Science writer and poisons specialist Deborah Blum rounds up the year's news stories regarding malicious poisoners and expresses her disappointment that poisoners are often incredibly stupid about how they go about their trade (though, of course, it's possible that we only hear about the dumb ones because the smart ones get away clean).
But poisoners tend to have, let’s say, a curious way of seeing the world — and their place in it. When detectives interviewed Lampron, he felt he had cause: “He said he was close to retirement and he should be able to slow down the last few months.” Just as a Michigan college student who sent her roommate to the hospital (again in the first week of December) explained that she poured bleach into the other girl’s tea after they argued over who should wash dirty dishes. Her roommate was “mean” about it, she said.
I’ve written before about bleach poisonings. They remind us that household supplies are the most frequent source of such attacks. They remind us that people sometimes just poison to punish. In November, for instance, a deputy sheriff in Florida was charged with dumping hand sanitizer into a co-worker’s coffee following an argument over vacation days.
They remind us, once again, that the everyday poisoner is vindictive. Sneaky. But not necessarily that smart.
Dumb Poisoners: A Year-End Appreciation [Wired/Deborah Blum]
A better understanding how a sperm swims its way toward an egg could help inform new treatments for male infertility. Researchers from the University of York have now come up with a mathematical formula to model how large numbers of moving sperm interact with fluid they’re swimming through. From the University: By analysing the head […]
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Biologist Nipam Patel and his team at UC Berkeley study how butterflies develop wing shape and color by performing surgery on caterpillars, creating translucent windows in their cocoons.
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You know the drill. You go to the dentist and they ask you how often you floss. You lie through your teeth and say, “every day!” (Bonus points if you have some cilantro or chives stuck in your gums from lunch). You don’t want to keep up the charade any longer, but rubbing that tiny strand […]
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