Sunday, August 06, 2006

The World's Youngest Drummer

While standing only 31” tall and weighing in at 27 pounds, 16 month old Julian is certainly a star in the making. Playing the drums while sitting atop his father's lap since the age of three months, this rhythmic child could keep a steady beat while rolling around in his mother's womb! Since then, he has progressed to being able to perform drum rolls and actually plays syncopated beats. Too small for his feet to reach the bass drum or high hat pedals, he sits in his high chair playing dad's prized DW's. His favorite bands to rock to include, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Chicago, ToTo and Rush.

Recently, he has applied to the Guinness Book of World Records as “The World's Youngest Drummer”. At this point in his young career, he enjoys entertaining his family and friends, but is looking forward to beginning his stage career as the opening act for some local talent. Check back frequently to catch the latest news in Julian's young career…


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

7 Inventive Ways To Go To Sleep

Each night of your life it's the same routine: same boring bed, same boring pillow, same boring pattern of reducing alpha waves, generating theta waves, lowering EMG, entering delta sleep, and finally engaging in rapid eye movement. Aren't you sick of it?

Here are 7 Inventive Ways To Go To Sleep:

1. Chillow

We've all been there. We love the ‘cool' side of the pillow but as soon as we flip to it, all the coldness gets absorbed into our head and dissipates, leaving us to languish in a state of unreasonably warm pillowness until the other side cools down sufficiently. Until now, the only alternative was to build a multi-million dollar pillow-flipping robot who would lift your head off the pillow, flip the pillow, and lay you back down every 20 minutes or so, stopping only when he would need an oil change, which is every 2 hours.

But now the ‘Chillow' is here. Say goodbye to Flipbot 2000, say hello to cool, comfortable nights. The Chillow is a technological marvel on a magnitude of the combustion engine, or ESPN. Filled with a space-age blue gel, all you have to do is top it off with some water and the Chillow will do the rest. It's guaranteed to keep your head nice and cool all night long, and if your brain freezes and you die, they will return all your money, minus a 95% restocking fee. Thank you, Chillow!

2. Japanese Dream Machine

Tired of running away from Tommy Lee Jones for a crime you didn't commit every night? I know I am. Fortunately, the good people at Takara inc. have stepped up to the plate to make sure your dreams are nothing but sweet.

Called "Yumemi Kobo" which is Japanese for "dream workshop," the devise boasts the ability to influence the user's dreams. Armed to the teeth with an arsenal of speakers, a voice recorder, small lights, a picture frame, and even a fragrance dispenser, the Yumemi Kobo is designed to ‘determine' when you enter REM sleep (the stage of sleep at which dreaming occurs) and only activate accordingly.

So say you want to dream about, say, having a pirate adventure. You load up a picture of pirates cavorting about, you fill the fragrance dispenser with, what-rum? And you slowly drift off...only to be woken up by the smell of ocean funk, flashing strobe lights, and the pre-recorded sounds of clanging sword fighting. If you're at all able to get back to sleep, your dreams are almost certain to be those of being chased by a robot through a disco for music pirating.

3. Coffin Bed

Maybe you're a Goth who is into such things, maybe you think it would be interesting, and maybe you're just plan disturbing, but some people out there probably would enjoy the feeling of sleeping in a coffin. Thanks to the Casket Furniture company, the wait is over.

According to their site, this ‘long awaited' item can be yours for only a little over $4,000. While the rest of us suckers stretch out on queen-sized down mattresses, you'll be hunkered away, dreaming the dreams of angels, in a big wooden box that you can't roll over in and which might close on you and suffocate you to death. At least burial won't be a problem.

Disturbingly, their site also indicated ‘locks and latches' are available at an added price. Oh, thanks. How much to have it filled with flesh-eating bacteria, too?

4. Snore Backpack

Are you one of the 4 in 10 people in the United States who suffers from snoring? How often have you wondered when someone would invent a way to allow you to sleep silently while simultaneously looking like a massive dork wad?

