Beginnings Reporting on science and intelligent design

Archaeologists uncover stone workshop in Galilee

Science | The 2,000-year-old workshop shows the effects of Jewish purity laws
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 8/17/17, 02:14 pm

Archaeologists have unearthed a 2,000-year old chalkstone quarry and workshop in Galilee, Israel. The man-made cave sits in the town of Reineh, sandwiched between Nazareth and Kafr Kana, believed to be the place Jesus turned water into wine. 

The surfaces of the cave had chisel marks where workers cut out the soft stone. The archeologists also uncovered tableware in different stages of production and thousands of stone cores and other waste from making bowls, drinking mugs, and other vessels. 

During the late Second Temple Era, many people used pots and storage containers made from clay. Yonatan Adler, a professor who led the excavations for the Israel Antiquities Authorities, said the Jews likely stopped using the clay vessels because their high porosity made them easily impure. The ancient Jewish law of ritual purity required objects that touched anything considered impure to be destroyed. “Stone, on the other hand, was thought to be material which never became ritually impure, and as a result ancient Jews began to produce some of their everyday tableware from stone,” Adler said.

Archaeologists believed the stoneware was distinctive to Jerusalem. But the cave is the fourth of its kind uncovered in Israel. The first two are located near Jerusalem in Hizma and Jebel Mukabber, while the other is also located in Reineh. 

“The finished products were marketed throughout the region here in Galilee, and our finds provide striking evidence that Jews here were scrupulous regarding the purity laws,” Adler said. 

Associated Press/Photo by Gillian Flaccus Associated Press/Photo by Gillian Flaccus An amateur astronomer in Salem, Ore.

Blinded by science?

While most eclipse watchers will spend their time oohing and aahing over the remarkable celestial event, scientists will be busy studying it.

NASA is taking advantage of the Eclipse Ballooning Project to study bacteria in conditions that resemble Mars. The balloons will soar into Earth’s stratosphere to collect weather data and livestream the event for those of us unlucky enough to be outside the optimal viewing area. NASA will attach tags coated with bacteria to the balloons to see how the harsh conditions affect the tiny organisms. That will give them some idea of what has happened to bacteria we’ve inadvertently sent to Mars.

Another group of scientists and educators will record the eclipse with identical telescopes to track its progress and make a 90-minute movie. Students Austin Peay State University in Tennessee will record the radio noise created during the eclipse. Other students from the school will study how animals react to the eclipse, a perennial favorite experiment during such events. And a group of scientists will trek up Casper Mountain in Wyoming to take measurements of the sun’s atmosphere in hopes of getting clues about how to block solar flares that can harm Earth’s electrical systems.

NASA will provide the best seat in the house for a small group of scientists who will observe the eclipse from two of the agency’s airplanes. But they’ll try to not let the darkened sun distract them from their real mission: examining Mercury, which we can’t normally see because it’s too close to the Sun.

Hopefully amid all the measuring and assessing, scientists won’t forget to look up and be amazed. Maybe they’ll even be inspired to wonder about the hand that meticulously set the sun and moon in motion. —Leigh Jones

Baby ape skull leads to evolutionary wishful thinking

The discovery of the skull of a now-extinct ape species fanned the flames of evolution hysteria last week. Findings of intact skulls such as the one reported last week in Nature are extremely rare and can shed light on the brain function of early apes. But Darwinists jumped to the conclusion that the lemon-sized skull belonged to an early common ancestor of apes and humans, and mainstream media hopped on the bandwagon.

Headlines proclaimed the discovery of the species, known as Nyanzapithecus Alesi, points to a “likely common ancestor” and “illuminates humankind’s remote past.” The team of anthropologists from De Anza College in Cupertino, Calif., claimed the ape could have been humans’ “evolutionary cousin” but also acknowledged the skull came from a baby, making it harder to draw conclusions.

Even within the field of evolutionary science, disagreement exists over the timing and location of humans and apes’ supposed divergence.

Nyanzapithecus is an early ape,” anthropologist David Begun of the University of Toronto told Science. “Whether it’s the closest thing we know to the last common ancestor … is questionable.”

The bottom line? It’s an ape. Any other conclusions are speculation or even wishful thinking on the part of evolutionists. Lynde Langdon

Blood tests could help diagnose cancer

A few milliliters of blood could be enough to detect cancer in a cheaper and faster process, according to two new tests.

In one of the studies, published in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics, researchers from Stanford University in California developed the single color digital PCR test to detect as few as three DNA mutations released by cancer cells. The test found cancer DNA in three of the six patients who participated. Three of the other patients who received negative results were undergoing active treatment at the time. “Molecular tests like this one we have developed will enable patients to be monitored at every visit, and thus have the potential for quickly tracking cancer growth and spread,” said Hanley Ji, who led the study.

The second test, published in the journal Cancer Cell by researchers in the Netherlands, opted to test for lung cancer RNA in platelets. The researchers took blood samples from 700 people and identified 81 percent of the lung cancer cases. The researchers said the results were good, but not enough to serve as a sole diagnostic test. —O.O. 

Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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