Thursday, 31 December 2015

Men of Yore: Oliver Evans

This is another in a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity. 

Oliver Evans (source)

Oliver Evans,  (born Sept. 13, 1755, near Newport, Del. [U.S.]—died April 15, 1819, New York, N.Y.), American inventor who pioneered the high-pressure steam engine (U.S. patent, 1790) and created the first continuous production line (1784).

Evans was apprenticed to a wheelwright at the age of 16. Observing the trick of a blacksmith’s boy who used the propellant force of steam in a gun, he began to investigate ways to harness steam for propulsion. Before he could successfully pursue this line of research, however, he became involved with a number of other industrial problems. Carding, or combing, fibres to prepare them for spinning was a laborious process constituting a bottleneck in the newly mechanized production of textiles. To speed this operation Evans invented a machine that cut and mounted 1,000 wire teeth per minute on leather, the teeth serving as an improved carding device.

In 1784, at the age of 29, he attacked another major industrial production problem, the age-old process of grinding grain. Building a factory outside Philadelphia and adapting five machines, including conveyors, elevators, and weighing scales, he created a production line in which all movement throughout the mill was automatic. Labour was required only to set the mill in motion; power was supplied by waterwheels, and grain was fed in at one end, passed by a system of conveyors and chutes through the stages of milling and refining, and emerged at the other end as finished flour. The system, which reduced costs by 50 percent according to Evans’ calculations, much later was widely copied in American flour milling.

When Evans applied for patent protection, first to state governments (1787) and later to the new U.S. Patent Office (1790), he added a third invention, his high-pressure steam engine. He continued to work on this for the next several years, envisioning both a stationary engine for industrial purposes and an engine for land and water transport. In 1801 he built in Philadelphia a stationary engine that turned a rotary crusher to produce pulverized limestone for agricultural purposes. The engine that became associated with his name was an original adaptation of the existing steam engine; Evans placed both the cylinder and the crankshaft at the same end of the beam instead of at opposite ends, as had been done previously. This greatly reduced the weight of the beam. An ingenious linkage, which became world famous as the Evans straight-line linkage, made the new arrangement feasible. He saw at once the potential of such an engine for road transportation but was unable to persuade the authorities to permit its use on the Pennsylvania Turnpike—not unnaturally, since it might well have frightened the horses, which at that time provided the main form of transport. Within a few years he had engines doing several other kinds of work, including sowing grain, driving sawmills and boring machines, and powering a dredge to clear the Philadelphia water frontage. Completed by June 1805, his new type of steam-engine scow, called the Orukter Amphibolos, or Amphibious Digger, was 30 feet (9 m) long by 12 feet (3.7 m) wide. In its machinery it embodied the chain-of-buckets principle of his automatic flour mill. Equipped with wheels, it ran on land as well as on water, making it the first powered road vehicle to operate in the United States.

In 1806 Evans began to develop his noted Mars Iron Works, where, over the next 10 years, he made more than 100 steam engines that were used with screw presses for processing cotton, tobacco, and paper. The Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., bought one of Evans’ engines, and, when the War of 1812 broke out, Evans and a partner proposed to build a powerful steam warship with a large gun at the bow, thus anticipating John Ericsson’s Monitor of 50 years later; but the proposal was not accepted.

Evans’ last great work, completed in 1817, was a 24-horsepower high-pressure engine for a waterworks. He died shortly after a disastrous fire that destroyed his Mars Iron Works, including his valuable patterns and molds.

His Young Mill-Wright and Miller’s Guide, which he had written in 1792, continued to sell and had gone through 15 editions by 1860. In another work, The Abortion of the Young Steam Engineer’s Guide (1805), he forecast the need for government subsidization of technological advances. 
Vested interests in horses, as well as poor roads, steep gradients, inadequate springing, and an inadequate technology of materials, hindered the adoption of his ideas for steam engines on roads. Also, because later manufacturers were slow to make use of his innovative manufacturing techniques, Evans was long a somewhat neglected figure. More recently, however, in the allocation of priorities for the development of the high-pressure steam engine, the simultaneity of Evans’ work with that of the British genius Richard Trevithick has been established, and historians have accorded proper credit for his pioneering of the assembly line.


If ever there was a man who deserved the epitaph 'Jack of all trades' it was Oliver Evans.  He turned his hand to numerous fields in industry and managed to contribute to them all.  Whether it was milling flour, kneading bread, freezing water, excavating dirt, or self-propelled vehicles he was eager to turn his hand, and mind, to it and go at it.

It shows us what man can achieve with his seemingly boundless natural enthusiasm and energy when he is given a free environment in which to express those energies.  Unconstrained by red-tape, bureaucracy, or mental stifling from the academic world men can make a better world than the one currently lived in.


Monday, 21 December 2015

Men of Yore: Philipp Bozzini

This is another in a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity. 

