Entries Tagged as 'History'

The War of Northern Agression

Or more commonly known as the American Civil War officially ended on 9 April 1865 when General Robert E Lee of the Army of Northern Virgina (Confederate States of America) surrendered to General Ulysses S Grant of the Federal Army of the Potomac ) United States of America) at the Appomattox Court House (Appomattox, Virginia).

In accordance with the substance of my letter to you of the 8th inst., I propose to receive the surrender of the Army of N. Va. on the following terms, to wit: Rolls of all the officers and men to be made in duplicate. One copy to be given to an officer designated by me, the other to be retained by such officer or officers as you may designate. The officers to give their individual paroles not to take up arms against the Government of the United States until properly exchanged, and each company or regimental commander sign a like parole for the men of their commands. The arms, artillery and public property to be parked and stacked, and turned over to the officer appointed by me to receive them. This will not embrace the side-arms of the officers, nor their private horses or baggage. This done, each officer and man will be allowed to return to their homes, not to be disturbed by United States authority so long as they observe their paroles and the laws in force where they may reside.

The war officially ended, and the country started the long road of reconstruction.

Originally posted 2010-04-09 01:30:38.

Voter ID Requirements

Since roughly 1750 the phrase “taxation without representation” has been used in the country as a rallying phrase for action.

In the Revolutionary War, it reflected on the British Crown taxing citizens in the colonies without providing them any voice in Parliament.

In Washington DC it became the motto of citizens pointing out that they had no representation in the House of Representatives of the Senate (and was a slogan used on Washington DC license plates — you may recall President Bill Clinton having those put on the White House limosines, and President George W Bush having them removed).

Now my questions is… if the states who have implements “tough” new voter identification requirements (even though voter fraud has never been shown to be a substantial issue) disenfranchise American citizens from their Constitutional right to vote; should they be required to pay taxes?

People who choose not to vote are one thing; but people who are denied their right to vote is entirely another…

I fear another messy election is going to be on us in 2012, much as it was in 2000 — perhaps it’s time for the United States to use international observers to insure that elections are conducted in a way that insures they comply with not only the letter of the law, but the intent of the law.

Originally posted 2011-11-06 02:00:59.

Radical Religions

The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL at the urging of it’s pastor Terry Jones plans to burn copies of the Quran today to mark the anniversary of the radical terrorists who hijacked airplanes and used them as weapons nearly a decade ago.

Terry Jones wrote a book entitled Islam is of the Devil.

On The Dove World Outreach Center’s web site is a statement that said it plans to burn Qurans “to warn about the teaching and ideology of Islam, which we do hate as it is hateful.”

What makes this entire episode totally ridiculous is that Terry Jones boasts that he has never read the Quran — so he has no idea what is in the book he intends to burn, and it’s likely he has absolutely no understanding of Islam.

Most of the world understands that radicals don’t represent the views of the main stream of any culture — and certainly we don’t hold all Christians accountable to the acts of the radicals who murder people or bomb buildings to save unborn fetuses… but somehow a back-woods, narrow-minded, ignorant, bigoted preacher in the deep South seems to think that he needs to publicly burn books held holy by another faith to make himself feel more secure in his ridiculous beliefs.

And we should set the records straight — more people have been killed by Christians than any other religion in the name of their god… so if we’re keeping tally for “radical” acts of hate, all Christian please move to the front of the line.

Originally posted 2010-09-11 02:00:24.

Blow Smoke Up One’s Ass

In 18th Century Europe (1750~1810), the Tobacco Smoke Enema was used to infuse tobacco smoke into a patient’s rectum for various medical purposes; primarily the resuscitation of drowning victims.

The procedure involved a rectal tube being inserted into the anus that was connected to a fumigator and bellows that was used to force smoke into the rectum.

The warmth of the smoke was thought to promote respiration, but doubts about the credibility of tobacco enemas soon lead to the popularization of the phrase…

Blow Smoke Up One’s Ass

It seems to me, that the whole tobacco industry was blowing smoke up most everyone’s ass for years in trying to convince them that smoking didn’t cause any ill effects.

Tobacco Smoke Enema on Wikipedia

Tobacco Smoke Enema

Originally posted 2010-04-17 02:00:43.

Historical Tid-Bit

Where was the first European settlement in what is now the United States?

