How the Polio Vaccine Went from the Lab to the Public

The Cutter Incident was a tragic error showed how complicated it can be to distribute vaccines on a mass scale. Introduction In 1955, after a field trial involving 1.8 million Americans, the world’s first successful polio vaccine was declared “safe, effective, and potent.” It was arguably the most significant biomedical advance of the past century.[…]

How Pandemics Triggered Societal Shifts in the Ancient and Medieval Worlds

Societies and cultures that seem ossified and entrenched were suddenly open to conquest, innovation, and social change. Introduction Before March of this year, few probably thought disease could be a significant driver of human history. Not so anymore. People are beginning to understand that the little changes COVID-19 has already ushered in or accelerated –[…]

A Short Story of Propaganda since the Ancient World

Whenever any society has had common knowledge and a sense of common interests, it has made use of propaganda. The fact that wars give rise to intensive propaganda campaigns has made many persons suppose that propaganda is something new and modern. The word itself came into common use in this country as late as 1914,[…]

‘Germania’: Tacitus and the Long Reach of Ancient Roman Propaganda

The text, first published in 98 C.E., has a long legacy. By Emily T. Simon Ask a well-read individual to list the most dangerous books in history, and a few familiar titles would most likely make the cut: Hitler’s “Mein Kampf,” Marx and Engels’ “The Communist Manifesto,” Chairman Mao’s “Little Red Book.” But what about[…]