years ago in the deserts of turkistan
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“Around the koubba, countless graves are scattered in the sand. They form an obligatory passage to the habitations of the living. All Saharan towns begin with cemeteries.” —Isabelle Eberhardt, In the Shadow of Islam, translated by Sharon Bangert

Cotton prayer mats with silk embroidery, Iran, c. 1800-1880 (sources: * * * *)

Excerpts from From the Gulf to Ararat: An Expedition Through Mesopotamia and Kurdistan by Gilbert Ernest Hubbard (top) and Deciphering the Signs of God by Annemarie Schimmel (bottom), on the “pious” stork (لک لک / lak lak). 

Virobiota

The collection of “resident” viruses that populate tissues throughout the human body, from the skin to the gut (and beyond). These viruses include those that infect prokaryotic hosts, like the bacteriophages that infect our commensal bacteria, and those that infect humans and other eukaryotes. Typical resident eukaryotic viruses include but are not limited to herpesviruses (like Epstein Barr virus, which establishes latency in B cells, and herpes simplex virus, which hides out in the trigeminal ganglion), retroviruses (like HIV), and enteroviruses like the cocksackie viruses. Our immune status shapes the composition of our virobiome; in turn, our resident viruses can shape our immune system. 

Our diet can also influence the composition of our virobiota,  much as it influences the composition of our microbiota in general: plant viruses, obtained from plant matter that we consume, have also been detected in the tissues of our GI tracts. 

Read more: "Resident viruses and their interactions with the immune system" (requires access to Nature Immunology or PubMed) 

Snippets about the jinn, pari, and div/deev, from The Wild Rue by Bess Allen Donaldson

“I am withdrawing to construct a labyrinth.” —Jorge Luis Borges, “The Garden of Forking Paths,” in Labyrinths
Snippet from Islamic Names by Annemarie Schimmel

Snippet from Islamic Names by Annemarie Schimmel

This is a diagram of the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway (click through the image for more detail), which typically gets activated when a mitogen (something that stimulates cell growth) binds its receptor (as shown in the top half of the image), but which can also be activated through other signaling pathways (as shown in the lower portion of the image). Because the MAPK/ERK pathway is involved in cell growth and proliferation, mutations in any of the pathway’s effector molecules (i.e. kinases, enzymes that add phosphate groups to other proteins) that result in constitutive activation or enhanced enzymatic activity can lead to proliferative diseases and cancers. 

This is a diagram of the MAPK/ERK signaling pathway (click through the image for more detail), which typically gets activated when a mitogen (something that stimulates cell growth) binds its receptor (as shown in the top half of the image), but which can also be activated through other signaling pathways (as shown in the lower portion of the image). Because the MAPK/ERK pathway is involved in cell growth and proliferation, mutations in any of the pathway’s effector molecules (i.e. kinases, enzymes that add phosphate groups to other proteins) that result in constitutive activation or enhanced enzymatic activity can lead to proliferative diseases and cancers. 

“Again I have the sense of immobility, of beings and of things, that the old cities of Islam bring about in me. For a few seconds, everything endures, everything is eternal.” —Isabelle Eberhardt, In the Shadow of Islam, translated by Sharon Bangert

good things: peeling fava beans for stress relief (and dinner), strong tea from a samovar, getting my fc gamma receptor paper fake-published, reading fairy tales and magical realism, finally convincing picky adherent cells to grow in long-term suspension culture

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