Here’s this month’s instalment of links to items of interest, or amusement, you may have missed he first time round.
Science & Medicine
Who thought leprosy was only a biblical and medieval affliction? Well it ain’t, ‘cos it seems British red squirrels carry leprosy — only the third known species after humans and nine-banded armadillos.
Who’d be a scientist’s cat? Not content with abuse by Schrödinger, scientists continue to drop cats in aid properly understanding their self-righting mechanism.
Trees do it in secret. Communicate, that is. Ecologist Peter Wohlleben thinks he knows what trees feel and how they communicate. It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds.
The Guardian has a very interesting page which (goes some way) to showing you how visually impaired people see the world.
So why is it that French mothers don’t suffer from bladder incontinence? It sounds deeply dodgy, but it does appear to be a thing.
So there was this contemporary of Isaac Newton who produced the foundations of the current Information Age. Yes, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz.
So here’s yet another article suggesting that women don’t actually know what orgasm is. I had hoped we’d got past all this by now!
So here are ten things about our cutest invasive species: cats. If they weren’t so cute they’d not get away with half what they do.
There’s an interesting new theory about how the brown rat has conquered every city around the globe.
Oxford University Press have recently published a massive new dictionary. It lists every surname found in the UK (including imported ones like Patel) which is held by 100 or more people. That’s almost 50,000. Not just that, but the OUP and academics have done deep research into all these names to determine their origins, often finding previously unknown documentary evidence. Want a copy? OK, well it’s four volumes and will set you back £400. But they reckon there will be an online accessible version.
Art & Literature
Prepare to be amazed. Artist Charles Young has created a complete animated metropolis from paper.
It seems the Romans really were ahead of the game. Researchers have discovered metallic ink used on some of the scrolls from Herculaneum (neighbour of Pompeii). That’s around 500 years earlier than previously thought.
Birth by C-section is rather (too?) common these days. But in days of yore, before modern medicine, C-sections were only performed in order to save a child by sacrificing the mother. It was rare for the mother to survive. But new evidence suggests that Beatrice of Bourbon survived a C-section as early as 1337. The previous record was of a Swiss case in 1500.
London blogger IanVisits walks the route London’s Roman Wall.
In which Diamond Geezer considers becoming a London cabbie.
Many pubs have dutiful dogs to look after them, but there are London pubs with characterful cats too.
Just in case you hadn’t realised, there are actually good scientific reasons why you should always be naked. What’s more I can vouch for this from personal experience.
It seems we have it all wrong about addiction. We need to build “rat heaven” for humans rather than prison cells, as this video explains.
To quote poet Philip Larkin: They fuck you up, your mum and dad / They may not mean to, but they do / They fill you with the faults they had / And add some extra, just for you. So yes, here are 30 ways in which your childhood can affect your success as an adult. Which explains a lot.
I have a dream that one day the medical profession will make up their minds about alcohol consumption. Now some new research suggests a beer a day helps prevent stroke and heart disease.
Not content with London, Diamond Geezer takes an away-day to Lowestoft, Mrs M’s home town.
Shock, Horror, Humour
And finally … it seems that in the Middle Ages witches stole penises and kept them as pets or even grew them on trees as fruit. [The mind boggles over whether the fruit would be sold by the butcher or the greengrocer!]
More next month …