Friday, October 21, 2011

How does it taste?

Hello lovely people.
Having fun this friday night?
I started reading up about something interesting awhile ago.
The taste of cyanide.

cyanide is a chemical compound that contains the cyano group, -C≡N, which consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom. Cyanides most commonly refer to salts of the anion CN. Most cyanides are highly toxic.

Cyanides are used in many ways.

Cyanide is mainly produced for the mining of gold and silver: It helps dissolve these metals and their ores. In the cyanide process, finely ground high-grade ore is mixed with the cyanide (concentration of about two kilogram NaCN per tonne); low-grade ores are stacked into heaps and sprayed with a cyanide solution.

Cyanides are illegally used to capture live fish near coral reefs for the aquarium and seafood markets. The practice is controversial, dangerous, and damaging but is driven by the lucrative exotic fish market.
The cyanide compound sodium nitroprusside is used mainly in clinical chemistry to measure urine ketone bodies mainly as a follow-up to diabetic patients. On occasion, it is used in emergency medical situations to produce a rapid decrease in blood pressure in humans; it is also used as a vasodilator in vascular research. The cobalt in artificial vitamin B12 contains a cyanide ligand as an artifact of the purification process; this must be removed by the body before the vitamin molecule can be activated for biochemical use. During World War I, a copper cyanide compound was briefly used by Japanese physicians for the treatment of tuberculosis and leprosy
Pest control,
Cyanide is for pest control in New Zealand particularly for possums, an introduced mammal that threatens the conservation of native species and spreads Tb amongst cattle. Possums can become bait shy but the use of pellets containing the cyanide reduces bait shyness. Cyanide has been known to kill native birds, including the endangered kiwi.Cyanide is also effective for controlling the Dama Wallaby, another introduced animal pest in New Zealand. A licence is required to store, handle and use cyanide in New Zealand.
  • In February 1937, the Uruguayan short story writer Horacio Quiroga committed suicide drinking cyanide in a hospital at Buenos Aires.
  • In 1937, the famous polymer chemist, Wallace Carothers, committed suicide by cyanide.
  • Cyanide, in the form of pure liquid prussic acid (a historical name for hydrogen cyanide), was a favored suicide agent of the Third Reich. It was used to commit suicide by Erwin Rommel (1944), after being accused of conspiring against Hitler; Adolf Hitler's wife, Eva Braun (1945); and by Nazi leaders Joseph Goebbels (1945), Heinrich Himmler (1945), possibly Martin Bormann (1945), and Hermann Göring (1946). Adolf Hitler himself bit a cyanide capsule while simultaneously firing his pistol into his right temple. (1945).
  • It is speculated that, in 1954, Alan Turing used an apple that had been injected with a solution of cyanide to commit suicide after being convicted of having a homosexual relationship—illegal at the time in the UK—and forced to undergo hormone treatment.
  • Jonestown, Guyana was the site of a large mass suicide/murder, in which over 900 members of the Peoples Temple drank potassium cyanide-laced Flavor Aid in 1978.
  • Members of the Sri Lankan LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, whose insurgency lasted from 1983 to 2009), used to wear cyanide vials in their necks with the intention of committing suicide if captured by the government forces.
Most significantly, hydrogen cyanide released from pellets of Zyklon-B was used extensively in the systematic mass murders of the Holocaust, especially in extermination camps. Poisoning by hydrogen cyanide gas within a gas chamber (as a salt of hydrocyanic acid is dropped into a strong acid, usually sulfuric acid) is one method of executing a condemned prisoner as the condemned prisoner eventually breathes the lethal fumes.

Cyanides are so toxic that a small dosage will cause immediate death thus making it impossible to find out the taste. That is until 2006.

An Indian man who committed suicide left a hastily scrawled note describing the taste of the fatal toxin, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported on Saturday.
"Doctors, potassium cyanide. I have tasted it. It burns the tongue and tastes acrid," he wrote, according to the paper.

That is very cool yet very sad.
At least now we know.
Well, that brings us to the end of this post.
Till next time,
have a good one all you derp and derpinas.

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