Thursday 18th of April 2024

celebrating the madness of life...


One can only laugh at the feeble efforts by some mobs to tell us that religion and sciences are compatible, complementary or even the same thing and that god, vishnu and allah absolutely rule relativity. 

The recent sultan of Brunei declaration about gay sex is also a political deviant decree about his own fears and an abuse of power, a stupidity which also exist in Saudi Arabia and other places where religion rule over undemocratic societies of humans. Even the poor USA tries hard to fall in the same boat and political speeches always end up with “god bless America”, while America bombs (or tries to bomb) the shit out of those who don’t believe in the Capitalistic Canon — in which believing in Jesus is essential should you wish to own (and use) a gun.

we are told by "Prufrock" that Max Weber today is out of style. To the Left, his apologia for Western civilization makes him a worthy artillery target. To political scientists, he is the architect of ‘modernization theory’: the notion, now discredited by the rise of China, that the growth of a middle class brings democracy

This is a bit below the belt. As China has a different understanding of democracy and “internet censure” than “us” in the West, we now try hard to emulate this “censure” to suit our own moral pseudo-democratic rules about free speech. We can decry that the Chinese experiment is about control, we’re hypocrites to think we’re doing something different with our own filters — with access to social alternative views closing at high speed. 

…to the Right, Weber is a carrier of moral wasting disease, the importer-in-chief of cultural relativism to America. It is about time for a reappraisal, and an excellent opportunity has been provided in the form of Keith Tribe’s new translation of Weber’s masterpiece, Economy and Society  (Harvard University Press)…
Weber’s nightmare America is the opposite of the daydream we find in Tocqueville. There is plenty here in the way of ammunition for the new populists of the Right: the notion that regimes depend on more than economics, for example, or the critique of American officialdom and the politics of the city. But there is also much that should give these thinkers pause. It should not surprise us that Weber doubted that an upstart figure could return politics to the people.”

Upstarts such as Donald Trump rely heavily on disinformation and religious beliefs (not their own as often they could not care less). And he is not the only one in this basket. Hillary was in on the stint but failed because she did not have the Murdoch hubris behind her. All the US administrations have relied on such tactics (with different media barons behind them) to con the American people into believing in their exceptionalistic destiny. 

The joke is wearing a bit thin but in general the US mob does not ask the right questions or do not ask any question about its worth — except when they feel they have been robbed by the alternative — GOP or Democrats — of stupidity. 

Some of the religious mobs in the USA are discreet in their panning of those who don’t subscribe to the democracy of god, which to say without laughing is the best Ponzi scheme of all porkies in the relative universe, with a grand doodah at top, collecting souls like one collects baseball cards… It even makes less sense than this.

Sciences came along, often fighting religious degrees, and now the religious mobs are trying hard to prevent their beliefs hitting the rocks of inevitability.

Today (5/4/19) Google celebrates with its dinkus, the life of Hedwig Kohn (1887 – 1964)— a pioneer in physics who was one of only three women who obtained qualification for teaching physics in Germany’s universities, before World War II. She and two other Jewish women physicists, Lise Meitner and Hertha Sponer, had to leave Germany during the Nazi regime.

I have no idea if she believed in god as she pioneered studies in light. She had studied her subject under Otto Richard Lummer — a German physicist and researcher who worked in the field of optics and thermal radiation. He helped design and build the Arons–Lummer mercury-vapour lamp. His findings, along with other scientists, on black body radiation led Max Planck to reconcile his earlier Planck's law of black-body radiation by introducing in 1900 the quantum hypothesis  — which he did not really subscribe to but had to, in order to explain black-body radiation.

From then on the world of proper knowledge took a giant step — much bigger than the one on the moon. The black-body radiation conundrum was at the core of the theory of quantum that holds the realisation that the world of the very small does not behave like the universe at large, but dictates the way the universe behaves. God had a ficticious motorbike with two silly speeds and a handlebar moustache, with no helmet. A crash was inevitable. Niels Bohr, the rabid atheist, came along and threw a tiny atom in god’s old bowling alley for a strike. The rest is history.

Mind you, the belief in god had long been falling between the cracks in the floor of scientific advancements. Though scientific knowledge is incomplete, and cannot be complete, it nevertheless drove a stake through the heart of silly religious fairy tales, which had served their purpose well of encouraging believers to go and die gloriously for god — as soldiers in wars or as martyrs in a circus. Unfortunately there are still some morons who push this illusionary concept and do atrocious acts in the name of the old man designed in our own image. 
There are genuine deluded groups who still try hard to marry sciences and religion. A horse and a donkey is borderline okay, but religion and sciences? Nupe... Take the Biologos deceiving idiots (sorry, I only can call these orgs such, because they are full of intelligent people who try hard to be imbecilic):

BALTIMORE — As there is believed to be billions of planets in the universe, the theological implications that the discovery of intelligent alien life would have was overviewed at the recent BioLogos conference.

BioLogos Foundation President Deborah Haarsma, the former chair of Calvin College’s physics and astronomy department, gave her thoughts Thursday on tough hypothetical questions related to what the potential discovery of intelligent life on other planets would have on biblical claims and teachings.

The BioLogos Foundation is an advocacy group that exists to help bridge biblical faith with modern scientific theories, which many in today’s secular society believe must be at odds.

With a conference theme of “beyond conflict,” Haarsma outlined how the theology of incarnation wouldn’t be disproven if alien life were to be discovered on other planets.  

While online commentators and atheists argue that the discovery of intelligent alien life would be the “end of organized religion," she shot down the notion that Christianity is “parochial” and something that is local with no cosmic significance

Yep. Welcome to the little green men with bugsy bulging eyes. "You have lived for too long in the dark and god shall be your new light. Wear these godly sunglasses and the dark universe will become as clear as a bell. Ding dong…"

The reality of life is a curly one. Trying to mix the bible fantasies with a solid scientific knowledge on this subject is loony.

Life is far too complicated and too senseless for an intelligent designer to make it up — unless He (god is a male) was completely mad beyond self-redemption.

evolution in our little corner of relativity...

The chicken or the egg?

It’s getting harder for me to open tins of baked beans. my guess is that I am getting weaker as I get older, that the manufacturers of tins try to annoy me with stronger pop-up lids — or a bit of both. But it’s the same with sardines cans. And let’s not mention Vegemite jars. No, I don’t eat the stuff, but the other-half use a smidgin' on untoasted cardboard bread made of rye. I would have flunked the entrance exam to become a citizen of this fair country should appreciation of this Vegemite, the scrapping from beer vats (I've been told) had been a compulsory subject.
But the worse lids are those plastic supposedly pop-up corks of bottles of oil and soy sauce with a plastic loop to grapple with. Two things might happen: one, nothing happens (you spend half a morning to pull and pull). Two, there is a geyser of sauce (or oil) popping out to the ceiling while the still intact lid ends up on the floor after having cut your finger in half. 
Lucky my soft brain is laterally minded. Before trying to pull on the plastic ring, I dangerously use an impatient sharp knife to cut along the delineation of the supposed easy pop. I win most of the time without blood ending on the marble bench.
We have to defeat the bastards. Same with those idiots who profess science and religion in the same fart. Not good.

