Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Book of Blogs: Chapter

This will be the first post of the Book of blogs, a weekly series about and for all blogs.

Blogs of Note
(These are blogs or blog-related sites that I have found particulary interesting, in alphabetical order, of course. I strongly encourage you to visit these sites and explore.)

Blogshares- In short a fantasy stock market of blogs. Anybody can sign up, you start with $500 and from there you have to use your wits, hunches, resources, "insider info", and mere luck to build a fortune and rise to the top.

Geobandy- A highly informative and well though out blog about numerous subjects. Ranges from news, sometimes about blogs, and many bits and pieces in today's world that somehow have been buried by the hustle and bustle of life, only to get us in the back later on.

Hamster Motor- Don't let the name full you, this blog moves faster and is more diverse than any hamster. Just to cover a single digit percent of the topics, this blog talks about economics, the bloggers' own life, and the modern world. Several posts a day so you won't have to wait.

Sovereign Commentary- Fantastic blog that searches all over the Internet to look for news stories that we rarely hear about on "conventional media". Not only are the stories well described, they come with thoughtful and thought-provoking commentary.

Wicked Thoughts- One of the most hillarious blogs I have ever seen, there is a new post everyday. The first half is guaranteed to light up moste people's days, and the second half talks about some of the strangest news stories you can hear.

Promotionary Section

Any person with a blog or something related to blogs can submit an entry by commenting on a previous post and if I accept it the entry will be posted on the next book of blogs. I will be accepting entries for the next BoB from today untill Friday.

  • Must be appropriate, neither the entry nor the actual site may contain any overly obscene material.
  • Must not use hate, strongly discriminatory, or any other language that unfairly biases other people or groups.
  • Must be a blog or related to blogging, of course.
  • Must be in English or be able to be translated into English.
  • Must have a link to Historium on the site that is not placed there by "spiders" or "crawlers".
  • The entry must be descriptive, 3-6 sentences long, and accurately describe original source.
The final decision will be made by me, there will be a maximum of 10 sites in this section for now.

As time is somewhat short and this is still new, this is all there will be for now. Please tell me any questions, recomendations, or comments you have. Just remember, I personally advise you to visit the above sites. This does not mean that I aggree with any of the views and opinions established by the above.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Some corrections and conclusions of the last two posts

In the first post in this beginnings of economies series Tom of Pooklefur (sorry if I spelled it wrong) pointed out an error I had in my info. I said that the improved technology would lead to more unemployment. Well, we had an exchange of a few comments and this is what I have to conclude with. Better technology can lead to more efficient industry, this means that people would look into this industry seeing that it can now be more profitable. They then start to invest in it and so the industry grows because of technology. My conclusion is that technology could mean more investment which would lead to industry expanding quickly. Well, in my example, there was no real investment. In the vilage I talked about there are many things needed to do for the people to survive.

Let's say there is a new innovation that allows 1 person to handle a horse-drawn plough instead of 4. Now, in the modern world this would mean that people would invest in farming so that the profits could be maximized from the invention. The invention and the enlargement of the industry would lead to a demand for skilled workers and ordinary laborers respectively. In an ancient village, this would not be possible. There was not a real labor pool where people can just hire from. Almost everybody was hard at work already at other jobs and since the population was not big and mortality rates would be high, you couldn't rely on drawing from the younger generation to get enough workers. Therefore, only one thing could be done, to use the invention in the first place the skilled workers would be first priority. This would take time to hire and train workers. Therefore most of the effort would be to just use the technology, the size of the industry, in here farming, would stay more or less the same. Even though the invention reduced labor need in one area, it was not enough.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Economic Revolution

Last post I talked about how the first and simplest economies formed in the first farming villages of humans. Except for some innovations with farming, most things stayed the same. There wasn't too much variety in teh jobs. I ended with the visit of some explorers from a distant place. Here is the second part.

The explorers are welcomed into town. There they talk about their home and give info. on other parts of the world. Their language is rather similar, since they live somewhat close and have not been isolated too long. They fill gaps with sign language. The explorers bring goods from their people, some of which interest their hosts. In return they get some things that have caught their eyes. Little do they know that their whole economic and political worlds just shifted tremendously. This is the first primitive trade among settled peoples. It is barter, but nonetheless we see something new. No longer is it work, and get paid with crops. Now all you have to do is give them something in return for crops. Enter currency.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

The beginnings of an economy

Modern economies are highly complex and involve tons of advanced mathematics and science. But how did all this happen. When and how did the first economies develop? What were these like. What affected them? How did they grow into what they are today? Here's a simplified look.

