FYI April 08, 2019

On This Day

 
 
1232 – Mongol–Jin War: The Mongols begin their siege on Kaifeng, the capital of the Jin dynasty.
The Mongol conquest of the Jin dynasty, also known as the Mongol–Jin War, was fought between the Mongol Empire and the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty in Manchuria and north China. The war, which started in 1211, lasted over 23 years and ended with the complete conquest of the Jin dynasty by the Mongols in 1234.

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Born On This Day

 
 
1541 – Michele Mercati, Italian physician and archaeologist (d. 1593)
Michele Mercati (8 April 1541 – 25 June 1593) was a physician who was superintendent of the Vatican Botanical Garden under Popes Pius V, Gregory XIII, Sixtus V, and Clement VIII. He was one of the first scholars to recognise prehistoric stone tools as human-made rather than natural or mythologically created thunderstones.

Biography
Mercati was born in San Miniato, Tuscany, the son of Pietro Mercati, physician to Popes Pius V and Gregory XIII. He was educated at the University of Pisa, where he took degrees in medicine and philosophy. He was interested in natural history, mineralogy, palaeontology, medicine, and botany, and produced a book on these subjects entitled the Metallotheca, which was not published until 1717.

Mercati collected curious objects – fossils, minerals and so on – as well as ‘ceraunia’ or ‘thunderstones’. Mercati was particularly interested in Ceraunia cuneata, “wedge-shaped thunderstones,” which seemed to him to be most like axes and arrowheads, which he now called ceraunia vulgaris, “folk thunderstones,” distinguishing his view from the popular one.[1] Mercati examined the surfaces of the ceraunia and noted that the stones were of flint and that they had been chipped all over by another stone. By their shapes, Mercati deduced that the stones were intended to be hafted. He then showed the similarities between the ‘ceraunia’ and artifacts from the New World that explorers had identified as implements or weapons.[2]

Mercati posited that these stone tools must have been used when metal was unknown and cited Biblical passages to prove that in Biblical times stone was the first material used. He also revived the Three-age system of Lucretius, which described a succession of periods based on the use of stone (and wood), bronze and iron respectively.

Legacy
Due to lateness of publication, Mercati’s ideas were already being developed independently by other antiquarians, however, his writing served as a further stimulus. He was lauded shortly after publication by Antoine de Jussieu [3] and his importance continues to be recognised. David Clarke described Mercati as “the archaeological counterpart of Cardano in mathematics, Vesalius in anatomy, Galileo in the physical sciences and Copernicus in astronomy.”[4]

External links
Michele Mercati
Wunderkammer His cabinet of curiosities (museum)

 
 

FYI

 
 

By Jennifer Couzin-Frankel: Sydney Brenner, pioneer of molecular biology, dies at 92

Sydney Brenner CH FRS FMedSci MAE (13 January 1927 – 5 April 2019[14]) was a South African biologist and a 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine laureate, shared with Bob Horvitz and John Sulston. Brenner made significant contributions to work on the genetic code, and other areas of molecular biology while working in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. He established the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism for the investigation of developmental biology,[1] and founded the Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley, California, United States.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]

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Vector’s World: Working the olives; Sidecar antics and more ->
 
 
 
 
By Eugene S. Robinson: Cheating Into College the Old-Fashioned Way: Breaking and Entering
 
 
 
 
Open Culture: Cinema Lovers Rejoice, the New Criterion Channel Launches Today: Get a 14-Day Free Trial; Neurons as Art: See Beautiful Anatomy Drawings by the Father of Neuroscience, Santiago Ramón y Cajal; Deconstructing Steely Dan: The Band That Was More Than Just a Band and more ->
 
 
 
 
By Adele Peters: Can spreading tiny glass beads on the Arctic ice keep it from melting?
 
 
 
 

By MessyNessy 13 Things I Found on the Internet Today (Vol. CCCXLVII): The Louvre’s Pyramid Turns 30 with an Epic Optical Illusion; The surprisingly colourful world of golf ball interiors; An Addictive site that Randomly Loads YouTube’s Most Unsearchable Videos; The Stratocruiser 377, Boeing’s first post-war commercial aircraft and more ->
 
 
 
 
Christine Cube Blog Profiles: Theater Blogs
 
 
 
 
The Rural Blog: Inside Climate News wins awards from North American Agricultural Journalists for its stories on Farm Bureau; 13 journalists win rural health journalism fellowships to attend Association of Health Care Journalists conference; Small towns in Western U.S. are doing better economically than those in the East; one Montana town illustrates why and more ->
 
 
 
 
By Lynn Arditi: A Baby In Cardiac Arrest And An Emergency Dispatcher Who Did Not Know Telephone CPR
 
 
 
 
Atlas Obscura: Salmon Street Devil; First Journey; ‘Olympics of Hula’; Ghost Town Residency and more ->

 
 
 
 
Info Docket Gary Price: Fast Facts and Stats: National Pet Day 2019 (April 11); EPA’s Inspector General Issues Management Alert: “Certain Toxic Release Inventory Data Disclosed to the Public Are Inaccurate” and more ->

 
 
 
 
Gizmodo Science: Pyroclastic Flows May Spread Swift Death on a Cushion of Air; The International Space Station Is a Cesspool of Bacteria and Fungi, Study Finds and more ->
 
 
 
 
AV/AUX: Women Of Marvel celebrates the women of superhero history
 
 
 
 
By Nick Martin: Inside the Fight for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women
 
 
 
 
By David Tracy: The Jeep M-715 ‘Five-Quarter’ Is a 700+ HP Convertible Military Supertruck
 
 
 
 
By Elizabeth Blackstock: Nothing Will Ever Be As Good As This Dolly Parton NASCAR Camaro
 
 


 
 

 
 

Recipes

 
 
By Danny Palumbo: The painstaking process of making pierogi at home is totally worth it

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