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From: isopatch11/12/2019 9:53:15 PM
3 Recommendations   of 6267
Another impressive breakthrough in applied technology:

<Chemical Secrets Extracted From Mummy Bones Using ALS

13 November, 2019 - 02:03


Experiments at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) are casting a new light on Egyptian soil and ancient mummified bone samples that could provide a richer understanding of daily life and environmental conditions thousands of years ago.

In a two-months long research effort that concluded in late August, two researchers from Cairo University in Egypt brought 32 bone samples and two soil samples to study using X-ray and infrared light-based techniques at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source (ALS). The ALS produces various wavelengths of bright light that can be used to explore the microscopic chemistry, structure, and other properties of samples.

Their visit was made possible by LAAAMP - the Lightsources for Africa, the Americas, Asia and Middle East Project - a grant-supported program that is intended to foster greater international scientific opportunity and collaboration for scientists working in that region of the globe.

Samples represent four dynasties, two burial sites The samples included bone fragments of mummified human remains that date back 2,000 to 4,000 years, and soil collected from the sites of the human remains . The remains represent four different dynasties in Egypt: the Middle Kingdom, Second Intermediate Period , Late Period , and Greco-Roman.

The visiting scientists, Cairo University Associate Professor Ahmed Elnewishy and postdoctoral researcher Mohamed Kasem, wanted to distinguish whether chemical concentrations in the bone samples were related to the individuals' health, diet, and daily lives, or whether the chemicals in the soil had changed the bones' chemistry over time

Ahmed Elnewishy, an associate professor at Cairo University, holds a femur bone sample from mummified human remains that was studied at Berkeley Lab's Advanced Light Source synchrotron. Elneshy and Cairo University postdoctoral researcher Mohamed Kasem studied dozens of ancient Egyptian bone samples and some soil samples during a two-month visit made possible by a grant-supported program called LAAAMP. (Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab)

Their work is important for Egypt's cultural heritage and also for a better understanding of antiquities preservation and the potential pathways for contamination of these remains. The samples were recovered from two Egyptian sites - Saqqara, the site of an ancient burial ground; and Aswan, the site of an ancient city on the bank of the Nile once known as Swenett - by Cairo University archaeologists.

"The bones are acting like an archive," said Kasem, who has studied ancient bone chemistry since his Ph.D. studies, dating back to 2011. He has used a chemical-analysis technique involving laser ablation, in which a short laser pulse blasts away a small volume of material from a sample. Then, emitted light from this little blast is analyzed to determine what elements are present.

"We have found lead, aluminum, and other elements that give us an indication of the environment and the toxicity of that time," he said. "That information is stored right in the bones."

Differentiating soil vs. bone chemistry What's tricky is to sort out how the elements got in the bone. "There might be some diffusion of elements from outside to inside the bones, and effects from bacteria, humidity, and other effects. It is difficult to separate this - to know if it is coming from the surrounding soil. So we've been trying different techniques."

Kasem added, "So many factors affect the preservation. One of them is how long the bone has been buried in soil and also the state of the bone and the different types of soil." Differences in embalming techniques could also affect the preservation of the bone and the chemistry they find in the X-ray studies. "There are different qualities in the materials, like the cloth and the resins they used to embalm," he said

From left, Cairo University postdoctoral researcher Mohamed Kasem, ALS scientist Hans Bechtel, and Cairo University associate professor Ahmed Elnewishy study bone samples at the ALS using infrared light. (Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab)

While the ancient Egyptians didn't use aluminum in metalworking, researchers have found that they used potassium alum, a chemical compound containing aluminum, to reduce cloudiness in drinking water. And the concentrations of lead were likely due to the lead that Egyptians used to polish pottery.

The latest studies are focused on samples including slices from the head of femur bones and from the femur shafts to see whether one sample type may be more prone to contamination from surrounding soil than the other type, for example. Femur bones are the strongest bones in the human body and run from the knees to the hips. The head, at the top of the femur, has spongier bone material than the core of the shaft.

The researchers worked with ALS research scientists Hans Bechtel and Eric Schaible to carry out experiments at three different beamlines. Schaible assisted the researchers with a technique known as small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), which they used to analyze the nanoscale patterning of collagen, an abundant human protein.

X-ray scans reveal collagen patterns A single scan of the bone cross-sections, which measured up to 3 to 5 centimeters across and about half a millimeter in thickness, took two to six hours to complete and provided a detailed 2D map showing how the collagen was organized within the bone.

These images can be compared with modern bones to better understand whether and how the collagen degraded over time, and can possibly tell us about an individual's health.

