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Saru

Workers unearth 'Black Death' plague pit

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More than a dozen skeletons have been discovered buried underneath a busy part of central London.

For seven centuries they have lain beneath the feet of commuters in one of the busiest parts of central London. Thirteen skeletons, lying in two neat rows, 2. 4m beneath a road in Farringdon, have been unearthed by excavations for London's Crossrail project.

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Posted (edited)

Thirteen skeletons, lying in two neat rows 2.4m beneath a road in Farringdon have been unearthed by excavations for London's Crossrail project

Why do British Left Wing media like The Independent, The Guardian and the BBC insist on using foreign measures that hardly anyone in Britain uses?

Instead of saying "2.4 metres" why couldn't it say "8 feet", like the more sensible Daily Mail did? You know, measures that most of its readers would better understand?

Anyway, this is some find. There must still be loads of plague pits under London just waiting to be discovered, not just from the Black Death but also from the Great Plague of 1665.

Edited by TheLastLazyGun
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black pleg black death ect..wouldnt this be the time to say "let sleeping dogs lay" come in to play that **** that killed them could stillbe hanging around in germs seriously even with todays medical techo that **** would run rapided corse i supose it could be used as population control but damnit to hell man

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[

black pleg black death ect..wouldnt this be the time to say "let sleeping dogs lay" come in to play that **** that killed them could stillbe hanging around in germs seriously even with todays medical techo that **** would run rapided corse i supose it could be used as population control but damnit to hell man

Lots of plague pits have been found throughout London and the rest of the country over the years, and it's not done anyone any harm.

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At least since its so old it shouldn't be antibiotic resistant if it does raise its ugly head again.

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Posted (edited)

Unearthing the black plague just makes me feel that mankind never knows when the next big disease will hit civilization.It may lay dormant for some time in the soil or it may come from the heavens above from a meteor. Even viruses & bacterium are showered upon us at times without our knowledge.

Edited by GirlfromOz
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Posted (edited)

Instead of saying "2.4 metres" why couldn't it say "8 feet", like the more sensible Daily Mail did? You know, measures that most of its readers would better understand?

Another peeve of mine along the same lines: reports where metric measurements are - brainlessly - converted to 'English' standards, so that "about three metres" becomes "about 9.84 feet."

Edited by PersonFromPorlock
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Posted (edited)

black pleg black death ect..wouldnt this be the time to say "let sleeping dogs lay" come in to play that **** that killed them could stillbe hanging around in germs seriously even with todays medical techo that **** would run rapided corse i supose it could be used as population control but damnit to hell man

The bacterium Yersinia pestis which caused Bubonic plague cannot survive being buried in the ground for any length of time, so unless you get too close to somebody who is on intimate terms with Xenopsia cheopis (the Oriental Rat Flea) then your chances of growing lumps under your armpits are minimal!

Edited by ealdwita
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Thanks; the idea had entered my head and I'm happy for the info.

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Another peeve of mine along the same lines: reports where metric measurements are - brainlessly - converted to 'English' standards, so that "about three metres" becomes "about 9.84 feet."

What's the old engineer's rule -- "No calculation is more accurate than the least accurate input."

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At least since its so old it shouldn't be antibiotic resistant if it does raise its ugly head again.

It hasn't died out yet. There was an outbreak of bubonic plague in Algeria in 2003, and in 2009, a molecular geneticist working at the University of Chicago, died from bubonic plague whilst working on this bacterium. It was also used during WWII as a biological weapon by the Japanese who dropped rice and wheat contaminated by infected rat fleas over Chushien, China in 1940. I'm sure there's little batches of Y. pestis snuggled up in various laboratories around the world, awaiting another 'man's inhumanity to man' incident.

As to vaccines, there doesn't seem to be much information on antibiotic treatment, apart from immunisation, and I get the impression that if you contract bubonic plague, it's usually "Goodnight Irene"!

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Wasn't one the great plagues a mystery disease though? I thought the Black death was different to the Bubonic plague...

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Wasn't one the great plagues a mystery disease though? I thought the Black death was different to the Bubonic plague...

Yes, I agree up to a point. As far as the 'Black Death' was concerned, most historians have gone along with traditional opinions and have opted for Bubonic-type plague, spread by the rat flea. but there are other schools of thought....for instance, in 2000, biologist Gunnar Karlsson pointed out that the Black Death killed between half and two-thirds of the population of Iceland, although there were no rats in Iceland at this time. Historian Norman F. Cantor suggests, in his 2001 book In the Wake of the Plague, that the Black Death might have been a combination of pandemics including a form of anthrax, a cattle murrain. He cites many forms of evidence including reported disease symptoms not in keeping with the known effects of either bubonic or pneumonic plague, the discovery of anthrax spores in a plague pit in Scotland, and the fact that meat from infected cattle was known to have been sold in many rural English areas prior to the onset of the plague.

As I said though, most historians go along with bubonic rather than either pneumonic or anthrax pandemics.

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I've always kinda thought these things were Malthusian before modern science put an end to such population cycles. Any comment?

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Posted (edited)

I've always kinda thought these things were Malthusian before modern science put an end to such population cycles. Any comment?

