Saturday 27th of November 2021

from the father of vaccination himself...


Give your custom to restaurants that include wine in the fixed price menu...


Average longevity for a water drinker : 59


Average longevity for a wine drinker: 65


Wine is milk for old people.


87 per cent of centenarians are wine drinkers.


Wine is the most healthy and most hygienic of drinks. (Pasteur)






Note: The French credit Pasteur with "vaccination" though the idea of inoculation was invented before him — even referred to the Chinese 10 centuries ago... see also Cow pox... Pasteur actually made the process more available and practical. The name vaccination comes from the French vache (cow)...


The stats above are from about 140 years ago... Whether they were "accurately" recorded or picked out of a hat is interesting. 


More stats came our way through the ice core records of Greenland and fossil trees in New Zealand... Apparently something changed on the surface of the planet, 42,000 years ago or there about. Some news outlets consider the number 42 as a fun number, used by the Hitchhiker to the Galaxy, but it has NOTHING to do with anything of sorts. It's likely that 42,000 years ago, the polarity of the planet flipped. This did not have a direct influence on life on earth, except through the disruption of the protective electromagnetic field of the earth. This engendered a cascade of changes...


Single geological event links megafauna disappearance, Neanderthal extinction and cave art


Read the story:


A global environmental crisis 42,000 years ago

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Science  19 Feb 2021:

Vol. 371, Issue 6531, pp. 811-818

Reversing the field

Do terrestrial geomagnetic field reversals have an effect on Earth's climate? Cooper et al. created a precisely dated radiocarbon record around the time of the Laschamps geomagnetic reversal about 41,000 years ago from the rings of New Zealand swamp kauri trees. This record reveals a substantial increase in the carbon-14 content of the atmosphere culminating during the period of weakening magnetic field strength preceding the polarity switch. The authors modeled the consequences of this event and concluded that the geomagnetic field minimum caused substantial changes in atmospheric ozone concentration that drove synchronous global climate and environmental shifts.

Science, this issue p. 811


Geological archives record multiple reversals of Earth’s magnetic poles, but the global impacts of these events, if any, remain unclear. Uncertain radiocarbon calibration has limited investigation of the potential effects of the last major magnetic inversion, known as the Laschamps Excursion [41 to 42 thousand years ago (ka)]. We use ancient New Zealand kauri trees (Agathis australis) to develop a detailed record of atmospheric radiocarbon levels across the Laschamps Excursion. We precisely characterize the geomagnetic reversal and perform global chemistry-climate modeling and detailed radiocarbon dating of paleoenvironmental records to investigate impacts. We find that geomagnetic field minima ~42 ka, in combination with Grand Solar Minima, caused substantial changes in atmospheric ozone concentration and circulation, driving synchronous global climate shifts that caused major environmental changes, extinction events, and transformations in the archaeological record.

Over the recent past, Earth’s magnetic field has steadily weakened (~9% in the past 170 years), and this, along with the current rapid movement of the magnetic North Pole, has increased speculation that a field reversal may be imminent (1, 2). The estimated economic impacts of such a reversal have focused on the increased exposure to extreme solar storms, with multibillion-dollar daily loss estimates (3) likely to be conservative. One of the best opportunities to study the impacts of extreme changes in Earth’s magnetic field is the Laschamps Excursion (hereafter Laschamps)—a recent, relatively short-duration (<1000 year) reversal ~41 thousand years ago (ka) (4). Sedimentary and volcanic deposits indicate a weakening of the magnetic field intensity to <28% of current levels during the reversed phase of the Laschamps and, notably, as little as 0 to 6% during the preceding transition as polarity switched (Fig. 1 and supplementary materials) (1, 2, 5).

Studies of Greenland ice cores have failed to reveal marked impacts in high-latitude paleoclimate associated with Laschamps (5, 6), and this observation has underpinned the current view that there is no relationship between geomagnetic reversals and climate or environmental changes. However, the markedly increased levels of solar and cosmic radiation reaching Earth’s atmosphere because of the weakened geomagnetic field are likely to have increased atmospheric ionization and decreased stratospheric ozone levels, potentially generating regional climatic impacts, particularly in lower latitudes (7–9). In this regard, it is notable that many environmental records around the Pacific Basin appear to detail a major (and often sustained) change in behavior ~40 to 42 ka, including local glacial maxima in Australasia and the Andes (7, 10), long-term shifts in atmospheric circulation patterns (11, 12), and continent-wide aridification and megafaunal extinction in Australia (4, 13–16). The same period in North America saw the rapid, pronounced expansion of the Laurentide Ice Sheet (LIS) from a local minimum close to 42 ka (17–19). Many of these records document a long-term phase shift into a glacial state that persisted until the transition into the Holocene (~11.6 ka), in direct contrast to the Atlantic Basin records of millennial-scale abrupt and extreme changes associated with stadial-interstadial events.

Although the Pacific Basin environmental changes appear broadly coincident with the Laschamps, the lack of knowledge about the exact timing and duration of the geomagnetic excursion has greatly limited the ability to examine whether it played any role. In addition, chronological uncertainties are complicated in radiocarbon-dated terrestrial and marine records around the Laschamps because of the elevated production of 14C and 10Be, cosmogenic radionuclides resulting from the substantial increase in high-energy cosmic radiation reaching the upper atmosphere. The high 10Be flux has been well described from Greenland and Antarctic ice core records (6, 20, 21), which reveal synchronous century-long 10Be peaks across the Laschamps that appear to reflect a series of pronounced Grand Solar Minima (GSM; prolonged periods of low solar activity similar to the Spörer and Maunder Minima: 1410 to 1540 CE and 1645 to 1715 CE), with unknown climate impacts (20, 21). By contrast, the associated atmospheric 14C changes remain poorly constrained (22), preventing precise calibration (23).

