The device presented in Paris in 1874, though, was a parody—it was nothing more than a fever thermometer with an altered scale. The “point of health”—what we know as the standard 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit—was mislabeled as 0, the indicator of death. Several of those in attendance were diagnosed as deceased. The point of the presentation: to demonstrate the absurdity of necrometry.
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RWNote: This is just wishful thinking, but is there any chance that Thomas Piketty's new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, is just a modern day Parisian parody of egalitarianism advocacy?