In a recent piece on her excellent Guardian Science blog, The H Word, my #histsci soul sister Rebekah “Becky” Higgitt asked, “Is there a rising tide of irrationality?” summarising her opinion with the following subtitle:
Despite claims that pseudoscientific views are on the rise, history shows that belief in things like astrology or the paranormal have always been with us and are likely to remain
Being my usual provocative self I thought I would take the time to point out that not only has the belief in things like astrology and the paranormal always been with us but that this belief has over the centuries made a not insubstantial contribution to the evolution of the so-called legitimate sciences.
Need some #histsci reading matter? Then pop on over to The Scicurios Brain at Scientific American Blogs where the one and only Scicurious has put together the 53rd edition of Giants’ Shoulders the history of science blog carnival.
The 54th edition will be hosted by Michelle Ziegler at her Contagions blog on 16th December 2012. Submissions as always by the 15th of the month either direct to the host, to me here at The Renaissance Mathematicus or to Dr SkySkull at Skulls in the Stars.
Also, as always, Giants’ Shoulders is looking for new hosts beginning in February 2013. If you would like to host the best history of science blog in cyberspace then get in touch with me here. I look forward to hearing from you.
The other day Kate Morant, author of the interesting Halley’s Log Blog, tweeted the following question on my twitter stream:
Help! My iPhone diary’s become corrupted. By month ok, but by list all the apptmts randomly reassigned to diff dates. Any tips?
Being the friendly and helpful chap that I am, I tweeted back:
Buy a pocket diary (a great Renaissance invention) and a pencil.
Now I have already written about the origins of the pencil, another great Renaissance invention, in an earlier post so I thought it would be nice to write something about the scientific origins of the pocket diary.
I have decided that it is time to take the Facebook page and Twitter account of Whewell’s Ghost in a new direction. In part inspired by our earlier discussions about the future of The Giants’ Shoulders history of science blog carnival (and my guilt and always failing to send links into the horrible blog carnival submission system), I will be posting as many links to history of science posts and articles as I can to Facebook. This will also be picked up by the Twitter account.
So please – ‘Like’ us here http://www.facebook.com/whewellsghost and ‘Follow’ us @WhewellsGhost https://twitter.com/WhewellsGhost.
Please also feel free to let me know about posts @beckyfh – and all future hosts of The Giants’ Shoulders should stop by to see what I’ve been reading and enjoying!
The last couple of days have seen two astronomical anniversaries associated with the great Danish observational astronomer Tycho Brahe. Tycho first observed the super nova of 1572 from Herrevad Abbey in Southern Sweden on 11th November and five years later he first observed the great comet of 1577 from his observatory of Uraniborg on the island of Hven on 13th November. These two events have entered the folklore of the history of astronomy and their supposed impact has defined Tycho’s position in the pantheon of the astronomers who ushered in the new astronomy. Unfortunately most of what is said about them is false or at best distorted. [to read the real story go here]
You only have three days left to submit your history of science blog posts for Giants Shoulders #53 the one and only history of science blog carnival, which will be hosted by Scicurious at her blog The Scicurious Brain on the 16th of November.
Submissions can be made either direct to me here at The Renaissance Mathematicus or to the host at her blog. Get those #histsci, #histtech & #histmed submission in: Giants’ Shoulders need you and you #histsci posts.
Science writer Judith Dutton at mental _floss blogged about Isaac Newton’s activities at the Royal Mint last Friday. She chose to retell the story of Newton’s pursuit of the coiner William Chaloner. The main part of her piece is OK when somewhat sensationalist but the first and last paragraphs are so false that they are painful to read for anybody who knows their way around Newton’s biography so I have decided to treat them to a little touch of RM Monday morning smack-down. It also gives me an excuse to recommend Thomas Levenson’s excellent Newton and the Counterfeiter, which tells the whole story and which I reviewed here and here when it was first published.