Wednesday 22nd of September 2021

miraculous covidians...


“My freedom and my children’s freedom and children’s children’s freedom are at stake,” said Ms. Holmes, who lives in Indiana. In August, she submitted an exemption request she wrote herself, bolstered by her own Bible study and language from sources online.


Some vaccines were developed using fetal cell lines from aborted fetuses, she wrote, citing a remote connection to a practice she finds abhorrent. She quoted a passage from the New Testament: “Let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit.”


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This was the very attitude of Blaise Pascal who refused any medical treatment, saying, "Sickness is the natural state of Christians.” He died quite young. Mind you the medical treatments in his days were on par with superstition and good luck (see Cardano, a century earlier, who had devised cures by eating and drinking healthy food — and worked out the complex probability of luck, which has led to quantum mechanics)...


In 1658, Pascal, while suffering from a toothache, considered problems about the cycloid. His toothache disappeared and he took this "as a heavenly sign to proceed with his research". One would get headaches instead, including him because he did not know but he had brain tumours… Anyway, eight days later he finished, and to publicise his results, proposed a contest…


Pascal posed three questions relating to the center of gravity, area and volume of the cycloid, with the winner to receive prize of 40 Spanish gold doubloons, the bitcoin of the time. Only two submission came forth but neither — one from John Wallis and another from Antoine de Lalouvère — were judged to be accurate. While the contest was going on, Christopher Wren sent Pascal solutions to the cycloid bizos. Roberval claimed that he had known these for years, while Wallis published Wren's proof in Wallis's Tractus Duo, giving Wren the honour for finding the correct solution. No prize-money was paid, I guess…



Man is only a reed, the weakest in nature, but he is a thinking reed.

                              Blaise Pascal, Pensées No. 200. 


Gus: I have a cast-iron balustrade number 200 in the 19th century manufacturer’s catalogue. Its design is of wine-making grapes. I tend to follow the fall of numbers, without any superstition, only in the rules of random proportion and baffling coincidences that have led to the emergence of life. Blaise Pascal also worked “the numbers” and thus invented a mechanical adding machine.


In an effort to help his father's exhausting calculations, and recalculations, of taxes owed and paid, young Blaise, not yet 19 enrolled by his dad, constructed a mechanical calculator capable of addition and subtraction, called Pascal's calculator — the Pascaline. Of the eight Pascalines known to have survived, four are held by the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris — and the Zwinger museum in Dresden, Germany, has two of the original calculators.


Although these machines were forerunners to a further 400 years of development of mechanical methods of calculation, and to the field of computer engineering, the Pascaline was not a commercial success, because it was cumbersome to use and it was very expensive. The Pascaline became a status symbol for the very rich in France and elsewhere in Europe. Pascal made improvements to his design in the following decade. The Chinese had the simpler Abacus... still in use in Wuhan's markets.


T. S. Eliot described Pascal as "a man of the world among ascetics, and an ascetic among men of the world." Pascal's ascetic lifestyle derived from a belief that it was natural and necessary for a person to suffer. I disagree. In general we like to minimise suffering and pain...


In 1659, Pascal fell seriously ill and, like beforehand, he rejected doctors… 


Pascal's last major achievement, was to devise the first bus line, moving several passengers for a fare within Paris, in a carriage with many seats. This was successful.


Blaise Pascal, born on 19 June 1623 — French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, writer and Catholic theologian —  went into convulsions and received the last rites in August 1662. The next morning, his last words being "May God never abandon me”… and died, aged 39.


Now, should you be a Christian refusing to get doctor’s advice and be vaccinated, does not make you a genius like Pascal, necessarily… He had his shortcomings as well...



"I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law."


This Psalm 119:16-18, which Pascal wrote on a secret paper sawn into the lapel of his coats, is as clear as black pudding in the dead of night in a tunnel with not exit, to the committed atheist. A bit too many “thy" for our liking and no words to keep. Being a servant of Thy isn't freedom, is it?… 


So doctor Jesus cured the sick, resuscitated the dead with miracles… and turned water into vino for some people to get pissed at a wedding. We read the good book too...



Ah, dear Ms. Holmes, please don’t involve your children and their children in your refusal to be vaccinated. You are entitled not to be vaxxed, but don’t interfere with their freedom to choose.





Meanwhile if you have five minutes, send a message to the Taliban:


Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.


               Plato (427 BCE — 347 BCE)


Is this why birds sing?




Rabid atheist and defender of JULIAN ASSANGE.

living with goat poop...


How ancient farmers throttled their immune systems to survive

If COVID-19 had swept Europe before farming, “more people would have died than today”



When early farmers of the Vinca culture first sowed barley and wheat 7700 years ago in the rich soil of the Danube River and its tributaries, they changed more than their diet: They introduced a new way of life to the region. They crowded together in mud huts, living cheek by rump with aurochs, cows, pigs, and goats—and their poop—in settlements that eventually swelled to thousands of people. Togetherness brought a surge in diseases such as influenza, tuberculosis, and other maladies spread from animals to people and through early farming communities.

Now a new study of ancient DNA shows how the immune systems of those early farmers responded to this new, pathogen-ridden environment. The Neolithic Revolution was a “turning point” in the evolution of immune responses to infectious disease, according to a paper published today in eLife. The study suggests that in Europeans, evolution favored genes that throttled back inflammatory reactions to pathogens like influenza, restraining the hyperalert inflammatory response that can be deadlier than the pathogen itself.

