Archive for November, 2010

A Mystery In The Trash…
November 15, 2010

While I was working on my story regarding “lost” NASA equipment, Robert Pearlman told me about a mystery he’s even having trouble solving. If you didn’t see the report, Pearlman operates the website, www.collectSPACE.com. One of Pearlman’s passions in life is authenticating pieces of space history. So when he told me this piece of hardware was found in the trash at NASA I naturally wanted to know what it is. But even Pearlman’s considerable knowledge, expertise and contacts have been stumped for an answer. Can you help solve the mystery? Watch the video and if you know what this is, shoot Pearlman an email at contact@collectSPACE.com.

Don’t use my name….
November 10, 2010

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Interior finally caught up to what we reported in June. The OIG determined the report used to justify the deepwater drilling moratorium was “edited” to make it appear like several nationally recognized experts agreed with the ban. The OIG stated no federal laws were broken since Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar apologized for making it appear as if these experts agreed with the White House’s recommendation. However, I’ve talked to several people who say the damage has already been done. Here’s a link to my original story from June…http://www.click2houston.com/news/23833753/detail.html

Fearsome Flora
November 1, 2010

 This was passed along to me by my mom. Just found it interesting, especially if you have pets. Let me know if you come across other deadly, but common flowers.

Seven most beautiful, but deadly flowers in the world.

Beautiful as they may be, some flowers are much more than they appear to be.  Believe it or not, these seemingly harmless plants can really ruin your vacation.  To help you know what flowers to stay away from on your trips, we’ve come up with a list of the world’s most attractive but dangerous flowers:

7. Daphne

daphne

Also known as lady laurel or paradise plant, Daphne is a 1-1.5 meters tall shrub, usually grown for its scented flowers.  All parts of the plant are poisonous, but the greatest concentrations are in the sap and berries.

daphne2

Daphne contains mezerine and daphnin, two powerful toxins that cause stomach aches, headaches, diarrhea, delirium and convulsions.  If Daphne berries are consumed, the victim might fall into a coma and even die.

6. Lily of the Valley

lily-of-the-valley

Just like the Daphne, Lily of the Valley may look beautiful and harmless, but it is entirely poisonous.  Eating one or two of the plant’s bell-shaped flowers won’t hurt you very much, especially if you’re an adult.

lily-of-the-valley2

Eaten in large quantities, Lily of the Valley causes pain in the mouth, nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhea.  People with heart conditions should be most careful since the toxins cause the heartbeats to slow down or become irregular.

5. Belladonna

deadly-nightshade

Known as one of the most poisonous plants in the Western hemisphere, Belladonna contains potentially lethal tropane alkaloids.  The entire plant is harmful, but its good-looking berries pose the most danger, especially to kids.

deadly-nightshade2

The symptoms of Belladona, or Deadly Nightshade poisoning are dilated pupils, blurred vision, headaches, hallucinations, delirium and convulsions.  Atropine, the toxin contained by Belladona, can kill a person by disrupting the nervous system’s ability to regulate breathing, sweating and heart rate.

4. Angel’s Trumpet

angel-trumpet

Despite its name, there’s something very evil about this plant.  The toxins it contains can be fatal to humans and a number of animals.  Known as a powerful hallucinogen, Angel’s Trumpet should not be used for recreational purposes, since the risk of an overdose is very high.

angel-trumpet2

Angel’s Trumpet plants contain a variable amount of tropane alkaloids, like atropine and scopolamine, and it is used in shamanic rituals by indigenous tribes in western Amazonia.

3. Rhododendron

rhododendron

This popular evergreen shrub, featuring large, beautiful blooms, has been known for its toxicity since ancient times.  Xenophon recorded the odd behavior of a group of Greek soldiers who had eaten honey from rhododendron flowers.

rhododendron2

Rhododendron contains andromedatoxin which causes nausea, severe pains, paralysis and even death.  Azaleas, members of the same plant-family as rhododendron, are also poisonous.

2. Oleander

oleander

Oleander is known as one of the most poisonous plants on Earth, often used in suicidal cases around southern India.  The numerous toxic compounds contained in the entire Oleander plant, including oleandrin and neriine, affect the nervous, digestive and cardiovascular systems, all at the same time.

oleander2

Oleander poisoning leads to drowsiness, tremors, seizures, coma and even death.  The plant’s sap causes skin irritation and severe eye inflammation.

1. Autumn crocus

autumn-crocus

One of the most endangered plants in the world, Autumn crocus is also probably the most poisonous.  It contains colchicine, a deadly drug used effectively in the treatment for gout.  Unlike other toxins found in the flowers above, colchicine, an arsenic-like poison has no antidote.

autumn-crocus2

Autumn crocus poisoning leads to reduced blood pressure and cardiac arrest.