Difficult to establish IMO. Between the late 1340's and the end of the Moscow plague in 1771, an estimated 75 million people lost their lives to more than 100 separate outbreaks of plague.

The historian David Herlihy (who has studied the social effects of the plagues much more extensively than I have) states, "If the Black Death was a response to excessive human numbers it should have arrived several decades earlier” due to the population growth in the years preceding the outbreak of 1340. He also argues that, "The many famines preceding the Black Death, even the ‘great hunger’ of 1314 to 1317, did not result in any appreciable reduction in population levels”. Finally Herlihy concludes the matter stating, “the medieval experience shows us not a Malthusian crisis but a stalemate, in the sense that the community was maintaining at stable levels very large numbers over a lengthy period” and states that the phenomenon should be referred to as more of a deadlock, rather than a crisis, to describe Europe before the epidemics. I am of the opinion (for what it's worth) that the same argument can be applied to most of the other outbreaks of plague around the world.

Edited by ealdwita
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Yes, I agree up to a point. As far as the 'Black Death' was concerned, most historians have gone along with traditional opinions and have opted for Bubonic-type plague, spread by the rat flea. but there are other schools of thought....for instance, in 2000, biologist Gunnar Karlsson pointed out that the Black Death killed between half and two-thirds of the population of Iceland, although there were no rats in Iceland at this time. Historian Norman F. Cantor suggests, in his 2001 book In the Wake of the Plague, that the Black Death might have been a combination of pandemics including a form of anthrax, a cattle murrain. He cites many forms of evidence including reported disease symptoms not in keeping with the known effects of either bubonic or pneumonic plague, the discovery of anthrax spores in a plague pit in Scotland, and the fact that meat from infected cattle was known to have been sold in many rural English areas prior to the onset of the plague.

As I said though, most historians go along with bubonic rather than either pneumonic or anthrax pandemics.

Still, the majority of historians support the theory that the bubonic plague caused the black death, so counterarguments have been developed.

The uncharacteristically rapid spread of the plague could be due to respiratory droplet transmission, and low levels of immunity in that period's European population. Historical examples of pandemics of other diseases in populations without previous exposure, such as smallpox and tuberculosis transmitted by aerosol amongst indigenous peoples of the Americas, show that the low levels of inherited adaptation to the disease cause the first epidemic to spread faster and to be far more virulent than later epidemics among the descendants of survivors. Also, the plague returned again and again and was regarded as the same disease through succeeding centuries into modern times when the Yersinia pestis bacterium was identified.

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Another peeve of mine along the same lines: reports where metric measurements are - brainlessly - converted to 'English' standards, so that "about three metres" becomes "about 9.84 feet."

About 3 meters is about 9.84 feet. Whereas 3 meters equals 9.84375 feet.

Basically a meter equates to our yard, but is exactly (39 3/8")

The trouble I think americans have with the metric system is although it is a better system because all facets of it are based on multiples of 10 regardless if its a distance or a weight or a liquid measurement is they can't visualize it. Someone says its 3" long they can "see it" but when it 75 centimeters they can't "see it" in their minds.

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And aren't the US and England the only countries in the world not using the metric system?

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Posted (edited)

And aren't the US and England the only countries in the world not using the metric system?

It's kind of a mix... inches, cm, pints, litres, miles, kilometres... I don't even know what the offical 'system' is to be actually.

Though I think more people would know roughly what you meant if you said an inch, or a foot, than 2.5cm or 30cm.

ETA: UK, that is.

Edited by Queen in the North

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And aren't the US and England the only countries in the world not using the metric system?

All countries that engage in international aviation use nautical miles and knots for that purpose. This likely applies to all countries that have aircraft even if they are used only internally.

Also, precious metals are usually measured in Troy ounces ("ozt" = ~31.1 gm) and precious gems in carats ("ct" = 200 mg). I suppose that since the carat is defined as 200 mg, it doesn't qualify strictly as "non-metric".

There likely are more non-metric units in common or "official" use. Anyone want to provide more?

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So, not actually "difficult to establish," but more like, "unlikely and not supported by the evidence." Human population, at least in Europe, did not show the cycles but instead occasional crashes brought on by actual diseases or famines, not brought on by too many people.

One is tempted to apply that to the modern situation, where so many are asserting that there are too many people, which is bound in Malthusian terms to bring on a disaster. Perhaps that is not exactly how it all works.

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Posted (edited)

I was also under the impression that all of Europe used the metric system.... Shows how much I know about Europe. But, I learned something new. ;) so, thank you!

Edited by Lava_Lady

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i remember a thing on ancient aliens (and we all know how true that show is lol) about how black hooded figures were seen during the time of the plague, and were seen to be spreading a substance in fields and air etc. kinda like a biological weapon. i dunno. its kinda creepy i guess.

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And aren't the US and England the only countries in the world not using the metric system?

The press often use elephants : "A Jumbo Jet, which weighs the equivalent of 30,000 elephants, took off on its maiden flight...." (from one of Dr Karl's podcasts.)

If the black death did not happen, would it have made a difference to anything today?

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I dare say since I have only a vague idea what an elephant might weigh, and 30,000 as a number is outside by comprehension, such a statement tells me nothing more than "real big."

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