Pay Back

Currently, I am reading a book titled “1434-The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance.” Surprise, surprise author Gavin Menzies makes a brilliant case exposing the Renaissance and giving the Chinese credit for all the inventions that the Italians used to bring Europe out of it’s doldrums and into a burst of progress.

Menzies begins by building a time line for world maps. Most of the maps are Chinese and show places like America and Brazil in place many decades before Columbus “discovered” America. He did the same with Magellan and other explorers who discovered new places but mysteriously the same places were already documented on maps. He credits Zheng He, a Chinese explorer with spreading the information around the world. In the year 1421 Zheng He was commissioned by Chinese emperor Zhu Di whose dream was to conquer the world and thus bring great wealth to China in the form of tribute.

Much of the author’s account is based on his findings and how he logically deducted that the Chinese were hundreds of years ahead of the Europeans in everything.

I was really blown away when my hero Leonardo Da Vinci is shown to be a plagiarizer. This book is loaded with drawings of Chinese inventions and right next to them are the Italian version almost line for line identical. I will only say that Da Vinci’s draftsmanship was far superior to that of the Chinese. The devices, however, are remarkably the same.

My third and fourth grade teachers never mentioned Zheng He when teaching that Columbus discovered America in 1492, nor did they when we were taught that Magellan was the first to circumnavigate the earth, or when Vasco Da Gama discovered Florida. All of these explorers had maps which showed their discoveries already in place, however unnamed or unclaimed.

After Zheng He’s travels a new emperor came into power and stopped all further Chinese exploration, and contact with the outside world.

As i am reading this history it occurs to me that the current Chinese government has no problem stealing any or all developments to catch up to the modern world. That is when the idea of “payback” struck me. The European world had no trouble stealing and using Chinese developments five hundred years ago. The difference between the two eras is that the Chinese stopped participating in world activities and thus stopped developing as a nation. Thankfully, we have chosen to continue, but it hurts when we see China stealing technology that we spent millions developing.

This history is a fascinating read, and I recommend it to anyone who has a penchant for learning about the advancement of our planet.

PSA-220902-Trivia

You’re gonna say “I didn’t know that!” at least 5 times. Really neat stuff here:
Alaska


More than half of the coastline of the entire United States is in Alaska.


Amazon


The Amazon rain forest produces more than 20% of the world’s oxygen supply

The Amazon River pushes so much water into the Atlantic Ocean that, more than one hundred miles at sea off the mouth of the river, one can dip fresh water out of the ocean. The volume of water in the Amazon river is greater than the next eight largest rivers in the world combined and three times the flow of all rivers in the United States.

Antarctica


Antarctica is the only land on our planet that is not owned by any country. Ninety percent of the world’s ice covers Antarctica. This ice also represents seventy percent of all the fresh water in the world. As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert; the average yearly total precipitation is about two inches. Although covered with ice (all but 0.4% of it, ice.), Antarctica is the driest place on the planet, with an absolute humidity lower than the Gobi desert.


Brazil

Brazil got its name from the nut, not the other way around.

Canada


Canada has more lakes than the rest of the world combined. Canada is an Indian word meaning ‘ Big Village’.


Chicago


Next to Warsaw, Chicago has the largestPolish population in the world.


Detroit

Woodward Avenue in Detroit, Michigan, carries the designation M-1, so named because it was the first paved road anywhere.Damascus,

Syria
Damascus, Syria, was flourishing a couple of thousand years before Rome was founded in 753 BC making it the oldest continuously inhabited city in existence.

Istanbul , Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey, is the only city in the world
located on two continents.


Los Angeles

The full name of Los Angeles is: l Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula– and can be abbreviated to 3.63% of its size: L.A.

New York City

The term ‘The Big Apple’ was coined by touring jazz musicians of the 1930s who used the slang expression ‘apple’ for any town or city. Therefore, to play New York City Is to play the big time – The Big Apple.

There are more Irish in New York City 
than in Dublin, Ireland;
more Italians in New York City
than in Rome, Italy;
and more Jews in New York City
than in Tel Aviv, Israel .


Ohio

There are no natural lakes in the state of Ohio, every one is man-made.

Pitcairn Island

The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn
in Polynesia, at just 1.75 sq. miles/4,53 sq Km.


