Science History

Before the telegraph was invented, messages could travel as fast as the fastest mode of transport available. Today, however, advanced communication technologies have changed the scenario to a great extent. Messages now travel at the speed of light through cables and optical fibers, and are delivered in the least time possible. Mobile phones have made communication an on-the-go process. Messages, emails, news, videos, status updates, tweets are all just a click away.

“It is said, with prefect truth as regards many matters, that ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’, but there is no doubt in my mind that even a little knowledge – provided it be sound knowledge – of allied sciences is of the very greatest value to engineers of all sorts.”

A trunk-load of maps and letters reveals Marco Polo’s greatest secrets. He served as a “field agent” for the Polo Brothers’ Spy Team.

Sent to observe and infiltrate the government of Kublai Khan, Marco participated in Chinese explorations in the Canadian Arctic and along America’s West Coast during the 13th century. Examination of the documents by researchers at the New World Discovery Institute in Seattle was completed in October of 2011.
You know the idea of separation of church and state?

I propose another principle: 

Let's keep the church and science separate.


The church is the antithesis of science. While science is at its heart all about facts, the church does not like facts, but rather is focused on feelings and beliefs. The church has truths, but of course truths are not facts. Truths are what each individual person feels is right.

We got a perfect example of why mixing religion and science is incompatible this week when the Vatican held its first every scientific meeting on stem cells. We learned earlier this year that the church had committed $1 million to a high risk stem cell biotech company as well. 
Teacher turned artist Kelly Houle has set herself to the task of creating an illuminated version of the unabridged first edition of Charles Darwin's world-changing book. An example of such an illuminated page:

(Credit: Kelly M. Houle)

The project is intended to be completed by 2018, with a celebration event in 2019, in time for Darwin's 210th birthday and the 160th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work. 

For more information, be sure to visit the website of the project, where you can find more information on the process and the artist.

A year and a half ago, an article about cycads at the University of Giessen brought to my attention the University’s most famous member, about whom Wikipedia says:

The Icebreaker Yermak

Vice-Admiral S. Makaroff of the Imperial Russian Navy was primarily an oceanographer.   His paper On some Oceanographic Problems, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Vol. XXII, contains, amongst detailed reports of his oceanographic investigations, an explanation of why the icebreaker Yermak* was built.  Quite simply, the ship was intended to promote seaborne commerce where Arctic ice had always been a barrier.  It seems that Makaroff had an idea that perhaps, one day, after much experience had been gained, an icebreaker might just possibly reach the North Pole.
A Brief History of Arctic Warming

The Moon And The Telephone

In the history of the discovery of climate change and its causes, there are many pioneers whose work in relevant areas is all but forgotten.  Some of these people are not widely known.  Others are widely known, but their climate-related work tends to lie forgotten in the archives.  For example: Edison is famous as an inventor and Langley is famous as an aviation pioneer, but both men made little-known contributions to our knowledge of heat.
King Solomon is credited with a lot.   He knew everything, he could turn lead into gold, conjure demons and become invisible. Jamaicans even credit him with discovering marijuana.  If you know the Captain Marvel comic book superhero, the keyword he uses to change from Billy Batson to Captian Marvel is an acronym, SHAZAM - the S stands for Solomon and Solomon gave Cap wisdom.(1)

But he was also the prototype for Faust.  According to the Talmud, written around 500 A.D., Solomon cut a deal with the devil to build the great temple of Jerusalem – with disastrous consequences.