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.

So, there he was – landing the plane – when his arm came loose!

A pilot lost control of a passenger plane after his artificial arm became detached as he was coming in to land, an accident report has said.

The Flybe flight from Birmingham, with 47 passengers on board, was approaching Belfast City Airport in gusty conditions on 12 February…It landed heavily but no-one was hurt and the plane was not damaged.

The pilot said he would be more cautious in future about checking his attachment, according to the report.

In a statement, Flybe said the senior captain was one of its “most experienced and trusted pilots”, and the safety of passengers and crew had not been compromised in any way…

While he had thought about getting his co-pilot to take control, the time available and the challenging conditions meant his best course of action was to move his right hand from the power levers on to the yoke to regain control.

“He did this, but with power still applied and possibly a gust affecting the aircraft, a normal touchdown was followed by a bounce, from which the aircraft landed heavily,” the report found.

The AAIB reported that the captain had said that in future he would be more cautious about checking the attachment on his prosthesis as he may have dislodged the latching mechanism.

He also said he would brief his co-pilots about the possibility of a similar event and that they should be ready to take control at any time.

Could’ve been worse. Might have been a lumberjack operating a chainsaw.


Thanks, Mike

Pic of the Day

Click to enlargeREUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

Oxfam activists depicting Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and U.S. President Barack Obama take part in a media event to highlight world hunger during the G8 summit, at Enniskillen Golf Course in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland…

McGuinness makes history with a handshake of the British monarch

Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II shook hands Wednesday with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness in a historic gesture marking a giant step forward in the peace process relating to British rule of Northern Ireland…The handshake came 14 years after the end of a conflict that claimed about 3,500 lives, including that of the queen’s cousin Lord Louis Mountbatten in an IRA bombing.

McGuinness spoke to the queen in Irish as they clasped hands and made eye contact for several seconds in the ground-breaking public part of the event.

“Goodbye and godspeed,” McGuinness said, translating his comment for the queen. She smiled throughout the encounter but did not speak. The handshake followed a brief private meeting at which McGuinness told the queen their meeting was a powerful signal that peace-building requires leadership, his party…

He emphasized the need to acknowledge the pain of all victims of the conflict and their families, Sinn Fein said…

“It went good, it went really well,” McGuinness said afterwards, adding he is “still a republican” who opposes British rule of Northern Ireland.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams welcomed what he called a “historic meeting,” saying that “all in all, it’s a good day for Ireland and a good day for the people of these islands.”

Speaking outside the Irish parliament, he said: “It brings our journey of relationship building within this island and between these islands onto a new plane. I would to think we will build upon that.”

Sith gun robh so.

Irish fans off to EURO 2012: ‘Angela Merkel thinks we’re at work’

Gerry Nolan and his friends from Limerick made this cheeky sign that reads “Angela Merkel thinks we’re at work.”

Thousands of Irish football fans have put work on hold to support their team in Europe.

Euro 2012 begins today in Poland and Ukraine. Ireland will play their first game against Croatia on Sunday.

The group of friends who all graduated from college in Limerick together left Dublin this morning and posed with their flag at Dublin airport before jetting off to Prague…

“It was purely a joke, it wasn’t political at all.

“We were just talking about getting a really big flag and were having a think about what to put on it. We just wanted to lighten the mood a bit – Germany gets quite a hard time.

They are now hoping the hash tag #donttellmerkel will now start trending on the social networking site Twitter as a bit of an in-joke among Ireland fans.

Gerry Nolan, 25, thinks Ireland could win it. “I’m hoping they will do ok. I’ve booked time off to the final so they would need to do well…”

Never mind Angela Merkel thinking he is at work, what do Mr Nolan’s bosses say about him taking so much time off?

We told them there would be no booze or women on the trip. We are here purely for the culture and the football.”

Good thing the BBC reporter had his Wellies on.

The call for a single body to investigate crimes of the Troubles

Northern Ireland’s first police ombudsman has called for a single unified body to deal with all the unsolved crimes of the Troubles and arrest suspects even in cases that are decades old. Nuala O’Loan, who as ombudsman from 1999 to 2007 exposed the state’s use of informers who killed while in the crown’s pay, said such an inquiry unit should also be granted full powers of prosecution.

Most of the 3,269 murders committed during the conflict since it began in 1969 remain unsolved. More than 30,000 people were injured, many seriously.

In an interview with the Guardian, O’Loan said she was convinced that the police had deliberately destroyed evidence in “a lot” of killings involving the security forces. “That will inhibit the possibility of a full investigation…”

“It is not a truth commission because it would require that all the parties to the conflict tell the truth and I see no evidence that the parties are ready for that yet. And I am not sure that they ever will be.”

The victims were owed something, she said, and that should be a single independent historical investigations unit…

Continue reading

Retired bishop campaigns for an end to celibacy in priesthood

A high-profile bishop who tended some of the dead and wounded of Bloody Sunday has called for an end to celibacy in the clergy.

Edward Daly, who was bishop of Derry for nearly 20 years, said allowing the clergy to marry would solve some of the church’s problems. He is the most senior figure in Irish Catholicism to challenge the ban.

The number of Catholic priests in Ireland is in sharp decline as older clergy die out and very few young men choose to take up a celibate life. In some parishes the church has transferred priests from Poland and the developing world to fill the gap.

“There will always be a place in the church for a celibate priesthood, but there should also be a place for a married priesthood in the church,” he said on BBC Radio Ulster.

I think priests should have the freedom to marry if they wish. It may create a whole new set of problems but I think it’s something that should be considered. I’m worried about the decreasing number of priests and the number of older priests. I think it’s an issue that needs to be addressed, and addressed urgently.”

