No. 498: "Double Up"
Tuesday in London, at an ongoing event sponsored by the Brain Games Network, spectators were treated to the unusual spectacle of a Double Fianchetto. What immediately preceded its appearance?
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Monday's Question (No. 497)—"Does Paper Work?":
The documents Alan Geller of Sea Cliff, N.Y., submitted to the federal government include the assertion, "It is desirable to produce bleeding body parts aside from the face." What did Mr. Geller hope to accomplish by filing these papers?
"And who says no one in the United States has noticed the start of hockey season."—Chris Hurst
"I could be dead wrong, but it sounds like Gerry Cooney is trying to get his boxing license reinstated."—Bill Scheft (Tom Tegtmeyer and Tom O'Connor had similar answers.)
"Scare the crud out of his little sister. My big brother would have tried that too, but he just pushed me down the stairs instead."—Alison Rogers
"Instill fear in the hearts of all those with body parts in addition to faces."—Sarah M. Balcomb
"If this is Halloween-related, I'm glad I'm not eight anymore."—Lara Williams
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The discovery of the circulation of the blood is generally credited to the English physician William Harvey. Before his work, people assumed blood just kind of ambled around without any direction, much as my relatives assumed about me when I was young. I'd say Aristotle and my Aunt Minna have some apologizing to do.
Harvey was born in Kent in 1578. Little is known about his childhood, so don't get your hopes up. After completing some sort of education or other, he studied at the University of Padua, reputed to have had the best medical school in Europe, but so far as is known, no football team. Little is known about what kind of a football player Harvey might have been, or for that matter, how he'd have looked in a jacket made of pleather. Probably pretty good.
Harvey returned to England where, in 1609, the king got him a job at Saint Bartholomew's Hospital, near his house in Saint Martin's. While little is known about Harvey's Kentish boyhood, as an adult he apparently did not like to commute. Harvey held this post for 34 years, when he was displaced by Oliver Cromwell's party for political reasons. Or at least that's his story.
In 1628, he published his great work, Exercitatio Anatomica de Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus (Anatomical Essay on the Motion of the Heart and Blood in Animals), establishing the circulation of the blood. He was not able to explain how they were able to shrink Raquel Welch and that little submarine thing and inject it into that guy's bloodstream. Or why, if you were picking a group of scientists to inject into a guy's bloodstream, you'd include Raquel Welch. It probably had a lot to do with politics. And sweaters.
Harvey's final illness was brief. He awoke one morning partially paralyzed and unable to speak, perhaps owing to a cerebral thrombosis, which may have been brought about by Oliver Cromwell for political reasons. Bastard. Harvey died at age 80, in 1657. Little is known about his boyhood.
Scary Halloween Answer
Mr. Geller hoped to win a patent for a costume and mask that appear to bleed.
His design uses two layers of material with tubes in between that carry a fluid that looks like blood. The inner layer is opaque, and the outer layer is transparent, so you can see the "blood" pumping through the tubes or oozing down from the top of the mask.
"Fluid is distributed across the forehead," the patent application explains. "Fluid then trickles down across the skull features of mask. Because fluid is visible through transparent outer layer, it gives the appearance of blood trickling down the skull features of mask thereby creating a realistic bleeding effect."
Geller's invention "can be shaped to depict any object, including, but not limited to, any human, animal or monster body part."
Mr. Geller was granted patent 6,093,475. You can view patents at www.uspto.gov.
Lara Williams Media Watch Extra
Headline from this Saturday's San Jose Mercury News: "Salsa Suspected in Death."—Apparently, they've been wrong all these years; it's not the mambo's fault after all.
Randy Cohen used to write Slate's "News Quiz." His most recent book—oh, like you don't know.