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Forgery: Modus operandi (British History)
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Mick Harper
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5. Hard Soap

Although a soap-like material was first used by ancient Babylonians in around 2000 BC, the first hard soap with a pleasant smell was manufactured in the Middle East during the Islamic Golden Age, combining vegetable oil with sodium hydroxide and aromatics like thyme oil. Several recipes for soap-making, which was then established as an industry, was described in detail by the Persian polymath Zakariya al-Razi (854–925), including the ways of separating glycerine from olive oil.

I'm inclined to accept this, with whatever dating caveats. Not that Persians are Arabs. Cultures divide into two types: those that are fanatical about cleanliness and those that aren't. Medieval Christendom was at the extreme unclean end. Indeed falling off the end if they had their way. Washing was nearly as disgusting as sex. It may or may not be relevant that Knight's Castile refers back to the late medieval practice of Castilian royals going in for washing. And look what it did for them! Apart from Joanna the Mad. You can overdo it.
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Mick Harper
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6. Algebra

Mohammed ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, father of algebra — also considered to be the grandfather of computers for developing the concept of algorithm in mathematics— was one of the greatest mathematicians of all time. He advanced the Arabic number system that we use today, and developed the study of algebra as a separate science. The world ‘algebra’ comes from the Arabic word ‘Al-jabr’. In his book, he introduced many fundamental methods of algebra still used by modern mathematicians, such as reduction, balancing, and the cancellation of like terms on opposite sides of the equation, while also explaining the first systemic solution for linear and quadratic equations such as the ‘completing the square’ method.

It is not that I can contest any of this, it is just that we have been here before. When we were young, they were called 'Arabic numerals'; when we got a bit older and a bit wiser we learned they were actually Indian numerals and that the Arabs were the people responsible for the transmission of them from India to us. Ditto other stuff -- probably, I can't think of any offhand.

In addition, the Arabs have a strong tendency to co-opt discoveries made by Persians, Spaniards under Moorish rule, Europeans under Ottoman rule and (for all I know) various Uncle Tom Cobleighs under various Islamic administrations. Western liberals have a strong tendency to endorse the Arab position for fear of being called out for various illiberal crimes.
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Mick Harper
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7. Fountain Pen
The first known record of a fountain pen comes from Al-Tamimi’s book, Kitab al-Majalis wa ‘l-musayarat, in 973 when a Fatimid caliph of Egypt demanded a pen that would not leave ink stains in his hand. He was given a pen with an ink reservoir inside it, which functioned when held upside-down with the help of gravity.

Something of a 'the space race gave us non-stick pans' but perfectly acceptable for all that. You lot are too young but I remember the day, when we entered the third year of grammar school, that we would be allowed to use our own fountain pens rather than the dippers and the inkwells in our desks issued to us in the first year. Nor, during my first year at university, being allowed to use biros. Nor during my first year as a writer being allowed to use word processors. Ah, great days. I just think the words now and they appear on the page. Whoops, I wasn't supposed to tell you that. But it's too late, they're there now. That's the trouble with these new untested technologies, unintended consequences.
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Hatty
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The first known record of a fountain pen comes from Al-Tamimi’s book, Kitab al-Majalis wa ‘l-musayarat, in 973 when a Fatimid caliph of Egypt demanded a pen that would not leave ink stains in his hand.

This is a citation from a learned article written in 1981 in Journal of Semitic Studies about Al-Qadi al-Nu'man who apparently thought about it but didn't actually claim he managed to come up with such a pen. It seems odd that if he had, no-one else used it.

He was the official historian of the Fatimid caliphate according to Wiki

the founder of Ismaili law and author of its most authoritative compendium, the Kitab da'a'im Al-Islam (Book of the buttresses of Islam).

Strangely for such a celebrated jurist-historian, practically nothing is known about him nor can anyone agree on which sect he belonged to according to WikiShia.

There is no evidence that Al-Qadi invented any kind of pen. Ordinary Wiki says the invention of the fountain pen is attributed to Leonardo da Vinci because 'there is compelling evidence' which apparently consists of the consistency of the inkflow in his handwriting. Clearly nobody knows who invented fountain pens so each looks to their most likely celebrity
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Mick Harper
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which apparently consists of the consistency of the inkflow in his handwriting

Blimey, they wouldn't have been so daft as to use a fountain pen, would they? I suppose that is what is meant by 'a quick sale'. I nearly added 'a Quink sale' but it was a pun too far. Damn, too late. The words are already on the page.
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Mick Harper
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8. Cheques
The modern cheque — originating from the Arabic word saqq — was first used by 9th century Muslim traders. It was a written vow for the payment of money upon the arrival of the goods at their intended destination, which meant that a trader travelling from Baghdad could cash his cheque in China. This greatly reduced the risk of having to carry large bags of coin through dangerous territories teeming with highwaymen.

This is kinda interesting for two reasons. First of all, is this a cheque? Or is it what any trading culture would do? But then I'm not sure what a cheque is. The Bank of Engand promises to pay the bearer the sum of... but you had to go to Threadneedle Street to get it redeemed. (Funny story: when Britain went off the Gold Standard, people protested that the promise was no longer valid. Oh yes it is, said the Bank of England, you bring us a pound, we'll give you a pound.)

