- A Little History of Science: Uncovering the Human Body
- TARDIS Refrigerator Part 2
- H.R. Giger's Mouse
- 20 Creative Hand-Crafted Beer Cans & Label Designs
- German Tank Manual, c. 1943
- Going Nowhere and Everywhere
- Feathered Piranha
- Leg Lamp and Crate Watch
- Fifty Shades of Divorce
- Rain Shield
- The Word of the Year
- Dad Pulls The Long Troll
- American, Underneath it All
- Patrick Dougherty Fights The Willow Invasion With Art
- Failure, The Movie
- Grumpy Cat Does Impressions
- Drop Motion Animation
- Growing Up Sucks
- Turkeys Salt & Pepper Shakers
- Exoskeleton Helps Paralyzed Man Walk Again
- Orange Porridge Storage
- Who's on the Left? (part two)
- In-N-Out Office Cubicle
- The Wizard of Oz Dress Sold at Auction for $480,000
- James Bond Theme Gets an A Capella Makeover
- Another Hat Puzzle
- Poignant, Uncensored Art by U.S. Veterans of War
- Odd Perspectives on Extreme Sports
- Submarine Luggage Tag
Posted: 13 Nov 2012 05:00 AM PST
The following is an excerpt from A Little History of Science.
If you want to really understand how something is made, it is often a good idea to take it apart, piece by piece. With some things, like watches and cars, it helps if you also know how to put them back together again. If what you want to understand is a human or an animal body, it has to be dead before you start, but the goal is the same.
Galen, as we know, dissected – took apart – many animals, because he couldn’t dissect any humans. He assumed that the anatomy of pigs or monkeys was pretty much like that of human beings, and in some ways he was right, but there are differences, too. The dissection of human bodies started to be done occasionally around 1300, when medical schools began to teach anatomy. At first, when people noticed any differences between what they saw in the human body and what Galen had said, they assumed that human beings had simply changed, not that Galen had been wrong! But as they began to look more closely, anatomists discovered more and more small differences. It became obvious that there was more to uncover about the human body.
The man who did the uncovering was an anatomist and surgeon known to us as Andreas Vesalius (1514–64). His full name was Andreas Wytinck van Wesel. He was born in Brussels, in modern-day Belgium, where his father was a medical man employed by the German Emperor Charles V. A clever child, he was sent to the University of Louvain to study arts subjects, but decided to change to medicine. Clearly ambitious, he then went to Paris where some of the best teachers were. They all followed Galen, and during his three years there he impressed them. He also showed his abilities in Greek and Latin, and his fascination with dissection. A war between the German Empire and France forced him to leave Paris, but he reintroduced human dissection to the medical faculty at Louvain before travelling, in 1537, to what at the time was the best medical school in the world, at the University of Padua in Italy. He took his exams, passed with the highest distinction, and the next day was appointed as a lecturer in surgery and anatomy. At Padua they knew when they were on to a good thing: Vesalius taught anatomy through his own dissections, the students loved him, and the very next year he published a series of beautiful anatomical illustrations of parts of the human body. They were so good that doctors all over Europe began copying these pictures for their own use, much to Vesalius’s annoyance, since they were actually stealing his work.
Andreas Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica, p. 559
Cutting open a dead body is not a particularly pleasant thing to do. After death, the body quickly begins to decay and smell and, in Vesalius’s time, there was no way to stop it from rotting. This meant that the dissection had to be done quickly, and in an order that made it possible to get it done before the smells became overpowering. The belly was done first, since the intestines are the first to rot. This was followed by the head and brain, then the heart, lungs, and other organs in the chest cavity. The arms and legs were saved to the end: they lasted the best. The whole thing had to be done in two or three days, and anatomy was generally taught in winter, when the colder weather at least delayed the decay and gave the doctors a little more time.
Means of preserving bodies were discovered in the 1700s, and this made it easier to take more time to dissect and examine the whole body. When I was a medical student, I took eight months to dissect a body, and on dissection days my clothes and fingernails smelled not of the rotting body but of the preserving chemical. I worked on the body of an old man and I became very familiar with him during those months. The order we did things was pretty much the same as it was in Vesalius’s time, except we saved the brain for last, since it is such a complicated organ and we were supposed to be better at carefully cutting out and exposing the different parts of the body by then. The old man had donated his body to science. He certainly taught me a lot.
Despite the speed needed, and the smells he confronted, dissection was Vesalius’s great passion in life. We cannot know how many bodies he carefully cut apart, but it must have been many, for he came to know more about the parts of the human body than anyone then alive. The five and a half years between the time Vesalius became a teacher in Padua and the publication of his great book, in 1543, were very busy. Vesalius’s book is enormous, forty centimetres high and weighing nearly two kilograms – not exactly a paperback you could slip in your pocket for holiday reading. It was called De Humani coporis fabrica (‘On the structure of the human body’), and it is still known as De Fabrica. It was beautifully and intricately illustrated. Vesalius travelled to Basel, in Switzerland, to supervise the printing of the text and the making of the illustrations.
