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William Penn Frontiers

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William Penn Religious Revolutionary, segment from \

But you are the first Philosopher, and indeed the first Great Man of Letters for whom we are beholden. It is the only benediction which can be given to the grandson of Franklin. Laissez-faire economist Anne Robert Jacques Turgot remarked that Franklin snatched the lightning from heaven and the scepter from tyrants. Franklin was a late-blooming radical. During his 30s, he brokered the sale of some slaves as a sideline for his general store.

He and his wife owned two slaves. He abandoned his support for the British Empire and committed himself to the American Revolution when he was Philadelphia Quakers had launched the abolitionist movement by organizing the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery , but its activities ceased during the Revolution; this pioneering society revived in when Franklin became its president, at Two years later he voiced his support for the ideals of the French Revolution.

Franklin was famous for his charm and tact, which enabled him to get the most out of people, but he had detractors. For instance, John Adams complained that I could never obtain the favour of his Company in a Morning before Breakfast which would have been the most convenient time to read over the Letters and papers. Franklin kept a horn book always in his Pockett in which he minuted all his invitations to dinner, and Mr. While Franklin was generous with his friends and adopted families, he could be insensitive with his own.

As biographer Ronald W. Clark noted, Franklin was only an inch or two less than six feet in height, thickset and muscular, with dark brown hair above friendly hazel eyes. He was obviously able to look after himself, a distinct advantage in the rougher eighteenth century. These physical attributes were compounded by a nimbleness of mind, so that in argument as well as in action he tended to be off the mark quicker than most men.

Above all, and largely concealed by his instinctive hail-fellow-well-met nature, there was a steely determination to succeed and some impatience with those who got in his way. Benjamin Franklin was born in a Milk Street, Boston, house January 17, , the tenth son of Abia Folger, daughter of an indentured servant. His father Josiah Franklin was a candlemaker. But Harvard required unquestioning devotion, and Franklin exhibited some religious skepticism.

At one point, for instance, he suggested that his father shorten his lengthy mealtime prayers and say Grace over the whole cask—it would be a vast saving of time. Within two years, Franklin was transferred to a more practical Boston school for writing and arithmetic. But by age 12, he had become restless. Apparently because he began to enjoy books, his father arranged for him to apprentice with his year-old brother James, who had set himself up as a Boston printer. I was fond of reading, Franklin recalled, and all the little money that came into my hands was ever laid out in books.

Franklin gained experience writing when his brother began publishing a newspaper, the New-England Courant. At 16, he anonymously wrote 14 articles known as the Dogood Papers , satirizing religious dogmas and government officials, and his brother published them apparently without ever knowing the identity of the author. But the brothers began squabbling, apparently over control. Impatient to become his own man, he ran away from home in September Somewhere along the line, Franklin learned how to be more tactful and persuasive. Franklin went to Philadelphia, where he heard a printer was looking for help. Yet as biographer Ronald Clark noted, Franklin was distinctly presentable, a well-set-up young man in his early twenties, lacking the plumpness of his later years and radiating an apparently inexhaustible energy.

Although Franklin was just 18, his evident intelligence made him a standout. The governor offered to provide financing so Franklin could establish his own print shop. During the next 20 months, Franklin worked for a couple of big London printers. He wrote a pamphlet which, questioning certain religious doctrines, served as a calling card. He had become a first-class printer and met many sophisticated people. During the tedious day voyage home, he wrote down some principles for success.

His original draft was lost, but the main points were probably similar to what he remembered later: 1. It is necessary for me to be extremely frugal for some time, till I have paid what I owe. To endeavor to speak truth in every instance, to give nobody expectations that are not likely to be answered, but aim at sincerity in every word and action; the most amiable excellence in a rational being. To apply myself industriously to whatever business I take in hand, and not divert my mind from my business by any foolish project of growing suddenly rich; for industry and patience are the surest means of plenty. I resolve to speak ill of no man whatever, not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and, upon proper occasions, speak all the good I know of everybody.

Within months after his return in late , he was in business for himself. Moreover, Franklin served as a moneylender for the poor, providing as little as two shillings. Franklin bought a failing newspaper, changed its name to The Pennsylvania Gazette , wrote many of the articles himself and made money. The December 28, , issue announced that he would be offering Poor Richard: an Almanack. It was published annually until , offering memorable aphorisms about success. For instance: God helps them that helps themselves. Diligence is the Mother of Good-Luck. Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.

Well done is better than well said. He that has a Trade, has an Office of Profit and Honour. Employ thy time well, if thou meanest to gain leisure. As Pride increases, Fortune declines. Wink at small faults; remember thou hast great ones. Folly and Wickedness shortens Life. Drive thy business; let not that drive thee. Meanwhile, in , Franklin started a group called the Junto, which he described as a Club for mutual Improvement. They met weekly on Friday evenings, initially at a tavern and later in a rented room. When the Junto reached what Franklin considered an optimum size 12 , he encouraged interested people to form their own groups, and they sprouted all around Philadelphia.