Philipp Bozzini (image source)

Philipp Bozzini (May 25, 1773 – April 4, 1809) was born in Mainz, Germany. On June 12, 1797 he was awarded the degree of doctor of medicine. From 1804 onwards, Bozzini devoted himself virtually completely to develop his instrument, Lichtleiter or "Light Conductor", a primitive endoscope to allow for inspecting the ear, urethra, rectum, female bladder, cervix, mouth, nasal cavity, or wounds. Philipp Bozzini, using the modest means available at the beginning of the 19th century, was able to show to the medical profession the way to endoscopy. With his instrument and ideas, he was three quarters of a century ahead of the technical and scientific possibilities of his time. Historians agree that this instrument using artificial light and various mirrors and specula was the beginning of a large family of endoscopes.
Early Life
Philipp Bozzini was born on May 25, 1773 in Mainz, Germany. His father, Nicolaus Maria Bozzini de Bozza, came from a well-to-do Italian family that had to escape from Italy in approximately 1760 as the result of a duel. In Mainz, Nicolaus entered into business and married Anna Maria Florentin de Cravatte, from the city of Frankfurt.
Bozzini started his medical studies in Mainz, and approximately in 1794 went to Jena to complete them. On June 12, 1797 Bozzini was granted the title of doctor of medicine, which allowed him to establish in Mainz as physician. Soon afterwards, he traveled several times to France and the Netherlands in order to acquire professional experience.
Later Life
In 1798 he married Margarete Reck, and they had three children.[citation needed]
During the War of the Second Coalition against France, Bozzini served in the imperial army and was in charge of a 120-bed campaign hospital in Mainz. His extraordinary merits during this time were known by the Archduke Karl of Austria (1771–1847), who would protect in the future Bozzini’s invention. Bozzini thought that the instrument could be incorporated into Austrian military hospitals. This required a device to be sent to Wien, and also the performance of an expertise by health authorities. An investigating committee subjected the instrument to various tests, starting with examination in corpses of the bladder, rectum, vagina, and peritoneal cavity through small laparotomies. The committee proposed some changes intended to improve the performance of the light conductor. Once such changes were made, they were satisfied with the operation of the instrument in patients (only examinations of the peritoneal cavity were not approved), particularly also because the procedure was painless.
Due to intrigues in the upper governmental spheres, a second expertise was decided, this time at the Wien medical school, which performed it, and partly under the negative influence of the church, as the report turned out to be unfavorable for Bozzini and concluded that such an instrument should not be used.
The second coalition war ended with the 1801 Luneville peace treaty between Napoleon and Kaiser Franz, and the left bank of the Rhine river remained in the hands of the French. The new Mainz government granted young Bozzini authorization to practice his profession, but he refused to accept the French citizenship and therefore decided to establish himself at Frankfurt.
Activities in Frankfurt
Bozzini’s knowledge of mathematics, philosophy, and chemistry was outstanding. Aeronautic studies and drawings of a flying device were unfortunately lost. His exceptional talent as an artist and drawer is shown by his monograph about the “light conductor”, where a self-portrait and watercolor paintings about the instrument may be seen.
Like many idealist people, Bozzini had no experience in business matters, but devoted himself with enthusiasm to his scientific activities. From 1804 on, his dedication to the development of his instrument for endoscopy was virtually complete. To earn a living, Bozzini practiced obstetrics with extreme care. On May 30, 1808 he was granted the title of “Physicus extraordinarius” at the request of one of his patients, Karl Theodor von Dalberg, a personality of great influence in the region.
Bozzini was one of the four physicians of the city of Frankfurt who should also care for the surrounding peasant areas while being a “plague” physician.
The various tasks in Frankfurt were not only tedious for these physicians, but also dangerous. His predecessor in the position, Dr. Zeitmann, had died during one of the epidemic outbreaks of typhus in the region. Bozzini contracted the same disease around mid-March 1809, after successfully treating 42 patients with typhus. His friend and colleague Feyerlein subsequently reported the dedication with which he cared of his patients, disregarding the risk of contagion he had. On April 4, 1809, Bozzini died from that infection at 36 years of age.
He left his wife in a bad financial situation. She died six months later. Their three small children were given over to friends.
When the Frankfurt Cathedral was renovated after the war, in 1954, the gravestone to the memory of Bozzini was uncovered; the words dedicated to him by his friend Feyerlein may still be read in it:
“To the devote soul of Philipp Bozzini, doctor of medicine, who was the first to explore the inside of organs through his ingenious light projector. He was able to tenaciously fight fever in other people, with a great sense of duty, and succumbed on the night from the 4th to the 5th day of April 1809, in his 36th year of life. His faithful friend F.F."