We live in a world where illustrations are everywhere. Digital cameras make it easy to send pictures to our friends, and magazines and newspapers have pictures on every page. It was not like that in Vesalius’s day. The printing press had been invented less than a hundred years before, and pictures had to be made from carefully carved blocks of wood, copied from a drawing. Like a rubber stamp, these blocks were then inked and pressed on a piece of paper.
Detail from De Fabrica: Vesalius publicly dissecting a female corpse.
The pictures in Vesalius’s book are staggering: never before had the human body been depicted so accurately, or in such detail. Even the title page tells us that something special is happening. It shows the dissection of a woman, in public, with hundreds of people crowding around. Vesalius stands in the middle, by the woman’s body, and he is the only person looking out at the reader. The rest of the audience is either fascinated by the dissection or gossiping with each other. On the left of the picture is a monkey, on the right a dog, reminders that Galen had had to use animals for his anatomical work. In his own book, Vesalius is talking about human anatomy, from human bodies, and doing the dissecting himself. It was a wonderfully daring thing for a young man of not yet thirty.
But, then, Vesalius had every reason to be confident. He knew that he had seen further into the human body than anyone. Among the magnificent pictures in his book are those showing the muscles of the body, front and back, with the muscles nearer the surface dissected away to expose the deeper ones. These ‘muscle men’ are posed against landscapes, and the buildings, trees, rocks and hillsides in the pictures all join up. One of Vesalius’s muscle men is being hanged by the neck, a reminder that Vesalius often used criminals for his dissections. Indeed, he once found a criminal who had been hanged and his body had been picked clean by birds, leaving only his skeleton. Vesalius smuggled the bones back to his room one by one, in order to study in private.
Vesalius had a very skilled artist to work with him, although we don’t know his name for sure. Science was closely linked with art during this period, which we call the Renaissance, ‘re-birth’. Many Renaissance artists – Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), Michelangelo (1475–1564), and others – dissected bodies in order to learn how to paint them better. Doctors weren’t the only ones who wanted to know about the structure of the human body.
Vesalius was fascinated by the structure (anatomy) of the body, but dead bodies do not carry out functions (physiology) like breathing, digesting and moving, as living ones do. So the long written part of Vesalius’s book was a mix of old and new ideas. He often pointed out how Galen had described some organ or muscle incorrectly and he set it right. For instance, when Galen described the liver, he was talking about the pig’s liver, which has five distinct ‘lobes’, or sections. The human liver has four, which are not so clearly defined. Several muscles in human hands and feet are different from those of even our close kin, monkeys and apes. Galen’s theory of how the blood moves required a little of it to move from the right side of the heart to the left; he had it seeping through tiny pores in the wall between the two big chambers (ventricles) of the heart. Vesalius dissected many human hearts and could not find these pores. His knowledge would be very important a few decades later when William Harvey began to think in more detail about what the heart and blood do. Yet Vesalius’s discussion of how the living body works still used many of Galen’s ideas. This is perhaps why Vesalius’s pictures were so much more valued than his writing: the pictures were soon copied and used throughout Europe, and made Vesalius famous (even if they did not earn him much money).
Although he lived for another twenty years, the publication of his great book was the highlight of Vesalius’s career. He did produce a second edition of the book, with a few corrections, but soon after the first edition was published, he went off to be a court doctor. He spent his time taking care of the rich and powerful. Perhaps he thought he had said everything he had to say.
He had said and done enough to make sure that he was remembered. De Fabrica remains one of the great books of all time: a combination of art, anatomy and printing that is still admired today. And with it Vesalius left us two permanent gifts. First, he encouraged other doctors to continue his minute descriptions of the structure of the human body. Later anatomists discovered other parts of the body that Vesalius had missed, or corrected errors that he had made. The mix of artistic presentation and careful dissection that he had started encouraged others to produce books that illustrated the body on the page. Vesalius’s book was the first in which the pictures were more important than the writing, but it was not the last. Doctors needed to be taught how to see what was before them, and pictures were essential to help them learn.
Second, Vesalius stood up to Galen. He wasn’t rude about him, like Paracelsus, but he quietly showed that one could know more than Galen had. He showed that knowledge can grow from generation to generation. He helped begin a debate that lasted for more than a hundred years. The question was simple: Can we know more than the Ancients? In the thousand years before Vesalius, the answer had been No. After Vesalius, the answer began gradually to change. People started to think: ‘If everything worth knowing has already been discovered, what’s the point of bothering? But if I look for myself, maybe I can see something that no one else has seen.’ Vesalius encouraged doctors and scientists to start bothering.
