Is This Feminist?: a great Tumblr about…well, I’d rather not describe it, best see for yourself.
It’s the 200th anniversary of the New England Journal of Medicine! To celebrate, they have an online edition with free articles that focus on the history of medicine for the last 2 centuries. The article on surgery is great and eye-opening. Most people probably know that surgery before anesthesia was unbearably painful. What you might not appreciate (I didn’t) is how quickly the surgeries were performed, since there was only so much agony the patient would bear. Money quote: “Liston, like many other surgeons, proceeded in his usual lightning-quick and bloody way. Spectators in the operating-theater gallery would still get out their pocket watches to time him. The butler’s operation, for instance, took an astonishing 25 seconds from incision to wound closure. (Liston operated so fast that he once accidentally amputated an assistant’s fingers along with a patient’s leg, according to Hollingham. The patient and the assistant both died of sepsis, and a spectator reportedly died of shock, resulting in the only known procedure with a 300% mortality.)”
A very articulate woman speaks on the fetishising of people with disabilities as brave: we’re not here for your inspiration
XKCD has a new weekly parallel blog! What If is only a few weeks old but looks good: each week Monroe answers a hypothetical question with physics and diagrams. Q1: what would happen if a baseball pitcher could pitch at [nearly] the speed of light?
For a great relic on broadcast self-censorship, have a look at the Hays Code, a Hollywood film industry code that governed films from 1930 to 1968. Some choice morsels (the reasoning given at the end is also classic): “The sympathy of the audience should never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil or sin…Law, natural or human, shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation…Scenes of Passion…should not be introduced when not essential to the plot…White slavery shall not be treated…Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races) is forbidden…Dances which emphasize indecent movements are to be regarded as obscene.”
Quote of the month from Crommunist is a perfect response and characterisation of people who argue against atheist positions from solely a position of utility rather than truth: “If you don’t care whether or not your beliefs are true, then we have nothing to discuss. I’m sure this sounds dismissive, but I cannot take you seriously if you don’t actually have a stake in demonstrating the truth/merit of your position. It simply becomes frustrating for me, and a masturbatory exercise for you. I have no interest in jerking you off.” [Source]