Radiocarbon changes across the Laschamps

In this study, we performed detailed radiocarbon analyses of ancient kauri (Agathis australis) trees preserved in northern New Zealand wetlands (24) to generate a contiguous reconstruction of atmospheric 14C across the Laschamps (see supplementary materials). We compared a series of radiocarbon measurements across multiple kauri trunk cross sections to identify variations in atmospheric radiocarbon at a highly resolved level. A 1700-year record from a tree recovered from Ngāwhā, Northland, is particularly important because it spans the period of greatest change in 14C, including an apparent weakening of the magnetic field before the Laschamps. The growth of the Ngāwhā tree is relatively suppressed compared with both modern kauri and other late Pleistocene kauri, and there is a marked decrease in tree-ring width that coincides with the weakest phase of the geomagnetic field (supplementary materials). We spliced the kauri tree 14C series into the radiocarbon dataset reported from the 230Th-dated Hulu Cave speleothem (22) to provide an absolute (calendar) time scale (Fig. 1). Our 40-year–resolved reconstruction (Fig. 1) shows major changes in atmospheric radiocarbon before and during the Laschamps (23), closely matching reconstructions of the virtual geomagnetic pole [positions and geomagnetic intensity (1, 5)]. A comparison of the kauri-Hulu 14C with the paleomagnetic intensity data indicates that the reversed phase of the geomagnetic field (and associated partial recovery) defining the Laschamps sensu stricto occurred at 41.56 to 41.05 ka (supplementary materials).

By modeling 14C-production rates from our kauri Δ14C record, it is possible to precisely align to the ice core time scale by using 10Be records (21). Across this period, we infer that the Greenland ice core 2005 (GICC05) time scale is 265 years younger than the Hulu Cave time scale (95.4% range: 160 to 310 years) (Fig. 1 and fig. S15), which is considerably more precise than previous comparisons (21). Notably, the steep rise in ∆14C commences at 42.35 ka, with a peak value of 782 per mil (‰) occurring at 41.8 ka, 300 years before the full Laschamps reversal. This is the highest atmospheric 14C concentration yet reported of the pre-anthropogenic radiocarbon time scale (22, 23, 25) (see supplementary materials). The peak ∆14C value reported here occurs during the most weakened phase of the geomagnetic field (5) and is associated with a prominent GSM recorded by 10Be flux (20) (Fig. 1 and supplementary materials), when the weakened solar interplanetary magnetic field allowed enhanced input of galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) into the upper atmosphere. This kauri-Hulu record provides a precise radiocarbon calibration curve for this period, permitting a detailed recalibration of wider environmental changes to test synchrony between events while also enabling us to investigate the potential climate drivers during the Laschamps.

Global chemistry-climate modeling

To explore the impacts of a greatly weakened geomagnetic field on atmospheric ionization, chemistry, and dynamics, we undertook a series of simulations using a global chemistry-climate model, SOCOL-MPIOM (8) (see supplementary materials). First, the global conditions before the Laschamps were modeled by using modern values of the geomagnetic dipole moment (M) and average solar modulation potential (ɸ) of 800 MV (equivalent to the modern value). After a 398-year spin-up, three 72-year–long simulations (from which the last 60 years were used for analysis) were branched off to study the Laschamps and two additional solar states likely to influence atmospheric ionization: a reference run keeping M = 100% current and ɸ = 800 MV (experiment REF); the Laschamps with weakened geomagnetic field (M = 0% current, ɸ = 800 MV; experiment M0P800) (2); and a Laschamps weakened geomagnetic field plus GSM when the decreased geomagnetic field and the reduced solar modulation potential greatly increase the GCR ionization rate in Earth’s atmosphere (M = 0% current, ɸ = 0 MV; experiment M0P0).

Although our simulation for the weakened magnetic field during the Laschamps (M0P800) showed modest but significant changes in atmospheric chemistry and climate (see supplementary materials), the scenario for Laschamps plus GSM (M0P0) showed greatly amplified impacts, most notably during the boreal winter and austral summer (December to February) (Figs. 2 and 3 and figs. S18 to S30). Our results yield a large increase in atmospheric ionization from GCRs, resulting in an enhanced production of hydrogen and nitrogen oxides (HOx and NOx, respectively) (Fig. 2, A and B) (8) down to very low altitudes. The increased HOx and NOx concentrations influenced ozone levels over the entire atmosphere, decreasing the O3 mixing ratio in the stratosphere (~5%) while increasing the O3 mixing ratio in the troposphere, with the greatest changes observed over Antarctica (~5%) (Fig. 2, C and D).


Things change...



The temporary breakdown of Earth’s magnetic field 42,000 years ago sparked major climate shifts that led to global environmental change and mass extinctions, a new international study co-led by UNSW Sydney and the South Australian Museum shows.

This dramatic turning point in Earth’s history – laced with electrical storms, widespread auroras, and cosmic radiation – was triggered by the reversal of Earth’s magnetic poles and changing solar winds.

The researchers dubbed this danger period the ‘Adams Transitional Geomagnetic Event’, or ‘Adams Event’ for short – a tribute to science fiction writer Douglas Adams, who wrote in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy that ‘42’ was the answer to life, the universe, and everything.

The findings are published today in Science.

“For the first time ever, we have been able to precisely date the timing and environmental impacts of the last magnetic pole switch,” says Chris Turney, a professor at UNSW Science and co-lead author of the study. 

“The findings were made possible with ancient New Zealand kauri trees, which have been preserved in sediments for over 40,000 years.

“Using the ancient trees we could measure, and date, the spike in atmospheric radiocarbon levels caused by the collapse of Earth’s magnetic field.”

While scientists already knew the magnetic poles temporarily flipped around 41-42,000 years ago (known as the ‘Laschamps Excursion’), they didn’t know exactly how it impacted life on Earth – if at all. 

But the researchers were able to create a detailed timescale of how Earth’s atmosphere changed over this time by analysing rings on the ancient kauri trees.

“The kauri trees are like the Rosetta Stone, helping us tie together records of environmental change in caves, ice cores and peat bogs around the world,” says co-lead Professor Alan Cooper, Honorary Researcher at the South Australian Museum.

The researchers compared the newly-created timescale with records from sites across the Pacific and used it in global climate modelling, finding that the growth of ice sheets and glaciers over North America and large shifts in major wind belts and tropical storm systems could be traced back to the Adams Event.

