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Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

 

MRSA and Animals

Optimal control of MRSA's spread and diversity would involve attention to the role of pets and livestock, especially factory-farmed livestock (40 minute podcast -- no transcript, but here is the text of an interview that covers some of the same ground as the podcast.) Science journalist Maryn McKenna: "[Bacteria are] unpredictable and dynamic . . . We have few treatment options, so we need to be much more thoughtful." [more inside]
posted by cybercoitus interruptus on Aug 2, 2010 - 21 comments

Better than ties from J. Garcia!

What do HIV, breast cancer, dental plaque, and stem cells all have in common? Why, you can wear them! as a tie, a lovely scarf, or even underwear! The Infectious Awearables collection will definitely be catching...spreading like an epidemic...infectious and charming! (via Blue's News)
posted by WolfDaddy on Feb 10, 2004 - 2 comments

http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,372067,00.html

http://www.guardianunlimited.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,372067,00.html Thousands of South American indians were infected with measles, killing hundreds, in order to for US scientists to study the effects on primitive societies of natural selection.
posted by hobbes on Sep 22, 2000 - 5 comments

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