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[DRAFT] Poisoning the Subject

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Chan Island
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[DRAFT] Poisoning the Subject

Postby Chan Island » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:36 am

While handing out the national hospital of the year award, you suddenly were virulently sick. Fortunately, the crack team of medical experts quickly diagnosed that you had been poisoned, likely by something you ate, and administered an antidote. Obviously, the police are already on the case, but as you lie in bed recovering from the incident, visitors are eager to chime in their views on the matter.

validity: all
(Thinking about making an amended or special version for those who have already chosen option 1 though)

[option] Depressingly, your first visitor is the unorthodox eugenicist @@RANDOMNAME@@. "I'm so pleased your no-doubt superior genes survived that deadly toxin attack- and mark my words this was definitely an assassination attempt- but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! By that I mean you should build up an immunity. Take a tiny dose of poison every day, and let your system process it, get to used to it, and get more resistant. That way, in future nobody can poison you! With that specific substance anyway."
[effect] tiny doses of arsenic is the latest upper classes craze

[option] "No, the risk is too great," states your Minister of Paranoia as @@HE@@ closes the shutters. "One miscalculation and we will be dealing with another potentially deadly dose. Instead, have somebody else take the fall for you and employ a food taster. Then absolutely nothing can get you without getting them first."
[effect] food tasting is a high risk, high calorie job

[option] "Maybe it wasn't an attack but just some bad food, my good friend" faux-innocently chimes in @@RANDOMNAME@@, one of your most ambitious political rivals. "Goodness knows all of those nasty street stands and greasy spoon restaurants we politicians have to go to sometimes just don't pay attention to their kitchens. If only we improved our food standards, forced restaurants to employ chemical sniffer drones and banned anything with even trace amounts of toxins then this tragic incident might....not have happened so... unfortuitously."
[effect] apples with cores in them have been banned

[option] "Wow, that sounds terrible," opines local restauranteur @@RANDOMNAME@@, who is the first visitor to actually bring in some flowers and a 'get well soon' card. "But maybe we can do that just for our betters. If every single step of the food growing process of everything our dear leader eats is closely monitored and controlled by the government, then the special danger you face every day would be gone. And yes, my humble restaurant would be honoured to supply you with what you and your family needs."
[effect] @@LEADER@@ has the same nutrient paste EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

[option] "Perhaps the solution lies in data," suggests @@RANDOMNAME@@, the national backgammon champion from 2 years ago. "Don't get me wrong, these doctors know their stuff, but what if they had misdiagnosed you? If we had a national computerised database on hand to list every chemical around though, then the danger from toxins will vanish for both you and me."
[effect] patients die while doctors check the poison database just to be completely sure

[option] Doctor @@RANDOMLASTNAME@@ emerges with a clipboard in hand. "According to our tests, your bloodstream had a surprisingly big dose of-" The doctor is shoved aside as jingoist @@RANDOMNAME@@ barges in. "BIG. You know what else has 'big' in it?! BIGTOPIA! Those scoundrels have always hated you and so must have orchestrated this nefarious plot behind your life! Call the police! Call the army! Call the secret services! Bring the pain to them!"
[effect] the medical report showing that @@LEADER@@ suffered standard food poisoning is being buried under all of the war news
Last edited by Chan Island on Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:29 am, edited 3 times in total.
Conserative Morality wrote:"It's not time yet" is a tactic used by reactionaries in every era. "It's not time for democracy, it's not time for capitalism, it's not time for emancipation." Of course it's not time. It's never time, not on its own. You make it time. If you're under fire in the no-man's land of WW1, you start digging a foxhole even if the ideal time would be when you *aren't* being bombarded, because once you wait for it to be 'time', other situations will need your attention, assuming you survive that long. If the fields aren't furrowed, plow them. If the iron is not hot, make it so. If society is not ready, change it.

