Modern Surgery is More of a Miracle Than You KnowIn the grand scheme of things, the largely successful medical operations performed today are a miracle. It wasn't all that long ago that surgery was a last-ditch act of desperation for patients, and a legal risk for those who performed them, people who sometimes had rather little education in what they were doing. Medical student Michael Denham tells us some high and low points in the history of surgery as he works through his surgical rotation. The four big challenges in developing the art of surgery through history have been 1. anatomical knowledge, 2. controlling the bleeding, 3. blocking pain, and 4. avoiding infection. An astonishing number of patients suffered and died as surgeons experimented and learned to deal with each of those challenges. And often they had to fight to even get the chance to try. For example, the Code of Hammurabi stated that a surgeon whose patient died would have his hands cut off. When Galen taught about anatomy in the second century, human dissection was illegal, so all he knew was learned from animals. In medieval Europe, the only person to turn to for surgery would be a barber. Read how surgical techniques advanced despite a lack of knowledge and a poor reputation at Nautilus. -via Damn Interesting (Image credit: SSgt. Derrick C. Goode, U.S. Air Force)#history #surgery
Geese - Not Chicken - Were the First Birds Domesticated by Man 7,000 Years AgoIt turns out that chickens didn’t come first, huh!  A new study of preserved goose bones revealed that these animals were domesticated as early as 7000 years ago in China. This means that they are the first bird to be taken care of. Hokkaido University Museum’s Masaki Eda and a team of experts excavated Tianluoshan, a Stone Age village between about 7000 and 5500 years old in east China. Out of the total of 232 bones at the location, four of them belonged to immature geese, which suggests that they hatched at the village. In addition, the adult geese bones were observed to have been locally bred and were all almost the same size. This implies captive breeding. The evidence suggests that the geese were the first bird to be domesticated, while the chicken is a strong contender, there has been a dispute over when and where this happened (and no direct evidence to suggest the timeline for chicken domestication). Image credit: Pedro da Silva#geese #history #domestication #animals
First Silver Dollar Coin Ever Made by the US Mint Sold for $12 MillionThe first silver dollar made by the U.S. Mint, a branch of the government responsible for designing and producing coinage for the country, has been sold for a whopping $12 million!The coin is highly valued for its excellent quality and historical significance. According to GreatCollections president Ian Russel, the coin was made to help replace Spanish, English, Dutch and French coins in circulation in the country’s post-Colonial era. “Because of its significance, it was likely seen by President George Washington, Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton and then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson who oversaw the young United States Mint,” Russell said in a statement. “Without question, this is America’s most coveted silver dollar, a numismatic national treasure.”The coin was initially sold to Vegas business executive Bruce Morelan for $10,016,875 in 2013. It was then exhibited across the US and Europe. GreatCollections Coin Auctions then bought the coin and put it up for auction.Image credit: GreatCollections Coin Auctions#coins #history #US #USMint #auctions #currency
Evolution of the Alphabet: From Ancient Phoenician and Greek to LatinOur alphabet went through a long time of revisions and adaptations before we were able to familiarize ourselves with the well-known set of letters in the English alphabet.The Proto-Sinaitic was the first-ever alphabet to be used. The script was derived in Canaan, the biblical land of Israel. It was used to describe sound instead of meanings. In addition, as the first Semitic script, the Proto-Sinaitic served as a basis and influenced other languages. It was the precursor to the Phoenician alphabet and became the basis for other languages such as for Arabic, Cyrillic, Hebrew, and Greek. As to how we got the English alphabet, we can trace its origins to the archaic Greek script, which was influenced by the Proto-Sinaitic script. Many of the letters from the ancient script remained in Modern Greek, including some very familiar letters such as Alpha, Beta, Delta, and even Omicron. The influence of the Greeks, including their culture and their very alphabet, made their way into Latin, which evolved into Roman script. Some of the letters in the Roman script are now used in modern English which was established 500 years after the Roman script’s appearance. Image credit: Matt Baker, Visual Capitalist #letters #alphabet #linguistics #history #language
"Bionic" Fish-Scale Armor Made of Leather Found in 2,500 Year Old Chinese Burial SiteResearchers discovered fish-scale armor that is an early version of bionics. The armor was found in a 2,500-Year-Old Chinese burial site. The military garment was made of more than 5,000 leather scales, which make it look like the overlapping scales of a fish. According to lead researcher Patrick Wertmann, the armor is “a light, highly efficient one-size-fits-all defensive garment for soldiers of a mass army."The fish-like design is not an aesthetic choice, but more of a reinforcement of defense. The overlapping leather scales "strengthen the human skin for better defense against blow, stab and shot," said study co-researcher Mayke Wagner, the scientific director of the Eurasia Department of the German Archeological Institute and head of its Beijing office.Image credit: Dongliang Xu/Turfan Museum, Patrick Wertmann#armor #China #bionics #history #archaeology
Kunga: "War Donkey" Bred 4,500 Years Ago by Ancient Mesopotamians was the Oldest Known Hybrid AnimalIt seems that our penchant for making, or breeding, hybrid animals started a long, long time ago. Experts discovered the remains of a Kunga, the earliest known hybrid animal bred by people. This ‘war donkey’ is from Syro-Mesopotamia, and existed around 4,500 years ago.The animal is a combination or cross between a donkey and a hemippe, a type of Asiatic wild ass. According to the researchers, these animals were highly valued and priced. This can be seen through the location where the remains of this hybrid were discovered. Skeletons of the animals were found in a royal burial complex dating back to 2600 B.C.According to paleogeneticist Eva-Maria Geigl of Institut Jacques Monod in Paris, the Kungas were probably created for warfare, as they could pull wagons. Image credit: Glenn Schwartz/Johns Hopkins University#animals #ancienttimes #history #mesopotamia #hybrid #science
