Medieval Advice: No One on Their Right Mind Should Sleep Lying on Their Back

Advice books are nothing new. Here’s an example from late Medieval Europe:

β€œThose who have weak stomachs should sleep face down, for it will aid digestion and will not allow phlegm to accumulate through the increase of natural heat which stiffens the harmful humors. Moreover, it is extremely helpful to sleep at first on the right side, then on the left. No one on their right mind should sleep lying on their back.”

– Bartolomeo Platina, De honesta voluptate et valetudine (c. 1474)

(Translation by Erik Jensen)

Screencap Lancelot-Grail BLib Add MS 10293 f283r

This rather strongly worded hint is found in a Latin-language cookbook De honesta voluptate et valetudine by Bartolomeo Sacci (1421-1481; better known as Platina). Platina’s work was published c. 1474, and is often called the world’s oldest printed cookbook. It’s more than a collection of recipes, however; it also included his reflections on health, healthy habits, and physical activity, for instance.

A scanned version in Latin (with full record) is available through the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress.

As a side-sleeper, I (very non-seriously!) agree that sleeping on your back can’t be good for you. All of those wicked humors must then be free to wander around your body, you know… πŸ˜‰

Image: Lancelot-Grail (The Prose Vulgate Cycle), Lancelot sleeping in a pavilion having killed the owner who lies outside, screencap of Add MS 10293, folio 283r via British Library (northern France; early 14th c.; illustration on parchment)

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Facebook Wants to Translate Laughter

Ladies and gentlemen, this is why machine translation isn’t going to replace human translators in a hurry:

FB Translate Heh Heh Heh

Apparently Heh heh heh was too much for the Facebook language algorithm. No, thanks, I don’t need it translated. Granted, I use FB with three languages (Finnish, English, Swedish) with any regularity. All of my settings are in English, however.

And the real irony? The above screenshot comes from an English-language conversation.

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Fizzled Towel Day Salmiakki Babel Fish

My Towel Day celebrating fizzled: the candy from my stash that I thought was salmiakki fish (for Babel fish) weren’t fish at all but cars.

Salmiakki Selection

Ohwell. At least I was able to nom some salmiakki. Also, I spotted news from my old haunts (Turku, Finland) on the towelday.org site:

β€œIn Turku, Cosmic Comic Cafe presents its 10th annual Towel Day. Yes, Cosmic Comic Cafe has been celebrating towelness for a decade already! Theirs might be the first and oldest ongoing bad poetry night on Towel Day, they started in 2006. Unlike everywhere else in this galactic sector, their poetry night is not a competition: anyone’s and everyone’s poem (including Vogons) will be recited immediately. You churn it up, we blurt it out! The poetry shows start at 20.00 and repeats every hour till 23.00. The DJ will provide entertainment between shows. The programme ends at midnight with the Most Evil Laughter in the Universe competition. Froods carrying a towel will get a discount on Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters. While waiting for the t-day, the Finnish Towel Day site and Facebook page will be publishing daily horrible poems dug up from the last year’s archive, and introducing Towel Day activities around the globe.” [original emphasis]

(Also, apparently in Pieterburen, Netherlands, the seal rescue centre is collecting secondhand towels. Aww!)

Bonus video from 2015: ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti reads an excerpt from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy seemingly upside down on the International Space Station:

Towel day on the International Space Station by European Space Agency, ESA

Any Towel Day activities you’re up to?

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Tumblr Blog: Pride and Recreation

Aaaaaaaaaahh! This may be the best thing since sliced bread: screencaps from the 1995 BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice (with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth) with quotes from Parks and Recreation. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, etc., etc., Pride and Recreation:

PrideandRecreation Darcy No

Prideandrecreation That Relaxes Me

My favorites include these two above (one, two).

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World’s First Android Phone

According to the fount of all human knowledge, the Wikipedia, the world’s first android phone was the HTC Dream, released on October 22, 2008.

I beg to differ. Undoubtedly, the first android phone appeared exactly 15 years prior, on October 23, 1993 in a tv broadcast:

Screencap from Star Trek: The Next Generation, season 7, episode 6: β€œPhantasms”.
Screencap from Star Trek: The Next Generation, season 7, episode 6: β€œPhantasms”.

The screencap above is from Star Trek: The Next Generation, season 7, episode 6: β€œPhantasms” where the android Data has to adjust to suddenly being capable of experiencing nightmares.

P.S. Yes, the joke is really, really, REALLY dumb. Sleep deprived brain is sleep deprived. πŸ™‚

P.P.S. Incidentally, The HTC Dream would make a great name for a spaceship, don’t you think? If I ever got to name one, it would be an iteration of the northern lights – aurora borealis, nordlys (Danish), goleuadau gogleddol (Welsh – wow, looks so fun), or something in that vein. You?

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