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Monday, 13 January 2014

The (Supposed) Cure For AIDS


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Photo credit: Dutch Meteor Society
On August 14, 1992, a meteorite shower hit the village of Mbale, Uganda. The meteorite was nothing special, just run-of-the-mill ordinary chondrite, a big, ugly rock that only weighed 1,000 kilograms (2,200 lbs) before routinely shattering into fragments. Boring.
But by the time researchers arrived at the site, there wasn’t much left to study—the local population had already crushed most of the pieces into powder and eaten it. See, Mbale at that time was going through an AIDS epidemic that was sweeping through the populace. Desperate, they took the meteorite as a sign from God, and believed that within its cosmic structure was a cure for the disease with which they were stricken. They were swallowing the powder by the fistful and mixing it with water to form a paste, which they smeared over their skin.
Unfortunately, there was nothing in the meteorite except for some chunks of iron, and AIDS still affects that region of Uganda to this day.

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