Showing posts with label History. Show all posts
Showing posts with label History. Show all posts

Jun 5, 2015

Recipes and Rx

Retail prescription drugs in the US are over $200 billion annually. The origin of the Rx symbol comes from medieval time as an abbreviation for a form of the Late Latin word recipere meaning 'to take' or the imperative form of recipe, meaning 'take'.

By the late 1500s it came to mean medical prescription. This meaning lasted until the mid-1700s, when it was also applied to food preparation.

Physicians typically begin their directive with the command recipe, abbreviated to Rx. Other abbreviations used in the medical field for charting are “dx” (diagnosis), “sx” (signs and symptoms), and “hx” (history). Incidentally, females in the US fill almost fifty percent more prescriptions per capita than males.

Jun 19, 2009

Do You Testify

To 'testify' was based on men in the Roman court swearing to a statement made by swearing on their testicles.

Chew the Fat

During the middle ages in England, folks could seldom afford pork. When they did, it made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could 'bring home the bacon.' They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and 'chew the fat.'

May 27, 2009

Teeth Jewels

Teeth with jewels and gold might seem like a new thing, but gem-studded teeth were popular among people from all walks of life in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, purely for decorative purposes.

As far back as 2,500 years ago, dentists could drill teeth using obsidian drill-like devices, which are capable of penetrating bone. They may even have used some kind of herbal anesthetic. Then they attached the gemstones using plant resin adhesive. The ancient drillers knew enough to avoid the pulp inside teeth, and so managed to avoid an infection or broken tooth. Now celebrities are starting to tattoo their teeth.

Speaking of BCE

My son told me about the new designations for BC and AD, so I had to go look it up. - There really is no difference between an AD/BC and BCE/CE system when it comes to historical dates. The year 23 AD is exactly the same as the year 23 CE, and 4004 BC is also 4004 BCE.

References to historical dates under either classification shouldn't create confusion. Major historical dates such as 1492 AD is now 1492 CE and 1776 AD is 1776 CE.

The AD/BC method of identifying historical dates is traced back to Catholic historians working in the early Middle Ages. Identifying historical dates until that point was often a complicated proposition, since different historians worked under different calendars. Converting historical dates to the standard Gregorian calendar would not have been easy, so they began using the birth of Jesus Christ as a central point.

The term BC is short for "Before Christ". Historical dates before the birth of Christ become smaller as they approach the theoretical Year Zero.

Historical dates after the birth of Christ are classified as AD, short for the Latin phrase Anno Domini, or "in the year of our Lord". Another goodie that we learned in school has become useless - and that was one of the few things I actually remembered.

May 4, 2009


Iodine was discovered in 1811 by accident by Bernard Courtois. He had a factory that produced saltpeter (potassium nitrate), which was a key ingredient in ammunition. He had figured out how to fatten his profits and get his saltpeter potassium for next to nothing by getting it from the seaweed that washed up daily on the shores. Iodine is plentiful in saltwater and concentrated in seaweed. All he had to do was collect it, burn it, and extract the potassium from the ashes.

One day, while his workers were cleaning the tanks used for extracting potassium, they accidentally used a stronger acid than usual and mysterious clouds billowed from the tank. When the smoke cleared, he noticed dark crystals on all the surfaces that had come into contact with the fumes.

When he had the crystals analyzed, they turned out to be a previously unknown element, which he named iodine, after the Greek word for “violet.” It was soon discovered that goiters, enlargements of the thyroid gland, were caused by a lack of iodine in the diet. That's why iodine is now added to table salt and goiters are mostly a thing of the past.


The term "it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye" is not from your mother. It is from ancient Rome, where the only rule during wrestling matches was no eye gouging. The only way to be disqualified was to poke someone's eyes out. And I thought my mother made that up.

Apr 2, 2009

Emilio Marcos Palma is Thirty

He was the first person known to be born on the continent of Antarctica in January, 1978. He is also listed in Guinness Records as the only known first-born on any continent.

Emilio had secured a scholarship to study Mechanical Engineering in the Army because he was an 'Anartic', but lost it by having to work on a website as a consultant, and then none of his brothers responded with a military vocation.

He is the fourth of five brothers, Carlos Jorge, María Silvia, Juan Santos, and Luciano, who was born 20 years after Emilio in the same bed, in the same room, in the same hospital in Neuquén, where his father was transferred.