Hello and welcome to the 53rd edition of the Giant's Shoulders Carnival, the blog carnival focusing on the history of science. We may not have Friday Weird Science today, but fear not, for the history of science contains MANY weird and wild tales.
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So without further ado, let's dive in. We've got a LOT of great history of science posts from around the web!
First off, this month's Special: HURRICANES
- With the recent onslaught of Hurricane Sandy (felt with some force here at Sci headquarters), it seems only appropriate to look at the history of hurricanes. Hurricane Sandy became a major political issue in the US, and has become somewhat of a focus for climate change. But as the Philadelphia Center for the History of Science points out, hurricanes have always been a political issue. Europeans were dealing with the physical and political post-hurricane landscape as early as the 1600's.
- Over at the Rennaissance Mathematicus, you can learn about two recent anniversaries associated with Tycho Brahe, and the myths surrounding his findings.
- What does the Higg's Boson look like? Well, that depends. What does the atom look like, and how do we know?
Health and Medicine
- On a somewhat Halloween themed note, we have two tales of Invasions of the body snatchers! The first comes to us from Skulls in the Stars and talks about the mass panic in 1938, when a woman swore she saw fires from Mars. But the second is a bit more of a literal interpretation, and talking about the snatching and use of criminal cadavers for use in dissections.
- Did you ever wonder where that thing about drinking 8 glasses of water a day came from? It turns out, it's not QUITE what you think it is. Make sure to check it out on Mind the Science Gap.
- Relying on hearsay for tales like these of getting 8 cups of water per day might result in some inaccuracy, so medieval doctors wrote their own drug "recipes" in "recipes books". What were they? Did they work well? Check it out.
- And from the same group, did you know that remedy books go back to the Ancient Romans? Sadly, there's not nearly enough discussion of gross ingredients like lark's tongues.
- We all know that people have long used herbs in medicine in history, but you've got to make them into drugs somehow. Here's how.
- Learn more about Leprosy in this discussion of leprosy in Scandinavia.
- It turns out that we skeptics have been warning people about quack medicine for far longer than you might think! Check out this 1927 booklet, and don't get "gulled"!
- Make sure to read this fantastic post on the history of insulin from Science-Based Medicine.
- Another fantastic series from Halloween, make sure to check out the post from Laelaps on the HORRIFIC CARNIVOROUS MASTADON, and the TERRIFYING BLOODSUCKING SMILODON. Warning: they never existed.
Woman and the History of Science
- October 16th was Ada Lovelace Day, where we celebrate women in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics. Make sure to check out this excellent post on Ada Lovelace and other unsung women in science, to give you some more great ideas for when you need to find some rolemodels for women interested in the sciences. And you should also check out the tale of a feminist Newtonian, one of the first women to defend Newton's work, a woman who was a pretty impressive scientist in her own right.
- And make sure to check out the following video, looking at pluralism and the history of science:
- Did you know there's a superstition that beech trees don't get struck by lightning? I didn't either. But it turns out there is one. And it's false. Make sure to check out the post on it by Skulls in the Stars.
- Everyone knows about Copernicus. But did you know that he never would have published, if it weren't for the OTHER guy at the University of Wittenberg? Head over and find out who we can thank for the heliocentric model of the solar system.
- I don't know about you, but when I read fantasy novels, I always read about water clocks. It turns out, water clocks did exist, but not quite in the way that I thought. Now you can read about those, and other medieval clocks, at W.U. History.
- It's not quite a type of technology, but here you can see a 300 year old manual, one of the first attempts at teaching the hearing-impaired to speak.
- Here's a celebration of one of the U.S.'s first civil engineers, John Smeaton.
Geography and Navigation
- Lots of posts this month on Navigation, from a four part series on how to make and use a medieval astrolabe, to the use of latitude and longitude in describing the social and mental boundaries of women, to the evolution of a world map, and the world's first atlas.
- You might know Halley of Halley's comet fame, but did you know he was also a ship's commander?
- If you're at all a fan of microscopy, you'll recall Hooke's famous flea picture:
- After the first picture, a real fashion for microscopy sprang up, as evident from this recounting of the first flea circus! Which isn't quite what it sounds like.
- You may have heard of Darwin's passion for pigeons, but every man needs a mentor for his pigeon breeding. Meet Darwin's.
- Have humans killed natural selection?
- The tale of Paracelsus, a true Renaissance man.
- An interesting history of Bernal, the communist crystallographer.
And finally, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the British Journal for the History of Science, which turns 50 this year. An appropriate repository for all the good old science out there.
That's all for the 53rd Edition of Giant's Shoulders! If you'd like to submit your own writing on the history of science, the next Giant's Shoulders will be held on December 16th, at Contagions Blog, where you can submit your entries. And make sure you head over on December 16th for some old school science!