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Mad Cures: Sore Throats and Currents July 10, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mad Cures: Sore Throats and Currents

C. 1900 you have a nasty sore throat that won’t go away. A friend tells you that there is a new treatment in town for only three dollars, five if you stay at home and the practitioner comes to your house with ‘the machine’. And what exactly does this  ‘new’ treatment entail, you ask innocently? […]

Electrifying Sheep June 3, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Electrifying Sheep

Beachcombing has a terrible secret. He is not very good at science. Yes, he receives emails about astronomy and nuclear physics, aviation and genetics on a daily basis. But, while being fascinated, he understands almost none of what he reads there. In the autumn of his years it is simply too late to put this […]

Electrocuting African Tribal Hosts January 3, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Electrocuting African Tribal Hosts

One of the great challenges of any nineteenth-century explorers was to make friends with the ‘primitives’ in such out of the way places as an equatorial rain forest, the upper peaks of the Andes and through much of Darkest Africa. And, of course, to do so they brought gifts along with them: a sensible enough […]

Shelley, the Cat, the Kite and the Bolt of Lightning May 11, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Shelley, the Cat, the Kite and the Bolt of Lightning

Beachcombing thought that today he would combine a recent obsession – cats, with an older obsession – lightning and a coming obsession, kites. The party guilty for bringing these three unlikely subjects together was none other than Romantic brat extraordinaire Percy Bysshe Shelley (obit 1822 – ‘I fall upon the thorns of life, I bleed’ […]