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Old 09-08-2017, 10:13 PM   #1
The future is unwritten
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 62,331
Sept 9th, 2017: Purple Spots

Eight hundred years ago, teenager Laurentius Loricatus accidentally killed a man in Italy. He then headed to a cave where he lived for 34 years, whipping himself to atone for his sins. Today, his story lives in the Vatican Secret Archives, on a piece of parchment covered in purple spots.
This kind of damage is common on ancient parchment—but why? What causes it? A team of Italian researchers interested in better understanding the ancient text decided to identify the microbes responsible for the splotching, and applied brand new techniques in order to do so.

What they found surprised them, but what was more surprising is with these new techniques they could also
make out the text which had been obscured by the splotching. 800 years ago Laurentius Loricatus wrote…
“Mama, just killed a man, Put a gun against his head, Pulled my trigger, now he's dead.
Mama, life had just begun, But now I've gone and thrown it all away.”

On analyzing the sequences, they found 957 kinds of bacteria on the purple spots, and 407 kinds of bacteria on the undamaged spots, with only 140 of the 1224 total species shared between the two. The most common bacteria on the purple spots, surprisingly, were Gammaproteobacteria, mostly the salt-loving ocean kind, according to the paper published today in the journal Scientific Reports

But some people aren’t buying it. While praising the step forward, feel the team was working with a certain
subset of DNA sequences, and it should be done again with a different set of sequences. Don’t know if he was
trying to subvert the team’s success, or bucking for the job of doing another study. The world of scientific
research is brutally competitive unless you’re on the payroll of a rich science denier.

Everything is interesting... look closer.
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