JF Ptak Science Books Post 2488
I was researching a writer named Joseph George Konvalinka, who was the author of an Outsidery slimery called, The Origin and Physical Development of the Universe (1883). We travel through his interpretations of our physical stuff, and find that he was a curious man who seemed to be interested in his fair chunk of creation. Unfortunately his observations are not terribly clear, and he was willing to write about many of his conclusions before coming to any that were well-formed or supportable by scientific evidence.
For example, in section--which is actually a paragraph--on "Sun-Spots" describes the Sun as "not standing still" but "travels in a certain direction within the space of our solar system", which is not a very scientific thing to say. On the origin of "organic life" on Earth, the author asks himself the question and responds by not answering, but says that "all of mankind, which forms the basis of organic life, makes but a very thin cover upon the dead barren crust of Plutonic rocks" that form a "thin crust" on the surface of the Earth. And then something happens with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen--which the author identifies as "all gases"--and they make vegetables and animal life.
And so on it goes. The interesting thing is how much ground Konvalinka covers in the fourteen pages of the pamphlet--and the curious thing is that I happen to have three copies of this semi-non-existent work, one for each eye and a spare. And for as thoughtful as he is, it seems to be almost entirely a self-contained gedankenexperiment, free from outside influence, and nearly entirely free from reference. He wrote an earlier work in the 1860's, and was still writing in the 1890's (in a series referenced as his scientific memoirs), which includes a long section on aerial aviation and a proposal for a flying machine. Unfortunately he claims that flight was "a mystery" and described birds as floating in the air, which isn't a good thing to have as a basis for understanding flight. But he does offer several succinct and well-annotated patent-like drawings of his flying machine, which happened to be very squat, very heavy, and human powered.
Reading his work gives me the impression that he was an autodidact who I assume did not have the chances at an advanced education or perhaps access to the books necessary to understand physical systems that could have helped him form better foundations for his ideas. He wrote in interesting areas--and managed to have the finished efforts printed--and I can't help but like the man because of his active mind.