Tuesday, July 28, 2009

lab rat part 5 - adult only content

After another quirky morning as a lab rat, I spent the afternoon at MAC's pool. The slate around the pool is burning hot, so if the treatments don't work, sitting on the can-fry-an-egg- on-this surface edge of the swimming hole will probably melt any lumps on my legs. My dear friend, MAC, is kind and says lovely things like, "I've never noticed the back of your legs before.... they don't seem that bad." The flawless technician has stopped sighing and now just says, "hmmmmmmmmmm". She touches the screen pad for the machine more frequently and I think she is secretly upping the voltage as the "zzzt" sound is getting lounder. Or at least it seems like it to me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

lab rat part 4 - adult only content

It's day 4 of being the human guinea pig. In some respects it's much like the classic fairy tale "The Emperor's New Clothes". No one wants to tell the ruler that he's naked and they all make a fuss about the beauty of the fabric, the design of the coat and how good it makes him look. I ask my family if I look different and they all rave and tell me that I seem so much thinner. Behind my back they are snickering, so I'm of the conclusion that I pretty much appear to be the same as before the treatments. The flawless beauty still sighs, and says, "hmmmmmm", a bit too much, but she is brutally honest. Maybe it's bait and switch. This machine works great on most people, but may not be the one for me. The other machine is soooooo much better. Sign here and re-mortgage your house for 10 treatments.


Giant Toucan Bills Help Birds Keep Their CoolMatt Kaplan
for National Geographic News

July 23, 2009
Good for more than sniffing out Froot Loops, the toucan's big bill also helps the bird dump heat when its body gets too warm, a new study says.

The discovery may even lead to clues to how some dinosaurs did the same.

Birds Can Dance, Experts (and Zany Videos) Reveal
For over a century biologists have puzzled over why toucans have such monstrous and colorful bills. Darwin theorized that they attracted mates. Others have suggested the bills are fruit peelers, territorial weapons, and visual warnings to predators.

Glenn Tattersall at Brock University in Canada and a team of colleagues wondered if perhaps the beak served an altogether different purpose.

Heat Release

Like any warm-blooded animal, the toucan has to release excess body heat—humans do it in part by sweating; dogs by panting.

The researchers figured that the "large uninsulated appendage," with its extensive network of blood vessels close to the surface, "might be an important tool for helping toucans cool off," Tattersall said.

To find out, the team regularly photographed captive toucans with infrared cameras, which display warm areas as bright and cool regions as dark.

In hot conditions, the toucans' bills appeared to glow with radiated heat as warm blood flooded them. At cooler temperatures, the bills would go dark—blood flow to the bills had effectively stopped.

It's unclear whether many other bird species use their bills to shed heat, said study co-author Denis Andrade of São Paulo State University in Brazil.

Ducks and geese "seem to be able to do the same thing, although not to the same extent as toucans," he said.

Dinosaur Connection?

Previous studies have also suggested that some dinosaurs were blessed with similar natural radiators on their bodies.

Debate has been ongoing about the function of Triceratops' head frills (Triceratops pictures) and Stegosaurus' plates (Stegosaurus picture), for example, with some experts suggesting uses as varied as cooling, defense, courtship displays, or even interspecies ID.

(Related: "Stegosaur Plates Used for ID, Not Defense, Study Says.")

To strengthen the case for frills and plates as cooling mechanisms, researchers would need to prove that these dinosaurs could control blood flow to their bony ornaments, study leader Tattersall said—something top paleontologists have tried and, so far, been unable to do.

Paleontologist Kevin Padian at the University of California, Berkeley, agreed, adding that "most accessory [temperature control] by vertebrates, from lizards to elephants, is behavioral: The antelope turns towards or away from the sun to thermoregulate, just as we do.

But "without being able to observe directly those extinct dinosaurs, we can't assess how they might have used their regular bodies, let alone their bizarre structures, for thermoregulation."