Imagine what would have happened to science fiction, looking inwards instead of outwards.  Imagine a zillion and one Raquel Welsh 'Fantastic Voyage' clones clogging up your television schedule like a bad case of cholesterol.  Imagine what Star Trek would have been like.  Imagine what it's intro ditty would have sounded like!
"Inner-space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the Starship Endoscope. Its 5-generation mission: to explore strange new holes, to seek out new veins and new bodily-sphincters, to boldly probe where no man has probed before."
# Ooooh 'ooooh' [off note!] ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh #
Jokes aside, Bozzini's creation of endoscopy (he basically conceived the idea of humane endoscopes) has opened up a whole new world which allows doctors, surgeons and the like to peer inside of human bodies without having to open us up like the proverbial can of beans.

No more having some gallumping pompous surgeon stick his right arm up your freshly opened perineum [winces] desperately trying to find your kidney stones.  Should said surgeon actually find the stones you would be mightily happy, although if he didn't you wouldn't be best pleased.  This are some of the un-pleasantnesses that we've been spared thanks to efforts of humane men, like Bozzini.

Humane is a good doctor, surgeon, nurse, and all of the others.  Pompous, self-importance (common amongst Victorian era surgeons who viewed themselves as a cut above, like a priestly caste) doesn't befit a man who feels for those whom he treats.  Pare, Bazzini, Socrates and all the others are men who empathised with their patients.  These are the types of doctors and surgeons we need more of in the world: men who cared for those they treated, rather than the sociopaths that studies have proven we presently have.

When we finally get those doctors, surgeons and more, our children, their children, and their children will benefit.  That's the kind of future that we want, one populated with compassionate men like Bozzini.


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Differences are Meant to Be Enjoyed, not Blended

Enjoying the differences that God and you and others created is a good thing.  Trying to blend them together to make 'A Better World (TM)' is not a good thing.  Most people, thankfully, understand that differences are on the whole good and are to be both enjoyed and respected.  Alas though there are a few (there's always one isn't there?!) who don't 'get it' and seek to improve the world by combining these differences, like races and genders, to make their own pale imitation of God's World.  Needless to say that their schemes are doomed from the outset.

The differences that these Lefties want to eliminate are familiar to most, probably all, of you.  Gender differences for instance is one that is constantly eroded in a bid to turn all humans into 'androgynous' beings, with little-no distinguishing features between them.  A few of the dualistic opposites that Lefties and other fools try to combine in a bid to make their 'Better World' are:
* Genders combined to make 'Androgynous' humans.
* Ages combined to make humans who are perpetual adolescents (who neither experience innocent childhood, nor mature into adults).
* Races combined to make the new 'Master Race' (a notion that's implied rather than uttered), like Jessica Ennis.
* Foods combined to make 'fusion food'.  (Cooking as expression is fine, because the chef simply uses whatever ingredients he wants to make his creation.  i.e. the ingredients are incidental to his creative intention.  Deliberately combining them however is wrong).
* Work and home combined to make 'telecommuting'.
* Sports combined to make absurd amalgams like 'Chess-Boxing'.

* The list goes on, and on, and on...

The numpties who want to liquidize the whole world and it's content up in to an amorphous morass don't get how revolting there creation would be.  They're only dealing with theoretical and hypothetical scenarios.  I mean who would want their dinner mixed up eh?! Main course and pudding all bunged into a food processor and pulverised into a brown sludge.  Ick.  Poor old Phil Anthrope certainly doesn't:

    Phil Anthrope had just got back from work and was sitting down to dinner in his dining room while his wife Ms Anthrope served it.
    "Mmmm, this stew and dumplings looks smashing luv.  And what's for afters?  Ice cream cake.  Smashing."
    Ms grabbed the plate of stew and dumplings that she'd just decanted from an ovendish and ambled over to the food processor
    "Hang on!  What're you doing?!"
    She poured it into a food processor, dumplings an' all.
    "Oh man!"
    Once she'd cleared the stew into the food processor she then moved on to the ice cream cake and forked it into the food processor.
    "Not the ice cream cake!?"
    She switched the food processor, obliterating the dinner.
    "I was really looking forward to that!"
    The concoction in the food processor took on a consistent texture and colour: brown sludge.
    "I don't 'Adam and Eve' this!"
    After annihilating the course she then poured out the tepid brown morass onto a a pair of plates.  The brown sludge crept towards the edge like a fresh cow-pat.
    "Enjoy it.  You racist!"  She barked while putting the dinner down in front of Phil.
    "What?!"  Said Phil incredulously.
    "Racist!"  Said she defiantly.
    Phil sighed, reached up to grab the phone from the sideboard and hit the speed dial button.  "Hello, Tony, I need a pizza."  Pause.  "Yeah again."  Pause.  "Yeah she's gone and thrown a wobbler on me."  Pause.  "No it's not the chicken Tandori and Tangerine Surprise, it was stew and ice-cream cake."  Pause.  "Yeah, I know, what a waste eh?!"  Pause.  "Sure, I'll be down to pick it up in 'alf a mo'."
    "I'm just gonna pick up a pizza from Tony's.  Do you want some?"
    Ms Anthrope had sat down to her plate of sludge and was scooping it up on a spoon.
    "Mmm-mmm.  This dinner tastes nice."  She said shuddering, and pulling a god-awful face after eating a mouthful."
    He shook his head and sighed.  "I'll bring you back some pizza."
    "I won't eat it!"
    "Yeah yeah.  That's what you said the last time."
    "I like this.  Yum yum."  She said ostentatiously, while holding her nose and swallowing another mouthful of the brown sludge.
    Phil rolled his eyes at the ridiculousness.  Then picked up his keys and wallet from the sideboard,  departing for saner realms via the back door.