Emphasizing surprising and personal stories of scientists both famous and unsung, A Little History of Science traces the march of science through the centuries. The book opens a window on the exciting and unpredictable nature of scientific activity and describes the uproar that may ensue when scientific findings challenge established ideas. With delightful illustrations and a warm, accessible style, this is a volume for young and old to treasure together.
William Bynum is professor emeritus, history of medicine, University College London. He is author or editor of numerous publications, including most recently Great Discoveries in Medicine. He lives in Suffolk, UK.
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Posted: 13 Nov 2012 04:00 AM PST
Posted: 13 Nov 2012 03:00 AM PST
Posted: 13 Nov 2012 02:00 AM PST
Check out this great list of 20 Creative Hand-Crafted Beer Cans & Label Designs, in my opinion this is about the coolest list of hand-crafted beer labels I have ever seen. Well, I guess it doesn't have a whole ton of competition, but still real cool.
While the image above may be my favorite design, the one below has my favorite story paired with it.
Make sure you check out the whole list here.
-Via Web Urbanist
Posted: 13 Nov 2012 01:00 AM PST
I haven't read many tank manuals, but I'm willing to bet that most do not include a nude scene. This page, however, comes from one that did. Germany's Tiger tanks were among the finest of World War II. Germany wanted its operators to be well-prepared and so produced a manual with cartoons and odd analogies. You can view several pages from it at the link--including the nude scene.
Posted: 13 Nov 2012 12:00 AM PST
Sometimes, it feels like LA traffic has me going nowhere for hours. Watch this car go nowhere for seven whole minutes. Well not nowhere, it is doing donuts - just in the same spot. Did I mention there is no driver in the car? I should probably mention there is no driver in the car. And it is doing donuts in reverse. Let me start over - watch this car do donuts for seven minutes with no driver in the car, in reverse. There.
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 11:00 PM PST
You really don't have to worry about most species of piranha. As long as you stay out of the water, they won't kill you. Now flying piranhas, they're a different story. Here's a specimen preserved by taxidermy artist Julien Salaud. They look pretty, but you don't want one coming up to your bird feeder.
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 10:00 PM PST
Leg Lamp and Crate Watch - $14.95
Attention A Christmas Story fans! It's that time of year again. Watch the hours and minutes till Christmas tick down on the fantastic Leg Lamp and Crate Watch from the NeatoShop. The hour and minute hands of this wide-faced watch are designed to look like the leg lamp. The watch band resembles the giant crate the leg lamp was delivered in. The watch comes boxed.
Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more festive Holiday items.
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 10:00 PM PST
The problem is that the book includes sexual bondage and S&M - something the husband was not at all down for. He refused her advances so she filed for divorce, siting "his lack of adventure is evidence of unreasonable behavior - one of five grounds for divorce under family law." He isn't contesting the filing.
Part of me is like suck it up man, being forced to have sex with your wife can't be all that bad. Then again, another part of me thinks divorcing your husband because he won't do S&M with you is kind of weaksauce. Thoughts people?
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 09:00 PM PST
The problem with umbrella, according to designers Lin Min-Wei and Liu Li-Hsiang, is that it only protects you from the rain coming from above. So the duo set off to design something that can protect you from water's other sneaky angles of attack. Behold, the Rain Shield, as seen in Yanko Design: Link
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 08:00 PM PST
Oxford American Dictionaries has selected its annual "Word of the Year," and that word is GIF. You are already familiar with GIF as in Graphics Interchange Format, or this images that change and move. the Word of the Year is for GIF as a verb!
And how is it pronounced? The computer programmers who created the format used a soft g like the peanut butter brand Jif, but a hard g is considered correct as well because so many people say it that way. Find out more about the usage of GIF and see the other words that were considered for Word of the Year at the Oford Dictionaries blog. Link
P.S. The Oxford Dictionaries UK Word of the Year is ‘omnishambles.’ Link
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 07:00 PM PST
Take your time - read the sign. I feel bad for this little girl, her dad is a Reddit troll. Somehow I think this will end up as a traumatic event for this girl, she will never want to sign another contract again. Marriage? Forget about it! She has already made one 17 year commitment and that won't turn out well at all.
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 06:00 PM PST
During the buildup to the Gulf War, I sent radio station t-shirts and hats to U.S. soldiers in Saudi Arabia, and they were kind enough to send back pictures of themselves wearing them. I should have sent underwear! This picture has been passed around with no information, but I believe that the guy in the middle is Joseph Wade of Charleston, South Carolina. Link -via I Am Bored
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 05:00 PM PST
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 04:00 PM PST
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 03:00 PM PST
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 02:00 PM PST
Stop motion animation? Meh, that's a dime a dozen. So Greg Condon decided to do something a bit different: drop motion animation!
