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The 'Ashley Madison' of the 17th Century *

Typesetting errors have crept into the printing of the Bible over the years but this one is a doozy. The royal printers of London have omitted the word "not" from one of the 10 Commandments, so that it now reads... "Thou SHALT commit adultery." The Wicked Bible or Adulterer's Bible is released to the public before the error is discovered. No doubt men were soon explaining to their wives that they were just following the word of God. (Gag!) Most of the Bibles are collected up and burned. By next year the printers will lose their royal license and pay a fine of 300 pounds (over $65,000 today). Very few of these Bibles will survive into the modern day but the memory of the error will live on because it's just too funny for words. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In case you haven't heard, the Ashley Madison adulterer's database has been made public. The Ashley Madison web site is an online dating service where cheaters meet... to cheat... for a fee. The company guarantees security and anonymity and if you want your account expunged, they will do that too... for a fee. Unfortunately, their claims of security were all TOTAL BS. (I guess that means they lied. Imagine that.) A hacker has released the client email list. Many of them are linked to the Whitehouse or that knucklehead on TV. A lawyer on "Fox and Friends" explained that having an email address show up in the database was meaningless because they never verified the address. Thus, my buddy could sign me up as a joke, or a business competitor could try to embarrass me or a political enemy could... you get the picture. The lawyer said it was time for people to have a serious discussion with their spouse, so I went downstairs and explained to my wife what the Ashley Madison site was all about. We looked into each others eyes.... and burst out laughing! What a bunch of morons!

The Vernier Scale and the Lie of Precise Measurement

Pierre Vernier has published the work he is best known for, "Construction, use and properties of the new quadrant of mathematics." While most people have misplaced their copy, many still remember his proposal for an ingenious scale that allows one to read a scale more precisely when the measurement falls between two markings. For example: if you measure something at 2.3 centimeters and a little bit, you look down at the Vernier Scale and where a lower marking meets with a main scale marking, that is the number you add. Thus, if the lower matching mark is the fifth mark, your final measurement is 2.35 centimeters. [4] [5] [6]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Most often I use a Vernier caliper. This tool allows me to measure the outer or inner diameter of a pipe. One is likely to see a Vernier scale on calipers used while machining metal such as for automotive parts. Nowadays there are electronic instruments that can measure precisely, but the Vernier scale doesn't require batteries, and digital readouts can be deceiving. Digital readouts convey a certainty in a measurement that may not be justified. In other words... rounding errors can mislead one into thinking a measurement is more precise than it possibly could be. Using a Vernier scale reminds the user that all measurement is an approximation within a certain tolerance. [7]

The Puritans and Providence... Nicaragua

Providence Island is part of present day Nicaragua. The Puritans of London quickly create a company to organize the colonization of the island. There are several reasons to move quickly on this project, not least of which is that the Plague has been devastating London. In most cases the primary shareholders do not meet until right before the launch of the expedition. The rules are simple: no profanity, whoring, drunkenness or gambling. A preacher will accompany them, but he will be sent back in disgrace, having been caught singing bits of a romantic song to himself. When they land on the Providence Island they find Dutch privateers there (read as pirates). One of the Englishmen hired for security accepts a letter of mark from the Dutch against Spain and goes off privateering with them. Generally the Puritans will find the fight with Spain acceptable. They will also find slavery acceptable so that they can run their plantations. What they find unacceptable is each other. They seem unable to get along with each others level of religious observance and after many years without profits, the colony will be abandoned. [8] [9] [10] [11]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Puritans came to the New World seeking religious freedom from the King, but not religious freedom for all. They had very strict ideas about how religious observance should go, but what they didn't have was a unified Puritanism. In other words, everyone there was a Puritan but some were more Puritan than others. This religious intolerance forced some colonists to breakaway from the Puritan colony in Salem or be put to death. In fact, one man got the boot and was forced to establish a colony far outside of the Puritan territories. He called the new colony "Providence" located in modern day Rhode Island, which is not an island but let's not get picky.

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1631, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Wicked Bible - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 23 July 2015. “The name is derived from a mistake made by the compositors: in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14), the word not in the sentence 'Thou shalt not commit adultery' was omitted, thus changing the sentence into 'Thou shalt commit adultery'.”
  2. Measuring Worth - Purchase Power of the Pound. measuringworth.com (1631). Retrieved on 24 August 2015. “In 2014, the relative value of £300 0s 0d from 1631 ranges from £41,140.00 to £13,040,000.00.”
  3. The Wicked Bible: the perfect gift for collectors, but not for William and Kate. The Guardian (25 November 2010). Retrieved on 24 August 2015. “I was offered a rare book which, while well out of field for me, was extremely enticing. It is a Bible, published in 1631 by Barker and Lucas, the royal printers, with one of the most famous misprints (if it is that) in the whole of literature. In its citation of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14) we have as Number Seven: 'THOU SHALT COMMIT ADULTERY.'”
  4. Pierre Vernier - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 30 July 2015. “At Brussels, in 1631, he published, his treatise La construction, l'usage, et les propriétés du quadrant nouveau de mathématique, (Google translate: Construction, use and properties of the new quadrant of mathematics) and dedicated it to the Infanta. In it he described the ingenious device which now bears his name, the Vernier scale.”
  5. Vernier scale - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 30 July 2015. “A vernier scale is a device that lets the user measure more precisely than could be done unaided when reading a uniformly-divided straight or circular measurement scale. It is a scale that indicates where the measurement lies in between two of the marks on the main scale.”
  6. Reading vernier caliper scale. getipa.wordpress.com (2015). Retrieved on 24 August 2015. “main scale + Vernier scale”
  7. Allowable measurement error associated with quality management plans. - Free Online Library. NP Communications, LLC (2013). Retrieved on 24 August 2015. “Measurement error is unavoidable, ever-present, and random in its nature. It is also unpredictable, making naturally occurring measurement error uncontrollable.”
  8. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (BOOK), Knopf. ISBN 9780307265722. “English Pilgrims launched two colonies: the famous Plimoth, the first successful colony in New England, in 1620; and a short-lived effort in Providence Island, 140 miles off the coast of Nicaragua, in 1631. Unlike their brethren in non-malarial New England, the Providence Pilgrims imported African slaves in numbers and with enthusiasm. As many as six hundred escaped when Spain drove out the Pilgrims in 1641.” 
  9. Providence Island colony - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 August 2015. “The Providence Island colony was established in 1631 by English Puritans on what is now called Isla de Providencia, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) east of the coast of Nicaragua. Although intended to be a model Puritan colony, it also functioned as a base for privateers operating against Spanish ships and settlements in the region.”
  10. Providence Island Company - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 24 August 2015. “At the start, the company had a twofold interest, to establish in an ideal commonwealth a God-fearing population,[17] who were to support themselves with growing tobacco and cotton, and to harry Spanish shipping in the Spanish Main. The Company's regulations for the three islands, of Providence, Henrietta and Association, forbade card-playing and gaming, whoring, drunkenness and profanity.”
  11. The colonising activities of the English Puritans; the last phase of the Elizabethan struggle with Spain. archive.org 56-59 (1914). Retrieved on 24 August 2015.

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