Christians and secularists alike are in danger of treating ‘Darwin vs the Bible’ as just another battlefront in the polarized ‘culture wars’. This grossly misrepresents both science and faith. BioLogos not only shows that there is an alternative, but actually models it. God’s world and God’s word go together in a rich, living harmony.
N.T. Wright, Former Bishop of Durham

What a silly bishop...

Yes pull the other leg or ring… It’s far more complicated and more insane than this.

Our body is an ecosystem. We consist of billions billions of the major types of cells: prokaryotic cells. Our mind is a lunatic asylum headquarters for some of these.
Bacteria and Archaea are classified as prokaryotes — pro means before and kary means nucleus. Animals, plants, fungi, and protists are all eukaryotes — eu means true — eukaryotic cells. There is more than 100 billion prokaryotic cells hanging around as bacteria — most good — in the human body. They profit from us. They help us digest food. bad bacterias give us the flu.
Scientists know with a frightening high degree of precision how cells duplicate. What came first (not the chicken or the egg): the DNA, the RNA or the duplicating enzymes? Some simple facts:

Cells share four key components:

1. The plasma membrane — an outer covering that separates the cell’s interior from its surrounding environment.

2. The cytoplasm which consists of a jelly-like cytosol inside the cell, plus some cellular structures suspended in it. In eukaryotes, cytoplasm means the region outside the nucleus but inside the plasma membrane. the cytoplasm is full of proteins.

3. The DNA — the genetic material of the cell.

4. The Ribosomes are molecular catalysts that synthesise proteins.

A prokaryote is a simple, single-celled organism that lacks nucleus and membrane-bound organelles. Prokaryotic cells are not divided up on the inside by membrane walls, but consist instead of a single space.

For all living cells, a new strand of DNA is duplicated at surprisingly very high speed and will do so when the moment is right and the availability of protein chains (deoxyribonucleotide) is sufficient, possibly prepared by the Ribosomes pepared by the RNA. RNA molecules direct the assembly of proteins on ribosomes. This process uses transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules to deliver amino acids to the ribosome, where ribosomal RNA (rRNA) then links amino acids together to form proteins.

The duplication of cells, use DNA polymerase — an enzyme that synthesises DNA molecules from deoxyribonucleotides, the building blocks of DNA. A deoxyribonucleotide is the monomer, or single unit, of DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid.

Each deoxyribonucleotide comprises three parts: a nitrogenous base, a deoxyribose sugar, and one phosphate group.The DNA polymerase enzymes are essential for DNA replication and usually work in pairs to create two identical DNA strands from a single original DNA molecule. During this process, DNA polymerase "reads" the existing DNA strands to create two new strands that match the existing ones.
These enzymes catalyse the following chemical reaction

deoxynucleoside triphosphate + DNAn ⇌ diphosphate + DNAn+1
This is us... Crazy!

Scientists (and most of us) also know how multi-cell forms-of-life (complex species ecosystem) duplicate through half-gametes, where half the genes of one individual add to those of another — through the egg and spermatozoid process. Even plants use the same process with pollen and "female parts”. 
We call this sex. 

This mode of duplicating more complex beings made up into an ecosystem, would have evolved from the first two main processes, by a twist of random association of cells that found that “living together” had benefits. One can speculate that two cells could have merged only half of their DNA in a love/share relationship in order to duplicate “better” when availability of proteins was reduced. Who knows but this could be investigated.
More complex chemical expression of this process thus created sexual differentiation with greater assemblage of cells beyond two cells. But these chemical units that can reproduce end up dying off, leaving the younger ones to “survive” in the soup (or ecosystem) which could soon become saturated with these duplicating chemicals and unable to be "managed". Thus an inbuilt obsolescence marker in the replication developed in order to let this process of older-younger survival strategy which accidentally became “more efficient” by being prolific. Death beckons. Scientists are working hard at trying to find a stop to this.
The process of duplication and multiplication has a few chemical factors that are thus inbuilt: obsolescence of original cells, possibly to supply protein building material to new cells — death, self-sacrifice, degenerescence leading to different complexity in new cells and variegation due to changes in environmental factors: heat, cold, space to share, available of chemicals such as boron, carbon, potassium, hydrogen and trace metals. 

Cancer is a curly one: according to some research, cancer cells “do not die off” voluntarily. They multiply with no limits but the availability of proteins around them. Thus they “take over” without being part of the structure, threatening the “ecosystem" survival. They eventually destroy the host. So cancer is difficult to “kill-off”. The cancerous cells can be starved by using various device, unless these poisons kill us first. 
Scientists are still debating which came first. No, not the egg or the chicken conundrum, but the enzyme duplicator, the RNA or the DNA. 

All are related though. And as far as one can make out, none of them can “live” without the other. But there must be a trick or an ancestor to these. This ancestor has been replicated in labs recently. it’s a ribosome called protoribosome. There is still a lot of gaps in our theories on how by 4.32 billion years ago precisely (within a few million years error), the first strands of RNA appeared on planet earth. And hell had broken loose before.

A cataclysm may have jump-started life on Earth. A new scenario suggests that some 4.47 billion years ago—a mere 60 million years after Earth took shape and 40 million years after the moon formed—a moon-size object sideswiped Earth and exploded into an orbiting cloud of molten iron and other debris.

The metallic hailstorm that ensued likely lasted years, if not centuries, ripping oxygen atoms from water molecules and leaving hydrogen behind. The oxygens were then free to link with iron, creating vast rust-coloured deposits of iron oxide across our planet's surface. The hydrogen formed a dense atmosphere that likely lasted 200 million years as it ever so slowly dissipated into space.

After things cooled down, simple organic molecules began to form under the blanket of hydrogen. Those molecules, some scientists think, eventually linked up to form RNA, a molecular player long credited as essential for life's dawn. In short, the stage for life's emergence was set almost as soon as our planet was born.

Here, we know through a variety of complex scientific rigorous analysis of stars, sun and earth geology that the solar system took its relative format with planetary dust around 4,568 billion years ago. By 4.53 billion years ago the earth was formed in a fiery display of elementary dust collage, some from the solar system itself that had gathered, some from other stars that had exploded and provided the heavier elements. The sun had collapse into a helium and hydrogen ball of fire that was less intense than today. 

Then hell broke loose again AFTER life (RNA) had appeared on earth. The young solar system was still a bit hectic and full of encounters with bits of cosmic stuff.

The Late Heavy Bombardment (also known as the lunar cataclysm) is an event thought to have occurred approximately 4.1 to 3.8 billion years) ago, at a time corresponding to the Neohadean and Eoarchean eras on Earth.

