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Vasa is Sinking: This X-Project has Failed

Ship design in this century is in flux. There are the galleons, of course, and the massive armed cargo ships of the Dutch East Indies Company, but no one really knows which ship design is going to win the war at sea. The English Channel has become virtually impassible so several experimental ship designs have been offered. The Spanish are trying out the frigate. These smaller, more lightly armored ships hunt in packs. The King of Sweden, Gustav the 2nd Vasa, has decided on a massive 1,200 ton ship with two gun decks and a shallow hold. He names the ship "Vasa" after his royal dynasty. By all reports (that have reached the King) construction has been going well. Unfortunately, the reports of the actual shipbuilders have not reached King Gustav. The King orders the ship to sea, so it weighs anchor and moves into the shipping lane a little less than a mile from shore. It then heels over and sinks. This experiment in ship building is over. Two years later an attempt to raise the ship from the bottom will fail. Several unsuccessful attempts will be made over the centuries, and then the ship will be forgotten until a modern project to raise the ship will succeed. The ship will be pulled out of the water in 1961. It will remain on display at the Vasa Museum into the modern day. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
OK... what went wrong with this project? Frankly, the ship was top-heavy with a shallow hold. The heavy bronze cannons were not as heavy as cast iron, but the 2nd gun deck was located so high that it raised the center of gravity and the high sides of the ship caught the wind. The lower gun deck was close to the water line so that when the ship heeled over, the gun ports were exposed to the sea. So... the ship sank in the first cross breeze. This was an experiment. Experiments go wrong, but how was it that King Gustav was so ill-informed that he didn't have a clue that it's design was so unstable? Well... no one was brave enough to tell him so. That is no joke. King Gustav was admired and feared by his friends as much as by his enemies. This was a time for heroes and several had appeared on the scene, especially King Gustav. After a government investigation, no one could be found to blame for this terrible and expensive disaster, thus... surprise... no one was punished. [3] [4]

Salem: The City of Peace and Escape *

John Endicott leads a group of investors to establish a colony in New England. He marches off the boat with 60 other colonists and joins with a few fishermen already at the site. This is the founding of Salem. Currently a land grant is issued by the old Plymouth Company. By next year, King Charles the 1st will certify the charter, creating the Company of Massachusetts Bay in New England. Something critical will be left out of the charter, though. Unlike the Virginia charter, the Massachusetts Bay legislature will not be required to check back with England for final approval of their laws. This little omission will create a massive loophole that will allow English Puritans to escape persecution from King Charles and William Laud, the Archbishop of Canterbury and create their own laws in Massachusetts. [5] [6] [7]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The word "salem" is the English version of the Hebrew word "shalom" which means peace or completion. There was a tendency on the part of Puritans and the more radical Separatists (also known as Pilgrims) to use the Old Testament texts to inform their actions. They would study Jewish texts and the Pilgrims carried small Hebrew-English word lists in order to check their understanding of the original texts. I recommend that modern Bible study include something like a Strong's Concordance to check critical words to make sure you know what you think you know about a particular Bible verse. I'm not saying that the translators are wrong, but Hebrew doesn't work like English so translators are limited in what they can do when translating from Hebrew into English. [8] [9]

