History

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Category archives for History

Presidential Medicine: Andrew Jackson

In honor of President’s day I have some interesting Presidential pathology to present. I want to talk about Andrew Jackson and his myriad of diseases. To say that Andrew Jackson had medical problems would be the understatement of the century. Starting with a head wound sustained while a prisoner during the Revolutionary War — he…

James Watson, Nobel Laureate and member of the Watson-Crick duo that discovered DNA, has been suspended from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory after some comments about race and genetics: James Watson, in London to promote a new book, was forced to return to New York after Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Long Island, relieved him of his…

Nicholas Wade reports in the NYTimes about a UCD professor, Gregory Clark, and his theory of the Industrial Revolution. His answer is that high fertility rates in the upper classes caused them to steadily supplant lower classes. They brought productive values with them such that when the population reached a critical mass of individuals with…

A controversial portrait — possibly of the writer Jane Austen — was put up for auction at Christie’s yesterday. (Actually it failed to sell.) The controversy is over whether the picture is actually of her. (A photo of the portrait is to the right.) All of that is very interesting, but not nearly so interesting…

The History of Vegetarianism

The Nation has an interesting review about a book on the history of vegetarianism. The book is The Bloodless Revolution by Tristram Stuart. It argues that vegetarianism is important not only as an ethical stance but because it became entangled with several other historical movements: On the other hand, if life is the highest value…

MLK’s I Have a Dream Speech

Most of us probably haven’t read the whole speech, but we should. I hadn’t remembered this part: But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of…

History of Alois Alzheimer

I meant to post this early, but the Neurophilosopher has an excellent history of Alois Alzheimer, for whom the disease is named: On November 25th, 1901, a 51-year-old woman named Auguste Deter (below right) was admitted to the hospital, and was examined by Alzheimer. Deter at first presented with impaired memory, aphasia, disorientation and psychosocial…

Whatever you think about Michael Barone’s personal views, he knows more about the history of American politics than any man alive. Here is an article he wrote in the WSJ about the history of party changes in Congress during second-term off-year elections. Interesting stuff. Money quote: All of which leaves me with the conclusion that…

History of the Nobel

As the Nobel Prize announcements are due to come out soon, it would be good if you knew your Nobel history. Lawrence Altman for the NYTimes has an excellent article on it. Money quote: Yet in a little known story, the Nobel Prizes, the first of which will be announced on Monday, almost never came…

Arguments of Evolution’s Past

Apparently today will be poetry day. I found this poem in a book I was reading. It is by a man named Mortimer Collins (1860): Life and the Universe show spontaneity: Down with ridiculous notions of Deity! Churches and creeds are all lost in the mists; Truth must be sought with the Positivists.