Tag Archives: Fall 2014

A difficult diagnosis: Humor—how we laugh at doctors

Kate Baggott St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada   “Clown Car.” Photo by Oliver Gouldthorpe on Flickr. CC BY-NC 2.0. “To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain and play with it,”1 silent film star Charlie Chaplin wrote in his autobiography. Chaplin’s words do not exactly connect the funny bone to the humerus, and […]

The truth of the imagination

John Graham-Pole Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada   Scene from “As You Like It” Photography by UMTAD “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances.” Life as Performance Art The bard got it right: we are all actors, whether stars or bit players. Our […]

Sophocles’ Antigone and the complexities of suicide

Grant Gillett Robin Hankey Otago, New Zealand    Antigone Leads Oedipus out of Thebes Charles François Jalabert Musée des Beaux Arts, Marseilles, France Suicide has been a recurring human tragedy for as long as human affairs have been recorded. The principal suicide in Antigone does not at first pass seem relevant to the twentieth century, […]

Mind the translation gap

Debi Roberson United Kingdom   The author is grateful for funding from the ESRC (grant R000238310) and from the Royal Society (grant IE121122) which made this research and the report possible.     Figure 1: People of Papua New Guinea navigating the Sepik River Between 1996 and 1998, I made three research trips to the […]

Smallpox inoculation: prelude to vaccination

Art Boylston Headington, Oxford, United Kingdom   Fig. 1: James Jurin secretary of the Royal Society. Courtesy of the Royal Society Inoculation for smallpox, now known as variolation, consisted of placing a small amount of fluid from a smallpox pustule into the skin. It was introduced into England and colonial Boston in 1721 following reports […]

The illusion of rainbows

Bryant Phan Palo Alto, California, United States   The street lamps in my neighborhood flicker in Technicolor before shutting off. A glimmer of orange surrounding the houses outside the window catches my eye. The outline of each house turns grey before imprinting a series of geometrical shapes in the back of my mind. My father […]

The interrupted concerto: Jacqueline du Pré and MS

Lea C. Dacy Moses Rodriguez Rochester, Minnesota, United States   Enhanced portrait of cellist by www.AB-Photography.us. Used with permission of subject and photographer. Although promoted as a “comeback,” it was almost her last public performance. In February 1973, the late Jacqueline du Pré performed the Elgar Cello Concerto in London with the New Philharmonia Orchestra conducted […]

Joseph Bell, supreme diagnostician

The professor produced a vial filled with a bitter amber-colored liquid and asked the medical students to dip a finger in it and taste it, so he could determine how many of them had developed their powers of observation. The students grimaced but did as they were told, and the professor likewise dipped his finger […]

Those golden years

Richard Sobel Kibbutz Revivim, Israel   The Golden Years Joseph Burrough “I’ve only ever had one wrinkle, and I’m sitting on it.” Jeanne Clement was one hundred ten years old but cheerful and lucid when she made that remark during an interview. She may still have been smoking: she stopped only when her vision became […]

Death by voodoo: truth or tale?

Judith N. Wagner Munich, Germany     Figure 1. A pointing bone used for voodoo spells. “Their medicine men have tremendous power over them: if they doom one of them to die, the unfortunate will accept his fate, isolate himself from his family and pass away within a short time.” I vividly remember the octogenarian, […]