Although Avicenna is mentioned in Dante’s “Inferno” and Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” it’s entirely possible that his name doesn’t ring a bell. But if your ancestors lived in Europe or western Asia during the Middle Ages, it’s also entirely possible that they survived thanks to the knowledge in the medical textbooks he wrote. He was, frankly, brilliant – and he knew it, so he wasn’t always loved. And in addition to his medical writing, he was one of the most important philosophers in history; his philosophical writing continues to be studied extensively among Muslim scholars today.
According to our completely nonscientific survey of loved ones and acquaintances, the thing most people remember about mummification practices in ancient Egypt is brains out the nose. While that may be one of the more memorable elements, as we discuss in today’s episode, preparing a body was really a multistage process that took weeks. And, the deceased’s family could choose among multiple methods (and their corresponding differences in cost).
Another shipwreck today – this one’s the SS Arctic, a steamer that went down in a heavy fog in 1854. On top of the tragic loss of life, the Arctic is notable because of the furor that followed it: The captain survived, while all of the women and children aboard, including the captain’s own family, drowned. We also take a look at the idea of “women and children first” and how that plays out today.
Today’s episode is one of those subjects that’s not exactly missed in history. If you live in a predominantly English-speaking nation, you’ve probably at least heard about it, and if you live in England, you’ve probably heard about it a lot. But considering the impact it had, what the average person outside of England knows about it (just that the Normans invaded England in 1066) is really not very much. Today’s episode tackles the backstories on the Norman and Anglo-Saxon sides, followed by the battle itself and its aftermath.
Antoine-Laurent Lavoisier was a chemist, a geologist, a physiologist and an economist. He had a law degree, though he never practiced law. Today, people call him the father of modern chemistry. If you’ve taken even the most basic chemistry class, you’re familiar with one of his fundamental contributions to the field: the law of conservation of mass. His work also led to the modern periodic table of the elements.
Oh, and as a teen, he once decided – for the sake of scientific inquiry – to subsist on nothing but milk.
Since Holly and I started hosting Stuff You Missed in History Class, we’ve been pinning all kinds of side notes and extra bits related to our episodes (along with other assorted history bobs) on a Stuff You Missed in History Class board that was part of the main HowStuffWorks Pinterest account. Yesterday, we moved our Pinterest stuff over to an account of its own: the Missed in History Pinterest. If you pin, come play with us at http://www.pinterest.com/missedinhistory/!
Today’s episode is a little different. There are a few questions from listeners that hit our inbox again and again – so often and so persistently that we’re devoting an episode to answering them.
On the menu today: How do you make the podcast? What’s with saying “BCE”? Are you even looking at your iTunes reviews? And, last but not least, the actual history discussion you’ve been waiting for: Why not do an episode on Henrietta Lacks?
In our second of two episodes exploring what’s been unearthed over the last 12 months, today we’re looking at finds turned up by everything from amateur metal detector enthusiasts to badgers. We also get deep into graves – mass and otherwise – and three of the year’s most newsworthy exhumations. We cap it off with a few finds that are thanks to some extremely advanced science and technology.
Special shout-out to The History Blog, where I see a lot of this stuff first.
Taking a look at what history, archaeology and plain ol’ dumb luck has turned up over the last 12 months has become a Stuff You Missed in History Class tradition. Once again, this year we break the year’s discoveries into two parts. (And we don’t talk about Richard III or the cannibalism at Jamestown news – those got their own episodes earlier in the year.)
In this first part, we’ve got stuff from under car parks, stuff unearthed by Eurorail, reconstructed and rediscovered historical writing, and a few finds related to our favorite subject – food – along with some odds and ends.
We have a few Christmas episodes in the archive: There’s Who was Good King Wenceslas, the Christmas Truce and whether Oliver Cromwell really canceled Christmas. For Christmas this year, we continue on in the theme of Monday’s Laura Ingalls Wilder episode with an exploration of the winter of 1880-1881. At the time, people called it the Hard Winter or the Starving Winter – “Hard Winter” was what Laura originally called “The Long Winter,” her novel about the experience. In the book, her Christmas is a meager one, but they get a do-over in the spring after everything finally, finally thaws.
Recent Postings by Category
- Thank You and Best Wishes to Marshall Brain
- Contest – Design a $300 house and win $25,000
- How the Philtrum works – the place under your nose where your face comes together
The Coolest Stuff on the Planet
- Why can a 5 foot 8 inch man dunk a basketball on a 10 foot rim while some people of taller stature can’t?
- What happens to our sun once it runs out of fuel?
- How do we know the age of the universe?
Stuff Mom Never Told You
Stuff to Blow Your Mind
- Blow Your Mind: Slay Your Paper Tigers
- Space Religion: Cao Dai and the 72 Inhabited Exoplanets
- Blow the Mind: Objects of Love
Stuff You Should Know
- “In The Neighborhood” by Jon Stewart Mosman
- “Thanatos” by Christopher Vincola
- “Frame Story” by Adam Pracht
The Stuff of Genius
- Show Notes: Heart-stopping Last Laps of Racing
- Never say Never: Jaguar XJ220 Spotted in the Wild!
- What’s your pick for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 pace car?
- PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 152: Final Episodes
- PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 151: Mailbag!
- PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 150: Barbie!
Stuff They Don't Want You To Know
Stuff to Change the World
- Who will own the Arctic?
- Obesity: The New Global Crisis
- Bill Gates Makes For A Pretty Decent Cartoon
Stuff You Missed in History Class
- Missed in History: The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters
- Missed in History: The Disappearance of Judge Crater
- Missed in History: Maurice Duplessis