Well first, let's imagine a little scenario. Farming has just started and there's a little vilage in the middle of a big green field next to a river. Farming takes a lot of work, eventually people find ways to make things easier, like irrigation and draft animals, but those things also need work and care. So the farmers get some guys to do this for them. First the guys, who were kind of bored, go sure, for the community right? And now they have a settled home and a share of the crop. So after a while they learn the trade and start working. For now this resembles a primitive socialist environment, there is no one in charge, just a bunch of farmers and some guys who help them, settled in a village. There may be a few elders who are too old to work and give advice, but everybody gets paid for working in only two ways, shelter and a share of the crop.

What happens now is that these new guys get so good, the farms need less people, these people now are just lying around there. Some start new farms, others join those that take care of all the extra stuff. A few though start thinking, this life is boring, all you do is work all day and sleep all night. The only rewards are a hut and some of that boring barley and chicken that they always give. If only there was something else to do. So, as certain jobs become more and more labor-efficient, more and more people are no longer needed. Here we can see the beginnings of unemployment, these people just want to do something different.

One day, a group of explorers from a distant village arrives at their home. And everything turns upside-down.

Monday, April 25, 2005

A little Science

100 years ago a worker at a Swiss patent office published a paper that proposed a solution to a little problem with science. This person was a failure in math at school and seemed to be nowhere in life. Today the scientific world recognises that year as the year when theoretical physics was turned upside-down. The paper was the Special Theory of Relativity, the patent office worker was Alber Einstein. It is now 100 years later and the impact of that time is still growing and affecting us, and will continue to in unimainable ways.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Comparison of Influence Part II

This is my second issue of the different influences Genghis Khan and George Washington had on the world. Read the first one and my definition of inluence too for more info.

The second point is their influence on today’s world. Washington’s actions are easy to explain, he did much to have America gain its independence, and now that country is the most powerful country today. Genghis Khan’s influence is harder to identify. Obviously conquering what he conquered must have by now translated into great influences today. Genghis Khan put almost all of the trade routes across Asia under one government, and made it safe for anyone to travel by it. This was resulted in a huge boom in west-east trade. One of those traders was Marco Polo. His descriptions of the wealth and riches of China inspired many explorers to seek new routes there. One of these was Christopher Columbus, the man who was largely responsible for starting a movement to permanent European colonization of the Americas. Basically, Genghis Khan’s actions indirectly led to the great era of exploration during and after the Renaissance of Europe.

This is an extension of the Book of Blogs. I want to start a weekly post about this, that puts my thoughts as well as others' about blogs, how it affects them, why they do it, and how it affects the world. Tell me any thoughts you have about blogs and blogging below. I will keep doing this for a few days before I start the actual first official Book of Blogs, maybe around next Saturday. Just leave a comment for this post that has whatever you want to say.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

The Book of Blogs

(The post is rather long, scroll down to the bottom of it to see my real message)

I have been blogging now since early January. Now, to any person who does not know much about blogging, 4 months of doing anything big is usually not very much. Most people think it takes years before you really get to know certain things. However, in blogs this is different. Most bloggers know that even the smallest lenghts of time are crucial. People who blog irregularly with big spaces of time between the posts and those who rarely blog at all usually notice that their traffic drops like a stone, if there was any traffic at all to begin with. That is why in just a few months you learn tremendous amounts about the world of the blog. New bloggers are often awed by how such a simple little site consisting of entries could be so complex and varied. In my opinion, each blog is as different from another as people are. Blogs are thoughts on the web. Each person has their own thoughts. After just a few months of blogging one can quickly discover how big this is. There are countless tools and services dedicated to helping that humble little blogger. There are traffic boosters, ad services, counters, and countless add-ons that add more diversity to blogs. Some use blogging to let others know about their life, some to release built-up pressure, some to inform, and some to publish opinions. In many areas there are controversies surrounding bloggers. The biggest one in here is the difference between blogging journalists "conventional" journalists.
And all because of this little site called a blog.
One reason why even the smallest time is significant may be found in the entire history of blogs itself. The term "web log" was only coined in 1998, the Internet itelf was only created some years before that. And then blogs really didn't get large public use until people could create blogs without knowing anything about HTML. When creating a blog just required the Internet and basic computer knowledge.

So as you see,"traditional" blogging is only a few years old. And all that you have seen about blogs have risen in that period of time.