“This study does a great job of showing that our immune system has continued to evolve in response to pathogen pressure,” says population geneticist Joseph Lachance of the Georgia Institute of Technology. But he notes that the paper relies on an unproven method of predicting ancient immune responses. “I buy it, but it needs to be studied [more] when we have more ancient DNA.”

Researchers have long suspected that early farmers got sick more often than nomadic hunter-gatherers. Studies suggest farmers in large Neolithic sites such as Çatalhöyük in Turkey faced a flurry of new zoonotic diseases such as influenza and salmonella, as well as new animal-borne strains of diseases like malaria and tuberculosis. “If farmers got sick more, how did their immune systems change?” asked infectious disease specialist Mihai Netea of Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, who led the study.

To approach that question, his team first studied genetically based variation in the immune responses of living people. They took blood samples from more than 500 people in the Human Functional Genomics Project (HFGP), a biobank based in Nijmegen, Netherlands, and challenged the samples with various pathogens. Then they measured levels of specific cytokines—immunoregulatory proteins such as interleukin and interferon that are secreted by immune cells—and looked for correlations between those levels and a suite of immune gene variants.

In the new study, the team used those results to come up with what’s called a polygenic risk score that predicts the strength of the inflammatory response in the face of specific diseases, based on an individual’s immune gene variants. The researchers then applied their technique to the past: From existing databases they downloaded ancient DNA sequences from 827 remains found across Europe, including Vinca farmers from today’s Romania. They calculated the cytokine levels ancient people would likely have produced and their polygenic risk scores for inflammation.

The remains dated from between 45,000 and 2000 years ago, enabling the team to look for changes over time. They found that when faced with infections, Europeans who lived after agriculture likely produced dramatically lower levels of systemic cytokines than earlier hunter-gatherers. Those lower levels were likely adaptive, Netea says. “When people first encountered new pathogens, some overreacted and died, like we see with COVID today,” he says. “The children of the people who survived didn’t produce as many cytokines, so the whole population becomes more resistant.”

The study also revealed a flip side: When infected with the fungus Candida and Staphylococcus bacteria—pathogens that tend to start as localized infections—farmers likely mounted more robust inflammatory responses than earlier hunter-gatherers. A strong inflammatory response can quell a localized infection before it spreads, but a robust systemic response, as sparked by the flu or malaria, can spiral out of control.

The study is exciting because it clearly shows that the population frequencies of genes regulating inflammation “change strongly from the beginning of the Neolithic,” says molecular anthropologist Ben Krause-Kyora of Kiel University.

But Lachance questions whether polygenic risk scores developed for modern people can predict inflammation for people in other places and times. Pathogens have evolved over time, he notes, and modern risk prediction might not apply to ancient disease strains. Population geneticist Luis Barreiro of the University of Chicago, agrees, saying the authors “don’t formally demonstrate the predictive value of these polygenic risk scores.”

More samples of ancient DNA from people and pathogens, especially on other continents, is needed to test whether evolution scaled back the production of inflammatory cytokines in farmers everywhere. But the study clearly demonstrates that somehow or other, European’s inflammatory responses to pathogens did change dramatically during the Neolithic, Lachance says. To Netea, the findings suggest the ancient burst of evolution may have an impact even today: If a coronavirus like SARS-CoV-2 had swept through Europe before agriculture, he says, “more people would have died than today because they produced more proinflammatory cytokines.”


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the polio vaccine worked...




In 1947, Salk became ambitious for his own lab and was granted one at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, but the lab was smaller than he had hoped and he found the rules imposed by the university restrictive.[19] In 1948, Harry Weaver, the director of research at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, contacted Salk. He asked Salk to find out if there were more types of polio than the three then known, offering additional space, equipment and researchers. For the first year he gathered supplies and researchers including Julius Youngner, Byron Bennett, L. James Lewis, and secretary Lorraine Friedman joined Salk's team, as well.[20][21] As time went on, Salk began securing grants from the Mellon family and was able to build a working virology laboratory.[13] He later joined the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis's polio project established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.[13][22]

Extensive publicity and fear of polio led to much increased funding, $67 million by 1955, but research continued on dangerous live vaccines.[23][14]:85–87 Salk decided to use the safer 'killed' virus, instead of weakened forms of strains of polio viruses like the ones used contemporaneously by Albert Sabin, who was developing an oral vaccine.[24]

After successful tests on laboratory animals, on July 2, 1952, assisted by the staff at the D.T. Watson Home for Crippled Children, Salk injected 43 children with his killed-virus vaccine. A few weeks later, Salk injected children at the Polk State School for the Retarded and Feeble-minded. He vaccinated his own children in 1953.[25][26] In 1954 he tested the vaccine on about one million children, known as the polio pioneers. The vaccine was announced as safe on April 12, 1955.[23][22][27][28][29]


The project became large, involving 100 million contributors to the March of Dimes, and 7 million volunteers.[23][31]:54 The foundation allowed itself to go into debt to finance the final research required to develop the Salk vaccine.[32] Salk worked incessantly for two-and-a-half years.[23][33]

Salk's inactivated polio vaccine came into use in 1955.[34][35] It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines, the safest and most effective medicines needed in a health system.[36]


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