Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Bullying, 'Hazing', 'Banter' etc



2 [heyz] Show IPA
verb (used with object), hazed, haz·ing.
1. to subject (freshmen, newcomers, etc.) to abusive or humiliating tricks and ridicule.

Source: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hazing
It's a myth that bullying, hazing or any other variations (emotional or physical) are good for toughening up up, or 'turning boys into men'.  Bullying does psychological damage AND physiological damage to the men who experience it.  Physiological damage is in the form of irreparable brain damage:
- Damage to the Corpus Callosum (a bundle of nerves that joins the two hemispheres of the brain).
- Damage to the PrefrontalCortex (the front third of the brain that is apparently responsible for higher thinking, personality, and 'executive function', i.e. masculine decision making)
- Damage to the Hippocampus (apparantly responsible for memory, spatial awareness, and inhibitions)

Here's the text that inspired this post:
The only neurobiological condition inherited by boys that affects later violence is they have a smaller corpus callosum, the part of the brain that connects the right and the left hemisphere.16 The larger corpus callosum of infant girls allows them to work through trauma and neglect more easily than boys. Furthermore, boys who are abused had a 25 percent reduction in sections of the corpus callosum, while girls did not.17 This means boys actually need more love and caretaking than girls as they grow up. If they do not receive enough interpersonal attention from their caretakers they suffer from damaged prefrontal cortices (self control, empathy) and from hyperactive amygdalae (fear centers), their corpus callosum is reduced further, and they have reduced serotonin levels (calming ability) and increased corticosterone production (stress hormone). All these factors make them have weak selves, reduced empathy, less control over impulsive violence and far more fears than girls.18
The central psychobiological question, then, is this: Are boys given more love and attention than girls by their caretakers in order to help them offset their greater needs? The answer, of course, is just the opposite: boys are given less care and support, from everyone in the family and in society, and they are abused far more than girls, so by the time they are three years of age they become twice as violent as girls.19 Boys’ greater violence by this time, including their propensity to form dominance gangs and to endlessly “play war,” are the results of their greater abuse and distancing by adults and being subject to demands to “grow up” and “be manly” and “not be a crybaby” and not need attachments—attitudes taught by their parents, teachers and coaches. By age four boys’ play is full of provocations that test their self-worth: “At 4 years of age, girls’ insults to one another are infrequent and minor…Boy/boy insults, however, are numerous and tough.”20 The so-called “aggressiveness” usually ascribed to boys is in fact wholly defensive, as they try to ward off their greater feelings of insecurity and hopelessness.21 It isn’t “aggression” males display; it’s bravado—defensive testing and disproof of their fears.
Source: http://www.psychohistory.com/originsofwar/02_whymalesaremoreviolent.html

And lest you think that this only occurs in men there's also evidence that Corpus-Callosum shrinkage correlates with women who have Bi-Polar disorder:
Corpus callosum abnormalities in women with borderline personality disorder and comorbid attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077349/
Young boys need more love than they are getting, or have possibly ever got, from their caretakers (parents, guardians, teachers, and other people who take responsibility for them on a day-to-day basis).  Hazing and intimidating style initiations are not a form of love.  If boys don't get enough love then they suffer lasting psychological damage and irreparable physiological damage.  Damage that not only effects them personally but also effects the people around them particularly when they grow up and have children of their own or work in positions of power.  Saddam Hussein is one example of this:
Saddam Hussein, like so many dictators, had an unbelievably traumatic childhood.38 His mother tried to abort him by hitting her abdomen with her fists and cutting herself with a kitchen knife, yelling, "In my belly I'm carrying a Satan!" She gave the infant Saddam away to his uncle, a violent man who beat the boy regularly, calling him "a son of a cur" and training him to use a gun and steal sheep. Saddam committed his first homicide at eleven. His political career centered on the murder of his fellow countrymen, and he particularly enjoyed watching the torture and execution of officers who had fought with him.
Source: http://www.psychohistory.com/htm/eln02_gulf.html

Prince Vladimir III of Wallachia, AKA Vlad the Impaler, is another example of what an abusive childhood can result in (emphasis added):
In 1444, at the age of thirteen, young Vlad and his brother Radu were sent to Adrianople as hostages, to appease the Sultan. He remained there until 1448, at which time he was released by the Turks, who supported him as their candidate for the Wallachian throne. Vlad’s younger brother apparently chose to remain in Turkey, where he had grown up. (Radu is later supported by the Turks as a candidate for the Wallachian throne, in opposition to his own brother, Vlad.)

In Adrianople, Vlad was locked up in prison and often whipped and beaten because of his verbal abuse towards his captors and his stubborn behavior, while his younger brother Radu the Handsome was much easier to control. Radu converted to Islam entered the service of Sultan Murad II's son, Mehmed II (later known as the Conqueror), and was allowed into the Ottoman royal court.

These years had a great influence on Vlad's character and led to Vlad's well-known hatred for the Ottoman Turks, the Janissary, his brother Radu the Handsome for becoming an Ottoman, and the young Ottoman prince Mehmed II (even after he became sultan). According to McNally and Florescu, he was jealous of his fathers preference for his elder brother, Mircea II and half brother,Vlad Calugarul, he also distrusted his own father for trading him to the Turks and betraying the Order of the Dragon's oath to fight them. It was in Turkey where Vlad first witnessed the act of impalement (the Ottomans often beheaded traitors and deserters).
Source: http://vladiiitheimpaler.blogspot.co.uk/2010/04/vlad-impaler-dracula-life.html
(This is a prime example of the scientific law: "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction"; and also the moral law: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.")

It makes one look at the victims like Saddam Hussein and Prince Vladimir in a different light: less as cartoon-like monsters and more like human beings who have responded to a given situation.

It also makes one look at the social commentators (on the internet and in the MSM) who mindlessly attack people like Saddam Hussein (call them butchers etc) in a different light, because clearly these commentators do not think about these people as human beings.

