Jamestown Salad and Fringe Science

Bacon’s Rebellion is sometimes cited as the first revolt against English rule in the New World. It was a bit of nastiness started in 1675 between the local Native Americans, Jamestown’s Governor Sir William Berkeley, and a faction of the settlers opposed to both, led by a troublesome planter named Nathaniel Bacon.

The troubles seem to have started when members of a local tribe got frustrated over non-payment for goods by one of the settlers and raided his farm. A retaliatory raid was launched, but against members of another, formerly friendly tribe, and things went from bad to worse for the settlers in Jamestown colony.

In response to large-scale raids by the offended local tribes, Bacon and his group went all manifest destiny and stated shooting anything in a breech-cloth.  In a failed attempt to restore peace between the settlers and the tribes, the Governor tried to quell Bacon’s nonsense by force of arms. There were harsh words, hurt feelings, violence and a revolt ugly enough that the Governor was eventually forced to call in British troops to restore order.

Minda Berbeco fills in the funny parts:

Beyond the monstrous behavior stemming from this rebellion, Bacon’s rebellion is notable for one other reason: it was the first (only?) recorded use of drugs as a bioweapon in the American fight against the British.

It all centered on a weed that grew in Jamestown, called the Jamestown Weed (now called Jimson Weed), which was known for its hallucinatory effects. The colonists, irate with the British government, cooked the young weed into a boiled salad (yes, they boiled salads back then, weirdos) and served it to several British soldiers who were sent to Jamestown to quell the uprising.

Robert Beverly reported in The History and Present State of Virginia, that the soldiers “turn’d natural Fools upon it for several Days: One would blow up a Feather in the Air; another wou’d dart Straws at it with much Fury; and another stark naked was sitting up in a Corner, like a Monkey, grinning and making Mows at them; a Fourth would fondly kiss, and paw his Companions, and snear in their Faces, with a Countenance more antick, than any in a Dutch Droll.” 

The British soldiers were zonked out of their minds and confined for their own protection for over a week. When they finally recovered they had no recollection of their misadventure. I’m sure that story took a long time to get old among the colonists at Jamestown… especially the ones working the salad bar.

In somewhat fresher news: no Jamestown salad involved, but 15% of Ohio Republicans think Mitt Romney deserves credit for killing Osama bin Laden. The National Mental Health Service refuses to quarantine the state. Our species may be doomed.

God is not mocked by soft drink ads! 
You shall burn in Hell forever, Dr. Pepper! Damn your heathen fizzy soul!OUTRAGE!

Whoa, dude, are we inside a computer right now? If yes, I think it needs a serious de-frag.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference, especially in Uganda.

Crank science finally gets some serious study: Freeman Dyson’s review of Physics on the Fringe: Smoke Rings, Circlons, and Alternative Theories of Everything. “The fringe of physics is not a sharp boundary with truth on one side and fantasy on the other. All of science is uncertain and subject to revision“.

Speaking of alternative theories: Velikovsky was an early proponent of planetary electrodynamics like the  The Electric Universe theory.

No, not the Whitley Strieber kind: Buzz Aldrin held the first communion on the Moon. “Drink of this Tang…”

Batshit Crazy


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