One suicide by ingestion of castor powder containing ricin in Boulder, Colorado, this month:
An 18-year-old Boulder man, [Ryan Levine], died Wednesday night after police say he intentionally ingested the deadly poison ricin, which he had manufactured in his home.
Boulder County Coroner Emma Hall identified the man as Ryan Levine and said that the exact cause and manner of his death are still being investigated. Levine died at the University of Colorado Hospital, according to the coroner’s office.
Levine is believed to have purposely ingested the ricin and died later that night, according to a news release.
Spotty information from July 8, no updates.
A week later another teenager in Lakewood, New Jersey, attempted suicide with castor but survived:
A 19-year-old man’s suicide attempt in Lakewood Monday prompted an investigation by the county hazmat team, as well as federal authorities.
Police say that the unidentified teen tried to take his own life by ingesting a poisonous substance he claimed to be ricin. Police say that he later changed his mind, vomited and went to the hospital to seek treatment.
Officials say that preliminary test results showed evidence of castor beans, one of the ingredients used to make ricin, but the substance was not ricin itself.
Reports of ricin at hospital or in the emergency activate a national security response, put in place after 9/11 and the anthrax attacks.
“Lakewood officials called in the state police, FBI and Joint Terrorism Task Force to investigate the incident,” it reads.
In contrast to this odd cluster, there have been no deaths or injuries due to terrorism by ricin in the last 15 years.
Hillary Clinton’s choice of Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate sends a message to Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and their progressive populist supporters: There’s a home for you in the Democratic Party, but I’m still the landlord.
Some voices on the left howled at the last minute hoping to wave Clinton off from making the seemingly safe pick, insisting that he would not be so safe. Democracy for America, a progressive political action committee founded by Howard Dean, called Kaine’s recent support for different regulatory standards on regional and community banks “disqualifying.” The Intercept’s Ziad Jilani argued that Kaine’s “measured praise” for the Trans-Pacific Partnership means that “by picking him, Clinton is signaling that her newly declared opposition to the agreement is not sincere”…
From the Booman Tribune:
Take the pot off boil, let the people digest the progressive revolution in small bites rather than in the kind of sweeping changes that disorient and cause anxiety.
If a big part of this country is saying “Slower, please,” this is a nod to them.
For all these reasons, picking Kaine made sense. But that doesn’t mean that it was definitely the right call. There are other theories of the case, and they say that people are looking for fast change. That’s what Trump is betting on, and that’s why, in his acceptance speech, he kept emphasizing how quickly he could solve our problems.
Kaine doesn’t help mobilize the Democratic base, and he probably hurts the Democrats’ ability to counter Trump’s anti-free trade populism.
But, I’ll tell you one last thing. My biggest problem with the Clintons has been all the drama they bring with them. Trump’s antics have kind of obliterated that concern in the public mind, but I love No Drama Obama and if we have No Drama Kaine, that’s something I can celebrate.
It’s obvious I won’t be voting for her. From my POV, there’s no choice that would have changed my mind, so whatever.
It probably is, with a certainty of 99 percent.
An alleged chemical weapon in a bowl, using electrolysis, hooked to a wall outlet, at a Wal-Mart in Oxnard.
From the Ventura County Star:
Oxnard police said Wednesday they arrested a man accused of placing a chemical weapon inside a Walmart store last month.
The city’s police and fire departments responded about 11:45 a.m. June 18 to a report of a suspicious device inside the business at 2701 Saviers Road, Oxnard police said. Authorities found a bowl containing a mixture of chemicals that was connected to an electrical cord plugged into an outlet, authorities said. The device was identified as a possible improvised chemical weapon and remove it from the business, police said.
Area surveillance footage showed a man leaving the store about the time the device was found, police said. Martin Reyes, 31, of Oxnard, was identified as a suspect in the case and was interviewed Tuesday in county jail, authorities said. He previously had been booked into the facility on an unrelated offense, authorities said.
During the interview, Martinez confessed to investigators that he made the weapon and was aware it could create a harmful gas, police said. He told authorities he researched how to make the device on the internet, authorities said.
Reyes was arrested on suspicion of the unlawful possession and manufacture of a chemical weapon of mass destruction, police said.
