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The past 24 hours of MetaFilter

Published: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:41:51 GMT

Last Build Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:41:51 GMT


The ultimate reading list, created by librarians

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 18:41:51 GMT

We asked our librarian delegates to help us build the perfect library by answering one simple question: which one book couldn't you live without?

A Fatal Mistake

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:39:08 GMT

The Sinking of El Faro: On October 1, 2015, the container ship El Faro sailed directly into the path of Hurricane Joaquin. When it sank it took the lives of all 33 aboard, including eight New Englanders. Rachel Slade wanted to know what happened and why. You will not soon forget what she found.

The Evolution of Lady Gaga

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:03:28 GMT

Meet her newest incarnation: Joanne. "She's Burt Bacharach in sequined hot pants; she's a Liza Minnelli for the Beyoncé era; she's Streisand Spice. She projects the kind of timelessness that makes it very easy to forget that Lady Gaga is just 30, a '90s kid trying more to be slightly more like Cole Porter than Kurt Cobain."

Activist Tom Hayden has passed away

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 10:56:13 GMT

Tom Hayden, member of the Chicago Seven, one of the founders of the SDS, politician and leading anti-Vietnam War activist has passed away at the age of 76. Link to recent NPR podcast from the DNC.

Cracking the Cranial Vault: What It Feels Like to Perform Brain Surgery

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 04:02:25 GMT

Dr. Rahul Jandial takes us inside the thoughts of a brain surgeon. After working on flesh and bone for 30 minutes, the real summit presented itself: the human brain, the most delicate, complex, and beautiful thing [in] the universe.

A Book by Its Cover: The strange history of books bound in human skin

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 02:32:42 GMT

"Anthropodermic bibliopegy, or books bound in human skin," writes Megan Rosenbloom in Lapham's Quarterly, "are some of the most mysterious and misunderstood books in the world's libraries and museums. The historical reasons behind their creation vary [...] The best evidence most of these alleged skin books have ever had were rumors and perhaps a pencil-written note inside that said 'bound in human skin'...until now." Anthropodermic biblipegy on Metafilter previously and previously. Warning: links may contain details disturbing for some. Rosenbloom continues: Scratching the surface of the history of any real human-skin book usually reveals a doctor was the one wielding the knife. At a time when physicians were climbing social classes and enjoying the trappings of their new wealth and status—including becoming collectors of fine art and books—at least a few chose to preserve the hides of deceased indigent patients to bind copies of their own work or of those that they admired, like anatomist Andreas Vesalius. Megan Rosenbloom is a member of The Anthropodermic Book Project. To separate fact from legend, the project has tested (or is in the process of testing) 30 books out of some 47 that have been identified as potential instances of anthropodermic bibliopegy. The method they have adopted for these tests is peptide mass fingerprinting (PMF). According to Rosenbloom in the Newsletter of the Archivists and Librarians in the History of the Health Sciences (pdf), the project uses PMF because other testing methods have not been reliable: The previous literature on this practice is problematic. Most of what exists – whether it stems from early 20th century book trade publications and newspapers or medical and library journals – rehashes long-held rumors with little investigation of historical or scientific fact. Unsubstantiated claims (like the existence of a French Revolutionary-erahouse of horrors in Meudon where human skin culottes and books were made from the aristocracy) were repeated throughout the years without any basis in reality. I have been unable to uncover any attempts at creating a census of these kinds of books in public collections. Any previous attempts at testing relied on subjective visual inspection. The advent of DNA testing held some initial promise, but DNA degrades over time and that degradation is hastened by the chemical processes that turn a hide into leather. Also DNA tests are too sensitive and can result in false positives triggered from previous handling by human hands. As noted in their FAQ, Brown University's John Hay Library currently has three such books in its collection, Vesalius' De Humani Corporis Fabrica (4th Edition), Adolphe Belot's Mademoiselle Giraud, my wife, and two copies of Hans Holbein's Dance of Death. The catalog entries for each note that "The results of a peptide mass fingerprint analysis, conducted in April 2015 by Dan Kirby, indicate that the binding material is the skin of a human being or that of a closely related primate." Surgeons' Hall Museum in Edinburgh has in its collection a pocketbook made from the skin of William Burke, who was executed, along with William Hare, for the 1828 murders of 16 people, whose corpses they sold to the anatomist Robert Knox (previously here). The Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia is "home to the largest collection of confirmed anthropodermic books" in the United States. Records exist that allow the names and stories of some of the people behind these books to be told, including that of Mary Lynch, who died horribly of both tuberculosis and trichinosis in 1869: On Wednesday, July 15, 1868, a 28 year old woman named Mary Lynch was admitted to Old Blockley, Philadelphia's almshouse, officially known as Philadelphia General Hospital (PGH). Old Blockley was located at what is now the intersection of 34th Street and Civic Center Bo[...]

Join The Black Parade: My Chemical Romance And The Politics Of Taste

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 21:45:35 GMT

[T]o toast the 10th birthday of The Black Parade, I called up two black writers whose work I adore and whose taste I admire, to have the exchange of ideas I wish I'd known how to have way back when. Here's hoping it reaches a few brown kids still learning how to trust themselves. NPR Music's Daoud Tyler-Ameen offers up a 25m audio article and an accompanying article about being black and loving My Chemical Romance's mega-hit album, released on Oct 23, 2006.

Like shallowly turned soil in a field...

Sun, 23 Oct 2016 19:48:49 GMT

We Salted Nannie. A small tale of ghosts and spirits both real and semi-real, and what lies buried in the past.