During the Bubonic Plague, doctors wore these bird-like masks to avoid becoming sick. They would fill the beaks with spices and rose petals, so they wouldn’t have to smell the rotting bodies.

A theory during the Bubonic Plague was that the plague was caused by evil spirits. To scare the spirits away, the masks were intentionally designed to be creepy.

Mission fucking accomplished

Okay so I love this but it doesn’t cover the half of why the design is awesome and actually borders on making sense.

It wasn’t just that they didn’t want to smell the infected and dead, they thought it was crucial to protecting themselves. They had no way of knowing about what actually caused the plague, and so one of the other theories was that the smell of the infected all by itself was evil and could transmit the plague. So not only would they fill their masks with aromatic herbs and flowers, they would also burn fires in public areas, so that the smell of the smoke would “clear the air”. This all related to the miasma theory of contagion, which was one of the major theories out there until the 19th century. And it makes sense, in a way. Plague victims smelled awful, and there’s a general correlation between horrible septic smells and getting horribly sick if you’re around what causes them for too long.

You can see now that we’ve got two different theories as to what caused the plague that were worked into the design. That’s because the whole thing was an attempt by the doctors to cover as many bases as they could think of, and we’re still not done.

The glass eyepieces. They were either darkened or red, not something you generally want to have to contend with when examining patients. But the plague might be spread by eye contact via the evil eye, so best to ward that off too.

The illustration shows a doctor holding a stick. This was an examination tool, that helped the doctors keep some distance between themselves and the infected. They already had gloves on, but the extra level of separation was apparently deemed necessary. You could even take a pulse with it. Or keep people the fuck away from you, which was apparently a documented use.

Finally, the robe. It’s not just to look fancy, the cloth was waxed, as were all of the rest of their clothes. What’s one of the properties of wax? Water-based fluids aren’t absorbed by it. This was the closest you could get to a sterile, fully protecting garment back then. Because at least one person along the line was smart enough to think “Gee, I’d really rather not have the stuff coming out of those weeping sores anywhere on my person”.

So between all of these there’s a real sense that a lot of real thought was put into making sure the doctors were protected, even if they couldn’t exactly be sure from what. They worked with what information they had. And frankly, it’s a great design given what was available! You limit exposure to aspirated liquids, limit exposure to contaminated liquids already present, you limit contact with the infected. You also don’t give fleas any really good place to hop onto. That’s actually useful.

Beyond that, there were contracts the doctors would sign before they even got near a patient. They were to be under quarantine themselves, they wouldn’t treat patients without a custodian monitoring them and helping when something had to be physically contacted, and they would not treat non-plague patients for the duration. There was an actual system in place by the time the plague doctors really became a thing to make sure they didn’t infect anyone either.

These guys were the product of the scientific process at work, and the scientific process made a bitchin’ proto-hazmat suit. And containment protocols!


#I think about this post every time I see someone wearing a bifold N95 #(I know I’ve talked about that before‚ but here is the specific post I had in mind) #history #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers #that one post with the thing #illness tw #proud citizen of The Future



reminder that if, like me, you used to use LastPass and moved to a new password manager, go delete your LastPass account.

yeah I regret not having got around to this before


#wait shit did I ever do this #okay I went and dug around in my email archives and found a LastPass account-deletion acknowledgement from 2020 #*fistbumps past self* #PSA #LastPass #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers #this probably deserves some warning tag but I am not sure what


Keep turning right, and let your fingers scrape
Along the stone. Move swiftly through the dark.
Carry no torch – the monstrous granite shape
Of fate lies best unseeing. Strike no spark.

Hold fast the thread, and let no ripping shard
Part silk and faith, and make your oaths to fray
Where better heroes held their hopes too hard–
And where the tree-roots trip you, turn away.

Heed, quiet soul, in sunlight and in mirth;
Guard well your steps, though free airs ply your skin–
The deeper caverns turning through the earth
Have laid no markers where their paths begin.

(Oh help me keep the right, the straight, the true;
You never said I walked a maze in you.)


