The Phoenix

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Poop Transplant Saves Grandmother

I really hope you haven't just eaten. If so, I suggest you skip this post for a time when you can be sure you won't lose your lunch.

83 year-old Ethel McEwan of Scotland contracted a very serious intestional bacterial infection called Clostridium Difficile. This is a highly deadly "superbug" and was not responding to antibiotics. So what did the doctors do?

They gave her a dose of her daughter's poop.

Yes. Poop. Feces. Excrement. Doodie. Crap. Shit. Turd. Ass Goblins. Lincoln Logs.

How did this process work? The treatment involved taking her daughter's poop, liquifying it, and then feeding this liquid poop down a tube into Ethel's stomach. This method helped restore the bacteria level in her belly, which in turn helped her fight off the illness.

Here's what Mrs. McEwan had to say about her treatment:

When you tell people about the treatment, they wrinkle their noses,” says Mrs. McEwan. “But it’s not like they put it on a plate and have you eat it. You don’t ever see or smell a thing. People will have a blood transplant or a kidney transplant – what’s the difference with this?”

The difference is that you ate liquid turd.

Oh well, that's the way the poopie crumbles.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Don't Be A Turkey, Give Thanks

For Thanksgiving 2005, I wrote about the myth of the amino acid tryptophan inducing that Thanksgiving dinner nap we all love. Thanksgiving 2006, I wrote about the science behind why some foods taste delicious to us.

This year, I decided to focus on the whole giving thanks part of Thanksgiving.

University of California - Davis psychology professor, Dr. Robert Emmons, has been researching just how important it is for us to give thanks. According to Dr. Emmons, people who show gratitude on a daily basis for all of life's little blessings are:

* exercising more
* complaining of fewer illnesses
* feeling better about their lives overall
* feeling more loving
* feeling more forgiving, joyful, enthusiastic and optimistic about their futures

"Gratitude is literally one of the few things that can measurably change people's lives," Emmons says.

In his book, Thanks: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier, he gives us 10 researched-based strategies for practicing true gratitude. Apparently, you can just half-ass think of a couple things you're thankful for as you pass the mashed potatoes.

True gratitude involves contemplation and introspection.

So I guess I'll start. I'm very thankful for all of you. I appreciate your readership, your comments, and your coming to my little corner of cyberspace. To all my ol' faithfuls and newly found buddies, thank you very much.

Happy Thanksgiving

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mexicans In Space

By the end of this year, the Mexican Senate is expected to approve the creation of Mexico's very first space agency: AEXA, or Agencia Espacial meXicanA. Maybe someone should first teach them how to make a proper acronym.

The goal of creating such an agency is to be able to participate in further technological and scientific study. Many of the discoveries involved during space-science research is applicable to all kinds of advancements here on earth - such as areas of telecommunications, meteorology, and robotics.

Beginning with a budget of $2 million USD, this new Mexican Space Agency hopes to begin operations early next year.

If they are able to one day create a space station, do you think they will cram 185 astronauts in it?

I'm all for countries wanting to get in on the technologies produced from space exploration and science, but let's be reasonable. $2 million bucks? The Mexican Navy consists of a small dingy with two guys sleeping in it with fishing rods tucked in their arm pits. They could use a new boat, don't you think? Aren't there better ways Mexico could spend their money? Like, I dunno, feeding their people?

For $2 million, the closest thing they'll get to space exploration is by building a giant catapult to launch people over the border.


I wonder how tacos taste in zero-gravity...


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Monday, November 05, 2007

"That's a negative Ghost Rider, the pattern is full"

If you don't know what movie that line above came from, you must've missed the 80s.

Anyway, it's November now - and that means it's time for birds of all sorts to migrate South for the winter. Here in the Midwest, you can look up in the sky and see these creatures flying in huge "V" and "J" shaped formations. Incredibly, the same troop of birds fly right over the neighborhood every year. That sounds like a wonderful show of Mother Nature, and I appreciate all of that. But I can do without all the bird poop that lands on everything.

