December 2, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
It’s late, and you’re still awake. Allow us to help with Sleep Aid, a series devoted to curing insomnia with the dullest, most soporific texts available in the public domain. Tonight’s prescription: “Cattle Barons and Pioneer Drovers of Illinois,” a chapter from Frank Webster Farley’s History of the Beef Cattle Industry in Illinois, a 1915 thesis submitted “for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in the College of Agriculture of the University of Illinois.”
Previous to the end of the first quarter of the nineteenth century, no droves of cattle were seen in the country west of Ohio. The first drove ever driven from Illinois was taken from Springfield, through Chicago, to Green Bay, Wisconsin, in 1825, by Colonel William S. Hamilton. Beginning with this date, the practice of collecting cattle into droves and driving them to market soon grew from a minor occupation into an industry within itself; beef cattle that were grown and fattened in Illinois were gathered together into large droves by men who made it a business, and were driven to the then great cattle markets on the sea board. Foremost among these early pioneer cattlemen were: Jacob Strawn, John T. Alexander, B. F. Harris, and Tom C. Ponting. In the scope of their operations, Jacob Strawn and John T. Alexander exceeded many of the conspicuous operators in the rise and fall of the range industry in this state. These men owned hundreds of acres of the prairie land of the state, on which they collected enormous droves of cattle. These cattle were grazed here throughout the spring and summer, then were fed during the winter. It was no uncommon occurrence for one of these operators to buy all the corn for sale during one season in three or four counties. The next spring these fat bullocks were trailed across the level country to the eastern mountain ranges, over which they climbed to reach Lancaster, Philadelphia, and New York. Cincinnati and Buffalo received a few of these cattle, but most of them were driven on through to the markets on the sea board, where better prices were obtained. These cities bore about the same relation to the livestock traffic of those days as Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, and St. Joseph bear to the cattle trade of today; they were the collecting points for the business, and the slaughterers who bought them either salted the carcasses down in barrels and casks or sold them to local consumers. Other dealers, however, bought some of these cattle and drove them on to smaller towns nearer the coast. “In the census of 1850, it was recorded that Illinois alone sent 2,000 head of cattle each week to the New York market.” Read More »
October 8, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
It’s late, and you’re still awake. Allow us to help with Sleep Aid, a series devoted to curing insomnia with the dullest, most soporific texts available in the public domain. Tonight’s prescription: Cold Storage, Heating, and Ventilating on Board Ship, a 1911 guide by Sydney Ferris Walker.
A cold store is a chamber that is built expressly to prevent heat from passing from outside to the produce inside. It is not possible to construct a chamber that will not allow some heat to pass through the walls, floor and ceiling, and this heat which is constantly leaking through into the chamber has to be removed, just as that of the produce itself is, and transported to the sea or the atmosphere. The quantity of heat that leaks through depends upon the difference of temperature between the inside and outside of the cold chamber, upon the construction of the walls, floor and roof, and upon the extent of the surfaces exposed to the action of the heat. Certain substances are good thermal insulators, just as certain substances are good electrical insulators, and the thermal insulators are used to prevent the ingress of heat into the cold chambers, in the same way that electrical insulators are used to prevent the egress of electricity from the I conductors. This fact is very often not understood, and is sometimes challenged, because the sizes are so different; but if it be borne in mind that the thickness of the walls of the chamber correspond with the thickness of the insulating envelope of a cable, or even of the insulation of the iron core of the armature of a dynamo machine, though they are much greater, while the air inside the chamber corresponds with the copper or the iron, it will probably be appreciated that heat leaks in through the thermal insulator just as electricity leaks out through the electrical insulator. Dry, still air is the best insulator known, and the other substances that are good insulators owe their property very largely to the fact that they contain a large number of very small air cells, across which the heat current has to pass. Read More »
July 30, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
It’s late, and you’re still awake. Allow us to help with Sleep Aid, a series devoted to curing insomnia with the dullest, most soporific texts available in the public domain. Tonight’s prescription: The Square Root of Two, an e-book sequel to Pi published in 2008 by Stan Kerr. NB: The text is abridged.
This choice was made by popular demand for a second number, from the responses to our posting of Pi to a million places as one of the January, 1993 Project Gutenberg Etexts. This was surprising, in that we never expected the massive response we got. For you, who are interested, we will also do e, Pi to the e, e to the Pi, and perhaps a few more. Suggestions welcome. For those who are not interested, don’t worry, we don’t have many of these in mind.
