Filed under biological history

May on Mental Health

May on Mental Health

Our Prime Minister has announced help for sufferers of Mental Health, possibly in response to the revelation that the late MP Jo Cox was seriously concerned about loneliness in her constituency, which is often a factor in this. Bravo Theresa, but no cigar, because the commonest form of mental illness is depression, and a major … Continue reading

Killer Whales Kill Rare Whales

Killer Whales Kill Rare Whales

This is from the i paper, showing Orcas deserve their reputation as killers and the threats to endangered species are not entirely from humans: For the first time, killer whales have been spotted killing and eating a rare species of whale. A team of researchers led by Rebecca Wellard, of Curtin University, has been joining … Continue reading

Winter Sleep

Here’s a question that someone raised with me – did our ancestors sleep longer in winter? He said he’d been told that our bodies are not meant to sleep for the full winter night, that in Tudor times people would get up in the middle of the night and do their accounts or some housework … Continue reading

Nobody is Safe Without NHS

Nobody is Safe Without NHS

Our much loved free healthcare is under threat but if it fails it won’t be just the poor who suffer. NHS provides mass immunisation so diseases that killed people on the past have been wiped out. Smallpox is an obvious example that killed vast numbers, rich and poor. Without jabs it could rdgutm with a … Continue reading

Misunderstood Sloths and Slothery

Misunderstood Sloths and Slothery

My favourite animal has long been the 2 toed sloth, with a top speed when chased by a predator of 0.5mph. You don’t get more laid back than that, but if they are so inefficient, how have they managed to survive? This article from the i a few weeks back, by Becky Cliffe provides some … Continue reading

Albatrosses Running in Circles

Albatrosses Running in Circles

Since albatrosses are in the same family as seagulls who stamp on the ground to imitate rain, which draws their favourite food, worms, to the surface, this article fits with their family behaviour. This is by Tom Bawden in the i paper: Albatrosses secure much of their food using an extraordinary technique which involves furiously … Continue reading

DIY Surgery

One of the most horrific accounts I’ve read – posted elsewhere – is that of Fanny Burney being operated on for breast cancer in the 18th century. Surgery at the time was generally fro two things – kidney stones – the pain of which has been compared with that of childbirth – and for life … Continue reading

Aristocracy and Hawking

Aristocracy and Hawking

One of he great Indy films of England last century was ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’, based on both animals and people having a fixed hierarchy. This is the full list, from Sports and Pastimes of the People of England: The eagle, the vulture, and the merlun, for an emperor The ger-faulcon, and the tercel … Continue reading

Naming the Beasts of the Hunt

This is from Sports and Pastimes of he People of England, published in 1801. Twice or Twety, grand huntsman to Edward II divides animals to be hunted into 3 groups: The first class contains four, which may be properly called beasts for hunting; namely, the hare, the hart, the wolf, and the wild boar. The … Continue reading

Cure for Mysterious Male Illness

This is from the Illustrated Police News of November 1898: MEN WHO ARE WEAK Men who are weak, and tired of taking NAUSEOUS  and MYSTERIOUS Preparations to no GOOD PURPOSE ought to write to the Physician in confidence, and full particulars will be sent FREE As to how all cases of NERVOUS DEBILITY, LOSS OF … Continue reading