Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Women Use Gossip as a Weapon, Men Use their Fists as a Weapon

The following article is re-printed from the 'All the Rage' blog which can be found HERE:
Fact Check: Do women use gossip as a form of aggression more often than men? 
We have likely all heard people say that men typically express their aggression physically while women express their aggression indirectly using gossip. Gossip, or talking about people without their knowledge, is something that surrounds us every day. It starts in the hallways of middle school, follows us through college, and is present in our workplaces; it is nearly impossible to escape. That said, gossip isn’t always bad, as researchers often talk about “positive gossip.” Positive gossip helps individuals understand peer groups, learn who to trust, and build social connections by sharing personal information. It can sometimes, however, become a tool for aggression. 
But do women gossip more often than men? To answer that question, we’ll turn first to a 2014 study conducted by Dr. Francis McAndrew, who investigated the distinct way women express aggression. McAndrew found that gossip was used in an effort to eliminate, damper, or constrict the social network of others. McAndrew also discovered that women were more likely to gossip about other women rather than men and he argued this was because women are seen as more direct competition. 
Another study that looked for a concrete difference in aggression between males and females was a 2006 study by Dr. Nicole Hess and Dr. Edward Hagen exposed men and women to the same aggression-evoking stimulus. Specifically, participants were told that their group members had reported that they had not done any of the required work on a group project. Hess and Hagen found that women, in response to this provocation, had a stronger desire than men to aggress indirectly through gossip. One other interesting aspect of this study is that they controlled for social norms and approval and still concluded, “Young adult women reported a significantly stronger desire than men to retaliate with gossip against a reputational attack, even after controlling for social norms and approval” (p. 242). 
Anger and aggression can be expressed in many different ways. The studies presented here don’t suggest that women are more angry, temperamental, or aggressive than men. However, they do seem to confirm the idea that compared to men, women use gossip more frequently as a form of aggression.  

One of the questions that I ask myself after reading this short article is: Why do the police and courts persist in punishing men for using physical violence but they do not punish women for using psychological violence (which is equally as harmful/damaging)?  Is this not evidence that the justice system is presently stacked against men and in favour of women?


Friday, 20 March 2015

Men of Yore: William Ewart

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.

William Ewart

William Ewart (1798–1869), politician, was born on 1 May 1798 at 7 Queen Square in Liverpool, the second of the four sons of William Ewart (1763–1823), merchant, and his wife, Margaret (1773–1844), daughter of Christopher Jaques of Bedale, Yorkshire. Descended from a Kirkcudbrightshire family, William Ewart senior, who was the brother of the diplomatist Joseph Ewart and godfather of the future statesman William Ewart Gladstone, had made his fortune as a general commission merchant, and was senior partner in the firm of Ewart, Rutson & Co. of Liverpool. His son and namesake was educated at Eton College from 1811, and proceeded in 1817 to Christ Church, Oxford, where he won the college prize for Latin verse in 1819 and the Newdigate prize the following year. He graduated in 1821, undertook a two-year tour of the continent, and, having been admitted to the Middle Temple in March 1820, was called to the bar on 26 January 1827. On 15 December 1829 at Prestwich he married his first cousin Mary Anne (1805–1837), the daughter of his father's youngest sister, Mary, and the Manchester cotton merchant George Augustus Lee of Singleton. 
Ewart, who was elected for Bletchingley at a by-election in July 1828, took his seat in the Commons on 5 February and made his maiden speech in favour of Catholic emancipation on 27 March 1829. He was left without a constituency in 1830, but, following the death of William Huskisson later that year, he was narrowly elected for Liverpool after a fierce contest. Although unseated on petition by the house on 28 March 1831, he regained his seat at the general election in May, and held it until 1837. A Liberal with radical leanings, who advocated the ballot, reform of the established church, abolition of colonial slavery, and repeal of the corn laws, he was active in parliament, speaking on general topics ‘with considerable ease, and with much rapidity … without being eloquent’ (Grant, 289–90). In 1832 he secured the passage of an act to end the use of capital punishment in cases of theft of money or animals from a dwelling house (2–3 Will. IV c. 62), and in subsequent years succeeded in obtaining other legislative steps towards the total abolition of the death penalty. On 1 August 1833 he made the first of a series of annual motions for equalization of the duties on East and West Indian sugars, as an indirect attack on the use of slave labour in the West Indies. Other humanitarian achievements of his included the acts of 1834, to end the hanging of the bodies of prisoners in chains (4 & 5 Will. IV c. 26), and of 1836, to allow felons to be defended by counsel (6 & 7 Will. IV c. 114). 
Having been defeated at Liverpool and Kilkenny borough in 1837, Ewart lost a by-election at Marylebone in March 1838, but returned to the Commons as member for Wigan in March 1839. In The Reform of the Reform Bill (1837) he urged the case for widening the scope of political changes, and in a major intervention in the Commons on 28 January 1840, called for these to be extended to the realms of free trade and national education. At the general election of 1841 he returned to his family's Scottish roots, becoming member for Dumfries burghs, which he represented for the next twenty-seven years. In the 1840s he continued to press for free trade, being involved in the activities of the Anti-Corn Law League. Strongly internationalist in his outlook, he also attended several peace congresses in Europe. He maintained consistent opinions on public finance, arguing for a system of more direct taxation in a published speech (28 May 1847). Other speeches which were separately printed were those on capital punishment (10 June 1856) and European settlement in India (16 March 1858), in which he expressed the hope that ‘our mission there would be for the benefit of the Natives themselves’ (Munford, 145). He chaired a select committee on this question, which provoked John Warden to write his Letter to William Ewart. The select committee on the adoption of the metric system, which he also chaired, led to the permissive act of 1864 (27 & 28 Vict. c. 117). On 3 May 1864 he secured the appointment of a royal commission on capital punishment, on which he served from July 1864 to January 1866. 
Ewart's concern to promote education and public libraries, which was largely motivated by a wish to improve the economic and social status of the lower classes, began in 1836, when his select committee's report on arts and manufactures led to the creation of the School of Design at Somerset House, London. He spoke often on education—for instance, on the need to free it from church domination (20 June 1839)—and in 1841 requested that an annual ministerial statement be made to parliament. In the autumn of 1846 he explained to Lord John Russell that while he was against large-scale public provision of education, he was ‘rather desirous of combining the voluntary system with government inspection and public encouragement of it’ (Baines, 135). He endeavoured to introduce competitive examinations for entry to the civil and diplomatic services (1845 and 1852), and the army (1847). He supported the Museums Act of 1845, which enabled town councils to levy rates to pay for local museums, and was instrumental in securing the extension of this scheme to libraries, chairing the select committees which were appointed in 1849 and 1850. The resulting Libraries Act of 1850 (13 & 14 Vict. c. 65) established what ultimately became a nationwide system of public library provision. He sponsored an amendment bill in 1855, and on the introduction of another on 27 February 1866, Gladstone told the Commons that Ewart's name was ‘associated with many achievements of public utility, but with this act of legislation [of 1850], I think, he may feel assured that his name will be associated not only during his life, but after he is gone’ (Munford, 151). In July 1863 Ewart proposed in the Commons a scheme for ‘inscribing on those houses in London which have been inhabited by celebrated persons, the names of such persons’ (Cole, 9). Ewart's idea of identifying residences with plaques was initiated by the Society of Arts in 1866 and taken on by London county council in 1901 and English Heritage from 1986. A blue plaque marking Ewart's home at 16 Eaton Place, Belgravia, was installed in 1963, a century after his original proposal. 
Ewart, who retired from parliament in 1868, died of pneumonia on 23 January 1869, at Broadleas, near Devizes, Wiltshire, which had been his country residence since 1854. He was buried on 28 January at Bishops Cannings, Wiltshire, where his next younger brother, Joseph Christopher Ewart (1799–1868), who was Liberal member for Liverpool from 1855 to 1865, had recently been interred. He left the bulk of his estate, which included personalty sworn under £70,000, to his only son, William Lee Ewart (1836–1892), and provided for the two of his four daughters who survived him. Ewart, who was described by Benjamin Robert Haydon as ‘a keen little man’ (Diary, ed. Pope, 3.356), was a slightly built figure of respectable character, who applied himself diligently to the introduction of many social improvements over a long career. He was an advanced Liberal, whose political philosophy was based on a desire for better public administration, and this was expressed in all his concerns, which ranged from the organization of business in the Commons to the establishment of free public libraries. The Ewart Library in Dumfries is named in his honour, and a bust of him is displayed in the Ewart room at the Library Association headquarters in London. 

