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The Fall of the Byzantines The Pollution Revolution Religious Security in America The Biomechanics of Archery

Table of Contents 2


Cover Story

Fall of an Empire From Xumarov



Bringing back the Woolly Mammoth


Getting in Touch with Learning


Conventional vs. Alternative: Medicine


The Grassroots of Capitalism


Biomechanics of Archery From Michigan Archery


Top 10 Poisonous Plants


History of Video Game Consoles


Greatest Military Failures


The Particle Physics of Politics

From DigitalTrends


The Pollution Revolution


From Penn State

From Wikimedia

From Wikipedia

Religious Security in America From Wikimedia

From Tcmremedy

For more information visit our site at Cover Image Used and Modified Under Fair Use


Page 3

A Spectrum of Four Separate Colors (or otherwise know as contributions)

A is for Alex, who fell down the stairs.

Alex was cruelly forced by his group members to write in past tense, despite the absurdity of pretending to be dead. They were just a bunch of conformist fascists who liked to opress free thinkers like him. Despite his numerous virtues, first among them obviously modesty, sheer force of numbers meant that he couldn’t write his biography in a reasonable style without Chlöe’s thought police swooping into edit it. In retrospect, it is remarkable that even this made it through their controlling censorship.

Brooks was an innocent, natureloving child, except for those few times that he was out in nature with a sniper, tracking down his next kill. After eliminating his target, he would exchange his ghillie suit for armor and charge into battle using a pole with a blade attached to each end. He would then travel back in time to World War 2, become a general in the Russian army, and fight back the Nazi scourge. Afterwards, he would retire to his tree house in the Amazon, which he had saved from deforestation, and write about his adventures. His only mistake was trying to get honey from a beehive, which is weird because he didn’t even like honey. B is for Brooks assaulted by bears.


page 4

C is for ChlÖe who wasted away.

Danny was an all around mobile technology lover and a freshman at the Liberal Arts and Science Academy. He sported a rooted HTC Sensation 4G with ARHD custom rom running on it. He lived in Austin his whole life and was eager to explore the world and have some fun. He also despised Texas weather because it was too hot. He wished to move to Alaska, where it is a bit cooler. He also enjoyed biology and planned to pursue a career in biology. He would have been best described as goofy, nerdy, and fun loving.

ChlÖe was a legend. She was smote down by some petty disease while she wasn’t looking. If she had seen it, it would currently be lying, evicerated on the floor. Or maybe shot with arrows. Anyway, back to in memoriam. She was more of the morose type. Out of anyone, historical or famous, in the entire world to kill, well, she couldn’t choose just one. So she chose everyone. However, the killing of human beings in unlawful in their society, so she simply opted to kill virtual men, in video games. Among her favorite games were “Metroid”, “The Legend of Zelda”, “Bioshock” and “Silent Hill”. Other past times of hers were target shooting, aromatherapy and growing “medicinal” plants, devising artistic masterpieces and thai food, until her untimely demise.

D is for Danny thrown out of a sleigh.


page 5

Letter from the Editors Were you looking for something? Well, then you’re sure to find at least a piece of what you’re looking for. Everything and nothing, that’s our magazine. Spectrum isn’t for the faint of heart or mind. We delve deep into the decay of the Byzantine empire, take a look at what’s poisoning our planet, and discuss the physics of an ancient art. We show you a history of game consoles, advise you on what’s good to grow in the poisonous plant world, and discover the true Photo by Wikimedia

situation of religion in America. It’s

quite a large fleshy lump of topics, all mashed together, but somehow it worked out. So, without further ado, announcing to you our first issue, Spectrum I.

Alex(Alex Denko) Denko

Chlöe Fackler

Danny Perez

Brooks (Brooks Perkins-Jechow Perkins-Jechow) SPECTRUM

page 7

The Pollution Revolution

By Danny Perez


t’s 5:45 am, you’re waking up early to get all your stuff together and still have to eat breakfast before you have to leave for the bus stop. You check the main oxygen tank to make sure it’s not running on low. You run out the door to get to the bus stop. The sky is still dark and gloomy. You don’t know if the sun is shining, the thick layer of smog is not letting any light through. You feel the ground. Devoid of any life. Only coarse sand layers the top. You yearn to see real plants, not the photographs from school. The bus arrives and the creaky door closes as you enter. A quest for alternative energy sources is on the rise as the world uses uo Earth’s fossil fuels. Air quality is important to our way of life. According to the EPA, “air pollution [is linked] to disease and other health problems.” By using alternative energy sources the EPA says that we may be able to improve the environment’s health. The different alternative energy sources we have today are solar energy, biofuels, hydroelectricity, geothermal energy, and wind power. These technologies have been implemented in many places, but we still depend on fossil fuels for our day to day lives. According to the University of Texas, “The United States uses about 17 million barrels of oil every day.” Oil is used to make electricity, which basically powers everything in our homes. Environmentalists are on a quest for other sources of energy so that we can continue to live the way we do.

From Spectroinc SPECTRUM

page 8

From Wikimedia

“The hotter and drier it is the less reliable fossil fuel energy will be and the more necessary Many people fear what will happen in the future and how we will survive if their is a cataclysmic fall in the health of the environment.Cofounder of ReEnergize Texas, Trevor Lovell, says, “The hotter and drier it is the less reliable fossil fuel energy will be and the more necessary renewable energy will be, so I also believe we will have new cleaner sources of energy.”A lot have money has gone into researching new forms of energy. Increasing production of renewable energy will help the world wean off fossil fuel energy. Earth has a finite amount of fossil fuels and it’s being used up at a breakneck pace. The EPA says it will be difficult for economically advanced countries like the U.S. because the way the country runs is intertwined with its use of fossil fuels. One of the most heard of sources of alternative energy is solar energy. According to National Geographic, “Every hour the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year.” As you can see a lot of power can be harvested from the sun. Even though a lot of power is available it doesn’t mean that we actually harvest that much. National Geographic states that “Today, [solar power] produces less than one tenth of one percent of global energy demand.” Solar energy is one of those things that we will never run out of, it is inexhaustible. Experts say there are some disadvantages to solar energy though. As stated by National Geographic, “solar energy doesn’t work at night without a storage device such as a battery, and cloudy weather can make the technology unreliable during the day.” Everything has its pros and cons, but so does everything. The next alternative energy source that we have at our disposal is Biofuels. Biofuels are closely related to fossil fuels. The difference is that as National Geographic puts it is, “[fossil fuels] made from decomposed plants and animals that have been buried in the ground for millions of years. Biofuels are similar, except that they’re made from plants grown today.” Fossil fuels take millions of years to make, but biofuels can be fairly quickly made. Even though biofuels still produce carbon dioxide since they are made from plants the carbon dioxide used by the crops

