The original anti-vaxxers and some new thoughts about the atmosphere of Mars

The original anti-vaxxers and some new thoughts about the atmosphere of Mars September 4, 2019


Mars, as it might have been
This artist’s impression (from the European Southern Observatory) shows how Mars may have looked about four billion years ago. The young planet Mars would have had enough water to cover its entire surface in a liquid layer about 140 metres deep, but it is more likely that the liquid would have pooled to form an ocean occupying almost half of Mars’s northern hemisphere, and in some regions reaching depths greater than 1.6 kilometers.

(ESO public domain image)


This is a fascinating bit of medical history:


“The original anti-vaxxers: How the zeal of Edward Jenner contributed to today’s culture wars”


It’s also a complex one.  The black hats are pretty black, but the white hats aren’t entirely white.  Edward Jenner does come across as a (flawed) hero, and as an example of how one person who is willing to, as the now trite saying goes, “think outside the box” can be importantly right while those around him are wrong.




And here’s another article, on a vaguely related subject:


“Generic Drugs and Global Deception: Generic drugs are supposed to be equivalent to brand-name drugs, but all too often they are defective. Katherine Eban’s book shows that corrupt overseas manufacturers have committed intentional global fraud. The system is broken and the FDA lacks the power to correct abuses.”




If you live in the Los Angeles area — my home and native land! — and if the article immediately above hasn’t managed to frighten you enough, let me try again:


“Earthquake fault long thought dormant could devastate Los Angeles, researchers say”




And now for some atmospherics:


“How ancient oceans of magma may have boosted Earth’s oxygen levels: Chemical reactions involving iron could have increased oxygen-rich compounds in the mantle”


“Overnight changes in Mars’ atmosphere could solve a methane mystery: Atmospheric gases may mix differently as the planet’s surface moves in and out of sunshine”




Could this historic event perhaps lead to a spiritual rebirth in Great Britain?  Will it prevent Jeremy Corbyn’s ascent to Number 10 Downing Street?  We can only hope:


“Compasses to point true north for first time in 360 years: Over the past few hundred years in the UK all compass needles have pointed west of true north”




Our monotheistic traditions reinforce the assumption that the Universe is at root a unity, that it is not governed by different legislation in different places, neither the residue of some clash of the Titans wrestling to impose their arbitrary wills upon the nature of things, nor the compromise of some cosmic committee. Our Western religious tradition also endows us with the assumption that things are governed by a logic that exists independently of those things, that laws are externally imposed as though they were the decrees of a transcendent divine legislator. — John D. Barrow (British physicist), New Theories of Everything (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 18.



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