This year, as I drove near a large lake and several Canadian geese decided to drop their bombs on my windshield, I wondered why these birds fly in that "V" formation anyway. I had heard that it had something to do with aerodynamics of some sort. Also, I thought maybe it made the geese feel cool...like they were each a part of a avian gang or something.

So of course I did some research, just in case you were wondering the same thing.

A flock flying in formation is known as an echelon. Now, I think that's an incredibly cool word. It sounds like a great name for a car. "Hey, I drive a Toyota Echelon." I'm going to use echelon in all sorts of ways now in order to impress people.

There are two main reasons why birds fly in such a pattern.

One: birds are able to conserve energy, taking advantage of the updraft of air created at each birds' wingtips. A bird is able to get some free lift, and in the process not have to work as hard to stay up in the air. But what about the bird leading the charge at the point? Well, that dude is going to have to work his beak off. The two birds on the very end are also S.O.L. But as the bird tires, he'll move out of formation and they will all sort of swap positions.

Two: birds are able to communicate easier while flying in formation. Flying in this pattern allows each bird to see the others. Despite this advantage, you can often see that one bird not paying attention. Every echelon has some dummy that decides to daydream during flight and miss the turn...then he's by himself, flapping his little heart out. Hopefully, he'll catch up. If not, he'll be a lone goose. In actuality, he'll probably just find another gang to join. Many times, these idiots will go try to fly in formation with an airplane.

I think the science of aerodynamics can be utilized in all kinds of applications. Jet planes have flown in V-shaped patterns in order to take advantage of less drag. Motorcycle gangs have been seen cruising down the highway in similar fashion.

Recently, I witnessed an echelon of very hungry people get off a tour bus and attack a lunch buffet. The lead person looked like would eat anyone in his way. You can bet I dropped my breadstick and got the hell away from them.

Stay off the Highway to the Danger Zone.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween Wrap-Up

Again, thanks to those that read my Spooky Stories Series this year. I hope it was both entertaining and interesting.

A few of you have actually been coming to my blog since 2005, and you just might remember my posting a picture of my son, The Dominator, in a Transformers costume I made. I decided after a year off, I would once again create a Halloween costume for my now seven-year old.

The Dominator wanted to be a cyborg - not THE cyborg featured in the D.C. Comics, but just a cyborg. Below is the final result:


The Dominator Cyborg: Half boy, half machine



Notice the blaster marks on the robotic arm and face. It's rough being a cyborg.



The glowing laser sword on his hand is removable in case any bad guys wanna get messed up.
That is indeed a circular light on his chest, little LCD lights all over that chest plate, and the robotic eye and tubing all glow in the dark.


Here's what I used to make this suit:

*A plain white mardis gras mask: $3 at Wal-Mart
*Used skating pads/gear: $4 at Goodwill
*Old tap light that I repaired: FREE
*Tiny portable LCD lights: $6 at Hobby Lobby
*Laser sword: $1 from the Dollar Store
*Glow in the dark rubber rope: $4 at Hobby Lobby
*Tubing: FREE (I work in hospital sales, so I just used some IV tubing and stuff)
*Cheap-ass glue gun that smoked and then blew up in my hand: $1.00 at the Dollar Store
*Fine quality glue gun that worked very well: $5 at Hobby Lobby
*Silver Metalic spray paint: $5
*Cardboard for chest plate: FREE
*Silver, white, black acrylic paint I already had: FREE
*Black foam: $1 at Hobby Lobby
*Foam weather stripping with adhesive backing for chest plate: $2 at Wal-Mart
*Various velcro: $4

*Some junk including a piece from a broken sweater shaver thingy I used to make the robotic eye, pieces from a broken little portable radio for the chest plate and robotic knee, and two medicine container caps for the robotic arm: FREE

Total cost: $36
Total hours of labor: 16

Why or why didn't I just buy him a costume?

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Welcome to the blog that aims to examine the lighter side of science. From the paranormal to wacky inventions, to strange mysteries and goofy experiments, I cover it all. Thanks for stoping by blazingtalons.com...where science is always stranger than fiction







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