Master a second language in easy 10-15 minute blocks
Babbel is developed by over 100 linguistic experts and its speech recognition technology assesses your pronunciation so it's "fi 'ahsan al'ahwal" every time.
- A lifetime Babbel subscription can help you learn up to 14 popular languages.
- 10-to-15 minute language lessons focus on building basic conversational skills.
- Babbel's speech recognition technology monitors and assesses your verbal performance.
As any high school junior will tell you, learning a new language isn’t easy. Even if you’re interested and motivated, it can often be difficult to find the time to keep up with lessons and the much-needed practice to get fluent in your new tongue.
Babbel captured its place as the no. 1 top-grossing language learning app in the world by creating a program with the time issue firmly in mind. Developed by over 100 linguistic experts, Babbel training is structured into easily digestible 10 to 15 minute lessons that can fit effortlessly into your schedule.
This lifetime access can get you on the way to full comprehension and fluency in 14 of the world’s most popular languages. Each lesson works on building your basic conversational skills, guiding you through useful real life subjects like travel, family, business, food and more.
Meanwhile, Babbel’s own personalized lesson reviews help make sure each new training takes root, plus their speech recognition technology assesses your pronunciation so you don’t just understand your new language, but speak it correctly as well.
Within one month, Babbel says their coursework can get you speaking confidently in your new language. It’s just up to you to dive in and get started.
Prices are subject to change.
When you buy something through a link in this article or from our shop, Big Think earns a small commission. Thank you for supporting our team's work.
The unfamiliar landscape of America's medical past is marked by bizarre incidents, forgotten breakthroughs and selfless sacrifice
- We all know Columbus, but who remembers Diego Alvarez Chanca, his doctor?
- This map does – and it lists centuries of medical figures, events and achievements
- It provides an unusual perspective on North American history… with one exception
A familiar canvas<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0MzU3MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2Nzc4NDYwM30.wHXrkWn66FVklBKtl_0AjG4mjYNxxYjZC-AZdNhzhfI/img.jpg?width=980" id="48230" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f25d5dfbb69ca2ec9ff73532ec18c95c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bExcerpt from 'Medical Events in North America' (1950), a map depicting major figures, institutions and events in the medical history of North America." />
The map illuminates the topography of America with simplified, symbolic representations of the persons, institutions and events that have shaped medical history.
Credit: Boston Rare Maps<p>The map of America is a familiar canvas for a multitude of stories – soil types and weather fronts, road trips and election results. But sometimes geographical acquaintance intersects with narrative quaintness, especially when the topic is very specific. As in this beautifully detailed map of <em>Medical Events in North America</em>, as bizarre as it is instructive.</p><p>In the manner of a medieval miniature, it illuminates the topography of America with simplified, symbolic representations of the persons, institutions and events that have shaped medical history. That makes for some interesting discoveries. </p><p>For example, whatever our feelings about Columbus, we are familiar with him via his signature achievement. However, few will have heard of Dr. Diego Alvarez Chanca of Seville, physician to the king and queen of Spain, and here seen accompanying the intrepid and/or invidious Genovese on his second voyage to America (on the ship painted in the bottom right corner).</p>
Medical progress<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0MzYyMC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwNzA5NTM2NX0.GfGs1djKzW0GEzyCW-M4aEhKZma8uhk_UOYgNkcjVrU/img.png?width=980" id="d77d2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="bd1bd95d3c6350ba646865d42805e5e7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bExcerpt from 'Medical Events in North America' (1950), a map depicting major figures, institutions and events in the medical history of North America." />
Dr. Philip Syng, holding up a jar with gallstones he removed from the bladder of Chief-Justice John Marshall, who contentedly observes from the operating table.
