Movin' On Up!

Acording to this article on Brietbart today, British physicist Stephen Hawking says "'...the human race should reach for the stars to survive as the Earth is at risk of being wiped out by a disaster.' He believes humans should settle in space, predicting a lunar settlement within 20 years and a Martian colony in 40."

Okay, so everybody pick their jaw up off the floor now and say it with us: "WHAAA??????"

Twenty years and we'll be settling on the moon? Like, we'll have our primary residence on earth and our country house 238,857 miles away? Kind of gives new meaning to the old "When are we gonna get there?" whine, doesn't it?

In related news, the space elevator we've been hearing about for years seems to be getting closer to becoming a reality. Not so much a traditional Otis-type contraption as it is a really, really strong cable (made from nanotubes), the space elevator will stretch from the surface of the earth, out to a satellite in geostationary orbit. That way, we'll be able to send payloads up via climbing modules. For more on the story, pick up a copy of this week's The Economist.

A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.


More from mental floss studios