Sunday, February 19, 2012
I have always been fascinated by the history of surgery, and how it has evolved over the years, so I thought I would share some of the more interesting parts with the readers of this blog.
Surgeons and doctors were considered very different in the Middle Ages: doctors went to university and got a degree to practice medicine, while surgeons were apprentices, and learned their trade through practice. Surgeons were called Mr. _______ instead of Dr. _________. One of the surgeons I work with practiced in England, and still has his nameplate that says Mr. _________.
Surgeons' primary responsibilities were pulling teeth and setting broken/dislocated bones.
Aseptic techniques for surgery were developed by Joseph Lister in 1867 with his book Antiseptic Principle of the Practice of Surgery.
Surgery is often advanced during war, when desperate times call for desperate measures. For example, amputations were experimented with during wartime, especially in the Civil War.
There are many others to check out if you are left curious by this post. Surgery is a fascinating field, and advancements are constantly being made to make surgeries safer and more comfortable for patients.
Thursday, February 16, 2012
As I decided to classify it, land quadrupeds are obviously characterized by the tendency to live on land and to walk on four legs. Additionally, they typically on fields or mountains, or tended by humans. These type of mammals include goats, giraffes, wolves, and cats. As for their skulls, the length of the skull is usually about twice that of the height, and the snout is fairly elongated.
Next, I designated marine mammals to be those mammals like dolphins and whales that, as would be expected, live in the ocean. These skulls are even more elongated, as it is not uncommon to see these type of skull be three or more times as long as they are tall. Additionally, the snout is very long and thin and actually can make up more than half of the skulls extreme length.
Finally, primates include humans, in addition to all the human's close relatives like chimpanzees or apes that generally live in rain forests. Primate skulls are far more rounded than the skulls of the marine mammals or land quadrupeds, as they have a length that is about equal to their height.
All in all, this is how I, as a layperson, decided to classify these animals based on their skulls. I know that this was mainly only based on two criterion: length of the skull in relation to the height, and general habitat of each mammal, but considering the context, I felt like I did an alright enough job.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Therefore, direct comparisons can be made between early Physiognomics and more modern Physiognomics, but there are many differences between the two, as well. While early Physiognomics focused more on mysticism, modern Physiognomics is based on scientific studies and concrete scientific explanations, like hormones and DNA. Modern Physiognomics also doesn't try to determine universals in character based on external qualities. While old Physiognomics sought to learn everything about who a person "really is," modern Physiognomics is conducted with the full knowledge that what they determine is made up of generalizations rather than blanket statements - i.e. not all men with wide faces are aggressive.
All in all, I found it to be an interesting take on how an old study has been revitalized and adapted based on modern science.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Friends and family make their way to their cars after the service for Einstein. The ceremony was brief: Einstein's friend Otton Nathan, an economist at Princeton and co-executor of the Einstein estate, read some lines by the great German poet, Goethe. Immediately after the service, Einstein's remains were cremated.
"I don't want to have to use this data, but there is no other and will be no other in an ethical world"
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
The eye is truly a wondrous organ. The eye’s amazing complexity is perfectly suited for its sole purpose: to perceive light. After dissecting a cow’s eye and getting a first hand look at the intricacy of its structure I began to wonder, what happens when something goes wrong. There is a myriad of diseases, deformations, and malformations that can seriously impair the function of the eye. These conditions are not only attributed to the eye itself since vision is sense comprised of connections between the eyes, visual pathways and the brain.
Myopia, hyperopia, cataracts, and color blindness are just a few conditions attributed directly to problems with the eyeball itself. These conditions occur quite frequently and can be caused by many genetic and exterior factors. One very specific type of eye infliction that I found quite interesting is the “A-bomb cataract.” These cataracts are formed when one directly observes the blast of an atomic bomb without any type of visual shielding. The intense radiation from the blast ionizes the water in the victim’s eyes causing the formation of powerful reducing agents that damage the protein synthesis and DNA causing cataracts. The picture shown is an example of radiation cataracts. These types of cataracts were seen in some of the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in WWII. Victims developed the radiation cataracts after exposure to radiation from up to two kilometers from the blast. The development of the cataracts was not instantaneous though. Some patients were diagnosed with the infliction 25 years after the bombings.
While much can go wrong with the eye in its development or through its regular usage, it is comforting to know how much modern medicine can do to treat it. Now even the completely blind can see again by sending visual information through cameras directly into the brain, bypassing the eye and the optic nerve. I find the eye truly fascinating. The specialization of each individual part of the eye is perfectly developed so that we can accurately perceive our surroundings. This is why I am very grateful that modern medicine can protect our vision from the many things that cause it damage.
The tragedy of the Nazis' systematic killing of Jews, Soviets, Romani people, and many others during World War II is well-known, and certainly must never be forgotten, but another tragedy that is perhaps not as well-known is that some of the Nazis' first victims were children considered to be disabled or mentally ill, with disabled or mentally ill adults soon to meet the same fate.
This is what was truly terrifying to me, and what I feel I must stress in this blog post: the Nazis felt that they were achieving scientific progress by killing off these groups. They were able to use scientific progress as a pretext for perhaps the greatest widespread act of hate in history. It was incredibly jarring to me, as I tend to think of science as most frequently being conducted for the good of mankind, not its destruction, but from this, I understand that a mask of scientific betterment can veil destruction when in the wrong hands.
So that is what I mean to say. Science can be a tool of great good, but we must use scientific knowledge and discovery to benefit all people. Looking toward the future, we must understand this, and ensure that scientific ideas like those in Nazi Germany are never accepted again. In science, as in all fields, we must understand this history to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. We must be careful to use science for good, because when we do, it is then that mankind will truly be better off.
Monday, February 6, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
So interested in how the system of measuring temperature came about, I looked into it and read several biographies on a man name Daniel Fahrenheit.
Fahrenheit was born in 1686, and according to multiple biographies I've read, he was either born in Poland or Germany. One claims he was born in Germany and lived in Poland; however, I have not looked deeper into this discrepancy so if someone would like to do so, please do. I'm curious. He was a glassblower which allowed him to make barometers and thermometers, convenient wouldn't you say?
Smart man that he was, Daniel Fahrenheit worked with alcohol, and afterwards mercury. Doing so, he was able to systematize a way to measure temperature, which is an important contribution to daily life today. The celsius scale same a couple decades after the standard fahrenheit temperature scale (1724) was invented.
Originally, the fahrenheit scale was based on the body temperature of the human body. What was once 100 degrees Fahrenheit on the scale, the temperature of the human body has been adjusted to what we now describe as normal body temperature, 98.6 degrees.
It's always interesting to read about how instruments that society utilizes today and seemingly finds simple came about.