Opossums can’t be poisoned

Image Credit:

A serum derived from the humble Opossum, who seems to be protected against any form of poisoning, could completely revolutionise the way snake bites are treated.

Some scientists have done some tests on a natural lethal toxin neutralizing factor (LTNF) occurring in the Opossum.

The study concludes:

“On the other hand, LTNF is effective against the venoms of all species of snakes. Therefore, LTNF can become a universal treatment for snakebites. Furthermore, LTNF is effective against scorpion and bee venoms, plant-derived ricin and bacterial toxin botulinum. Therefore, LTNF can become a universal treatment for toxins derived from animals, plants, and bacteria. In the standard treatment for snakebites, massive amounts of antivenom are administered for effectiveness, even though a large part of the population is hypersensitive to antivenom made in horses. Under such conditions, LTNF will be a most favorable replacement. It is further anticipated that the invention of LTNF has military applications due to the variety of unknown exposures that can occur under military conditions.”

So cool. BoingBoing has a bit of a story on the test that makes it clear just how awesome this gear is – some rats who had the serum introduced were also immune to poisoning.

Some goodness from Calvin on “natural desires” and sin

The idea that God shouldn’t condemn behaviour he has built into humanity isn’t recent, and its flaws are pretty much dealt with in the opening pages of the Bible.

The idea that God shouldn’t judge natural behaviour operates on some shaky assumptions about the goodness of nature, that Catholic theologians have essentially supported. But the real answer to this dilemma comes from understanding just how big the effect of the fall was on human nature.

Here’s Calvin’s answer to the objection from hundreds of years ago. I’m reading the Institutes (again) for an assignment, and I’m wishing I’d read it before I wrote my ethics essay last semester because it’s good stuff.

“If any one thinks it absurd thus to condemn all the desires by which man is naturally affected, seeing they have been implanted by God the author of nature, we answer, that we by no means condemn those appetites which God so implanted in the mind of man at his first creation, that they cannot be eradicated without destroying human nature itself, but only the violent lawless movements which war with the order of God. But as, in consequence of the corruption of nature, all our faculties are so vitiated and corrupted, that a perpetual disorder and excess is apparent in all our actions, and as the appetites cannot be separated from this excess, we maintain that therefore they are vicious; or, to give the substance in fewer words, we hold that all human desires are evil, and we charge them with sin not in as far as they are natural, but because they are inordinate, and inordinate because nothing pure and upright can proceed from a corrupt and polluted nature.”

Calvin’s Institutes, 3.3.12

Natural functions

Maths and nature go hand in hand. Pine Cone patterns occur in a Fibonacci sequence. And now it seems that plants grow according to mathematical functions. At least if you’re a mathematically inclined photographer who goes looking for such patterns.

More here.

Scroll to Top