This is just an intro on blogs. What I really want readers to do is to give their own opinions and thoughts about blogs themselves, say anything you want related to this topic. I will tell about this later.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Influence: A definition

The post before the last one was about comparing the influence two people had on history. You may wonder what I consider to be influence. How is influence really rated? Here are three factors that I have thought of for now:

Hom much the person influenced their world during their lifetime.

How much the person affects the modern world.

Difficulties person faced and overcame and overall dificulty of the tasks of the person.

Further comments and ideas are welcome. This is just the beginning and I will probably talk more about this later on. Feel free to tell me your thoughts on historical influence.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Globalisation Part IV: Age of Western Expansion

The First Imperial Age was a time of relatively balanced world powers across the Old World. Both Asian and European empires were more or less equal politically. The East still had the advantage in technology and education, but Western Civilization was rapidly emerging out of the Medieval period and further stimulated by the Rennaissance. These two things were dwarfed by what would happen soon, permanent European colonisation of the Americas. Competition for trade routes was so fierce that many nations on the western edge of Europe were looking for new ways to the East. After Columbus found the islands in the Carribean, the Europeans had their chance for world dominance.

Seeking economic, political, and religious benefits in the New World, Spain started to colonize massive tracts of land, it was rewarded with a rich supply of gold, silver, and other precious metals. Soon Portugal, France, and Great Britain also began their colonial exploits. This period marks the rise of a whole new monumental set of trade routes between the Old and New World. Unlike the older ones, these were almost all over the seas. Thus the quest for total control over the oceans also became important. As the Western European nations found much greater wealth in the New Trade, the Old Trade became less and less valuable. While the quest to find a navigable Nortwest Passage through the Americas and to the Orient existed for a long time, it eventually became more or less symbolic. Power no longer meant control over the trade with the East, it meant establishing distant colonies to obtain raw materials, building up a large maritime trading fleet that could cross vast oceans, and recruiting massive new militaries to fight over the colonies and maritime trade. The Middle Eastern and Oriental nations did not have these three things, therefore they became less important on a global level.

In short what happened was that the great superpowers of the previous two ages were surpassed by Western Europe. The old powers got their power from control over the Mediterranean Sea and Old Trade routes. In my opinion, these nations simply became stagnant. There were no more great economic advances happening here, the best possible situation had already been reached. On the other hand, the great new ocean became the Atlantic and the New Trade was over this ocean. This area gave Western Europeans plenty of space to expand and develop in. It is during this age that West stared to rise to its dominance.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

A Comparison of Influence

Before I start the main history post, I want to announce something, on the left in the sidebar I have set up a minipoll. Please go see it and take part in it. All you have to do is make a choice and vote. It will give me some information on my priorities for this site.

In history, there are often many single people who in different ways have profound effects on the world we live in. They almost single-handedly change the course of history by doing the seemingly impossible and completely unexpected. In this post I will discuss two. One is most famous in the West right now, and is taught about in every classroom in the United States. He raised and trained a ragtag rebel army and managed to outmaneuver the most powerful army in the world of the largest empire at that time. Eventually he was able to defeat it and secure independence for his nation.

The other man was born in one of the most ruthless, violent, and desolate regions on Earth. Only populated by constantly warring and fiercely independent nomadic tribes always fighting over the scarce recourses. This man united all of these people into one nation, and with his force of personality turned them into one people who would always obey him. After this he set out to, by himself, defeat the longest-lasting civilization on Earth and conquer much of it. Then he took on another strong, but more youthful, civilization. Both of these he shattered to pieces. In doing this he conquered half the known world and brought together two different worlds.

This post will compare how much each of these men influenced their and our world.

The two men I just told about are George Washington and Genghis Khan, respectively. One is one of the most famous men alive, the latter is too often remembered for his cruelty. Both men, no matter how viewed, changed history.

The first point I want to compare the two with is how influential they were during their lives. Now, George Washington managed to defeat the British army, which led to Great Britain to recognize the United States as a country. These events had their biggest effects on the U.S. itself. Besides Great Britain and France, little of the world was touched. On the other hand Genghis Khan changed the lives of everyone within his enormous empire and greatly altered the lives of many of the people bordering his empire during his lifetime. It would have been surprising for a German to suddenly find himself a few days’ ride from the border of an Asiatic Empire. During Washington’s time the world was just barely starting to react to American independence. Yes it is true the United States is now the most powerful nation, but Washington did not by himself make the U.S. a world power in his life. I will the example of building a house. What Washington did was construct the foundation; his actions eventually lead to what the U.S. is now. Genghis Khan however would have built the entire house, the Mongol rise to world dominance was accomplished by him as the leader. If Washington did what Genghis did, he would have made the U.S. into a world megapower back then, during his life.