We may all have access to books, libraries and the internet nowadays, but this was not always the case.  Yonks ago books were only accessable to those who were part of the establishment or those who could afford to pay the subscription fees, William Ewart was one of the pioneers who made public access to libraries a key part of modern day culture.  And that was amongst his many other reforms to make the law more favourable to the less well fortunate.


Monday, 16 March 2015

A Woman Get's Her Ex-Husbands Money Twenty Years After they were Divorced

The following article is another reason why all men in the UK should avoid marriage - because it could bite you in the arse... twenty years later.  The original article can be found HERE:

Kathleen Wyatt wins right to take her former husband, wind farm entreprener Dale Vince, to court despite not lodging a claim until nearly 20 years after their divorce 


A former New Age traveller whose ex-husband became a millionaire more than a decade after they separated has won a cash fight in the Supreme Court.

Kathleen Wyatt wants a payout from Dale Vince - although she did not lodge a claim until nearly 20 years after their divorce.
A judge ruled that her claim should go ahead following a High Court hearing.
Court of Appeal judges overturned that decision, ruling that the claim should be blocked after Mr Vince, 53, complained it had been lodged too late.
But five Supreme Court justices ruled in favour of Ms Wyatt on Wednesday after analysing the case at a hearing in London in December.
Justices were told that the couple met when students, married in 1981, when in their early 20s, and lived a New Age traveller lifestyle.

Dale Vince has made a fortune from his company Ecotricity  
The couple separated in the mid-1980s and divorced in 1992.

In the mid-1990s Mr Vince began a business career and went on to become a green energy tycoon after launching a company called Ecotricity.

Ms Wyatt, 55, lodged a claim for "financial remedy" in 2011.

Deputy High Court judge Nicholas Francis gave her claim the green light in 2012 but three appeal judges blocked the claim in 2013.

Now the Supreme Court justices have said it should go ahead, saying that a judge in the Family Division of the High Court should now analyse her claim..

They were told that Ms Wyatt wants £1.9 million.

One justice, Lord Wilson, said her claim was "legally recognisable" and not an "abuse of process".

Mr Vince takes part in the Brighton to London Future Car Challenge  
He said a £1.9 million payout was "out of the question" but he said justices thought that there was a "real prospect" that she would get a "comparatively modest award".

Mr Vince said the decision was "mad".

In a statement, he said: "I'm disappointed that the Supreme Court has decided not to bring this case to an end now, over 30 years since the relationship ended.

"We both moved on and started families of our own. For my part the passing of time is extremely prejudicial, it's been so long that there are no records, no court has kept anything, and it's hard to defend yourself in such circumstances - indeed the delay itself has enabled the claim, because there is no paperwork in existence.

"I feel that we all have a right to move on, and not be looking over our shoulders. This could signal open season for people who had brief relationships a quarter of a century ago... it's mad in my opinion."

Ms Wyatt said after the hearing: "It's an important judgment."

Ms Wyatt's solicitor, Barbara Reeves, added: "Financial claims generated by marriage cannot be extinguished arbitrarily by guillotine.

"Our client has had a very difficult time and we are very pleased."


As if there weren't enough reasons to not get married (divorce favours women, family courts favour women, women have authority over men in the marriage etc etc etc; just look at the average MRA or MGTOW website if you want more on marriage stats and stories).  In short: men in England should avoid marriage because women, the feminist-friendly government, and the judiciary are hostile to them.


Monday, 9 March 2015

A Short Video on the BBC TV License Fee

For those living outside the UK who may well watch one of the BBC Worldwide channels believing that it is an impartial/un-biased institution (which it isn't cf. Biased BBC), you may be interested to know how the BBC is funded and what it does with those funds.

While most other media corporations have to generate income via advertising and subscription fees, the BBC extorts money from the population of the UK under the TV License Fee which requires that everyone who owns a TV set must pay a £145 annual fee which goes exclusively to the BBC (total ~£5 billion).  The BBC can then uses this money to pay for it's programmes, exorbitant salaries etc.  BBC Worldwide (a subsidiary of BBC that deals with international BBC channels, like BBC America) then sells the programmes (like Top Gear) which were paid for by the UK TV License Fee payers to overseas commercial channels.  It's this method of attack that allows the BBC to have such a huge influence internationally by effectively treating the home population as free slave labour while expecting other countries to reject this approach.  It's also very cunning because it means that unlike commercial channels, which rely on advertising and subscriptions for it's income, the BBC will always have a reserve of money in the form of the License Fee.  Like I said it's tantamount to owning slaves in a free market world while demanding that everyone else can't own slaves.

