries or anticipations were Richter's law of reciprocal proportions, Ohm's law, Dalton's law of partial pressures, principles of electrical conductivity (including Coulomb's law), and Charles's law of gases. A manuscript "Heat", tentatively dated between 1783 and 1790, describes a "mechanical theory of heat". Hitherto unknown, the manuscript was analyzed in the early 21st century. Historian of science Russell McCormmach proposed that "Heat" is the only 18th century work prefiguring thermodynamics. Theoretical physicist Dietrich Belitz concluded that in this work Cavendish "got the nature of heat essentially right."[29]

As Cavendish performed his famous density of the Earth experiment in an outbuilding in the garden of his Clapham Common estate, his neighbours would point out the building and tell their children that it was where the world was weighed.[28] In honor of Henry Cavendish's achievements and due to an endowment granted by Henry's relative William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire, the University of Cambridge’s physics laboratory was named the Cavendish Laboratory by James Clerk Maxwell, the first Cavendish Professor of Physics and an admirer of Cavendish's work.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Cavendish#Personality_and_legacy

Here is proof that great men come in all manner of shapes, sizes and personalities.  Some great men can be very sociable (like Theodore Roosevelt) while others can be reclusives (like Henry Cavendish).  It shows us that greatness isn't confined to a single character type.  Not every one is going to be a confident warrior like Charlemagne or an adventurous explorer like Columbus, there are those who quietly diligently exert themselves in quiet surroundings shunning publicity, men like Henry Cavendish or Gregor Mendel.  Yet despite their reclusiveness they still contributed great things to humanity, and that should be remembered.


[End.]

Monday, 22 June 2015

Alternative Lyrics to Well Known Songs 38 - Götz of Berlichingen

(Based on the song 'Son of a Gun' by 'JX')

An alternative lyrics post based on an upbeat 1990s dance track for your aural delectation this week. The lyrics are about the man who coined the impudent phrase "You can lick my arse!": Götz of Berlichingen (aka Götz of the Iron Hand, 'cause he had a top-notch prosthetic arm which was good enough for holding a quill or a sword).

So who was Götz of Berlichingen?  Well, It depends upon your perspective really.  He could be described as any one of the following:
  • A disabled medieval dude.
  • A German Knight.
  • A freebooter (he robbed merchants).
  • An existentialist (in Sartres view).
  • The man who coined the phrase "He can lick my arse." (or it's variations like "You can pucker up and kiss my arse!")
Regardless of the angle that you see him from there's no doubting that he's one heck of a character!

Anyway, onto the lyrics themselves.  For some reason they make me smile.  I think it's the juxtaposition of the elements: the subject matter is an adventurous Medieval German knight, while the song is an upbeat 1990's dance track.  Quite the coupling!
 
Enjoy!
Play the music video above and sing along using the alternative lyrics given below.


# Götz of Berlichingen #
A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
He's Götz of Berlichingen.
A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
Götz of Berlichingen.


A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
He's Götz of Berlichingen.

A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
He's Götz of Berlichingen.


Whaa ho!
Whaa ho!
Eh eh heh heh
Whaa ho!
Whaa ho!
Eh eh heh heh

A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
He's Götz of Berlichingen.

A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."

Götz of Berlichingen.
Götz of Berlichingen.
G-G-Götz of Berlichingen.
Götz of Berlichingen.
G-G-Götz of Berlichingen.
Götz of Berlichingen.
G-G-Götz of Berlichingen.
Götz of Berlichingen.
G-G-Götz of Berlichingen.

Götz of Berlichingen.
Götz of Berlichingen.
Götz of Berlichingen.
He's Götz of Berlichingen.


Whaa ho!
Whaa ho!
Eh eh heh heh
Whaa ho!
Whaa ho!
Eh eh heh heh

A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
He's Götz of Berlichingen.
A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."
A man says "Lick my bum."

Götz of Berlichingen.
Götz of Berlichingen.
G-G-Götz of Berlichingen.
Götz of Berlichingen.
G-G-Götz of Berlichingen.
Götz of Berlichingen.
G-G-Götz of Berlichingen.
Götz of Berlichingen.
G-G-Götz of Berlichingen.