Credit: Boston Rare Maps<p>While on Hispaniola in 1493, Chanca cured Columbus from an attack of malaria – quite probably the first application of western medicine in the western hemisphere. </p><p>For a good while, Spain remains the motor of medical progress in North America, with the publication in Mexico of <em>Opera Medicinalia</em>, the first medical book printed in the Americas (1570), and just 10 years later, the establishment of the first university chair of medicine in the New World, also in Mexico. </p><p>Circa 1760, Junipero Serra prevented and controlled an outbreak of scurvy in California with the use of citrus juice – doing so 34 years before the British Navy struck upon the same idea. The Spanish padre is shown holding up oversized slices of oranges, dripping with healing sap. </p><p>Soon thereafter, the initiative – medical and otherwise – is seized by the Anglos on the East Coast.</p>
Remembering the pioneers<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0MzYxOS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzNzA3NTQ4Mn0.AwsGe5Oz-A4RHP-ZcrhI97mcn4xaeaADA53_toOpYoo/img.png?width=980" id="0a976" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8a4ca544b5cb8fd79cfef0462bb43540" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bExcerpt from 'Medical Events in North America' (1950), a map depicting major figures, institutions and events in the medical history of North America." />
Dr. Samuel Gross, carting in cadavers for anatomical study.
Credit: Boston Rare Maps<p>Many of the achievements detailed on this map were truly revolutionary, helping to elevate the state of medical science to the heights it has reached today. But, as the legend of the map says, "(t)he names of the prime-movers of science disappear gradually in a general fusion, and the more a science advances, the more impersonal and detached it becomes."</p><p>So it's nice to see remembered here, among other pioneers:<br></p><ul><li>Dr. Howard Taylor Ricketts (1871-1910), from near Missoula, who demonstrated the tick-transmission of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and died of Mexican typhus during the investigation and demonstration of the disease.</li><li>Dr. J.C. Otto (1774-1844), from Philadelphia, who established haemophilia as a clinical entity.</li><li>Sir Frederick Banting, working at Toronto University Medical School, who assisted by Charles Best managed to isolate insulin and succeeded in manufacturing it in 1922. Together with J.R.R. MacLeod, he received the Nobel Prize in 1923. </li></ul>
Quarantine Enforcement Act<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0MzYxOC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2Njc4NDg4NX0.2FOxQGAcwiodMmgf_za16AM8lULURhXN12W8SGShTJ4/img.png?width=980" id="af0ac" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="7541fec6e98568cb685ab31e45559eb9" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bExcerpt from 'Medical Events in North America' (1950), a map depicting major figures, institutions and events in the medical history of North America." />
First called "Letheon"', ether was discovered by dentist W.T.G. Morton, and first surgically used at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Credit: Boston Rare Maps<p>Several institutions are singled out as beacons of medical progress, notably</p><ul> <li>hospitals like Massachusetts General Hospital, Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Mayo Clinic;</li><li>educational centers of excellence such as Harvard Medical School, the Transylvania University Medical School and Jefferson Medical College; and </li><li>associations such as the State Boards of Health (first one established in 1869 in Massachusetts) and the American Medical Association (founded in Chicago).</li></ul><p>Among the achievements mentioned on the map with resonance for our own pandemic times are the Quarantine Enforcement Act, passed by Congress as early as 1799, and the stamping out, in 1905 in New Orleans of an "epidemic of yellow fever (…) by U.S. Public Health Service."Produced in 1950 and reflecting on earlier times, the map is dominated by white males.</p>The exceptions proving the rule are <ul><li>Dr. Hideyo Noguchi (1876-1928), who was associated with the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research and who in 1911 discovered the agent of syphilis as the cause of progressive paralytic disease; </li><li>Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910), the first woman in America to receive the degree of doctor in medicine, who together with Marie Zakrzewska established the first training school for nurses in America; and </li><li>a procession of slaves owned by Washington and Jefferson, standing in line to get inoculated for smallpox.</li></ul>
Curious cases<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0MzYxNy9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYwODkzODUwMH0.W0q3XU5ZN82nrmgAldQfFkiUFDLX7Y92n1QGJy0UwyQ/img.png?width=980" id="b1eaa" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="fe40428b6ab3a177f8750fc6511e02e0" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bExcerpt from 'Medical Events in North America' (1950), a map depicting major figures, institutions and events in the medical history of North America." />
Slaves of Washington and Jefferson, getting inoculated for smallpox.
