Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Paying Tribute




The Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a solemn and important ritual and one of the few “must see” events in my life, and that’s been true for over 50 years since I saw it for the very first time as a kid age 10-11.

One of my favorite podcasts, The American Story, explains why it matters in this week’s excellent episode Known But to God

My advice: take 6 minutes out of your life to nourish your soul. You’ll be glad you did.


Monday, May 23, 2022

Amazing Ancient Civilzation of Petra, Jordan

 


Discovered via Archaeology & Art — Twitter is actually good for something if you use it right — with this amazing photo.



They carved it out of a mountain. 

2100 years ago — at least — by hand. 

The Nabataeans were nomadic Arabs who not only carved amazing buildings and art from solid rock, but created a luscious green oasis in a desert by mastering rainwater retention.

They specifically chose this location because it was a natural fortress with only small openings through the mountainous desert terrain, and because it was on an incense trade route. 

And so it became a prosperous city, carved out of the mountains.

They carved this out a mountain too.



More





Friday, May 20, 2022

This Week in 1873, Patent for Blue Jeans Issued

 

149 years ago today a U. S. patent is granted to Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket Openings”, i.e. for the use of rivets to strengthen the weak spots around the pockets.

Details from history.com — and if you end up confused about who actually invented blue jeans, you’re not alone, the underlined could have been worded more clearly:

In 1872, he wrote a letter to Strauss about his method of making work pants with metal rivets on the stress points—at the corners of the pockets and the base of the button fly—to make them stronger. As Davis didn’t have the money for the necessary paperwork, he suggested that Strauss provide the funds and that the two men get the patent together. Strauss agreed enthusiastically, and the patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings”–the innovation that would produce blue jeans as we know them–was granted to both men on May 20, 1873.
It was Davis, not Strauss, who invented jeans with rivets. 

Two main factors drove their popularity — miners and railroad workers — and the amount of ancillary economic activity those two fields generated in the mid- to late-1800s is nearly impossible to imagine today. 

Is there another name — other than Jesus himself, and ignoring world leaders— that became as famous worldwide as Levi Strauss? Michael Jordan maybe? Muhammad Ali? It’s a pretty short list.

Wikipedia tells the story with much greater detail:

In his tailor shop, Davis made functional items such as tents, horse blankets and wagon covers for the railway workers on the Central Pacific Railroad. The fabric Davis worked with was heavy-duty cotton duck cloth and cotton denim which he bought from Levi Strauss & Co., a dry goods company in San Francisco. To strengthen the stress points of the sewn items he was making, Davis used copper rivets to reinforce the stitching.

In December 1870, Davis was asked by a customer to make a pair of strong working pants for her husband who was a woodcutter. To create suitably robust pants for working, he used duck cloth and reinforced the weak points in the seams and pockets with the copper rivets. Such was the success of these pants that word spread throughout the labourers along the railroad. Davis was making these working pants in duck cotton and, as early as 1871, in denim cotton. Before long, he found he could not keep up with demand.

Davis had previously applied for patents for other inventions. Realising the potential value in his reinforced jeans concept, in 1872, he approached Levi Strauss, who was still his supplier of fabric, and asked for his financial backing in the filing of a patent application. Strauss agreed, and on May 20, 1873, US Patent No. 139,121 for "Improvements in fastening pocket openings" was issued in the name of Jacob W. Davis and Levi Strauss and Company. That same year, Davis started sewing a double orange threaded stitched design onto the back pocket of the jeans to distinguish them from those made by his competitors. This trademark feature became Registered U.S. Trade Mark No. 1,139,254.

Apparently the only reason that Levi Strauss instead of Jacob Davis became a household name was that Strauss funded the patent application process, even though the invention itself, the rivets to strengthen the pants, was Davis’.


Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Aquifers, Wells, Spillways and Dams, How Do They Work


How Wells and Aquifers Actually Work 



Near failure of Oroville Dam in 2017 — I remember hearing about it and watching video of the spillway falling apart. 




Quoted: Thomas Sowell



The most basic question is not what is best
but who shall decide what is best.

Thomas Sowell 


This should be obvious — especially to an American — but as a people we continue to not get it. 

This was the whole point of starting a new nation with power vested in the people to control their government rather than the other way round. 


Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Don’t Ignore Potassium

 

The amount and balance of minerals in your body is very important for your health in many ways —and part of hydration too.

Potassium a Critical Mineral (aka “Electrolyte”)


Monday, May 16, 2022

This Week in History: Seven Years War Begins in 1756

 

Well, 1754 actually — but everything else about this war is confusing too.

We call it the French and Indian War here in the U.S. — but that name vastly under-represents the global nature of it, involving all European powers including Russia, fought on 4 continents, and ending with 1.3 million dead, mostly civilians.

This was actually the first World War, as this video makes very clear.

Seven Years War Summarized on a Map



Confusing and chaotic, as with everything else about European history, where endless entanglements, alliances, and power struggles between kingdoms produced the conditions for war. But that was just the way it was, across the entire world, since forever — until 1776 when a bunch of upstart punks decided there had to be a better way. 

This war also set the stage for the American Revolution by leading Britain into tremendous debt which caused them to tax the colonies (Sugar Act of 1764, Stamp Act of 1765, etc), leading directly to the “taxation without representation” battle cry. 

Another move by the British that upset the colonists was the Proclamation of 1763, prohibiting settlement of territory west of the Appalachians by anyone but the British government, supposedly in response to Native American raids on British forces by Chief Pontiac — although I’m not sure I see how putting the  colonists in a box does anything to stop war against Native Americans. Here’s what the above link says about it:

Acknowledging that “great frauds and abuses have been committed,” the proclamation furthermore prohibited settlers from buying tribal territory. Instead, only the crown could now make such purchases. “We shall avoid many future quarrels with the savages by this salutary measure,” said General Thomas Gage, who commanded all British forces in North America.

Stand back and admire the pure diplomacy just oozing from that quote.

In this list of 10 things about the Seven Years War you probably don’t know, we learn that the French Acadians migrated to Louisiana from Canada because the British forced them out during the Seven Years War, and that’s how Louisiana ended up as Cajun Country.