"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 -
The Geography of Abortion Access
- Forty years ago Tuesday, the Supreme Court ushered in legal abortion for American women when it decided in Roe v. Wade. Today, states—particularly in the South and Midwest—are eroding that right by legislating hundreds of provisions intended to impede access with burdensome obstacles. To understand more fully the complex state of access to abortion services in America, The Daily Beast identified and confirmed the location of the country’s remaining 724 clinics and calculated the distance from every part of the country to its closest clinic.
posted by Artw
on Jan 24, 2013 -
Jennie Linn McCormack "isn’t the only woman in recent years to be prosecuted for ending her own pregnancy. But her case could change the trajectory of abortion law in the United States": The Rise of DIY Abortions
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jan 3, 2013 -
Let's Talk About Reproductive Norm Enforcement, Baby.
An anonymous philoso-blogger recounts, in an honest, intelligent, compelling, and occasionally poignant way, the process of undergoing medically necessary surgery that would cause infertility. If you care about the reproductive expectations with which women are saddled by contemporary society, you should read this. You should also read this if you care about bioethics, medical decorum, feminism, women in academia, the ethical behavior of philosophers, or, you know, justice. If you care about those last four things, you should have been reading Feminist Philosophers
posted by MultiplyDrafted
on Jan 24, 2012 -
has always been a hotspot
in the culture wars
. But of late, the anti-abortion movement has had some huge wins, often sliding in under the radar of pro-choice supporters. Idaho bans abortions after the 20th week, claiming that mother's shouldn't have the right to make a fetus uncomfortable
. Nebraska also banned abortion after the 20th week
, so did Oklahoma
, and Ohio
are also considering joining the 31 states
that currently have such a ban.
Virginia passed a law that will shut the doors
of almost every abortion clinic in the state. And various areas are now enacting laws that suggest a fetus is significantly more important
than the carrier of said fetus
. One judge ruled that a girl couldn't have an abortion because she had bad grammar
It is quite possible that women who are in their 40s right now may be the only generation of American women that possessed full reproductive rights for their entire child bearing years.
posted by dejah420
on Mar 18, 2011 -
More women in the developed world are choosing not to have children.
'So why do friends, family, colleagues and even strangers think it's OK to question their decision?' 'A woman's fertility status is still very much considered public property. There are still assumptions about women's role in society, about families and about family size."''US Census Bureau says 36% of American women have no children.''Once this was considered insane or unnatural. Even today, it is viewed with suspicion - women with no desire to procreate say they sometimes face awkward questions and disapproval.' [more inside]
posted by VikingSword
on Jul 29, 2010 -
Sexual ornaments grow out of all proportion
It seems that men will be men throughout the animal kindom, not just our little lonely corner of of it.
Most body parts grow proportionally with the rest of the body as individuals of a species become larger, although scientists have long known that visual cues of reproductive prowess are a special case.
But is this the case with everyone
posted by pezdacanuck
on May 23, 2006 -
Today in weird animals
: An international group of scientists has described an animal that provides nutrition for its young by letting them peel off and eat its skin.
posted by Afroblanco
on Apr 17, 2006 -
Welcome to Indiana: married straight parents only.
The Indiana state legislature is considering a bill that would make it illegal for anyone other than a married couple to become pregnant by artificial means such as artificial insemination or egg/embryo donation. In addition, couples wishing to have their inseminations approved will have to apply and provide information including criminal history checks and "description of the family lifestyle of the intended parents, including participation in faith-based or church activities."
posted by XQUZYPHYR
on Oct 4, 2005 -
"Family Values, My Ass!"
That article in the Lexington Herald-Leader inspired me to look up the Nation
article it referred to. Now I'm beginning to see why many women won't go to "evangelical Christian" MDs: this guy Hager (previously brought up on MetaFilter in 2003
, in fact twice
, and then again in 2004
) is strongly anti-abortion -- so pro-conception that he tried to keep the "morning-after pill"
known as "Plan B"
away from women -- but he's apparently pro- sodomy
It almost sounds like fiction.
posted by davy
on May 13, 2005 -
Turning Pickets Into Pledges
Planned Parenthood has launched a new program that "creates a no-win situation for anti-choice protesters — the more picketers who demonstrate outside a Planned Parenthood
clinic, the more donations that clinic receives." This campaign allows supporters to pledge between 25 cents and one dollar per protester -- not a lot of money, but it adds up to thousands over time.
posted by zarq
on Dec 23, 2004 -
Breeders are winning
. "Conservative, religiously minded Americans are putting far more of their genes into the future than their liberal, secular counterparts." (WaPo link, bugmenot
says try email@example.com and
fedup if you don't care to register. Definition of genetic fitness here
posted by jfuller
on Sep 6, 2004 -
A new brand of incest.
"You're 40, happily married - and then you meet your long-lost brother and fall passionately in love. This isn't fiction; in the age of the sperm donor, it's a growing reality: 50% of reunions between siblings, or parents and offspring, separated at birth result in obsessive emotions. Last month, a former police officer was convicted of incest with his half-sister - but should we criminalise a bond hardwired into our psychology?"
posted by Hildegarde
on Jan 12, 2004 -
One egg, one month.
Seemed like such a simple, comprehensible system - until now. "We are literally going to have to re-write medical textbooks," said Dr. Roger Pierson. Turns out many women may ovulate more than once a month, which may be why the rhythm method fails so often.
posted by soyjoy
on Jul 9, 2003 -
Sperm Wars: Extreme sporting's next generation may well be Exo-biotic. What could be first manifestation in this new realm of sport? Taking into account such factors as: simplicity of contest design, ease of sample collection, lots of visible action, and abundant human male competitiveness, the most logical and economic choice would be a sperm competition.
Any volunteers? What do you think the next "extreme" sport will be?
posted by bedhead
on Jun 13, 2003 -
The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement
"Phasing out the human race by voluntarily ceasing to breed will allow Earth's biosphere to return to good health. Crowded conditions and resource shortages will improve as we become less dense." More inside...
posted by Irontom
on May 30, 2002 -
Goodbye women, hello complex ethical debates. ... artificial wombs raise the prospect that gay couples could give 'birth' to their own children. 'This would no doubt horrify right-wingers, while the implications for abortion law might well please them,' he added.
posted by geoff.
on Feb 10, 2002 -
Woman Pregnant Twice.
An Italian woman is due to give birth in a hospital in Rome this week to a baby girl - before returning three months later to have triplets. If both deliveries are successful, it is thought that this will be the first such case in history.
posted by tpoh.org
on Nov 12, 2001 -
Aunt Flo has left the building! "A new drug being developed would eliminate menstruation altogether, while still allowing women to get pregnant. Another drug would eliminate both periods and pregnancy."
Stock in companies that sell white jeans set to skyrocket, while sales of red and white patterned bedsheets plummet! On a more serious note, how much easier will this make it to plan adventurous vacations, honeymoons, and doctor's appointments? How much easier would life be if you never, ever had to think about having a period again?
posted by kristin
on Aug 3, 2001 -