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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

East of Eden XXII -- chpt21: CALCULATION, POISON, and PATIENCE; not necessarily in that order

"In human affairs of danger and delicacy successful conclusion is sharply limited by hurry.  So often men trip by being in a rush.  If one were properly to perform a difficult and subtle act, he should first inspect the end to be achieved and then, once he had accepted the end as desirable, he should forget it completely and concentrate solely on the means.  By this method he would not be moved to false action by anxiety of hurry or fear.  Very few people learn this."

Funny, people generally consider me a patient person, at least under my capacity of teacher.  With myself, however, I am not a thing like this.  I rush all the time, expecting myself to manage an end faster and more efficiently than others and then kicking myself when I see all the typos and flawed reasoning and general mistakes.  Maybe I'll learn.  Or maybe I've learned and I just don't do it, because it's too much work.  It's easier to hurry.

Reading Questions
Chapter 21.1

  1. Who among you would, like the cook, like me (I'm loath to say), wouldn't be able for sure to say what you said when confronted by a person like Kate saying you said it?
Chapter 21.2

  1. I wonder how Kate would have taken advantage of a younger, more suspicious doctor than Dr. Wilde.
Chapter 21.3

  1. Faye, of Kate, at the end of the section after the narration of all the subtle improvements Kate has wrought: "What a clever girl she is.  She can do anything and she can make do with anything."

Chapter 21.4 -- POISONS
(Thanks to Wikipedia)

Botulism (Latin, botulus, "sausage") also known as botulinus intoxication is a rare but serious paralytic illness caused by botulinum toxin, which is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum under anaerobic conditions.  The toxin enters the body in one of four ways: by colonization of the digestive tract by the bacterium in children (infant botulism) or adults (adult intestinal toxemia), by ingestion of toxin from foods (foodborne botulism) or by contamination of a wound by the bacterium (wound botulism).[1]  All forms lead to paralysis that typically starts with the muscles of the face and then spreads towards the limbs.[1] In severe forms, it leads to paralysis of the breathing muscles and causes respiratory failure. In view of this life-threatening complication, all suspected cases of botulism are treated as medical emergencies, and public health officials are usually involved to prevent further cases from the same source.[1]  Botulism can be prevented by killing the spores by cooking at 121 °C (250 °F) for 3 minutes or providing conditions that prevent the spores from growing. Additional precautions for infants include not feeding them honey.

While commercially canned goods are required to undergo a "botulinum cook" at 121 °C (250 °F) for 3 minutes, and so rarely cause botulism, there have been notable exceptions such as the 1978 Alaskan salmon outbreak and the 2007 Castleberry's Food Company outbreak. Foodborne botulism has more frequently been from home-canned foods with low acid content, such as carrot juice, asparagus, green beans, beets, and corn. However, outbreaks of botulism have resulted from more unusual sources. In July, 2002, fourteen Alaskans ate muktuk (whale meat) from a beached whale, and eight of them developed symptoms of botulism, two of them requiring mechanical ventilation.[7] Other sources of infection include garlic or herbs[8] stored covered in oil without acidification,[9] chilli peppers,[citation needed] improperly handled baked potatoes wrapped in aluminium foil[10], and home-canned or fermented fish. Persons who do home canning should follow strict hygienic procedures to reduce contamination of foods. Oils infused with garlic or herbs should be acidified and refrigerated. Potatoes which have been baked while wrapped in aluminum foil should be kept hot until served or refrigerated.[10] Because the botulism toxin is destroyed by high temperatures, home-canned foods are best boiled for 20 minutes before eating. Metal cans containing food in which bacteria, possibly botulinum, are growing may bulge outwards due to gas production from bacterial growth; such cans should be discarded. Any container of food which has been heat-treated and then assumed to be airtight which shows signs of not being so, e.g., metal cans with pinprick holes from rust or mechanical damage, should also be discarded.

Croton oil (Crotonis Oleum) is an oil prepared from the seeds of Croton tiglium, a tree belonging to the natural order Euphorbiales and family Euphorbiaceae, and native or cultivated in India and the Malay Archipelago. Small doses taken internally cause diarrhea. Externally, the oil can cause irritation and swelling. In traditional Chinese medicine it is used as an ingredient in some liniments. Croton oil is the source of the organic compound phorbol.[1] Today croton oil is the basis of rejuvenating chemical peels, due to the caustic exfoliating effects it has on the dermal components of the skin. Used in conjunction with phenol solutions, it results in an intense reaction which leads to initial skin sloughing and then eventual regeneration. In the United States Navy in World War II, a small amount of croton oil was added to the neutral grain spirits which powered torpedoes. The oil was intended to prevent sailors from drinking the alcohol fuel. A number of sailors devised crude stills to separate the alcohol from the croton oil, as alcohol evaporated at a lower temperature than croton oil.[2]

Cascara Sagrada: The dried, aged bark of this tree has been used continually for at least 1,000 years by both native and immigrant Americans as a laxative natural medicine, commercially called "Cascara Sagrada", but old timers call it "chitticum bark". The laxative action is due to the Cascara glycosides(cascarosides A,B,C & D).  Cascara Sagrada means "sacred bark" in Spanish. The much more pertinent name chitticum means "shit come" in Chinook Jargon; chittam comes from the Chinook Jargon phrase chittam stick = "laxative tree" which is similarly from [a pretty obvious piece of vulgar language in English].  Long used as a laxative by Native American groups of the northwest Pacific coast, chitticum bark or Cascara Sagrada was accepted in medical practice in the United States in 1877, and by 1890 had replaced the berries of the European Buckthorn (R. catharticus) as a commonly used laxative. It was the principal ingredient in many commercial, over-the-counter laxatives in North American pharmacies until 9 May 2002, when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a final rule banning the use of aloe and cascara sagrada as laxative ingredients in over-the-counter drug products.  Use of Cascara Sagrada has been associated with abdominal pain and diarrhea and is potentially carcinogenic[1]The bark is harvested mostly from wild trees; over-harvesting in the middle 1900s eliminated mature trees near many settled areas. Once stripped from the tree, the bark is aged for about 1 year to make its effect milder. Fresh cut, dried bark causes vomiting and violent diarrhea.

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