This relates to men because as we all know the BBC regularly pushes the feminist agenda: overtly in programmes like 'Bring your Husband to Heel', and covertly in 'gender equality' in comedy shows, and female exclusive history shows like 'She Wolves; England's Early Queens'.  More recently they started showing 'Up the Suffragettes', a 30 minute comedy show about the female suffragettes.  Unsurprisingly the comedy programme fails to state the fact that these middle-class women were in truth terrorists who engaged in firebombing, arson, public disorder and so on.  Coincidentally the violent actions of the suffragettes a hundred years ago reads like the violent actions of 'Pussy Riot' today.

Here's the video, it's ~11 minutes long.


Friday, 6 March 2015

Men of Yore: Humphry Davy

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.

Humphry Davy

Sir Humphry Davy, widely considered to be one of the greatest chemists and inventors that Great Britain has ever produced, is highly regarded for his work on various alkali and alkaline earth metals, and for his valuable contributions regarding the findings of the elemental nature of chlorine and iodine.

Early Life and Education:

Humphry was born on December 17, 1778 at Penzance, Cornwall to a wood carver. After learning to read and write from ‘old Mr Bushell’, he was sent at the age of six to the grammar school at Penzance, where the schoolmaster, the Revd Mr Coryton, made learning a pain (notably by twisting the boys' ears). Here Davy enjoyed much idleness, which he later felt was fortunate for him, the source indeed of his talents and their application. He became intellectually self-propelled. He was naturally a gifted and sharp boy who could write impressive fiction and poetry, who also enjoyed fishing and shooting. His first experience of chemistry was when he made fireworks with his sister. At sixteen, he lost his father. After the tragic event, Gregory Watt, son of the famous Scottish inventor James Watt, came to visit him and subsequently became a lodger in the house of Mrs. Davy, his mother. They became great friends and their strong relationship have had an important influence on the later career of Davy. Mr. Davies Gilbert was a huge source of inspiration and encouragement for Davy, who later went on to introduce him to the notice of the Royal Institution in London.

Contributions and Achievements:

Dr. Thomas Beddoes, an emiment English physician and scientific writer, founded the “Pneumatic Institution” (a medical research facility) in Bristol, and Davy became associated with it in 1756. Within one year, Davy wrote his legendary publications “Essays on MAI and Light, with a New Theory of Respiration” and “Researches, Chemical and Philosophical, chiefly concerning Nitrous Oxide and its Respiration”. Both of these works instantly gained worldwide recognition. Davy was not only the first scientist to reveal the peculiar exhilarating or intoxicating properties of nitrous oxide gas, but his “Researches” also featured the results of various interesting experiments on the respiration of carburetted hydrogen, nitrogen, hydrogen, carbonic acid and nitrous gases. 
Davy delivered his first lecture at the Royal Institution in 1801 and instantly became a popular figure there. His tenure as a lecturer was immensely successful. During his second Bakerian lecture at the Royal Society in 1807, he made public his tremendous achievement – the decomposition by galvanism of the fixed alkalies. He performed a demonstration that these alkalies are simply metallic oxides. These discoveries are said to be the most important contribution made to the “Philosophical Transactions” (of the Royal Society) since Sir Isaac Newton.   
1812 saw the development of the Davy Lamp, a head-lamp worn by miners, which eliminated the risk of methane-based explosions in mines for which he received the Rumford Medal.
Other important books of Davy include “Elements of Chemical Philosophy” (1812), “Elements of Agricultural Chemistry” (1813) and “Consolations in Travel” (1830).

Later Life and Death:

Davy was knighted in 1812, after which he married a rich widow named Mrs. Apreece. He was also made a baronet in 1818 for outstanding contributions to his country and mankind; most importantly, his invention of the safety-lamp. He was promoted to the president of the Royal Society in 1820 and he performed his duties for consecutive seven years. 
His health began to decline in 1827 which became the cause of his resignation. Davy died at Geneva on May 29, 1829.

Source: (slightly modified)
Here we have another example of a scientist who had a strong sense of curiosity about the world combined with genuine love for whatever he turned his hand to.  His curiosity wasn't limited to just one field, as is shown by his love of poetry, fishing, shooting and chemistry; nor was he limited to being a cloistered scientist living in a laboratory cut-off from the real-world, as is shown by his practical lectures and his inventions like the Davy Lamp and the anaesthetic Nitrous Oxide.  This shows us that true scientists are simply human beings who have a love for knowledge, and for learning, wherever they may be and whatever environment they find themselves in.  And that curiosity about the world is something that we can all foster and enjoy, regardless of whether we are PhD students or backstreet chemists or whatever.

For those who are interested there's a much more extensive biography that can be found HERE.


Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Alternative Lyrics to Well Known Songs 35 - I am the PUA

('I am the PUA' is based on the hit song 'Stand and Deliver' by Adam & the Ants).

We might as well start off with a definition of what a PUA (Pick Up Artist) is for those who aren't familiar with the term, so here's a rather sardonic one from Urban Dictionary:

An overrated self-help movement started by frustrated 30 year old virgins turned amateur con-men that attempts to systematically change meek nerds into false-confident assholes.
"Why is that guy who usually wears videogame t-shirts and unkempt hygiene suddenly wearing douchey sunglasses indoors with a bad haircut and trying to insult every girl in here?"
"Oh him? He read a PUA book"
by jwattNovember 30, 2011
Sardonics aside the PUA movement is a disengenuous one that not only lies to men on how to have sex with women it also promulgates the erroneous view that 'it is manly to chase after women for carnal purposes'Otto Weininger pointed this out to us about a hundred years ago in his magnum opus 'Sex and Character' writing that Don Juans, as PUAs used to be known, had allowed women to determine their being, their very nature (emphasis added):
Woman is able, in a quite extraordinary way, to produce the impression that she herself is really non-sexual, and that her sexuality is only a concession to man. But be that as it may, at the present time men have almost allowed themselves to be persuaded by woman that their strongest and most markedly characteristic desire lies in sexuality, that it is only through woman that they can hope to satisfy their truest and best ambitions, and that chastity is an unnatural and impossible state for them.
It is now apparent from where this demand for “seeing life,” the Dionysian view of the music-hall, the cult of Goethe in so far as he follows Ovid, and this quite modern “coitus-cult” comes. There is no doubt that the movement is so widespread that very few men have the courage to acknowledge their chastity, preferring to pretend that they are regular Don Juans. Sexual excess is held to be the most desirable characteristic of a man of the world, and sexuality has attained such pre-eminence that a man is doubted unless he can, as it were, show proofs of his prowess. Chastity, on the other hand, is so despised that many a really pure lad attempts to appear Blasé Roué. It is even true that those who are modest are ashamed of the feeling; but there is another, the modern form of shame - not the eroticist's shame, but the shame of the woman who has no lover, who has not received appraisement from the opposite sex. Hence it comes that men make it their business to tell each other what a right and proper pleasure they take in “doing their duty” by the opposite sex. And women are careful to let it be known that only what is "manly" in man can appeal to them: and man takes their measure of his manliness and makes it his own. Man's qualification as a male have, in fact, become identical with his value with women, in women’s eyes.

