Monday, April 22, 2013

In the News: What is Ricin

This week, letters bound for the White House and the office of Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker were intercepted and found to be laced with ricin. There was an arrest today. Here’s what you need to know about the toxin everyone is talking about.


Like some other scary poisons, ricin is naturally occurring. It’s a protein found in Ricinus communis, the castor oil plant. It can be extracted from the waste materials (the “mash” or “bean meal”) left over from castor oil processing and turned into a powder, pellet, or mist.


Ricin kills cells by shutting down their ribosomal RNA, part of the molecular machine that builds their proteins. As the cells die, a ricin poisoning victim experiences different symptoms depending on how they were exposed, usually starting within 6 to 12 hours.

If the ricin was inhaled, the victim is in for difficulty breathing, chest pains, coughing, nausea, a buildup of fluid in the lungs, and respiratory failure. If the poison was ingested or injected, the victim can experience diarrhea, bloody vomit and urine, seizures, and failure of the kidneys, liver, spleen and/or heart. Death from organ failure follows within 36 to 72 hours of exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It doesn’t take much of the stuff to wreak this kind of havoc either. The lethal dose for an adult is around 0.35 to 0.7 milligrams by inhalation (less than the mass of a single grain of sand) and between 1 and 20 mg per kilogram of body weight by ingestion (1mg/kg is about what you’d ingest if you ate a small handful of castor beans).YIKES. HOW DO YOU TREAT RICIN POISONING?

There’s no known antidote for ricin, so the best treatment is flushing it out of the body as quickly as possible while maintaining organ function and treating individual symptoms.

Biomedical scientists have been experimenting with ricin as a cancer treatment for decades. The ricin protein is linked to an antibody to form an immunotoxin that attaches only to specific, targeted cells. Once the immunotoxin latches on to a cancer cell, the ricin does its thing.

Other than that, though, ricin is mainly for murder and mayhem. Maybe the most famous ricin victim was Georgi Markov, murdered in a scheme that seems right out of a spy novel. In 1978, the Bulgarian writer was waiting for a bus when he felt a stinging pain in the back of his leg. When he looked behind him, he saw a man with an umbrella. The man crossed the street, got in a cab and fled. Three days later, Markov was dead, murdered via a ricin-filled pellet injected into his leg by the modified umbrella. - Mental Floss

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What Do You Believe?

"Americans and Their Conspiracy Theories

There’s just no polite way to put it.

There are big, entire parts of American society that believe in things that just aren’t true – and a recent national survey by Public Policy Polling only confirms it.

Name your conspiracy theory, and some segment of America believes it, the PPP survey found. The handful of news reports and blog posts on the PPP poll last week focused on the usual political subjects that always seem to float through the Internet ether.

About a fifth of Republican voters believe President Barack Obama is the anti-christ, for instance. Three quarters of Democrats believe former President George W. Bush’s administration lied about weapons of mass destruction in the run up to the Iraq war, while three quarters of Republicans don’t. A third of Republicans believe a New World Order is about to take over, while more than a fifth of Democrats believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. Despite a consensus among scientists, a significant number of Republican voters don’t believe climate change is real.
“Even crazy conspiracy theories are subject to partisan polarization, especially when there are political overtones involved,” said PPP President Dean Debnam. “But most Americans reject the wackier ideas out there about fake moon landings and shape-shifting lizards.”

Well, maybe. But there were some pretty astounding things in the survey:

– 6 percent of voters (who haven’t, apparently, yet seen “Zero Dark Thirty”) think Osama bin Laden is still alive.

– Despite decades of research that says otherwise, 51 percent of Americans believe there was a conspiracy at work in the JFK assassination.

– Nearly a third of Americans believe aliens exist and are, presumably, visiting Earth, and 25 percent don’t know if it’s true or not – which means that this particular conspiracy theory is mainstream, not part of the fringe of society.

– 5 percent of people believe the real Paul McCartney died and was secretly replaced in the Beatles in 1966.

– 4 percent believe that shape-shifting reptilian people (a staple of Hollywood filmmaking) control the world by taking on human form.

