Categories
Historical Expertise

Did Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Record Supernova?

Today Nature | News reported on an effort to find evidence in medieval chronicles of a supernova that might account for a spike in carbon-14 levels: “Ancient text gives clue to mysterious radiation spike” (unfortunately, the full article is behind a paywall: “Astronomy: Clue to an ancient cosmic-ray event?”). After hearing about elevated levels of […]

Categories
Press and Pop Culture

The Plague in Oregon

There is little new about the latest reports about a man in Bend, Oregon, suffering from Y. pestis,the dreaded Plague or the Black Death. Plague is endemic in the South West and the West, with cases reported every year since the mid-1950s (see the useful CDC page on plague distribution statistics). Four people in Oregon […]

Categories
Historical Expertise

Lynn White—Medievalist and Futurist?

Lynn White focused on the role of technology in the middle ages searching for the roots of the technological innovation that contributed to the West’s rise and technological supremacy. His Medieval Technology and Social Change is a collection of lectures delivered in 1957 and remains an important book, which coincidentally was published the same year […]

Categories
Press and Pop Culture

Another Flat Earth Report

I can be persuaded to forgive President Obama when he invoked a mythcal past filled with people who believed in a flat earth. He is, after all, not trained in history or science or history of science. And he doesn’t pretend to have any expertise in history of science. It is more difficult to forgive […]

Categories
Historical Expertise

Toward a history of “eppur si muove”

Here I want to offer something of a history of Galileo’s unverifiable “eppur si muove.” My last post was not particularly helpful because it did not elevate the level of the discussion. I hope this post will contribute to a conversation about history and its uses. There is more at issue here than me just […]