"Much excitement has been created by Prof. Pickering's proposal to build a system of mirrors, by means of which light can be rhythmically flashed to Mars. ... Even in the face of this tremendously alluring, but exceedingly remote, possibility, it seems to us that the $10,000,000 could be more worthily expended elsewhere."
In the 150 years ago is the story of a Cornish gentleman who arrayed himself in a suit of clothes composed entirely of ratskins: "hat, neckerchief, coat, waistcoat, trousers, tippet, gaiters, and shoes. The number of rats required to complete the suit was six hundred and seventy."
Hmmm... someone may have plagiarized SciAm on the rat story in 1873...
Waste products and undeveloped substances a synopsis of progress made in their economic utilisation during the last quarter of a century at home and abroad By Peter Lund Simmonds