Now I'm not arguing that we should all make daisy chains and sit around singing #Kumbaya# like a bunch of pacifistic hippies, excusing every indecent act we witness as a result of childhood trauma, because that would be calamitous for other reasons (e.g. it would allow wilfully malevolent people to get away with wrong-doing), I'm arguing that boys are sensitive and need love, respect, and freedom to express themselves in various forms and if they don't get that then they will suffer psychological and irreparable physiological damage because of it.  Hazing, testing, bullying, toughening-up, or whatever you want to call it, does nothing to help.

P.S. The originator of 'Psycho-History', Lloyd DeMause, has a mix of information of varying veracity so if you read any of his work (of which there is a lot) be wary of this fact.  For instance while he asserts that mothers are the principle abusers of children (which can be confirmed by THIS web page) but he also peddles the myth that '1 in 3 women are raped' (which has been du-bunked umpteen times in the Manosphere/Androsphere, like HERE and HERE; even some economists are tiring of the myth).  So just be wary that his approach is original but his data is somewhat dubious.


Saturday, 19 July 2014

Men of Yore: Thomas McKey

This is another in 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 McKey
Thomas McKey, mason, architect, businessman, politician, justice of the peace, militia officer, and office holder; b. 1 Sept. 1792 in Perth, Scotland, son of John McKay and Christina —; m. 20 June 1813 Ann Crichton, and they had 16 children; d. 9 Oct. 1855 in New Edinburgh (Ottawa), Upper Canada.

On leaving school Thomas McKay was apprenticed to the mason’s trade. Induced by the depression which followed the Napoleonic Wars, he and his wife immigrated to Lower Canada, arriving on 9 Sept. 1817 and settling in Montreal. McKay gained contracting experience on the Lachine Canal (1821–25), in partnership with a fellow Scot, John Redpath*, and on the fortifications at Île aux Noix (1821–26), in partnership with Peter Rutherford. McKay later contested the legality of that association, including any profit-sharing agreement, and in the resulting litigation, brought by Rutherford’s executors in 1840, he was awarded judgement.
In 1826, attracted by the planning of the Rideau Canal, McKay came to the construction camp on the Ottawa River which within months was to be named Bytown (Ottawa). He soon formed a partnership with Redpath, Thomas Phillips*, and Andrew White* to execute various works on the canal, with McKay’s responsibilities centring on the Bytown area. He was selected in the fall of 1826 by Lieutenant Colonel John By* to perform the masonry work on the spectacular tier of eight entrance locks, rising 81 feet from the Ottawa River to a canal basin. The work was to be finished in two years but delays were caused during excavation by underground springs and it was not completed until 1830. Stone for the locks was to have been transported across the river from Hull but McKay persuaded By to authorize the use at less cost of stone quarried at the site, resulting in enormous profit to McKay and his partners. Regarded by John Mactaggart* as a “good practical mason” who scorned “to slim any work,” McKay was entrusted as well with the construction of the locks at Hartwells and, on the failure of the previous contractor, Walter Welsh Fenlon, with the locks at Hogs Back. In 1828, during a lull in construction at Bytown, he set his masons to work building the settlement’s first Presbyterian church, St Andrew’s, in Upper Town. He also built two of the seven spans of the Union Bridge across the fathomless, boiling cauldron of the Ottawa at the Chaudière Falls. By, who was pleased with the quality of his canal work at Bytown, celebrated its finish with a gala banquet, at which an ox was roasted whole and served in a standing position. On the completion of the formidable Rideau project in 1832, McKay and Redpath received an engraved silver cup from By in recognition of their services. According to John Glass Malloch, a Perth lawyer, in 1841, McKay made about £30,000 from his work on the canal.
Although McKay remained involved in various Montreal-based businesses, including the Ottawa and Rideau Forwarding Company, he had moved his family to Bytown in 1827.  Two years later he began acquiring property near by at the falls of the Rideau River and by 1832 he had constructed a sawmill there. An extensive, water-powered flour-mill was built on the opposite bank in 1833 and a bakery was erected a year later. The lease of an island near the falls in 1836 and the acquisition of surrounding land over the next two years gave McKay complete control over the mill site. The five-storey flour-mill had a large productive capacity and served a wide region along the Ottawa River and the canal. In 1834 Edward John Barker* of Kingston observed that it was “presumed to be the best in Upper Canada,” superior even to the mill at Gananoque of John McDonald, who competed with McKay in purchasing grain through agents along the canal. In 1837 McKay added a distillery and the first cloth factory on the Ottawa, in which he later installed power looms. Satinette from his factory won a medal for quality in 1851 at the Great Exhibition in London, England. In 1843 he had enlarged his timber resources by securing a limit on the Rivière Gatineau and about 1846 he formed a partnership with a son-in-law, John MacKinnon. A year later a new sawmill was built for the firm at the Rideau Falls site by Joseph Merrill Currier*. Within two years the sawmills were undergoing expansion to accommodate the production of shingles, doors, window sashes, and blinds. McKay and MacKinnon also actively promoted the first railway into Bytown, the Bytown and Prescott Railway, which was incorporated in 1850. Although they had sufficient influence to secure its terminus near their mills, the railway, largely financed by Boston interests, proved unsuccessful in diverting the flow of lumber from Montreal and Quebec. In 1852 the partnership with MacKinnon was dissolved.
As McKay’s industrial complex developed on the east bank of the Rideau River, so did the surrounding settlement, which he laid out into lots about 1834 and named New Edinburgh. He was not only a highly successful contractor and entrepreneur but an architect of some distinction. Rideau Hall, completed in 1838 on a 65-acre estate at New Edinburgh, was a refined Regency-style villa, executed in limestone and freely adapted from a design by the British architect Sir John Soane. The stately mansion, also known as “McKay’s Castle,” contained more than 11 rooms, including a drafting-room and a parlour from which the skirling notes of the bagpipes played by the lord of the manor reportedly sounded through the surrounding woods of a summer’s evening. The house and property were leased to the government in 1865 and purchased three years later to form the nucleus of the official residence of Canada’s governors general. A second stone residence, built by McKay about 1854 for John and Annie MacKinnon, was purchased by Sir John A. Macdonald* in 1882 and named Earnscliffe.
McKay was as active in public life as in business. He was a member of the municipal council formed at Bytown in 1828, became a justice of the peace in 1833, and a year later was elected to the House of Assembly for the Ottawa River riding of Russell, which he represented until 1841. A tory and an active member of the Constitutional Association in Montreal, he supported the legislative union of Upper and Lower Canada. An indication of his tolerance was his support in 1839 for a share by the Roman Catholic church in the apportionment of the clergy reserves. Concerning commercial matters, McKay prepared a report in 1836 on navigable communication from Bytown to Lake Huron [see Charles Shirreff*], urged public ownership of the Welland Canal, and served in 1837 on a select committee investigating navigation on the St Lawrence River. From 1841 until his death McKay served on the Legislative Council, in which office in 1849 he opposed the Municipal Corporations Bill, sponsored by the ministry of Robert Baldwin and Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine*, and the Rebellion Losses Bill [see James Bruce*]. In 1842 McKay was appointed first warden of the new district of Dalhousie, which he had promoted politically and for which he had built the court-house and jail at Bytown. He was involved as well in numerous organizations, including the St Andrew’s Society of Montreal and the Bytown Emigration Society. A prominent elder in the Church of Scotland, he was a founding trustee of Queen’s College, Kingston. He served as lieutenant-colonel of the 1st Battalion of Russell militia from 1838 to 1846, when he was transferred to the 4th Battalion of Carleton militia, replacing George Lyon.
On 9 Oct. 1855 McKay died of stomach cancer at Rideau Hall. He was survived for many years by his wife but, with the early deaths of his sons without issue, his direct line died out. Three daughters, however, had married notable figures: John MacKinnon, Robert Mackay (a Montreal lawyer), and Thomas Coltrin Keefer*. The management of McKay’s estate, which included the sale in 1866 of the New Edinburgh Mills to James* and John Maclaren, was assumed by Keefer, who, after the death of his wife, married MacKinnon’s widow.
McKay’s career was multifaceted. A man of diverse talents and abundant energy, he was very much a “self made man,” in the opinion of the Montreal Witness, Weekly Review and Family Newspaper, and one who amassed much property and wealth but never lost the common touch. Known to one resident of New Edinburgh as “a ruddy faced, forceful man, who, when he had an objective, generally managed to reach it,” McKay was also depicted, by Andrew Wilson in 1876, as a straightforward and honourable man who was accessible “even to the humblest” but who “knew his place as a gentleman.” His obituary in the Journal of Education for Upper Canada, however, described his temperament as “neither cool nor certain” and rather uneven owing to his “humble” origins and rapid increase in wealth and social station.
Source: http://www.biographi.ca/en/bio/redpath_john_9E.html
I decided to include a biography of a civil engineer after Bob Wallace mentioned in a post about how ungrateful modern Western women can be, even about something so simple yet fundamental to life as fresh water.  Dams and reservoirs provide us with two essential ingredients for civilisation: fresh water and the ability to generate power.  Both of these things can be used for manifold purposes be it domestically, agriculturally, or industrially.  Our attention may not be drawn to dam and reservoirs as much as it is drawn to other aspects of modern life like music and motion pictures[1], but they do an essential & laborious job which provide us with the opportunity to do more. 