During this time, a very large number of asteroids may have collided with the early terrestrial planets in the inner Solar System, including Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. hence the pot-marks on the surface of the moon.

Strong evidence supporting the theory of the Late Heavy Bombardment comes from lunar samples brought back by the Apollo astronauts. Isotopic dating of Moon rocks shows that most impact melts occurred in that rather narrow interval of time. But these samples came from only one area, thus more evidence is still sought after.

According to observations of stars, our sun is middle-aged and in its glowing prime. We know that within 5 billion years, this sun, our only sun, will die after exhausting its fuel. It will become a semi-giant red dwarf absorbing all planetary material, probably up to the orbit of Mars — and then collapse into a miniature nothing.

There a long way to go for us, humans, to find our escape hatch. And god ain’t it...

(Note: due to the lengthy precise scientific knowledge on many of the subjects here, information has been simplified and to some hard-egged scientists this simplification may appear as heresy. simplification always does this.)

Gus Leonisky
Explorer of the moon craters...

elementary, my dear...

The earliest of simple tricks…

RNA is transcribed with only four bases (adenine, cytosine, guanine and uracil).
DNA is transcribed with only four bases (adenine, cytosine, guanine and Thymine).

Purines and Pyrimidines are nitrogenous bases that make up the two different kinds of nucleotide bases in DNA and RNA. The two-carbon nitrogen ring bases (adenine and guanine) are purines, while the one-carbon nitrogen ring bases (thymine and cytosine) are pyrimidines.

In 2009, some scientists made a plausible prebiotic reaction to generate C and U. 
In 2016 another team of scientists in Germany found another way to generate A and G. 

C and U (pyrimidines) and A and G (purines) are some of the building blocks of RNA, the “precurser” of DNA.

The necessary reactive environmental conditions to make purines and pyrimidines are somewhat different. Thus it was hard to explain how both compounds could be generated within a singular environment AT THE VERY BEGINNING OF LIFE ON THE PLANET.
An accurate intermediate steps theory was developed to understand this problem and eventually due to various catalytic metals present (especially nickel) in the EARLY environment, the four stages could be generated on the same spot. (This is simplified. The scientific papers explaining several million years of these chemical reactionary developments could fill this site entirely).
Uracil (/ˈjʊərəsɪl/; U) is one of the four nucleobases in the nucleic acid of RNA that are represented by the letters A, G, C and U. The others are adenine (A), cytosine (C), and guanine (G). In RNA, uracil binds to adenine via two hydrogen bonds. In DNA, the uracilnucleobase is replaced by thymine.
Chemical formula: C4H4N2O2
Melting point: 335 °C (635 °F; 608 K)
Thymine /ˈθaɪmɪn/ (T, Thy) is one of the four nucleobases in the nucleic acid of DNA that are represented by the letters G–C–A–T. The others are adenine, guanine, and cytosine. Thymine is also known as 5-methyluracil, a pyrimidine nucleobase. In RNA, thymine is replaced by the nucleobase uracil.
Chemical formula: C5H6N2O2
Melting point: 316 to 317 °C (601 to 603 °F; 589 ...
Boiling point: 335 °C (635 °F; 608 K) (decomp...
Density: 1.223 g cm−3 (calculated)

Uracil is energetically less expensive to produce than thymine, which may account for its use in RNA. In DNA, however, uracil is readily produced by chemical degradation of cytosine, so having thymine as the normal base makes detection and repair of such incipient mutations more efficient.


Cytosine (/ˈsaɪtəˌsiːn, -ˌziːn, -ˌsɪn/; C) is one of the four main bases found in DNA and RNA, along with adenine, guanine, and thymine (uracil in RNA). It is a pyrimidine derivative, with a heterocyclic aromatic ring and two substituents attached (an amine group at position 4 and a keto group at position 2).
Chemical formula: C4H5N3O
Melting point: 320 to 325 °C (608 to 617 °F; 593 …

Guanine (/ˈɡwɑːnɪn/; or G, Gua) is one of the four main nucleobases found in the nucleic acids DNA and RNA, the others being adenine, cytosine, and thymine (uracil in RNA). In DNA, guanine is paired with cytosine. The guanine nucleoside is called guanosine.
Main hazards: Irritant
Chemical formula: C5H5N5O
Density: 2.200 g/cm3 (calculated)

Adenine is one of the two purine nucleobases (the other being guanine) used in forming nucleotides of the nucleic acids. In DNA, adenine binds to thymine via two hydrogen bonds to assist in stabilizing the nucleic acid structures. In RNA, which is used for protein synthesis, adenine binds to uracil.
Density: 1.6 g/cm3 (calculated)
Chemical formula: C5H5N5
Heat capacity (C): 147.0 J/(K·mol)
Melting point: 360 to 365 °C (680 to 689 °F; 633 .

Adenine is a purine with a variety of roles in biochemistry, in the form of both the energy-rich adenosine triphosphate and the cofactors nicotinamide adeninedinucleotide and flavin adenine dinucleotide, and protein synthesis, as a chemical component of DNA and RNA.

This has been the beginning of life: two-carbon nitrogen ring bases and one-carbon nitrogen ring bases. 
Important note other such chemical associations were generated but duplication was poor and degradation was high. These chemical associations became extinct.

Degradation of Purines and Pyrimidines leading to uric acid and urea, respectively

Purine nucleotides are degraded by a pathway in which the phosphate group is lost by the action of 5'-nucleotidase. Adenylate yields adenosine, which is then deaminated to inosine by adenosine deaminase. Inosine is hydrolyzed to yield its purine base hypoxanthine and D-ribose. Hypoxanthine is oxidized successively to xanthine and then uric acid by xanthine oxidase, a flavoenzyme that contains an atom of molybdenum and four iron-sulfur centers (see Fig. 18-5) in its prosthetic group. Molecular oxygen is the electron acceptor in this complex reaction.

This is why you pee...


Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a complex organic chemical that provides energy to drive many processes in living cells, e.g. muscle contraction, nerve impulse propagation, and chemical synthesis. Found in all forms of life, ATP is often referred to as the "molecular unit of currency" of intracellular energy transfer.

This is why you are active, restless, doing stuff, thinking — otherwise you would be dead (it takes about 15 minutes to die should we have no ATP in our body. Lucky the body tends to generate ATP itself by various complex chemical reactions within).

Happy doing.
Oh and let me say this: even a crafty "clockmaker", a super clever "intelligent designer" or an eternal "god" could not have generated this madness — which from then on BECAME EVOLUTION with no intent but the ability to create more chemical reactions and die.

not drunk — the DNA can be faulty...

