Sunday, February 23, 2014
His medical treatments ranged from possibly helpful ("a medicinal mixture of molasses, vinegar, and butter") to very unhelpful (extensive bloodletting) to toxic (orally administered mercurous chloride, also known as calomel, generally given to patients until they salivated uncontrollably, a symptom of acute mercury poisoning).
We can look back at this story, shaking our heads sadly at the barbarity of the medicine of 1799. While doing this, we may note that mercurous chloride was an ingredient in infant teething powders in Britain until 1954, and shake our heads sadly some more. Or that mercurious chloride was a legal ingredient in skin whitening creams in the US until 1990.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
A new scientific theory is accepted into the mainstream canon when there is consensus that it provides better, simpler, more accurate, or more detailed explanations than existing theories. New theories often meet with great resistance unrelated to their merit or utility, for a variety of reasons outlined in my previous post.
Today’s breakthrough theories will become tomorrow’s mainstream theories. And sooner or later, many of today's best and brightest theories will be displaced by newer theories.
Monday, February 3, 2014
It wasn’t the case that we all woke up one morning and agreed on scientific method; its adoption, like the adoption of most philosophical and, indeed, scientific paradigms, was a process rather than an event, and its adoption process stretched into the 1800s. And it has not been adopted by folks whose personal beliefs preclude or supersede it.
So what is the scientific method?
Friday, January 10, 2014
Details are here (at the bottom of page 7). To register, click here, search for "ferment", and proceed. (If someone finds a reasonable way to link directly to the class page, please post a comment.) Enrollment is limited to 25, and as I write this, 14 spots have been taken already.
Sunday, December 8, 2013
I was thinking of writing a follow-up to my October post about kombucha.
Then I stumbled across this great page by Len Porzio entitled "Kombucha, The Balancing Act: Obtaining and Maintaining the Maximum Taste and Benefit from your Kombucha through Consideration and Application of Balance."