Based on the scientific principle that you're 10% more likely to snore if you're sleeping on your back, the good people at some lame company or other got immediately to work and came up with Dr. Parker's Snore Relief Cusion.

Worn like a backpack, Dr. Parker's Snore Relief Cushion is basically just a foam pillow with rubber suspenders attached. Just sling the thing over your back and hope that your wife doesn't mind that you'll be going to bed looking like the bullies from shop class super glued part of a couch to you. Now, try to roll onto your back. You can't do it! Because there's a giant foam pillow preventing you. And if you're worried about safety concerns involving getting tangled up and choked to death by the rubber suspenders, rest assured that's only 60% likely to happen. Sure, the company likes to claim that the product is 100% safe, but can you really trust people who don't mind looking like this guy.

5. Stylin Sleep Mask

This isn't your grandma's sleep mask. You're an active young woman. You have responsibilities, places to go, people to see. You deserve a sleep mask that says "I'm unique! I designed my own sleep mask!"

Fortunately, you no longer have to be style-deprived while unconscious anymore. Now you can look your best for all the people who we can only assume must stare at you when you sleep, where they will no doubt be incredibly impressed with your amazing skills.

Complete with a piece of ‘self-adhesive' black felt, a hot glue gun, some satin, and a smorgasbord of decorations including ‘sequins' and ‘glittery puff paint,' you too can sleep like Liberace with the help of a Stylin' Sleep Mask from And what's more, designing the mask is only half the fun-the other half is wearing it! While you're asleep!

6. Floating Bed

Who hasn't dreamed of sleeping on a bed that floats in mid-air? I haven't, but I'm sure someone has. And in fact, someone did, or we wouldn't have the $1.5 million dollar magnetic floating bed.

Tethered down with 4 cables to prevent your bed from floating out and taking a spin on I-94, the bottom of the mattress is covered with enough magnets to keep almost 2,000 pounds floating in the air.

Though there would be no technical application of this bed other than to just look incredibly cool, I pledge it's the first thing I will buy as soon as I acquire either $1.5 million dollars or 1.5 million fridge magnets, whichever comes first. (via Gozmodo)

7. Sleep Analysis Doll

Sure, it seemed like you slept OK, but how will you know for sure? Short of talking to a horrifying sleep analysis doll, you'd have no way of knowing, which means it's a good thing that just such a doll is now available on the market.

With its 6 sensors and vocabulary of 1200 different sentences, the doll is capable of determining a user's sleep patterns and then badgering you when you don't stick to said sleeping patterns. So that night that you have insomnia because you're nervous about an important project at work will be made even more fun with a disturbing doll berating you for not being asleep. Good times. And a normal person would buy this why?


Monday, July 17, 2006

What is a Retinal Tear or Detachment?

What is the Retina?

The retina is the layer of neurosensory tissue that lines the back, inside wall of the eye. If
you imagine that your eye is like a camera, then the retina is the film. When rays of light
enter the eye and are focused on the retina by the cornea and lens, the retina reacts. The
light receptive nerve cells that comprise the retina generate a nerve impulse whenever
they are exposed to light. The retina then sends these nerve impulses along the optic
nerve to the brain which interprets them as a picture. It's rather like the film in the camera
being developed so that pictures can be viewed. However, just like a picture cannot be
developed if the camera has defective film, vision is not possible in an eye with a defective

What are Retinal Tears?

Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD)

The back cavity of the inner eye is filled with clear jelly called vitreous . When the vitreous
jelly undergoes the natural aging process it deteriorates and becomes liquid. As the
eyeball moves, small pockets of liquid vitreous can move around as well inside the
vitreous cavity. This movement causes the vitreous to pull on the retina, causing flashing

Normally the jelly is only loosely adherent to the retina and easily peels away
from the retina during vitreous degeneration
(syneresis). This event is called a posterior vitreous
detachment (PVD) and again is a normal event
occurring in most people sometime between 50 and
70 years of age.