 

[End of lyrics.]

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Men of Yore: James Simpson

This is intended to be a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity.

James Simpson

James Simpson (1799–1869) was a British civil engineer. He was president of the Institution of Civil Engineers from January 1853 to January 1855.[1]

James Simpson was the fourth son of Thomas Simpson, engineer of the Chelsea Waterworks. James succeeded his father in both this post and that of engineer of the Lambeth Waterworks Company. It was under Simpson's instruction that the Chelsea Waterworks became the first in the country to install a slow sand filtration system to purify the water they were drawing from the River Thames.[2] This filter consisted of successive beds of loose brick, gravel and sand to remove solids from the water.[3]

He also designed waterworks at Windsor Castle and Bristol as well as The Wooden Pier at Southend on Sea.[4] James Simpson established J. Simpson & Co., a manufacturer of steam engines and pumps. He made several improvements to the design of these machines.[5]

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Simpson_(engineer)

 

Timeline of Simpson and Thompson and James Simpson and Co, waterworks and manufacturing engineer.

1799 Born in London on 25 July in the engineer's residence at the Chelsea waterworks where his father, Thomas Simpson was engineer; Thomas was later engineer of Lambeth water company too.
James Simpson worked and learned under his father's direction
1823 He inherited the position of chief engineer to both the Chelsea and Lambeth companies on his father's death.
1825 James Simpson, Civil Engineer, Chelsea Waterworks, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]
1825 Partnership with George Thompson, engine maker, as Simpson and Thompson, engine makers and vendors[2].
1827 Simpson toured the water filtration operations at Glasgow and at industrial sites near Manchester and elsewhere in Lancashire.
1829 After more than a year of experiments with prototype filter beds, he completed a 1 acre filter bed at the Chelsea works.
Simpson trained his younger brother William Simpson (1809-1864) in engineering and aided him in the operation of a steam engine company in Pimlico, London, [3], Simpson and Co at Grosvenor Engine Works.
He provided a water supply for Windsor Castle and other royal palaces and was called on as expert to report on schemes for improvement of London's sewers.
1851 Simpson completed a gravity-fed water supply for Bristol, piping water over 10 miles.
1852 Moved Lambeth Water Company's works to Seething Wells, Kingston upon Thames. This works used four 600 horse-power steam engines to pump ten million gallons from its filter beds to London.
Involved in waterworks for Cambridge, Cardiff, Carlisle, Exeter, London, York, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and elsewhere from the 1840s through the 1860s.
1856 York Water Co: note in archives suggests that James Simpson was asked to advise on method of operating the Beam engines; James Simpson (presumably the company) was ordered to remove the beam engines for scrap in 1918[4].
James had three sons, James and Arthur who were connected with engineering or engine manufacturing, and John who was an artist.[5]. At least four of his grandsons were engineers involved with waterworks.
1862 The partnership of James Simpson, William Simpson and James Simpson, Junior carrying on business as manufacturing engineers as Simpson and Co and William Simpson and Co at Grosvenor Rd, Pimlico, and Cubitt Town, Poplar, was dissolved. James Simpson would carry on the business[6].
1869 Died at his home, Westfield Lodge, Portsmouth Road, Kingston upon Thames on 4 March.

Source: http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/James_Simpson

Basic infrastructure and civil engineering is something that many of us take for granted, something that we don't pay much attention to because it isn't emotionally charged and is a tad, dare I say, boring; but it does an essential job and without it we'd have mortality rates like back in Victorian-era London along with all manner of nasty water-bourne diseases.  It's because of men like James Simpson that we have healthy lives and can drink clean water. 

In fact our water is so clean that even the water used to flush the toilets is cleaner than the drinking water of Victorian-era Londoners!  That's what you call progress.


[End.] 

Monday, 15 June 2015

What Should the Diet of a Man be?

Men lead women follow.  This dictum applies whether it's used in the realm of science and technology, exploration, or diet and nutrition.  Men eat what they want.  Women and feminized men eat what they are supposed to eat, i.e. what their culture or leaders say they should eat.

