The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

For forty years between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) conducted an experiment on 399 black men in the late stages of syphilis. These men, for the most part illiterate sharecroppers from one of the poorest counties in Alabama, were never told what disease they were suffering from or of its seriousness. Informed that they were being treated for “bad blood,”1 their doctors had no intention of curing them of syphilis at all. The data for the experiment was to be collected from autopsies of the men, and they were thus deliberately left to degenerate under the ravages of tertiary syphilis—which can include tumors, heart disease, paralysis, blindness, insanity, and death. “As I see it,” one of the doctors involved explained, “we have no further interest in these patients until they die.”

Wikipedia also has an entry for this topic.
(via Linkfilter)

1961 Hawaiian Vacation Scrapbook

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I recently went to a local estate sale and found a pile of old photo albums. Most of them had dull pictures but among them I found an album from a trip to Hawaii in 1961. The album didn’t contain any pictures of the people who went on the trip but instead was a scrapbook with tickets, menus, napkins, maps, brochures, and postcards (inluding postcards of the Kona Inn, Coco Palms, and Don the Beachcomber’s in Waikiki), and even some greeting cards (bon voyage and birthday cards, as it was the passenger’s birthday during the cruise).

(via Humu Kon Tiki)

How To Make an X-Wing From a Paris Metro Ticket

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Have you ever fiddled around with an old metro ticket between two stops ? I did it for six months (in 2004, magical year) while wondering how I could give it a cool shape.

I’m very proud of how it turned out and I feel like I am the author of a little masterpiece. I got to the point where I asked myself whether the Parisian metro tickets hadn’t actually been designed to enable me to one day use it as a canvas for this “work.” Their proportions and even the patterns and drawings on them take part in the whole of the work. I’m not kidding, I find that there is a great underlying mystery here…

(via Waxy)

NY Times Reviews of Books By Kurt Vonnegut

From Player Piano to Bluebeard.

Review of Slaughterhouse-Five
Kurt Vonnegut Jr., an indescribable writer whose seven previous books are like nothing else on earth, was accorded the dubious pleasure of witnessing a 20th-century apocalypse. During World War II, at the age of 23, he was captured by the Germans and imprisoned beneath the city of Dresden, “the Florence of the Elbe.” He was there on Feb. 13, 1945, when the Allies firebombed Dresden in a massive air attack that killed 130,000 people and destroyed a landmark of no military significance.

Next to being born, getting married and having children, it is probably the most important thing that ever happened to him. And, as he writes in the introduction to “Slaughterhouse-Five,” he’s been trying to write a book about Dresden ever since. Now, at last, he’s finished the “famous Dresden book.”

In the same introduction, which should be read aloud to children, cadets and basic trainees, Mr. Vonnegut pronounces his book a failure “because there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre.” He’s wrong and he knows it.

Kurt Vonnegut knows all the tricks of the writing game. So he has not even tried to describe the bombing. Instead he has written around it in a highly imaginative, often funny, nearly psychedelic story. The story is sandwiched between an autobiographical introduction and epilogue.

Recall Bush

Excellent rant by Bill Maher:

New Rule:

America must recall the president. That’s what this country needs. A good, old-fashioned, California-style recall election! Complete with Gary Coleman, porno actresses and action film stars.

Mr. President, this job can’t be fun for you anymore. There’s no more money to spend. You used up all of that. You can’t start another war because you also used up the army. And now, darn the luck, the rest of your term has become the Bush family nightmare: helping poor people.

Yeah, listen to your mom. The cupboard’s bare, the credit card’s maxed out, and no one is speaking to you: mission accomplished! Now it’s time to do what you’ve always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service. And the oil company. And the baseball team. It’s time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or spaceman?!

Now, I know what you’re saying. You’re saying that there’s so many other things that you, as president, could involve yourself in…Please don’t. I know, I know, there’s a lot left to do. There’s a war with Venezuela, and eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church and Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote. But, sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You’ve performed so poorly I’m surprised you haven’t given yourself a medal. You’re a catastrophe that walks like a man.

(via Daily Kos)

Civil War Dads

From the WTF files:

There is a spiritual civil war being waged for the heart and soul of our families and our nation. How do we win this war? One key, perhaps the key, is for godly men to rise up and fulfill their biblical calling to leadership, service, and sacrifice as husbands and fathers.

Steve Braun brings Civil War history to life to illustrate these principles in action. Dressed in Union infantry battle gear, Steve encourages men to rise above the daily distractions of life and give “the last full measure of devotion” to God and their families. His presentation artfully blends biographical sketches, letters and diaries, period and reenactment photographs, music from the movie Gettysburg, and demonstrations of Civil War military equipment with a strong Christian message and passionate preaching. It’s a challenging, yet entertaining, mix of faith, family, and history.

(via del.icio.us/nicejewishboy)