Customers and employees were evacuated from the store for about six hours and the incident cost the retailer more than $120,000 in revenue, authorities said.
One becomes suspicious of lameness and over-cooking the threat when there is no specificity as to the nature of an alleged weapon.
The only thing that came to mind, as an expert, was the generation of chlorine gas by electrolysis of salt water.
But I’m not going to get into the details of why a bowl of salt water hooked to a wall outlet is a laugher, at any speed.
There are fairly obvious ways to generate chlorine with common products. The other way to do it with of the shelf of the store products, on the spot, is through sodium hypochlorite used to sanitize backyard swimming pools.
Again, however, the idea that you can make a WMD from a small bag of bleaching powder or liquid bleach just doesn’t merit that level of concern.
One hundred twenty thousand dollars in lost business, it’s claimed. And bail set at half a million for a WMD offense.
Check the pictures of the alleged perpetrator. Tell me what you think. Even out of an overuse of abundance of caution, nah.
Look, people who are mentally diminished can become trivial public nuisances. It doesn’t make them capable of making a WMD in a bowl because they read some shit on the internet.
Here’s to laughter, from Andrew Rosenthal, one of the NYT’s six figure explainers:
What on earth is BitTorrent News?
At this point, it’s no surprise when an organization experiments with ways to use technology to advance the distribution of news. The New York Times is one of many doing so.
BitTorrent — a company based, of course, in San Francisco — is using news to advance technology.
Until fairly recently, BitTorrent didn’t have a news site. In fact, it wasn’t really a website at all. It’s a “protocol” — a bunch of software used to transfer files across the internet.
BitTorrent’s technology, now about 12 years old, was a success among companies that distribute large amounts of data to large numbers of people at the same time, like Facebook or the online gaming company Blizzard.
More notoriously, pirate websites use the technology to offer illegal downloads. Erik Schwartz, a vice president for the company, was quick to say that his company does not offer those services …
BitTorrent — “a bunch of software” — actually, a utility, an application, used on a PC to get pirated movies, books, music and commercial software from sites like Kat.cr (aka KickAss torrents — see footnote), which aggregates “torrents,” collections of individual networked computers with the stolen stuff on their hard disks.
It’s how I steal all my stuff, since I can’t afford anything. In fact, I may steal a movie tonight using BitTorrent, along with thousands of others.
So, yes, let’s pretent BitTorrent is at the RNC getting into the news biz. Do that.
1. The Evil Empire Strikes Back:
Kickass Torrents’ alleged owner, Artem Vaulin, has been arrested in Poland as part of a lawsuit filed by the United States. Many of KAT’s domains have been seized in the lawsuit and, as a result, none of the popular torrent site’s webpages are currently working. The lawsuit was filed in Chicago, with the alleged owner, Artem Vaulin from Kharkiv, Ukraine, being sued for copyright infringement and money laundering conspiracy …
No stolen movie tonight. The US government, on the job, guaranteeing the intellectual property of the haves who’ve alredy made billions isn’t infringed by the dirty poors.
Nobody’s going to rip off Captain America: Civil War using BitTorrent anymore, I tell ya.
From the Blind Pig Finds Truffle Desk: Mainstream media and apparatchik upper class and its shoeshiners aghast that Trump might not defend NATO nations if they’re attacked.
Now, hold yer horses and unbunch yer panties ninny snobs. NATO was made to defend Europe against the Warsaw Pact. It was not made to push farther into territory (little countries on the Baltic, for the sake of selling ballistic missile shields that don’t work) where the Red Army crushed the Wehrmacht during the last years of the Great Patriotic War. (That’d be WWII, ninnies, in which the Red Army destroyed a helluva lot more of the Wehrmacht than we ever did, and, consequently suffered losses completely unimaginable to Americans.)
So you think the US should pledge to automatically get into a shooting war with the other thermonuclear superpower (Russia has 7,200 of ’em) on, um, Russia’s old border for the sake of “freedom” in those little places? Or maybe you think perhaps our uppercrust apparatchiks and their shoeshiners ought to go back and read some history of WWII and the reason for NATO, at which point you may reach the conclusion that occasionally the Blind Pig gets onto something. If only accidentally.
