Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Chemistry of Thanksgiving [Science]

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Brain Scan Finds Man Was Not in a Coma—23 Years Later [Neuroscience]

Rom Houben has been trapped in a series of worst nightmares, including trying for 23 years to alert those around him that he was not in a coma. A new report suggests he's not alone in his experience.

In 1983, Belgian engineering student and martial arts enthusiast Houben, then 20, was in a car accident that was thought to have left him in a vegetative state. Doctors relied on the widely-used Glasgow Coma Scale, assessing his eyes, verbal, and motor responses. What they failed to notice was that Houben was actually conscious—but completely paralyzed.

"I screamed, but there was no one to hear," he says in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel. Three years ago, neurologist Steven Laureys used modern scanning techniques to discover that Houben's cerebral cortex was, in fact, functioning. (The doctor has only just now made Houben's story public.)

Houben, who communicates via a computer with a special keyboard activated with the slightest movement of his right hand, is now 46. He has spent more than half his life trapped in his own body, and says he only survived this excruciating existence by dreaming himself away. In the interview, this is what he typed:

I am called Rom. I am not dead. The nurses came, they patted me, they sometimes took my hand, and I heard them say "no hope." I meditated, I dreamed my life away—it was all I could do. I don't want to blame anyone—it wouldn't do any good. But I owe my life to my family. Everyone else gave up.

I studied what happened around me as if it were a tiny piece of world drama, the bizarre peculiarities of the other patients in the common room, the entry of the doctors into my room, the gossip of the nurses who were not embarrassed to speak about their boyfriends in front of "the extinct one." That made me an expert on relationships.

According to Laureys, Houben's case may be far more common than we'd like to think. The doctor, who leads the Coma Science Group and Department of Neurology at Liege University Hospital, says that while Houben's doctors were "not good," he's not sure better ones using this same coma scale would have detected brain activity either:

In Germany alone each year some 100,000 people suffer from severe traumatic brain injury. About 20,000 are followed by a coma of three weeks or longer. Some of them die, others regain health. But an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 people a year remain trapped in an intermediate stage—they go on living without ever coming back again.

In his paper, Laureys writes that in about 40 percent of "vegetative state" cases he has analyzed, current brain scanning techniques reveal signs of varying levels of consciousness. A case is being made, it seems, to stop relying on the Glasgow Coma Scale and start looking more closely at brain scanning images.

I wonder if Rom's condition was Locked-in Syndrome (which was featured in House episode 19, season 5).

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Josh Cribbs walks with late coach's son on his senior night - Shutdown Corner - NFL - Yahoo! Sports

In a dismal year for the Cleveland Browns, wide receiver/returner Josh Cribbs has proved to be one of the only bright spots. Last month he showed he's equally good off the field.

The Pro Bowler traveled to Berea, OH to walk onto the field on senior night with the son of one of his former college coaches. Michael Drake, a senior receiver at Stow High School, lost his father, Mike, in 2005 to lymphoma. He had assumed he'd be accompanied by his mother and sister for senior night introductions and was stunned when he saw Cribbs arrive minutes before the game.

''I looked, then looked away, then said, 'Why are you here?''' Michael recalled. ''I was shocked.''

A receiver, cornerback and holder for extra points, Michael said Cribbs offered advice before his final game.

''He said, 'Play your heart out. This is it. Give it your all. Don't ever stop on any play. Keep pushing,''' Michael said. ''I almost felt worried. I didn't want to look bad for him.''

Michael's late father recruited Cribbs to play at Kent State and served as a father figure to the Washington, D.C. native during his time at Kent. Mike Drake was the offensive coordinator for the Golden Flashes during Cribbs's freshman and sophomore seasons. Cribbs played quarterback in college and credits Drake for helping him drive home the fundamentals that he still uses today. So, when the idea of returning for senior night was pitched to Cribbs this summer, he didn't hesitate.

It's a small gesture, but it says a lot about the character of Cribbs. He apparently didn't feel the need to talk about it publicly; this happened Oct. 30 and, as far as I can tell, yesterday's report in the Akron Beacon Journal is the first it's been mentioned. Similarly, Drake's mother is quoted in the piece as saying that Cribbs took great pains to underplay his presence at the game for fear of taking away the spotlight from Michael and the other seniors. This shows a humility that other professional football players could sometimes stand to emulate.

Cribbs is back on the field Monday night when the Browns host the Baltimore Ravens.

Related: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns

Heartwarming. Inspiring.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Brine Your Thanksgiving Turkey for Juicier Results [Food]

Thanksgiving's just around the corner, which means many of us will try our hand at cooking a turkey in hopes we don't dry it out. It only takes a little know-how in combination with some science to produce the juiciest results possible.


Send an email to Sarah Rae Trover, the author of this post, at

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Stop Fiddling With Your Instrument and Learn to Read Music

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There's an old musician's joke that goes something like this: Want to know the best way to make a guitarist to turn down their volume? Put sheet music in front of them.

All jokes aside, it's possible to perform music without any knowledge of music theory just as it's possible to memorize a speech without knowing how to read. But reading music puts you in league with the big masters. Let us help you with the basics. To refine your technique, you may want to seek out a competent teacher.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Simple. Screenshot. Sharing. - TinyGrab

An awesome find-TinyGrab for Windows and Mac OS X. On Mac OS X TinyGrab supercharges the built-in screen capture functionality by adding automagic Cloud upload. It's even more impressive on Windows, in that it recreates the convenient, system-wide screen grab experience on Mac OS X in addition to synching to the Cloud.

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

15 Free Guides That Really Teach You USEFUL Stuff

cool websites

15 Free Guides That Really Teach You USEFUL Stuff

Oct. 31st, 2009 By Simon Slangen

Over the past months, we’ve written quite a few PDF manuals for you, on all kinds of diverging subjects, including BitTorrent, iTunes, iPhone, Twitter, Mac, Linux, Photoshop and several other topics.

Initially available only for subscribers, there are now multiple manuals released every month, for everyone to enjoy. After releasing 15 manuals and nearly half a million downloads we thought it was about time to look back and review what has been published so far.

Enjoy! No sign up need, downloads are free, no strings attached.

Do us a favor by sharing those manuals friends!

1 – Internet Guide for the Movie Addict

Written by Saikat Basu, this entirely free PDF production will show you anything you’ve ever dreamed about knowing related to movies on the web. Whether you want a quick heads-up, are looking for download and streaming possibilities, or even want to fix broken AVI’s — you’ll find it in there!

Original Post | Instant Download | Read Online.

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Leopard Hangs Out Car Window


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Christopher Walken performs Lady Gaga's Poker Face


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