Say you were curious about what happened when a human brain came into prolonged contact with a strong magnetic field. To find an answer, you might learn more about the nature of magnetism and the biology of the brain and make some hypotheses. Later, you'd run some experiments using dead tissue, or perhaps live animal models. This is because you are a good person.
If you were Thomas Edison, on the other hand, you'd find the nearest street urchin and keep him inside a giant electromagnet. It's OK, though, science writers would later say, because there turned out not to be much of an effect, and, anyway, the boy liked it.
Many years ago, Mr. Thomas Edison made the following interesting experiment in his laboratory. Wishing to see what, if any, influence is produced by the passage of strong magnetic flux through the brain, he kept a boy for a long time inside a huge electro-magnet with his head placed between the poles so that the flux passed directly through his brain. If now a magnet is capable of producing any effect whatever on the body it should certainly have done it in this case. But as far as could be seen no effect whatever was felt by the boy. When asked privately how he felt he replied confidentially, "The experiment is bully. I am all right in the magnet. I like to be here for I do not have to work while the experiment is going on and I can take a nap occasionally. But don't tell Mr. Edison. I hope he will keep me here for a long time."
Anecdote taken from The Wonder Book of Magnetism, by Edwin James Houston. Published in 1908.
Thanks to Alexis Madrigal for this fabulous find!
When Zoe Stavri woke up with a yeast infection, she had a strange and intriguing idea: what about adding some of her vaginal candida to sourdough starter?
Nick Sousanis, who delivered his doctoral dissertation in comic book form, has a new comic in the current Nature magazine, explaining the last 25 years’ worth of climate talks, as a primer in advance of the Paris climate talks next week.
Randall “XKCD” Munroe’s Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words arrives in stores today: it combines technical diagrams and wordplay in pure display of everything that makes XKCD brilliant and wonderful in every way.
Today and tomorrow only we are offering an additional 15% off the entire Boing Boing store (some exclusions may apply). Simply use coupon code: BLACKFRIDAY at checkout! Below are a few of our favorites from the store: First Generation Lytro 16GB Camera: The First Consumer Camera to Capture the Entire Light FieldAdobe Training Videos: Lifetime Subscription: 6,000+ Adobe […]
Today only in the Boing Boing Store we are offering an extra 15% off of the below VPN deals just use coupon code: VPN15 at checkout. proXPN VPN: Premium Lifetime Subscription Surf the web with ultimate peace of mind – both at home and on the road – over proXPN’s fully-encrypted, lightning-fast servers. Your lifetime premium subscription […]
These knitted gloves are here to save the day (and your hands) with an ultra-comfy, double-layer that will allow you to stay warm and use your phone. Now you can take photos on the fly, text, Tinder, and more without letting freezing temperatures get in your way. Plus they work with all touchscreens, so no […]