Credit: Boston Rare Maps<p>Few of the events and achievement mentioned on this map have made it into general public knowledge, with two possible exceptions. </p><p><span></span>One is "the American Crowbar Case", an 'extraordinary medical incident' mentioned in a note stuck to the East Coast: "In 1848, an explosion propelled a 3 ½ ft. crowbar through the head of Phineas T. Gage and up into the air. The patient recovered completely except for loss of sight in one eye…"</p><p><span></span>The other, the curious case contained within Dr. William Beaumont's book, <em>Experiments & Observations of Gastric Juices</em>. On June 6th, 1822, a man named Alexis St. Martin was accidentally wounded by gunshot at Fort Mackinac. The wound healed, leaving a gastric fistula, through which Dr. Beaumont was able to make observations. But Mr. St. Martin "is a difficult subject (and) runs away repeatedly."</p>
Commissioned as sergeant<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0MzYxNC9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MzYzNTU3Mn0.8QGLeSPlcbKjC14HTVrJhTd8fczCn8iPRXkZn3jCxuc/img.png?width=980" id="5e575" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8771c0ef62bff8d5745d828df73200c4" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bExcerpt from 'Medical Events in North America' (1950), a map depicting major figures, institutions and events in the medical history of North America." />
Dr. Beaumont's book on gastric juices, with pages illustrating the story of his unwilling subject, Alexis St. Martin.
Credit: Boston Rare Maps<p>Really? Who doesn't want a doctor poking into their stomach through a hole in their belly? But eventually the situation is resolved to the satisfaction of both parties: "Beaumont gets (Mr. St. Martin) commissioned as sergeant to keep him during experiments."</p><p>One of the more familiar names on the map is that of Dr. Walter Reed, but mainly because he is now synonymous for the Army Medical Center named after him. The map reveals why he became famous enough for that honor:</p><p>In Cuba, Dr. Walter Reed (1851-1902) proved, together with Dr. Jesse W. Lazear, Dr. James Carroll and Dr. Aristide Agramonte, that mosquitoes were the carrier of yellow fever. Dr. Lazear & Dr. Carroll allowed themselves to be bitten by infected mosquitoes. Lazear died of the fever, Carroll's health was permanently impaired.<span></span></p>
Walter Reed in Cuba<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0MzYxMi9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxNDQ0MTIzNn0.TWA_s_8FWHKd7w4IJh2VvGx0LzdOX81DXJijocrN7L4/img.png?width=980" id="c93cb" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aaca80963b78cbcfa2d657766c1299aa" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="\u200bExcerpt from 'Medical Events in North America' (1950), a map depicting major figures, institutions and events in the medical history of North America." />
Dr. Walter Reed (in white), in between Dr. Carlos Finlay (who first theorised that mosquitoes carried yellow fever) and Drs. Lazar and Carroll, who put that theory to the test.
Credit: Boston Rare Maps<p>Although they are scant remembered today, their selfless sacrifice has doubtlessly saved the lives of many in the 120 years since. </p><p><span></span><em>Map produced in 1950 by Abbott Laboratories, a pharmaceutical company. A copy was </em><a href="https://bostonraremaps.com/inventory/pictorial-map-extolling-american-medical-science/" target="_blank">recently sold</a><em> by Boston Rare Maps. Image kindly provided by Mike Buehler at <a href="https://bostonraremaps.com/" target="_blank">Boston Rare Maps</a></em><em>.</em></p><p><strong>Strange Maps #1059</strong></p><p><em>Got a strange map? Let me know at </em><a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com</a><em>.</em></p>
Dr. Theobald Smith established that tick bits caused Texas Fever in cattle, thus proving that insects can carry diseases.
Credit: Boston Rare Maps
The Chumash people poked chewed bits of psychoactive plants into cave ceilings alongside their paintings.
- Mysterious pinwheel paintings in a California cave are probably representations of hallucinogen Datura wrightii.
- The paintings were made by the Chumash people 400 years ago.
- This is the first definitive connection between cave painting and hallucinogens.