One of their first clues was that megafauna across mainland Australia and Tasmania went through simultaneous extinctions 42,000 years ago.

“This had never seemed right, because it was long after Aboriginal people arrived, but around the same time that the Australian environment shifted to the current arid state,” says Prof. Cooper.

The paper suggests that the Adams Event could explain a lot of other evolutionary mysteries, like the extinction of Neandertals and the sudden widespread appearance of figurative art in caves around the world.

“It’s the most surprising and important discovery I’ve ever been involved in,” says Prof. Cooper.



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lauding louis pasteur...

By  April 16, 2017

There have been so many great minds throughout history that changed the course of mankind with their discoveries and innovations, but none may be as important to the lives of the people in the modern world today than Louis Pasteur, one of the founding fathers of microbiology.

Because of Louis Pasteur, your ancestors were able to receive a rabies vaccination instead of dying horribly from rabies after 1885. His rabies vaccine would lead to other vaccines that save lives, like the 1955 polio vaccine by Jonas Stalk. And most importantly of all, because of Louis Pasteur, you are able to enjoy your favorite wines and beers today.

So let's learn about a legend. And to help me with this article on the life of Louis Pasteur, I've asked Lori Budd of Dracaena Wines to contribute. Lori is a winemaker with a history in biology, and there is nobody else that I would rather see do the honors.

(LORI) As a child, Louis Pasteur asked his father “What makes a wolf or a dog mad, and why do people die when mad dogs bite them?” Obviously, this question was asked because Louis Pasteur had unfortunately seen this occur in his childhood. Now, I am not going to say that these deaths totally traumatized him, but if we take a look at his life’s achievements, these deaths did make a lasting effect on him, whether he consciously recognized it or not. 

As a scientist, I admire the predecessors and applaud how well they achieved their goals in the time that they did. Louis Pasteur ranks as one of my all time favorites. In all honesty, if you are familiar with his life, he was a pompous son of a bitch, but sometimes that’s what you need to be in order to be successful. He started his scientific career looking at crystals under a microscope. He was a chemist not an immunologist- that didn’t come until later. At the age of 26, he discovered there were four distinct kinds of tartaric acid. This discovery gave him a taste of fame, and he not only liked it, he craved it! (/LORI)

In eastern France, up against the border of Switzerland, is the department of Jura. Within Jura and 26 miles southeast of Dijon, the capital city of Burgundy, is the commune of Dole. This is where Louis Pasteur, the third child of Jean-Joseph Pasteur and Jeanne-Etiennett Roqui, was born on December 27th, 1822.  In 1826 his family packed up and moved to Marnoz, and a year later they moved to Arbois, 22 miles southeast of Dole.

Louis was raised Catholic and his family was rather poor. Despite Jean-Joseph being a decorated sergeant major during the Napoleonic war, there was little money in his profession as a tanner of leather. It's not lost on me that tanning is made possible by the astringent polyphenol called tannin that's found in wood; the same tannin that's within the chemistry of red wine. This is pure coincidence, but a funny coincidence since young Louis would become a chemist. What wasn't a coincidence is that his family also had their own vineyard and made their own wine, giving Louis an appreciation of wine at an early age.
A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world. - Louis Pasteur

He was just okay in school. Nothing really special there. However, his parents saw his brilliance and did everything they could to provide him with the best education possible. He had a passion for the outdoors and fishing, and loved to draw with crayons and sketch portraits of family members and neighbors. He went to Collége Royal de Besançon in 1839 and received a Bachelor of Letters degree in 1840. In 1841 he failed his first examination for a degree in science, but in 1842 he earned a general science degree. His performance in chemistry was... meh.

He also passed the entrance test for the École Normale Supérieure, an institution for higher learning, in 1842. His performance was ranked low so he decided not to go back the following year. After years of studying elsewhere, he returned to École Normale Supérieure in 1845 and earned the Master of Science degree. He would bounce around to different colleges as a professor of physics, all while researching crystallography.

Within the span of a year he would make his two greatest discoveries. The first was molecular asymmetry in 1848 at the age of 25. This got him a job as professor of chemistry at the University of Strasberg (sic — strasbourg). The second great discovery came in May of 1849 when he met the daughter of the university's rector, Marie Laurent. They fell in love and got married that same month, on May 29th. Unfortunately, only two of the five children that they had together lived past childhood. Such was life before Pasteur's own work would lead the way for future generations to change that.

Flashback to MOLECULAR ASYMMETRY. So you know how sometimes when you open a wine bottle and there's crystals on the cork? Those are tartrate crystals, created by the potassium acid salt in tartaric acid. Tartaric acid is the most prominent form of acid in grapes, and thus in wine, but it's also the rarest acid in other forms of fruit. While examining tartrates, Louis learned of a problem that German chemist Eilhardt Mitcherlich was having. The plane of polarized light would rotate (AKA optical rotation) when passing through tartrate crystals produced by solutions of the compound, while it would not when passing through its corresponding crystalline paratartates created by chemical synthesis.

At the time this was just stupid because by all accounts they were the same thing. They have the exact same chemical properties! What the hell is going on here?

This is when it got downright crazy. Louis Pasteur did the unthinkable and (I swear you're not going to believe this) HE USED A MICROSCOPE! *GASP!* This just wasn't something that chemists did in those days. With crystalline paratartrateshe saw that half of them had left-handed facings and half of them had right-handed facings. When he took them apart and divided them in to separate piles, they too displayed optical rotation. It was because they were so structured together, mirror images of themselves, that they would rotate the plane of polarized light at the same degree in opposite directions. The tartrate crystals, chemically identical, did not have this neutralizing formation. This molecular asymmetry meant that there are four forms of tartaric acid, and it was a huge discovery in chemistry. And although isomerism (when compounds have identical chemical compositions but different structural arrangements) was first discovered in 1827 by Friedrich Woehler, Louis Pasteur's work here was an invaluable and prized example in its cause.
The universe is asymmetric and I am persuaded that life, as it is known to us, is a direct result of the asymmetry of the universe or of its indirect consequences. - Louis Pasteur

Up next for Louis was figuring out what actually causes FERMENTATION and, from that, the GERM THEORY that microorganisms cause spoilage and disease. Nobody really knew what was happening during fermentation, although SOME were on the right track. Weird, right? It's just common knowledge now so it's hard for us to imagine that something we had been taking advantage of for thousands of years, since before civilization, did not have a correct explanation until the mid-nineteenth century. Of course, through-out most of history it was due to mythological forces. But at the time that Pasteur took it on it was considered a form of decomposition. Or, that everything fermented while decomposing but a few things happened to become delicious libations during it.

