Date archives "May 2018"

Living Culture: 120-Year-Old Sourdough Starter To Be Genetically Charted

This sourdough starter dates back to the Klondike Gold Rush
84-year-old Ione Christensen of Whitehorse, Yukon, has had her starter for 60 years. She knows that it traveled with her grandfather in 1897.
CBC’s mention of Christensen’s starter caught the attention of Belgian baker Karl de Smedt, who works for the Puratos World Heritage Sourdough Library in St. Vith, Belgium.
Christensen is pleased by the attention her starter is receiving. “It’s a family pet, if you will.” Indeed, sourdough starters do require steady attention to be kept alive. Until fairly recently, they were crucial if anyone wanted fresh bread, which is why de Smedt described people in the past as “slaves to their sourdough,” needing to feed it every few hours. Modern yeast extraction has eliminated that need, but has paid the price in flavor.
Meanwhile, Christensen laughs at the fact that her starter’s fame might eclipse her own accomplishments. She was the first female mayor of Whitehorse in 1975, Commissioner of Yukon after that, a Canadian senator, and a recipient of the Order of Canada in 1994.
Profile photo by Artur Rutkowski via Unsplash


Australian Man Saves 2.4 Million Children From Rhesus Disease By Weekly Blood Donations

James Harrison was called the man with the golden arm. Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from his blood.
James Harrison didn’t know why his blood contained a rare antibody. He just felt compelled to keep giving it.

Harrison continued donating for more than 60 years, and his plasma has been used to make millions of Anti-D injections, according to the Red Cross. Because about 17 percent of pregnant women in Australia require the Anti-D injections, the blood service estimates Harrison has helped 2.4 million babies in the country.

“Every ampul of Anti-D ever made in Australia has James in it,” Barlow told the Sydney Morning Herald. “He has saved millions of babies. I cry just thinking about it.”

Scientists still aren’t sure why Harrison’s body naturally produces the rare antibody but think it is related to the blood transfusions he received as a teenager. And through the decades, Harrison has brushed off excessive praise regarding his regular trips to the blood donation center from his home in Umina Beach, on the Central Coast of New South Wales.

Header photo (Creative Commons) by John Kalekos

Academics Unpack Cuba’s Weekly Internet

A detailed look at Cuba’s ‘offline internet:” the weekly assembly, organisation, and distribution of ‘El Paquete Semenal‘.


Most Cubans have terrible access to the Internet — estimates suggest only 5-25% of the populace can regularly get online. The government made it a bit easier in recent years with paid wifi hotspots, but they require dough, and they’re super slow. So Cubans have instead, in the last decade, evolved a complex, massive sneakernet.

(Courtesy Boing Boing)

Previously on The Bubble:

DIY Inventions from Cuba: Necessity Is A Mother
Your Weekly Internet

Photo by Alexander Kunze on Unsplash