Here is another of the peculiar drawings that enliven the margins of a manuscript, made in or around the year 1350, of Jacques de Longuyon‘s poem “Les Voeux du Paon” (English translation: “Vows of the Peacock”).The Morgan Library owns a copy (Morgan Library MS G 24) and has put some of these images online. Here are a few, each with a description provided by the library:
We note with sadness the news that Ig Nobel Prize winner Dr. Francis Fesmire died. Dr. Fesmire found joy and fame by putting his finger on — nay, in — the pulse of his times. He was awarded the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize in medicine for his medical case report “Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage” [Annals of Emergency Medicine, vol. 17, no. 8, August 1988 p. 872]. Inspired by Dr. Fesmire’s medical paper, Majed Odeh, Harry Bassan, and Arie Oliven of Bnai Zion Medical Center, Haifa, Israel, applied his technique, found success, and reported it in a medical paper also titled “Termination of Intractable Hiccups with Digital Rectal Massage.” They shared the Ig Nobel Prize with Dr. Fesmire, and he with them.
Dr. Francis Fesmire, a longtime member of Erlanger’s medical staff and physician leader in the Emergency Medicine Department and throughout the nation, died suddenly on Friday. A statement from Erlanger officials said, “We extend our condolences to Dr. Fesmire’s family, particularly his wife Connie and sons, Forrest and Hunter, and mourn the loss of this extremely gifted and respected emergency medicine physician”…. On a national level, Dr. Fesmire served as chairman of the Clinical Policy Committee of theAmerican College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) from 2010 to the present. In 2009 he was awarded the “Hero of Emergency Medicine” award by the American College of Emergency Physicians. He was also awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2006. “
Dr. Fesmire returned to the Ig Nobel ceremony in several years, gleefully taking a bow, distributing rubber gloves and KY jelly, and offering to apply his technique, gratis, to any audience member in need. He often expressed his intent to take part, some year, in the annual Ig Nobel Tour of the UK (for the UK’s National Science and Engineering Week) — alas, that is a delight that was not fated to be.
A single substance can have multiple uses if you put your eye to it, as Dr. Hemant K. Mehta demonstrates:
“A new use of K-Y jelly as a gonioscopy fluid,” Hemant K. Mehta, British Journal of Ophthalmology, vol. 68, no. 10 1984, pp. 765-767. (Thanks to investigator Dany Adams for bringing this to our attention.) The author, at Gwynedd District Hospital, Bangor, Wales, reports:
“Methylcellulose drops varying in strength between 0.3% and 2.0% and isotonic saline are the fluids currently used for gonioscopy and posterior segment examination of the eye with diagnostic contact lenses. The author reports the use of K-Y jelly for such examinations in over 80 patients after having it used on his own eyes without any immediate or delayed ill effects. No observable difference was found between saline drops, methylcellulose drops of 0.3% and 2.0%, and K-Y jelly as regards the visibility of the anterior and posterior segments of the eyes. The more viscous fluids of 2% methylcellulose and K-Y jelly were more convenient to use, as they rarely allowed interposition of air bubbles between the cornea and the contact lens. K-Y jelly was well tolerated by all subjects.”
From the truth is (a lot) stranger than fiction files comes this disturbing story, which interweaves—in ways that would be deemed implausible, if they appeared in a fiction manuscript—several of the topics I’ve written about here before: legal academia, human subjects research (sort of), reproductive technologies, direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing, and preference heterogeneity…. The couple, it turns out, had had difficulty conceiving, and in 1991 had sought the help of Reproductive Medical Technologies, a fertility clinic associated with the University of Utah…. Admittedly, discovering that someone in the fertility clinic substituted his sperm for the husband-client’s is slightly more fantastical, but hardly unheard of in the real world. Tom’s mother, still living, consented to genetic testing, which confirmed that Tom was indeed the daughter’s biological father. What happens next, however, reads like the kind of fantastical plot elements that would get a fiction manuscript tossed….
The family discovers, through Tom’s mother and some Internet sleuthing, that Tom had lived a most improbable life, even before getting into the semen substitution business:
Tom had been a brilliant law student at Notre Dame Law School and had gone on to a promising early career as a law professor at Southwest State College. However all that changed, when at 25, he was accused of hatching a bizarre plan to kidnap a young Purdue student and hold her as a prisoner in a “love experiment”. The student was reportedly kept in a black box and subjected to electric shock therapy in an attempt to brainwash her into falling in love with Tom.…