Science History

John Mayow - Climate Science Pioneer

#2 in a series.

Sir William Ramsay wrote an excellent history of the study of our atmosphere.  Below is the part of his book concerning John Mayow.  The previous part was about Robert Boyle.  The text courtesy archive.org. is error-checked for typos.


Robert Boyle - Climate Science Pioneer

Apart from his experiments with the compression of gases, Robert Boyle deserves to be remembered for his proposals about 'unmingled bodies' (atoms), his promotion of the experimental method, his debunking of promoters of bad science, and his major contributions to our understanding of the atmosphere.

Robert Boyle lived in an age when men of learning were coming to reject what we now call pseudoscience. Alchemy was reformed into a protoscience by applying the experimental method, giving rise to what we now know as chemistry.


INPI - a treasure trove of French inventions

Do you have French ancestors?  Perhaps, somewhere in the archives, is a patent for something your ancestor invented.

INPI - Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle - France's National Institute of Industrial Property has just made a huge database of patents available for free public search.  In its own words - mostly -

INPI offers free access to a wealth of patents dating back to 1791.

Here you'll find detailed papers from the original records, from 1791 to 1871 including the corresponding images from 1791 to 1855 inclusive.

Eventually, the entire INPI heritage collection up to 1902 will be available.
The Kraken is perhaps the largest monster ever imagined by mankind. In Nordic folklore, it was said to haunt the seas from Norway through Iceland and all the way to Greenland.

The Kraken had a knack for harassing ships and many pseudoscientific reports (including official naval ones) said it would attack vessels with its strong arms. If this strategy failed, the beast would start swimming in circles around the ship, creating a fierce maelstrom to drag the vessel down.

Walk into any public square or shopping mall at this time of year and an encounter with a traditional Christmas carol is well-nigh unavoidable.

We may not sing them ourselves with anything like the frequency or fervor we once did at church but the tunes themselves defy relegation to our past.

The Ancient Greeks (Archimedes being an honourable exception) have a reputation for having been only interested in pure studies, and despising practical applications (which may well have helped the Romans take over.)

Documents dating back to the 16th Century provide a unique insight into one of Darwin's landmark studies, according to new research.


August 10, 1915. The Gallipoli sun beats down on the back of a Turkish sharpshooter. He is patient and used to the discomfort.

He wipes the sweat from his eyes and peers back down the sight of his rifle, sweeping back and forth across the enemy lines.

He’s hoping to spot a target worth taking a shot at as each muzzle flash risks giving his position away.

His sight settles on the shoulder pip of a second lieutenant. The target bends down out of sight, then reappears, now with a phone at his ear.

He stands still as he sends his dispatch. It’s an easy shot for the sniper. He squeezes the trigger and yet another young man dies.

Was America at its greatest scientifically when academics made far less money and were politically representative? Not if science output, Nobel prizes and adult science literacy are the measures, because America leads in all categories.

Yet with six figure incomes for faculty and less diversity has come greater distrust. Conservatives, for example, once had the highest trust in science, and now they are near the lowest, along with progressives. The public regularly thinks that anyone who cashes a paycheck is unethical, people don't trust medicine, food or energy science on the left and the right thinks climate scientists are shills.


This article contains spoilers for Game of Thrones, Season 5, Episode 9, The Dance of Dragons.

Royal families in myths and legends are infamous for intrigue, murder and mayhem.

These very deeds are part of what make the stories epic and immortal. Indeed, the moral complexities inherent in the outrageous acts perpetrated by the characters of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey or Aeschylus’ Agamemnon have engaged audiences for thousands of years, inspiring commentaries, debates, philosophical musings and reinterpretations.