But God forbid that it should be so; that would mean that there are no longer any

Source: Otto Weininger, Sex and Character.  PDF Book is available HERE
So as you can see, the character of the Don Juan, the PUA, is the same now as it's always been: a man who has allowed women to define his character and what he does with his life.

As odd as it may seems this mindset is similar to the mindset of feminist men who also allow women to define what a man is.  They are both victims of a psychological flaw: over-valuing women (for whatever reason) to the point that they allow women to rule over them and define their existence. In one camp the male feminist kow-tows to the woman and becomes an emasculated house-husband, while in the other camp the PUA kow-tows to the woman and becomes her no-fee gigolo. Both are eager to please women at the expense of themselves.  It's a mindset that's far from manly, and a mindset that young men should be discouraged from pursuing.

But that's enough of my musings on the mindsets of PUAs and manginas, let's get on to the song!

This song highlights a couple of the well known facts about PUAs:
- They don't have many more partners than they average John Doe. (Krauser had a success rate of 2.7%, that means for every 1,000 women he approached he had sex with 27 of them.)
- They engage in self-deception, believing that they are 'successful with women'.  (Krausers own figures prove that they don't have any more success than the average John Doe; while Roosh had sex with only six women in one year, each lay costing him $6,500.)
- They live in a community of other PUAs who only serve to give confirmation bias and thereby convince the naive and the neotenous that PUAs know more about women than the average John Doe, which they don't.

Play the music video above and sing along using the alternative lyrics given below.

# I am the PUA #
I am the PUA

I'm the dandy P. U. A.
the dregs of US nation.
I spend my cash on chasing gash,
Well, that's my proclamation.
If truth be known I rarely score,
despite my ernest action.
Yet no-one knows because I use
data manipulation.

I am the PUA
who wastes his own life.
And the lives of others,
in some vainglorious strife.

I'm the dandy P. U. A.
one versed in self-deception.
I convince myself that I am right,
while others are mistaken.
To me insults are known as negs,
with which I snare women.
Evo-Psych and Game to me
are thruthful realisations.

I am the PUA
who wastes his own life.
And the lives of some others,
in some vainglorious strife.

And it's because I fooled myself,
that I have a delusional mind.
A mind.

We're the dandy P. U. A.s
who live on the net forums.
A circle-jerk of self-confirm
and total self-absorption.
We're the dandy P. U. A.s
And here's our invitation
Throw your minds overboard
And join our degener-nation!

I am the PUA.
who wastes his own life.
And the lives of some others,
in some vainglorious strife.

And it's because I fooled myself,
that I have a delusional mind.
A mind.

Qua qua
Da diddly qua qua
Da diddly qua qua
Da diddly qua qua

I am the PUA
I am the PUA
I am the PUA

[End of Lyrics.]

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Do Modern Industrialised People Spend Too Many Hours Working?

You decide.  There are lots of articles in the MSM that give conflicting opinions on the matter: on the one hand they say that that modern men are both over worked and on the other they say that modern men are workshy.

Whatever the truth may be, we can compare the working hours of Modern men (circa 2000) to those of Industrial era men (circa 1850) and then to Medieval men (circa 1400) to see who worked the longest, and then point out the truth of the matter of whether we work too much or too little.

Below is a short article re-printed from THIS webpage that discusses how many hours Pre-Industrial Europeans (1400s) worked in comparison to Industrial era Europeans (1800s) that you should find quite enlightening:

Pre-industrial workers had a shorter workweek than today's

from The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure, by Juliet B. Schor
See also: Productivity and the Workweek
and: Eight centuries of annual hours
The labouring man will take his rest long in the morning; a good piece of the day is spent afore he come at his work; then he must have his breakfast, though he have not earned it at his accustomed hour, or else there is grudging and murmuring; when the clock smiteth, he will cast down his burden in the midway, and whatsoever he is in hand with, he will leave it as it is, though many times it is marred afore he come again; he may not lose his meat, what danger soever the work is in. At noon he must have his sleeping time, then his bever in the afternoon, which spendeth a great part of the day; and when his hour cometh at night, at the first stroke of the clock he casteth down his tools, leaveth his work, in what need or case soever the work standeth.
-James Pilkington, Bishop of Durham, ca. 1570