The Rise of the Sweet Potato

Christopher Columbus introduced the sweet potato to Europe in 1492, but in the last few decades it has become a major crop, especially in Asia. The reason is simple. It grows in hot, tropical climates in generally poor soils but adequate rain. That makes them a critical food source when other crops can fail due to heavy rains. In the modern day, China produces 80% of the world's crop of sweet potatoes. [10] [11] [12] [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the United States yams are rare. Most of the so-called 'yams' in the store are really sweet potatoes. They look almost the same so that is where the confusion comes from, but commercially speaking, the USA doesn't grow yams in any significant numbers. Secondly, sweet potatoes are not potatoes. Potatoes are tubers from the nightshade family of plants. Sweet potatoes are roots that look like tubers. They are a cultivated plant and while they can be found in the wild, they are not a wild plant. They were developed thousands of years ago in Central and Southern America. I have never tried to grow sweet potatoes but I am told that they grow into strange shapes in clay soil. Since I have clay soil, it looks like I'd have to grow them in raised beds. [15] [16]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1628, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Vasa (ship) - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015. “Vasa (or Wasa) is a Swedish warship built between 1626 and 1628. The ship foundered and sank after sailing about 1,300 m (1,400 yd) into her maiden voyage on 10 August 1628.”
  2. Vasa Museum - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015. “The Vasa Museum (Swedish: Vasamuseet) is a maritime museum in Stockholm, Sweden. Located on the island of Djurgarden, the museum displays the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged, the 64-gun warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. The Vasa Museum opened in 1990 and, according to the official web site, is the most visited museum in Scandinavia.”
  3. Wilson, Peter H.. Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy, The. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674036345. 
  4. Glete, Jan. Swedish Fiscal-Military State and Its Navy, 1521-1721, The (PDF).
  5. Elson, Henry William (1904). History of the United States of America. Retrieved on 11 August 2015. “This new company, in its effort to found colonies, made many land grants, one of which, in 1628, was to six men, of whom John Endicott was the chief. This same year Endicott, who was to play a leading part in the early history of Massachusetts, came out with a following of sixty and settled at a place called Salem, joining a small settlement already there.”
  6. Salem - definition of Salem (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015. “an ancient city of Canaan, later identified with Jerusalem. Gen. 14:18; Psalms 76:2”
  7. Elson, Henry William. "Massachusetts Bay", History of the United States of America. Macmillan Company. “This new company, in its effort to found colonies, made many land grants, one of which, in 1628, was to six men, of whom John Endicott was the chief. This same year Endicott, who was to play a leading part in the early history of Massachusetts, came out with a following of sixty and settled at a place called Salem, joining a small settlement already there.” 
  8. Salem, Massachusetts - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015. “These 'New Planters' and the 'Old Planters' agreed to cooperate, in large part due to the diplomacy of Conant and Endicott. In recognition of this peaceful transition to the new government, the name of the settlement was changed to Salem, a hellenized form of the word for 'peace' in Hebrew (shalom), and the name mentioned several times in the Bible and traditionally associated with Jerusalem.”
  9. Yale University Shield Hebrew Text: Urim and Thummim – The High Priests of Ancient Judaism. ResourcesForLife.com (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015.
  10. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (BOOK), Knopf. ISBN 9780307265722. “Sweet potatoes will grow where even maize cannot, tolerating strongly acid soils with little organic matter and few nutrients. I. batatas doesn't even need much light, as one agricultural reformer noted in 1628. 'Even in low, narrow, damp alleys, where there is only a few feet of ground, if you can look up and see the sky, you can plant them there.'” 
  11. Growing Sweet Potatoes. Bonnie Plants (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015. “Sweet potatoes are so willing to grow that plants accidentally dropped on the ground will take off and grow if the soil they land on is warm and moist. Plant sweet potatoes about 12 to 18 inches apart, and allow 3 feet between rows so the vines will have plenty of room to run. When setting out sweet potatoes in very hot, sunny weather, cover the plants with upturned flower pots for 3 days after planting to shield them from baking sun.”
  12. Sweet potatoes. The World's Healthiest Foods (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015. “In most U.S. groceries, you should assume that you are always purchasing a sweet potato, even if the sign says 'yams.'Over 1 million sweet potatoes are commercially grown in the U.S. each year, while commercial production of yams in the U.S. is rare.”
  13. Sweet Potatoes - Sweet Potato Recipes, Health Info & Tips. North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015. “Native Americans were growing sweet potatoes when Columbus came in 1492, and by the 16th century, sweet potatoes were being cultivated in the southern states, where they became a staple in the traditional cuisine.”
  14. Sweet potato -. New World Encyclopedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015. “China is the largest grower of sweet potatoes; providing about 80 percent of the world's supply, which totaled 130 million tons in 1990 (about half that of common potatoes). In the past, most of China's sweet potatoes were grown for food but now most (60 percent) are grown to feed pigs.”
  15. Cultivar - definition of cultivar (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015. “a variety of a plant that was produced from a natural species and is maintained by cultivation”
  16. Cultivar - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 August 2015. “A cultivar is a plant or grouping of plants selected for desirable characteristics that can be maintained by propagation.”

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