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The Dutch Find Australia But Miss the Point

William Jansz has been commissioned by the United (Dutch) East India Company to seek out opportunities for trade in the East Indies. He is also looking for gold which is rumored to be found in the area of New Guinea. The Company has already established a colony at Banten in northwest Java. His ship, the Little Dove, reaches the Cape York Peninsula in Australia but he believes that it is part of New Guinea. He tries to establish trade with the natives but something goes wrong and after several members of his expedition are killed, he returns to Banten... totally missing the Torres Strait which separates Australia from New Guinea. A few months later Luís Vaz de Torres sails through the strait that today bears his name. He notes it for Spanish maps but he doesn't see Australia. The Dutch will notice the difference between their maps and the Spanish the maps and eventually everyone will figure it out. The name, Australia, comes from the Latin word meaning "southern" but it won't be applied to the land in any official capacity until the early 1800s. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Well... what went wrong between Dutch and the native Australians? According to the oral history of the tribe, everything went great until the Dutch insisted that the natives do the hunting for them and then took their women. Arguments broke out and people died. The trade didn't go well because the natives took one look at the flour the Dutch were offering and threw it away. They didn't know what to do with it and didn't want to know. This reminds me of the time, during the opening days of the war in Afghanistan, when the USA would air-drop food packages to Afghan villages. Critics said that the Afghans didn't understand what they were supposed to do with the packages... and frankly... who, in their right mind, would want to eat peanut butter? Clearly, one month after the 9-11 attacks, as we bombed the Taliban, the United States military was not fully prepared with culturally correct food packages for Afghan citizens, but food is food. [6] [7]

Galileo Is Feeling the Heat *

Galileo is one of several people who are said to have invented the thermometer. Frankly, many schemes have been used down the centuries to measure a change in the temperature. Galileo worked out some sort of liquid moving in response to the expansion or contraction of a gas. Still, it will be a few more years before drawings will be made and the thermometer will take the shape of a tube with marks to measure the change. This is why the credit for the invention of the thermometer is spread around. It was an incremental process of development rather than a single event. [8] [9]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Many of the so-called inventions of Galileo are actually improvements on previous designs or engineering feats rather than inventions themselves. The telescope was one of his improvements, but he didn't invent the telescope. He also created a geometric compass (not a magnetic compass) to help the military perform ballistic calculations when aiming their cannons. It looks like a plumb-bob hanging next to a triangular scale. If you see it, you will recognize instantly how it works... which was the point of creating it. Most gunners had little or no math skills but they had eyes and they could be trained to count. By following the marks on the scale they could aim their guns to great precision. Of course, when making guns easy to aim so that any idiot can do it, one should use care. Idiots can be so d-mned ingenious.

