Irish folk medicine stops an antibiotic-resistant bacteria

” In hospitals, in our food, and even in the ocean, antibiotic resistance is a problem scientists are hurrying to address.

Researchers discovered one potential solution to the crisis — and it’s more old-school than you might think. Alkaline soil from the Boho Highlands of Northern Ireland contains a new strain of bacteria — Streptomyches sp. myrophorea — which inhibits the growth of four of the six multi-resistant pathogens that the WHO calls “high-priority pathogens.”

” The soil came from a specific and historically significant site: Sacred Heart Church, located in the town of Toneel North. The The Boho Highlands region was significant to Neolithic people, Druids, and early Christian missionaries, as Inverse reported when the study was first published.

There, dirt has been sourced for Irish folk medicine for hundreds — possibly thousands — of years. It’s been used to heal toothaches and infections, for example, by placing a small handful of cloth-wrapped soil next to the ailment.

Using the same soil today for science presents a marriage of past and present, showing how traditional beliefs can inform today’s advances.

Fascinating stuff. This article was originally published almost exactly a year ago. INVERSE republished it as part of a year-end review of their top 20 stories in 2019.

I haven’t taken the time to check current stats on percentages of traditional beliefs that turn out to be harmful vs productive; but, that isn’t the point of the article. My feeling is that it reflects the portion of a scientific mind that comes down on the side of inclusive research.

At least Boeing landed the Starliner OK

” Boeing Co’s Starliner astronaut spacecraft landed in the New Mexico desert on Sunday, the company said, after faulty software forced officials to cut short an unmanned mission aimed at taking it to the International Space Station.

The landing at 7:58 a.m. ET (1258 GMT) in the White Sands desert capped a turbulent 48 hours for Boeing’s botched milestone test of an astronaut capsule that is designed to help NASA regain its human spaceflight capabilities.

” “We hit the bull’s-eye,” a Boeing spokesman said on a livestream of the landing…

” The Starliner capsule was successfully launched from Florida on Friday, but an automated timer error prevented it from attaining the right orbit to meet and dock with the space station. That failure came as Boeing sought an engineering and public relations victory in a year that has seen corporate crisis over the grounding of its 737 MAX jetliner following two fatal crashes of the aircraft.

I watched live coverage of the portion of this adventure that was intended to include docking with the space station. Initial response by commentators may have oversimplified the “error” that made the linkup impossible. Essentially, someone gave the Starliner the wrong time zone for rendezvous with the ISS. Not the first time for an error like this. Might not be the last, either.

The life and appearance of a hunter-gatherer in Denmark about 6000 years ago

At the dawn of the Neolithic era, a young woman discarded a lump of ancient chewing gum made from birch tar into a shallow, brackish lagoon that drew fishers to the coast of southern Denmark.

Nearly 6,000 years later, researchers excavating the site spotted the gum amid pieces of wood and wild animal bone and from it have reassembled her complete DNA and so painted the broadest strokes of her portrait.

” The strands of DNA preserved in the gum point to a hunter-gatherer from continental Europe who had dark skin, dark hair and blue eyes. She lived near the lagoon, itself protected from the open sea by shifting sand barriers, about 5,600 years ago, according to carbon dating of the birch tar.

Alongside her DNA, the researchers found genetic material from duck and hazelnuts – presumed remnants of a recent meal – and at least 40 types of microbes.

Anders Götherström said the latest work was exciting. “As for human DNA, these mastics may present an alternative source for DNA from where there are limited amounts of preserved bones. But even more exciting is the ancient microbial DNA,” he said. “The mouth is an exposed area of the body. It is possible that this type of material will outcompete bones when looking for DNA from ancient pathogens.”

Thanks, Honeyman

Construction of Navy ship ‘Harvey Milk’ begins


Harvey Milk way back in the day

” Construction began Friday on the future Harvey Milk, a fleet oiler named for the slain gay rights leader and the first openly gay man elected in the state…Milk was elected to the San Francisco board of supervisors in 1978 and was assassinated 10 months later by an ex-supervisor. His life was the subject of the 2008 film “Milk.”

” Almost 30 years before his election, Milk was a Naval dive officer based in San Diego. His nephew, Stuart Milk, attended Friday’s event and said naming the ship after his uncle sends a message to people around the world…

Milk said his uncle was forced to resign from the Navy in the 1950s after being caught in a San Diego park popular with gay men. To be honored now with a ship showed how much things have changed, he said…

” Fleet oilers like the future Harvey Milk are used to replenish fuel oil and dry goods to Navy ships at sea. The Milk will be the second ship in the new John Lewis class of fleet oilers. The future John Lewis, named for the civil rights leader and congressman, also is being built at NASSCO San Diego.