However, occasionally, the vitreous jelly is so
adherent to the retina and pulls so hard on it that it
creates a tear. If this tear is along a blood vessel of
the retina this may cause bleeding into the vitreous
(called a vitreous hemorrhage) which could lead to a
shower of floaters which cloud the vision. Acute
retinal tears with or without flashes and floaters pose
a risk because fluid can enter through the tear under
the retina and lift the retina off, causing a retinal
detachment, much like damp wallpaper peeling from the wall. Since PVDs are usually the
initiating event of most retinal detachments, this is why PVDs are such a concern.

Retinal "Horseshoe" Tear

Horseshoe tear with retinal vessel involvement

Retinal tears may be sealed with lasers or cryotherapy (a freezing treatment), or both, to
prevent retinal detachment. These treatments are usually painless and seal the retina to the
wall of the eye. Both of these procedures create a scar to seal the retina to the back of the
eye. This prevents fluid from traveling through the tear and under the retina, and is
thought to be helpful in preventing a retinal detachment.

What is a Retinal Detachment?

A retinal tear is considered so serious because the vitreous liquid may leak through the
tear, and pool under the retina. Gradually, the build up of liquid separates the retina from
the wall of the eye, a condition called a Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment ( a retinal
detachment associated with a hole or break in the retina). Retinal Detachments are a
separation of the retinal tissue from the inside wall of the eye. Similar to wallpaper coming
lose from a wall, the retinal tissue may develop folds or come completely away from its
proper position along the interior of the eye resulting in loss of vision.

Retinal Detachments

What are the symptoms of Retinal Tears and Detachments?
Retinal tears and detachments generally offer the following painless symptoms:

New Floaters: The presence of some floaters is common because the vitreous is not
completely transparent or uniform in consistency. However, a sudden increase in the
number and size of floaters perceived in your vision is a warning sign that a retinal tear
could be in progress.

Simulated Floaters

Simulated Flashes

Flashes: The sudden appearance of flashes in vision may indicate that the vitreous material
is pulling away from or tugging on the retina, which could be the first stage of a retinal
tear or detachment.

Shadow or curtain over vision: The onset of a growing, dark shadow or the appearance of
a curtain being pulled over a portion of the vision in one eye is an indication of a retinal
detachment. These symptoms usually occur in the peripheral (side) vision. The growing
shadow results from the increasing area of retinal tissue being pulled away from the back
wall of the eye and no longer able to react to light.

Decreased vision: Another common symptom of a retinal tear or detachment is a sudden
decrease in vision.

Many people experience flashes or floaters and these are not necessarily a cause for alarm.
However if they are severe and seem to be getting worse, and/or you are losing vision
then you should see an ophthalmologist immediately. An eye examination with dilated
pupils will allow the determination of the source of your symptoms, as well as a
recommendation for the appropriate treatment. Prompt treatment can often minimize the
damage to your eye.

What is the treatment for a Retinal Detachment?

Retinal Surgery
The detachment of the retina from the back wall of the eye causes it to be removed from its
blood supply and therefore its source of nutrition. An untreated detachment will cause the
retina to degenerate and lose its ability to function, permanently in some cases. Retinal
surgery though offers hope and the chances of successfully restoring vision are
dramatically improved when intervention occurs as soon as possible following the onset
of symptoms.

Very small detachments of the retina can be surrounded by laser treatment, just like retinal
tears, to help limit their spread. Large retinal detachments, however, need to be repaired
surgically. The two major surgical treatments for retinal detachment are scleral buckling -
where a sponge or length of silicon plastic is placed on the outside of the eye and sewn in
place (the scleral buckle is very small and not visible after surgery), pushing the sclera
toward the tear in the retina - and pneumatic retinopexy, a less severe treatment where the
surgeon injects a gas bubble inside the vitreous cavity. The bubble pushes the retina
against the wall of the eye, allowing the tear to seal against the eye wall.

