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(Mental Floss)   The real facts about ricin (not a San Francisco treat)   (mentalfloss.com ) divider line
    More: Scary, biomedical sciences, respiratory failure, lethal doses, ricin  
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4610 clicks; posted to Geek » on 18 Apr 2013 at 8:44 AM (3 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



25 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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2013-04-18 08:48:00 AM  
So the real facts are essentially the horrible things everyone already assumed about it?

-Really easy to get
-Really deadly

Balls....
 
2013-04-18 08:56:17 AM  
Hectorsalamanca.gif
 
2013-04-18 08:57:27 AM  
Knows a thing or two about ricin:

media.salon.com
 
2013-04-18 09:15:02 AM  
My grandpa had a castor plant in his garden and I will never forget what it looked like. I was maybe four years-old when he stood with me in front of it and clearly explained that one bean would kill me.

Eventually my grandma forced him to remove it- its presence really bothered her, for good reason.
 
2013-04-18 09:24:20 AM  

ytterbium: My grandpa had a castor plant in his garden and I will never forget what it looked like. I was maybe four years-old when he stood with me in front of it and clearly explained that one bean would kill me.

Eventually my grandma forced him to remove it- its presence really bothered her, for good reason.


interesting. do you know what made your grandfather plant it in his garden?
 
2013-04-18 09:27:56 AM  

Freakin Rican: interesting. do you know what made your grandfather plant it in his garden?


He was having problems with a local tough named Tuco.
 
2013-04-18 09:28:32 AM  
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)
There's no known antidote


406morrow.wikispaces.com

/fark you Mental Floss for making that a pain to copy + paste.
 
2013-04-18 10:04:12 AM  
Possibly castor oil (I doubt he's making full on synthetic motor oil in his backyard...)
Castor beans are pressed for oil.  That oil is used for tons of different things.  It wasn't uncommon to find the plant in many gardens.  Historically (since we're talking about grandpa here), castor oil was used for food preservation, patent remedies and even cooking.  The beans are kinda cool because they look like bloated ticks.  I actually have a bracelet made from castor beans and rosary peas somewhere around here...
The cast off mash is where the ricin is.  You can eat a whole castor bean and (probably) be absolutely fine.  Chew it up and...uh-oh.

There are many countries that have TONS of castor bean mash lying around (India creates thousands of tons every year, if I remember correctly).  The process to refine the toxin is pretty straight forward and was documented (Something like 73 steps?  You can actually do a patent search... until recently)

Refined, this stuff is incredibly potent.  The only toxin that is clearly more toxic is botulinum toxin (boTox).  The article is a little off on the lethal dose.  The lower end on the lethal dose is in the range of nanograms per kilogram (That's 0.000001 milligrams).  The issue that you get into is one of refinement.  Pure toxin would be most lethal, by weight.  Handling it would be a nightmare.  Nanograms of powder and be easily inhaled in a single breath, or transfer to the mouth after simple contact with the agent, even after casual washing.
In terms of toxicity, this stuff just flat out blows away things like sarin, cyanide, and arsenic.  It's a completely different class.
 
2013-04-18 10:04:58 AM  
Edit:
There may be an antidote, it's just never been tested in humans.
 
2013-04-18 10:07:03 AM  

Freakin Rican: ytterbium: My grandpa had a castor plant in his garden and I will never forget what it looked like. I was maybe four years-old when he stood with me in front of it and clearly explained that one bean would kill me.

Eventually my grandma forced him to remove it- its presence really bothered her, for good reason.

interesting. do you know what made your grandfather plant it in his garden?


He just liked the way it looked, according to my mom.

I might just take a peek at the county death records during his practice years JIC.

/he was very much-beloved country doctor in the community, a truly great man
 
2013-04-18 10:37:46 AM  
i was raised on beans n' ricin
 
2013-04-18 10:46:13 AM  
Static_Det5
There are many countries that have TONS of castor bean mash lying around (India creates thousands of tons every year, if I remember correctly).  The process to refine the toxin is pretty straight forward and was documented (Something like 73 steps?  You can actually do a patent search... until recently)

Not really, Dozen beans, put in a cup of water, add tablespoon of red devil lye, add some marbles to keep them under (they float)soak over night, rinse, add a drop of vinegar to help neutralize lye, peel beans, buy a blender from thrift store, grind beans, place in glass container, add a cup of acetone, soak for 2 days, pour through coffee filter, place mash back in container, repeat twice, you got enough to cause some damage.

