Courtesy Cambridge University Library

Courtesy Cambridge University Library

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The missing opening chapters of an important Hebrew text called the Wisdom of Ben Sira, roughly 2,200 years old, may have been hiding in plain sight, posits Yale Divinity School scholar and teacher Eric Reymond. Writing in the Revue de Qumran, Reymond suggests that puzzling “ghost letters” that appear on a crucial 1100 CE manuscript of the text are actually offsets of its long-lost first folio page. In a reconstructed passage, Ben Sira tells readers that if they “love the fear of the Lord . . . [they] will be like heroes.”

Athletes playing on artificial turf have more to worry about than rug burns and bacterial infections. According to a new study led by Gaboury Benoit ’76, professor of environmental chemistry and engineering, the materials in the surfaces—also used in playgrounds—can expose people to “a witch’s brew of toxic substances.” The culprit is the “crumb rubber” (essentially finely ground tires) that forms the “soil” of the artificial turf. In a report commissioned by Environment and Human Health, a Connecticut advocacy group, Benoit’s team detected 96 different chemicals, about half of which were either likely carcinogens or irritants of various kinds. “It seems irresponsible to market a hazardous waste as a consumer product,” declared Benoit.

A distant galaxy named CID-947 harbors a strange secret: the supermassive black hole at its center is “ginormous,” said C. Megan Urry, professor of physics and astronomy. Urry is a member of the team whose survey of a number of galaxies discovered the dark heart way too big for the galaxy that surrounds it. Every galaxy has a black hole at its center, but usually the black hole is one-thousandth to one-hundredth the mass of its home galaxy; CID-947’s is one-tenth its mass. In Science, Urry and her colleagues suggest that the black hole may have stopped growing by the time they observed it (probably soon after it formed, some 12 billion years ago), while the rest of the galaxy will continue to gain mass over the next 12 billion years—another anomaly, since black holes and their galaxies usually develop together.

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