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A Death Census in Hispaniola

The Spaniards have worked out a labor tax where the Indians must contribute labor for the benefit of Spanish rule. (You guessed it. It won't work for the Indian's benefit very much at all but let's not talk about that right now.) In order to allocate the labor amongst the Indians, the Spaniards must run a census to count the Indians. The count is somewhere around 26,000. No one really knows how many natives were living on Hispaniola when Columbus first landed. Everyone agrees that the number was large with 60,000 being the lo-ball figure. With only 26,000 of the Taino [TAY-no] Indians left on the island, that means at least 34,000 are missing and most likely dead. [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Let's noodle this one out. Certainly some Indians have left the island but it can't have been a mass migration or the Spanish would have noticed. African slaves, called the Maroons, have added population to the island but those are escaped slaves so counting them is impossible since they have run away. Doesn't that mean that the Indians can hide as well? Maybe a lot of them. Probably not 34,000 though. The next census will tell the tale. By 1548 only 500 Taino [TAY-no] will be left alive on Hispaniola. The Indians must have died... probably from disease caught from the Spaniards.

Cop Cams and News on the Rialto

The Rialto of the Republic of Venice is the marketplace and financial center residing on the islet of the same name. The famous Rialto Bridge spanning the Grand Canal won't begin construction until 1588 so for now it is something of an embarrassment that one must cross to the marketplace on wooden planks. This year a fire has destroyed most of the buildings of the Rialto (including the tax offices conveniently located nearby) leaving only the church of San Giacomo di Rialto with its distinctive clock. The Rialto will be mentioned in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice" as Solanio asks , "What news on the Rialto?" apparently asking for business news. [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The city of Rialto, California has been in the news because of its pioneering of "cop cams" worn by their police officers. The camera looks like a rugged version of Google Glass. It's made by Taser, the guys who produce the generally non-fatal alternative to firearms. The camera records any exchange between a police officer and citizen either manually or automatically and then uploads a copy of the video to "the Cloud" maintained at a secure website. The Rialto police seem to be logging the video to the website whether it is controversial or not. If they can do that... why can't I record the police in the same manner? For that matter... why can't I record parent-teacher conferences, or any other interaction I might have with government officials? Turnabout is fair play. Isn't it? [5] [6] [7] [8][9]

FYI: In August of 2014, Sidekik launched a campaign to develop a similar product for citizens. It has not reached its funding goal as of the time of this writing. See Episode 1425 of the Survival Podcast for an interview of Orion Martin of Sidekik. [10] [11]

The Church's White Elephant and the Death of Debt *

Hanno the white elephant is given as a gift to the new Pope Leo the 10th from King Manual of Portugal. It will become his favorite. Pope Leo is quite the connoisseur of fine living. His excessive spending and selling of offices and indulgences will make the list of Martin Luther's complaints, as Martin Luther attempts to reform the Church. When Pope Leo dies, several banks will go out of business which suggests that he will owe them some very large sums of money. [12] [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
As the old saying goes: When you owe a bank thousands, the bank owns you. When you owe the bank millions, you own the bank. I tried to explain to a fellow why government debt is different from personal debt. The difference is that with personal debt, when I die the debt dies with me. With government debt, when I die, the debt rolls over to my children, grandchildren and on into eternity. I can die but the debt never does.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1514, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. "Chapter 1: Two Monuments", 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (BOOK), Knopf. ISBN 9780307265722. “Spanish accounts suggest that Hispaniola had a large native population: [...] estimates range from 60,000 to almost 8 million. A careful study in 2003 argued that the true figure was "a few hundred thousand." No matter what the original number, though, the European impact was horrific. In 1514, twenty-two years after Colón's first voyage, the Spanish government counted up the Indians on Hispaniola for the purpose of allocating them among colonists as laborers. Census agents fanned across the island but found only 26,000 Taino. Thirty-four years later, according to one scholarly Spanish resident, fewer than 500 Taino were alive. The destruction of the Taino plunged Santo Domingo into poverty. The colonists had wiped out their own labor force.” 
  2. Rialto Bridge. EuropeForVisitors.com (2015). Retrieved on 5 February 2015. “The Piazza San Marco may be more famous, but the Ponte di Rialto (Rialto Bridge) is the true heart of Venice. The current structure was built in just three years, between 1588 and 1591, as a permanent replacement for the boat bridge and three wooden bridges that had spanned the Grand Canal at various times since the 12th Century. It remained the only way to cross the Grand Canal on foot until the Accademia Bridge was built in 1854.”
  3. Rialto - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 29 January 2015. “The Rialto is also mentioned in works of literature, notably in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, where Shylock asks 'What news on the Rialto?' at the opening of Act 1, Scene III, and Solanio in Act 3 Scene I poses the same question.”
  4. The Merchant of Venice, SCENE I. Venice. A street.. shakespeare.mit.edu (2012). Retrieved on 5 February 2015. “Now, what news on the Rialto?”
  5. Cameras proposed by stop-frisk judge help CA police. NYDailyNews.com (August 13, 2013). Retrieved on 5 February 2015. “Since using the cameras, formal complaints against the California officers have fallen 88%. But its police chief stopped short of endorsing a similar program for New York City, which has a police force 300 times larger.”
  6. California police use of body cameras cuts violence and complaints. TheGuardian.com (2015). Retrieved on 5 February 2015. “Upon returning to Rialto (city motto: 'bridge to progress') he obtained $100,000 (£62,640) in state and federal funding for the Taser-made cameras -- about $1,000 each -- plus servers and fibre-optic cables. Each officer has his or her own camera, mounted on collars, spectacles or caps, and is expected to activate it during interactions with the public. Encounters are logged and uploaded to a secure digital cloud service, evidence.com.”
  7. Rialto, California - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 5 February 2015.
  8. EVIDENCE.com (Official Site) (2015). Retrieved on 5 February 2015. “Your digital evidence is everywhere and piling up fast. Get it in order with EVIDENCE.com. It's cloud-based, so data is stored remotely and securely. Uploading is simple, and managing and sharing are as easy as clicking and sending a link. Watch the Video”
  9. "Taser's Latest Police Weapon - The Tiny Camera and the Cloud", The New York Times, New York Times Company, February 21, 2012. Retrieved on 5 February 2015. 
  10. Orion Martin of SideKik.co. The Survival Podcast (September 12, 2014). Retrieved on 5 February 2015. “Orion Martin is one of the founders of a new technology in development called SideKik.”
  11. Sidekik: Real-Time Representation and Data Storage. Indiegogo (2015). Retrieved on 5 February 2015. “$15,190 USD raised of $250,000 goal”
  12. Manuel I of Portugal - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 29 January 2015.
  13. Pope Leo X - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 29 January 2015.
  14. Hanno (elephant) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 29 January 2015.

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