Plate No. 20 Poisonous Reptiles and Insects

Plate from The Book of Health depicting a mad dog, scorpion, rattlesnake, tarantula, centipede, and copperhead.

What We’re Talking About

Science History Institute staff recommends articles and blog posts from around the web to add to your binge lists.

Science History Institute staffers are a diverse bunch: we’re historians, museum professionals, photographers, writers, rare books specialists, editors, librarians, podcasters, and archivists. We’re also parents, science-fiction nerds, marathon runners, tea aficionados, foodies, and of course, readers. Each month Distillations asks a few of these varied experts to share the articles and blog posts from around the web that have them the most excited. Here are some of their responses to make your must-read list just a little bit longer.

When a resolute feline with a taste for literature captured the hearts of social media users, librarians at Macalester College had to determine how to manage their content gone viral. Librarian Victoria Orzechowski recommends this piece examining “Max the Cat” as a study in copyright and intellectual property.

One of the best things social media editor Rebecca Ortenberg has read all week is this Smithsonian article on code breakers, which combines “World War II, Cold War spy stuff, and ladies being awesome.”

More than a year ago Distillations managing editor Clay Cansler spotted a tattered, black plastic grocery bag tangled in the branches of a tree near his office window. It’s still there. He learned a bit about its backstory in this Topic article.

With the macabre opening line “Somewhere Santa is mourning,” this New York Times piece on a herd of reindeer killed by lightning (with striking accompanying imagery) intrigued collections photographer Jay Muhlin.

Development associate Katie Lantzas is following the science reporting around the supposed “laziness” of Homo erectus and the subsequent blowback in this Popular Science article.

Director of external relations Hope Corse recommends this devastating New York Times piece on a missed opportunity to solve the climate crisis.

If you are interested in the relationship between environment and history, program associate Jacqueline Boytim endorses this recent New Yorker article on various quests to find the Tasmanian tiger, which was presumed extinct in the 1930s.

Emilie Haertsch

was the Institute’s communications coordinator.