Coal Trivia

Most our age remember coal furnaces and are aware the name for hard coal, the best type for home heating, is anthracite (see the posting of 12/13 07).  The word “anthracite” comes from “anthrax,” the Latin version of the Greek word for coal.

Anthrax, the disease, is so named because the most common form, cutaneous anthrax, classically shows a lesion that develops a black, coal-like scab.  A study of anthrax by Robert Koch in 1879 was the first proof of a specific disease caused by a specific microorganism and established the germ theory of medicine.  It is not the anthrax bacteria itself that kills, but a toxin it secrets.  Antibiotics can control the bacteria, but have no effect on the toxin which can quickly overwhelm the victim.

Mr. Eply would be proud.

About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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