Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Voices of #iste11 – A Louis and Clark Story About Mercury & Thunderclapper Pills

Equipped as a storychaser with my iPad2, a $60 iRig mic, and the help of friends (as well as some bystanders) willing to be short-term videographers, I’ve recorded a series of interviews this week here in Philadelphia for the 2011 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference.

In this second episode, Missouri educator Cindy Lane tells a remarkable story about the use of mercury-based “Thunderclapper pills” on the the Louis and Clark journey. Mercury is persistent stuff! As I mentioned at the end of the interview, this would make a great KML/KMZ student project with Google Earth or Google Maps!

View the entire list of equipment Louis and Clark took on their expedition on National Geographic. also has some good medical background information about the trip, including the following quotation from author Steven Ambrose’s book, “Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis Thomas Jefferson and the Opening of the American West.”

Dr. Rush thought these pills would cure any number of ills. The pills were composed of calomel (a mixture of six parts mercury to one part chlorine), and jalap (eds note: jalapeno is a form of jalap). Each portion of the concoction was a purgative of explosive power…the combination was awesome.” Dr. Rush suggested that if one pill didn’t do the trick, you could take two or three.

Thanks to Chris Betcher (a wonderful Australian educator you definitely should be following on Twitter) for videoing this episode!

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