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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.
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posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

the need for late-term abortions will never go away

I think that the extreme, right-wing, misogynist religious fanatics have basically hijacked the Republican party and are moving toward being able to hijack the Democrats too. I'm appalled at the hubris of these legislators who, one after another, think they can make more sensible decisions about a woman's personal, private reproductive decisions than the woman herself. They know nothing about these situations. They don't know a thing about later abortions, or why women seek them out, and yet they presume that they should be making these decisions. Interview with Dr. Susan Robinson, One of the Last Four Doctors in America to Openly Provide Third-Trimester Abortions
posted by latkes on Sep 22, 2013 - 118 comments

"We’re giving just enough to prevent them from dying."

Because of nationwide shortages, Washington hospitals are rationing, hoarding, and bartering critical nutrients premature babies and other patients need to survive. Doctors are reporting conditions normally seen only in developing countries, and there have been deaths. How could this be allowed to happen?
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posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 23, 2013 - 113 comments

On Medical Neutrality

In 2011, the CIA reportedly hired a doctor in Pakistan to conduct espionage while giving vaccinations to children. In response, Pakistan expelled Save the Children from the country. The New England Journal of Medicine comments on military operations masquerading as humanitarian relief. [more inside]
posted by painquale on May 21, 2013 - 41 comments

A Cardiac Conundrum

“The gap between what patients and doctors expect from these procedures, and the benefit that they actually provide, shows the profound impact of a certain kind of mechanical logic in medicine,” he explains. “Even though doctors value randomized clinical trials and evidence-based medicine, they are powerfully influenced by ideas about how diseases and treatments work. If doctors think a treatment should work, they come to believe that it does work, even when the clinical evidence isn’t there.” [more inside]
posted by latkes on Feb 18, 2013 - 30 comments

"Cocaine for Snowblindness"

You're about to be the base doctor at Halley Research Station in Antarctica for a year. For ten months, no one gets in or out. Fourteen lives are in your hands, including your own. What do you put in your medical kit? And how do your choices differ from those of your predecessors (Eric Marshall and Edward Wilson) a century ago?
posted by zarq on Oct 2, 2012 - 8 comments

blood so clear you could read the paper through it.

The Academic Ob/Gyn: Taking Care of the Dying Jehovah’s Witness. The comments are good too.
posted by the young rope-rider on Oct 26, 2011 - 83 comments

Perverse Incentives

Obstetricians and gynecologists are meeting the increased demand for cosmetic vaginal surgery (NSFW)
posted by reenum on May 22, 2011 - 147 comments

Pitcher’s Treatment Draws Scrutiny

Bartolo Colon, now of the New York Yankees, underwent a controversial stem-cell treatment in the Dominican Republic to regain his old form.
posted by reenum on May 12, 2011 - 23 comments

The New Abortion Providers

The New Abortion Providers: an in-depth look at the re-institutionalization of abortion training in U.S. teaching hospitals, from the New York Times Magazine.
posted by killdevil on Jul 15, 2010 - 28 comments

"I need to watch Grey's Anatomy, so you need to be quiet for an hour."

"You're in love with Dr. Miracles!" "No, I'm in love with saving lives!" Dr. Miracles saves former President George Bush, Starbucks and Santa Claus by administering highly unorthodox medical treatments (NSFW)
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Dec 19, 2009 - 16 comments

Saskatchewan's Obama?

Urban legend has it that the province of Saskatchewan, Canada appeared in red in some 1950's American social studies textbooks, along with other "communist" countries such as Russia, China and Cuba. It is true that Saskatchewan's "natural governing party", the socialistic New Democratic Party have held power in the province for 47 of the last 65 years. And it's true that the NDP's most famous leader (and Canada's Greatest Canadian), Tommy Douglas, brought universal healthcare to the province, an achievement which paved the way for it to come to the rest of Canada. But now, after suffering their worst defeat in 20 years, Saskatchewan's New Democratic Party is searching for a new leader... [more inside]
posted by Jaybo on Feb 28, 2009 - 20 comments

let's talk about pelvic exams

“Just put your feet up here and let your legs go all floppy. Just flop your knees apart. OK, just relax.” On this week’s episode of CBC Radio's “White Coat, Black Art” [mp3], Dr. Brian Goldman talks to both patients and doctors about that important, intimate, yet often alienating experience called the pelvic exam. In case you’ve ever wondered, “How DO male doctors feel when they do a pelvic exam?”, this show may provide some interesting answers. [more inside]
posted by hurdy gurdy girl on Mar 4, 2008 - 32 comments

Bacterial marketing: the other Oskar Schindler

Upon the Nazi invasion of Poland, pediatrician Eugeniusz Łazowski and his friend Stanisław Matulewicz fabricated a fake typhus epidemic to save Polish Jews from the Nazis. Knowing that typhus-infected Jews would be summarily executed, non-Jews were injected with the harmless Proteus OX19, which would generate false positives for typhus. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Oct 19, 2007 - 23 comments

Science refusal kils child?

Because some people believe that HIV does not cause AIDS, some mothers have decided not only to refuse AIDS testing, but to give birth and breastfeed their child while taking no anti-HIV medicines. Unfortunately this, along with trusting non-licensed medical practitioners and distrusting the medical establishment, has apparently caused the death of a 3 year old girl.
posted by Kickstart70 on Sep 28, 2005 - 65 comments

Immortality Protein May Offer Cancer Vaccine.

Immortality Protein May Offer Cancer Vaccine. You know, I'm glad they're making progress, but once the 'cure' is found, I can't daydream about being this smart, intelligent doctor, (something right out of a soap), that creates the cure for cancer, and woos all the la-a-dies... then again there is always being that evil-twin and start cloning, with that, you won't need to wooo anyone, they're your toys! mwahahaha!
posted by tiaka on Aug 30, 2000 - 0 comments

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