Vitreous Surgery
If the retinal detachment is too severe for scleral buckling or pneumatic retinopexy,
surgery to reattach the retina may be necessary. Under general anesthetic, the surgeon
removes the vitreous entirely, replacing it with air or a fluid compatible with the eye. Over
time, the fluid (or air) is absorbed, and replace with the eye's own fluid. Lack of vitreous
does not affect the patient's vision.

The success of these surgical techniques depends upon several factors including the size
and location of the damaged area of the retina, the length of time that elapses between the
onset of the tear or detachment and the surgery to repair the damage, and whether or not
other complicating factors are present. Many persons who have undergone retinal
reattachment surgery regain all of their previous vision, while some regain only functional
vision. Even in these latter instances, the treatment is usually effective in preventing further
damage to the retina and more vision loss.

All of these surgical techniques are done microscopically. We want to reassure you that
your surgeon does not take your eye out of its socket to operate on it. This is simply

Risk factors

These conditions may be caused by a number of factors ranging from a physiological
weakness of the retina to a positive family history. The risk of spontaneous retinal tears
and detachments increase as we grow older. Nearsighted individuals are at an increased
risk for retinal tears and detachments. Persons who have had cataract surgery or have
experienced a blow to the head or injury to the eye are also at risk for retinal tears or
detachments. If you have had a retinal detachment in one eye, you are at increased risk of
developing one in the other eye. But there is only about a one in ten chance of this
happening. Retinal detachments do not happen as a result of straining your eyes, bending
or heavy lifting. Retinal detachments in general are quite uncommon however and only
about one person in ten thousand is affected.

Prevention of a Retinal Detachment

If your family has a history of retinal detachment, or your doctor determines that you are at
risk, it is important that you be familiar with the signs and symptoms of this condition and
that you have regular and complete eye examinations.

Awareness of the symptoms of a PVD is the critical first step in preventing a retinal
detachment. If you have new symptoms of a PVD (floaters, flashes, shower of spots) it is
important to have a prompt and very thorough examination of the retina and its periphery
to search for any retinal tears. If a retinal break can be discovered before a retinal
detachment develops it can be treated with the laser to seal the break and prevent a retinal
detachment. Fortunately the great majority of PVDs do not cause a retinal tear and not all
retinal tears will lead to a detachment. In general, though, if a tear is associated with a
symptomatic PVD it is at high risk for leading to a retinal detachment and should be


18 Tricks to Teach Your Body

Soothe a burn, cure a toothache, clear a stuffed nose...

When you were 9, playing your armpit was a cool trick. Now, as an adult, you can still appreciate a good body-based feat, but you're more discriminating. Take that tickle in your throat; it's not worth gagging over. Here's a better way to scratch your itch: "When the nerves in the ear are stimulated, it creates a reflex in the throat that can cause a muscle spasm," says Scott Schaffer, M.D., president of an ear, nose and throat specialty center in Gibbsboro, New Jersey. "This spasm relieves the tickle."

2. Experience supersonic hearing!

If you're stuck chatting up a mumbler at a cocktail party, lean in with your right ear. It's better than your left at following the rapid rhythms of speech, according to researchers at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine. If, on the other hand, you're trying to identify that song playing softly in the elevator, turn your left ear toward the sound. The left ear is better at picking up music tones.

3. Overcome your most primal urge!

Need to pee? No bathroom nearby? Fantasize about Jessica Simpson. Thinking about sex preoccupies your brain, so you won't feel as much discomfort, says Larry Lipshultz, M.D., chief of male reproductive medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine. For best results, try Simpson's "These Boots Are Made for Walking" video.

4. Feel no pain!

German researchers have discovered that coughing during an injection can lessen the pain of the needle stick. According to Taras Usichenko, author of a study on the phenomenon, the trick causes a sudden, temporary rise in pressure in the chest and spinal canal, inhibiting the pain-conducting structures of the spinal cord.