Rome

The first city to reach a population of 1 million people
was Rome, Italy (in 133 B.C.)
There is a city called Rome on every continent.


Siberia

Siberia contains more than 25% of the world’s forests.

S.M.O.M.


The actual smallest sovereign entity in the world
Is the Sovereign Military Order of Malta S.M.O.M).
It is located in the city of Rome, Italy, and has an area of two tennis courts. And, as of 2001, has a population of 80, 20 less people than the Vatican.
It is a sovereign entity under international law,
just as the Vatican is.


Sahara DesertIn the Sahara Desert , there is a town named Tidikelt, Algeria, that did not receive a drop of rain for ten years. Technically, though, the driest place on Earth
is in the valleys of the Antarctic near Ross Island.
There has been no rainfall there for two million years


Spain

Spain literally means ‘the land of rabbits’.

St. Paul , Minnesota

St. Paul , Minnesota , was originally called Pig’s Eye
after a man named Pierre ‘Pig’s Eye’ Parrant who set up the first business there.


Russia

The deepest hole ever drilled by man is the Kola Superdeep Borehole, in Russia. It reached a depth of 12,261 meters (about 40,226 feet or 7.62 miles.) It was drilled for scientific research and gave up some unexpected discoveries, one of which was a huge deposit of hydrogen – so massive that the mud coming from the hole was boiling with it.

United States

The Eisenhower interstate system requires that one mile in every five must be straight. These straight sections are usable as airstrips in times of war or other emergencies.

Waterfalls

The water of Angel Falls (the world’s highest) in Venezuela drops 3,212 feet (979 meters.) They are 15 times higher than Niagara Falls.

I have always said, you should learn something new every day. Unfortunately, many of us are at that age where what we learn today, we forget tomorrow.
But, give it a shot anyway.

I am sorry for the lack of images, but most of the cute graphics for each of these facts came to me as a GIF file and I couldn’t download them into WordPress.

PSA-220818-Wierd Names

If the list below looks fuzzy it is because it is, your eyes are okay. I lifted this from Facebook and it looked fuzzy to me there. So most likely it is a copy of a copy of a copy,

18. Remember to always tittle your “i’s” and cross your “t’s”

8. My wine club held a debate last week about to little thing-a-ma-jig found in the center of the pizza box. No one suggested it was a “box tent.”

16. I call the difficulty of getting out of bed in the morning as “not having enuf sleep.”

4. I call the wamble of my stomach a growl.

17. I say IIlegible hand writing is called flunking the Palmer method

9. The day after tomorrow is called Saturday.

Do It Yourself Disaster

In a previous post I wrote about building a house within a house. So far that project is going well, but is on hold for a couple of reasons: 1. I ran out of materials, 2. while waiting for material delivery I began another project. The second project seemed to be a shoo-in. I believed I could do it with my eyes closed and both hands tied behind my back. I have some experience laying tile both wall and floor, and this project is similar. Only the material is different. The generic name for it is laminate flooring. The actual material manufacturer shall remain nameless but it begins with a P and ends with an O.

I prepped myself by watching a youtube video done by a man who has been installing this type of flooring for fifteen years. It was kind of like learning how to talk from a Phd. I was without any knowledge and he was immensely over qualified. I should have sought out an amateur who made a video of his very first floor installation. No matter, I jumped into the job with relish. On the very first day, I began with the boards laying north to south. The literature in the package mentioned the ease with which the boards with a patented tongue and groove locking mechanism snap together and lock to keep from separating. I must mention that the room has an angled entry way, a door into a bathroom, and a closet also on an angle. All three on the very same wall. (entry door at 45 deg, a door into the bath, followed by a door into a closet at 45 deg). Leave it to me with my vast years of experience to approach the job as a total novice and take on the most complex situation as my starting point. I worked for seven hours before I finally gave up for the day. I had laid four lines of board. Each time I added a new board in line-four, the boards in line-two jumped out of engagement. No matter what I did the separation of boards continued.

The next day, I started again, but decided to change the direction of the boards from N-S to East-West. This would give the first line of boards more stability, and prevent the random separation. Wrong! The lines kept moving out of position. To solve the problem I nailed one end of each line down to prevent movement. This worked for a couple of lines and I felt confident that I was on my way to finishing the job. I was somewhere on line nine when I looked over my shoulder to the left and saw that line three had jumped out of engagement. WTF! Calm down, I said to myself. Take it all apart and reset everything. I did, but the problem only seemed to get worse. By this time my frustration level has peaked and it was time for some wine.