By the way, does anyone know why engineers don't try to reduce evaporation on reservoirs by covering them with lily-pads or floatation devices or something?  It would cut back on wasted fresh water; and fresh water is something that we all need to use not just to consume, but domestically, industrially, agriculturally.
[1]  Contrast/change in the form of changing thoughts, sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches, is what captures people attention.  Hence why 'jiggling boobies' are attractive to the juvenile male but 'static boobies' are not.  Jiggling boobies move while static ones do not.  Also why people are look at eyes, moving hair, mouths etc when engaging in conversation - because those are the parts of the body that are in motion, and that catch our eye.  Something that doesn't change doesn't catch our attention.


Monday, 14 July 2014

Dark Triad Alpha Posers

Here's one man who told it straight way back in the sixties.  Johnny Cash with Cocaine Blues.  Sung from inside Folsom Prison no less.  (Stick that in your pipe and smoke it gangster-rappers!):

Whoever says that snorting coke and screwin' hoes was a 21st century 'Dark-Triad Alpha' thing certainly needs to get their head screwed on right.  Johnny Cash sang country & Western AND did drugs when drug taking was perceived as almost heretical in his native culture.  What's more is that he gave up the drug taking lifestyle and went straight, which shows us that men who think 'banging hoes' and 'doing drugs' (or booze for that matter) is 'Alpha behaviour' are nothing more than posers, infantile posers.  They are like the men in rap videos who have to stand in front of the camera like obstinate children, while holding pistols askew in such a way that they would probably jam if fired.  Yeah.. like that's really Alpha behaviour(!) - firing a gun in such a position so it won't frigging work.. and you end up getting killed by the other guy who holds his gun upright.. You go Alpha man(!)

The great-great-grandparents of these 'Dark-Triad Alphas' could do engage in more 'Dark' acts back in the 1800s than the 21st century 'Dark-Triad' poser could even dream of.  Oh yeah.  Didn't you know?  The 1800s was awash with booze, drugs, hookers, and money making scams.  Back in the 1800s laudanum was legal (and was drunk by Edgar Allen Poe and many other people), cocaine was legal (snorted by Freud), opium & other drugs were also legal (before the 1868 Pharmacy Act for the UK).  There were no laws restricting alcohol consumption, and brothels were legal in many places.  Not to mention that child labour was legal, as was slavery.  Now, compared to the 1800s, do modern-day 'Dark Triads' who rebel against culture mores and against decency look cool any more?  Are they hipper than Edgar Allen Poe (who took drugs), or the Sirs, Earls and Princes of the infamous Hellfire Club?  Probably not.  'Dark-Triads' are deluded about what they think is cool.