Machado-Joseph disease (MJD)—also called spinocerebellar ataxia Type 3 (SCA3)—is one of approximately 30 recognized, dominantly inherited forms of ataxia.  Ataxia is a general term meaning lack of muscle control or coordination.  MJD is characterized by slowly progressive clumsiness in the arms and legs, a staggering lurching gait that can be mistaken for drunkenness, difficulty with speech and swallowing, impaired eye movements sometimes accompanied by double vision or bulging eyes, and lower limb spasticity.  Some individuals develop dystonia (sustained muscle contractions that cause twisting of the body and limbs, repetitive movements, and abnormal postures) or symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease.  Others may develop fasciculations (twitching) of the face or tongue, neuropathy, or problems with urination and the autonomic nervous system.


All persons with MJD have the same disease gene mutation:  a DNA repeat expansion in the ATXN3 gene.  The wide range in symptoms among affected individuals led researchers to separate the disease into distinct types that are broadly distinguished by age of onset and range of symptoms.  Type I MJD is characterized by onset between about 10 and 30 years of age, with faster progression and more dystonia and rigidity than ataxia.  Type II, the most common type of MJD, generally begins between the ages of about 20 and 50 years, has an intermediate rate of progression, and causes various symptoms, including prominent ataxia, spastic gait, and enhanced reflex responses.


Read more:




The indigenous inhabitants of a remote island north of Australia have suffered for years as some of them have mysteriously begun developing problems with walking, talking, eating and have died slowly and painfully. The causes of the illness, which they considered to be a curse, turned out to be hidden in their genes.

A neurodegenerative condition known as Machado-Joseph Disease (MJD) was discovered to be the “curse” that was painfully killing hundreds of inhabitants of on Groote Eylandt, which is separated by a 50km wide strait from the Northern Territory. However, like Parkinson's disease, which is sometimes confused with MJD, no one can relieve the islanders from it, as there is still no cure. 

The Daily Mail reports that for years many Aboriginals thought that they had been cursed, as many of them started developing a number of severe symptoms, gradually losing their ability to walk, talk, eat, and other muscular activities, dying slowly and painfully. However, the explanation was discovered in their genetics. 


Read more:


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No I am not talking of being a glutton, becoming obese or participating in My Kitchen Rule. These activities are stylistic interpretations of the need to collect proteins, lipids and carbohydrates to sustain the chemical process of our body’s ecosystem — that developed from the early RNA and DNA constructs. This of course is more complicated that a recipe on Masterchef. But in short: we eat, we shit, we pee…. As well as food we also need water. No water, we die. No food, we die. Simple. 

When I was a kid, my mum used to send me to the "food lab" in town to collect their excess food samples. The lab was studying the chemical composition of proteins (mostly “meat”), lipids (fats) and carbohydrates (sugars). We did not care much about the results, though we knew we had to have a “balanced” diet. AND CONTROL (limit) THE AMOUNT of food we ate. Meanwhile we also drank some alcohol — even as kids. Hence my addiction to red ned. This has not killed me yet. 

Addiction to mind altering substances is (can be) a problem. There are mind altering substances that do not become addictive but they don’t taste as nice as red ned (red wine). Even aspirin can become addictive and destroy our kidneys.

Why do humans use mind altering substances? All food alter our mind. This is well known to the manufacturers of soft drinks and burgers. There is a want-more component in the mix, despite providing satisfaction to hunger in order to make a profit. Satisfying hunger is a mind altering process. Cuisine cooking provide a feast for the eyes, smell and taste. Cuisine alter the mind’s perception of food. This is not a "dead-bloody-beast bit" but a nicely panned lamb chop in cream tandoori sauce with minted (or rosemary-ed) potatoes lightly salted. Eating raw potatoes would kill us. We only became “lactose tolerant” about 10,000 years ago and some people still are lactose (usually from another beast rather than the human breast) intolerant.

There are also subset processes such as the balance of our “electrolyte” in which salt has a role to play. A lot of the chemical reactions in our body uses exchange of electrons and this of course is what we know as electricity that we have refined in our radio-sets as “electronics”… 

Everything in our body is “on the modification juice” and dependent of changes. No change and we die. Our heart makes sure that this basic process is maintained by pumping oxygen to all our cells via the blood. Breathe CO2 and you die. Simple. Breathe too much oxygen and your mind goes into a spin. 

Despite our body ecosystem ageing from birth to death on an average over 75 years, most of our own cells live a much shorter time:

• Intercostal muscle cells are about 15.1 years
• Gut lining cells are about 5 days.
• Gut cells other than the lining are about 15.9 years.
• Skin cells are about 14 days
• Red blood cells are about 120 days
• Bone cells are about 10 years old.

The only cells that seems to last longer are mostly those of the brain (the grey matter and the visual cortex) which at a stretch live as long as we do. If they don't we go gaga nuts.

And we need to eat… Starvation is only good when we have eaten too much and our digestive process has gone blah. A good chuck or spew can sometimes be highly beneficial — we do use this process to indulge in orgies. Pubs should have "Raum spucken" (spew rooms) inside rather than drunks using the pavement outside.

Eat and drink moderately… If you see some parts of your body developing blubber like a polar bear and a beer-gut like a barrel in a cellar, you know what to do: either reduce your intake of beer — or accept that beer is too good and that you might die 10 years earlier than your body-construct planned, or that you might get diabetes type 2. We might be run over by a bus tomorrow. 

The only problem of being “unhealthy” by self-induction is that we often end up clogging up hospital waiting rooms and displace other people with real need for attention. 

We are often told we are what we eat. This subconscious trait might have led to cannibalism… But this is another story where stylistic rituals and desperation can influence our decision.

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Enjoy life.

a chemical cocktail on the side...

Note: see sources of copied info at end of article. These were self-explanatory, thus there was no need to rewrite or compose. This is plagiarism at best.




All foods are made up of hundreds of naturally occurring compounds that can have varying effects on us, depending on how much we eat and how sensitive we are.

Biogenic amines are formed by the breakdown of proteins in foods. They can affect mental functioning, blood pressure, body temperature, and other bodily processes. Some hormones, such as adrenaline (epinephrine) are compounds containing an amine. There are many different amines, including:

• tyramine (e.g. in cheese) 

• histamine (e.g. in wine) 

• phenylethylamine (e.g. in chocolate) 

• agmatine, putrescine, cadaverine, spermidine (e.g. in decomposing fish) 

• tryptamine 

• adrenaline (ephinephrine) 

• serotonin 

• dopamine.

Biogenic amines are normally quickly broken down in the body with the help of enzymes such as MAO (monoamine oxidase-A) which render them harmless. Missing, sluggish or blocked enzymes can lead to a build up of amines in the body.

The ‘cheese effect’. 
In people who are taking certain drugs known as MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors), the enzyme is inhibited and a build up of tyramine can occur, leading to life-threatening high blood pressure as well as a range of symptoms including headaches, itchy skin rashes, heart palpitations and diarrhoea. A number of MAOI patients died from strokes or heart attacks before doctors realised that patients taking MAOIs needed to avoid foods high in tyramine. This is called the ‘cheese effect’ because it was recognised in the 1960s by a British pharmacist who noticed that his wife developed a headache every time she ate cheese - high in tyramine - while taking MAOI antidepressants. 