Louis Pasteur wanted to do some work on fermentation for years, but it wasn't until after he became professor of chemistry and dean of the science faculty at the University of Lille in 1854 that he was challenged to do so.

He wasn't the first to tackle yeast fermentation and germ theory, though. In the 1830's, French physicist and engineer Cagnaird de la Tour theorized that yeast was what created the alcohol in beer. In the 1840's, German physiologist Theodore Schwann connected the multiplication of yeast during fermentation to the yeast somehow producing alcohol. He then, besting Cagniard de la Tour, came up with his own germ theory. Pasteur's conclusions came over a decade later and their cornerstones were so similar that there's controversy on whether he copied Schwann's work, used it as a guideline, or founded them independently. We do know that Pasteur was one of the few that had read de la Tour's paper on yeast, but we do not know if he was aware of Schwann's work on fermentation and germ theory. Regardless, Pasteur took both further in research, evidence, and publicity than Schwann ever did.

When Pasteur was only 33 years old, the father of one of his students asked for help. He made spirits out of beetroot, but batches of the beetroot base wine were souring instead of fermenting. Upon visiting the distillery and sampling the batches, he saw what de la Tour had been talking about: Yeast. Tiny little globules that occupied the base wine.

(LORI) Pasteur wanted to be famous and the beet-sugar distillers were willing to help get him there. They were the first to get him to change from looking at crystals to looking at microorganisms. His magical microscope showed him all he needed to know and he was more than willing to show off. “Bring me a half dozen bottles of wine that has gone bad with different illnesses” he boasted. “Don’t tell me what is wrong with them, and I will tell you what ails them without tasting them!” As they say, it’s not cocky if you can back it up! And back it up he did. After taking a droplet of wine from different samples, he triumphantly declared what was wrong with each sample. (/LORI)

Fortune favors the prepared mind. - Louis Pasteur

Pasteur, without any hard evidence, thought that the yeast MUST be living organisms that convert sugar to ethanol. Furthermore, the batches that weren't fermenting didn't contain yeast, but there was a high concentration of lactic acid and these strange rods were in the yeast's place. What if these rods were another organism that had taken over, like the yeast in the other batches, but rather than fermenting the juice they were spoiling it instead? These rods were bacteria producing lactic acid, which was souring the product. Mind. Blown. He told the distiller to dispose of the batches, clean the vats thoroughly, and start over again. It worked. Then, he went to Paris as the new manager and director of scientific studies at  École Normale Supérieure. But not without his samples of the batches, so he could grow cultures of the yeast and bacteria to continue his research.

This is where Louis Pasteur separates himself from Theodore Schwann: he went ahead and got proof, then fought for it. Through many experiments that set the standards for microbiology experiments today, he found that there were different forms of fermentation done by different microorganisms. They were converting compounds in their environment to lactic acid, ethanol, glycerol, butyrate acid, etc. Nobody before Pasteur, including Schwann, had ever said that microorganisms could eat a compound and shit out something else. He published his findings in 1858 at the age of 35, then he would go head-to-head with other chemists and come out the victor after displaying a series of demonstrations that left no doubt. Jöns Jacob Bezelius was a supporter of decomposition. Shot down. Justus Friherr von Liebig was considered the founder of organic chemistry and had several theories on fermentation throughout his career, but at this point he believed that it was albumin protein in the fermentation vats that were the cause. This was a rough battle but Louis took him out. Even then, von Liebig fought Louis on the importance of the yeast; that they helped but weren't necessary.

If that wasn't enough, Louis found that exposure to air would cause less sugar to be fermented by the yeast, which would be named as the Pasteur effect. He also was the guy to discover that yeast occurred naturally on grape skins, thus being the source of the yeast. Using sterilized needles to suck out the goods of the grape without touching the skins, and using other sterilized equipment, he couldn't make wine. Just grape juice. You're welcome, Welch's.

Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity. - Louis Pasteur

All of this lead to Pasteur having an idea that microorganisms infecting people and animals might be the cause of disease! With everything he had just put together, it made perfect sense! He called it the germ theory of disease. But before he could go ahead and prove it, our hero had one big problem with his germ theory overall, which included spoilage and fermentation. The common belief of SPONTANEOUS GENERATION was getting in the way. It was thought that life just sprang up from anywhere, as long as there was heat and moisture. Louis' findings were saying that infection had to take place first.

So in 1859, the same year Charles Darwin's On The Origin of Species was published, there was show-down between Louis Pasteur, spontaneous generation denier, and Felix Archimedes Pouchet of the Rouen Museum of Natural History, spontaneous generation supporter, with 2,500 francs on the line. Louis didn't even have to get fancy. He used sterilized beef broth in different swan neck flasks, and only the ones where the broth could be exposed to dust would become cloudy from bacteria. He murdered spontaneous generation, receiving an Alhumbert Prizein 1862 for it, and commented "Never will the doctrine of spontaneous generation recover from the mortal blow of this simple experiment. There is no known circumstance in which it can be confirmed that microscopic beings came into the world without germs, without parents similar to themselves." That kinda reminds me of the Carl Sagan quote, "If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth."

With evidence that microorganisms caused fermentation and spoilage, proving his germ theory, he was hired by Napoleon III to do something about wine contamination. Easy enough. He found that heating wine to 120-140°F would kill the microbes causing contamination, before it was contaminated. Then the wine could be bottled, shipped out, and not get people sick. The process was called PASTEURIZATION, and although it's not used in wine all that much anymore, he developed versions of the process for milk and beer that are extremely important today. If a beer is not pasteurized, like Cape Cod Beer, you need to make absolutely sure that it's kept cold. You can't buy it warm or store it warm. So yes, before Pasteur, before they even knew germs were harmful, you were taking your health into your hands by having a beer. Still, it was safer than water in highly populated areas like the city.