5. Clear your stuffed nose!

Forget Sudafed. An easier, quicker, and cheaper way to relieve sinus pressure is by alternately thrusting your tongue against the roof of your mouth, then pressing between your eyebrows with one finger. This causes the vomer bone, which runs through the nasal passages to the mouth, to rock back and forth, says Lisa DeStefano, D.O., an assistant professor at the Michigan State University college of osteopathic medicine. The motion loosens congestion; after 20 seconds, you'll feel your sinuses start to drain.

6. Fight fire without water!

Worried those wings will repeat on you tonight? "Sleep on your left side," says Anthony A. Star-poli, M.D., a New York City gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at New York Medical College. Studies have shown that patients who sleep on their left sides are less likely to suffer from acid reflux. The esophagus and stomach connect at an angle. When you sleep on your right, the stomach is higher than the esophagus, allowing food and stomach acid to slide up your throat. When you're on your left, the stomach is lower than the esophagus, so gravity's in your favor.

7. Cure your toothache without opening your mouth!

Just rub ice on the back of your hand, on the V-shaped webbed area between your thumb and index finger. A Canadian study found that this technique reduces toothache pain by as much as 50 percent compared with using no ice. The nerve pathways at the base of that V stimulate an area of the brain that blocks pain signals from the face and hands.

8. Make burns disappear!

When you accidentally singe your finger on the stove, clean the skin and apply light pressure with the finger pads of your unmarred hand. Ice will relieve your pain more quickly, Dr. DeStefano says, but since the natural method brings the burned skin back to a normal temperature, the skin is less likely to blister.

9. Stop the world from spinning!

One too many drinks left you dizzy? Put your hand on something stable. The part of your ear responsible for balance—the cupula—floats in a fluid of the same density as blood. "As alcohol dilutes blood in the cupula, the cupula becomes less dense and rises," says Dr. Schaffer. This confuses your brain. The tactile input from a stable object gives the brain a second opinion, and you feel more in balance. Because the nerves in the hand are so sensitive, this works better than the conventional foot-on-the-floor wisdom.

10. Unstitch your side!

If you're like most people, when you run, you exhale as your right foot hits the ground. This puts downward pressure on your liver (which lives on your right side), which then tugs at the diaphragm and creates a side stitch, according to The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Men. The fix: Exhale as your left foot strikes the ground.

11. Stanch blood with a single finger!

Pinching your nose and leaning back is a great way to stop a nosebleed—if you don't mind choking on your own O positive. A more civil approach: Put some cotton on your upper gums—just behind that small dent below your nose—and press against it, hard. "Most bleeds come from the front of the septum, the cartilage wall that divides the nose," says Peter Desmarais, M.D., an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Entabeni Hospital, in Durban, South Africa. "Pressing here helps stop them."

12. Make your heart stand still!

Trying to quell first-date jitters? Blow on your thumb. The vagus nerve, which governs heart rate, can be controlled through breathing, says Ben Abo, an emergency medical-services specialist at the University of Pittsburgh. It'll get your heart rate back to normal.

13. Thaw your brain!

Too much Chipwich too fast will freeze the brains of lesser men. As for you, press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth, covering as much as you can. "Since the nerves in the roof of your mouth get extremely cold, your body thinks your brain is freezing, too," says Abo. "In compensating, it overheats, causing an ice-cream headache." The more pressure you apply to the roof of your mouth, the faster your headache will subside.

14. Prevent near-sightedness!

Poor distance vision is rarely caused by genetics, says Anne Barber, O.D., an optometrist in Tacoma, Washington. "It's usually caused by near-point stress." In other words, staring at your computer screen for too long. So flex your way to 20/20 vision. Every few hours during the day, close your eyes, tense your body, take a deep breath, and, after a few seconds, release your breath and muscles at the same time. Tightening and releasing muscles such as the biceps and glutes can trick involuntary muscles—like the eyes—into relaxing as well.

15. Wake the dead!

If your hand falls asleep while you're driving or sitting in an odd position, rock your head from side to side. It'll painlessly banish your pins and needles in less than a minute, says Dr. DeStefano. A tingly hand or arm is often the result of compression in the bundle of nerves in your neck; loosening your neck muscles releases the pressure. Compressed nerves lower in the body govern the feet, so don't let your sleeping dogs lie. Stand up and walk around.