Lacking the enzyme. 

There is a rare condition in which people who are born without the MAOA gene lack the MAO enzyme. Researchers have long known that this condition is associated with aggression in men. 

Low activity enzyme. Much more common is a low activity variant of the gene known as MAOA-L, which seems to occur in about one third of the population. A study with nine uncontrollable children in 1985 found that on average there was five times more para-cresol in their faeces than for a control group. Para-cresol is a breakdown product of tyramine. Could it be that these children were failing to metabolise dietary tyramine due to a sluggish enzyme? We don’t know because the study was never followed up, although the researchers commented that ‘the results point to dietary involvement’. In 2002, a study found that men with MAOA-L who had been badly treated as children were more likely to exhibit antisocial behaviour than those who had been well treated. 

Amines and specific symptoms


Behavioural effects fit with what we see in the Food Intolerance Network. Children with oppositional defiance are the ones whose parents are often told ‘he just needs a good smack’. But smacking has the opposite effect – if you smack these kids, when they are big enough they will hit you back. Or if they are scared of their parents, they will hit other people, and this is defined as conduct disorder. You have to treat these kids as if they are your friend – a calm approach – and avoid backing them into a corner at all times. It can be difficult to maintain a calm approach with someone who is extremely aggressive, and experts acknowledge that this approach has limited success. Network members find that it is easier to avoid the food chemicals that cause these effects.

Research suggests that about 70 per cent of children with behaviour problems are affected by salicylates, artificial colours and preservatives, compared to only about 40 per cent affected by amines. Many mothers have reported that their child becomes silly and hyperactive on salicylates whereas amines make them aggressive. In our experience, children who are expelled from day care centres due to aggressive behaviour are usually sensitive to amines as well as to other food chemicals.

Migraines, depression and other symptoms

Amines have been associated with migraines and headaches, as well as other symptoms of food intolerance, including irritable bowel symptoms, eczema and depression.

A possible link with schizophrenia

A biogenic amine called dimethyltriptamine (DMT for short) is the only known hallucinogenic compound naturally produced by the body. Normally it is metabolised by the monoamine oxidase enzyme before its effects can be noticed. It is used in tribal and religious rites in South America by combining a naturally rich source of DMT with a natural MAO inhibitor while avoiding tyramine containing foods, usually through fasting. DMT is present in small amounts in a wide range of animal and plant foods and mushrooms. In the 1950s, researchers suggested that the schizoid symptoms of auditory or visual hallucinations could be due to an inborn deficit in the MAO enzyme, allowing small amounts of DMT from foods to build up in the body. This theory is once again becoming popular. It would account for why some failsafers have reported that schizoid symptoms improve on a low chemical elimination diet. 

A vitamin is an organic molecule (or related set of molecules) that is an essential micronutrient that an organism needs in small quantities for the proper functioning of its metabolism. Essential nutrients cannot be synthesized in the organism, either at all or not in sufficient quantities, and therefore must be obtained through the diet. Vitamin C can be synthesized by some species but not by others; it is not a vitamin in the first instance but is in the second. The term vitamin does not include the three other groups of essential nutrients: minerals, essential fatty acids, and essential amino acids. Most vitamins are not single molecules, but groups of related molecules called vitamers. For example, vitamin E consists of four tocopherols and four tocotrienols. The thirteen vitamins required by human metabolism are: vitamin A (retinols and carotenoids), vitamin B1 (thiamine), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (biotin), vitamin B9 (folic acid or folate), vitamin B12 (cobalamins), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin D (calciferols), vitamin E (tocopherols and tocotrienols), and vitamin K (quinones).

Vitamins have diverse biochemical functions. Some forms of vitamin A function as regulators of cell and tissue growth and differentiation. The B complex vitamins function as enzyme cofactors (coenzymes) or the precursors for them. Vitamin D has a hormone-like function as a regulator of mineral metabolism for bones and other organs. Vitamins C and E function as antioxidants. Both deficient and excess intake of a vitamin can potentially cause clinically significant illness, although excess intake of water-soluble vitamins is less likely to do so.

Before 1935, the only source of vitamins was from food. If intake of vitamins was lacking, the result was vitamin deficiency and consequent deficiency diseases. Then, commercially produced tablets of yeast-extract vitamin B complex and semi-synthetic vitamin C became available. This was followed in the 1950s by the mass production and marketing of vitamin supplements, including multivitamins, to prevent vitamin deficiencies in the general population. Governments mandated addition of vitamins to staple foods such as flour or milk, referred to as food fortification, to prevent deficiencies. Recommendations for folic acid supplementation during pregnancy reduced risk of infant neural tube defects. Although reducing incidence of vitamin deficiencies clearly has benefits, supplementation is thought to be of little value for healthy people who are consuming a vitamin-adequate diet.

The term vitamin is derived from the word vitamine, coined in 1912 by Polish biochemist Casimir Funk, who isolated a complex of micronutrients essential to life, all of which he presumed to be amines. When this presumption was later determined not to be true, the "e" was dropped from the name. All vitamins were discovered (identified) between 1913 and 1948.

Vitamins are classified as either water-soluble or fat-soluble. In humans there are 13 vitamins: 4 fat-soluble (A, D, E, and K) and 9 water-soluble (8 B vitamins and vitamin C). Water-soluble vitamins dissolve easily in water and, in general, are readily excreted from the body, to the degree that urinary output is a strong predictor of vitamin consumption. Because they are not as readily stored, more consistent intake is important. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract with the help of lipids (fats). Vitamins A and D can accumulate in the body, which can result in dangerous hypervitaminosis. Fat-soluble vitamin deficiency due to malabsorption is of particular significance in cystic fibrosis.

Anti-vitamins are chemical compounds that inhibit the absorption or actions of vitamins. For example, avidin is a protein in raw egg whites that inhibits the absorption of biotin; it is deactivated by cooking. Pyrithiamine, a synthetic compound, has a molecular structure similar to thiamine, vitamin B1, and inhibits the enzymes that use thiamine.


Cholesterol is an essential type of fat that is carried in the blood but too much of it is a risk factor for coronary artery disease. Managing your cholesterol by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can help reduce your cholesterol levels.

All cells in the body need cholesterol for internal and external membranes. It is also needed to produce some hormones and for other functions. Too much cholesterol in the blood can damage your arteries and lead to heart disease.

About ¾ of the cholesterol in your bodies is made in the liver and the rest may come from the types of fats we eat. Your genes will also partly determine what your blood cholesterol levels are as will your diet and lifestyle. Cholesterol itself in food has only a very small effect on blood cholesterol. However eating too much saturated fat may lead to excess cholesterol in the blood stream.