  • 1493 Christopher Columbus (of Italy, sailing under the Spanish flag) lands in Puerto Rico;
  • 1513 Juan Ponce de León (of Spain) sites Santa Rosa Island, explores Florida;
  • 1516 Don Diego Miruelo (of Spain) explores Santa Rosa Island and sails into Pensacola Bay (Poloza or Ochuse);
  • 1538 Pánfilo de Narváez (of Spain) explores Northwest Florida.
  • 1539 Hernando de Soto explores Northwest Florida.
  • 1559 (15 August) Tristan de Luna (of Spain) founded a settlement on Santa Rosa Island and christens Pensacola Bay as Bahía Santa María de Filipina (the settlement is abandoned in 1561 due to severe storms, famines, and conflicts with natives);
  • 1564 (22 June) Jean Ribault (of France) founded Fort Caroline (Jacksonville, Florida).
  • 1565 (28 August) Pedro Menendez de Aviles (of Spain) founded St Augustine (Florida) and obliterated Fort Caroline (and replaced it with a Spanish fort);
  • 1607 the British found Jamestown (Virgina);
  • 1624 the Dutch found New Amsterdam (New York City, New York);
  • 1638 the Swedes found New Sweden (along the Delaware River, south of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania);
  • 1686 (February) Juan Enríquez Barroto (of France) and Antonio Romero (of France) survey the entire northern Gulf coast from San Marcos de Apalache westward looking for the French “lost colony” naming Pensacola “Panzacola” after the Panzacola Indians.
  • 1693 (April) General Andrés de Pez (of Mexico/Spain) and Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora (of Spain) explores the north Gulf coast from Pensacola Bay to the mouth of the Mississippi River and re-christen Pensacola Bay as Bahía Santa María de Galve as well as discovering the East River and Blackwater River.
  • 1695 Andrés de Arriola (of Spain) inspects the mouth of the Mississippi River and Pensacola Bay (his reports of the Pensacola don’t portrait it as a paradise as did those of Pez-Sigüenza).
  • 1696 Spanish found Pensacola (Florida); destroyed and abandoned.
  • 1698 Spanish re-settle Pensacola (Florida) under the direction of the first governor Andrés de Arriola;
  • 1719 (14 May) Governor of French Louisiana, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, took Pensacola in the name of France.
  • 1722 the French retreat and burn the Pensacola; the Spanish rebuild;
  • 1733 Spanish found Saint Marks (San Marcos de Apalache; Wakulla county Florida);
  • 1752 a hurricane destroys Pensacola, the Spanish rebuild;
  • 1761 a hurricane destroys Pensacola, the Spanish rebuild;
  • 1757 King Ferdinand VI (of Spain) issues a royal order establishing the name of the area as “Panzacola”.
  • 1763 the British take control of Penscola under the terms of the Treaty or Paris; Pensacola is made the capital of British West Florida and the town was laid out in its current form around the Seville Square district (by surveyor and engineer Elias Durnford);
  • 1781 the Spanish recapture Pensacola;
  • 1813 General Andrew Jackson (of US) invades Pensacola;
  • 1814 General Andrew Jackson (of US) invades Pensacola;
  • 1818 General Andrew Jackson (of US) invades Pensacola;
  • 1821 the Adams-Onis Tready cedes all of Spanish Florida to the United State;
  • 1825 Pensacola Navy Yard founded and a lighthouse constructed;
  • 1861 (10 January) Florida secedes from the Union and Pensacola becomes part of the Confederate States of America;
  • 1865 (25 June) Florida is readmitted to the Union after the ravages of war and Reconstruction;

So the answer would be — Santa Rosa Island, Florida… and if you want the site of the first continuously occupied European settlement that would be St Augustine, Florida.

However, keep in mind that the US (and both North American and South America) was “discovered” over 15,000 years ago.  The first residents crossed Beringia into Alaska, and there’s some archaeological evidence that suggests there may have been residents here even before that.

Originally posted 2010-03-21 15:48:22.

Gulf Oil Spill

Well, I’d say that the fact that BP stock is at a fourteen year low is karmic retribution for the way BP has been handling the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; but the stock price doesn’t really hit the company, and most of the large investors are likely to weather the stock price storm until the public forgets about what a horrible company BP is.

Though — the public might not forget too quickly, because the incompetence of BP has now put the problem squarely into hurricane season, and the $2.35 billion that BP has spent to date on the issue could be a pittance compared to what it might cost them if a tropical storm hits the Gulf… and of course the storms have started in what forecasters have indicated is likely to be a very active season.

Originally posted 2010-07-03 02:00:19.

BANG!