– After decades of films around space travel, 7 percent of Americans still believe the Moon landing was faked.

– Even after nearly the entire scientific community has said otherwise, more than half of Americans still question whether there is a link between childhood vaccines and autism.
– One of the more bizarre findings is this one – 14 percent of people believe the CIA intentionally distributed crack cocaine in America’s inner cities in the 1980s.

– Almost a tenth of Americans, despite thousands of public health research reports to the contrary, believe that fluoride is added to our water supply for sinister reasons.

– 14 percent of people believe in Bigfoot.

– 15 percent believe either the media or the government adds secret mind-controlling technology to TV broadcast signals (which might explain some of those otherwise-hard-to-justify Nielsen ratings for certain television shows).

– And 15 percent believe the pharmaceutical industry conspires with physicians and medical communities to invent new diseases simply to make more money.

A few commentators from other parts of the world were comforted by the PPP survey and relieved that so few Americans actually line up behind some of the crazier conspiracy theories.

“Americans aren’t as crazy as we thought,” said one.

Well, again, maybe. But you can also look at some of these results and wonder: Just exactly what are kids learning in school that a significant part of the adult population still believes companies invent diseases just to make money; that you need a tinfoil hat in order to watch TV; or that the CIA distributed crack cocaine in American cities years ago? - USNews"

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rng That May Have Inspired Tolkiien

Lord of the Rings author was researching the story of the curse of a Roman ring for two years before starting Bilbo Baggins tale.
"The Hobbit Martin Freeman Tolkien ring exhibition
The Hobbit may have been the result of JRR Tolkien's fascination with the a real-life cursed ring story.
In what was once the housekeeper's office of a Tudor mansion in Hampshire, a very odd golden ring glitters on a revolving stand in a tall perspex column. In chapter five of The Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins finds a ring in the gloom of Gollum's cave. Not just any ring. "One very beautiful thing, very beautiful, very wonderful. He had a ring, a golden ring, a precious rin

A new exhibition opening today at The Vyne, now owned by the National Trust, raises the intriguing possibility that the Roman ring in the case, and the ring of power in JRR Tolkien's book The Hobbit, and in his Lord of the Rings trilogy, are one and the same.

As Dave Green, the property manager, explains, there's more to the story than the ring – an iron-age site with ancient mine workings known as "the Dwarf's Hill", a curse on the thief who stole the ring, and a strong link to Tolkien himself.

Tolkien was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford before he found fame as an author, with the publication of The Hobbit in 1937, and the first of the Rings trilogy in 1954. He certainly knew the story of the curse and the ring, and was researching the subject two years before he began work on The Hobbit.

The ring was in the collection of the Chute family – which for generations was interested in politics, collecting, and antiquarian research – for centuries before the house came to the National Trust in the 1930s.

"I was looking for the ring to show a visitor, and I walked right past the case with it – that's when I decided we really had to make more of this amazing thing," Green said. As well as the exhibition room, created with the help of the Tolkien Trust, the house now has a dwarf trail for children and a new playground with circular tunnels and green hillocks recalling Bilbo's home, Bag End.

The ring was probably found in 1785 by a farmer ploughing a few miles away within the walls of Silchester, one of the most enigmatic Roman sites in the country – a town which flourished before the Roman invasion, was abandoned by the 7th century and was never reoccupied.

There are no details of exactly when it was found, but historians assume the farmer sold it to the history loving wealthy family at The Vyne. It was a strikingly odd object, 12g of gold so large that it would only fit on a gloved thumb, ornamented with a peculiar spiky head wearing a diadem, and a Latin inscription reading: "Senicianus live well in God".
The ring that may have inspired Tolkien's Hobbit books The 'cursed' Roman ring that may have inspired Tolkien's Hobbit books.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Interesting &.Unusual!

May ot may noy br considered paranormal but is freaky!
Fred's Strange X-ray

Fred Lizer from Lincoln, Nebraska sharesFred Lizer's baffling X-ray appears to show a tomato plant growing in his body.  the baffling X-ray taken of his body.