NEWS AND VIEWS

50 & 100 years ago

50 Years Ago

There was an increase in the number of patients discharged from British hospitals in 1964, and a decrease in the average length of stay in hospital compared with 1962 and 1963. Men and boys stayed in hospital an average length of 18.3 days in 1964; women and girls … averaged just under two days less (16.7 days) …These are some of the findings in … the Report on Hospital In-Patient Enquiry for the year 1964 … The report contains detailed tables prepared from the 1964 ten per cent sample of discharges and deaths recorded … The tables are a mine of information … Injuries, poisonings and the like are all analysed in great detail according to whether they were caused by road traffic accidents, accidents in the home, or “other” mishaps.

From Nature 27 January 1968

100 Years Ago

It was stated officially … that the Admiralty had tested many methods of disguising mercantile shipping. One of these methods is to paint the ship with various quaint combinations of different colours. But this does not appear to have proved much of a success … Mr. Abbott H. Thayer … was one of the first to recognise that a high degree of invisibility is conferred on certain birds by the simple adaptation of being dark above and whitish below. He took two wooden decoy ducks, and placed them against a sandbank. One was coloured like the sand … the other was coloured on its upper parts darker than the surrounding sand, and graded below to pure white. At a short distance the first was still clearly visible, but the second was quite lost against its background … Some modification of this experiment has been tried on ships … but this device has not proved so successful as had been hoped.

From Nature 24 January 1918

Nature 553, 413 (2018)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-018-00990-x

Nature Briefing

An essential round-up of science news, opinion and analysis, delivered to your inbox every weekday.