But then there's this business of cheque = saqq. Dunno how the Arabic is pronounced but I do know cheque is spelled like a chequerboard and while the English have an explanation for that and named their Chancellor of the Exchequer after it, it doesn't seem likely that Arabs would have the same arrangement.
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Mick Harper
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9. Hydrochloric/Sulphuric Acids
Jabir ibn Hayyan (721–815) was a legendary polymath credited with thousands of works in a wide range of subjects such as alchemy, chemistry, medicine, cosmology, philosophy, etc. He discovered hydrochloric acid (HCl), sulphuric acid (H2SO4), nitric acid (HNO3), acetic acid (found in vinegar), and aqua regia, which is a combination of concentrated HCl and HNO3. He also invented the methods of distillation, crystallisation and filtration which are still used in chemistry today.

When words like 'legendary', 'credited', 'thousands of works' and 'wide range of subjects' appear in the same sentence, it should start with the words 'Jabir ibn Harper'. Unless it's something useful like

10. Crankshafts and Combination Locks
The crankshaft plays a central part in modern machinery. A simple device that converts the linear reciprocating motion of the pistons into rotational motion, and vice versa, it is the backbone of internal combustion engines. It was invented by Ismail al-Jazari, one of the three extremely talented Banu Musa brothers. Their book, The Book of Ingenious Devices, consists of a hundred illustrated mechanical instruments with detailed descriptions — including the combination lock — and some of them are still in use today.
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Ishmael


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Mick Harper wrote:
8. Cheques
The modern cheque — originating from the Arabic word saqq —

When I read Wiki, and something is attributed to Arabs, I immediately stop reading. I assume its liberal bullshit.
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Mick Harper
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That's why you'll always be a moron.
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Mick Harper
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Well remembered is Brockhaus / Antiquarium at the International Antiquarian Book Fair in London - for one of the worst things that may happen to a rare book dealer. In 2002 all Brockhaus books got lost on its way to London. The insurance, the police, Brockhaus, all searched for the books worth many a thousands euros. In vain: Frank Werner had to "share" his empty booth with empty shelves at the Olympia Fair. The books never turned up again.

An everyday -- if not exactly every day, in fact more like 'not any day' -- tale of book folk. Not any book folk though. Brockhaus was the head of the publishing firm that owned the original manuscript of Casanova's Memoirs and had, a bare hundred and forty years after acquiring it, completed the first scholarly edition of it with a French editor. A boon for scholars and a boon for Brockhaus who sold the manuscript to the Bibliothèque nationale de France for nine million dollars.

"It fell off the back of a lorry" is good but "They must have all fallen off the back of the lorry" can be even better.
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Mick Harper
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For two years in a row President Trump paid $750 in federal income tax. No two tax returns are ever the same so these are forgeries. Apart from mine. "Nil is it again, Mr Harper?"
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Wile E. Coyote


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Mick Harper wrote:
For two years in a row President Trump paid $750 in federal income tax. No two tax returns are ever the same so these are forgeries. Apart from mine. "Nil is it again, Mr Harper?"


This $750 means that when Trump and Harper debate tonight, Trump will be able to truthfully claim he paid federal income tax, whilst Harper will be squirming.......so presumably you declare you owe $750 when you calculate you owe nothing, but want to show you pay tax.
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Mick Harper
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Aren't you missing the point? Any self-respecting businessman (or businessmen like Amazon, Google etc) is going to pay several million in taxes some years and no tax (because of write-offs etc) in other years. No self-respecting business is going to pay $750 in any year because it is so unlikely that profits and write-offs etc in the squillions would be so nicely balanced that the result is a liability of a few hundred dollars. But to do it two years in a row, same exact amount, same round-but-not-entirely-round figure, is something that should at least have been explained to us in the hours of coverage I have watched.

But, as usual, everyone is so busy spluttering with outrage that these kinds of revealing forensics are never even noticed.
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Grant



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Any property developer worth his salt will have massive debts and be able to show he’s not making any money. Doesn’t make it right but everyone would do the same. Also part of Trump’s tactics over the years has been to owe so much money to the banks that they are forced to help him out.
Most interesting stat about his finances is that someone worked out that if he had simply invested the money he inherited from his father in the Dow Jones, he would now be a genuine multi-billionaire.
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Mick Harper
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Any property developer worth his salt will have massive debts and be able to show he’s not making any money. Doesn’t make it right

Yes it does. It would mean the money was being recycled into further investments rather than being squandered on living it up in the fleshpots.

but everyone would do the same.

So why are you bothering to tell us?

Also part of Trump’s tactics over the years has been to owe so much money to the banks that they are forced to help him out.

If so, that would make him a very remarkable man since I have never heard of a bank that behaves in such an extraordinary fashion. As I understand it, he is mainly financed by Deutsche Bank, one of the world's finest.

Most interesting stat about his finances is that someone worked out that if he had simply invested the money he inherited from his father in the Dow Jones, he would now be a genuine multi-billionaire.

I am glad to hear he has been putting family money to work in a productive way rather than what is too often the case with the younger generation, sticking it into the Dow and taking off for the fleshpots.
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