Retrieved from The Telegraph
Death by curare is relatively slow and horrific, as the victim is awake and aware but cannot move or even speak. However, if artificial respiration is performed until the poison subsides, the victim will survive. Indigenous tribes of the Amazon basin used curare-laden arrows to hunt game for food. Curare does not affect those who eat the animals who were killed by it. A slightly different recipe for curare is used when the intended target is human, such as that used during tribal war. Curare has also been adapted for use as a muscle relaxant during surgery.[Via Mental Floss]
French Garde du Corps du Roi M1814 Officers Helmet
Black varnished leather body and visors trimmed entirely with silver-plated copped fixtures. The body has two large palm leaf scrolls on each side with their curls forward, and the ends terminating behind a silver band that covers the seam between skull and rear visor. The front visor is edged in silver. A large sun ray plate embossed with crown over intertwined scrolls of palms crossing above the face of a deity, all above clouds with a bannered motto "Nec Pluribus Impar" (without comparison under the sun). Screwed to the skull, a crest with feather plume designs on both sides, holds a black chenille of horse hair cropped like a mane and falling forward over the front of the helmet. The ear bosses are sun rays behind the godly face at center, and hold the scalloped, graduating chinscales to the helmet. The chinstraps fasten at the wearer’s chin with a cloth ribbon tie. On the left side, forward to the ear boss, a silver squared tube plume socket holds a two-tiered tulip cup holding the stem of a white cock feather plume. Interior sweatband of leather only. Green color under the front visor and black under the rear visor.
The Garde du Corps du Roi of the King was the senior unit in the Maison du Roi (House of the King). It was disbanded in 1816.
A beautiful gemmy dodecahedral crystal of orange spessartite garnet (seehttp://tinyurl.com/pflvbgr) hangs between two masses of gleaming white crystals of albite feldspar. Also growing out of the feldspar right next to the garnet is a prism of schorl, the traditional name given to black tourmaline. All these minerals grew together out of the stewing remains of a granite, that cooled slowly enough to form large crystals and concentrated the rare elements necessary that didn’t fit into the standard granitic minerals (eg quartz, feldspar, mica). In this case, manganese combined with aluminium and silica, and boron, sodium and iron in the tourmaline.
The specimen in the photo (4.3 x 2.7 x 2 cm) was mined in the famous pegmatites of San Diego county in California (such as the Pala mine). It was mined in the early 1970’s and is held to be a near perfect example of the region’s production. Many crystals from here were etched at some point in their geological history, or damaged by the strong tectonic forces linked to the Pacific plate, but this one remains intact.
Image credit: Joe Budd/Rob Lavinsky/iRocks.com
What makes fireworks colorful?
It all thanks to the luminescence of metals. When certain metals are heated (over a flame or in a hot explosion) their electrons jump up to a higher energy state. When those electrons fall back down, they emit specific frequencies of light - and each chemical has a unique emission spectrum.
You can see that the most prominent bands in the spectra above match the firework colors. The colors often burn brighter with the addition of an electron donor like Chlorine (Cl).
But the metals alone wouldn’t look like much. They need to be excited. Black powder (mostly nitrates like KNO3) provides oxygen for the rapid reduction of charcoal (C) to create a lot hot expanding gas - the BOOM. That, in turn, provides the energy for luminescence - the AWWWW.
Aluminium has a special role — it emits a bright white light … and makes sparks!
Bismuth occurs naturally and has the atomic number 83.
It’s the most naturally diamagnetic element and has been known about since the 18th century.
It’s very slightly radioactive with a half-life of more than a billion times the age of the Universe.