1940s  Pennsylvania Railroad travel poster featuring the T1, the last steam locomotives built in the U.S.

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“African American men wearing top hats with advertising for Higgins German Laundry Soap”, ca.1879-90
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Relating to Quacks, Quackery and Nostrums, part 1

"Quack is a pejorative term, disparagingly, albeit sometimes defensively, applied by a member of the establishment, the orthodox, regular, professional, credentialed and accepted class to describe the unorthodox, unlicensed, disapproved member of a fringe or irregular group. It is a term of condemnation employed when one wants to belittle another. Above all, the term has become associated with the sellers of medicines and the marketers of medical systems, those with the "true" method of curing specific ills or, in an earlier day, all the ills of mankind.

While the origins of the term are obscure, the term “quack” probably came from the Dutch Quacksalber, a charlatan, mountebank, empiric or itinerant seller of medicine. It may also have been derived from the sounds made by a duck, the term applied to the hawker of nostrums whose excessive zeal in describing the merits of his or her cure may well have sounds similar to the squawking of a duck. The chatter of the quack, in most cases more like torrent s of words, would have been familiar to both town and rural populations even in the ancient periods, for quacks have long been well known in every society. Over the past four hundred years they have been representative figures in folktales, stories and especially in prints, drawings and political caricatures…” –William H. Helfand, from Quack Quack Quack

1. "Nancy Linton: A faithful representation of her actual appearance & condition after having been cured by the use of Swann’s Panacea", c. 1833, by C Hullmandel (from a drawing by WH Kearney)

2. "The Dance of Death: the Undertaker and the Quack." 1816, by Thomas Rowlandson (from Wellcome Library)

3. "Singular Effects of the Universal Vegetable Pills on a Green Crocer! A Fact!", 1841, by Charles Jameson Grant

4. "Quackery - Medical Minstrel Performing for the Benefit of Their Former Patients - No other Dead-heads Admitted", 1879, by Joseph Keppler - from Puck

5. "The Travelling Quack", 1889, by Tom Merry



Abstract Waterfall by RickDrent
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3rd place overall national #secretcup Chalice Errl, five weeks later. by topshelfextracts http://ift.tt/1bJbMpD
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Snake Eyes! 88 Teeth! Hammer Head! Pussycat Puss! Bat Man! Double Header! P-P-Picklepuss! Pumpkin Head! Neon Noodle! Jukebox Jaw!!!


Many Different Ways of Obtaining an Ellipse

In mathematics, an ellipse is a curve on a plane surrounding two focal points such that a straight line drawn from one of the focal points to any point on the curve and then back to the other focal point has the same length for every point on the curve. As such, it is a generalization of a circle which is a special type of an ellipse that has both focal points at the same location. The shape of an ellipse (how ‘elongated’ it is) is represented by its eccentricity which for an ellipse can be any number from 0 (the limiting case of a circle) to arbitrarily close to but less than 1.

There are many different ways of forming an ellipse. Above are a few examples!

In order:

  1. An animation of the Trammel of Archimides.
  2. An animation of Van Schooten’s Ellipse.
  3. An ellipse as a special case of a hypotrochoid.
  4. Matt Henderson’s animation of a curve surrounding two foci.

Can you think of other ways of forming an ellipse (there’s a really obvious method that isn’t listed above…)?


Survivor by Tony Newlin
This picture is a one year old male gray wolf from the Bow Valley Wolf Pack in Banff National Park, Alberta. 
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Canvas  by  andbamnan