Found at Futility Closet and noted here for tagged archive.
In February 1962 John Glenn circled Earth three times on Friendship 7.
When he landed, he received a card from the International Flat Earth Research Society.
It said, “OK wise guy.”
Almost peed my pants when I read this. Plus I love it, because it’s a perfect commentary on the diverse nature of science culture (i.e. we can be silly and crude as well as science-y). Would be wonderful if, one day, Ms. Beaton decides to do a book on science history – heck, I would even love to commission that sort of project (ooh ooh – maybe a “famous folks in science history” phylo deck?)
By Kate Beaton.
Whilst doing a little research on our friend, Isaac Newton, I cam across this lovely piece of trivia. Long story short: on Wikipedia, you can go from “Pet Door” to “Isaac Newton” in one click.
In an apparent early modern example of urban legend, the invention of the pet door was attributed to Isaac Newton (1642–1727) in a story (authored anonymously and published in a column of anecdotes in 1893) to the effect that Newton foolishly made a large hole for his adult cat and a small one for her kittens, not realizing the kittens would follow the mother through the large one. Two Newton biographers cite passages saying that Newton kept “neither cat nor dog in his chamber”. Yet over 60 years earlier, a member of Newton’s social circles at Trinity, one J. M. F. Wright, reported this same story (from an unknown source) in his 1827 memoir, adding: “Whether this account be true or false, indisputably true is it that there are in the door to this day two plugged holes of the proper dimensions for the respective egresses of cat and kitten.”
Text via Wikipedia.
This would have been something else, if it came to pass.
“In an anonymous letter to the London Times in 1825, Thomas Steele of Magdalen College, Cambridge, proposed enshrining Isaac Newton’s residence in a stepped stone pyramid surmounted by a vast stone globe. The physicist himself had died more than a century earlier, in 1727, and lay in Westminster Abbey, but Steele felt that preserving his home would produce a monument ‘not unworthy of the nation and of his memory’”
Text and via Futility Closet.
I love this. To do with these 8 asteroids, and explained in full at the always brilliant futility closet*.
“Astronaut John Young smuggled a corned beef sandwich into space. As Gemini 3 was circling Earth in March 1965, Young pulled the sandwich out of his pocket and offered it to Gus Grissom:”
What follows next is described in detail in a post over at Futility Closet: it’s lovely, and I’d copy it here, except it wouldn’t work without taking all of the text (which would hardly be fair would it?)
Still, I wanted to make sure I tag this on my site (under “space” and “science history”), so now that I have your attention, do head over to futility closet to read the rest.
“A “real-time data translator” machine converted a Mariner 4 digital image data into numbers printed on strips of paper. Too anxious to wait for the official processed image, employees from the Telecommunications Section at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, attached these strips side by side to a display panel and hand colored the numbers like a paint-by-numbers picture. The completed image was framed and presented to JPL director, William H. Pickering. Mariner 4 was launched on November 28, 1964 and journeyed for 228 days to the Red Planet, providing the first close-range images of Mars.”
DARWIN AS SANTA (A.K.A. ONE WAY DARWIN COULD JUMP THE SHARK)
See other Ways Darwin Could Jump the Shark
“Sporting his full white beard, Darwin is hired to impersonate Santa Claus at the local mall. He initially does well in this job, looking the part, being punctual, amicable, and knowledgeable about reindeer. However, he soon begins to insist on teaching children words like “invertebrate.” He also starts giving out stylish feces beads instead of candy canes. Later, he gets in an argument with another Santa Claus in another mall over biologically sound explanations for Rudolph’s glowing nose. The “Darwin vs. Santa Claus” fistfight goes viral on YouTube.”
By David Ng via McSweeney’s. Image: Source Unknown.
(see more of Popperfont’s Sciencegeek Advent Calendar Extravanganza here)
O.K., this site about Victoria microscope slides has to be one of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. Lots to peruse, but why not just start with how beautiful the mounting looks.
“By the later 1800s, with the advent of an expanding middleclass and the burgeoning popular interest in the Natural Sciences, it was not unusual for households to have a well used microscope and a little “cabinet of curiosities”. Some, as well as purchasing commercially mounted examples, found pleasure in collecting specimens and making their own slides. Many people of the times could give the common and Latin names, and an account of the habits, for most of the plants, insects, and other living creatures both small and large in the vicinity of their town and countryside. Holiday excursions to the seashore became a popular pastime, being seen as wonderful opportunity for collecting unusual specimens for study. Public lectures, classes and demonstrations were held, and numerous societies and clubs of interested “amateur naturalists” met regularly. During the heyday of the Victorian period, the microscope and it’s attendant collection of mounted objects were not viewed as just a means to an education, or scientific tools for the laboratory, but as an interesting, wondrous, and delightful entertainment.”
By DAVID NG
A stage of some sort.