Category Archives: … the Hell?

Infinite series: not quite as weird as some would say

Updated with a third footnote clarifying my use of the term “diverge,” thanks to suggestion by Evelyn Lamb, who has also written an excellent discussion of the problem with the video.  At the end of this post I list all the … Continue reading

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Posted in ... the Hell?, Mathematics | 27 Comments

The Case of the Telephone in His Hat (1894)

The history of science provides me with a practically never-ending set of delightful surprises!  Case in point is a set of articles I found while browsing through volume 17 of Current Literature, “A Magazine of Record and Review,” published in … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, History of science | 2 Comments

The people at Twitter are fucking morons (updated)

Update below: original block has been restored — I think. This is a bit out of the norm from my usual posts, but this has really pissed me off and I need to rant about it.  Also, I need to … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell? | 15 Comments

Cat-turning: the 19th-century scientific cat-dropping craze!

One thing I’ve learn from studying the history of science is that scientists are human beings.  Often incredibly weird, weird human beings.  For example: in the mid-to-late-1800s, an exciting era in which the foundations of electromagnetic theory were set and … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, History of science, Physics | 10 Comments

The Science Online 2013 official music video is out!

… and, like last year, I make a couple of silly appearances! A little background about the video from its creator, the awesome Dr. Bondar, can be read here.  In short, Science Online is a yearly conference for those science … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, General science, Personal | Leave a comment

The mirror that (didn’t really) make it rain! (1713)

In my last post, I talked about the remarkable career of Etienne-Gaspard Robert aka “Robertson”, who became famous in debunking the supernatural by revealing how ghosts and phantoms could be faked.  Remarkably, even today there are still places in the … Continue reading

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The Resurrection Men: when people would kill to get into cemeteries

Government has always played, and hopefully will continue to play, a necessary role in scientific and medical research.  Many important discoveries have been made through the use of government funding and in government labs, and many of those would never … Continue reading

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Duel in the clouds — the world’s first air combat in 1870?

While I was researching my post on Tissandier’s ill-fated 1875 high-altitude balloon ride, I happened to come across a very curious image, pictured below. Apparently the 1870 Franco-Prussian War not only resulted in the first airmail: it also spawned the … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, History of science | 5 Comments

More on Franklin and the electrical kite (1752)

The history of science is filled with exaggerated and even untrue stories of scientists and experiments; there are a lot of people about (such as the Renaissance Mathematicus) who endeavor to debunk some of the more egregious myths out there, … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, History of science | 1 Comment

“Are beech-trees ever struck by lightning?” (1889)

Short answer: yes! It’s easy to forget how relatively little we knew about the natural world even only a hundred years ago.  I came across a rather amusing and macabre example in the July 19, 1889 issue of Science magazine … Continue reading

Posted in ... the Hell?, History of science | 6 Comments