Saturday, October 31, 2009

The 33 Most Deadly Substances On Earth

1. Amanitas – Destroying Angel

Location: Europe and in the United States.

In Europe, the blossoms vary in color from pale-green or yellow-olive and along both the east and west coasts in the United States. However, they range from white to light brown in the rest of the United States.

Amanitin can be detected in the blood almost immediately. The first physical symptoms are usually nausea, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. After an early feeling of slight discomfort, there is a sudden onset of extreme stomach pain, violent vomiting, intense thirst, and cyanosis of the extremities. Jaundice of the eyes and skin can also occur if the liver is badly affected. The patient remains conscious almost to the end, with only brief intervals of unconsciousness occurring between long lucid periods before lapsing into a coma followed by death.

Antidotes and Treatments: There are no known antidotes for Amanita poisoning; however, victims have survived after receiving liver transplants.
2. Pufferfish

Toxicity Level: There is a fifty percent mortality rate among pufferfish victims.

Location: The pufferfish is commonly found in warm or temperate regions around the world including the west coast of Central America, throughout the Indo-Pacific, around Japan, and from Australia to South Africa.

There are over ninety species of puffer-fish all belonging to the family Tetraodontidae. When disturbed, the fish inflates itself and becomes globular in form. The poison, tetraodontoxin, is found in the ovaries of the pufferfish and is not destroyed by cooking. However, the pufferfish is usually harmless if the entrails completely are removed and the if cavity is washed thoroughly prior to cooking.

Effects and Symptoms: Difficulty talking, and rapid onset of paralysis of the respiratory system, followed by paralysis of the central nervous system. The cause of death is most often convulsions or respiratory arrest, which occur within one to two hours of ingesting the poison.

Case Study: This toxin was used in the movie The Serpent and the Rainbow to slow the respiration of the victim so that it appeared as if he was dead. After a quick burial, the victim was exhumed and continued to be fed the drug at a lesser dose so that while his body functioned, his mind did not. As a result, he became a zombie or "the living dead."
3. Castor Bean

Toxicity Level: Even two beans, well chewed, can be fatal.

Location: The castor-oil plant was found exclusively in Africa and India for both ornamental and commercial use. It is now found in North America and most tropical regions. It is most often grown for ornamental purposes.

Effects and Symptoms: Burning in mouth, nausea, vomiting, cramps, drowsiness, cyanosis, stupor, circulatory collapse, blood in urine, convulsions, coma, and death; the toxic agent causes hemolysis (breaking up) of red blood cells even at extreme dilution, severe hemorrhaging results. The castor bean can also induce labor in pregnant women. Autopsies of patients who died from castor bean poisoning show that vomit and stool samples contain blood.
4. Belladonna Atwpa belladonna

Also known as English nightshade, black nightshade, nightshade, banewort, deadly nightshade, dwale, sleeping nightshade, belladonna lily, Barbados lily, cape belladonna, lirio, naked lady lily, and azuncena de Mejico (found near the U.S.-Mexican border).

In Italian, the word belladonna means "beautiful woman." During the Renaissance period, women applied an extract of the belladonna plant to their eyes to dilate their pupils and give a wide-eyed, beautiful appearance.

All parts of this plant are deadly, especially its roots, leaves, and berries. They work by paralyzing the parasympathetic nervous system, blocking the nerve endings. While this is a highly toxic plant, it also has its benefits. The medical alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, hyoscyamine, hyoscine, and belladonna also come from this plant. Atropine and various synthetic substances also stimulate the central nervous system. Atropine is eliminated almost entirely by the kidneys, which must be working normally in order to process the drug.
5. Adder Venom

Location: South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Benin and Niger in the western part of the continent and portions of east Africa as well.

Often an adder bite goes unnoticed or is confused with an insect sting until the ensuing pain gets the victim’s attention. Unfortunately, at that point, administering anti-venom may be too late. Adder venom attacks the blood and nervous system. The venom of an adder bite is less toxic than that of a puff-adder, but it is far more toxic when injected intravenously. .

