Category Archives: Uncommon & anti-conventional knowledge

A 200,000 Year-Old City in Southern Africa pre-Dates Sumer*

Hwaairfan's Blog

A 200,000 Year-Old City in Southern Africa pre-Dates Sumer*

A giant stone city was discovered in South Africa, approximately 150 km west of port Maputo, Mozambique. By calculating the erosion rate of the dolerite, it became possible to assess the age of the site. It was estimated that the 1500 square-kilometre metropolis was constructed between 160,000 and 200,000 years ago!

The ruins consist of huge stone circles, most of which are buried in the sand and can be seen only from the air or with the help of satellite imagery.

It is believed that this ancient city is part of an even larger structure of 10,000 square kilometres. The organized nature of this ancient community and a road network connecting it to the terraced agriculture suggest that the metropolis was home to a highly advanced civilization.

The geology of the site is quite interesting too because of the numerous…

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Consumer Activism Bringing down Monsanto and the Likes*

Hwaairfan's Blog

Consumer Activism Bringing down Monsanto and the Likes*

By Antonio Gucciardi

In just the past few weeks and months, we have generated powerful traction in the fight against corrupt mega corporations like Monsanto and others — and it all comes down to consumers refusing to purchase additive-loaded food products, deposit cash with banks that are spying on them, or tune into the latest propaganda news hour on MSNBC.

Ultimately, we are all no longer ‘consumers’ but ‘activists’ in the sense that we can no longer sit by and watch as our food supply and freedoms are tarnished at the same time by a merger of corporate and government corruption. A merger that is historically fatal to the heartbeat of any nation that allows itself to be swallowed by the bloodthirsty psychopaths who currently hold many high level positions in both of these sectors.

And our activism is paying off.

On…

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The purpose of (male) circumcision

(Disclaimer: this post won’t go into much depth on the origins of circumcision. That’s too lengthy a discussion and can be read about on Wiki. My focus is on its purpose in Judaism, which by proxy explains its purpose in Christianity and Islam)

Continue reading The purpose of (male) circumcision

The term “Europe”

This word has had a very interesting history. Now it has a more or less concrete definition, complete with boundaries, maps and dictionaries to back it up. But it wasn’t always this way. Even today there’s no physical boundary between it and Asia. Consider this quote from Wikipedia (bolding mine):

“Europe is a continent that comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. The eastern boundary with Asia is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them; Europe is generally considered as separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways of the Turkish Straits.[4] Yet the non-oceanic borders of Europe—a concept dating back to classical antiquity—are arbitrary. The primarily physiographic term “continent” as applied to Europe also incorporates cultural and political elements whose discontinuities are not always reflected by the continent’s current overland boundaries.”

– Taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Europe, 4th May 2017

Continue reading The term “Europe”

Fair skin doesn’t do shit for vit D levels

(Reposted from https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2014/06/115741/human-evolution-changes-skin’s-barrier-set-northern-europeans-apart)

In Human Evolution, Changes in Skin’s Barrier Set Northern Europeans Apart

UCSF Study Questions Role of Skin Pigment in Enabling Survival at Higher Latitudes

 

A microscopic image of skin cells.

 

The popular idea that Northern Europeans developed light skin to absorb more UV light so they could make more vitamin D – vital for healthy bones and immune function – is questioned by UC San Francisco researchers in a new study published online in the journal Evolutionary Biology.

Ramping up the skin’s capacity to capture UV light to make vitamin D is indeed important, according to a team led by Peter Elias, MD, a UCSF professor of dermatology. However, Elias and colleagues concluded in their study that changes in the skin’s function as a barrier to the elements made a greater contribution than alterations in skin pigment in the ability of Northern Europeans to make vitamin D.

Elias’ team concluded that genetic mutations compromising the skin’s ability to serve as a barrier allowed fair-skinned Northern Europeans to populate latitudes where too little ultraviolet B (UVB) light for vitamin D production penetrates the atmosphere.

Among scientists studying human evolution, it has been almost universally assumed that the need to make more vitamin D at Northern latitudes drove genetic mutations that reduce production of the pigment melanin, the main determinant of skin tone, according to Elias.

“At the higher latitudes of Great Britain, Scandinavia and the Baltic States, as well as Northern Germany and France, very little UVB light reaches the Earth, and it’s the key wavelength required by the skin for vitamin D generation,” Elias said.

“While it seems logical that the loss of the pigment melanin would serve as a compensatory mechanism, allowing for more irradiation of the skin surface and therefore more vitamin D production, this hypothesis is flawed for many reasons,” he continued. “For example, recent studies show that dark-skinned humans make vitamin D after sun exposure as efficiently as lightly-pigmented humans, and osteoporosis – which can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency – is less common, rather than more common, in darkly-pigmented humans.”

Furthermore, evidence for a south to north gradient in the prevalence of melanin mutations is weaker than for this alternative explanation explored by Elias and colleagues.

In earlier research, Elias began studying the role of skin as a barrier to water loss. He recently has focused on a specific skin-barrier protein called filaggrin, which is broken down into a molecule called urocanic acid – the most potent absorber of UVB light in the skin, according to Elias. “It’s certainly more important than melanin in lightly-pigmented skin,” he said.

In their new study, the researchers identified a strikingly higher prevalence of inborn mutations in the filaggrin gene among Northern European populations. Up to 10 percent of normal individuals carried mutations in the filaggrin gene in these northern nations, in contrast to much lower mutation rates in southern European, Asian and African populations.

Moreover, higher filaggrin mutation rates, which result in a loss of urocanic acid, correlated with higher vitamin D levels in the blood. Latitude-dependent variations in melanin genes are not similarly associated with vitamin D levels, according to Elias. This evidence suggests that changes in the skin barrier played a role in Northern European’s evolutionary adaptation to Northern latitudes, the study concluded.

Yet, there was an evolutionary tradeoff for these barrier-weakening filaggrin mutations, Elias said. Mutation bearers have a tendency for very dry skin, and are vulnerable to atopic dermatitis, asthma and food allergies. But these diseases have appeared only recently, and did not become a problem until humans began to live in densely populated urban environments, Elias said.

The Elias lab has shown that pigmented skin provides a better skin barrier, which he says was critically important for protection against dehydration and infections among ancestral humans living in sub-Saharan Africa. But the need for pigment to provide this extra protection waned as modern human populations migrated northward over the past 60,000 years or so, Elias said, while the need to absorb UVB light became greater, particularly for those humans who migrated to the far North behind retreating glaciers less than 10,000 years ago.

The data from the new study do not explain why Northern Europeans lost melanin. If the need to make more vitamin D did not drive pigment loss, what did? Elias speculates that, “Once human populations migrated northward, away from the tropical onslaught of UVB, pigment was gradually lost in service of metabolic conservation. The body will not waste precious energy and proteins to make proteins that it no longer needs.”

For the Evolutionary Biology study, labeled a “synthesis paper” by the journal, Elias and co-author Jacob P. Thyssen, MD, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, mapped the mutation data and measured the correlations with blood levels of vitamin D. Labs throughout the world identified the mutations. Daniel Bikle, MD, PhD, a UCSF professor of medicine, provided expertise on vitamin D metabolism.

The research was funded by the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, the Department of Defense, the National Institutes of Health, and by a Lundbeck Foundation grant.

UCSF is the nation’s leading university exclusively focused on health. Now celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding as a medical college, UCSF is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with world-renowned programs in the biological sciences, a preeminent biomedical research enterprise and two top-tier hospitals, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.