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Stoned Wallabies Make Crop Circles 104

It's the tripnaut! writes "The BBC reports that Australian wallabies are eating opium poppies and creating crop circles as they hop around 'as high as a kite', a government official has said. 'The one interesting bit that I found recently in one of my briefs on the poppy industry was that we have a problem with wallabies entering poppy fields, getting as high as a kite and going around in circles,' says Lara Giddings, the attorney general for the island state of Tasmania. 'Then they crash,' she added."


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Stoned Wallabies Make Crop Circles

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  • Here's the facts... (Score:5, Informative)

    by WeirdJohn ( 1170585 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @04:10PM (#28487545)
    There is a problem with wallabies eating poppy crops in Tasmania. The real story is that the plants are very immature and there is no alkaloid in them. There are circular patches being made in the crops, but this is due to the normal feeding behaviour of wallabies and not because they are bouncing around in circles stoned. No wallabies are falling to the ground stoned. The farmers are setting up patches of preferred feed plants outside the poppy fields to prevent it happening in the future, as Tasmania is one of the leading exporters of opium for medical use, and they want to diminish the impact on revenue.
  • by DirtyCanuck ( 1529753 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @04:15PM (#28487617)

    It would not be similar, do to the manufacturing process needed to convert poppy resin into usable heroin. As outlined below:

    "If you're keen you CAN make use of them. I have references which list young plants 10-20cm high as having up to 71mg/100g dry weight of alkaloids. This can seem insignificant until you consider that opium is only about 12% alkaloids, and you can end up with a kilo of thinnings or more in your home garden. I estimate a couple of grams of smokeable opium type extract can be extracted using methanol. And given that thinnings usually appear prior to flowering commencing, why would you waste a chance?
    On the other hand you CAN drop the thinnings into hot water and allow to steep for 10 minutes, which produces a vile tasting tea. Opium tea, in my humble opinion, is fucked. It tastes horrible, needs fresh flowers to be halfway potent, and does not store well. All alkaloids are apparently present in such a tea in roughly equal proportion to that which occurs in crude opium, but this improves the taste not one whit. Potency varies with opium tea: you can drink a glass and feel nothing, or drink a glass and discover in half an hour that you've had too much. Smoking O is a more immediate route and allows for better dose control. Smokeable O is also easier to store and has a long shelf life.
    The alkaloids in Papaver somniferum are present in the plant their pure form, and are combined with so called vegetable acids. Combined with acids, alkaloids tend to be more soluble than the free bases. An early method for the extraction of morphine involved addition of calcium chloride to the filtrate of opium 'soup'. The calcium would precipitate the calcium salt of these vegetable acids as a sort of soap scum leaving a crude morphine hydrochloride.
    Opium varies in alkaloidal content from batch to batch, and between regions. The British Pharmacoepia 1954 lists Yugoslavian opium as the most potent at 15-17% alkaloid content, followed by opium from Turkey, Iran, and Indian opium was at the bottom of the list with a 9-10.5% alkaloid content. pium is the name for the brown waxy exudation from the unripe seed capsules of Papaver somniferum. Opium is a combination of chemicals, not a chemical name in itself, as someone so rightly pointed out in Usenet recently. It's active ingredients are morphine, thebaine, codeine, papaverine and several others besides. Yield and proportions of opiates vary between individual plants, crops, varieties, areas. Other parts of the poppy plant (stems, leaves) produce a latex which dries and resembles opium, but the quality of the latexes from the other parts of the plant are not near as high.
    Opium is described as a stimulant narcotic. Historically it has been prescribed as a painkiller, for inflammation unaccompanied by dyspnoea, in typhus, typhoid and smallpox etc.

    You can purify opium further into its constituent alkaloids- then take the morphine and turn it into smack if you so desire. Wouldn't bother really, opium is a much more pleasant experience overall than heroin. And the skills you'd require are well out of the range of those described"

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan