John Ptak, a dealer in rare science books, writes about all the different ways that people in days of yore used to make sure dead people really were dead.
Perhaps the most spectacularly extension of the nipple-pincher was the tongue-pulling idea of Dr. J.-V. Laborde (1830-1903), a research physician with wide credentials, who reasoned that a continued regimen of advanced and strenuous pulling of a patient's tongue would over time bring them back to life if alive. This is what leads us to the point of this post: Laborde established a mortuary, and in this mortuary, where the dead were waiting to die, he employed a man whose job it was to pull the tongues of these bodies. In the misty picture of all of this that is painted in my mind's eye, the fellow working his way from body to body pulling their tongues with a heavy pincer seems far worse than nipple squeezing or even being an anal smoke blower, though to choose between the three in a twisted Purgatorial mandate would be hard to so. Although the nipple pincher wasn't replaced by anything mechanical, the smoke blower was (by a powerful bellows), and so was our friend the tongue puller, who after complaining of the boredom of his task was pushed aside by an electrical device. I am loathe to report that I cannot find a picture of the machine.
The Worst Job of the 19th Century? Tongue-Pullers, Nipple-Pinchers & Anal Tobacco Blowers Try to Revive the Dead.
Scientists discovered this new species of “glass frog” in Ecuador’s Amazon lowlands. Hyalinobatrachium yaku’s belly is so transparent that you can clearly see its kidneys, bladder, and beating heart. From Science News: Yaku means “water” in Kichwa, a language spoken in Ecuador and parts of Peru where H. yaku may also live. Glass frogs, like […]
Jennifer Raff — a bioanthropologist and geneticist who researches and teaches at U Kansas and U Texas — provides some excellent advice and context on how to read a scientific paper, from figuring out which papers and journals are worthy of your attention to understanding the paper in its wider context in the relevant field.
Apple released this lovely new commercial featuring Carl Sagan reading from his magnificent 1994 book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, now available as an audiobook. This surprising partnership spurred Adweek to interview my friend Ann Druyan, Sagan’s wife, collaborator, and creative director of the Voyager Golden Record, about being […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]