"Collagen is one of the main building blocks of the body," Schaible said. "It's found in skin, bones, internal organs, eyes, ears, blood vessels - it's one of the main things we're made of. When we shine X-rays through the collagen, the X-rays are scattered and the pattern of scattering that they make can tell us a lot about how well-preserved and well-organized the collagen is."

Though there is much analysis ahead to interpret the data taken from the samples, Schaible said that the collagen assemblies generally aren't as well ordered in the ancient samples as in healthy modern bones.

"It's very exciting to be involved in this project, and to learn about the journey these mummies have been on, in life and after death," he said.

Infrared light shows bone chemistry, mineral concentrations The infrared studies at the ALS show the chemical distribution and concentration of the minerals and organic materials present in the bones.

"One of the main obstacles was in how to prepare the samples," said Elnewishy. It is difficult to cut thin cross-sections from such delicate material.

Schaible contacted a specialized lab at UC Berkeley's Earth and Planetary Science Department, which aided in slicing the samples. For the thinnest sections and the most fragile samples, the bone was suspended in epoxy resin and then sliced.

Ahmed Elnewishy, an associate professor at Cairo University, views a mummified bone sample at the ALS. (Marilyn Sargent/Berkeley Lab)

Plans for new experiments Elnewishy said there are plans to also conduct related experiments at SESAME (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East), a scientific light source in Jordan that opened up to experiments in 2017. SESAME was built through a cooperative venture by scientists and governments in the region.

He noted that what the team learns about cultural heritage and preservation of samples through its experiments could potentially benefit the collections of the Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza, which is expected to open in 2020 and will host more than 100,000 Egyptian artifacts.

The Advanced Light Source is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility. LAAAMP is a joint program of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and the International Union of Crystallography, and is supported by the International Council for Science Grants Program.

Berkeley Lab's Theresa Duque and Cindy Lee contributed to this article.>

The article ‘ Scientists explore Egyptian mummy bones with X-rays and infrared light’ was originally published on Science Daily.

Source: DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "Scientists explore Egyptian mummy bones with X-rays and infrared light." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2019.>

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From: Joachim K11/21/2019 6:06:12 PM
7 Recommendations   of 6267
Detectorists stole Viking hoard that 'rewrites history'

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To: Joachim K who wrote (6228)11/25/2019 10:17:54 PM
From: isopatch
2 Recommendations   of 6267
Controversial? Yes..))

14 November, 2019 - 13:53

ashley cowie

A New Study Reveals Queens Were MUCH More Warlike Than Kings

Scientists have proven historical queens were “38.8%” more likely to declare war than kings.

When Canadian cognitive psychologist and author Steven Pinker claimed men instigated “almost all the world's wars and genocides” US researchers formally tested whether there was indeed more peace under female rulers , but their results showed the very opposite: that female rulers “caused wars” much more often.

In myths, legends, folklore, and fairy tales strong male kings are portrayed as declaring and fighting in great wars and it has long been projected that women were less conflictive and more likely to maintain peace than go to war. But a new study reveals that queens waged war over the centuries a shocking 39% more than kings.

Tipping Stereotypes On Their Heads A working paper by political scientists Oeindrila Dube, of the University of Chicago, and S. P. Harish, of McGill University, analyzed a selection of mostly European kings and queens who reigned between 1480 AD and 1913 which covered 193 rulers in 18 countries. A Daily Mail article says the 400 years of European history included female rulers such as Catherine the Great , who made Russia a waring nation in the 18th century, Britain's Elizabeth I , who defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588, and Isabella I of Castile , who led Spain to dominate the world in the 15th and 16th centuries.

Portrait commemorating the defeat of the Spanish Armada, depicted in the background. Elizabeth's hand rests on the globe, symbolizing her international power. (Shakko / Public Domain )

Over 193 reigns the researchers found that states ruled by queens were 39% more likely to wage war than those ruled by kings. Not only did the team of researchers find that states ruled by queens were more likely to fall into conflict and war than those led by kings, but females were also more likely to gain territory and were attacked more often. Co-author Oeindrila Dube told The Times that there’s this general stereotype that men are greatly responsible for wars and genocides and that women are natural peace-makers, but “our research turns this stereotype on its head”.

Marriage Mattered Little It is a common social perception that because women are (on average) physically weaker than men they are therefore less violent and more peaceful. But the authors say their findings “contradict” these misconceptions. They played with the idea that queens, more so than kings, had to show that they were not weak but they concluded that this was “unlikely” because queens were not only war-thirsty at the beginning of their reigns when a greater need to show strength existed, but also throughout the duration of their reigns.