'Cool' isn't even really cool.  Cool is not good.  Cool is an apparition.  If you scrutinize it for any amount of time you realise that it is not there.  It's just a 2-D phantom that is believed by people who want to believe it, and who want to believe that they are better than others.  That's all that cool is: a means of elevating self above others, like a cult that views itself as better than the rest of humanity.  Cool is just like the Dark Triad Alphas.  They are posers who rebel against society's mores and think that they are cool because of it.  The Anti-Nomian Gnostics rebelled against society's mores, and the son of their leader ended up dead, aged just seventeen[1].  That doesn't sound good to me.

Be wary of posers, whatever form they come in: people or concepts.  You're better off without them.  You're better of sticking with that which is authentic and isn't concerned about appearance. 

[1] HERE is a link to the evidence. Scroll down until you find 'Anti-Nomian School' in large blue italicized font for the relevant text on Epiphanes.  As an aside, Gnosticism seems to be quite popular among New Agers who, like Leftists in general, like to rebel against the establishment and it's various guises like Catholicism, Capitalism, Nuclear families etc.  Just because New Agers and Leftists rebel against the Establishment doesn't make them any more correct than the people who blindly follow the establishment.  Make your own judgement.  Ask yourself "Is this idea or thing useful to me and what I want to do with my life?"  If yes then use it, if no then don't use it, if it's irrelevant then ignore it.  You're a man, not a Capitalist or a Communist, a Theist or an Atheist, a hedonist or an ascetic, or any other pairs of dualistic opposites.  Make your own judgement and make use of the gods/ideas rather than them making use of you.


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Men of Yore: John Laird

This is another in 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.

John Laird

John Laird (14 June 1805 – 29 October 1874) was a Scottish shipbuilder and key figure in the development of the town of Birkenhead. He was the elder brother of Macgregor Laird. He was one of the first to use iron in the construction of ships.

He was born in Greenock, Scotland, the eldest son of Scottish entrepreneur, William Laird and Agnes Macgregor. In the same year the Lairds moved to Liverpool. John Laird was educated at Liverpool Royal Institution. In 1824 the Laird family moved to Birkenhead, where William Laird and Daniel Horton established the Birkenhead Iron Works. This manufactured boilers near Wallasey Pool. This partnership was dissolved in 1828 and William Laird was joined in his business by John Laird, who had been a solicitor's articled clerk. The company was renamed William Laird & Son.

John Laird realised that the techniques of bending iron plates and riveting them together to build ships were similar to the principles involved in making boilers. Laird’s first vessel was a 60 ft pre-fabricated iron lighter, The Wye in 1829 - displacement sixty tons - which was used on canals and lakes in Ireland. This was followed by further orders for more lighters and in 1833 the paddle steamer Lady Lansdowne was built for the same firm. Many of the orders were for pre-fabricated river steamers. In 1834, he built the paddle steamer John Randolph for Savannah, Georgia, stated to be the first iron ship seen in America. For the East India Company, he built in 1839 the Nemesis, the first iron vessel carrying guns.

In 1839 Lairds built their first screw-propelled steamer, Robert F. Stockton, a 63 ft tug for use on North American waterways. By 1840, Lairds had built another 21 iron paddle-steamers including four gun boats for anti-piracy patrols for the British East India Company. Further orders for paddle frigates included the 1,400 ton HMS Birkenhead (which he designed) of 1848 which was famously wrecked off South Africa with the loss of over 400 soldiers in 1852. Perhaps their most famous vessel was the Confederate raider CSS Alabama. In 1857 the business moved to a new yard upstream from the Woodside Ferry, where it remained.

In 1844 John Laird started the construction of the Birkenhead Docks in the tidal Wallasey Pool. These were intended to compete with the Port of Liverpool but the venture was not a success and the system was merged with Liverpool docks in 1858.

In October 1863 John Laird and his shipbuilding company were caught making two naval ram vessels for the Confederate States Navy: El Toussoun and El Monastir. The names of these two ships do not appear to hold any significance in the confederacy which leads to the possibility that this was a covert contract between Laird and the Confederate navy. British marines raided these ships during construction forcing off the workmen and their equipment. The Royal Navy additionally deployed a gunship, HMS Heron, to the area to prevent the half constructed ships from leaving the port. Laird then sued the British government for impeding on his construction. As a Member of Parliament at the time, Laird was certainly aware of the intricacies of international relations between United Kingdom, the Northern and the Southern states during the American Civil War and his motivations for continuing work on this project are unknown.

Personal Life
In 1829 Laird married Elizabeth Hurry. In 1860, John Laird was joined in partnership by his three sons, William, John and Henry. However, John Laird retired in 1861 and the business was taken over by his sons. It merged with Charles Cammell & Co to form Cammell Laird in 1903.

He was the first mayor of Birkenhead and as chairman of the Birkenhead Improvement Commission, he played a key role in the development of the town. He was one of the first Commissioners in 1833, which were appointed to erect a market, to light and clean the streets and to maintain a police force. When Birkenhead became a Parliamentary Borough in 1861, John Laird retired from shipbuilding to become its first Member of Parliament for Birkenhead. He served from 1861 to 1874 as a Conservative. He was also Deputy Lieutenant of Cheshire and Justice of the Peace.

He contributed a great deal to the continuous improvement of the town as a benefactor. Laird was responsible for the building of the Dock Cottages. He made some generous donations for the erection of Saint James Church, the Borough Hospital and the Laird School of Art.[1]

He died at his home, 63 Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, following a riding accident. He is buried in the grounds of Birkenhead Priory, next to his yard.

