Monthly Archives: November 2014

A lasting fame in his name

Captain Charles Boycott was an English owner of land in Ireland in the 1880’s who had a dispute with the local Irish who harvested his land. The local Irish then refused to harvest the crops on his land. From this situation we now have the phrase ‘to boycott’.

(The Great Courses – Victorian Britain)

I wonder how much you could get for a place like that

Recent excavations have shown that after the fall of the Roman empire around the 9th century the friars who controlled the Colosseum rented out the space to ordinary citizens which made the Colosseum a ‘condo’. Stables, workshops and residences all were a part of this new use for the Colosseum. It appears the Colosseum was used like this until 1349 when an earthquake made the building architecturally unsound.

(Magazine – Archaeology – Nov/Dec 2014)

It was not always Christian versus Muslim

In 1453 the Muslims finally captured Constantinople and became the major force in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the West was the Christian Spanish King Charles V who was also the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. However they were not the only forces to be dealt with. In  the East the Muslims had continuous wars with the Persians and other Muslim leaders in various lands. The the West Christian France was a force that was always trying to create problems for the Spanish. When Charles retook Tunis on one of his campaigns the Spanish were shocked to see French cannonballs being used by the Muslims. And when the Muslims decided to try and take parts of Italy they forged a treaty with France to split the country, even though they were never able to complete their conquest.

(Book – Empires of the Sea: The siege of Malta, the battle of Lepanto, and the contest for the center of the world – Roger Crowley)

Tidbits from 19th century Britain

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a physician who wasn’t getting too many patients which allowed him the time to write Sherlock Holmes books. When Big Ben was cast it cracked almost immediately and had to be recast. Queen Victoria used chloroform when she gave birth to her last two children and she said she loved the experience.

(The Great Courses – Victorian Britain)

Lots of blood

The brain is surrounded by a large number of capillaries. If you took all the capillaries and set them end to end they would stretch 400 miles.

(The Great Courses – Introduction to Nanotechnology: The New Science of the Small)

Cancer be-gone

One of the ways new technology uses to deliver drugs into the human body is to put the drug into a nano length ‘container’ called a nanotube. A common container used in the past is a tube of carbon atoms but a container can be made up of many different organic substances. A current cancer drug uses the fact that cancer cells have a lower Ph than normal cells. A cancer drug is put into a container that collapses at a lower Ph which then releases the drug at the site of the cancer cells.

(The Great Courses – Introduction to Nanotechnology: The New Science of the Small)

The Crimean War

The Crimean War 1854-1856 was between the alliance of Britain, France and Turkey against Russia. Britain was involved because it was afraid that Russian influence around the Black Sea would prevent it from complete access to it’s new colony of India. The poem ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ by Tennyson was about one incident in this war. This war was also the first one where pictures were photographed. Florence Nightingale started her quest for better sanitation and care for the wounded in this war and  she took the profession of nursing and made it an honorable one. Queen Victoria created the Victorian Cross during this war and this was the first metal that was awarded to the lesser ranks of men as well as officers.

(The Great Courses – Victorian Britain)

This one is pretty hard to believe

Every single cell in the human body contains about six feet of DNA. There are trillions of cells in our body so that if you took the entire length of each DNA strand and put them end to end it would reach from the earth to the moon and back 130,000 times!

(The Great Courses – Introduction to Nanotechnology: The New Science of Small)