The fact that Westen culture is so-obsessed with telling people what they should and shouldn't eat is indicative of the feminized times that we currently live in (even elements of the manosphere promote paleo-diet and juicing).  So-called experts tell people what they should eat & drink every day, and the media inevitably reports these studies like a mothering hen telling her children what they should be doing:
  • Eat five portions of fruit and vegetables.
  • Drink two litres of water.
  • Eat no more than six grams of salt. (Six grams!  Like anyone has the time to quantify six grams when much of our foods are processed, either partially or totally.)
  • Eat lots of fibre.
  • Eat 'complex carbohydrates'. (Those experts love their fancy soundin' words!  Why can't they just say 'starchy foods' like they did donkeys years ago?)
  • Don't drink more than two units of alcohol per day.
  • Eat plenty of omega-3 fatty oils.
  • Try to eat the 'Mediterranean diet' which has oily fish, pasta, wine and olive oil in it.  (This might be a quirk confined to the UK.  The English Middle-class snobs champion the Mediterranean diet over their indigenous Northern European diet.  The fact that Northern Europeans have an equivalent that is almost identical in nutritional terms (herring, wholemeal bread, beer and butter; all traded in large quantities by the Hansa during the middle-ages) is ignored by these people.)
And so on and so forth.  The fact that these experts often change their minds every few years shows that they're supposedly scientific findings aren't all that solid, and ergo shouldn't be taken as gospel.  (Some people idolise religious texts and see them as infallible, other people idolise scientific texts and see them as infallible.  The two kinds of people aren't much different from each other: they both are subservient to their own idol and hostile to the other.)
Now some of you might be expecting me to provide you with an alternative list of what you should and shouldn't be eating, but I'm not going to do that.  All I'm going to do is to show you a short list of daily diets over the past two millenia.  Nothing more than that.  The only point that you should note is that these people were a lot more active than modern Westerners ergo would need more calories per day.



4th Century Soldiers in the Roman Army:
[T]hose of A.D. 360 are not dissimilar in quantity from those of the Principate: 3 pounds of bread, 2 pounds of meat, 2 pints of wine, 1/8 of a pint of oil per man per day.

Source: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8282351&fileId=S0068113X00006048




11th Century Norman Aristocrats in England:
"The Normans were acquisitve, greedy and ambitious; they absorbed the culture of others, whether it was France, Sicily, England or North Africa...It was clear then that if these peoples liked a new food, flavourings or ingredient, they would take it over and make it their own...The earliest extant recipes were written down sometime before 1280, and are likely to have been court favorites passed down from master cook to apprentices over decades, if not for almost 200 years, from the time of the Conqueror...These early recipes show a high degree of gastronomic sophistication...Of course, these dishes were made for the nobility so this is food for only two per cent of the population. Animal protein comprised a third to a half of their consumption, for everyone in a magnate household would have had about a pound of meat of fish per day. The fact that these recipes were written down at all shows that they were used for special celebrations. Here is a description of a selection of them:
noodles, ravioli, oranges, white pancakes, jelly (made from animals, not fruit), sage sauce, nag's tail, white elder (chicken chunks cooked in soup stock), veal stews, poached chicken, chicken, mawmenny (minced chicken and pork poached with wine flavoured with spices including cloves and fried almonds), nut tarts (small pastries with almond milk custard), rose pottage (almond milk flavoured with ground rose petals sprinkled with sugar), and food of Cyprus (almond milk flavoured with ground ginger and pistachio nuts, thickened with rice flour)."
---British Food: An Extraodinary Thousand Years of History, Colin Spencer [Columbia University Press:New York] 2002 (p. 36-41)

Source: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodfaq3.html#anglosaxon



 
14th Century Peasants in England:

The diet of the lower classes seems to have improved during this period, as a part of the general rise in the standard of living following the Black Death. Wage earners during this period were able to negotiate improved rations for their work: one contract from 1397 stipulates a daily ration of two pounds of beef or mutton, four pints of ale, and two pounds of wheat bread.
Page 184






14th Century Oarsmen in Venice:
"The oarsmen of the the travellers' galley were free boatmen of the Lagoons and Adriatic fishermen, well paid and well fed, with allowances of between eleven and twelve pounds of biscuit a week, twelve ounces of salt pork, one and a half pounds of beans, nine ounces of cheese and a gallon of wine."