Effects and Symptoms: Victims of viper bites exhibit the same symptoms as victims of cobra bites. In addition to bleeding from the gums, chills and fever, severe poisoning is indicated by swelling or haemorrhaging above the elbows or knees. These symptoms normally appear within two hours of the bite. Following a bite on the hand, the entire arm will become swollen within a half hour and skin will become purple. The victim will perspire heavily, vomit blood, and collapse within an hour. The nose and eyes bleed and loss of vision occurs, with subsequent loss of consciousness. Death, caused by cardio-respiratory arrest is inevitable if the anti-venom is not administered quickly.
6. Barbados Nut

Location: The Barbados nut is a highly poisonous plant. Although it is most commonly found in Mexico, Central and South America, Asia, and Africa, it has made its way tropical areas of the United States such as South Florida and Hawaii.

The threat of ivy like plant lies in the deceptively pleasant taste of the seeds. They are so delectable that anyone who tastes one will instinctively eat more of them. However, the delicious taste is highly deceptive because these tasty morsels pack a powerful punch. Each seed is made up of at least 55 percent "Hell oil," which is far more potent than castor oil. The poison inhibits protein synthesis in intestinal wall cells and can result in death.

Case Studies: Barbados nut poisonings of children living in the tropical areas where the plant is found are frequent. Unfortunately, because children’s systems are so sensitive, many cases in children have fatal results.
7. Hemlock

The hemlock is native to Europe and Asia, that has found a home in the United States. It is a common sight in unattended, pristine locales around farm buildings, especially in the states along the eastern and western seaboards.

Effects and Symptoms: The first symptom is a gradual weakening of muscle power over the entire body, followed by a rapid and weakened pulse. There is also a significant amount of muscle pain as they atrophy, deteriorate and eventually die. Although the mind remains clear, the eyesight is often diminished or lost, until death occurs as a result of a paralysis of the lungs. The hemlock is often confused with the water hemlock a different plant altogether, causes convulsions.

Case Study: Plato wrote that Socrates drank a cup of hemlock cup and walked about until his legs felt heavy. After a while, he lay down and simply allowed the drug to take hold of him. Plato reported that it numbed and eventually paralyzed his entire body, creeping up from his lower extremities until it reached his heart and killed him.

8. Cobra Venom

Cobras are vipers that expand their neck ribs to form a hood. The king cobra or hamadryad (Ophiophagus hannah or Naja hannah) is the world’s largest venomous snake. King cobras have been known to grow up to eighteen feet long. However, the average cobra grows to a length of a little more twelve feet. The king cobra’s bite is lethal about ten percent of the time.

Effects and Symptoms: Symptoms start fifteen to thirty minutes after the bite, and are characterized by pain within ten minutes of the bite with slow onset of swelling around the location of the bite. In addition, the victim’s blood pressure will fall. Convulsions are another effect that may appear as well. Lung paralysis can occur up to ten days after a bite by an elapid (member of the cobra family). Death usually comes about by means of respiratory failure.

Case Study: One person who was bitten by a cobra said, "I was sinking into a state that could not be called unconsciousness, but one in which I was no longer aware of what was going on about me … I felt no anxiety; I felt no pain; it didn’t even strike me as strange that the darkness was closing in on the light… I am certain I did not lose consciousness entirely at any time; I only felt a complete and utter lassitude in which nothing seemed to matter —not at all unpleasant if this is the way death comes from cobra poisoning."
9. Jimsonweed

Location: Jimson weed is usually found in warm climates. While it is not native to Britain, it can now be found growing in the gardens of southern England.

Jimsonweed was originally called Jamestown weed because the soldiers sent to quell "Bacon’s Rebellion" in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1666 ate the berries when food ran out and mass poisoning resulted. Another man was poisoned after he drank an herbal tea brewed from the leaves of this plant.

The funnel-shaped flowers of the jimsonweed plant are white or purple. The entire plant has an unpleasant odor, and the fruit, which appears in autumn, is prickly, ovoid or globular, and contains numerous wrinkled black seeds.

