Tag Archives | Harvard

Harvard Confirms It Has Book Bound In Human Flesh

book fleshA few weeks ago we ran a story about Harvard University’s library containing books bound in human flesh. Scientists at Harvard have now confirmed the report for at least one volume, Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de lame, per The Independent:

Harvard scientists have confirmed a volume in one of its libraries is “without a doubt” bound in human skin after a series of tests conducted on the binding confirmed the origin of the material.

Scientists and conservators used several different methods to test the binding and are now “99.9 per cent” sure the material covering the book, Arsène Houssaye’s Des destinées de l’ame, is of human origin.

A team used a process known as peptide mass fingerprinting to examine microscopic samples of the covering and eliminate the chance that the 19th century book was made out of other binding materials such as sheep or goat skin.

The binding was then analysed further to determine the order of amino acids, the building blocks of each peptide, which are different in each species.

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Harvard University: Honeybees Dying Due To Insecticide

This seems fairly definitive, but I’m sure some of you have other theories regarding CCD, pesticides and Harvard in general.

Picture: Jacopo Werther (CC)

Picture: Jacopo Werther (CC)

via Honeybees abandoning hives and dying due to insecticide use, research finds | Environment | theguardian.com.

The mysterious vanishing of honeybees from hives can be directly linked to insecticide use, according to new research from Harvard University. The scientists showed that exposure to two neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used class of insecticide, lead to half the colonies studied dying, while none of the untreated colonies saw their bees disappear.

“We demonstrated that neonicotinoids are highly likely to be responsible for triggering ‘colony collapse disorder’ in honeybee hives that were healthy prior to the arrival of winter,” said Chensheng Lu, an expert on environmental exposure biology at Harvard School of Public Health and who led the work.

The loss of honeybees in many countries in the last decade has caused widespread concern because about three-quarters of the world’s food crops require pollination.

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Harvard Fossil Fuel Divestment Smackdown: The Faculty vs. President Faust

PIC: Harvard (CC)

PIC: Harvard (CC)

Faust was the guy who sold his soul to the Devil, wasn’t he?  Wen Stephenson at the Nation

…a large and distinguished group of faculty at Harvard University released an open letter to President Drew Gilpin Faust and the Harvard Corporation. It calls, in striking terms, for divestment of the university’s endowment—the largest university endowment in the world—from fossil-fuel corporations. Perhaps most striking, it responds forcefully, and at times bluntly, to Faust’s public statements opposing divestment. The letter begins:

Our University invests in the fossil fuel industry: this is for us the central issue. We now know that fossil fuels cause climate change of unprecedented destructive potential. We also know that many in this industry spend large sums of money to mislead the public, deny climate science, control legislation and regulation, and suppress alternative energy sources.

We are therefore disappointed in the statements on divestment made by President Faust on October 3, 2013 and April 7, 2014.

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Why We Must Divest From Fossil Fuels: A Student’s Open Letter to Harvard President Drew Faust

PIC: Harvard (CC)

PIC: Harvard (CC)

Wen Stephenson and Benjamin Franta, via the Nation:

The movement for fossil-fuel divestment has swelled to what an Oxford University study calls the fastest-growing divestment movement in history, one with the potential to shift the political ground beneath the fossil-fuel lobby’s feet. There are more than 500 campaigns globally—including on some 400 college and university campuses in the United States, along with city and state governments and major religious institutions. Ten colleges and more than twenty cities—including Seattle, San Francisco and, as it happens, Cambridge, Massachusetts—have committed to divest.

Back in October, Harvard University President and distinguished American historian Drew Gilpin Faust, having faced more than a year of increasing calls by students, faculty and almuni to divest from fossil fuels, released a statement in which she explained why Harvard would do no such thing, at least not on her watch. Reactions to her position—by critics ranging from climate activist Tim DeChristopher (now at Harvard Divinity School) and Columbia’s Todd Gitlin (an alum) to former Oberlin president and National Science Board member James Lawrence Powell, among others—pointed to its logical inconsistency, not to mention blindness to moral, political and economic facts.

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World’s Largest Historical Collection Of Deviant Erotic And Drug-Related Cultural Works Now At Harvard

Harvard Gazette on a treasure chest for anyone looking to explore the darkest corners of human experience:

Harvard’s newly acquired Julio Mario Santo Domingo Collection is the largest of its kind in the world. It includes a vast collection of boxes, drawers, shelves — whole rooms — full of art, literature, and popular culture artifacts dating back to the 16th century, related to the chief avenues to altered states of mind: sex and drugs.

The Santo Domingo collection is on long-term deposit at Harvard. “We do not own it,” said Morris, but the owners “want us to catalog it, and they want it available for research.” The largest collection of its kind in the world, it will gradually be available to scholars of literature, fine art, photography, film, history, medicine, popular culture, and more.

It has an estimated 30,000 books and 25,000 posters, photographs, and other ephemera assembled by Colombian businessman Julio Mario Santo Domingo Jr., who died in 2009.

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See It: Andrew Breitbart’s So-Called Controversial Obama Footage (Video)

Here's a followup to wild, ungrounded speculation from Zach Lisabeth on Opposing Views (video from BuzzFeed):
Before his unexpected death, conservative firebrand Andrew Breitbart was chomping at the bit to release a supposedly "explosive" video of President Obama filmed during the president's time at Harvard Law School. The video was purported to show a young Obama making racially charged comments that Breitbart hoped might damage the president's 2012 reelection bid ...
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Read/Write Your Own Genetic Code

Prof. George Church. Photo: Steve Jurvetson (CC)

Prof. George Church. Photo: Steve Jurvetson (CC)

Once home genetic engineering kits become standard can we expect home brew X-Men? BBC News‘ Karen Weintraub reports on some experiments at Harvard University that may signal the beginning of DIY genetic engineering:

You have to wonder what’s going on in the DNA of Harvard genetics professor George Church.

What extra bit of code does he have that the rest of us don’t? If genes tell the story of a person’s life, then some altered sequence of ‘A’s, ‘C’s, ‘G’s and ‘T’s must be at play, because his brain works like almost no one else’s.

About 30 years ago, Prof Church was one of a handful of people who dreamed up the idea of sequencing the entire human genome – every letter in the code that separates us from fruit flies as well as our parents. His lab was the first to come up with a machine to break that code, and he’s been working to improve it ever since.

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