Saturday, March 27, 2010

Benjamin Franklin - The Paper Pusher

Franklin's Prosperity.

After a short trip to London, in 1726, Franklin returns to Philadelphia. He establishes deep roots in the community and starts the Junto discussion group in 1727. This group eventually became the American Philosophical

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Franklin buys the Pennsylvania Gazette newspaper in 1729. Over time, with the city of Philadelphia itself, he becomes prosperous. In 1757, he leaves for London as a provincial agent. Franklin, at age 51, has become a successful, even famous, printer, scientist, and Pennsylvania

By 1757, Philadelphia has become a city of 14,000 and Pennsylvania, 180,000 inhabitants. However, in 1729, this future prosperity of Pennsylvania did not seem assured. The ffirst paper currency issued in 1723 was to expire in 1731.

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Paper currency vs. money.

Typically, paper currency was issued with a time limit. Before it expired, it could be used to pay taxes owed to the issuing government. The currency paid would be removed from circulation.

There was siginificant resistance from wealthy and political elites to a continuation of the paper currency experiment. This was out of fear that the paper currency might depreciate the same way it did in New England and South Carolina.

They wanted to use money. Only gold and silver coins should be used rather than paper currency in the province.

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Franklin's Opinions.

In 1729, Franklin discussed this issue, in the Junto. As a printer, he took the side favoring continuing paper currency.

The result of this discussion prompts him to write an anonymous pamphlet. It was one of the first to be published by his press. It was “A Modest Enquiry into the Nature and Necessity of a Paper Currency.”

Franklin is only 23 years old at the time.

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Franklin in his Early Days

Benjamin Franklin arrived in Philadelphia in 1723. He was 17 years old. There were about 6,000 people in Philadelphia, at the time. Pennsylvania’s population was about 35,000.

The province was in the doldrums. Franklin recalled seeing many vacant houses for rent, sluggish economic activity, and a decline in permanent residents. He noted that just prior to 1723, foreign trade had stripped Pennsylvania of its gold and silver coins. The colony had exchanged much of its gold and silver coins for manufactured goods imported from Europe. Without this money, local trade within the colony was difficult to transact.

Using gold and silver as money.

In this era, money was used as a medium of exchange between colonies and countries, specifically gold and silver coins. These coins also served as a medium of exchange for internal trade within a colony or country. Pennsylvania did not produce gold or silver and only procured these coins through trade.

Typcially, Pennsylvanians would export goods to Spanish and Portuguese America. In exchange, they would receive gold and silver coins. These coins would be kept in the colony and used as a medium of exchange for internal trade. OR, they would be exported to Europe to pay for manufactured goods.

Franklin's Strange Observation.

If coins were exported, the colony might not have enough money to conduct trade in the colony. Franklin often points to this in his writings. He would say that unless some measures are taken to prevent the export of gold and silver coins, foreign trade would lead to temporary shortages of gold and silver. This would inhibit internal trade within the colony.

The Pennsylvania legislature issued its first paper currency in 1723. It was the modest amount of £15,000 (the equivalent of just over 48,000 Spanish silver dollars). Another £30,000 was issued in 1724. This paper currency was not linked to or backed by gold and silver money. It was backed by...

  • the land assets of subjects borrowing paper currency from the government and,

  • by the future taxes due the government that would be paid in this paper currency.

After the legislature issued this paper currency, Franklin notes internal trade, employment, new construction, and the number of inhabitants in the province all increased.

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Friday, February 26, 2010

Benjamin Franklin and Adventures with Paper Currency - Part 2

Paper Currency as a Substitute for Money

Between the late 18th and early 20th centuries, banks backed their issuances of paper currency — bank notes — with reserves of gold and silver coins. Under normal conditions, bank notes were convertible at face value on demand into money. Today, gold and silver backing and convertibility conditions have been removed. Now, paper currency only circulates based on the force of the Federal government through legal tender laws.

Benjamin Franklin’s life spans most of the first age of paper currency in the colonies and the United States of America. Arguably, he is its most interested party and ardent defender. He did not create the first paper currency in America, nor was he yet born when it was first used.

Temporary Paper Currency in the Colonies

Early experiments with paper currency began in 1690 in New England. Until the first two decades of the 18th century in the Carolinas, New York, and New Jersey, they used paper currency for limited emergency wartime exercises that were temporary in design. In the 1720s, colonial legislatures started issuing paper currency. The goal was to make it a permanent fixture within their colonies. Pennsylvania was an active leader and the most successful colony in this movement, with no small thanks to Benjamin Franklin.

Permanent Paper Currency in the Colonies

It is the birth of the permanent peacetime paper currency that Franklin was able to benefit. No other American was involved over as long a period of time with so many different facets of colonial paper currency as Benjamin Franklin — certainly no other American with such a preeminent stature in science, statesmanship, and letters.

Franklin arrived in Philadelphia the year paper currency was first issued by Pennsylvania (1723), and soon became a keen observer and commentator on colonial currency. He wrote pamphlets, treatises, and letters about paper currency. He designed and printed paper currency for various colonies. He entertained ideas about and proposed alternative monetary systems.