How a Con Artist Named Gregor MacGregor Sold the Fake Country of Poyais to Investors ... and Got Away With it!This man pulled one of the biggest scams in history and did not get any jail time at all? The absolute audacity of fate to not give him the punishment he deserves!Meet Gregor MacGregor, a man who took advantage of the investing hype of the 1820s in England by creating a false country to pitch to rich people. The socialite/con artist created the independent country of Poyais. He advertised and marketed the land as a new country that “would rapidly advance in prosperity and civilization.” People were convinced of his scam, believing that they were the ones responsible for building a developing country, and set sail for the fictional country.Of course, at some point, people discovered all of his lies. Two expeditions left to set sail for Poyais, hoping to get better opportunities and all of their money’s worth. Unfortunately, that was not the case. All they got was sickness, death, and the fact that they wasted their money on a country that never existed.... hundreds of British had fallen for the marketing hype, exchanging their life savings for Poyaisian money and land grants. The first ~70 settlers left from England in fall 1822 on the Honduras Packet. Another ~180 set sail from Scotland in January 1823 on the Kennersley Castle. [...]After the beautiful view from the ship, Hastie and the others believed they would find St. Joseph, a European-style capital city outfitted with a government center and a theater. Strangely, the new arrivals didn’t see any dwellings or buildings. The only signs of life were the remaining passengers from the Honduras Packet, holed up in bamboo huts, and 2 eccentric Americans who had been living off the land for years.There was no property to be assigned to the landowners. No banks for depositing and withdrawing Poyaisian money. No easy access to wild game. Over the next couple months, the Poyais newcomers felt the consequences of the punishing heat and humidity, withering away from hunger, exhaustion, and malaria as they rationed provisions from the ship.MacGregor fled to France to escape prosecution – which he successfully did, as the survivors of the expedition who came back to England did not blame him. They even petitioned the London government and signed an affidavit that this man was a victim as well. Lucky bastard. Image credit: George Watson/National Gallery of Scotland/Wikipedia; PGM#ConArtist #Poyais #GregorMacGregor #history #scam #England #Honduras
The Blue Men of the Sahara: Why the Nomadic Tuareg People Wear Blue ClothesThe Saharan daraa (the long and loose gown) and the tagelmusts (the cloth used as a turban) are garments from northern Africa that go back as far as the 7th and 8th centuries. Today, the fashion styles trending in African cities are those from the Western world. But for the nomadic Tuareg people, the so-called "blue men of the Sahara," these garments remain as the main attire.The question is, why won't they change their look? Well, the answer is simple. The clothes are effective against the desert's scorching heat.According to Dahid Jdeidou, the local guide in Mauritania, the daraa allows for the right airflow, and helps the person conserve body water while he travels across the desert.But it doesn't mean that the style doesn't evolve. Thanks to the low-cost chemical dyes from Asia and Europe, it is now possible to have fabrics with varying shades of blue.But why blue? The reason is people who had white daraas had the privilege to clean their clothes everyday. Those with colored daraas are people from the lower class.Learn more about the history of the garments over at BBC Travel.(All Images: Juan Martinez)#History #Daraa #Tagelmusts #Sahara #Tuareg #Fashion
Here’s What Famous People From History Would Look Like Today Thanks to FaceAppWhat if historical figures lived today? How would they look? Comic book writer Magdalene Vissagio became curious about this, and, with the power of AI, she found her answers. Using FaceApp and AirBrush, Vissagio was able to re-imagine these historical figures. Of course, many of these do not look faithful to the original reference, as this is only made for fun.Each image only takes about 15-30 mins to create.Here are some of Vissagio's photos. See more over at Bored Panda.You may also visit the Instagram account dedicated to these digital modernizations over here.(All Images: deadpeople_alive via Bored Panda)#DigitalReconstruction #DigitalModernization #History #FaceApp
AI Creates Photorealistic Portraits of Historical FiguresDutch photographer and digital artist Bas Uterwijk gives us a glimpse of how historical figures would have looked like through these amazing reconstructions made possible through the use of a neural network. The photo above is the artist’s reconstruction of Nefertiti, the great royal wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti is one of the newest additions in Uterwijk’s series, alongside figures from the Renaissance, 18th-century Europe, and other time periods.To create these portraits, Uterwijk uploads numerous references of the person's likeness to the AI applications. Then, he makes small adjustments to the program until he is satisfied with the result. “These ‘Deep Learning' networks are trained with thousands of photographs of human faces and are able to create near-photorealistic people from scratch or fit uploaded faces in a ‘Latent Space' of a total of everything the model has learned,” Uterwijk explains. “I think the human face hasn't changed dramatically over thousands of years and apart from hairstyles and makeup, people that lived long ago probably looked very much like us, but we are used to seeing them in the often distorted styles of ancient art forms that existed long before the invention of photography.”Uterwijk also bases some of his recreations from paintings and sculptures, like his reconstruction of David (which is based on Michelangelo’s sculpture of the biblical figure).Neural networks truly are a technological marvel.(All Images: Bas Uterwijk)#NeuralNetwork #AI #ArtificialIntelligence #Reconstruction #Art #Photorealism #History