Pigtails, Duckbills and Roasted Guinea Pigs

The invention of the duckbill speculum in 1845 revolutionized gynaecology. Up until then, doctors had been using the bills of actual ducks (usually dead ones). American doctor and animal rights activist J. Marion Sims felt there had to be a better way and set out to find it. After numerous experiments on volunteers (South Carolina slaves volunteered by their owners, …

America's Next Top Model

Scientists have always relied on models -simplified renditions of reality- to help them understand, explain or predict. Over the past decades, more and more of these models have been replaced by digital versions, which are said to be more accurate and flexible. A few traditionalists remain sceptical, however, as computer models don’t always yield the desired outcomes. They still prefer …

The Multi Blower that Multi Sucked

The Philips HK 4250 Multi Blower was invented in the late 1960s, when consumerism had hit its first ceiling: every household in the First World had bought every variety of appliance they could ever possibly need. With World War II and its hardships still fresh in people’s minds, nobody was willing to replace things before they broke down. Sure, the …