renewable energy will be, so I also believe we will have new cleaner sources of energy.” biofuels should use about as much carbon dioxide as what comes out of a car that is using these biofuels. Hydroelectricity is the nect alternative energy source on our list. National Geographic defines hydroelectricity as, “ electricity generated using the energy of moving water.” The earth’s surface is approximately 70% water. Hydroelectricity can be made almost everywhere. National Geographic calls hydroelectricity the “cheapest” form of alternative energy. Unlike solar power, energy can be made on command night or day through the use of turbines that control water flow. Our next alternative energy source that is available to us is Geothermal energy. Wells that are sometimes a mile deep are drilled to tap steam and hot water that will turn a turbine that is connected to electricity generators. There are three types of geothermal power plants, dry steam, flash and binary. National Geographic states that, “ Dry steam, the oldest geothermal technology, takes steam out of fractures in the ground and uses it to directly drive a turbine. Flash plants pull deep, high-pressure hot water into cooler, low-pressure water. The steam that results from this process is used to drive the turbine. In binary plants, the hot water is passed by a secondary fluid with a much lower boiling point than water. This causes the secondary fluid to turn to vapor, which then drives a turbine.” Geothermal energy is also always available to use since the earth’s thermal energy isn’t going away anytime soon. Last but not least is Wind power. As long as the sun shines there will be wind power to harness. Wind is defined as, “the movement of air from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure,” by National Geographic. Most wind energy is caught by using turbines. The blades on the turbine are spun by the wind which turn a shaft connected to a generator that produces electricity. Wind power is one of the cleanest alternative energy source. It produces absolutely no air or water pollution, National geographic says. The world’s fossil fuel resources are being exhausted at an alarming rate. There are many believers that the future holds nothing but death and sorrow if fossils fuels are used to the extent they are today, but they also believe that new sources of energy may solve the world’s energy problems.

From Allenergies SPECTRUM

page 9

The Alternative to Alternative? by Chlöe Fackler


s far as personal health goes, you have two main options: take a quick trip to the doctor or pharmacy for standard cures, or the alternative: alternative medicine that is. Ever since eastern and western cultures began to converge, there has been a long standing feud between alternative and modern medicine, also called allopathic medicine. Now, when I am to say “modern medicine” I’m referring to mainly western medicine, that has fairly recently taken over the the fields of health and medicine. However, when I refer to alternative medicine, I am referring to a vast net of different practices, all the way from mashed crocodile tongue and “virgins blood”, to balneotherapy, to sipping a tea of peppermint and licorice root. Personally, I view this argument as futile. You simply cannot argue that modern medicine is somehow superior to alternative medicine, especially since alternative medicine birthed modern medicine. For example, the plant, Aloe Vera, has traditionally been used orally as a laxative, as well as topically as a healer for burns and abrasions. Today, the plant has “been regulated by the FDA as an oral over-the-counter (OTC) laxative” due to the fact that “Aloe latex (the green layer of the leaf that surrounds the gel) contains strong laxative compounds, such as aloin, aloe-emodin, and barbaloin”, as stated by the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Yet people will say that alternative medicine has little to no scientific backing, thus is invalid. What? Where do these people think we get cures for our petty ailments from, really? However, holding true to the term “alternative” is important as well. As stated by Professor Herbert Benson of the Mind/Body Medical Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center “alternative medicine is generally not proven or it would not be alternative.” This may seem like a contradictory statement to some, but isn’t. Benson is correct, alternative medicine is generally not

proven scientifically. However, the medicine does come from somewhere, and that somewhere is generally some plant or possibly mineral or compound. There are millions of different types of plants on our planet, and many still have yet to be discovered and tested. Alternative medicine takes use of these plants and compounds and minerals, and utilizes them in it’s vast network of practices. Some uses may be a bit more “risqué” or questionable than others, such as Vietnamese rượu rắn, or snake wine as a panacea, or Belladonna, a plant containing the hallucinatory toxin, solanine, used to dilate women’s pupils (for cosmetic reasons) during the Italian renaissance, but many have potential. I do not mean to deride modern medicine, I personally think that it’s certainly a highly important advancement for humanity, but I do not think that it’s the only way. Alternative medicine and modern medicine are really closely related, the only difference is that modern medicine has been backed by science. Alternative medicine is really just modern medicine lacking the proof it needs to grow up and revel in the beliefs of stout-minded, atheistic, old science men. I practice forms of alternative medicine, daily, not only to keep my body healthy, but also to keep my mind healthy as well. I don’t know about you, but I rather like waking up to the scent of ylang-ylang and geranium, rather than the musty smell of my old house. I feel that it helps me put my day off to a good start. And sometimes that’s all you need, even if whatever you’re doing doesn’t actually have any proven effects: a placebo. Personally, between alternative and modern practices, I would lean toward the alternative medicine for minor ailments and general well being, but toward modern medicine for more serious matters that need more specialized care and treatment. But at the end of the day, I’m just glad that I’m feeling better on Benadryl, and sipping my herbal tea.

Art by LekiLuv SPECTRUM

page 10

Lavandula angustifolia

P Paleocon

F The PartiN cle Physics of Politics Alex Denko Neocon

Rupert Murdoch- The Higgs Boson: He provides much of the ideological strength of the Republican Party, but is far from the public eye.





Mitt Romney - Neutrino: He oscillates between devout Christian, businessman, and populist so fast that you can’t easily tell what he is at any given point.



New Deal Coalition





Free Speech Movement






Barack Obama- W.I.M.P.: He doesn’t do very much, despiteSocialist the fact that he Religious has a tremendous amount of weight to Right throw around.



Rick Perry- Quark: You won’t see him unless the base gets really angry, and when they come to their senses, he’ll Green Anarchist rapidly get drawn back down again.

Bernie Sanders- Tachyon: An avowed socialist, his very existence in congress seems to be in defiance of fundamental limitations on American rationality.

