Vacancy for a Hydropath

Vacancy for a Hydropath

From the 1852 edition of The Water Cure Journal, in the Varieties section:

Vacancy for a Doctor – Greiner, the Indian agent in New Mexico, wrote home on the 31st March, that he knew of an opening for an enterprising physician – a vacancy had happened, and he told how:- One of the Eutowa on the San Juan river was taken sick, and an Indian doctor from Rio Verde was called in to attend him. Owing to the strength of the disease, or to the weakness of the prescription of the doctor, the patient died and was buried. After the funeral the doctor was taken by the friends of the deceased, tied up, shot, and scalped – his wife’s hair was cut off; his house burned, containing all his property, and all his animals killed. This is the law of these Indians, regulating doctors. The vacancy is yet unfilled.

[Had this poor “tied up, shot and scalped” doctor, practiced the healing art, on Hydropathic principles, instead of the killing art, no such “vacancy” would have been made. But we trust some Hydropath will at once fill the vacancy, and cure all sick Indians.]

I don’t know if a Hydropath ever took up the burden and cured all the sick Indians of Rio Verde, but one has to marvel at the faith of the author that such a thing would even be possible; hydropaths of the day apparently held no doubt as to the success of their nostrums. Although I really can’t tell if we were supposed to take the piece seriously. Possibly not, as a little later, the journal offers the following advice:

How To Make Hens Lay – Tie a stout string round the body, and lay the bird upon its side upon a board, and fasten the string underneath. You can then put a pillow under its head if you wish. Hens secured in this manner will lay for any desired length of time.

That would work.

(Electric) Fan Death

(Electric) Fan Death

In Korea, electric fans come fitted with timers. That’s a great feature, as it can help you save on the electicity bills. But that isn’t the reason why the fans come fitted with timers. No, the reason is very simple and utterly and completely ludicrous: going to sleep with a fan running in an enclosed space will kill you.

Hence, the timer. To shut down the whirling, spinning blades before the fan’s gentle wafting breeze leads to your death.

The electric fan death theory becomes even more implausible the more details are added. For example, how exactly it kills you. Perhaps spinning blades tear oxygen molecules apart. Perhaps the gentle breeze from the fan leads to massive and fatal heat loss. Possibly, a light, electrically driven breeze creates a vacuum over the sleeper’s mouth and his lungs explode.

It is entirely and absolutely bonkers.

Nonetheless, lots of Koreans hold a fervent belief in the deadly, albeit entirely implausible, power of the electric fan.

Further reading:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_death

http://peer-see.com/blog/korean-fan-death-and-baby-soup/2006/08/11/

The Rude Man was ne’er so rude

The Rude Man was ne’er so rude

His large erection may have resulted from accidentally (?) merging his navel with his penis during a Victorian re-cut of the figure.

Also plausible: that the figure represents Oliver Cromwell.

Not likely but apparently true: that a huge chalk figure of a naked and very priapic guy should appear on a hillside outside of one’s town, and nobody has a clue who did it.

The LHC will rip a hole in the fabric of space time

The LHC will rip a hole in the fabric of space time

Choose your fate:

  • Black hole
  • Magnetic monopoles
  • Negatively charged strangelet conversion cascades

Rest assured however, the Institute for ExtraSpatial Studies has deemed these eventualities to be implausible in the extreme.

Kaku’s Three Classes of Plausibility

Kaku’s Three Classes of Plausibility

Class I: Plausible within 100 years

  • Force Fields
  • Invisibility
  • Phasers
  • Death Stars
  • Teleportation
  • Telepathy
  • Antimatter

Class II: Plausible within 1000 years

  • Faster than light travel
  • Time Travel
  • Parallel Universes

Class III: Implausible on any timescale

  • Perpetual Motion Machines
  • Precognition

Michio Kaku: Physics of the Impossible

Bigfoot pictures

Bigfoot pictures

Implausible since the beginning of photography: obtaining any good, clear, non-blurry pictures of Bigfoot.

Over Unity Machines

Over Unity Machines

Over Unity, or Perpetual Motion machines: deemed plausible by Bhaskara II in 1150.

In 1824, become formally implausible after Nicolas Leonard Sadi Carnot lays down The Law.

Implausible: magnetic fuel savers

Implausible: magnetic fuel savers

Found to be implausible, as of August 2008:

One implausible thing

One implausible thing

The following thing is implausible, as of August 2008: