an exercise in miscellany

Posts Tagged ‘history’

East India Company

In history, technology & innovatons on July 27, 2013 at 7:38 am

eastindia1aThe East India Company (also known as the East India Trading Company, English East India Company, and after the Treaty of Union, the British East India Company) was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China. The Company was granted an English Royal Charter, under the name Governor and Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies, by Elizabeth I on 31 December 1600, making it the oldest among several similarly formed European East India Companies, the largest of which was the Dutch East India Company. After a rival English company challenged its monopoly in the late 17th century, the two companies were merged in 1708 to form the United Company of Merchants of England Trading to the East Indies, commonly styled the Honorable East India Company, and abbreviated, HEIC; the Company was colloquially referred to as John Company, and in India as Company Bahadur (Hindustani bahādur, “brave”/”authority”).

via East India Company

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Epistemology

In history, words & phrases on July 27, 2013 at 7:38 am

lens1379332_1316175617epistemology0Epistemology (Greek ἐπιστήμη – epistēmē, meaning “knowledge, understanding”, and λόγος logos, meaning “study of”) is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge and is also referred to as “theory of knowledge”. It questions what knowledge is and how it can be acquired, and the extent to which any given subject or entity can be known.

Much of the debate in this field has focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to connected notions such as truth, belief, and justification.

The term “epistemology” was introduced by the Scottish philosopher James Frederick Ferrier (1808–1864).

via Epistemology

Operation Argus

In history, operations and projects, wild card on June 30, 2013 at 7:15 pm

FishbowlrocketsOperation Argus was a series of nuclear weapons tests and missile tests secretly conducted during August and September 1958 over the South Atlantic Ocean by the United States Defense Nuclear Agency, in conjunction with the Explorer 4 space mission. Operation Argus was conducted between the nuclear test series Operation Hardtack I and Operation Hardtack II. Contractors from Lockheed Aircraft Corporation as well as a few personnel and contractors from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission were on hand as well. The time frame for Argus was substantially expedited due to the instability of the political environment, i.e. forthcoming bans on atmospheric and exoatmospheric testing. Consequently, the tests were conducted within a mere half year of conception whereas “normal” testing took one to two years

via Operation Argus

Fine-structure constant

In science & nature on June 30, 2013 at 7:14 pm

FineSTructureConstantIn physics, the fine-structure constant (usually denoted α, the Greek letter alpha) is a fundamental physical constant, namely the coupling constant characterizing the strength of the electromagnetic interaction. Being a dimensionless quantity, it has constant numerical value in all systems of units. Arnold Sommerfeld introduced the fine-structure constant in 1916.

The current recommended value of α is 7.2973525698(24)×10−3 = 1/137.035999074(44)

via Fine-structure constant

Operation Credible Sport

In history, operations and projects on May 10, 2013 at 2:09 pm

CSOperation Credible Sport was a joint project of the U.S. military in the second half of 1980 to prepare for a second rescue attempt of the hostages held in Iran using a Lockheed C-130 Hercules airlifter modified with the addition of rocket engines. Credible Sport was terminated when on November 2, the Iranian parliament accepted an Algerian plan for release of the hostages, followed two days later by Ronald Reagan‘s election as the U.S. President.

Its follow-up project in 1981–82, Credible Sport II, used one of the original aircraft as the YMC-130 prototype for the MC-130H Combat Talon II.

Operation Credible Sport

Project Oxcart

In operations and projects, technology & innovatons, wild card on April 28, 2013 at 8:47 am

a-12-oxcartThe Lockheed A-12 was a reconnaissance aircraft built for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by Lockheed‘s famed Skunk Works, based on the designs of Clarence “Kelly” Johnson. The A-12 was produced from 1962 to 1964, and was in operation from 1963 until 1968. The single-seat design, which first flew in April 1962, was the precursor to both the twin-seat U.S. Air Force YF-12 prototype interceptor and the famous SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft. The aircraft’s final mission was flown in May 1968, and the program and aircraft retired in June of that year. Officially secret for over 40 years, the A-12 program began to be declassified by the CIA in 2007.

Lockheed A-12

Spun Out of Whole Cloth

In wild card, words & phrases on April 28, 2013 at 8:47 am
6a013487e6f7ad970c015435660b00970c-800wiThe meaning of the phrase “made out of whole cloth” appears to have begun to change in the United States in the first half of the 19th century. The The Oxford English Dictionary labels the falsehood sense “U.S. colloquial slang”, and provides a citation from 1843: “Isn’t this entire story… made out of whole cloth?” The change of meaning may have arisen from deceptive trade practices. Charles Earle Funk suggests that 19th-century tailors advertising whole cloth may really have been using patched cloth or cloth that was falsely stretched to appear to be full-width.  Alternatively, the modern figurative meaning of “whole cloth” may depend on a lie’s having sprung whole ex nihilo, having no connection with existing facts. All-newness distinguishes garments and lies made out of whole cloth. This is a positive characteristic for clothes, but not for the average tissue of lies and deception.
 “whole cloth”

Operation Rolling Thunder

In history, operations and projects, wild card on April 28, 2013 at 8:47 am

tumblr_m0vbcbpXUt1rp3bd5o1_500Operation Rolling Thunder was the title of a gradual and sustained US 2nd Air Division (later Seventh Air Force), US Navy, and Republic of Vietnam Air Force (VNAF) aerial bombardment campaign conducted against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) from 2 March 1965 until 2 November 1968, during the Vietnam War.

Operation Rolling Thunder

Parkinson’s Law

In technology & innovatons, wild card on March 2, 2013 at 7:46 am

doc literaly bound in red tapeParkinson’s law is the adage first articulated by Cyril Northcote Parkinson as part of the first sentence of a humorous essay published in The Economist in 1955:

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

The current form of the law is not that which Parkinson refers to by name in the article. Rather, he assigns to the term a mathematical equation describing the rate at which bureaucracies expand over time. Much of the essay is dedicated to a summary of purportedly scientific observations supporting his law, such as the increase in the number of employees at the Colonial Office while Great Britain‘s overseas empire declined. He explains this growth by two forces: “An official wants to multiply subordinates, not rivals” and  “Officials make work for each other.” He notes in particular that the total of those employed inside a bureaucracy rose by 5-7% per year “irrespective of any variation in the amount of work (if any) to be done”.

via Parkinson’s Law

Conceit

In art, history, words & phrases on February 15, 2013 at 9:56 am

aristotle2In literature, a conceit is an extended metaphor with a complex logic that governs a poetic passage or entire poem. By juxtaposing, usurping and manipulating images and ideas in surprising ways, a conceit invites the reader into a more sophisticated understanding of an object of comparison. Extended conceits in English are part of the poetic idiom of Mannerism, during the later sixteenth and early seventeenth century.

via Conceit