(LORI) His childhood memories of disease tapped away at his subconscious. So when his old professor approached him with a request to save the silkworm industry in Alais, he jumped at the opportunity although he had never seen a silkworm in his life! His professor explained that there was an epidemic slaughtering millions of silkworms and ruining the South of France. This disease was called pébrine, because the sick worms were covered with little black specs resembling pepper. Without so much as a real research experiment, Pasteur concluded his first big mistake in his career. He decided the globules were the sign of disease and very confidently told the silkworm committee, “Let them mate; let the mother lay eggs- the pin the mother and father moths and cut open their bellies. Look under a microscope [by the way, it is thought that Pasteur also sold microscopes]. If you don’t see any globules, the eggs will be fine.” He shames the committee into purchasing the microscopes by telling them he had an 8-year old who could do this work. With big hopes of saving their industry, they fell for the it hook, line and sinker. Unfortunately, Pasteur was not quite right in his recommendation. The next generation of silkworms died a horrible death and the silkworm growers lost everything. 

After a near revolt, Pasteur realized where he went wrong. The little black specs were not a sign of the disease, they were the cause of the disease. He reported to the silkworm growers that they couldn’t just examine the stomach of the moth, they had to examine the entire moth. He proceeded to tell them to “grind up the whole beast and examine all of it. Then if you do not find the specs you can safely use the eggs for the  next year’s worms.”

The new scheme was tried and the next year, they had all the worms they could hope for and the silk industry was saved. Pasteur was thanked by the town of Alais raising a golden statue in his honor. Still, his childhood memories taunted him. His success with the silkworms only fueled his dreams of wiping out disease. (/LORI)

After solving a parasite problem in silkworms, Louis received a letter of praise from Joseph Lister, whose name may sound familiar to you. He's the namesake of Listerine mouthwash. Lister had read Pasteur's work on spoilage by microorganisms under anaerobic conditions, and saw that putting an end to the problem required filtration, heat, and the use of solutions and/or chemicals. Lister took this and thought "hmmm... would it stop wounds from festering?" His experiments eventually were successful, and Lister became the founder of antiseptics and antiseptic surgery. Once doctors, a stubborn bunch (and often filthy from handling wounds and dead bodies), got on board, Lister's work improved the lives of the world. Infant mortality would drop drastically, because babies were less likely to come in contact with the nasty germs of the sick and dead right at birth. It wouldn't have happened without Pasteur's inspiration.

After Lister's letter, Louis Pasteur began to work on that idea of his that microorganisms cause disease in animals and humans. He had made his germ theory of disease known, obviously, but hadn't worked on finding irrefutable evidence. It was working out well in his favor, with Lister's accomplishments, but there still hadn't been specific microorganisms connected to specific diseases yet. Whelp... he was beaten to the punch by a German doctor named Robert Koch, who had nailed tubercle bacillus as the cause of tuberculosis
It is surmounting difficulties that makes heroes. - Louis Pasteur

In 1863, Louis suggested that oxygen creeping in through the pores of the barrels of aging wine might be what was doing the "aging". Slow oxidation made the wine less harsh and more complex.

Also in 1863, grapevines in a vineyard of France's Rhone Valley started dying. By 1868, it had spread enough to be a concern for the entire region. The Société Centrale d'Agricultue de l'Hérault of Montepellier began studying the vines in July of 1868 and found nothing. In 1869, at the age of 46, Louis Pasteur suffered his first stroke, paralyzing the left half of his body and giving him a limp for the remainder of his life. Also, a fan of his work would discover what was happening to the vines of Rhone.

Jules-Emile Planchon was a professor of pharmacy and botany for Montpellier. When he and his men uprooted a healthy vine rather than a sick or dying one, they immediately knew they were on to something. "Loupes were trained with care upon the roots of uprooted vines;" He wrote, "but suddenly under magnifying lens of the instrument appeared an insect, a plant louse of yellowish color, tight on the wood, sucking the sap. One looked more attentively; it is not one, it is not ten, but hundreds, thousands of lice that one perceived, all in various stages of development. They are everywhere..."

This plague was named PHYLLOXERRA, and the aphid would be named that as well. Because of Pasteur's work, Panchon and Pasteurian scientist Camille Saintpierre knew that the cause must be this aphid. However, this went against the popular thinking of the times. Most scientists believed that parasites, funguses and insects infected their victims only after the disease had started taking effect. And, because Panchon and his colleagues weren't entomologists, they were brushed aside as idiots.

It wasn't until seven years after Panchon discovered the bug of phylloxera that they would accept he was right. By then it had spread all across the country and into others. Even when they finally had the cause right, they went about the solution wrong. They were looking to exterminate the louse, rather than prevent it.

Louis Pasteur, who was named chair of the Commission for the Control of Phylloxera, suggested in 1882 that they use microbial life when chemicals weren't working. "The insect which causes phylloxera must have some contagious disease of its own and it should not be impossible to isolate the causative microorganism, to produce artificial foci or infection in countries infected by phylloxera." He never attempted this idea.

There are no such things as applied sciences, only applications of science. - Louis Pasteur

What ended up happening was this: It was discovered that phylloxera had hitched a ride over from the eastern United States of America when Rhone vignerons were experimenting with American vines due to a rot epidemic. After that was found out, there was a series of bad decisions on the part of many people. But then, 30 years after the aphid was found in Rhone by Jules-Emile Planchon, the problem was solved through Darwinian evolution by Charles Valentine Riley and, of course, Jules-Emile Planchon. He who had discovered the problem also helped end it. On its home turf, the phylloxerra aphid would happily eat the leaves of the native species of vines and the vines would survive. Since the European species, vitis vinifera, didn't have to evolve with these little guys, it had no defense mechanism against it. So phylloxera ate away at its roots and killed the damned things. This also explained why vitis vinifera wasn't having any luck growing in eastern USA! By creating a hybrid of American and European vines, or more favorably by taking a European vine and grafting it onto American rootstock, there was finally a way to prevent the plague. Today, the only wine producing country that has not been affected by phylloxera is Chile.
Back to Louis Pasteur himself, specifically to his work with VACCINES. So let's backtrack to 1879. After discovering how to make chickens immune to chicken cholera by exposing them to weakened cultures of the disease, he attempted to do the same with the anthrax cattle disease.

