On his first job as a young teenager, Carnegie worked in a factory, and he made an effort to spend part of every Sunday discussing and debating issues with friends. Eventually, he left that job when he was hired as a telegraph messenger—and he wrote that he felt emancipated from manual labor: “From the dark cellar running a steam-engine at two dollars a week, begrimed with coal dirt, without a trace of the elevating influences of life, I was lifted into paradise, yes, heaven, as it seemed to me, with newspapers, pens, pencils, and sunshine about me.”
Carnegie’s eagerness paid off and he earned raise after raise in job after job, cashing in on his enthusiasm for enterprise. Carnegie was fallible, too, losing a payroll package while working as a messenger on the Pennsylvania Railroad. After the parcel tumbled off the train, he recovered the package, with help from workers on the line—who chose not to report the loss to his superiors. Impressed by the camaraderie, Carnegie vowed never to judge a man too harshly for making a mistake.
As he acquired knowledge and experience, Carnegie continued to read, study and learn. He staked out clear positions, speaking out against slavery, becoming a fierce opponent, and, despite the fact that he was too young to vote, hailing the nation’s new anti-slavery Republican Party, which held its first national meeting in Pittsburgh in 1856.
Carnegie became more intellectual, priding himself on making advancements for what he saw as progress—linking ideas to the practicality of business. Noting that he was among the first to employ women as telegraph operators on railroads in the United States, he wrote: “[W]e placed girls in various offices as pupils, taught and then put them in charge of offices as occasion required….Our experience was that young women operators were more to be relied upon than young men.”
Carnegie met President Abraham Lincoln, who occasionally visited the communications office where Carnegie worked, during the Civil War. Here, too, he was more impressed by the man’s mind than by his status. Carnegie wrote of Lincoln: “[I]ntellect shone through his eyes and illuminated his face to a degree which I have seldom or never seen in any other.”
© Copyright 2012 Scott Holleran. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced without the permission of Scott Holleran.
November 27, 2012
November 25, 2012
On WYNC.org, they say “starting March 10, WNYC’s Brian Lehrer will be moderating First Principles, a series of three debates on the moral underpinnings of today’s politics. The event co-sponsored by Demos, The Ayn Rand Institute and It’s A Free Country.”
Describing the event in more detail at First Principles, they say:
First Principles: The Moral Debates that Drive Today’s Politics
After the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath a great political divide emerged among many Americans reexamining the direction of our country. One side says that unleashed free-market policies led to the worst downturn since the Great Depression, and calls for effective government to foster more equitable prosperity. The other side says that government has grown too big and too intrusive, and calls for the country to rediscover the virtues of limited government and free-market capitalism.
The first debate was on the proper role of government. This is a debate worth watching if you want to address some fundamental principles of the issue — principles we fail to hear today from our politicians and journalists. You could get some good information for writing essays in school, some good supplementary information to government or history class, or some good information for debates — or some good information so that you understand issues essential to forming the culture in which you act, think, and live, a culture which could frustrate, injure or destroy your life, or which could encourage, aid, and allow for you to make your own life.
September 11, 2012
May 2, 2012
“[Lord] Bacon was not only ignorant of mathematics, but depreciated its application to physical inquiries. He contemptuously rejected the Copernican system, alleging absurd objections to it. While Galileo was on the brink of his great telescopic discoveries, Bacon was publishing doubts as to the utility of instruments in scientific investigations. To ascribe the inductive method to him is to ignore history. His fanciful philosophical suggestions have never been of the slightest practical use. No one has ever thought of employing them. Except among English readers, his name is almost unknown. ”
I stumbled on a reference to Draper’s quote while listening to Pioneers of Science by Sir Oliver Lodge.
August 3, 2011
The Atlantic has posted some interesting and some beautiful black and white pictures from pre-WWII. They have pictures of Mussolini, Hitler, Chamberlain, Roosevelt, Jesse Owens, and more.