Ce Arlen Specter- Neutron: While his Sl

career was stable within the Republican party, without its support, he failed to Centrists be reelected.



page 11

The Grassroots of Capitalism Art and story byAlex Denko


ree market systems unquestionably enjoy widespread support in America: according 9p10.8 to a 2010 gallup poll, , approximately 85% of Americans hold positive views of free enterprise. With a majority of Americans making below average income, this response is entirely irrational: equitable distribution of wealth would be beneficial to the majority of people. Why then, would they support a system that impoverishes them. Some might argue that while most individuals exist below the average income in a capitalist society, allowing unfettered ownership of industries creates greater wealth than would otherwise exist, raising the standard of living of all. On the contrary, at the times when the rich have been most heavily taxed, which, according to taxpolicy was from 1950-63, and with a top tax rate of over 90%, the country experienced an growth rate around 10% annually, vastly outstripping any recent growth. Economic growth is clearly not prevented by redistribution of wealth to a degree that approaches socialism. Thus, rational selfinterest is clearly not a valid reason for the poor and middle class to support capitalist economics. I find it vastly more likely that support for such systems among individuals who are disempowered by them is the result of hundreds of years of concerted propaganda. From the earliest origins of collectivist ideologies, the ruling elite has sought to destroy them. Prior to relatively recent times, the preferred method has been force: the Paris Commune was put down by the french military and the Pullman Strike was forcibly put down by the U.S. Army, to name two prominent examples. In more recent times, however, the necessities of maintaining public opinion has made such policies impossible. Instead, indoctrination has taken the primary role in maintaining the status of the ruling class.

In what is now known as the first Red Scare, The government arrested proponents of collectivism, such as Eugene Debbs, and demonized their ideologies. The media was harnessed as nothing more than another engine of the state, driving the public headlong into xenophobia. The socialist party went from receiving 8% of the vote in national elections to virtually none. In the cold war, events progressed similarly, with the whole of society devolving into paranoia. The Un-American Activities Committee further fanned the flames, coercing the media into blacklisting a number of prominent writers. In all of these cases, it is the government, the established ruling class, that drives the extinction of these groups, and that twists public opinion against them. It is propaganda and lack of information that creates public opposition to socialism. As within a capitalist society, any media organizations with the clout to significantly influence public opinion are going to be privately owned and highly profitable, it is obvious that their influence will always work in the favor of their wealthy owners, and thus in opposition to any sort of socialist ideology. The enormous persuasiveness of a society saturated with messages about one particular topic to the majority of people makes it so that ideologies that represent a threat to the status quo will never gain a majority following so long as society remains stable. It is for this reason that dramatic change will only occur in times of extreme duress. With regards to social progress, Chernyshevsky’s phrase “The worse the better� certainly holds true.


page 13

The Shwe Zi Gon Pagoda in Austin. This pagoda is a replica of another in Myanmar but is three times smaller. Construction is expected to end this summer, and there will be an inauguration ceremony in October. SPECTRUM

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Building Up Trust Story and Photos by Brooks Perkins-Jechow

The United States prides itself on its religious freedom. However, in a land with so many diverse people, not everyone gets along. Most people don’t think to ask why, but for some, it’s not just a question of curiosity, it’s a question of cooperation.


ohamed-Umer Esmail is garbed in long, flowing white robes that give him the appearance of a wise and scholarly man, accented by his circular glasses and earnest expression. He is gentle in his movements and speech, and his words are governed by experience. It is hard to believe that any human could hate someone like this, and yet, because Imam Esmail is a Muslim, he knows of hatred of the most repugnant kind: that born of ignorance. America has long been a land of religious freedom. Religious freedom is one of the main reasons why America was founded in the first place, and since then religious people who were persecuted or denied safety have fled to America to practice how they want. Members of every major religion in the world - Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism - can be found in America, not to mention a number of smaller religions. Over the years, America has become a melting pot, with hundreds of thousands of ingredients mixing together to create new and creative dishes. But these ingredients haven’t always mixed well. There are thousands of incidents throughout America’s history where people have enslaved, attacked, persecuted, or discriminated against others because they follow a different religion.

It’s happening right now, though not to the extent that it has happened in the past. Instead of burning and torturing the “defilers” or destroying monuments, people now insult them, prevent them from building temples or threaten them. However, as bad as this discrimination may seem, it hasn’t discouraged people from practicing their religion the way they want. Indeed, a few religions have had few or no problems with discrimination or violence. Aung Moe is a Theravada Buddhist at the Sitagu Vihara in Austin, a place hidden in the shrubs and trees of the Austin hill country. On first appearance, he portrays a very casual image; he wears jeans, a longsleeved yellow shirt, glasses, and sneakers, and he cuts his hair close. He’s the IT guy in charge, so he works to make it possible to stream videos from other Buddhist temples around the world and, as he jokingly says, “I guess you could also say I’m the unofficial tour guide.” Ever since the Sitagu Vihara began to re-create a Burman pagoda that, when finished, will be the largest Buddhist structure in America, the place has been getting a lot of publicity, including an article in the AustinAmerican Statesman. When my mother and I visited to get the interview, Mr. Moe gave us the tour and afterward treated us to lunch. SPECTRUM

page 15

The Austin Hindu Temple. The building itself is complete, but it has yet to be filled. Facing: One of the many deities inside the main building.

Over steaming bowls of Chinese and Burmese dishes I asked him some questions about his life and then inquired about the situation of Buddhism in the United States. According to Moe , Americans have always been very tolerant of Buddhists and that “people often encounter Buddhist ideas without even realizing it.” In fact, many people have found that using Buddhist meditation techniques have helped them focus their thoughts and lead better lives, no matter what religion they follow. Teachings such as the Eightfold path, the core of Buddhist teachings, preach ideas such as always being mindful of people, never trying to harm others, and acting and thinking in unbiased and thoughtful ways. Many people in the U.S. find that these ideas are similar to the ideas of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, and so feel very comfortable in using them as a guide to their own life. Hinduism also fares well in America. Like the Sitagu Vihara, the Buddhist Temple of Austin is a ways off of any main roads, surrounded by rugged countryside, which gives it a very peaceful feeling. Alongside the typical sweet scent of the brush, there lingers a hint of even sweeter incense. The temple is a low building with an intricate pyramid structure on one end, and to the right is the main building, also stout. A modest courtyard is hidden behind the main temple, and colorful drawings can be seen on the walkways. Inside the main building it is very spacious and light. There is a raised platform, or dais, against one wall with four colored flags hung in a pinwheel shape on the wall. Across from the entrance are statues, all of which are lavishly decorated, colored, and lit. Two sets of doors flank the dais, leading to an unknown room. Priest Kamesh was dressed simply in orange robes, with a couple of silver chains strung around his neck and thick white lines painted on his forehead, which symbolizes his devotion to Siva, who in Hinduism is known as the Destroyer and is an essential part of the cycle of the universe. He seemed very at peace in the temple, as if he was meant