(LORI) His true legacy began when he went on vacation. He had been working on chickens with cholera and when he returned from his break, he inoculated the chickens with a strain that he had prepared prior to leaving. Miraculously, the chickens survived! They didn’t contract cholera. He then inoculated them with a live, fresh strain and still they survived. This accidental occurrence led to the discovery that weakened strains of viruses could immunize against disease. 

Unfortunately, all things did not come up roses for Pasteur.  It was an accident that led to this great discovery, but it was another accident that almost caused him bodily injury! Well, an accident and his competitive nature! Another scientist, Robert Koch, a German physician and pioneering microbiologist discovered the anthrax bacillus that was killing both sheep and humans. Pasteur, and his ego, declared that he had the secret to protecting the sheep by actually using a strain of anthrax. Koch and Pasteur’s detractors mocked him. This was all he needed to create a public experiment. 

Pasteur drew the line in the sand. He decided that the only way to prove his brilliance was to show that he could conquer these little beasts. So he devised an experiment to inoculate the sheep with his anthrax disease and show how they all will survive thanks to his genius. He convinced farmers to bring their sheep to a central location and he would show how his “vaccine” would save their sheep. They came, he conquered…. Not quite.

Unfortunately, Pasteur [or as the story was told to me, his assistant] missed the major concept that the vaccine had to be made of a weakened strain of anthrax. Pasteur walked out to the pen holding the sheep and proceeded to inoculate each and every sheep with his so called vaccine. He triumphantly walked away envisioning how the farmers would revere him. He awakened the next morning to banging on his door and screams calling for his life! He couldn’t believe his eyes! Each and every sheep, dead! The blood oozed from their noses and mouths. The farmers wanted him dead. Visions of villagers going after Frankenstein entered my mind upon hearing these results! 

Hiding in his home, he questioned what went wrong.  He went over the research and saw the error of his [assistant's] way. They inoculated the sheep with the full strength anthrax! I don’t really understand how he convinced the farmers [or for that matter, where he found more sheep] to allow him to redo his experiment, but he retested his theory with  48 sheep, 2 goats and several cattle. Pasteur bravely marched past the crowd of scientists, Senators, newspaper reporters, and villagers and once again injected their animals with anthrax.  

The animals survived the vaccination! Now for the moment of truth. The first hurdle was overcome, but now it was time to inject both the vaccinated and unvaccinated animals with the virulent strain. As he entered the pen, he noticed that the crowd was enormous! Physicians, veterinarians, high government officials newspaper reporters as well as a very nervous villagers were present. As he predicted, all of the vaccinated animals, each of which but a few days before had been given an enormous dose of deadly anthrax were alive and well. All but two of the unprotected animals were dead and those two were staggering with the deadly ooze of blood from their noses and mouths. (/LORI)

Pasteur wasn't successful with his anthrax vaccine until Jean Joseph Henri Toussaint, who had isolated chicken cholera for Pasteur, beat him to it in 1880. In one of Pasteur's less admiral moments, fueled by jealousy, he campaigned his own vaccination in 1881 more effectively than Toussaint was, and received both credit and sales for its invention.

Pasteur named his chicken cholera and anthrax vaccinations "vaccines" after the very first vaccination, the smallpox vaccine of 1796, even though the science of how they worked was completely different. He wanted to honor the smallpox vaccine's creator Edward Jenner and, after all, the results were the same. Pasteur continued his immunization research, creating several more vaccines, but in 1885 he landed the vaccine that would create a wave of medical advancement and disease prevention behind it: the rabies vaccine. With this, he had to rewrite the playbook and create the first inactivated vaccine, using dead bacteria or (in this case) a dead virus.

When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments; tenderness for what he is, and respect for what he may become. - Louis Pasteur


Louis used rabbits at first while developing the rabies vaccine, and then found that it was safe for dogs and worked on them too. In 1885 a panicking woman from Alsace came to Louis with her nine year old son, Joseph Meister, who had been bitten by a rabid dog a day earlier. The boy, with fourteen bites, was certainly going to get rabies. This was a death sentence. Louis was not a licensed doctor and he could go to jail for getting all doctory on the kid! So he brought in two physicians, and both of them said that he should try the rabies vaccine.

"As the death of this child appeared inevitable," Pasteur wrote, "I decided, not without deep and severe unease, as one can well imagine, to try on Joseph Meister the procedure which had consistently worked in dogs." After receiving an injection everyday for two weeks, Joseph did not develop rabies. He even grew up to become the caretaker of the Pasteur Institute, which was established not long after he was vaccinated. There's a story that he took his own life rather than allow the Nazi's to enter Pasteur's tomb, but it's untrue. Joseph committed suicide in 1940, at the age of 64, ten days after the invasion of Paris. Thinking that his family had died, he killed himself using a gas furnace, only for them to return home later that same day.

The success of the rabies vaccine on young Joseph Meister was a groundbreaking moment in medicine and biology, and the rabies vaccine would be Pasteur's final great achievement.

In 1887, Louis Pasteur had a second stroke that put him into retirement. He bought a vineyard the following year on the outskirts of his hometown Arbois, and even built a laboratory on the premises. Five years later, in 1892, he increased the size of the vineyard to over an acre. With grafted vines for phylloxera resistance, of course.

He also had a home built near Paris, which is still standing today. He died there at five o'clock in the morning on September 28th, 1895, at 72 years old, suffering in tremendous pain for days while failing to recover from a third stroke. The last words he spoke were "I cannot," after being offered a glass of milk.

Louis' body is entombed at the Pasteur Institute. His vineyard was abandoned until 1942, when Henri Maire got permission from descendants to restore and replant it. The Acadamy of Sciences has owned the vineyard, house and laboratory there since 1992, although the Henri Maire company still runs the vineyard and makes the wine.