#poetry #that one post with the thing #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers




I think the discussion that made time loops my brand was entirely confined to Twitter, so since this website has gone all in on time loops of late, here, have the story:

Several years ago, I suggested to my wife that we have an agreement that if either one of us ever came to the other and said that we were in a time loop, we just accept that it’s real and get on with things, thereby eliminating the frustration of the looping partner having to convince the other one every day.

She REFUSED. Because “time loops aren’t real.”

Well, we had this debate on and off for several years, and finally, she got tired of me bringing it up and agreed. So now we have a deal: We’ll believe each other, but if I ever do it as a joke, the deal’s off.

It turns out that the reason that my wife has been refusing to make this agreement is less that time loops aren’t real, and more that she’s concerned I would come to her one day, claim to be in a time loop, and then the next day declare the time loop had finally broken. And since that is, of course, exactly what it would look like to her if I really was in a time loop, she’d have no way of proving it.

I explained to her that she’s completely right, that would be incredibly funny, but I’d never do it because there’s a part of me that is legitimately nervous that I will actually end up in a time loop one day, and I need her to believe me.

This won’t help YOU, but it will help anyone who knows you and gets stuck in a time loop if you come up with a code phrase that means someone is in a time loop, commit it to memory, and NEVER tell anybody what the phrase is.

Then, if someone comes to you and tells you the code phrase (which, again, you have NEVER revealed to anyone), then you can trust that in a previous iteration of the time loop they must’ve successfully convinced you that they were in a time loop and so you gave them the pass phrase to speedrun in future iterations.

You can even just commit to giving it to anyone who says they’re in a time loop, right? But you shouldn’t believe them if they use it afterwards.

But you say “hey, here’s the passphrase; use it on the next time through the loop and that me will believe you.”


#I recommend having more than one #multiple security levels and all that #time travel #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers



lost media enthusiasts when the 30 second version of a persian dub of a burger king commercial from 1993 is found


We’re the descendants of shepards who would tirelessly look for that one missing lamb.

There’s always joy in finding a member of your lost flock, to have them rejoin the rest, safe and sound.

We invented the written word so that thoughts might live forever. No matter how small or insignificant, when something is lost the universe gets a little dimmer.

We can’t save everything. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to try. And it’s a good day when there’s a victory. Even a little one.


#the wondrous variety of sapient life #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers #amnesia cw




A proper Suit of Armor, a must-have for any adVenture Capitalist. Great protection whether you’re dealing with a Bear or a Bull market.

Item: suit of chainmail


#I’m having some kind of emotions here but I’m not sure what they are #I think this artwork has a lot to unpack #clothing #art #adventures in University Land



could be a bit late for this particular method, but. if you have anything you want to save, find some way of doing it


#Twitter #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers #PSA #this probably deserves some warning tag but I am not sure what #amnesia cw?


just learned you can take a slice of bread straight out the freezer and put it in the toaster


@shinyangelwombatknight said:

What are the pros?

bread wont get moldy


#101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers #I share my bread freezer with three other people‚ so I can’t store three months’ worth #but I can do‚ like‚ five weeks #domesticity #food #recs #you can also keep Exactly Two slices in a bag outside the freezer so you can make non-toasted sandwiches #or at least I can #the last person I told that to was impressed by how much executive function that implied I had #(I hadn’t even *told* them about the part where the bread freezer is essentially on a covered porch and) #(I need to put on a pollen mask to access it about half the year)






#hmm #I like the aesthetic‚ but…it’s hard to settle this out into words… #…it’s not safe to go straight there‚ even if you could #the single best argument in favour of technological progress is that if we do not‚ we will die in mere decades #I don’t mean the species; I’m not talking about extinction #I mean each of us‚ individually‚ is mortal #that’s a problem #it is the ur-problem #and while I wish we could have the best of both worlds #and I do think we should strive to make this the best of both worlds #when I think about life as a hobbit vs the life I have… #…at least this way I have a chance #seven percent of all the people who have ever lived‚ it is not too late to save #oh‚ I hedge‚ as hard as I can afford to #I do want to buy the mes who are *forced* to adopt non-industrial lifestyles time #every day is valuable (well‚ except the days with colds) #but in the long run‚ to take up that life by *choice* would be to condemn myself to death #tag rambles #101 Uses for Infrastructureless Computers #death tw #apocalypse cw #aging cw #disappointed permanent resident of The Future