page 16

to be here. Born and raised as a Hindu in India, he moved to America to teach at temples around the country. He remarked that “there is no [religious] difference between America and India,” and that “everybody always respects other’s religions and beliefs.” Though some consider America a Christian country, he asserts, “This is a democratic country, right? In a democratic country, people have rights to believe in their own gods. In a democratic country, a lot of beliefs can be, should be, done.” However, Hindus and Buddhists together make up only a small portion of the population, and otherwise are not often in the public eye, unlike Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This can be both a blessing and a curse. For Christianity, it would definitely be considered a blessing. It is hard to understate the impact that Christianity has had on American society. More than 75 percent of the population follows some form of Christianity, and its ideals and laws have shaped much of how America thinks and acts. This history has greatly influenced the way that people in this country think about other religions and people, not to mention the impact it has had on other countries’ views of America. However, the history between Christianity and certain religions, such as Islam, has sown seeds of distrust between the followers, and some people are not easily swayed into accepting or trusting the others. That is not to say that all Christians or Muslims dislike each other. Many, such as Pastor Jim Rigby, the pastor at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, have ignored this history and have tried to reach out to people of those differing groups. For example, Pastor Rigby’s church did a Field of Hope for AIDS victims, and along with crosses they put crescent moons and Stars of David. Pastor Rigby’s reasoning for doing this comes from years of helping people in church and in hate crime legislation. These experiences have given him an extensive view of This man is shaping a statue of Buddha. There will be twenty-four of these statues, each of which represents a time and place where Buddhism has spread.

the reasoning behind the conflict, and he has gained a lot of insight into human nature because of it. This insight has in turn guided him to try and help people no matter their religion. Along with his other understandings of human nature, he has also come to realize that people react harshly to other religions, and really to different people, because they are intolerant of them, and that, as he says, “the essence of intolerance is to think you are the template of the world.” To illustrate his point, he recalls a time when, a couple of years back, he “saw a woman holding a sign that said, ‘Jesus Christ is the only way.’” He asks, “What kind of tolerance is that?” However, behind this intolerance, behind this template that we create, there lies another culprit. Pastor Rigby sums it up by saying “probably 95 percent of the people have never read another religious scripture. Even an atheist has this very narrow American view of religion, this little sliver of possibilities.” Rabbi Folberg, an energetic, humorous man who serves as the rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel, also recognizes this culprit. Judaism, having been in the U.S. for more than a hundred years, is not incredibly discriminated against, but there are still those who will tease or hurt Jews. He thinks that “it’s not so much about prejudice, but more about an absence,” and adds, “Where there’s lack of knowledge, there’s fertile ground for prejudice.” However, there is a large difference between teasing and threatening, and an even larger difference between threatening and carrying that threat out. Not many religions in American can say they have been discriminated against as much as Islam. Even Sikhs, who are not actually Muslims but are often thought to be so, have suffered for their appearance. Imam Esmail has heard of incidents The Islamic Center of Austin. The bottom floor contains a mosque, while the top is a school.

where “four or five Sikhs were killed because they were understood to be Muslims.” Many political figures speak out against Sharia, which is the moral and religious law of Islam, and yet, according to Imam Esmail, no Muslim in America does, or can, follow it one hundred percent, because Sharia does not allow Muslims in non-Muslim countries to completely follow it. As with almost all prejudices, this discrimination is driven by people’s ignorance of actual Islamic ideas and customs. People’s anger against Muslims is, of course, not unfounded. People are still enraged by the events of 9/11, and there have been many instances of attacks against countries by “Islamist terrorist groups.”However, the mistake that people make when thinking of these groups is that all Muslims are like this. In fact, “In some Muslim countries, if I was walking around like this,” Imam Esmail says, indicating his clothing, “they would send their police behind me and make sure I didn’t do anything because they would think I was a radical.” As with America, there are differing religions and sects, and groups such as al Qaeda are only one of the many. They are just the ones who have taken it to an extreme. Imam Esmail realizes that people have overlooked these differences and that the best way to deal with this is to teach people about how those groups are not the norm. “We have our radicals, our one percent,” he says, “I’m not denying that, but as a community we can tackle that together. It is the 99 percent that should be understood.” Despite all of this prejudice, Imam Esmail and the Islamic center have worked hard to create a more positive image of Muslims and to create a lasting relationship with the Austin community. They are part of IACT, or the Interfaith Action of Central Texas, an organization which works to foster greater understanding between religious communities. They often take part in banquets and meetings with the group. Additionally, about half of the staff at their 12-grade school is not Islamic, but all of the staff members are great friends. This positive atmosphere has made Imam Esmail feel very at home in Austin, and it shows him how the Islamic situation in America has improved. This view is becoming more common across America. Imam Esmail talks about a poll taken of minorities that asked how they felt about their future in America, and that, “Of all of the minorities in America, Muslims are the most optimistic about their future.”


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Getting in Touch with Learning by Danny Perez


hink of a time when you forgot your homework at home. Were you able to retrieve it? Most of the time it’s no. How many times does a teacher have to print a single page for their students? Many times. How about losing your textbook and having to share with someone else? With tablets many of the problems that plague schools can be resolved. Many people think that tablets in school would be detrimental to children’s learning because they will be distracted and not do their work but I think that it will improve the way young minds learn and how schools manage education. In high school, where many assignments are done by groups, tablets can be extremely helpful in communicating and sharing between group members. Tablets can also help the school in saving money. Money won’t have to be spent on paper and pencils and new textbooks. In middle school I lost assignments and left them at home, but when tasks were done on services like google docs, items were never lost. It is easy to get disorganized in school, especially when it seems that you teachers act like they are the only teachers you have so they pile on massive amounts of homework without considering other teacher’s work you have to complete that evening. Tablets would allow students to stop worrying about losing assignments and more on keeping their good grades. A study commissioned by the Milken Exchange on Education Technology and recently released by Columbia University discovered that West Virginia’s use of educational technology led directly to significant gains in K-6 students’ reading, math, and language skills. According to AISD, AISD will be facing “major budget challenges” in 2011-2012. While I was in middle school we could already feel the effects of this. Our school started limiting the amount of paper a teacher could use for things like class and homework. School districts across Texas are having to make budget cuts, NY Times says. By introducing tablets in schools, less money would be spent on


page 18

school supplies that are not needed. Schools would have more money to focus on education that will benefit the students further. For example, replacing a school’s computers with tablets that can do whatever a computer can plus more is much cheaper than buying new computers. Students would be able to use these devices from class to class and be able to transfer work from to another seamlessly. For those people that think that tablets can’t replace the old pencil and paper supplies that are used the most at school, I would just like to say that you are wrong. Take into consideration the iPad. It has a calculator app to do math calculations on. It also has a notepad app for students to take notes. There are many applications that can be downloaded to provide much more. There is also desktop software that is really expensive that is sold much cheaper on other platforms. Solidworks and Photshop, two very expensive pieces of software that are used in middle school and high school classes, can be downloaded onto an iPad, and the installation is as easy as pressing download! As time changes, societies change and I think it’s time to change how we teach the future leaders of this brave new world.