Jancis Robinson states in The Oxford Companion to Wine, "During his career as a scientist, Pasteur must have devoted only three or four years to the study of wine. Yet in this time he acheived as much as a good specialist researcher would have been delighted to achieve in an entire lifetime." Among the eight publications that Louis wrote during his career, "Studies in Wine" was published in 1866, "Studies on Beer" was published in 1876, and "Microbes organized, their role in fermentation, putrefaction and the Contagion" was published in 1878.

This article contains just a few things, and not in as great of detail as they deserve, that Louis Pasteur accomplished and inspired during his lifetime. (Hey man, this is a blog post, not a biographic novel.) What was done after his lifetime, because of what he did in his life, is truly baffling when you think about everything that he set into motion.

The butterfly effect caused by ripping Louis Pasteur out of existence and erasing his life's body of work would create an alternate timeline way behind where we are today; less advanced in medicine with lower life expectancy, less informed of the life all around us, and probably wearing really weird clothes just for obvious visualization that we're in another world. Also, would vitis vinifera had survived phylloxera if there was no Pasteur to influence Panchon?

Pasteur did incredible things for us, and the people that were inspired by him and his incredible things also did incredible things. We owe a lot to this man.

- Joey Casco, CSW/CSS

Science knows no country, because knowledge belongs to humanity, and is the torch which illuminates the world. - Louis Pasteur

An enormous THANK YOU! to Lori Budd of Dracaena Wines for contributing to this article! Man, she's awesome. You guys need to check out her blog at DRACAENAWINES.COM and follow her on Twitter at @DracaenaWines! Oh, and try out her CABERNET FRANC!

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We usually avoid singing the praises of specific trademarks, enterprises, etc, but because of the information herein, we should not shy of mentioning the Californian winery. Use wine in moderation of course, while medical experts are still divided on the health benefit of wine. I tend to go along with Louis...

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lev zilber... Зильбер, Лев Александрович...



An effective means has been developed to treat patients with viral infections: plasma transfusion. The inventor of this method was called Lev Zilber. Immerse yourself in the tragic and extraordinary destiny of this Soviet scientist.

Lev Zilber made many discoveries in virology and immunology, and many scientists have received the Nobel Prize for research largely based on his work. But no Nobel for Zilber who, instead of honors for his first discovery, was arrested. During his life he was arrested three times. And even in detention, he continued to do research for the good of the Soviet state.

Zilber spent a total of eight years in prison and camps, he held on thanks to a firm character and the love of those close to him. Several Nobel Prizes have therefore been awarded to work based on the virogenetic theories of this little-known scientist. The most recent Nobel Prize in this field was awarded for the creation of a vaccine against cervical cancer.

His work is World Heritage and naturally belongs to all mankind. RT makes you discover its history.


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In 1939 Zilber was released and became the head of the department of virology at the Central Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the USSR People's Commissariat for Health, but in 1940 he was arrested for the third time for refusing instructions to work on bacteriological weapons. Due to Zilber's ability to get alcohol from reindeer lichen, the authorities sent him to a chemical "sharashka", where he began research on cancer. Prisoners caught mice and rats for Zilber's experiments. In the course of his research, he formulated a new concept of the origin of cancerous tumors. In its original form (1944-1945) it was based on two main principles: tumors are of viral origin, but the virus performs only initiating functions in tumor progression.


In March 1944, on the eve of Zilber's 50th birthday, he was released, apparently thanks to a letter about his innocence sent to Stalin and signed by the Chief Surgeon of the Red Arm, Nikolai Burdenko, by the Vice-President of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Leon Orbeli, by the writer Veniamin Kaverin (brother of Lev Zilber), by the biochemist Vladimir Engelgardt and by Zinaida Ermolyeva (creator of Soviet penicillin and Zilber's ex-wife), who initiated the appeal. According to Zilber himself, the letter, most likely did not reach the addressee (Stalin), but caused concerns in the high offices of the NKVD. Upon his release, he immediately publishes his concept of the origin of cancerous tumors in the Izvestia newspaper.


In the summer of 1945, he was reunited with his family — his wife, his wife's sister and two sons, who survived in German labor camps, where they spent 3.5 years.


In the same year, he was elected a full member of the newly created Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR, appointed scientific director of the Institute of Virology of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences and headed the Department of Virology and Immunology of Tumors at the Institute of Epidemiology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases of the USSR Academy of Medical Sciences, where he worked for all subsequent years.


After his release, he received the Stalin Prize.


He died on November 10, 1966 and was buried at the Novodevichy cemetery.



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try a bit of red-ned instead...

When it comes to preventive health, few tenets are as entrenched as daily aspirin. For more than 30 years, many people have relied on the pain reliever for added protection against a first heart attack or stroke.

So it came as a shock to many this month when an influential expert panel, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, seemed to reverse decades of medical practice, announcing that daily low-dose aspirin should no longer be automatically recommended in middle age to prevent heart attack.

“It was almost like a vitamin to some people,” said Dr. Eric Topol, a cardiologist and professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research in La Jolla, Calif.

At a time when many people already feel whipsawed by shifting pandemic advice (on masks, viral transmission and booster shots), the new aspirin recommendations left some shaking their heads.


“Wait long enough, and smoking and heavy cream will be good for you,” Richard Koss, an economist in New York, wrote in a commentafter reading about the new guidelines. “The vast majority of people are fed up with this sort of thing and, rightly, pay it no attention.”

But experts say it should be reassuring to patients to know that even the most trusted medical guidelines are being reviewed and updated as scientific understanding evolves.

“It seems like it happens overnight, but this is how science works,” Dr. Sophie M. Balzora, a gastroenterologist at N.Y.U. Langone Health, said. “If we had the same guidelines all the time, then the question would be: Are we really advancing science? Are we really learning more?”

 A history of medical flip-flops

Shifting medical advice is surprisingly common, and it tends to fall into three categories: emerging guidance, replacement advice and reversals.