Effects and Symptoms: People who ingest parts of the jimsonweed plant will experience headache, vertigo, extreme thirst, dry burning sensation of skin, dilated pupils, blurred vision, loss of sight, involuntary motion, mania, delirium, drowsiness, weak pulse, convulsions, and coma. These symptoms, if left not treated properly can result in the death of the patient.
10. Lily of the Valley

Location: The lily of the valley is found in western North America, mainly in the northern Rocky Mountain States along the Pacific Coast, in the Midwest, and in Canada. This spring-flowering plant is also native to Britain, especially in the eastern parts.

The white bell-shaped flowers of the lily of the valley are well known, however, the plant occasionally bears orange-red, fleshy berries, which are lesser known to the general public.

Effects and Symptoms: Symptoms of ingesting the berries produced by the lily of the valley include hot flushes, tense irritability, headache, hallucinations, red skin patches, cold clammy skin, dilated pupils, vomiting, stomach pains, nausea, excess salivation, slow heartbeat, sometimes leading to coma and death from heart failure.
11. Monkshood

Monkshood is found throughout the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. Western monkshood is found at higher altitudes in the northern Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coast states.

Effects and Symptoms: The poison contained in monkshood can enter into the system through ingestion by mouth or absorbed through the skin. The first signs of monkshood poisoning appear almost immediately. They include burning and tingling; numbness of the tongue, throat, and face; followed by nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, prickly skin, paralysis of the respiratory system, gradual loss of vision, low blood pressure, slow and weak pulse, chest pain, giddiness, sweating, and convulsions. As the poison gradually spreads, the body temperature will gradually drop, producing a pronounced feeling of cold. The patient will feel as if there is ice water flowing through their veins. At the end, severe pain occurs, associated with the paralysis of facial muscles. Breathing is at first rapid, then slow, and finally there is respiratory arrest. Slow paralysis of the heart muscle causes death. Patients often remain conscious until the very end. Some victims complain of yellow-green vision and tinnitus. Death can occur as quickly as ten minutes after initial contact to a few hours.
12. Rhododendron

Location: The rhododendron is found just about everywhere. Rhododendron plants are evergreen shrubs often forming dense growths in Canada and in the United States. They are found in the Appalachians and West Coast. It is the state flower of two US states, West Virginia and Washington, and is quite common in Great Britain as well.

Effects and Symptoms: The victim can experience nausea, irritation, drooling, vomiting, increased tear formation, paralysis, slowing of pulse, lowering of blood pressure, diarrhea, seizure, coma, and death.

Case Studies: Children have been poisoned by sucking nectar from the blossoms or by drinking making tea made from the leaves of the rhododendron plant. The Greeks found that honey from bees that have fed on azaleas, rhododendrons, oleander, or dwarf laurel is also poisonous.
13. Tubarine

Injectable. The drug is supplied as a chloride salt in ampules that must be mixed with sterile water before injection. It is a curare alkaloid derived from the South American plant.

Effects and Symptoms: Accidental overdose causes hypertension and respiratory failure. A rather high concentration of the drug remains in the liver for a short while after death.

Case Studies: Turbarine is a poison most often used by medical personnel and those who have access to restricted hospital drugs. The use of Tubarine as a homicidal poison was suspected in a series of eastern United States hospital deaths. The victims supposedly all had heart attacks, but when an empty Tubarine vial was found in an intern’s locker, the bodies were exhumed and tested for presence of the drug. The drug was detected in decomposed tissue and the intern was arrested, tried and convicted of first degree murder.
14. Rhubarb

Effects and Symptoms: The rhubarb itself, is harmless and even healthy. However, if a the leaf is accidently cooked along with the rhubarb, the digestive irritant may cause stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, hemorrhage, weakness, difficulty breathing, burning of mouth and throat, kidney irritation, and anuria, which then leads to a drop in the calcium content of the blood and cardiac or respiratory arrest.

Case Study: A woman in the first trimester of a pregnancy aborted her fetus before dying from rhubarb poisoning herself.
15. Gila monster

Location: The Gila monster is found in the desert areas of the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The Mexican Gila monster is normally found in the dense forests of southern Mexico. The Gila monster is a tenacious biter. Quite often, the victim must be cut free from this aggressive lizard.

Effects and Symptoms: Patients who have the misfortune of being bitten by a Gila monster experience severe pain at the site of the bite. Systemic symptoms include blue-tinged skin; respiratory problems such as shallow, rapid breathing; irregular heartbeat; ringing in the ears; fainting; nausea; vertigo; and weakness. If a fatal bite is received, patients will go into respiratory arrest and die.
16. Croton oil

It is said ten drops of croton, taken internally, will have fatal results. If allowed to come into contact with the skin, croton oil causes blistering and painful skin irritation which can last up to three weeks. When taken internally, croton oil produces burning pain in the mouth and stomach, bloody diarrhea, violent purging, tachycardia, coma, and death.

Case Study: Autopsy results show blood in the stool as well as in the urine.
17. Fox Glove

Location: Although it is sometimes cultivated in gardens, foxglove is frequently found wild in north central and north-eastern United States, as well as along the Pacific Coast, and in Hawaii.

All parts of the fox glove plant are toxic. Digitalis purpurea is a heteroside. The leaves contain digitalin, digitoxin, and digitonin. Severe poisoning comes about as a result of eating the leaves —either dried or fresh — which do not lose their toxicity through cooking.

Effects and Symptoms: Headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, delirium, slow or irregular pulse, distortion of colors, and death. Death is usually caused by ventricular fibrillation, excessively increasing the force of the heart’s contractions which in turn irritates the heart and stimulates the central nervous system.
18. Codeine

Codeine is a nearly transparent, odorless substance with a fairly bitter taste that is available in either powder or liquid form.

Effects and Symptoms: Codeine is an addictive sedative and analgesic. It’s side effects include sleepiness, a floating sensation, giddiness, unsteady walking, slowing of the heart rate, respiratory difficulty, coma, and death. As with some other toxic substances, codeine has its benefits. Since this drug suppresses the body’s natural reflexes, it is often used for medicinal purposes as a cough suppressant.

When taken in excess, death from respiratory failure may occur immediately after intravenous overdose or within two to four hours after oral or subcutaneous administration. The reaction time and dosage is completely dependent upon the patient’s size, health condition, and drug tolerance.
19. Bivalve shellfish

Location: Bi-valve shellfish, such as mussels, clams, oysters, scallops, cockles, and other shellfish that naturally have two hinged shells thrive in many US marine locations such as New England, the Pacific Coast, and Alaska, as well as the Mexican and Canadian coasts. They can become poisonous during warm seasons when they feed on certain dinoflagellates, microscopic cellular beings, as Gony-aulax catenella, which carry potent nerve poisons.

Effects and Symptoms: A nitrogenous compound in the shellfish produces curarelike muscular paralysis. After ingesting infested bi-valves, numbness, tingling of lips, tongue, face, and extremities can occur; followed by nausea, vomiting and sometimes even convulsions. Symptoms can often progress to respiratory paralysis and death. The symptoms start within a half hour of ingestion. Recovery is likely if the victim survives the first twelve hours. Fatalities occur in approximately ten percent of all cases.

Government agencies sometimes issue warnings advising people not to eat particular shellfish during certain times of the year. The mortality rate of those consuming toxic shellfish is sometimes quite high, with mussels producing the highest death rate of all the bivalve shellfish.
20. Blue-Ringed Octopus

Its brown-speckled coloration is distinguished by the blue bands around its tentacles which give it its name. This small animal can be very dangerous, but it gives a warning signal in advance. When the bands around the tentacles glow blue, poison is about to be released. The blue-ringed octopus almost never bothers humans unless provoked, but since it is so small, many people think it is harmless. No more than six inches across, this venomous sea creature has a true octopus shape.

Case Study: In 1967, a young soldier held an octopus on the back of his hand for a minute or two and had no sensation of a bite. But after putting the creature down, he noticed blood on his hand. Just a few minutes later he felt a prickling sensation around his mouth, which rapidly spread over his whole body. Within just fifteen minutes, he was almost completely paralyzed and barely able to breathe. After an hour, this healthy young sailor began to vomit and soon went into convulsions. One hour after the bite, he was taken to the hospital, still breathing, fully conscious but completely paralyzed with no muscle tone and no reflexes. He couldn’t even talk. In another hour, stopped breathing and was put on a heart-lung machine. Miraculously, he eventually survived the ordeal.
21. Dimethyl sulfate

Used in the manufacture of dyes, drugs, perfumes, and pesticides, most poisonings from dimethyl sulphate come from the leakage of liquid and/or vapors. The poisoning and effects can be worsened if alcohol is present.

Immediate effects of vapor exposure include tearing; runny nose; swelling of mouth, lips, and throat tissues; sore throat; hoarseness; dyspnea; cyanosis; and death. Eye irritation causes conjunctivitis (pink eye), perforation of the nasal septum through the sinuses, much like one might see in a patient who is addicted to cocaine, and permanent vision problems. Liver and kidney damage may also occur.

23. Stonefish

The stonefish looks like an irregular lump of flesh. It has a large upturned mouth that it uses to suck in its prey. Closely related to the scorpionfish, the stonefish is sedentary, and usually hides itself partially buried in the debris of a coral reef or in mud flats. Its colors are subdued, making it possible for most stonefish to somewhat match their backgrounds. Their dorsal fins become erect at the least disturbance. If an unlucky swimmer or diver steps on the fish, there is an immediate, painfully venomous sting.

Effects and Symptoms: Marked swelling, convulsions, and intense pain may continue for hours, disabling the victim and even causing unconsciousness. Convulsions and unconsciousness, incredible pain, and paralysis of limbs can cause swimmers to drown. Death occurs when cardiac arrest takes place.
24. Hydrogen Sulphide

Hydrogen sulphide is created naturally whenever vegetable or animal matter becomes putrefied. Heavier than air, this noxious gas can be found in manure pits, sewers, and other places where it can easily reach fatal concentrations.

Effects and Symptoms: Hydrogen sulphide has reduces the body’s oxygen supply and in doing so, directly damages the cells of the nervous system and paralyzes the respiratory system. Very high concentrations of hydrogen sulphide can cause immediate coma, followed quickly by sudden death.
25. Oleander

Location: A native of Asia, the oleander plant was introduced as an ornamental shrub in southern United States. In the northern United States, it is grown as a house plant. Oleander is an evergreen summer favorite worldwide. It can grow almost anywhere, but favors temperate climates like Greece, India, Italy, the southern United States and California. In Italy, oleander is used as a funeral plant. More or less fragrant, the evergreen shrub has narrow leaves; milky sap; and white, pink, or red blossoms.

All parts of the oleander plant, including the nectar of the flower, are poisonous, as well as smoke from the burning plant and the water in which the cut flowers are placed. Using the twigs for skewered meat or for children’s whistles may result in serious poisoning. The poison contains cardiac glycosides, oldendrin, and nerioside.
26. PCP phencyclidine

PCP is most frequently found in crystal or granular form. It is also sometimes found as a white powder, liquid, tablet, or leaf mixture, and sometimes contained in a capsule. PCP can be ingested, smoked, or snorted and is occasionally injected intravenously. The powder form is usually the purest. When sold as a leaf mixture, PCP is often combined with oregano, parsley, or mint and rolled in cigarette paper.

Symptoms of PCP exposure can persist over several days, as the drug excretes itself into the stomach, and then reabsorbed through the intestines.

Users have been known to snap handcuffs and, unarmed, attack large groups of people or police. The loss of fear leads victims to try such bizarre actions as attempting to stop a train by standing in front of it, grossly mutilating themselves and others, or jumping from windows or cliffs. One woman even cooked her baby in oil when she was high on PCP.
27. Parathion

Parathion, also a nerve gas, is fatal upon contact with the skin. It is absorbed through the lungs as well. The victim of parathion poisoning dies a torturous death with tremors, muscle spasms, and convulsions.