Why is high cholesterol a problem?
High blood cholesterol is one risk factor for coronary artery disease (heart attacks and angina). If your cholesterol level is 6.5 mmol/L or greater your risk of heart disease is about four times greater than that of a person with a cholesterol level of 4 mmol/L. Not all people with high cholesterol levels get heart disease.

About 30 per cent of the community will die from heart disease and most of these will be over 65 years old. Heart disease usually takes 60-70 years to develop, but if you discover your cholesterol level is high you should see your doctor within the next 2-3 months, not necessarily tomorrow.

Other risk factors for heart disease include smoking, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and obesity. If you have more risk factors it is even more important to keep blood cholesterol levels in check and seek your doctor’s advice.


Nerve agents:

Nerve agents, sometimes also called nerve gases, are a class of organic chemicals that disrupt the mechanisms by which nerves transfer messages to organs. The disruption is caused by the blocking of acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that catalyzes the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter.

Poisoning by a nerve agent leads to constriction of pupils, profuse salivation, convulsions, and involuntary urination and defecation, with the first symptoms appearing in seconds after exposure. Death by asphyxiation or cardiac arrest may follow in minutes due to the loss of the body's control over respiratory and other muscles. Some nerve agents are readily vaporized or aerosolized, and the primary portal of entry into the body is the respiratory system. Nerve agents can also be absorbed through the skin, requiring that those likely to be subjected to such agents wear a full body suit in addition to a respirator.

Nerve agents are generally colorless to amber-colored, tasteless liquids that may evaporate to a gas. Agents sarin and VX are odorless; tabunhas a slightly fruity odor and soman has a slight camphor odor.

• Agent 15 (BZ)

• Dimethylheptylpyran (DMHP)

• EA-3167
• Kolokol-1

• PAVA spray
• Sleeping gas

Riot-control (RCAs)
• Xylyl bromide
• Pepper spray (OC)
• CS
• CN (mace)
• CR

The Novichok (Russian: Новичо́к, "newcomer") agents, a series of organophosphate compounds, were developed in the Soviet Union and in Russia from the mid-1960s to the 1990s. The Novichok program aimed to develop and manufacture highly deadly chemical weapons that were unknown to the West. The new agents were designed to be undetectable by standard NATO chemical-detection equipment and to defeat chemical-protective gear.

In addition to the newly-developed "third generation" weapons, binary versions of several Soviet agents were developed and were designated as "Novichok" agents.

Contrary to what is sometimes claimed, not all nerve agents are organophosphates. A large group of them are carbamates like EA-3990 and EA-4056, both of which have been claimed to be about 3 times more toxic than VX. Both the USA and the Soviet Union developed carbamate nerve agents during the Cold War. They are sometimes grouped as "fourth generation" agents along with the Novichok agents due to their falling outside the definitions of controlled substances under the CWC.


Some insecticides, including carbamates and organophosphates such as dichlorvos, malathion and parathion, are nerve agents.



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of warm days and love...

As the day is warmer than usual and our friend is buried in Rookwood, we can only reflect on our relationships, our hopes, our emotions and our love — and the flowers. The intensity of these interactions make us humans and elevate our freedom above the fray. We can cry with joy or sadness of past emotional journeys in the dichotomy of certainty/uncertainty of feeling alive and well, while some of us disappear forever. Our friend is gone. Next could be us...

Below this surface of feelings, like our thin skin of beauty that slowly degrades, blotches and wrinkles, we maintain our ideas and our expression with some hardening of the arteries, cirrhosis of the liver, kidney failure — though we try hard to maintain a flexibility of mind. We need to remember. We need to remember to live and love. We need to be loved and to be appreciated. We need to relate and signal our relationships.

At the single cell level, this signalling is phenomenal. And the multiplicity of this signalling helps our compounded outbursts of perception and action. We are alive! Between the beginning and the end of our fate, there is freedom to be. We can react or be actively proactive. We have to or we don’t have to. The choice to be or not to be is relative.
So there is precise beauty in the unique cellular mechanics that lead to our general survival.

Transmission of signals from external stimuli into the interior of cells relies on complex signaling pathways that must be efficient and precise—every facet of life depends on this. Cells use biomolecular interactions in signaling pathways to make crucial decisions about whether to transmit signals or filter them out as noise. 
How is this possible, given that biomolecular interactions are inherently stochastic processes — [random probable distribution of pattern that may be analysed statistically but cannot be predicted precisely]. The activation of membrane receptors typically involves the phosphorylation of their intracellular domain and subsequent recruitment of adaptor molecules and downstream effectors. The effectors amplify the original signal by catalyzing a reaction. 
Dozens of signaling pathways adhere to these principles, and they lead to decisive cellular responses without false-positive activation. How do they prevent activation due to spontaneous partial phosphorylation of receptors? 
Multivalent interactions between membrane receptors and downstream adaptor molecules lead to clustering and can induce phase transitions in which the receptor-adaptor complexes separate from the bulk solution and form a viscous dense phase at the membrane. 
As a consequence, the residence time, or dwell time, of effectors is dramatically increased at the membrane. Given that activation of effectors is typically slow, these long dwell times increase the likelihood of activation. 
By contrast, short dwell times of effectors recruited to unclustered receptors are much less likely to result in activation. These observations are relevant for a large class of membrane receptors and reveal the fundamental molecular mechanism of sensitive, specific signal transduction into the cell.

Adapted from:

Beyond these bio-relationships, our choices to live peacefully can become mucked up by our social context, in which particular imprints of traditions — including those of wars and conflicts — beliefs and laws, reduce our freedom to be, while nature demands we consume energy in the form of food that we make pretty (and “tasty") by choice and drink water. 
All of what we do tends to create our cultural values, but we should not dismiss the culture of other species as worthless. Animals cry and feel sad — or express relationships in their own ways, without the same tools of complex spoken communication we have developed over the last 100,000 years… Time is getting short though.

Animal culture, defined as “information or behavior—shared within a community—which is acquired from conspecifics through some form of social learning” (1), can have important consequences for the survival and reproduction of individuals, social groups, and potentially, entire populations (1, 2). Yet, until recently, conservation strategies and policies have focused primarily on broad demographic responses and the preservation of genetically defined, evolutionarily significant units. A burgeoning body of evidence on cultural transmission and other aspects of sociality (3) is now affording critical insights into what should be conserved (going beyond the protection of genetic diversity, to consider adaptive aspects of phenotypic variation), and why specific conservation programs succeed (e.g., through facilitating the resilience of cultural diversity) while others fail (e.g., by neglecting key repositories of socially transmitted knowledge). Here, we highlight how international legal instruments, such as the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), can facilitate smart, targeted conservation of a wide range of taxa, by explicitly considering aspects of their sociality and cultures.