And that's what the mentality of Lefties who want to turn the world into a grand mud-pie is like: impossible!  For whatever reason they insist of making the world FUBAR.  Yet despite turning the world into something that they proclaimed was better, that they proclaimed they would enjoy, they don't actually live in it.  Oh no.  Instead of living in their idea of utopia they do a runner and live somewhere completely different!  Un-flaming-believable! (That's an example of tmesis btw).

The world is meant to be enjoyed, it's meant to be different.  I mean, what was it that one of those old hippy-dippy types (Maharehsi Yogi) said? that life is 100% Unity and 100% Diversity .  Now obviously diversity means diversity.  It doesn't mean a brown, luke-warm, amorphous, sludge-pile.  It means difference.  Tall, short; physical, mental; extroverted, introverted; active, passive; blond, brunette; tea, coffee; PES 2015, FIFA 2015 (ok maybe not the last one, everyone 'knows' PES trumps FIFA).  It means celebrating that difference.  It means difference expressing oneself.  And to express oneself one must first be allowed to exist.  Combining everyone and everything (be they races, genders, ages, or dinners) into a single entity is not diversity.

God is (amongst many things) the centre, diversity (goodness and/or badness) grows like branches from the centre.  (Good or bad depending on whether the growth is a result of natural expression which is good, or as a result of sin which is bad.  Just think of good difference a tree-trunk which good branches grow out of towards the light; and bad difference as a straight road which has bad side-roads leading off of it into the wasteland.  They're both the same pattern but conform to different stereotypes: one good, one bad.)  Decent people acknowledge difference and mostly allow it to exist.  Indecent people (some on the political Left) see difference, but want to eliminate it.  They want to eliminate it by creating their 'superior world' which is but a pale imitation of God's world (the centre from which difference spawned). 

God is the centre and allowed difference to grow out of him, yet lefties want to return to God's centre by combining the differences together.  Which is a really bad idea.  Not to mention dumb!  How can destroying two rights (branches from the tree of life) be good?  Or how can combining two wrongs (deviance's from the road of righteousness) makes a right?  It isn't!  It's not rocket science.  Good is good and bad is bad, trying to combine them to make the world 'A Better Place (TM)' ain't gonna work.  And it's just gonna cause a whole lotta grief for the folks who live here.

Which is why, at the end of the day, the differences that we see and touch everyday are meant to be enjoyed.  Differences that range from the great like planets and stars, to the small like dinner and pudding.  So enjoy your main course and pudding separately: as separates that are an expression of goodness, and as separates that are part of a whole.


Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Politics and the Masses are Feminine

This was the conclusion of one of the worlds best known politicians and public speakers: Adolf Hitler.

Regardless of what you think of him as a human being or his politics you've got to give him credit for being an effective politician and public speaker.  The only way that he could be successful as either was to understand them both.  And understand them he did.  It's why he got such a dedicated following during his lifetime, and still has a following 60 years after he passed on.

Successful political men are those who are sensitive to emotion.  Who appreciate it.  Who can manoeuvre it and channel it like an opera.  An opera that holds audiences in its thrall.  Who can get them to dance, to sing, to feel joy, to feel humble, to feel.  Emotions.

To understand feeling is to be successful in the political world and the world of public speaking.  The academic muttering of monotone voices, people who are dry and joyless will not grab peoples joy-parts (ahem!).  After all people are people, and people like emotion.  They like sex, love, rousing passion, all those sorts of things.  It's why they go to the cinema to watch and hear exciting movies, rather than to lectures delivered by nasal-sounding men.  I mean how many of you have mp3 files of lectures on your computer, phones or portable media device?  Not many I'll wager.  But some of you will certainly have music and/or movies.  That shows us that people like emotion; that they are moved by, and drawn to, emotion.  That is what Adolf understood, and that is (partly) why he was so successful.