One of capitalism's most durable myths is that it has reduced human toil. This myth is typically defended by a comparison of the modern forty-hour week with its seventy- or eighty-hour counterpart in the nineteenth century. The implicit -- but rarely articulated -- assumption is that the eighty-hour standard has prevailed for centuries. The comparison conjures up the dreary life of medieval peasants, toiling steadily from dawn to dusk. We are asked to imagine the journeyman artisan in a cold, damp garret, rising even before the sun, laboring by candlelight late into the night.  
These images are backward projections of modern work patterns. And they are false. Before capitalism, most people did not work very long hours at all. The tempo of life was slow, even leisurely; the pace of work relaxed. Our ancestors may not have been rich, but they had an abundance of leisure. When capitalism raised their incomes, it also took away their time. Indeed, there is good reason to believe that working hours in the mid-nineteenth century constitute the most prodigious work effort in the entire history of humankind.  
Therefore, we must take a longer view and look back not just one hundred years, but three or four, even six or seven hundred. Consider a typical working day in the medieval period. It stretched from dawn to dusk (sixteen hours in summer and eight in winter), but, as the Bishop Pilkington has noted, work was intermittent - called to a halt for breakfast, lunch, the customary afternoon nap, and dinner. Depending on time and place, there were also midmorning and midafternoon refreshment breaks. These rest periods were the traditional rights of laborers, which they enjoyed even during peak harvest times. During slack periods, which accounted for a large part of the year, adherence to regular working hours was not usual. According to Oxford Professor James E. Thorold Rogers[1], the medieval workday was not more than eight hours. The worker participating in the eight-hour movements of the late nineteenth century was "simply striving to recover what his ancestor worked by four or five centuries ago."  
An important piece of evidence on the working day is that it was very unusual for servile laborers to be required to work a whole day for a lord. One day's work was considered half a day, and if a serf worked an entire day, this was counted as two "days-works."[2] Detailed accounts of artisans' workdays are available. Knoop and jones' figures for the fourteenth century work out to a yearly average of 9 hours (exclusive of meals and breaktimes)[3]. Brown, Colwin and Taylor's figures for masons suggest an average workday of 8.6 hours[4].  
The contrast between capitalist and precapitalist work patterns is most striking in respect to the working year. The medieval calendar was filled with holidays. Official -- that is, church -- holidays included not only long "vacations" at Christmas, Easter, and midsummer but also numerous saints' andrest days. These were spent both in sober churchgoing and in feasting, drinking and merrymaking. In addition to official celebrations, there were often weeks' worth of ales -- to mark important life events (bride ales or wake ales) as well as less momentous occasions (scot ale, lamb ale, and hock ale). All told, holiday leisure time in medieval England took up probably about one-third of the year. And the English were apparently working harder than their neighbors. The ancien règime in France is reported to have guaranteed fifty-two Sundays, ninety rest days, and thirty-eight holidays. In Spain, travelers noted that holidays totaled five months per year.[5]  
The peasant's free time extended beyond officially sanctioned holidays. There is considerable evidence of what economists call the backward-bending supply curve of labor -- the idea that when wages rise, workers supply less labor. During one period of unusually high wages (the late fourteenth century), many laborers refused to work "by the year or the half year or by any of the usual terms but only by the day." And they worked only as many days as were necessary to earn their customary income -- which in this case amounted to about 120 days a year, for a probable total of only 1,440 hours annually (this estimate assumes a 12-hour day because the days worked were probably during spring, summer and fall). A thirteenth-century estime finds that whole peasant families did not put in more than 150 days per year on their land. Manorial records from fourteenth-century England indicate an extremely short working year -- 175 days -- for servile laborers. Later evidence for farmer-miners, a group with control over their worktime, indicates they worked only 180 days a year.  
[1] James E. Thorold Rogers, Six Centuries of Work and Wages (London: Allen and Unwin, 1949), 542-43.  
[2] H.S. Bennett, Life on the English Manor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960), 104-6.  
[3] Douglas Knoop and G.P. Jones, The Medieval Mason (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1967), 105.  
[4] R. Allen Brown, H.M. Colvin, and A.J. Taylor, The History of the King's Works, vol. I, the Middle Ages (London: Her Majesty's Stationary Office, 1963).  
[5] Edith Rodgers, Discussion of Holidays in the Later Middle Ages (New York: Columbia University Press, 1940), 10-11. See also C.R. Cheney, "Rules for the observance of feast-days in medieval England", Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 34, 90, 117-29 (1961).  

Eight centuries of annual hours

13th century - Adult male peasant, U.K.: 1620 hours
Calculated from Gregory Clark's estimate of 150 days per family, assumes 12 hours per day, 135 days per year for adult male ("Impatience, Poverty, and Open Field Agriculture", mimeo, 1986)

14th century - Casual laborer, U.K.: 1440 hours Calculated from Nora Ritchie's estimate of 120 days per year. Assumes 12-hour day. ("Labour conditions in Essex in the reign of Richard II", in E.M. Carus-Wilson, ed., Essays in Economic History, vol. II, London: Edward Arnold, 1962).

Middle ages - English worker: 2309 hours Juliet Schor's estime of average medieval laborer working two-thirds of the year at 9.5 hours per day

1400-1600 - Farmer-miner, adult male, U.K.: 1980 hours Calculated from Ian Blanchard's estimate of 180 days per year. Assumes 11-hour day ("Labour productivity and work psychology in the English mining industry, 1400-1600", Economic History Review 31, 23 (1978).

1840 - Average worker, U.K.: 3105-3588 hours Based on 69-hour week; hours from W.S. Woytinsky, "Hours of labor," in Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, vol. III (New York: Macmillan, 1935). Low estimate assumes 45 week year, high one assumes 52 week year

1850 - Average worker, U.S.: 3150-3650 hours Based on 70-hour week; hours from Joseph Zeisel, "The workweek in American industry, 1850-1956", Monthly Labor Review 81, 23-29 (1958). Low estimate assumes 45 week year, high one assumes 52 week year

1987 - Average worker, U.S.: 1949 hours From The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure, by Juliet B. Schor, Table 2.4

1988 - Manufacturing workers, U.K.: 1856 hours Calculated from Bureau of Labor Statistics data, Office of Productivity and Technology



Friday, 20 February 2015

Men of Yore: Nicephore Niepce

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.

Nicephore Niepce

Nicéphore Niépce (born Joseph Niépce 7 March 1765 – 5 July 1833)[1] was a French inventor, now usually credited as the inventor of photography and a pioneer in that field.[2] Niépce developed heliography, a technique he used to create the world's oldest surviving product of a photographic process: a print made from a photoengraved printing plate in 1825.[3] In 1826 or 1827, he used a primitive camera to produce the oldest surviving photograph of a real-world scene. Among Niépce's other inventions was the Pyréolophore, the world's first internal combustion engine, which he conceived, created, and developed with his older brother Claude.[4]

Early Life

Niépce was born in Chalon-sur-Saône, Saône-et-Loire, where his father was a wealthy lawyer; this caused the whole family to flee the French Revolution. His older brother Claude (1763–1828) was also his collaborator in research and invention, but died half-mad and broke in England, having squandered the family wealth in pursuit of non-opportunities for the Pyréolophore. Niepce also had a sister and a younger brother called Bernard.[5][6][7][8][9]

Nicéphore was baptized Joseph but adopted the name Nicéphore, in honour of Saint Nicephorus the ninth-century Patriarch of Constantinople, while studying at the Oratorian college in Angers.[citation needed] At the college he learned science and the experimental method, rapidly achieving success and graduating to work as a professor of the college.[5][6][7][8]

Military career

Niépce served as a staff officer in the French army under Napoleon, spending a number of years in Italy and on the island of Sardinia, but ill health forced him to resign, whereupon he married Agnes Romero and became the Administrator of the district of Nice in post-revolutionary France. In 1795, Niepce resigned as administrator of Nice to pursue scientific research with his brother Claude. One source reports his resignation to have been forced due to his unpopularity.[5][6][7][8][9]