Asus eee Pad Transformer Prime From Digital Trends

By ChlÖe Fackler

Keeping the

Straight &Arrow

Archery. When it’s said, many people think medieval knights or native americans and tribal warriors, not an Olympic sport. But despite that, Archery is a modern Olympic sport. It is tolling, as well as invigorating to the body and mind just like any of the others. It is both ancient and recent, and has changed a lot over the past thousands of years. But the basics behind it are still there, even if the method of shooting has changed. To be an archer is to be obsessed. Obsessed enough to shoot over 300 arrows a day. Obsessed enough to keep going, even when you feel as though you can’t. That’s what it takes to progress; that’s what it takes to get to the Olympics.


Khatuna Lorig, a 4 time Georgian and American SPECTRUM Olympian. Photograph page 19 by USA Archery.

“How you shoot is a reflection of who


you are, and if you know how to see that it can be very powerful and enlightening.”

oday is the day. You’re standing out in the

endurance, having to shoot hundreds of arrows daily, prac-

sun, baking, with a full quiver and bow in

ticing in the exact same way as the last 10,000 arrows be-

hand. You’ve spent the last decade of your

fore. It is a sport of grace, muscles and bones and ligaments,

life sweating and slaving for this moment. You know

all working together in harmony to produce a single beau-

your shot. You know your form. You just have to

tiful shot. In short, it is a sport that tests both the mind and

do it. You just have to get that ten, and then the the

the body to the peak of human capabilities.

Gold is yours. You step up to the line. You hear the

Archery isn’t just words though. There are inner work-

faint “click”, as you nock your arrow onto the string.

ings behind it that make it all possible. The physics of

Stance is right. Pressure is right. Hooking is right.

archery isn’t terribly complex; you let fly the arrow, akin

You address the target, and it glares back at you with

to springing a trap, which propels it through the air. But,

sheen from the sun. You take your final breath, and

while shooting, you do not actually aim at the center of the

you raise your bow arm, gracefully arcing across the

target to hit it. You must aim off. This phenomenon is called

the bale, onto the target, into the gold. The sight ap-

the Archer’s Paradox. This is due to the fact that in order

erture hovers, but you pay it no heed. You do what

for the arrow to hit the center, it must bend, or oscillate

you must, focusing on that little patch of sinuous

around the bow, due to the force thrust into it. This is simi-

flesh, just above the elbow. The tension builds within

lar to hitting a nail with a hammer, and feeling it vibrate.

you. You know the feeling of a perfect shot. You’ve

However using modern equipment, the archer can allevi-

practiced it meticulously over the years. You know

ate some of the accuracy issues cause by this. A cushion

what you need to do. Calm. Stay calm. Just focus and

plunger is a small spring-loaded device that dampens and

expand. Focus. “Click”. Your clicker snaps shut and

absorbs some of the shock from the oscillating arrow, thus

your arrow is off, a black blade slicing through the

causing it to fly in a straighter path. Then, with the addition

layers of air. Your arm snaps down, your bow swings

of a sight to peer through while shooting, the arrow will

back in it’s sling with a certain satisfying grace. It’s

be able to fly to the center, all while aiming consistently in

faint, but you hear a dull thud. You rest your bow

the center through the sight aperture. Modern arrows also

down, and peer through your scope. You smile.

will be crafted to have varying levels of “stiffness” or “spine”,

Thus goes the way of Olympic target archery. It is a sport of few participants, but among them, there

depending on the weight of the bow. This ensures that they aren’t too weak or too stiff to bend around the bow.

is a great dedication, a great passion. “Obsession”,

In accordance with the physics of arrow flight, the arrow

said Alex Meyer, a Level 4 JDT, JOAD, and Colle-

has to fly somehow. There has to be that force that makes

giate Coach, “would be a good word to describe it.”

it go. And in modern Olympic target archery, that force

Modern archery is a solitary sport. The athletes will

is found within the powerful muscles of the back. Proper

often spend hours shooting alone in a field, cycling

“form”, as it’s called, is a newer concept. Traditionally, dat-

through shooting, and walking to the target bale to

ing back even five years ago, everyone did their own thing.

collect arrows, then shooting again. It is a sport of

It was a very solitary sport, even more-so than today. “In


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years past everyone had their own way, and it was a

consistency of the shot. It uses the concept of an-

secret,” said Alex. “That was frustrating as an athlete

gular motion to achieve proper interactions with

since no one shared information and I kinda’ got

the back muscles. Coach Lee instilled this form

burned out from trying so hard to be the best and

in his archers when he took the position of head

having to figure it out on my own without knowing

coach. Many embraced it, but there are still those

if I was doing it right or not.” This scenario was not

who continue to shoot in their own way. “How

unique. Many practicing archers would quit out of

you shoot is a reflection of who you are, and if you

“Its like saying to some-

know how to see that it can be very powerful and

one, here is something you love to do, now go out and figure out how to do it without any guidance or help.”

enlightening.” said Alex. He was one of those who embraced Coach Lee’s new style of shooting, and still holds it in high regard. However, his feelings for archery go far back to his childhood. “My relationship with archery has always been complicated. It’s meaning has changed over the past twenty years and has always has been there as a part of my life.

sheer frustration. “I would experiment with differ-

What has remand consistent is that it is always an

ent form changes and sometimes it worked but its a

expression of who I am. I would use my emotions

process that is like banging your head up against a

to my advantage, or at least try to, but I would al-

wall, and you have no idea what will break first, the

ways leave practice that day feeling like I could go

wall or you,” he said.

back to my life and be able to handle anything.”

