"@TrapperBud: They rode a barge, like this one from 1925 (L-R: Matt Murphy, Jim Cooley, Frank Buckley, Malcolm and Allan Stewart."
Derryl Murphy writes, "Several years after my grandfather, Bud Murphy, passed away, I'm going through boxes of stuff I was given after his funeral and found some - not all, sadly - of his old diaries from when he trapped in the Northwest Territories from 1929 (when he was 18) and on with his father. I'm tweeting his diary entries in chronological order and accompanying those with photos he took from back then, as well as notes about where he was. I'm not reading ahead, and hope the entries about murder, suicide, and mayhem that I turned into the ghost story "Northwest Passage" (first appeared in Realms of Fantasy, and then in my Sunburst Award-nominated collection Over the Darkened Landscape) will appear. Follow his adventures on Twitter @TrapperBud!
Forget Tesla. Luis Alvarez should be the new object of your science history obsession says Ben Lillie at The Last Word on Nothing. Them's fightin' words. But Lillie backs it up. With his son Walter, Alvarez was the first to suggest that a giant asteroid impact had led to the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. Before that, he won a Nobel for designing a better Bubble Chamber to study electrically charged particles, invented the aircraft blind landing system and night-vision binoculars, found hidden rooms in the pyramids at Giza, investigated the JFK assassination, and was also a creepily outspoken voice in favor of global nuclear armament. (So it's not all awesome stuff.) Read more
. — Maggie
What killed the young Pharaoh Tutankhamen? Theories have ranged from assassination plots to epilepsy, but a new analysis of injuries visible on his mummy suggests that a chariot race accident
might have been to blame. — Maggie
In the 1960s, Russian scientists discovered a new form of water that congealed at room temperature, froze at -40, and wouldn't boil no matter the temperature. For a few brief years, "polywater" was a scientific rage — the subject of pop culture craziness, Cold War research races, and CIA interrogations. At Slate, Joseph Stromberg tells the story of polywater and explains why, despite all that hype, most of us have never heard of it today
. — Maggie
The synthetic (or man-made) elements are the ones with silly-sounding names, found along the bottom of the periodic table — Einsteinium and Nobelium, Livermorium and Mendelevium, and more. Unlike the rest of the elements, you won't find them just hanging out in nature. They have to be created in a laboratory, and they only exist for a limited amount of time — some no more than milliseconds. Though new ones have been discovered/created as recently as 2010, the 1950s and 60s were sort of a heyday of synthetic elements, with different laboratories locked in a race to find the niftiest new things first.
During that time, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab made a film strip reenacting their own 1955 discovery of the element Mendelevium. The film lay forgotten in storage for 60 years until it was recently uncovered and restored by retired physicist Claude Lyneis. Originally just a silent sequence showing real Mendelevium discoverers Al Ghiorso, Bernard Harvey, Gregory Choppin, and Stanley Thompson demonstrating how they'd found the 101st element, the film has been updated with narration and sound effects and is a pretty cool explanation of where synthetic elements come from.
Despite all the attention lavished on Moon dust, we still don't know what effect the stuff has on human lungs ... which is kind of a big deal, considering the fact that the dust has busted through every vacuum seal its ever faced. And eaten through layers of moon boots. Basically, you can imagine Moon dust as those tiny shards that get left on the floor when you break a glass and inevitably end up embedded in your foot four days later. At The New Yorker
, Kate Green writes about efforts to better understand the effects of Moon dust on various materials
and how engineers are trying to find new ways to control it before humans return to the lunar surface. — Maggie
The archives of Bletchley Park are being digitised for online use, bringing to life the records of the legendary codebreaking effort whereby Alan Turing and colleagues invented modern computing, modern crypto, and took years off the war, saving millions of lives. HP underwrote the effort, which aims "to put everything into the public domain."
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Joe Sacco is a spectacular political comics creator, and has earned a well-deserved reputation for his work on war and conflict with books on Sarajevo and Bosnia, Gaza and Palestine and other modern militarized zones.
But now he's created The Great War, a wordless, gate-folded work on World War One. It's gorgeous and haunting, and beautifully presented in a slipcased hardcover. His publisher, WW Norton, prepared a short documentary on the book and we've got it exclusively (for now). I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.
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David Hast sez, "Karger Publishing has released an important new translation of a foundational book in the history of science, the 16th century 'De Humani Corporis Fabrica Libri Septem' by Andreas Vesalius.
Vesalius was the first modern anatomist, relying for the first time in history on dissections of human cadavers. His anatomy is a foundation of modern medicine and of the understanding of the human body."
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Ellie Zolfagharifard, for the Daily Mail
: "An expert from Oxford University has reconstructed the music, and rediscovered some of the instruments that played them - and he claims the recordings are 100 per cent accurate
." — Rob
In this episode of the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast, there's an absolutely delightful history of the Disneyland Haunted Mansion (MP3). The hosts explain how the company wrangled and wrangled for more than a decade, trying to find the right design for a Disneyland haunted house, and how the project that emerged is the synthesis of three warring styles that converged brilliantly.
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Out of the more than 500 pages that make up the published version of On the Order of the Species, only 28 pages of Charles Darwin's original manuscript survive today. At least two of these later became scrap drawing paper for the 10 Darwin children. The picture above, a watercolor done on the backside of one page of Charles Darwin's seminal work, is believed to have been done by his son Francis.
The story of a woman who spilled coffee on her lap and ended up being awarded $2.9 million in a lawsuit against McDonald's is often cited as THE example of frivolous lawsuits and out-of-control juries. The real story, though, is different from the version you've probably heard. For one thing, the woman suffered burns to 16% of her body, some of which were 3rd degree. For another, at the time, McDonald's served their coffee at a temperature 30 degrees hotter than the stuff that comes out of home coffeemakers. Also the $2.9 million was only the jury-recommended
award, based on just two days worth of McDonald's coffee sales. This New York Times video
is an interesting look at the nuance that gets lost when media, pop culture, and politicians twist an event to better serve their own narratives and ends.
Here's John E. Hill's translation of "The Peoples of the West," Yu Huan's third century account of ancient Rome. Of significant interest is the list of items the Roman Emperor has in plenty, which includes "divine tortoises" "poison-avoiding rats" and many other wonders.
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Behold, the Craven A tin that saved the life of Royal Flying Corpsman Arthur Mann, who was shot down by the Red Baron himself. In a later battle, this tin stopped a bullet and saved his life.
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