Lobbying Paper Currency for the United States

As an assemblyman for the colony of Pennsylvania, he was involved in the debates during the 1740s and 1750s over management of its paper currency. As a lobbyist for various colonies to the British court, he dealt with conflicts over colonial paper currency arising between Britain and her colonies in the 1760s and 1770s. Finally, at the end of his life, as one of the preeminent Founding Fathers at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, he participated in constitutionally ending the first age of paper currency (Continentals) and helped usher in the second age of paper currency in America.

Benjamin Franklin is arguably the preeminent authority on paper currency in America in this period.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Benjamin Franklin and his Adventures with Paper Currency

Paper Currency

Often, paper currency has been controversial and misunderstood. Why it has value, why that value changes over time, how it influences economic activity, who should be allowed to make it, how it is used and created and controlled, and whether it should exist at all are questions that have perplexed the public, vexed politicians, and challenged economic experts.

Knowing how, when, and why paper money first became common in America and the nature of the institutions issuing it can help us better comprehend paper money’s role in society. Benjamin Franklin dealt often with this topic, and his writings can teach us much about it.

Paper in the Colonies

There are two distinct time periods of paper money in America. The first began in 1690 and ended with the adoption of the U.S. Constitution in 1789. During this first epoch the legislatures of the various colonies (later states) directly issued their own paper money — called bills of credit — to pay for their own governments’ expenses and as mortgage loans to their citizens, who pledged their lands as collateral. This paper money was useful as a circulating medium of exchange for facilitating private trade within the colony/state issuing it.

By legal statute and precedent, people had to use their paper money to pay the taxes. Also, mortgage payments were owed to the issuing government and had to be paid using that specific paper currency, which, in turn, gave that paper a local “currency.” There could be as many different paper monies as there were separate colonies and states.

The United States and Paper Currency

At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, the Founding Fathers took the power to directly issue paper money away from both state and national legislatures. This set the stage for the second time period of paper money in America. It was the ascendance of a government-chartered and -regulated, but privately run, bank-based system of issuing paper money. It is during this time period that we are today.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

what does it take to become an SEO expert

An SEO Expert is going to understand what is in a page. Not just what is seen visibly, but what is also under the hood. That's like having a race car driver who doesn't know jack about what is happening under his/her hood.

I think all SEO's need to have a basic understanding of what is happening under the hood. They should have knowledge of HTML elements and attributes. They should also have a basic knowledge of CSS. Without that, they are just Content SEOs which is just one part of the equation.

Its like using a WYSIWYG editor. If you don't understand what is happening when you push a button, how are you to know that what you just did was wrong? The same concept applies to SEO. Do you know what a title element is? How about a title attribute? Not you Marcia, but in general.

Do you know which elements you should be using for which content? Should that go into a list element or a paragraph element. Should that be an h2 or an h3.

I've found that writing valid code has forced me to fully understand what each and every element/attribute I am working with is doing.

I think you miss an important part by just learning certain "layers" of SEO. If you can learn a little bit about each layer and combine that knowledge and expand from there, you have a more solid foundation for learning.

You can take comfort in knowing when you view the source code of a page you can figure out what is going on from top to bottom at quick glance. You can decipher the pages you may be looking at that are ranking highly and really refine your understanding of why.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

LA-area man first in nation convicted under anti-spam law

LOS ANGELES - A man faces a sentence of up to 101 years in federal prison after being the first person in the U.S. convicted under a federal anti-spam law, authorities said.

Jeffrey Brett Goodin, 45, of Azusa, was found guilty Friday of running a "phishing" scheme that tricked people into believing they were giving personal information to a legitimate business. Prosecutors said Goodin then used the information to go on a spending spree.

Goodin is the first person in the nation convicted under the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act, the U.S. attorney's office said. The law forbids e-mail marketers from sending false or misleading messages and requires them to provide recipients with a way to opt out of receiving future mailings.

During trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Goodin used several compromised Internet accounts to send e-mails to America Online users. The e-mails appeared to be from the company's billing department and told customers to update their billing information or lose service.

The e-mails referred people to one of several Web pages controlled by Goodin where they could enter their personal information, prosecutors said.

In addition to the anti-spam conviction, Goodin was convicted of 10 other counts, including wire fraud, misuse of the AOL trademark and attempted witness harassment.

Goodin is scheduled to be sentenced June 11.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

filters and the 'sandbox'

If you have a good, solid, large collection of authoritative, trust-ranked links, nothing else on your website really matters. The Matt Cutts website shows that. However, for normal websites (i.e. non-news), if you get these links too quickly, you trip another filter. Webmasters have termed this phenomena in Google the "sandbox" since it seemed to fit.

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For the past few years, it appears there is always someone who wants to say it doesn't exist. Or, they say the term shouldn't be used. For those who don't remember, Google engineers have claimed they didn't intend for it but became aware of the term from webmaster forums. Google approved. Yet, they had no official status for it. They wouldn't confirm it. This always reminds me of the old cold war philosophy.

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Call it whatever you like, it does exist. Links need to be collected slowly for new websites. Trust must be built. The term "sandbox" fits. For established websites with flaws in their websites which get knocked down in updates or "refreshes", they probably tripped a filter.