50 & 100 years ago

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    50 years ago

    In an address to the School Broadcasting Council on November 7, Sir Ian Jacob, director-general of the British Broadcasting Corporation, referred particularly to the dependence of Great Britain, and possibly its survival, upon the widest possible diffusion of scientific skills and knowledge. He suggested that the British Broadcasting Corporation might be able to make, in its own way, “a new and massive contribution to the understanding of science in the secondary modern schools, where the need perhaps is greatest and where the shortage of good teachers is likely to be most acute”.

    From Nature 29 November 1958.

    100 years ago

    I have just acquired for the Canterbury Museum the skeleton of a huge blue whale (Balaenoptera sibbaldii). The whale was cast on to the beach at Okarito, on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand, early this year, and measured 87 feet in length. My statement that the Okarito whale is among the largest known has been freely challenged in the local Press ... I have naturally sought information as to the length of skeletons of great whales preserved in museums, but have been unable to obtain satisfactory data. I shall be pleased, therefore, if directors of museums possessing the skeletons of large whales will kindly communicate with me direct, or, as the matter is one of general interest, through the medium of Nature.

    Also:

    Students of the occult will welcome the elaborate paper by Dr. W. L. Hildburgh in the current issue of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute on Sinhalese magic. He illustrates with copious detail the equipment of the magician, devil-dancer, and astrologist, describes their methods, and provides an ample supply of curious charms, amulets, and horoscopes. He does not enter upon the question of the origin of this system of magic.

    From Nature 26 November 1908.

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    50 & 100 years ago. Nature 456, 452 (2008) doi:10.1038/456452a

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