Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hey, it was true 150 years ago, too!

My favorite thing that Scientific American does is reprint articles from their earlier issues. Given how long they've been in publication, this means they can go back 150 years. Here's my favorite one so far:

Gas [for interior illumination], it is supposed, is a powerful disinfectant, and hence there is no contagion within the circle of its influence.’ We copy the above sentence for the purpose of disputing the inference that gas will protect people from the small-pox. Small-pox is doubtless uncommon among that class of people who burn gas for light in our cities, because they generally have sufficient intelligence and forethought to attend to the vaccination of their families, and its ravages are almost wholly confined to that improvident class who make no provision against the small-pox, or anything else in the future, and who live by the light of burning fluid.

Here's the rest.


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