Saturday’s News Dump

These are the news items that were not that important this past week for the governor’s race in Virginia sucked all the oxygen out of the reporting.

For centuries people have tried to crack the cipher of the Philosophers Stone….well someone has tried once again…..

The setting was Amsterdam, 2019. A conference organized by the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry had just concluded at the Embassy of the Free Mind, in a lecture hall opened by historical fiction author Dan Brown.

At the conference, Science History Institute postdoctoral researcher Megan Piorko presented a curious manuscript belonging to English alchemists John Dee (1527–1608) and his son Arthur Dee (1579–1651). In the pre-modern world, alchemy was a means to understand nature through ancient secret knowledge and chemical experiment.

Within Dee’s alchemical manuscript was a cipher table, followed by encrypted ciphertext under the heading “Hermeticae Philosophiae medulla”—or Marrow of the Hermetic Philosophy. The table would end up being a valuable tool in decrypting the cipher, but could only be interpreted correctly once the hidden “key” was found.

It was during post-conference drinks in a dimly lit bar that Megan decided to investigate the mysterious alchemical cipher—with the help of her colleague, University of Graz postdoctoral researcher Sarah Lang.

Deciphering the Philosophers’ Stone: How Scientists Cracked a 400-Year-Old Alchemical Cipher

Our knowledge of our earliest ancestors and once again there has been a change in the thinking….

The Middle Pleistocene brought about the emergence of modern humans in Africa some 300,000 years ago. But plenty else happened during the epoch, stretching from 774,000 to 129,000 years ago, and a new study aims to clarify things with the naming of a new species and direct ancestor of Homo sapiens: Homo bodoensis, which lived 500,000 to 700,000 years ago. Researchers haven’t stumbled on a new fossil to warrant the proposed species, which, they write, is “not a true species in the strict biological sense,” given strong evidence of interbreeding. Rather, they hope to initiate a reshuffling of existing fossils from this period.

All fossils proposed to come from H. bodoensis are now assigned to two “poorly defined and variably understood” species, H. heidelbergensis and H. rhodesiensis, according to the study published in Evolutionary Anthropology Issues News and Reviews. As Live Science reports, the H. rhodesiensis label was never widely accepted, partly because of its link to British imperialist Cecil Rhodes (he founded Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe and Zambia, from which the species takes its name), whereas many different fossils were lumped under H. heidelbergensis—a “one size fits all species,” co-lead author Mirjana Roksandic, an anthropologist at the University of Winnipeg, tells Gizmodo.

DNA has confirmed most H. heidelbergensis fossils from Europe actually come from early Neanderthals, says Roksandic. She adds many H. heidelbergensis fossils from east Asia “likely represent a different lineage altogether.” But other H. heidelbergensis fossils—particularly those found in the eastern Mediterranean as well as a 600,000-year-old skull found in 1976 in Bodo D’ar, Ethiopia, for which H. bodoensis is named—could be part of the new species. The team also proposes transferring almost all H. rhodesiensis fossils to the new category—approved by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature—with a few added to H. sapiens.

Okay if you know anything about the Bible then you will have a little knowledge of the Tower of Babel….but going further than some mythical tale…..experts have found some new info on the constriction of the “tower”……

The Bible contains several mysterious stories, none more so than the Tower of Babel. Its existence has eluded researchers for years: while many assert that it is merely metaphorical, others claim the tower was a real, serving structure. According to the Bible, in Genesis 11:1-9, the tower was built in the land of Shinar — Babylonia — some time after the great flood.

Increased interest and research has offered up a handful of vital clues and evidence for the tower’s existence, including some “unusual construction material” discovered on a brick believed to have once been part of the tower.

The brick was commissioned by King Nebuchadnezzar II — the man who researchers believe ordered the tower’s construction.

In a bid for world supremacy in 586 BC he stormed Jerusalem, a city 500 miles to the west, capturing its most highly-skilled and highly-educated citizens.

Their plight — and how their presence in Babylon may hint at the existence of the tower — was recalled during the Smithsonian Channel’s documentary, ‘Secrets Unlocked: Tower of Babel’.

I admit I am not a fan of the horror film/slashers… daughter and granddaughter will spend hours streaming these fright generators….now there may be a reason why some crave these thrills….

Enjoying horror films is a strange choice of pastime when you lay it out. We volunteer to be made to feel uncomfortable, stressed and anxious with fictional content that will likely keep us up at night and rarely teaches us anything about the wider world (except, maybe, not to split up when being tracked by someone in a scream mask). While some people avoid horror films like the plague, others (myself included) are dead keen to lean into the void and ruin a perfectly lovely evening by scaring the living daylights out of ourselves. So what’s the lure?

As a sufferer from Diabetes Type 2 I am always interested in any research that could help the management… I found this one last week……

In a new study from the Technion, researchers developed a novel approach to treating type 2 diabetes is being developed.

The disease, caused by insulin resistance and reduction of cells’ ability to absorb sugar, is characterized by increased blood sugar levels.

Its long-term complications include heart disease, strokes, damage to the retina that can result in blindness, kidney failure, and poor blood flow in the limbs that may lead to amputations.

It is currently treated by a combination of lifestyle changes, medication, and insulin injections, but ultimately is linked to a 10-year reduction in life expectancy.

In the study, the team found a novel treatment approach, using an autograft of muscle cells engineered to take in sugar at increased rates.

Mice treated in this manner displayed normal blood sugar levels for months after a single procedure.

Muscle cells are among the main targets of insulin, and they are supposed to absorb sugar from the blood.

Scientists find a cure for type 2 diabetes

This is a study that is well worth my interest.

Have a good weekend……and thanx for the visit.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”