Ricin inside

It isn’t such a great time to be a guest at a slightly-off-the-strip hotel in Vegas right now, is it?

A substance found at a motel may be the deadly toxin ricin, but authorities said Friday they don’t believe it was intended for a terrorist attack. Lab tests on the substance were pending and seven people were taken to hospitals as a precaution.

“This event does not appear to be terrorism related,” FBI spokesman Richard Kolko in Washington said Friday morning. Kolko said the FBI was assisting local police in the investigation.

That aside, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security are still involved in investigating the find.  But really, that makes sense for this oddity – I just find it humorous that it’s already being said that authorities don’t believe it is related to terrorism, but the DHS is involved in investigating it.

And if you aren’t familiar with just why a box of ricin is a big deal:

Ricin is made from the waste left over from processing castor beans, and can be extremely lethal. As little as 500 micrograms, or about the size of the head of a pin, can kill a human, according to the CDC.

Nasty stuff.  Quick, deadly in small quantities, and I’m guessing easy to keep out of sight.

[tags]Ricin, Las Vegas, FBI, DHS[/tags]

How cigarette smoke causes cancer

That title might need a question mark following it, as I’m not absolutely convinced that this is definitive, but recent research appears to point to hydrogen peroxide as the source of cancer from cigarette smoke.

In the research study, Goldkorn and colleagues describe how they exposed different sets of human lung airway cells (in the laboratory) to cigarette smoke and hydrogen peroxide. After exposure, these cells were then incubated for one to two days. Then they, along with unexposed airway cells, were assessed for signs of cancer development. The cells exposed to cigarettes smoke and the cells exposed to hydrogen peroxide showed the same molecular signatures of cancer development, while the unexposed cells did not.

I wonder what implications this has for folks who use that same stuff to bleach their hair? How much trouble does the evaporating liquid cause to those exposed to it briefly and infrequently?

And a bonus quote for those that believe in the Bill of Rights:

“Guns kill, bombs kill and cigarettes kill,” said Gerald Weissmann, MD, Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “While biologists can’t do much about the first two, studies like this will help in the fight against tobacco-related death and disease.

Sounds like a gun-control advocate to me, no? (via QJ Science)

[tags]Cigarettes, smoking, cancer, hydrogen peroxide, FASEB, science, It works bitches, QJ, Gun control, Bill of rights[/tags]

The “Duh!” news of the week

A recent study shows that men are more likely to get addicted to games than women. I think this is a surprise to substantially less than 100 people in the world.

The study looked at how the brains of 22 young gamers – half of them male, half female – reacted when playing a simple video ball game. The researchers found that men’s brains had a higher activity in the mesocorticolimbic system.

. . .

Acquiring as much territory in a computer game environment is more rewarding for men than for women, the study showed. Reiss wasn’t surprised: “I think it’s fair to say that males tend to be more intrinsically territorial. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who historically are the conquerors and tyrants of our species – they’re the males.”

Might explain the jealous boyfriend thing, too, I’m guessing.

[tags]Games, Territorial, Gaming addiction[/tags]

How to solve Indiana Jones on the Atari 2600

My brother just sent me a link to a SharkBait article which references an old VHS video series from Vestron Video in 1982 that tells you how to beat a variety of Atari 2600 games.  The article has this Raiders of the Lost Ark game guide, and since I remember so well playing the game, I thought I’d put it here so I can always remember how great it was (well, always meaning until YouTube removes the video or shuts down).

If you click on that video and go to the YouTube patch, you’ll find links to other video guides, plus a number of other Atari 2600 game-related videos.  Oddly, when I look there is a link to a “worst games on the 2600” video, which suggests Raiders of the Lost Ark is one of the worst games on the Atari 2600.  The video below that is the video guide for the game Superman, which actually is on my list of worst Atari 2600 games ever.

If you’d like to know more about the Raiders game shown in the video, I highly recommend Atari Age as the source for pretty much all 2600 and other Atari console information.  Click on the little Pac-Man looking icon in the top right corner of the screen to get the ROM, and then get the open source emulator Stella for running it.

[tags]Atari, 2600, Atari 2600, Emulator, Game, Gaming, Console, Raiders of the Lost Ark, YouTube, Vestron[/tags]

CryENGINE2 vs. reality

See how powerful the CryENGINE2 is, assuming you have a sufficiently powerful machine to drive this.

[gametrailers 31022]

Not as good as looking out real-world locations, but extremely impressive for a game engine.  Most of the engine driven stuff is flatter or duller than the real-world video, but I’m still looking forward to being able to run something with CryENGINE2 when I make my next system upgrade.  (via Joystiq)