A Computer Pirate: Steve Jobs born 1955 February 24th

Gavin and Wyatt join Steve Jobs at his Apple Garage Band hideout.

Steve Jobs (Feb 24, 1955 – October 5, 2011) was an American businessman and inventor who played a important role in the achievement of Apple computers and the development of revolutionary new technology such as the iPod, iPad and MacBook.

Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco, 1955, to two university students Joanne Schieble and Syrian-born John Jandali. They were both unmarried at the time, and Steven was given up for adoption.

In 1974, Jobs travelled with Daniel Kottke to India in search of spiritual enlightenment. They travelled to the Ashram of Neem Karoli Baba in Kainchi. During his several months in India, he became aware of Buddhist and Eastern spiritual philosophy. At this time, he also experimented with psychedelic drugs; he later commented that these counter-culture experiences were instrumental in giving him a wider perspective on life and business

In 1976, Wozniak conceived the first Apple I computer. Jobs, Wozniak and Ronald Wayne then set up Apple computers. In the very beginning, Apple computers were sold from Jobs parents’ garage.  Despite the many innovative achievements of Jobs at Apple, there was increased friction between Jobs and other workers at Apple.  Jobs resigned in 1985.

Much more successful was Job’s venture into Pixar – a computer graphic film production company. Disney contracted Pixar to create films such as Toy Story

Jobs upon his return in 1996 launched Apple in a new direction. With a certain degree of callousness, some projects were summarily ended. Instead, Jobs endorsed the development of a new wave of products which focused on accessibility, appealing design and innovate features.

Under Jobs, Apple managed to overtake Microsoft regarding share capitalization. Apple also gained a pre-eminent reputation for the development and introduction of innovative technology.

Despite, growing ill-health, Jobs continued working at Apple until August 2011, when he resigned.


“Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

“It’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy.

“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”

“Things don’t have to change the world to be important.”

“Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”

Sparing the Nation an Unscrupulous Man Exploiting Public Passion to Appropriate Power: 1801 Feb. 17th Alexander Hamilton


The tie vote between Jefferson and Burr in the 1801 Electoral College pointed out glitches with the electoral system. The framers of the Constitution had not expect such a tie nor had they though of the chance of the election of a President or Vice President from opposing factions – which had been the case in the 1796 election.  Congress in 1801 was called upon to break the tie. The House of Representatives didn’t easily arrive at its decision, casting 35 ballots in a week before lastly voting to name Jefferson the victor and Burr the vice president on February 17, 1801.

Alexander Hamilton, the former Secretary of the Treasury, became involved in a crusade to persuade the Federalists to vote for Jefferson, his lesser of three evils, writing in a letter that “Mr. Burr loves nothing but himself — thinks of nothing but his own aggrandizement.”

The danger to the new country, Hamilton argued, wasn’t ideological disputes, but the possibility that an unprincipled man would exploit public passions. He called Burr a latter-day Catiline, the ancient Roman senator who attempted a populist uprising against the Republic.

Hamilton was no apologist for Jefferson, whose politics were “tinctured with fanaticism,” and who was “a contemptible hypocrite.” But, Hamilton wrote to Federalist James Bayard of Delaware, Jefferson is not “zealot enough to do anything in pursuance of his principles which will contravene his popularity, or his interest. He is as likely as any man I know to temporize — to calculate what will be likely to promote his own reputation and advantage; and the probable result of such a temper is the preservation of systems, though originally opposed, which being once established, could not be overturned without danger to the person who did it. . . . Add to this that there is no fair reason to suppose him capable of being corrupted, which is a security that he will not go beyond certain limits.”

Some Federalists thought the non-ideological Burr would be more supple. But, Hamilton refuted, a man without theory cannot be “a systematic or able statesman.” Burr is “more cunning than wise . . . inferior in real ability to Jefferson,” Hamilton wrote. “Great Ambition unchecked by principle . . . is an unruly Tyrant.”

The former Treasury secretary cautioned that Burr’s trading in “the floating passions of the multitude” would lead him to “endeavour to disorganize both parties & to form out of them a third composed of men fitted by their characters to be conspirators.”

Hamilton reported that when Burr was told something wasn’t permissible under the American system, Burr replied “les grands ames se soucient peu des petits morceaux” — great souls care little about small things. This led Hamilton to conclude that “Burr would consider a scheme of usurpation as visionary.”

Hamilton issued like caveats in the winter of 1800-1801 to James Ross of Pennsylvania, John Rutledge Jr. of South Carolina, Oliver Wolcott Jr. of Connecticut and Gouverneur Morris of New York. To restrain Burr, Hamilton wrote Morris, would be “to bind a Giant by a cobweb.”

Certainly there was personal hostility between Hamilton and the bankrupt “voluptuary” he called Burr. But underlying Hamilton’s aggressive campaign for Jefferson was a fear that America’s democracy was too fragile to survive Burr’s ambition.

“He is of a temper to undertake the most hazardous enterprises because he is sanguine enough to think nothing impracticable, and of an ambition which will be content with nothing less than permanent power in his own hands,” he wrote Bayard. “The maintenance of the existing institutions will not suit him, because under them his power will be too narrow & too precarious; yet the innovations he may attempt will not offer the substitute of a system durable & safe, calculated to give lasting prosperity, & to unite liberty with strength. It will be the system of the day, sufficient to serve his own turn, & not looking beyond himself.”

“The truth,” Hamilton wrote, “is that under forms of Government like ours, too much is practicable to men who will without scruple avail themselves of the bad passions of human nature.”

Hamilton’s intervention gave the country the successful presidency of Jefferson, sparing the young nation an unscrupulous man exploiting public passion to appropriate power.

Will we be as lucky in 2020?

Purification Festival, to Fertility Ritual, to Valentine's Day: The Month of February

Wyatt and Gavin are apprehensive about this “purification” festival.

February, “the month of cleansing,” is derived from februa, the name of a Roman purification jubilee held on the 15th of this month.

The poet Ovid of Roman times believed, the Latin word februa (“the means of purification”) is derived from the older Etruscan word purgamentum, meaning “purging.” The Roman god Februus, named after the month, was the personification of purification.  {Sort of like a wash day effort without going to the laundromat.}

Februa was later incorporated into Lupercalia, a pastoral fertility and purification festival meant to purify the city by banishing evil spirits, associated with the god of shepherds Lupercus (“he who wards off the wolf’).  {The pagans preferred to celebrate fertility than worry about purification.}

After Lupercalia’s fertility rites were conducted, men drew the names of women from a jar to determine partners for the rest of the celebration.  {One might see the drawing of names from a hat as an early form of a on-line dating app on the computer.}

The early Christians wanted to get away from the idea of fertility gods.  However, the Christian faithful were romantics at heart.  So, because of this romantic partnering, Lupercalia is often seen as an early version of Valentine’s Day.  {Less about gods of fertility and more about saints of romance.}

In the 5th century, however, pagan customs began their decline as Christianity took hold in Rome. Eventually, these rituals would no longer be observed. {Today, all we have left of Roman purification festivals and pagan fertility rituals is the sharing of heart-filled greeting cards on Valentine’s Day.}