Crap, backwards, bigoted culture can be defeated. No one ever said it was easy. Just necessary.

Black-and-White and all the colors


adamtetzloff.com

Photographer Alex Harsley and his 4th Street Photo Gallery, in New York’s East Village, are having their long-overdue moment – one for which Harsley has prepared for decades. Curators and collectors are stopping by; so are TV channels and podcast producers.

” For years, Harsley, 81, sat in the sunbathed storefront of his word-of-mouth wunderkammer. Now you can find him in the back, still nudging the photo and art worlds forward, just as he has done for the past 47 years since he founded the nonprofit gallery that he has single-handedly sustained…

” Draped among the photographer’s prints today are his bellows, analog and digital cameras, each representing an era of photo technology, along with a wooden camera reflecting Harsley’s sense of humour. There are canisters of 777 developer, GE flashcubes and bins of prints to leaf through and purchase. The darkroom now accommodates digital printers…

” His observational, often narrative images straddle without contradiction fine-art and street photography. They capture the lyricism and humanity of urban life, and black urban life in particular – visual love poems in which the threshold between photographer and subject seems to dissolve. He is a master printer. He is also a noted experimental video and multimedia maker who shot the seminal video “Phat Free” for artist David Hammons, capturing him kicking a metal bucket down East Village streets. (The video was the highlight of the 1997 Whitney Biennial.) If Harsley’s photos mirror his heart, his complex videos mirror his “elastic” mind.

I know I was there at least once in the 1970’s. Didn’t meet Alex Harsley…as well as I remember. I remember loving his photos – especially scenes in the city [yes, the Mingus set, as well]. Never lived in New York. Never wanted to. Still, I spent a fair piece of erratic time there from the middle 1950’s on.

I remember his photo of Lewis Michaux’s National Memorial African Bookstore because that was someplace I visited probably every 3rd or 4th trip to The City. A street corner right by that shop was where I first heard Malcolm X all natty dread on a step ladder telling a lot of truth to folks. Standing there with my friend, Daniel, he picked us out, black-and-white, signifying nothing special but what still could be. Even then.

RTFA, Truly enjoyment knowing something that touched me briefly in passing so long ago – stayed around and grew like a tree standing by the water.

1964 — Michael Apted started making the most profound documentary series in the history of cinema


Dan Winters/NY Times

Apted, now 78, is ready to wrap it up.

To spend time with a child is to dwell under the terms of an uneasy truce between the possibility of the present and the inevitability of the future. Our deepest hope for the children we love is that they will enjoy the liberties of an open-ended destiny, that their desires will be given the free play they deserve, that the circumstances of their birth and upbringing will be felt as opportunities rather than encumbrances; our greatest fear is that they will feel thwarted by forces beyond their control…

❝ These are the tensions that have animated and shaped the “Up” programs on their way to becoming the longest-running documentary film series of all time…The first film was conceived as a special one-off episode of a program called “World in Action.” The mid-1950s saw an end to the BBC’s monopoly on terrestrial broadcasting, and “World in Action” became the flagship current-affairs program of a Manchester-based commercial upstart called Granada Television.

RTFA. I’ll not try to knock-off a precis of this documentary. It has stepped back into the lives of the children every seven years for about five edited minutes each time. It is the record of a changing society.

Thanksgiving, the Myth

❝ Generations of Americans have told themselves a patriotic story of the supposed first Thanksgiving that misrepresents colonization as consensual and bloodless…

The Wampanoags, who are the Indians in this tale, have long contended that the Thanksgiving myth sugarcoats the viciousness of colonial history for Native people. It does. The Pilgrims did not enter an empty wilderness ripe for the taking. Human civilization in the Americas was every bit as ancient and rich as in Europe. That is why Wampanoag country was full of villages, roads, cornfields, monuments, cemeteries and forests cleared of underbrush. Generations of Native people had made it that way with the expectation of passing along their land to their descendants.

❝ …the Pilgrim-Wampanoag encounter was no first-contact meeting. Rather, it followed a string of bloody episodes since 1524 in which European explorers seized coastal Wampanoags to be sold into overseas slavery or to be trained as interpreters and guides. The Wampanoags reached out to the Pilgrims not only despite this violent history, but also partly because of it.

❝ If Americans continue to insist on associating Thanksgiving with Pilgrims and Indians, the least we can do is try to get the story straight. We should put Wampanoags at its center and acknowledge the remarkable fact of their survival to this very day.

RTFA and get it straight. Hit your library and read about Metacomet…if they have anything.