The Magic of 'Secret Writing' is Made Public

Johann Heidenberg is long dead but his books entitled "Secret Writing" have been passed around privately all these years since his death. Reading them requires a decryption key and that key is made public this year. Two volumes of his secret books are published in Germany. People expect to see advice on magic and the occult but these two volumes contain advice on how to send secret messages that do not require trusted messengers. In other words... they are cryptographic messages. His books will soon be added to the list of books prohibited by the Catholic Church... probably because it is believed that part of the trick of secret writing involves magic. The books will remain on the list until 1900. [10] [11] [12] [13]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I have never seen magic. Experts have looked at the methods of encryption used in these books and they are confident that no magic was used to encrypt these volumes. There is supposed to be a 3rd volume that contains occult secrets but the volume has never been found. If it is found one day, I doubt it will contain any workable magic formulas. Magic is fun to imagine and such imaginings remain harmless until one tries to do it. For example: it is fun to imagine myself as Superman... until I try to fly off of the roof of my house without benefit of parachute. That would not disprove the existence of Superman, but clearly, I would be eliminated as a possible candidate. [14]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1606, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Willem Janszoon - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 July 2015. “On 26 February 1606, he made landfall at the Pennefather River on the western shore of Cape York in Queensland, near the town of Weipa. This is the first recorded European landfall on the Australian continent. Janszoon proceeded to chart some 320 km of the coastline, which he thought was a southerly extension of New Guinea.”
  2. Janszoon voyage of 1606 - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 July 2015. “Willem Janszoon made the first recorded European landing on the Australian continent in 1606, sailing from Bantam, Java in the Duyfken. As an employee of the Dutch East India Company (Dutch: Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, VOC), Janszoon had been instructed to explore the coast of New Guinea in search of economic opportunities.”
  3. The First Discovery of Australia with an account of the Voyage of the "Duyfken" and the Career of Captain Willem Jansz. Project Gutenberg of Australia (1942). Retrieved on 2 July 2015. “If she had then turned west she would soon have reached the coast of Arnhem land; instead, she turned south-east and met the coast of Australia at the mouth of the Pennefather River, on the Cape York Peninsula. There can be no mistake about this locality. The latitudes on the chart are out by many minutes, but the physical features on the chart are unmistakeable. There is a large river shown to the north which can be identified as the Batavia; there is a large bay to the south which is clearly Albatross Bay--it can be nowhere else. The Pennefather River is midway between, and here we have the landfall of the Duyfken more certainly than we have the landfall of Captain Cook at Point Hicks.”
  4. Australian History: Willem Janszoon. Ancient Australian History (2015). Retrieved on 2 July 2015. “From the coast of New Guinea, Janszoon then crossed the Arafura Sea in a southerly direction, passing by the Torres Strait (first discovered and sailed through by the Spanish captain Luis Váez de Torres, in the same year) which would have been discovered had he kept traveling further west. Janszoon then traveled alongside the western coast of Cape York, and landed near the modern town Weipa. He continued to chart the coastline for another 320km believing that this land was part of New Guinea, since he did not know about the Torres Strait.”
  5. Dutch East India Company in Indonesia - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 July 2015. “In 1603, the first permanent Dutch trading post in Indonesia was established in Banten, northwest Java and in 1611, another was established at Jayakarta (later 'Batavia' and then 'Jakarta').”
  6. As bombs fall, so does food aid. Baltimore Sun (October 09, 2001). Retrieved on 2 July 2015. “Air Force pilots have dropped the meals from the rear of C-17 cargo planes over remote mountain areas - far from the targets of the bombs - in the southern and eastern areas of Afghanistan. The military said about 74,000 such meals have been dispersed over the region over the past two days.”
  7. 'Brutality smeared in peanut butter' (Opinion). The Guardian (22 October 2001). Retrieved on 2 July 2015. “As a gesture of humanitarian support, the US government air-dropped 37,000 packets of emergency rations into Afghanistan. It says it plans to drop a total of 500,000 packets. That will still only add up to a single meal for half a million people out of the several million in dire need of food. [...] Each yellow packet, decorated with the American flag, contained: rice, peanut butter, bean salad, strawberry jam, crackers, raisins, flat bread, an apple fruit bar, seasoning, matches, a set of plastic cutlery, a serviette and illustrated user instructions.”
  8. Galileo Galilei - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 6 July 2015.
  9. Thermometer - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 6 July 2015. “Various authors have credited the invention of the thermometer to Galileo Galilei, Cornelis Drebbel, Robert Fludd, or Santorio Santorio. The thermometer was not a single invention, however, but a development.”
  10. Steganographia (in Latin). Esoteric Archives (2014). Retrieved on 6 July 2015. “This is Trithemius' most notorious work. On the surface it is a system of angel magic, but within is a highly sophisticated system of cryptography. It claims to contain a synthesis of the science of knowledge, the art of memory, magic, an accelerated language learning system, and a method of sending messages without symbols or messenger. In private circulation, the Steganographia brought such a reaction of fear that he decided it should never be published. He reportedly destroyed the more extreme portions (presumably instructions for prophecy/divination) but it continued to circulate in mss form and was eventually published posthumously in 1606.”
  11. Johannes Trithemius - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 6 July 2015. “Trithemius' most famous work, Steganographia (written c. 1499; published Frankfurt, 1606), was placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum in 1609 and removed in 1900.”
  12. cryptographic - definition of cryptographic (2015). Retrieved on 6 July 2015. “The process or skill of communicating in or deciphering secret writings or ciphers.”
  13. Index Librorum Prohibitorum - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 6 July 2015. “The Index Librorum Prohibitorum (English: List of Prohibited Books) was a list of publications deemed heretical, anti-clerical or lascivious, and therefore banned by the Catholic Church.”
  14. Alex Shrugged notes: Anyone who believes that the Bible is true must concede that some level of magic exists in the world since the Bible talks of a type of low-level magic as if it existed. However, I have not seen it done, so I'm waiting patiently. I think I will live a happy, full life never having seen any magic. That is different from saying that I am sure it doesn't exist.

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