Time to Eat the Dogs

On Science, History, and Exploration

Archive for Expeditions

The Myth of the “Lost White Tribe”

figure 20

Illustration from H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines (1905)

Zocalo’s Public Square ran my essay this week about the global, largely hidden, history of white supremacy. It was picked up by the Boston Globe. Thanks to Andrea Pitzer for being a terrific editor.


Podcast #20: The Ebola Outbreak of 2013


Why did Ebola, a virus so deadly that it killed or immobilized its victims within days, have time to become a full-blown epidemic? That’s what happened in 2013 in when the virus, already well-known to virologists and epidemiologists, broke out in West Africa, infecting twenty-eight thousand people and killing eleven thousand. 

Stephan Bullard, associate professor of biology at the University of Hartford, discusses the 2013 outbreak which is the subject of his new book, A Day to Day Chronicle of the 2013-16 Ebola Outbreak, which will be released soon with Springer Press.


Stephan Bullard

Podcast #19: Inventing the American Astronaut


It seems logical that would NASA select military test pilots to be the first astronauts, right? They were used to risk. They were good with machines. They already explored extreme environments. But these skills were not unique to test pilots. There were also mountaineers, scuba divers, and explorers. They too were considered. So why did NASA choose test pilots?

Matthew Hersch, assistant professor of history at Harvard University and author of Inventing the American Astronaut, talks about this and other aspects of the astronaut program. 


Matthew Hersch

Podcast #17 & #18: The First Americans on Everest, Parts I & II


Historian of Science Phil Clements discusses the 1963 American Mount Everest Expedition. His book, Science in an Extreme Environment: The American Mount Everest Expedition, is now out with University of Pittsburgh Press.

Part I, originally posted in November 2017, focuses on the goals and events of the expedition. Part II offers new material from the interview in which Clements discusses the expedition party’s scientific findings and treatment of local Sherpas. It also discusses the expedition’s broader relevance to the study of environmental history and climate change.

Part I:

Part II

Podcast #16: The Falcon Heavy


The Falcon Heavy on Launch Pad 39a, Kennedy Space Center

Today is launch day for a new space launch system – the Falcon Heavy – a rocket that may revolutionize spaceflight. If it flies, it will be the most powerful rocket in the world by a factor of two. It is also the first rocket of this size that will be reusable. 


Eric Berger (left) with Elon Musk (right) 

Eric Berger talks about the Falcon Heavy – how it works, where its going, and what it’s good for. Berger is the senior space editor for Ars Technica. In addition to his work as a space journalist, he writes about meteorology. For his reporting on Hurricane Ike, Berger was named as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize 2009. His interview of Elon Musk – conducted this week at the Falcon Heavy launch site at the Kennedy Space Center – is currently up on the Ars Technica website

Podcast #15: How We Got the Scientific Revolution Wrong


Potosí from a 17th century atlas engraving

In the late 1500s, the mines of Potosí –a mountain in southern Bolivia — produced 60% of the world’s silver. It was a place of great wealth and terrible suffering. It is also a place, Jorge Canizares-Esguerra argues, that challenges the very idea of the Scientific Revolution.


Jorge Canizares-Esguerra

Canizares-Esguerra discusses Potosí and how its peoples and technologies shaped 16th century science. He is the Alice Drysdale Sheffield Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. His work has been honored by awards from the American Historical Association and the History of Science Society. His book How to Write the History of the New World was cited as one of the best books of the year by the Economist, Independent, and the Times Literary Supplement.

Podcast #14: The Egyptologist


Margaret Murray unwraps an Egyptian mummy in 1908

After Napoleon occupied Egypt, Europeans became obsessed with the ancient cultures of the Nile. In Britain, the center of Egyptology research was University College London (UCL). At the heart of the UCL program was the Egyptologist, Margaret Alice Murray. During this golden age of Egyptian Archaeology, Murray was training students, running the department, and publishing dozens of books. So why haven’t we heard of her?


Kate Sheppard

Historian Kate Sheppard discusses the life and work of Murray. Sheppard is an associate professor of history at Missouri University of Science and Technology. She is the author of The Life of Margaret Alice Murray: A Woman’s Work in Archaeology.