Tag Archives: San Francisco

Jack London’s cloudy crystal ball

Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   The Scarlet Plague, by Jack London. Open Library, an initiative of the Internet Archive. The COVID-19 pandemic has given quarantined readers new opportunities to discover the literature of plagues and epidemics. Many people—in order to give context to the present pandemic—have turned to books like Albert Camus’ […]

Plagues and prejudice

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Honolulu Chinatown fire of 1900. Hawaii State Archives.  It was a calm, clear January morning on the gritty streets of paradise. Honolulu, the capital of the newly-annexed U.S. territory of Hawaii, was ushering out a century of upheaval that had included the arrival of explorers, […]

Dr. Avery, Medicine Woman

Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode, Island, United States   Doctor Alida C. Avery, Photo courtesy of Archives and Specials Collections/Vassar College Library. Source In July 1878, astronomers headed into the American West to observe a total eclipse of the sun. Among them was America’s only woman astronomer, Maria Mitchell of Vassar College, and four of her […]

A case of toxic blood

Shruthi Deivasigamani Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   The Dancing Mania by Hendrick Hondius (1642). Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY On a blustery winter day, a molecule of water condenses around a particle of dust in the air. The structure grows in size as it falls closer to earth, and before it hits the ground outside, it has […]

A love-driven model of suicide prevention

Kate Baggott St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada   Burgoyne Bridge reconstruction – Cranes mid bridge. Photo by Matt Clare. Taken 2016. CC BY 2.0. The suicide barrier on the Bloor Street Viaduct in Toronto is called the Luminous Veil. The beauty of the title is that it is intentional and intelligent. Construction of the barrier started […]