Taking sides and it's historical fiction.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by imwjl, Jun 10, 2021 at 8:48 AM.

  1. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'm laughing and thinking of common arguments here on gear or when something new comes along like robots, IoT and electric cars.

    For an 88 mi off road bike ride, a local funster made a historical fiction story and photoshopped a fake 1920 newspaper about a woman on a new fangled safety bicycle beating a legendary guy on a penny farthing. Really just a fun artistic twist to advertise a by invitation only event. The concept is a ride recreating this fictional event. Who will beat the stars of 1920.

    Well, a whole lot of heated discussion on gear, gender and Strava times blew up before more people realized what was going on.

    I confess that it took me a bit. My brain not did rush into gear, Strava time or gender debates but I confess I did visualize the 1920 roads and part when penny farthing dude hit a cow and never caught the woman who was beating him. I became suspicious on two points mentioned - the average speeds on the then dirt roads with old gear and most historical searches on the people getting nothing or articles on a train that stopped running in 1954.

    Two lessons learned. 1) Keep at my fake news skills. 2) Wow am I lame at ride/party/event invites. I can't imagine how many hours the dude spent thinking that story up and making the fake 1920 newspaper.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021 at 9:19 AM
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  2. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Poster Extraordinaire

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    To pile on more fear for humanity, all it takes is someone in the group to post the news pic on facebook, or whatever, sans context. Then it becomes a new viral truth.

    We're all doomed. The earlier we accept it the better. :eek:
     
  3. maxvintage

    maxvintage Poster Extraordinaire

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    I end up dong this a lot in my job as a history perfesser

    Years ago this circualted verywhere:

    "January 31, 1829

    To President Jackson, The canal system of this country is being threatened by the spread of a new form of transportation known as "railroads." The federal government must preserve the canals for the following reasons: One. If canal boats are supplanted by "railroads,"serious unemployment will result. Captains, cooks, drivers, hostlers, repairmen and lock tenders will be left without means of livelihood, not to mention the numerous farmers now employed in growing hay for the horses. Two. Boat builders would suffer, and towline, whip and harness makers would be left destitute. Three. Canal boats are absolutely essential to the defense of the United States. In the event of the expected trouble with England, the Erie Canal would be the only means by which we could ever move the supplies so vital to waging modern war. As you may well know, Mr. President, "railroad" carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of fifteen miles per hour by "engines" which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.

    Martin Van Buren Government of New York"

    I knew this was total BS the fitst time I read but had to stop and think about how I knew. A lot of thing with it are wrong--and you can find some of it detailed on the web. But the things that struck me right away were them terms of address, which were too casual, and also the use of the term "unemployment," which was rarely used in 1829 if used at all. You can use the link below to go to Google Ngram viewer, which lets you search for the frequency of words in the books google has digitized

    https://books.google.com/ngrams/gra...tart=1800&year_end=2019&corpus=26&smoothing=3

    You can find a few uses of the term before 1830 but very very few. But just in general the language was too modern. The One two three point construction was wrong, Van Buren was actually very much in favor of RRs. Jackson had not taken office by that date. All sorts of red flags, but it confirmed to a modern argument somebody wanted to make.

    One of my colleague taught a course where he had students construct a fake story and put it out on the web. We asked hm to stop, because we argued we are fundamentally not in the fake story biz.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021 at 12:08 PM
  4. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    Now do an image search for 1920 bicycle, penny farthing and 1920 farm road. Consider the dirt roads in the steep valleys of the drift less area. I bet everyone wants to meet the woman and guy who could average 14+ MPH for 44 miles in that.
     
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  5. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Poster Extraordinaire

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    From what little I have deep dived into regarding Westward Expansion (personal interest), I can't think of any person or group against railroads in the early 1800s. Except for perhaps native populations, and that's only a gross assumption on my part. There's no "Railroad Building Rebellion of 1835" or something like that. People liked to go places, faster and smoother than by horse, and more direct than by river or ocean.

