Medical historian Thomas Schlich wrote a fascinating essay for CNN about the history of prosthetic body parts and the "Bionic Men of World War I." From his article:
In all nations involved in the war an emerging generation of so-called "war cripples," as they were referred to in Germany, loomed ominously over the pension and welfare system, and many government bureaucrats, military leaders and civilians worried about their long-term fate.
One solution was returning mutilated soldiers to the workforce. Various prostheses were designed to make that possible, pushing prosthesis manufacturing in many countries from a cottage industry towards modern mass production.
In the United States the Artificial Limb Laboratory was established in 1917 at the Walter Reed General Hospital, in conjunction with the Army Medical School, with the goal to give every amputee soldier a "modern limb," enabling them to pass as able-bodied citizens in the workplace. While the United States remained the largest producer of artificial limbs worldwide, Germany's prosthetic developments incorporated a particular quest for efficiency.
German orthopedists, engineers and scientists invented more than 300 new kinds of arms and legs and other prosthetic devices to help. Artificial legs made of wood or metal, sometimes relatively rudimentary, and often recreating the knee-joint in some way, enabled leg-amputees to stand and move around unaided.
China Mieville is an unabashedly political science fiction writer, an avowed Marxist whose fiction is shot through with politics in the very best way; however, Mieville’s politics are generally kept below the surface, influence rather than central fact — that is, until the publication of October: The Story of the Russian Revolution, a masterful, novelistic nonfiction history of the year preceding the Russian revolution one century ago.
The American Civil Liberties Union has released a brief overview of the transgender rights movement, focusing on the 1960s and 1970s, beautifully illustrated by Molly Crabapple.
Could Russia teach us something about how to deal with difficult aspects of our national history? Many places in the South – from New Orleans to Louisville – are in the process of bringing down statues that glorify the Confederacy. That process raises questions about what to do with these remnants of the past. Do […]
Toaster ovens are the perfect appliance for small things like toasted sandwiches and roasted garlic (try it!), but anything more involved usually requires a full-sized conventional oven.However, despite its small size, the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven can handle anything from baked pastries to broiled meats. This kitchen appliance has a minimal countertop footprint, and cooks […]
The Pry.Me Bottle Opener holds tens of thousands of times its own weight, and you can pick one up now from the Boing Boing Store.This remarkable keychain is considerably smaller than any of your keys, but don’t let that fool you: it can easily open any bottle, and could even tow a trailer full of […]