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So we can be a bit more aware. Captain Paul Watson resonates with the power of a Sir David Attenborough. We are mucking it up. And while Sir David shows us the amazing beauty of the lives we destroy on this planet, Captain Watson goes on the barricades with his ship and tries to stop the said destruction, placing his own life at risk. He is on the Interpol list, being sought by the Japanese for trying to stop them killing whales. He is also stopping illegal fishing that destroys the fish stocks and he is trying to prevent our other processes that are going to kill us.

"We are not saving the planet, it's about saving ourselves, by ourselves." This is the alarming message of Paul Watson. The activist explains that indeed "we have already eliminated 90% of the biomass of the ocean, we are literally emptying our oceans and removing the fish species one after the other". But "the oceans, and more precisely, phytoplankton provides 70% of the oxygen we need.”

Ice ages have come and gone and something in the timing puzzled the true scientists. The interval between ice ages has stretched from 40,000 year cycle before 700,000 years ago to about 100,000 year cycle by now. A detailed study of the currents of the Southern Ocean, that which circumvent the Antarctic, has show a strange process by which this ocean absorb more CO2 than release it, by having slowed down. Removing CO2 from the atmosphere thus lengthened the ice ages. That the CO2 is the main agent of warming the atmosphere is a given. Having released more than 120 parts per millions of CO2 to the "natural maximum” (from the last 700,000 years) of 300 ppm since the turn of last century, we’re going to be hit. We are hitting ourselves.

God nor the devil need to fight over the sanity of our souls that don’t exist. Yes, we are destroying ourselves, en masse, before the final individual term of our natural life. 

The stats are atrocious. Some of the oceans have become dead zones and we are killing the oceans some more.

Despair we should not, but we should all become warriors, like Captain Watson, and fight for the good oil. Not the hydrocarbons but the renewable supply of energy, the sustainability of food production and the restriction of human population growth. Twenty-billion people are not going to fit without pain, but our economic systems of forever profit demand that we try to squeeze — even till we reach 30 billion humans.  Can we imagine? 

By then nature will be reduce to a few decrepit zoos and some struggling botanical gardens, a couple of pristine mountain peaks, while the oceans will be our storage for plastic rubbish — apart from Bondi beach, now under water till the concrete walls. Strategically placed booms offshore would hide the general damage. Shark alert would be replaced by rubbish breaches and rescue boats would be sent to plug the holes in the holding pans… The Bondi Pub would have water lapping at its doors.

And the re-elected New South Wales government has just shown its contempt for the environment. The voters in this state were too preciously attached to their tunnels and stadium demolition/reconstruction with a grand waste of moneys, rather than protect a bulldozed bandicoot for coal mines or whatever.

Welcome to the future as the fools take us to doom-land and sports for dummies. But we shall fight them on the beaches and in our own mind until we can’t remember to relate or love.

Life is beautiful. Beautifully insane.

Gus the elder
Getting older...

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the imagined future...

The mythical novel

There is no question, or is there, that we, as a social group, are on the verge of many changes in an explosion of ideas, some bad some good. Has this form of intellectual change happened before? Sure, such as during the Renaissance, but not at the speed nor the complexity of concurrent conflicting ideas. At large, the diversity of ideas is still controlled by a left/right political dynamic but this is going topsy-turvy with the digitisation of our relationships and our fast improving scientific knowledge. 

Meanwhile, some people hold on to fading concepts such as religious beliefs, and in this regard the Christians are in crisis as they face the rise of another erroneous view of the world: Islam. Islam has more efficient controls of its enslaved subjects, as the Christians have fallen for some progressive illusions.

This adds uncertainty to what should be a stronger scientific secularisation of the world in which we should be able to prevent our destruction of the planet and improve our ability to think and imagine. But we also need to prevent homogenisation of the future. 

As we in society read the same books.

In the United States, the UK and Australia, over the past decade the number of people buying and reading literary fiction has fallen precipitously. At the same time, sales figures for nonfiction books devoted to selfhelp (from the 'How to Kick the Sugar Habit’ variety to the '12 Rules for … [whatever]’ genre) and current affairs, or memoir and true crime, remain persistently strong.

In another time, this might be taken to be an indication that people don’t have the time or the interest in 'frivolous' fiction, and that they are correspondingly serious about learning more about the world, or modern politics, or other cultures, or whatever. But in our time, there is every reason to suspect that this trend reflects a more transactional or utilitarian relationship with the books we choose: we buy and read books that give us what we already expect, or what fill a need we already know, or that we can mine for precisely what we want.What is missing here is the serendipity that reading a probing, expansive, surprising novel affords, or the opportunities for deep empathy and uncomfortable self-critical awareness it provides, or the personal transformation that the time it takes to read a demanding, exacting novel occasions. This raises an inescapable question for us: Is the something essential for the moral life that is communicated by — and only by — literary fiction?
hear more at the mindfield.
For many people, the new fiction is “The Game of Throne”. For advertisers, this is a dream come true. The fiction novel has been replaced by the fiction flix. Meanwhile, better knowledge about history and investigation of the real deviousness of our actions can be acquired by reading often- improving historical records through books on the subjects — as original conspiracies are exposed.

In the end or is it the beginning, we seem to turn to the “moral” question which means a lot of things — including finding the limit at which we lose the plot — i.e., lose our consciousness, our perceptive awareness and submit to the blancmange, to beliefs, to drugs and to rhythmic sounds.

But step back and look at what is happening to the Church within Western civilization. We are losing, and largely have lost, our sacred story. Without a sacred story, you don’t have a nation, a culture, or a civilization. Sociologist Christian Smith’s research has documented how completely Christianity has been displaced within Christian churches and communities with a pseudo-Christian ethic that emphasizes well-being and self-satisfaction. Our people don’t know what Christianity is anymore, and don’t know what they don’t know. And you’re telling me that Basketball Jesus is going to be sufficient to withstand the onslaught of time?

Look, I don’t think any of us have this figured out. Liturgical Christians have many more tools to do this right, but far too many of us have become completely captive to the culture, and deny, either actively or passively, the power of our own sacred story and the tools that have been given to us to tell it and live it. Jung said that archaic cultures didn’t just believe their myths, their sacred stories: they lived them. We churches today have to offer a true alternative transcendent story (Smith), and not just as a proposition, but embodied in a disciplined, ordered way of life deeply rooted in the Bible and sacred tradition. This is the only antidote to the catastrophe of dechristianization.


Are We In Fact Melding With Machines?

It just might be that today’s young “snowflakes” are the obvious products of a lifetime immersion in digitalism.

By JAMES P. PINKERTON • April 10, 2019

We might further observe that computers, by their binary nature, bolster systems of rigidity, even orthodoxy. As techies might say, that’s a feature, not a bug.

