Time for some updates.
1. The current unpleasantness
I hope you’re all keeping safe and well. All of New Zealand is on lockdown, which means that for the foreseeable future I’ll only be leaving the house to get groceries. Because my wife is a nurse I’m also on solo parenting duties for much of the week – and our enthusiastic toddler is certainly a handful! – but I should be able to continue writing this blog for the duration of the pandemic.
As always, thank you so much for reading, commenting, and sharing this blog. I hope that it provides a small distraction from this current unpleasantness and as always if you have any good topics to share please let me know.
2. Updates on previous topics
The second eradicated disease – in my post on rinderpest, I wrote that it diverged from measles about a thousand years ago. Scientists have since discovered that the measles-rinderpest separation actually happened much earlier, perhaps 2,400 years ago.
Encyclopedia vs. volcano – apparently Pliny the Elder’s skull may have been sitting on a shelf in Italy for the last hundred years.
King of Fire – an anonymous reader suggests a source for Ivan Chabert’s magical act. The British scientist Charles Blagden experimented with sitting in an oven while cooking meat as a way to test human thermoregulation in 1774. Read his Experiments and Observations in an Heated Room for the details. Blagden, by the way, was also one of the people who inspired Lavoisier to work out how combustion worked.
Girih tiles – there’s a fantastic online Girih tile designer that lets you create your own patterns, like this one I threw together in a few minutes: