Right Thinking From The Left Coast
You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life - Albert Camus

Ricin-A-Roni
by Lee

Oh man, this doesn’t sound good.

Two female students from Moore-Hill dormitory were still being treated late Friday for Ricin exposure after coming into contact with the toxin Thursday afternoon, law enforcement and UT officials said.

Students began evacuating the dorm shortly after 11 p.m. when University Residence Hall resident assistants began knocking door-to-door evacuating residents.

According to authorities, no other students are exhibiting symptoms of exposure to Ricin, a protein-inhibitor that can lead to death or serious injury, which has been used as a biological warfare agent. Authorities would not release the names of the girls involved.

“There is no threat coming from this,” said Theresa Spalding, associate director of Student Health Services. “The authorities do not believe there is any type of terroristic plot against the University of Texas.”

Moore-Hill dormitory is now a crime scene and a criminal investigation is under way, said Dr. Adolfo Valadez, medical director of the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department.

The toxin was first discovered around 2:30 p.m. Thursday when one of the students who received treatment discovered a white powder after opening a roll of quarters from a non-local bank to do laundry on the first floor, Spalding said. The quarters had been in her dorm room on the second floor for several months, Spalding said. The powder fell out on the student’s hands, which she washed immediately before reporting the incident to the UT Police Department, Spalding said.

Ricin is bad, bad stuff.

Posted by Lee on 02/25/06 at 11:22 AM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by on 02/25/06 at 01:31 PM from United States

I thought virtually any exposure (where it got inside you) was essentially fatal.

Anyone know the specifics?

Posted by Drumwaster on 02/25/06 at 01:37 PM from United States

Ricin can be extracted from castor beans and is known to have an average lethal dose in humans of 0.2 milligrams (1/5,000th of a gram), though some sources give higher figures. It is considered to be twice as deadly as cobra venom.

(From Wikipedia)

Posted by on 02/25/06 at 02:52 PM from United States

As I understand it, you can’t “accidentally” make Ricin either - you have to deliberately set out to produce it.

Therefore, regardless if the university was the target, terrorism is certainly involved.

Posted by on 02/25/06 at 03:04 PM from United States

Don’t banks typically pack the coin rolls themselves? If she got them directly from the bank, this is weird. This sounds like a job for Jack Baur. It is surprising how ineffective those anthrax attacks were after 9/11. With the stuff not being contagious, I guess you have to make a ton of the stuff to have any effect.

a roll of quarters from a non-local bank to do laundry ... The quarters had been in her dorm room on the second floor for several months,

Posted by on 02/25/06 at 03:07 PM from United States

Spidey sense is twitching for me over the concept of a college student having a roll of quarters for several months.$10 sitting in a drawer would have been long gone in my day.

Posted by on 02/25/06 at 04:23 PM from Canada

Because ricin is a protein one can always make antibodies to it (like they do for snake venom).  However I am not sure that anyone has made them in sufficient quantities for an outbreak of cases.  Thankfully, like snake venom, ricin actually has to get into your blood stream for it to kill you.  Exposure to the skin, or ingestion of ricin is likely not toxic.  I agree with mbruce its too easy to get castor beans and make a powder that may contain small quantities of ricin.  Banks don’t roll their own they have machines that do it for them.  So the question is how the ricin get in the roll of coins.  The coins must have been rolled by hand (arguing against a bank doing it) or someone is lying.

Posted by on 02/25/06 at 04:44 PM from Canada

This is off topic but does this change anybody mind on the port deal.
“Port facility operators have a major security responsibility, and one that could be exploited by terrorists if they infiltrate the company, said Joe Muldoon III. Muldoon is an attorney representing Eller & Co., a port facility operator in Florida partnered with M&O;in Miami. Eller opposes the Dubai takeover for security reasons.

“The Coast Guard oversees security, and they have the authority to inspect containers if they want and they can look at manifests, but they are really dependent on facility operators to carry out security issues,” Muldoon said.

The Marine Transportation Security Act of 2002 requires vessels and port facilities to conduct vulnerability assessments and develop security plans including passenger, vehicle and baggage screening procedures; security patrols; establishing restricted areas; personnel identification procedures; access control measures; and/or installation of surveillance equipment.

Under the same law, port facility operators may have access to Coast Guard security incident response plans—that is, they would know how the Coast Guard plans to counter and respond to terrorist attacks.

“The concern is that the UAE may be our friend now ... but who’s to say that couldn’t change, or they couldn’t be infiltrated. Iran was our big buddy,” said Muldoon.
.......
“All a terrorist organization needs to do is find a single weak link within a ‘trusted’ shipper’s complex supply chain, such as a poorly paid truck driver taking a container from a remote factory to a port. They can then gain access to the container in one of the half-dozen ways well known to experienced smugglers,” CFR wrote.”

UAE terminal takeover extends to 21 ports
Muldoon does have a vested interest but should we ignore his comments.

Posted by on 02/25/06 at 04:56 PM from United States

madmickey, UAE is also a nation/state that has a fixed location and can be turned into a sheet of glass/East Texas in about 20 minutes.  I think that we are safer with a company out of UAE controlling the ports rather than one out of England.  With England, we won’t blow them to hell if something, with UAE we will—and they know it.

Posted by on 02/25/06 at 04:57 PM from United States

..if something happens… (preview is my friend, and I, her bitch)

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 02/25/06 at 05:08 PM from United States

Speaking of OT, Darren McGavin has died. Him and Don Knotts-this really sucks.

Posted by on 02/25/06 at 05:13 PM from Canada

madmickey, UAE is also a nation/state that has a fixed location and can be turned into a sheet of glass/East Texas in about 20 minutes.  I think that we are safer with a company out of UAE controlling the ports rather than one out of England.  With England, we won’t blow them to hell if something, with UAE we will—and they know it.

I doubt it, did we nuke Afganhistan. The UAE would say it ws just one employee and we do not want to mess up the world oil supply.

“Homeland Security Objected to Ports Deal
By TED BRIDIS
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP)—The Homeland Security Department objected at first to a United Arab Emirates company’s taking over significant operations at six U.S. ports. It was the lone protest among members of the government committee that eventually approved the deal without dissent.”

Throw things at my head

Posted by on 02/25/06 at 05:30 PM from Canada

correction for above
The UAE would say it was just one employee.

By the way in Saudi which is exempted from Sherman anti-trust law for being in Opec has opened a investment fund for Saudi citizens only even though it invests heavily in USA.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 02/25/06 at 07:09 PM from United States

Being here in Austin (Ok, in New Braunfels, but I work at UT), I’ve been keeping up with this.  They think this was not ricin that the initial tests were wrong.

Posted by mikeguas on 02/25/06 at 11:20 PM from United States

Looks like it might not be Ricin after all.

Link

Posted by on 02/26/06 at 04:58 AM from United States

I doubt it, did we nuke Afganhistan.

No, but I hear that they are under new management.

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