The Ghost Map

I read a book called The Ghost Map, which is about the discovery of the source of the cholera outbreak in London in 1854. It talks about the unique set of circumstances that gave John Snow a point a view that led him to the Broad street pump as the source of the outbreak. One thing that helped him was his experience with chloroform and ether, which had recently come into use in medicine. From experimentation on himself as well as his collection of lab animals, he was able to create a standard by which the gases were used. He was so renowned for his work in anesthetic gases, he was asked to administer chloroform to Queen Victoria during childbirth.

jonsnow lab




The Black Death comes to Europe

In October of 1347, a ship docked at Messina in Sicily with all sailors aboard either dead or dying from plague. They came from Caffa, or Kaffa, located in Crimea. It is believed Caffa received the pestilence from Mongol trebuchets during a siege of the city. From here on out, Europe was to have outbreaks year after year, eventually losing up to a third of it’s population by some estimates.

Things take a dark turn in 1346

Things take a dark turn in 1347

Blue Buffalo can suck it

If I had a dollar for every silly conversation I’ve had like this, I’d be able to draw full time. A few things…

I don’t care how expensive your dog food is (pssst, neither does your dog). I don’t care how many qualifiers go in front of it. But here’s a question, do any of you care as much about what you put into your own bodies as what you think you’re putting into your dog’s?dogfood If you’re slurping soda while you’re telling me how pure your dog’s food is, you’re an idiot.

Corn sucks because of the role it plays in our food industry and how heavily subsidized it is, not because it’s an allergen. News Flash: the corn and soy is not what’s making your dog itch, it’s the protein source, bozo.

Grain free is not a bad diet choice. It becomes one when people who don’t have sense make their dogs obese from the calorie-rich, all-protein, all the time bonanza.

Wolves eat raw food because they hunt. Your 6 pound yorkie doesn’t need to choke down raw food to get what they need nutritionally. Also, wolves are omnivores, just like us and just like dogs. It’s not some biological heresy to feed your dog a food with grain in it.

Lastly, don’t tell me how “spoiled” your dog is because you’re the poor dope who buys dog food that costs more than your cell phone bill yet you can’t seem to scrounge the money to keep its vaccines current.

This is everyday, man. Everyday.

And I don’t mean to pick on Blue Buffalo but they’ve come to embody all that is misinformed about how people shop for their dogs.

Mad Marmots will have your ass


Turns out the fur trade, now industry, sucks for more reasons than I thought. One of the ways the Black Death was spread in the 14th century was by fur trappers and hunters. Marmots were trapped for their fur in Central Asia and taken West along the trade routes. Around this time, many were found already dead, likely from plague, skinned and shipped off to Western Russia and Europe.

On a side note, marmots are super cute critters. I got to see some on a trip to the Olympic Peninsula.


from Plagues & Poxes: The Impact of Human History on Epidemic Disease by Alfred Jay Bollet