But, out of the dark ages and into the light, the

And that, that is archery.

current United States Archery Team Head Coach, Kisik Lee began teaching his “bio-mechanically correct” form, that he calls the “B.E.S.T Method.” Originally, this method was used by compound shooters, in order to draw back higher poundage bows, without any physical harm on their bodies. However, Coach Lee took this form and adapted it for recurve archers. In concept, it’s simple, but it takes years to fully master it. The form harnesses the powerful muscles of the back to draw the bow, rather than the lesser muscles of the arms and shoulders. This leads to better holding, which leads to better accuracy due to more control and

Photo by USA Archery


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Bringing Back the Woolly Mammoth by Brooks Perkins-Jechow


0,000 years ago, the Woolly Mammoth, a grand and mythic animal, roamed the frozen Earth. It was unparalleled in its might, and no animal dared attack a healthy and strong specimen. That is, until humans, with their spears and daggers, arrived. These new and cunning hunters, along with a change in climate, were enough to wipe out this species. 10,000 years later, we consider it an icon of the Ice Age, and many people, if given the chance, would be delighted to get a glimpse of a living one. That may be possible now. Russian and Japanese scientists believe that, using DNA from a well-preserved mammoth thigh bone, they can impregnate a female elephant and cause her to give birth to a real mammoth, or at least a hybrid. This news has rocked the scientific community and the world. Many consider this a great leap forward in science, and even go so far as to say that, using this technology, they could bring back other animals that humans have killed off. Some compare it to Jurassic Park, albeit in the real world. But is this as really great as some people think it is? Consider: the world is drastically different from 10,000 years ago. If we were to accomplish bringing a mammoth back to life, how would it react to this new environment? We could keep it in Siberia, but the ironic thing is, the very thing that allowed us to bring it back, global warming, is the very thing that could kill it again. Not to mention the impact on the already-existing ecosystem. How would today’s animals react to a completely new creature suddenly invading their home? It could possibly unsettle the entire ecological order of the area. There is no point in bringing back an animal that would probably die when we


page 22

introduce it to the wild. The Japanese scientists heading this venture, Akira Iritani, a professor at Kyoto University, says that once they succeed in bringing back the mammoth, they will “examine its ecology and genes to understand why the species became extinct and other factors.” That begets the question of whether it will act as it once did if they accomplish this. In a totally new environment such as present-day Earth, it seems unlikely it will respond in the same way it did thousands of years ago. If you consider that one factor, that puts the entire operation into question. This is assuming that the project actually works. Scientists have been able to clone mice that were frozen for sixteen years, but there is an obviously drastic difference between sixteen and ten thousand. The Roslin Institute, which is well known for cloning the first sheep, has voiced its opinions on the idea. They say that it is highly unlikely the scientists will succeed, predicting a 1-5% chance of the experiment working. That’s not to say that this technology can’t be useful. If we were able to bring back, say, the passenger pigeon, then we would have undone an awful mistake. We could clone endangered animals and help to renew their dying populations. There are a lot of great things we could do with this, but there’s also a lot of ethical and moral things that are wrong with this. I think that this is more of a “curiosity-for-curiosity’s sake” problem, and that curiosity is not a good enough reason for unearthing the deceased. We should quell our desire for knowledge this one time, and let the dead rest in peace. Drawing by MiloOryx

By Danny Perez

A History of

Video Game Consoles From MyRemoteRadio

Magnavox Odyssey 2 Mattel Intellivision

Magnavox Odyssey

1978 1972


1970 AD


Atari 2600

1982 1977 Emqui ut derio cuptaecto iducit-year

Atari 5200


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Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Nintendo 64


Sega Saturn


Sony PlayStation



SNK Neo Geo


Sega Dreamcast


Page 24


Nintendo NES

Atari 7800


Casio PV-1000


Sega Master System Sega Genesis

1985 Sega SG-1000

1983 1988


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2001 Sony PlayStation 3

Sony PlayStation 2


Microsoft Xbox

2006 Nintendo Wii U


2010 AD


Microsoft Xbox 360

2005 Nintendo Gamecube


Nintendo Wii


by Alex Denko


he middle ages are traditionally seen as a period of stagnation and consistency for Europe, but elsewhere, on the eastern fringes of the Roman world, they brought rapid change. Within a few short centuries, the Byzantine Empire would be brought to its knees, ending a thousand year rule over the eastern Mediterranean. On the surface, it would seem impossible that such a strong nation would be destroyed by nomadic horse archers, but the Empire had long since been rotting from within. During its long decline, the Byzantine Empire represented the last vestiges of the classical era in Europe, hugely influencing trade and politics as a result of its sheer power, and the claim of the Byzantine Patriarchy to the leadership of Christianity had far reaching effects in the eventual Reformation. Their decline also set the stage for the holy wars and crusades that would dominate the middle east for hundreds of years, starkly dividing the Mediterranean between Islam and Christianity. It is through these conflicts that much of the history of the middle ages came to be, and their tremendous effect can still be felt today. The Byzantine Emperors had long aspired to recover the lands lost during the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, but for much of their history struggled with overextension in the lands they still held. Under Justinian, reigning from 527 to 565, former Roman lands in Italy, North Africa, and southern

Painting by Jean-Joseph SPECTRUM page 27 Benjamin-Constant,1876

Spain were reconquered, expanding the Empire to its maximum extent. Border territories fluctuated between the Byzantines and their militant neighbors frequently, but the empire gradually lost control over lands outside of Anatolia and the Balkans. From time to time the Byzantines would resurge, but their history up until the High Middle Ages is primarily a slow decline. Despite the enormous power of the Byzantine Empire at the end of Justinian’s golden age, it suffered tremendous losses during the onset of the dark ages. The Sassanid Persians, who had mostly been held at bay during the reign of Justinian and his direct successors, seized upon a military coup as an opportunity to invade the Byzantines in a moment of instability, and successfully seized much of the easternmost territory of the empire, as well as the tremendously rich lands of Egypt. These gains were only temporary, but the conflict weakened both sides sufficiently to allow tremendous conquests by the first Caliphate shortly after. After the death of Muhammad, the Caliphate in Arabia rapidly spread outwards, taking advantage of the weakened state of the Romans to conquer large swaths of territory that had only recently been recaptured from Persia, as well as the Exarchate of Africa. While the Byzantines endured, the Sassanids were eventually conquered, and the primary threat to the empire in the east became

The extent of the Byzantine Empire in 1180 CE, near the end of the Komnenos restoration. The Empire would never again grow larger than it was at this point.

