Lighting a candle in toxic air.
The Idea of Progress
LETTER TO BORIS† November 30 – the 185th birthday of Mark Twain Дорогой Борис, You say in your earlier email, after noting that ¾ of all Rembrandt paintings are forgeries, “it's always good to keep in mind that absolutely all the masterpieces of world music, painting and architecture were created UNDER MONARCHIES, and not under […]
Bury a Bigot
LETTER TO BORIS† November 23 Дорогой Борис, I’m happy that you introduced me to Александр С. Грибоедов (Alexander Griboyedov), who was, in addition to being a playwright, poet and composer, an ambassador to Persia, serving Emperor Nicholas I. I was also pleased to discover a new (to me) Latin descriptor: homo unius libri, meaning “a […]
June 14: Che Guevara (1928)
It was on this date, June 14, 1928, that Argentine-born Marxist revolutionist, physician and military leader Che Guevara was born Ernesto Guevara (Lynch) in Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina. He grew up in a family which already had leftist leanings, but which also valued education: Guevara’s reading list not only included Karl Marx but William Faulkner, […]
May 12: Florence Nightingale
"I am so glad that my God is not the God of the High Church or of the Low," said Nightingale. She despised the churches and was an advanced Rationalist.
March 8: James Macartney (1770)
Macartney held that “every revelation, no matter whether it be real or supposed, must produce hatred and persecution among mankind...”
June 19: José Rizal (1861)
Rizal believed in peaceful reform – as well as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and the right to a fair trial. He died an anti-clerical Catholic and was declared a national hero of the Philippines.
June 18: Alphonse Laveran (1845)
It was on this date, June 18, 1845, that French epidemiologist Alphonse Laveran was born Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran in Paris, the son of an army doctor. His first medical training was as an army doctor in the Franco-Prussian War. Laveran’s keen observations—after observing the parasites in a blood smear taken from a patient who […]
April 26: Henry Charlton Bastian (1837)
It was on this date, April 26, 1837, that English physiologist and neurologist Henry Charlton Bastian was born in Truro, Cornwall. He graduated with an M.B. from the University of London in 1861. Bastian married in 1866 and eventually produced three sons and a daughter. He was professor of the Principles and Practice of Medicine […]
November 7: Marie Curie
Marie Curie (1867) It was on this date, November 7, 1867, that French chemist and nuclear physicist Marie Curie was born Maria Salomea Skłodowska in Warsaw, Poland. She was brought up a Catholic by her mother, but her father was a freethinker and provided her with some scientific training. She abandoned Catholicism before she was […]
October 13: Rudolf Virchow
Rudolf Virchow (1821) It was on this date, October 13, 1821, that German pathologist, anthropologist and politician, Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow, was born in Schivelbein, Pomerania, Prussia. Rudolf Virchow was one of the keenest minds in 19th century medicine in Europe, the founder of the science of cellular pathology – the theory that disease arises […]
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