A suspicion confirmed<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0MzQ3My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzOTgwMjk5NH0.S3cHxTWA0-NnEZE2Pc2wWEvTjbKGINKAEy7gaI0_nxE/img.jpg?width=980" id="44b2f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a8b2cdbfb20dd669a639aa6467f5ff09" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Robinson in Pinwheel Cave
Credit: Rick Bury/PNAS<p>About 50 clumps, or "quids," of chewed <em>Datura</em> plant fibers were found tucked into the stone alongside the swirls. It's believed they were painted sometime between 1530 and 1890 by members of the Chumash tribe, linked to today's Tejon people. This is the first time traces of hallucinogens have been found in proximity to cave art anywhere. It strongly suggests a connection.</p><p>The discovery was made by archaeologist <a href="https://www.uclan.ac.uk/staff_profiles/dr_david_robinson.php" target="_blank">David Robinson</a> of the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the UK. Robinson's been excavating the cave since 2007.</p><p>As for what those red-ochre pinwheels represent, Robinson asserts that they depict <em>Datura</em> itself and the way that it unwinds itself at dusk as seen at the top of this article.</p>
Datura wrightii<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0MzQ4MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMzA1ODM5Mn0.4AU3TZ6B0gntCK45Fkm0_UdMbSXnrQSvAHua0bsj4ec/img.jpg?width=980" id="c3c55" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a3c10957305244183fe3b5f5656a64d" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Dlarsen/Wikimedia Commons<p>Chemical analysis revealed that 15 quid samples contained traces of two hallucinogenic alkaloids found in <em>Datura</em>, scopolamine and atropine. Microscopy revealed that a majority of the quids contained remnants of <em>Datura</em>, and further 3D scrutiny found that the quids exhibited properties consistent with having been chewed.</p><p>Says co-author <a href="https://www.strath.ac.uk/staff/bakermatthewdr/" target="_blank">Matthew Baker</a> of the University of Strathclyde, "The combination of chemistry and archaeology in this project has truly shown the power of a multidisciplinary approach to uncover new knowledge."</p><p>The Chumash people are known to have used <em>Datura</em> in adolescent rites of passage and for shamanic vision quests. The plant was considered part of the tribe's spiritual family, personified as an old woman named "Momoy." The plant is classified today as an <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entheogen" target="_blank">entheogen</a>, a plant used for spiritual purposes.</p><p><em>Datura</em> was often ingested after being processed into liquid form, it was also chewed, as seen in the cave's quids. The Chumash knew how much <em>Datura</em> to ingest — it can be lethal when too much is ingested.</p>
Bringing the past to the present<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0MzQ5My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNzg4NTI1MH0.0e6H1ImLOQvOlpO9MloBjvUDCC3jWfyk37voCQU64E0/img.jpg?width=980" id="1bc7e" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="173dc2bfcfe6f12ee6c3e89bdfa29d97" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Devlin Gandy/University of Central Lancashire<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The link between hallucinogens and rock art has long been suspected," says Robinson, "and this research shows that it was not only a source of creative inspiration for these prehistoric groups of people, but a core tenet of important rituals and community gathering."</p><p>He adds, "These findings give us a far more in-depth understanding of the lives of indigenous American communities and their relationships, from late prehistoric times right up until the late 1800s. Importantly, because of this research, the Tejon Indian tribe now visits the site annually to reconnect to this important ancestral place."</p><p>Co-author <a href="https://www.southampton.ac.uk/archaeology/about/staff/fcs22.page" target="_blank">Fraser Sturt</a> of the University of Southampton, lauds the partnerships that made the findings possible:</p><p>"The results of this project spring from a high interdisciplinary, open and collaborative approach to research. In this way, new and improved recording and analytical techniques have helped to reconnect material remains, art, narrative and people across space and time. Thus, while the focus is on the hallucinogenic properties of Datura and its role in rock art and community generation, this work also shows that it is one facet of a complex suite of relationships between people, place and the environment."</p>
Shannon Lee shares lessons from her father in her new book, "Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee."
- Bruce Lee would have turned 80 years old on November 27, 2020. The legendary actor and martial artist's daughter, Shannon Lee, shares some of his wisdom and his philosophy on self help in a new book titled "Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee."
- In this video, Shannon shares a story of the fight that led to her father beginning a deeper philosophical journey, and how that informed his unique expression of martial arts called Jeet Kune Do.
- One lesson passed down from Bruce Lee was his use and placement of physical symbols as a way to help "cement for yourself this new way of being, or this new lesson you've learned." By working on ourselves (with the right tools), we can develop the skills necessary to rise and conquer new challenges.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by Freethink Media, Inc. All rights reserved.