In the Summer of ’62 the US military detonated a hydrogen bomb in outer space above the Pacific Ocean as part of a project code named: Starfish Prime.

There’s a good article on NPR you can read at:

A Very Scary Light Show: Exploding H-Bombs In Space on NPR


Originally posted 2010-07-14 02:00:56.

Does Canada’s Health Care System Need Fixing?

This is from an article on by Sarah Varney (KQED – San Francisco, CA, US – Public Media for Northern California) re-published on NPR.

Amid the debate about reforming heath care in the United States, it’s tough to turn on your television these days without hearing a political ad condemning the Canadian health care system.

One such ad from Americans for Prosperity features a woman talking of her experience with getting treatment for cancer.

“I survived a brain tumor, but if I’d relied on my government for health care, I’d be dead. I am a Canadian citizen. As my brain tumor got worse, my government health care system told me I had to wait six month to see a specialist,” the woman says.

The ads are provocative, but just how accurately do they portray Canada’s system?

At a small doctor’s office in the gritty working-class neighborhood of East Vancouver, Dr. Larry Barzelai meets with John and Bessie Riley, who have been his patients for more than 20 years.

John Riley was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. Contrary to the woman in the TV ad, he says his experience getting in to see specialists has been “nothing but good” so far. “Everything’s gone bang, bang. I’ve had no waiting times for anything,” he says, adding that his only out-of-pocket expense has been the cost of getting to the doctor’s office.

Socialized Insurance, Not Socialized Medicine

Canada has a universal health care system that’s paid for through income taxes and sales tax. All Canadians are covered, and they can see any doctor they want anywhere in the country with no copays or deductibles. Some things aren’t covered: optometry, dentistry and outpatient prescription drugs. Many Canadians have private insurance to cover those services, though some struggle to pay for them out of pocket.

U.S. critics of Canadian health care like to call it socialized medicine, but it’s more like socialized insurance — meaning the risk is pooled together. And while the individual provinces and territories set their overall health budgets and administer the health plans, the delivery of medical care is private. Doctors run their own businesses and then bill the government.

Barzelai says physicians in Canada earn a good living and aren’t faced with the same administrative hassles that American doctors gripe about. “Medical costs here are half of what medical costs in the States are,” he says. “At the same time, our infant mortality is lower, our life expectancy is longer, our rates of obesity are a lot less. So there’s got to be some positive aspects of living in Canada and with the Canadian medical system.”

The Commonwealth Fund, a respected and nonpartisan U.S. health research organization, looked at deaths that could have been prevented with access to quality medical care in the leading 19 industrialized countries. In the latest survey, the United States ranked last and Canada came in sixth.

Professor Bob Evans, one of the grandfathers of the health economics field, has been studying the Canadian and U.S. systems since they were founded around the same time in the mid-1960s. He says that what many Americans hear about Canada — rationed care, long wait lists and a government bureaucrat who gets in between a patient and doctor — is “absolute nonsense.”

“Are there cases of people who wind up not getting the care they need at appropriate times? Yes, of course there are,” says Evans, who is with the Centre for Health Policy Research at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. “This is a huge system and it’s a very complicated one and things do go wrong. But as a general rule, what happens here is that when you need the care, you get it.” But that wasn’t always the case.

‘The Most Frustrating Moments In Our System’

When federal spending on Canadian health care declined during a recession in the 1990s, lines for non-urgent procedures — and some urgent ones — grew. A few years later, Canada’s Supreme Court found that some patients had in fact died as a result of waiting for medical services. Stories of the deaths and of residents traveling to the U.S. for medical care dominated Canadian news coverage.

In response, Canada’s government poured billions of dollars into reducing wait times in the five medical areas deemed most troublesome, including cancer care, cardiac care and joint replacement surgery. And wait times for these services has dropped: Most provinces now report those times on publicly available Web sites. Such data — and public accountability — don’t exist in the U.S.

But that’s not to say there still aren’t frustrations with waiting for medical care in Canada.

Jocelyn Thompkinson is a peppy 29-year-old who was born with a neural tube defect similar to spina bifida. “I haven’t been able to walk since I was 8, and I’ve had lots of surgeries, lots of medical interventions of various types,” she says at BC Children’s Hospital, in a leafy Vancouver neighborhood. “But beyond that, I hold a job, I have a pretty much normal life.”

She credits an army of Canadian doctors and physical therapists for giving her that normal life, though there have been roadblocks. “Of course there were some times when I had to wait for care, and those are always the most frustrating moments in our system,” Thompkinson says. Several years ago, when she was on a long waiting list for a pain clinic in Vancouver, she traveled to Seattle and then Texas to get care. The visits and tests cost her $1,800.

