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The Primate Diaries

The Primate Diaries

Notes on science, politics, and history from a primate in the human zoo.

History of Science

Chemical Romance: The Loves of Dmitri Mendeleev, Part 1

The scientist who systematized all the known elements in the universe was about to throw everything away for love. In April, 1881 Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev was internationally renowned for his creation of the periodic table that revealed the simple, yet elegant structure underlying all matter, but he was prepared to kill himself unless the woman he loved agreed to marry him.Anna Ivanovna Petrova, a twenty-year-old art student from the small Cossack village of Uryupinskaya in Southern Russia, had already turned him down twice in the last three years...

August 2, 2011 — Eric Michael Johnson
The Sciences

Stressing Motherhood: How Biology and Social Inequality Foster Maternal Infanticide

Chicago’s nineteenth ward reeked of overripe fruit and kerosene the day Mary Stastch killed her baby. According to the Chicago Tribune on July 29, 1911 the unemployed single mother and recent immigrant from Austria left Cook County Hospital earlier that week and “wandered about Chicago for two days with the baby in her arms, looking for work.” But with the growing labor crisis leaving nearly 250,000 people jobless her search would have been difficult even without a newborn in tow.As if that wasn’t enough, the following day more than three hundred police descended on the largely immigrant neighborhood around Maxwell Street in what was described as “a day of rioting and wild disorder such has not been seen in Chicago since the garment workers’ strike” the previous year...

July 22, 2011 — Eric Michael Johnson

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