The other two points, influence in today's world and difficulty of task faced, will come consecutively at later times.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Anyone out there?

Okay, first of all, I know several people have been coming to this site actually reading. However, I have not received a single comment for a while. Now, if you have even the slightest thoughts about what you read, or even the dumbest question, tell me. Don't be shy or selffish. If you have some random thouhgt, tell me, if you have anything, tell me anything you have. Anyeay, here is a history post.

One empire that we rarely hear abou is the Ottoman empire. In short, it was an empire of Tursks centered in Anatolia. For hundreds of years it expanded into the Middle East and Europe, and became the dominant Islamic power. It was rather like the western frontier of Islam. The Ottomans conquered its main religion's holiest, most historic, and most powerful cities. It also took a city that was considered unconquerable, Constantinople. For the first time since the Byzantines nearly 1000 years ago, and for the last time, it united the Balkans under one rule. It's primary rivals on land eventually became the Hapsburgs of Austria-Hungary, on land only the Venetians and Genoans of Italy posed a real threat in the early Rennaissance times. It mastered gunpowder technology and sent its armies away to dominate most of the Eastern Meditteranean. Because it controlled several major trade routes, its wealth expanded enormously. Foreigners were awed by its splendor and wealth, many also feared it. The Europeans actually tried several crusades against them, to little avail. Eventually though, its power was dimnished as the Industrial Age progressed and Western Civilization rose to its peak. In a last ditch effort to maintain its glory, it supported the Central powers in World War I, where it was defeated. Turbulence and unrest followed, as the several European powers tried to occupy it. Eventually a revolution based in Ankara succeeded and overthrew the Emperor in 1924.
The Ottomans were the last great Islamic Imperial power, they were the last breath of Imperial Islam.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Constitutional Notes

Article 2 Sect.3: When it comes down to the basics, the President can adjourn Congress whenever he/she wants to. I know no President has done this before, but still...

Article 1 Section 8.11: It just says Congress has the power to declare war, does not say by what majority or if there needs to be a majority at all.

Article 4 Section 2.2: Nothing about the Supreme Court having the power to reverse lower courts.

Section 3.1: It is treason if you help out a wounded enemy soldier, even if the person has no way of stating a surrender, you cannot help/aid that person.

Article 4 Section 2.1: A state must treat someone of another state in the same way it treats its own. Very interesting.

Section 3.1 and 3.4: Does not say new states will have the same rights as old states.

Article 6 Section 2: Constitution is the supreme law of the land, states cannot nullify national laws.

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Byzantine Empire

Some time in late Roman history, the entire Roman empire was split in two, for the better management of such a vast tract of land. In short time, the western half, with its capital at Rome, was quickly engulfed and fell under the onrush of millions of Germanic and Hunnic invaders. For some reason (please tell me if you know it) the Eastern Roman empire was spared. It had a few good times in which it tried to recapture the lost Roman lands, this was done around the 5th centuries by its most famous general, Belisarius. Italy, parts of North Africa, and other lands were recaptured. Unfortunately Belisarius was accused of treachery, he lived out the rest of his life as a blind beggar. Soon, the onrush of the Arabs expanding their empire and their new religion Islam pushed back the Byzantine frontier. Most of the Middle Eastern possessions and North Africa were lost. Eventually (please tell me about this too if you know it) the European possessions were lost too. Soon all that was left of the once vast Byzantine Empire was Anatolia (modern Turkey) and Greece. It's capital was the mighty fortress-city of Constantinople (modern Istanbul). I have to go now, please tell me any further info. you have.

Also, in the sidebar I have a poll, please take part in it.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Site News

First of all, I want to say something about commenting. For those of you new to this site, this is a blog, a personal web journal made up of posts. Now, something that I allow on this blog is commenting. Most of my regular readers know this. One of them, Geobandy, has already created a post like this. Commenting allows you to post your thoughts, feedback, advice, criticism, corrections, or anything you want. You can do it as a blogger, just a regular web surfer, or anonymously. You don't have to give any personal inormation at all. So if you have even the smallest thoughts, or just want to say hi, post a comment.

I think one thing that is causing this is that not many people know what a blog really is. They don't know about the comments, I hope this clears things up.