Findings to be published tomorrow in the journal Science.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

lab rat part 3- adult only content

Ok- It's treatment 3 from the flawless beauty. Each treatment is preceded by white pencil markings and a near silent and perpelxed "sigh" from the technician. I have no idea what is going on behind me, but it doesn't hurt as much as the previous times. The feeling that I've been initiated into a fraternity with a wooden paddle has subsided. Since no one in my immediate family is willing to go on record as to what I look like when viewed from the back, I haven't got a clue if this is working. Apparently there will be photos published (sans names) on the Dr.'s web site. Mercifully he never updates his site, or sends out newsletters, so I am safe.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

lab rat part 2 - adult only content

It's treatment 2 and true to the non-disclosure agreement I won't say what's being done to me. Today let's talk about slime, in particular the slime that is gooped onto your body. The flawless beauty uses an industrial-sized spatula to spread this gel. The tube of slime is kept at a temperature slightly above absolute zero, or maybe about the same temperature as dry ice (frozen carbon dioxide). When it hits your skin the stuff sublimates (goes directly from a solid to a gas), and if I could see what's going on behind me I'm sure clouds of steam are coming of my now cold glutes. The sound-proof room muffles any screams (just kidding), and the whole thing is over before you can say "fat-cells-be- gone" or whatever the Hogwarts equivalent to that phrase might be. When I grew up in Alberta there used to be car races advertised as "stock" not "modified". This meant that the stock cars were the same as if they had come out of a dealer's show room and did not have anything special under the hood. I've always said that I was "stock", not "modified", and am reasonably sure I can still say this after the clinical trials are over.

Monday, July 13, 2009

more sugar in desserts

Jello (tm) and Twinkies (tm) have the same amount of sugar. Go figure. These images are from SugarStacks.com. I urge everyone to read this web site if only to understand how much sugars are hidden in foods. One of the tricks that food producers use is to label "sugars" under different names, so you don't think there is that much inside the product. Stick with healthy snacks like carrots, whole fresh fruits, berries, and unflavored water. For a treat, slice lemon or cucumber into a pitcher of water and leave it in the fridge. The lemon and cukes give the water an amazing flavor and don't add any sugar or calories to your diet.

sugar in food from sugarstacks.com

Kids (and adults, too), check out this web site- www.sugarstacks.com
Obesity rates are skyrocketing, along with childhood diabetes. If you want to know the reason why children are gaining so much weight, you don't have to look much further than your fridge, 7-11, or other fast food restaurants.
For an eye opener, take the family to see the new movie FOOD INC. or rent Fast Food Nation. Or catch The Learning Channel's series on morbidly obese people- i.e. the Half Ton Father, or the 33,000 calories day diet. It will change your life and the way you look at food.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Kelowna, BC

If you are ever in Kelowna, BC, Canada, drop by the Carmeli Goat Farm. They make the most amazing Goat Cheese products and spectacular goat's milk gelato. There's nothing quite like this place anywhere and the most interesting part of this farm is the story of how an Israeli family ended up in the middle of nowhere in British Columbia. Their history will blow you away and inspire you.

lab rat part 1 - adult only content

Well, I had to sign a non-disclosure agreement stating that I wouln't tell anyone about the treatment. Suffice it to say that if you've ever stuck your tongue on a 9 volt battery to see if it still had any juice, (and I highly recommend that you never do such a silly thing) imagine that feeling on your tush, only you have a cold layer of slime to which a jolt is being applied. And not just briefly but for 45 minutes. The flawless beauty who is the technician doing this procedure offers kind words like, "this would hurt more on the front of your legs."
I can't tell you the name of the procedure or the machine, or anything else, but it was interesting in a blogging sort of way.

Friday, July 3, 2009



Large Hadron Collider Rap

This is cool!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

funny book

This blog is not for kids. Adult content follows. Parental permission required to read this posting.
The book jacket featured on this blog belongs to one of the funniest ideas I've seen in ages. Last week I had lunch with two amazing writers: Joan Stuchner and Cynthia Nugent, winners of this year's Chocolate Lily. Look for their book, Honey Cake, as it is remarkable. Anyways, during lunch Joan said she was intersted in the story of Christian relics. A relic is a bit of bone from a Saint that various churches have in their collection. Joan said that there was a tiny church in Italy that claimed to have the foreskin of Jesus from his circumcision. This caused us to laugh so long and hard that the other people in the restaurant gave us dirty looks.
So check out this book when it is out.

lab rat - adult only content

To test certain products before releasing them to the general public, companies frequently use monkeys, rats, and other creatures to see if the product is safe. There's a very bad joke about using lawyers instead of lab rats, but that can't be told to children.
In the interests of science, I have signed myself up to be a human guinea pig for a new medical procedure. I don't want to reveal too much about this, but it is safe to say that the whole process will be interesting.... and apparently painful beyond belief. I can't post pictures, but I will keep you up to date with the test results. Without saying too much, it is the same treament that Madonna has done in Switzerland at a significant cost, but mine is free because it is the clinical trial in Canada.
So over the next 7 weeks look for updates as I become a hands-on science experiment. Thanks to Dr. Gerry Boey.