    The Google Wiki Gods point out that the first passenger rails were short lines meant to connect river ports and canals, as well as to shorten portions of water routes by cutting over land.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_rail_transportation_in_the_United_States#Early_period_(1826–1860)

    In other words, no huge indication or threat at the time of Van Buren that railroad was going to supplant use of canals. Certainly not in 1829, anyway.

    Other railroads authorized by states in 1826 and constructed in the following years included the Delaware and Hudson Canal Company's gravity railroad; and the Mohawk and Hudson Railroad, to carry freight and passengers around a bend in the Erie Canal. To link the port of Baltimore to the Ohio River, the state of Maryland in 1827 chartered the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O), the first section of which opened in 1830. Similarly, the South Carolina Canal and Railroad Company was chartered in 1827 to connect Charleston to the Savannah River, and Pennsylvania built the Main Line of Public Works between Philadelphia and the Ohio River.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021 at 11:02 AM
  6. Whatizitman

    Whatizitman Poster Extraordinaire

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    There was a quaint time in the early 00s than Wikipedia was considered by many to be "fake news", because of the crowd/open source model. Schools and universities clamored to spread the word not to use Wikipedia as primary source. A valid concern, but the message got... misunderstood. That's news for ya.

    Fear of change is a good motivator for resisting, underestimating, and/or denying change.
     
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  7. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    When put to a study, it was determined that Encyclopedia's, when they had incorrect information, it took an average of 5 years to be corrected vs. Wikipedia that averaged just over 4 minutes. But, Wikipedia was the threat and new, so, it was something 'we have to be very careful about'.

    I remember attending some meetings with 'very concerned professionals' and in the face of vetted and verifiable evidence, they persisted in their concern.

    For those meetings, I provided Smartwater. They loved it.
     
  8. THX1123

    THX1123 Tele-Meister

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    Perhaps the folks who financed, built, and profited from the Erie Canal might have felt a bit anti-railroad.
     
  9. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Friend of Leo's

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    I don't get high wheelers. I had a friend in Atlanta who owned a shop and he was a collector, "that guy" who really had the curly mustache and wore the knickers and rode his pennys all around town. I tried it, it was cool but also really a little scary, and that's coming from a track racer.

    I have been stopped by a train in a road race, that is a real thing. Once. Kinda funny to think about.
    And I hit a cow. My training partner actually hit it a lot harder. One of those ranch road cuts with the cow grates on each end so the cattle are not totally fenced in. It got spooked and cut into the road and we skidded into it and it ran away.

    Strava was a great creation.
     
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  10. THX1123

    THX1123 Tele-Meister

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    I suspect that Smartwater didn't come from the Pierian Spring.

    New or not, how could, or can Wikipedia or Youtube be considered valid or reliable sources by any objective or academic standard? There are now millions of what I call Youtube/Wikipedia PhDs out there with little context or true understanding of much of anything besides doing internet searches until they satisfy their confirmation bias.

    There is more truth to Alexander Pope's poem "A Little Learning" today than when it was composed.

    A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    And drinking largely sobers us again.
    Fired at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
    In fearless youth we tempt the heights of Arts;
    While from the bounded level of our mind
    Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind,
    But, more advanced, behold with strange surprise
    New distant scenes of endless science rise!
    So pleased at first the towering Alps we try,
    Mount o’er the vales, and seem to tread the sky;
    The eternal snows appear already past,
    And the first clouds and mountains seem the last;
    But those attained, we tremble to survey
    The growing labours of the lengthened way;
    The increasing prospect tires our wandering eyes,
    Hills peep o’er hills, and Alps on Alps arise!
     
  11. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Abraham Lincoln's career was propelled by his successful advocacy of railroad interests in the Rock Island Bridge litigation in 1857, which involved a steamboat company's unsuccessful claim that a bridge over the Mississippi River was a hazard to navigation, so that the bridge company would be liable for damages resulting from the Effie Afton's collision with a bridge over the Mississippi.

