Very few places have impressed me as deeply as Philadelphia's Mütter Museum, the College of Physicians' permanent pathology museum, build on the collection of a Victorian pathologist, since expanded and improved upon.
The Mütter's collection is devoted to preserved remains of human oddities. There are walls of syphilitic skulls (even a phrenologist's collection of suicide's skulls, annotated in crabbed handwriting with notes like OBSERVE SLOPING BROW -- EVIDENCE OF CRIMINAL MENTALITY). There's a woman whose body was converted to soap by the alkali soil in which she was buried. Cabinets of thousands of jacks, rings, coins and pins extracted from chokers' windpipes by a celebrated specialist whose main claim to fame was the invention of a device that could fasten a safety pin lodged in a patient's windpipe prior to extraction, thus making the removal much safer.
All this is collected in lifelong curator Gretchen Worden's magnificent, lavishly illustrated Mutter Museum: Of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
Worden died last year after giving a lifetime of service to improving and promoting the Mütter. Worden's sensibility turned the place into a shrine to its inhabitants, and a gripping, endlessly haunting exploration of how we human beings understand our own bodies. The Mütter has just unveiled a new exhibit room named in her honor.
There are jars of preserved human kidneys and livers, and a man's skull so eaten away by tertiary syphilis that it looks like pounded rock. There are dried severed hands shiny as lacquered wood, showing their veins like leaves; a distended ovary larger than a soccer ball; spines and leg bones so twisted by rickets they're painful just to see; the skeleton of a dwarf who stood 3 feet 6 inches small, next to that of a giant who towered seven and a half feet. And "Jim and Joe," the green-tinged corpse of a two-headed baby, sleeping in a bath of formaldehyde.
The Cobham catalog, exposed by The Intercept, features countless pages of surveillance gadgets sold to U.S. police to spy on American citizens: tiny black boxes with a big interest in you. In the creepily bland feature lists and nerdy product names is a whisper of a dark future; perhaps darker than anyone can imagine.
This image depicts the most commonly-found stylesheet colors on the web’s top sites—Paul Hebert did an amazing amount of analysis and this is just one of the intriguing visualizations he came up with. Most of these are obvious staples, especially HTML red and blue, though it’s interesting how far the blue “cluster” is from the […]
With the cacophony of an election year ablaze with unparalleled drama being fought on the front lines of Twitter, we find ourselves slowing down and staring at it like a bad accident. The need for escapist relief is perhaps more dire than usual right now. This fall, if it’s drama you crave, but the Hillary […]
I’ve never really felt the need to purchase a smartwatch because a lot of them aren’t very functional, but at just shy of $30, the Martian Notifier Smartwatch was worth checking out. For that low of a price, it actually does feature an impressive amount of functionality, and comes in handy when you don’t want to be carrying around your […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]