Source: http://www.foodtimeline.org/foodfaq3.html




16th Century Soldiers in England:
[T]he daily ration of a Tudor soldier with 2 lb. of beef or mutton (with l lb. cheese, l/2 lb. butter, 1.5 lb. bread, 2/3 gallon of beer).
Source: http://www.economics.utoronto.ca/wwwfiles/archives/munro5/SPICES1.htm




19th Century Soldiers in the Union Army (during the American Civil War):
DAILY UNION ARMY RATION
3 August 1861 –20 June 1864

CAMP AND GARRISON RATION:

Meat: 12 ounces of pork or bacon, or
1 pound and 4 ounces of salt or fresh beef

Bread: 1 pound and 6 ounces of soft bread or flour, or
1 pound of hard bread [hardtack] or
1 pound and 4 ounces of corn meal

To every 100 rations:
15 pounds of beans or peas, and
10 pounds of rice or hominy
10 pounds of green coffee, or
8 pounds of roasted (Or roasted and ground) coffee, o
1 pound and 8 ounces of tea
15 pounds of sugar
4 quarts of vinegar
1 pound and 4 ounces of adamantine, or star candles
4 pounds of soap
3 pounds and 12 ounces of salt
4 ounces of pepper
30 pounds of potatoes. when practicable. and
1 quart of molasses

Source: http://www.qmfound.com/feeding_billy_yank.htm




19th Century Soldiers in the British Army:
By the time of the War of 1812 each soldier was being supplied with:

1 lb. of flour,
1 lb. of fresh beef or 9 1/7 oz. of pork,1 3/7 oz. of pork or 6/7 oz. of butter,
3/7 pint of pease,

and 1 1/7 oz. of rice

Source: http://www.warof1812.ca/food.htm




[End.]

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Men of Yore: Thomas Young

This is intended to be a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity.

Thomas Young 



Thomas Young, (born June 13, 1773, Milverton, Somerset, England—died May 10, 1829, London), English physician and physicist who established the principle of interference of light and thus resurrected the century-old wave theory of light. He was also an Egyptologist who helped decipher the Rosetta Stone.

In 1799 Young set up a medical practice in London. His primary interest was in sense perception, and, while still a medical student, he had discovered the way in which the lens of the eye changes shape to focus on objects at differing distances. He discovered the cause of astigmatism in 1801, the same year he turned to the study of light.

By allowing light to pass through two closely set pinholes onto a screen, Young found that the light beams spread apart and overlapped, and, in the area of overlap, bands of bright light alternated with bands of darkness. With this demonstration of the interference of light, Young definitely established the wave nature of light. He used his new wave theory of light to explain the colours of thin films (such as soap bubbles), and, relating colour to wavelength, he calculated the approximate wavelengths of the seven colours recognized by Newton. In 1817 he proposed that light waves were transverse (vibrating at right angles to the direction of travel), rather than longitudinal (vibrating in the direction of travel) as had long been assumed, and thus explained polarization, the alignment of light waves to vibrate in the same plane.

Young’s work was disparaged by most English scientists: any opposition to a theory of Newton’s was unthinkable. It was only with the work of the French physicists Augustin J. Fresnel and François Arago that Young’s wave theory finally achieved acceptance in Europe.

Young also studied the problem of colour perception and proposed that there is no need for a separate mechanism in the eye for every colour, it being sufficient to have three—one each for blue, green, and red. Developed later by the German physicist Hermann L.F. von Helmholtz, this theory is known as the Young–Helmholtz three-colour theory.

Having become interested in Egyptology, Young began studying the texts of the Rosetta Stone in 1814. After obtaining additional hieroglyphic writings from other sources, he succeeded in providing a nearly accurate translation within a few years and thus contributed heavily to deciphering the ancient Egyptian language.