An appeal for donations for a statue of John Laird quickly raised more than required from nearly 2,400 donors. The statue was sculpted by Albert Bruce-Joy. Over 2,000 people walked in procession for the statue's unveiling in 1877. It was unveiled by his friend, Lord Tollemache. The statue now stands in Hamilton Square in the centre of Birkenhead, though it was moved from its original position to make way for a cenotaph.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Laird_(shipbuilder)

Iron-hulled ships may not be the most exciting invention to come out of of the 19th century, but it certainly improved the international transportation capacity of the entire world.  Which in turn has allowed the economy to grow as much as it has done.  The ultimate construction size of a wooden naval ship is limited because of the fragility of wood (click HERE for a brief explanation on the hypothetical maximum size of wooden ships).  Iron or steel ships are not limited by this ratio, and so ships can be built to larger sizes.  Much larger sizes in the case of oil tankers, and the incredible supertankers. (Regardless of the politics, economics, morality etc of oil dependency, the engineering of the oil industry is very impressive).

If we were still using wooden ships to haul goods over seas, then transport costs would be alot higher than they are, which in turn would increase costs for consumers and producers of goods, meaning that more efficient/productive machinery would not have been transported, which in turn would mean that the economy would not have been allowed to grow as much as it has done.  John Laird did a simple thing that allowed the development of the global economy: he noticed that boilers and ships were constructed along similar principles.


Monday, 7 July 2014

Alternative Lyrics to Well Known Songs 26 - The Uncertainty Swamp

Confidence is something that every man needs.  Without it he is un-confident, anxious, un-certain.  Without it he seeks to gain confidence from others: other people, other beliefs, other things: which is not good (because it leads to deference to others in all aspects of life).  With confidence he can stand on his own two feet, stand around while the world is disintegrating around him and not be affected by it.  His confidence allows him to do his Will regardless of what the situation or other people think of him.  He can also provide confidence and certainty to others merely by being (his confidence is perceived by others, even in mundane situations like walking down the street).  They will take that feeling of confidence and then utilise it in many different areas of their life, thus causing a positive cascade effect on many other people and the culture itself.  The confident man will be able to stride forward into the world and shape it, impact on it, as much as he likes.  He will be able to do Good to the world simply because he has confidence.

Moving on to the song itself and the lyrics, the 'Uncertainty Swamp' mentioned is a metaphor for an ambivalent, indecisive, ambiguous, un-clear, ill-defined character (all traits of someone who lacks decisiveness & confidence, who are quite often women).  A swamp is both liquid and solid, has both water and earth.  It has trees and fish.  It is neither a lake nor a field.  It is both.  So it could be said to be indecisive inasmuch as it can't decide whether to be a solid field or a liquid lake.  It's both left-wing and right-wing, but also neither.  It's both a monarchist and a republican, but also neither.  It's both a deist, and an atheist, but also neither.  It is something and nothing.  It is of no defined character.  This absence of definition is what makes people un-certain, and un-confident.

Certainty provides confidence.  If you were going to cycle along a path you would need to know for certain that the road you were cycling along was going to remain a road and not change into a muddy quagmire, or even something so bizarre as a pool of toffee.  If that road was in-decisive and constantly changed it's mind about it's own nature then cyclists wouldn't have the confidence to go out for a simple bike ride because they wouldn't know whether the road was indeed going to remain a road or not.  Now extrapolate this simple scenario to different areas of human existence (manufacturing, inter-personal relationships, farming etc) and you begin to see how destructive a lack of confidence, of certainty, can be to human beings and their society.

A man can gain confidence in himself by choosing a particular path and sticking with it.  What that path is, what his character is (e.g. be him right-wing or left-wing, monarchist or republican, atheist or deist) is of secondary importance to him deciding to choose it.  The path itself is secondary to his decision to choose a particular path and stick with it, to pick a tree and live it, to pick a mountain and climb it regardless of the rocks and other violence that is inflicted upon him, to pick your cross.  Be confident with it, with your choice.  Confidence breeds decisiveness.  Decisiveness breeds confidence.

Play the song in the video above, and sing along with the alternative lyrics given below.

# The Uncertainty Swamp #
You heard the news lately,
about the Swampy Disease?
Yeah, it replaces your confidence.
with the Swamp mentality. 
Oh yeah.
It takes your Love.
and then replaces it with Swamp.
That murky Swamp.
The Uncertainty Swamp.
Yeah the swamp.
You know that fire within,
that let you do anything.
It get's extinguished by filthy thing,
that Disease known as Swamp. 
The Swamp.
It takes your Love.
and then replaces it with Swamp.
That murky Swamp.
The Uncertainty Swamp. 
The Swamp. 
The Swamp. 
The Swamp.
The Swamp.

It takes your Love.
and then replaces it with Swamp.
That murky Swamp.
The Uncertainty Swamp.
The Swamp.
I've been to the abyss.
I stood there and looked 'round.
It's terrifying & cold down there
but at least it has some form.
Any kind of form is better.
Form it gives you certainty.
Any kind of certainty
is better than no certainty.
Swamp takes your Love.
and then replaces it with Swamp.
That murky swamp.
The Uncertainty Swamp.
The Swamp.
The Swamp.
It takes your Love.
That murky Swamp.
It takes your Love.
That murky Swamp.
Too bad.
Too bad.
Hey hey hey.
Hey hey hey.
Hey hey hey.
Hey hey hey.
Hey hey hey.
Hey hey hey.
Hey hey hey.
Hey hey hey.
[End of lyrics.]

Saturday, 5 July 2014

Men of Yore: Tycho Brahe

This is another in 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. 