Catherine the Great came to power following a coup d'état that she organized—resulting in her husband, Peter III, being overthrown. (Magnus Manske / Public Domain )

The study also shows single queens were attacked more than single kings, probably because threatening foreign powers perceived female rulers as a “soft touch” and that their territories were more vulnerable. However, according to Sputnick News , at the same time, married queens were also more likely to attack than married kings and this was partly because they would “enlist their husbands to help them rule” while kings would rarely turn to their spouses to handle this responsibility.

Were Males Pushing the Queens into War? The authors of the new paper explained that queens often put their spouses in charge of the military or fiscal reforms and this greater spousal division of labor might have enhanced the capacity of queenly reigns, “enabling queens to pursue more aggressive war policies”. The roles of male advisors pushing queen’s foreign policies towards war wasn’t factored in and the researchers said that this male influence on war should be “even larger among monarchs who acceded at a younger age” since they were more likely to be influenced by their male advisors. However, the paper says, “we do not observe this type of differential effect”.

Female Druids, the Forgotten Priestesses of the Celts

The Shrouded History of Nitocris: Was the Last Pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty a Woman?

Warrior Women: Despite what Gamers Might Believe, the Ancient World was Full of Female Fighters

When Isabella I of Castile ascended to the throne in 1474 there already several plots against her and war broke out. (Zumalabe / Public Domain )

Violence Stats Change On The Street Putting this new paper in perspective, while the study proves historical queens were more violent than kings, on the street, quite the opposite is and has always been the case. A quick glance at the statistics tell that today men commit much more acts of violence than women and in 2007 the U.S. Department of Justice sponsored a National Crime Victimization Study that found “75.6% of all offenders” were male and only 20.1% were female. Therefore, when not wearing a crown, men commit violent crimes more than three times as often as women.

Even taking into account the possibility that many crimes in which a woman commits violence go unreported, this disparity can't be ignored and it would take thousands of unreported violent acts to balance up these numbers. But are men really hardwired to be violent? It looks like the answer might be “no” and that woman have the same blood-thirsty tendencies when they get crowned.>

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To: isopatch who wrote (6229)11/25/2019 10:35:03 PM
From: Joachim K
   of 6267
I don’t think any red blooded male that has a mother, sisters and a few girlfriends would disagree with that article. The fact that the blithering idiot Steven Pinker said men were more often the aggressor would be enough to make up my mind women were more often the aggressor. In my personal experience females are ten times as predatory and territorial as males, this of course is not a criticism, just an observation.

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To: isopatch who wrote (6229)11/25/2019 10:43:52 PM
From: DMaA
1 Recommendation   of 6267
More accurate to say a hurricane defeated the Spanish Armada

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To: Joachim K who wrote (6230)11/25/2019 10:53:50 PM
From: isopatch
1 Recommendation   of 6267
One of the things I think history teaches us is behavioral norms for each gender varies greatly with changing cultural norms. Our current American culture lauds female assertiveness, even dominance. A significant change compared to a few generations ago. Even more in contrast to the 19th Century.

Liked the article because, rather than the more subjective comments you & I just shared? They tried to be to look at the issue quantitatively which requires more time and effort. More than I have, anyway...))


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To: DMaA who wrote (6231)11/25/2019 11:06:14 PM
From: isopatch
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That's correct. Read a riveting biography of Sir Frances Drake, some years ago, which covered the Armada saga in considerable detail. What a story?!

Drake was an incredible man. Among many other exploits, he was the first to captain a voyage around the world in a single trip. His ship had to be beached for extensive repairs on one of the Pacific Islands before it could complete the voyage back to England. He even lived to retire as a wealthy land owner and something of a wheeler dealer in real estate, not far from where he grew up.


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To: isopatch who wrote (6229)11/25/2019 11:07:06 PM
From: Stan
1 Recommendation   of 6267
One factor I'd like to see explored is what objectives did women monarchs have in mind when they started wars.

Particularly, were they more likely to start them because of maternal instincts, that is, in order to pre-emptively fend off threats to national security? It's not the male, but the "mother" bear who is known for ferocity.

Whereas expansionist lust seems to be a male trait. Caesars, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, Attila, Napoleon. If queen-started wars could generally be categorized as protective, it would blunt the surprise the article creates about them.

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To: Stan who wrote (6234)11/25/2019 11:17:01 PM
From: isopatch
   of 6267
The evidence you cite points to that conclusion. Also agree in hoping some researchers with the time & money for such a study pick up the ball and run with it. Could open up a cornucopia of other insights into the differences between how men and women become rulers AWA how they differ in exercising and holding onto that power.


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To: isopatch who wrote (6232)11/26/2019 9:18:36 AM
From: Valuepro
   of 6267
I was immediately truck with the impulse to forward the story to a great number of people, then I saw the source. I'll wait.

Still, the proposal made me wonder about its applicability as a generality over time and cultures.

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