Anyway, here's the relevent quote by Hitler from John Toland's epic biography: Adolf Hitler (and can be found on Amazon-USA HERE, or Amazon-UK HERE):
One day [Hitler] told [the Hanfstaengls] "The mass, the people, to me is a woman," and likened his audience to a woman.  "Someone who does not understand the intrinsically feminine characteristic of the mass will never be an effective speaker.  Ask yourself what does a woman expect from a man?  Clearness, decision, power, action....  If she is talked to properly she will be proud to sacrifice, because no woman will ever feel that her life's sacrifices have received their due fulfilment."  Another time he asserted that he would never marry.  "My only bride is my Motherland," he said, referring to a nation commonly known as the Fatherland.  In that case, Hanfstaengl jokingly replied, why not take a mistress?  "Politics is a woman," replied Hitler.  "Love her unhappily and she will bite off your head." 
(Source: Toland R. (1976), 'Adolf Hitler', Doubleday & Company Inc, New York.  [Page 136])

P.S.  I picked up a copy from a second hand book store for 50p.  50p!  This thing is huge, it's ~1000 pages long.  It's so thick you could use it to beat whales to death with!  It's so thick that if it fell off the bookshelf and onto the floor it would cause an earthquake that would register 8.8 on the Richter scale.  8.8.. geddit?!  And yet despite it's gargantuan size it's still a good read.)


Saturday, 5 December 2015

Men of Yore: Arthur Hill Hassall

This is another in a series of posts about men from history who have either achieved great things in one form or another by pushing boundaries: either in themselves or in society or science or exploration of some form. Boundary pushing and growth is what men do, it's their nature: to grow and push outwards. We, as men, are the frontiers men, the first to discover/uncover new territory, in a metaphysical sense (i.e. including both material and the immaterial) that is later colonised and 'civilised' by the rest of humanity. 

Arthur Hill Hassall

Hassall, Arthur Hill (1817–1894), physician and microscopist, was born at Teddington, Middlesex, on 13 December 1817, the son of Thomas Hassall (1771–1844), surgeon, and Ann Sherrock (1778×80–1817). After attending school at Richmond, Surrey, he was apprenticed in 1834 to his uncle Sir James Murray, who had a fashionable Dublin medical practice. In 1839 he became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons, in London, and in 1841 he was awarded the diploma of the Society of Apothecaries. Hassall's apprenticeship had included walking the wards of Jervis Street Hospital in Dublin, and the Mercers' Hospital. He had also taken the midwifery diploma in 1837 from Trinity College, Dublin, studied the nearby seashore and the coasts, and won a prize in botany. He presented his Catalogue of Irish Zoophytes to the Dublin Natural History Society on 6 November 1840. Hassall went on in 1848 to graduate MB from University College, London; in 1851 he proceeded MD and became a member of the Royal College of Physicians.

His return to Richmond, near the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, enabled Hassall to study structural and physiological botany at Kew. Between 1840 and 1845 he published several articles and books on botanical topics, mostly on freshwater algae, though many of the papers suggested a rather haughty concern with claims to priority. His History of the British Freshwater Algae (1845) became something of a controversial classic in the field; most of his research for this work came from the region of Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and the specimens he left are now largely in the possession of the Natural History Museum, London. Hassall's studies on fungal rot of fruits and potatoes by experimental inoculation of sound tissues were highly apposite given the subsequent potato famine in Ireland. On 26 May 1846 Hassall married Fanny Augusta, daughter of Alexander Du Corron.

Hassall came to public attention with his book A microscopical examination of the water supplied to the inhabitants of London and the suburban districts (1850), in which he reported on the state of the water supplied by each of the London water companies. Containing colour illustrations of the organisms found, this work helped to convince people of the revolting nature of having living organisms in their water and drew their attention to the ‘carcasses of dead animals, rotting, festering, swarming with flies and maggots’ on the banks of the Thames (Hamlin, 115). According to Christopher Hamlin, the book was ‘one of the most effective appeals to sensibility in the history of public health’, and that one of the most important things it did ‘was to make microscopic life a new category of impurity’ (ibid., 104). There was, however, a great deal of debate about what the presence of such organisms in the water signified. Hassall found that all waters contained microscopic life but ‘was not able to recognise a distinct flora and fauna for each company as he had hoped to’ (ibid., 111). He testified before the Board of Health in March or April of 1850 and in parliament Sir Benjamin Hall used Hassall's drawings to attack opponents of water reform. Organisms came to be seen as proof of impurity.

Over this same period, and despite ill health, Hassall began to study food adulteration. This brought him to the attention of Thomas Wakley, who between 1851 and 1854 published in The Lancet reports by Hassall concerning the virtually universal practice of adulteration. The Lancet reports led in 1855 to a parliamentary select committee (with Hassall as chief scientific witness) and later to the first general preventative (and other) Adulteration Acts (1860), as well as to the presentation on 4 May 1856 from both houses of parliament to Hassall, for public services, of an elegant silver statuette of Angel Ithuriel. Hassall established a reputation as Britain's leading food analyst and was employed as an analytical microscopist by the General Board of Health.