Sarin, another relative of parathion, and a highly toxic nerve gas as well, can kill a man in fifteen minutes with only a small drop on the skin. The liquid does not injure the skin but rapidly penetrates the skin and is absorbed in the blood and organs. Sarin is also dangerous when heated and gives off toxic fumes. Reacting with water or steam, corrosive and toxic fumes result.
28. TEPP

A cholinesterase inhibitor, TEPP destroys the enzyme. After inhalation, respiratory and eye problems are the first symptoms to appear. These include eye pain, impaired vision, tearing, headache, constricted pupils, loss of depth perception, cramps, excessive sweating, chest pain, dyspnea, cyanosis, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, twitching, paralysis, loss of reflexes and sphincter control, abnormal breathing, convulsions, low blood pressure, and death.
29. Yew Trees

Yew trees are found throughout the Northern Hemisphere. The entire plant is poisonous with the exception of the red fruit. The most toxic parts of the yew tree are its wood bark, its leaves, and the seeds. The poison of the yew tree and its parts is taxine, which can cause cardio-respiratory failure if ingested.
30. Carbon Tetrachloride

Carbon tetrachloride is a colorless, nonflammable liquid with a distinctive odor that can be inhaled, absorbed through the skin, or taken internally by mouth. This industrial solvent is an extremely dangerous chemical that is used in the manufacture of fluorocarbons. It also serves as a dry-cleaning agent and is occasionally used in fire extinguishers as well. Although it has been declared unsafe for general household use, some household cleaners still contain carbon tetrachloride because it is an excellent spot remover. The chemical has a very low boiling point (76.7 degrees C), and when heated, it decomposes to form phosgene gas and hydrochloric acid.

Carbon tetrachloride attacks the central nervous system, and has an especially devastating affect on the liver and kidneys.

Effects and Symptoms: The first symptoms of carbon tetrachloride poisoning are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and disorientation, followed by unconsciousness, shallow breathing, slow or irregular pulse, and dropping blood pressure. If victims survive these symptoms, they can suffer mild nausea, anorexia, or nothing at all. Further symptoms might appear between one day and two weeks after the initial exposure and reaction.

This is when liver or kidney damage becomes obvious. Death often results from kidney failure if dialysis is not started immediately. Kidney damage, liver damage or even coma may appear one at a time or these severe symptoms can all occur at the same time.
31. Strychnine

While strychnine is not the fastest-acting poison, it is certainly one of the most horrific. The dramatic image of a victim thrashing to and fro in agony while in the final throes of strychnine poisoning may account for its popularity in literature and film.

Strychnine is a colorless, crystalline powder with a bitter taste. The substance is usually swallowed but can also be effective contact with the skin or the eyes. Strychnine may also be inhaled.
32. Cyanide

Effects and Symptoms: Cyanide action has been called "internal asphyxia" because it

interferes with the enzymes that are responsible for controlling the oxidative process, preventing the body’s red blood cells from absorbing oxygen. Swallowing or smelling a toxic dose of cyanide as a gas or a salt can cause immediate unconsciousness, convulsions, and death within one to fifteen minutes or longer. If an amount near the lethal dose is absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or swallowed the symptoms will be rapid respiration, gasping for breath, dizziness, flushing, headache, nausea, vomiting, rapid pulse, and a sudden drop in blood pressure causing fainting.

Cyanide’s infamous bitter-almond scent can be a clue and may be a telltale sign during an autopsy, but not everyone is capable of detecting it.

33. Clostridium botulinum

Botulinum toxin is produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum and is the most toxic protein known to man [one teaspoon can kill 1.2 billion people]. This toxin was first found in improperly handled meat and was called botulism as the latin for sausage was botulus. Today botox ( a very low dose of botulinum) is a common medication used in the cosmetic industry to reduce wrinkles.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Appendicitis? Human Appendix Maybe Not Useless After All

