Field of Science

Citrus, scurvy, and coincidence

TPP is covering citrus fruit today in his botany class, and as any fool knows, they are important sources of vitamin C.  But very few of today's students have any awareness of what an adequate supply of vitamin C prevents so rare has the condition become.  In the days of sailing ships, voyages were long and food was poor especially so if the crew ended up stranded somewhere waiting out a winter.  Sailors developed the symptoms of scurvy, but no one knew what caused it or what cured it leading to lots of speculation, nostrums, and cures.  Kids today don't know what scurvy is except for some derogatory term preceding "rats" in pirate movies.  Some things seem like coincidence, but actually you probably would not notice some things unless you were especially prepared to notice them and then it seems like an unlikely coincidence.  So it was that TPP took a quick glance at the Arts and Letters Daily collective, something he does maybe once a month to look for what people in the humanities are saying about science.  Much to his surprise the first article was on scurvy (a coincidence?) and what an nicely informative article it was too!  So here you go folks, read the article and then after finding out about scurvy, run for another glass of OJ.  Why take a chance!

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