Hassall also became a physician at the Royal Free Hospital, London, which later named a ward after him. By 1866 he was suffering from severe lung problems. His recovery involved long periods confined to bed at his brother's house in Richmond, at Hastings, and at St Leonards, before he transferred to Ventnor, Isle of Wight, as winter approached. Hassall made his home there until at least mid-1877, though he was still able to undertake professional duties in London at least twice a week. During 1866 he was allotted a civil-list pension of £100 per year for public service. While at Ventnor, Hassall and his assistants continued to investigate food adulteration, using the laboratory he had built there.

Hassall decided that Ventnor would be an ideal place to establish a hospital for treating lung disease. The first block was completed in 1868 and the Ventnor Hospital inspired moves to establish similar institutions in Vienna and elsewhere. Hassall's concept was so successful that, by 1908, 23,000 or more patients had been treated there. This hospital finally closed on 15 April 1964, the remaining patients being transferred to the Hassall ward in St Mary's Hospital, Newport, Isle of Wight.

Hassall left Ventnor in 1877 and was presented with a silver service and 300 guineas. Aiming to rest in warmer climes, he spent over a year in Germany and one winter season in Cannes. Italy's ready acceptance of foreign medical qualifications led Hassall finally to settle in San Remo, with occasional stays in London over the summer. Hassall acquired permission to practise in Switzerland and thereafter worked in Lucerne in summer and San Remo in winter; at San Remo he attended Edward Lear. Hassall's time on the continent enabled him to establish a role in pioneering climatic cures for consumption. His San Remo and the Western Riviera Climatically and Medically Considered (1879) was a classic of its kind. Hassall died at his home, Casa Bosso, San Remo, on 9 April 1894 and was buried at All Saints' Church, San Remo. He was survived by his second wife, Alice Margaret, whom he had married some time between 1858 and 1866.

James H. Price


We live in cities; we are dependent upon the provision of food from others; we are dependent upon others to ensure that food is what it claims to be and is un-adulterated.  It's no good going down to your local bakery to buy a loaf of bread, then coming back home and discovering to your dismay that the loaf is a menagerie of flour, sawdust, bone-meal, ash, and other odds 'n' sods.  You want that loaf of bread from that bakery to be a loaf of bread, and not a something else.  And better still you want all loaves of bread in all bakeries to be loaves of bread and not something else.

If we lived in a perfect world then food manufacturers would not adulterate their product with non-foodstuffs because they would be honest and decent, but alas we don't live in a perfect world, so we need Food Safety laws to ensure that scoundrels don't ruin everyone's day by selling adulterated or dodgy food.  And like everything else in the modern world it requires someone, usually a man, to create those laws ex nihlo.  In the case of food safety laws that man was Arthur Hill Hassall.

Arthur Hill Hassall is the reason that you can tuck into your mince pies, slurp some mulled wine, and feast on your Christmas dinner without worrying if it's going to give you and your family the squits tomorrow morning.


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Short Story: To Everything there is a Season

[Foreword: A light-hearted short story about the fate/destiny in the 33rd century.

As with the other short stories on this blog the setting is the science-fiction computer game world
Frontier:Elite. Knowledge of the game isn't important and the story can be read and understood without knowing anything about it. It's just an environment to experiment with different ideas, like a proverbial 'sandbox world'. A sandbox world is one that anyone can express themselves in without any consequences. It's what makes fiction and fantasy so valuable: that a world can be created without consequences.]

To Everything there is a Seasonby Largo Hurne

Location: Columbus Space Station (orbitting Io), the Sol system (The Federation)
Year: 3252


    "Ticket please!" the usher boomed out to me with unneccessary vigour in his voice.
    I handed the small piece of ersatz paper to the rather, jolly, fleshy-faced young man.
    "Thank you sir.  Enjoy the movie!"
    He handed back a small stub.
    "Ticket please!"  He bellowed out to the guy who was standing behind me.  Evidently he got some kind of kick out of playing the role of usher, more than is normal for an usher anyway.