Take a look: Hit play or go to Link [Vimeo] - Thanks Greg!
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 01:30 PM PST
If this dog could talk I bet he would say "I hate growing up." I have to say I tend to agree. I was the same way as a kid except with pants, between the ages of 12 and 19 I probably went through 1,000 different pairs of pants. Let me back up, that was because of vertical challenges not horizontal ones. After a few months, every pair of pants became capris. Promise me you won't ever get men's capris. Promise me!
At least this pup got to look cute through it all.
-Via Tastefully Offensive
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 01:00 PM PST
Turkeys Salt & Pepper Shakers - $11.95
Turkey day is almost here. Are you looking for a way to season-up your holiday table? You need the Turkeys Salt & Pepper Shakers from the NeatoShop. This delightful set of turkeys is made of glazed ceramic. Get yours today before they are all gobbled up.
Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more deliciously fun Salt & Pepper Shakers.
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 01:00 PM PST
Four years ago, Mike Loura was struck by a car while riding his bike and became paralyzed. Today, he walked again for the first time thanks to a robotic exoskeleton:
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 12:30 PM PST
Orange you glad you read this post? Orange puns, love it! Sort of reminds me of that video with Anderson Cooper and Eminem from E60 a few years ago. Eminem says he doesn't like when people say you can't rhyme anything with orange and then precedes to rhyme orange with all kinds of things. Sort of.
-Via Brainless Tales
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 12:00 PM PST
If you enjoyed trying the mental_floss quiz Who's on the Left? then you'll want to try out ten more famous pairs. You know the names, you know the faces, but are you sure you know which one is which? I didn't -I only got four correct! I still don't know who Ed and Larry are. No doubt, you will do better. Link
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 11:30 AM PST
Being stuck behind a desk all day can really get you down, so some people like to liven things up by decorating their office cubicle, especially around Halloween.
However, making your cubicle look like an In-N-Out restaurant makes office life so much worse, because it constantly reminds your fellow workers of what they can't have until quitting time- a delicious In-N-Out Double-Double!
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 11:00 AM PST
If you'd love to get your hands on Judy Garland's blue and white gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz, there's no place like an auction house: the iconic dress (one of seven worn in the film, actually) has been sold for $480,000 at auction. (But if love Dorothy and Co., don't fret: we've got tons of The Wizard of Oz items over at the NeatoShop for a more affordable price ;)
That's not all that's sold at Julien's Auctions last weekend:
But I think the one auction that takes the cake is the slice of cake from Prince Charles' and Princess Diana's wedding back in 1981. The 31-year-old slice of cake was sold for $1,375:
The TODAY Show has more: Link
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 10:30 AM PST
But don't worry -- Nick McKaig and Julien Neel (aka, Trudbol) clearly preserved the bah-da-DA-daaaaa thing that you know and love.
If Trudbol looks familiar, you may remember him from his previous vocal-only interpretations of popular theme songs, like Dr. Mario and this ditty from The Simpsons. McKaig is probably also familiar to Neatoramanauts as the dude behind the a capella Indiana Jones and Star Wars themes. Check out lots more on McKaig's YouTube channel. Link - Via
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 10:00 AM PST
If you enjoyed trying out the Four Men in Hats puzzle, here's another one for you. Again, the inmates must solve the puzzle or they will be executed.
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 09:30 AM PST
Angel in the Desert, by Markus Ericksen
The National Veterans Art Museum of Chicago collects and preserves the art of U.S. veterans in every visual form except dance. This week, the NVAM moves from its former location to a new one on Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Thankfully, the museum received a grant that allows them to exhibit high-resolution photos of every work online.
Between Desolation and Nuclear Skies, by Robert Hanson
The Wall, by Michael Rumery
It's difficult to choose just a few pieces that can be fully representative of what's on exhibit at NVAM, but you can find a small collection here, or peruse the entire museum's offerings at the NVAM Online Collection. Link - via
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 09:00 AM PST
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 08:30 AM PST
You don't see the world like this every day! This is a one of those photographs that takes some planning and a really special photographer. And it's just one of 22 images in a gallery at Unreality that covers the unique perspectives of skydivers, mountain bikers, skiers, surfers, hang gliders, and more. Who knows? They might make you want to try one of these activities! Link
Posted: 12 Nov 2012 08:00 AM PST
Submarine Luggage Tag - $4.95
Planning a trip this Holiday Season? Make sure you can spot your luggage with the Submarine Luggage Tag from the NeatoShop. This yellow tag is sure to help you spot your bag amongst that sea of other black bags.
Be sure to check out the NeatoShop for more great Travel Accessories.
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