After members discussed the idea, it was considered by people in the other groups. Then Franklin talked about it in the columns of The Pennsylvania Gazette. The library began by charging an entrance fee and an annual subscription fee. Next, to provide greater security against crime, Franklin started City Watch, which organized teams of constables patrolling neighborhoods at night. Through the Junto, Franklin promoted the paving, cleaning, and lighting of streets. Reflecting his cosmopolitan view, Franklin decided that The first drudgery of settling new colonies, which confines the attention of people to mere necessaries, is now pretty well over.

He believed it was time to cultivate the finer arts and improve the common stock of knowledge. In , he and fellow Junto members helped organize the American Philosophical Society; he served as its first secretary. Franklin thought college education should be available to people in Pennsylvania—as it was available in Connecticut Yale , Massachusetts Harvard , and Virginia William and Mary. He discussed his idea with members of the Junto and wrote a pamphlet, Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania.

He recommended that the curriculum focus on basic skills like writing and speaking. In , Franklin was elected the first president of this new Academy, helping to recruit trustees, raise money, rent a house, and hire teachers. The Academy prospered and went on to become the University of Pennsylvania. People assumed that if the project were worthwhile, Franklin would be involved. So Bond approached Franklin, who became a subscriber and enthusiastically solicited support from others.

This was the beginning of Pennsylvania Hospital. He had some romantic adventures, one of which brought a son, William. They had a son, Francis, who died four years later from smallpox, and a daughter, Sally Sarah , who was born in During the next 45 years, she displayed phenomenal patience as he spent decades away on business throughout the colonies and Europe. By , Franklin turned over management of his printing business to a partner and retired from it, while continuing to receive half the profits.

With his buoyant curiosity, Franklin pursued myriad scientific interests. He investigated weather patterns. Before geology was a science, Franklin speculated about the origin of mountains. He invented a more efficient wood-burning stove, connected to a radiator. In , he started popularizing this stove as the Pennsylvania Fire Place. Franklin began to experiment with electricity.

He determined that there were two kinds of charges, which he called positive and negative. In June , he climbed a Philadelphia hill, flew a silk kite during a thunderstorm, touched one knuckle to a key on the wet string—and felt an electrical shock. The English editor and statesman Lord Brougham marveled, years later, that Franklin could make an experiment with less apparatus and conduct his experimental inquiry to a discovery with more ordinary materials than any other philosopher we ever saw.

With an old key, a silk thread, some sealing-wax, and a sheet of paper, he discovered the identity of lightning and electricity. Franklin developed lightning rods that could draw lightning away from a house and protect it from fire. Lightning rods earned Franklin the gratitude of people throughout America and Europe. Harvard and Yale universities awarded him honorary degrees. By the time Franklin had become famous for his experiments on electricity, he was in the thick of Pennsylvania politics. He was elected to the Pennsylvania Assembly in August As Britain and France struggled for control of North America, the French won over many Indian tribes as allies, and people in Pennsylvania were vulnerable to attack.

The Penn family, known as the Proprietors because they owned the colony, refused to mount a defense. In , the British Board of Trade and Plantations asked nine colonies north of the Potomac River to participate in a Congress aimed at preventing the Iroquois Indians from becoming allies of the French. A peace treaty was signed. Franklin proposed the Albany Plan of Union, which would have established a federal union of the colonies under the British crown. He prepared the Poor Richard and turned it into a pamphlet. Lacking fresh material, he rewrote some of his aphorisms. For instance: I will tell thee, my friend, what Poor Richard says, Employ thy time well if thou meanest to gain leisure; and, since thou art not sure of a minute, throw not away an hour.

Leisure is time for doing something useful; this leisure the diligent man will obtain, but the lazy man never; so that, as poor Richard says A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. No, for as poor Richard says, Trouble springs from idleness, and grievous toil from needless ease. Many without labour, would live by their wits only, but they break for want of stock. Whereas industry gives comfort, and plenty, and respect. This little work was issued as The Way to Wealth , which went into nine Spanish printings, 11 German printings, 56 French printings, and 70 English printings.

Here is the publisher's description: Over the course of a generation, algorithms have gone from mathematical abstractions to powerful mediators of daily life. Algorithms have made our lives more efficient, more entertaining, and, sometimes, better informed. At the same time, complex algorithms are increasingly violating the basic rights of individual citizens. Allegedly anonymized datasets routinely leak our most sensitive personal information; statistical models for everything from mortgages to college admissions reflect racial and gender bias. Meanwhile, users manipulate algorithms to "game" search engines, spam filters, online reviewing services, and navigation apps.

Understanding and improving the science behind the algorithms that run our lives is rapidly becoming one of the most pressing issues of this century. Traditional fixes, such as laws, regulations and watchdog groups, have proven woefully inadequate. Reporting from the cutting edge of scientific research, The Ethical Algorithm offers a new approach: a set of principled solutions based on the emerging and exciting science of socially aware algorithm design.

Michael Kearns and Aaron Roth explain how we can better embed human principles into machine code - without halting the advance of data-driven scientific exploration. Weaving together innovative research with stories of citizens, scientists, and activists on the front lines, The Ethical Algorithm offers a compelling vision for a future, one in which we can better protect humans from the unintended impacts of algorithms while continuing to inspire wondrous advances in technology. Research Scientist, Google AI.

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