Hi, I Am a Complete Ignoramus About the History of Science, Please Buy My Book About the History of Science

On Colbert I just saw Steven Johnson, author of The Invention of Air (a book about Priestley), saying that before Priestley there were no scientific theories about the nature of air. Okay, there’s one book I don’t need to pick up.

9 Responses to Hi, I Am a Complete Ignoramus About the History of Science, Please Buy My Book About the History of Science

  1. alina March 6, 2009 at 10:48 am #

    Dr. Long, looks like I’m back to blogging at totalitarianism today. I was just wondering if you knew anything about Randolph Bourne’s lauding of Zionism? Did her ever repudiate it?
    Your former wayward studentess

    • Roderick March 7, 2009 at 12:10 am #

      Hi Alina!

      Alas, I know not.

  2. Chaim March 7, 2009 at 6:24 pm #

    I think it’s relevant to point out that M. Johnson so wrote a book called #
    # Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter
    . I haven’t evaluated his evidence or the argument directly, but it’s safe to say that Johnson is not a careful scholar.

    Fun fact: For those who don’t know, besides being one of the greatest chemists to ever live, Joseph Priestly was also a political liberal of some significance.

    • Ray Mangum March 10, 2009 at 10:18 pm #

      I saw that “Everything Bad is Good for You” book near the counter in the dollar store recently when I was out buying light bulbs. I didn’t buy it.

      • Roderick March 10, 2009 at 10:53 pm #

        Do I need to buy the book if I’ve already seen the opening scene of Sleeper?

  3. seifer March 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    Raivo Pommer

    Teuer Geld

    Er beruft sich hierbei auf ein Urteil des Landgerichts Coburg (Az.: 23 O 426/08). In dem Fall hatten der Beklagte und seine Ehefrau zusammen einen Kredit über 21 000 Euro aufgenommen. Als sie sich scheiden ließen, vereinbarten sie, dass die Frau den Kredit zurückzahlen werde. Im Gegenzug verpflichtete sich der Mann, zwei weitere Darlehen zu begleichen.

    Diese Absprache teilten sie auch der Bank mit. Als die Frau die Tilgungen nicht leistete, kündigte die Bank das Darlehen und verlangte vom früheren Ehemann den offenen Schuldbetrag von 16 400 Euro. Zu recht, urteilte das Gericht: Denn die Absprache zwischen den früheren Eheleuten schütze den Beklagten nicht. Maßgeblich sei allein das Vertragsverhältnis zwischen der Bank und dem Mann. Der Beklagte sei durch die Scheidung oder die Abmachung der Eheleute untereinander nicht von seiner Schuld gegenüber der Bank befreit.

  4. Ray Mangum March 8, 2009 at 12:37 pm #

    Okay, so I’ve only taken Physics 1010 and Philosophy 1010, but I’m pretty sure I remember learning in both of them that Aristotle had theorized about the nature of air (it being one of the four elements), and probably that the presocratics had given it a thought or two. Aristotle’s view of air was not a correct scientific theory, but it does count, right?

    • Roderick March 8, 2009 at 10:22 pm #

      Yes, a number of Greek philosophers had theories of air as an element (and ditto for Chinese philosophers). There were alchemical theories of air during the Middle Ages. And then during the Scientific Revolution, prior to Priestley’s work a hell of a lot of work was done on the theory of air, by Johannes van Helmont, Robert Boyle, and Daniel Bernoulli, among others.

  5. Bob Kaercher March 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm #

    And let’s not overlook the fact that all those dudes had *theories* of air; none of them claimed to have “invented” it, did they? What a stupid title for a book.

    BTW, I’d just like to take a moment to promote my own forthcoming book, “The Invention of Trees”…

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