Emerging guidance comes during times of crisis — like pandemics — and is destined to change quickly. In the past several months, guidance about the best way to treat Covid patients, masks to prevent transmission and the limits of vaccine protection have all shifted as knowledge of the coronavirus and its variants has evolved.


Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between replacement advice, which is issued when research improves on advice that came before it, and a full reversal, which comes about because a common medical practice got ahead of the science and never actually worked or even caused harm. Here are some examples of true medical flip-flops in recent years.

  • Menopause hormones to protect the heart: In 2002, decades of advice about the heart benefits of menopause hormones seemed to change overnight when a major study called the Women’s Health Initiative was halted after researchers detected more heart attacks in the women taking hormones. In hindsight, doctors had misinterpreted data from observational research. The current advice: Hormones can relieve menopause symptoms but shouldn’t be used for chronic disease prevention.

  • Vioxx as a lower-risk arthritis treatment: In 1999, the Food and Drug Administration approved Vioxx as a breakthrough pain reliever because it lowered the risk of gastrointestinal problems. But by 2004, Merck had withdrawn the drug because studies showed it significantly raised the risk of heart attack.

  • Arthroscopic surgery on aging knees: For years, the partial removal of torn meniscus tissue was the most common orthopedic procedure in the United States, with about 700,000 performed a year. In 2013, a researcher in Finland compared the operation to a “sham” procedure and found there was no benefit. Most doctors now recommend physical therapy instead.

  • Vitamin megadoses to lower cancer and heart risk: For years, doctors believed various vitamins could lower risk for cancer and heart disease, but a number of studies showed just the opposite. A study of beta carotene and vitamin A found that the supplements actually increased the risk of lung cancer in male smokers. A study of vitamin E and selenium, thought to protect against prostate cancer, increased risk for the disease.

  • Stents for stable heart disease: Doctors used to insert stents — tiny wire mesh tubes that prop open arteries — in millions of otherwise stable patients with heart disease. A study found that the surgical procedure was no better than drug therapy for preventing heart attacks.

Dr. Vinay Prasad, associate professor at the University of California San Francisco, and Dr. Adam S. Cifu, a professor of medicine at the University of Chicago Department of Medicine, coined the term “medical reversal” and concluded that about 40 percent of common medical practices that they reviewed turned out to be useless or harmful. In their book, “Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives,” they noted that most of these failed treatments were initially embraced because they were based on logical reasoning.

“The thing that’s often behind reversal: All of these things have a good story, they have good pathophysiological rationale,” Dr. Cifu said. “They should work. But things only work if they’ve been shown in people to work, and people are so complicated.”

The reason aspirin advice changed

While daily aspirin can lower risk of heart attack or stroke, it can also increase risk for internal bleeding. Although the absolute risk of a bleeding event is relatively low, the risk increases with age.

Several experts say the new guidance from the Preventive Services Task Force to curb aspirin use is not a true medical reversal and should be viewed as updated advice replacing outdated guidance, which is why the panel exists in the first place. Earlier this year, the task force lowered the age of regular colonoscopy screening to 45, down from 50. The panel caused an uproar several years ago when it recommended that women start breast cancer screening at age 50, instead of 40.

“The task force is just constantly re-evaluating based on what data were available,” Dr. Barron H. Lerner, a medical historian and professor of medicine at N.Y.U. Langone, said. “This might be seen as flip-flopping, but it is really making adjustments based on the evolving science.”

For people who have had a heart attack, stroke or other major cardiovascular issue, the case for using aspirin to protect them from a second event remains strong. The new Preventive Services Task Force guidelines don’t change that advice.


What has changed is the guidance for using aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke.

The early evidence in support of aspirin to protect the heart came in 1988 from a randomized controlled clinical trial of 22,071 male physicians, some of whom took regular doses of aspirin. The study was stopped early because the benefit in the aspirin group was so drastic — cutting heart attack risk by nearly half.


As a result of the physician study and other research, the task force began updating its aspirin advice. In 2002, the panel was cautious, urging patients to talk to their doctors. But by 2016, the task force had recommended low-dose aspirin for adults 50 to 59 at risk of heart problems.

But in the years since the early research showed such a striking benefit to aspirin use, much about the population has changed. Fewer people smoke, and doctors have better treatments to control diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, issues that all affect risk for heart attack and stroke. Aspirin still works to protect the heart, but doctors say the benefits aren’t as pronounced now that other more effective treatments have emerged. As a result, the risks of aspirin, including gastrointestinal bleeding and brain hemorrhage, are of greater concern, though they remain low.

Three major studies of aspirin influenced the task force advice this year.

  • A 2018 study of more than 19,000 healthy people 65 and older showed that regular low-dose aspirin use significantly raised bleeding risk and didn’t significantly lower risk of heart problems compared with a placebo.

  • A 2018 study of aspirin use in 15,480 people with diabetes found a benefit to the heart but also a significant bleeding risk.

  • A seven-country study of aspirin use in 12,546 moderate-risk people in their 50s and 60s was inconclusive, most likely because other prevention strategies were muting the effect of aspirin.

As a result, the task force this month said that people 60 and older should definitely not start taking aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. For people ages 40 to 59, the task force suggested discussing the risks and benefits with a doctor.

“There is new evidence, and it’s about how we put all the evidence together and apply it to people today. How do we apply it to the U.S. population in 2021?” said Dr. Chien-Wen Tseng, a member of the task force and research director at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.

Dr. Cifu said the revised aspirin guidelines were a sign that the task force review process was working and should give people more confidence in the advice.

“Things that we knew were right in the late ’80s early ’90s need to be rechecked to see if they’re still right, given that we’re all quite different than 30 years ago,” Dr. Cifu said. “It’s a little uncomfortable that things don’t stay the same forever, but it’s good that medicine is checking itself.”

Dr. Tseng said she hoped the new guidance about aspirin would prompt more people to talk to their doctors about their heart health.

“One of the key messages we need to get out is that aspirin isn’t like a vitamin,” Dr. Tseng said. “There are potential benefits and potential risks. Everybody should be having a conversation with their clinician instead of just opening a bottle and taking aspirin automatically because they’ve reached a certain age.”


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