On Oct. 16, 1846, the first surgical procedure was performed using an anesthetic. It was sulfuric ether, a technique developed by dentist William T. G. Morton, and it allowed surgeon John Warren to remove a tumor from the neck of Glenn Abbott while he was out cold. Morton was already a popular dentist because of his painkilling methods, but after the surgery, he was world renowned in the medical field. But that did not last.
After John II of France was captured by the English in 1356, he paid 1 million gold crowns for his ransom and promised to pay 2 million more. As a guarantee he offered his son Louis as a hostage. When word came that Louis had escaped, John voluntarily returned to captivity in England, citing reasons of “good faith and honor.” He died there in 1364.
In 1916, after two years in a German prisoner-of-war camp, British Army captain Robert Campbell received word that his mother was dying of cancer. He wrote to Kaiser Wilhelm II asking permission to visit her, and was given two weeks’ leave on condition that he return afterward. Campbell went to England, spent a week with his dying mother, then returned to confinement in Germany, where he remained until the war ended.
“Captain Campbell was an officer, and he made a promise on his honor to go back,” said historian Richard Van Emden, who uncovered the episode while researching his book Meeting the Enemy. “Had he not turned up there would not have been any retribution on any other prisoners. What I think is more amazing is that the British Army let him go back to Germany.”
The Rod of Asclepius, left, with a single snake, is the symbol of medicine. Unfortunately, a large number of commercial American medical organizations instead use the caduceus, right, which has two snakes. Asclepius was the Greek god of healing, but the caduceus was wielded by Hermes and connotes commerce, negotiation, and trickery.
The confusion began when the American military began using the caduceus in the late 19th century, and it persists today. In a survey of 242 healthcare logos (reported in his 1992 book The Golden Wand of Medicine), Walter Friedlander found that 62 percent of professional associations used the rod of Asclepius, while 76 percent of commercial organizations used the caduceus.
“If it’s got wings on it, it’s not really the symbol of medicine,” the communications director of the Minnesota Medical Association told author Robert Taylor. “Some may find it hard to believe, but it’s true. It’s something like using the logo for the National Rifle Association when referring to the Audubon Society.”
The centerpiece of Pizzeria Disco Volante in Vienna is a wood-fired pizza oven that looks like a giant disco ball. This beautiful shiny oven’s concrete base is covered in about 7500 special cut mirror tiles. It was designed and constructed by a group of architects and designers from the collective Madame Mohr in Vienna.
It’s no secret that turning your computer off and on again fixes a ton of problems, but if you’ve ever wondered why, How-To Geek explains how it works.
Restarts fix you computer for all sorts of reasons, and How-To Geek takes a look at the most important ones. For example, the Windows blue screen of death is usually caused by a low-level error and it’s fixed when you restart because the problem code can start over again. The other common problem is memory leaks:
In the past, Firefox has been the poster child for memory leaks on average PCs. Over time, Firefox would often consume more and more memory, getting larger and larger and slowing down. Closing Firefox will cause it to relinquish all of its memory. When it starts again, it will start from a clean state without any leaked memory. This doesn’t just apply to Firefox, but applies to any software with memory leaks.
Essentially, when you restart your computer you’re clearing off the current state of your software and starting over again. You’re basically dumping out the junk and starting over again fresh. This includes whatever problems you’ve run into. Head over to How-To Geek for the full explanation of what happens when you reboot, including the difference between hard and soft resets.
Lewis Carroll was a poor sleeper and did a lot of thinking in bed. The notes he made in the dark often turned out to be illegible the next day, but he didn’t want to go to the trouble of lighting a lamp in order to scribble a few lines.
So in 1891 he invented the nyctograph, a card containing a grid of cells that could guide his writing in the dark, using a peculiar alphabet he invented for the purpose