May 11, 2011
There is some interesting material about math symbols at The History of Mathematical Symbols by Douglass Weaver and Anthony D. Smith.
For example, they say:
Percent has been used since the end of the fifteenth century in business problems such as computing interest, profit and loss, and taxes. However, the idea had its origin much earlier. When the Roman emperor Augustus levied a tax on all goods sold at auction, centesima rerum venalium, the rate was 1/100. Other Roman taxes were 1/20 on every freed slave and 1/25 on every slave sold. Without recognising percentages as such, they used fractions easily reduced to hundredths.
In the Middle Ages, as large denominations of money came to be used, 100 became a common base for computation. Italian manuscripts of the fifteenth century contained such expressions as “20 p 100″ and “x p cento” to indicate 20 percent and 10 percent. When commercial arithmetics appeared near the end of that century, use of percent was well estasblished. For example, Giorgio Chiarino (1481) used “xx. per .c.” for 20 percent and “viii in x perceto” for 8 to 10 percent. During the sixteenth and seventeenth century, percent was used freely for computing profit and loss and interest. (NCTM p146,147}
May 5, 2011
In “Most Students Lack Civics Proficiency on NAEP” (Education Week, May 4, 2011), Erik W. Robelen says:
Many high school seniors may be old enough to vote, but just one-quarter of them demonstrate at least a “proficient” level of civics knowledge and skills, based on the latest results from a prominent national exam.
“Knowledge of our system of government is not handed down through the gene pool,” retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor said in a statement. “The habits of citizenship must be learned. … But we have neglected civic education for the past several decades, and the results are predictably dismal,” said Justice O’Connor, who has been promoting civics instruction in the United States.
© 2011 Editorial Projects in Education
The consequences of this will be (and are!) profound: the loss of the concept of freedom. Thank goodness for professors and private schools (e.g., the LePorte Schools, the VanDamme Academy, HistoryAtOurHouse) who still teach the American Revolution: those people and schools will be our saving grace.
August 7, 2010
Someone has posted their answers to the exam. Nice.
An example answer:
9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
• a.) The cite which was given as a source for the quote was incorrect.
• b.) The site was surveyed yesterday.
• c.) My rifle has a front and a rear sight.
• d.) We celebrated the re-birth at fane.
• f.) She would fain stay with her husband.
• g.) Can she feign surprise and excitement?
• h.) The vanes on the windmill are broken.
• i.) It is vain to think you are better than others.
• j.) Mother has a varicose vein in her leg.
• k.) Tomorrow they will raze the old barn.
• l.) Today they started to raise a new barn.
• m.) The rays of the sun feel good in the spring.
HT: Patrick D.
January 17, 2010
Born on this date in 1706. Wikipedia says:
Benjamin Franklin (January 17, 1706 [O.S. January 6, 1705] – April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author and printer, satirist, political theorist, politician, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, soldier, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass ‘armonica’. He formed both the first public lending library in America and the first fire department in Pennsylvania. He was an early proponent of colonial unity, and as a political writer and activist, he supported the idea of an American nation. As a diplomat during the American Revolution, he secured the French alliance that helped to make independence of the United States possible.
January 8, 2010
On p. 143 of Old textbooks: spelling, grammar, reading, arithmetic, geography, American history, civil government, physiology, penmanship, art, music, as taught in the common schools from colonial days to 1900 ((c) 1961, University of Pittsburgh Press, printed by American Book-Stratford Press, Inc.), author John Alfred Nietz wrote:
The first seven arithmetic textbooks published in the Americas were in Spanish, four in Mexico and three in Lima, Peru. The first mathematics textbook was the Sumario Compendioso (1556) written by Juan Diez Freyle, and the first separate arithmetic was the Arte Para Aprender Todo El Menor Del Arithmetica by Pedro de Paz (1623), both published in Mexico. Incidentally, the first university in America was founded in Mexico by 1554, in which later the first lecturer in mathematics was Juan Negrete.