16. Impress your friends!

Next time you're at a party, try this trick: Have a person hold one arm straight out to the side, palm down, and instruct him to maintain this position. Then place two fingers on his wrist and push down. He'll resist. Now have him put one foot on a surface that's a half inch higher (a few magazines) and repeat. This time his arm will fold like a house of cards. By misaligning his hips, you've offset his spine, says Rachel Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., co-owner of Results Fitness, in Santa Clarita, California. Your brain senses that the spine is vulnerable, so it shuts down the body's ability to resist.

17. Breathe underwater!

If you're dying to retrieve that quarter from the bottom of the pool, take several short breaths first—essentially, hyperventilate. When you're underwater, it's not a lack of oxygen that makes you desperate for a breath; it's the buildup of carbon dioxide, which makes your blood acidic, which signals your brain that somethin' ain't right. "When you hyperventilate, the influx of oxygen lowers blood acidity," says Jonathan Armbruster, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology at Auburn University. "This tricks your brain into thinking it has more oxygen." It'll buy you up to 10 seconds.

18. Read minds!

Your own! "If you're giving a speech the next day, review it before falling asleep," says Candi Heimgartner, an instructor of biological sciences at the University of Idaho. Since most memory consolidation happens during sleep, anything you read right before bed is more likely to be encoded as long-term memory.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

1,235 pounds Manuel Uribe loses 200 pounds without surgery

Manuel Uribe, a 41-year-old man, was as heavy as five baby elephants do. He weighed about 1,235 pounds. Uribe got people’s attention when he appeared on the Televisa television network in January. He was urging the medical experts help him to reduce his weight.

Now, Uribe, the mexico citizen, has lost 200 pounds that was the result of the high-protein diet. He is not dumping the idea of having gastric bypass surgery.

Medical officials are regularly monitoring Uribe’s weight and confirmed the loss of 200 pounds flesh from his body. Uribe is thinking to lose 770 pounds. (Link)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Control Freaks - turning objects into game controllers

This is neat, a project that turns any objet into a game controller - "Control Freaks are devices that attach to everyday objects, turning them into interactive game play objects. When the Control Freak attaches to a host object, its movement, vibration or sound, can be translated into control functionality for a game. The situation, location and behavior of the host, are all enablers for opportunistic play experience. The Control Freak device therefore enables any object in any situation to become the focus of play adventure."


Sunday, July 09, 2006

How Defensive Drivers Give Right-Of-Way

Defensive Driving is all about thinking ahead so that you forsee potentially dangerous situations and adjust your driving behaviour to compensate for those situations.

Any situation where a vehicle is maneuvering close to another vehicle will cause a defensive driver to be especially alert. Defensive drivers drive with the assumption that other drivers may make mistakes, so even if it is clear that the other vehicle should give way, or give right-of-way as it is called in many places in North America, a defensive driver does not assume that that will always happen.

The laws on giving way in different driving situations varies from place to place, so I will not try to explain them here. As defensive driving includes preparation for a safe trip before the trip starts, the defensive driver will understand what the give way rules are in the places that will be visited during the trip. However, during the trip the defensive driver will not assume that other drivers have gone to the same effort.

In any situation where a vehicle has to give way, the defensive driver proceeds only when it is clear that there will not be any conflict. Defensive drivers are concerned about safety, not who has the legal obligation to give way.

When you are driving defensively you are careful to ensure that other drivers do not have to brake or maneuver to avoid you, you do not assume that other drivers will see and avoid you and you only proceed when you are sure that there will not be any danger.

Vehicle safety is not an accident! By learning defensive driving, and practising defensive driving techniques whenever you drive, you should avoid being involved in a preventable accident.

Finish Him!!!!


Monday, July 03, 2006

Jo Lawrence's Artwork

Jo Lawrence playfully placed photos of old Hollywood stars on these household cleaning brushes. (Is that Rita Hayworth in the center?)