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Posts tagged with "Chem/Bio Warfare"

  • Business and Markets

    On Lies, and Liars

    ]\Today’s topic is “lies”. We will start with the cases of Elizabeth Holmes and Ramesh (“Sunny”) Balwani, of Theranos. As the world knows, Theranos was not what it was represented to be – John Carreyrou of the Wall Street Journal and his extraordinary demolition job on them showed that beyond doubt. But remember… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    A Poisoning in England: But Which Poison?

    Chemistry doesn’t make the news as often as you might think, and when it does, it’s often in a grim way. Such is the case in the UK right now, with the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury. For those who don’t know the background of the situation, Skripal was an officer in… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Sarin. Again.

    I wrote in the early days of this blog about chemical warfare, including a two-part post on nerve agents specifically, here and here. The recent use of Sarin in Syria prompts me to link to those again, and I very much wish the topic were not of interest. I realize that war is a horrible… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Chemical Warfare in Syria?

    It’s a grim topic, but I see that there are worries that the Syrian government, or what’s left of it, is being warned not to use its stockpiles of chemical weapons. Back in the early days of the blog, I did a series on the chemistry of these things, and they can be found by… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    The Litvinenko Case: More On Polonium and Alpha Particles

    So, what actually happens, down at the molecular and cellular level, when a person is exposed to alpha radiation? If it’s coming from outside the body, not all that much. The outer layer of dead skin cells is enough to soak up most of the damage, and it’s not like alpha particles can make it… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Evil Thoughts of Evil Things

    There was a comment on the “Airplanes and Chemicals” post that brought up something I’ve been meaning to address. Says Steve, after describing an old TV show that gave rather too detailed a picture of nitroglycerin synthesis: While I am first in line to defend freedom of speech and would balk at anyone trying to… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    A Fire, And Its Flames

    The Washington Post ran an article the other day on a home-grown ricin lab in Paris. It’s disturbing reading, and it just goes to show how easy the stuff is to make. (I discussed ricin most recently here.) Mind you, we don’t know how good Menand Benchellali’s ricin was, or what his batch-to-batch quality control… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Osmium Tetroxide, Of All Things

    This morning brings the news, via ABC, that the recently discovered bomb plot in London involved a quantity of osmium tetroxide. That’s a surprise. I know the reagent well, but it’s not what anyone would call a common chemical, despite the news story above that calls it “easily obtained.” It’s quite odd that someone co… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Ricin Redux

    Now that the suspected ricin in the Senate (and White House?) has been confirmed, I thought I’d repost a version of something I wrote about a year ago on my previous site, Lagniappe. (This was written after British authorities had rounded up several suspects in London who had some ricin of their own.) So what… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    More Ricin

    I’ve had some interesting e-mail on the subject, which I thought I’d address here for the curious. One person mentioned the possibility of ricin dissolved in DMSO. I have to say that that’s a nasty thought, because DMSO certainly does increase skin permeability. But I don’t know how soluble a large peptide like this would… Read More
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