Oh, by the way tray not to breath anything in, you won't last to use it on anyone.
 
2013-04-18 10:54:28 AM  

ytterbium: Freakin Rican: ytterbium: My grandpa had a castor plant in his garden and I will never forget what it looked like. I was maybe four years-old when he stood with me in front of it and clearly explained that one bean would kill me.

Eventually my grandma forced him to remove it- its presence really bothered her, for good reason.

interesting. do you know what made your grandfather plant it in his garden?

He just liked the way it looked, according to my mom.

I might just take a peek at the county death records during his practice years JIC.

/he was very much-beloved country doctor in the community, a truly great man


ah ok. i was just curious.
 
2013-04-18 11:12:01 AM  
Ban castor oil plant!. If we can save one polit...

Never mind.
 
2013-04-18 12:16:58 PM  

ytterbium: Freakin Rican: ytterbium: My grandpa had a castor plant in his garden and I will never forget what it looked like. I was maybe four years-old when he stood with me in front of it and clearly explained that one bean would kill me.

Eventually my grandma forced him to remove it- its presence really bothered her, for good reason.

interesting. do you know what made your grandfather plant it in his garden?

He just liked the way it looked, according to my mom.

I might just take a peek at the county death records during his practice years JIC.

/he was very much-beloved country doctor in the community, a truly great man


It's apparently a good vole repellent.

In south america they make bracelets from dried castor beans but a problem is kids nomming on the bracelets and getting sick.
 
2013-04-18 12:32:59 PM  

shortymac: ytterbium: Freakin Rican: ytterbium: My grandpa had a castor plant in his garden and I will never forget what it looked like. I was maybe four years-old when he stood with me in front of it and clearly explained that one bean would kill me.

Eventually my grandma forced him to remove it- its presence really bothered her, for good reason.

interesting. do you know what made your grandfather plant it in his garden?

He just liked the way it looked, according to my mom.

I might just take a peek at the county death records during his practice years JIC.

/he was very much-beloved country doctor in the community, a truly great man

It's apparently a good vole repellent.

In south america they make bracelets from dried castor beans but a problem is kids nomming on the bracelets and getting sick.




Lead paint sure was tasty. Nom Nom Nom.
 
2013-04-18 12:37:22 PM  

shortymac: In south america they make bracelets from dried castor beans but a problem is kids nomming on the bracelets and getting sick.


I hear in North America they end a lot of phrases with eh, it's really common.
 
2013-04-18 12:44:13 PM  
Yeah, I have castor plants in my garden, so it being in the news is a little problematic for me.

It really is just an awesomely cool looking plant, and the beans are a great way to get rid of unwanted pests (voles and gophers will eat them right up, and one bean is more than fatal for them).

Its also fairly difficult to poison a human with the beans directly, because from what I'm told (never been dumb enough to try it myself) the beans actually taste pretty bad.
 
2013-04-18 03:27:36 PM  
Ricin makes smoother potatoes than mashin.
 
2013-04-18 03:49:07 PM  
Does it taste better than Rice-a-Roni? I mean, that's not saying much, but still...
 
2013-04-18 04:01:59 PM  

MrEricSir: Does it taste better than Rice-a-Roni? I mean, that's not saying much, but still...


it's like cocaine, it's a powder
except you can feel the effects just by LOOKING at it

and the effects are NOT pretty (this is a Schedule 1 controlled subtance)
 
2013-04-18 05:24:08 PM  
www.synthstuff.com
 
2013-04-18 07:38:32 PM  
Didn't Walter White extract it from the aluminum powder in an etch a sketch?
 
2013-04-18 07:45:58 PM  

Jon iz teh kewl: this is a Schedule 1 controlled subtance


Despite my earlier post, I find it hard to believe that this is as dangerous as the demon-weed marihuana!

...aaand by typing that I have successfully depressed myself.
 
2013-04-18 11:07:22 PM  

Jill Came Down With Two-Fifty: Didn't Walter White extract it from the aluminum powder in an etch a sketch?


No, he used that to make thermite.
 
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