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Fire in the Hole! Rock Blasting Is Now Reality *

Some very brave men in Solvakia have figured out how to use gunpowder to break up the rock to make mining easier. Essentially, one drills a hole into the rock, and inserts a gunpowder packet with a long fuse. Then the hole is packed so that the blast will be contained within the rock rather than blow back out through the hole. Drilling a number of holes along line and setting off the charges simultaneously (or as close as possible) allows entire sections of rock to fall away in a controlled manner. (Don't try this at home, kids.) [1]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Rock blasting is extremely dangerous, and the older encyclopedias offer entirely too much information to keep you safe. I sometimes wonder if I really need to advise caution on such things. After all... only a knucklehead would try something this crazy without adult supervision. Unfortunately, the number of knuckleheads I run into on a given day is enough to convince me otherwise. In researching this segment, I ran across a very old Popular Mechanics magazine. One article was touting a "Home of the Future!" It had a diagram of a fireplace with the chimney pipe routed under the floor before exiting up and out the roof. (NOT A FRANKLIN STOVE! A Franklin Stove actually makes sense.) This "House of the Future" channeled smoke from the fireplace through the house, BUT this can be extremely dangerous! If any vapors get into the living areas, you are dead. A fireplace heat transfer system like a Franklin Stove is completely separate from the exhaust gases because dying of carbon monoxide poisoning is a bad thing. And there are other problems involved with capturing heat from a fireplace. Again, there are a lot of knuckleheads out there... especially college-educated knuckleheads... so use care. [2] [3] [4]

Spain Defaults on Its Debts and the Bank Makes Money

Spain has run out of money again. King Phillip the 4th has held back his payment to the Genoa banks. He is now living off of the payment he would have made, while he negotiates with the bankers to restructure the loan. This is hardly the first time this has happened. It is not a surprise and with the value of silver dropping due to inflation, Spain is being nibbled to death by ducks. It must be driving the King mad knowing that he owns the world's most massive silver mine and yet he can't make the nut on his debt, nor pay his troops regularly. But the King is getting wise to what is going on here. The bankers have been playing with the international money supply. [5]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Genoa banks forced this bankruptcy by halting the money transfers to the King's troops. The troops' pay had to be delivered in coins. Those coins (preferably gold) had to come from somewhere, hopefully not too far away. Local banks could transport local coins to pay the troops rather than bringing in coins all the way from Genoa or Spain risking robbery and/or piracy. (Read "robbery" as "The French" and "piracy" as "The English.") The Genoa banks pressured the King by blocking those transfers when he hit the debt ceiling. Then the banks would offer trade credits... a temporary loan either in coins or goods until the King could arrange for long-term credit. Once the parties renegotiated the loan, the trade credits were repaid with interest. If this sounds like a scam, congratulations. You are catching on. By 1627, the King was catching on too. The Genoa banks took a boot to the butt when the King of Spain replaced the Genoa banks with Portuguese financiers that had markets located in various countries (and thus having coins pre-positioned for use locally). In the modern day one wonders what sort of under-the-table manipulations are going on when the German banks extend their loans to Greece. Banks are not charities. They weren't in 17th century and they aren't today. [6] [7] [8]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1627, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Rock blasting - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 17 August 2015. “The use of explosives in mining goes back to the year 1627, when gunpowder was first used in place of mechanical tools in the Hungarian (now Slovakian) town of Banská Stiavnica. The innovation spread quickly throughout Europe and the Americas.”
  2. The shot-firer's guide: a practical manual on blasting and the prevention of blasting accidents. archive.org (1910). Retrieved on 17 August 2015.
  3. The Encyclopaedia Britannica : a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information. archive.org 44-48 (1910). Retrieved on 17 August 2015.
  4. Franklin stove - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 17 August 2015. “Baffles were used to lengthen the path that either a room's air or a fire's fumes had to flow through ductwork, thereby allowing more heat to be transferred to the room's air or from the fire's fumes. Specifically, ducts could be installed within the brickwork around a hearth; cool room air would then enter the lower end of a duct, be heated by the hot walls of the duct, rise, and finally exit from the duct's upper end and return to the room.”
  5. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (BOOK), Knopf. ISBN 9780307265722. “The Spanish monarchy, perpetually hungry for cash, wants the silver in the home country. Spanish colonists want to send as much as possible to China—coins and bars can be traded there more profitably than anywhere else. The tension leads, inevitably, to smuggling.” 
  6. What Is Trade Credit?. businesscreditblogger.com (September 3, 2013). Retrieved on 17 August 2015. “Trade credit also referred to as vendor credit or supplier credit, is when a business permits your company to purchase items and pay for them at a later day via short term financing. Typically the terms vary from Net 15, Net 30, Net 60, Net 90, or even Net 120 payment terms but the most common trade credit is from Net 30 vendors.”
  7. Conklin, James (June 1998). "Theory of Sovereign Debt and Spain under Philip II, The". Journal of Political Economy, vol 106 (University of Chicago Press, The) 106 (3): 483-513. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/250019. Retrieved 16 August 2015. "The situation favoring Venice reversed to favor the Portuguese by the 1620s. Not surprisingly, the Genoese suffered unusually large write-downs in the bankruptcy of 1627 and afterward were replaced by New Christian financiers of Lisbon as the principal lenders to Philip IV. By 1627, the Genoese threat to prevent the king from transferring funds to provision troops was no longer sustainable.". 
  8. Alex Shrugged notes: I drew a lot of information from the journal article "Theory of Sovereign Debt and Spain under Philip II, The" by James Conklin. See above reference. I sound a lot smarter than I actually am due to his observations. Thank you.

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