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Jutsa
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Postby Jutsa » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:45 am

Very good! But... how come there's no option of "Someone did this! We must put a stupid amount of funding into finding them!" or something? :P

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Chan Island
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Postby Chan Island » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:50 am

Jutsa wrote:Very good! But... how come there's no option of "Someone did this! We must put a stupid amount of funding into finding them!" or something? :P


Wasn't sure what flavour of that option to go for. The foreign power, domestic power or the 'let's get everyone' route. :/
EDIT: I've come up with a nice little one. :p Thoughts?
Last edited by Chan Island on Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Conserative Morality wrote:"It's not time yet" is a tactic used by reactionaries in every era. "It's not time for democracy, it's not time for capitalism, it's not time for emancipation." Of course it's not time. It's never time, not on its own. You make it time. If you're under fire in the no-man's land of WW1, you start digging a foxhole even if the ideal time would be when you *aren't* being bombarded, because once you wait for it to be 'time', other situations will need your attention, assuming you survive that long. If the fields aren't furrowed, plow them. If the iron is not hot, make it so. If society is not ready, change it.

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Jutsa
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Postby Jutsa » Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:44 am

:lol:

Yeah that looks good. :)

ed:
[effect] @@LEADER@@ has the same food EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
:rofl:
Last edited by Jutsa on Thu Oct 11, 2018 9:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:46 am

Chan Island wrote:[option] Depressingly, your first visitor is the unorthodox eugenicist @@RANDOMNAME@@. "I'm so pleased you survived that deadly toxin attack- and mark my words this was definitely an assassination attempt- but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! By that I mean you should build up an immunity. Take a tiny dose of poison every day, and let your system process it, get to used to it, and get more resistant. That way, in future nobody can poison you!"
The problem with this approach is, it'll only give you immunity for that specific poison. If someone uses any other poison on you, it won't help. Also, some poisons, such as mercury and other heavy metals, or cyanide, the body can't develop an immunity to at all, you'll just be poisoning yourself more and more no matter how small each dose is.

Also, it has nothing to do with eugenics as far as I can discern. This is making individual people stronger regardless of their genes, not removing people with bad genes from the population in order to promote the spread of better genes.

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Postby Australian rePublic » Thu Oct 11, 2018 12:09 pm

Option 5 is a huge leap of logic. Anyone would give a "big" enough dose if they wanted to poison someone. I don't see what Bigtopia's name's gotta do with it
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The Derplandz
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Postby The Derplandz » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:54 pm

Australian rePublic wrote:Option 5 is a huge leap of logic. Anyone would give a "big" enough dose if they wanted to poison someone. I don't see what Bigtopia's name's gotta do with it


I feel like it was meant to lack some logic. I think it’s supposed to be the weird and wacky option. uwu

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Caracasus
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Postby Caracasus » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:08 am

Hmmm. Just a thought here Chan, but many of these options rather scream "authoritarian dictatorship" to me... Could be worth restricting the validity here?

I'd also suggest a slight re-working of either option 3 or 4 to prioritize rigorously tested and prepared meals that winds up with the leader eating nothing but bland nutrient paste...
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Bears Armed
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Postby Bears Armed » Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:36 am

Trotterdam wrote:The problem with this approach is, it'll only give you immunity for that specific poison. If someone uses any other poison on you, it won't help.
That's one of the problems: There's also the possibility that later on you might want to commit suicide but find that the only poison available is one to which you've built up this immunity.
(This policy is sometimes called 'Mithridatism', after King Mithridates Eupator of Pontus who is alleged to have used it... and then to have faced the latter problem.)
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Candlewhisper Archive
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Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:52 am

Jutsa wrote:Very good! But... how come there's no option of "Someone did this! We must put a stupid amount of funding into finding them!" or something? :P


Narratively, maybe you could put this in as assumed in the opening description, leaving the issue back on its initial premise. Something like:

"Obviously, your intelligence services and the police are devoting time and resources to discovering who is responsible, but others are making other suggestions as to how you might be safer in future."

