One wonders how much knowledge is still waiting to be rediscovered?
A 1,000-year-old treatment for eye infections could hold the key to killing antibiotic-resistant superbugs, experts have said.
Scientists recreated a 9th Century Anglo-Saxon remedy using onion, garlic and part of a cow’s stomach.
They were “astonished” to find it almost completely wiped out staphylococcus aureus, otherwise known as MRSA.
Their findings will be presented at a national microbiology conference.
The remedy was found in Bald’s Leechbook – an old English manuscript containing instructions on various treatments held in the British Library.
Anglo-Saxon expert Dr Christina Lee, from the University of Nottingham, translated the recipe for an “eye salve”, which includes garlic, onion or leeks, wine and cow bile.
Experts from the university’s microbiology team recreated the remedy and then tested it on large cultures of MRSA.
Tom Feilden, science editor Today Programme
The leechbook is one of the earliest examples of what might loosely be called a medical textbook
It seems Anglo-Saxon physicians may actually have practiced something pretty close to the modern scientific method, with its emphasis on observation and experimentation.
Bald’s Leechbook could hold some important lessons for our modern day battle with anti-microbial resistance.
Dellers picks up on the recent Spiked Farage interview. The parallels with the climate change debate are uncanny.
‘All through the civilisation of human beings, people form establishments’, he says: ‘An interwoven network that actually has a very big generational context, in that it hands on down. And we are challenging the establishment — we are challenging their very thought; we are challenging the very basis upon which they exist and operate. And there is nobody in history who has taken on the establishment and has not received the kind of treatment I am getting.’
All of this makes perfect sense to me, not only because of what I have personally seen of the way Farage in particular and UKIPers generally are traduced in the media, but also because it gels so perfectly with what is going on right now in the parallel world of the climate change debate. Farage is the political equivalent of those outlying scientists described by Thomas Kuhn in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions: the ones whose reward for challenging the cosy consensus is to be vilified and excluded by an Establishment which dare not admit that it is wrong because that would be to lose its power, its money and its grip on the prevailing culture.
Farage makes this connection explicit when he talks about environmentalism:
The politics of environmentalism is utterly hostile to progress, he says. ‘If Natalie Bennett won the election, we’d all be living in caves’, he says with a chortle. ‘[This politics] is very regressive. There is nothing progressive in terms of the evolution of society or living standards in what these people stand for. And the whole thing is based on a fallacy: that our fossil fuels are going to run out and therefore we have to adapt the way we live. Actually, the shale-gas [revolution] has shown over the past decade that we are finding more and more of this stuff.’ As for the idea that we should stop digging for coal or shale or uranium and instead turn to renewable energy — ‘I think wind energy is the biggest collective economic insanity I’ve seen in my entire life. I’ve never seen anything more stupid, more illogical, or more irrational.’
Here, Farage is kicking against one of the key planks of 21st-century consensus politics: the idea of planetary vulnerability and human hubris. And he gets massive flak for it. ‘[Climate change] is like a religion’, he says. ‘And you’re demonised if you question it. Ostracised completely. Johnny Ball. Think Of A Number. Brilliant man. He compares the amount of CO2 we produce in the whole atmosphere to a ping-pong ball in the Albert Hall, and he is completely ostracised for years. We’re almost back to Galileo. Whether it’s Galileo or Darwin, you challenge consensus, whether it’s in science, whether it’s in politics, and you are demonised for doing it.’ He remembers, in 2006, being on a Sunday morning TV show and being branded a ‘DENIER! DENIER!’ (his emphasis) after he raised issues with climate-change orthodoxy. ‘I thought I was attending the Salem witch trials. Quite extraordinary.’
Well worth an hour of your time.
Lord Lawson takes direct aim at Slingo [my emphasis]
The unusual persistence of heavy rainfall over the UK during February, which led to considerable flooding, is believed by the scientists to have been caused by the wayward behaviour of the jetstream; and there is no credible scientific theory that links this behaviour to the fact that the earth’s surface is some 0.8ºC warmer than it was 150 years ago.
That has not stopped some climate scientists, such as the publicity-hungry chief scientist at the UK Met Office, Dame Julia Slingo, from telling the media that it is likely that “climate change” (by which they mean warming) is partly to blame. Usually, however, the climate scientists take refuge in the weasel words that any topical extreme weather event, whatever the extreme weather may be, whether the recent UK rainfall or last year’s typhoon in the Philippines, “is consistent with what we would expect from climate change”.
So what? It is also consistent with the theory that it is a punishment from the Almighty for our sins (the prevailing explanation of extreme weather events throughout most of human history). But that does not mean that there is the slightest truth in it. Indeed, it would be helpful if the climate scientists would tell us what weather pattern would not be consistent with the current climate orthodoxy. If they cannot do so, then we would do well to recall the important insight of Karl Popper — that any theory that is incapable of falsification cannot be considered scientific.
read the rest here.
climate change’ is the exact opposite of what the Met Office predict and whatever the weather we experience – especially the bits not within a Goldilocks definition of what it should be – we’re going to get more of it and YOU’RE TO BLAME.
Rinse and repeat the excuses whatever the weather.
also check out Paul Homewood’s inconvenient finding on 1929 – The Year The Met Office Tried To Cover Up
Then there’s the winter of 1976/7 in the UK (post on 76/7 in the works), which featured a displaced polar vortex over North America and followed a similar hot summer.
You could even look back further
Some of the comments;
Robert W. (subscriber, Toronto, Canada)
Excellent presentation on Thunderbolts Piers, comedy gold
Steve Devine (subscriber, Essex, England)
informative and amusing as ever
Maria (subscriber, Ireland)
Great vid Piers, i appreciate your work […] I think I learnt more in that video (watched twice may need to watch again 🙂 than an entire school year in science and geography class!-) loved the humour too and really just the real approach to evidence based facts makes for better understanding…
And special thanks to Richard (subscriber, East Midlands) for highlighting the video itself;
u might get a statue outside the Royal Society in 300 years 🙂
Some nice visualisations from a 2012 promo
The audio file also worth a listen.