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July 02 2015


June 28 2015

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June 27 2015

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June 10 2015

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June 08 2015

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May 29 2015

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During the Bubonic Plague, doctors wore these bird-like masks to avoid becoming sick. They would fill the beaks with spices and rose petals, so they wouldn’t have to smell the rotting bodies.

A theory during the Bubonic Plague was that the plague was caused by evil spirits. To scare the spirits away, the masks were intentionally designed to be creepy.

Mission fucking accomplished

Okay so I love this but it doesn’t cover the half of why the design is awesome and actually borders on making sense.

It wasn’t just that they didn’t want to smell the infected and dead, they thought it was crucial to protecting themselves. They had no way of knowing about what actually caused the plague, and so one of the other theories was that the smell of the infected all by itself was evil and could transmit the plague. So not only would they fill their masks with aromatic herbs and flowers, they would also burn fires in public areas, so that the smell of the smoke would “clear the air”. This all related to the miasma theory of contagion, which was one of the major theories out there until the 19th century. And it makes sense, in a way. Plague victims smelled awful, and there’s a general correlation between horrible septic smells and getting horribly sick if you’re around what causes them for too long.

You can see now that we’ve got two different theories as to what caused the plague that were worked into the design. That’s because the whole thing was an attempt by the doctors to cover as many bases as they could think of, and we’re still not done.

The glass eyepieces. They were either darkened or red, not something you generally want to have to contend with when examining patients. But the plague might be spread by eye contact via the evil eye, so best to ward that off too.

The illustration shows a doctor holding a stick. This was an examination tool, that helped the doctors keep some distance between themselves and the infected. They already had gloves on, but the extra level of separation was apparently deemed necessary. You could even take a pulse with it. Or keep people the fuck away from you, which was apparently a documented use.

Finally, the robe. It’s not just to look fancy, the cloth was waxed, as were all of the rest of their clothes. What’s one of the properties of wax? Water-based fluids aren’t absorbed by it. This was the closest you could get to a sterile, fully protecting garment back then. Because at least one person along the line was smart enough to think “Gee, I’d really rather not have the stuff coming out of those weeping sores anywhere on my person”.

So between all of these there’s a real sense that a lot of real thought was put into making sure the doctors were protected, even if they couldn’t exactly be sure from what. They worked with what information they had. And frankly, it’s a great design given what was available! You limit exposure to aspirated liquids, limit exposure to contaminated liquids already present, you limit contact with the infected. You also don’t give fleas any really good place to hop onto. That’s actually useful.

Beyond that, there were contracts the doctors would sign before they even got near a patient. They were to be under quarantine themselves, they wouldn’t treat patients without a custodian monitoring them and helping when something had to be physically contacted, and they would not treat non-plague patients for the duration. There was an actual system in place by the time the plague doctors really became a thing to make sure they didn’t infect anyone either.

These guys were the product of the scientific process at work, and the scientific process made a bitchin’ proto-hazmat suit. And containment protocols!

reblogging for the sweet history lesson

Reblogging because of the History lesson and because the masks, the masks are cool

May 12 2015

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May 03 2015

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April 26 2015

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April 23 2015


April 18 2015


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April 13 2015

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April 11 2015

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CNN actually researched how much it would cost to go to Hogwarts


How exactly did they “research” this? Looks like they just pulled a bunch of random figures out of their butts.

It’s stated in the books that tuition to Hogwarts is “free for all children in Britain”. I don’t know why they thought it wouldn’t be - it’s a British high school, not a college. So there, you just saved yourself $42,024.

In Chamber of Secrets, Mrs. Weasley emptied her entire bank account which contained only two galleons [£10 / US$20] and she managed to buy all five children’s entire set of books and potion ingredients with this, as well as Ginny’s robes, hat, clock, cauldron, and wand!!! And we know she bought all of these as she mentioned having to buy them. The fact that she bought all of these with only £10 pretty much proves how absolutely ridiculous CNNs estimation is.

If you want more proof, the actual cost of Harry’s want is far over estimated here, and the exact price in both pounds as US dollars can easily be found right within the books! Harry’s wand is bought for seven galleons, a galleon being worth about five pounds [mentioned by JK Rowling in an interview and in FBAWTFT/QTTA] means that his wand was £35, or US$53. So there’s some straight-out-of-the-books-and-word-of-god proof that the figures CNN have given are way off the mark. Not to mention the fact that even if you don’t go to Hogwarts, as a magical human you’re gonna have to buy a wand anyway if you want to do magic.

As for the school books, I’ve done an approximation based on various prices given through-out the books and on Pottermore. While these prices involve a substantial amount of guess-work, I think you’ll agree that my calculation is far more accurate than CNNs:

The Standard book of Spells costs one sickle [29p / US59c]. On the back of my comic relief copy of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them it says it costs fourteen sickles [£4.60 / US$8.26]. One Pottermore, all text books are one galleon [£4.97  / US$10.17] - however Pottermore currency only uses galleons so it’s likely they have rounded off. Lockhart’s books, the most expensive in the series, are five galleons on Pottermore meaning that the exchange rate in the books puts them around two galleons and fourteen sickles [£14.60 / US$20.80]. If we put a high average on this and assume that all textbooks are approximately a galleon [they are likely much less], and that each year has around seven required reading books, the entire price for seven years worth of books would be forty-nine galleons, which equals approximately £243, or US$367 - and remember, this is the maximum estimated price for the textbooks.

For the minimum, we need to consider that the Weasleys get a lot of things second hand, with Ginny’s copy of A Begginers Guide To Transfiguration being described as “a very old, very battered copy” - likely no more than five sickles. If they got all their books around that price, it would cost them no more than £14 / US$21 for the entire seven years worth! So school books, far from being US$516, fall somewhere between US$14 and US$367 for the entire seven years at Hogwarts.

Next we have robe, glove, cloak, and hat prices - these are never mentioned in the books or on Pottermore, so I can’t account for that. However I seriously doubt it’s as a high as they’ve got here. Considering books in the wizarding world are generally much cheaper than in the muggle world, I think it’s fairly safe to assume that clothing is as well. Likely a maximum of a galleon for a single set of robes.

They’ve also forgotten a huge number of things - cauldrons, potion ingredients, scales, and star charts, among others.

So yeah, I really don’t know where they came up with these figures. It looks like some guy just wanted to make a story about how expensive Hogwarts would be and put a bunch of American college figures together and thought “yeah, this looks good.”

The Harry Potter fandom doesn’t fuck around

Get your shit together CNN and stick to current events


harry potter fandom telling it how it is

Americans trying to reassure themselves that it’s ok to charge students more for normal education than Britain charges for magical education.


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