For a long time, we’ve believed that the human appendix was more or less good for nothing. Darwin postulated that the appendix was a remnant of evolution that was no longer needed. But for the first time, researchers are actually taking a close look at the appendix and its function. And they’ve come to believe that it is, after all, good for something: it may help to restock the stomach with good bacteria after an illness, like a bout of diarrhea.
Scientists and researchers from Duke University Medical Center, the University of Arizona and Arizona State University collaborated on the study, which concluded that not only is the appendix not useless – it’s also been around far longer than anyone previously thought. Rather than being a leftover from some previous configuration of the human digestive system, the study found that the appendix has evolved at least twice and is present in many other animals. When Darwin said that the appendix had no use, he simply didn’t have all of the information that we have now; otherwise he would have seen how prevalent the appendix is in the animal kingdom. Given our improved health care and sanitation standards, however, the appendix may not have a good use these days since our immune system no longer has to deal with many challenges.

War of the Words: US Army Developing “Telepathy Helmet”

What was once the worst fear of every paranoid person out there may well become reality soon enough for the US military. In 2008, the Army awarded a $4 million contract to a team of scientists from three American universities. The goal of the project is the development of helmets that will read and transmit soldiers’ thoughts to each other without the need for vocal interaction – sort of like a radio without a microphone. It may sound like science fiction, but crazily enough, it’s entirely possible. Brain-computer interaction is currently being developed to help paraplegics type, and there is even a commercially available gaming headset controlled by brain waves.
The military system would have to be significantly more complex than a video game-based system, though, and as a result it probably won’t be available for another decade or so. The developers first have to work out how to decode the brain activity associated with speech. At first, the messages from one soldier to another would be rendered in a robotic voice. The Army hopes that eventually, the message can come in the soldier’s own voice and even indicate his position and distance from the recipient, just as if he were actually speaking.
There doesn’t seem to be much reason for the paranoid among us to worry about the military reading our thoughts. The scientists involved in the project insist that you have to be willing in order to transmit a message, and even then it takes some effort to do so. With the huge increase in battlefield security that a device like this could offer soldiers, it’s hard not to get behind it. But when it’s marketed as an add-on for your cell phone, it might be time to get the tin foil hat out.

25 Insane iPhone And Gadget Costumes

Can't live without a cell phone or media player? A Halloween costume is a great way to celebrate your favorite gadget. Besides, when dressing up as an iPhone, BlackBerry, iPod or even Facebook for a Halloween party, you will totally smash the classical community of Witches, Elfs and Vampires.

Here is a showcase of amusing and creative cell phone and gadget costumes. These guys know how to look different on Halloween. Check out this hilarious collection, then create your own geeky style which one day may inspire others.


We are not sure whether this doggy cares about the iPhone craze at all, but he definitely looks stunning in this neat costume. Wonder how the owner is dressed up?
New age trick-or-treaters

This iPod family has probably the best chances to become a candy champ in their area. They chose the right brand to rock the neighborhood on Halloween.

Hallow Moto!

iPhone costumes are the latest fashion rage, so this year a school Halloween party may look like an Apple retail store. The guy in the picture sets the right example -- think different (seriously!) and dress up as Motorola RAZR. After all, vintage style is cool, too. (We're waiting to see who's hip enough to create a StarTac costume.)

Cool Apps

This costume looks pretty conventional at first, but look closer and you will see the gimmick: funny Apps icons. Definitely, a clever take on the iPhone.

iPod Couple

This couple looks lovely in their iPod costumes. No doubts, if they were at the gadget fancy-dress ball, they would be number one. Dancing can be a problem, though...

Cycle Phone

This shot depicts a scene from the upcoming movie A Couple of Dicks. Tracy Morgan wearing a giant cell phone costume on a stylized bicycle is hilarious -- maybe you can use this costume idea when getting ready for Halloween.
Skintight phone costume

We are pretty sure that the designer of this costume was inspired by some ultra-slim cell phone model. This is probably the most desperate take on the phone costume in our selection.
iPod Earbuds Costume

Not only did these guys hit everybody with their fun earbuds costumes, but they also provided music out of a portable speaker hidden inside, so they were absolutely authentic.

There are tons of gadgets and devices available today, so you have an endless source of ideas for your Halloween costume. Be unique and have a happy Halloween!