By Lines

In early March of 1958, Michael Dillon, ship’s surgeon, made his way below deck. A member of the United Kingdom’s Merchant Navy, possessed of athletic bearing and a luxuriant beard, Dillon had hardly opened his sick bay when the steward delivered a cable. “Do you intend to claim the title since your change-over?” it read. “Kindly cable the Daily Express.” Dillon blanched and crushed the letter in his palms, then lit his pipe with shaking hands. He had kept a secret for over 15 years: Dillon had been born Laura Maud (sometimes written as “Maude”) Dillon. [READ MORE]

The Surprisingly Old Science of Being Transgender

In the still-dark morning of October 9, 1908, two Ohio farm hands made a chilling discovery: a bundle of cloth, a tangle of limbs, and a mess of matted hair. They fetched a lantern and returned to the lonely spot to discover a young woman, stiff, bloody, and quite dead. She had been shot at close range, a blue entry hole livid against her temple and another where her eye ought to have been. Dark welts left grooves in her flesh; it seemed she had been thrown from a carriage after death and then driven over by the wheels. Her name was Ora Lee, and she was four months pregnant. [READ MORE]

Forensics on Trial: America’s First Blood Test Expert

Fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal has put the company in crisis—and destructive tremors have reached a 2017 Oscar hopeful. Following the horrifying expose of Weinstein’s behavior (longstanding and devastating in reach), the company announced that The Current War release would be pushed into 2018, leaving its future in doubt. Chris Evangelista, writing for FILM, aptly summarized the plight in an October 15th article, suggesting that only “time will only tell when The Current War sees the light of day.” In fact, time, and light, operate at the center of film’s story…and the more interesting history behind its script. [READ MORE]

Contenders in ‘The Current War’

It’s not that science hadn’t tried to extend life with organs before; it’s that it had tried and failed… December 20, 1954, dawned to thick falling snow. By midafternoon, Dr. Joseph E. Murray, a surgeon at Harvard’s Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston, stood in his kitchen with an ingredient list for eggnog. A balding, pleasant-faced man, Murray and his wife, Bobbie, were preparing for their annual Christmas party, 75 guests strong—but the phone rang in the hall before he could crack the first egg. “It’s the pathology people,” Bobbie told him. They both knew what that meant. Murray dropped his whisk and threw on his coat. He cranked the engine of his car, swerved out of the drive and onto icy roads. The Brigham Pathology Department had a cadaver for him.. [READ MORE]

There are two great myths about Nikola Tesla. The first is that his greatest rival was Thomas Edison (a point I’ve addressed elsewhere). But the second is perhaps even more intriguing. Today, a google search of the inventor’s name will pull thousands and thousands of hits, nearly all of them describing his genius, his lost inventions, his ability to predict the future. And yet, for most of modern history, Tesla was not an accepted visionary and genius, but a mere footnote. [READ MORE]

Troubling the Future: the Remaking of Nikola Tesla