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Monday, October 28, 2013


Happy b-day Doc Salk_by sciencemug
Happy birthday Dr. Salk! (by sciencemug)
[The pictures of J. Salk and his signature are adapted from Public Domain images (1,2) by sciencemug (source:]

Jonas Salk, just the dude who created the first efficacious and safe polio vaccine in the 1950s. He didn't patented it, didn't earn a cent from it, 'cause he wanted it to be as accessible as possible. 

In this paper he writes: "It would appear from this review that responsibility for the problem of eliminating paralytic poliomyelitis rests with each individual for whom there is a need for vaccine, either for himself or for those for whom he is responsible; this responsibility is shared by those who are in a position to bring this knowledge to him and to help him avail himself of the necessary treatment. Little need be said about this other than to emphasize that the indications provided in this review suggest that there need be little, if any, paralytic poliomyelitis in the United States in 1957 if all who are potentially susceptible are treated with vaccine that is now available."

Thanks man!

Salk, J. E. (1957). Poliomyelitis vaccination in the fall of 1956. Am J Public Health Nations Health 47, 1-18

Sunday, October 13, 2013


How the guys decided where the prime meridian would have passed through according to this blog (by sciencemug)
How the guys decided where the prime meridian would have passed through (by sciencemug)

sciencemug- On this very day in 1884: a bunch of guys (41) from a bunch of nations (26) of all over the world are sitting in a room in Washington DC, USA. They've been invited there by the US president (Chester A. Arthur) to attend the International Meridian Conference. They are there "for the purpose of fixing a prime meridian and a universal day". 
And they do it. 
They decide that the prime meridian (i.e. the zero degree of longitude) is an imaginery line passing through "the centre of the transit instrument (see one here) at the Observatory of Greenwich", a pleasant town in the south east of England. 
They also decide that "universal day is to be a mean solar day; is to begin for all the world at the moment of mean midnight of the initial meridian, coinciding with the beginning of the civil day and date of that meridian; and is to be counted from zero up to twenty-four hours".
That's it.
PiPs: Boss...
SM- Yes?
P- Is it really true the Fish and Chips story?
SM- I like to think it is PiPs, but if we read the acts of the conference we find this, about why Greenwich was chosen: "Greenwich, is used by 72 per cent. of the whole floating commerce of the world, while the remaining 28 per cent. is divided among ten different initial meridians. If, then, the convenience of the greatest number alone should predominate, there can be no difficulty in a choice [...]".
P- Yeah Boss, definitely I like it better the Chippy story too...

- VV.AA. (1884). International Conference Held at Washington for the Purpose of Fixing a Prime Meridian and a Universal Day. October, 1884. Protocols of the Proceedings. The Project Gutenberg.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


by sciencemug

Here the ultimate answer to one of the crucial questions ever asked in the history of humanity: "What came first, the wheel or the donut?"