Scientific Research

In 1801 the brothers returned to the family's estates in Chalon to continue their scientific research, and where they were united with their mother, their sister and their younger brother Bernard. Here they managed the family estate as independently wealthy gentlemen-farmers, raising beets and producing sugar.[5][6][7][8][9][9]

Claude Niépce
In 1827 Niépce journeyed to England to visit his seriously ill elder brother Claude, who was now living in Kew, near London. Claude had descended into delirium and squandered much of the family fortune chasing inappropriate business opportunities for the Pyréolophore.[5][6]


The date of Niépce's first photographic experiments is uncertain. He was led to them by his interest in the new art of lithography,[13] for which he realized he lacked the necessary skill and artistic ability, and by his acquaintance with the camera obscura, a drawing aid which was popular among affluent dilettantes in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The camera obscura's beautiful but fleeting little "light paintings" inspired a number of people, including Thomas Wedgwood and Henry Fox Talbot, to seek some way of capturing them more easily and effectively than could be done by tracing over them with a pencil.
Niépce called his process heliography, which literally means "sun drawing".[16] In 1822, he used it to create what is believed to have been the world’s first permanent photographic image,[17] a contact-exposed copy of an engraving of Pope Pius VII, but it was later destroyed when Niépce attempted to make prints from it.[17] The earliest surviving photographic artifacts by Niépce, made in 1825,[3] are copies of a 17th-century engraving of a man with a horse and of what may be an etching or engraving of a woman with a spinning wheel. They are simply sheets of plain paper printed with ink in a printing press, like ordinary etchings, engravings, or lithographs, but the plates used to print them were created photographically by Niépce's process rather than by laborious and inexact hand-engraving or drawing on lithographic stones. They are, in essence, the oldest photocopies. One example of the print of the man with a horse and two examples of the print of the woman with the spinning wheel are known to have survived. The former is in the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris and the latter two are in a private collection in the United States.

Niépce's correspondence with his brother Claude has preserved the fact that his first real success in using bitumen to create a permanent photograph of the image in a camera obscura came in 1824. That photograph, made on the surface of a lithographic stone, was later effaced. In 1826 or 1827 he again photographed the same scene, the view from a window in his house, on a sheet of bitumen-coated pewter. The result has survived and is now the oldest known camera photograph still in existence. The historic image had seemingly been lost early in the 20th century, but photographic historian Helmut Gernsheim succeeded in tracking it down in 1952.
In 1829,[18] Niépce entered into a partnership with Louis Daguerre, who was also seeking a means of creating permanent photographic images with a camera. Together, they developed the physautotype, an improved process that used lavender oil distillate as the photosensitive substance. The partnership lasted until Niépce’s death in 1833, after which Daguerre continued to experiment, eventually working out a process that little resembled Niépce's.[19] He named it the "daguerréotype", after himself. In 1839 he managed to get the government of France to purchase his invention on behalf of the people of France. The French government agreed to award Daguerre a yearly stipend of 6,000 Francs for the rest of his life, and to give the estate of Niépce 4,000 Francs yearly. This arrangement rankled Niépce's son, who claimed Daguerre was reaping all the benefits of his father's work. In some ways, he was right—for many years, Niépce received little credit for his contribution. Later historians have reclaimed Niépce from relative obscurity, and it is now generally recognized that his "heliography" was the first successful example of what we now call "photography":[15] the creation of a reasonably light-fast and permanent image by the action of light on a light-sensitive surface and subsequent processing.

Although initially ignored amid the excitement caused by the introduction of the daguerreotype and far too insensitive to be practical for making photographs with a camera, the utility of Niépce's original process for its primary purpose was eventually realized. From the 1850s until well into the 20th century, a thin coating of bitumen was widely used as a slow but very effective and economical photoresist for making printing plates.

The Pyréolophore, probably the world's first internal combustion engine that was actually built, was invented and patented by the Niépce brothers in 1807. This engine ran on controlled dust explosions of Lycopodium powder and was installed on a boat that ran on the river Saône. Ten years later, the brothers were the first in the world to make an engine work with a fuel injection system.[20]

Marly machine:
In 1807 the imperial government opened a competition for a hydraulic machine to replace the original Marly machine (located in Marly-le-Roi) that delivered water to the Palace of Versailles from the Seine river. The machine was built in Bougival in 1684, from where it pumped water a distance of one kilometer and raised it 150 meters. The Niépce brothers conceived a new hydrostatic principle for the machine and improved it once more in 1809. The machine had undergone changes in many of its parts, including more precise pistons, creating far less resistance. They tested it many times, and the result was that with a stream drop of 4 feet 4 inches, it lifted water 11 feet. But in December 1809 they got a message that they had waited too long and the Emperor had taken on himself the decision to ask the engineer Perier (1742–1818) to build a steam engine to operate the pumps at Marly.[21]

In 1818 Niépce became interested in the ancestor of the bicycle, a Laufmaschine invented by Karl von Drais in 1817. He built himself a model and called it the vélocipède (fast foot) and caused quite a sensation on the local country roads. Niépce improved his machine with an adjustable saddle and it is now exhibited at the Niépce Museum. In a letter to his brother Nicéphore contemplated motorizing his machine.[22]


Nicéphore Niépce died of a stroke on 5 July 1833, financially ruined by the semi-delirious spending of Claude such that his grave in the cemetery of Saint-Loup de Varennes was financed by the municipality. The cemetery is near the family house where he had experimented and had made the world's first photographic image.[7]


While the President of the USA and many others in the USA make use of Nicephores famous invention (more accurately the descedants of it) in and point it at themselves - the narcissistic 'selfie' - other people are using the invention and pointing it at the universe.  These people, the ones pointing it at other things, are the ones who are furnishing us with wonderful images of quite literally the universe and it's contents.  Take this photo for instance, captured using nothing more than a camera and a telescope:

Horsehead Nebula - Through My Telescope

This is the way that we should be using our eyes and cameras: to look out into the world rather than into the mirror.  After all, we all know what happened to Narcissus who got captivated by his own reflection in the water.  That could happen to those who obsess over the 'selfie' once too often.


Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Are Sperm Expendable Because they are Abundant? No.

There is a theory that seems to pop up every once in a while around the manosphere/androsphere that goes as follows:
  • Sperm cells are abundant ergo they are expendable, and eggs are rare ergo they are valuable.
This theory is wrong.  Sperm are abundant because all of them are needed for the fertilization process to take place.  A man with a low sperm count will be un-likely to have a baby with another women, which alone proves that lots of sperm cells are essential for the fertilization process to occur.  People need to think in terms broader than a simplified 'sperm vs egg's approach'.  They need to think in holisitic terms: the whole fertilization process which involves white blood cells, the distance the sperm need to travel, acidity of the womb etc etc.  It's very much like a team effort, like a sports game you could say, and all the players, all the sperm cells, are essential.

