Thursday, January 28, 2010

A new take on MacDonald's

"Fornix" is the Latin word for "vault or arch." "Fornix" is closely related to "fornication." It seems that prostitutes in ancient Rome used to hang out under the arches of certain public buildings. The act of carrying on an illicit sexual relationship consequently came to be called "going under the arches" or fornication.

[From the MedicineNet website.]

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Scribbling scientists

In a summarized history of the discovery of trichinosis, I read this:
1859: Germany: After dissecting a dog that had been fed Trichinella infected tissue Rudolph Virchow finds that the Trichinella larvae become adult nematodes that are not Trichuris. Virchow hastily sends these findings to the Paris Academy of Sciences, but his messy handwriting delays the translation and publication of his letter. Even though Virchow beats Leuckart to the experiment, Leuckart rushes to have the results from his own experiments with pigs published by the Paris Academy in September 1859.However, his messy handwriting leads to the inaccurate reporting of the actual number of worms found in the pig’s intestine. Leuckart’s paper claimed that Trichinella became Trichuris. In September 1859 Virchow’s paper is finally published and his findings contradict Leuckart’s hypothesis; after further experimentation Leuckart recognizes that Virchow is correct.