Young also did work on measuring the size of molecules, surface tension in liquids, and on elasticity. He was the first to give the word energy its scientific significance, and Young’s modulus, a constant in the mathematical equation describing elasticity, was named in his honour.

Source: http://www.britannica.com/biography/Thomas-Young

Another polymath who made multiple contributions to humanity.


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Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Is Christianity Masculine?

According to the Christians in the manosphere/androsphere (like Vox Day), Christianity is a masculine belief system, epitomised by Christ bearing his cross and suffering for the sins of the world.  Well, while Christ (assuming he existed, and odds are that he didn't cf. Jesus Never Existed) may have been a macho man, Christians are not.  THIS study about personality types discovered that religious people are more likely to be feminine and mentally un-hinged:
A number of studies have consistently found Christians to be more suggestible than normal, for example religious people have been found to respond better to medical placebos given for pain relief. Another consistent finding in America is that religious people tend to be more submissive, accepting of authority, dependent on group approval, and have a higher than average incidence of hysterical personalities [The Social Psychology of Religion pp 97-99]. 
(Source: Marketing Christianity - Bad News About Christianity)

Submissive, accepting of authority, dependent on group approval, hysterical, not exactly masculine traits I think you'll agree.  More sort of, oh, I don't know, feminine?  Yes, that's the right word, feminine.  Those are feminine traits.  Religious people and Christians are on the whole feminine.  Not masculine as the Christians of the manosphere would contest but feminine.

Not that it'll make the slightest bit of difference to the pseudo-macho Christians in the manosphere.  They'll keep bleating on about how men should be Christians, 'cause it's manly to be a Christian.

To be a Christian in the West (be it a Medieval Catholic Europe or modern day Protestant America) often involves the following activities:
 - Sitting down in rows of pews facing the priest.
 - Listening dutifully to the pastor/priest.
 - Agreeing with most-all of what he says without question.
 - Being exceptionally amiable to everyone there.
 - Not creating anything new or thinking original thoughts.
 - On the whole acting like a little girl in school listening dutifully to her teacher.


What part of that is masculine?  What part of that Christian lifestyle allows a man to exert his own masculinity?  None.  He's told what to think, he's told what's right and wrong, he's told who the good guys and bad guys are, his entire life is dictated by men who subserviently follow what some other guy supposedly said.  How is that masculine?  On the whole, in my opinion, it isn't.  Christianity is not masculine.  Christianity a belief system, and like other belief systems it's followers are a herd.  Not individuals but a herd.  Hence why priests call their followers 'my flock', as in 'a flock of sheep'.  It's hard to consider for a man to consider himself masculine when the local priest is calling him a sheep every Sunday.

Christianity is a feminine belief system and not a masculine one ergo it is one that men should seek to avoid.  Instead of following the beliefs of others like a creature of the herd men should seek to determine truth for themselves, express their own viewpoints, their own Will, and their own creative energy.  That's what men should be doing every Sunday, rather than listening to a man like a little girl in primary school.  Creation beats imitation every time.


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Friday, 5 June 2015

Men of Yore: George Stephenson

This is intended to be a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity.


George Stephenson

Early Life
George Stephenson, the son of a colliery fireman, was born at Wylam, eight miles from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, on 9th June, 1781. The cottage where the Stephenson family lived was next to the Wylam Wagonway, and George grew up with a keen interest in machines. George's first employment was herding cows but when he was fourteen he joined his father at the Dewley Colliery. George was an ambitious boy and at the age of eighteen he began attending evening classes where he learnt to read and write.

In 1802 Stephenson became a colliery engineman. Later that year he married Frances Henderson, a servant at a local farm. To earn extra money, in the evenings, he repaired clocks and watches. On 16th October, 1803, his only son, Robert was born. Frances suffered from poor health and she died of consumption in 1806.

When he was twenty-seven, Stephenson found employment as an engineman at Killingworth Colliery. Every Saturday he took the engines to pieces in order to understand how they were constructed. This included machines made by Thomas Newcomen and James Watt. By 1812 Stephenson's knowledge of engines resulted in him being employed as the colliery's enginewright.