Before beginning again I discussed the problem with a friend who has installed many of these floors. He gave me several pointers about why the boards are separating. The next day I began by disassembling the entire job into neat piles of boards in the line they were in so I could reassemble them in the same order. That is when I noticed a spot in the sub-floor that was uneven, and it was in the spot where all the separation was happening. In good conscience I could not overlook this dip in the floor. A visit to Home Depot cured the dipping problem with the purchase of something called quick-set. Spreading this very pliable mortar on the floor and troweling it smooth filled the dip, but it took several hours to cure. It was the week end so I took a rest.

On Sunday I had to change the five gallon water bottle on our dispenser. I have done this many times, but this time I did something a teensy bit different, and felt an instantaneous ice pick enter my back. That sharp pain is the end of my story. It has been thirty hours since my back pain began and it will take a week or more to nurse it back to a point where I can move without fear of inducing a new shot of pain. In the meantime my new floor sits in piles awaiting my amateur methodology to return.

While all this amateurism was happening, Lovely has been goading me to let an expert do the job. I tried doing that today with an online search of services. The program stopped working at the end when it is supposed to give an answer.

This DIY project reminds me of a time fifty years ago when I got the idea to refinish our kitchen cabinets with a new color. To do the job right I removed the doors and took them to my shop. There they stayed being worked on and off for three years while I struggled with varnish remover to strip a factory applied finish. All that time, my poor wife Barb lived with her kitchen cabinets exposed to the world. In the meantime, I experimented with removers and various chemicals to find bare wood, I don’t remember what the combination was but I finally struck gold and stained the doors. I could write a book about that project.

My Kind of Teacher

Lessons of life often come easily, and at other times they come hard. This story about a teacher giving her students a lesson is extremely interesting, and probably very effective. If for nothing else her students will not forget it easily.

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Teacher Removes all Desks and Chairs From Classroom

NOW SHE IS A TEACHER!

In September of 2005, on the first day of school, Martha Cothren, a history teacher at Robinson High School in Little Rock did something not to be forgotten. On the first day of school, with the permission of the school superintendent, the principal and the building supervisor, she removed all of the desks in her classroom. When the first period kids entered the room they discovered that there were no desks

‘Ms. Cothren, where are our desks?’

She replied, ‘You can’t have a desk until you tell me how you earn the right to sit at a desk.’

They thought, ‘Well, maybe it’s our grades.’ ‘No,’ she said.

‘Maybe it’s our behavior.’ She told them, ‘No, it’s not even your behavior.’

And so, they came and went, the first period, second period, third period. Still no desks in the classroom.  Kids called their parents to tell them what was happening and by early afternoon television news crews had started gathering at the school to report about this crazy teacher who had taken all the desks out of her room.

The final period of the day came and as the puzzled students found seats on the floor of the desk-less classroom.  Martha Cothren said, ‘Throughout the day no one has been able to tell me just what he or she has done to earn the right to sit at the desks that are ordinarily found in this classroom.  Now I am going to tell you.’

At this point, Martha Cothren went over to the door of her classroom and opened it.  Twenty-seven (27) U.S. Veterans, all in uniform, walked into that classroom, each one carrying a school desk.  The Vets began placing the school desks in rows, and then they would walk over and stand alongside the wall.  By the time the last soldier had set the final desk in place those kids started to understand, perhaps for the first time in their lives, just how the right to sit at those desks had been earned.

Martha said, ‘You didn’t earn the right to sit at these desks. These heroes did it for you.  They placed the desks here for you.  They went halfway around the world, giving up their education and interrupting their careers and families so you could have the freedom you have. Now, it’s up to you to sit in them.  It is your responsibility to learn, to be good students, to be good citizens.  They paid the price so that you could have the freedom to get an education.  Don’t ever forget it.’ 

By the way, this is a true story.  And this teacher was awarded the Veterans of Foreign Wars Teacher of the Year for the State of Arkansas in 2006.  She is the daughter of a WWII POW.

Do you think this email is worth passing along so others won’t forget either, that the freedoms we have in this great country were earned by our US. Veterans?  I did.

Let us always remember the men and women of our military and the rights that they have won for us.