Secrets of the Samurai Sword (Full Version)

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English archers had their longbows, Old West sheriffs had their six-guns, but samurai warriors had the most fearsome weapon of all: the razor-sharp, unsurpassed technology of the katana, or samurai sword. In this program, NOVA probes the centuries-old secrets that went into forging what many consider the perfect blade.

The beauty and lethality of the curved steel blade became identified with the distinctive culture of those who wielded it so expertly: the samurai warriors of medieval Japan, celebrated in countless Japanese woodcuts, prints, and films. Fifteen traditional Japanese craftsmen spent nearly six months creating the sword that NOVA follows through production, from smelting the ore to forging the steel to sharpening the blade to a keen edge, capable of slicing through a row of warriors at one swoop; although NOVA does not put the super-weapon to this ultimate test.

Not that samurai sword fighting has died out; far from it. The program also traces the schooling of a modern-day devotee of samurai combat: Midori Tanaka, a receptionist for a Japanese electronics firm by day and a blade buff by night. For Tanaka it’s a family tradition, since her father, Fumon Tanaka, is a grand master swordsman.

Father and daughter show their mutual respect with a breathtaking test of skill. Midori draws a bow, aiming an arrow directly at her father’s heart. His only protection is his sword. When she releases the string, he slices the speeding arrow in half, inches from its target.

Japanese sword-making developed centuries ago, before electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, and other tools of modern materials analysis enabled scientists to understand exactly why the swords are as good as they are. Professor Michael Notis of Lehigh University, an expert on samurai swords, sheds light on the principles that underlie the weapons’ strength, resilience, beauty, and distinctive shape.

For example, during smelting, iron-ore sand is heated with charcoal, which provides a source of carbon that alloys with the iron to create steel. Ancient craftsmen deliberately stopped just short of a uniform liquid state for the white-hot steel, which resulted in a product with varying amounts of carbon throughout. The harder high-carbon steel was forged into the sword’s edge, which had to be hard and sharp, while the more resilient low-carbon steel was used as the core of the weapon to produce a blade resistant to breaking during combat.

This sandwich of two different types of steel contracted at different rates during rapid cooling, or quenching, which caused the blade to warp lengthwise, giving it its distinctive curve that proved so deadly when wielded in a slashing arc. “The unique aspect of the Japanese sword is that the craftsmen were able to put the right materials in the right place to get optimum properties for the entire object,” Notis tells NOVA.

Without access to the insights of modern science, Japanese craftsmen a millennium ago worked out an exacting method that is still followed by a devoted few and that produces the Stradivarius of swords.

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Universal Economics - A Revolutionary Idea to Replace Our Broken Money System, 3.1 out of 5 based on 18 ratings
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Universal Economics – A Revolutionary Idea to Replace Our Broken Money System

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Universal Economics (UnEc) is a non-money alternative economics system which combines the efficiency of a market economy with a strong philosophy of social responsibility. It was first visualized in 1947 by philosopher Addison Brown, in a rudimentary form, as “Prior Choice Economics.” But the technology for implementation did not exist at that time. Now it does.

UnEc is not simply “cashless” in the sense of EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer), but is literally a new paradigm of economic activity that transcends money the way money transcended the barter economy thousands of years ago.

The basic necessities of life (i.e. food, shelter, clothing, health care, education, etc.) are easily provided to all members of society whether they are currently working or not. There is no taxation of any form, so productivity is never penalized.

More at: www.unecfreedom.com

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5 comments to Universal Economics – A Revolutionary Idea to Replace Our Broken Money System

  • tgriff

    Sounds like world currency.
    One computer controls all. Transparent taxes. President, then Congress have highest pecking order.
    How interesting that UnEc begins with “UN” – as in “United Nations”. Fitting.
    All it needs is RFID implants to be the “Mark of the Beast” – But this is already provided in ObamaCare.

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    • tgriff:

      World currency? UnEc has no currency, that is the point. And no taxes. Goods and services are simply given away to consumers. The UnEc computer does not “control,” it merely records. The president does have highest pecking order in this suggested Reward List, but that will be decided democratically by society. Would you prefer the present system, where the corporations control our society?

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    • rATH

      How do you get world currency out of no currency? And how in the world do you get obamacare out of it.? You must be making a comment about another doc.

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  • rATH

    The only problem I have is that the filthy rich that gave us this economic disaster would be granted a position at the top of the point list because of their wealth. Remove the point list and use the first come first serve no matter what position and individual has. This would also eliminate the problem of hacking into point list and aranging the hierachy.Why not make everyone equal?

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  • rATH:

    I hear you brother. We grappled with these issues for years. But if we throw away the Points List then we have to throw away the Reward List. Then we have a system with no differential rewards. Human Beings are competitive by nature, that is not a bad thing. Of course we are also cooperative by nature. To design a practical system we have to balance these two characteristics. The “filthy” rich will all be gone within a generation of the implementation of Universal Economics. There is no money to be inherited in UnEc. Of course the family will inherit any goods and property accumulated up to that point, but that is very different from the tremendous raw anonymous power that money confers. And UnEc Points CANNOT be inherited. We want the most skilled system administrators near the top of the Reward List to guarantee the security of the network, so that hacking is not a real problem. We can do this in UnEc because “cost” is not an issue, we can build whatever redundancies and systems we need to insure this. UnEc is similar in principle to Fresco’s “Resource Based Economy,” but in my opinion his interpretation is not very practical at this stage of human evolution.

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