Working at a colliery, George Stephenson was fully aware of the large number of accidents caused by explosive gases. In his spare time Stephenson began work on a safety lamp for miners. By 1815 he had developed a lamp that did not cause explosions even in parts of the pit that were full of inflammable gases. Unknown to Stephenson, Humphry Davy was busy producing his own safety lamp.

Locomotives
In 1813 Stephenson became aware of attempts by William Hedley and Timothy Hackworth, at Wylam Colliery, to develop a locomotive. Stephenson successfully convinced his colliery manager, Nicholas Wood, his to allow him to try to produce a steam-powered machine. By 1814 he had constructed a locomotive that could pull thirty tons up a hill at 4 mph. Stephenson called his locomotive, the Blutcher, and like other machines made at this time, it had two vertical cylinders let into the boiler, from the pistons of which rods drove the gears
Where Stephenson's locomotive differed from those produced by John Blenkinsop, William Hedley and Timothy Hackworth, was that the gears did not drive the rack pinions but the flanged wheels. The Blutcher was the first successful flanged-wheel adhesion locomotive. Stephenson continued to try and improve his locomotive and in 1815 he changed the design so that the connecting rods drove the wheels directly. These wheels were coupled together by a chain. Over the next five years Stephenson built sixteen engines at Killingworth. Most of these were used locally but some were produced for the Duke of Portland's wagonway from Kilmarnock to Troon. 
Steam Railways
The owners of the colliery were impressed with Stephenson's achievements and in 1819 he was given the task of building a eight mile railroad from Hetton to the River Wear at Sunderland. While he was working on this Stephenson became convinced that to be successful, steam railways had to be made as level as possible by civil engineering works. The track was laid out in sections. The first part was worked by locomotives, this was followed by fixed engines and cables. After the railway reached 250 feet above sea level, the coal wagons travelled down over 2 miles of self-acting inclined plane. This was followed by another 2 miles of locomotive haulage. George Stephenson only used fixed engines and locomotives and had therefore produced the first ever railway that was completely independent of animal power.
 
On 19th April 1821 an Act of Parliament was passed that authorized a company owned by Edward Pearse to build a horse railway that would link the collieries in West Durham, Darlington and the River Tees at Stockton. Stephenson arranged a meeting with Pease and suggested that he should consider building a locomotive railway. Stephenson told Pease that "a horse on an iron road would draw ten tons for one ton on a common road". Stephenson added that the Blutcher locomotive that he had built at Killingworth was "worth fifty horses".

Stockton & Darlington Railway
That summer Edward Pease took up Stephenson's invitation to visit Killingworth Colliery. When Pease saw the Blutcher at work he realised George Stephenson was right and offered him the post as the chief engineer of the Stockton & Darlington company. It was now now necessary for Pease to apply for a further Act of Parliament. This time a clause was added that stated that Parliament gave permission for the company "to make and erect locomotive or moveable engines".
 
Stephenson began working with William Losh, who owned an ironworks in Newcastle. Together they patented their own make of cast iron rails. In 1821 John Birkinshaw, an engineer at Bedlington Ironworks, developed a new method of rolling wrought iron rails in fifteen feet lengths. Stephenson went to see these malleable rails and decided they were better than those that he was making with Losh. Although it cost him a considerable amount of money, Stephenson decided to use Birkinshaw's rails, rather than those he made with Losh, on the Stockton & Darlington line.
 
In 1823 Edward Pease joined with Michael Longdridge, George Stephenson and his son Robert Stephenson, to form a company to make the locomotives. The Robert Stephenson & Company, at Forth Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, became the world's first locomotive builder. Stephenson recruited Timothy Hackworth, one of the engineers who had helped William Hedley to produce Puffing Billy, to work for the company. The first railway locomotive, Locomotion, was finished in September 1825. The locomotive was similar to those that Stephenson had produced at the collieries at Killingworth and Heaton.
 