Tycho Brahe

Tyge (Latinized as Tycho) Brahe was born on 14 December 1546 in Skane, then in Denmark, now in Sweden. He was the eldest son of Otto Brahe and Beatte Bille, both from families in the high nobility of Denmark. He was brought up by his paternal uncle Jrgen Brahe and became his heir. He attended the universities of Copenhagen and Leipzig, and then traveled through the German region, studying further at the universities of Wittenberg, Rostock, and Basel. During this period his interest in alchemy and astronomy was aroused, and he bought several astronomical instruments. In a duel with another student, in Wittenberg in 1566, Tycho lost part of his nose. For the rest of his life he wore a metal insert over the missing part. He returned to Denmark in 1570.
In 1572 Tycho observed the new star in Cassiopeia and published a brief tract about it the following year. In 1574 he gave a course of lectures on astronomy at the University of Copenhagen. He was now convinced that the improvement of astronomy hinged on accurate observations. After another tour of Germany, where he visited astronomers, Tycho accepted an offer from the King Frederick II to fund an observatory. He was given the little island of Hven in the Sont near Copenhagen, and there he built his observatory, Uraniburg, which became the finest observatory in Europe.
Tycho designed and built new instruments, calibrated them, and instituted nightly observations. He also ran his own printing press. The observatory was visited by many scholars, and Tycho trained a generation of young astronomers there in the art of observing. After a falling out with King Christian IV, Tycho packed up his instruments and books in 1597 and left Denmark. After traveling several years, he settled in Prague in 1599 as the Imperial Mathematician at the court of Emperor Rudolph II. He died there in 1601. His instruments were stored and eventually lost.
Tycho's major works include De Nova et Nullius Aevi Memoria Prius Visa Stella ("On the New and Never Previously Seen Star) (Copenhagen, 1573); De Mundi Aetherei Recentioribus Phaenomenis ("Concerning the New Phenomena in the Ethereal World) (Uraniburg, 1588); Astronomiae Instauratae Mechanica ("Instruments for the Restored Astronomy") (Wandsbeck, 1598; English tr. Copenhagen, 1946); Astronomiae Instauratae Progymnasmata ("Introductory Exercises Toward a Restored Astronomy") (Prague 1602). His observations were not published during his lifetime. Johannes Kepler used them but they remained the property of his heirs. Several copies in manuscript circulated in Europe for many years, and a very faulty version was printed in 1666. At Prague, Tycho hired Johannes Kepler as an assistant to calculate planetary orbits from his observations. Kepler published the Tabulae Rudolphina in 1627. Because of Tycho's accurate observations and Kepler's elliptical astronomy, these tables were much more accurate than any previous tables.
Tycho Brahe's contributions to astronomy were enormous. He not only designed and built instruments, he also calibrated them and checked their accuracy periodically. He thus revolutionized astronomical instrumentation. He also changed observational practice profoundly. Whereas earlier astronomers had been content to observe the positions of planets and the Moon at certain important points of their orbits (e.g., opposition, quadrature, station), Tycho and his cast of assistants observed these bodies throughout their orbits. As a result, a number of orbital anomalies never before noticed were made explicit by Tycho. Without these complete series of observations of unprecedented accuracy, Kepler could not have discovered that planets move in elliptical orbits. Tycho was also the first astronomer to make corrections for atmospheric refraction. In general, whereas previous astronomers made observations accurate to perhaps 15 arc minutes, those of Tycho were accurate to perhaps 2 arc minutes, and it has been shown that his best observations were accurate to about half an arc minute.
Tycho's observations of the new star of 1572 and comet of 1577, and his publications on these phenomena, were instrumental in establishing the fact that these bodies were above the Moon and that therefore the heavens were not immutable as Aristotle had argued and philosophers still believed. The heavens were changeable and therefore the Aristotelian division between the heavenly and earthly regions came under attack (see, for instance, Galileo's Dialogue) and was eventually dropped. Further, if comets were in the heavens, they moved through the heavens. Up to now it had been believed that planets were carried on material spheres (spherical shells) that fit tightly around each other. Tycho's observations showed that this arrangement was impossible because comets moved through these spheres. Celestial spheres faded out of existence between 1575 and 1625.
If Tycho destroyed the dichotomy between the corrupt and ever changing sublunary world and the perfect and immutable heavens, then the new universe was clearly more hospitable for the heliocentric planetary arrangement proposed by Nicholas Copernicus in 1543. Was Tycho therefore a follower of Copernicus? He was not. Tycho gave various reasons for not accepting the heliocentric theory, but it appears that he could not abandon Aristotelian physics which is predicated on an absolute notion of place. Heavy bodies fall to their natural place, the Earth, which is the center of the universe. If the Earth were not the center of the universe, physics, as it was then known, was utterly undermined. On the other hand, the Copernican system had a number of advantages, some technical (such as a better lunar theory and smaller epicycles), and others more based on harmony (an obvious explanation of retrograde planetary motion, a strict demonstration of the order and heliocentric distances of the planets). Tycho developed a system that combined the best of both worlds. He kept the Earth in the center of the universe, so that he could retain Aristotelian physics (the only physics available). The Moon and Sun revolved about the Earth, and the shell of the fixed stars was centered on the Earth. But Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn revolved about the Sun. He put the (circular) path of the comet of 1577 between Venus and Mars. This Tychonic world system became popular early in the seventeenth century among those who felt forced to reject the Ptolemaic arrangement of the planets (in which the Earth was the center of all motions) but who, for various reasons, could not accept the Copernican alternative.

Before a farmer can plant a field he must first become aware of it and observe it.  Before man can go into space and colonise it he must first become aware of it and observe it.  Before a man can manipulate or modify anything in the world he must first become aware of it.  While creation ex-nihlo might be blind on ocassion (i.e "I can't see what I am about to create until it is actually created."), on other times creation requires an observation period before hand.  Tycho Brahe observed space, stars and the planets.  Without Tycho Brahe his observations and contraptions (he was a practical man aswell as a theoretical one) it would have been impossible for the modern twentieth and twenty-first century man to do all of the amazing things that he has done; blasting rockets into near Earth orbit, putting satellites there to observe both our own home-world and other worlds and stars in the universe.