This electronic text was prepared by Stan Kerr as below. He would like this computation confirmed. This was computed on a Convex C240 using Richard Brent’s multiple precision arithmetic routines (MP), published as algorithm 524 in the March 1978 issue of Transactions on Mathematical Software. Using the MP routines, a base of 10,000 was chosen, to make the final decimal conversion trivial. The time to compute sqrt(2) was 32293 seconds, and the time to compute sqrt(2)**2-2 as a check was 31031 seconds. The number is presented as an integer. Read More »
June 16, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
It’s late, and you’re still awake. Allow us to help with Sleep Aid, a series devoted to curing insomnia with the dullest, most soporific prose available in the public domain. Tonight’s prescription: “Infringement,” the fourth chapter of Things to Know About Trade-marks: A Manual of Trade-mark Information, a 1911 book by J. Walter Thompson Company.
There is no intrinsic value in a trade-mark. Its worth in dollars is a creation, and it depends upon the successful sale, or popularity, of the commodity to which the trade-mark is applied, the distribution of this commodity, the extent to which it has been advertised, and the profit that there is in it.
Some widely-known trade-marks are worth millions of dollars, and many are valued at a hundred thousand dollars or more.
The ownership of an advertised and favorably known trade-mark is, therefore, a valuable property right. In estimating the assets of a business, its trade-mark is included under the head of Good-Will, and Good-Will is Reputation. The value of a trade-mark is the value of the reputation of the goods it represents and identifies. Read More »
May 5, 2015 | by Dan Piepenbring
It’s late, and you’re still awake. Allow us to help with Sleep Aid, a series devoted to curing insomnia with the dullest, most soporific prose available in the public domain. Tonight’s prescription: the first chapter of Straw Hats: Their History and Manufacture, a 1922 book by Harry Inwards.
The origin of what is known as a “Straw Hat” is lost in the mists of antiquity.
Ambiguous references to what may have been hats of vegetable materials are to be found in the works of almost all ancient writers, but very little that is specific can be discovered. Perhaps one reason for the paucity of information on this subject may be that the homemade hats of plaited straws or rushes were probably worn only by the common people. With society, as it existed in early days, if such were the case, the matter would be considered almost too vulgar for the classical writers to mention.
Doubtless in the earliest stages of human development any kind of convenient material was utilized by primeval man in the endeavor to keep his head or body warm or cool as the case might require.
Now the mere fact of the shelter afforded by trees would create some inducement towards using leaves for covering the body, for one may assume that even before vegetable products were gathered and used, say, as thatch, for collective shelter, some of them were adopted for individual protective purposes.
The earliest reference to such is the well-known account of the “aprons of fig leaves” mentioned in the third chapter of Genesis. This primitive method of clothing was soon followed by the use of skins (as noted later in the same chapter), but even in this record the vegetable product was used by man before that of animals, and shows in a most unmistakable, even if allegorical, manner, the natural trend of all development, viz., that articles easiest to procure are those that are first used. Read More »
November 5, 2014 | by Paul Skeels Peirce
It’s late, and you’re still awake. Allow us to help with Sleep Aid, a series devoted to curing insomnia with the dullest, most soporific prose available in the public domain. Tonight’s prescription: “Congressional Districting in Iowa,” a paper from the July 1903 issue of the Iowa Journal of History and Politics.
It is the purpose of this paper to outline briefly the history of legislation on the subject of congressional districting in Iowa—pointing out the changes made from time to time, showing by means of maps the exact form and extent of the districts established by the several acts of the General Assembly, and commenting upon the motives and circumstances prompting alterations in the boundaries of these districts. Prior to 1847 there were no congressional districts in the State. From 1838 to 1846 Iowa existed as a separate Territory, entitled to one Delegate in Congress, who was chosen for a term of two years and who represented the entire territorial area and population. Then came the change incident to statehood. On August 4, 1846, Congress passed an act defining the boundaries of the State of Iowa and providing that, until the next census and apportionment, the new State should be entitled to two seats in the House of Representatives. A State Constitution was adopted, and on December 28, 1846, Iowa entered the Union. The State had not, however, been districted in time for the election of that year; hence the two congressmen were chosen on a general ticket, each to represent the State as a whole. Since that time Iowa congressmen have been elected by districts and the General Assembly has enacted seven laws respecting the division of the State for this purpose.Read More »