Work on the track began in 1822. George Stephenson used malleable iron rails carried on cast iron chairs. These rails were laid on wooden blocks for 12 miles between Stockton and Darlington. The 15 mile track from the collieries and Darlington were laid on stone blocks. 
While building this railway George Stephenson discovered that on a smooth, level track, a tractive force of ten pounds would move a ton of weight. However, when there was a gradient of 1 in 200, the hauling power of a locomotive was reduced by 50 per cent. Stephenson came to the conclusion that railways must be specially designed with the object of avoiding as much as possible changes in gradient. This meant that considerable time had to be spent on cuttings, tunnels and embankments.
 
The Stockton & Darlington line was opened on 27th September, 1825. Large crowds saw George Stephenson at the controls of the Locomotion as it pulled 36 wagons filled with sacks of coal and flour. The initial journey of just under 9 miles took two hours. However, during the final descent into the Stockton terminus, speeds of 15 mph (24 kph) were reached.

Liverpool & Manchester Railway
The Stockton & Darlington line successfully reduced the cost of transporting coal and in 1826 Stephenson was appointed engineer and provider of locomotives for the Bolton & Leigh railway. He also was the chief engineer of the proposed Liverpool & Manchester railway. Stephenson was faced with a large number of serious engineering problems. This included crossing the unstable peat bog of Chat Moss, a nine-arched viaduct across the Sankey Valley and a two-mile long rock cutting at Olive Mount.
 
The directors of the Liverpool & Manchester company were unsure whether to use locomotives or stationary engines on their line. To help them reach a decision, it was decided to hold a competition where the winning locomotive would be awarded £500. The idea being that if the locomotive was good enough, it would be the one used on the new railway.

Rainhill Trials
The competition was held at Rainhill during October 1829. Each competing locomotive had to haul a load of three times its own weight at a speed of at least 10 mph. The locomotives had to run twenty times up and down the track at Rainhill which made the distance roughly equivalent to a return trip between Liverpool and Manchester. Afraid that heavy locomotives would break the rails, only machines that weighed less than six tons could compete in the competition. Ten locomotives were originally entered for the Rainhill Trials but only five turned up and two of these were withdrawn because of mechanical problems. Sans Pariel and Novelty did well but it was the Rocket, produced by George and his son, Robert Stephenson, that won the competition.
 
The Liverpool & Manchester railway was opened on 15th September, 1830. The prime minister, the Duke of Wellington, and a large number of important people attended the opening ceremony that included a procession of eight locomotives. Unfortunately, the day was marred by one of the government ministers, William Huskisson, being knocked down and killed by one of the locomotives. After his success with the Liverpool & Manchester railway, Stephenson was the chief engineer of the following railways: Manchester & Leeds, Birmingham & Derby, Normanton & York and Sheffied & Rotherham.

Businessman
George Stephenson continued to work on improving the quality of the locomotives used on the railway lines he constructed. This included the addition of a steam-jet developed by Goldsworthy Gurney that increased the speed of the Rocket to 29 mph.
 
In 1838 Stephenson purchased Tapton House, a Georgian mansion near Chesterfield. Stephenson went into partnership with George Hudson and James Sanders and together they opened coalmines, ironworks and limestone quarries in the area. Stephenson also owned a small farm where he experimented with stock breeding, new types of manure and animal food. He also developed a method of fattening chickens in half the usual time. He did this by shutting them in dark boxes after a heavy feed.
 
Stephenson's second wife, Elizabeth Hindley, died in 1845. George Stephenson married for a third time just before he died at Tapton House, Chesterfield on 12th August, 1848.

Source: http://spartacus-educational.com/RAstephensonG.htm
George Stephenson is known in the UK as 'The Father of the Railways' because he created many of the elements of railways (the design of engines, the gauge of the rails, the design of railway lines etc) like a good father does.  As well as being the father of new inventions that benefited the world, George was also a great father in the biological sense, as he sired the well known engineer Robert Stephenson, whom he sent off to school to get the education that he never did.  In good time Robert grew up into a respected engineer.  This shows us that men who do great things often do great things in several different realms/areas of life.


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