And remember that all of Tycho's discoveries came from his own love of astronomy.  Learning is a personal thing based on love (i.e. easy-flowing, stress-free, enjoyment) not compulsion.  Enjoy it, whatever it is that you do.


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Mercenaries: Moral or Immoral?

I've just finished watching Sophia Shevardnadze interviewing Simon Mann about his life as a mercenary on Russia Today (LINK), and it caused me to question my view on mercenaries that I had been spoon-fed by society - i.e. that mercenaries are money-grubbing, adventurers, who are trigger happy and don't care about anything or anyone but their own pay-packet and the good times.  The fact of the matter is that mercenary groups can be either moral or immoral.  Fighting and morality are not mutually exclusive.  They are symbiotic as long as the men who are mercenaries want to be moral.  Mercenary groups, like any groups including societies, are as moral as the choices that the people who inhabit them make.  They can choose to hire themselves out to the highest paying customer, or they can hire themselves out to someone who has a cause that they believe in.  It's entirely up to them what they choose to do.

Here are three examples from history of mercenaries taken from the wikipedia article on mercenaries who chose to fight for something more than money:
- The Saikashuu were famed for the support of Ikko Buddhist sect movements and greatly impeded the advance of Oda Nobunaga's forces.
- In 2006, a U.S. congressional report listed a number of PMCs and other enterprises that have signed contracts to carry out anti-narcotics operations and related activities as part of Plan Colombia.
- The report also investigated the failures of the UN Peacekeeping Force, and the involvement of mercenaries and private military contractors in providing vital support to UN operations and British military Special Operations in Sierra Leone in 1999–2000.

Like many aspects of modern life it seems prudent to question the assumptions/pre-judices that society has about certain groups of people, particularly if they are groups of men.  The manosphere/androsphere has pointed out, and keeps pointing out, that many of societies assumptions about men are wrong (e.g. that all men are rapists/potential rapists, that men abuse children more than women, that men are more violent than women, etc); and there are almost certainly more erroneous-assumptions littering our society that are yet to be discovered.  Mercenaries are one of those groups that society wrongly assumes are all immoral.  They are not all like the Catalan Company (who ransacked innocent villages) or Blackwater (who killed innocent civilians).  The only way to see the truth, that mercenaries can be moral or immoral, is to doubt the assumptions of society and form your own conclusions based on your own observations.

There's a good three-part documentary series on mercenaries that is interesting (though I can only find a Russian language version HERE) made by the Discovery Channel.  It deals with the various ranks of the company: from the fighting of the Corporals on the front line, to the politics of the Chief Executive in the board room.  It takes away a lot of the romance of the life, which is always good.  Seeing things as they are is preferable to seeing them solely in romantic-emotional terms.  One scene from the documentary was about a mercenary helicopter shooting at pirates onboard a freight-ship during a rescue mission, and was as emotional as doing paperwork.  It was totally unlike war movies or video games which tend to over-excite the emotions.


Friday, 27 June 2014

Men of Yore: Louis-Nicholas Robert

This is another in 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. 

Louis-Nicholas Robert

Early and Family Life
Louis-Nicolas Robert was born to aging parents on rue Neuve-Saint-Eustache, 1st arrondissement of Paris. As a child he was physically frail and self-conscious, but studious and ambitious. He received an excellent education with a strong focus on science and mathematics at the hands of the religious order of the Minimes.[7] He felt guilty for being a financial burden to his parents.[1] At the age of 15, he tried to enlist in the army in order to support the American Revolution, but was rejected. He was accepted into the military four years later.[1]

On 23 April 1780 he joined the First Battalion of the Grenoble Artillery, and was subsequently stationed in Calais. In 1781 he transferred to the Metz Artillery regiment and was sent to Saint-Domingue, where he fought the English. He served in the military for 14 years (circa 1794), and rose to the rank of Sergeant Major.[6] Another account of Robert's military career suggests that he left the army aged 28, in 1790.[1]

Robert married Charlotte Routier on 11 November 1794, in a civil ceremony.[6] The ceremony was civil because of the post-Revolutionary decree that marriage be a simple civil contract, certified by a municipal officer.

Paper Manufacture Machine
In 1790, having finished with his military career, Robert became an indentured clerk at one of the Didot family's renowned Paris publishing houses. First working under Saint-Léger Didot as a clerk, he later switched to a position as "inspector of personnel" at Pierre-François Didot's paper-making factory in Corbeil-Essonnes[5]. This well-respected establishment had a history dating back to 1355 and supplied paper to the Ministry of Finance for currency manufacture.[6][1] Both Robert and Didot grew impatient with the quarrelling workers, vatmen, couchers, and laymen, so Robert was spurred to look for a mechanical solution to the manual labour of the paper-making process.[1]

In his book Papermaking: the History and Technique of an Ancient Craft, Dard Hunter reported that:
[Louis-Nicolas Robert] declared that it was the constant strife and quarrelling among the workers of the handmade papermakers' guild that drove him to the creation of the machine that would replace hand labour.[1]

Although Didot judged Robert's first plans to be "feeble", they showed enough promise to continue research, and Didot financed a small prototype model. This was completed by 1797, but it was also deemed a failure. Robert became discouraged, so Didot appointed him "superintendant of grain grinding" at a nearby flour mill. After a few months' rest from the paper factory, Didot encouraged Robert to reprise the paper machine, and put several mechanics at his disposal. The next model showed some improvement, and Didot therefore instructed Robert to make a full-size model, scaling-up to the popular 24 inch 'Colombier' width.[5] This machine was a success and produced two sheets of "well felted" paper.[1]

