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Pontifications on Poison

Being some ramblings on events associated with poisonous plants.

August 2013

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Tuesday 27th August 2013

I decided I should try and get fitter and lose some weight but, knowing me, I knew there was no point going all out on some extreme fitness regime or diet so I resolved to begin by walking a lot more. It has taken me a couple of years to get into this state so I shan’t worry if it takes me a year or so to get out of it.

I also decided that I should combine walks where the aim was to cover the distance as fast as possible with others where I was just interested in seeing what was around me. Yesterday, I drove to Greenlaw and out along a quiet road that runs through farmland and managed woodlands before walking about for an hour seeing what I could spot under the trees...more

Sunday 25th August 2013

I feel quite a strong pull to suggesting you don’t waste your time reading what follows. I wondered if I should waste my time writing it but concluded that I needed to get my thoughts down on paper.

Last night BBC2 broadcast ‘America's Stoned Kids’. Until the end of August you can watch it on the iPlayer and after that text information and a short clip will still be available. The programme was billed as clinical psychologist and addiction expert Professor John Marsden looking at the likely impact of Cannabis sativa, marijuana, legalisation on teenage use in Colorado..more

Monday 19th August 2013

Back in June, the BBC reported that a European Society of Cardiology meeting had been told about a case where a father and son, in Turkey, suffered heart-related symptoms after eating honey from the Black Sea region. It was determined that their symptoms were the result of eating honey contaminated with grayanotoxin from Rhododendron ponticum.

One of the first topics I wrote about, over two years ago, was the general subject of why pollinators don’t get poisoned and whether honey can be toxic. I also considered the subject of Rhododendron based honey when I wrote about the new page I added to the A to Z section of the site...more

Friday 16th August 2013

There’s been a lot written and said, recently, about a decline in the prevalence of drug use. The headline from the latest Crime Survey England & Wales (CSEW) was about reduced use, though, as I’ve pointed out,  the CSEW figures are extremely unreliable. More recently, information from the USA has been about reduced production and consumption of cocaine.

The numbers behind those claims also need to be viewed with a deal of suspicion because, as the chart on this page shows,  the numbers can be changed from one report to the next with no explanation...more

Tuesday 13th August 2013
1 in 25 Americans was NOT arrested in 2011.

1 in 25 Americans was NOT arrested in 2011.

That’s the point I want to make with this piece so I thought I’d make it immediately in case you don’t want to read why I felt the need to say that and why I think it matters...more

Friday 9th August 2013

Even though today is overcast, the weather has been good enough over the past month or so for this to be remembered as a great summer. It is not just the weather on any particular day that tells you what the year has been like. The effect on the plants, especially the annuals, is a very clear indicator.

I was in Kelso, yesterday, and the Ricinus communis, castor oil plant, used as centrepieces in the municipal flowers beds are flourishing. Here’s a selection of pictures of them starting from general views working in to close-ups of the fruit...more

Friday 2nd August 2013

I’m always quick to say that anecdote is not evidence but, when people assert that something is a universal truth, anecdotes showing this to be false have some value.

It’s that time of year when people state, with certainty and ever increasing venom when challenged, that Jacobaea vulgaris (syn. Senecio jacobaea), common ragwort, is increasing in prevalence and its seeds spread freely..more

Thursday 1st August 2013

1st August is a bit early to be thinking about autumn but, though there is really no direct correlation between the two, the formation of berries always seems to be a sign of autumn.

While not yet ripe, both my Atropa belladonna, deadly nightshade, and Solanum dulcamara, woody nightshade, have green berries starting to appear as these two pictures show...more

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