Daly accepted he might be out of step with current Vatican thinking but said he was “not engaged in a popularity contest”.

He said that during his time as a bishop he found it “heartbreaking” that so many priests or prospective priests were forced to resign or were unable to get ordained because of the celibacy issue. Many young men who had once considered joining the priesthood turned away because of the rule, the cleric said.


I hold no brief for the superstitions premised as religion; but, as long as human beings choose philosophical idealism over material reality they should enjoy the option of those who speak for that religion to be living something approaching a normal, healthy life.

Thousands march for peace in Omagh

Thousands of people marched for peace in Omagh one week after the murder of constable Ronan Kerr in the Co Tyrone town.

The mass rally was a powerful demonstration against violence in a community which suffered the infamous 1998 bombing by dissident republicans that killed 29 people, including a woman pregnant with twins…

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams warned against sheltering those responsible arguing that the political landscape had changed since the days of the Troubles.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are helping the IRA,” he said, “The war is over.”

Dissident republicans opposed to the peace process were blamed for the booby trap device that exploded under the policeman’s car on April 2. The same extremists are believed to be behind a 500lb van bomb police discovered near the border town of Newry on Thursday.

The Omagh rally attracted support from across the community and was attended by friends and relatives of the murdered officer. And while the march was not party political, organisers said it was intended to send a message of support in the peace process.

Gareth McElduff used Facebook to co-ordinate the rally and said it demonstrated the widespread support for the Kerr family.

He added: ”Although these are major, major setbacks in the peace process, hopefully the amount of people that is going to come out today is going to show everybody that we want peace in Ireland again and we don’t want to go back to the Troubles.”

Many in the crowd held posters carrying a picture of Pc Kerr’s face, with the words: ”Not In My Name.”

All power to the people. Stick the terrorist fools back into the cesspool from whence they came. The young copper who was murdered was a nationalist and a republican – willing to fight for change through political action. Unlike the cowards who killed him.

Newfound asteroid has been Earth’s companion for 250,000 years

Horseshoe shape of how the orbit appears from Earth

Astronomers from the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland have found that a recently discovered asteroid has been following the Earth in its motion around the Sun for at least the past 250,000 years, and may be intimately related to the origin of our planet…

The asteroid first caught the eye of the scientists, Apostolos “Tolis” Christou and David Asher, two months after it was found by the WISE infrared survey satellite, launched in 2009 by the United States. “Its average distance from the Sun is identical to that of the Earth”, says Dr Christou, “but what really impressed me at the time was how Earth-like its orbit was”. Most near-Earth Asteroids – NEAs for short – have very eccentric, or egg-shaped, orbits that take the asteroid right through the inner solar system. But the new object, designated 2010 SO16, is different. Its orbit is almost circular so that it cannot come close to any other planet in the solar system except the Earth.

… So while on the one hand its orbit is remarkably similar to Earth’s, in fact “this asteroid is terraphobic”, explains Tolis. “It keeps well away from the Earth. So well, in fact, that it has likely been in this orbit for several hundred thousand years, never coming closer to our planet than 50 times the distance to the Moon”. This is where it is now, near the end of the horseshoe trailing the Earth…

… 2010 SO16 could represent leakage from a population of objects near the so-called triangular equilibrium points 60 degrees ahead of and behind the Earth in its orbit. Such a population has been postulated in the past but never observed as such objects are always near the Sun in the sky. If they do exist, they may represent relic material from the formation of Earth, Moon and the other inner planets 4.5 billion years ago.

For the time being, the astronomers would like to see the physical properties of the object studied from the ground, especially its colour. “Colour, a measure of an asteroid’s reflectivity across the electromagnetic spectrum, can tell you a lot about its origin”, they explain. “With this information we can start testing possible origin scenarios with hard data. If it proves to be unique in some way, it may be worth sending a probe to study it up close, and perhaps bring back a sample for laboratory scrutiny.”

Probably at least as interesting as, say, who might appear on Dancing With The Stars next season. And a lot more useful.

Northern Ireland coppers defuse huge homemade bomb

Police have said that a 500lb bomb left in a van under the main Belfast to Dublin road near Newry may have been destined for a town centre.

Chief Superintendent Alasdair Robinson said the device, which was stored inside a wheelie bin, was “sophisticated and substantial”. He said that it could have caused huge devastation and loss of life.

The major alert was less than a week since the murder of PSNI constable Ronan Kerr in Omagh, County Tyrone.

Police believe that the van containing the bomb was abandoned in the underpass because of increased police activity in the wake of the murder last Saturday…

Police have refused to be drawn on which organisation was responsible

Acting NI Policing Board chairman Brian Rea said the “pure purpose” of the bomb was “death and destruction”.

“The public and political revulsion at the murder of Constable Kerr clearly shows that the people of Northern Ireland do not want any more devastation inflicted on our community and our police service…”

Meanwhile Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has reiterated his call for dissidents to meet his party for talks. Writing on his blog, he said that republican heartlands were “seething with anger” following the recent murder of Constable Kerr.

“The people of this island demand that you stop,” he wrote, addressing dissident republicans. “I am prepared to meet you anywhere at any time to listen to what you have to say and to tell you that there is now a democratic peaceful way to unite our people and our country on the basis of equality.”

Cynic that I can be – I consider that a possibility still exists that these expressly violent tactics may be a red herring from rightwingers trying to sabotage the peace.

Yes, I’m aware that anarchy is still the road of choice of nutballs either side of the road. Dimwits who care more about the thrill they get from making big noises – instead of actually accomplishing any sort of change.