Few Canadians actually go south for medical care, though. Canadian researchers say it’s a bit like getting struck by lighting — it’s extremely rare, but when it happens, everyone talks about it.

Provincial governments do pay for Canadians to receive specialty care in the U.S. in some cases. For example, a shortage of neonatal beds means a small number of women with high-risk pregnancies are sent to U.S. hospitals to deliver their babies.

It doesn’t happen often, though, and public opinion polls continue to show strong support for publicly financed, universal health care in Canada.

NPR.com

Originally posted 2010-03-11 02:00:20.

Einstein’s 23 Biggest Mistakes

Einstein’s biggest flubs: thinking black holes were impossible, believing the universe was static, and saying that “God does not play dice.”

Chronology of Einstein’s Mistakes

  1. 1905 Mistake in clock synchronization procedure on which Einstein based special relativity
  2. 1905 Failure to consider Michelson-Morley experiment
  3. 1905 Mistake in transverse mass of high-speed particles
  4. 1905 Multiple mistakes in the mathematics and physics used in calculation of viscosity of liquids, from which Einstein deduced size of molecules
  5. 1905 Mistakes in the relationship between thermal radiation and quanta of light
  6. 1905 Mistake in the first proof of E = mc2
  7. 1906 Mistakes in the second, third, and fourth proofs of E = mc2
  8. 1907 Mistake in the synchronization procedure for accelerated clocks
  9. 1907 Mistakes in the Principle of Equivalence of gravitation and acceleration
  10. 1911 Mistake in the first calculation of the bending of light
  11. 1913 Mistake in the first attempt at a theory of general relativity
  12. 1914 Mistake in the fifth proof of E = mc2
  13. 1915 Mistake in the Einstein-de Haas experiment
  14. 1915 Mistakes in several attempts at theories of general relativity
  15. 1916 Mistake in the interpretation of Mach’s principle
  16. 1917 Mistake in the introduction of the cosmological constant (the “biggest blunder”)
  17. 1919 Mistakes in two attempts to modify general relativity
  18. 1925 Mistakes and more mistakes in the attempts to formulate a unified theory
  19. 1927 Mistakes in discussions with Bohr on quantum uncertainties
  20. 1933 Mistakes in interpretation of quantum mechanics (Does God play dice?)
  21. 1934 Mistake in the sixth proof of E = mc2
  22. 1939 Mistake in the interpretation of the Schwarzschild singularity and gravitational collapse (the “black hole”)
  23. 1946 Mistake in the seventh proof of E = mc2

 

From Einstein’s Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius

Originally posted 2011-09-27 02:00:04.

conglomeration

con·glom·er·a·tion (kn-glm-rshn)
n.

    1. The act or process of conglomerating.
    2. The state of being conglomerated.
  1. An accumulation of miscellaneous things.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


conglomeration [kənˌglɒməˈreɪʃən] n

  1. a conglomerate mass
  2. a mass of miscellaneous things
  3. the act of conglomerating or the state of being conglomerated

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003


conglomeration a cluster; things joined into a compact body, coil, or ball.

Examples: conglomeration of buildings, 1858; of chances; of Christian names, 1842; of men, 1866; of sounds, 1626; of threads of silk worms, 1659; of vessels, 1697; of words.

Dictionary of Collective Nouns and Group Terms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


The SCO infringement lawsuit over the Unix trademark is over… the Supreme Court has ruled that Novell owns the Unix trademark and copyright, and SCO has no grounds for it’s litigation against.  Just as Microsoft owned and retained the Xenix copyright while SCO distributed that operating system, so Novell retained the Unix copyright while SCO distributed that operating system.

While means, Novell now has a prime asset — and could be ripe for harvesting (that’s a poetic way to say merger, take-over, buy-out).

Which will likely be bad for Linux.

WHAT?

Yep, take a look at what happened when Oracle purchased Sun (one of the largest companies supporting Open Source innovation in Linux, virtualization, etc) there’s definitely movement in Oracle to retract from the Open Source and free (free – like free beer) software efforts that Sun was firmly behind.

Consider what happens if a company acquires Novell and uses the SystemV license from Novell to market a closed source operating system, and discontinues work on Suse; or at minimum decides it doesn’t distributed Suse for free (free – like free beer).

“Live free or die” might become a fading memory.

Originally posted 2010-06-05 02:00:18.