SPECTRUM page 28

the various Muslim rulers who would establish themselves over the next few hundred years. The Byzantines also faced threats from various groups in the Balkans attempting to take advantage of the wars in the east, but the majority of Byzantine lands in Europe were retained for many hundreds of years after. Italy, however, once the center of the Roman world, was now dominated by various Germanic tribes that had arrived during the fall of the Western empire. Following the conquests of the Muslim Caliphates, the core of the empire was reduced to Anatolia and the Balkans, with some holdings in southern Italy. No longer was Constantinople the unchallenged superpower of Europe, and it began a slow decline as the Middle Ages ensued. The Seljuk turks were among the first harbingers of Constantinople’s final fall. They were dominated in their homelands in Central Asia by more powerful groups. As a result, according to Maricruz Aguayo, a World History teacher at LASA, “they fled further west, and when they did, they realized that they were stronger than the Turkic groups that were already in the area. And so they just grabbed a foothold and kept pushing forwards.” The first major success of the Seljuk advance was the conquest of the Ghaznavids, who controlled much of Persia at the time. It was from this base that the first expeditions into Byzantine territory were made. The Seljuk invasions were immediately preceded by considerable losses in the western territories of the empire. Southern Italy had been lost to Robert Guiscard

from Wikipedia, public domain

and his Norman mercenaries only a short time before, providing clear proof that the Byzantines were simply not able to maintain control of the full extent of their empire. Additionally, Ms. Aguayo said, “you have all of these other groups that are beginning to spread and assert themselves in Europe, and in the Balkans” The Byzantine military was not capable of rapidly adapting to the situation at hand, and was rapidly growing ineffective in an era of changing warfare in the east. The weakened state of the army allowed Alp Arslan, leader of the Seljuk Turks, to win a crushing victory at Manzikert in 1071. “What ends up happening,” according to Ms. Aguayo “is you have some Byzantine soldiers who have experience seeing the Turks fight, and were proposing a certain avenue of defense or offense and it wasn’t get that split in the Byzantine military...”. Ultimately, much of the Byzantine mercenary force defected, and a large number of professional soldiers deserted with the general Andronicus Doukas prior to the battle. As a result, the remnants of the Byzantine army were routed and the Emperor was captured. Manzikert marks a point of no return for the Byzantines. From then on, most of Anatolia, once the very core of the empire, was permanently lost, and despite the brief bright spot of the Komnenos dynasty, the influence and power of the empire was rapidly dwindling. However, not all the problems the empire faced during its decline were military in nature. Earlier efforts to promote religious unity, in theory stabilizing the country, served only to promote unrest. “...the Islamic empire, especially at that time,” says Aguayo, “was very inclusive, the holy land ended up pretty much adopting and assimilating to at least the administrative part of the Islamic empire”. In lands that had never been assimilated to Greek culture in the first place, the relatively light rule of the Turks and Islamic caliphates removed any incentive to return to the Byzantines. The administrative structure of the Byzantines also presented issues. While the extremely centralized nature of the government could be

put to good use; “ The bottom line, especially at this period in history, is that ,”Ms. Aguayo said, “when you have somebody who is charismatic and can command people and knows a little bit about military strategy you’re all of sudden going to have a much stronger empire or kingdom than you had before.” However, “In general we see less efficient, less capable Emperors over the course of that really slow decline of the Byzantine Empire.” The empire lacked the decentralization and delegation of power necessary to ensure that a single incompetent individual could not cause disaster. The inherent risk of instability, combined with the rapid spread of Islam made for a dangerous combination. The Great Schism between the Orthodox and Catholic churches in 1054 isolated the Byzantines even further, angering the Catholic rulers who would otherwise have been their allies against the continued incursions of Muslim forces. After the final decline of the empire began, the Byzantine Emperors began trying to gain western aid to retake their lands. The call for crusade went out, and, according to Ms. Aguayo, “The pope thought if we send people, if we help them out, maybe we could get this[undoing the schism between catholic and orthodox christianity] done. The Byzantine emperor said “maybe” but that was never his goal. His goal was military defense. It doesn’t end up happening, and eventually the popes realize it’s not going to happen.” While the initial crusades had some limited success, religious tensions resulting from the Great Schism meant that the primary focus was never on reconquering Anatolia, and the Byzantine Empire slowly withered away. As the coast of Anatolia and the remaining Balkan territories were slowly stripped of them, the Byzantines became merely one of many competing states in the region. The tremendous defences and wealth of Constantinople itself, however, allowed them to hold out as the states around them rose and fell. In 1453, the defences of the city finally fell to the Ottomans, one of the many Turkic successors to the Seljuks, and the last fragment of Rome was extinguished.

SPECTRUM page 29

Battle of Salamis, 480 BCE

A Greek fleet of about 300 triremes faced a Persian fleet of 1,200 triremes. The Greeks, knowing they were outnumbered, lured the Persians into a narrow strait and then ambushed them. The Persians were unable to move and so were decisively defeated.

Battle of Chibi (Battle of the Red Cliffs), 208 CE

A famous battle in Chinese history, the naval Battle of Chibi was fought between the northern warlord Cao Cao and the alliance of the southern warlords Sun Quan and Liu Bei. One of Sun Quan’s generals sent Cao Cao a fake letter of submission, but instead of going over to Cao Cao the general sent fire ships loaded with straw and wax that set Cao Cao’s fleet ablaze, effectively routing his army.

The Battle of Cannae, 216 CE

A Roman alliance of two consuls with 86,000 men fought against Hannibal, who had roughly 45,000 men. Using his cavalry, Hannibal decimated the Roman wings and encircled the center, killing 80% of the Roman army and capturing one of the consuls.

Battle of Agincourt, 1415

The Greatest Military

The Battle of Achelous, 917 CE

The Byzantine army, which hugely outnumbered the Bulgarian army, was decisively defeated by its smaller foe. The commander of the Bulgarians hid behind a hill with his cavalry and let the Byzantines attack and chase his smaller army. Then, when the Byzantine formations had dissolved in the chase, he led the cavalry in a charge against them and thoroughly slaughtered the huge army, killing 70,000.

In one of the greatest archery successes of time, the British army, outnumbered in melee terms, used its longbowmen to mow down the French, who had stupidly attacked right after it rained. The French forces became so crushed together that there were four men every square meter.


Any March into Russia, 1708-9, 1812, and 1941-1944.

of All Time

By Brooks Perkins-Jechow

World War 1, 1914-1918

Needless to say, this was the most pointless war in human history. It all started with an assassination, and then, pretty soon, everybody was fighting. The bad thing is, defensive technology was a lot better than offensive. One of the only things it really did was set the stage for Hitler.

