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China: Starfleet's Last Voyage

China's Starfleet are returning from their 7th and final voyage of exploration. They have been as far as the Strait of Hormuz in today's Persian Gulf, and there is evidence that they have been as far as the Red Sea and East Africa. Admiral Cheng Ho has done a magnificent job but his usefulness to China is coming to a close. Inside bureaucratic fighting and fears over the growing power of the eunuchs who want the voyages expanded, puts paid to future voyages. Admiral Cheng Ho died either during this last voyage or shortly after he returned to China. Merchant ships will continue to sail lucrative routes but China's Age of Discovery, ends here. [1] [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
This reminds me of the Apollo Moon shots taken on by the USA in the 1960's and 70s. While it was an exciting venture at the time, the project bogged down when public and political attention turned toward the problems of the poor and the Vietnam War. People would say, "We can send a man to the Moon so why can't we solve... fill-in-the-blank?" Generally, that problem was poverty. Yet, after spending trillions of dollars in the War on Poverty we have more poor than ever before... AND we are not on the Moon, either.

For an excellent study of USA poverty policy from 1950 to 1980, read, "Losing Ground" by Charles Murray. It was required reading during the Reagan Administration. [4]

Double Eagles for an Emperor

King Sigismund has been defacto Holy Roman Emperor for some time now. He is also King of Bohemia, Hungary and Germany, He organized the resolution of the Great Schism by pushing for the Council of Constance. The Council came to an agreement with the numerous Popes and elected Pope Martin the 5th to unifiy the Church once more. Pope Martin has passed so Pope Eugene the 4th will finally crown King Sigismund as the Holy Roman Emperor.... in Rome. The symbol of the Holy Roman Emperor will become the double eagles.[5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is amazing that the coronation took place in Rome. Rome is still in bad shape and getting worse. The city will break into open rebellion next year forcing the Pope to flee to Florence next year.

Donatello's "David"

Donatello is a sculptor...not a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. He has completed his bronze "David". It stands 5 feet tall or so and nude. Compared to Michelangelo's David, it will seem puny in comparison, but it has a beauty all it's own and remember that Michelangelo was designing his statue for the proportions of a cathedral. [11] [12] [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I admit that I find the statue unappealing. Clearly the artistry is fantastic but the way David is portrayed seems ridiculous to me. Times and tastes in art change. I am not an art critic but ultimately art is sold to people who want to buy it and thus the statue of David reflects what the people of the time thought of as proper, manly beauty.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1433, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Gernet, Jacques. (translated by Foster, J. R. and Hartman, Charles) A History of Chinese Civilization. Cambridge University Press. 1996. pp. 402-405. (BOOK)quote="One may say that the return of Cheng Ho's last expedition in 1433 marked the end of an era, the era in which for four centuries China had been the great sea power of Asia."
  2. Zheng He (Cheng Ho) - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  3. Treasure voyages - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  4. Murray, Charles A., Losing Ground: American Social Policy, 1950-1980. New York: Basic Books. 1984. ISBN 0465042317. (BOOK)
  5. Holy Roman Emperor - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  6. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1991. p. 204-205. (BOOK) Quote: "Sigismund crowned Holy Roman Emperor. The double-eagle becomes the emblem of the Holy Roman emperors."
  7. Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  8. Holy Roman Emperor - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  9. Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  10. Council of Constance - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
  11. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1991. p. 205. (BOOK) Quote: "Donatello: 'David' sculpture, Florence."
  12. Donatello - Biography and Gallery of Art. Artist-Biography.info. 2014 [last update]
  13. Harris, Beth and Zucker, Steven. Donatello - SmartHistory. 2014 [last update] Summary: Two doctors discuss Donatello's David.
  14. Donatello - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]

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