To disprove the theory we'll think of fertilisation in terms of a football/soccer match, with sperm cells on one side playing the role of the attacking side, and with female cells (white blood cells, acidity etc) playing the role of the defensive side.  The Chief Executive Officer of Sperm United football club (ahem!) is the like the proponent of the 'sperm are expendable' theory.

A chief executive officer of a football club comes along and looks at a football/soccer team (pool of sperm cells).  After a while a friend comes along and asks the CEO what he thinks.  The CEO says "Well, the objective of football is to score goals therefore the only football player who is of any value to me is the one who scores the goals.  The other football players in the team, the goalkeeper, the defenders, the midfielders and the substitutes are superfluous.  They're just taking up wages and costing me money, therefore they're expendable and I'll get rid of them."

The following week the CEO fires all of the players except for the centre-forward who has scored the most goals for the team.  He arrogantly thinks he is on to a winner because he has left the star player in the team and cut back on his overheads/wages.  He is sorely mistaken, his team loses - it is annihilated 191-0 to be precise.  He thought that by only including the winner in the football team that he could be victorious and save money.  He was wrong.  A football team needs all eleven players in it's team to stand a chance of winning.  Every player is needed, from the goalkeeper to the striker, even though he may never score a goal in his entire career.

As you can see from this little ol' analogy, sperm is not cheap, sperm is not worthless.  Every sperm cell and other sex related cell is needed for the fertilisation process to take place.  It's not just about 'the winner' and a bunch of 14,000,000 or so loser sperm cells.  It requires that all sperms take part in the race for the winner (whoever it is) to be successful.

Many of the sperm cells engaged in the fertilization process will never get anywhere near the eggs, but they will play a fundamental role because they will be attacked by white blood cells which will allow other sperm cells to get through and fertilize the egg.  Effectively they are 'taking one for the team'; ergo you could say that it's a team effort.

So the next time you read, or hear, about some urchin who proudly proclaims that 'men are expendable and women are not because sperm are abundant and eggs are rare' know that he is wrong.  Because without all of the sperm cells there would be no fertilisation, and their would be no human race.


Friday, 13 February 2015

Men of Yore: Howard Hughes

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.

Howard Hughes (Source)

Hughes, Howard (24 Dec. 1905-5 Apr. 1976), aviator, manufacturer, and film producer, was born Howard Robard Hughes, Jr., in Houston, Texas, the son of Howard Robard Hughes, Sr., a mining engineer, and Allene Gano. Hughes was three years old when his father devised a drilling bit that revolutionized oil drilling, resulting in a great profit for his tool company. While his parents were gregarious socialites, Hughes as a boy was quiet and introspective, showing little interest in school other than a leaning toward mathematics and an ability to build things with wires and scraps of metal. Greatly attached to his devoted mother, he stood in awe of his personable father. Those who came to know him years later claim that Hughes never considered himself his equal. At the age of fourteen, Hughes was enrolled in the Fessenden School in West Newton, Massachusetts. During a vacation at home his mother denied him a motorcycle, believing it to be unsafe. He then turned his bicycle into a motorized vehicle by using parts from a car starter and batteries. On another occasion, when his father promised him he could have his choice of present, Hughes chose a ride in a flying boat. With that he discovered the joy of aviation, a joy that soon became obsessive.

The Hughes drilling bit had a profound effect on the American oil industry. Spending more and more of their time in California, Hughes's parents sent him to the Thacher School in Ojai, some seventy miles northwest of Los Angeles, in September 1921. Hughes's uncle Rupert Hughes was a leading scenarist in Hollywood, and through him the family became acquainted with the upper strata of Hollywood society. Tragedy struck in the spring of 1922 when his mother died after surgery. Father and son returned to Houston, where Hughes, Sr., was stricken with a fatal heart attack while conducting a sales meeting in 1924. The loss of his parents in the prime of their lives had a profound effect on the lonely, withdrawn Hughes. At the age of eighteen Hughes began to be a hypochondriac, fearful of death and panicky about germs. A student at the Rice Institute in Houston at the time, he decided to end his education and enter the world of business. Not content with inheriting 75 percent of his father's business assets, he bought out the other 25 percent dispersed among relatives. The agreements with his relatives were bitterly arrived at and caused a permanent rift, one that seemed to bother Hughes very little. He declared that in order to take command it was necessary to be tough with people, and it was an attitude from which he never wavered.

With no liking for the administrative side of business, Hughes hired men who knew how to operate with little direction from him. His judgment was sound and the company prospered, leaving him to indulge his fascination with a Houston socialite, Ella Rice, whom he married in 1925. They settled in Los Angeles, where Hughes set about becoming a film producer.

Hughes was a man impossible to advise. He did whatever he wanted. His first film, Swell Hogan, was so bad that it was never released, but he did better with his next, Everybody's Acting (1926), and with Two Arabian Knights (1927), directed by Lewis Milestone and starring William Boyd. It brought Milestone an Academy Award for best comedy director. Hughes's next films, The Mating Call and The Racket (both 1928), did well enough to inspire him to undertake an epic about aviation in World War I--Hell's Angels, which was two and a half years in production. Hughes spent lavishly buying airplanes and hiring pilots, virtually operating his own little air force in the San Fernando Valley. The cost ran to $4 million, an astonishing sum for its time, and Hughes ended up with 300 times as much footage as the film needed. Released in the summer of 1930, during a time of national depression, the film was well received but took a long time to recover its costs.

Among the costs was Hughes's marriage. Ella Rice Hughes returned to Houston, claiming it was impossible to be married to a man who was obsessed with his work and seldom home. Hughes then fell in love with actress Billie Dove and starred her in his next two films, The Age for Love and Cock of the Air, both made in 1931. Neither was successful, nor was the romance with Dove, which proved to be the first in a long line of affairs with actresses. Hughes returned to World War I aviation with Sky Devils (1931), starring Spencer Tracy, but it failed to come close to the merits of Hell's Angels. He did far better with The Front Page (1931) and Scarface (1932), both considered minor classics.

Hughes announced that his next film would be about zeppelins, but those who ran the Hughes Tool Company bore down on him to avoid sinking money in another film epic. He took their advice even more than they expected and turned his back on the picture business. In 1933 he founded the Hughes Aircraft Company in Glendale, California. Nine years later he relocated it to Culver City, where it grew into one of the most profitable aircraft production companies in the world.

