Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Thanks, Columbus

Columbus may have brought more home from the New World than teenage natives' scalps, advanced bludgeoning techniques, and the promise of untold amounts of gold. According to research done by Emory University, he probably brought back syphilis as well. While the bacteria that cause syphilis had existed before Columbus' trip, it wasn't until his triumphant return to Europe that the disease switched from being a South American skin condition to a venereal plague. Of course, Columbus' voyages eventually paved the way for the wholesale slaughter of anyone who might have given the disease to him or his crew, so I guess he wins. More details here.

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