March 11, 2014 |
NEW YORK -- Saajid Badat had been through all the training, from firing weapons while riding a motorcycle to watching dogs and rabbits, trapped under glass, die slow, agonizing deaths as he learned poisoning techniques. He had laughed with other Al Qaeda members as the self-confessed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, scanned a list of tall buildings and crossed out the World Trade Center towers weeks after hijackers had destroyed them. Now, Badat was ready to carry out Al Qaeda's next big mission, a plan to down two U.S. jetliners using bombs hidden in shoes.
February 28, 2014 |
Yiyun Li begins her second novel, "Kinder Than Solitude," in a place of endings: a crematorium. The time is the present, more or less, and a Beijing resident named Boyang waits for the ashes of his childhood friend Shaoai, dead at 43 after having been poisoned (accidentally or otherwise) 21 years before. "Who wanted her to die?" Boyang's mother asks when he visits after dropping off the woman's cremains with her family. "Who wanted to kill her back then?" These questions resonate throughout this novel, which moves fluidly between past and present, among Beijing, Massachusetts and the Bay Area, in tracing the intersecting lives of four people - Boyang, Shaoai and two other women, Ruyu and Moran - as they wrestle with both their complicity and their heritage.
February 7, 2014 |
Hugh Laurie only plays a doctor on TV, but he has a following among physicians in Germany who are crediting his fictional Dr. House with helping them diagnose a man with a life-threatening case of cobalt intoxication. The 55-year-old patient was referred to their clinic in Marburg in May 2012 suffering from severe heart failure. An echocardiogram revealed that his ejection fraction - a measure of how well his heart was pumping blood - was only about 25%. (In a healthy person, it's between 55% and 70%, according to the Cleveland Clinic .)
January 7, 2014 |
Debuting Tuesday as part of the PBS series "American Experience," "The Poisoner's Handbook" offers a fascinating look back at how the chemical age changed police work. Based on Deborah Blum's 2010 book "The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York," it is divided into toxin-specific "chapters," (cyanide, arsenic, carbon monoxide, lead, radium, denatured alcohol and so on), but there is nothing particularly instructional about it. A certain sort of viewer might get ideas, of course, but should he watch to the end he will learn that poisoning is a hard crime to get away with anymore.
December 26, 2013 |
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died of natural causes nine years ago, not from poisoning by a radioactive substance as alleged by his widow, a Russian forensic investigation has concluded. The Russian findings conflict with those of Swiss scientists, who said in November that they had found sufficient traces of polonium-210 in Arafat's exhumed remains to conclude with relative certainty that he died of poisoning. "The tests were comprehensive and there's no need for re-examination.
December 3, 2013 |
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Leaks from test results French scientists had conducted on samples taken last year from the remains of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat added more confusion Tuesday to the debate over Arafat's death. According to the leaks, widely published by news agencies, the French results did not confirm that Arafat died from poison and suggested that he probably died of natural causes. "The report rules out the poisoning theory," Agence France-Presse quoted an unidentified source as saying.