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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:55 am

Bears Armed wrote:That's one of the problems: There's also the possibility that later on you might want to commit suicide but find that the only poison available is one to which you've built up this immunity.
(This policy is sometimes called 'Mithridatism', after King Mithridates Eupator of Pontus who is alleged to have used it... and then to have faced the latter problem.)
Yes, I am aware of that story. However, I think we can agree that's a fringe circumstance. Also, Mithridates found another way to kill himself. It's not hard.

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Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Fri Oct 12, 2018 10:39 am

Regarding Mithridatism, as a doc I feel I should point out that it doesn't actually work for most poisons, and in fact most toxic substance you'll encounter in the modern world are far more to cause cumulative harm.

I mean really, unless you're handling snakes for a living or expecting an old school assassin to use arsenic, it's not really going to work as a defence against poisoning.

I'd personally treat this as a crazy option, and move it towards the end of the issue.

More sensible modern approaches should be presented first, such as:

- Chemical sniffer drones, or indeed sniffer dogs.
- A well-funded online database for emergency workers to use as an instant reference.
- Food prepared only by vetted and trusted staff.

Actually you touch on most of those solutions though you frame them archaically. I'd consider bringing the issue into the modern age, and putting these things in the trappings of how a modern nation might respond to a poisoning threat.

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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:48 am

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:Regarding Mithridatism, as a doc I feel I should point out that it doesn't actually work for most poisons, and in fact most toxic substance you'll encounter in the modern world are far more to cause cumulative harm.

I mean really, unless you're handling snakes for a living or expecting an old school assassin to use arsenic, it's not really going to work as a defence against poisoning.
As someone with no formal medical education whatsoever, I covered that already.

Mostly, it works for large, complicated chemicals like you'd find in biological sources (snake venom, poisonous plants, etc.), but doesn't work for simple chemicals because your immune system doesn't have enough to go by to recognize them. Arsenic is a notable exception to this rule, but it holds fairly well otherwise.

Since there are lots of different toxic organisms, it's highly impractical to develop an immunity to all of them. Even if you're only interested in a narrow taxon, like snakes, then there's still a lot different venoms among them, and so you'd need to expose yourself to a lot of species to build up a broad-spectrum immunity (though at least one person has indeed done this).

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:- Chemical sniffer drones, or indeed sniffer dogs.
- A well-funded online database for emergency workers to use as an instant reference.
- Food prepared only by vetted and trusted staff.
The last of these is already basically present as option 4.

The second is iffy: unless you actually plan to have trained medics standing by at every meal you take and keep stockpiles of the antidote for every known poison on-site, there's always a risk of a fast-acting poison killing you before the database can help (and for slower-acting poisons, the existing hospital system should be enough). Of course, you could indeed go ahead and do that if you're paranoid enough.

I agree the first is a good option, and I think it can work separately from any of the current options (the closest is the food taster one, but by comparison, merely sniffing doesn't put the tester's life at risk but also has a higher chance of missing a poison).

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Postby Candlewhisper Archive » Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:33 pm

For sure, though the second option is actually what we aim funding at in real life. The idea is that you can't stop poisoning easily anyway, and more than half the time poisoning comes from deliberate self-harm, so the best thing to do is to have a complete database that tells you exactly what you should be doing for each poison. The UK one is called Toxbase, and many clinical data management programs are directly integrated with it.

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Trotterdam
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Postby Trotterdam » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:53 pm

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:more than half the time poisoning comes from deliberate self-harm
...Wouldn't people practicing deliberate self-harm also deliberately do it somewhere they won't be found by emergency services until it's too late?

(Also, I suspect that causes of death for national leaders might break down somewhat differently than causes of death for average people. We're not in an era where assassination is super-common, but it's still more likely to happen to politicians than to emo teenagers.)

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Chan Island
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Postby Chan Island » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:17 am

Oh boy.

