Science news

Toxic. That’s what you should know about the otherwise rather attractive oleander (Nerium oleander). Florida’s campgrounds, where unwise landscapers often planted oleanders for their evergreen foliage and lovely blooms, are festooned (or at least they used to be; it’s been a while!) with signs advising unwary campers to under no conditions burn oleanders or use their twigs for marshmallow sticks. Unlike poison ivy, you won’t be bothered by touching oleander, just by contact with or ingesting its sap. Bonus tidbit: Azaleas and rhododendrons also have some toxicity.

Meanwhile, a new 527 organization has been formed to watchdog our government: Scientists and Engineers for America, with a thoughtful bill of rights.

If you want a real dose of feel-good, read this on neuroscientist Paul Greengard, who has taken his 2000 Nobel Prize money and established the annual $50,000 Pearl Meister Greengard Prize to bring more attention to outstanding research in biomedicine by women.

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