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.

RWalck@Verizon.net

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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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