Hughes's personal triumph as an aviator began early in 1934 when he received a trophy at the All-American Air Meet in Miami, flying a Boeing pursuit plane he had bought from the U.S. Army and turned into a racer. In September 1935 he set a new land speed record in a car he had designed, and the following January he set a new transcontinental speed record, flying from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, in nine hours and twenty-seven minutes. His aerial adventures made him a popular figure in the press and on the airways, especially in 1938 when, with a remodeled twin-engine Lockheed 14 and a crew of four he flew around the world in three days, nineteen hours, and twenty-eight minutes. In May 1939 Hughes acquired stock in what later became Trans World Airlines, placing him in commercial aviation, and in the fall of that year his company began designs for new kinds of military aircraft in the event of America's possible involvement in war.

In the 1940s Hughes set up another film production company. He announced he would make a film about Billy the Kid, using unknown actors for the parts of Billy and his girlfriend. For the latter he chose nineteen-year-old Jane Russell, clearly because of her well-developed bust, a factor that caused the picture, The Outlaw (1943), to become a cause célèbre in film censorship. Hughes himself directed the film. After first being banned by the censors, Hughes finally received approval to show it, but he shrewdly allowed two years to go by, allowing public curiosity to build. Rightly condemned as a ludicrously bad film, The Outlaw nevertheless made millions for Hughes.

Much else happened during the years The Outlaw was in production. In 1943 he joined forces with shipbuilder Henry J. Kaiser and won a government contract to build three huge flying boats. Only one was completed, the famous Spruce Goose. The government contract for the flying boats was canceled when it became obvious they could not be completed in time for use in the war. Other contracts for planes were also canceled.

Always unusual in his habits and behavior, Hughes became ever more eccentric. He nonetheless possessed amazing luck in surviving accidents. On 7 July 1946, while on a test flight of his XF-11, the engines malfunctioned. He crashed in Beverly Hills, and the plane exploded and burned. Hughes was dragged from the wreckage with a crushed chest, collapsed lung, and broken ribs. It was doubted he would live. However, he recovered in a month and was soon flying again. Few knew that in order to tolerate his pain he had become addicted to codeine.

Despite his pain and the problems in running an aircraft corporation, Hughes again turned to the movie business, possibly because of the profits and the publicity stirred up by The Outlaw. He signed contracts with two famous Hollywood figures, Harold Lloyd and Preston Sturges, to produce the comedy Mad Wednesday (1947), but it was a flop. Then, being in love with 22-year-old Faith Domergue, he starred her in the costumed drama Vendetta (1948). Even Hughes realized it was bad and shelved it for two years.

Concurrent with these films Hughes had other problems, one being his compulsion to rebuild the XF-11 and prove it airworthy, which he did on a flight on 5 April 1947. Four months later he testified before the Senate War Investigating Committee, which had probed into his work as a defense contractor. Hughes had made enemies in the fiercely competitive war years, and he had not been as successful as he had hoped. Hughes Aircraft had not become the giant he had planned--that would come later, in the Space Age. Building the massive Spruce Goose brought charges it was not airworthy, which he then disproved by flying it for a few minutes above the waters of Long Beach Harbor on 2 November 1947.

Obsessive-compulsive by nature, Hughes was not a man who could accept defeat. In 1948 he bought the RKO Studios in Hollywood. He owned and managed it for five years, while maintaining his office at the Goldwyn Studios and only once setting foot on RKO property. Few of the films made during these years were financial winners, and every producer, director, and writer for RKO complained about never getting to see Hughes to discuss their problems. Eventually he said, "I need RKO like I need the plague," and he sold the studio for $25 million, $6 million of which were his after the stockholders and lawyers had been paid off.

Hughes's interests in other enterprises, especially aviation, grew during the RKO years, and his wealth amassed by the millions. It was at this time that he founded the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Florida, stating his concern about germs and disease. He said he wanted the institute to inherit most of his wealth and accomplish something good in his name. Always a loner, he became ever more reclusive, eventually seeing almost no one other than his closest business executives. In 1957 he married actress Jean Peters, but the marriage was unconventional, with its partners seldom living together. They divorced in 1971.

Whatever his failures in marriage or in making films, Hughes's success in building jetliners and military aircraft burgeoned. However, the strain of all these endeavors caught up with him in 1958, and he suffered a nervous breakdown. He was constantly at odds with the government over his taxes, eventually leaving California and settling in Nevada. In 1967 he bought the Desert Inn in Las Vegas, to make it his home and the headquarters of his Nevada enterprises. He sold TWA in 1966 for $566 million. Four years later he bought Air West.

In November 1970 Hughes moved to the Britannia Beach Hotel on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, again to avoid taxes. He never returned to the United States; the last six years of his life were those of an itinerant exile, moving from one luxurious hotel to another. He became a total recluse, living behind closed curtains. He moved to Managua, Nicaragua; from there on to Vancouver; London; Freeport in the Bahamas; and finally Acapulco, Mexico. In 1972 he sold Hughes Tool Company for $150 million. The assets of his Summa Corporation, under which all of his businesses were governed, were valued at $2 billion. Despite his wealth, Hughes gave the appearance of a man living in abject poverty. In his last years he refused medical treatment and did not eat properly. He became an emaciated wreck, weighing only ninety-four pounds at the time of his death. He denied his aides the right to tend him, until he finally lapsed into unconsciousness. They then flew him to Houston, but he was dead by the time the plane landed. Howard Hughes had died in an airplane in flight, and it was in the air, and only in the air, that he felt at home. Childless, Hughes left to the world his properties and a name that has become ever more of a legend.


While European history may have it's fair share of eccentric aristocrats, the USA is not short of them either as is shown by the ingenuity and eccentricity of Howard Hughes.  Born into wealthy family Howard Hughes didn't sit back and merely live the life of a rich socialite - drinking socialising and going to soirees - instead he made us of the resources he had available to do whatever he wanted; whatever his Will was he did.  And we can all see that Will in the various enterprises he engaged in over his life time.  He worked in fields ranging from cinematography to aviation to medical science to gambling institutions.  While he can certainly be accused of being eccentric (his personal habits seem to indicate OCD) he certainly can't be accused of being timid.  Indeed he was a forthright character who took risks and butted heads with those who got in his way.  And those are traits that we can and should seek to emulate, as another biography wrote:
Hughes became a popular public figure because his image represented the traditional American qualities of individuality, daring, and imagination.