Patent Application
Following Robert's successful model, built in 1798, Saint-Léger Didot insisted that Robert apply for a patent. Prior to 1798, paper was made one sheet at a time, by dipping a rectangular frame or mould with a screen bottom into a vat of pulp. The frame was removed from the vat, and the water was pressed out of the pulp. The remaining pulp was allowed to dry; the frame could not be re-used until the previous sheet of paper was removed from it. Robert's construction had a moving screen belt that would receive a continuous flow of stock and deliver an unbroken sheet of wet paper to a pair of squeeze rolls.[4] As the continuous strip of wet paper came off the machine it was manually hung over a series of cables or bars to dry. With Didot's urging, Robert and Didot went to François de Neufchâteau, the Minister of the Interior and applied for a patent. In 1799, the patent (brevet d'invention) was granted by the French Government, for which Robert paid 8,000 francs.[5][2][4]
The patent specification and application for the continuous paper-making machine is published in the second volume of the Brevets d'Inventions Expirés.[5]
On 9 September 1798 (23 Fructidor Year VI[6]) Robert wrote a letter applying for a patent[1]:
For several years I have been employed in one of the principal mills of France. It has been my dream to simplify the operation of making paper by forming it with infinitely less expense, and, above all, in making sheets of extraordinary length without the help of any worker, using only mechanical means.Through diligent work, by experience, and with considerable expense, I have been successful and a machine has been made that fulfils my expectancy. The machine makes for economy of time and expense and extraordinary paper, being 12 to 15 metres in length, if one wishes.
In a few words I have set forth the advantages of my machine, which I have built at the home of Citizen Didot, manufacturer at Essonnes. It is here the place to say that in Citizen Didot I have found great help in the making of this machine. His workshop, his workers, even his purse, have been at my disposition; he shares generosity and confidence that one finds only in real friends of the arts.
I solicit you, Citizen Minister, for the patent of my invention, which ought to assure me my property, and work for myself. My fortune does not permit me to pay the tax of this patent at once, which I desire to have for fifteen years, nor do my means permit me the cost of a model. This is why, Citizen Minister, I implore you to name a number of commissioners to examine my work, and in view of the immense usefulness of my discovery grant me a patent gratuitously. Robert[1]

De Neufchâteau authorised the Bureau of Arts and Trades (Bureau des Arts et Métiers) to send a draughtsman, Monsieur Beauvelot, to Essonnes to document and build an improved model. The minister also authorised a member of the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers to accompany him.[1] The Bureau des Arts et Métiers then declared:
Citizen Robert is the first to imagine a machine capable of making paper from the vat; this machine forms paper of great width and of indefinite length. The machine makes paper of perfect quality in thickness and gives advantages that cannot be derived from ordinary methods of forming paper by hand, where each sheet is limited in size in comparison with those made on this machine. From all reports it is an entirely new invention and deserves every encouragement.[1]
The Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers paid Robert three thousand francs to build another model for permanent display at the Musée des Arts et Métiers.[1]

In 1785, Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf invented the first machine for printing dyes on squares of wallpaper. The significance of Robert's invention was for more than mechanising a labour-intensive process, in also allowing continuous lengths of patterned and coloured paper to be produced for hanging. This offered the prospect of novel designs and nice tints to be printed and displayed in drawing rooms across Europe.[4]

Development in England
Robert and Didot quarrelled over the ownership of the invention.[5] Robert eventually sold both the patent and the prototype machine to Didot for 25,000 francs. Didot defaulted on the payments to Robert, however, and he was forced to recover legal ownership of the patent on 23 June 1801.[5] Didot wanted to develop and patent the machine in England, away from the distractions of the French Revolution, so he sent his English brother-in-law, John Gamble, to London.

In March 1801, after demonstrating continuous rolls of paper from Essonne, John Gamble agreed to share the London patent application with brothers Sealy and Henry Fourdrinier, who ran a leading stationery house.[5] Gamble was granted British patent 2487 on 20 October 1801 for an improved version of Robert's original machine. Thus the next development was financed by the London stationers. Gamble and Didot shipped the machine to London, and after 6 years and approximately £60,000 of development costs, the Fourdriniers were awarded new patents.[8] An example of the Fourdrinier machine was installed at Frogmore, Hertfordshire.[9]

Death and Commemoration
In 1812, in poor health, having both sold and lost control of his invention and the patent, with further exploitation being concentrated in England, Robert retired from paper-making and left Corbeil-Essonnes. He moved to Vernouillet, Eure-et-Loir and opened a small school, Faubourg St Thibault. The French economy was very depressed after Napoleon's defeats, and Robert was very poorly paid. He continued teaching until his death on 8 August 1828.[6][1] A statue of him stands in front of the church in Vernouillet, and the "Collège de Louis-Nicolas Robert" in the quartier des Grandes Vauvettes is named in his honour.[6]

In 1976, Leonard Schlosser discovered Robert's original drawings at auction and made facsimiles for scholars and friends.[10] It is not now known where the original drawings can be seen.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis-Nicolas_Robert

A piece of paper doesn’t look impressive.  It looks bland, unexciting.  A grand nothingness that does nothing and acts nothing.  Just sitting there doing nothing.  It is nothing special.  It doesn’t win awards for artistic contributions to society or civilisation.  It doesn’t give anything away.  It just is.  Yet it is so in-valuable that we could not be with out it; it’s quite as simple as that.  Civilisation is dependent on paper, a medium for the express communication of thoughts and ideas to other human beings.  We need it.  We need it’s blandness, it’s receptivity, it’s un-arousing nature, it’s complete lack of excitement, because we need to be able to imprint our creative mind on top of and into it, thereby giving rise to the great works of humanity - great works of art, great works of literature, great works of investigation (the critical disciplines), and so on - great works all around which are utterly dependent on its nothingness, on its passivity and its willingness to receive whatever we imprint upon it.  We need it.  We need paper.