(TGus: this is why the search for the Quantum computer is vital for many scientists — and organisations—  in search of breaking this binary straightjacket)

Of course, the geeks who designed all this tech might wish to think of themselves as wild-and-crazy bros, or even revolutionaries. Yet the ultimate Tofflerian reality is that computers and code are about engineering—and engineers are, of course, a rules-based bunch.

Meanwhile, since digital technology works so much better than its predecessors—better at producing wealth, better at providing choice—it’s not surprising that the whole of human civilization is now surfing on this third wave, defying the rocks and the risks.

Yet if there’s a third wave, then there’s sure to be a fourth. And what might that be? One shrewd take on things to come is found in Jack Williamson’s 1947 sci-fi novella, With Folded Hands. In that tale, Williamson imagines a new species of super helpful robots, operating according to the slogan, “The Perfect Mechanicals: ‘To Serve and Obey, And Guard Men from Harm.’”

Sadly for humans—after 72 years, it seems safe to offer up at least something of a spoiler—it doesn’t quite work out that way.

So will With Folded Hands be remembered as accurately predicting the fourth wave, which will be the robot takeover? Or will it be remembered as encouraging humans to think more carefully about who, and what, we’re putting in charge—thus prolonging the prosperity of the third wave?

Surely that’s the great question of the age.

James P. Pinkerton is an author and contributing editor at The American Conservative. He served as a White House policy aide to both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

The "snowflakes", like snow flakes, have many shapes. They’re not all the same and amongst them, in a similar proportion than in the past, there are geniuses amongst them. We wish them well. We need them urgently for the imagined future.

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Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1967...

Chemist Manfred Eigen regarded received wisdom as a challenge rather than a constraint. His techniques for investigating ‘immeasurably fast’ reactions and their application to biological systems opened up new avenues, in fields from fundamental kinetics to the formation of protein complexes. This work, conducted in the 1950s at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Physical Chemistry in Göttingen, won him a share (with Ronald Norrish and George Porter) of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He went on to develop theories to account for the self-organization of biological molecules, and he was a creator of the new field of evolutionary biotechnology.

At a time when most institutes and departments were split along disciplinary lines, Eigen argued that understanding organisms at the level of their chemical interactions demanded an interdisciplinary approach. After years of lobbying, he got his wish in 1971, when the Max Planck Society (MPS) created the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen. ‘It is not the research area that counts,’ ran the founding principle of the laboratory: ‘it is the excellence of the individuals’. He was less successful at persuading the MPS to found a institute for science and music.


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Eigen held the following honours and distinctions: Bodenstein prize of the Deutsche Bunsengesellschaft, 1956; Otto-Hahn Prize for Chemistry and Physics, 1962; Kirkwood Medal (American Chemical Society), 1963; Harrison Howe Award (American Chemical Society), 1965; Andrew D. White Professor at large at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., 1965; Honorary Professor at the Technische Hochschule, Braunschweig, 1965; Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1964; Member of the “Leopoldina”, Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher in Halle, 1964; Member of the Göttingen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1965; Honorary Member of the American Association of Biological Chemists, 1966; Honorary degree of doctor of science at Harvard University, U.S.A., 1966; Honorary degree of doctor of science at Washington University, U.S.A., 1966; Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, U.S.A. 1966; Honorary degree of doctor of science, University of Chicago, U.S.A., 1966; Carus Medal of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher “Leopoldina”, Halle, 1967; Linus Pauling Medal of the American Chemical Society, 1967.


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folding proteins...

Artificial intelligence (AI) has solved one of biology's grand challenges: predicting how proteins fold from a chain of amino acids into 3D shapes that carry out life's tasks. This week, organizers of a protein-folding competition announced the achievement by researchers at DeepMind, a U.K.-based AI company. They say the DeepMind method will have far-reaching effects, among them dramatically speeding the creation of new medications.

“What the DeepMind team has managed to achieve is fantastic and will change the future of structural biology and protein research,” says Janet Thornton, director emeritus of the European Bioinformatics Institute. “This is a 50-year-old problem,” adds John Moult, a structural biologist at the University of Maryland, Shady Grove, and co-founder of the competition, Critical Assessment of Protein Structure Prediction (CASP). “I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime.”

The body uses tens of thousands of different proteins, each a string of dozens to hundreds of amino acids. The order of the amino acids dictates how the myriad pushes and pulls between them give rise to proteins' complex 3D shapes, which, in turn, determine how they function. Knowing those shapes helps researchers devise drugs that can lodge in proteins' crevices. And being able to synthesize proteins with a desired structure could speed development of enzymes to make biofuels and degrade waste plastic.



In the 1960s, researchers realized if they could work out all interactions within a protein's sequence, they could predict its shape. But the amino acids in any given sequence could interact in so many different ways that the number of possible structures was astronomical. Computational scientists jumped on the problem, but progress was slow.

In 1994, Moult and colleagues launched CASP, which takes place every 2 years. Entrants get amino acid sequences for about 100 proteins whose structures are not known. Some groups compute a structure for each sequence, while others determine it experimentally. The organizers then compare the computational predictions with the lab results and give the predictions a global distance test (GDT) score. Scores above 90 on the 100-point scale are considered on par with experimental methods, Moult says.

Even in 1994, predicted structures for small, simple proteins could match experimental results. But for larger, challenging proteins, computations' GDT scores were about 20, “a complete catastrophe,” says Andrei Lupas, a CASP judge and evolutionary biologist at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology. By 2016, competing groups had reached scores of about 40 for the hardest proteins, mostly by drawing insights from known structures of proteins that were closely related to the CASP targets.

When DeepMind first competed, in 2018, its algorithm, called AlphaFold, relied on this comparative strategy. But AlphaFold also incorporated a computational approach called deep learning, in which the software is trained on vast data troves—in this case, the sequences and structures of known proteins—and learns to spot patterns. DeepMind won handily, beating the competition by an average of 15% on each structure, and winning GDT scores of up to about 60 for the hardest targets.

But the predictions were still too coarse, says John Jumper, who heads AlphaFold's development at DeepMind. “We knew how far we were from biological relevance.” So the team combined deep learning with an “attention algorithm” that mimics the way a person might assemble a jigsaw puzzle: connecting pieces in clumps—in this case clusters of amino acids—and then searching for ways to join the clumps in a larger whole. Working with a computer network built around 128 machine learning processors, they trained the algorithm on all 170,000 or so known protein structures.

And it worked. In this year's CASP, AlphaFold achieved a median GDT score of 92.4. For the most challenging proteins, AlphaFold scored a median of 87, 25 points above the next best predictions. It even excelled at solving structures of proteins that sit wedged in cell membranes, which are central to many human diseases but notoriously difficult to solve with x-ray crystallography. Venki Ramakrishnan, a structural biologist at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology, calls the result “a stunning advance on the protein folding problem.”


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‘The game has changed.’ AI triumphs at protein folding

Robert F. Service


Science  04 Dec 2020:

Vol. 370, Issue 6521, pp. 1144-1145


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