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The Gravity of an Apple Falling *

If an apple falls from a tree and there is no genius there to see it, do we get gravity? Young Isaac Newton is contemplating the problem of how the Moon orbits the Earth when he observes an apple fall perpendicular to the ground and he has an intuitive thought. The force that draws the apple to the ground might act further than the top of the trees. It might reach all the way to the Moon and beyond. His intuition will not become a mathematical principle until he publishes his famous work, Principia, in 1687. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Don't forget that while Young Isaac is contemplating the Moon he should be contemplating his mother's sheep! She is trying to train him to run the manor. He will become a much better administrator when he matures. The thing to remember is that his calculations (and many of the thoughts of scientists during this time) are the foundation of science that we use today. Even though Einstein turned physics on its head, and destroyed Newtons general idea of the cosmos, NASA still uses Newtonian physics (the formulas for gravity he put down in Principia) to send probes to Mars and Pluto and land people on the Moon. The reason the Moon orbits the Earth is because the Moon is falling toward the Earth at an angle. Gravity pulls it down, but because the Moon is also traveling very fast it keeps "missing" the Earth, flying past it and looping back. That is called an elliptical orbit. You can think of it as a ball circling around a drain or whatever you wish. Newton's formulas for gravity work well enough. We don't have to know why it works. It just has to work.

The Great Fire of London and St. Paul's Cathedral

A bakery on Pudding Lane catches fire and for those not aware of this fact, flour explodes. The winds build the flames into a firestorm so hot that it melts pottery. Last year the Great Plague of London killed over 70,000 people. This year the Great Fire of London will kill 6. Just 6 that they can identify but the fire is so hot that it is possible many remains are cremated on the spot. 70,000 homes in the inner city are destroyed. The suburbs are threatened but remain mostly undisturbed. St. Paul's Cathedral is fried to a crisp. They were thinking of rebuilding it anyway. It had been defaced during the recent civil war, and frankly, it had been deteriorating for some time. This will be the 5th rebuilding of the Cathedral and its going to last a long time. St. Paul's will stand into the modern day. The Nazis will actually target St. Paul's during the Blitz in World War 2, but it will remain standing as an inspiration to the British people. [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
The author, Connie Willis, interviewed many survivors of the Blitz and captured their fear, hope and courage in two great novels: "Blackout" and "All Clear". The story centers around three Oxford historians traveling back in time to study St. Paul's Cathedral but something goes wrong and they are trapped in time during the Blitz. To maintain themselves they take jobs. One historian takes a job as a shop girl near Fleet Street. As the bombs fall, everyone finds ways to make it through. It is a tragic and beautiful story. In the epilogue of the second book, the author discusses the feelings of the people she interviewed and some of the surprises she had during the interviews. [4] [5]

The (False) Messiah Converts to Islam

This is so embarrassing and if it weren't so important I'd just as soon skip it. About a third of all Jews in the world have placed their hopes and dreams in a man who has declared himself the Jewish Messiah. He is a kabbalist... a Jewish mystic. They have also financed a ship to take him to Istanbul where the Sultan has promptly arrested him. The Sultan gives him the choice of conversion to Islam or death. The (false) Messiah chooses conversion to Islam. Some people believe this is just a ploy. Others convert to Islam along with him. The majority of his Jewish support collapses. He is no Messiah. [6] [7] [8]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
I bring this up because it is an indication of how desperate people are for a way out of this madness. If you've been following the history segments closely you have noticed that, relatively speaking, the big picture has been getting better. The individual picture is a lot fuzzier. Everyone's perspective is taken from where one is standing right now. With hundreds of thousands of people dropping dead of disease, famine and war, it is no wonder that it looks like the end of the world to these people. However, this is the end for Messiahs for the Jews for a long while. Very strict laws are set forth and Jewish Mysticism is severely restricted in Jewish communities. Don't worry. It will be back. [9]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1666, Wikipedia.

See Also


* The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
  1. Isaac Newton: Apple Incident - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 21 October 2015. “Newton himself often told the story that he was inspired to formulate his theory of gravitation by watching the fall of an apple from a tree.”
  2. Milo Keynes (January 1995). "The Personality of Isaac Newton". Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London (Royal Society) 49 (1): 1-56. http://www.jstor.org/stable/531881. Retrieved October 13, 2015. "There are several versions of the story of how the notion of universal gravitation came into Newton's mind in his mother's garden in 1666. They all date from the final year of his life, but not all mention the fall of an apple.". 
  3. Great Fire of London - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 20 October 2015. “It consumed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul's Cathedral and most of the buildings of the City authorities. It is estimated to have destroyed the homes of 70,000 of the City's 80,000 inhabitants. The death toll is unknown but traditionally thought to have been small, as only six verified deaths were recorded.”
  4. Connie Willis. Blackout. Spectra. ISBN 9780345519832. “From the people sheltering in the tube stations of London to the retired sailors who set off across the Channel to rescue the stranded British Army from Dunkirk, from shopgirls to ambulance drivers, from spies to hospital nurses to Shakespearean actors, Blackout reveals a side of World War II seldom seen before: a dangerous, desperate world in which there are no civilians and in which everybody--from the Queen down to the lowliest barmaid--is determined to do their bit to help a beleaguered nation survive.” 
  5. Connie Willis. All Clear. Spectra. ISBN 9780553807677. 
  6. Scholem, Gershon. Kabbalah: A definiative History of the Evolution, Ideas, Leading Figures and Extraordinary Influence of Jewish Mysticism. Meridian, an imprint of Dutton Signet, a division of Penguin Books, USA. ISBN 9780452010079. 
  7. Lurianic Kabbalah - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 September 2015. “Where the messianic aim remained only peripheral in the linear scheme of Cordovero, the more comprehensive theoretical scheme and meditative practices of Luria explained messianism as its central dynamic, incorporating the full diversity of previous Kabbalistic concepts as outcomes of its processes. Luria conceptualises the Spiritual Worlds through their inner dimension of Divine exile and redemption. The Lurianic mythos brought deeper Kabbalistic notions to the fore: theodicy (primordial origin of evil) and exile of the Shekhina (Divine Presence), eschatological redemption, the cosmic role of each individual and the historical affairs of Israel, symbolism of sexuality in the supernal Divine manifestations, and the unconscious dynamics in the soul. Luria gave esoteric theosophical articulations to the most fundamental and theologically daring questions of existence.”
  8. Sabbateans - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 18 September 2015. “Sabbateans (Sabbatians) is a complex general term that refers to a variety of followers of, disciples and believers in Sabbatai Zevi (1626–1676), a Jewish rabbi who was proclaimed to be the Jewish Messiah in 1665 by Nathan of Gaza. Vast numbers of Jews in the Jewish diaspora accepted his claims, even after he became a Jewish apostate with his conversion to Islam in 1666. Sabbatai Zevi's followers, both during his 'Messiahship' and after his conversion to Islam, are known as Sabbateans.”
  9. Forget Kabbalah, Britney's baby is her religion. Today.com (2015). Retrieved on 21 October 2015. “The pop star revealed on her Web site that she was ditching the trendy religion for motherhood. 'I no longer study Kaballah,' she recently wrote, 'my baby is my religion.'”

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