Tet Offensive, 1968

The Tet offensive was the largest offensive in the Vietnam war up to that point, and though it was a military defeat for the North Vietnamese, it shocked the American army and public because they did not think they were able to launch such an offensive.

Seriously? Three guys tried this. Every one of them failed. First, and least known, is Charles XII, leader of the Sweden Empire. A hundred years later, Napoleon came, and then, in WW2, it was Hitler’s turn. People just don’t learn.

Battle of Singapore, 1942

Nicknamed the “Gibraltar of the East”, the fortress of Singapore, with a force of 80,000, surrendered to a Japanese army half its size. It is the largest British capitulation in history.

Battle of Longewala, 1971

The turning point of the Indo-Pakistani War, the battle was a poorly planned attack on the Indian base of Longewala, which was under the command of Major Chandpuri. The Pakistani attack force, with a huge number of vehicles, attacked during a full-moon night and was held off for six hours. In the morning, the IAF sent air strikes on the attacking force and made them retreat. The casualties of the battle were 200 infantry, 22 tanks, and 100 other vehicles lost on the Pakistani side, and 2 infantry lost on the Indian side.


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Cyanide, Solanine, and Aconitine, Oh My! The 10 most toxic plants you my find in your own backyard.

By ChlÖe Fackler

Plants. You find them everywhere. You eat them, you admire them, you wear them, you use them. Our planet would be a sorry place without them. But plants are not just there for us to use. They use us sometimes too. We plant their seeds, we care for them and protect them. But sometimes, just sometimes, plants will kill us. This is a guide comprised of 10 of the world’s most deadly plants that could potentially grow in your own yard.


In the dogbane family, every bit of this evergreen shrub is toxic. A single blossom is enough to kill an adult human. The primary toxins, oleandrin and oleandrigenin, are cardiac glycosides, meaning that they work to shut down the cardiovascular and nervous systems, resulting in death. Oleander is a very common ornamental plant, found in public parks, schools, yards and freeway medians of the middle and southern United States. By nipplerings72

Castor Bean

Native to the Mediterranean region, this showy ornamental bush has been used for thousands of years as castor oil, for cooking, for cosmetics, for lubircants. However, the seed, and ultimatly the oil contains one of Earth’s deadliest and most feared toxins: Ricin. Ricin kills within 2-5 days by inhibiting the creation of proteins within the body. Long term organ damage is common among survivors. However, Ricin is digestable, just rather resistant. ByGardenally

Water Hemlock

Also known as Cowbane, it is a common perrenial weed found in the temperate regions of Europe and North America. It is a member of the family Apiaceae, which also includes carrots, parsly, and celery. The primary working toxin is cicutoxin, a neurotoxin that kills by disrupting the nervous system, leading to tremors and seizures. The heart rate will also reduce or speed up, and breathing will slow down. Death will occur from only a few hours after ingestion, up to 2 days. By ainsworthindiana


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Rosary Pea

Also known as Jequirity, it is a twining pinnate legume, with bright decorative seeds. The seeds contain Abrin, a cousin of the toxin Ricin. Abrin also works by inhibiting the creation of proteins, and caused severe respriatory and digestive distress. Within 1-3 days, the kidneys, liver, and spleen could stop working, resulting in death. However, the Abrin in the seeds can be denatured by boiling them. By yGoy

White Snakeroot

Of the family Asteraceae, relating it to sunflowers, asters and daisies, White Snakeroot is found in the woods and marshes of eastern North America. It may be most notorious for causing the death of Abraham Lincolin’s mother. She died of milk sickness, caused by the toxin tremetol. Milk sickness was commonly caused by drinking the milk of a dairy animal who fed on White Snakeroot. Its symptoms include violent vomiting, tremors, delirium, ending with death. By Eric Giguere


Also known as Monkshood or Wolfsbane, this relative of the buttercup contains a toxin sometimes known as the “Queen of Poisons”: Aconitine. In handling the plant, one must wear gloves since the toxin can be absorbed through the skin. This toxin works quickly, causing death within a few hours. Upon ingestion, gastrointestinal distress will set in, followed by numbing and tingling of the mouth and face (or points of absorbtion). This is the poison stopping the nervous system, which ultimatly ends in death when the heart muscle stops. By Gertrude K.

Deadly Nightshade

By zingertalesandmore


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Also known as Belladonna, of the family Solanaceae, which also includes other toxic plants like datura, mandrake, tobacco and [parts of] potatoes. The foliage and fruit are highly toxic, taking less than 15 berries to kill a healthy adult human. The primary working toxins, scopolamine and hyoscyamine, are potent neurotoxins that work by disrupting the nervous system’s ability to regulate involuntary actions, such as heart rate. Other symptoms are delirium and hallucinations, dialated pupils, photosensitivity, headache, convulsions and slurred speech.

Spurge Laurel

The spurge laurel is neither part of the laurel or spurge genuses, but is in it’s own unique family. It contains a skin irritant toxin in the bark and sap called mezerein, as well as another toxin called daphnin in the bark, sap, and berries. Together, these toxins can cause skin and eye irritation (possibly to the point of temporary blindness), inflammation, headache, and delirium. The ingestion of 6-12 leaves often proves fatal in adult humans. By marthamegenta


Foxglove is a perennial wildflower commonly found growing in the prairies and fields of Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa. The working toxin called digoxin, is a cardiac glycoside, just like those in Oleander. Just a nibble on a leaf or stem can result in death. Symptoms include hyposalivation, convulsions, delirium and visual disturbances, change in heart rate and rhythem, and higher acute senses. Death follows soon after. By Wikimedia


Also known as Jimson Weed or Thorn Apple, this relative of the deadly nightshade is a member of the genus Datura, all of which contain three tropane alkaloids: atropine, scopolamine and hyoscyamine. Daturas are potent and deadly hallucinogens, having been grown for 1000s of years as a psychoactive drug, as well as a poison. The effects of Datura poisoning include amnesia, photophobia, inability to differentiate reality from fantasy, hyperthermia, accelerated heartrate and dialated pupils. By Fotopedia

These were ten of many thousands of poisonous plants on our planet. However, just because the plants are toxic doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be appreciated. They still are lovely, and some contain compounds or parts that could potentially be helpful to people. Ultimatly, plants coexist with us, wether we like it or not, so we should make the best of it.


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