My regular post series: Globalisation, Constitutional Notes, Sunday Review, and World War I Eastern Front will be up shortly. I will also create a poll on the sidebar soon.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

King Arthur, why so big? And Constantine

I have often wondered why the Briton King Arthur of Great Britain is famous today. Is it because of folk tales, medieval historians, or just modern media. Now, this post will be very critical of this man so be prepared. I am not going hail him and shower him with admiration.

In short, King Arthur's exploits were short-lasting and only delayed the inevitable. He managed to keep his way of life more or less sheltered from outside invations by gathering together the disunited Briton tribes and defeating the Germanic tribes invading his land a few times. Then, for about a hundred years there was a kind of golden age for the Britons. Finally the Germanic tribes simply became too numerous and overwhelmed the rest of Britannia. These became the dominant people of the land for ever after, the Anglo-Saxons. In my opinion, a hero who fights for his/her people should do two things. Make sure he wins and find a way for his people to be protected after his death. King Arthur was not in anyway one of the typical of his people. He was perhaps one of those rare men who live in just the right times to be needed. But once they are too weak or get killed, nothing can be done.

Recently I talked about a series of most influential. A blogger named History Guy gave his opinion that the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great was the most influential non-religious person since the birth of Christ. Now, this is just my opinion, I will have to disagree. Constantine is famous for stopping the persecution of Christians, declaring Christianity the oficial Roman religion, and relocating his capital to present-day Istanbul, then Constantinople. Besides the last one, what he did was only do the inevitable. Christianity was on the rise anyway, despite massive attempts to stop it the faith was growing rapidly. Someone eventually had to accept this and that someone was Constantine.

The most influential is someone who does the completely unexpected. Perhaps if Constantine would not have done it, someone else would have eventually. Influential people do something in which the odds are against them. Constantine was simply picking the side that was winning. What set him apart from others was perhaps not being such as much a vehement supporter of the old Roman pagan religion. Otherwise, Constantine's deeds, while definitely hugely important and a turning point, would more likely be influential actions. He did not do so much the impossible as others.

The Roman empire officially fell about 200 years after his death. Christianity, without Constantine, would probably have still be quite strong by then. Without the organized opposition of Roman paganism, they would still have advanced. Now it probably would not develop as quickly as with Constantine, it simply is not rational to think that someone would have done what Constantine did sooner or later.

As with all my other posts, any feedback and comments are welcome.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Battles of Stalluponen and Gumbinnen

Often, when people hear World War I, if they know anything about it, they probably will think of the trench warfare in France and Belgium. This Western Front's importance is obvious because of its proximity to Paris. Yet, many times people don't even think of the Eastern Front (between the Central Powers and Russia) , what I think was the 2nd largest front in terms of troops and size of battles. Many soldiers died there too, and while it was not critical, it is worth telling. This is about the first two major engagements in that region, the Battle of Stalluponen in present-day Lithuania, what was then German East-Prussia.

The Russian plan for attacking Germany involved sending their First and Second Armies into East Prussia in a two-pronged attack. Rennenkampf, the commander of the First Army, was advancing into Prussia. On August 17, 1914, the German I Corps, commanded by Francois, of it's Eight Army found them near Stalluponen. Francois, eager for some action, ordered an attack on the Russians. The latter were taken by surprise and subsequently were driven back to the border. The German commander of the Eight Army, von Prittwitz, was afraid the I Corps would be engulfed by the larger Russian force so he ordered the Germans to pull back to the town of Gumbinnen. Once again the Russians resumed their westward march.
Francois convinced Prittwitz to launch another attack against the Russians before it was too late. Prittwitz needed to defeat the Russian First Army before their Second Army got too close. The German Eight Army, about 150,000 men, advanced against the Russian First Army, 200,000 men. They met on August 20.

The first attack of the Germans was not quite perfect. While Francois' I Corps was fully ready and attacked when ordered, The XVII Corps under General Mackensen and the I Reserve Corps under von Below were several hours late.

At first Francois forced the unprepard Russians back some distance. Mackensen and Below were encouraged by this and tried to push the Russians back themselves. This time, though, the Russians bombarded these two with heavy artillery that allowed the Russians to make their own advances. With the German center and southern end in retreat, Francois had to pull back himself. General Prittwitz was disturbed by this large-scale retreat of his forces and ordered a complete general withdrawal, in case the Russian Second Army appeared.

Berlin was angry at the German failure and ordered Prittwitz back. They replaced him with General Paul von Hindenburg and his Chief of Staff Erich Ludendorff. These two managed to stop the German withdrawal. This time they turned around to attack the Russian Second Army at Tannenberg.

For a great site about World War I go here.