    I pushed the door to the auditorium open.  It was only small cinema, with a small auditorium, and yet still very, very empty.  A dozen people, almost all male, sat dotted around in pairs or trios here and there.  It wasn't going to be a money maker for the owners.  But what do you expect for a late showing of an series of geeky, late twentieth century, sci-fi films on New Years eve?
    Most of the inhabitants on the Columbus station who could afford it had flown down to London, Sol where all the 'fun' was to be had: lots of booze for the oldies, lots of blow for the yuppies, and lots of fireworks for the kiddies.  Those who couldn't afford to leave the station or travel to Mars (where the 'real' fun was to be had) had remained on-board the station.  There was a soiree that had been organised by the station management down in the main viewing gallery where they could sing, dance, get drunk and watch the volcanos on Io erupt.  According to the Federation geologists studying the moon, a massive eruption was predicted to occur just as the minute hand struck twelve and signed in the new year.  The 'Big Red One', as it was known locally, was usually a regular and common erupter, but hadn't erupted for quite some time, and the geologists were wondering just how big the next eruption would be.  Most of the geologists were expecting something rather spectacular.
    The eruption itself would be the result of a chain of events that had occurred over the last year.  Like an old fashioned clockwork time piece, all the smaller gears and springs worked together to make the clock work, and once every hour the result would be that the bell chimed.  Well, this was much like that.  Like meteorological events on Earth, or coronal events on Sol, all were predictable given the right amount of information; like using data points to plotting a line on a graph and predict where it will go.  Isaac Newton thought that the universe had a large element of predictability in it, much like that clockwork timepiece.  I wondered if such a grand, climactic event would occur to me, ever.  Pseudo-philosophers such as John Gray thought that humans lives were as determinable as the volcanos, weather systems, and sun storms.  Even genuine philosophers, like Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee and John Glubb, had written so.  Spengler believed that humanity was involved in large cycles, much like the cycles of the year on Earth, the seasons, that it had neither could foresee, nor control.
    Peering around I saw that all of the back row seats were empty so I shuffled along to one in the middle of the back row put my drink down in one of the holders, the box of 'puffed-barley' (it was cheaper than the other, oft' consumed, processed grass seed, cinema-snack: popped-corn, aka pop-corn) on the seat beside me, and waited for the film, the forth of the nine films, to start.
    After a few minutes of Federation propaganda/news items, the lights dimmed and the audience quietened down for the feature presentation.
    The title music started up:
    # duh duh, duh-duh-duh duh duh, duh-duh-duh duh duh, duh-duh-duh-duh #
    "Star Wars' 

    After the title scene had finished, I grabbed a handful of puffed-barley, chomped it down and leant my head back on the headrest to rest my eyes for a few moments.  I'd seen the movie a couple of times before over the years.  I was only here for a change of scenery, to get out of my ships cabin for the first time in a month (I'd been flying back in my ship, solo, from Alioth.  Which meant two months of non stop travelling and jumps through hyperspace).  I quickly drifted off into a gentle sleep.
* * * * *
    "Wow!  I just love it when those laser-sword thingees make that noise. 'vwoohm, vwoohm'."
     'Hmm?  What's that?  Must be my ears playing tricks on me.  Was that a woman’s voice I heard just then?  Can't be.  It's new years eve, the key partying date in the calendar.  All the women should be, erm, what's the word, socialising, with girlfriends and getting poached by top-dog Alpha men, not slumming it out in the Geeks domain.'
    For those of you who don't know, interstellar traders, such as yours truly, are much like the geeks of yore, or the miners of frontier California back in the mid nineteenth century, in that we live in a predominantly male environment and so don't encounter the 'fairer sex' very often.  Hence it's a shock to the senses, a perturbation to the personhood, to hear a woman’s voice.
    'I'll just check with my eyes to be sure.  Hmm, let's see.  Long untamed red hair, delicate chin and nose, round cheekbones, close fitting sleeveless white top, equally close fitting stone washed blue jeans, slim build, slender arms and small hands, and big bulges in all the right places.  Yup she's a woman.'
    She was sat three seats away from me leaning on the chair in front of her, overtly engrossed in the film; ostentatiously you might say.  Like she was trying to make a point of 'loving the film'.
     "Yeah.." still slightly groggy after waking up, my brain couldn't find a quick witted response.
She turned her head to face me.  "I just love these old Star Wars space flicks.  Han Solo and Chewy-bacca taking on the evil Romulan Empire, rescuing Princess Leia and saving the day."
     'So, as well as not knowing what a light sabre was, she was also getting her 'Star' franchises mixed up: Wars and Trek.  Perhaps she's a neophyte to the sci-fi world.'
     "Hey, erm, hi, I know it's a bit forward of me, but can I like have some of your pop-corn?  I wont have much of it.  It's just that I haven't had anything since breakfast, and I've been working all day, and I'm like super super hungry."
     "Sure.  But it's puffed barley, not pop-corn."
    She shuffled over to the seat next to mine.  I picked up the box from my right and held it out to her.
    She looked into my eyes while she picked up a few pieces of puffed-barley.
    Then leant back into the chair, and put one leg on the chair in front of her whilst she ate the barley.

