AHA Promoting Hands-Only CPR

March 31st, 2008. By Dave Oei. 2,472 views.
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BaywatchDoes this put Baywatch out of a job?!  Well, actually, no. The new CPR standard being promoted by the American Heart Association applies only to adults who suddenly collapse, mainly due to cardiac arrest. The new standard states that only rapid chest compressions (approximately 100 per minute) are required until emergency help arrives, alleviating the need for mouth-to-mouth, which, for some odd reason, always left a bad taste in the mouth of the general public (ewww, I know, sorry!).

It was the work of recent studies which indicated a similar success rate equal to the mouth-to-mouth method, and the desire to simplify CPR which prompted the change.

Does this spell the end of Baywatch? Hardly. The AHA is also quick to point out that mouth-to-mouth is still recommended in drowning or carbon monoxide cases, and with all infants and young children.

Source: American Heart Association

Cassini Flies by Enceladus, Samples Organic Matter, Verdict: Tastes Just Like Chicken

March 31st, 2008. By Dave Oei. 2,856 views.
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Cassini and EnceladusCassini, as you know, is a probe NASA sent to explore Saturn and its moons. Back in 2005, it made a discovery – one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, had “hot spots” emanating from its surface. A closer look revealed the presence of active geysers spewing liquid from its southern pole.

Certainly worth another look, NASA sent the probe back and had it fly directly into the path of these geysers, coming to within 30 miles of the surface of the moon.

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Surprise: Good Looking People are Candy for the Eyes

November 13th, 2007. By Dave Oei. 3,674 views.
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Melissa TheuriauLet’s do a little thought experiment – I hear it worked for Einstein. Say you’re a heterosexual guy in a committed relationship and you see this gal on the left walk by (who happens to be French anchor Melissa Theuriau). What are you gonna do? Keep on walking? Glance? Stare? Dare I say, ogle?

Well guys, that compulsion you had to stare, one you fight to suppress at times, is actually hardwired into your brain. And it applies to women too. Researchers have discovered a measurable yet uncontrollable need for people to stare at an attractive person for longer periods of time than a “normal” one.

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Baby Blowing Bluish Bubbles

November 12th, 2007. By Dave Oei. 1,985 views.
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Bubble StarHH 46/47, an altogether unsexy and unimaginative name for a star, reveals a nonetheless amazing display as viewed by NASA’s JPL’s Spitzer telescope. With the ability to see into the infrared, cutting through cosmic dust is a breeze for the Spitzer. Which makes interpreting this seemingly violent picture a breeze. The bright white spot in the center is HH 46/47, a very young star in the midst of spewing out jets of gas at extraordinary speeds. As these jets ram into the stellar dust, hydrogen is warmed (the parts in blue), and iron gets superheated (the bright red spots at the end of both “bubbles”).

Their scientists believe that HH 46/47 may be in the midst of developing a wind powerful enough to halt its growing via gravitational disk accretion. Personally, I just like the pic.

Primary Source + Larger Picture: JPL

Pangolin Soup, Served with Tiger Penis, Rhino Horn…

November 12th, 2007. By Dave Oei. 6,891 views.
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PangolinWhat’s this scaly cute mammal hanging here on the left? It’s a pangolin. I didn’t learn about these critters until I saw them in one of my kid’s favorite books: “Tails“. The next time they came to mind was yesterday when I found that some Chinese turn these guys into soup. Taste just like chicken? Who knows. One thing’s for sure, they’re certainly not as plentful.

TigerIt’s hard to be surprised. For thousands of years the Chinese have used/eaten just about anything in the name of herbal remedies. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. That is, unless you ask Tiger what they do to his bones. Or worse, his penis. Then there’s Rhino whose horn of fingernail-cartilage is driving it to extinction. Supposedly those practices are on the decline, which is great, but considering we’re still receiving news of this type, who really knows?

RhinoIt’s a shame, really, that the 20th century hasn’t delivered on the promise of providing a solid science background and a healthy dose of skepticism to the next generation in an effort to help eradicate mysticism and unsubstantiated health claims. It’s not just the minds of tomorrow that are suffering – don’t be surprised if your kids’ only exposure to these creatures is some backwater blog.

Over 50,000 or Over 500,000: Pick Your Poison

November 12th, 2007. By Dave Oei. 2,464 views.
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Bay Area SpillUgh. First the Bay Area, now the Black Sea. Late last week a container ship rammed the Bay Bridge under heavy fog and in the process released over 50,000 gallons of oil into the surrounding waters. It’s a disaster of such size and scope that hasn’t been witnessed in nearly 20 years, with hundreds, probably thousands of birds and other creatures adversely affected. What’s worse is the fact that the Coast Guard is telling volunteers to stay away from affected birds and creatures, for fear of getting exposed to toxic substances.

Russian TankerThen came the news about the oil tanker which busted open in high seas off the Black Sea. It was supposed to have released over a half million gallons of oil. No word yet on the scope of the damage, but don’t hold your breath for good news.

Bay Area Source + Photo: San Francisco Chronicle

Russian Tanker Source: MSNBC. Photo: Reuters

TinySci does TinyRadio

November 11th, 2007. By Dave Oei. 2,630 views.
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Tiny radioCrazy smart guys at Berkeley have created the world’s smallest radio. How small? Tiny. Hey, actually this website is appropriately named to give this story the coverage it deserves. The radio is invisible to the naked eye, being composed of carbon nanotubes only 10 nanometers in diameter and a few hundred long. Because of the unique qualities of these tubes, namely their strength, electrical conductivity, and ability to vibrate really fast, the folks at Berkeley were able to train one to act as an antenna, tuner, & amplifier. Plus, it demodulates AM and FM. Though switching channels isn’t as easy as turning the dial, it doesn’t sound like making it so is far away.

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Breast Milk – It Does a Brain REAL Good

November 6th, 2007. By Dave Oei. 2,400 views.
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Maternity by PicassoNow yet another reason to breastfeed: help make your kids less stupid. Though, it works only if they’re lucky enough to have a particular variant of the FADS2 gene. Actually, this variant is in about 90% of the human population. And those lucky 90% would have experienced a measurable and significant improvement in IQ if they were also breastfed as babies. While the improvement is only by about 7 IQ points, it’s probably enough to make the difference between going to UCLA or USC (I’ll let you decide which one is better). The researchers theorize that the FADS2 variant allows the people who have it to metabolize particular fatty acids present in abundance in breast milk, all to the benefit of the developing brain.

Ethically, it makes me wonder – how much is the FADS2 gene and where can I get one?

Primary Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Secondary Source: New York Times

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