Trotterdam wrote:
Chan Island wrote:[option] Depressingly, your first visitor is the unorthodox eugenicist @@RANDOMNAME@@. "I'm so pleased you survived that deadly toxin attack- and mark my words this was definitely an assassination attempt- but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger! By that I mean you should build up an immunity. Take a tiny dose of poison every day, and let your system process it, get to used to it, and get more resistant. That way, in future nobody can poison you!"
The problem with this approach is, it'll only give you immunity for that specific poison. If someone uses any other poison on you, it won't help. Also, some poisons, such as mercury and other heavy metals, or cyanide, the body can't develop an immunity to at all, you'll just be poisoning yourself more and more no matter how small each dose is.

Also, it has nothing to do with eugenics as far as I can discern. This is making individual people stronger regardless of their genes, not removing people with bad genes from the population in order to promote the spread of better genes.



The thing about that approach is that it is the King Mithridates story, which is a rather well-known tale of the days old, and so is thematically a nice choice to have.

As for the eugenicist part- completely fair call. Edited to make it more relevant to having it be a eugenicist.

Bears Armed wrote:
Trotterdam wrote:The problem with this approach is, it'll only give you immunity for that specific poison. If someone uses any other poison on you, it won't help.
That's one of the problems: There's also the possibility that later on you might want to commit suicide but find that the only poison available is one to which you've built up this immunity.
(This policy is sometimes called 'Mithridatism', after King Mithridates Eupator of Pontus who is alleged to have used it... and then to have faced the latter problem.)


In fairness, he found that good old swords were a perfectly viable way of killing yourself too, so I'd consider this a very minor problem.

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:
Jutsa wrote:Very good! But... how come there's no option of "Someone did this! We must put a stupid amount of funding into finding them!" or something? :P


Narratively, maybe you could put this in as assumed in the opening description, leaving the issue back on its initial premise. Something like:

"Obviously, your intelligence services and the police are devoting time and resources to discovering who is responsible, but others are making other suggestions as to how you might be safer in future."


That's a very good suggestion. Implemented.

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:
Regarding Mithridatism, as a doc I feel I should point out that it doesn't actually work for most poisons, and in fact most toxic substance you'll encounter in the modern world are far more to cause cumulative harm.

I mean really, unless you're handling snakes for a living or expecting an old school assassin to use arsenic, it's not really going to work as a defence against poisoning.

I'd personally treat this as a crazy option, and move it towards the end of the issue.

More sensible modern approaches should be presented first, such as:

- Chemical sniffer drones, or indeed sniffer dogs.
- A well-funded online database for emergency workers to use as an instant reference.
- Food prepared only by vetted and trusted staff.

Actually you touch on most of those solutions though you frame them archaically. I'd consider bringing the issue into the modern age, and putting these things in the trappings of how a modern nation might respond to a poisoning threat.


Hindsight is 20/20, should have remembered one of the most active editors here is a doctor when writing an issue about poison.

The whole issue is framed a little archaically, because using poison to assassinate someone is rather archaic in and of itself (and almost certainly going to fail) in an age that has sniper rifles in it.

However, I think I can see too having those of those 3 options's modern spins implemented....

Candlewhisper Archive wrote:For sure, though the second option is actually what we aim funding at in real life. The idea is that you can't stop poisoning easily anyway, and more than half the time poisoning comes from deliberate self-harm, so the best thing to do is to have a complete database that tells you exactly what you should be doing for each poison. The UK one is called Toxbase, and many clinical data management programs are directly integrated with it.


...especially this one.
Last edited by Chan Island on Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Conserative Morality wrote:"It's not time yet" is a tactic used by reactionaries in every era. "It's not time for democracy, it's not time for capitalism, it's not time for emancipation." Of course it's not time. It's never time, not on its own. You make it time. If you're under fire in the no-man's land of WW1, you start digging a foxhole even if the ideal time would be when you *aren't* being bombarded, because once you wait for it to be 'time', other situations will need your attention, assuming you survive that long. If the fields aren't furrowed, plow them. If the iron is not hot, make it so. If society is not ready, change it.


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