100 and 50 years ago

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    100 YEARS AGO

    The current number of the Lancet contains an article of particular interest dealing with the effects upon the wounded of the Mark II., the Mauser, the Dum-dum, and the Mark IV. bullets. The article, which has been written by Dr. Arthur Keith and Mr. Hugh Rigby, gives a clear idea of the relative amount of destruction caused by each of these modern military bullets, and the experiments upon which the writers' views are founded, confirm fully the experiences which have already been reported from the seat of war in South Africa. A glance at the illustrations shows the terrible havoc wrought by the Mark IV. and Dum-dum bullets and shows also that the old Martini-Henry bullet made an enormous and jagged wound compared with the neat little track that is left behind the Mark II., which our forces are using in South Africa, or the Mauser which is being used by the Boers. Dr. Keith and Mr. Rigby have not, however, been able to obtain results in their experiments with Dum-dum bullets that endorse Prof. Von Bruns's statement of the case against the English open-nosed bullet. All open-nosed bullets cause fearful injuries, but it is contended that Prof. von Bruns must have used Dum-dum bullets of an exceptional nature to get the results which he recorded.

    From Nature 7 December 1899.

    50 YEARS AGO

    Samuel Johnson once observed how quietly people will endure an evil which they might at any time very easily remedy; he gave as an instance a family which had possessed an island for more than four hundred years and never made a commodious landing-place, though a few men with pick-axes might have cut a staircase out of the rock in a week's time. At the recent meeting of the British Association at Newcastle upon Tyne, Section J (Psychology) held a discussion on the “Human Problems in the Design of Machinery and Working Methods”, and it was emphasized that, although knowledge is increasing, even modern communities have as yet little scientific understanding of these questions. In fact, Dr. Johnson's remark still holds good to-day, because many instances were quoted at Newcastle in which ordinary common sense has been lacking in the planning of the physical, psychological and social environments in which men work.

    From Nature 10 December 1949.

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    100 and 50 years ago. Nature 402, 592 (1999) doi:10.1038/45102

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