Filed under science

St Thomas’s Old Operating Theatre

St Thomas’s Old Operating Theatre

This is a wonderful, haunting but small museum, a place that should make you fall down and give thanks to whoever you believe in that modern medicine exists. It’s in the attic to provide maximum light for operations. Everything is so small, especially the operating table which I doubt would be long enough for me. … Continue reading

The Man Who Stood on the Shoulders of Giants

The Man Who Stood on the Shoulders of Giants

Roger Bacon (born 1214) is generally considered to be the father of modern science. He wrote f the values of book and experience. This is from Jean Gimpel’s  The Medieval Machine.  There are two modes of acquiring knowledge – namely by reasoning and experience. Reasoning draws a conclusion and makes us grant the conclusion but does … Continue reading

Pie in the Sky Research

Pie in the Sky Research

This is from Friday’s i paper, a reminder that English eccentricity is still alive and well – at least up north. A meat and potato pie was “Sent into space” yesterday, attached to a weather balloon. The pastry lifted off in Wigan in advance of the World Pie Eating Championships, which begins on Tuesday next … Continue reading

Leprosy in Red Squirrels

Here’s an odd story from last week’s i paper: “Red squirrels in the UK and Ireland carry strains of leprosy similar to those that have afflicted disability and disfigurement on humans for centuries, a study has shown. Experts stress the chances of catching the disease from a squirrel are extremely low. Scientists tested DNA samples … Continue reading

The Dawn of Air Travel

The Dawn of Air Travel

Forget about the Wright Brothers, the first flight was in England, a beautiful machine called Ariel. This is from a lovely illustrated book on a 19th century family of publishers who are still in business, Ackermann 1783-1983, and is one of the many strange items associated with this printing house: In 1843 Ackerman & Co. published … Continue reading

Apple Stomping on the Shoulders of Giants

This is from the i paper, by Andrew Johnson, titled “Without public funding, there is no iphone” or much else, for that matter: Hands up who likes paying tax? No one? Thought so. While most of us recognise it’s a necessary burden there are others – often the very wealthy – who don’t like to … Continue reading

Public Dissections

Modern medicine tends to be divided between doctors in general practice, and those in hospitals who specialise in various fields. But for centuries there were two groups: Physicians who were educated, elite and well educated, and barber-surgeons who were mere tradesmen and often treated people by bleeding them. Apparently this in turn dates to when … Continue reading

Capturing Asteroids

This seems to be an idea from science fiction, and for no apparent useful purpose, but this article from the i on 2 June suggests otherwise: Asteroids were once viewed as the vermin of the sky, disrupting astronomical observations by leaving streaks on long-exposure photographic plates used to stay the stars. How times have changed. … Continue reading

Domestication of Dogs

Dog were the first animals our ancestors domesticated, and whether in Asia or Europe which perhaps suggests why the details are so unclear, but this article from the i paper last Friday clarifies it: New research suggests  that… two sets of dogs emerging independently from separate wolf populations on opposite sides of the Eurasian landmass. … Continue reading