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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

Koko the gorilla is a resident at the Gorilla Foundation in Woodside, CA and communicates understands spoken english and uses over 1,000 signs to share her feelings and thoughts on daily life. After the first call about Robin’s passing, Koko came to Dr. Patterson with an inquiring look on her face. Dr. Patterson explained that ‘we have lost a dear friend, Robin Williams. Koko was quiet and looked very thoughtful, Koko signed the words for “woman” and “crying.” Koko became very somber, with her head bowed and her lip quivering; she was crying over the loss of her friend.

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"Robin made Koko smile — something she hadn’t done for over six months, ever since her childhood gorilla companion, Michael, passed away. Not only did Robin cheer up Koko, the effect was mutual, and Robin seemed transformed — from a high-energy entertainer, into a mellow, sensitive, empathetic guy, who also happened to be really funny." -Dr. Patterson 

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(Source: zuzuhiddles)

Chris Pratt worked with Marvel and Children’s Miracle Network Hospital to arrange a special screening of Guardians of the Galaxy for patients, families and staff at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Wednesday. While the movie played, Pratt snuck out and dressed up as his character, Star-Lord. He spent more than three hours in full costume and handed out movie-themed toys. Pratt also visited patients in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, the Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases, and the Pediatric ICU, as they were too sick to join the movie screening that afternoon.

Pratt spent extra time with one patient, Dylan Prunty, who is a longtime Lego fan and recognized the actor’s voice from The Lego Movie. They spent about 10 minutes reciting different scenes from the film.

(Source: eonline.com)

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