The real “Hippocratic” oath

Hippocrates may have worked at a temple of Asclepius.  He may have claimed direct descent from Asclepius.  Or, he may have just been a healer, as “Asclepiad” could have many meanings.

The only thing we know for sure is that Hippocrates became a legend.  The most reliable historical record that Hippocrates did in fact exist is the following conversation of Socrates and Phaedrus, as recorded by Plato: Continue reading “The real “Hippocratic” oath”

What did “fit for human habitation” mean?

NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg, Expedition 36 flight engineer, conducts an ocular health exam. – Nasa photograph.

Dr Woods Hutchinson, a doctor and health writer, once calmly said that New York should be torn down and rebuilt in a manner “fit for human habitation.”  According to the Columbus journal of Nebraska, he thought  “the money for this purpose should be secured by confiscating the fortunes of millionaires as fast as they die.”

Not that the Columbus journal agreed with Dr Hutchinson, or the people who “know nothing, do nothing, [and] cheer themselves hoarse with his suggestion.”

One wonders if Dr Hutchinson were merely joking, and others merely laughing along with him.  Then again, if you’ve ever been to certain parts of New York City, you might think he was being serious.

However, other stories show that people took the idea of dwellings being “fit for human habitation” very seriously.   When landlord-politicians object to building codes that require homes to be “fit for human habitation,” you wonder whether these landlord-politicians know their history. Continue reading “What did “fit for human habitation” mean?”

Bonaparte’s army could have grown taller, if they’d eaten more eggs

Napoleon Bonaparte sharing a globe shaped pudding with William Pit. Pit has the larger slice, but appears disinterested, while Bonaparte greedily carves out Europe.
This painting, “The Plum Pudding in Danger”, based on James Gilroy’s 1805 print, is not historically accurate. Bonaparte was not a big fan of desert.

(Disclaimer: Measurements are in centimetres, not because the British, French and Swiss have used different systems through time, but because centimetres are smaller than inches.)

Here’s a message I received in my email: “Napoleon Bonaparte might have grown taller had he eaten more… eggs!”  That’s right eggs.

The NHS, referencing the BBC, reports that “an egg a day may prevent stunted growth in infants.”   Continue reading “Bonaparte’s army could have grown taller, if they’d eaten more eggs”