    A couple of minutes passed in quiet.  Nothing much happened.  She took another dozen pieces of puffed-barley, ran her fingers through her long red hair, and arched her back.
    The silence was broken.  "Why don't they have sheaths to put their swords into?  wouldn't that be better than letting them hang around?" she asked, still watching the movie screen.
    "They don't need to sheath their sabres.  They can just flick a switch on the side and turn them off."  I replied, not thinking anything of it.
    "I think they'd be better if they had a sheath to slide them into."
    'A sheath for a weapon that doesn't need it?  What a silly remark.'  I thought.
    Leaning forward, I picked up my warm beer from the cup holder in front of me and quaffed a mouthful of it.
    Turning her head to face me, she asked.  "Do you know what the Latin word for sheath is?" 
    Continuing in a sultry voice without giving me any time to respond.  "Vagina."
    I spat half of my beer out onto the seat in front of me in shock.
    She reposed from her former reclined position, leant close in toward me placing both hands on the armrest and leaving her cleavage on display.  Like a cat ready to pounce on its prey.  Looking into my eyes, she spoke in a slow arousing tone.
    "Don't you think its better that every mans 'sword' should have a 'sheath' to go into?"
    I was almost speechless for words, and slightly soggy from the beer that I had accidently sloshed over my left leg,
    "I've spilt my beer."  I responded, completely dumbfounded.  My mind had taken a quick vacation to the planet Absent-Minded, in the Moron system.
    "Do you know what happens to a mans 'sword' that doesn’t' have a 'sheath' to go into?  It gets 'rusty' and it gets 'soft'."
    "Hang on I've got a handkerchief somewhere."  I said, my mind still getting a suntan on the beaches of 'Que?'.
    "It's better that a sword stay 'hard'.  I like a mans sword to be 'hard'."
    Padding away at the beer stained trouser leg with a handkerchief that I had retrieved.  "Hmm, this seems to be making it better."  My mind was still in la-la-land.
    "You know why I like hard swords?  Because hard swords fit, 'tight', inside small sheaths."  She said quietly, gently biting her lower bottom lip and closing her eyes afterward.
    "Mmmm." she resonated.
    That seemed to get my attention, for some reason or another..  ahem.  It was now that my mind returned from its vacation, and took on a distinctly more possessed nature.
    I turned and looked strongly into her glistening eyes.  Her chest raised as she began breathing more deeply in anticipation of my actions.
    Absent minded withering had given way to decisive mindful action.
    "We need to leave.  Now."
    She started grinning with eyes wide open.  I stood up walked past her, took her by the hand and lead her out of the auditorium.

* * * * *

    The following morning I was sat at the main counter in the space stations cafe eating leftover mince pies and drinking coffee.  Happy days.
     Clearly there was something in my demeanour that impressed itself on the waiter.  Or possibly it was some mixture of odours: oestrogen, testosterone, pheromones or what have you produced from last nights antics.  Either way it was enough to draw a remark from the man behind the counter.
    "You look like the cat that’s got the cream.  Have an interesting night last night mate?"
    "Yeah.  Thanks.  Not bad.  Watched a few minutes of an old sci-fi film in the Odeon.  Got hit on by a hot redhead.  Went back to her place and.. well.." I grinned at the waiter and he grinned back in understanding  "Mind you, if you'd have told me about it before hand then I probably wouldn't have believed you."
    "Why's that then?"
    "Scoring with a super hot chick at a new years eve run of Sci-fi films?  Hardly seems like the place to be to get lucky.  I didn't even have to do anything.  She initiated the whole thing."
    "You know how the saying goes: To every thing there's a season.  This season the girls are after geeks.  Just be glad that you were the in the right place at the right time mate."
    "What d'ya mean to everything there's a season?"
    "I'm saying that this week it's geeks that girls is after.  Next week it's rugby players.  The week after that musicians boys.  And the week after that pretty boys.  Just count your blessings that you were in the right place at the right time.  It might never happen again mate."
    "Yeah, I guess so."
    He went off to serve a pair of customers who were standing a few feet away from me. 

    Once they had given their order to the waiter, one of the pair spoke to me.  He was a rotund balding guy in his fifties.  "So, did you see the Big Red One erupt last night?"
    Grinning to myself slyly I replied.  "Yes I did.  Yes I did."
    "It was pretty darn spectacular wasn't it."
    "It certainly was.  A once in a life time experience I would say."
    I turned to him.  "She looked even better from close up.  You know, I could see all the contours of the landscape from where I was."
    "Oh yes?"  His eyebrows raised in surprise.  "So you hired a private shuttle to get a good look at it did ya?"
    I nodded.  "I was right on top of it when she blew.  A Fantastic sight.  Close enough to feel the heat it put out when she erupted."
    The other guy chuckled at the absurd remark.  He thought I was jesting about the volcano: anthropomorphising it.  "I'm sure it felt like you did buddy!  Heh-heh."
    He picked up his order that the waiter had brought him and walked off with his wife to one of the booths in the cafe.

    I returned to the coffee and mince pies and thought about what the future, be it clockwork or not, might bring.