The More Things Change | Issue 25
30 September - 6 October
30 September, 1846: Modern medicine advanced once again when Dr W. M. Morton first used ether as an anaesthetic, administered by simple inhalation of the fumes. Ether is rarely used for anaesthesia today, but has become a mildly popular recreational drug, allegedly producing effects similar to alcohol intoxication. I say “allegedly” because I have inhaled a fair bit of ether during my attempts to knock out fruit flies, and all it gives you is a headache. Science, eh.
6 October, 1945: A guy called Billy Sianis took his pet goat to a baseball game, and consequently became a part of the sport’s folklore. Known for sneaking the goat into public places, this time Sianis got kicked out of the stadium. He was apparently quite upset about this, and proceeded to put a curse on the team. This was (predictably) known as the Curse of the Billy Goat, and was later revoked by Sianis. There seem to be some fans who still believe in the curse, though. It’s all very mysterious.
5 October, 1962: The film Dr. No was released, launching the “secret agent” genre that was very popular in the 1960s, as well as the whole James Bond thing. It was a financial and critical success (well, mostly: the Kremlin called it the personification of capitalist evil). It also established the Bond motifs we’re familiar with to this day: the shot down a gun barrel, the fancy title sequence, the Bond girl and so on. Dr. No is well worth watching, except for the scene with the giant venomous spider, which is grosser than the evil supervillain.
1 October, 1982: The institution of the cassette tape began its inevitable downfall, thanks to Sony launching the first consumer CD player. The audio CD was newly available at the time, and these fancy pieces of technology enjoyed twenty years at the top, until downloading and flash drives took over. CDs are still useful, though. People make art out of them and stuff.
30 October, 2004: Japanese scientists took the first photos of a giant squid in its natural habitat, which was helpful because the giant squid is still shrouded in mystery. We don’t really know how this thing reproduces or feeds or even how many species there are (estimates range from one to eight), and the evidence from the photos contradicted previous theories about its behaviour. Until science prevails, the giant squid will have to remain a shadowy creature of the deep, but there are probably worse things you can be.