    This short essay by a historian describes the Rock Island Bridge case and related issues litigated in the states east of the Mississippi in prior decades.

    http://indianahistory.org/wp-content/uploads/90e2b355c45b405bd162229179644b27.pdf

    In 1829, railroads were perhaps not perceived as a serious threat to canals and river trade, but by 1860 the age of canal building was over, and within a decade railroads extended to the Pacific, assisted by legislation that granted subsidies and court decisions that allocated risks. Dee Brown's Hear That Lonesome Whistle Blow! is a easily read account of the tremendous fraud and mismanagement that occurred in the building of railroads west of the Mississippi in the age of robber barons, who were enriched by the US government's extermination policy of native peoples and their land titles and lavish grants. State and local governments also got in on the act of subsidizing the building of railroads, some of which were never built, or never usable.

    Regardless of the acts of the legislatures and the courts, water transportation west of the Mississippi, except along the coasts and on Lake Superior, was generally not significant in the United States, because the rivers were mostly too shallow and circuitous.

    In the present day, the Corps of Engineers maintains navigability for barge traffic on the Missouri River up to southeastern Nebraska (an 8-ft deep channel) and in and along the Arkansas River up to Tulsa. Fairly large ships traverse the Columbia up to Portland, Oregon.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021 at 11:46 AM
  12. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    It is interesting to see who curates wikipedia and how closely items are reviewed and corrected. One of the threats to the Academy is that small groups of people no longer make the decisions for the greater community. Like with dictionaries which used to have small panels of folks who determined what words meant, that methodology has seen its time come and go.

    Look at how you expanded the scope of the discussion to improve the odds that your argument would hold water.

    I'd submit that Pope's insights were as valid then as they are now... how much do you actually know about Wikipedia's curation process? or are you, you know, drinking from the shallow waters of what you have been led to believe?
     
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  13. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    Now the comments here have me thinking of why the canal and railroads fascination.

    @Killing Floor as a trail steward I'm often not a fan of common behavior associated with Strava as much the technology is impressive.

    My fascination with the rail route the event will use goes way beyond rail. I think of the 100 years ago travel but also the way there is an about 44 mile ridge in driftless area separating two watersheds. It has to have been a route for anything with feet for a LONG time. How much travel, death and struggle before it got named Military Ridge?

    Also wondering where I'll end up if I join the event/party.
     
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  14. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    "Those guys", back in the day, were the original hipsters.
     
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  15. Harry Styron

    Harry Styron Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Apparently, the confirmation bias and other issues of adding to scientific knowledge is not limited to those who do only Wikipedia research. The corpus of knowledge found in peer-reviewed journals also has problems.

    https://www.nature.com/articles/533452a

    Not only can we not trust ourselves, we have to be extremely skeptical about the work of other people. Low expectations are justified.
     
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  16. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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  17. buster poser

    buster poser Friend of Leo's Platinum Supporter

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    Those folks in Rock Ridge sure didn't want one. ;)

    Interesting time for sure, a whole lot of folks wanted railroads, just not those of their competitors. Fun read:

    https://media.newmexicoculture.org/release/63/the-railroad-wars
     
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  18. Bluesboy3

    Bluesboy3 Tele-Afflicted

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    Perception is reality.
     
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  19. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    Lincoln traveled in this area north of Rock Island. The ridge is what separates the Rock River and larger Wisconsin River watersheds. After westward expansion, the importance was lead mining and then the infancy of modern dairy farming.

    Easy to see why there is interest in the real and fake history. Imagine early exploring and ease of mining when you come across about 44 miles of easy going. The car travel there was harder because the railroad had the best way locked up.

    The famous routes became recreation in Reagan and Tommy Thompson era - a freeway that bypassed towns and split up farms. The day or days long trip finally became became work commutes and urban sprawl.
     
  20. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Well, perception trumps reality.
     
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