X-ray showing inside the head of a 16th-century automaton monk, probably built by Juanelo Turriano, mechanician to Emperor Charles V of Spain. On Radiolab and in a long piece written for the Blackbird online journal of literature and the arts, professor Elizabeth King recounts the history of the monk and how it made its way to the Smithsonian Institution.
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Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.