Cess Pools, Cholera and Ghost Maps


I took a trip to the 19th Century this weekend, by visting the Geffrye Museum in London. I had the camera with me, so you can take a trip through three centuries of badly photographed living rooms here . Whilst slapping that together, I got rummaging on the web. And then on my bookshelf. Which is when I usually get worried: if I'm looking something up on the web, it's a containable mania. If I'm pulling books off the shelf and looking at indexes, I can kiss goodbye the next two weeks. So.

I've become quite a fan of the American writer/web-guru Steven Johnson. I recently read his brilliant work 'Everything Bad Is Good For You', in which Johnson argues that contrary to the popular perception (parrotted by red-tops, Hilary Clinton and other luddites) that TV, video games and modern media are making us dumber, they are, in point of fact, making us smarter. But that's a whole other story.

Johnson's most recent book 'The Ghost Map' deals with an altogether different subject matter - the cholera outbreak in London of 1854 and how the work of Dr. John Snow and his attempts to map the outbreak of the disease, changed the very nature of how we live in cities. This is Johnson speaking about the book.


Steven Johnson


A living room circa 1870. Taken at the Geffrye Museum, London. View the full set of Geffrye Museum periods here.

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This page contains a single entry by birdbath published on October 22, 2007 3:46 PM.

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