That “the establishment” is so roiled tells you who’s on the wrong side of history.
And here’s where Hillary Clinton spells trouble, my friends, with a capital T, and that rhymes with “P” and that stands for “PISS POOR.”
HRC was a lousy Sec’y of State, now retconned as an accomplished one. She’s entirely capable of stumbling into a shooting war with Russia in the Baltics, the Ukraine or Syria, because — “freedom” — but, primarily, because she’s a corporate hawk with no obvious clues from her story to indicate she thinks much about consequences.
Definitely, another one of those Culture of Lickspittle moments.
From the Daily Heil, covering “Patrick Calvar, head of the General Directorate for Internal Security (DGSI) – France’s equivalent of MI5:”
[Calvar] said he feared a move towards car bombs and more conventional explosive devices, allowing terrorists to attack without risking their own lives, and that he believed Islamist extremists will look to use booby-trapped cars in the future.
He said: ‘I’m convinced they’ll go to booby-trapped vehicles and bombs, thus upping their power.
‘We know very well they’re going to use this mode of operating.
‘They’re going to end up sending commandos whose mission is to organise terrorist campaigns without necessarily going to the assault with death awaiting them.’
He also raised the possibility of extremists using ‘dirty bombs’ and the natural poison ricin, saying several radical groups had studied the toxin in the past.
The Armed Islamic Group, which caused terror in Algeria in the early 1990s, was looking to put the substance on car door handles to create a panic effect, Mr Calvar said, and this tactic was also studied in northern Iraq and in the remote Pankisi Valley in Georgia, once a stronghold of Chechen militants.
Ricin on door handles. No. Too big a molecule, a protein made of two subunits, to pass through skin. Can’t happen.
On the other hand, you can cause a panic if enough people actually believe it does. Which this article is not helping with, particularly.
In any case, if terrorists actually are still entertaining the idea that ricin can be used as a contact poison, it shows they haven’t progressed on the subject in the last fifteen years.
The Wood Green poison plot was also said to have toyed with the idea of mass contact poisoning. A Nivea skin creme pot was found with a liquid extract of tobacco mixed in with it. The idea, one presumes, similar to a nicotine skin patch.
As to ricin, only 20some castor seeds were found, all but one in a jewelry tin.
Very interesting piece by Gina Kolata at the New York Times: So Many Research Scientists, So Few Openings as Professors:
The United States is producing more research scientists than academia can handle.
We have been told time and again that the United States needs more scientists, but when it comes to some of the most desirable science jobs — tenure-track professorships at universities, where much of the exciting work is done — there is such a surplus of Ph.D.s that in the most popular fields, like biomedicine, fewer than one in six has a chance of joining the club in the foreseeable future.
While they try to get a foot in the door, many spend years after getting their Ph.D. as poorly paid foot soldiers in a system that can afford to exploit them.
Over the years I’ve infrequently posted on the matter. The picture is far more complex than the usual piece that delivers the observation that the US doesn’t interest enough people in science.
To the contrary, it does.
“Many spend years in a holding pattern as postdocs, which are temporary positions, working for a professor and being paid from the professor’s research grant,” Kolate writes.
It’s from The UpShot blog and, by definition, is short for the subject. Still there’s a lot to unpack and I am certain there are many research scientists and postdocs nodding their heads, newly minted and from decades back.
The symbol of the Strat electric guitar & big “Freedom,” at the — ahem — Quicken Loans complex in Cleveland, setting the standard:
“In Cleveland, officials are estimated to have spent at least $20 million in federal funds on equipment ranging from bicycles and steel barriers to 2,000 sets of riot gear, 2,000 retractable steel batons, body armor, surveillance equipment, 10,000 sets of plastic flex cuffs, and 16 laser aiming systems, which a technology retailer describes as being used for night direct-fire aiming and illumination.”
Because freedom is not free, particularly the crowd suppression and riot control parts.
(From The Intercept.)
The Race For The Presidency: Two New Yorkers (more or less) fight for the Presidency and the country loses. I tend to agree with the four more years chorus but that ain’t happening. Really, what we have is two septuagenarians fighting over which privileged white asshole will run the country.
“You don’t seem to understand. I’m not locked in here with you. You’re locked in here with me!”
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